JadePhoenix (jadephoenix) wrote,

Book Log

One day at work, when extremely bored, I decided to try to list all the books I have ever read. In my life. Needless to say, it was impossible. I will try to maintain an ongoing list of books that I have finished. I just started keeping track two weeks ago. I am always looking for recommendations on books, as well as willing to give suggestions. And the good news is that I'm number 354 in line to get the new Harry Potter book from the library (down from 1189 before the book was released). I'm not dying to read it, since I waited so long to read the others, but I just don't want get spoiled since so many people have read it already. I'm sure the PotterPuffs will keep my occupied until I read it.

Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover completed 6/30/05... Good book. Provided interesting insight into the characters, like how Obi-wan saying, "You were my brother! I loved you!" is actually against the Jedi Code and Mace Windu's secret love. Lots of politics, though. And the Chancellor is even more cunning than in the movie.

The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean completed 7/9/05... I really enjoyed this. It was so interesting to read about obsession and love for something that can't love you back. I liked reading about the history of orchid collecting as well. I am going to have to watch Adaptation.

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst completed 7/10/05... I read this book in one day, if that gives any indication to how much I loved it. The narration is amazing and about broke my heart in some parts. "I remember my bride in white." Yes, it is sappy. Yes, I was crying by the end (and feeling a little foolish).

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris completed 7/14/05... A funny collection of essays. I love when he talks about Amy Sedaris, his sister. My life is so vanilla compared to the stories this guy has, but that is okay with me, since I'm not all that into crystal meth. =)

A Treasure's Trove by Michael Stadther completed 7/14/05... This is actually a picture book that has clues that lead to real treasure (tokens that can be redeemed for one of twelve pieces of jewelry shaped like insects). For some reason, I thought I could actually find a token. Never mind that this book has been out almost a year, and ten have been found. I like puzzles, but these are definitely out of my league. It was fun to imagine I could find one, though. It is a cute story, in any case. I would like a doth.

Killing Time by Linda Howard completed 7/19/05... I read about this book in the Dispatch, and the premise intrigued me. It was interesting for a while, but I wasn't expecting it to be a sci-fi book. The supposed "twists" were rather predictable and when I neared the end of the book, I couldn't imagine how the story would wrap up in ten pages. Then I realized, it was with a completely half-assed motive for all the activity. It really sucked. The spent more time describing the first time the main characters had sex than resolving the storyline. The deaths were never explained. And how did the person that left the special information know that stuff. Dumb. It was a bit like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. A page turner, but at the end, there is not much payoff (In HP, I felt the big revelation was kind of a "duh" moment, though perhaps it is more significant that I imagine.)

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain completed 7/22/05 ... Recommended after watching Hell's Kitchen on FOX. This guy is wild. Drug taking, swearing, two star cooking hedonist. It is really interesting to see into the lives of chefs, who work when everyone else is having fun. My only complaint is that I needed a glossary or culinary dictionary to read this. Some of the dishes and ingredients sounded delicious, but I had no idea what they were. And the editing and punctuation of the book is not the best. He's a chef, not a writer, so I forgive him that.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket completed 7/26/05... Just watched the movie, so I decided to borrow all these that were available at the library, which is a lot. These are very tongue in cheek and quite entertaining. I always find it interesting how books are adapted into movies, and it is particularly interesting when one sees the movie first. It is cool how they incorporated the first three books into the movie, though I am wondering if they just made up the whole train tracks situation. I guess I will find out soon enough. I am excited to read the rest of the books to see what other misfortunes fall upon the Baudelaires.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket completed 7/26/05... These are very short books.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket completed 7/27/05

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket completed 7/27/05... I am really beginning to hate Mr. Poe. Although I sympathize with him because I also have a cough that just won't go away.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket completed 7/29/05... The moral of these stories (and of Harry Potter, after starting to read The Half Blood Prince) is to listen to children. Seriously. Adults are way too trusting.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling completed 7/30/05... Reading a series is nice because you know all the characters, and it feels homey. I'm sure I'll have some more thoughts on this book when I finish my second run-through.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket completed 8/1/05... Now I finally know what "red herring" means! I never quite understood in the movie Clue when Miss Scarlet said that Communism was just a red herring. Poor Baudelaires.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket completed 8/2/05

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket completed 8/3/05... I think I may need a cranioectomy.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket completed 8/5/05

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket completed 8/5/05

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket completed 8/7/05

The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan by Steven Gaines completed 8/9/05... This book was so interesting. It is amazing how rich people are. And these aren't celebrities and sports stars. These are the investment bankers, real estate moguls, and just plain filthy rich "blue bloods" of America. Getting rejected by a co-op board because of applying for a JC Penney card? Minimum of $100 million or 20 times the price of the apartment (ranging from $4 to 13 million)? This is wealth I can't even imagine. I mean, this book throws around numbers like $25 million for an apartment. $30 million for a townhouse. $45 million for en estate in Wainscott, New York. Holy cow. I definitely don't have the kind of risk-taking spirit that these people (and their ancestors) have in order to make these enormous fortunes, but I'll make do with a nice little place here for now.

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen completed 8/15/05... Funny book--the first time I've laughed out loud reading a book in a while. The passage about Karl talking to Tool about his "dog" while planting the highway crosses was hilarious.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova completed 8/23/05... Wow, I did not think I would ever finish this book. The first half went by so slowly. It was a good book to get history lessons from, but the narrative method (recalling events through letters within letters, etc.) was confusing at times. I still had over half the novel to go on Sunday, but the last half just flew by. The story did get more interesting at the end--it is definitely not a standard vampire book. Well, it has all the standard superstitions, but it is more about the historical and intellectual basis of the myth than the horror.

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 8/29/05

Tribulation Force by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 9/3/05

Nicolae by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 9/7/05

Soul Harvest by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 9/11/05

Apollyon by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 9/14/05

Assassins by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 9/18/05

The Indwelling by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 9/24/05

The Mark by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 9/28/05

Desecration by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 10/3/05

The Remnant by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 10/11/05

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger completed 10/12/05... This was a brief break from the Left Behind Series. This is the same author of The Devil Wears Prada, so the stories were very similar in the over-the-top stories of the glamorous lifestyles of the rich and spoiled, except that this was set in the public relations arena. This would be the most fun job ever, I bet--except for the whole tabloid/no privacy issue. It was a little predictable, especially after reading Prada, but it was still cute and fun to read.

Armageddon by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 10/18/05

Glorious Appearing by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins completed 10/22/05... Somehow, the authors managed to make the return of Jesus kind of anti-climactic. Not that I expected any plot twists or anything. It was an interesting series. I'll have to take a break before deciding if I want to read the prequels.

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan completed 11/1/05... I did not like this as much as her other books, mainly because the characters were difficult to sympathize with (in fact, some where rather despicable). But still a compelling story told in a unique fashion. I enjoyed it overall, but probably will have to reread it sometime again.

The Constant Gardner by John le Carre completed 11/28/05... Reading two books at the same time is pretty hard. I kept forgetting who was who. This was a pretty good book, but a bit slow to get started. Makes me a bit skeevy being in the pharmaceutical industry, though.

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt completed 11/29/05... Another great book. The fact that all of these people are real is amazing. I would love to go to Venice one day, but this book makes it rather intimidating. Would I see the true Venice of Venetians? Or the watered down tourist version?

I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe completed 12/16/05... Eh, not the best book. A bit over the top to me, although I'm sure some people's college experience was like that. I kept picturing JoJo as this one basketball player that our friend knows, so even though he was an ass at first, I'm glad he was a good guy in the end.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom completed 12/24/05... Does this guy know how to make me cry or what? I cried when I read Tuesdays with Morrie, and this book had me tearing up about every other page. I was at Ryan's for Christmas, and I had to retreat to another room so his family wouldn't think I was weird. But I am weird, because books make me cry.

Christ the Lord by Anne Rice completed 12/31/05... Very interesting book. After the absolute poo of Blackwood Farm and Blood Canticle, I'm glad that Anne Rice is writing some better things. A rather bold approach to the life of Jesus, and it really makes me want to learn more.

Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees, and Other Creatures Unique to the Republic by Robert Lanham completed 1/13/06... This is hilarious. So many great observations, from the Hexpatriates (Expatriates who never actually leave the country. They just speak ill of [hex] America's corruption and lack of refinement), Stretchibitionists (Women who are at the gym that never seem to be working out, but have a tendency to stretch suggestively in highly visible areas of the gym), and Zingers (People who constantly yell out punch lines from movies, commercials, and television, usually because they do not have their own sense of humor). I have found that I am a: Zinger, Flourette, Page Eighty-Sixer, Perpendiculoid, a mild Multiplexual, and a Jock Tease.

The Mermaid Chair by Susan Monk Kidd completed 1/15/06... I enjoyed this book, even though it took me forever to start it. The finger thing was disturbing, but it was meant to be, of course. I highly recommend The Secret Life of Bees by this same author, which I liked better than this book.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket completed 1/19/06... It has been a while since I read the others in this series, so I could not remember a few of the details, such as the significance of the sugar bowl--except that it is very significant. This is not so good in a series like this where everything references something else. I just hope that when the final book comes out, everything will be clear--though that does not seem likely. Poor Baudelaires.

Freedomland by Richard Price completed 4/3/06

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer completed 5/22/06... This guy knows how to tell a story. This is a pretty amazing story. To think that this happened in the 20th century is unreal to me. I guess I can't imagine the kind of bond to nature and hatred of the constrictions of civilization that this young man felt. To truly throw everything away, including the bond with family, is beyond my comprehension.

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer completed 6/19/06... Another Krakauer book, but not about outdoor adventure. I got a little confused in some parts because I would put this down for a few days and forget who was who. But Mormonism has a fascinating past, that much is for certain. And as with anything, fundamentalism can bring a world of trouble in the current world. It is truly amazing what people do.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen completed ?????... I got this book after watching the Kiera Knightley version of P&P. I read it in high school, but I had a resurgence of love for the story after watching that movie. I've basically just been reading and rereading this book almost all summer. Great story, though difficult to get through some of the formality of speech at times. But I do so love the word "exceedingly."

4th of July by James Patterson completed 9/12/06... One of my workers gave me this book. It's ok--nothing great. Kind of cheesey in many ways, and I guess not having read the other books in the series, I'm missing part of the backstory to this character. It's fine to read for a nice no-brainer book for the beach or something.

Lucky by Alice Sebold completed 10/12/06... Another one that my coworkers gave me. I read her other book, The Lovely Bones a couple years ago. This book was very sad, but at the same time, I was glad she continued to pursue it and got to put her attacker behind bars. It definitely opened my eyes to the fact that this could happen to anyone at any time, and not enough people speak out about it--or at least didn't back then.

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson completed 12/26/06... Wow, did it really take me over two months to finish one book? That is sad. At any rate, I think this book is just a tad over my intellectual threshold. I didn't even notice that the characters had the same first initial through each incarnation--that is how little I understood this book. It is interesting, though I would definitely need a reread as well as perhaps some history books about religion and geography or something.

Marley & Me *Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan completed 12/28/06... This one went pretty quickly--I mostly read it on the way back from Minerva after Christmas. Definitely a cute book--makes me think maybe a small dog is the right kind for me! It kind of made me want to live in Florida, though... Scarlet is a doll compared to this dog, though there is no shortage of stories for that pup. Dogs are great.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The End by Lemony Snicket completed 1/14/07... Is there going to be more to this? Maybe I am missing something, since I read the other books a long time ago and things like VFD and the sugar bowl were explained somewhere along the way... However, the book did state that more questions come from answers, so not a lot of questions were answered.

Children on Men by P.D. James completed 2/3/07... Apparently the book is quite different than the movie. Well, it was still the premise of an infertile world that got my attention, and that was one thing that actually came from the book, besides the names of the main characters. It was a very interesting read--it does make you wonder what would happen if the species had no hope of continuing on. We are just a speck in the timeline of the universe, and our time to rule will come to an end eventually. I just hope that it won't happen anytime soon, but such a depressing prospect would likely sink me into the same apathy that Theo was in at the beginning of the novel. The part with the wild Omegas was freaky, but then again, so are all the old, despondent people and empty towns.

The Black Sun by James Twining completed 2/7/07... Eh, kind of a standard thriller along the lines of Dan Brown. Educational, lots of technology, etc. It was decent and was about a very interesting time period. But apparently it's a sequel to another one of his books, so I have a feeling I only got a truncated version of the history of Tom Kirk.

54 by Wu Ming completed 3/15/07... I have had this book from the library forever. I finally finished it by reading in spurts. It was not too bad, but I just don't know enough about history, I suppose. Or the patience to read multiple story lines.

Next by Michael Crichton completed 4/1/07... Not the best Michael Crichton book I have read, but it raised lots of questions, as always. While the climax did not seem as implausible as previous books of his I have read (Timeline was ridiculous), but it still had its fair share of impossible coincidence.

True Evil by Greg Iles completed 4/8/07... Eh, not a great book, but it was interesting in a Law & Order: Criminal Intent kind of way, since you know who the bad guys are from the beginning. It's a standard mindless book, but I didn't really like the heroine that much. Although it was slightly more realistic in the fact that she was almost running out of money while conducting her rogue investigation. But the mystery virus that gets injected up the butt was not a great plot device. Was it the same thing that killed her sister? The last part was so action packed and I read it so late at night that I'm not sure I comprehended it. Maybe I should reread the end at some point.

Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice completed 4/28/07... Not a fan of this book. Not a lot of explanation about where the curse came from, hazy good/evil personality of the character. It just wasn't very interesting to me. Maybe I am becoming more and more aware of how bad her writing can be. I mean, Blackwood Farm was just awful. This was not quite as bad, though.

Light Before Day by Christopher Rice completed 5/12/07... Not a bad book, although a bit complex. I had to think a while about the timeline and reasons for why things happened. First person stories can also tend to be cheesey at times. Beh. It was ok.

Everything's Eventual by Stephen King completed 7/19/07... I got this mainly because I thought the movie 1408 looked good, and I like to read the short stories before seeing the movies. The stories were good, but I think I am too anxious/impatient to finish short stories. Although I enjoyed some of the author's commentary about the stories, some of it was rather boring. I liked the story about the gunslinger--I may have to check that series out. The autopsy room story was not great. I liked the road virus story. Too bad I read 1408 before going to bed when I was really sleepy, so I kind of slept-read through a lot of it-I imagine the movie is pretty different (to make it movie-length), so it may be worth it to see anyway. Not that I like scary movies.

The Dip: A little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick) by Seth Godin completed 7/20/07... Seems pretty straighforward. Know what you can be the best at. Stick with it. Quit things that are useless. But don't quit often searching for the fastest, quickest way to get the goal (grocery lane mentality). I honestly don't know that I have the courage to do what this book says--but it makes good points about getting out of the complacency zone (or comfort zone) to really excel.

Then We Came To the End by Joshua Ferris completed 7/22/07... I wouldn't mind reading this again some day. I had to rush through it since it is due back at the library on Tuesday. Since I got my new job, I have a better idea of "office jobs" than I did previously, but my office job still isn't anywhere close to what this book describes. Although I can picture an environment like that, with the endless time-wasting and BS. Very outrageous situations described, but the mentality is probably similar to what people experience in the office environment--especially the chair situation! I don't think we have serial numbers at ours, though, since they are pieces of crap chairs that no one wants!

Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane completed 10/15/07... Has it really been three months since I last finished a book? I did read Guidebook for Federal Pharmacy Laws, but I don't really count that... At any rate, this movie looks really good, but I'll probably never see it, so I decided to read the book. It is a really well written book--suspenseful, chilling. But it is horrifying what can happen in this world. Even though this is a fictional book, this kind of stuff probably happens out there. And what a dilemma--what is best for the child? Where is the line drawn for justice and good intentions?

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield completed 12/19/07... This book was recommended to me by a friend. It was definitely a nice change of pace to read a mystery fiction. The story was very interesting and definitely kept me guessing. I reread it a couple times and it is so interesting to read once you know the big secret.

Don't Know Much About the Kings and Queens of England by Kenneth C Davis completed 1/5/08... This is actually a children's book. I like reading the Don't Know Much About books because they are quite informative, and when I saw that there was one about England's royal history, I was excited. It was cute, but not terribly educational to the level I was looking at. It did teach me an interesting way of remembering the fates of Henry VIII's wives. I borrowed a bunch of Don't Know Much About books and have had them for several months from the library. I'm sure I won't read them before they are due, but I'll give it a try...

Different Seasons by Stephen King completed 2/19/08... The four seasons are represented in the titles/themes of the four short stories of this collection. The first is "Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption," "Summer of Corruption: Apt Pupil," "Fall From Innocence: The Body" (upon which the movie "Stand by Me" is based), and "A Winter's Tale: The Breathing Method." It was neat reading the stories that the movies are based on, and it is also surprising that Stephen King wrote all those stories. I figured he wrote non-horror books, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink completed 3/1/08... I forget what made me get this book--I think I saw that they were making a movie out of it starring Kate Winslet. It was okay. It is actually similar in its writing style to the book I read afterward. Almost as depressing, as well.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini completed 3/10/08... I enjoyed this book. Admittedly, I know little about Afghanistan. However, I do know about yearning for a parent's acceptance and praise and the confusing thoughts about jealousy and friendship growing up. How do any of us know how we would truly act in a dangerous situation? How can one live after that decision is made? There are so many tragedies in this book-what could have been, not just for Amir, but for Afghanistan. It doesn't necessarily have a happy ending, but I'd say it ends with a good beginning, if that makes sense.

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson completed 5/16/08... Collection of short stories, including the story upon which the Will Smith movie is based. Interesting turn of events for the story--and the human race. Some of the other stories were good as well, but I realize that I just don't have the patience (?) for short stories? I just want to know how it ends! Maybe I'm like Harry Burns (of When Harry Met Sally)... It's funny that i don't feel that way about novels, though.

The Life Before Her Eyes by Laura Kasischke completed 5/22/08... I saw a trailer for this movie and it seemed interesting. The writing is inventive with the flashbacks. I guessed what was happening just before the reveal, but it was still surprising. I'm not sure I'll end up seeing the movie, but that usually happens anyway.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See completed 6/22/08... I can't remember where I heard about this book. The footbinding process is horrible. I have seen golden lilies at museums and it is almost impossible to think of all the women that went through this process. I found it odd that the names Spring Moon and Plum Blossom were in this book, like in Spring Moon. The plot was decent, but I had never heard of laotong relationships before.

Peony in Love by Lisa See completed 6/29/08... Not a big fan of this book. The lovesickness, the footbinding, the ghosts, the ghost weddings. It all seemed a bit much for me, especially with the protagonist as a ghost controlling other people. Although I've read books like that before that didn't bother me, but for some reason, that concept in this type of book seemed off.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski completed 7/17/08... Also a weird book. The concept was pretty impressive, but I don't have patience to go around and decode all the stuff that is in the book, especially when it was overdue. Maybe I'll go back and do that at some point, but I was only 1/2 way through it when it was due, so I had to kick it in overdrive to finish it. It was bizarre, certainly, and without much resolution with either storyline.

Don't Know Much about Space by Kenneth C. Davis completed 7/18/08... This was another kids book by Mr. Davis in the format of his Don't Know Much books. It had some really neat things in it--but space is always impressive.

Wins, Losses, and Lessons by Lou Holtz completed 8/28/08... I have to admit that I knew very little about Lou Holtz prior to reading this book. I would have been hard pressed to remember that he was the coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks that beat us at the Outback Bowl (twice), but I was at a wedding earlier this summer when Dr. Woods recommended the book. It is a great book--the writing is very simple (I can't tell you how many times he says "the most important" in the book), and he has a great story. I did not realize how quickly a coach can move from team to team. I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter on Woody Hayes--I would have expected nothing less. I'll be reading Jim Tressel's book soon as well, although I imagine that is more of an inspirational book than autobiography.

Everyman by Philip Roth completed ???... This was just a small book, so I finished i rather quickly. Good story to help remind everyone how fragile our human bodies are and how much valuable our health is.

Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana by Anne Rice completed 10/3/08... It probably did not help that I read the first book almost three years ago, but it's not like there will be any plot twists in this one. Just like before, it is interesting to attempt to write a novel from this perspective.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine completed 10/13/08... After Anne Hathaway hosted Saturday Night Live, I was looking stuff up about movies she has been in and decided to read this book (even though apparently it is quite different than the movie). It was very creative and fast paced. It was a nice twist on a classic fairy tail.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer completed 10/23/08... I was pretty resistant to this fad for a long time, even reading spoilers and stuff about the books, but Kate and Sarah said it was good and provided all the books for me to read. Plus, I was not in the mood anymore for nonfiction, so I figured this would be a harmless, brainless read. It is total teenybopper drama, but it is a real guilty pleasure. Bella is kind of annoying, but Edward's character is pretty sweet. The way their attraction is written sounds so powerful. Sarah told me that the author was going to write Twilight from Edward's point of view and that she isn't anymore, so that pisses me off. Grr... At any rate, this series is pretty addicting, so I'll be reading these for a while.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer completed 10/26/08... I actually took this book to a tailgate hoping I could read it at times because I am rather obsessed with this series (in a squee fangirl that I hate sort of way). I didn't actually read, though. I didn't like it as much as Twilight (not enough Edward!), but Jacob is growing on me. Have vampires and werewolves always been enemies? Isn't that what that movie Underworld is about? At any rate, I always get ticked about these people wanting to become vampires. Hypothetically speaking, I probably would want to be changed too (especially if it meant being with my true love), but it just gets annoying with the begging and stuff (like Rowan from Blood Canticle).

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer completed 10/31/08... I'm so glad that Edward is back for good. As someone who was pretty against the idea of getting married young (or married in general--I'm in no rush), I even think Bella's reluctance as slightly ridiculous. Granted, I can see the perspective of not wanting to be in the spotlight, but this is the only thing standing between the TWO things you want (steamy!!). I began to like Jacob more, even--what with his little space heater offerings. So the Volturi are still a threat, and there is the new twist that Irina may be anti-Bella and anti-werewolves. I am putting off reading the last book to prolong this a bit; I'm re-reading Twilight because I loved how mysterious Edward was. I have The Host from the library that I have to read in the next two weeks, so I have to see whether I should read that first or Breaking Dawn.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer completed 11/14?/08... I don't remember exactly when I finished this, since (as mentioned above) I was re-reading Twilight. So I must admit that the breaking headboards and bruising body sex is hot in a disturbing way. I really couldn't stand Bella, though--I couldn't imagine why she would want to keep the baby. And the name? I can't get behind that. I actually enjoyed the part written from Jacob's perspective, because then I didn't have to deal with Bella's angst. And of course Bella has to be "different" when she is turned, but I was happy she could still see Charlie and stuff. The big fight that wasn't was a bit of a letdown, but I can appreciate the need for happy endings. Ah yes, everything is perfect except for the death of a minor character. Is she writing more of these? Not sure--I wouldn't mind hearing more about the Twilight Universe. It's certainly not as rich or deep as say, LOTR or even Harry Potter, but it's a nice distraction.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer completed 11/29/08... This was my slow weaning from the world of Stephenie Meyer. I was not really into this book at first, but by the end, I was digging it. It definitely helped if I imagined that Ian looked like Ian Somerhalder (he of dreamy, useless Boone-ness. We have been watching Lost--a lot of Lost). I enjoyed the dual personality conflict of Melanie/Wanderer, although I'm not a fan of the name "Wanda." Happy endings again, although I hear a sequel may be in the works?

Blind Fall by Christopher Rice completed 12/20/08... Another Christopher Rice book... The plot was rather simple compared to the others he has written, with a decent explanation of the reason for the murder.

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson completed 3/19/09... I have read this trilogy before, but I really wanted to read it again, since we have been watching many space shows recently. This book is truly amazing. In fact, I almost use it as a reference for what we will accomplish regarding space travel. I had been trying to get into several books, but none of them really grabbed my attention again like this one. I truly hope that this type of space travel is possible one day, but I hope we would be able to resolve the political pitfalls that could come with the development of a new "colony." The idea of terraforming Mars would be a subject of great debate as well, I am sure.

The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri completed 4/14/09... My parents recommended this book of short stories to me. I really enjoyed each story, especially how each story was written through a different perspective. I think my parents liked the last story "The Third and Final Continent" the most because it shares a feeling that they experienced in coming to this country and the amazing ability to build a life here.

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield completed 5/20/09... I read this book after it was mentioned in Blind Fall. Plus, the movie 300 was pretty impressive. It was a little difficult for me to get into the book since it jumped around a bit and I had trouble keeping track of who was who, especially since I have no idea how to pronounce their names. Plus there was a lot of brutal stuff, even before it got to the Battle of Thermopylae. I liked it better toward the end when I could tell who was who and they were actually fighting an enemy instead of each other.

Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni completed 6/25/09

Wicked by Gregory Maguire completed 7/8/09 ... I picked this up to read on the plane ride to Japan. Even though the flight was 14 hours and we were on vacation for 2 weeks, I did not end up reading that much. The book was definitely different than I expected. It was rather risque--and I was not sure if perhaps I needed to have read The Wizard of Oz books first since there were a lot of references that I did not understand. To me, there did not seem to be too much action either-lots of build up and then not a lot of resolution. Then seven years pass. Strange. I'll keep reading the series though...

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire completed 8/1/09... This was a little better than Wicked. Though still rambling, there seemed to be more of a storyline than Wicked. Still, none of the characters are all that sympathetic, and you tend to want to know more about what is going on. How did Shell get to where he is? I'll keep reading the series, but probably just to see if it is going to get any better...

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman completed 8/31/09... After seeing a trailer for this movie on Netflix, I decided to give this trilogy a try. I really enjoyed the first book. There was a lot of action, philosophy, science (ish). I wonder what my daemon would be. I think Ryan wants to read it next, and I got the book that is the trilogy all in one, so unless I get back to the library and just get The Subtle Knife by itself, I probably won't get to continue for a while yet. I will just have to wait to see if Lord Asriel will ever redeem himself and how Lyra will save us all.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman completed 9/1/09... Very imaginative, if slight on details of the background of these ghastly ghouls. It is interesting though that at the same time I was reading this, I started reading The Subtle Knife, and there is the same concept of Fading in both books.

The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman completed 9/5/09... Ryan decided he would wait to read this, so I finished this and

The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman completed ?? ... I really enjoyed this trilogy.

The Tales of Beedle Bard by J.K. Rowling completed 11/15/09

Dracula by Bram Stoker completed 12/11/09

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs completed 12/25/09... Not the grand work of fiction that Dracula was, but entertaining to some degree. This was one of those friendship type books with multiple story lines for each person. There seemed to be a lot of buildup to a very quick resolution with tidy ends for many of the characters. Not much about knitting, which is fine. Oddly it did not even make me feel like knitting. Probably because I do not think I'll ever be skilled (or willing) enough to make an adult sweater. Although my mom did--and those were always rather impressive.

Dracula: The Un-dead by Dacre Stoker completed 1/2/10... I actually finished the novel part of the book a few weeks ago, but just now finished the author notes at the end by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt. I didn't really have any expectations when starting the book, but considering Dacre is a descendant of Bram Stoker, I heard it was an interesting read. The format was different, since it was not told in the forms of journals and letters. I actually thought that format in the original Dracula was quite innovative. Reading the notes at the end was interesting, as the authors wanted to remain true to Bram Stoker's original, but also wanted to capitalize on sequels and commercial appeal. I'm definitely one that has been influenced by Hollywood's take on vampires and Dracula, so Stoker's vision is strange to me. And after reading of the saintly activities and thoughts of Mina and the original characters, seeing them all fall from grace in the sequel is disappointing. Not necessarily a bad turn, but just different.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown completed 1/16/10... This being the third Dan Brown novel that I had read, I think it is safe to say that I find that the plots are formulaic. Clue, solve it. Clue solve it. Luckily, I am able to picture someone besides Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, but even still, the character himself is not complex or terribly interesting to me. This particular mystery was okay, but not earth shattering. Yes, it is interesting to view writings from different viewpoints and to see that literal interpretation has created a lot of chaos, but it seems less of the huge revelation that is expected from Dan Brown. And was I supposed to have figured out the motives behind Ma'lakh or whatever within the first 100 pages? I don't know, but I did, and I found the resolution a little too quick. I was going to hand it to Dan Brown for going "there" with Langdon toward the end, but of course that was a false alarm. Maybe next time. It is still a page turner, to be sure, and the clues are fun, but this is not the type of book that I would buy (but really, would I buy any book?).

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver completed 1/30/10... This was one of the books that Kate had from her book club. Definitely an interesting concept along the lines of that Sliding Doors movie. There are definitely times when you think that neither life is very appealing, but that is the point. You can have two lives that are "just fine." It's not always that one life has total benefit over the other or that one has a happy ending when the other doesn't. The book was pretty graphic with the f words (and actions), but without being excessive.

One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell completed 2/11/10... I guess this was fun to read since I will be in New York City, but overall, the characters were terrible. I could barely think of one that I actually liked or sympathized with. There were plenty to outright dislike, though.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris completed 2/28/10... This is the same author that wrote "And then we came to the end." The feel of the book is completely different, not a comedy. It is a sad story to see a family go through, made even worse by not being able to find a reason for the suffering. The book doesn't try to explain the condition or provide solutions, but just shows the effect that it can have.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman completed 4/4/10... Interesting. This was Kate's book from book club. She never finished it, and I am not really sure what made me want to keep reading because it was definitely a strange, grotesque (not in a gross way--like a Flannery O'Conner kind of way... is that the right thing?).

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs completed 5/2/10... I'm not sure if I need to continue this trend of finishing a series just because I started it. I wouldn't say these are grand pieces of literature, nor are the characters very thought provoking. The plot and character resolution (or lack thereof) tends to be very quick and not necessarily complete. For example, why the face, Nathan? Absolutely no conclusion to why he went back to Atlanta? Dickensian-like coincidences? Kind of ridiculous. But there is something always a little comforting about starting a new book with characters you already know. It's like coming home or something. I remember when I started the last Harry Potter book, I had such a feeling of familiarity with the characters. I guess it depends on how much you like or relate to the people in the story. In any case, this series is fine for fluff reading.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters completed 5/23/10...

Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus completed 6/1/10... Why did it take two people to write this book? As someone who makes a habit of reading series even if I didn't care for the first, I had to check this one out. I didn't remember too much from the original, but that didn't matter much because everyone is pretty much the same in this one. Same issues, worse attitudes, increased entitlement. And there wasn't much resolution to many of the issues.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson completed 6/12/10... A neighbor of mine, who is a middle school teacher, recommended these. They are a re-telling of Peter Pan. Since I have never read the original (or even seen the Disney movie), I really enjoyed these. I like the explanation of starstuff, though blaming it for gods and goddesses seems a bit of a stretch. Thoroughly entertaining, though.

Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson completed 6/25/10... The adventures of Peter continue. Things seemed pretty bleak for a while, but Peter, Molly, and Tinker Bell manage to save the day. This book also introduces George Darling. I think after I read these, I will try reading the J.M. Barrie books since I'm sure there are lots of references that I am not quite catching because I haven't read the originals.

Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson completed 7/16/10... More adventures of Peter. Interesting explanations of starstuff and such. Again, everything looked very bleak for everyone involved, but somehow, it ended up alright. I actually teared up at the end of this one. I just found/ out there is another one (and a fifth on the way), so I will definitely have to read those. I do enjoy these books--nice brain break from all the other stuff going on.

Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson completed 8/1/10

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro completed 8/21/10... Most depressing book ever.

Angel Time by Anne Rice completed 9/26/10...

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris completed 10/7/10... After having watched True Blood, I was interested to read the source material. I was turned off a bit by some crazy grammar and punctuation and that fact that Sookie is annoying (though less annoying than on True Blood). The characters seem a lot less developed than on the TV show, which is unusual in book to TV/Movie adaptations. I'll probably keep reading just for fun.

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris completed ???... Some difficulty again after seeing the TV show before reading the books, because the character Godric on the TV show was very different than in the book, in a good way. I'm not sure why I am even reading these books.

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris completed 11/7/10... The TV show is able to stretch a plot out and make it more complicated and interesting. And they can use more than just Sookie's perspective, which just happens to be pretty irritating. However, it did have a classic Eric line, "You are speaking of my future lover. Be more respectful." Funny.

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris completed 11/24/10... Amnesia Eric = sexy Eric. Though I did miss his rogue-ish charm. I realized the actual mystery in this book (why the witches were in Bon Temps) was kind of weak. I guess most of these books are just about Sookie getting beat up and what she is wearing. Eh.

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris completed 12/4/10... Again with the weak plot lines. I thought the Were succession thing was ok, but the reason for the attempts on Sookie's life, as well as the shifter sniper? Weak.

The Inheritance by Simon Tolkien completed 12/25/10... Pretty decent murder mystery.

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston completed ?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins completed 4/12/11... Kind of intense for a teen novel, but it reminded me a lot of The Long Walk by Stephen King. Dystopian future, using kids, etc. Could not put the book down and even considered buying Catching Fire at the airport to read it. But I will be patient (and cheap).

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

World War Z by Max Brooks completed 11/4/11... This book is amazing. Gave me nightmares for a while. I just love the way the story unfolds - with retrospective perspective, everything. Fantastic.

Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. More crazy action in Westeros! Though there was one section that made me depressed for a while. It was refreshing hearing other points of view, like the Onion guy and Theon, who is piece.

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James... Had high hopes for this one. It was okay - definitely in the style of Pride and Prejudice, and it was nice to imagine how wonderful Elizabeth and Darcy's lives are. Seeing through Darcy's perspective was interesting.

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger... Terrible book. I really liked The Devil Wears Prada (less impressed with Everyone Worth Knowing, but still a fun read). The wikipedia page for this book says that ew.com called it the worst book of 2008. I'm inclined to agree. Unsympathetic characters who are shallow, petty, irrational, illogical, unappreciative. The conflict resolution was nonexistent. Plot, if you could even call it a plot, was inane. Just terrible.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein... Got this recommendation from the reddit thread about books that make you cry. Wonderful book. Enzo is my hero and I am totally talking to dogs and letting them watch TV.The car goes where the eyes go.” I read this book in about 3 hours on a flight from Minneapolis to Spokane. I was in tears by the end, making it very awkward for my seat mates!

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
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