Amanda4242's thread

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2015

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

Amanda4242's thread

Editat: des. 27, 2014, 1:12pm

des. 27, 2014, 4:32pm

Welcome back!

des. 27, 2014, 6:27pm

Thanks! And thank you for organizing all of this!

des. 31, 2014, 11:21pm


Happy New Year from your friend in Kuala Lumpur

gen. 1, 2015, 1:59pm

Happy New Year!

gen. 2, 2015, 1:25pm

Thank you both!

gen. 2, 2015, 1:27pm

1. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Listened to the audio version read by David Tennant and loved it.

gen. 2, 2015, 5:47pm

Oh, I wish my library had that one on audio - I really want David to read it to me!

gen. 3, 2015, 12:35am

My library only has four of the series on audio, but I liked Tennant's reading so much I'm tempted to buy the others.

gen. 3, 2015, 12:35am

2. How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell read by David Tennant

gen. 3, 2015, 7:34am

Yeah, I may have to break down and buy them, too.

gen. 4, 2015, 1:05pm

3. The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively

My first book for the British Author Challenge. Quite good.

gen. 5, 2015, 1:36am

4. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Another good one for the BAC.

Editat: gen. 28, 2015, 9:17pm

5. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Not really impressed by this one.

gen. 9, 2015, 7:46pm

Editat: gen. 12, 2015, 12:22pm

gen. 13, 2015, 6:55am

I just ordered How to Train Your Dragon for Charlie and me - I'm excited! (I also want to get the audio version for myself because, well, David Tennant...)

gen. 13, 2015, 10:32am

I'm sure you'll love it!

Editat: gen. 14, 2015, 6:24pm

gen. 17, 2015, 1:38pm

gen. 17, 2015, 4:22pm

15. Hansel and Gretel: A Toon Graphic by Neil Gaiman
illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti

Great illustrations, but the story was so generic I don't why Gaiman was given a writing credit.

gen. 18, 2015, 4:54pm

16. The Compendium of Srem by F. Paul Wilson

A decent little tale about the mysterious book from The Secret History of the World series falling into the hands of the Inquisition.

gen. 19, 2015, 1:23pm

gen. 20, 2015, 11:56am

gen. 21, 2015, 11:39am

19. How to Twist a Dragon's Tale by Cressida Cowell read by David Tennant

Editat: gen. 23, 2015, 1:23pm

Editat: gen. 24, 2015, 1:14pm

21. The Thrilling Adventure Hour by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker

Wonderful graphic novel of one of my favorite podcasts.

gen. 25, 2015, 12:44pm

22. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

Thematically almost identical to The Remains of the Day, but still a unique and brilliant work.

gen. 26, 2015, 4:42am

Amanda thanks for your strong support of the B.A.C. this month. Five books already done. May be in line for a prize!

gen. 26, 2015, 12:20pm

Thanks! It was hardly a difficult task since the authors are so good.

gen. 26, 2015, 12:31pm

23. Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

I'm generally not a fan of epistolary novels, but this one, written as a series of recommendation letters from a professor, was very good. The increasingly eccentric style of the letters--and the short length--made this a fun read.

I received a copy from Netgalley and it's still available as a "Read Now" book if anyone is interested in it.

gen. 26, 2015, 5:52pm

>23 amanda4242: - I have downloaded a copy of the Schumacher book, and I am looking forward to reading it. Glad to see it was a fun read for you.

gen. 27, 2015, 12:10pm

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

gen. 27, 2015, 12:10pm

24. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


Editat: gen. 28, 2015, 12:14pm

gen. 28, 2015, 9:14pm

gen. 30, 2015, 1:18pm

gen. 31, 2015, 12:41pm

28. When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

I think this one was my favorite Ishiguro.

feb. 2, 2015, 12:25pm

feb. 3, 2015, 12:21pm

Editat: feb. 14, 2015, 1:19pm

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feb. 21, 2015, 8:35pm

feb. 22, 2015, 6:50pm

feb. 24, 2015, 7:50pm

Editat: feb. 28, 2015, 3:51pm

Editat: març 1, 2015, 12:24pm

39. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

It was okay, but I thought it was a little longer than it needed to be.

març 2, 2015, 1:21pm

40. King Rat by China Miéville

Never really clicked for me.

març 4, 2015, 12:38pm

41. Bowie: The Biography by Wendy Leigh

Glosses over his career in favor of listing his sexual partners. Not recommended.

març 8, 2015, 1:05am

>55 amanda4242: Yeah I am finding the same problem. One side effect I wasn't expecting is that I have been having some really freaky dreams whilst reading it. Guess Sci-fi/fantasy is still not my bag.

Have a lovely weekend, Amanda.

març 15, 2015, 9:59pm

>57 PaulCranswick: SF/fantasy is my bag, but I don't think Miéville will ever be. I think Neil Gaiman and Kate Griffin have done much the same thing as he, but much better.

març 15, 2015, 10:00pm

42. It' Not Mean If It's True by Michael Thomas Ford

Read to make some much needed shelf space. Pretty good but doesn't need to be in my permanent collection.

març 22, 2015, 4:30pm

43. A Country Doctor's Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov

The first Bulgakov I've read but definitely not the last.

abr. 1, 2015, 1:52pm

44. How to Ride a Dragon's Storm by Cressida Cowell, read by David Tennant.

45. The Doll: The Lost Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier

3 or 4 really good stories, but the rest were blah.

abr. 3, 2015, 2:22pm

46. How to Break a Dragon's Heart by Cressida Cowell, read by David Tennant

abr. 3, 2015, 11:53pm

Happy Easter Amanda.

abr. 5, 2015, 10:13pm

Happy Easter to you, too!

Editat: abr. 11, 2015, 1:20pm

47. Tortured Souls: The Legend of Primordium by Clive Barker

An okay novella featuring Barker's usual blend of sex, death, and body modification.

Editat: des. 31, 2015, 1:54am

48. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov trans. by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor

Amazing. A classic that truly lives up to its reputation.

abr. 26, 2015, 9:14pm

49. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Damn near perfection.

maig 11, 2015, 2:13pm

50. Time's Arrow by Martin Amis

I'm glad I read it, but it will never be a favorite.

51. The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter


maig 29, 2015, 11:04pm

52. At Large and at Small by Anne Fadiman

Quite good, but I preferred the delightful Ex-Libris.

Editat: maig 31, 2015, 1:11pm

53. The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker

I liked it, but it felt like half of the book was missing.

juny 1, 2015, 12:27pm

54. The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble

The frequent references to 21st century things in a story set in the 18th just bugged the crap out of me.

juny 8, 2015, 6:26pm

55. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Finally got around to reading it and was surprised to find that I enjoyed it. I'm not going to become an obsessive Outlander fan, but I liked it enough to put the second book in my tbr stack.

56. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The only thing it has going for it is the amazing language; I probably would have loved an audio version.

juny 11, 2015, 2:18pm

Editat: juny 12, 2015, 2:59am

juny 16, 2015, 2:32pm

juny 18, 2015, 2:05pm

64. City of Glass by Paul Auster

Good idea for a meta-fictional novel, but I don't think it really worked.

Editat: juny 18, 2015, 8:43pm

65. Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues by Erik Burnham

Made me wish for a sequel to the movie.

juny 20, 2015, 2:33am

juny 21, 2015, 2:03am

juny 23, 2015, 1:29pm

juny 27, 2015, 2:37pm

72. The Locked Room by Paul Auster

I kind of liked the New York Trilogy, but I don't think it ever quite lived up to its promise.

jul. 1, 2015, 7:32pm

76. The Gallery of Regrettable Food: Highlights from Classic American Recipe Books by James Lileks

As I was giggling my way through this book, I was struck by the unpleasant feeling that I had seen some of the cookbooks before. A quick look at my mother's collection of cookbooks confirmed that some of these noxious titles were in my own home! My entire childhood was spent in dangerous proximity to the recipes of these terrifying dishes!

jul. 2, 2015, 12:11pm

Congrats on hitting 75! And that last one looks like a really funny book... :)

jul. 4, 2015, 3:42pm


jul. 4, 2015, 3:44pm

77. Poems by B. S. Johnson

Pretty straightforward (for poetry), but very evocative.

78. Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

jul. 5, 2015, 2:11pm

jul. 7, 2015, 2:20am

Editat: jul. 11, 2015, 6:01pm

81. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Pretty good.

jul. 12, 2015, 2:04pm

82. I Was a Rat by Philip Pullman

A cool riff on Cinderella that tells the story of one of the rats that was turned into a boy to serve her. Has some sharp things to say about the state of modern journalism and the gullibility of people.

Editat: ag. 19, 2015, 5:14pm

83. Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

Someone should do the author a favor and pry the exclamation point key from his keyboard--I swear there was at least one exclamation on every page.

Editat: jul. 14, 2015, 2:19am

Editat: jul. 14, 2015, 2:27pm

86. Working for Bigfoot by Jim Butcher

It was fun to revisit Harry Dresden's world without all of the angst of the last few novels.

jul. 14, 2015, 5:00pm

87. House Mother Normal by B. S. Johnson

An uncomfortable read.

jul. 16, 2015, 2:20am

jul. 16, 2015, 3:07pm

Editat: jul. 17, 2015, 1:51am

Editat: jul. 17, 2015, 7:00pm

jul. 31, 2015, 5:25pm

95. Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf

Another cure for insomnia.

Editat: ag. 7, 2015, 12:50am

97. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Would have been better without the boring "romance" between Elena and Clay.

ag. 7, 2015, 1:20pm

98. Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin

Not my favorite Earthsea book.

ag. 7, 2015, 5:05pm

Editat: feb. 21, 7:01pm

100. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I just reread this for the first time since high school and I wasn't any more impressed with it this time than I was at fifteen. I don't think it's bad, just highly overrated.

ag. 10, 2015, 2:30am

101. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

I respected this book far more than I thought I would. It highlights the ugly things that I always felt were lurking in To Kill a Mockingbird, but doesn't give any easy answers; in fact, it doesn't really provide any answers.

I think a lot of the hostility towards it comes from people being forced into Jean Louise's world when they want to stay in Scout's.

ag. 11, 2015, 2:59pm

ag. 12, 2015, 7:23am

Oh, I *loved* Roll of Thunder when I read it in grade school!

ag. 13, 2015, 2:41am

I somehow missed reading it growing up, but I'm so glad I decided to pick it up.

Editat: ag. 13, 2015, 2:43am

103. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Another fine book from Orwell.

ag. 13, 2015, 7:00am

>119 amanda4242: Another one I enjoyed lots! It was assigned reading for a course in college for me.

Editat: ag. 14, 2015, 1:04am

Oddly, I was never assigned any of Orwell's books...this probably says something about the quality of the schools I've attended.

ag. 14, 2015, 1:07am

104. Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

If this hadn't been so short, I probably would have given up after 50 pages. I'm glad I stuck with it since the last half is much better than the first.

Editat: ag. 17, 2015, 2:43am

106. The Bell by Iris Murdoch

A decent novella buried under an extra 200 pages. Very few characters were well developed and I more than once caught the whiff of soap opera during some of the scenes.

Editat: ag. 19, 2015, 5:15pm

107. The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore read by Euan Morton

Something to cheer me up after my last couple of reads.

ag. 18, 2015, 7:02am

>125 amanda4242: Oooh, I just finished that one, too! Love Moore so much.

ag. 18, 2015, 3:14pm

He's one of my favorites!

Editat: ag. 21, 2015, 3:28pm

Editat: ag. 22, 2015, 3:05am

109. Killing Pretty by Richard Kadrey

Good, but I think Kadrey should read the previous books in the series to brush up on the fine details of his universe.

Editat: ag. 22, 2015, 9:52pm

ag. 24, 2015, 4:09am

111. S. by Doug Dorst

Editat: ag. 25, 2015, 2:19am

ag. 26, 2015, 2:28am

113. Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson

A charming little read. Reminded me a bit of the wonderful Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

Editat: ag. 27, 2015, 2:42am

114. The Quiet American by Graham Greene

Damn, that was good. Depressing as hell, but good.

ag. 27, 2015, 4:42am

Amanda, as I am finally getting up to speed I wanted to drop by and say a big, big thank you for helping me with the BAC this month. I must say I have been impressed by the number of reads you have contributed to the challenge this year and especially pleased that one of my absolute favourite Greene books seems to have hit the spot. xx

ag. 27, 2015, 2:54pm

Thank you, Paul. I'm glad I could help, especially since you've done so much for us.

Editat: ag. 28, 2015, 2:10am

Editat: ag. 30, 2015, 2:23am

set. 1, 2015, 3:06am

119. Ingo by Helen Dunmore

I liked it, but not enough to bother with the rest of the series.

Editat: des. 24, 2015, 1:47am

120. Uncle Scrooge: Pure Viewing Satisfaction by Jonathan Gray

I requested Uncle Scrooge: Pure Viewing Satisfaction from NetGalley because I have fond memories of watching DuckTales as a child. Reading this collection of adventures of Uncle Scrooge, Donald, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie battling the Beagle Boys, Pirates, and the fiendish Flintheart Glomgold brought back happy memories of my childhood.

While Uncle Scrooge: Pure Viewing Satisfaction will never make it onto any top 10 must-read graphic novels list, it’s sure to bring a nostalgic smile to the lips of all of its readers.

Editat: set. 3, 2015, 2:47am

121. Shame by Salman Rushdie


Editat: set. 3, 2015, 6:09pm

122. ODY-C Volume 1 by Matt Fraction

Great art. Crap story.

set. 5, 2015, 12:35am

set. 5, 2015, 9:18am

>144 amanda4242: I love Bellairs! Charlie has a full set of his books waiting for him on his shelves...

set. 6, 2015, 12:38am

>145 scaifea: I just discovered Bellairs a couple of days ago and while I was looking for books for the Halloween thread. Now that I've read him, I regret not making him part of the "official" list.

Editat: set. 6, 2015, 12:39am

Editat: set. 7, 2015, 2:25am

125. The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May by Mark Z. Danielewski

Ugh. An unpleasant collection of stereotypes masquerading as characters doing very little worth mentioning. I'll grant Danielewski the benefit of the doubt and say that he might just have been setting-up things for the other 20-odd books in the series, but it seems like he is saying, to quote one of the few decent lines in the book, "I've said what matters...but all that matters he had shouted in an unintelligible way."

set. 9, 2015, 12:44am

126. Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson

Amazing! I had only read The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and (of course) "The Lottery" before picking up this volume, so I was happily surprised to find that her prodigious talent carried over into other genres. I will definitely be reading more of her work.

Editat: set. 11, 2015, 5:54pm

129. Poems and Songs of Love by Jiri Mordechai Langer, translated by Elana Wolff and Menachem Wolff

Editat: set. 12, 2015, 12:42am

130. Operation: S.I.N.: Agent Carter by Kathryn Immonen

Read because I'm anxious for the next season of Agent Carter.

set. 12, 2015, 3:29pm

Editat: set. 13, 2015, 12:48am

132. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

Really, really good.

set. 13, 2015, 9:59am

>155 amanda4242: Oh, I love that series so much.

set. 14, 2015, 12:53am

>156 scaifea: I missed a lot of the YA classics growing up--mostly because I started reading adult fiction at about 11--so this was my first foray into Prydain and was so pleased to find that it was an intelligent, lively tale. I've already started in on The Black Cauldron and am enjoying it just as much.

set. 14, 2015, 1:01am

133. The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson

I read this one mostly because it was one of the two Jackson titles my local library had available as an e-book and I had to read more of her work immediately after finishing Let Me Tell You. This was written clearly written for a middle school audience, but she did an excellent job at presenting the subject in an engaging way. It is by no means an in depth examination of the topic, but Jackson gave a good, if brief, overview of some of the social, economic, and political factors that went into adding fuel to the hysteria.

Editat: set. 15, 2015, 2:03am

134. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I found the characters flat and the story not very compelling.

set. 17, 2015, 3:10am

136. Sanctuary by Edith Wharton

Too heavy on the moralizing for my taste.

Editat: set. 18, 2015, 2:09am

137. Skin by Kathe Koja

Was probably considered avant-garde when it first came out, but is now quite dated.

set. 18, 2015, 3:35pm

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140. Mr. Wakefield's Crusade by Bernice Rubens

I was mostly indifferent to this one until the neat little twist at the end. I'm usually not one for twist endings, but Rubens worked out one that fit well with, and even enhanced, the story.

Editat: set. 21, 2015, 1:01am

141. Small Island by Andrea Levy

I started reading Small Island this morning and the next thing I knew I was being called in for dinner! The four main characters were complex and interesting and I found myself empathizing with them--even Bernard, the least likable of the lot. The ending didn't quite ring true for me, but it was still an amazing read.

set. 22, 2015, 12:44am

set. 23, 2015, 12:52am

143. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie

Not quite as good as Haroun, but still fun.

Editat: set. 23, 2015, 3:01pm

144. Spike: Into the Light by James Marsters

Set before season 7 of Buffy, Into the Light is a brief interlude covering what Spike was up to before returning to Sunnydale. Unfortunately, what he was doing wasn't all that interesting. There was a major continuity error within the first few pages, with Spike beating up a couple of humans--an impossibility since he would have still had the chip in his head and The First hadn't started controlling him yet. Still, it was fun to see Spike again and the art was really good.

set. 24, 2015, 3:23pm

146. False Dawn by Edith Wharton

Much better than the last Wharton novella I read.

Editat: set. 25, 2015, 12:49am

147. The Old Maid by Edith Wharton


set. 25, 2015, 1:39pm

set. 26, 2015, 2:11pm

Editat: set. 27, 2015, 3:57pm

set. 28, 2015, 12:13am

set. 29, 2015, 1:26pm

152. Tongue by Kyung-Ran Jo

Reminded me of the TV series Hannibal.

Editat: oct. 13, 2015, 3:13am

153. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

I started my Halloween reading a little early with Yoko Ogawa's Revenge. The tales weave in and out of each other like a snarl of hopelessly tangled strings, each one adding a new layer to the ones that preceded it.

Despite it being tagged repeatedly as "horror", I would say that the stories were more unsettling than horrific. I was reminded a bit of episodes of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits: strange things were happening, but I would describe them as macabre rather than terrifying. More like viewing an ossuary than a murder scene.

Editat: oct. 13, 2015, 3:10am

154. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock

I read Nightmare Abbey because it came up as a recommendation for people who liked Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, a novel I read and loved earlier this year. While the two novels do have similarities, I found Nightmare Abbey to be much more like Candide in its skewering of the Romantic movement.

This one will probably be best appreciated by people who are pretty familiar with the Romantics, as Peacock makes many references to a number of Romantic works and based most of his characters on some of the leading names of the movement, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lord Byron. Although knowing all of the allusions aren't necessary for enjoying the book, which has some great passages, the Wikipedia page can help with some of the more esoteric passages.

While Nightmare Abbey wasn't the book I was expecting it to be, I did enjoy the book that it is. It will never be one of my all-time favorites, but its wit, and short length, will probably have me rereading it in the future.

oct. 2, 2015, 7:46pm

Editat: oct. 13, 2015, 3:12am

156. The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

This is the third or fourth time I've read The Hellbound Heart and I continue to be impressed that Barker managed to pack so much into such a slim volume. Despite the iconic status of the Cenobites, who have a grand entrance at the beginning of the book and only brief appearances later, the true monsters of the book are Frank and Julia. Their amorality and obsessive pursuits of their desires make them more dangerous and more chilling than the people with the body modifications.

The Hellbound Heart does have a few deficiencies: Kirsty and Rory are barely more than sketches compared to the wonderfully realized Frank and Julia, and the role of the Cenobite called the Engineer is never explained. Despite these problems, I highly recommend checking this one out.

Editat: oct. 7, 2015, 12:57am

160. Amphigorey by Edward Gorey

I love Gorey.

oct. 8, 2015, 6:09am

Congratulations Amanda for whizzing by the double 75.

I am sure that the prize (if indeed there will be one) for reading the most BAC related titles this year is within your grasp. Thank you so much for so heartily embracing the challenge. xx

oct. 8, 2015, 4:51pm

Thank you! I've had a lot of fun this year with the BAC...dare I hope there will be another one next year?

Editat: oct. 8, 2015, 5:07pm

161. Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore

Dull and vacuous characters with a plot that was lifted out of a soap opera. Yuck!!

oct. 9, 2015, 1:25am

162. The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

Much better than my last read.

Editat: oct. 13, 2015, 3:08am

163. There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Take equal parts Edgar Allan Poe and The Brothers Grimm, throw in a good helping of classic urban legends, and add a light dusting of the bleakness of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and you'll come up with something close to Ludmilla Petrushevskaya's There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour's Baby.

The book is divided into four sections: "Songs of the Eastern Slavs", "Allegories", "Requims", and "Fairy Tales". I didn't much care for the stories in the first section, which seemed kind of abrupt and unfinished to me, but the stories of the remaining three sections were nearly all very good. Some of the standouts were "The New Robinson Crusoes", about a family trying to survive in the country, "The Miracle", wherein a mother considers how far she is willing to go to help her son, "The Father", concerning a man who finds his family in a most peculiar fashion, and "The Old Monk's Testament", a tale about a monk that I’m not quite sure how to summarize.

This is a strange collection that I won't read cover-to-cover again, but I wouldn't mind revisiting some of the stories in the future.

oct. 11, 2015, 12:41am

164. Twilight Sleep by Edith Wharton

Wharton's a dab hand with the Gilded Age, but this take on the Jazz Age comes off as a pale imitation of Evelyn Waugh.

oct. 12, 2015, 2:02am

Editat: oct. 25, 2015, 1:55am

166. In the Miso Soup by Ryū Murakami

It's taken me several days to sort out what I want to say about In the Miso Soup. From the description, tags, and cover, I was half expecting graphic splatterpunk, but was instead treated to a suspenseful, philosophical, and sometimes poignant novel...that happened to have a moderately long scene of graphic violence in the middle.

This one is my favorite Halloween read so far and will possibly make it into my top 10 favorite reads of the year.

Editat: oct. 15, 2015, 12:36am

168. Sido by Colette

Editat: oct. 16, 2015, 1:12am

169. Gigi by Colette

oct. 16, 2015, 9:23pm

Colette, the author of Gigi. Reportedly nomintaed for the Nobel prize in the late 1940s she survived the occupation and managed to keep her Jewish husband alive and with her in Paris throughout. This despite his being arrested once by the Gestapo. She also played quite a significant role in the cinema as she was the one who personally discovered the then unknown Audrey Hepburn and cast her for the role of Gigi, albeit for the stage version of the thing.

Have a lovely weekend Amanda.

oct. 17, 2015, 12:49am

Her life sounds like a novel, doesn't it? And what a beauty she was!

Editat: oct. 17, 2015, 12:59am

Editat: oct. 18, 2015, 12:59am

Editat: oct. 19, 2015, 2:13am

172. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

The Icarus Girl is about a lonely, introverted girl named Jess, who is the daughter of a Nigerian mother and English father. She never quite fits in with the kids at school and it isn't until a trip to visit family in Nigeria that she makes a friend, the mysterious TillyTilly. TillyTilly shows up soon after Jess returns to England and it quickly becomes apparent that Jess is the only one who can see her. She plays mean tricks, breaks things, and graduates to doing serious harm to people around Jess.

This is one of those novels that disappoints because, despite some very good writing and an interesting story, it just never quite does what it sets out to do. The description says that it it draws from Nigerian mythology, but Oyeyemi makes few references to the myth and those that are there are pretty vague, so it just seems like a generic "evil imaginary friend" tale. All of the pieces of the story just never quite fits together in a satisfactory way.

Despite its defects, there are good points about The Icarus Girl. Oyeyemi has a beautiful style and her descriptions of the time spent with the extended family are wonderful. Also, she perfectly captures the playground rituals of a school: the clapping games, the scuffles, and the harassment of the loners by the popular.

While I won't be seeking out a copy of The Icarus Girl for my personal library, it was good enough to make me give the author another chance to impress me.

oct. 19, 2015, 6:15am

>200 amanda4242: I liked and would recommend her Mr Fox, although the style meant that it wasn't my usual fare.

oct. 20, 2015, 1:05am

>201 charl08: I actually read Mr. Fox a couple of weeks ago but didn't realize that Icarus Girl was by the same author. I thought Mr. Fox was kind of weird and it really wasn't my cup of tea, but the writing was solid.

Editat: oct. 25, 2015, 1:54am

173. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

174. Last Days by Brian Evenson

Wow...where to start? Probably by saying that there will be some spoilers, so caveat lector.

Last Days begins with Kline, a former undercover cop who recently had his hand cut off by a criminal, being engaged by a cult to investigate a crime that has been committed at their compound. The Brotherhood of Mutilation takes the biblical passage " if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off" literally and believe that the more amputations one has, the closer they are to God. They have chosen Kline for the job specifically because of his recent amputation. As Kline investigates, he discovers that the crime he has been tasked with solving hasn't been committed and that he is meant to be the fall guy.

After fighting his way out of the compound, Kline falls in with the Pauls, a splinter group of the Brotherhood who are all called Paul and think it's only necessary to amputate one's right hand to demonstrate devotion. The leader of the Pauls convinces Kline that he will only be safe from the Brotherhood if he kills them first, thus setting the stage for a finale that makes a Tarantino film look tame in comparison.

Evenson has created a strange, twisted, and utterly compelling story. Last Days is in many ways a critique of religions taken to extremes, and the lean prose gives the book a realistic feel that makes it all the more chilling. Ultimately, this is one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read and it will continue to haunt--in a not unwelcome way--for a long time.

Editat: oct. 30, 2015, 2:42pm

175. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I've finally finished Cloud Atlas and I'm not quite sure how a feel about it as a whole. I really like five of the narratives and think that "An Orison of Somni-451" is one of the finest dystopian stories I have ever read, but the stories never really clicked for me as part of one over-arching story.

The sixth narrative, "Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After", I hate, hate, hate! It took me longer to read that one section that it did all the others combined!

oct. 31, 2015, 2:22pm

176. Slade House by David Mitchell

Well written but unoriginal.

Editat: nov. 1, 2015, 6:05pm

177. The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark

Not sure why Spark thought it was a good idea to replay Watergate in a convent.

Editat: nov. 2, 2015, 12:54am

178. Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

Not as good as the podcast, but still weird and wonderful.

nov. 2, 2015, 1:29am

>206 amanda4242: Hahaha Amanda. I actually enjoyed it but it is obviously not as weighty as some of her best stuff.

nov. 2, 2015, 12:31pm

179. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

I really enjoyed this one even though the ending kind of ripped my heart out.

Editat: nov. 4, 2015, 12:46am

180. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

I don't see what all the hype is about.

Editat: nov. 5, 2015, 1:14am

181. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini and Rebecca Paley

I usually avoid celebrity memoirs--especially by celebrities I've barely heard of--but after I read Going Clear last year I wanted to read an insider's account of Scientology; Troublemaker's short enough to knock out in an afternoon, so I decided to give it a whirl. Remini's story mirrors those Wright recounted in his book of people who eventually left the church and spoke out against it: a person is introduced to Scientology; they start spending large sums of money to advance in the church; their social circle starts to be comprised almost entirely of other Scientologists; when they fail at anything they are told it's their fault, but any successes are thanks to the church; dissent is dealt with by psychological and physical abuse, which the person is conditioned to believe they deserve; and if they leave the church, they suffer from all their former friends shunning them, bad-mouthing them, and harassing them.

After many years of privately questioning the practices of Scientology, Remini's split from the church came when she demanded that the leaders of the church be held to the same standards that ordinary members were held to. Obviously this did not go over well with the leaders. She was lucky that most of her family decided to leave the church with her, something that doesn't always happen.

Although I don't really know Remini's work as an actress, I found that I respect her as a human being after reading this book. She makes no claims to perfection or innocence--she actually starts with a list of terrible things she has done in her life--but she was willing to publicly call powerful people out on their behavior despite the harassment she will no doubt face for it.

All in all, a quality read.

nov. 10, 2015, 2:56pm

182. Solo by William Boyd

It wasn't bad, but it left me with the same vague feeling of disappointment that all non-Fleming Bond novels do.

Editat: nov. 12, 2015, 12:44am

183. It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright

Not rigorous scholarship, but so much fun! I loved Wright's offbeat commentary.

184. Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark

Unremittingly dull. I fear Spark and I are not meant to be together.

nov. 13, 2015, 1:45am

Editat: nov. 16, 2015, 1:10am

Editat: nov. 25, 2015, 5:09pm

nov. 28, 2015, 1:58pm

189. Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green

Not brilliant, but good enough to make me order the next book from the library.

190. The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

Better than the other three of hers that I've read.

nov. 30, 2015, 7:49pm

191. The Ballad of Beta-2 by Samuel R. Delany

The ending was too abrupt and it could have been fleshed-out a bit more in some places, but I really enjoyed this one.

Editat: des. 4, 2015, 1:43am

192. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

Kind of uneven, but I liked it.

Editat: des. 6, 2015, 12:55am

193. More Fool Me by Stephen Fry

The first part was much more scattered than I remember the first two volumes of his memoirs being. The last 40% or so was just diary entries from a few months in 1993, which gave you an idea of what he was doing with his life; the endless repetition of the work/club/coke/event cycle made for tedious reading. Not awful--and I may try it again on audio at some point--but I was hoping for much more.

Editat: des. 11, 2015, 1:41am

194. The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel

I liked her style but I didn't like the book; it was kind of like listening to someone who speaks well but has absolutely nothing to say worth listening to.

Editat: des. 12, 2015, 2:00am

195. Three Heralds of the Storm by Storm Constantine

An so-so collection of short stories. The first, "Such a Nice Girl," was the best of the lot. In it a neighbor of a murdered girl realizes she didn't know her neighbor nearly as well as she thought she did. The ending could have used a little more detail, but otherwise it was a pretty good story.

"Last Come Assimilation" is one of those cyberpunk-lite stories that were popular in the 90s. Not a bad story, but it didn't age very well.

The last story, "How Enlightenment Came to the Tower,"...I don't know what was going on there. Trying for some kind of profound fairy tale? One of those stories where you wish someone had told the writer that what they think they are writing isn't coming through on the page.

A decent time waster that almost got a star deducted for having a terrible pun for a title.

des. 14, 2015, 2:52am

196. Lucifer Unemployed by Aleksander Wat

The title story was very good but the rest of it wasn't to my taste.

Editat: des. 20, 2015, 1:03am

197. Sargasso of Space by Andre Norton

A good old-fashioned space adventure. Very fun.

Editat: des. 23, 2015, 1:07am

198. The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman

Everything I wanted it to be and more.

des. 24, 2015, 1:43am

199. Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

A fun, quick read. Turns out when you strip down most of the classics to text length stories, the characters sound a lot like whiny teenagers.

des. 24, 2015, 12:46pm

Have a lovely holiday, Amanda

des. 25, 2015, 2:29pm

You too, Paul!

Editat: des. 29, 2015, 1:53am

200. Mike by P. G. Wodehouse

201. How to Steal a Dragon's Sword by Cressida Cowell, read by David Tennant

202. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley

Very tepid by today's standards.