jfetting's 100 book challenge in 2022

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jfetting's 100 book challenge in 2022

des. 29, 2021, 8:08pm

Hello everyone! Riding the high of actually reading 100 books in 2021, I am back for my 13th year of 100 book challenge group participation!

About me: I'm a 40-something named Jennifer (although you can call me Jen) who works in medical communications and lives in Chicago, IL, USA. I am a Cubs fan, a dog lover, and a bleeding-heart liberal. I recently signed up to run the Chicago marathon in 2022, something I have not done for 15 years, so please send good energy in the direction of my aging joints. My reading tastes are pretty wide-ranging, but I particularly enjoy literary fiction; mysteries; police procedurals starring sad Scandinavians; nonfiction books about history, politics, and science; and essays about food and travel.

I have a history of being overly ambitious in my reading goals, so I am keeping it relatively simple this year:

1) 100 books
2) 30 books that are currently on my shelf (116 labeled TBR as of 12/29/21)
3) 6 unread Shakespeare plays
4) 6 books of poetry
5) 12 rereads
6) 12 books from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list
7) Stay up-to-date on reading other people's threads

Looking forward to the year!

des. 31, 2021, 11:05am

Hi Jen.
Well done on making 100 for 2021, and best wishes for an equally successful 2022.

Editat: des. 31, 2021, 12:03pm

Welcome! I like your goals! In fact, I think they deserve a group of their own!

des. 31, 2021, 3:17pm

>3 hemlokgang: Thanks! Although my goal #7 would be even less attainable if I tried to follow along with more than 1 group

des. 31, 2021, 4:38pm

Happy new year Jen, and here's to another year of great reading :)

des. 31, 2021, 6:03pm

Happy reading in 2022!

gen. 1, 11:05pm

I'm back, dropping a star!

gen. 3, 2:23am

Good luck with your 2022 reading.

gen. 11, 8:25pm

#1 The Diversity of Life by E.O. Wilson ***** (book off my shelf #1)

Ok, so, off to a slow start, but it was a good one. The science and technology he presents are pretty dated (I think the book was initially published in 1990s and A LOT has changed since then), but the discussion of development and speciation and clades and things is pretty good, if basic, and beautifully written. The chapters on the start of the 6th great extinction (the one we are currently in, the one we are causing) are heartbreaking, and the need to maintain biodiversity to the best of our ability is increasingly relevant. I couldn't find any of his more controversial opinions in this book, but tbh I didn't really pick it apart.

My copy is the stunningly beautiful Folio Society version that was recently released. Lots of color plates of amazing photos of the wide and fascinating array of creatures with whom we share this planet. The cover is all beetles and butterflies and ants and moths, colorful and iridescent. A spectacular book that is worth every penny.

gen. 14, 1:05pm

#2 The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry **

This book was a downer! Sad teenagers and adults in a dying Texas oil town in the 1950s try to find some joy and meaning in life. Mostly through sex! Including with a poor, helpless, blind cow. That scene pretty much ruined the book for me, not gonna lie.

gen. 20, 8:32pm

#3 The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker ***

I read this sequel to The Golem and the Jinni about 8 years, maybe, after I read the first book, so I had forgotten A LOT that the sequel assumed I would now. It also took a very long time to get going, and the couple hundred pages of the Golem and the Jinni wandering around early 20th century New York City and bickering could have been edited more harshly. Still, it was pretty entertaining and it kind of leaves me wanting it to be a trilogy (i suspect it will be).

gen. 24, 6:47pm

#4 The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green ****

A collection of essays about whatever John Green wanted to write about (sunsets, Canada geese, the plague, climate change, COVID, etc); then he give the subject of the essay a 1-5 star review (similar to what I have just done with his book). Sunsets get 5 stars (oh sorry spoiler alert but honesty, who wouldn't give sunsets 5 stars?) and Canada geese get 2 (I would give them zero stars, my dog Laika would give them ALL the stars, every single one). Overall, I enjoyed it.

gen. 24, 6:50pm

#5 Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman **** (book off my shelf #2)

A collection of poems by the US Youth Poet Laureate from last year; the collection includes her wonderful poem that she recited at Biden's inauguration. The whole collection is very good and very of the times - COVID, the social justice protest movements, the inaugural poem. I'm not used to reading poetry collections with this sort of immediacy to them. Quite worth reading.

gen. 27, 3:54pm

#6 Diet For A Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe ****

This is the 50th anniversary edition, so it has some updates but not everything is updated. The recipes look good, and certainly no matter what you prefer in terms of health and nutrition (and environmental) advice, "eat more plants" is always a good idea.

gen. 30, 11:57am

#7 State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton ****

Super entertaining political thriller in which a female US Secretary of State desperately tries to thwart a terror attack. Not Great Literature by any means, but surprisingly readable and quite a lot of fun. There is even a quick visit to Three Pines.

Would not recommend to supporters of #45, but then it is unlikely they would pick up a book written by HRC in the first place.

feb. 8, 7:40pm

#8 The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo **** (book off my shelf #3)

I have learned that I am reading the Harry Hole books out of order (I also learned that "Hole" is pronounced like "Hula"), and I"m going to need to fix that. This was great - depressed Scandinavian police officer, bizarre Scandinavian murder, plot twist after plot twist, and I did not guess whodunnit.

Editat: març 20, 12:51pm

I have fallen behind with my reviews...

#9 The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond **** (book off my shelf #4)

THIS is the book I thought I was going to read when I read all those books last year that sounded like they were about resting but were really about capitalism. Resting is good, rest in the ways that are restful to you, often this involves reading books.

#10 The 1619 Project edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones ***** (book off my shelf #5)

Honestly, I do not see what all the controversy is about. This is an excellent collection of essays that looks at US history from a different point of view than it is usually taught to US students. It is eye opening (one particularly striking item, for me, was the description of plantations as "forced labor camps" which... is exactly what they were) and complicated and difficult to read in parts. I would consider it required reading for my fellow Americans, tbh.

#11 Into the Water by Paula Hawkins ***

Easy read about a couple of murders. It was ok.

#12 The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin *****

Extraordinary collection of essays.

#13 The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis *

I didn't finish, but the struggle was so difficult that I'm counting this as "read". These stories, if you can call them that, are not up my alley and I did not like them at all.

#14 Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin ****

Another extraordinary collection of essays.

#15 No Name in the Streets by James Baldwin *****


#16 The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin ****

Baldwin reviews movies, has opinions, can be very funny.

#17 House of Spies by Daniel Silva ***** (reread #1)

Tried to find something to read on my kindle on my work trip to Rome this past week and landed on this Gabriel Allon novel. What better for a trip to Europe?

#18 Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin *****

These are all collected in one anthology, that is why I have been on a Baldwin binge.

#19 Other Essays from Collected Essays: Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work / Other Essays by James Baldwin ***** (book off my shelf #6)

The 5 stars is for the anthology as a whole, these last few essays were not my favorites. Highly recommend reading Baldwin if you want to see how very little things have changes in the past 50 years.

abr. 24, 10:39am

Slow reading this year but lots of good ones lately...

#20 Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly *****

I loved the movie and also really enjoyed the book. Women who are good at math and science are my jam.

#21 Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead ***** (book off my shelf #7)

I love how Whitehead experiments with genres. This was a fun crime novel with a not-terribly-reliable narrator.

#22 Recursion by Blake Crouch *****

Ooooohhhh this was a good book. Couldn't put it down. Someone invents a memory machine that lets people change their pasts. Obviously this gets out of hand.

#23 Back to the Well by Frances Taylor Gench *****

This year's Lenten reading, about 6 women from key stories in the Gospels. Lots of biblical scholarship, context, etc. Some uncomfortable reading but fascinating and made me look at these well known stories in a brand new way.

#24 A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende ****

She writes the same story over and over and over, really, and I enjoy it every time. To be fair, if MY godfather had been the first Socialist president of my country, and if I had had to flee my country because of a dictator like Pinochet, then I, too, would write that story over and over and over. This is another sweeping epic of life in Chile before, during, and after the coup, although it starts in Franco-era Spain.

#25 The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides **.5

This was a miss. What kind of institution hires a clearly terrible and unethical psychotherapist like this narrator? He shows up and is immediately like "all i want to do is work with this one super hot murderer patient" and no one seems to think this is weird?