Saturday, December 22, 2007

Booklist for the 2007 Fiction Lovers Challenge

Fiction Lovers is a online book club/message board. The challenge this year was to rid our shelves or To Be Read lists of books. We had to pick 26 books to be read by the end of 2007. Here's my list, starred items are books currently on my shelves. Books in brackets have already been read.

[The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver]
[Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors]
[The Book Thief by Markus Zusak]
[Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay]
[The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls]
[Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson]
[Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry]
[The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty]
[The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander Mccall Smith]
[One True Thing by Anna Quindlen]
[The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory]
[Peace Like a River by Leif Enger ]
[The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett]
[Pope Joan by Donna Cross]
[The Red Tent by Anita Diamont]
[The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon]
[Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See]
[Tangerine Dream by Ken Douglas and Jack Stewart]
[The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield]
[The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger]
[The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox ]
[The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides]
[A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks]
[Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen]
[Watermelon by Marion Keyes]
[Zorro by Isabel Allende]

Mission Completion!!

The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox

6/10 - Ummm... I don't think I got this book. It's about a man's relationship with an angel, and is set on a Vintyard in France during the mid 1800's. Some parts were interesting, some parts bizarre, and some parts just disturbing. There were some interesting theological plot turns that were quite thought provoking. I found the language, while elegant in parts, was overall difficult to understand. I don't think it's a bad book overall, but not one I would recommend to anyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Book of Joe by Jonathon Tropper

10/10 - You can't judge a book by it's blurb, and this book is a perfect example why. The blurb made it sound like a quirky funny light read, but there's really so much more to the story. It was also very touching and insightful. I really liked how he wrote about his high school years. It made me very nostalgic. Beautiful right to the very end. I highly recommend it. I just finished it tonight, and I've already passed it on.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Inspired Passages ~ The Book of Joe

Another revelation. I think this one requires a little more background. Joe has written a highly controversial book that portrays his home town and its inhabitants in an unflatterly light. Now he's back in town after 17 years and has reunited with one of his high school buddies who is dying of AIDS. They go out for bender and he runs into his friend's mother after dropping him off at home.

"So, you're a famous author now," she says in the same tone she might have used to say, "So, you're a convicted pedophile."
"I guess so," I say.
"Well," she says disdainfully. "You won't find me reading that trash."
"If you haven't read it, how do you know it's trash?"
"I heard about it," she declares gravely. "And believe me, hearing was plenty."
"Well," I say, placing the book back on the shelf and heading for the door, "I guess that's my cue."
I head down the stairs, now noticing the crucifix and assorted Jesus artwork that occupies every available bit of wall space. Wayne's mother follows behind me, muttering something quietly to herself. As I reach the front door, she calls my name softly. I turn to face her. "Yes?" I say.
"I'm praying for your father," she says.
"And what about your son?"
She frowns and looks heavenward. "I pray for his soul."
"He's not dead yet," I say. "I think he could use a little less praying and a little more compassion."
"He has sinned against the Lord. He's paying the price."
"And I'm sure the Bible has nothing by praise for the woman who denies her suffering child a mother's love in his final days."
She flashes me a dark look, her eyes filled with the defiant righteousness of the dogmatically pious. "When was the last time you read the bible, Joe?"
"You won't catch me reading that trash," I say. "I've heard about it, and believe me, hearing was plenty."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Good Grief by Lolly Winston

8/10 - I was really impressed by how well the author handled this topic. I think it's hard to center a book around grief, because you want things to turn out well for the person that lost a loved one, but you have to make it believable at the same time. You can't just make everything happily ever after at the end. I thought the book progressed a a perfect pace, and was entertaining. I would read more by this author.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

8/10 - My Grandpa inspired me to read this book. It is one of his favorites. I always pictured him as a cowboy of sorts, and danced to Marty Robbins in his living room many a time. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it for two reasons. One, it's a western. Two, it's a 1000 page western. The first half of the book was okay. I think it dragged a little just because there were sooooo many characters you had to get to know. The last half however went quite speedily and I enjoyed it much more. There are some really phenomenal characters in this book, my favorite for sure being Gus McCrae. Boy I just loved Gus! I also found myself wanting to speak with a drawl, and use phrases like "it was the derndest thing". I was more than a little dissappointed with the ending. You spend all this time with these characters, and then you don't even get to find out what happens with half of them, unless they're dead, which is a fair number. I could have made it through another 100 pages to find out what became of them. Mr. McMurtry? I could have used an epilogue.