Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2008 Challenges

The most boringest post ever! But I need to keep a record somewhere. :) 14 challenges in total, if I'm counting right. The Book Awards straddled 2007 and the Japanese and 1% carried over to 2009 (one book). Lots of cross-listing and lots of fun. I haven't signed up for any challenges in 2009 yet, but I have a feeling I will soon.

Go check out the lovely buttons that Bethany and Nymeth made for the Classics Challenge. Still wrestling over March or April for the start date...?

anyway...

2008 CHALLENGES

ORBIS - 9 authors from 9 different countries
Hostess: Bethany at B&b Ex Libris
Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Swiss Family Robinson - Jan Wyss
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Anne Frank Remembered - Miep Gies
The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah
The Translator - Daoud Hari

TBR - Grab 12 dusty books off the shelf and read 'em
Hostess: Mizb
Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
Emma - Jane Austen
A Map of the World - Jane Hamilton
Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Mother of Pearl - Melinda Haynes
A Rumor of War - Philip Caputo
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin
The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
Tender at the Bone - Ruth Reichl
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren

BOOK AWARDS - 12 books that won awards
Hostess: 3M
The Shipping News - Annie Proulx
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides (2007)
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
The World According Garp - John Irving (2007)
The Remains of the Day - Kazou Ishiguro
The Book Thief - Mark Zusak
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton (2007)
As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner (2007)
Snow - Orhan Pamuk (2007)
The Giver - Lois Lowry
The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood

CHUNKSTER - 4 books over 450 pages
Hostess: Dana
The Book Thief - Mark Zusak
The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood

WHATS IN A NAME
Hostess: Annie
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson (weather)
Mother of Pearl - Melinda Haynes (color)
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy (animal)
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt (name)
Salem Falls - Jodi Picoult (place)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See (plant)

ONCE UPON A TIME
Host: Carl V.
Indian Tales from Picuris Pueblo (folklore)
Retold Classic Myths (mythology)
The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett (fantasy)
Wicked - Gregory Maquire (fairy tale)
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Shakespeare (for funsies)

IN THEIR SHOES - Memoirs, Biographies, Autobiographies
Hostess: N. Vasillis
A Rumor of War
- Philip Caputo
Anne Frank Remembered - Miep Gies
Tender at the Bone - Ruth Reichl
A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

SOUTHERN READING CHALLENGE - 3 books from the south
Hostess: Maggie
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! - Fannie Flagg
Mother of Pearl - Melinda Haynes

NON-FICTION FIVE
Hostess: Joy
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
The Innocent Man - John Grisham
My Father's Paradise - Ariel Sabar
The Translator - Daoud Hari
A Rumor of War - Philip Caputo

END OF THE WORLD - apocalyptic/dystopian subjects
Hostess: Becky
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

CLASSICS - 5 classics and a "future classic"
Hostess: Me!!
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Emma - Jane Austen
My Antonia - Willa Cather
Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
The Swiss Family Robinson - Jan Wyss
Bonus: Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

SHORT STORY - Read 2 collections of stories (and a few stand-alones that I'm too lazy to post)
Hostess: Kate
Springtime on Mars - Susan Woodring
Nine Stories - JD Salinger

JAPANESE LITERATURE
Hostess: Bellezza
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami (2009)
Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata
Mistress Oriku: Stories from a Tokyo Teahouse - Matsutaro Kawaguchi

1% WELL-READ - 10 books from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Hostess: 3M
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami (2009)
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Emma - Jane Austen
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Shipping News - E. Annie Proulx

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer

Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Date Finished: Jan 25, 2009 #4
Published: 2005 Pages: 497
Rating: 4/5

Well, I certainly didn’t think that this day would come so soon. If I’m honest with myself, it was always inevitable that I was going to read Twilight, but my friend Theresa gave me the
violent
gentle push I needed. I’ve been torn on how to review this book since so many others have already done so. If you don’t know who Bella and Edward are, you truly have been living under a rock (although when I confided in my sister that I devoured the book over the weekend, she said, “what’s that?”). A rock…a very dark one. Teenaged girl falls in love with vampire and they have all the expected human/vampire problems. There--let's move on.

How to review, how to review? I thought about asking for questions that you’d like me to answer. But then I was afraid that no one would ask any questions. So, I’ve come up with my own questions. I can’t pretend to be as witty as Bookfool when she interviews herself, but here’s what I imagine you would ask if I asked you to ask me. :)

Trish, what’s the deal? Why so resistant towards Twilight and the rest of the series?
It’s funny because once upon a time I was pretty interested in the series. I had seen the books at the store and was pretty curious, especially after a friend raved about them in the same way that I rave about Harry Potter. But I waited to read them, and the longer I waited, the bigger these books got. So big that I was finally a little turned off. I tend to stay away from hysteria, but I knew it was only a matter of time before I eventually got to them. My best friend, Theresa, made me promise over Christmas break that I would at least try Twilight by the end of January. So, here we are. I couldn’t resist my very dear friend.

So now that you’ve read it, will you admit that you liked it. Even just a little bit?
Fine. I admit it. :) I read the first 40 pages or so before work and felt pretty apprehensive about it. I felt the plot was heavily contrived and soooooooo high school. But by the end of my lunch break, I had finished a fifth of the book and couldn’t wait to read more. It’s been a long time since I’ve read for hours at a time because I didn’t want to put the book down.

You’ve read a lot of negative things about the characters, especially Bella being a whining little brat. D’you agree?
Everyone thinks that Bella is incredibly obnoxious, but I didn’t mind her. Maybe because I have a 16 year old step-sister and a 12 year old brother and am used to teenaged whining? Bella is unsure of herself, a little self-conscious, she has a gorgeous and intimidating boy sweep her off her feet. Of course she’s going to be a little whiny. All the teenaged love thing kind of got on my nerves because I know what it is to be a teenager “in love,” but I tried to just read past it all.

I see you blushing a little bit…what's on your mind?
Nothing. Really--nothing!

Are you sure, Trish? Nothing at all?
Uh uh.

C’mon…
FINE. I have a huge gigantic crush on Edward. Yes, it was certainly annoying to read about his marble body and his modelish good looks and his t-shirt clinging to his muscular chest, etc etc. But what can I say? He’s totally the guy I would have gone for in high school. You know you feel the same way…! Enough about my crush…back to the book!

I know, I know, you’re not a book critic. But what did you think about the writing?
Yup, you’re right. Not a book critic. I read this book for pleasure—I didn’t think the writing was fantastic, but I wasn’t really bothered by it either. I was expecting to see the description alabaster a million times, but I think it might have come up twice. Really, my biggest complaint would be with the action sequences. I had a really difficult time visualizing what was happening, but most of the time Bella (the narrator) was passed out anyway, so I guess that’s why the descriptions are so foggy!

Now that you’ve finished the book, will you see the movie?
Nope. Not unless hubby picks it up from Blockbuster—he won’t admit it, but he loves teenage dramas (or comedies). But Robert Pattinson? Really? Have you seen those sideburns? No thanks.

Are you dying to get your hands on New Moon?
Ahhhh…the moment of truth. Yes, I’ll be reading New Moon. But not today. Maybe tomorrow. Haha! Just kidding. I think I’ll try to squeeze it in next month. If I can, great! If not, the book isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

So what confessions do you have to make about the Twilight series? Love it? Hate it? Crush on Edward???

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami

Title: Kafka on the Shore
Author: Haruki Murakami
Date Finished: Jan 22, 2009 #3
Published: 2005 Pages: 467
Rating: 4.5/5

When I first decided to read Kafka on the Shore for Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge, I didn't know anything about Murakami or the book itself. All I knew was that I had seen it around a lot and that I was intimidated by it. Funny how those prejudices form for no apparent reason. Even though I had a few fears or concerns about how the reading was going to go for the book, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this book is to read. Understanding it might be a different thing all together, but I was swept away by the writing.

In Kafka on the Shore, Murakami weaves together the story of Kafka and Nakata. Kafka is a young boy of fifteen who suddenly runs away from home and finds refuge and new friends at a library. He is fighting to prevent his father's prophesy from coming true--a Oedipal prophesy that Kafka will kill his father and sleep with his mother and sister who abandoned him when he was four. Nataka, an elderly gentleman who lost many of his intellectual capacity during a WWII incident, has the ability to speak with cats and works to find lost cats. One lost cat in particular leads him on a whirlwind scavenger hunt for something, but even Nakata doesn't know what that something is. Each chapter alternates between Kafka's and Nakata's story, and it isn't clear until well into the story how the two are connected with one another. But unbeknownst to each other, they are both searching for the answers and meaning to the same secret--a secret that will free them both.

What a book! There is so much packed into these 467 pages that I'm sitting here in front of the computer screen drawing a blank one what to write about. Where to start? It is safe to say that all my expectations of this book were fully met and every intimidation I was feeling was a waste of time. True, it took me about two weeks to complete this one (stopping for a shorter read in the middle), but Kafka is at once a poetically written book but it is also incredibly accessible:

"Not just beautiful, though--the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they're watching me. What I've done up till now, what I'm going to do--they know it all. Nothing gets past their watchful eyes. As I sit there under the shining night sky, again a violent fear takes hold of me. My heart's pounding a mile a minute, and I can barely breathe. All these millions of stars looking down on me, and I've never given them more than a passing thought before. Not just stars--how many other things haven't I noticed in the world, things I know nothing about? I suddenly feel helpless, completely powerless. And I know I'll never outrun that awful feeling" (Kafka narrating, 135).
Murakami gives us so much to think about in this book, and after finishing I still felt like there were so many pieces of the puzzle that needed to be fit together. But despite the philosophy and theory and deep thinking, this book is also a thriller. I found myself holding my breath at some passages, not knowing what was going to happen, having to keep turning the pages to discover the outcome of the latest conflict. Another element I wasn't expecting in the least, was the magical element. I just found out that this book won the World Fantasy Award a few years back, and I had no idea that I would be encountering magical rocks, strange "concepts" that disguise themselves as pop culture icons, a man who can talk to cats and cats that talk back, fish that rain from the sky--and really that's just the beginning.

So again, Wow, what a book! I would recommend this book, especially if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary and something that will make you think [a lot]. There is some sexual content in the book--and Kafka is fifteen so his hormones are raging, but I didn't find it overwhelming or tastelessly done. All in all, this is a book that will stick with me a for a while as I continue to mull everything over to try and fit those pieces together. And I'll definitely be pursuing more Murakami in the future. Maybe Wind-Up Bird Chronicles?

Others who've also read it (let me know if I missed yours!):
Tanabata; Gautami; C.B. James; Charley; Bellezza; Nymeth; Terri B.

The book concludes my 1% Well-Read Challenge and Japanese Literature Challenge. I hope to eventually do a 2008 Challenge wrap-up posts and cheat to include these. It's just one book, right?? :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bookshelf and Shakespeare Memes

I've been feeling rather scattered lately, like my head has been up in the air for some reason. Not really blogging a whole lot, not really reading a whole lot. Just whatever. So, I thought I'd share a Maggie picture and a few memes that I was tagged for a while back.


A note on the picture above. While Scott was watching TV last night, I grabbed the laptop and did a little bit of blogging. Usually Maggie will come and cuddle with me, but instead she jumped up on Scott's legs and stretched out. Scott greatly dislikes Maggie and all other cats. And he definitely doesn't like her lying on his blanket because of the cat hair. Needless to say, they never cuddle as she generally knows better. The whole thing was too funny and I can't believe she cuddled with him for as long as she did (or that he allowed it for so long!).


Valentina tagged me for Eva's bookshelf meme:

The book that’s been on your shelves the longest:
While I’ve had many of my books for years and years, the ones that I’ve had the longest are the ones that I’ve had since I was a child. They are worn, the spines are broken, pages are colored on, but I treasure them still and can’t wait until I can share them with my own kids one day. My absolute favorite is The Princess and the Unicorn. It's the story of a Princess who doesn't like her unicorn being white, so she tries to change him by painting him purple (see right). Eventually she learns to love him just as he is.













A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time, etc.):
As book lovers don’t we all have books that remind us of different things? I may not be able to remember specific plots or even character names, but you can pick up any book on my shelf and I can tell you where I was when I read it and how it made me feel as a reader. I wonder how many times Wuthering Heights will be mentioned in this post, but I really attribute a lot of my current passions to that book. It will always remind me of the day that I stopped sleeping through English class (or passing notes to friends) and started paying attention to the actual language of writing rather than just the stories. I’ve always been a reader—but that book made me realize there is more to just reading the words on the page.

A book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used bookstore, prize, etc.):
Books have always been a favorite birthday or holiday gift, I’ve certainly won my fair share of books, received ARCs from authors and publishers, found special finds at the bookstore, but the books that are the most special to me are the ones that came from my Great Aunt Fran’s library. I used to love going to her house and looking through all of her books. She had thousands and thousands of books in every nook and cranny of her house—and the most eclectic books one could imagine. Especially special to me are the editions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights that her first husband read while station in San Francisco during WWII. He died during the war, so I never met him, but these two books have a special place on my mantle.

The most recent addition to your shelves:
Watchmen because I couldn’t help it; The Glass Castle and The Woman in White for book club; and White Teeth because I need to read some Zadie Smith.

A book that’s been with you to the most places:
There isn’t a specific book that has been with me to more places than others. Because I’ve moved around so much in the past 10 years, until recently I only had certain boxes of books with me—mostly the ones that I had to read for school and recent purchases.

A bonus book that you want to talk about but doesn’t fit into the other questions:
Well, since I got in the obligatoryWuthering Heights mention I guess I’ll end it here. :P

************************************************************************
Gautami tagged me for the Shakespeare Meme:


What was your first introduction to William Shakespeare? Was it love or hate?
My first introduction was 9th grade English class—Romeo and Juliet. It wasn’t love or hate, just work. But that was the same year that the Baz Luhrmann movie came out, so that was fun.

Which Shakespeare plays have you been required to read?
Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, The Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, Midsummer Night’s Dream—seems like I’m missing some. I’ve also been required to read a handful of sonnets.

Do you think Shakespeare is important? Do you feel you are a “better” person for having read the bard?
Yes I think Shakespeare is important; No, I don’t feel like a “better” person for having read his works.

Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?
Definitely The Taming of the Shrew. There are a lot out there, though, that I haven’t read yet!

How do you feel about contemporary takes on Shakespeare? Adaptations of Shakespeare's works with a more modern feel? (For example, the new line of Manga Shakespeare graphic novels, or novels like Something Rotten, Something Wicked, Enter Three Witches, Ophelia, etc.) Do you have a favorite you'd recommend?
I don’t think I’ve really read any contemporary Shakespeare adaptations, but there are an awful lot of movies based on Shakespeare plays. I think they're a great idea to help make Shakespeare more accessible, but it defeats the purpose if people don’t realize the movies/adaptations are based on Shakespeare. I do think all of the adaptations show how timeless Shakespeare truly is.

What's your favorite movie version of a Shakespeare play?
I’m going to cheat and list a live theatre production of a Shakespeare play: Taming of the Shrew by American Conservatory Theater. Katherina and Petruchio have such great chemistry. I could watch this production over and over if it didn’t drive my husband nuts. Although, he will watch the 10 Things I Hate About You movie over and over with me. :)

I'm not going to tag anyone because these memes have been around the block a few times, but if you haven't done either, feel free to play along! What are your favorite books on your bookshelf? Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Down to a Sunless Sea - Mathias B. Freese

Title: Down to a Sunless Sea
Author: Mathias B. Freese
Date Finished: Jan 15, 2009 #2
Published: 2007 Pages: 134
Rating: 2/5

From the Back Cover:
"Down to a Sunless Sea plunges the reader into uncomfortable situations and into the minds of troubled characters. Each selection is a different reading experience--poetic, journalistic, nostalgic, wryly humorous, and even macabre. An award-winning essayist and historical novelist, Mathias B. Freese brings the weight of his twenty-five years as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist into play as he demonstrates a vivid understanding of--and compassion toward--the deviant and damaged."

I knew going into this book that the material is on the darkish side--maybe even a little depressing. What I wasn't prepared for was how uncomfortable some of the stories would make me feel. Re-reading the blurb from the back of the book made me think that this was done on purpose--but I'm not sure for what purpose. The stories range from all different topics--from friendships, parent-child relationships, Holocaust survivor, troubled student, obsessive worrier--topics that in some way or another we can find a little bit of ourselves in.

In the collection there are 15 stories, mostly very short in length. One of the difficulties that I often have with short stories is that the author does not have room to develop the characters fully, but that isn't the case with these stories. Focused more on the character than the plot (you know I love that!), even in the shortest of the stories, we get a really intimate look into the characters' thoughts and feelings. Yes, many of them are uncomfortable--ranging from suicide to inadequacy to rage to lunacy, etc etc, but they all leave the reader with something to think about and muse over.

So you're thinking: You love character-driven books, Trish. What's with the rating? First, I think it is worth mentioning that this is a work of literature. There is something very poetic about Freese's writing style. But on the other hand, the language often felt stuffy and unnecessarily complex. I feel like a philistine as Stephen Dedalus would surely call me (although I never really liked Joyce anyway), but I found myself re-reading sentences and passages to figure out exactly what Freese was trying to say. For instance:

"One of padded felt and thick, lush carpeting, Clare had a voice that made you attend. It was deeply textured, had a surface gravity to it that was entirely alluring, irresistible. It was a resilient voice; it could incorporate when pressured only to rise once more, project. It was Clare's one attribute, and not unattractive in a svelte woman so vigorous in her opinions. One attended to her because of that voice. Neither seductive nor sensuous, it had a convincing nature, very much there, as if an original flow of magma, now firm and fundamental" (129).

Yes, it is such poetic writing, but by the end of the paragraph, I am lost. I read it again and finally figure out what exactly the author is getting at. Nearly every paragraph in the book is equally rich, and given the wide cast of characters, the language began to feel stilted and unauthentic. Philistine? Maybe--especially given the fact that so many others have truly enjoyed this slim collection. I think poetry lovers, especially, would appreciate this one. Not recommended to those looking for a light read.

Kim L.; Jeane; CJ; Terri B.; Bookfool; Literary Feline; Gautami ; Bellezza; Tanabata (if I missed yours, please let me know)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Challenge Buttons - HELP!!

First, I haven't forgotten about drawing a name for the classics challenge jackpot. I'll do my very very very best to draw a name this week.

Second, I need YOUR help. I got a new computer for Christmas that I love, and I am in total love with my new Office 2007 because I'm a gigantic excel nerd. :) But, my office 2007 does not have Microsoft Publisher, which is how I made the button for the classics challenge.

I need a volunteer to make me a button for the Non-Fiction Five and/or the Classics Challenge. You can draft one up and send it to me, and if there are multiple ones then I'll maybe choose one or even include them all for choices (unless there are a million because you all love me so much). Ha! My email is on the top left-hand side of the blog under the About Me thingy.

The Non-Fiction Five will run from May-September, the same as the previous 2 years. The classics will either run March-August or April-September (I like the April start but don't like it ending the same time as NFF).

Please??? :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Walking Through Walls - Philip Smith

Title: Walking Through Walks
Author: Philip Smith
Date Finished: January 7, 09 #1
Published: 2008 Pages: 329
Rating: 4/5

Have you ever had an out of body experience? Talked to spirits? Healed someone or been healed using energy instead of medicine? I have to admit, I'm a total skeptic. I'm not a very religious or even spiritual person, so the idea of a psychic healer makes me think of Whoopie Goldberg on Ghost.

Walking Through Walls is Smith's memoir about growing up with a father who did all of the things above--he communicated with spirits, altered realities, predicted the future, cured people of awful sicknesses and diseases--he was also an interior decorator in 1950s and 60s Miami. Smith, a teenager for most of the book, struggles with his father's abilities and even his infamy as strangers constantly seek out his powers. I got the feeling that for most of his youth, Smith was never a complete believer of what his father could actually do, and at times he was even embarrassed of his father and his followers. But his father is his father and he loves and accepts him just the same.

If you're thinking this book sounds strange, you're certainly right. Intriguing? Right again. Skeptic that I am, I was mesmerized by this book from the very beginning. Smith has a wonderful ease to his writing. At the beginning the plot was rather jumpy as he moved along different tangents, but after the first chapter or so, the story calmed down (at least in style), and I found myself having a difficult time putting this one down.

The concepts presented in this book are so foreign to me but at the same time so fascinating. Although I had a difficult time swallowing all of the psychic mumbo jumbo, I love the basic idea that everything boils down to our thoughts. If our thoughts are healthy and we surround ourselves with positive energy, we will be so much healthier and in tune than if surrounded by negativity. Spiritual or not, I think it is a concept that I could certainly take way from the book.

I'd really recommend this one--even if you lean more towards the non-believer side like I do, the story is still really well-told. And, it's just plain interesting! It would make a great pick for bookclubs--great debate book. I'm starting to write in choppy sentences, so I'm gonna go eat now. A big thanks to Caitlin at FSB Associates for sending this one my way. I was a little wary at first, but I'm really glad I got my hands on this one.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 Reads

2008 YEAR IN REVIEW!!

2008 was by far my most successful year to date in terms of reading. I read a total of 73 books and completed 12 challenges (have 2 more that carry over to 2009).

Some Stats (some categories, like classics, are difficult to define and there is overlap):
Pages: 22,896 (doesn't include a handful of stand alone stories)
Fiction: 58 Drama: 2
Non-Fiction: 13
Classics: 13
Young Adult: 6
1001 list: 14
New to me: 51!!!
Male v. Female: 38:29
Decades: 12
Author nationalities: 14
From TBR: 39 (Books owned before 2008)
Personal Library Read/Unread Ratio: 295:282 out of 577 books= 51%
Average book size: 314 pages

2008 Reads (top 10 in blue)

1. Thirteen Moons - Charles Frazier
2. Atonement - Ian McEwan
3. The Giver - Lois Lowry
4. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
5. Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult
6. Tender at the Bone - Ruth Reichl
7. Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
8. Nine Stories - J.D. Salinger
9. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
10. Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula Le Guin
11. All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
12. Salem Falls - Jodi Picoult
13. The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros
14. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
15. The Other Boleyn Girl - Phillipa Gregory
16. Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
17. Retold Classic Myths
18. A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah
19. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
20. Indian Tales from Picuris Pueblo
21. A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
22. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See
23. The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
24. The Innocent Man - John Grisham
25. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
26. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
27. The Shipping News - Annie Proulx
28. Anne Frank Remembered - Miep Gies
29. Mother of Pearl - Melinda Haynes
30. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
31. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
32. A Rumor of War - Philip Caputo
33. A Midsummer Night's Dream - Shakespeare
34. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
35. Springtime on Mars - Susan Woordring
36. The Translator - Daoud Hari
37. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
38. Al Capone Does My Shirts - Gennifer Choldenko
39. Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! - Fannie Flagg
40. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
41. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
42. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
43. Far World: Water Keep - J. Scott Savage
44. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
45. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
46. My Antonia - Willa Cather
47. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
48. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
49. The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
50. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
51. Matrimony - Joshua Henkin
52. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert (re-read)
53. Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata
54. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
55. The Heretic's Daughter - Kathleen Kent
56. My Father's Paradise - Ariel Sabar
57. Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
58. Ride the Wind - Lucia St. Clair Robson
59. A Tale Out of Luck - Willie Nelson
60. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (re-read)
61. The Ice Queen - Alice Hoffman
62. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
63. A Map of the World - Jane Hamilton
64. The Swiss Family Robinson - Jan Wyss
65. The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein
66. Emma - Jane Austen
67. Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
68. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County - Tiffany Baker
69. The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman
70. Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris
71. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
72. Bringing Down the House - Ben Mezrich
73. Mistress Oriku - Matsutaro Kawaguchi


ABSOLUTE 2008 FAVORITE:
I usually can't pick a favorite, but this year--the top honor goes to...
The God of Small Things

How does this all stack up to last year? 15 more books and 4 more challenges. My goal was to not stress so much, which was great until December. And even then I didn't really stress, but I was mostly absent from the blogging world. The only goal I didn't achieve was the 60/40 Read/Unread ratio. As you can see above, I'm currently at 50%.

2009 GOALS
Again, don't stress. Reading should be fun, not a chore. And it certainly isn't a competition. I don't think I'll be able to read as many books next year, so my goals are going to be a little different:
*40 books from TBR (acquired before December 31st, 2008)
*24,000 pages
*Personal Library Read/Unread Ratio = +50%
*Continue to read outside normal boundaries
*ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY

Happy New Year Everyone!!
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