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50 Book Challenge Part Five

(991 Posts)
southeastdweller Tue 18-Apr-17 08:05:13

Welcome to the fifth thread of the 50 Book Challenge for this year.

The challenge is to read fifty books (or more!) in 2017, though reading fifty isn't mandatory. Any type of book can count, it's not too late to join, and please try to let us all know your thoughts on what you've read.

The first thread of the year is here, the second one here, the third thread here and the fourth one here.

What are you reading?

BestIsWest Tue 18-Apr-17 09:21:28

Thank you Southeast.

I downloaded a sample of The Plot Againt America by Philip Roth but have not gone any further as it seems too prescient of Trump. Scary stuff and I'm not sure I want to read any further at the moment though I might go back to it.

Tarahumara Tue 18-Apr-17 09:21:35

Thanks for the new thread southeast!

Bringing over my list:
1. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
2. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
3. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin
4. His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
5. The Iceberg by Marion Coutts
6. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
7. Reaching down the rabbit hole by Allan Ropper
8. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
9. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
10. The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett
11. The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
12. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
13. Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann
14. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
15. The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
16. The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse
17. Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford
18. Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
19. The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
20. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

No disappointing ones yet this year, but I feel that I'm still waiting for a really stand-out amazing one.

TheTurnOfTheScrew Tue 18-Apr-17 09:54:17

thanks southeast. just getting on the new thread.

Currently on book 13 (after a recount), which is The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John Le Carre. I haven't read any Le Carre before. DH assured me that despite this being the third Smiley novel, they all stand alone, and although I'm only 5 chapters in that does seem to be the case. Enjoying so far.

stilllovingmysleep Tue 18-Apr-17 09:55:28

Fortuna I really like your idea of 'one classic / must read book a month' and will go for it too, as for some reason I've been reading lots of fluff lately (didn't use to in the past). So on to my list

1) Bee Wilson, 'this is not a diet book'
2) Harry Potter & the chamber of secrets (with DC)
3) Jennifer Weiner, 'all fall down'
4) Lauren Sandler, 'one and only'
5) Rene and Goscinny, the Nicholas Book (children's book)
6) Katja Rowell, fussy eating book
7) Nicola Yoon, 'everything everything' (YA book)
8) JD Robb, 'echoes in death'
9) JD Vance, 'Hillbilly elegy'
10) Jonathan Kellerman, Heartbreak Hotel
11) Haemin Sunim, The things you can see only when you slow down
12) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie We should all be feminists
13) Sarah A. Denzil Silent Child
14) Anna Bell The bucket list to mend a broken heart
15) Elin Hilderbrand The Rumor

15 Elin Hilderbrand The Rumor Utter fluff. Not sure why I'm doing this to myself and reading such things. Anyway, not sure this is worthy a review. A beach read, set in Nantucket US, about rich people leading rich lives / having affairs / redecorating their massive homes / getting in trouble / going to private clubs / raising design hens/ buying range rovers for their kids etc. I suppose one redeeming factor involved the scrumptious descriptions of meals al fresco in Nantucket gardens eg:

"Grace served a cold roast chicken, a fresh head of butter lettuce, a crock of herbed farmer's cheese & fat, rosy radishes pulled from the garden. She cut thick slices of bread froma seeded multigrain loaf with a nice chewy crust, then she went back to the fridge & pulled out sweet butter, a jar of baby gherkins, a stick of summer sausage & some wholegrain mustard". 

There's a lot of that! And also many detailed descriptions of (expensive) gardens!

DesdemonasHandkerchief Tue 18-Apr-17 10:13:05

I'm going for a 20 or 25 book challenge.
My painfully short list so far:
1) The Year Of Living Danishly
2) The Complete David Bowie by Nicholas Pegg
3) Submarine
4) Cold Comfort Farm

And now number 5 The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying, I'm glad I got this from the library rather than buying it, as with many of these self help books there is a lot of filler and flannel, essentially her method could be boiled down to a double sided A4 pamphlet or newspaper article, but of course you couldn't charge £10.99 for that!
To save anyone else the bother of actually reading it her advice is as follows.
1) Tidy up once and thoroughly - this may take as long as 6 months but after this time maintenance should be easy.
2) When embarking on your mammoth decluttering do it by category in the following order:
Clothes, Books, Papers, Miscellaneous (I'm assuming Kitchen/bathroom stuff falls into this category), Sentimental/Keepsake items. Follow this order so you don't get bogged down in photographs and other sentimental items and so you have learned to be more ruthless by the time you get to that category.
3) When tidying by category get every scrap of it that you own, i.e. Make a huge pile of ALL your clothes from every part of the house in the middle of the floor before you decide what to keep or discard.
4) Only keep those items that in the authors vernacular 'spark joy' - a better way to describe this would be, to paraphrase William Morris, only keep those things that you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. Be very ruthless in discarding stuff, don't hang onto it 'just in case'.
5) When putting away your stuff, (which should be reduced in quantity by at least a third) everything should have a natural home and be folded/displayed neatly. (Look online at YouTube etc for the various Konmarie methods of folding clothing etc) Don't invest in complex storage solutions as that simply encourages you to keep more stuff! She advocates using shoeboxes, and other readily available boxes that should have come to light during your tidying process, as storage rather than buying storage solutions.

That's basically it, don't think I'll be following her advice to the letter as I can't face all my clothes being in one humongous pile and me than losing interest in the project as the job seems insurmountable! However I do intend to do a declutter by room .... at some point!

Now onto another library find which caught my eye due to this thread Ready Player One, so far so good with this one.

EmGee Tue 18-Apr-17 10:14:03

I like the idea of alternating classics too although I'm not sure I will have the willpower to tackle the likes of Dickens/Trollope etc. I will probably start with Steinbeck. Having LOVED East of Eden last year (def one of my top ten), I will try and get hold of The Grapes of Wrath/Of Mice and Men. I recall reading one of these at school but it was forced upon me and clearly unappreciated.

Currently on book 24 - Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Mm. Not sure how I feel about this. I'm not too keen on her writing style. Too choppy/bitty. Perhaps it's too subtle for me. I've just got to the Furies part and it's looking up though. It's not that I hate it; I just haven't got sucked in yet and don't feel anything for the characters. I just couldn't care less about them and I don't think about the book when I put it down.

RMC123 Tue 18-Apr-17 10:47:09

Moving my list over to new thread
1.My name is Lucy Barton 
2.Plainsong 
3.Summer Queen
4.The winter Crown
5.The autumn throne 
6.The Heart Goes Last 
7. Twelve years a slave
8.My Husbands wife 
9. The bolter
10.Winter ghosts 
11. The Essex Serpent  
12. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 
*13. Everyone Brave is forgiven
14.His bloody project*  
15.Forgotten voices of the First World War
16. Love letters of the Great War 
17. The trouble with goats and sheep
18. Victoria: A life
19.The tales of Beedle the Bard 
20.Dear Amy 
21.Crown of blood
22. food of love 
23.Elizabeth and Mary
24. Last Train to Memphis
25. T*he silkworm*
26. Apple Tree Yard 
27. Young and Damned and Fair 
28. the Missing 
29. Three sisters Three Queens 
30. Where my heart used to beat  
31. First of the Tudors
32. Do no harm - Henry Marsh 
33. Dark Fire
34. Dissolution
35. Sovereign
36. Revelation
37. Heartstone
38. Lamentation
39. The Keeper of Lost Things 
40. The Lesser Bohemians
41. The cuckoos calling

Just finished the Cuckoos Calling. J.k can certainly tell a tale. Really enjoyed this

whippetwoman Tue 18-Apr-17 11:00:10

Nice new thread! Much thanks for this Southeast.

I've managed:

31. The Wonder - Emma Donoghue
The story of a miraculous starving girl, apparently surviving without food by the grace of God, set in Ireland and told from the point of view of Lib, a nurse trained by Florence Nightingale herself, who comes to help determine if the events are indeed as miraculous as they appear.
I quite enjoyed this - it's a claustrophobic and at times a rather disconcerting read which builds to an intense climax. The book is forthright in its criticism of religious practices and superstition and raises some interesting issues around this subject. Ultimately, I found that, as seems to be the case with all the modern novels I'm reading, there's just something slightly lacking that elevates it from good, to really good.

32. When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi
Extensively reviewed on here already. I felt engaged by this short memoir about neurosurgery, largely because I think his knowledge of both literature and medicine make for a rather unique and therefore interesting combination.

33. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
A classic I had never got round to. Yes the prose is witty and usual and we all know the story, but reading this novel just made me feel extremely sad about Oscar Wilde himself.

Rant alert

34. Nutshell - Ian McEwan
Why do I do it to myself. Why? Why? I don't even like Ian McEwan. I have never liked Ian McEwan (apart from the disturbing Cement Garden). Yes, he can construct sentences, sometimes he constructs them extremely well, but every one of his sentences that I read makes me think about Ian McEwan writing it. I can't get Ian McEwan out of my head, all I can think about is Ian McEwan sitting at his desk writing the sentence I am reading. Therefore, this could have been about anything really. However, as it stands, a man writing about pregnancy and birth is never really going to cut it as far as I'm concerned. Oh, and sex in pregnancy too. Lots at 38 weeks - because women really want that all the time confused

35. The Lonely Hearts Hotel - Heather O'Neill
This didn't work for me unfortunately. It's certainly different; a crazy fairy-tale-esque love story about two orphans set in depression era Montreal and quite unlike anything I've read before. Her writing is unusual too, in a good way, with quirky simile's aplenty. But at the end of the day it was just TOO self-concisouly quirky and I ended up feeling irritated with it all. Glad to have read it, kind of, but very glad to have finished.

Tanaqui Tue 18-Apr-17 11:12:09

13) The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer. Picked this up because I was jealous of Remus reading it for the first time! One or two parts are a bit outdated in attitude, but the story and the style are just great.

Best, the historical Griffith is the magician one, but imo it was rubbish!

Just got Ready Player One on Overdrive, so looking forward to that.

StitchesInTime Tue 18-Apr-17 12:10:39

Desdemonas if you're planning the Kondo decluttering, but daunted by the volume of stuff, one useful tip is to break things down into subcategories.

So don't put all your clothes in the middle of the floor. Start with all your knickers, then when that's done, move onto socks, then t-shirts etc. It's more manageable that way.

On a side note, in theory, Marie Kondo ought to thoroughly approve of you borrowing her book from the library, as this way it won't be cluttering up your house once you've read it and absorbed the information within whether she feels that overrides her making money from more book sales is another question

ChessieFL Tue 18-Apr-17 12:34:59

Just checking in.

I fell out with Kondo when she suggested ripping up books and only keeping the pages you like!!! Never going to happen in my house.

stilllovingmysleep Tue 18-Apr-17 12:46:45

Yes Chessie totally mad if not perverse this idea of ripping up books!confused

stilllovingmysleep Tue 18-Apr-17 12:47:51

On a side note, Marie Kondo comes across like a very obsessive and slightly odd (or very odd!) 9 year old girl.

DesdemonasHandkerchief Tue 18-Apr-17 13:06:00

Thanks for the tip Stitches. Agreed re books, I struggle to get rid of books I've enjoyed, and have been known to 'rescue' additional copies of favourite books from charity shops, supposedly to give to other people, but often I just end up with duplicate copies of the same book on my shelves! I'm probably a lost cause where decluttering is concerned!

alteredimages Tue 18-Apr-17 13:36:04

Desdemonas I have also read very little this year. Happy to join you on your 25 book challenge. smile

My list so far:

1. A Brief History of Seven Killings
2. Doubts and Loves: What is left of Christianity by Richard Holloway
3. The Essex Serpent
4. The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin
5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
6. Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali

Satsuki I agree with you that Madonna in a Fur Coat should have been a short story not a novella. The first 45% was ok, the next 45% was self indulgent and excruciating, the last 10% was also OK.

I read the English translation btw, I don't know any Turkish.

Cote I would also be interested to know if it was less over-wrought in the original. Do you think the popularity of Madonna in a Fur Coat in Turkey could be partly responsible for the long drawn-out romances in Turkish soaps of late? My PIL watch them enthusiastically, possibly as an instrument of torture.

Now reading 7. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris as an antidote.

wiltingfast Tue 18-Apr-17 14:39:27

Just marking place!

fatowl Tue 18-Apr-17 15:01:54

Also moving my list across and placemarking:

Highlights in bold, low points in italics

1.The Wolf and The Raven - Steven MacKay
2.The Hobbit - JRRR Tolkien (Audible)
3.^Greenwitch - Susan Cooper^
4.Child 44 - Tom Robb Smith
5.Fellowship of the Ring - JRRR Tolkien (Audible)
6.Into the Heart of Borneo - Redmond O'Hanlan
7.The No1 Ladies Detective agency
8.The Two Towers - JRRR Tolkien (Audible)
9.^Crosstalk - Connie Willis (Audible)^
10.The Forest - Edward Rutherfurd
11.Tom’s Midnight Garden - Philippa Pearce
12.1066 - Kaye Jones (Audible)
13.The Reformation - Edward Gosselin (Audible)
14.The Return of the King - JRRR Tolkien (Audible)
15. Lion by Saroo Brierley (for Bookclub)
16. The Muse by Jessie Burton (on Audible)
17. Henry VIII's wives - Julie Wheeler
18. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula de Guin
19. Fall of Giants by Ken Follet

Read today....
20. Stig of the Dump by Clive King
Had to read for school and pretty short, but am counting it as I've read some pretty long ones so far!

Now reading Saigon by Anthony grey and have Alan Partridge Nomad on Audible. Also working my way through Edward - A Great and Terrible King, but doing that a chapter at a time with a big break inbetween as it's pretty hard going (but interesting)

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is excellent. Dp has just read it and it's one of the few books that he and I agree on.

Cote - I'm thrilled that you're still enjoying the Shardlake novels. smile

Book 37
The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry
One of my best reads of the year so far. This is Perry considering the theme of masculinity, what it’s meant in the past and how that needs to change. Perry is thoughtful, intelligent and honest, as well as witty and eloquent. Highly recommended.

I'm also guilty of rescuing books from charity shops! smile

Sadik Tue 18-Apr-17 16:34:39

Just checking into the new thread. Currently reading No Way But Gentleness by Richard Hines, brother of Barry of Kes fame.

I'm also a chapter or so into The Descent of Man on Kindle (like to have a book on the go on my phone) and very impressed with it so far.

FortunaMajor Tue 18-Apr-17 17:53:36

Thanks for the thread Southeast

EmGee I really enjoyed Grapes of Wrath, I did it as an audiobook last year or so.

My issue is that I often end up disappointed, I build certain 'must read' books up in my head, so that when I read them I don't get what was meant to be so good about them. Looking at you The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed the story and appreciate it captured a zeitgeist, but didn't think it was 'all that'.

I'm probably going to go for Catcher in the Rye soon and I have a couple of Shakespeare I quite fancy (although I do believe it should be seen and not read). I look forward to seeing what you pick stillloving

Anyway, the list

1. Dictator by Robert Harris
2. Conclave by Robert Harris
3. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
4. Murder As a Fine Art by David Morrell
5. Longbourn by Jo Baker
6. The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
7. The Owl Killers – Karen Maitland
8. When she was good by Laura Lippman
9. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
11. The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst
12. The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
13. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
14. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
15. His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
16. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
17. The Plague by C. C. Humphreys
18. Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
19. Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews
20. Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
21. The Burning Air by Erin Kelly
22 Even Dogs In The Wild by Ian Rankin
23. The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
24. Dissolution by CJ Sansom
25. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
26. The Fall by Simon Mawer

I'm going to end the year by putting up the list of everything I abandoned this year to see which ends up the longer. I've been very fickle of late. I need something of His Bloody Project standards.

SatsukiKusakabe Tue 18-Apr-17 18:54:37

grin @ your Ian McEwan review whippet. Completely agree with you.

fortunamajor The Great Gatsby is absolutely everything it's cracked up to be as far as I'm concerned, but each to their own actually you're wrong about this grin I would also say to read Sylvia Plath's Ariel - preferably in the edition that sticks to her original order - her prose poem "Three Women on a Maternity Ward* and Johnny Panic and The Bible of Dreams short stories before you read a biography, if you haven't. Otherwise everything will be coloured by what you know of her life. (I was a Plath expert in another life)

I am having a terrible time. I can't seem to finish anything and it's depressing the hell out of me. Abandoned Red Rising half way through as just really boring and felt like it could have been The Hunger Games. I liked the set up of life on Mars (hoo hoo hoo) but by the middle it could have been happening anywhere. When a character was described as "gliding past like a tower or a golden spider" I gave up. Oh one of those gliding towers. The natural opposite of a spider, of course. You're either one or the other.

I've started My Week with Marilyn but it's disappointingly dull and the narrator is annoying. <cries>

SatsukiKusakabe Tue 18-Apr-17 18:55:50

Thanks for the new thread blush

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Apr-17 18:58:59

Marking my place smile

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