Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Members try to read 50 books in 2011. Anyone can participate. Keep track of your progress with your own thread.

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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Proofrdr » 22 Jun 2011, 06:28

#25 Beacon of Love by Ann Roberts 3stars

This could have been really interesting if the characters were consistent. It's a story of mothers and daughters, and of what we see as children and eventually understand as adults. The concept was great. One of the mothers was developed and presented beautifully, the other was a mish-mash of conflicts and incongruities that were too irrational and erratic. Happily, the daughters, the main characters, fared better. And then there were the lighthouse and the ghost.

Sometimes a phrase will be repeated and will catch in my mind and then, if I see it again, I really take notice. There had to be at least 8 instances where someone "smiled slightly." There has to be more than one way of describing a little smile.

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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Baker » 22 Jun 2011, 07:17

Proofrdr wrote: "smiled slightly."

That's an odd one.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Proofrdr » 22 Jun 2011, 07:37

That's why I noticed it at first, then it became a bit annoying, and then I expected it.
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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Proofrdr » 05 Jul 2011, 02:26

#26 All Clear by Connie Willis 5stars

This is the continuation of Blackout, the time travel saga of three young Oxford historians who go to Britain in 1940 to observe, severally, the evacuation of the troops from Dunkirk, the Blitzkrieg in London, and the condition of children evacuated to rural England. In All Clear, the three MCs find themselves trapped in the past. As they try to find their way home, they survive the perils of the war and the terrible isolation of their entrapment. It is a riveting story so very well told. Despite the cruel setting, All Clear has a positive message of perseverance and loyalty and courage, as well as a healthy dose of humor.

I am a total Connie Willis fan. The woman has to be one of the best-read authors writing today. Each chapter heading has a spot-on literary or historic quote, and Sir Godfrey, an elderly actor, and Polly, one of the historians, banter with Shakespearean quotes. Delightful and meaningful even if you don't know the Shakespeare derivation.

Growing up in the immediate post-WWII era, I heard a lot about what happened, and did study it in high school less than a decade after its ending, so I knew a bit of the era. These books really clarified on a more human level what happened in England in those awful days before Normandy.

After reading Blackout, I waited 7 months for our library to get All Clear, then caved and bought it instead. It was an impatient wait. I recommend having the two books in hand before you start reading. Even though they're both over 600 pages, I was sorry when they came to an end.

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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Proofrdr » 15 Aug 2011, 08:12

#27 The Passion by Jeanette Winterson 5stars

I've actually read this 3 times since I received it from the Lisbon branch of the LFF lending library. It's a book that stands up to rereading and yields more each time.

It's an unusual book and not one to be easily characterized. It's surrealism, fantasy, a passion play of sorts, even a bit of fairytale. It's about the myriad passions that motivate us--war, revenge, sex, love, even food--and the risks we take to achieve them.

Henri and Villanelle tell the stories of their lives and of their passions. They reinvent the history in imaginative ways, weaving story into story, creating paradox, fairytales, and making reality uncertain. Although entirely different from Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Winterson repeats the frame of story telling to expand and explain her themes. Again, she gives us beautiful, lyrical writing.
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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Proofrdr » 15 Aug 2011, 08:34

#28 End of the Rope by Jackie Calhoun 2stars

Here we have Meg who wants to make a profitable horse farm out of her barn and lands but doesn't have the money or time to make it happen. And we have Nicki whose relationship with Beth and her photography business both suffer from her disengaged attitude. Add horses, kids, and dogs that keep turning up unbidden at the horse barn, a few horse shows here and there...and if left me wondering if anyone really plotted out this romance. The characters were presented well, but the story arc needed focus.

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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Proofrdr » 15 Aug 2011, 08:47

#29 Water Mark by J.M. Redmann 5stars

I think this book can be enjoyed even without having read the previous Mickey Knight mysteries. Having read them though, this book adds depth and richness to the whole cast of characters. For me, Water Mark portrayed the emotional and physical devastation more poignantly than all that I saw and heard on TV in the aftermath of Katrina.

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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Baker » 15 Aug 2011, 09:01

Proofrdr wrote:I received it from the Lisbon branch of the LFF lending library.

lol It's great, isn't it? I'm a patron myself.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Proofrdr » 15 Aug 2011, 11:54

I daresay, it's one of the most accommodating lending libraries in the world!Image
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Re: Proofrdr's Doomed Attempt at 50 Books

Postby Proofrdr » 12 Jan 2012, 13:28

Well, I failed on two fronts: I failed to reach the magical fiftieth book, and I failed to record all the books I did read. I list those I omitted mostly without comment. Some were entertaining fluff, some were godawful annoying, but some others were quite good. The "quite good" are listed separately with brief comment.

    30. Love Waits, Gerri Hill
    31. Come Back to Me, Chris Paynter
    32. Jane Doe, Lisa Girolami
    33. From This Moment On, PJ Trebelhorn
    34. Two Weeks in August, Nat Burns
    35. Certain Personal Matters, Vicki Stevenson
    36. The Devil be Damned, Ali Vali
    37. Frosting on the Cake II: Second Helpings, Karin Kallmaker
    38. The Long Trail, Penny Hayes
    39. Firestorm, Radclyffe

And the "quite good" list:
    40. Redemption, DeJay
    I'm so proud of my friend for writing this really good LF novel.

    41. I Told You So, Kate Clinton
    A series of observations on life, politics, and people from 2005 to 2008...wry, ironic in the inimitable Clinton way.

    42. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barber
    Initially, the narrators appear pompous and emotionally distant, and their constant allusions to philosophers and history I had to research nearly put me off reading further. But, suddenly, a third character appeared and the story gelled into a very worthwhile reading.

    43. Foreign Affairs, Alison Lurie
    Pulitzer Prize winner. A 50ish Anglophile woman goes to London to research a book on children's rhymes. It's a love story, but it's also about aging, loneliness, and alienation, and it's funny.

    44. Annabel, Kathleen Winter
    This blew me away. An hermaphrodite child is born. The parents and doctor decide it should be raised as a boy. This, of course, does not fit with the course of nature. Winter deals with issues of sexual identity and assumptions about gender quite sensitively. Wonderful read.













44. Annabel, Kathleen Winter
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