I want to do this!

Read 50 books in 2017

  • natalied
    natalied Doing 2 cheers 2017-08-13 06:15:13

    I'm at 40/50 books as of today (that's 10 books ahead of schedule 😌). Rather than surpass my goal, I might try War and Peace or Infinite Jest starting in, like, November.

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  • meditation7
    meditation7 Doing 0 cheers 2017-08-08 01:16:50

    The Cutie, by Donald E. Westlake

    First, the title: the "cutie" refers to the guy who thought himself so cute as to frame one of the people in a mafia boss's organization in New York. He's referred that way throughout the book, as the main character, the mafia don's right hand man, investigates to find the identity of the "cutie."

    Next, the author: I first discovered Donald E. Westlake in my junior high school library, eons ago. I picked up one of his books, "Dancing Aztecs" and was completely captivated by it -- the writing, the humor, the pacing of the story and the mystery. I reread it last year, and to my surprise, enjoyed it as much as when I was 13--perhaps even more because I understood it much better.

    So I've occasionally looked for Donald Westlake's books, which are many. Starting in the 1960s, he pumped out 4 books a year, often under different pseudonyms so people wouldn't wonder about that level of output. Also, under his name he wrote the more literary pieces; under his pseudonyms the more genre pieces (usually crime noir).

    And yes, many of his books seem like a copy of others. And The Cutie does as well. But I admit I was hooked from the first sentence to the last one. The economy of his writing is such that there's nothing extraneous: every word in there propels the plot, explains something, and occasionally gives you a sense of the place. And even though the book was ultimately a little unfulfilling (it ended without resolving, intentionally, a secondary plot, leaving us to wonder which was which, but more importantly, without giving us a sense of the main character's transformation, leaving it in limbo) -- despite these shortcomings, I had to marvel at the skill the writer demonstrated in spinning such a tight yarn and drawing me in and keeping me intrigued, amused, and wondering where all this would lead.

    3 out of 5 stars.

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  • meditation7
    meditation7 Doing 0 cheers 2017-08-08 01:05:31

    The Moonshine War by Elmore Leonard

    Mr. Leonard is purported to have said of his writing, "I leave out the parts that people skip." I had never read his works before, and found him to be a master storyteller, building the story, and its tension, masterfully. However, I found the characters and environment in this novel so unlikable that after a while I felt like I had to let go of a mental sludge every time I'd stop reading the book. It's not that I need likable characters in everything I read... but I'd like characters that I can relate to... and I found myself increasingly disconnected from the stakes of the novel, even as they built. A good writer who knows his craft, no doubt, but this wasn't for me. I stopped at about a third of the way.

    3 out of 5 stars for the quality of writing and believability of the characters.

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  • meditation7
    meditation7 Doing 0 cheers 2017-08-08 00:57:20

    Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman

    A friend highly recommended this book after reading it in two days. "I couldn't put it down," she said. I didn't think the subject matter (the pursuit of a serial killer) would interest me, but I was willing to give it a try given her recommendation.

    Early into the first chapter, I felt like I wasn't seeing the story through the serial killer's eyes so much as what the author thought a serial killer thought. Now, I saw (and, to my surprise, enjoyed) "Silence of the Lambs" and found it fascinating because Anthony Hopkin's portrayal of a serial killer so goes against the grain that it fascinates and repulses you. The serial killer in this book felt unidimensional in that first chapter, cardboard-ish, and everyone's stereotype of what a madman like that must be like. I thought, "Now, wouldn't it be interesting if the chapter instead had this twist..." and, to my surprise, several pages later there was the twist.

    Maybe this book would've grabbed my interest if the author had put the twist in earlier, without overwriting the chapter. The subsequent chapters that I read also felt overwritten, as though she was intentionally trying to slow down the plot.

    After a while, I realized that I didn't look forward to coming back to read it. And that's my litmus test. In my opinion, a book should either have beautiful language that inspires, be cleverly written, be humorous, or so intriguing that you can't not find out what happens next. Unfortunately this one didn't have any of the above for me, and so I let it go.

    Probably 2 stars out of 5. If for no other reason than it was more readable than "The Name of the Rose." :-)

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  • kellywii
    kellywii Doing 2 cheers 2017-08-06 00:36:28

    1. The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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  • skeletalgarden
    skeletalgarden Doing 2 cheers 2017-08-05 14:53:28

    1. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding

    Only falling further behind in goal, hurrah.

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  • joyjoei
    joyjoei Doing 2 cheers 2017-08-02 01:07:14

    44/50 : The Awakening by Kate Chopin

    Why it ended like that?

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  • joyjoei
    joyjoei Doing 2 cheers 2017-07-31 00:29:39

    43/50 : Behind the Curtain by Beth Kery

    Love this book. An emotional roller-coaster ride and sizzling hot. I finished it in one day.

    An easy, quick read but emotional chaos during and afterwards.. Impressive..

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  • Sparkle16
    Sparkle16 Doing 1 cheers 2017-07-26 20:10:57

    this will be hard. im known for taking a year to finish a book previously. its really sad as i was a voracious reader in my youth. and i bought a lot of books in my 20s and early 30s and still have them. so no need to buy any books. just start reading. i know the internet and social media destroyed my love for reading. id love to have that joy of reading books back in my life

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