what misscurly read in 2009...

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Tags: 
  1. January

  2. Crime and Punishment by Fyoder Dostoyevsky
  3. Finished: Jan 13
  4. Opening Line:At the beginning of July, during a spell of exceptionally hot weather, towards evening, a certain young man came down on to the street from the little room he rented from some tenants in S Lane, and slowly, almost hesitantly, set off for K--N Bridge.
  5. Rating: 4/5
  6. April

  7. Twilight Series (Twilight,
  8. New Moon,
  9. Eclipse,
  10. Breaking Dawn) by Stephenie Meyer
  11. Finished: April 26
  12. Rating: 3/5
  13. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
  14. Finished: April 30
  15. Rating: 2/5
  16. May

  17. Buyology by Martin Lindstrom
  18. * did not finish *
  19. June

  20. Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt
  21. Finished: June 8
  22. Opening Line: (Prologue) "The boy was waiting int he garden when Silas got home."
  23. Rating: 3/5
  24. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
  25. Finished: June 19
  26. Rating: 3/5
  27. Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley
  28. Finished: June 23
  29. Rating: 2/5
  30. Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
  31. Finished: June 27
  32. Opening Line: "The volcano that had reared Tratua up from the Pacific depths had been sleeping now for half a million years."
  33. Rating: 4/5
  34. Don't Sleep, There are Snakes by Daniel L. Everett
  35. Finished: June 30
  36. Opening Line: (Prologue)"Look! There he is, Xigagai, the spirit."
  37. Rating: 2/5
  38. July

  39. The Human Comedy by William Saroyan
  40. Finished:July 7
  41. Opening Line: The little boy named Ulysses Macauley one day stood over the new gopher hole in the backyard of his house on Santa Clara Avenue in Ithaca, California.
  42. Rating: 4/5
  43. The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewsis
  44. Finished: July 8
  45. Opening Line: This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child.
  46. Rating: 5/5
  47. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  48. Finished: July 14
  49. Opening Line: In most instances it is customary for those who desire to win the favour of a prince to present themselves to him along with those things which they value most or which they feel will most please him.
  50. Rating: 2/5
  51. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
  52. Finished: July 16
  53. Opening Line: A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard.
  54. Rating: 5/5
  55. Carrie by Stephen King
  56. Finished: July 19
  57. Opening Line: It was reliably reported by several persons that a rain of stones fell from a clear blue sky on Carlin street in the town of Chamberlain on August 17th.
  58. Rating: 3/5
  59. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
  60. Finished: July 20
  61. Opening Line: Explosion! Concussion! The vault doors burst open.
  62. Rating: 3/5
  63. Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
  64. Finished: July 15
  65. Opening Line:
  66. Rating: 2/5
  67. More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
  68. Finished: July 24
  69. Opening Line: The idiot lived in a black and gray world, punctuated by the white lightning of hunger and the flickering of fear.
  70. Rating: 5/5
  71. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  72. Finished: July 26
  73. Opening Line: Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.
  74. Rating: 5/5
  75. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
  76. Finished: July 30
  77. Opening Line: The thing was: One million years ago, back in 1986 AD, Guayaquil was the chief seaport of the little South American democracy of Ecuador, whose capital was Quito, high in the Andes Mountains.
  78. Rating: 2/5
  79. August

  80. Leviathan by Paul Auster
  81. Finished: August 7
  82. Opening Line: Six days ago, a man blew himself up by the side of a road in northern Wisconsin.
  83. Rating: 4/5
  84. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler * did not finish*
  85. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
  86. Finished: August 16
  87. Opening Line: Will tugged at his mother's hand and said "Come on, come on...
  88. Rating: 4/5
  89. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway
  90. Finished: August 22
  91. Opening Line: Robert Cohn was once the middleweight champion of Princeton.
  92. Rating: 2/5
  93. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway
  94. Finished: August 23
  95. Opening Line: He was an old man who fished alonein a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
  96. Rating: 5/5
  97. The Blooding by Patricia Windsor
  98. Finished: August 25
  99. Opening Line: They were found in the woods, curiously and awkwardly lying on the first leaves of autumn.
  100. Rating: 1/5
  101. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  102. Finished: August 27
  103. Rating: 3/5
  104. September

  105. Salem's Lot by Stephen King
  106. Finished: Sept 1
  107. Opening Line: Almost everyone thought the man and the boy were father and son.
  108. Rating: 2/5
  109. I Have Lived in the Monster by Robert K Ressler
  110. Finished: Sept 5
  111. Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
  112. Finished: Sept 13
  113. Opening Line In a valley shaded by rhodedendrons, close to the snow lune, where a stream milky with meltwater splashed and where doves and linnets flew among the immense pines,lay a cave, half hidden by the crag above and the stiff heavy leaves that clustered below.
  114. Rating: 4/5
  115. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
  116. Opening Line: Lieutenant Commander Peter Holmes of the Royal Australian Navy woke soon after dawn.
  117. Rating: 4/5
  118. October

  119. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
  120. Finished: Oct 4
  121. Opening Line: Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.
  122. Rating: 4/5
  123. The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis
  124. Finished: Oct 29
  125. Rating: 2/5
  126. December

  127. The Sea by John Banville
  128. Rating: 1/5
  129. Another World Pat Barker
  130. Rating: 3/5
  131. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  132. Finished: Dec 30
  133. Rating: 3/5
Author Comments: 

* I hate it, don't even bother looking at it
** I don't like it, but I might reccomend it to the right person
*** It was OK, but I won't ever read it again
**** I liked it, I would read it again
***** I loved it, I will buy it for sure

Every time I read something, I ask myself, "is this a good book?" and then "is this the best of this type of book I've read?". If it is a good book, and one of the best of its type, then I buy it to reread. If it's a poorly written book, but one of the best I've read, then I've found a gap to fill in my reading.

For Crime and Punishment:

Everything is always doom and gloom with these Russians! It's amazing. And they feel the need to flesh out every single character to the fullest, regardless of their importance to the plot. As for the story itself, the character seemed so detached from what was happening, everything seemed to surreal. Or he would start feeling it all too much and become overly dramatic. I wish there was a balance, and I'm rating it a 4 out of my annoyance with the character's personality.

Twilight (and its friends) was a great way to relieve the exam tensions. As a general rule, I try to avoid series. I know other people eat them up, but I like books that can stand on their own.

The Spirit is a good exploration of the relationship between culture and healthcare. So many points through the book, she used the phrase "And no one bothered to ask..." how or why the Hmong family was acting the way they were. It's incredible. I find fault with the way the author introduced the personal story of this one family interspersed with more general history. The personal story finished first, and I felt like the story was over halfway through! It could have been planned to have more symmetry (if that's the right word).

Buyology was terrible. I read the first two chapters, and only included it to warn people NOT to do the same. Th guy simply doesn't know how to write, and at times is too technical (with topics he doesn't seem to understand) while at other times is not technical enough, leaving a relatively informed reader confused. I doubt he considered his audience; people interested in this topic will generally be people with some prior knowledge. I was also irritated that he summarized his own and other people's research.

Eternity Road

The part that I disliked the most was the epilogue. Every loose end was tied up. It was like a high school movie, where each character is given a blurb that explains how their lives continued So and so did this. So and so were married, and have 2.5 children and a white picket fence. The story was about trying to rebuild after an apocalypse, and I think that loose ends and uncertainty would better suit that setting, because it would also provide hope. Interwoven through the story was the question of whether these people could learn from the mistakes of the former world, and become better. Does a tidy little package leave room for the same sort of hope?

Birdsong

Of all the novels I have read, this is the first I can remember being set in and around the first world war. I enjoyed the thick descripton of that event; the small unsavoury details complimented the actual plot line. The extent of the sexuality in the first few chapters almost made me blush! (I was expecting a novel only about the war, but I guess that was part of it as well.)

BNW Revisited

I've been waiting to read this for quite a long time, and it did not meet my expectations at all. I think it has something to do with the length of time elapsed between its writing and the present day. BNW "works" now because it is first and foremost a work of fiction. This novel was the author ruminating on what has and hasn't happened from his book. I wish he would have left a little more of the "why" out; his thoughts seemed to become a too little tangental and highbrow at points. I admit I was lost quite often, and had to return and reread the previous paragraph.

Childhood's End

Great utopian novel. An aspect of the genre I haven't come across before; the utopia being forced upon the citizens by an outside entity.

Don't Sleep

At times the author got too technical, and it was difficult for the linguistic laypeople like myself to read. But the anecdotes are funny and poignant, and I felt like despite all the technical info, I learned something from having read this.

Human Comedy

The first thing I noticed was the parallel between this and Homer's Odyssey. The dominant theme is of homecoming, and the characters include Homer, Ulysses, and Helen, all of whom live in Ithaca. The second thing I noticed was the language, after reading a chapter aloud. In more recent novels, people "say" things, and "reply" to things, and "answer" and sometimes a conversation is just recorded, without the extra trappings of who said what to whom. In this book, everyone "said" something. Unfailingly. I thought this might indicate the audience was actually meant to be children (confirmed along with the apparently simple plotline, subject matter, and short chapters), but I think it might be a reflection of the times (during WW2) or the characters themselves. Either way, the diction is simplistic and childish. But then the characters started long philosophical discussions about the meaning of life. All of these factors considered, I believe the author was trying to convey the homecoming theme, but also the coming of age of both characters and country.

Magician's Nephew

I've always loved Narnia storis, but had never even heard about this one until recently.

Prince

I've heard so much about this work over the year, and I did expect more. I often found the author repeating himself. Not knowing much about any history, let alone specific instances of what I consider small scale goings on in Italian principalities, I found most of the examples difficult to follow, and had to refer to the notes section too much.
Putting aside all of the history lessons and repetition, there are some interesting gems of wisdom that are well-reasoned. Not being a prince in any form, modern or historical, I find this book a little useless.

Carrie

I've seen various version of the movie, but I think that reading gives more to the story, particularly at the end when everyone just "knew" information to which they couldn't actually be privy. I was irritated by all the bibliographical-type references; it really halted the flow of the story.

Demolished Man

A little too much like a true crime/detective novel, which I don't like and would never read on purpose. The science fiction portion was well thought out. It was difficult to follow the TP sessions of multiple peepers as they were artistically woven on the page, but that was obviously the point. Despite this book having won the first Hugo award, I don't see anything too special.

Idiot

Amazing! There is a wholeness to this story that many of the other recent SF books I've read were lacking despite similar subject. Not to say that all the loose ends were tied, but there was a sense of completion at the ending. His idea of the Gestalt human is one I haven't come across before, but reminds me of my studies of invertebrate colonies (to an extent).

Golden Compass

I watched the movie first. It missed all the good parts! This is in the same style as Harry Potter, but I really think this one is geared more towards the adult end of kid lit. Not nearly as predictable.

Galapagos

Typical Vonnegut writing style, jumping back and forth and explaining the story only in pieces. This novel focused on the minute chances that lead to adaptation, and it was like pulling teeth to get the story to continue.

Leviathan

(which means huge underwater sea creature, or something "immense in size and power")
I felt like I could follow where the author was drawing his inspirations, and unlike reading James Joyce, it was easier to follow (and I didn't feel like I was constantly missing allusions). The story was eloquently written, and really beautiful.

Mein Kampf

I couldn't finish it. I got through the first 80 pages or so, and read about how Hitler's hatred of the Jewish people began. But really, he hates everything. I just started the part about how horrible parliament is, but also how horrible the government would be without parliament. There are tirade against poor and young and old. It's upsetting to read, and it's written in a style that is difficult to follow and full of its own self-importance. In short, it's a train wreck, and I am amazed that anyone who reads this can find it insightful (unless we are speaking of insight into schizophrenia).

Subtle Knife

I love these stories!

Sun Also Rises

I didn't care for this. I felt like the story was really about drinking and eating in restaurants. The author took great care to tell us where the characters went and what they drank. It reminds me of Holden Caufield all grown, and wasting his life in bars and cafes.

Old Man

Amazing. The terse style used in all of his novels actually works when the character is a poor, undereducated old man who spends most of his time alone. Poor old man; at least he got proof of his white whale.

Blooding

Crap! Don't read it. Extremely anticlimactic, with a tone better suited to a children's story (although the subject matter may not be).

Awakening

Reminded me a lot of Madame Bovary; a woman trying to be strong and independant in a world that wouldn't accept it.

Salem's Lot

Ah that Mr. King. Although it isn't a literary masterpiece, at least he can take the typical horror stories and develop them to the peak of creepiness. He is very good at what he does. I have read better vampire stories.

I Have Lived...

Not very well written. He should stick to his real profession, which he was clearly very good at. The stories discussed details of the serial killers he helped to catch (?). Maybe I'm just desensitized.

Amber Spyglass

Good story, but not as good as the other two installments.

On the Beach

Very sad, without being overly dramatic. If this makes any sense, it was a very proper and British sort of sadness (all chin up and be a man sort of stuff). I haven't come across a story like this where everything has already happened and there really isn't any hope at all. It was strange.

LWW

True to the awesomeness of the movies I used to watch religiously as a child . Nothing better than these.

Horse and His Boy

Loved it. Too bad all of these books weren't made into movies.

The Sea

Sad; about a man dealing with the loss of his wife. Also very confusing as he keeps jumping around between past and present.

Another World

Seems disconnected, like two stories glued together. The supernatural bit was really intriguing, but it wasn't really developed. Certainly not her best work.