Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


On December 26 2005, I completed the fifty-book challenge STOP On vacation STOP Updates coming STOP

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

#47 Homeland by Barbara Kingsolver

I heart Barbara Kingsolver. She is a brilliant, fantastic author and Homeland is a great example why (so are Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer). A collection of short stories, each plot is fascinating, engaging and very different from the one before. I wanted to know what happened to the each of the characters after the story ended. I love how each story is its own little universe and how well written they all are. I highly recommend.

Not feeling too witty or verbose today so that's it for this one. Some pretty uninteresting comments on a really good read.

Three in eleven days. Cross your fingers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

#46 The Final Solution by Michael Chabon

I finally took Adam's excellent advice and picked this up. It's a quick read (yay!) and good too. I generally like Chabon and this is no exception.

It's not what I thought it would be, which is why I resisted. I assumed that it would a light-hearted romp through the Holocaust, (which, um, yay?) but it's not. Final is "a story of detection", about a boy, his parrot, and WWII. In typical Chabon fashion, it's written so well, you don't really notice it until a particular bit of prose catches your eye and then you want to read it over and over again. But then you would get caught up in the beauty of excellent writing and never finish 4 more books and then where would you be? Missing a charm on your bracelet, that's where. No dilly-dallying around!

Furthermore, it has a kind of crazy ending, so I want to read it again, definitely next year, so I can sort out the mystery and find out if the case was really solved or if Chabon tied up some non-existent ends into strange conspiracy knots.

Monday, December 12, 2005

#45 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Frankly, I've been disappointed with my recent award-winning choices. This covers England from 1984 to 1987, Thatcher's first term as prime minister. If I knew more about British politics, I might find fascinating, as it stands not so much.

I didn't get too invested into Nick's, the narrator, story until pretty close to the end, when everything blows up. Until then, things move really slowly and it's a little tiring. I kept on waiting for the plot to pick up but I felt like nothing really happened until the last fifty pages, which is a long 350 page wait.

It is written beautifully. But an odd fascination with tiny details and fast-forwarding through events makes it seem like a VCR on crack (passe eighties technology and drug, all the cool kids are waching their DVDs while on heroin, gosh).

Oh Booker prize folks, I had such high hopes. Maybe my plan to read every prize winning book should be phased out.

So, 45 down, five to go. Do you think it's do-able? Do you think I'm a nut job? I've got 19 days.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

#44 The Wonder Spot by Melissa Bank

I got a surprise bonus at work, ($75 to spend as a I see fit at the campus bookstore, wheee!!!) so I picked this up. Hardcover, deep discount, really liked Girl's Guide.

As much I liked Guide, I did not want to re-read it again, which is essentially what Wonder Spot is. Same character, albeit with a different name, same clever dialogue, and glimpses into a young woman's life, same tight focus on her relationships with men. Honestly, women are more than the relationships they are in. Women are people, too, not just girlfriends, wives, blah, blah, blah. This should not be new, folks.

Reading this almost made me like Guide a little less. I thought Guide was such a unique, interesting take on things but Wonder is watered down version. This was a pretty common complaint among other reviewers as well, I believe. At least it was a quick read.
Ah, que sera, sera. Anybody interested in a barely used copy?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

#43 The Known World by Edward P. Jones

I picked this up because it won the Pulitzer and I've been mostly impressed with the new-ish winners. Also a reviewer compared it favorably to Beloved, which I now hold to be a great example of why I shouldn't trust reviews printed directly on the book that I am thinking about reading.

Maybe it's my fault, I never got really engrossed in the story but went through the motions of reading because I hoped that it might get more interesting, but it didn't. Finally, I knew that I was never going to be involved with the story when a prominent character is sold back into slavery, after being free for many years and not even a sniffle came from me, which is truly saying a lot in light of my recent confessions.

It was sort of interesting how the author created a whole county in Virgina with "facts" about the census, its inhabitants, and its place in history. But that's what fiction is supposed to be in end the anyway, right? An elaborate web of lies (Am I turning into Plato here?). Perhaps my hopes were too high for it. i know that I won't trust the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's book reviews anymore though.

Onwards and forwards, folks. Seven more to go.

Friday, December 02, 2005

What I've been reading...

Why I love to cook. This individual says it so much better than I ever could. Wonderful writing, gorgeous prose. Happy December indeed.