2018 Reading Challenge.

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DrG2
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2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby DrG2 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:10 pm

Tell us how many you are aiming for in 2018!


I aim for 52 again (I read 70-something last year), though I hope to beat that.

1. The Apothecary's Curse, by Barbara Bennett. I picked this up at a writers' conference because it was (partially) set in Victorian London. The story is good, and it has a Victorian feel - - an apothecary's potion has the unintended effect of causing immortality. Two guys become immortal, though they didn't want to. One must live on after his wife's death. It becomes a mystery as they search for the tome that might cure them while thriller aspects crop up when pharmaceutical companies want the information for themselves (The story jumps around from 1835 to the present).

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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby Rosedarling » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:02 pm

I have not been successful in these challenges but I'll try again. I just need books that I can jump into and be carried away.

DrG2, the book you read sounds interesting, I think I'll start there. Thanks for sharing a description.

I'll commit to 12, a book a month, with a goal of 25.
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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby DrG2 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:39 pm

I've been negligent.
2. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent. *****. A 14 y.o. girl is being raised by a single parent--an end-of-civilization-conspiracy-theorist-father--in a rotting shack in the woods of Mendocino Co., CA. Think of everything that can go wrong with that. It happens to her.

An excellent novel by a debut novelist. He did such terrible things to his main character that I'd be inclined to punch him in the face if I saw him at a writers' conference.

3. The Talented Ribkins, by Ladee Hubbard. *****. Two 5-stars in a row, both from debut novelists. A 72-year-old man goes to the house of his brother's widow to dig up some money he had left there 14 years ago. He finds an unknown niece and ends up taking her on a road trip back and forth across Florida to search for more of his buried caches of treasure (he owes money to a nefarious dude). Their family have odd super powers. For example, the man can draw maps ideally suited for some outcome, and can draw detailed plans of houses (including where the good stuff is) from simply viewing the outside of the house. His deceased brother could climb walls. His niece can catch anything thrown at her (though we find out later her talent is somewhat greater than that).

Well written (though MUCH more spare than the previous book, which is full of looooong sentences), funny, and with heart.

Note about race: The author of this book is African-American and I visualized the characters as black, although there is hardly any description of anything that would imply race (other than backstory of the superheroes defending civil rights folks decades ago). OTOH, I recently watched the TV series American Gods, based on the book by Neil Gaiman, and was surprised that the MC was black. I can't recall Gaiman describing the character as black, and since his name is "Shadow," it seems rather racist unless it was played as a joke, which, again, I can't recall it being done.

4. Beta read of a novel written by someone I know from another writers' site.

5. The Watchmen, written by Alan Moore. ****. A compilation of the twelve Watchmen episodes, re-edited and with additional material. I've seen the movie, but hadn't read the graphic novel before this. The writing is good. The story is good. The additional material gives a little bit of insight into the production of graphic novels.

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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby DrG2 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:12 pm

6. Scat, by Carl Hiassen. ****. MG book. A boy goes on a field trip which is cut short by a fire in the swamp, his teacher is lost, and the "bad boy" in his class is missing. Oh, and he sees some nut in a panther suit. Like most or all of Hiassen's novels, there is an environmental theme - - in this case endangered Florida panthers - - and some very quirky characters.

7. Damn Fine Writing, by Chuck Wendig ****. Chuck tells us how to write. Most of it was pretty good. I wouldn't advocate it as your first book on writing, or for young readers (Chuck's vocabulary is a bit salty), and he repeatedly used a badly mixed metaphor, but it might help.

8. Shadows Bright and Burning, by Jessica Cluess. ****. YA Fantasy. The story was pretty good--a girl has magical abilities which she thinks makes her a witch, except witches are banned, so she tries to hide them. Then a bad guy shows up and she has to use her abilities to save her friend, but a sorcerer says she is a sorcerer too, which is OK, except there haven't been many (if any) female sorcerers, so it puts her in an odd situation with a half dozen male sorcerer students. It turns out later she's not a sorcerer, either. The plotting and writing was so-so, but the main character was fairly interesting.

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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby Oldtimer » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:41 am

I forget to set a reading target for 2018. I shouldn't be so busy this year, so I'll make it 50 books. So far, I have read:

1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngosi Adichie
2. Did you ever have a family by Bill Clegg
3. Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

I also started reading The Hidden Machinery by Margot Livesey, but gave up on it after 70 pages. Hearing Ms Livesey speak at our Library was far more interesting.
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby DrG2 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:17 pm

9. Refrigerator Monologues, by Catherynne Valente. A group of connected stories with female main characters who have been "fridged" in male-dominated stories. Fridging includes things like a woman who dies for to sole purpose of motivating a male character to do something.

10. Every Soul a Star, by Wendy Mass. Three thirteen-year old people (two girls and a boy) are dealing with changes and share the experience of a complete solar eclipse.

11. A beta read for a writer on another writing site.

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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby DrG2 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:40 pm

12. A Plague of Giants, by Kevin Hearne. Giants from across an uncrossable sea have invaded. Hearne uses an ambitious storytelling structure - - a few scenes "in the moment," but most are told by a bard with magical abilities (he can appear to be other characters, be heard over long distances, etc.).

I quit reading after about 110 pages (of a 600 page book), because the structure didn't allow me to connect with any of the many (6-10) characters whose stories are being told.

It did remind me a tad of Lincoln in the Bardo, but with 1/10th of the writing ability.

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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby Oldtimer » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:16 am

4. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson - Not my cup of tea but acclaimed by many. It was our Library Club read for March.
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby DrG2 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:23 pm

13. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco. Basically it's a thriller set in an abbey in the thirteenth century. I thought it was very cleverly written and I enjoyed it, in spite of its glacial pace. Eco has an essay after the novel in which he discusses writing the book and writing historical fiction in general. I thought it was pretty good and could help fantasy writers too (or any novel that has a lot of world building in it).

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Re: 2018 Reading Challenge.

Postby Oldtimer » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:26 am

5. Ordinary Lives a Hundred years ago by Carol Adams
The book was published in 1982 so some of the contents are not as old as I would have liked, but it is still a fascinating read and is very useful for my research into my ancestors' lives.
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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