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Book a Week in 2011 - week three


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Happy Sunday! Today is the start of week three in our quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks. Welcome to everyone who has joined in and / or following our progress. Mr. Linky is all set up on the 52 books blog to link to your reviews.

52 Books blog - B is for Bronte. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Anne Bronte's birthday. She's the one Bronte sister who gets the least attention. Her works are all online so I propose a mini challenge. Read either one of her books or her poetry and let us know what you think.

 

What are you reading this week?

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I'm reading Ender's Game (was pre-reading it to see if DS9 could read it yet; I've already decided no, but I'm planning to finish it anyway, since I've started).

 

I can only handle Ender's Game in relatively small doses, so I just started Harry Potter's Bookshelf: The Great Books behind the Hogwarts. I'm pretty sure I can finish at least one of them this week.

 

I'm also listening to Anne Tyler's Noah's Compass as an audiobook, but I doubt I'll finish it this week.

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I have started Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer.

 

I'm only on the second chapter but it's holding my interest. That's more than I can say for the two books I started this past week and gave up.

 

My DH picked it up and started to read it, and asked how I could stand to read it. He says it's like reading a textbook. Well, it is non-fiction I told him. The subject is fascinating to me.

 

I tend to read more non-fiction so my next book I'll try to make sure it's fiction. That's my plan anyway.

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Even though it's not my favorite, I'm continuing to read Cutting for Stone.

 

In the meantime, I've started The Abyssinian. I'm loving it so far.

 

 

"Amazon.com Review

 

 

 

At the heart of Jean-Christophe Rufin's marvelous first novel is a nugget of truth: in the year 1699, Louis XIV of France sent an embassy to the King of Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia). From this small fact Rufin has spun a mesmerizing tale of adventure, romance, and political intrigue that is one part
and two parts
, with just a dash of
thrown in for good measure.

 

 

 

The hero of this epic tale is Jean-Baptiste Poncet, a young French doctor who has been practicing medicine without a license in Cairo. Poncet first comes to the notice of the authorities when the French consul in Egypt receives a secret message from a Jesuit priest commanding him in Louis's name to send a diplomatic mission to the king of Abyssinia. Foreigners--especially Christians--have not been welcome in that country since the Jesuits were expelled 50 years before, and a regular delegation would almost certainly be killed. When the consul, Monsieur de Maillet, hears that the Abyssinian monarch requires a doctor, however, he devises a plan to send Poncet both to cure and to convince the king to send a return delegation to Versailles.

 

 

 

Poncet has his own reasons for agreeing to go on this perilous mission: he has fallen in love with de Maillet's beautiful daughter, Alix. Unfortunately, he knows that "within the Frankish colony in Cairo, he was nothing more--whatever pains he took to hide his ancestry--than the son of a servant girl and an unknown man." The only hope he has of gaining the consul's blessing is to win Louis XIV's favor; bringing an Abyssinian embassy to Versailles might just do the trick. Poncet starts out for self-serving reasons; upon meeting King Negus, however, he comes to admire him, and soon finds himself jeopardizing his own future in order to thwart the political intrigues of his countrymen.

 

Rufin tells this larger-than-life tale with wit, sophistication, and a wholehearted enjoyment that shines through every sentence of this beautifully translated novel. Jean-Baptiste Poncet, a young man who "had been offered every opportunity for sadness and despair, yet ... had decided long ago that he would never succumb to such feelings," is a hero with heart, intelligence, and charm, and the book's many secondary characters are equally well developed. All in all,
The Abyssinian
marks a delightful literary debut."

It is interesting to me that both books actually take place (for a large part) in Ethiopia, a few centuries apart. In both books, I'm greatly enjoying the place descriptions.

 

Books read in 2011: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag; People Die

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Last week I read "Pride and Prejudice", The Giver", and "Anne of Green Gables". I read P&P as a teen, so I don't really count that as a re-read. I am ashamed to admit that I never read "Anne of Green Gables". It was just as sweet as I thought it would be. I've moved on to "Anne of Avonlea" and plan to finish it soon. The Anne Bronte challenge sounds fun! I may have to get "Agmes Gray" on my Kindle and read that this week as well.

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This is a funny coincidence, as I just read Charlotte Bronte's first novel (The Professor) and have been seeing several blog posts on Anne. I love The Tenant of Wildfell Hall but have not read Agnes Grey in years; maybe I will!

 

This week I read Planet Narnia, which is about Lewis' symbolic system behind the stories. It is EXCELLENT and necessary if you're a Narnia fan, but it's a tough read and I gather he came out with an easier version for people who didn't want to wade through the scholarly stuff in the first one. So I put a link to that into the post too. I should find that and see if it's good.

 

I also read Enemies of the People--it's in the same blog post. Hungarian journalists persecuted in the Cold War! Really interesting stuff.

 

Hey as long as we're featuring Anne Bronte, check out this great 'educational toy' video:

. Enjoy Anne's expression!
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I just finished The Sentimentalists (it won the Giller this year) and I'm on to the new book by the author of The Memory-Keeper's Daughter...I can't remember what the book I'm reading is called :)

 

I'm happy to be a little bit ahead - I'm on my 6th book!! I really want to make it to 52 (or more) this year.

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I'm currently reading Ask A Policeman by Dorothy Sayers, Anthony Berkeley, and Milward Kennedy.

 

I also read (re-read) Our Hearts' True Home, which is a collection of stories by women who converted to Orthodoxy.

 

I like the Anne Bronte challenge - I have Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall around here somewhere. I'll have to pull one out and re-read it.

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This week, I am reading:

 

"The Year Of The Flood," by Margaret Atwood on my own.

 

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners--a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life--has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.

 

Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers...

 

Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away...

 

By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive.

 

Also, with my 10 y/o daughter, I am reading:

 

"Ida B and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the world," by Katherine Hannigan.

 

It's about a girl who is homeschooled and who is very imaginative/creative/free-spirited, etc. But then her mother develops cancer and she has to go to school, which she dreads. And so she tries to come up with a plan to get her life back to being nearly perfect.

Edited by NanceXToo
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I finished Edith Hamilton's Mythology! All 465 pages of it. I'm so proud of myself! I stalled out last year but managed to get through it this year. I enjoyed it, but it was just long. One thing I liked about it is that she always explained who she was using as her primary source (eg Ovid, Appollodorus), who else wrote about this particular myth, etc. It helped me to understand where our information comes from. So my 2011 list so far (which I'll keep upside down to put the latest read on top):

 

3. Mythology-Edith Hamilton

2. Phantom Toll Booth-Norton Juster

1. Her Fearful Symmetry-Audrey Niffenegger

 

Next up--an easier read! I asked for and got Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey for Christmas. I remember my mom talking about it years and years ago. This will be my first book by her. I know it has to do with trying to solve the mystery of the princes in the tower, but I don't know much beyond that. I'll report more next week!

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Next up--an easier read! I asked for and got Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey for Christmas. I remember my mom talking about it years and years ago. This will be my first book by her. I know it has to do with trying to solve the mystery of the princes in the tower, but I don't know much beyond that. I'll report more next week!

 

 

I like that one! I've not read any more of her books, but I hope I trip over them at some stage.

 

This week I read:

 

Watchdogs of Democracy by Helen Thomas and

American Notebook by an Australian, Michael Gawenda.

 

They were both fun reads. :)

 

Rosie

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I'm behind already. :tongue_smilie:

 

I finished The Magicians for book group. Imagine Harry Potter and Narnia meet and turn all dark and twisty. Still not sure what I think, but the writing was excellent.

 

I'm currently slooowwwly reading The Brothers Karamazov and deciding that I am just not even a tiny bit Russian. I'd like to finish this book by, say, March.

 

I'm also reading 2001: A Space Odyssey, in a continuation of my attempt to plug some really glaring science-fiction holes. This is the second Arthur C. Clarke book I've read, and I really like his writing. It's fun to see his predictions for 2001, knowing what he got right and what he got wrong.

 

I also started a book on centering prayer, and I'm finishing The Lightening Thief in bits and pieces of time, mostly in the bathroom. :lol:

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Finished up my second book earlier today, which was Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan. Liked it. Need the author to write an additional chapter covering the last several years. ;)

 

Started listening to Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice last night. I'm liking it so far. Have also picked up an interrupted-by-the-holidays book, Pre: The Story of American's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine.

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I finished 'Grendel' by John Gardner (horrible book!) this week and am in the process of finishing up 'At Home' by Bill Bryson (I love all of the historical bits he gives you in the context of the rooms of a house.)

 

Book # 5 will be The Slap by Christos Tsoilkas (I think that is how you spell his last name :confused: )

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I finished The Art of Eating In. It was on the Serious Eats site as one of the top ten cookbooks for 2010. I ordered it through the library thinking it would be your typical cookbook....lots of photos and recipes. It turned out to be a book about a 20-something New Yorker who quit going to restaurants for 2 years and learned to cook. There's a couple of recipes at the end of each chapter but the book is about how her life changes as a part of this experiment. It's definitely a story and not what I'd consider a cookbook. Having said that, it was an enjoyable read and I learned about some subjects that I'd never heard of: freeganism, urban foraging, and underground supper clubs, to name a few.

 

Now it's time for some fiction after two weeks of non. This week I'm reading Faithful Place by Tana French.

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Well, I am impressed at all the reading - and at how many people are posting! I'm tellin' ya - ya'll are making my "wanna-read" list grow and grow!

 

Very unusually so for me, I did not finish my book this week, even though it is an easy read and I am enjoying it. It has simply been an incredibly busy week. So, I am continuing on with:

 

#4 - Women's Intuition, by Lisa Samson.

 

In my *defense* I will add that I am almost done with a book we are doing for family reading and will add that to the list hopefully this week. It is a non-fiction book on guns that dh and ds chose - can't recall the title right off . . . Since I'm always the designated oral reader, you'd think I'd remember at least the title! :tongue_smilie:

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I still havent finished The Fall from last week, although I tried hard. Thats probably because I also downloaded the No S Diet onto my ipad and read that, which took me longer than I thought, so I am going to count that as last week's book and The Fall as this week's.

 

I will probably start The Story of a Soul this week too. Although I really should start some fiction as that is what I want to read more of. I might read Dragon Keeper concurrantly.

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I finished City of Man. I had picked it up because of this review. (Just the other day I saw another good review of it at Books and Culture.) This was a five star book for me because it gave so much clarity to issues I've felt in a muddle over for a few years now. I have put it on 17yods's required reading list. Highly recommended for Christians.

 

For this week, I am partway through That Distant Land: The Collected Stories by Wendell Berry (31% through to be precise. I love that little bar at the bottom of the Kindle screen). I am reading it because Magistramater suggests it as a good place to start with Wendell Berry. I've already read Hannah Coulter, but decided this was a good second book and haven't been disappointed at all.

 

I am also reading The Scarlet Pimpernel to my girls. This is a reread (more like a re-re-re-read) for me. It was my favorite book in my late teens and early 20s. I'm wondering how I'll like it now in my 40s.

 

My reading year so far:

1. Glamorous Powers ~Susan Howatch (4/5 stars)

2. City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era ~Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner (5/5 stars)

Edited by Luann in ID
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I'm currently reading three books and will finish at least one this week:

Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)

A Thousand Gifts (Ann Voskamp)

The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde)

 

 

A Year in Books (my book blog)

 

I like your blog. I added it to my google reader and am looking forward to reading your thoughts on A Thousand Gifts and Northanger Abbey.

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I finished City of Man. I had picked it up because of this review. (Just the other day I saw another good review of it at Books and Culture.) This was a five star book for me because it gave so much clarity to issues I've felt in a muddle over for a few years now. I have put it on 17yods's required reading list. Highly recommended for Christians.

 

For this week, I am partway through That Distant Land: The Collected Stories by Wendell Berry (31% through to be precise. I love that little bar at the bottom of the Kindle screen). I am reading it because Magistramater suggests it as a good place to start with Wendell Berry. I've already read Hannah Coulter, but decided this was a good second book and haven't been disappointed at all.

 

I am also reading The Scarlet Pimpernel to my girls. This is a reread (more like a re-re-re-read) for me. It was my favorite book in my late teens and early 20s. I'm wondering how I'll like it now in my 40s.

 

My reading year so far:

1. Glamorous Powers ~Susan Howatch (4/5 stars)

2. City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era ~Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner (5/5 stars)

 

I love The Scarlet Pimpernel. DS15 is reading it right now, and we watched the movie together.

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I finished The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein today! If you are a dog owner, you may like this as it's a story from the dog's point of view over the course of his life with his family. I enjoyed it even if it wasn't the best book I've ever read.

 

I'm still behind by a book, but I'm aiming to complete two this week, although I have yet to choose them! I have a huge stack to choose from... decisions, decisions...

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I finished a book!!! Finally finished My Antonia and enjoyed it.

I also just finished The Secret Life of Bees which I LOVED such an interesting story.

I am starting The Screwtape letters and downloading an Ann Bronte book to my Ipad right now...any suggestions I have Agnes Grey or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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During week two, I read Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes, which was interesting. I also read Lewis and Clark among the Indians, which was more dense than I anticipated, but very helpful for the class I'm teaching.

 

My children and I are reading The Boy on the Lion Throne aloud and are enjoying it a lot. This week we'll have quite a bit of reading related to Tibet, and I'll post up as we get interesting books from interlibrary loan.

 

Surely I can start reading the things I'd like to read this week. I'm still intending to start The Wreath this week. Or else.

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I read Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Wow, what a tragic, tragic story...

 

I did, however, find it beautifully written and compelling.

 

It certainly illustrates how selfishness, greed, vanity, manipulativeness, and a "grass is greener" sentiment, can snowball into catastrophe.

 

I'm starting Kristin Lavansdattar by Sigrid Undset. I have the 3 volumes in 1 version, but haven't decided if I'll read all 3 in a row, or take a break in between.

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Yesterday, I bought and read A Lucky Child. Wow! What a book, I don't think I've ever read a book in one sitting, but I couldn't put it down and had to finish. This is the story of a boy who was five/six when WWII started and tells his tale of surviving Auschwitz, Saschenhausen and the war in general. He eventually emigrated to the US and is now an International Human Rights judge. Desipite the horrors, it's a beautifully told memoir.

 

I think I have to take up the mini-challenge. I've not read any of Anne's books. Still getting through Cruel as the Grave too, but I think it'll be done in the next day or two--get to spend some time at the doctor's tomorrow.

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Yesterday, I bought and read A Lucky Child. Wow! What a book, I don't think I've ever read a book in one sitting, but I couldn't put it down and had to finish. This is the story of a boy who was five/six when WWII started and tells his tale of surviving Auschwitz, Saschenhausen and the war in general. He eventually emigrated to the US and is now an International Human Rights judge. Desipite the horrors, it's a beautifully told memoir.

 

I think I have to take up the mini-challenge. I've not read any of Anne's books. Still getting through Cruel as the Grave too, but I think it'll be done in the next day or two--get to spend some time at the doctor's tomorrow.

 

Just added this to my wishlist, thanks!!

 

lisa

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