Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Middlesex--Jeffery Eugenides

Genre: Fiction/Literature
Year Published: 2002
Pages: 529
Rating: 4.5

This is a fascinating, intimate look at the life of a hermaphrodite--when a "girl" who has been raised as a woman realizes at the age of fifteen that she is genetically a male, and sets out to live her life as such. But as unique and interesting as that is, that isn't the best part of this book. The best part is the rest of the story--the familial history, which actually leads to the protagonist's genetic anomaly; the plight of Greek immigrants trying to run a restaurant in Detroit amidst racial turmoil; a child's account of the race riots in the 60s; the struggle of a young not-yet-man living alone in a seedy section of San Francisco. The narration is fresh and lively, so the story feels real. This is definately one of the best books I've read this year.

Challenge: TBR

The Well Rounded Challenge

Completed as of 12/6/08!

**This was a nice, light, fun challenge that helped keep me up with my other challenges. I believe it will be hosted again, later this year, by Teddy Rose.**

One thing I like about this challenge, hosted by Jan in Edmonds, is that it doesn't add more books to my load--just helps me manage those I already have taken on! I am to read one book per month from a different reading challenge. Since July is almost over, my July book will probably overlap into August. My working plan:

July: Young Adult Challenge --Holes, finished 8/1/08
August: 1% Well Read --The Poisonwood Bible (8/21/08)
September: New Classics--The Giver (9/16/08)
October: Arthurian --I Am Mordred (10/6/08)
November: TBR --Sundog (11/2/08)
December: Naming Conventions Challenge The Zero Stone (12/6/08)

The Arthurian Challenge

FINISHED 3/29/09!!! I hope there will be another, because I can never get enough! I love reading the different interpretations of the same story--The Mists will always be my favorite, but I loved The Once and Future King, and The Forever King was pretty cool too.

Here is my in-progress book list for the Arthurian Challenge, hosted by Becky. I love the King Arthur story, and have been meaning to read more that falls into this category, as well as reread one of my favorite books of all time, The Mists of Avalon. I might adapt or add to this list as I explore more Arthurian options.

King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green (3/28/09)
I am Mordred by Nancy Springer (9/16/08)
The Once and Future King by T.H. White (3/27/09)
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1/11/09)
The Forever King by Molly Cochran (1/30/09) (this seems really different!)
Sword of the Rightful King by Jane Yolen (1/17/09)

New Classics Challenge

COMPLETED AS OF 1/3/09!!!!
This was a great challenge. I think every book I read for it was 4 or 5 stars. My favorite was The Road, but all of them were great books to read. I hope this challenge renews at the end of this month so I can choose more New Classics to read!

I've read 10 out of the 100 books on Entertainment Weekly's New Classics list. For the New Classics Challenge, hosted by Joanna, I have chosen six more to read by January 31, 2009. And here they are!

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (9/25/08)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (1/3/09)
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1/2/08)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (finished 8/21/08)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (finished 9/16/08)
Holes by Louis Sachar (finished 8/1/08)

This will be my third McCarthy book this year, having read All the Pretty Horses and No Country For Old Men. He's fixing to become my most read author this year!

1% Well-Read Challenge

****FINISHED AS OF 2/28/09!!!!!

Just in the nick of time! I realized there was no way I was going to finish Lord of the Rings (I was halfway through the second book yesterday) and then, just in time, I was reminded that I could switch my list at any time. So I started reading Cat's Eye yesterday, and finished it close enough to midnight to count (at least in my opinion!)
Some of these books were incredible: (The Poisonwood Bible, The Blind Assassin), and many were very good. None were awful, although The Sound and the Fury may have been the hardest book I ever read in my life, and I doubt I would do it again!!!

I am excited to sign up for this years 1% challenge!*****

After perusing the 1001 books (of which I have read a mere 58), I picked my ten for this challenge. According to the excel spreadsheet I downloaded, I need to read 21 books a year to complete the list before I die at the age of the average western female. So maybe next year I'll up the ante.

Meanwhile, here's the list. I tried to crossover with other challenges as much as possible, and to pick books that I already have and have never read, so I can get them out of the house and bring in more books!

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (finished 8/21/08)
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (finished 12/14/08)
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (finished 11/26/08)
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (finished 1/13/09)
Wuthering Heights by Emile Bronte (finished 12/26/08)
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (finished 1/19/09)
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (finished 2/28/09)
Foundation by Issac Asimov (10/20/08)
Animal Farm by George Orwell (1/10/09)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick (1/22/09)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reading Challenge fever has struck again!

So I am about halfway through the challenges that I didn't fail miserably (ie the Series and 2New2U Challenges), so I figured it was time to up the ante! I just signed up for the following:

1% Well Read Challenge--ends Dec. 31, 2008
-Read 10 books from the 1001 books to read before you die:(http://1morechapter.com/projects/1001-list/)

Well Rounded Challenge-- ends Dec. 31, 2008
-Pick 6 books (1 per month) from 6 different reading challenges

Arthurian Challenge--ends March 2009
-Read 6-12 books that have to do with the King Arthur myths.

New Classics Challenge-- begins August 1, 2008; ends January 31, 2009
- Read and review six books from Entertainment Weekly's list of new classics. (This is an awesome list!)

Reading lists (and possibly more challenges) are forthcoming--as are the 12 or so book reviews I am behind right now.