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... Well I did it, my reading list post got too long for one post alone. So I'm continuing the from the month of August and onwards in this entry which ought to do me until the end of the year. If you want to see the first part of the post it is HERE.



August (continued)

93. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
Rating 7.5/10
Not the best book but it was enjoyable. This one was somewhat like 'The DaVinci Code' but was a little more intellectual than that book. It was more involved and the pacing was a lot slower but I found that I slowly became totally wrapped up in the mystery of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili text myself and have been poking around on the internet to learn more about it. I really liked that the authors managed to get the feeling for the school setting very real instead of just setting the book at Princeton and then never mentioning it again. The entire backdrop and back story of the book really enhanced the reading experience.

94. Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Rating 9/10
At times this felt a bit disjointed beyond what was needed to set the feeling of the story but other than that this is a fabulous story. I saw the movie of this before reading the book and actually think they may be on a par of greatness. The first time I saw the movie I caught the last 2/3 of it when the movie network was doing a free weekend and I ended up being late to meet my friends because it was so good I couldn't leave until it finished. The book is really well written and Martin has really managed to illustrate the viewpoints of both men and women really well.

September

95. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Rating 10/10
I adore this author. Dell recommended his book 'The Book Thief' to me and I just returned the favour with this one. It is a gripping uplifting story. Definitely take the quote on the front cover that says not to start the book unless you can set aside the time to finish it seriously. I couldn't stop reading this one. The story is beautiful and touching and just fantastic. I definitely will seek out more of Zusak's writing.

96. Alices Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll
Rating 10/10
I had heard of this manuscript but had only seen bits and pieces online and didn't want to read it on a computer screen. Fortunately I found a copy of this in the first second hand bookstore I wandered into in Peterborough and nabbed it for my bus ride home. It's perhaps not a perfect text but it is really neat to see where the Alice in Wonderland story as we know it today evolved from.

97. The Lonely Girls Club by Suzanne Forster
Rating 7/10
I enjoyed reading this one but I think that the author should have cut out some of the foreshadowing. By the time she got to every big reveal that was supposed to be a surprise she'd already been so detailed leading up to it that nothing was a shock. Also she messed up the back story of one of her main characters a lot by first stating that she was adopted by her aunt when she was around 12 for various reasons that fit very well with the adult she had become but then later in the book stated that happened when she was 4 for no good reason which just was random. Her editor should have definitely caught that one. This was a good read for a bus ride or just to fill the time but it's not a stellar book.

98. Freak The Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Rating 10/10
I read this one because we're creating a unit for it in my English class. One group member suggested it and I'm certainly glad she did because I loved it a lot! I can see some great ideas one can teach with the book and I think it's a story that will grip advanced and novice readers alike. The writing style is more simplistic but the story is very engaging. Also new vocabulary words are introduced and explained but in a way that keeps it fun (similar to the 'Series of Unfortunate Events' books.)
Fabulous story, I definitely want to read the sequel now.

99.The Gatekeeper Trilogy, Book One: Out of the Madhouse by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder
Rating 8/10
The characters are introduced really well in this book and definitely keep their voices from the series. That is they have the classic Whedon wit. I could see this entire series (see parts 2 and 3 below) being filmed and shown as a movie. I really like how this book starts the contrast of the various problems each Scooby Gang member has with coming to terms with graduation from high school and also with dealing with creepy monster stuff. Some favourite characters of mine drop in for a visit near the end of this one and that's never a bad thing ;)


100. The Gatekeeper Trilogy, Book Two: Ghost Roads by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder
Rating 8/10
First of all one moment for "Woohoo! Book 100! I've reached my goal... and now get to surpass it!"

Back to the book at hand. I definitely enjoy how this story continues. This one may be my favourite part of the trilogy. So much is packed into this novel. Many familiar faces to the Buffyverse drop in and I really enjoy how that can be played with in books. I also think the random cannon fodder characters were developed well enough in the page or so they each got so that we could feel for them as they were devoured in creative ways. That's a gruesome sentence... still true though ;)

101. The Gatekeeper Trilogy, Book Three: Sons of Entropy by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder
Rating 8/10
Whenever I start this last part of the trilogy (I think this is my third time through) I always think that so much has happened already and so this one will be all about tying up loose ends and I keep forgetting that there are some really big things that happen here. Xander really coming into his own and showing his true potential as Buffy's second in command is fantastic here and I would even hazard the guess that Golden and Holder saw how to get him to that point before Joss was able to do it on television... really Xander didn't get to fully come into that potential until the comics, Joss knew it was there I think but it was hard to get that out on screen consistently. I also (without spoiling anything) quite enjoy the effect of the major spell that is cast. It was a fun twist and again very much something that fit with Whedon's universe. This trilogy made me nostalgic for some BtVS episodes.

102. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
Rating 10/10
I love it when books that are assigned for school are simply amazing books. This one was so unbelievable and yet it's a true story. The utter poverty that the children in this book overcome and the the tough life the endure and often flourish in is just a testament to the strength of the human spirit. I was greatly saddened by this book because it makes one realize that there are many families who do live this far below the poverty line but I also was hopeful because the children here were survivors and were just amazing.

103. The Candy Darlings by Christine Walde
Rating 7.5/10
I want to go back and reread this one with more focus on the 'Candy Stories' within it because I feel like I got the book but could get more in depth from it. I enjoyed the book although the overall message was typical and I'd argue that it's not necessarily a positive message. Having someone come in who is an equally strong personality to those typical popular girl personalities in high school can be equally as damaging if they take over your life in the same way. That's just me though and since that personally irks me I think I didn't take as much from that character as I was intended to take.

104. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
Rating 6/10
The reviews for this one were how it was "transcendent" and just raved about the book. It gets a big 'meh' from me. There was nothing original here. Many people have the idea of having their friends as their family and living a non traditional lifestyle. People who love this book seem to love it a lot but it just wasn't anything special to me. The language was neat, very poetic, so I did enjoy the act of reading it, just not the story within.

105. The Midnight Club by Christopher Pike
Rating 7/10
You know, I'd sort of like to find the books he's written for adults and see if they're at all decent. Some of these teen books have really interesting ideas in them they're just so short and not detailed that they only skim the surface of the ideas. This was fine when I was 12 and reading them but now I just wish that there was more to the story there because there's a lot of potential that's not being met here. The concept was a neat one, this one wasn't so much a scary story as one that was sad and made one think about life, death and the afterlife. Big big ideas. So little depth here. I still gave it an okay rating because I think the story is a good idea. I found upon rereading it now that some of the tales from The Midnight Club had stuck with me and I just had forgotten where those stories came from.

106. Spike and Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row by Christopher Golden
Rating 8/10
I have mixed feelings about this book because it's a much darker side of Spike and Dru and I find that harder to read now. I enjoy it and the characters are such fun but it doesn't always mesh with what I think of when I think of Spike. Dru I can accept as being a psychotic murdering vampire because she pretty much was that way on the show and didn't really have softer moments. Spike got a lot softer on the show and so to read about him in his days of really being a Big Bad it's a little harder. On the other hand I thought it was great to be able to take his character and really show some stuff we didn't get to see on Buffy or Angel. I also really got sucked into the original story line and liked hearing more about the other Slayers. It doesn't have to be all about Buffy to be a good story, the mythology of the Slayer has so much potential without the cast of familiar characters.

107. The Book of Fours by Nancy Holder
Rating 7/10
I enjoyed this one but I found I didn't connect to the "new" slayer who was introduced to us as much as I had connected to the one in the Pretty Maids All in a Row book. Perhaps because she was not in the forefront of the story as much. Because of that lack of connection I found I wasn't as absorbed in this book as much. I did like how it called back to the first four books in this series... it's not a really stuck together set of books in that one has to read all of them but they do flow well together. Earlier stories by both Golden and Holder wrote are also referenced in this one. Very neat :)

108. Toothpaste Genie by Frances Duncan
Rating 7/10
I loved this book as a kid so I was thrilled to nab it at a second hand bookstore this year. It's a cute story to reread. Definitely not one that I adore as much as an adult but it's a cute read and has some nice twists on the "be careful what you wish for" theme.

109. Ten Sorry Tales by Mick Jackson
Rating: 9/10
I adored this collection of stories. Some appealed to me more than others but it was delightful overall. I was reminded somewhat of the Roald Dahl collection 'The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar: And Six More' which I actually had been thinking of recently. I think some of the stories in here I can use for teaching, some are not so appropriate for the younger students I have now but all were good for me.

October

110. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Rating 8.5/10
I liked this one much more than I thought I would. I had two people tell me it was a good read but not great and that the ending was pretty lackluster. However I read through this one in a matter of days and was totally swept up in the story. I loved the description. It's a bit wordy in places but mostly it kept up a fantastic flow. The story was interesting and I really felt like I was going along on the journey with the characters. Definitely enthralling.

111. Zel by Donna Jo Napoli
Rating 8/10
This is a retelling of Rapunzel. It doesn't stray too far from the well known fairy tale but it does expand on the story. It's very much a dark fairytale which I like. Napoli has a few other books where she's expanded traditional fairytales and I will definitely read her work again if I come across it.

112. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Rating 8/10
I find Gaiman's style a bit jarring at times but once I get into the flow of his story I really like his ideas. This story was so well researched, at least it read like it was, and it was great because it didn't only focus on the mainstream deities. I did feel irked at a bit that was left hanging for most of the book and I thought it was just disregarded but Gaiman does tie up his loose ends.

113. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur S. Golden
Rating 8/10
I found this book to be immensely readable. It was interesting the entire way through. I didn't find that I connected so much with the "epic romance" storyline that was going on but I did like the insight into the geisha lifestyle. It was really neat. I don't think this is one of the most epic stories ever but it was a fun read.

114. The Last Unicorn (Deluxe Edition) by Peter S. Beagle (includes the story 'Two Hearts')
Rating 10/10
This is a story that is just so dear to my heart. I love the book, I love the movie and I love that the story is starting to be continued. I really hope that Beagle does carry on from where he left off with Two Hearts. It's such a sad piece but there's such hope there too. This is one of those stories that I have to pass on to my kids and grand kids should I have any. It's timeless and beautiful much like a unicorn.

115. Minnow on the Say by Philippa Pearce
Rating 8/10
This book is utterly charming. I was expecting something a little more like her other novel 'Tom's Midnight Garden' but found that this one reminded me more of the Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome. I liked the mystery that ran through this book and I liked that I couldn't quite solve it but I could make good guesses at it. Part of missing the solution the second time around is that this was written in a different time and about a different time so there are things I just didn't know (and I'll leave it at that so as not to spoil anything.) I'm glad I picked this one up. The cover was so blah and didn't entice me to read it at all and had I not read and loved 'Tom's Midnight Garden' I don't think I'd have tried this one.

116. The Sorority: Eve: The Sorority (Sorority Trilogy) by Tamara Thorne
Rating 6.5/10
This one is totally trashy fun. Very readable, sadly part of a trilogy which I didn't know when I nabbed it at Value Village) so I'm going to buy the other two just because it was in the "so bad it's good" category. Mary Sue characters, sorority cliches, all that and so much more.

117. Among the Betrayed by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Rating: 7.5/10
The "third child" thing made me think of Ender's Game so I picked this one up. It's the third part in a series and I can tell this is one of those series which repeats the backround often because I got it really quickly. This would annoy me if I were reading all 4 (especially if I were reading all 4 in a row) because it's just so much of the same stuff over and over. The plot for this one was neat, some good twists and I'd be interested to see how the series began and how it finishes.

118. Wicked - Witch by Nancy Holder and Debbie Vigele
Rating 6/10
This one took a while to get into. I was reading it while commuting or else I think I'd have put it down altogether. Not great. It improves as it goes on and there's a neat play on past lives going on but it's not written wonderfully and the good parts are few and far between.

November

119. Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum
Rating 10/10
I heart the Oz books, this one I reread as I was donating it to the class I worked in and had it on hand one morning. I met a girl this year who named herself Polly after Polychrome when she was 5 and it stuck, that's pretty darn awesome. Back to the book, I love the fun whimsy in this one. I do get a little skeeved out by the idea of the Shaggy Man just wandering off with Dorothy but those were different times and clearly it's not that kind of book ;)

120. Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
Rating 7.5/10
Total fluff reading but still enjoyable. I didn't like the voice of the main character, she was just made to sound quite young (and she was young) but it was sort of that ditzy young thing and that's not so cool. But I love the elements of magic and faerie that Moning uses in her stories, they're always great fun.


121. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Rating 7.5/10
And the fluff continues. I will totally be picking up the third part of this series once it's in paperback. I had fun reading this one and I like where it's going. The gratuitous sex is still gratuitous as tends to be the case with this genre but I like the mythology a lot and that keeps the PWP at least having some plot to stand on ;)

122. Wicked - Curse by Nancy Holder and Debbie Vigele
6.5/10
The mythology in this one is used better than it was in the first one. I suppose it's just been more developed so maybe now it can get to where the authors intended it to be. It's still not wonderful though. I know there are 2 more parts to this series but I may pass on them. These are just not up to the usual level that I expect from Nancy Holder. Cheesy sure but these aren't fun reads even while they should be.

December
123. Inkdeath by Corneal Funke
Rating 10/10
Funke does a fantastic job of really giving a great end to this series. The world she created was so complex and for a while I was wondering how she'd tie everything up without copping out of the story but she did a great job. This series is so fantastic for readers, who wouldn't want to slip inside a favourite story once in a while?

124. Happily After All by Laura C. Stevenson
Rating 10/10
This has been one of my most favourite books for years. It's a total comfort book. Upon rereading it this time I realized how heavy a book it is for kids. There are a lot of tough issues in this story and I'm impressed at how nothing was really dumbed down for kids. Beautiful writing.

125. That Night by Alice McDermott
Rating 8.5/10
I really like this book. I discovered it after seeing the movie and the book is a much less happy Hollywood type of story and I didn't like it as much when I first read it. But I love the style of writing and I find that I make new connections in the story every time I read it. I like that in the movie the night that is "that" night is one could be debated whereas in the book it's really one concrete night the the rest of the story falls around.

126. Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Rating 8/10
I liked the way turrets was explored. I'm not sure how accurate it was but I felt like it was a good insight into the syndrome and into understanding how it can alter ones life. For me the very ending of the book made it less enjoyable though because it suddenly got very religious and I'm not much into the idea of God saving everything. But up until the last chapter or so it was a really interesting book to read.

127. Both Sides of Time by Caroline B. Cooney
Rating 7/10
This book had some very typical teenage love story ideas which had me rolling my eyes. But I did like that there was a lot more in here than I expected. The time travel was explored in a neat way and the consequences were pointed out for both the present and the past. I also enjoyed the mystery that cropped up in the past. It was a different way to look at some of the issues of women's rights as well. I for sure would have some of the same reactions to being in the past.

128. Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer
Rating 7/10
Charming idea that works well here. I find some of the other children's time travel stories have something a little extra that this one doesn't have. It almost feels a bit rushed, as though there was a bigger story here but the author edited it down a lot.

129. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Rating 9/10
This one scared me half to death! It's very topical and well thought out and if such a war were to start I think this book shows how it would play out on a global scale quite well. It's a brilliant read. The stories are varied and intense. Some were ones I wasn't as interested in (as is the nature of novels comprised of shorter stories) but most were very compelling and unforgettable.

130. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Rating 7/10
I liked a handful of the short stories in this one. The Yellow Wallpaper probably being my favourite as it was less on the heavy handed feminist rant scale. The essays at the end of the book were such long feminist diatribes and I found myself rolling my eyes through them and also realizing that this may be where the really psycho feminists are pulling their ideas from. They`re hugely dated essays. I can aquess some of the points when I look at it in perspective but I`ve heard people spouting stuff off today that sounds just like those essays and that`s scary.

And that`s the year, I just finished number 130 on the Go Train out to Mel and Todds on New Years Eve :) Here`s to much more reading in 2009!

ETA I read this about a couple of weeks before the end of December but forgot to add it. Oops!

131. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch
Rating 6/10
Disturbing really. This was one fucked up character who just kept getting more and more disturbed. I couldn't finish watching the series, but this helped fill in some blanks for me so that was a compliment to the show at least.


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Elizabeth Jamieson

January 2013

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