Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Weeks 14 and 15

I finished up Belle Cora, my book for week #27 (a book with a beautiful title).  This was a fun one for me - it follows the life of a young woman from her childhood in a well-to-do merchant family in New York in the 1830s, through her teenage years and eventually her travels to San Francisco in it's early years where she became a prosperous madam of one of the best houses in the city.  So many historical tidbits - the author (Richard Margulies) does a wonderful job contrasting the pious, well-respected household she grew up in (which has it's own secrets - her mother dies young of TB and her father in his grief, throws himself to his death off the family's store's roof) with the gritty, up-and-coming city of San Francisco.  I love books that give you lots of historical details that are so well-written into the story, you don't even realize how much you are actually learning from them - this novel was definitely one of those.  Well-recommended if you like historical fiction.  (And as a side note, despite the fact that she is running a whorehouse, this book really isn't very much about the details - it's much more a portrait of a woman I'd like to have at a dinner party to talk to.... she's fascinating).

I then moved on to week #12's topic - A childhood classic.  While not an old childhood classic, I think the Harry Potter books are must-reads for kids (and most adults, to be honest), so I re-read book #1 in the series - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  My local library totally made my weekend vending at YarnFest when they pinged my email on the way north saying the audiobook was now available - so I happily downloaded that and listened to it as I drove to and from Colorado (and a bit at night in my hotel room) - and finished that up.  The series is one of my favorites - obviously a whole lot of other people think so too.  I've got the other books on request as audiobooks and I plan to listen to the rest of the series over the summer.

Finally, this week, I started The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure.  Set in occupied Paris during World War II, the story follows a young man, Lucien Bernard, an architect, who is asked to build hiding places for Jews by a wealthy industrialist.  Lucien doesn't particularly care for Jews, and he struggles with the decision to risk his own life for people he doesn't like (while balancing that with the monetary rewards he is gaining from designing the projects.)  I've just started it - but I'll have more to say once I'm thru it in another week.

The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't.
2. A book set in a different continent
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr - DONE.
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name:  Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose - DONE.
6. The highest rated on your TBR
7. A book about books
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling - DONE.
13. Reader’s Choice:  Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell - DONE.
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How) What She Left - T.R. Richmond - DONE.
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago):  Cervantes Street by Jamie Manrique - DONE.
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
17. A book with a beautiful cover: Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.):  The Three Monarchs by Anthony Horowitz - DONE.
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion): Belle Cora - Richard Margulies - DONE.
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name:  The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - DONE.
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction:  The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. DONE.
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness: Adeline by Norah Vincent - DONE
35. An award winning book: River of Doubt by Candice Millard - DONE.
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation:  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - DONE.
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero:  Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace - DONE.
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre:
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction): The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure.
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story:  The Cutting Season by Attica Locke - DONE.
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English:  Tove Jansson's The Summer Book - DONE.
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

Tour de Fleece - Week 2

I'm pretty happy with my progress for the Tour so far this year!  I've been trying to have a goal of 15 minutes of spinning a day, o...