Half Way Through

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to read 100 books this year and write reviews of 1/3 of them. Today is the end of the first half of the year and I’ve read 75 books so far. I am rocking that part of my goal. Alas, I’ve only written about 18 of them (is that good news for you? I hope that’s not good news).

Anyway, here is the list so far with a very brief take on each one. Like a sentence or so. Sometimes even a sentence fragment. And the links go back to my reviews of them. Because I know you wanted to read them again.

  1. The Lightening Thief – Rick Riordan. Good, but not great, frankly. What am I missing here? Am I the only person who didn’t adore them?
  2. Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter – Phoebe Damrosch Fun and interesting, if a bit long.
  3. Firegirl – Tony Abbott Nice quick read with a good message.
  4. Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food that Loves Me Back . . . And How You Can Too – Shauna James Ahern. The one thing I remember from this book: she talks major smack about her parents for their eating habits.
  5. The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School – Kathleen Flinn This and the “Service Included” book sort of run together for me.
  6. Slam – Nick Hornby I liked it, but not enough to read anything else by him yet.
  7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer. Oh, do I harbor animosity towards this book or what?
  8. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards Meh. Don’t waste your time.
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie An anonymous commenter told me I lived under a rock for thinking there were crass parts in here. Whatev.
  10. Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo Disappointing and forgettable.
  11. Coraline – Neil Gaiman Weird. And weird. But what do you expect from this man?
  12. A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray I read a review that said “not great, not beautiful. Just terrible.” And you know what? They were right.
  13. The Boy I Loved Before – Jenny Colgan Clever enough but a bit graphic.
  14. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White Classic, but not quite as classic as I’d remembered. This makes me sad.
  15. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town – Kimberly Willis Holt So pointless. Fat boy comes to town. Who cares? I was so angry at myself for being sad at the end.
  16. The Design of Everyday Things – Donald Norman A cool book about things you’d never thought of, like why the telephone keys are the opposite of the 10-key pad.
  17. Tantalize – Cynthia Leitich Smith Makes Twilight look like the Great American Novel.
  18. Hatchet – Gary Paulsen I want to like Gary Paulsen but frankly, people lost in the wilds of Canada don’t thrill me. Neither do attacking moose. I know. What’s wrong with me?
  19. Missing May – Cynthia Rylant The longest two CDs of my life.
  20. Holes – Louis Sachar Always great. If you haven’t read it, do. Three times through it and I still love it.
  21. Th1rteen R3asons Why – Jay Asher Still thinking about this five months later.
  22. Esperanza Rising – Pam Munoz Ryan Meh. Not bad, not great. Read this instead of the book.
  23. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything in Italy, India, and Indonesia – Elizabeth Gilbert Don’t even get me started.
  24. The Moon, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things – Carolyn Mackler I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Because, yeah, the title doesn’t exactly suggest greatness.
  25. P.S. I Love You – Ceclia Ahern Not bad.
  26. The Cay – Theodore Taylor It was better when my mom read it to us 12 years ago.
  27. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick You haven’t read this yet? Go, now!
  28. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac – Gabrielle Zevin Really enjoyed this one. Better than Elsewhere.
  29. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Mildred D. Taylor A classic. Read it and be a better person.
  30. Book of a Thousand Days – Shannon Hale Okay, but not as great as her other stuff.
  31. The Red Tent – Anita Diamant This book couldn’t decide if it was awesome and gripping or dull and wordy. So it did both.
  32. Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs – Paula Marantz Cohen A nice fluffy retelling of Persuasion.
  33. The Wednesday Wars – Gary D. Schmidt So good. Why have I not written about this book?
  34. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson Still haven’t decided how I felt about this book.
  35. The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory A really great book, but not great enough to read the sequels, apparently. Someday.
  36. The Return of Jonah Gray – Heather Cochran Eh, not amazing. It’s hard to be a chick lit book with only two pages of sappy romance. Come on!
  37. The Little Lady Agency and the Prince – Hester Browne I liked it until I thought about it more and decided it was a sell-out. Pshah.
  38. Click – Ten Authors Started out strong but was almost not worth finishing.
  39. Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson Amazing.
  40. Beowulf: A New Telling – Robert Nye I didn’t even know the story of Beowulf, so I thought it was interesting.
  41. Lawn Boy – Gary Paulson Weird. Like REALLY weird.
  42. One-Handed Catch – M.J. Auch Good but not memorable. Based on the author’s husband who did lose his hand in a meat grinder.
  43. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle Not nearly as good the second time around.
  44. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party – M.T. Anderson Should have just quit.
  45. The Devil’s Arithmetic – Jane Yolen A decent Holocaust story, but there are certainly a gazillion better ones.
  46. Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging – Louise Rennison I’m ashamed at how much I laughed while listening to this silly teenage book. Made me miss London.
  47. Remember Me? – Sophie Kinsella A little crass, but I liked the storyline a lot.
  48. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis Hmm, not really such a fan, I realized.
  49. A Wind in the Door – Madeleine L’Engle I can hardly remember this book except that I didn’t really love it.
  50. Chasing Vermeer – Blue Balliett NOT the da Vinci Code for kids. Alas.
  51. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God – Louise Rennison Also hilarious.
  52. The House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer Rave, rave, very good.
  53. Certain Girls – Jennifer Weiner Ugh, and I’m done with Jennifer Weiner.
  54. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak I’m ready to read this again. It was THAT good.
  55. Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli Love. Even though some of you don’t.
  56. The Market – J.M. Steele Fun, quick.
  57. The Taker – J.M. Steele Maybe better than The Market. Better ending, for sure.
  58. Nothing But the Truth – Avi I sort of wanted to slap the main character for being such a fool.
  59. Just Ella – Margaret Peterson Haddix Skip this. Read Ella Enchanted instead.
  60. Love, Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli Not as good as Stargirl, but definitely excellent. I need a third book where they freaking get together, though.
  61. Up All Night – Peter Abrahams, Libba Bray, David Levithan, Sarah Weeks, Gene Yang, Patricia McCormick A lousy collection of short stories.
  62. The Bronze Bow – Elizabeth George Speare Right up there in the top books of the year for me so far. I may have cried during the last few tracks. But I may not have. Fine, I did.
  63. Shadow of a Bull – Maia Wojciechowska. Snore. . . .
  64. Smiles to Go – Jerry Spinelli Cemented my love for Spinelli. That man can write. I swear he sees right into the teenage human soul.
  65. The Slave Dancer – Paula Fox Not as bad as Shadow of the Bull, but holy crap, long and dull.
  66. Love the One You’re With – Emily Griffin Great, like all her books, although not QUITE as great as some of the others.
  67. 100 Days and 99 Nights – Alan Madison Cute, but very young.
  68. The Thief Lord – Cornelia Funke Amazing audiobook. Bart and I both loved it.
  69. Cicada Summer – Andrea Beaty Quite good, but I don’t think it’s the Newbery candidate some have tagged it for.
  70. The Host – Stephenie Meyer Better writing and plot than Twilight, but not quite as addicting and also. . . no major conflict/climax. What?
  71. Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder – David Weinberger Read this. See the world differently. Amen.
  72. When it Happens – Susan Colasanti Not worth reading.
  73. Kira Kira – Cynthia Kadohata Would have been better at half the length.
  74. Good Enough – Paula Yoo So very average.
  75. The Magic Half – Annie Barrows Cute, fun, and clever.

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  • Reply Carly Jane July 1, 2008 at 3:23 am

    Bravo! I loved getting the snippits of insight. I am relieved to see you read so much YA lit. I sometimes think I should be able to move on, but I think Bridge to Terabithia, Stargirl, Goose Girl, Dicey’s Song, etc. etc. et al. will always be some of my favorites. And I just can’t help but get lost in that section of Barnes and Nobles.

    Way to be such a rock star reader!

    ps. do you own or borrow or both?

  • Reply Stefanie Elyse July 1, 2008 at 4:14 am

    Wow. I can’t even imagine reading that much. I am one of those “lurking” bloggers who reads your posts and never comments. But feeling highly motivated by the impression you’ve left on me, I decided to reveal myself. Congrats on reading so many awesome/not so awesome books!

  • Reply Sherry July 1, 2008 at 6:59 am

    I really don’t read enough now that I’ve moved down here, and this post made me question whether or not I can truly count “reading” as a hobby. Alas.

    Anyway, I decided at about the middle of this post that we need to have a gmail chat about some of these books. Okies. Chat with you later. About books. And about how Skilla gets home soon. And about why you refuse to come visit me. And about other random stuff.

  • Reply eatrunliveCBUS July 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Since you read a lot of childrens/young adult books, I would like to suggest some Sharon Creech. She is incredible. Try Ruby Holer, The Wadnerer or Chasing Redbird.

  • Reply Janelle July 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks for the list, I’ll have to add some of these to my “to read” list.

    I must say, I loved Lightening Theif, and sequels. I do fully agree that there needs to be a third Stargirl. That was my feeling exactly.

  • Reply Janelle July 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I meant “Thief.” I can spell, I swear.

  • Reply Operation Pink Herring July 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I am beyond impressed! I still haven’t finished Omnivore’s Dilemma. I started it in…. December.

  • Reply TheMoncurs July 1, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I actually really really liked The Host. How did I not notice there was no major conflict/climax? I’m usually so picky about those things.

    I wish I read as much as you do. Alas, a certain small person in my life requires a whole heck of a lot of my attention. Sigh.

  • Reply Liz July 1, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I have to pace myself. I was reading a book a day, which is terrible for my life. Occasionally two books.

    I haven’t kept track of them, and now I wish I had. What a good idea! Except I’m taking the summer off from reading, so I’ll have to think of it in the fall.

  • Reply Lindsay July 1, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Wow! I wish I had time to read that much! I loved what you had to say about each book, and the comments about the books you didn’t like made me laugh! I’m heading to the library after Sandler wakes up from his nap and I just might print out this list to take with me! So, thanks for the recommendations!

  • Reply Kristy July 1, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Hooray! Thanks for putting this together–I trust you to pick out good books for me to read next.

  • Reply audrey July 1, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks for the list! I just added a bunch of these (only those with good reviews, of course) to my to-read list.

  • Reply Lisa July 1, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    That was awesome. I feel a half year of mini-reviews coming on for my blog now! (A much much shorter post than yours though.) My favorite was A Great and Terrible Beauty- my favorite mini-review that is. You need to review Speak, I just read it and want to see what everyone else thinks.

    And to make this even more random, I do love the look of your blog. Did you do it yourself? Wanna do mine? No, I’m serious!

  • Reply La Petite Chic July 2, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    I wasn’t that keen on The Memory Keeper’s Daughter either, though everyone else who read it said they loved it.

  • Reply Heather West July 2, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Hey This is Heather West (Orme) I just made a blog. YOu should check it out. IT is

  • Reply K-Love July 3, 2008 at 2:20 am

    I’m glad you liked the new Emily Giffin book. I haven’t read it yet but would have been disappointed if you gave it a bad review.

    Very impressive list as well. I can never find the time to read as much as I like. I’ll use your list in the future for suggestions.

  • Reply ashley July 3, 2008 at 2:40 am

    THis was a pretty long list- yikes, but I actually went through the whole thing, and I am going to go back through again and write some down and then go to the library and get a library card..WAIT- first, I’ll find out where our library is…and then I’ll read some. I dont read very often, but when I do, I cant put the book down until I am done. Give me your top 5 good, fun reads *please no fictional church novels, ugg.

  • Reply Merrick July 3, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    This is highly impressive. I think I’ve read like 5 so far. But text books count? Cause I’ve read a whole heck of alot of those…

  • Reply Lexiloo July 3, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    I need to start keeping track of the books I read! I read a lot, I always have at least two books going, but I need to list them! My mother is amazing about keeping track of her books (she’s a librarian…) and has her lists going back to 1992!

  • Reply Jennifer Lee July 7, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    You are my hero and the person I come to for many book recommendations. Thanks!

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