I have been working on the Readers' Challenge for ten months now. My ultimate goal is to Read 23 books in one year.
Since I slacked off on blogging and haven't posted here since February, here is a large portion of the books I have read for this challenge:
February 2008 (Month 4)
- Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett
This was my first exposure to the work of Terry Pratchett. As a long-time Douglas Adams fan, I had heard Pratchett's name many times, but never took the time to actually read one of his books. I grabbed this one because the plot sounded interesting, and when I read the jacket at home, I noticed it was part of the "Discworld" series. Curious about how to properly start the series, a lump formed in my throat as I discovered that there are thirty-two Discworld novels, and that's not counting four young adult novels, several graphic novels, multiple short stories, and a few science novels! In fact, there's even a flowchart displaying the proper reading order for eight different sub-plots within the Discworld series! Though this book is near the end of a reading order, I noticed that it was only "loosely" connected to the other books, so I went ahead and started reading. I could tell that I'd be reading more Pratchett (and more Discworld) books in the future shortly after I started. The Discworld is a mythology very similar to what you find in Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, but much more irreverent. A very fun read — so much so that I decided to start at the beginning of this sub-plot reading order ("Death Novels") and read more Pratchett.
- The Book of General Ignorance by John Lloyd & John Mitchinson
This is a great book that gives you the answers to questions you never knew you didn't know. For instance: Who invented the telephone? What is the normal state of glass? What is the Number of the Beast? How many states are in the US? What shape did Columbus think the earth was? How many sheep were on Noah's Ark? Despite what you think, you don't know these answers (unless your answers happened to be: Antonio Meucci, solid, 616, 46, pear-shaped, and 14). Be sure to read this book and find out the truth about 230 misconceptions that are considered "common knowledge". A truly enlightening read.
March 2008 (Month 5)
- No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
I slipped this book in early so I could read it before the Coen Brothers' movie based on this book came out. It's an interesting story. In fact, I was shocked at how loyal the Coens were to the book. Little was left out or changed, save for some extraneous plot lines that jumbled up the last few chapters.
- Girl Boy Etc. by Michael Weinreb
This is an enjoyable collection of short stories primarily narrated by single men. Throughout the various stories, Weinreb uses contrastingly different personalities and shows us points of view that we don't often read, see, or hear.
- Mort by Terry Pratchett
In Pratchett's first "Death Novel" of the Discworld series, Death hires a lanky apprentice who is appropriately named Mort. When Death takes a break and Mort fails to properly carry out his duties, strange things start happening throughout the Discworld.
April 2008 (Month 6)
- Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Fans of the hit Showtime series Dexter will enjoy reading the book that started it all. Those unfamiliar with the show might enjoy the book as well. Dexter suffered a traumatic incident as a child and was adopted by a cop. Dexter's past altered his brain and gave him homicidal urges, so his adoptive father Harry taught him to kill only those truly evil people in the world who kept escaping the law. Fittingly, Dexter works in the police crime lab as a blood spatter expert.
- Company: A Novel by Max Barry
Anyone who has ever worked in an office environment and/or for a large corporation will adore this book. Barry does an excellent job at picking on bureaucracy as well as pointless and often contradictory business methods. The book begins with Stephen Jones' first day at Zephyr. Jones is fresh out of school and has high hopes for his career, but before he even meets most of his co-workers he is given his first task: Find out whether the department was shorted a donut that morning, or if someone took a second donut. Jones discovers that Zephyr is a mind-bogglingly (and hilariously, for the reader) bureaucratic company. After continually being frustrated with the mindless bureaucracy, Jones decides to march his way to complain directly to Senior Management (gasp) without an appointment!
May 2008 (Month 7)
- Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
In the second of the Discworld "Death Novels", Death is fired from his job and sent to live among the humans. Not surprisingly, he chooses to work as a farmhand, using a scythe to cut grain. There's plenty of humor as Death attempts to live among humans, while the Wizards attempt to deal with strange occurrences due to the lack of a Death.
June 2008 (Month 8 )
- Jennifer Government by Max Barry
After finishing Company, I had to read another Max Barry novel. This novel takes place in a time where large companies have more or less taken the place of countries. Employees take on their employer's name as their last name, the government cannot do anything unless they are paid in advance, and companies begin using less guerrilla marketing and more guerrilla warfare. A unique view of a possible future, and a very interesting insight on large corporations.
- Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Another excellent Dexter book from Lindsay. These books spawned the Showtime series Dexter, and though the plots vary, the books contain the same dry, dark humor and eerie detail that you might have seen on the show. Regardless, the author does a great job at writing interesting plots that make us enjoy this "lovable monster" as he interacts with the world around him.
July 2008 (Month 9)
Though I read during the month of July, I didn't finish a book, and there are several reasons for this. First, I have gotten into geocaching (which I will discuss in a future post), and this took up a lot of the spare time I had been using for reading. Nonetheless, I have been geocaching since April, so this is hardly an excuse. Additionally, I finished Dearly Devoted Dexter at the tail end of June, so I didn't have a "head start" on any books for this month. The book I was reading (Soul Music) was enjoyable, but for some reason it was a slow read for me. All that said, we also spent a week traveling on vacation, and while the book made the trip, quality reading time hardly ever made itself available.
August 2008 (Month 10)
- Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
Another interesting book in the Discworld series. In this book, the Discworld (a Lord of the Rings-esque mythical land) is infused with rock music after a musician finds a mystical instrument. As usual, a fun Pratchett book.
- Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
An excellent novel for fans of the superhero genre. Chapters alternate between the two narrators, the evil super-genius Doctor Impossible and the cybernetic super-heroine Fatale. The book is filled with homages to common superpowers, catchphrases, and origin stories found in countless comic books. Particularly enjoyable are Doctor Impossible's internal discussions about fighting superheros despite the fact that he loses every single time.
I just finished my 21st book and I have over two months left to read the last two. To tell you the truth, I'm actually reading two books simultaneously (one fiction, one self-help), so I shouldn't have too much trouble with this.
See more progress on: Read 23 books in three years