Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What's in a Name 5 Challenge!

Between January 1 and December 31, 2012, I will read one book in each of the following categories:
  • A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title
Robert B. Fleet. Last Mountain -- finished 1/31/2012
  • A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title
Poul Anderson. Trader to the Stars -- finished 7/23/2012
  • A book with a creepy crawly in the title
  • A book with a type of house in the title
  • A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title
  • A book with a something you'd find on a calendar in the title

TBR Challenge 2012!

Time once again for one of my favorite challenges! I selected 12 books plus 12 alternates/extra credit:

Here they are (in no particular order):

Alternates/Extra Credit:
  • Poul Anderson. Trader to the Stars -- finished 7/23/2012
  • Harriet Scott Chessman. Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper
  • Daniel Blythe. The Dimension Riders
  • Alice Hoffman. The Probable Future
  • Javier Sierra. The Secret Supper
  • Terry Bisson. Virtuosity
  • Philip Caputo. The Voyage
  • LA Banks. Minion
  • Madelyn Alt. The Trouble with Magic

Trader to the Stars by Poul Anderson

First sentence:

"Captain Bahadur Torrance received the news as befitted a Lodgemaster in the Federated Brotherhood of Spacemen."


"Their space-yacht, pursued by angry Adderkops thirsting for their blood, has run into serious engine trouble. Picking up the trail of another alien spaceship, they decide to board it and force its crew to take them home. But once aboard, its not so easy to find the crew: they're faced with cages full of bizarre, other-worldly animals: Tiger apes, Elephantoids, Gorilloids, Caterpiggles, Helmet beasts, Tentacle centaurs. One set of these extraordinary creatures must be the crew, in hiding. But which? Survival depends on finding the right answer. . .

And this is just the first of the problems facing Poul Anderson's intrepid space-merchant venturers in this masterly SF book!" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I liked this science fiction book of space-faring traders. I especially liked the challenge in the first story of trying to determine who were the crew and the cultural misunderstandings depicted in the last story. I look forward to reading the first book in the series, War of the Wing-Men.

Date read: 7/23/2012
Book #: 27
Series: Polesotechnic League, #2
Challenges: A-Z Challenge 2012, What's in a Name 5 Challenge, Off the Shelf Challenge 2012, TBR Challenge 2012
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF

ISBN-10: 0586022147
ISBN-13: 9780586022146
Publisher: Panther
Year: 1965
# of pages: 155
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander

First sentence:

"It's funny: it isn't the fire that kills you, it's the smoke."


The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: no one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any historical import has ever happened there, which is exactly why Solomon Kugel, like other urbanites fleeing their pasts and histories, decided to move his family there.

To begin again. To start anew. But it isn't quite working out that way for Kugel. . . .

His ailing mother stubbornly holds on to life, and won't stop reminiscing about the Nazi concentration camps she never actually suffered through. To complicate matters further, some lunatic is burning down farmhouses just like the one Kugel bought, and when, one night, he discovers history -- a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history -- hiding upstairs in his attic, bad very quickly becomes worse.

Hope: A Tragedy is a hilarious and haunting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit. It is a comic and compelling story of the hopeless longing to be free of those pasts that haunt our every present." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

From the first page to the last, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I especially liked Solomon's quest for the perfect dying words and his conversations with the doctor and the person in his attic.

Date read: 7/5/2012
Book #: 26
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 159448838X
ISBN-13: 9781594488382
Riverhead Books
Year: 2012
# of pages: 292
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Icon by Frederick Forsyth

First sentence:

"It was the summer when the price of a small loaf of bread topped a million rubles."


"Summer 1999. Russia stands on the threshold of anarchy. An interim president sits powerless in Moscow as his nation is wracked by famine and inflation, crime and corruption, and seething hordes of the unemployed roam the streets. For them, only one man holds out hope. The striking voice of Igor Komarov, waiting in the wings for the presidential election of January 2000, rings out over the airwaves, mesmerizing the masses with the promise of law, order, and prosperity--and the return to glory of their once great land.

Then a document falls into the hands of British Intelligence. Quickly dubbed the Black Manifesto, it outlines Komarov's secret plan for the regime as autocratic and evil as Hitler's Third Reich. Officially the West can do nothing, but in secret a group of elder statesmen sends the only person who can expose the truth about Komarov into the heart of the inferno. Ex-CIA agent Jason Monk has a dual mission: to stop Komarov, whatever it takes, and to prepare the way for an icon worthy of the Russian people.  But to do this, Monk must stay alive--and the forces allied against him are ruthless, the time frighteningly short...

Only Frederick Forsyth, the unparalleled master of the novel of international intrigue, could create this riveting thriller, as timely and unsettling as tomorrow's headlines." -- from the first page insert.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this fast-moving thriller with its mix of real and fictional events. I especially liked the twists and turns with surprises around almost every corner.

Date read: 7/2/2012
Book #: 25
Challenges: A-Z Challenge 2012, TBR Challenge 2012, Off the Shelf Challenge 2012
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0553574604
ISBN-13: 9780553574609
Publisher: Bantam Books
Year: 1996
# of pages: 567
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page