mcroushorn tries for a century

Discussão100 books in 2014 challenge

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

mcroushorn tries for a century

Este tópico está presentemente marcado como "inativo" —a última mensagem tem mais de 90 dias. Reative o tópico publicando uma resposta.

1mcroushorn
Editado: Dez 31, 2014, 9:31 pm

So, my decision to track the books that I read this year stems from a Facebook post that a friend made saying that they had cleared a shelf on which to put all of the books that they read in 2014. I thought this was a cool idea but based on how much I read and how little extra space that I have on my bookshelves I decided to go the electronic route and just recently found this site. I largely read fiction and am a big Star Wars fan and a big Lord of the Rings fan but also read some random stuff. I do tend to re-read books because otherwise I would be totally broke but I am trying to read some new books as well. I joined the 75 books group but the group is huge and I'm ahead of schedule so I figured I'd go for the upgrade.

First time reads: 67
Re-reads: 55

Books to Date:

January:
1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows*
2) Star Wars: True Colors
3) Danger in the Shadows
4) Star Wars: X-Wing Mercy Kill
5) The Negotiator
6) Rogue Crew
7) At Home in Mitford
8) Out to Canaan
9) These High Green Hills
10) The Magician's Nephew
11) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
12) The Horse and His Boy
13) Prince Caspian
14) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
15) The Silver Chair

February:
16) The Last Battle
17) Star Wars: Rogue Planet
18) The Guardian
19) The Truth Seeker
20) The God Spot
21) Out of the Silent Planet*
22) Perelandra*
23) That Hideous Strength*

March:
24) Star Wars: Maul Lockdown*
25) Champion in the Darkness*
26) Elisha's Bones*
27) Eight World Cups*
28) Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves*
29) Mistborn: The Final Empire*
30) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension*
31) Mistborn: Hero of the Ages*
32) The Swiss Family Robinson
33) Mistborn: The Alloy of Law*
34) Star Wars: Tales from the Empire
35) The Stormlight Archive: The Way of Kings*

April:
36) Ender's Game
37) Speaker for the Dead*
38) The Normal Christian Life*
39) Xenocide*
40) Children of the Mind*
41) Ender in Exile*
42) Ender's Shadow
43) Shadow of the Hegemon*
44) Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
45) Shadow Puppets*
46) Hosting the Presence*
47) Shadow of the Giant*

May:
48) Shadows in Flight*
49) Star Wars: Wedge's Gamble
50) When Heaven Invades Earth*
51) The Fellowship of the Ring
52) The Two Towers
53) The Return of the King
54) Seeing Through Heaven's Eyes*
55) Red Sox vs. Yankees: The Great Rivalry*

June:
56) The Bourne Identity*
57) The Stormlight Archive: Words of Radiance*
58) Star Wars: Specter of the Past
59) Star Wars: Vision of the Future
60) Star Wars: Survivor's Quest
61) Jungle Calls
62) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
63) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
64) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
65) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

July:
66) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
67) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
AA) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows**
68) A Cast of Stones*
69) The Hero's Lot*
70) A Draw of Kings*
71) Warbreaker*
72) Eragon
73) Eldest
74) Brisingr
75) Inheritance
76) Four Cups*
77) The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success*
78) The Twenty-One Balloons
79) Dark Space*
80) Deja Dead: A Novel*

August:
81) Mudville Madness: Fabulous Feats, Belligerent Behavior, and Erratic Episodes on the Diamond*
82) Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void*
83) Sabriel*
84) Steelheart*
85) A Quest of Heroes*
86) Dandelion Wine*
87) Lirael*
88) Abhorsen*
89) A Voice in the Wind*
90) An Echo in the Darkness*

September:
91) As Sure as the Dawn*
92) Transported by the Lion of Judah*
93) Mansfield's Book of Manly Men*
94) Rainbow Six*
95) Blood of Requiem*
96) Tears of Requiem*
97) Light of Requiem*
98) Clear and Present Danger*
99) This Present Darkness
100) Piercing the Darkness

October:
101) Eulalia*
102) Carry On Mr. Bowditch
103) Crazy Ball*
104) The DMZ
105) Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen*
106) Elantris*
107) Dune*
108) Jesus the One and Only*

November:
109) Star Wars: Wraith Squadron
110) The Shadow and Night*
111) The Eye of the World*

December:
112) The Great Hunt*
113) The Dragon Reborn*
114) The Hobbit
115) The Approaching Storm
116) The Emperor's Soul
117) The Westing Game
118) Seven Daughters and Seven Sons
119) Light from Heaven
120) Shepherds Abiding
121) Immanuel, God with Us*
122) In This Mountain

*indicates a book that I have never read before
**read twice this year--won't go toward official count but I still want it recorded

2judylou
Fev 22, 2014, 9:53 pm

*not too many new books yet . . .

Welcome to the group. I look forward to following your thread.

3Helenliz
Fev 23, 2014, 5:59 am

Welcome to the group. You're making good progress on 100 in the year. I see you're read the Narnia series, I haven't read them in years. I can't decide if I ought to leave the memory of them alone, or try them again...

4wookiebender
Fev 23, 2014, 8:57 pm

Welcome to the "upgrade" to the 75 book group. ;) I love that concept.

5bryanoz
Fev 24, 2014, 6:01 am

Welcome !!

6mcroushorn
Fev 24, 2014, 10:48 am

Thanks for the welcome!

judylou: definitely not too many new ones yet though I read the entire Harry Potter series for the first time at the end of last year between 12/28 and 1/1 with the last book being read on January 1st of this year so the list would look a bit better if those could be included this year. I've got a few new books in the pipe though.

Helenliz: I'm somebody who reads my favorite books many, many times so I'm always in favor of a re-read but not everybody is in to that...I've probably read the Narnia books at least 10 times over the last 20-25 years since my mom read them aloud to me when I was a kid. I imagine it might be strange to go back and re-read something that I hadn't read for many years though.

7jfetting
Fev 24, 2014, 11:40 am

Welcome to the group! I read C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy last year, so I'll be interested to see what you think of them. I loved Out of the Silent Planet, enjoyed Perelandra, and pretty much hated whatever was #3.

8mcroushorn
Fev 26, 2014, 12:20 pm

I'm going to try to start giving some simple reviews/thoughts about the books that I read this year especially if I've never read them before. I don't consider myself a critic by any stretch of the imagination. My opinion about a book largely comes down to my enjoyment of the story. I am not nearly as concerned with the technical aspect of the writing or the character development or things like that. Did I enjoy the story? If you kill a beloved main character I may well quit reading the book. For me, life is tough enough without getting more stress and anguish from my books. That's not to say that I won't read books that are of a more serious nature but the serious books aren't my go-to read.

9mcroushorn
Fev 26, 2014, 12:21 pm

Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis

Out of the Silent Planet is the first book in the Space Trilogy that Lewis published in the late 30's and early 40's. I very much enjoyed this book. I would actually classify it as a philosophical fiction book that happens to incorporate space travel and aliens. I'm not typically a huge fan of philosophical books (life poses enough questions without adding more) but this book did a good job of balancing the space travel and aliens with the philosophical discussion about death and poetry.

One of the things that I think is portrayed pretty well is the awkward factor of landing on an alien planet. The aliens that you meet haven't developed some device that instantly translates to and from English. The vegetation is foreign. The water is different. It's definitely a very alien experience.

If you are looking for a book with super advanced technology, aliens, blasters, or crazy action this is not the book for you. There is space travel that is currently outside the bounds of what we can currently accomplish but there is very little time spent discussing the technology that made this possible.

I'm a Christian and so the Christian undertones to the book are interesting to me but, in my opinion, they are not so in your face as to offend people of other beliefs. The religion that is talked about is certainly recognizable as Christianity but from my perspective it wasn't super "preachy" but of course that might just be me. In this book, and it would appear within the series, Lewis explores a few what-ifs with regard to Christianity.

It's not a super long read but in my opinion it is definitely worth reading. Well done Mr. Lewis!

10mcroushorn
Fev 26, 2014, 12:22 pm

Perelandra by CS Lewis

Perelandra is the second book in the Space Trilogy that Lewis published in the late 30's and early 40's. This book was a decent read but I did not enjoy it nearly as much as the first book. Perelandra was almost completely a philosophical exploration of what the events of the Garden of Eden could have looked like if they had gone differently. The book has a small amount of space travel, a little bit of action, and does take place on another planet but the majority of the book is spent in a long-running conversation/debate.

It was an interesting read but honestly if I hadn't already read Out of the Silent Planet I don't know for sure that I would have finished this book. I really didn't have any idea where the book was going and I was interested to see how it tied in with the overall story.

The philosophical nature of the book sort of caused my eyes to glaze over a few times during my reading and I was honestly more interested in what was actually going to happen in the story as opposed to the nature of the debate. The debate was a much more in-depth and modern version of Eve verse the Serpent from the book of Genesis. There were certainly some interesting arguments made along the way but at the end of the day I never got all that interested in the debate.

Again, it's not a terribly long book but my general experience was positive and I am glad that I read it. However, it doesn't immediately reach re-read status for me.

I've just started the third book, That Hideous Strength, and I'll post about it when I finish it. I'm still curious about the end game of the entire series. Will things be resolved? Or will it just kind of peter out?

11jfetting
Fev 26, 2014, 1:37 pm

Yes! SO much talking in Perelandra. Not enough plot. I did like his descriptions of Venus, though.

12mcroushorn
Editado: Dez 31, 2014, 9:31 pm

I figure that I might as well get into this Reading Bingo Game myself. This will probably help me add a few new, unread books to my list. I'm going to try to use a different book for each square.



General List
A Book With More Than 500 Pages - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
A Forgotten Classic - The Swiss Family Robinson
A Book that Became a Movie - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
A Book Published This Year - Star Wars: Maul Lockdown published 1/28/14
A Book With a Number in the Title - Eight World Cups

A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty - Eldest
A Book With Non-Human Characters - Out of the Silent Planet
A Funny Book - Light from Heaven
A Book by a Female Author - At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
A Book With a Mystery - The Truth Seeker

A Book With a One Word Title - Xenocide
A Book of Short Stories - Tales from the Empire
A Book set on a Different Continent - Shadow of the Hegemon
A Book of Non-Fiction - The Normal Christian Life

The First Book by a Favorite Author - Eragon
A Book you Heard About Online - Mistborn: The Final Empire
A Best-Selling Book - The Lord of the Rings
A Book Based on a True Story - Transported by the Lion of Judah
A Book at the Bottom of Your To-Read Pile - Dune

A Book Your Friend Loves - Speaker for the Dead
A Book That Scares You - Deja Dead
A Book That is more than 10 Years Old - That Hideous Strength published 1945
The Second Book in a Series - Perelandra: the second book in The Space Trilogy
A Book With a Blue Cover - Hosting the Presence

13wookiebender
Fev 28, 2014, 7:39 am

Ooh, another book bingo convert, good to see. :)

And nice reviews, well done on them.

14mcroushorn
Fev 28, 2014, 7:01 pm

Pictures of my bookshelves!

Shelf #1 aka The Star Wars Shrine


Shelf #2 Sports, fiction, and some Christian fiction


Shelf #3 Random Stuff with no real order


The Reading Throne and the Kindle

15wareagle78
Mar 1, 2014, 9:45 am

Love the pictures!

16Helenliz
Mar 1, 2014, 12:00 pm

Everyone needs a reading throne. And nice wide arms to balance a cup of coffee* and plate of biscuits on while curled up.

* insert beverage of your choice here.

17mcroushorn
Mar 1, 2014, 6:46 pm

That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis

That Hideous Strength is the third and final installment of The Space Trilogy that Lewis published in the late 30's and 40's. This book is kind of hard to rate but I would have to put it in a tie with Perelandra. I really have mixed feelings about the book. The first few chapters were very slow and there was no clear connection to the first two books of the series but then the main character of the series showed up again and things started to move along. However, it felt like I spent the entire book thinking that it was about to get awesome only to get bogged down again.

The book had several very interesting characters in it which range from the wizard Merlin from Arthurian times to a severed head that has been re-animated to a seer all set against the backdrop of an attempt at what would be classified a dystopian society but somehow it never got over the hump to be a great read for me. I remember thinking that the book was both too realistic and yet not realistic enough. The book was set in England and this "enlightened" organization was attempting to take over a college and then a town and then the whole world to set up their ideal world which would be very objective and sterile. And yet there were these crazy character as well.

Things were resolved at the end in somewhat bizarre fashion but at least they were resolved.

I am glad that I read this book but I'm sort of left with a feeling of "What just happened?"

18mcroushorn
Mar 1, 2014, 6:47 pm

The Space Trilogy

So I have reviewed each of the three books in this series separately and it occurs to me that a review of the series as a whole might be helpful. I know that I had no idea what to expect when I started reading and I found myself struggling to figure out what the point of the series was.

This is not a science fiction series even though space travel, aliens, magicians, seers, re-animated heads, etc all play a role. The first two books consider some philosophical ideas and the third books feels like a commentary on the "enlightened" people who will attempt to control society through force, genetic engineering, social engineering, etc.

This series is a strange mix of fiction and social commentary. Religion plays a fairly large role and yet, I think because it's a fictional story, Lewis isn't trying to evangelize or teach with this series. The religion is pretty clearly Christianity yet things are distorted a bit with these other worlds and peoples. With fiction books I like to just be able to read the story and enjoy without necessarily having to evaluate everything that the author is trying to say. Lewis even notes at the beginning of one of the books that none of the characters are supposed to be allegorical and yet during some of the debates on Perelandra and in That Hideous Strength it feels like you are being hit in the face with his commentary. It's kind of confusing.

I definitely enjoyed the series though it won't necessarily go in the re-read pile. It's definitely worth the read especially if you are interested in philosophical ideas and debates with a little space travel thrown in for good measure.

19wookiebender
Mar 4, 2014, 6:51 am

I like the photos of the bookcases! And it's a good idea to review the whole Space Trilogy, thanks for that. One day I may get around to reading them.

20mcroushorn
Mar 7, 2014, 8:51 pm

Eight World Cups received through the Early Reviewer program

This was a very enjoyable trip through the last 8 world cups starting in Spain in 1982 and continuing all the way through South Africa in 2010. The author did an excellent job of hitting the highs and lows of each of the tournaments as well as documenting the growth of the US National Team program. In addition, the descriptions of his travels throughout the host country gave glimpses of each country and the local attitude toward the World Cup.

As someone who was a soccer referee for a few years in high school and played in rec leagues all the way into college this quick overview of recent soccer history whetted my appetite for more. This book could well be an entry point into soccer history for casual fans as well as a nice addition to the library of serious fans.

As the 2014 World Cup approaches I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking to get into the World Cup spirit.

****

21mcroushorn
Mar 10, 2014, 12:08 pm

Mistborn: The Final Empire

Just finished the first book in the Mistborn Trilogy and very much enjoyed it. This book chronicles the insane attempt to overthrow the ruler of this land who has ruled for 1000 years and is even regarded as a god. With a number of twists at the end of the book it was very enjoyable though perhaps a tad longer than needed.

The magic system in this series is a very unique construction and made for a very interesting departure from the norm. It will be interesting to see if and how the system is developed during the rest of the series. We know the basics of how magic works but we really know very little about the history of the system. I hope that the author continues to expound upon the magic system as I move through the rest of the trilogy.

While we have very little actual interaction with the current ruler the author provides an excerpt at the beginning of each chapter that claims to be part of a diary kept by the ruler during the events that led to the beginning of his rule. I enjoyed the gradual unveiling of the history of The Final Empire that is woven throughout current events.

A very enjoyable read and I definitely recommend this story to anybody looking for a new fantasy series.

22wookiebender
Mar 13, 2014, 7:35 am

Oh yes, I liked Mistborn too! Must buy the second book.

23mcroushorn
Mar 16, 2014, 12:56 pm

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension

Book two of the Mistborn trilogy was an excellent read. I really enjoyed this book as it continued to expand the characters of the previous books as well as continuing to unfold the history and mystery of this land. Sanderson did an excellent job of describing the basics of this world, its inhabitants, and its magical system in the first novel. The first book created the framework of the world and this second novel begins to fill in the rest of the picture.

I found myself unable to put this book down as I had so many questions about the world and its characters. As in the first book, there is a short excerpt from what appears to be a diary kept by some observer or character in this world that hints at things to come and at things that are happening behind the scenes of the narration. Between these teasers, the prophecies of the world, and the events in which the main characters find themselves participating, this book grabbed my attention and refused to let go.

I highly recommend this series.

24mcroushorn
Mar 16, 2014, 1:08 pm

Mistborn: The Hero of Ages

The final book in the Mistborn trilogy was very good, if a bit sluggish at times. The entire time that I was reading there was a sense of impending doom that the entire world was going to completely fall apart. But I kept reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen.

I fell in love with the characters and the world they lived in and so I had to continue reading to find out what happened to them even though things seemed incredibly bleak. I, personally, prefer books that have a happy ending and generally avoid books that do not but I was hooked on this series and had to know what happened even though there seemed to be no hope.

The three books are each about 500 pages but I finished the entire series in less than 6 days. They kept my attention very well though at times it felt like they might have been about 50-75 pages too long. But it certainly wasn't hard to press through.

I very much recommend this series.

25mcroushorn
Mar 16, 2014, 1:21 pm

The Swiss Family Robinson

An enjoyable re-read for me and also gave me my first Reading Bingo on my card as I slotted it into the forgotten classic spot. While certainly a somewhat naive and unrealistic story of a family that was shipwrecked on an island that happens to have nearly every resource needed to not only survive but to live like kings I always enjoy reading this book. I have some fascination with stories like these where the characters have to pull together resources and invent things to survive--The Island of the Blue Dolphin is another similar story though perhaps slightly more realistic.

26bryanoz
Mar 17, 2014, 7:27 am

Agree with you on the Mistborn series, great fantasy !

27mcroushorn
Mar 17, 2014, 11:16 am

I think that I actually found out about the series from your list of books for this year so thanks for introducing me!

28mabith
Mar 17, 2014, 5:54 pm

Glad to hear that Eight World Cups was good! I feel like I should read *something* soccer related before the Cup starts, but I don't feel the need for it to be super specific or go way back. I only truly remember the last five cups (I remember watching 1990's but only the act of it being a Big Deal in my family versus actual games), so this book seemed like a good fit for me.

29wookiebender
Mar 30, 2014, 8:55 pm

Oh, is it World Cup time already? Didn't we just have one??

And thanks for the nudge towards books #2 & #3 of Mistborn!

30mcroushorn
Mar 31, 2014, 10:25 am

Yes indeed it's World Cup time again! Mistborn was great and The Alloy of Law was an excellent addition to the Mistborn universe. I'll review it a little later but it was kind of like setting a Western Novel in the Mistborn world. Very enjoyable! Review also to come on The Way of Kings.

About to start cranking on the Ender's Quintet. I've read Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow but had to take a little break from buying books after that so I didn't read any further into Ender's world.

31mcroushorn
Editado: Mar 31, 2014, 10:32 am

32wookiebender
Mar 31, 2014, 6:00 pm

Great definition of "party". :)

33mcroushorn
Editado: Abr 8, 2014, 10:05 pm

25% of the way through the year and I am on pace to read 120 books this year. It's been a great start to the year. I've generally enjoyed all of the books that I've read this year and I'm glad to see that my ratio of re-reads to new reads has dropped from a peak of 19:1 down to 1.5:1.

Brandon Sanderson has become one of my new favorite authors and I've enjoyed the 5 books of his that I have read so far.

I've pulled off two Book Bingos so far and look forward to trying to complete the entire card.

Good luck and happy reading to everyone! I'll be traveling for about 5 days so I hope to finish out the Ender's Quintet series. 3 books to go. Also, if you see a book on my list that you would like a review for just let me know!

34mcroushorn
Abr 8, 2014, 9:07 pm

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law is a fourth book that is set in the Mistborn universe. It is not a part of the original trilogy but is set several hundred years into the future. In many ways it has something of a Western novel feel while still utilizing the same unique system of magic.

Sanderson weaves a compelling story around an intriguing set of characters. As in the Mistborn trilogy the main character has his own set of struggles and flaws that he must deal with in order to be able to live.

In all of Sanderson's novels I find myself drawn into the world and into the lives of the characters and must find out what will happen to them. His books tend to be a little on the longer side (this is the shortest of his books that I have read and it still breaks the 400 page mark) and sometimes feel like they are paced a little slow yet I cannot put them down. I have to know what happens.

I accidentally read this book in basically one sitting the same afternoon that I purchased it. I got going and just couldn't stop reading it. Excellent book that I really enjoyed.

35mcroushorn
Editado: Maio 29, 2014, 11:59 pm

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I very much enjoyed this massive (1000+ pages) start to what is going to be a 10 volume fantasy series from Sanderson. He creates a new world with a new system of magic, new creatures, new dangers, and new characters. As in the Mistborn series, nature itself could almost be a character. Nature is an untamed beast that imposes its will on the land with significant regularity.

This book starts with a prologue about events that took place 4500 years prior to the story but it just sort of throws you in and doesn't explain the significance of the event or even really who the characters are. Then it jumps to a more recent event and then you jump in to the story.

I spent a fair amount of the book uncertain about what is really going on and honestly I still don't really know where things are going. But the story and the characters still drew me in and kept me reading. This seems to be a technique that Sanderson uses. He gives you information but doesn't explain the significance of it until much later. Somehow it's intriguing enough that I have to find out what is going to happen. It's a bit perplexing but it works on me.

As in the Mistborn series he has a quote or entry from a diary or book at the beginning of each chapter that has no clear connection to what is going on in the book. Many of these quotes are listed as being gathered less than a minute before death. But we are told nothing about why this matters or who is gathering this information. But it has been an intriguing way to add a new story line or viewpoint without having to actually add an official new story line.

The book follows the story lines of three major characters, each of whom are struggling with significant inner turmoil. The author does an excellent job of showing the struggle and I could appreciate and sympathize with the characters as they struggle. He never promises that the characters will make the right choice or that things are going to work out in the end. And even when they do make the "correct" choice (because you can't just kill off a major character before they go anywhere, right?) it still seems believable.

I definitely would recommend this book though I wish that the series was complete rather than only being 2 books in to this 10 book series. I'm very interested to see where things go and to learn more about this new world and its history.

36Helenliz
Maio 8, 2014, 4:54 am

37bryanoz
Maio 8, 2014, 8:12 am

Great start to the year !

Agree with your take on The Way of Kings, I think/hope that some of the confusion will be settled in future books in the series, have Words of Radiance sitting on my desk, must get to it.

I also super enjoyed the Mistborn trilogy, thanks for bringing The Alloy of Law to my attention, must get to that as well ! Cheers

38mcroushorn
Maio 13, 2014, 10:10 pm

Halfway home! And I've reached a 1:1 ratio of re-reads to new reads!

I also seem to have an irrational fear that at some point this year I won't be able to read for a while and so I keep pressing ahead frantically with my reading even though I am way ahead of schedule.

Read on my fellow Centenarians!

*reviews to come

39mcroushorn
Editado: Jun 2, 2014, 2:34 pm

Red Sox vs. Yankees: The Great Rivalry

This was an enjoyable book that I received through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. The authors detail major moments throughout this historic rivalry. I knew that the Red Sox owner in the early 1900's had sold several players to the Yankees over the years but I didn't realize the extent to which this occurred.

As a baseball fan I enjoyed the book but as a Phillies' fan it lacked the emotional punch for me that a die-hard Sox or Yankees fan will experience. I imagine that fans of either of these teams who are my Dad's age or older would have a much different experience reliving the triumphs and tragedies detailed in this book.

I would certainly recommend this book to any Red Sox or Yankees fan that I come across but fans with no ties to either team may struggle to get through the book. At the end of the day it was an enjoyable read and I learned a few things about this historic rivalry.

***

40mcroushorn
Jun 2, 2014, 3:11 pm

This post will be a quick review of the Ender's Game Quintet series by Orson Scott Card that I read in April. I will post the books in chronological order based on the timeline of events in the books.

Ender's Game is the fantastic start to this series. It features a brilliant child with incredible leadership skills and follows him through his training to be the needed military leader to save Earth from the Buggers. The Buggers are an alien race with superior technology who came close to wiping out Earth some 50 years ago. I give this book a five star rating. Technology, fighting, psychology, and philosophy all play a part in this fast paced book.

Ender in Exile actually takes place during the last few pages of Ender's Game. Card basically summarizes some pretty significant events at the very end of Ender's Game and this book expands upon these events. Things don't move quite as fast in this book and technology, psychology and philosophy take on a greater role. I definitely recommend reading this book after reading Ender's Game. It's probably a 4 star book for me.

The series takes a pretty significant turn with the last three books of the series. I enjoyed the remaining three books Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind but they are very different from the other two books and might be tough for people who enjoy fast-paced action stories to get through. Things turn very philosophical and there is some very weird technology that comes into being. I enjoyed reading these other three books but they probably won't go on the re-read list for a while. Stuff gets real weird and I'm going to make the rest of this a spoiler for those who haven't read Ender's Game because I'm not sure I can talk about the events without spoiling anything...so here goes.


Speaker for the Dead takes place about 3500 years in the future from Ender's Game on a new planet. Through the "magic" of relativistic travel, instantaneous communication, and hibernation technology Ender is effectively just over 30 years old in this book. Ender's childhood was effectively taken from him by the government and he suffered some massive emotional trauma when it was revealed to him that he had given the order that completely wiped out an alien race as well as all of the forces of Earth who were present at the battle. To add to the trauma he discovers that one queen was left in hibernation in a cocoon on a different planet and she revealed to him that the Buggers had no intention of destroying Earth but that they had not understood what was happening during their initial foray to Earth. Once they figured out what was going on they had backed off with the hopes of being friends.

Xenocide continues the story of Ender attempting to make amends for what he has done and also explores the philosophy of sentience that came about through Ender's understanding of the Bugger Queen. This philosophy is explored down to the level of debating the sentience of a virus that attempts to wipe out and remake everything on the planet that Ender now lives on. I enjoyed the story because I really enjoyed following Ender's character around but the philosophy was getting a bit too theoretical for me.

Children of the Mind got real weird in a hurry. I still enjoyed it because it gave some closure to Ender's life but it nearly ripped the bounds of the believable to shreds. More wild philosophy, instantaneous travel, a computer program/sentient superbeing, two beings who came into existence based upon Ender's perception of two people but these new beings were still part of Ender but they were also real...I told you things got weird. I enjoyed the book but I'm not totally sure what happened or if I fully grasped the philosophical exploration that was done.


Overall, I really enjoyed this series and I would highly recommend it, with the above caveats, to anyone, but especially those with an interest in sci-fi. Well done Mr. Card!

41mcroushorn
Jun 2, 2014, 3:24 pm

This will be a review of the Ender's Shadow Quintet by Orson Scott Card that I read in April.

Ender's Shadow takes place concurrently with Ender's Game and follows the events through the life and perspective of the character Bean who is introduced in Ender's Game. I would give Ender's Shadow five stars and would highly recommend reading it if you enjoyed Ender's Game. It is an excellent complement to Ender's Game.

Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, and Shadow of the Giant explore the events following Ender's Game and follow the other children who were in training at Battle School with Ender and Bean. The control of nations and the fate of the Earth are at stake and will be decided by the decisions of Bean and his fellow students. I very much enjoyed these books. I'd probably rate them all around four stars. There were a few places where the author just advanced time rather than actually exploring certain events as much as I would have liked but it's ok.

Shadows in Flight will require a few spoilers to review so I'll do that below. I definitely recommend reading it though.


Shadows in Flight follows the space journey of Bean and his children who share the same genetically engineered fate to be geniuses who start out tiny but will never stop growing during what will be a life of 20-25 years. They are brilliant and apply their brilliance to finding a way to shut down the uncontrolled growth. Somewhat predictable in its conclusion but largely satisfying to me as someone who likes a happy ending. Definitely worth the read.


To conclude, the Shadow Quintet is much more in the vein of Ender's Game as far as the type of story that it tells. If you enjoyed Ender's Game you will probably enjoy the Shadow Quintet. I highly recommend this series.

42mcroushorn
Jun 2, 2014, 3:26 pm

To sum things up:

Ender's Game, Ender in Exile, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, and Shadows in Flight are written in similar fashion. If you enjoyed Ender's Game you will probably enjoy the rest of these books.

Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind get pretty weird philosophically and are pretty different from the other books though they follow familiar characters. I did enjoy these three but not as much as the others.

Excellent job Mr. Card!

43mcroushorn
Jul 7, 2014, 11:08 am

At the conclusion of June I had completed 65 books--36 re-reads and 29 new reads. I've enjoyed the vast majority of the books that I've read this year and I hope that trend continues. I've been given a bunch of suggestions of new books to read so those will start showing up over the next couple of months.

The Ender's Game quintet, Ender's Shadow quintet, and the Mistborn trilogy have probably been my three favorite stories to read this year.

If you enjoy fantasy books you should definitely check out Brandon Sanderson's books.

Read on my fellow centenarians!

44mcroushorn
Jul 31, 2014, 12:49 pm

At essentially the conclusion of July (don't think I'm going to finish any more books this month) I have breached the 80 book barrier! July turned out to be my best month to date in terms of books read (16) and pages read (8719).

Found a new series that I enjoyed very much, The Sword and the Staff series by Patrick W. Carr, and finished up my re-read of the Harry Potter series as well as the entire Eragon series.

Filled in 3 more spots on my Book Bingo card with 3 left to complete the card.

I'm at 43 re-reads and 37 new reads for the year which is pretty close to my goal of a 1:1 ratio.

I'm stoked to see what new books and authors I discover the rest of the year.

Read on!

45mcroushorn
Jul 31, 2014, 12:49 pm

I'm a bit of an Excel geek and as such I've created an Excel Spreadsheet with a list of all the books that I have read this year and it has a bunch of statistics that it compiles so if anyone wishes to take a look feel free to download it here: https://www.hightail.com/download/ZUcza3ZIcHZ1YlByZHNUQw

There are two sheet within the file labeled "2014 Master List" and "Statistics" which you can access by clicking on the tabs at the bottom of the Excel window.

The file was created in Excel 2007 so if you have an earlier version of Excel then it may not work for you. Feel free to use it for yourself but be careful because there are a whole bunch of formulas embedded throughout the sheet. I can put together a "user's guide" if anybody would like one. I'm constantly fiddling with it and am trying to get everything to be as automatic as possible. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out a way to be able to read all of the information that I want from Library Thing so far so you'll have to enter the titles, authors, page numbers, etc. by hand.

46jfetting
Ago 1, 2014, 10:28 am

Wow you are really moving along!

I enjoyed reading your thoughts about The Space Trilogy. I read that last year and had mixed feelings about them. I loved the first in the trilogy, but the other two were not nearly as good. I didn't dislike them (well, I sort of disliked That Hideous Strength) but I was a bit let down.

47mcroushorn
Ago 3, 2014, 10:28 pm

I received Mudville Madness: Fabulous Feats, Belligerent Behavior, and Erratic Episodes on the Diamond by Jonathan Weeks as part of the Early Reviewer program on Library Thing.

As a huge baseball fan who has read numerous books about baseball I very much enjoyed this book. It was, perhaps, overly focused on the fighting and brawling between players, coaches, umpires and fans than it needed to be but it worked for me. As someone who knows a lot about baseball and its more famous (and even infamous) moments I appreciated a look at more obscure stories. Very few major events are covered in any detail but are instead mentioned in list form at the beginning of each section. Events such as Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series, Joe Dimaggio's hitting streak, etc., are not covered in any detail except to mention an odd occurrence related to the event.

I would recommend this book to serious baseball fans who wish to dig into more obscure and unknown events.

(****)

48mcroushorn
Ago 3, 2014, 10:39 pm

The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success by Megan McArdle was an enjoyable read recommended to me by a friend.

In the book McArdle looks at a variety of aspects having to do with failure from types of failure to recovering from failure to the effect of failure on the American economy. She used various stories of famous failures as well as more personal stories from her own life. I felt that she did a good job of presenting her evidence and points without being overly pushy about a personal agenda.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book were the comparisons between American views of failure and the European views of failure. In America, being a CEO of a failed company is considered something of a resume builder because companies will believe that the CEO learned from their mistakes. In Europe, being the CEO of a failed company is a career killer.

A very interesting read that I would recommend to pretty much anybody. While there is some economic and psychological jargon it manages to stay pretty light and easy to read.

(****)

49mcroushorn
Editado: Out 17, 2014, 11:02 am

I asked my Facebook friends to recommend a book for me to read and the book below was one of their recommendations.

Sabriel by Garth Nix is set in a world where Necromancy holds sway. Things and people die but death is not always so permanent. Traditionally necromancy is a really weird and creepy practice but in this book the main character is a necromancer whose job is to help those who have died complete their journey to death so that they are not reawakened by someone with sinister purposes. The main character is also sometimes able to return to life those who only just recently died but it comes at a cost and can be very dangerous.

I'm not typically into stories that revolve around death but Nix was able to craft a story that focused on death but did not become super heavy and overwhelming. I very much recommend this book to anybody interested in a fantasy type story.

(*****)

50mabith
Ago 14, 2014, 12:13 pm

I really loved the Sabriel trilogy. Nix is a wonderful writer in general, and I find myself very sad that The Golden Compass got all the attention and the movie when Sabriel was a much more original book and world, in my opinion.

51mcroushorn
Editado: Ago 22, 2014, 7:25 pm

I asked my Facebook friends to recommend a book for me to read and the book below was one of their recommendations.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury was a decent book to read. It was a slower read for me, taking a week, for a book of just over 300 pages.

Dandelion Wine is the story of the summer that Douglas, a young boy living in Illinois in 1928, experiences a "Eureka" moment that he is alive and that life is to be relished. However, as the summer wears on, he is also confronted with his own mortality as several members of the community die of old age. He is also witness to the discovery of the body of a women who was murdered. He struggles to reconcile his own mortality to the point of falling into a deep fever but is eventually led out by the wise words of the local "junk" man.

I can see how this book could be enjoyed greatly by people who grew up in a smallish town (20000 people) especially in a mid-western or southern setting. Personally, I had very little in common with Douglas. The town I grew up in was not particularly large (maybe 40k) but my extended family lived four hours away and I played sports constantly. Douglas wanders the town freely and, as a somewhat autobiographical rendering of the author, thinks deeply and in very flowing poetic language that I imagine is common to many authors. While I did my share of deep thinking, I also spent many hours playing sports and enjoyed Math and Science and am a little more into precision and efficiency of language than Douglas.

In the end, there were some good thoughts to be taken from the book but I personally did not connect that strongly with the book. I'm glad to have read the book but it is unlikely to go on the re-read pile for me. If you identify with Douglas and the town he grew up in I would imagine that you would greatly enjoy the trip through Douglas' summer.

(***)

52mcroushorn
Set 2, 2014, 11:24 am

I asked my Facebook friends to recommend books for me to read and the books below are part of their recommendations.

The Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers was fantastic. I loved reading it as evidenced by the 6 days that it took to read the 1400 page trilogy.

The Mark of the Lion trilogy is set around 70 or so A.D. and follows the life of a Jewish believer who has been enslaved and sold to be the maidservant of a young Roman woman.

Hadassah struggles to remain faithful to Christ and love her owners amid rampant Roman paganism and persecution of Christians and Jew. She serves and loves her mistress unconditionally and seeks to share her faith with the family that owns her.

I very much enjoyed the window into the lives of believers as they sought to establish Christianity. Certainly this book is speculation but I enjoyed thinking about the possibilities that were raised.

Reading this trilogy will stoke your desire to get in the Word and also to share your faith. It also pricked my heart as I considered the persecution and martyrdom that happened as compared to my own life.

Definitely an excellent read and one that I would recommend for others.

(*****)

53mcroushorn
Set 4, 2014, 11:52 am

I asked my Facebook friends to recommend books for me to read and the book below is one of their recommendations.

Transported by the Lion of Judah by Anne Elmer was an excellent little read. I greatly enjoyed reading this little book and suspect that I will probably purchase it at some point.

The author tells the story of her three week stay in the hospital and describes a number of the visions that she received from God during that time. One of the major differences between her visions and the visions described in books like The Final Quest by Rick Joyner is that her visions were very believable and the content was actually explained. I actually enjoyed The Final Quest but it was certainly pretty out there and is not necessarily explained. In Transported, the author includes scripture with each vision and God actually explains much of what she sees and experiences.

Regardless of what you believe about visions, God speaking today, etc it seems to me that you could find most of the major points in her visions in the Bible. On first read there was nothing that raised any flags with me and, in fact, these visions were very "practical" and the themes were explained.

Major themes include: Jesus is always present, Jesus is actually fun, unity is important in the body, Jesus loves His church and has a plan for her, and our prayers make a difference.

I highly encourage you to read this little book. I read the book in 30 minutes or so. It was extremely encouraging to me and I felt the presence of the Lord as I read it.

(*****)

54mcroushorn
Editado: Set 29, 2014, 9:32 pm

With the completion of Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti I have made my goal of 100 books for 2014 with 3 months to spare! It's been an excellent year for reading so far with 55 new reads and 45 re-reads of books read from previous years. Being introduced to a new favorite author in Brandon Sanderson to some excellent new series like Sabriel, A Cast of Stones, and the Requiem trilogy as well as reading some old favorites again has made for an excellent 100 books. I certainly won't stop reading and envision myself ending somewhere around the 130 mark for the year.

Pages Read: 43,572
Avg. Pages per Book: 431.41
Avg. Pages per Day: 160.78

100 unique books spread over 45 different authors.
20 books over 600 pages read.

If you want to see all of the statistics that I have compiled as well as my list of books read with more information such as the name of the author and the number of pages in the book feel free to download the Excel spreadsheet below.

https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRTQ3QycWZENlFVV01UQw

Keep on reading everybody!

55mabith
Set 29, 2014, 9:06 pm

Good job meeting your goal!

56Helenliz
Set 30, 2014, 4:14 am

Congratulations in reaching 100.

57wookiebender
Out 5, 2014, 11:02 pm

Congratulations on reaching 100! And I like your idea of reading some recommendations at the end there. (And I'll add my voice to the Sabriel love too! Saw the prequel at the bookshop this weekend...)

58mcroushorn
Out 7, 2014, 10:19 am

I received Crazyball as part of the Early Reviewers program here on Library Thing.

This was a decent book that I generally enjoyed but lacked a bit to make it a great book for me. As a huge sports fan who reads a lot I was familiar with many of the stories that are told in this book.

The book would probably make an excellent introduction for folks who don't know much about all of the crazy things that happen in sports but for me it was mostly rehashing familiar territory without adding anything more of substance to the stories. Crazyball felt like a bit of a tweener to me. Either commit to going more in depth about fewer stories or go a little less in depth and just hit the highlights with even more stories.

This book is probably not for the serious sports fan but does cast a pretty wide net and so would be a decent starting place for a younger sports fan with limited knowledge of history.

59jfetting
Out 8, 2014, 3:26 pm

Congrats on reaching 100!

And neat experiment, asking Facebook friends to recommend books for you. I wonder what would happen if I tried that...

60mcroushorn
Out 17, 2014, 11:11 am

Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix was a very enjoyable read for me. I find that I am very interested in the world of the Old Kingdom and the unique (to me) system of magic and necromancy. I needed to know what was going to happen in the story as fast as possible and so I read the book in a couple of days around my two jobs.

Most people wouldn't consider the next couple sentences a spoiler but I figured I'd mark it just in case you want absolutely no information...The world that Nix has created is very compelling and so I had no trouble connecting again even though the events of this book are set several centuries prior to the trilogy. I don't always connect well with new books in a world that do not have any of the original characters in them. That is not the case with this addition to the Old Kingdom.

While an enjoyable read I must say that it felt like it took a little too long for the story to build up and climax. And then the climax was a little bit of a letdown. I still very much enjoyed the book but the ending was just not quite enough for me. The author's note at the end of the book was probably a more striking ending then the rest of the book to me.

I'd probably give the original trilogy 5-stars but Clariel falls just a tiny bit short of this. Absolutely worth the read though.

(****)

61mabith
Out 17, 2014, 3:39 pm

Glad to hear Clariel only falls a bit short of the Sabriel trilogy! I found the trilogy so wonderful and original (far more original than The Golden Compass). Can't wait to read the new one.

62mcroushorn
Dez 31, 2014, 10:27 pm

Wrap-up for 2014 Reading!

I've still got almost three hours to go in 2014 but I've got about 430 more pages in The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan so I don't imagine I'll finish that by midnight. I had a wonderful year of reading this year with very few duds. Brandon Sanderson, Garth Nix, and Robert Jordan were wonderful authors that I was introduced to this year. I broke the 100 barrier with 122 books and completed the Book Bingo Challenge. I've very much enjoyed being a part of the 100 books community.

Mistborn, The Stormlight Archives, Ender's Game Quintet, Ender's Shadow Quintet, The Sabriel Trilogy, The Sword and the Staff Trilogy, and The Wheel of Time Series were all wonderful series that I found this year and I highly recommend them to anybody with an interest in fantasy and maybe a little sci-fi.

I'm looking forward to another wonderful year of reading in 2015! See y'all in the other group!

You can find my complete list at the top of the thread and I'll put some statistics below (I love Microsoft Excel so I made a super detailed spreadsheet).

Authors: 56
C.S. Lewis, Brandon Sanderson, and Orson Scott Card tied for most read with 10 books each.

Doorstops: 25
New Books: 67
Re-Read Books: 55
Double Read Books: 1

122 Unique Books with 1 double read

Total Pages: 52633
Avg. Pages per book: 427.91
Avg. Pages per day: 144.60
Avg. Days per book: 2.96

Longest Book: The Stormlight Archives: Words of Radiance coming in at 1088 pages by Brandon Sanderson

63wookiebender
Jan 1, 2015, 1:46 am

Happy New Year! See you in the new group, and that's some mighty fine statistics there. :)