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Search tags: 6-book-club
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text 2017-10-10 15:39
Personal Reading Challenge Update

Mid-October seems a good time to do a status check on my two personal reading challenges, and I'm doing pretty damn good on both!

 

This is the first year that I've tried to be deliberate in my reading, both in terms of what and how much I'm reading, and to actually track and measure success. 

 

How Much: The 2017 Reading Challenge

I really wasn't sure I could read 90 books in one year, but I've actually hit my goal already with 2 1/2 months to go!

 

What: The HA 2017 Mount TBR Challenge

In my ongoing battle to whittle down the number of books on my physical TBR shelves, I joined this challenge and have been forcing myself to stay out of the bookstores all year long. So the goal was to read at least 40 books that I already owned prior to January 2017 during this calendar year, and I've done pretty well, although I started ramping up my efforts this month. I have been using the various book bingos and other games to try to choose only from my physical TBR, and that has helped. I think I'm going to do this again in 2018, but it's killing me to stay out of the bookstores. Still, my bookshelves are getting more manageable. I'll post a shelfie later!

 

Disclaimer: Although I have marked the books "read" for the purposes of these challenges, I am including books that I DNF'd. And I am not shy about abandoning books if they aren't working for me. Still, as far as I'm concerned, just getting to them and having a final disposition counts!

 

 

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review 2017-07-22 13:02
The Andromeda Strain ★★★☆☆
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Put together the most meticulous plans and bring together several brilliant and creative minds, but still nearly come to disaster through mistaken assumptions and mechanical and human errors, and be likewise saved by random leaps of logic and mechanical and human errors. Perhaps the most fun part of reading this, for me, is how plausible this seems, because all the characters involved behave like real humans do. Plus, having been written in 1968, Crichton is writing about cutting edge/futuristic technology that is now hilariously dated. Imagine a disaster nearly caused by

a communication failure, because an isolated team is relying on alerts that are transmitted to a machine that prints on a continuous roll of paper, but the paper gets jammed and nobody notices because the guy who’s supposed to check it just looks for software failures rather than mechanical and thinks, well, no news is good news.

(spoiler show)

 

Paperback, picked up at a used book sale. Good thing I didn’t try this on audio, as I expect that the frequent displays of lab test results and technical readouts would be horrible on audio. What would they do, just read line after line of figures?

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Tomorrowland 33: Read a book set in space or tagged SciFi on GR or a book that includes robots or cyborgs. The SciFi tag applies to this book.

 

Previous Updates:

7/8/17 - BLopoly pick

7/14/17 – 40/288pg

7/18/17 – 107/288pg

 

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text 2017-07-18 15:11
The Andromeda Strain: 107/288 pg
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Zing! I didn't see that one coming about the person who gets the key to the nuclear bomb.

 

And I'm curious about how Crichton set up this fictional study of which type of person is most likely to make the "right decision" with the key - the subjects are categorized by gender and marital status. I'd think that having a child/being a parent would have a greater impact on this kind of decision than simply having a spouse. But perhaps, in 1969, it would have just been an assumption that the parenting would be associated with marital status. Married = family & Single = no family. I suppose it just wouldn't be part of the assumption, at that time, that parenthood could be completely independent of marital status. 

 

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text 2017-07-14 16:25
The Andromeda Strain: 40/288 pg
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

In some ways, this is hilariously dated, but as the story is supposedly a 1968 recounting of true recent events, it doesn't detract from the story at all. It's fun reading, so far. 

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review 2017-07-08 16:14
Full Dark, No Stars ★★★☆☆
Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King,Craig Wasson,Jessica Hecht

Four novellas/long short stories on a theme of secret second or inner lives: the horrible person under the affably smiling member of your family or community. Overall enjoyable, as SK always is, but it didn’t suck me in or stick with me later the way his best stuff does. Although, I got into a conversation with a friend, who was insisting that she believes she would recognize evil in a person, that she doesn’t believe it could be concealed. I pointed out that Ted Bundy fooled everyone he worked with in his “public persona” from law enforcement to professors to politicians, and even his many girlfriends, until it all fell apart and his secrets were out. But anyway, I did reference the stories in this book as we argued about it, so there’s that.

 

1922: Just weird, but with SK-style graphic goriness that makes it worth reading. One of the things I love about SK’s style is his use of all five senses in his descriptions of action, scenes, and characters. It’s really immersive.

 

Big Driver: Disturbing for sure. It's a revenge tale, and as the main character notes in her inner monologue, those are always a satisfying fantasy. But the ending is, well, not very satisfying. Not believable. Seems like a copout.

 

Fair Extension: Shorter than the others, but it's a fun little tale of revenge (again) but this time for perceived injustices, where Envy is thoroughly exercised to its logical conclusion. It's fun, and sort of funny.

 

A Good Marriage: I think this is the best of the four stories. It's creepy and plausible to start, because of course there have been killers whose mask is so good, even their close family and friends have no idea. The ending was less plausible and a little weak.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. The performances by Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht are excellent, especially Wasson’s. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Adventureland 26: Read a book tagged genre Adventure or Thriller on GR.

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