Beloved by Toni Morrison

downloadTitle: Beloved

Author: Toni Morrison

Publisher: Vintage 1988

Genre: Literature

Pages: 291

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fall into Reading; Time Top 100; Rory Gilmore; 1001 Books; Ebook; Lucky 14 – Been There Forever

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

I was intrigued by the storyline.  And the characters were great.  I really fell for Sethe and Denver.  But I must say that I was not a fan of the writing style. After almost 300 pages of the writing, I almost didn’t make it to the end.  I wanted to see what happened to everyone, but the writing was getting to me.  My biggest complaint was the dialogue passages. Often I got very confused about who was speaking at any given time. Not a fan at all…

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A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

imagesTitle: A Study in Scarlet

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

Publisher: 1887

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 160

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fall into Reading; Ebook; Monthly Key Word – Red; Well-Rounded Reader – Mystery; Back to the Classics – Mystery

“There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”…. Arthur Conan Doyle …”A Study in Scarlet” Here, in “A Study in Scarlet”, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduces us to one of the most popular and studied characters in fiction; Sherlock Holmes. In this first novel of this most complex and some would argue, tortured man, he relates the first meeting of Holmes and the narrator of these adventures, Dr. Watson. Amazed by his amazing perception and the depth of what Holmes knows (and what he apparently has no need for) Watson is soon to learn that “No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so.”

My first official Sherlock Holmes story. I’ve only ever seen the movie and tv adaptations.  Yeah I know… bad. But I am fixing it!  So I read A Study in Scarlet where we meet Holmes and Watson and investigate their first case together.  Well, I really enjoyed the mystery, it was the characters that kept me reading. The main characters are a delight to get to know. I also really enjoyed the sparring with Lestrade and Gregson.  Fun fun! While it probably won’t be soon, I definitely want to read the rest of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

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Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer

61QVPowWh0L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Title: Acceptance (Southern Reach #3)

Author: Jeff Vandermeer

Publisher: FSG 2014

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 340

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fall Reading Challenge; Read Your Freebies; Seriously Series; 52 Books – W46

It is winter in Area X, the mysterious wilderness that has defied explanation for thirty years, rebuffing expedition after expedition, refusing to reveal its secrets. As Area X expands, the agency tasked with investigating and overseeing it–the Southern Reach–has collapsed on itself in confusion. Now one last, desperate team crosses the border, determined to reach a remote island that may hold the answers they’ve been seeking. If they fail, the outer world is in peril.
Meanwhile, Acceptance tunnels ever deeper into the circumstances surrounding the creation of Area X–what initiated this unnatural upheaval? Among the many who have tried, who has gotten close to understanding Area X–and who may have been corrupted by it?

A fitting and satisfactory end to a very strange science fiction trilogy.  I’m still working through all the information presented in this last volume.  We get answers, but those answers aren’t always so clear.  I like the ambiguity in the hows and whys of Area X.  I liked getting into the brain of Ghost Bird and the Director a bit more.  But my favorite part was learning more about Saul.  I found the sections about the lighthouse keeper to be my favorites.  Very well written character and great back story.  I wanted to know more and more about him.  Sadly I knew it was all going to end.  I’ll just have to fill in the gaps with my own imagination. Overall, a great unconventional trilogy.

Southern Reach:

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Authority by Jeff Vandermeer

51MZxPhyf+L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Title: Authority (Southern Reach #2)

Author: Jeff Vandermeer

Publisher: FSG 2014

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 340

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fall Reading Challenge; 52 Books – W45; Read Your Freebies; Seriously Series

After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X—a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization—has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.

John Rodrigues (aka “Control”) is the Southern Reach’s newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he’s pledged to serve.

I felt like this volume started off slow.  Maybe it’s the curse of second books in trilogies. but it took me awhile to really get into this book.  I did not like Control and was left with a confusing sense of why. That is until little tidbits about Area X started revealing themselves.  Then, I dove into the book and didn’t come back up until I was done. The twists and turns in this one are even more sinister than the first book.  You think that everyone is okay because you’re not in Area X. Wrong! Nothing is safe, even on this side of the border. I was thankful for some answered questions, but those answers were very disturbing.  I’m interested to see how Vandermeer ends this trilogy.

Southern Reach:

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Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

51H2WZitH0L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Title: Annihilation (Southern Reach #1)

Author: Jeff Vandermeer

Publisher: FSG 2014

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 209

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fall Reading Challenge; New Author; Read Your Freebies; Seriously Series

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one anotioner, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

This one was downright scary!  And I have to say that it takes a lot to unnerve me while reading a book.  This one did it.  The summary sounded liked a fun little science fiction book to help pull me out of the reading slump.  In reality, I got an intense psychological thriller and loved every page of it.  The narrator is deliciously unreliable.  I kept changing my mind about her: good intentions? manipulative? making it all up? I loved the first person narrative as a structure. We get to see the events through the biologist’s eyes for better or worse.  While the whole book was very scary and suspenseful, I almost had to put it down during the biologist’s final descent into the tower. Holy crap that was scary! But also amazingly good! I ended up knocking off a star because I was left with more questions than answers by the end. I will be reading the rest of the series, but felt like we could have had a bit more reveals in the first book.

Southern Reach:

  • 1. Annihilation
  • 2. Authority
  • 3. Acceptance

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2013 Reading Challenge Round-Up — Completed Edition

Look at all these finished challenges!  I did good this year…

fall into reading

Goal: 35/35 books   DONE!!!!!

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (9/28/13)
  2. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (10/20/13)
  3. The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman (10/9/13)
  4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (12/6/13)
  5. Witches 101 by Melissa de la Cruz (10/1/13)
  6. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry (11/16/13)
  7. Gulliver’s Travel’s by Jonathan Swift (10/3/13)
  8. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (11/22/13)
  9. The Billionaire Wins the Game by Melody Anne (11/3/13)
  10. Her Ladyships Companion by Evangeline Collins (10/9/13)
  11. The Sandman Vol. 11 (9/27/13)
  12. The Sandman Vol. 12 (9/27/13)
  13. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (10/7/13)
  14. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (9/29/13)
  15. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (12/14/13)
  16. Tanglefoot by Cherie Priest (12/15/13)
  17. Cape Storm by Rachel Caine (10/1/13)
  18. Total Eclipse by Rachel Caine (10/5/13)
  19. Iron’s Prophecy by Julie Kagawa (10/10/13)
  20. Rose of Fire by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (10/21/13)
  21. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (10/27/13)
  22. Saving Wishes by G.J. Walker-Smith (11/7/13)
  23. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh (11/26/13)
  24. San Diego 2014 by Mira Grant (10/1/13)
  25. 100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes (11/11/13)
  26. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (10/10/13)
  27. Love and Friendship by Jane Austen (11/11/13)
  28. The Watsons by Jane Austen (11/13/13)
  29. Jane Austen and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron(11/20/13)
  30. Vanity Fair by Thackeray (12/18/13)
  31. Inside the Creative Studio by Cate Coulacos Prato (12/11/13)
  32. B is for Baby by Suzonne Stirling (12/11/13)
  33. Universal Rights Down to Earth by Richard Thompson Ford (12/13/13)
  34. Final Jeopardy by Stephen Baker (12/13/13)
  35. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (12/3/13)
Goal: 10/10 books  DONE!!!!!!
The Required Categories:
  1. 19th Century Classic — Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (12/18/13)
  2. 20th Century Classic — The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1/24/13)
  3. Pre-18th or 18th Century Classic — Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (10/3/13)
  4. Classic that relates to the African-American Experience – The Color Purple by Alice Walker (6/24/13)
  5. Classic Adventure — The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (11/22/13)
  6. Classic that prominently features an Animal – Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne(9/10/13)
Optional Categories:
  1. Re-read a Classic — Emma by Jane Austen (5/22/13)
  2. Classic Non-Fiction title –The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (9/8/13)
  3. Classic Children’s/Young Adult title — The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (4/30/13)
  4. Classic Short Stories – The Selected Stories of O. Henry (8/18/13)
jane austen
Goal: 10/10 books DONE!!!!!
  1. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (2/3/13)
  2. Persuasion by Jane Austen (1/21/13)
  3. Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris (6/6/13)
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (8/28/13)
  5. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer (9/14/13)
  6. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (10/10/13)
  7. Love and Friendship by Jane Austen (11/11/13)
  8. The Watsons by Jane Austen (11/13/13)
  9. Jane Austen and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron(11/20/13)
  10. Sandition by Jane Austen (12/18/13)

Goal: 5/5 books  DONE!!!!!!

  1. The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper (3/20/13)
  2. The Impossible Cube by Steven Harper (5/4/13)
  3. The Dragon Men by Steven Harper (9/2/13)
  4. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (12/14/13)
  5. Tanglefoot by Cherie Priest (12/15/13)

 

Goal: 60/60 Books   DONE!!!!!!!!

  1. Wanted by Mark Millar (1/2/13)
  2. Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi (1/2/13)
  3. Ill Wind by Rachel Caine (1/12/13)
  4. Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine (1/12/13)
  5. Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts (3/17/13)
  6. Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts (3/3/13)
  7. Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts (3/9/13)
  8. Chill Factor by Rachel Caine (1/13/13)
  9. Firestorm by Rachel Caine (2/16/13)
  10. The Hostage by Susan Wiggs (5/22/13)
  11. The Mistress by Susan Wiggs (6/4/13)
  12. Thin Air by Rachel Caine (2/22/13)
  13. Windfall by Rachel Caine (2/11/13)
  14. Change of Fortune by Jen Turano (1/3/13)
  15. One Day by David Nicholls (1/29/13)
  16. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (1/9/13)
  17. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1/24/13)
  18. Almost America by Steve Tally (1/14/13)
  19. Locke and Key Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (1/4/13)
  20. Locke and Key Vol 2: Head Games (1/4/13)
  21. Locke and Key Vol 3: Crown of Shadows (1/5/13)
  22. Locke and Key Vol 4: Keys to the Kingdom (1/6/13)
  23. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche (5/31/13)
  24. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (6/23/13)
  25. The Firebrand by Susan Wiggs (6/13/13)
  26. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (6/24/13)
  27. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (7/26/13)
  28. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (8/17/13)
  29. The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason (7/13/13)
  30. Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason (7/15/13)
  31. When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason (8/5/13)
  32. The Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason (8/1/13)
  33. As Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason (9/5/13)
  34. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (9/8/13)
  35. Gale Force by Rachel Caine (9/9/13)
  36. Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel (9/10/13)
  37. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer (9/14/13)
  38. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (9/17/13)
  39. Cape Storm by Rachel Caine (10/1/13)
  40. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (10/3/13)
  41. Total Eclipse by Rachel Caine (10/5/13)
  42. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (10/7/13)
  43. Her Ladyship’s Companion by Evangeline Collins (10/9/13)
  44. The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman (10/9/13)
  45. Iron’s Prophecy by Julie Kagawa (10/10/13)
  46. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (10/20/13)
  47. Rose of Fire by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (10/21/13)
  48. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (10/27/13)
  49. The Billionaire Wins the Game by Melody Anne (11/3/13)
  50. Saving Wishes by G.J. Walker-Smith (11/7/13)
  51. 100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes (11/11/13)
  52. Love and Friendship by Jane Austen (11/11/13)
  53. The Watsons by Jane Austen (11/13/13)
  54. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry (11/16/13)
  55. Jane Austen and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron(11/20/13)
  56. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (11/22/13)
  57. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh (11/26/13)
  58. Boneshaler by Cherie Priest (12/14/13)
  59. Tanglefoot by Cherie Priest (12/15/13)
  60. Vanity Fair by Thackeray (12/18/13)

Goal: 52/52 books DONE!!!!!

  1. Wanted by Mark Millar (1/2/13)
  2. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1/10/13)
  3. Almost America by Steve Tally (1/14/13)
  4. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah (1/21/13)
  5. Thomas Paine by Craig Nelson (1/28/13)
  6. Chicks Dig Time Lords by Lynne Thomas and Tara O’Shea (2/3/13)
  7. Windfall by Rachel Caine (2/11/13)
  8. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (2/18/13)
  9. The Complete Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales (2/26/13)
  10. Death: At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson (3/4/13)
  11. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (3/11/13)
  12. The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper (3/20/13)
  13. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (3/30/13)
  14. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (4/5/13)
  15. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (4/13/13)
  16. Zom-B by Darren Shan (4/13/14)
  17. Birth by Tina Cassidy (4/20/13)
  18. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (4/28/13)
  19. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (5/11/13)
  20. Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson (5/12/13)
  21. The Hostage by Susan Wiggs (5/22/13)
  22. The Postman by David Brin (5/27/13)
  23. The Mistress by Susan Wiggs (6/4/13)
  24. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (6/13/13)
  25. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (6/22/13)
  26. Fables 18: Cubs in Toyland (6/23/13)
  27. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (7/7/13)
  28. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (7/7/13)
  29. Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason (7/15/13)
  30. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (7/24/13)
  31. The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman (7/27/13)
  32. When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason (8/5/13)
  33. Wedding of the Century (8/14/13)
  34. Selected Stories of O. Henry (8/18/13)
  35. The Sandman Vol. 8 (8/29/13)
  36. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman (9/1/13)
  37. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (9/8/13)
  38. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (9/17/13)
  39. The Sandman Vol. 11: The Dream Hunters (9/27/13)
  40. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (9/28/13)
  41. Her Ladyship’s Companion by Evangeline Collins (10/9/13)
  42. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (10/20/13)
  43. Rose of Fire by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (10/21/13)
  44. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (10/27/13)
  45. The Billionaire Wins the Game by Melody Anne (11/3/13)
  46. 100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes (11/11/13)
  47. Jane Austen and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron(11/20/13)
  48. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh (11/26/13)
  49. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (12/3/13)
  50. Inside the Creative Studio by Cate Coulacos Prato (12/11/13)
  51. Tanglefoot by Cherie Priest (12/15/13)
  52. Sandition by Jane Austen  (12/18/13)

550

Goal: 15/15 books  DONE!!!!!!

  1. History- US, World, European – Almost America by Steve Tally (1/14/13)
  2. Autobiography, Biography, Memoir – A Long Way Gone by Ishamel Beah (1/21/13)
  3. Food – Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (4/5/13)
  4. Family, Relationships, Parenting, Dating, Love – MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche (5/31/13)
  5. Music, Film, TV – Chicks Dig Time Lords by Lynne Thomas and Tara O’Shea (2/3/13)
  6. Health, Medicine – Birth by Tina Cassidy (4/20/13)
  7. Religion, Spirituality, Philosophy – The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (7/7/13)
  8. Anthropology, Archaeology – Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (8/12/13)
  9. How To – A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman (9/10/13)
  10. Cultural Studies – Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel (9/10/13)
  11. Business, Finance, Management – The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman (10/9/13)
  12. Home – Inside the Creative Studio by Cate Coulacos Prato (12/11/13)
  13. Crafts – B is for Baby by Suzonne Stirling (12/11/13)
  14. Technology – Final Jeopardy by Stephen Baker (12/13/13)
  15. Government – Universal Rights Down to Earth by Richard Thompson Ford (12/13/13)

monthly key word challenge

Goal: 12/12 Books  DONE!!!!!

  • January (cold) – Chill Factor by Rachel Caine (1/13/13)
  • February (family) – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (2/7/13)
  • March (valley) – Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts (3/17/13)
  • April (garden) – The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (4/30/13)
  • May (name) – Emma by Jane Austen (5/22/13)
  • June (never) – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (6/20/13)
  • July  – Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason (7/15/13)
  • August – The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (8/17/13)
  • September (shadow) – As Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason (9/5/13)
  • October (witch) – Witches 101 by Melissa de la Cruz (10/1/13)
  • November (number) – The Billionaire Wins the Game by Melody Anne (11/3/13)
  • December – The Road by Cormac McCarthy (12/6/13)

Goal: 20/20 movies/books  DONE!!!!

  1. The Reader (1/24/13)
  2. Mansfield Park (2/3/13)
  3. A Game of Thrones (1/9/13)
  4. One Day (1/29/13)
  5. The Secret Garden (4/30/13)
  6. Emma (5/22/13)
  7. Never Let Me Go (6/20/13)
  8. Coraline (3/21/13)
  9. Stardust (4/11/13)
  10. Cowboys vs. Aliens (2/9/13)
  11. 300 (2/12/13)
  12. Warm Bodies (6/13/13)
  13. The Color Purple (6/24/13)
  14. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (6/26/13)
  15. Guns, Germs, and Steel (8/12/13)
  16. The Host (8/24/13)
  17. Pride and Prejudice (8/28/13)
  18. The Count of Monte Cristo (11/22/13)
  19. Gulliver’s Travels (10/3/13)
  20. The Road (12/6/13)

Goal: 10/10 books  DONE!!!!!

  1. Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts (3/3/13)
  2. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (10/7/13)
  3. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche (5/31/13)
  4. Stardust by Neil Gaiman (4/11/13)
  5. Matched by Ally Condie (2/21/13)
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (11/22/13)
  7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2/9/13)
  8. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (4/5/13)
  9. Storm Glass by Maria Snyder (9/17/13)
  10. Every Day by David Levithan (8/15/13)
graphicnovelchallenge
Goal: 20/20 books   DONE!!!!
  1. 300 (2/12/13)
  2. Cowboys and Aliens (2/9/13)
  3. The Walking Dead Book 5 (5/14/13)
  4. Fables Vol 17 Inherit the Wind (2/4/13)
  5. Wanted (1/2/13)
  6. Chicken with Plums (1/2/13)
  7. Locke and Key Vol. 1 (1/4/13)
  8. Locke and Key Vol. 2 (1/4/13)
  9. Locke and Key Vol. 3 (1/5/13)
  10. Locke and Key Vol. 4 (1/6/13)
  11. Locke and Key Vol. 5 (3/1/13)
  12. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel (3/1/13)
  13. Death: At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson (3/4/13)
  14. The Walking Dead Book Six (5/14/13)
  15. The Walking Dead Book Seven (5/17/13)
  16. The Walking Dead Volume 17 (5/17/13)
  17. Fables 18: Cubs in Toyland (6/23/13)
  18. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (8/19/13)
  19. American Vampire Vol. 1 (8/21/13)
  20. Hyperbole and Half by Allie Brosh (11/26/13)
Goal: 5/5 books  DONE!!!!
  1. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (2/18/13)
  2. Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts (3/9/13)
  3. Storm Glass by Maria Snyder (9/17/13)
  4. Witches 101 by Melissa de la Cruz (10/1/13)
  5. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry (11/16/13)

zombiechallenge

 

Goal: 6/6 books  DONE!!!!!

  1. Zom-B by Darren Shan (4/14/13)
  2. The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman (7/27/13)
  3. The New Deadwardians (8/19/13)
  4. Apocalypse Z by Manel Loureiro (9/1/13)
  5. San Diego 2014 by Mira Grant (10/1/13)
  6. 100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes (11/11/13)

2013EclecticReader

Goal: 12/12 books  DONE!!!!!

  1. Translated fiction – The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1/24/13)
  2. Historical mystery – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King (2/26/13)
  3. Romantic suspense – As Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason (9/5/13)
  4. Made into a movie – P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (4/13/13)
  5. New Adult – Saving Wishes by G.J. Walker Smith (11/7/13)
  6. Urban Fantasy –London Eye by Tim Lebbon (3/15/13)
  7. Dystopian – Crossed by Ally Condie (3/1/13)
  8. Memoir – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3/15/13)
  9. LGBT – Every Day by David Levithan (8/15/13)
  10. Action Adventure –The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper (3/20/13)
  11. Humour– Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1/10/13)
  12. Published in 2013 – And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (8/8/13)
Goal: 5/5 books  DONE!!!!
  1. The Wedding Gift by Lucy Kevin (1/24/13)
  2. The Firebrand by Susan Wiggs (6/13/13)
  3. The Billionaire Wins the Game by Melody Anne (11/3/13)
  4. Her Ladyship’s Companion by Evangeline Collins (10/9/13)
  5. Wedding of the Century (8/14/13)

Goal: 15/15 books DONE!!!!!

  1. Almost America by Steve Tally (1/14/13)
  2. Thomas Paine by Craig Nelson (1/28/13)
  3. Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine (1/12/13)
  4. The Passage by Justin Cronin (1/20/13)
  5. Thin Air by Rachel Caine (2/22/13)
  6. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (7/7/13)
  7. When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason (8/5/13)
  8. Selected Stories of O. Henry (8/18/13)
  9. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (8/20/13)
  10. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (10/20/13)
  11. Gulliver’s Travel by Jonathan Swift (10/3/13)
  12. Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel (9/10/13)
  13. Gale Force by Rachel Caine (9/9/13)
  14. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer (9/14/13)
  15. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (9/8/13)

Goal: 15/15 books  DONE!!!!!!!

ROMANCE

  1. Contemporary – P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (4/13/13)
  2. Historical – Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson (5/12/13)
  3. Paranormal – Vampire for Christmas by Felicity Heaton (7/12/13)

HORROR

  1. Science Fiction – London Eye by Tim Lebbon (3/15/13)
  2. Psychological – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2/9/13)
  3. Young Adult – Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (3/11/13)

THRILLER/SUSPENSE

  1. Historical – A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock (1/22/13)
  2. Action – Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine (1/12/13)
  3. Supernatural – Chill Factor by Rachel Caine (1/13/13)

SCIENCE/FANTASY

  1. Vampire – Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts (3/3/13)
  2. Dystopian – Crossed by Ally Condie (3/1/13)
  3. Epic Fantasy – A Game of Thrones by George Martin (1/9/13)

MYSTERY/CRIME

  1. Historical – The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (10/20/13)
  2. Romantic – Change of Fortune by Jen Turano (1/3/13)
  3. Classic Whodunit – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (2/26/13)


Goal: 25/25 Ebooks  DONE!!!!!

  1. The Wedding Gift by Lucy Kevin (1/24/13)
  2. The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson (2/26/13)
  3. Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (2/7/13)
  4. Beauty or the Bitch by Jasmine Haynes (1/9/13)
  5. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (2/3/13)
  6. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (3/21/13)
  7. 300 (2/12/13)
  8. Persuasion by Jane Austen (1/21/13)
  9. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1/10/13)
  10. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (3/30/13)
  11. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (4/5/13)
  12. Stardust by Neil Gaiman (4/11/13)
  13. The Postman by David Brin (5/27/13)
  14. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (7/7/13)
  15. Vampire for Christmas by Felicity Heaton (7/12/13)
  16. Lost by Gregory Maguire (7/12/13)
  17. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (8/8/13)
  18. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (8/28/13)
  19. Max Stops the Presses by Colleen Gleason (9/5/13)
  20. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (9/10/13)
  21. Witches 101 by Melissa de la Cruz (10/1/13)
  22. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (10/10/13)
  23. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (9/20/13)
  24. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (9/28/13)
  25. San Diego 2014 by Mira Grant (10/1/13)

Goal: 8/8 series DONE!!!!

Started in 2012

  1. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series (6,7,8,9,10,11,12) (9/27/13)
  2. Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series (3) (7/24/13)
  3. Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood series (2) (3/11/13)

Started in 2013

  1. Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) (10/5/13)
  2. Jennifer Armintrout’s Lightworld/Darkworld series (1,2,3) – DNF’d
  3. Nora Robert’s Morrigan’s Cross series (1,2,3) (3/17/13)
  4. Ally Condie’s Matched series (1,2,3) (7/12/13)
  5. Susan Wiggs’ Chicago Fire series (1,2,3) (6/13/13)
  6. Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Chronicles (1,2,3,4,5) (9/5/13)
neil gaiman
Goal: 15/15 books  DONE!!!!!
  1. Neverwhere (3/30/13)
  2. Good Omens (1/10/13)
  3. Coraline (3/21/13)
  4. Stardust (4/11/13)
  5. M is for Magic (9/1/13)
  6. Sandman Vol 6 (8/19/13)
  7. Sandman Vol 7 (8/19/13)
  8. Sandman Vol 8 (8/29/13)
  9. Sandman Vol 9 (8/29/13)
  10. Sandman Vol 10 (8/29/13)
  11. Sandman Vol 11 (9/27/13)
  12. Sandman Vol 12 (9/27/13)
  13. Anansi Boys (10/7/13)
  14. The Graveyard Book (9/20/13)
  15. The Ocean at the End of the Lane (9/29/13)

Goal: 30/30 books  DONE!!!!!

  1. Matched by Ally Condie (2/21/13)
  2. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (2/18/13)
  3. The Passage by Justin Cronin (1/20/13)
  4. Crossed by Ally Condie (3/1/13)
  5. A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock (1/22/13)
  6. Thomas Paine by Craig Nelson (1/28/13)
  7. Terror by Night by Ambrose Bierce (2/14/13)
  8. Chicks Dig Time Lords by Lynne Thomas and Tara O’Shea (2/3/13)
  9. Fables Vol 17 Inherit the Wind (2/4/13)
  10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2/9/13)
  11. Cowboys vs. Aliens (2/9/13)
  12. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (2/14/13)
  13. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3/15/13)
  14. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (4/28/13)
  15. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (6/20/13)
  16. Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris (6/6/13)
  17. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (8/12/13)
  18. Wedding of the Century (8/14/13)
  19. The Sandman Vol 6 (8/19/13)
  20. The Sandman Vol 7 (8/19/13)
  21. Selected Stories of O. Henry (8/18/13)
  22. The New Deadwardians (8/19/13)
  23. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (8/20/13)
  24. The Host by Stephenie Meyer (8/24/13)
  25. The Sandman Vol. 8 (8/29/13)
  26. The Sandman Vol. 9 (8/29/13)
  27. The Sandman Vol. 10 (8/29/13)
  28. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman (9/1/13)
  29. Apocalypse Z by Manel Loureiro (9/1/13)
  30. The Dragon Men by Steven Harper (9/2/13)

Goal: 6/6 Books  DONE!!!!!!

  1. Up or Down: Windfall by Rachel Caine (2/11/13)
  2. Kitchen Find: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (8/20/13)
  3. Party or Celebration: The Wedding Gift by Lucy Kevin (1/24/13)
  4. Fire: Firestorm by Rachel Caine (2/16/13)
  5. Emotion: Terror by Night by Ambrose Bierce (2/14/13)
  6. Lost or Found: Lost by Gregory Maguire (7/12/13)

Genre Variety

Goal: 18/18 Books  DONE!!!!!!

  1. Contemporary – One Day by David Nicholls (1/29/13)
  2. Historical – The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (7/7/13)
  3. Paranormal – Windfall by Rachel Caine (2/11/13)
  4. Fantasy – A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (7/26/13)
  5. Romance – The Mistress by Susan Wiggs (6/4/13)
  6. Thriller – The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason (7/13/12)
  7. Nonfiction – The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill by Mark Bittner (6/26/13)
  8. Women’s Fiction – The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (2/14/13)
  9. Chick Lit – The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (8/1713)
  10. Dystopian – Matched by Ally Condie (2/21/13)
  11. Horror – Terror by Night by Ambrose Bierce (2/14/13)
  12. Biography – Thomas Paine by Craig Nelson (1/28/13)
  13. Fairy Tales – The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (8/20/13)
  14. Classics – A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (6/23/13)
  15. SciFi – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (2/7/13)
  16. Short Stories – The Complete Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales (2/26/13)
  17. Erotica – Beauty or the Bitch by Jasmine Haynes (1/9/13)
  18. Epic Fantasy – A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (4/28/13)

Goal: 25/25 authors  DONE!!!!!

  1. Jane Austen (1/21/13)
  2. Carrie Bebris (6/6/13)
  3. Alison Bechdel (8/19/13)
  4. Rachel Bertsche (5/31/13)
  5. Kendare Blake (3/11/13)
  6. Rachel Caine (1/12/13)
  7. Tina Cassidy (4/20/13)
  8. Ally Condie (3/1/13)
  9. Gillian Flynn (2/9/13)
  10. Jessica Day George (3/2/13)
  11. Colleen Gleason (8/1/13)
  12. Jasmine Haynes (1/9/13)
  13. Felicity Heaton (7/12/13)
  14. Laura Hillenbrand (5/11/13)
  15. Stacey Kade (3/8/13)
  16. Jenny Lawson (3/15/13)
  17. Paula McLain (7/7/13)
  18. Kate Morton (2/14/13)
  19. Nora Roberts (3/9/13)
  20. Marjane Satrapi (1/2/13)
  21. Lynne Thomas (2/3/13)
  22. Jill Thompson (3/4/13)
  23. Alice Walker (6/24/13)
  24. Stephanie Grace Whitson (5/12/13)
  25. Susan Wiggs (5/22/13)

Goal: 25/25 authors   DONE!!!!!!

  1. Cecelia Ahern (4/13/13)
  2. Sarah Addison Allen (2/18/13)
  3. Ishmael Beah (1/21/13)
  4. Mark Bittner (6/26/13)
  5. David Brin (5/27/13)
  6. Ally Condie (2/21/13)
  7. Justin Cronin (1/20/13)
  8. Jared Diamond (8/12/13)
  9. Jessica Day George (3/2/13)
  10. Colleen Gleason (7/13/13)
  11. Steven Harper (5/4/13)
  12. Joe Hill (1/4/13)
  13. Stacey Kade (3/6/13)
  14. Laurie King (2/26/13)
  15. Tim Lebbon (3/15/13)
  16. David Levithan (8/15/13)
  17. George R.R. Martin (1/9/13)
  18. Craig Nelson (1/28/13)
  19. David Nicholls (1/29/13)
  20. Caro Peacock (1/22/13)
  21. Nora Roberts (3/3/13)
  22. Bernhard Schlink (1/24/13)
  23. Darren Shan (4/14/13)
  24. Steve Tally (1/14/13)
  25. Jen Turano (1/3/13)

Goal: 24/24 books  DONE!!!!!

  1. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (3/11/13)
  2. Locke and Key Vol. 5 (3/1/13)
  3. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah (1/21/13)
  4. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King (2/26/13)
  5. A Game of Thrones: Graphic Novel Vol. 1 (3/1/13)
  6. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George (3/2/13)
  7. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (3/2/13)
  8. Death: At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson (3/4/13)
  9. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade (3/6/13)
  10. Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade (3/8/13)
  11. London Eye by Time Lebbon (3/15/13)
  12. The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper (3/20/13)
  13. Zom-B by Darren Shan (4/14/13)
  14. Birth by Tina Cassidy (4/20/13)
  15. The Impossible Cube by Steven Harper (5/4/13)
  16. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (5/11/13)
  17. Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson (5/12/13)
  18. The Walking Dead Book Five (5/14/13)
  19. The Walking Dead Book Six (5/14/13)
  20. The Walking Dead Book Seven (5/17/13)
  21. The Walking Dead Volume 17 (5/17/13)
  22. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (6/113/13)
  23. Fables 18: Cubs in Toyland (6/23/13)
  24. Reached by Ally Condie (7/12/13)

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Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Title: Vanity Fair

Author: William Makepeace Thackeray

Genre: Classics 1847

Pages: 912

Rating:  3/5 stars    Movie: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Classics — 19th Century; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading; Rory Gilmore (Perpetual); 1001 Books (Perpetual)

How I Got It: I own it!

Scorned for her lack of money and breeding, Becky must use all her wit, charm and considerable sex appeal to escape her drab destiny as a governess. From London’s ballrooms to the battlefields of Waterloo, the bewitching Becky works her wiles on a gallery of memorable characters, including her lecherous employer, Sir Pitt, his rich sister, Miss Crawley, and Pitt’s dashing son, Rawdon, the first of Becky’s misguided sexual entanglements.

Filled with hilarious dialogue and superb characterizations, Vanity Fair is a richly entertaining comedy that asks the reader, “Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?”

Hmmm… I thought i would like this book more than I actually did.  The story is good.  The characters are good.  But I guess I just don’t really like Thackeray’s writing style.  There’s something about the prose that annoyed me throughout the book.  Still, I would recommend this novel to those who already have a love of the 19th century classics.

Movie:

The movie was much more enjoyable than the book, probably because I didn’t have to be annoyed by the writing style.  I loved this lengthy adaptation.  Reese Witherspoon is great as Becky Sharp, although I think she’s nicer in the movie than the book.  Romola Garai is great as the meek Amelia.  And I so love Rhys Ifans as Dobbins.  Overall, a few changes from the novel, but I still really liked it.

 

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Tanglefoot by Cherie Priest

tanglefootTitle: Tanglefoot (Clockwork Century #1.5)

Author: Cherie Priest

Publisher: A Tor Book 2011

Genre: Steampunk; Zombie

Pages: 34

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Steampunk; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading; 52 Books – W51

How I Got It: I own it!

Stonewall Jackson survived Chancellorsville. England broke the Union’s naval blockade, and formally recognized the Confederate States of America. Atlanta never burned.
It is 1880. The American Civil War has raged for nearly two decades, driving technology in strange and terrible directions. Combat dirigibles skulk across the sky and armored vehicles crawl along the land. Military scientists twist the laws of man and nature, and barter their souls for weapons powered by light, fire, and steam.
But life struggles forward for soldiers and ordinary citizens. The fractured nation is dotted with stricken towns and epic scenes of devastation–some manmade, and some more mysterious. In the western territories cities are swallowed by gas and walled away to rot while the frontiers are strip-mined for resources. On the borders between North and South, spies scour and scheme, and smugglers build economies more stable than their governments.
This is the Clockwork Century.
It is dark here, and different.

This was a creepy creepy little story.  I was expecting a steampunk adventure like Boneshaker.  Instead, I got a steampunk horror story.  This one definitely pushed my creep out buttons.  It involved something that looks human, but isn’t human.  Holy crap!  Nice little story, but I really would have liked more…
Clockwork Century:
  • #1 Boneshaker
  • #1.1 Clementine
  • #1.2 Tanglefoot
  • #2 Dreadnought
  • #2.5 The Living Dead 2
  • #3 Ganymede
  • #4 The Inexplicables
  • #5 Fiddlesticks
  • #6 Jacaranda

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Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Title: Boneshaker (Clockwork Century #1)

Author: Cherie Priest

Publisher: A Tor Book 2009

Genre: Steampunk; Zombie

Pages: 416

Rating:  5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Steampunk; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading

How I Got It: I own it!

Maternal love faces formidable challenges in this stellar steampunk tale. In an alternate 1880s America, mad inventor Leviticus Blue is blamed for destroying Civil War–era Seattle. When Zeke Wilkes, Blue’s son, goes into the walled wreck of a city to clear his father’s name, Zeke’s mother, Briar Wilkes, follows him in an airship, determined to rescue her son from the toxic gas that turns people into zombies (called rotters and described in gut-churning detail). When Briar learns that Seattle still has a mad inventor, Dr. Minnericht, who eerily resembles her dead husband, a simple rescue quickly turns into a thrilling race to save Zeke from the man who may be his father. Intelligent, exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read for the discerning steampunk fan.

I had heard mixed things about this series, but I found that I really enjoyed the story of Briar and Zeke and their journey inside the wall.  Somehow I didn’t realize that each book in the series is set in the same world, but doesn’t follow the exact same characters.  My understanding is that characters overlap.  Once I understood how the story was structured, I liked this one even better.  I was afraid that there just wasn’t enough story of Briar and Zeke to continue for six books and a novella.  Thankfully that is not the case.

As for this volume, it started off a bit slow, but once the action started, it never stopped until the last pages. While the rotters were a good villain, they stayed mostly in the background.  We quickly learn that the living inhabitants of the walled city are much more dangerous.  I loved the simultaneous paths of Briar and Zeke.  I loved when they eventually interacted with the same colorful characters.  I was rooting for their success throughout the entire book.  Overall, it was a very satisfying steampunk adventure novel.  I’ve got the novella on tap for my next read!

Clockwork Century:
  • #1 Boneshaker
  • #1.1 Clementine
  • #1.2 Tanglefoot
  • #2 Dreadnought
  • #2.5 The Living Dead 2
  • #3 Ganymede
  • #4 The Inexplicables
  • #5 Fiddlesticks
  • #6 Jacaranda

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More Nerdy Nonfiction Mini Reviews

 

I don’t really have a lot to say about these two books, so I thought I would just do a mini review post.

universalTitle: Universal Rights Down to Earth

Author: Richard Thompson Ford

Publisher: Norton and Company 2012

Genre: Nonfiction — Government

Pages: 160

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Nerdy Nonfiction – Government; Fall into Reading

In Universal Rights Down to Earth, acclaimed author and legal expert Richard Thompson Ford reveals how attempts to apply “universal” human rights principles to specific cultures can hinder humanitarian causes and sometimes even worsen conditions for citizens. In certain regions, human rights ideals clash with the limits of institutional capabilities or civic culture; elsewhere, rights enforcement leads to further human rights violations. And in some countries, offending regimes use human rights commitments to distract attention from or justify their other abuses. Ford explores how our haste to identify every ideal as a universal right devalues rights as a whole, so that even the most important protections—such as that against torture—become negotiable.

Interesting topic, but it felt a bit dense in parts.  More lecture than an enjoying read.  Only for fans of political theory.

finalTitle: Final Jeopardy

Author: Stephen Baker

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011

Genre: Nonfiction – Technologhy

Pages: 288

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Nerdy Nonfiction – Technology; Fall into Reading

Final Jeopardy traces the arc of Watson’s “life,” from its birth in the IBM labs to its big night on the podium. We meet Hollywood moguls and Jeopardy! masters, genius computer programmers and ambitious scientists, including Watson’s eccentric creator, David Ferrucci. We gain access to Ferrucci’s War Room, where the IBM team works tirelessly to boost Watson’s speed to the buzzer, improve its performance in “train wreck” categories (such as “Books in Español”), and fix glitches like the speech defect Watson developed during its testing phase, when it started adding a d to words ending in n (“What is Pakistand?”).

Really enjoyed reading about the story of Watson.  It didn’t delve too much into the software, but maybe that’s a good thing for non-tech nerds like me.  Fascinating story…

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