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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the encouragement of my evil overlord (a.k.a The Hooded Claw), I'm starting my own 2013 reading thread.

BUT there is a difference to my reading project. In order to clear out my TBR list, I am reading all my books in alphabetical order.

Since numbers sort before letters in the weird world of amazon, my first three books were...


I honestly cannot reccomend any of these three, especially since the 100 flowers and 100 vegetables are now showing at over 17 dollars each. The 10 things book was a quick read, but because it's based on Chicago Tribune columns, it's very Chicago-centric which got a bit boring. I know a lot of the things in the book, and didn't really care that I didn't know the rest.

I started 100 flowers and found it hard going, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's boring. Secondly, the author is depressing. She finds it necessary to end every "chapter" with an editorial comment about the world. And lastly, she misquoted a Shakespeare play.

Because I found the 100 flowers boring, I started 100 vegetables. This author is more engaging, and his style is more fun. He's obviously in love with his subject, and a strong believer in seed saving, something I can definitely buy into. He focuses on vegetables that have culinary uses, and even adds in some suggestions on how to serve them. But be warned, he doesn't include recipes.

For free, or up to 3 dollars, I would probably recommend the 100 vegetables book and maybe the 10 things you might not know. But I'd pass on the 100 flowers.

I've started


Which is now showing at over 10 dollars, but I bought it at 1.99. I'm only 1 chapter in, but so far I find the story interesting and the writing enjoyable.
 

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Be glad you don't have titles with punctuation.... The first book in my archive is "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman".

Congrats on the new thread. I suspect this will be a multi year project, not just a 2013 endeavor. So what was your favorite veggie fact or story?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Hooded Claw said:
Be glad you don't have titles with punctuation.... The first book in my archive is "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman".

Congrats on the new thread. I suspect this will be a multi year project, not just a 2013 endeavor. So what was your favorite veggie fact or story?
i can't remember any particular story in the book that stands out. it was if the author was giving a tour of his garden. it was fun to visit, but unless you plan on going into the seed saver biz, it sort of slides over one....
 

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After reading Season of the Harvest, going into the seed saver business holds more appeal, doesn't it?  Does 100 Vegetables get specific about the how-to's of seed saving?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
crebel said:
After reading Season of the Harvest, going into the seed saver business holds more appeal, doesn't it? Does 100 Vegetables get specific about the how-to's of seed saving?
GMTA! and no, he doesn't go into exact details, but he does provide useful resources for gardeners at the back of the book...

One annoying thing about both the flowers book and the veg book. Formating issue. The chapters start with a picture, but for some reason, the caption of the picture shows in the middle of the text of the chapter itself. It's always centered, so it's easy to spot, but it can be distracting (especially since the same verbiage appears somewhere in the text itself).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Finished today:



This book started out well, but didn't maintain.

blurb from amazon:

A thousand years ago, the most perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible was written. It was kept safe through one upheaval after another in the Middle East, and by the 1940s it was housed in a dark grotto in Aleppo, Syria, and had become known around the world as the Aleppo Codex.
Journalist Matti Friedman's true-life detective story traces how this precious manuscript was smuggled from its hiding place in Syria into the newly founded state of Israel and how and why many of its most sacred and valuable pages went missing. It's a tale that involves grizzled secret agents, pious clergymen, shrewd antiquities collectors, and highly placed national figures who, as it turns out, would do anything to get their hands on an ancient, decaying book. What it reveals are uncomfortable truths about greed, state cover-ups, and the fascinating role of historical treasures in creating a national identity.


Freidman tries to mix the history of the codex itself with his (I'm assuming Matti is a male, but don't quote me on that) investigation on how the codex got from Syria to Israel and the fate of pages believed to be missing from the codex. But
he NEVER solves either mystery and
his attempts fail, and neither story is interesting, and the constant cross cutting is distracting. Most annoying is his habit of using variations on "this will be important later." This is not a technique I'd expect from a seasoned journalist as Friedman at first seems to be (one who states "Fortunately for journalists, surreptitiously taping conversations to which you are party is legal in Israel". One thing that I did appreciate that he was definitely not of the camp that anything the Israeli government does is okay. He seems to sound even handed about the actions of both Arabs and Israelis after the UN vote to create an Israeli state.

I think the book would have worked better if he'd told it in a more linear manner and if he hadn't attempted to dangle clues in front of us and then left us hanging for chapters. And if I hadn't figured out where he was going way before he got there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
tx dartrider said:
I assume you brought me here because of the Aleppo Codex? Yes, that blurb would have enticed me but now that your review is out, I think I'll pass...
nah, i brought you here to show you that i'm in the middle of a kooky project and need support in my kookiness....
 

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I'm impressed - taking on your entire backlist of unread books.  It would take me a couple years to read everything I've picked up in the past 4 years but never read.  I'm working on reading at least 2 or 3 books a month from my TBR pile this year but I don't think I could go through them all back to back to back ....

Good Luck though.  You may help keep me on track slowly shrinking (or shrinking the growth rate of) the estack of my unread books.
 

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Yes! I support this project 100%! Alphabetical approach makes this a tricky one... Just like claw's door stoppers. I am not ready to make my reading publicly accountable - for that I salute both you and claw! Will keep track of your progress and prod you on as needed... He he he :)
 

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Go twin GO. I am not going to list mine, and will review only some. I don't know if I will hit my target of 250 this year, 21 unit/hours at school is going to leave me little pleasure reading time. But GL on yours. So glad I am not doing alphabetical either. I am working through TBR with a couple new thrown in.
 

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I think it's a great system....I'll never get through my TBR pile, but it makes me happy to have one.  Personal library.

Betsy
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
some clarification.....
if a book does not grab me by 10-15% in, i will be putting it aside.
i am leaving series out of this, for the most part.  if a book is in a series it will just stay on my TBR list.

if a series has come bundled, i will evaluate them on a case by case basis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I finished American Savior (will review it later) and with it, finished the A's.... Started Berlin Diary. I slogged through Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich last year, but I think that's helping me read the diary, since it's fresher in my mind. This is a "doorstopper" as the claw would say, and it may end up being one of my DX books, read during times of "unavoidable delay" in the morning and at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·


amazon blurb:
What if Jesus suddenly appeared and announced that he planned to run for President of the United States? Yes, that Jesus. And what if a well-meaning but utterly inexperienced band of disciples not only helped him mount a seat-of-the-pants campaign but also ran it well, getting millions of people to support him and in the process throwing the other two major party candidates-as well as the world's news media-into a frenzy as they scramble to discredit him?

Roland Merullo's bitingly clever satirical novel about the state of American politics follows one man's campaign to bring back goodness and kindness (real goodness and kindness this time) in a country that has fallen into a divisive state of fear and hatred. Merullo takes us into the heart of "a nation in grave spiritual danger" as the Son of man sets out to make everyone realize that "politics as usual" is no longer an acceptable alternative.

American Savior is a remarkably innovative novel that challenges our perceptions and beliefs while it wags a finger at the folly of our self-righteousness. It is sure to cause controversy among those for whom politics itself has become a kind of religion.


"bitingly clever satirical novel"?

I found parts of the novel clever, but I apparently missed the satire. Other parts of the novel were not so clever, and the ending was disappointing to me. And "that Jesus"? Well, as someone commented to me, that Jesus wouldn't have been eligible to run for president, since he wasn't born in the US. So this is not a return of Jesus, but rather a re-incarnation.

The book is written as a first person narration by one Russ Thomas, a beat TV reporter in West Zenith, MA. A mysterious man appears, does a couple of miracles (both involving saving children, whose parents become part of his following), announces his name is Jesus Christ and that he is running for President. He gathers around him a group of advisors that run the gamut from a street smart motorcycle enthusiast to a billionaire couple. And which includes not only Russ, but his ex-boss and the boss's wife, Russ's fiancee, his parents, and his brother, who spoiler alert
has Down's Syndrome
. I put that as a spoiler, because even when we first meet Stab, Merullo does not make it clear that this is the situation. Merullo never really develops most of the characters, they just seem to be there because he needs to give Jesus a dozen followers. The two characters who get the most attention are Russ himself (who I really wanted to smack several times during the book) and Jesus. Merullo might have been trying for a satire of religion with his character of Jesus, but in my eyes, he just made the character bland. His Jesus felt like a new age guru, with a feel good, know yourself, the power is within you message. He may be running an a campaign to "bring back goodness and kindness", but I never really understand why anyone would vote for him. The most annoying part of the book was Merullo's renaming of news personalities and shows (Larry King became Larry Queen, Meet the Press became Meet the Media). I understand that he couldn't use real names, but I think I would have been happier if he created new characters instead of caricatures. I think that's my basic problem with the book, there are no real characters. And no real story. If you want to read the story of Jesus, I suggest the Bible, not this attempt at a modernization. Especially not at the current price.
 

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Interesting review of the Vegetable book.  I have started to collect seeds, but rather haphazardly ("This went to seed.  Looks viable. Will put in container and may remember to label.")  Seeds have gotten a lot more expensive in the last 3 years or so.  I've noticed that I tend to collect them more often of late as a result, but some of my tomato seeds are hybrids that don't produce well from the seeds.  Well, that happened last year.  Could have been the heat.

I am positive I could not read my books in alphabetical order.  I'm too moody.  But I'll watch from the sidelines!
 

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American Savior sounds like an interesting premise for me, the preacher's daughter-political news junkie.  I will put it on my wish list and wait for the price to come down or get you to loan it to me  ;)
 

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Again, the blurb for American Savior caught my interest, just like Aleppo Codex...  again, your honest review has tempered my expectations... hmmm, I just may make it a habit to visit with you first before I get sold by these clever blurbs...  :)
 
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