Daily Archives: July 29, 2008

Chunkster Challenge – 2008

January 7 – December 20, 2008


I have technically completed this challenge having read FOUR chunksters. But, since the challenge runs through December 20th, I’m going to continue ticking books off my list until then. Many of these books have been sitting on my shelf screaming to be read…and darn it, I’m going to read them!


I didn’t participate in this challenge last year, so when Dana at So Many Books, So Little Time agreed to host it for 2008, I couldn’t resist. Actually, it is an easy challenge for me to commit to given I have already committed to reading some pretty big books in 2008. Here are the rules:1. Books must be at least 450 pages (regular type)
2. You have to read a minimum of 4 (one per quarter)
3. Any chunkster started after January 1st qualifies
4. Books must be reviewed

…And there are prizes (yay!)

I will choose from the following list of books:

  1. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (702 pages)
  2. The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff (579 pages) – COMPLETED July 28, 2008; rated 3.5/5; read my review.
  3. Cancer Ward, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (536 pages)
  4. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver (543) – COMPLETED July 12, 2008; 5/5; read my review.
  5. Bridge of Sighs, by Richard Russo (528 pages) – COMPLETED June 7, 2008; rated 4/5; read my review.
  6. Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts (933 pages)
  7. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (973 pages)
  8. World Without End, by Ken Follett (1014 pages)
  9. HeyDay, by Kurt Anderson (620 pages)
  10. Lisey’s Story, by Steven King (509 pages)
  11. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy (1215 pages)
  12. The Winter Rose, by Jennifer Donnelly (707 pages) – COMPLETED January 5, 2008; rated 4/5; read my review.
  13. Conversation in the Cathedral, by Mario Vargas Llosa (601 pages)

The ARC Reading Challenge

June 21, 2008 – September 21, 2008


I finished 4 ARCs and read part way through a 5th (but didn’t complete it) which means technically, I’ve finished this challenge. BUT, since the challenge actually runs through September 21st and I still have tons of ARCs on my shelf, I’m going to keep ticking off my reads for the challenge until it ends in September.


Teddy from So Many Precious Books So Little Time is hosting her FIRST reading challenge – and it’s a good one! The ARC Challenge is all about reading Advance Reader’s Copies (or Advance Reader’s Editions) of books.

Here are the rules:

1. Make a list of all of the ARC’s that you currently have and/or are on their way to you.
2. If you have:

  • 1-3 ARC’s then pick at least one to read and review for this challenge.
  • 4-6 ARC’s then pick at least two to read and review for this challenge.
  • 7-9 ARC’s then pick at least three to read and review for this challenge.
  • 10 or more Arc’s then pick at least 4 to read and review for this challenge.

3. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
4. List the books that you plan to read for this challenge (you can change it at any time, as long as the books you change are also ARCs). You can read the books on your list in any order.
5. Read the books and review them on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, you can post your review on sites like Amazon. Leave a comment on the post about the challenge with a link to each of your reviews.

SO, of course I’m joining…

Here is the list of my current ARCs and ones I am expecting to arrive before the challenge is through (bolded books are those I expect to read during the challenge period, although that may change):

  1. Comfort Food, by Kate Jacobs (COMPLETED June 25, 2008; rated 2/5; read my review)
  2. The House at Midnight, by Lucie Whitehouse (COMPLETED June 28, 2008; rated 3.5/5; read my review)
  3. The Island of Eternal Love, by Daina Chaviano (DNF; unrated; read my thoughts)
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (COMPLETED July 31, 2008; rated 5/5; read my review)
  5. Leftovers, by Laura Weiss (COMPLETED July 31, 2008; rated 3/5; read my review)
  6. The Map Thief, by Heather Terrell (COMPLETED August 9, 2008; rated 4/5; read my review)
  7. Guernica, by Dave Boling (COMPLETED September 14, 2008; rated 5/5; read my review)
  8. The Glimmer Palace, by Beatrice Colin
  9. The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff (COMPLETED July 28, 2008; rated 3.5/5; read my review)
  10. The Heretic’s Daughter, by Kathleen Kent (COMPLETED September 9, 2008; rated 4.5/5; read my review)
  11. Ships Without a Shore, by Anne R. Pierce, PhD (COMPLETED September 16, 2008; rated 4/5; read my review)
  12. House and Home, by Kathleen McCleary (COMPLETED September 6, 2008; rated 3.5/5; read my review)
  13. Black Wave, by John and Jean Silverwood
  14. Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rostnay (COMPLETED September 2, 2008; rated 3.5/5; read my review)
  15. The Suspicions of Mr. Witcher, by Kate Summerscale
  16. Sweetsmoke, by David Fuller (COMPLETED August 20, 2008; rated 4.5/5; read my review)
  17. Rules for Saying Goodbye, by Katherine Taylor (COMPLETED August 4, 2008; rated 4.5/5; read my review)
  18. The White Mary, by Kira Salak (COMPLETED July 16, 2008; rated 4/5; read my review)

The 19th Wife – Book Review

I am but one, yet to this day countless others lead lives even more destitute and enslaved than mine ever was. Perhaps my story is the exception because I escaped, at great risk, polygamy’s conjugal chains; and that my husband is the Mormon Church’s Prophet and Leader, Brigham Young, and I am his 19th and final, wife. -From The 19th Wife, page 6-

Ann Eliza Young was, in fact, a plural wife of Brigham Young in the late 1800s. Her life, including her very public divorce and attack against Celestial Marriage (which spurred the passage of the Poland Act, and ultimately forced the LDS Church to ban the practice), is the basis for David Ebershoff’s third historical novel The 19th Wife. Ebershoff weaves the fictionalized version of Ann Eliza’s story with that of a present day plural wife, her son and a murder mystery.

Ebershoff’s writing engaged me immediately, especially when he speaks in Ann Eliza’s voice. He includes letters, newspaper reports and occasional other narrators to construct a complete picture of the life of this interesting historical female character. I was less engaged by the parallel story from present day. It was during those parts of the novel where I remembered I was reading a book. At times the plot felt contrived to connect to Ann Eliza’s life, and I never really related to the primary narrator who is the son of an accused murderess.

At times, Ebershoff tends to ramble a bit, but he quickly gets back on track and moves the plot forward. His portrayal of the first Saints is not entirely flattering and this may upset some people. But, he relies heavily on the history of the LDS church and its leaders to weave his tale, and for that he cannot be faulted.

The novel is a real door stopper at nearly 600 pages (I read an Advance Reader’s Edition) but despite its length, it is a fairly quick read which speaks well of Ebershoff’s direct and compelling prose. I would be interested to read Ebershoff’s first novel The Danish Girl, loosely based on the life of Danish painter Einar Wegener who became the first man to undergo a sex-change operation in 1931.

This novel will be released by Random House August 5th. For those readers who like historical novels or who are interested in the history of the LDS church and its leaders, this is a book you might like.