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marsap's Book Lists
100+ Book Challenge 2014 (105 titles)

100+ book challenge 2013 (53 titles)

Book challenge 2011-2012 (62 titles)


marsap's Comments    
Cover ArtBasil of Baker Street
Basil of Baker Street is a children’s book based on the Sherlock Holmes stories. Basil—a famous sleuth of mousedom--lives in the cellar of Sherlock Holmes' house. A great admirer of the Holmes, Basil has learned his craft by listening at the feet of Holmes himself. The Mystery of the Missing Twins was one of the strangest cases in Basil's career. He had only a few crumbs of clues with which to find solutions to such baffling questions as: Who had masterminded the plot? Where were the twins, Angela and Agatha, being kept? Using the deductive reasoning he has learned from Holmes he is able to solve the mystery just in time. A great book for those that want to introduce a young child to Holmes—fun and easy read. Illustration were also quite nice. A 3.5 stars out of 5.   posted Sep 17, 2014 at 11:43AM

Cover ArtThe fall of the house of Usher.
by Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849
"The Fall of the House of Usher" recounts the terrible events that befall the last remaining members of the once-illustrious Usher clan—narrated by the boyhood friend of Roderick Usher. It is a gothic horror story and a great example of how an author such as Poe gets straight to the point. It is a quick read—but the fear and the horror grow with sentence. A 4 out of 5 stars.   posted Sep 17, 2014 at 11:22AM

Cover ArtBring up the bodies : a novel
by Mantel, Hilary, 1952-
The sequel to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies explores the marriage and downfall of Anne Boleyn, and the role that Thomas Cromwell played in it. No love is lost between Anne and Cromwell. Each has an agenda to please the King. They become pitted against each other, as Cromwell seeks to find a legitimate excuse to expel her from the King's court. Cromwell, always the master politician, uses Anne's fall from grace as a chance to settle scores with old enemies. In addition, there is the quiet and demure Jane Seymour, who has now caught the King’s eye. The politics of the English court come vividly to life in this sequel. I found that the first part of the book was a bit slow (similar to my reaction to Wolf Hall), and it was difficult to keep all the characters straight, but in the end I found it a fascinating look at a chaotic time in history. One other difficulty I had was the almost stream-of-consciousness style the Mantel uses for the portions of the Cromwell narration. She does puts us inside Cromwell's legal mind, always strategizing, always remembering his butcher's son status among the gentry—but at times I found it difficult to always tell who and what was being discussed. All in all a good read. 4 out of 5 stars.   posted Sep 2, 2014 at 4:03PM

Cover ArtElmer Gantry
by Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951.
The novel (amazingly, it was published in 1927) tells the journey of Elmer Gantry, a narcissistic, insincere, bigoted, unethical, womanizing, hypocritical student who abandons his ambition to become a lawyer to become a “preacher of the faith.” His journey leads Elmer from ordained Baptist minister, a "New Thought" evangelist, traveling salesman and eventually Methodist minister of a large prestigious church. Along the way Elmer contributes to the downfall, physical injury, mental harm and even death of key people around him, including a genuine minister, Frank Shallard. If you are expecting redemption here—you will not find it! This is a satire, funny, biting, infuriating and downright frightening (Elmer comes up with a plan to control/legislate the morals/values of the US—now where have I seen that before??). Not only do we see the hypocrisy and falseness of Elmer—but it is evident in those around him (even "Scotty" the golf pro is not an actual Scot, but a fraud who learned his false accent from a Irishman!) I was so surprised how relevant this novel was—despite the fact that it was written in the 20s. The characters are vivid, the issues presented complex and still true today (I wondered at the end if this book had been read by the Christian Coalition--to get ideas for their campaign!). A 5 out of 5 stars—a must read!   posted Aug 12, 2014 at 2:20PM

Cover ArtThe fire
by Neville, Katherine, 1945-
The Fire is the sequel to the Eight, a novel that featured two intertwined stories set in the 1790s and the 1970s, both revolving around the Monteglane Service. The Fire takes place about 30 years later. The focus continues to be this bejeweled chess set, a gift from the Moors to Emperor Charlemagne, which holds great power and some additional secrets and powers that were not revealed In the first novel. The Fire finds Alexandra Solarin, a former child chess prodigy who gave up the game after her father’s murder, summoned to her mother’s (Cat Valis the protagonist from the Eight) home in Colorado. Her mother is missing, but carefully encoded clues, and the arrival of several other people place her smack dab in the middle of the Game’s newest round, forcing her to decipher both the rules and the roles of others as she goes. The action moves to Washington, DC, Jackson Hole, Kamchatka, and back in time to France, the Sahara, and the Greek islands where we find Lord Byron and Tallyrand, among others, involved in the intrigue. Similar to the Eight, the novel intertwines this plot with one involving a young girl in 1822 named Haidee, faced with a parallel challenge involving the great English poet Lord Byron and the Black Queen chess piece from the Monteglane Services. One problem that I had with reading this sequel was that it had been a year since I had read the Eight and I had a hard time remembering all the history/plot from that novel that impacted this sequel. As with the Eight I found this book to be difficult to read and had a hard time keeping track of all the players (even more so than last time)—again, it would have been helpful to have some additional appendixes to keep track of characters, historical time frame and some scientific history. Also I found it difficult to believe some of the plot twists, and the final “reveal” was really disappointing. All in all it was an interesting but difficult read. 3 out of 5 stars.   posted Jul 3, 2014 at 3:19PM

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