Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Herding Cats II: Attack of the Hairballs (And Other Challenges I Couldn't Resist)

Here are the rules Herding Cats II (April 1st, 2009 - December 31st, 2009) hosted by Renay:

1. Make a list of five books you love. Directions:

  • Five. I'm as serious as a beached whale.
  • All titles must be books you've read in 2007, 2008 or 2009.
  • Please don't list a series; just the first book. If you really want to list a book in the middle of a series, you can, but it has to be that specific book.
  • Feel free to share why you're putting the book on your list, because I am nosy.

2. Post your list:

  • in your own journal, in the comments here, whatever is fine. Share the list here.
  • Lists should be public (no locked entries, no logging in to view).

3. Browse the new book list. Stay a while. Read a few (eta: if you want; not even reading is required this time around if you don't have time to commit to a new challenge but still want to share your favorites).

4. If you review your books, you can share the reviews. You know, if you want. No pressure. Definitely not.

Important note: this is only a reading challenge if you want it to be!

Notice how Renay makes a point of saying that this doesn't have to be a challenge. Twice. What a relief! That means that if I go in with the intent to read books on other people's lists, and I am unable to do so, I will not feel so guilty. And I will still meet the requirement for this exercise just by listing my own five books. Now there's a challenge an assignment after my own heart.

Renay knew it would be a next to impossible task to select just five favorite books out of a two and three month span, didn't she? I am not going to summarize the books. You are welcome to follow the the links to my reviews of each book. I will, however, offer a little explanation of why these books are counted among my favorites (note: this isn't necessarily a best of the best list). Let's get started, shall we?

Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos ~ I love everything about this book: its voice, its beauty, the eccentric characters, the lessons learned, and the story itself. I finished the book with a breathless, "Wow."

Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala ~ This book got under my skin. I felt such sorrow and anger when I read it while at the same time in awe of the author's gift at drawing me in so completely and making it impossible for me not to feel for the young boy whose story fills the pages.

The Ghost Writer by John Harwood ~ A haunting and complex story that captivated me the very first moment. I especially loved the ghost stories woven into the main plot line.

Who By Fire by Diana Spechler ~ I loved this novel on many levels: the setting, the characters, the story, and the writing. I was not ready for this book to end when it did. I wanted it to go on just a little while longer.

Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olson ~ To lighten things up. This is the perfect start to a wonderful crime series, not to mention a protagonist after my own heart. It is funny and hard boiled all at the same time. Not to mention it makes a great stand alone novel for those not interested in starting a series.

Looking over the lists of other participants, quite a few books caught my eye. Although quite a few favorites listed are ones I would like to read, I decided to only list below the titles of books I actually own copies of but have yet to read. Those infamous TBR books. There is little chance I will get to even half of the titles on the list, however, I enjoyed listing them just the same.

Perspective Choices for Herding Cats Challenge:
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Booked to Die by John Dunning
The Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra
The Stand by Stephen King
The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
28: Stories of AIDs in Africa by Stephanie Nolen
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Host: Trish
Goal: Read 5 non-fiction books. Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices
Time Frame: May 1, 2009 to October 30, 2009

Book Choices (subject to change):
Legerdemain by James J. Heaphey
Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town by Warren St. John
Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino & Ronald Cotton with Erin Torneo
Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni
(Fifth Choice TBA)

Host: Kris
Goal: Read 6 cozy mysteries.
Restrictions: Two must be specific to this challenge only, but the rest may overlap with other challenges.

Time Frame: April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009

Book Choices (subject to change):
Curiosity Killed The Cat-Sitter by Blaize Clement
Shakespeare's Trollop by Charlaine Harris
Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie
Probable Claws by Clea Simon
This Pen for Hire by Laura Levine
Shop Till You Drop by Elaine Viets


  1. Oh this is a nice challenge! If only I had the time! Thanks for the visit on my movie meme and oh ! I just read your header now (tsk) "No two persons ever read the same book" Indeed! But I also believe that No two persons ever read the same sets of books

  2. Great new challenges, Wendy!
    I've all the books you stated except Beasts of No Nation and Who By Fire... looks like I've to get these two books as well! ;)

    Can't wait to hear what books you'll be reading for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge.

    Happy reading!

  3. If I sign up for one more challenge, I will be sealing my fate for failure! I am envious of how productive you all are! By the way, I loved The Ghost Writer. I think he has another one coming out soon called "Seance".

  4. I was so curious to see what "Herding Cats" was all about (cat lover that I am)LOL. WHEW I feel better knowing that no cats were harmed in this challenge! I plan to participate.

    BTW>> Your selections sound amazing. I agree with you on The Ghost Writer.

  5. Very sneaky slipping that reading challenge in!!

  6. I feel so honored to see Sacred Cows among your favorites, especially since I know how many books you read!

  7. Sacred Cows brought back fond memories for me. :D

  8. I've read 1 of the 5 you listed but I am adding them to my goodreads list right now!! This sounds like a fun challenge.

  9. Glad to see you are doing both challenges!

  10. I haven't read a single one of your Herding Cats books. I think I'd now like to read all of them. Especially Beasts of No Nation. This "challenge" is going to be downright horrendous on the wish list...I better just go buy a few extra little notebooks right now...

  11. Great books you've added to the list, and by great books I mean books I want to read, especially Sacred Cows and Broken for You.

    Have fun looking for Nonfiction books. It seems like there has been an mini explosion of challenges this month.

  12. Congrats on your choosing favorite books for this challenge - fun challenge by the way - and I wish you luck on many challenge to come

    I never read any books from your favorite list, but I would love to read your reviews on them :)

  13. I like the sound of your five, especially The Ghost Writer!

  14. Daisy - The great thing about the Herding Cats challenge is that it isn't really a challenge at all unless you make it so. You can just list five of your favorite books from the last three years and be done. :-)

    Melody - I can't wait to see what I'll be reading for the nonfiction challenge too, Melody. LOL

    Beasts of No Nation is not an easy read, but it is an amazing book. And Who By Fire is a good one too.

    Sandy - I probably just did sign my fate for failure. :-) It's fun trying though.

    I had heard he had a new one coming out! I can't wait to read it.

    Diane - Oh, I know! We can't have any cats being hurt on our watch. :-) I am glad you are joining in!

    Shelley - Shh! You weren't supposed to notice! ;-)

  15. Karen - Sacred Cows made an impression on me. :-)

    Alice - It's such a fun book.

    Staci - I think it will be fun. There's quite a few options to choose from--books I've been hoping to get to. This is a good excuse to do so.

    Kelly - I'm just following your lead. ;-)

  16. Debi - Beasts of No Nation really made an impression on me. It's a short book but packs a powerful punch.

    Elizabeth - I do hope you'll give both a try, and hopefully you'll like them as much--or even just half--as much as I did.

    There does seem to be quite a few challenges starting off this month and next.

    Julia - Thank you! That was the hardest part, I think.

    Nymeth - I really liked it. I know some people weren't happy with the ending, and once I got over my initial confusion, I thought it was very fitting. Of course, this makes no sense to you since you haven't yet read it. :-)

  17. Haven't heard of your other four, but I plan to read Who by Fire soon. I will look the others up - thanks!

  18. Lenore - I look forward to reading your thoughts on Who By Fire. I hope you enjoy it!

  19. I'm having a hard time choosing my five but I'm going to post my list soon. I got Broken for You last year because of you so hopefully I'll get around to reading it this year. And yes, I love how flexible the "challenge" is!
    I also plan to join the Non-Fiction Five challenge. I'm not sure I'll be able to finish all of the challenges I've joined but it'll be fun to try. :)

  20. I went through my review books, Nat, and that's how I came up with most of the titles for the nonfiction challenge. Kill two birds with one stone. :-) I'm not sure I'll be able to finish them all either, but, as you said, we'll have fun trying.

  21. Last year I joined 20 odd challenges and did not complete any I think. Becos I left those midway and read whatever pleased me. This year I have joined a few and intend to complete at least two.

    Here are my choices for NFF!

  22. Gautami - I think that's a good goal to aim for. :-)


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