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October 2011: What 1001 Book Are You Reading?

1001 Books to read before you die

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Oct 1, 2011, 10:58am Top

I have a few pages left of my September 1001 book, Possession, but I've already started my October book: Dracula. Have a spooky October, everyone!

Oct 1, 2011, 12:10pm Top

I've started Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. It's FUNNY.

Oct 1, 2011, 12:38pm Top

I'll take note of that, Maryjane . . . there is a shortage of funny books on the 1001 lists.

Oct 1, 2011, 1:30pm Top

Reading a few non-1001 books first, but my next list read will be A Passage to India.

Edited: Oct 1, 2011, 4:56pm Top

I think I might try reading Gogol's Dead Souls, in my current journey through Russian literature. It's rather long but at least it doesn't seem to be about a disaffected dandy and a duel....

Oct 1, 2011, 6:24pm Top

Under the Volcano and Gargantua and Pantagruel will be in progress for many weeks (months?) to come I fear.

Also over the halfway point in The Hunchback of Notre Dame... and no, not the one by Disney according to Touchstones... yeeesh! Very different from what I expected (probably because of Disney).

Listening to Our Mutual Friend and not enjoying it one bit... anyone else find any hope in this one?

All my other books are non-1001 at the mo.

Oct 1, 2011, 6:58pm Top

I just started Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I am enjoying a year of Jane Austen!

Oct 1, 2011, 9:42pm Top

Still on The Story of O, but I'm not sure where it is just now. Perhaps its fallen into the hands of some impressionable child.

Oct 2, 2011, 1:12am Top

I've wanted to read more by Steinbeck ever since I read The Grapes of Wrath and The Moon is Down in 2009 and I've finally started! I read Of Mice and Men last week and today I've started Cannery Row - both on the list.

Oct 2, 2011, 2:57am Top

@ fundevogel: :-D lol

Oct 2, 2011, 3:54pm Top

Just about to start The Woman in White, there's a readalong going on in the 11 in 11 Category Challenge Group.

Here's the thread:

Oct 3, 2011, 7:47am Top

I'm STILL reading Watchmen!!

Oct 3, 2011, 10:23am Top

Still working on David Copperfield but also started The Club Dumas.

Oct 3, 2011, 11:40am Top

Still making my way through A Suitable Boy, and then once that's done, I'm rereading Anna Karenina.

Oct 3, 2011, 1:25pm Top

I'm reading Carry me down at the moment - then I might get into Wild Swans. I also have Crash which I might read afterwards.

Oct 3, 2011, 2:53pm Top

>4 amerynth:- I wish you the best of luck and blessings on your literary soul- A Passage to India is the first book of my adult life that I ever hated. May you find the redeeming qualities that I missed!

>15 chrissybob:- Wild Swans was an amazing, eye opening journey. I loved it and learned more about China's history than I ever knew before.

I'm reading two non-list books right now, but I think The History of the Siege of Lisbon is next for me.

Oct 3, 2011, 4:00pm Top

I finally finished listening to The Hunchback of Notre Dame - I decided that this book should have a subtitle of something like, "What Won't People Do for a Pretty Face?!?". I wasn't very sympathetic to any of the characters, nor could I understand their motives, feelings or actions (beyond the trying to impress a pretty face thing). Arukiyomi, I hope you enjoy it more than I did!

Oct 3, 2011, 4:29pm Top

Oct 5, 2011, 6:04am Top

I've just finished reading the Dance to the Music of Time novels by Anthony Powell. It's a wonderful series, though I have to admit I feel slightly aggrieved that it only counts as one book. Still, I'm very satisfied to have achieved my aim for this year of finishing the series.

Oct 5, 2011, 3:23pm Top

I Finished Cannery Row last night. Loved it. So glad I read it and hope there are will be more books that make me feel the same way on the 1001 list.

I'm currently reading a non 1001 book then I'm starting the group read: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oct 5, 2011, 3:43pm Top

#20 - I read Cannery Row in August and was happily surprised. I always thought Steinbeck was grim.

Oct 5, 2011, 5:12pm Top

I really loved Cannery Row, read it this year. I then read Tortilla Flat which is in the same series and loved it even more! I think Steinbeck is wonderful.

Oct 5, 2011, 7:55pm Top

I'm also reading Picture of Dorian Gray for the group read. I'm also hoping to finish Labyrinths very soon.

Oct 6, 2011, 6:17pm Top

I love Babbitt, Cannery Row, and A Passage to India. All three are very funny. I just finished Gulliver's Travels, and I have to say that is one satire that I did not really enjoy. It lays it on a little too thick. Also, I thought some of the scenes were bizarre, especially for what is often considered a children's book (tiny naked men hanging from giant nipples, anyone?).

Oct 6, 2011, 8:18pm Top

I studied Gulliver's Travels at uni, and I agree that it's extremely strange and not all that fun. I appreciated it--it is part of western culture, but I didn't enjoy it. I did, however, enjoy his Modest Proposal. Gulliver's Travels wasn't written as a children's book (there were no children's books then, except strictly educational materials--I forget what they were called, but there's a name for them). When I read it, I found it odd that it had morphed into a kids book. I think it will morph back to the adult section now--I don't know any child who would read that.

Oct 6, 2011, 8:50pm Top

#25> Joyce, the book may not be child-friendly (funnily enough, my edition is a Puffin one though), but the movies based on it tend to be child-friendly. Especially that recent Jack Black adaptation. The kids are quite excited to see the book on my shelves, because they know of the movie.

Oct 6, 2011, 9:33pm Top

Wookie - thanks for your comment. The whole child-related angle to this perplexes me. Is the Puffin version abridged or edited in any way? My daughter, who was 10 at the time and reading beyond grade level, was bored out of her mind at a nursing home visit one day and the only thing I had to give her was Gulliver's Travels. She tried it and would rather stare at the institutional wall. :-) I can see a kid's version--but for kids to read the original, .... I don't think many would take to it.

Oct 6, 2011, 9:36pm Top

It is a dark tale. Not bad really, though I found it strange.

Oct 6, 2011, 11:47pm Top

I'm reading a 'Tale of Two Cities' from the 1001 list in October. It's part of my book club reading list as well, so I'm killing two birds with one stone.

Oct 7, 2011, 12:31am Top

Joyce, my Puffin copy isn't abridged (I remember I did double-check that when I bought it; I bought the Puffin edition because it was cheaper than the non-Puffin book also available, which seems to be the way of books - kids books are always noticeably cheaper).

But Puffin do also publish other classics, Dickens, The Three Musketeers, Daniel Defoe, none of which are really all that easy to read for kids. Although I do like that they're putting them out there for kids who may want something a bit more challenging... http://www.puffin.com.au/classics/titles-a-z.cfm has the full list (wow, Wuthering Heights is on it too!) - nice covers, too, I've bought several of these as they're ridiculously cheap ($10-$12 brand new).

My best mate in primary school (years Kindi - 6, you're about 11 years old in year 6) used to read Jane Austen, so it's definitely not unheard of. (It took me several years longer; but I think I've only really started appreciating them in the last 10 years or so.)

Oct 7, 2011, 10:02am Top

Guess I will start The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell this month. Over 1300 pages...well...

Anyone read it so far? And if so, how did you like it?

Oct 7, 2011, 10:38am Top

30 - Yes, I've seen those, and I have heard of 12 yr old girls reading Jane Eyre and the Austen novels. My daughter tried to read Wuthering Heights at that age but didn't get very far without me sitting with her. She did like the film version though. I read a kid's printing of Treasure Island a few years ago, and with all of these, I just don't see them appealing to very many kids. I think a lot of them are bought by adults and sit on shelves, unread. Puffin and Penguin make some lovely editions though, don't they. I have my eye on several, but I'm having a hard time justifying them when I have other perfectly good copies at home. Have you seen the Penguin Emma, Black Beauty and Secret Garden? http://littleinterpretations.com/2011/03/29/penguin-gets-new-threads-courtesy-of... (I think there's a fourth one not shown here, but I can't remember).

Oct 7, 2011, 6:40pm Top

back in Swift's day, wouldn't children would have been as familiar with naked kids hanging off nipples as they are in the villages here in Papua New Guinea in the 21st century? If not, I wonder which of us is the most enlightened!

Oct 8, 2011, 12:23pm Top

Pamela. Still. Oh good lord this is hard going.

(Also Metamorphoses, Princess of Cleves and The Sea so don't feel too sorry for me)

Oct 8, 2011, 1:17pm Top

34 - Pamela was by far the worst book I have ever read. I read it for university and was ever so happy when that course was over.

Oct 8, 2011, 1:41pm Top

Reading Crime and Punishment and listening to audiobook simultaneously. I enjoy the audio format with the narrator's different voices, but need to see the multitude of Russian names in print to keep characters straight. It makes it extra fun when Dostoevsky throws in nicknames too. Definitely worth the effort.

Oct 8, 2011, 1:59pm Top

You know, I really enjoyed Pamela. There was something about its complete silliness that just did it for me. But I was 16 or 17 when I read it, and inclined to enjoy silliness.

I am now reading Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, or listening to it unabridged on CD, and not enjoying it. I'm never a noir fan so a post-modern riff on that genre is not my cup of tea. Still, I suppose I'll survive.

Oct 8, 2011, 5:04pm Top

#35 LOL - I tried and failed at Uni - only got 50 pages in for my Rakes and Libertines course (and yes - this did mean my final degree exam exam ever was essentially on porn). Actually kinda enjoyed the first 100 pages this second time around - maybe even the first 200. But the centre section is turgid beyond belief. Ah well - only 80 pages to go!

Oct 8, 2011, 6:22pm Top

Speaking of porn, I just finished Delta of Venus. I loved the language but some of the stories were a little bit too weird for me. Not sure what to read now to top this one!

Oct 11, 2011, 12:12pm Top

Is McCarthy's The Road on the list? I know Blood Meridian is, and I read The Road yesterday and just haven't had a chance to check yet...

Oct 11, 2011, 12:23pm Top

oooh oooh oooh - I finished Pamela - Yay!

Edited: Oct 11, 2011, 12:31pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Oct 11, 2011, 3:38pm Top

41- Congrats!

Oct 11, 2011, 5:42pm Top

@ bucketyell: try The Story of the Eye... that was WAAAAAY too weird for me!

"It seems to me that if you are going to deal up such an unpalatable offering to your audience, you need to give them a clear enough reason for attempting to digest it."

...for more of what I thought of this...

@ BekkaJo: well done indeed!

Edited: Oct 11, 2011, 9:21pm Top

I am back to The Outlaws of the Marsh. I finished Volume 3 and started Volume 4 yesterday. I have mixed feelings about it. The behavior of some of the characters is interesting, but I find the description of weapons and military maneuvers really boring.

Oct 11, 2011, 9:05pm Top

44 - Tell us how you really feel! :) Sounds like it could be a winner (or loser). Will have to see if the library has a copy as I am not sure I want to spend money on it.

41 - Congrats! Getting through that crap is a huge accomplishment!

Some on the list are obvious and others make me scratch my head. But I guess the variety is what makes it interesting and keeps people going.

Oct 11, 2011, 10:37pm Top

#32> Joyce, those are gorgeous book covers! Thanks for the link, I'll keep my eyes open for them in the shops...

Oct 12, 2011, 4:39pm Top

-33 Ah, not naked children, but a naked grown man (the narrator) hanging off of giant women's nipples. No breast feeding involved. I'm fairly sure that an appreciation, or lack thereof, for tiny men hanging off of giant nipples has little to do with "enlightenment", however you might define that term.

Oct 13, 2011, 5:03am Top

46 - It's definitely a loser. Arukiyomi's review pretty much sums it up for me too - just a ghastly book with no apparent purpose. I'm afraid I didn't read any of the academic notes that followed the text in my copy - I couldn't bear to have the book in my hands for a moment longer.

Unfortunately, I've now picked up Kathy Acker's Blood and Guts in High School, which has some definite similarities. Plus it's not a traditional narrative and I have precisely no idea what is real, what are dreams and what is invented by the narrator. And, to make it in one way worse than Story of the Eye, there are pictures. I really don't want those, although they have the sole merit of meaning there's less awful text to read. I'm sure there's someone out there in the world who'll like this, but it won't be me.

Oct 13, 2011, 10:34am Top

I started The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. So far, I am loving it.

Edited: Oct 14, 2011, 12:23pm Top

Well, I just finished The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1926). I guess the Christie-book is as good a whodunnit as it gets, however I felt quite disinterested in the fate of the whole story. OK, maybe that's whats it's all about: The identity of the killer and not much more. But in terms of emotion and character development it's lacking very much.

At the moment I'm reading Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818).

Oct 16, 2011, 3:47pm Top

Finished Dracula, which had some fabulous creepy parts. Not a perfect novel by any means, but I can definitely see why it belongs on the list.

Oct 17, 2011, 5:32pm Top

Started Of Mice and Men this morning on the bus. Halfway through already, it's such a slim book! I can't believe I haven't read this one before, although I have read some other Steinbeck novels.

Oct 17, 2011, 5:53pm Top

Wookie -- I laughed when I picked up a copy of Of Mice and Men recently--like you say, it's sooooo slim. I remember reading it in grade 9 and it took forever to read.

Oct 17, 2011, 11:16pm Top

It's definitely in novella territory, although it is rather a fuzzy border between novellas and slim novels.

I remember listening to a book report on Of Mice and Men in about year 9. Can't quite remember what the reader thought of it, she quite possibly only chose it because it was so short. :)

Oct 19, 2011, 8:21am Top

I'm reading Dead Souls by Ian Rankin - trying to read the whole series this year. I kept thinking it seemed familiar then realised I'd read the novella years ago that he later expanded into it.

Oct 19, 2011, 8:55am Top

Giving up on Watchmen for the time being, and starting on next month's group read Schindler's Ark, as I'm reading really slowly at the minute.

Oct 19, 2011, 9:29am Top

Just started on The Jungle - so far rather good. Hope to finish The Princess of Cleves this month too - and get some more of Ovid's Metamorphoses under my belt. Am only on book 9... oof.

Oct 19, 2011, 10:55am Top

#58 - I am always impressed that people can read more than one book at a time - I can only manage one without getting confused! Could make for some interesting plot lines though!!

Oct 19, 2011, 12:17pm Top

LOL - I'm on multi book overdrive this year. With the kids I'm so scattered! I'm also halfway through The Sea - my 'bag' book, Wild Swans is 70% done - bathroom book. And just started A Feast for Crows - the Martin books are seriously cutting into my 1,001 time. Oh and am supposed to be (and am say 70 pages into) Henderson the Rain King for my book group.

Yeah. As I say - bit scattered!

Oct 19, 2011, 6:15pm Top

the purloined letter took me about 10 mins and I'm just about to finish Melmoth the Wanderer - not much time wasted there but wasted time nonetheless...

Oct 20, 2011, 9:03am Top

Great Expectations--3/4 through and something exciting finally happened!

Oct 23, 2011, 8:05am Top

Finished Women in Love last night, closing the book on the Brangwen family and am about halfway through The Virgin Suicides. Good so far, but strange.

Oct 23, 2011, 3:51pm Top

Great Expectations #194--3.5 stars. It was a very good story, but it droned on and on. Still and all, Dickens is one of my favs.

Oct 24, 2011, 4:14am Top

Reading Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon but I keep getting distracted.

Oct 24, 2011, 10:38am Top

On the Black Hill #195 --3.5 stars. Very good story, but very strange. I suppose two individuals could live out their lives in this manner, but it frankly is a stretch for me to believe.

Oct 24, 2011, 1:47pm Top

Getting a bit depressed with The Jungle. Halfway through and it's pain, penury, death and a narrative to put you off ever eating sausages.

Oct 24, 2011, 2:27pm Top

#67 - BekkaJo - sometimes I'm in the mood for reading about pain, penury, and death, while looking to be turned off sausages. I will be sure to pull out The Jungle at such a time. It may be as soon as next month, after I get through the pain, penury and death in Jude the Obscure.

Oct 24, 2011, 5:07pm Top

Ha! The Jungle AND Jude the Obscure are two of my favorite novels. (I wonder what that says about me.)

Anyway, I just started How Late it Was, How Late, by James Kelman. I'm trying to get to at least one 1001 book per month, if not two.

Oct 25, 2011, 9:36am Top

#68 LOL!

Both Jungle and Jude are good - I am really enjoying the Jungle because the writing is brilliant. But at well over halfway through I really want poor Jurgis to catch a break.

Oct 25, 2011, 1:54pm Top

Finished Brighton Rock yesterday. I highly recommend it, and agree that it belongs on the 1001 list.

Oct 25, 2011, 5:28pm Top

I'm Not Scared #196--3 stars. It's an an OK book and a very quick read. Entertaining story.

Oct 26, 2011, 2:44pm Top

#69 I'm curious to hear what you think about it when you've finished. I read that one last month.

I just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog as an audio book and loved it. This is on the newest list. One of the best I've come across on the list, I think.

Oct 26, 2011, 8:27pm Top

#73 I loved Hedgehog too. The movie is good as well.

I'm reading The Plot Against America. It's really interesting. I don't know much about American history so an alternative view such as Roth's is very interesting.

Oct 26, 2011, 11:46pm Top

#74 There's a movie?? Sweet!!!!

Oct 30, 2011, 4:15am Top

I got The Magic Mountain for my birthday yesterday. Looks like it will take a while!

Oct 30, 2011, 8:07am Top

certainly will... all the best as you begin that ascent...

Oct 30, 2011, 7:41pm Top

I quickly read The Comfort of Strangers over the weekend. I'd seen the movie some years ago, and I remember being rather confused, and an overwhelming sense of dread. Turns out it was a pretty good adaptation of the book. ;)

The book is less confusing (I'm better at reading words than at reading faces, so I understood what was happening with our English couple more), but definitely creepy. And very well written, it was a delight to read. (And would have been more delightful had it not been quite so creepy.)

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