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April 2012, Which 1001 book are you reading?

1001 Books to read before you die

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Apr 2, 2012, 8:05pm Top

I've just started Testament of Youth. The intro had me snivelling slightly on the bus this morning. This does not bode well for the rest of the book.

Was also distracted by the teenagers sitting next to me dissing Jodi Piccoult. :)

Apr 2, 2012, 9:49pm Top

wow... and you were still near the beginning. Get the tissues ready deary...

Apr 2, 2012, 10:04pm Top

#2> Damn. I haven't quite got the energy for a weepfest. Still, I shall persevere. This has been on my shelves for far too long.

Apr 3, 2012, 12:09am Top

Just started The Sea, The Sea... it's great so far.

Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 10:06am Top

Still reading The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati, not really making progress. Too many other non-1001 books are distracting me.

A question: has anybody here read Memoirs of my Nervous Illness by Daniel Paul Schreber? It's on the 2008 list. I downloaded the free Kindle (German) version, read the first 5% and already feel like my brain is crumbling. If someone has read it, could you give me an advice how to make it through it without lasting damage? Is there something that makes it a worthy 1001 except for the obvious and complete madness? I know I could abandon it, but I have that personal challenge of reading all the German entries, so I don't want to give up too easily.

Apr 3, 2012, 7:44am Top

let's see... just started The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle and enjoying it immensely. Also back into Woolf with Mrs Dalloway and enjoying that too.

But, I've STILL got Gargantua and Pantagruel staring at me from atop the toilet cistern. I just don't crap as much as I used to it seems....

Apr 3, 2012, 10:10am Top

I've just started Howards End.

I read The Corrections a few weeks ago. I'm not sure why I left it so long. It's been on my shelves for years. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I agree about liking the way Franzen uses symbols in his writing. I think I was expecting something denser and more difficult to relate to – I'm just trying to figure out why I left it so long. But it was actually a very accessible book.

Apr 3, 2012, 10:26am Top

Still working on Les Miserables. Long way to go on it as only 7% in per the stats on my Kindle.

Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 11:30am Top

I'm listening to The Devil and Miss Prym on audiobooks. It's OK, not brilliant, and short. I was thinking of launching into The Mysteries of Udolpho next. It too is available on audio, although that might take me longer than 2 months to listen. Still, I'd be listening during the group read. I decided to give The Corrections a miss and leave a big chunk of time for Udolpho.

I haven't decided what to start next in real book form. Something that's unlike either The Devil or Udolpho...

Apr 3, 2012, 12:41pm Top

I'm about halfway through All Quiet on the Western Front - really harrowing to read not least because it is so vivid.

#4 I've had The Sea, The Sea on my shelf for a while - maybe I need to move it up the pile??

Apr 3, 2012, 12:50pm Top

Reading The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - it's great.

Also reading Hunger and The Golden Notebook - so far the Lessing is just not as good as her other stuff. Hopefully it'll get better.

Apr 3, 2012, 1:14pm Top

> 11 The Golden Notebook had moments of brilliance- I remember mulling over some quotes for a few days- but on the whole, I don't remember much about it, which means I must have pushed my way through just to check it off.

The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, on the other hand, is one that I remember vividly!

Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 1:21pm Top

I'm considering picking up The Corrections and joining the group read. However, I have 4 or 5 anthologies and non-fiction books on the go right now, and if I add a chunkster to the pile, I'll never finish any of them! (or so it will feel)

Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 4:08pm Top

I thought I was nearing the end of Adventures of Peregrine Pickle and then I realized I was only on Volume 1...grr. Not that it isn't an entertaining read, but does there really need to be 2 volumes of this chap's adventures?

I thought I would squeeze in a quick read before starting The Corrections for the April read, but silly me thinking that Molloy would be a breeze. It is okay, but not very engaging.

Apr 3, 2012, 5:35pm Top

I'm about halfway through On Beauty and I just finally think I figured out the parallels to Howard's End. It's an ok book but not super awesome. I'm also reading Regeneration by Pat Barker which is super awesome.

Apr 3, 2012, 5:42pm Top

I'm still reading The Glass Bead Game. I think I'm about halfway through now, and it's going well. It reads almost like a biography.

5- Sorry, I haven't read that one. I think you can see what members have it by going onto its workpage. At any rate, I hope that you get through it without having your brain fall into pieces!

Edited: Apr 4, 2012, 4:14pm Top

I am reading Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac. It is a LONG (680 pages) and DENSE (one paragraph was over 2+ pages). But, I see why Balzac is on the 2010 list with 3 books. If you let yourself go, the prose is poetic.

So, I am lining up a series of shorter novels to pair with this undertaking. In keeping with the French, I am starting Rameau's Nephew by Denis Diderot. A short (100 page) novel. I learned from the appendix that Johann Wolfgang Goethe did the first translation of this novel and wrote extensively about it.

For those pursuing Virginia Wolff I heartily recommend another of the 1001, The Hours by Michael Cunningham, if you haven't already read it. He weaves Virginia Wolff's life and imagines her thoughts throughout his novel.

Apr 4, 2012, 5:45pm Top

If you're looking for something darkly comic and easy to read, I would suggest Muriel Spark's Memento Mori. The characters are all over seventy years of age with failing memories and bodies. Each receives an anonymous phone call saying "Remember you must die". I'd recommend it for readers over 50.

Apr 5, 2012, 2:49am Top

I've just finished The Quiet American which was great.

Just starting The Sea, the Sea which is my first Iris Murdoch.

Apr 5, 2012, 9:54pm Top

I just started Madame Bovary, finally! It has been on my shelf forever!

Apr 5, 2012, 10:56pm Top

I'm reading The Shipping News and Middlemarch and enjoying both.

Apr 6, 2012, 4:42am Top

I'll finish Cat's Cradle today and then start The Kindly Ones (finally).

Apr 6, 2012, 9:30am Top

I'm reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I expected it to be a much denser read than it actually is; I'm tearing right through it. It is great.

Apr 7, 2012, 1:36am Top

I am reading Diary of a Nobody. I never knew the "Adrian Mole Diaries" I loved so much since my childhood were influenced by this book, but it's obvious.

Apr 7, 2012, 10:22am Top

Finished The Sea, The Sea and next up will be The Lost Language of Cranes.

Apr 9, 2012, 5:46pm Top

Started Tropic of Cancer, I love it so far.

Apr 9, 2012, 10:18pm Top

Just started the epic tome Kristin Lavransdatter. Has anyone else read this?

Apr 10, 2012, 3:30am Top

#27: Yes, I've read it. It took me 2 years to get through it, because I didn't like it at all. Don't know why but it really bored me. But I really shouldn't say this while you are in the upstart. Some people do say that it's one up the greatest love stories of the 20th century. Better believe them instead ;)

Apr 10, 2012, 8:42am Top

Finished The Brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao - loved it, really brilliant.

Back to Clarissa...

Apr 10, 2012, 2:51pm Top

I've moved onto Suite Francaise - brilliant but I think I need to give the war books a rest after this. I'm starting to get more and more upset.

I need to find something light heart and frivolous next - not sure the 1001 list is the place to find that??

Apr 10, 2012, 3:17pm Top

chrissybob: Have you read Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day yet? It's about as lighthearted and frivolous as they come.

Apr 10, 2012, 3:39pm Top

>27 arukiyomi: I loved the Kristin Lavransdatter books. I would highly suggest that you read the Tiina Nunnally translation - it makes an enormous difference.

Apr 10, 2012, 4:35pm Top

> 30 I would recommend Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris as the epitome of light hearted and frivolous, probably why it was only on the 2006 list. But I read it after Schindler's List, and a few other heavy ones, and it was precisely what I was craving.

I finished The Thirty-Nine Steps this morning. While enjoyable and a quick read, it didn't live up to the expectations of it being a thrilling mystery.

Apr 10, 2012, 5:39pm Top

@ japaul22: yep, that's the translation I've got. The 1920s one sounds horrendous.

@ chrissybob: I'd recommend A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and What a Carve Up! as being funny if not lighthearted and off the list

Apr 10, 2012, 6:19pm Top

#30> chrissybob, I'd also recommend Cold Comfort Farm as a good light hearted read from the 1001 list. I think there's a thread somewhere about the less "serious" reads on the list... Ahah, found it, it's "uplifting" books. Some are still serious, some are frothy: http://www.librarything.com/topic/22752

Working my way slowly through Testament of Youth. Beautifully written, it deserves close attention.

Apr 11, 2012, 7:40am Top

Finished with The Lost Language of Cranes and now moving on to The Talented Mr. Ripley

Apr 11, 2012, 9:18am Top

I finished both The Diary of a Nobody and The Tartar Steppe. Next up will be another short one, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. And then there's "Clarissa"...

Apr 11, 2012, 9:28am Top

The Corrections--#215--Excellent: 4 stars.

Apr 11, 2012, 10:16am Top

I picked up The reader at the library yesterday.

Apr 11, 2012, 12:08pm Top

Starting to listen to David Copperfield on my MP3... so far so good!

Apr 11, 2012, 3:32pm Top

Just started Gone with the Wind - so far so good. I've seen the movie of course, so I'm interested to see how the book expands on what I know of the story.

After finishing Lord of the Rings and then this one, I think I should go with a short one next. :p

Edited: Apr 11, 2012, 4:48pm Top

> 41 Don't do as I did, then. I have just finished The Buddenbrooks - a 660 pages long read. Though it was pretty interesting following a wealthy family's way almost to extinction. Now I really need a short one. Has anyone any suggestion?

Edited: Apr 11, 2012, 5:35pm Top

@#42: A Modest Proposal by Swift is about as short as they come!
@#41: you're in for a treat with Gone. It's about as epic as the film is.
@#39 & #36: novelistic wonderment awaits you too

Apr 11, 2012, 10:07pm Top

arukiyomi, I agree with all your comments, but I was not a fan of The Reader. I do seem to be in a minority there, however. :)

Apr 12, 2012, 12:46pm Top

I just finished Smilla's Sense of Snow last night, continuing with On the Road and a few non-list books.

Apr 13, 2012, 6:55am Top

Just finished #210 The Sea, the Sea Very good, perhaps tarnished somewhat by the antics of the main protagonist..
Now for The Corrections so I can tag along with the current group read.

Apr 13, 2012, 10:24am Top

I started The Handmaid's Tale a couple of days ago. It's a book that has really drawn me into the plot, but after I finish it, I've got to get away from totalitarian states for a while. The last five books I've read, a mix of fiction and nonfiction and none on the 1001, have been set in them.

Apr 13, 2012, 6:37pm Top

Finished The Talented Mr. Ripley, which was excellent. My next list book will be Wide Sargasso Sea.

Apr 14, 2012, 12:30pm Top

Finally I've done it! I have read A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. It took me about 20 minutes. So I'll soon be into something else.

Apr 14, 2012, 7:53pm Top

well, er, done, I think ;-)

Apr 15, 2012, 7:05pm Top

Wide Sargasso Sea was so slim, it didn't take long to read at all. It has inspired me to reread Jane Eyre since it's been a long while since I last picked it up.

Apr 16, 2012, 4:27pm Top

On the printed page I'm reading The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. A cool book that I'd never have picked up without the 1001 list. I'm enjoying this one.
On the other hand, The Mysteries of Udolpho -- you are kidding me! It's next month's book discussion so I got it on Books on Tape and started listening yesterday. Wow. It's so.... 18th century. Really different from the 19th-century novels I'm used to, in terms of its values and its narrative voice and its lazy descriptive style. I wonder if I will get through its entire enormous length. Does reading Book I (at about 600 pages) count as finishing it?

Apr 16, 2012, 5:08pm Top

does it heck...

Edited: Apr 17, 2012, 9:33pm Top

Reading a lot this month... (it helps when they are shorter books... I'll be slowing to a halt next month with Mysteries of Udolpho I think!) Jane Eyre is finished, now I'm onto Tender is the Night.

Apr 17, 2012, 11:10pm Top

# 52 I read Wide Sargossa Sea before Jane Eyre, so reading the latter led me to re-read the former. Got much more out of it second time round.

Apr 18, 2012, 12:50am Top

I read and finished Frankenstein this month. Maybe I'll reread Catcher in the Rye.

Apr 18, 2012, 9:58am Top

#57 Chamberk did or do you remember actually like Catcher in the Rye ? Maybe its because I have teenagers but I found the main character whining and the book just left me asking Why is this book such a big deal????

Edited: Apr 20, 2012, 3:48pm Top

I think that I will now turn towards The Turn of the Screw. I know that it's somewhere here in my apartment. It's just a matter of looking for it thoroughly.

I haven't read Catcher in the Rye which I understand is a classical american youth novel. What do you think of it? Worth reading?

Apr 20, 2012, 5:57pm Top

>59 MikeMonkey: I read Catcher in the Rye in high school and LOVED it. I haven't reread it and, frankly, I'm a little afraid to. I credit a fantastic English teacher and the right alignment of planets for this being a favorite book for me. This did not happen with The Great Gatsby and I hate that one.

Apr 20, 2012, 10:40pm Top

I'm reading Silas Marner. Its a small book but a slow read for me. I'm hoping to be done with it by mid May so I can read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest next.

Apr 21, 2012, 3:06am Top

#59 I read it too late (at about 21) and loathed it. Horrible.

Apr 21, 2012, 11:32pm Top

Read Cuckoo's Nest when I was a teenager. Loved it, and it scared me. Better than the movie only because of course you get more in the book but Nicholson did a great job in the movie.

Apr 21, 2012, 11:34pm Top

I didn't like Catcher. Maybe if I'd read it for English.. I did have a great teacher. Maybe would have helped..

Apr 21, 2012, 11:36pm Top

I'll add Ripley to my wishlist. The picture was good.

Apr 21, 2012, 11:39pm Top

The movie follows the book but with a few exceptions which made me wish the movie had included them. It's not like the film was long enough to include it all.. I did enjoy the book very much. However, the sequel, written in the '90s I think, can't hold a candle to it.

Apr 22, 2012, 10:59am Top

I'm reading The Big Sleep and enjoying it hugely. I needed something to balance out The Mysteries of Udolpho, which I'm listening to on tape and following along in print. I'm about 50 pages into that one and still haven't gotten into the groove.

Apr 22, 2012, 12:45pm Top

I read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark today which I liked better than her Girls of Slender Means. Still my favorite Spark remains a non-1001 one, Memento Mori.
I am now officially reading the horrible Memoirs of my Nervous Illness by Daniel Paul Schreber, I am 20% in (Kindle). It still makes my brain and nerves hurt, but given the title this might be the intention. I'm sure it's on the list because someone on Boxall's team wanted to be original.

Apr 22, 2012, 5:16pm Top

Memento Mori was on some edition of the 1001 list. But Miss Jean Brodie is her masterpiece, in my opinion.

Apr 22, 2012, 6:30pm Top

@ Deern: annamorphic is right. It was on the original 2006 list and was removed to make way for books in the 2008 edition.

Anyway, after cramming in nearly 500 pages yesterday, I should have completed the epic Kristin Lavransdatter by this evening. Wow... what a saga!

Edited: Apr 23, 2012, 1:35pm Top

#69/70: that's interesting, thanks for the info.
And then it was removed to add something as splendid and worldshaking as Memoirs of my Nervous Illness! I read 5% of that one today and feel the urgent need to cry silently into my teacup. *sigh*

Edit: started Tarzan of the Apes today as a bit of a contrast read.

Apr 23, 2012, 8:04am Top

I just finished Cold Comfort Farm, and I'm nearly done with Vernon God Little. Not sure how I feel about the latter. Then I'll get around to finally finishing Watchmen.

Apr 23, 2012, 6:10pm Top

I just finished Lost Illusions and Rameau's Nephew. Last month I completed Nana. I hadn't planned on a French emersion, but it turned out well. Balzac (1713-1784) preceded Diderot (1799-1850) and both preceded Zola (1840-1902) -- authors of the three novels respectively. Yet, they all painted a similar picture of the foibles of French governance, culture, art, and theatre.

I just started Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion. OMG. What a GREAT SHORT read. Why some of the chapters are only 1 page with a LOT of WHITE space. In one afternoon, I'm nearly half way through. Nana and Lost Illusion total 600 plus, DENSE pages!

Apr 24, 2012, 11:37am Top

I'm reading Deep River by Shusaku Endo. It is fantastic.

Apr 26, 2012, 7:15am Top

Finished up with Tender is the Night, and now moving onto Virginia Woolf's The Years.

Apr 26, 2012, 8:28am Top

I love Fitzgerald's writing. What did you think of Tender Is the Night? It's on my shelf, and I have read it, but some years ago. And I need to read some more Virginia Woolf. I've only read Mrs Dalloway.

Edited: Apr 26, 2012, 8:04pm Top

livrecache: My overall reaction was 'meh'. I didn't love it or hate it... it just seemed an average, ho-hum story to me. (I was surprised because I loved The Great Gatsby... maybe it was just a case of my expectations being too high. )

Edited: Apr 26, 2012, 4:16pm Top


Edited: Apr 26, 2012, 4:19pm Top

Started The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark for the 75 Books Challenge Take It or Leave It Challenge #24 to read a book by Muriel Spark. LOVING IT! I read this one a hundred years ago after seeing the movie and loved then and am loving it now. Again, great writing, sad situation.

Apr 26, 2012, 4:19pm Top

Also reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe for the 12 12 Challenge Group read for April. Didn't care for it at first but now that the Christians have arrived and commenced their missionary work I am finding it much more compelling.

Apr 27, 2012, 3:07pm Top

I started The Children's Book by AS Byatt. It weighs a ton, but I love the writing style.

Apr 27, 2012, 3:21pm Top

Now I've started Catcher in the Rye. In the beginning it's very much turned towards young male readers. Maybe it will change, but I really understand if female readers loathe it. I will continue the reading tomorrow!

Apr 27, 2012, 6:07pm Top

Apr 28, 2012, 2:51am Top

#73 Thanks for the tip on the Didion - I was looking for something short to fit in before May (when I start Grapes of Wrath) and this is so far really quite good.

Apr 28, 2012, 8:03am Top

I picked up Measuring the world at the library and 100 pages in, it's fascinating.

Apr 28, 2012, 8:55am Top

I loved that one! It is fascinating.

Right now, I'm reading Birdsong, largely because I'm also watching the PBS version and I'm feeling guilty for watching the movie before reading the book.

Apr 29, 2012, 2:54pm Top

#73, jasmeyer -- at your suggestion I'm now reading Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion. It's a wonderful follow-up to The Big Sleep as another totally Los Angeles book (with Nevada thrown in for good measure) -- just steeped in a particular atmosphere, culture, landscape, and waste. Here there is no Philip Marlowe to give the book charm, of course. It is not an "enjoyable" book but it's smart and engrossing.
Both of these books worked well as complete counterweights to The Mysteries of Udolpho on which I will have more to say when the Group Read starts. I am about 100 pages into that one, out of 700 total, whereas I'll probably finish Play It As It Lays in a couple of days.

Apr 29, 2012, 5:51pm Top

Squeezing in a 1001 book before the month ends: The Third Man, by Graham Greene. Although I've read Greene before and like him well enough, I don't know why this is a 1001 book.

Apr 30, 2012, 12:22am Top

Just finished The Master and Margarita. Russian magical realism and satire. I thought it was very good.

Apr 30, 2012, 9:26am Top

#217--The Stranger--3.5 Stars.
#218--The Turn of the Screw--2 Stars

Apr 30, 2012, 9:34am Top

Will not finish The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie before the end of April so did not manage to complete the TIOLI challenge I was aiming for. I do hope, though, to finish it in the next few days

Apr 30, 2012, 10:16am Top

I've finished The Catcher in the Rye now. Don't really know what to think of it. Sometimes it was quite touching, but at other times it was not.

Apr 30, 2012, 12:14pm Top

I'm out of control again - too many books on the go and starting group read of Grapes of Wrath tomorrow. Ooops.

Apr 30, 2012, 12:24pm Top

Wait, isn't our group read The Mysteries of Udolpho in May?? Have I been enduring the Books on Tape version for naught?

Apr 30, 2012, 2:52pm Top

Annamorphic, I am so tempted to write, "No, I've never heard of that book even being on the list." But instead, I started a new post for the May group read. You may have the distinction of providing the first commentary.

May 1, 2012, 12:20am Top

#94> There's a group read of Grapes of Wrath happening over in the 75 Books group (as part of the Steinbeckathon this year). I'll be reading it (I hope!) at some stage next month.

I doubt I'll get around to The Mysteries of Udolpho (which is the "1001" book group read for May) as I'm still going (slowly) through Testament of Youth. It's great, but library books that need to be read and returned keep on getting in the way.

And I have resisted buying a copy, in my usual "but I might find time..." habit. Bad habit that one, it's why Mt TBR is threatening to topple and crush me!

#95> LOL!

May 1, 2012, 3:48am Top

Mysteries would be a step too far for me too I think - it's far too large to run concurrently with Clarissa!

Edited: May 30, 2012, 7:38am Top

With my April reading:

Lost Illusions
Rameau's Nephew
Play It As It Lays

I bring my totals to:

107 authors and 146 books

May 1, 2012, 10:31am Top

I started The Buddenbrooks last night. About 100 pages in so far not bad but not great either.

Group: 1001 Books to read before you die

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