AnneDC's 75 in 2012--Part 3
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This topic was continued by AnneDC's 75 in 2012--Part 4.
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Welcome to Thread #3!
I've been busy this week with life versus books, and have to share:
My oldest, Kate, has graduated from high school!
And here is a poem that came to mind on the occasion.
The Summer-Camp Bus Pulls Away from the Curb
by Sharon Olds
Whatever he needs, he has or doesn't
have by now.
Whatever the world is going to do to him
it has started to do. With a pencil and two
Hardy Boys and a peanut butter sandwich and
grapes he is on his way, there is nothing
more we can do for him. Whatever is
stored in his heart, he can use, now.
Whatever he has laid up in his mind
he can call on. What he does not have
he can lack. The bus gets smaller and smaller, as one
folds a flag at the end of a ceremony,
onto itself, and onto itself, until
only a heavy wedge remains.
Whatever his exuberant soul
can do for him, it is doing right now.
Whatever his arrogance can do
it is doing to him. Everything
that's been done to him, he will now do.
Everything that's been placed in him
will come out, now, the contents of a trunk
unpacked and lined up on a bunk in the underpine light.
And now, back to the books.
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
Not actively reading but will return to soon:
The Balkan Trilogy - Olivia Manning
Books Read in 2012
88. The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner (aloud) (R) (OMB)
89. How it All Began - Penelope Lively (L)
90. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (audio) (OMB)
91. The Great Fortune - Olivia Manning
92. A Hero of Our Time - Mikhail Lermontov
93. The Crossing Places - Elly Griffiths (Kindle)
94. The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport - Laura Lee Hope (aloud)
95. Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
96. The Beginner's Goodbye - Anne Tyler (L)
97. Speak, Memory - Vladimir Nabokov (audio)
98. I Am a Cat - Natsume Soseki (L)
99. Mudbound - Hillary Jordan (audio)
100. Complications - Atul Gawande
101. The Woman in the Dunes - Kobo Abe
102. Soulless - Gail Carriger (audio)
103. Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys
104. S.: A Novel About the Balkans - Slavenka Drakulic (L)
105. Kangaroo Notebook - Kobo Abe (L)
106. Black Hearts in Battersea - Joan Aiken (aloud)
107. The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore - Laura Lee Hope
108. Color Me English - Caryl Phillips (L)
109. A Rule Against Murder - Louise Penny (L)
110. River of Smoke - Amitav Ghosh (OMB)
111. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (audio)
112. The Coroner's Lunch - Colin Cotterill (L)
113. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake - Anna Quindlen (L)
114. Nightbirds on Nantucket - Joan Aiken (aloud)
115. Old Filth - Jane Gardam (audio)
116. Jane Fairfax - Joan Aiken (L)
117. The Box Man - Kobo Abe
118. Faithful Place - Tana French (audio)
119. Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens (OMB)
120. The Children of Green Knowe - L. M. Boston (aloud)
121. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America - Timothy Egan (audio)
122. Palace Walk - Naguib Mahfouz
123. The Cat's Table - Michael Ondaatje
124. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Harriet Jacobs
125. A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. LeGuin
126. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - Anne Tyler
Books Read in 2012
1. The True Deceiver - Tove Jansson (OMB)
2. If on a winter's night a traveler - Italo Calvino (OMB)
3. Silence - Shusaku Endo (L)
4. Snow - Orhan Pamuk (audio) (L)
5. Fall On Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald (L)
6. A Spell of Winter - Helen Dunmore (OMB)
7. Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha La (OMB)
8. The Quiet American - Graham Greene (audio) (OMB)
9. Lassie Come-Home - Eric Knight (aloud) (L)
10. In the Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming (L)
11. Kokoro - Natsume Soseki (L)
12. In the Woods - Tana French (audio) (L)
13. Dragonsong - Anne McCaffrey (L)
14. Still Life - Louise Penny (audio)
15. On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry (L)
16. Train Dreams - Denis Johnson (OMB)
17. Cannery Row - John Steinbeck (e-book)
18. Property - Valerie Martin (L)
19. A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming (e-book)
20. The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson (OMB)
21. The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern (OMB)
22. The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin (OMB)
23. The Arabian Nights (aloud) (OMB)
24. February - Lisa Moore (L)
25. Bleak House - Charles Dickens (audio/paper) (R) (OMB)
26. Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor (audio) (L)
27. The Likeness - Tana French (audio) (L)
28. Deep River - Shusaku Endo (L)
29. Comet in Moominland - Tove Jansson (aloud) (OMB)
30. Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins (audio)
31. Capital and Its Discontents - Sasha Lilley (e-book)
32. Aloft - Chang-Rae Lee (audio)
33. Beloved - Toni Morrison (R) (OMB)
34. The Lorax - Dr. Suess (aloud) (R) (OMB)
35. The Secret in the Old Clock - Carolyn Keene (R) (L)
36. Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear (audio)
37. Dynamics of Faith - Paul Tillich (new)
38. Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde (L)
39. God's Philosophers - James Hannam (new)
40. Doomsday Book - Connie Willis (audio)
41. The Bridge on the Drina - Ivo Andric (L)
42. Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh (aloud) (OMB)
43. The Sea and Poison - Shusaku Endo (L)
44. All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque (audio) (OMB)
45. Every Man in This Village is a Liar - Megan Stack (L)
46. The Best American Short Stories 2011 - Geraldine Brooks, ed. (Kindle)
47. Good Owners, Great Dogs - Brian Kilcommons (new)
48. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin (OMB)
49. A Study in Scarlet - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (OMB)
50. A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal 1830-1832 - Joan Blos (OMB)
51. The New Being - Paul Tillich (new)
52. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsberg (R) (aloud) (OMB)
53. Lord of Misrule - Jaimy Gordon (audio) (L)
54. Foreign Bodies - Cynthia Ozick (L)
55. Gillespie and I - Jane Harris (new)
56. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller (Kindle)
57. A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny (L)
58. Painter of Silence - Georgina Harding (Kindle)
59. The Mouse and the Motorcycle - Beverly Cleary (audio)
60. Half Blood Blues - Esi Edugyan (L)
61. The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling (aloud) (OMB)
62. The Translation of the Bones - Francesca Kay (L)
63. The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro - Antonio Tabucci (L)
64. Austenland - Shannon Hale
65. The Girls of Slender Means - Muriel Spark (L)
66. The Magician's Elephant - Kate di Camillo (aloud) (OMB)
67. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
68. The Sign of the Four - Arthur Conan Doyle (OMB)
69. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard Feynman (OMB)
70. The Driver's Seat - Muriel Spark (L)
71. The Forgotten Waltz - Anne Enright (L)
72. Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson (L)
73. The Rest is Noise - Alex Ross (audio)
74. The Souls of Black Folk - W.E. B. Dubois (Kindle)
75. Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak (OMB)
76. Sovereign - C. J. Sansom (OMB)
77. The Only Problem - Muriel Spark (L)
78. The Wainscott Weasel - Tor Seidel (aloud) (OMB)
79. The Tale of Tom Kitten - Beatrix Potter (OMB)
80. The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny (L)
81. Death and the Penguin - Andrey Kurkov (new)
82. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett (OMB)
83. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (Kindle/audio)
84. A Severed Head - Iris Murdoch (new)
85. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Joan Aiken (aloud) (OMB)
86. The Last Temptation of Christ - Nikos Kazantzakis (L)
87. Democracy Matters - Cornel West (OMB)
*OMB=Off My Bookshelf
New Books Acquired in 2012
1. The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears - Dinaw Mengestu ✔
2. Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden
3. God's Philosophers - James Hannam ✔
4. Dynamics of Faith - Paul Tillich (for class) ✔
5. The New Being - Paul Tillich (for class) ✔
6. Good Owners, Great Dogs - Brian Kilcommons ✔
7. The Grief of Others - Leah Hager Cohen
8. Afterimage - Helen Humphreys
9. Brixton Beach - Roma Tearne
10. The Beet Queen - Louise Erdrich ✔
11. Astonishing Splashes of Colour - Clair Morrall
12. Black Water Rising - Attica Locke
13. Burger's Daughter - Nadine Gordimer ✔
14. Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black - Nadine Gordimer
15. The Brutal Telling - Louise Penny
16. Blackberry Wine - Joanne Harris
17. The Book of Lies - Mary Horlock
18. An Atlas of Impossible Longing - Anuradha Roy
19. Beyond Black - Hilary Mantel
20. On the Floor - Aifric Campbell
21. Gillespie and I - Jane Harris ✔
22. The Memory Chalet - Tony Judt
23. Death and the Penguin - Andrey Kurkov ✔
24. Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo
25. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
26. The Balkan Trilogy - Olivia Manning
27. Conquered City - Victor Serge
28. Chess Story - Stefan Zweig
29. Slynx -Tatyana Tolstaya
30. Envy - Yuri Olesha
31. Netherland -Joseph O'Neill
32. New Grub Street - George Gissing
33. A Hero of Our Time - Mikhail Lermontov ✔
34. Popular Hits of the Showa Era - Ryu Murakami
35. Audition - Ryu Murakami
36. Twenty-Five Books that Shaped America - Thomas Foster
37. The End of the Affair - Graham Greene
38. The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene
39. The Woman in the Dunes - Kobo Abe ✔
40. The Box Man - Kobo Abe
41. The Ark Sakura - Kobo Abe
42. In the Miso Soup - Ryu Murakami
43. An Equal Stillness - Francesca Kay
44. A Severed Head - Iris Murdoch ✔
45. The Lonely Londoners - Sam Selvon
46. Broken April - Ismail Kadare
47. Silence in the Garden - William Trevor
48. The Bigamist's Daughter - Alice McDermott
49. End This Depression Now - Paul Krugman
50. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf ✔
51. The Snows of Kilimanjaro - Ernest Hemingway
52. In Praise of the Stepmother - Mario Vargas Llosa
53. The Yates Reader - William Butler Yeats
54. City of the Mind - Penelope Lively
55. Not the End of the World - Kate Atkinson
56. A Golden Age - Tahmima Aman
57. The Good Muslim - Tahmima Aman
58. Lyrics Alley - Leila Aboulela
59. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle - Monique Roffey
60. The Wife - Meg Wolitzer
61. White Ghost Girls - Alice Greenway
62. Salvage the Bones - Jesmyn Ward
63. The Emperor of all Maladies - Siddhartha Mukherjee
64. Moth Smoke - Mohsin Hamid
65. Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them - Donovan Hohn
66. The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times - Arlie Hochschild
67. In the Night Kitchen - Maurice Sendak ✔
68. When the Emperor Was Divine - Julie Otsuka
69. Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel ✔
70. The Mayor of Casterbridge - Thomas Hardy ✔
71. Molly Fox's Birthday - Deirdre Madden
72. Ten Thousand Saints - Eleanor Henderson
73. The Line - Olga Grushin
74. Emily Alone - Stewart O'Nan
75. Trapeze - Simon Mawer
76. Man Gone Down - Michael Thomas
77. Pure - Andrew Miller
78. Capital - John Lanchester
79. The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It - Timothy Noah
80. Troubles - J. G. Farrell
81. July's People - Nadine Gordimer ✔
82. Heat Wave - Penelope Lively
83. Quicksand - Junichiro Tanizaki
84. Brown Girl, Brownstones - Paule Marshall
85. Cane Jean - Toomer
86. The Lifetime Reading Plan - Clifton Fadiman
87. The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman
88. The Great War and Modern Memory - Paul Fussell
89. An Episode of Sparrows Rumor- Godden
90. The Finn Family Moomintroll - Tove Jansson
91. Complications - Atul Gawande ✔
If it is bold, I bought it new and at full or close-to-full price.
Books off my Shelves (in my possession before 2012)
1. The True Deceiver - Tove Jansson
2. If on a winter's night a traveler - Italo Calvino
3. A Spell of Winter - Helen Dunmore
4. Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha La
5. Train Dreams - Denis Johnson
6. The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson
7. The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
8. Bleak House - Charles Dickens (audio/paper) (R)
9. Aloft - Chang-Rae Lee (audio)
10. Beloved - Toni Morrison (R)
11. All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque (audio/paper)
12. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin (R)
13. A Study in Scarlet - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
14. The Sign of the Four - Arthur Conan Doyle
15. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard Feynman
16. Sovereign - C.J. Sansom
17. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
18. Democracy Matters - Cornel West
19. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
20. River of Smoke - Amitav Ghosh
21. Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens
Books read off the kids' shelves
The Arabian Nights
Comet in Moominland - Tove Jansson
The Lorax - Dr. Suess (R)
Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh
A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal 1830-1832 - Joan Blos
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsberg (R)
The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
The Magician's Elephant - Kate di Camillo
Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak (R)
The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin
The Quiet American - Graham Greene
The Tale of Tom Kitten - Beatrix Potter
The Wainscott Weasel -
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Joan Aiken
The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Warner Chandler
The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport - Laura Lee Hope
Nightbirds on Nantucket - Joan Aiken
The Children of Green Knowe - L. M. Boston
Books bought 2012 for other family members
Austenland - Shannon Hale ✔
Between Shades of Grey - Ruta Sepetys ✔
Black Hearts in Battersea - Joan Aiken ✔
My 12 in 12 categories:
1. Next in Line (series) (12/12) COMPLETE
2. The Envelope, Please (prize-winning books) (5/12)
3. Oranges Are the Only Fruit (Orange Prize for Literature, long and shortlists) (5/12)
4. Bright Young Things (2011 and 2012 publications) (7/12)
5. Author, Author (Japanese author theme reads) (4/12)
6. London Calling (books about or set in London) (7/12)
7. From Russia With Love (books about or set in Russia) (2/12)
8. I Have a Dream (African-American literature) (4/12)
9. It’s About Time (neglected classics, classic re-reads, or 1001 books you should have read by now) (5/12)
10. The Meaning of Life (religion and philosophy) (5/12)
11. That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It (memoir) (1/12)
12. Just the Facts, Ma’am (non-fiction. Maybe at least one or two should have to do with science?) (5/12)
Besides the 75 and 12 in 12, I also am participating this year in Reading Globally, Author Theme Reads (Japanese authors), Orange January/July, and the Booker Prize group. This has some influence on what I plan to read (although maybe not on what I end up reading!)
Book plans for June
✔The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (audio) (May group read)
The Balkan Trilogy - Olivia Manning (reading with Bonnie) (1st book COMPLETED)
✔Complications - Atul Gawande
✔Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel (group read)
✔How it all Began - Penelope Lively
✔The Beginner's Goodbye - Anne Tyler
There but for the - Ali Smith
✔Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys
✔Black Hearts in Battersea - Joan Aiken
✔Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake - Anna Quindlen (read in July)
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong - Terry Teachout
✔Color Me English - Caryl Phillips (finished in July
✔Kangaroo Notebook - Kobo Abe
✔The Woman in the Dunes - Kobo Abe
Ministry of Pain - Dubravka Ugresic (returned to library unread)
✔S.: A Novel about the Balkans - Slavenka Drakulic
✔The Coroner's Lunch - Colin Cotterill (read in July)
The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai
✔River of Smoke - Amitav Ghosh (Read in July)
What a great picture! She looks like a happy graduate. Can't believe I'm first. Hope you had a wonderful weekend, Anne!
Congratulations to you and your daughter, Anne! And thanks for sharing that excellent poem with us.
Great picture and poem celebrating Kate's graduation. . . Congratulations!
Congrats on your daughter's graduation!
PrueGallagher and AnneDC: I've also read Breathing Lessons, The Amateur Marriage, and Saint Maybe. Breathing Lessons is my second favorite. I don't know if I plan to read all of her novels but I definitely plan on at least 2-3 more. Glad to know I'm not the only Anne Tyler fan. Her books are quiet, but yet I find greatness in their 'ordinary-ness.'
Anne: Congratulations on your daughter's graduation. She does look happy. You've done some great reading this year. I am anxious to hear your comments on The Balkan Trilogy.
Congratulations on Kate's graduation - what are her plans from here? Keep us updated on What Katy Did Next!
Congratulations also on your latest new thread and what a lovely way to kick it off - with a fresh face and good news.
Hi Anne--you win the prize for being first :)
Thanks Darryl, Brenda, Kerry, Michelle, Beth and Paul for the congratulations and for visiting my very new thread. I need to do some catching up around here!
Kate is alternating between happy, and sad, but was very happy not to have to get up early this morning and go to school. She gave a lovely speech at the ceremony about how much her school and her friends have meant to her and managed not to cry until the very end. (In contrast to her 8th grade graduation when she dissolved into tears, and never recovered herself enough even to say the thank your she had carefully scripted. What a difference a few years makes.))
Michelle, I've not read The Amateur Marriage but did read Saint Maybe, although quite a while ago. I've also read The Accidental Tourist, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Morgan's Passing, Ladder of Years, and Digging to America. I (clearly) used to read Anne Tyler a lot, but it has been a long while since I read most of those books. So I'm looking forward to rediscovering her via the new one.
Beth have you read The Balkan Trilogy yourself?
Hi Paul--Kate will be heading out to Portland Oregon at the end of the summer for college. In the meantime she will be working as a counselor at an art camp she's attended for years.
April and May stats
13 regular books
2 Books Off My Bookshelves
3 Books off other people’s bookshelves
7 Borrowed from library
5 new this year (1 book, 3 Kindle, 1 audio)
16 fiction, 1 non-fiction
1 translated book (Italian)
6 Orange Prize books
2 1001 books list
19th century: 2
21st century: 10
Authors (fiction only):
4 male, 11 female (inflated by Orange reading)
7 UK, 1 Ireland, 4 US, 2 Canadian, 1 Italian
New-to-me authors: Jane Harris, Madeline Miller, Georgina Harding, Esi Edugyan, Rudyard Kipling (!), Francesca Kay, Patrick Ness
The Song of Achilles
The Painter of Silence
The Knife of Never Letting Go
Books purchased in April: 28! (3 new/full-price)
13 regular books
4 Books Off My Bookshelves
4 Books off other people’s bookshelves
4 Borrowed from library
4 new this year (2 books, 2 audio)
13 fiction, 3 non-fiction
2 translated book (Greek, Russian)
1 Orange Prize books
3 1001 books list
When published (fiction only):
19th century: 1
21st century: 4
Authors (fiction only):
6 male, 7 female
7 UK, 3 US, 1 Canadian, 1 Russian, 1 Greek
New-to-me authors: Andrey Kurkov, Iris Murdoch, Nikos Kazantzakis
The Souls of Black Folk
Where the Wild Things Are
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Books purchased in May: 20 (3 new/full-price)
My favorite books of the century, so far
I posted this over on Paul's thread, but decided I wanted it here where I can keep an eye on it. I've also tweaked it, since other peoples' lists keep reminding me of books I forgot about.
The Top Ten (not in order)
1. Atonement - Ian McEwan
2. Small Island - Andrea Levy
3. The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
4. Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel
5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon
6. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
7. The Memory of Love - Aminatta Forna
8. White Teeth - Zadie Smith
9. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese
10. The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears - Dinaw Mengestu
The Next Ten (also not in order)
1. Burnt Shadows - Khamila Shamsie
2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
3. The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes
4. Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann
5. The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery
6. Visitation - Jenny Erpenbeck
7. Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh
8. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet - David Mitchell
9. The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht
10. Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
And Some More:
The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver
A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
The Plague of Doves - Louise Erdrich
Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Gilead - Marilynne Robinson
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
The Imperfectionists - Tom Rathman
Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
Lord of Misrule - Jaimy Gordon
The Book Thief - Marcus Zukas
The Life of Pi -Yann Martel
I deliberately excluded 2011 and 2012 books (because really, this list is long enough).
ETA I also excluded non-fiction and short stories--same reason.
Also love the poem and the pic of your daughter, Anne : ). Congratulations!
Kate looks giddy with happiness. Congratulations to the entire family! Can't wait for our meetup at Powell's in Portland. ;-)
Anne, you've done a fine job with your lists. It's just too difficult to narrow a decade's worth of excellent books down to ten favorites. I'm seeing a few that I could have added to my lists(s): Small Island and The Elegance of the Hedgehog were definite favorites. I think I'm going to dedicate a shelf (or two) to these books. It's a good thing I'm going to a big book sale next week as I don't own all of them....yet.
Well Anne I can see you threw caution to the wind in coming up with that list which looks remarkably like....mine...only longer;-)
Your daughter makes a lovely graduate. You must be very proud and excited for her. Congratulations!
Ooh, fabulous lists, Anne! I put one together that was rather haphazard, not nearly so organized as yours. I see some stuff on yours that I loved and also several that I'm meaning to get to ...
Anne: Great lists. I've either read or have most of these on my wishlist. Great minds:) I'll have to think about my list...
Thanks Roni, Nancy, Donna, and Bonnie. Guess what Kate has been doing since graduation? Catching up on some reading.
Bonnie, I have nothing but admiration for those of you who were able to hold yourselves to a shorter list. (that seems to be the point of the exercise, right?) But I just couldn't stop.
Actually when I was trying to compile my list I did think of many other books I've read that I mentally designated as "not my favorite" and it was appropriately long--lest anyone conclude that this is simply a list of every recent book I've read. But it is possible that I have more favorites than non-favorites.
Nancy and Beth--as you can see I need little or no encouragement to make lists. Now I am inspired to make a list of all the books that are on other peoples' lists that I've been meaning to read but haven't gotten to yet.
Well, reading all these lists have made me feel antsy about all the great books I haven't read but mean to read (thanks Paul), so here's a list to channel that energy.
21st Century TBR List
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
Matterhorn - Karl Marlantes
2666 - Robert Bolano
American Salvage - Bonnie Jo Campbell
Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Brooklyn - Colm Toibin
Tree of Smoke - Denis Johnson
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
The Glass Room - Simon Mawer
Wizard of the Crow - Ngugi wa'Thiong'o
Netherland - Joseph O'Neill
Empire Falls - Richard Russo
And a little more listmania:
Favorite Fiction Published in the 90s
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The Shipping News - Annie Proulx
Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
A Thousand Acres - Jane Smiley
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
At Weddings and Wakes - Alice McDermott
The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
Pereira Declares - Antonio Tabucchi
Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
Paradise - Toni Morrison
For some reason I found the 90s much easier to think about. Maybe I didn't read as much.
I can't bring myself to make a list as I just know I'll leave out a book I really loved. I so loved The Shipping news when I read it.
22: I've read 12 of your TBR list, Anne, and agree that you should read all of them with the possible exception of Netherland. Just my opinion, of course, but then I'm not a cricket fan. At least I think it was cricket that was explained in detail. You see, I've already forgotten it. ;-(
Hi Anne, how are you coming along with Complications? I loved that book, may have to upgrade it from a 4.5 to a 5 star rating.
>23 Nancy, Im told I really have to read Snow Falling on Cedars asap...and you seem to confirm that for me.
I also really love reading your lists. Whether I'm checking off books I've read or filing away titles for later reading, the lists are very satisfying. . .
Do you think the 90s are easier to think about because of the time elapsed? For me the great books just sort of "pop out" of the pile given a few years.
But I also definitely read less in the 90s. . . RL revolved around young children and their needs. AHHH, the joys of an empty nest!
Hey Anne - Congrats on your daughter's graduation! Our school's graduation is Saturday and by Saturday evening the dorms will be empty!
Hi Anne - Lovely photo and congrats on your daughter's graduation! Great book lists, with many I haven't read yet (although I loved The God of Small Things). Pre-LT groups, I hadn't focused on recent fiction very much. That, of course, has changed considerably in the last year, and I'm happy about that.
Congratulations on your daughter's graduation, Anne. Since she is headed to the opposite coast, perhaps that provides you a good excuse for some traveling? It is such a period of transition for both child and parents, but from the look of your lists, you will have plenty to fill any gaps in time. Great reading you have done - and so much of it!
Anne glad to receive the
Loved the TBR list - and that's the point of all the other lists after all isn't it. Would agree that all the books on your TBRs that I haven't read look splendid to me too.
Hi Anne - just waving from down here in Wellington. Loved the photo of Kate, and congratulations to you and her on seeing her through high school. I also loved the lists here and on Paul's thread and will try to come up with one once I am through this week's mountain of work for uni. At the moment my brain is fried.
Wow, lots of visitors.
Nancy, it was interesting making the 90s list because many of the books were ones I actually read in the 90s, that still stand out, and others (like Fall on Your Knees, are books I read relatively recently. I am not at all sure that it's a consistent standard.
Kerry I read a lot of Annie Proulx years ago and The Shipping News was by far my favorite. Hmm, it may be time for a reread...
I figured since these lists are really for my own benefit, if I decide I've left something out I'll just add it. (It's already happened--that's why the first list has 30 + titles)
Opinion noted on Netherland Donna (and yes the tags say cricket). But you're confirming that I have to read 12 of the rest...somehow that's not very helpful.
Er--Megan, I'm having a little problem with Complications. It's a library book and I fear I have lost it. I have read far enough to know I was really liking it, and well enough to want my own copy, so I will probably buy it. But I'm not ready to admit that it's lost. Time to tidy up around here I think.
And yes, you do have to read Snow Falling on Cedars (it sounds like you're having just the weather for it.)
Hi Beth. I actually own both Cloud Atlas and Brooklyn and keep meaning to read them sooner rather than later.
Brenda, interesting question about those 90s books. I do think the passage of time makes it easier to identify a favorite book. I tend not to give any books 5 star ratings when I first read them because I kind of need to see how I feel about them after 6 months or so--so I'm more likely to upgrade a book.
But it also makes me think about what kind of a reader I was in the 90s, and what kind of books I read. I read much less--with two small children and a full-time job, I'm not sure how I read anything. And I definitely read less international fiction, I read more book group selections, go-to authors, and bestsellers. And no LT. When I've looked at some of the lists others have posted for the 90s, there seem to be more books I haven't heard of.
Hi Brit. Thanks, and thanks for stopping by. I just lurked briefly over on your thread and see you have your own exciting things going on.
Hi Kerri and thanks. Another fan of The God of Small Things! I hadn't realized it but it seems to be a book that many people dislike. I really loved it at the time and it's one I'd like to reread.
Thanks, Linda, and yes, we do anticipate some West Coast travel in our future--beginning with a week-long family trip in late August. I can't claim to be anywhere close to an empty nest since there are two more after Kate and the youngest is only 9. So it's a big transition, but not one that is likely to free up time for me since the child who is most capable of doing things for herself (and others) is the one leaving. I guess that is the way it works.
Paul, you can
Yes, I tweaked my list--well-spotted
Hi Cushla. Best of luck with that final push and enjoy making your own list when you catch your breath. I thought it was pretty fun.
Anne hahaha - my thread is certainly list crazy - to that I will admit.
What a spring you're having! Congratulations to Kate and to all of you! She's lovely and has exciting, wonderful years ahead. She looks like she's completely up to them! I love the poem too!
And I love your lists. You are a reading phenom!
It's funny though, that I've read more on your TBR lists than on your favorites. I own several of your top ten; like you, it's just a matter of getting to them. Fun and games!
Anne: Good point you make about how when we read books influences our opinions of them. I know when I made my list, certain books popped right into my head, while others that I read a long time ago, didn't, even though I loved them at the time. And I didn't include some of my favorite authors because I thought their earlier books were much better than the ones from this century: Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison and Julia Alvarez, for example.
Happy to contribute to the craziness over there, Paul. Just let me know when you get to the 80s.
Thank you Peggy. We are very proud of her.
There is something about making a list that makes my heart go pitter-pat. I think I was first attracted to LT by the idea of making a list of all the books I read in a year.
I noticed that about a lot of the lists--while I've almost always seen overlapping favorites, I haven't seen a single top 10 list where I've read all the books. But a surprising number are on my shelves. (I saw your list, for instance--I've only read The Lacuna, The Memory of Love, and Cutting for Stone, all of which I loved, but I own all of your favorites except for Perdido Street Station. (Mieville is an author I've never read--yet).)
Hi Beth, I think in making my lists I was drawn to books that were especially memorable--either I could remember something about the book quite vividly, or I could remember my reaction to the book vividly. I'm not sure I would say they are the "best" books--for some of them I also remember their flaws pretty well. It's very subjective, isn't it? I also think it's quite possible that a favorite author might not have any individual books on a favorites list.
Now, to tackle the review backlog. I am months behind so I am leaning toward one or two sentence reactions.
72. Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson 3.7
I love love love Kate Atkinson and I have loved the Jackson Brodie books. So what if I didn’t find this one as amazing as Case Histories or When Will There Be Good News?, still it was highly enjoyable.
73. The Rest is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century - Alex Ross (audio) 4.2
A chunkster at over 700 pages, it’s no wonder I started listening in March and didn’t finish until May. It’s amazing how informative a book can be when you know next to nothing about the subject. I still can’t say I’ve warmed to atonality or 20th century classical music in general, and reading this book, rather than convincing me otherwise, suggested some perfectly valid reasons why I’m not a fan. What I mostly loved were the layering of music history with social and political history, and seeing how much 20th century music was affected by politics—the politics of music and plain old politics. Really a fascinating read.
A teeny, albeit unreasonable, gripe: Because I was listening to this as an audiobook, I kind of wanted it to have a soundtrack, when an audiobook of course is just a narrator reading words out loud. While I did eventually find a companion audioguide online, it would have been much easier to use if I’d been reading and not listening to the book. I found myself consistently wishing for this book to be presented like a college lecture—where the professor plays a piece of music and then talks about it, or introduces an idea and then plays an example. Not the book's fault, although in 2012 it seems like an interactive multimedia reading experience should be possible.
74. The Souls of Black Folk - W.E. B. Dubois 4.5
Stunningly intellectual and surprisingly relevant over 100 years later, I’ve never read this collection of essays before and can’t imagine why not. Dubois was a fascinating individual and he offers lots to think about. Warrants a proper review.
75. Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak 5.0
Re-read in memory of the late Sendak. This book was not a childhood favorite: I was a calm child and Max’s antics annoyed me. As a mom, though, this book spoke to me in a new way—about the inevitability (and temporary nature) of mischief and angry outbursts, and the comforting stability of a warm supper kept waiting.
76. Sovereign - C. J. Sansom 4.2
Another entry in the Matthew Shardlake series of Tudor mysteries, this time a reluctant Shardlake accepts travels to Yorkshire along with the massive King’s Progress in 1541—undertaken to impress the less than loyal north in the wake of a failed uprising. Treason, conspiracies and secrets abound, and someone is trying to kill Shardlake, who is himself never safe from an accusation of treason. I love this series for the historical detail as well as the ethical complexities introduced, and this one was also quite a page-turner.
77. The Only Problem - Muriel Spark 3.5
An exploration of the Book of Job, which wealthy academic Harvey Gotham has made his life’s work. Gotham’s solitary life in the French countryside is disrupted by trials more farcical than Job-like. While Spark’s subject matter is ostensibly a serious one, the storyline borders on the absurd and makes for an entertaining read. This was the final novel in a 4-book collection and may be enough Spark for now.
78. The Wainscott Weasel - Tor Seidel (aloud) (re-read) 3.5
Children’s fantasy story involving weasels, bullfrogs, fish and a villainous osprey. The young weasel lives up to the legacy of his famous father and saves the day. Gorgeous illustrations!
79. The Tale of Tom Kitten - Beatrix Potter 4.5
Reread for TIOLI challenge and just because. Playful kittens just cannot keep themselves tidy and ruin their fancy clothes. Guest appearance by the Puddleducks. Classic and timeless illustrations.
80. The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny 3.7
The next installment in a series that I am quite enjoying. This time I found the internal police politics even more interesting than the actual mystery.
I'm currently listening to Life the Keith Richards autobiography and also finding myself wishing for a few soundtracks to go along with all the recording talk. I'm almost done with the book and will be playing a lot of Rolling Stones music over the weekend. The Rest is Noise sounds interesting I might have to track it down.
>41 Kerry absolutely, I listened to Life last year (5 stars by the way) but would have really enjoyed hearing samples of some of the music he talks about--not so much the Stones stuff (although that would have been nice), as I'm pretty familiar with it and was able to get my Stones hankering addressed pretty easily between reading, but some of the blues influences and some of the guitar techniques he talks about. Sigh--I guess you can't have everything.
Anne: Comments well done. I get a clear sense of each book -- although it probably helps that I have read a few of them.;) You've had some great reading this year.
>42: I'm probably the same, just revisiting the later Stones material that I'm least familiar with. I'll need a copy of the book to go back and check out particular artists and recordings. I would love to have heard a little of the early Jamaican jam sessions he had with the locals. I'm in the last 40 minutes now, he's just talked about his pets, I completely cracked up when he talked about his myna bird and then Ron Wood's cockatiel.
#40 Re The Cruellest Month: This time I found the internal police politics even more interesting than the actual mystery. Me, too!
I'm always amazed at how you can review several books in one post in one or two sentences, Anne. I envy your skill!
Hi Anne, wow, so much to take in here! First off, congratulations on your daughter's graduation.
Your lists of top reads are inspiring me to add to my wishlist. I also see some books that if I had thought of them they may have appeared on my list! Of course, I am currently reading Wolf Hall so not sure yet where it will fit.
Further congratulations on reaching and passing the 75 book mark.
Your recent reviews also remind me that I need to pick up a Kate Atkinson and a Louise Penny soon and continue with those series. I was planning on reading the first Matthew Shardlake last month but I wasn't able to fit it in.
And finally as I mentioned on my thread, I am listening to Life by Keith Richards right now and I agree that I need to take a break and just listen to some Stones music, but overall I am totally loving this book!
Congratulations on getting to 75 books already, Anne. And yay, you loved Sovereign too! It's my favourite so far.
We read quite a bit of Beatrix Potter here - it's usually the Two Bad Mice. The pictures are wonderful.
....hearing a lot of good things about Keith Richards' book, particularly the audio. Could his be my first ever audio book?
Congratulations on the graduation of your beautiful daughter! What a happy milestone!
(Congrats on the 75 too--I'm always awed by how much people read here.)
Here is the rest of May:
81. Death and the Penguin - Andrey Kurkov 4.0
A darkly humorous and menacing look at mafia-ridden post-Soviet Kiev. Viktor’s only companion is Misha the penguin, whom he adopted when the zoo ran out of money. Viktor is a writer of sorts, “trapped in a rut between journalism and meagre scraps of prose.” His too-short stories (one side of a sheet of paper) don’t keep Misha the penguin in fish, until Viktor gets a too-good-to-be true job opportunity—writing advance obituaries for local dignitaries--that entangles him in dangerous business he is not supposed to understand. Thanks to Suzanne for
82. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett 4.3
This was the last of my Orange shortlist reads and I will do an actual review sooner or later. For now I will say that while I thought the book was very good, I did not love it the way I did Patchett’s Bel Canto, and it was only third on my shortlist. It has given me another nudge to re-read Heart of Darkness, on which it is loosely based.
83. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens 5.0
A Dickens classic that I have never read before, I just loved it, and it may be my new favorite Dickens (edging out Bleak House, though it’s a tough call). Featuring a typically Dickensian cast of characters, from unctuous villains to saintly heroines to the unforgettably comic. I especially want an Aunt Betsey Trotwood of my very own. Dickens delivers humor, social commentary, suspense, melodrama, and tidy endings—and in only 900 pages (!)
84. A Severed Head - Iris Murdoch 3.5
Read for my “books set in London” category, this 1961 novel centers on Martin Lynch-Gibbon, a complacent and oblivious narrator whom it is difficult to like. In a farcical series of events Murdoch satirizes marriage, love, home, the sexual revolution, psychoanalysis, society, and anything else that comes along. A quick and odd read and my first Murdoch—I’ve been advised that this isn’t the place to start, but I’m not deterred from reading more.
85. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Joan Aiken (aloud) 4.5
I read this myself for the first time last year, and loved it, and returned to it as a read-aloud. My 9-year-old audience gasped at the villains and cheered the happy ending. Now we are eagerly awaiting Black Hearts in Battersea, which is not available in our library system so I may have to spring for a copy.
86. The Last Temptation of Christ - Nikos Kazantzakis 4.0
This reads like detailed historical fiction with serious religious and philosophical themes, and I found it much more interesting than I expected. Kazantzakis presents a profoundly human and physical Jesus, who is tormented by his efforts to resist God’s message and only reluctantly embraces his role as Messiah. It is a powerful portrait, as well as a stunning rendition of time and place.
87. Democracy Matters - Cornel West 4.3
I’ve had this sitting around for I don’t know how long, and I’m glad I finally picked it up. It deserves a full review, so for now I will say that I found it thought-provoking (and unexpectedly literary for a book about politics).
>43 Thanks, Beth! It feels good getting something down here to remind me of what I've read. And I'm not behind at all for June since I've barely finished any books.
>44 It's definitely a memoir I wouldn't mind going back to. So many hilarious parts. I do have a hard copy of the book, which I got before the audio.
>45 Thanks Nancy. I do wish I had the energy to write longer reviews but I'm way too far behind, and realistic to know I will never catch up. I have A Rule Against Murder checked out from the library, but I don't know if I can squeeze it in in June--too many chunksters at the moment.
>46 Thanks Jim! I hope I'll be seeing you at the DC meet up. And I may pop over to see how you're doing versus 75.
>47 Hi Judy--nice to see you. My TBR anxiety is reaching all time highs as I read through everyone's lists--so many books, so little time. I'm glad you're enjoying Life
>48 Hi Cushla. I have Revelation waiting on a shelf somewhere but now I'm on to Bring Up the Bodies and there is only so much Tudor England I can take at one time.
>49 It's a good one, Megan--you wouldn't be sorry!
>50 Thank you Deborah. It is a milestone for sure!
Anne, I highly recommend this audio version of Heart of Darkness. Think you would enjoy.
Anne - I hope you have a lovely weekend. The 80's list is up on my thread - bet your picks would be better.
Anne- Finally stumbled over here. I love your thread and your wonderful book choices. I enjoyed both of your lists. We have a lot of crossovers. Like minds and all that.
I just finished The Beginner's Goodbye and it was excellent. My 2nd favorite Tyler after The Accidental Tourist.
Great photo of your daughter at the top! Enjoy your weekend.
I liked your short reviews, Anne. You told me enough to know which ones of your recent books I would like. The answer is: most of them! The good news is that I've already read some of them.
Death and the Penguin jumps onto the WL and The Rest Is Noise gets bumped up. I'll be sure to do a google search for the companion audio guide when I get around to reading it. I agree it would be a very good idea to have the words and music in one book. Maybe I'll wait and see if someone ccombines the two for the complete experience.
>51 Wonderful 'rest of May' list, Anne. I am convinced you and Suz have invented a way to absorb books through the air and I think you should share with the rest of us plodding readers! Death and the Penguin and The Last Temptation of Christ are headed for the wishlist. I have a few of Iris Murdoch's also waiting in the TBR pile.
Hi Anne - I was just saying on another thread that I'm enjoying mini-reviews, particularly yours. Anyway, I had put Death and the Penguin on one of my wishlists, but hadn't gotten to it yet, because it sounds a little goofy. However, your review has convinced me to give it a try. And I also have Democracy Matters sitting around the house. I love Cornel West.
Thanks Nancy! I'll look for that one (along with those Trollope novels).
Yes, Bonnie, I was able to dispense with May in two posts. Whew! I still have a few from April hanging over my head, though, and maybe March. I've only got as far as the cast of characters in BUTB and it was a nice refresher since I read Wolf Hall some time ago. No Shardlake however!
Hi Paul! I noticed the 80s list and mine is coming. Actually in a minute or two. I can't promise it will be better but I can promise it will be different.
Hi Mark and welcome. I have The Beginner's Goodbye checked out from the library so it is coming up soon--I'm glad you enjoyed it. My favorite Anne Tyler is Breathing Lessons but The Accidental Tourist is also great.
Donna-- Death and the Penguin is pretty short, and The Rest is Noise is verrry long. Just sayin'. Sometimes that's how I pick my next book. (I really like the way the touchstone for Death and the Penguin's author comes up in the Russian alphabet. It makes me want to keep typing it.)
Linda, I feel like a plodding reader compared with Suz. I definitely can't absorb books through the air (wouldn't that be nice) although listening to audiobooks while in transit and while tending to daily tasks is almost like that.
Thanks Kerri--I sometimes feel like it's just as hard to come up with short comments as long comments, but I love being able to say something about every book. Death and the Penguin is definitely quirky but a good story. And I think it captures post-Soviet society well. I've heard Cornel West and read articles etc by him but never one of his books, and I thought it was great--I will definitely be looking for more (I have Race Matters sitting around here somewhere too, so that gets bump up.)
Seconding others in saying what a great list of books completed recently. I can only dream of reading so many! Good mini review of David Copperfield. One I will have to get to for sure.
My favorite books from the 80's
It's actually surprising to me how many of these books I read in the actual 80s--I put a * by the ones I read more recently. It gives me an idea of how much my reading is driven by "current" fiction.
My rule is only one book per author.
The Remains of the Day (1989)- Kazuo Ishiguro
Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Breathing Lessons (1988) - Anne Tyler
The House of the Spirits (1982) - Isabel Allende
Love Medicine (1984)- Louise Erdrich
A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989)- John Irving
Beloved (1987)- Toni Morrison
The Bean Trees (1988) - Barbara Kingsolver
The Joy Luck Club (1989)- Amy Tan
The Name of the Rose (1980) - Umberto Eco
*Midnight's Children (1981) - Salman Rushdie
*The War of the End of the World (1984) - Mario Vargas Llosa
I'm loving these lists! I've only read Love in the Time of Cholera from this one, but it was a recent read, within the last few years. You make a good point in terms of these lists that It gives me an idea of show much my reading is driven by current fiction.
Great list for the 80's, Anne. Mine would be very similiar. I haven't read some on your list, but they are on my WL. I, too, love the short reviews.
I spent part of Saturday at the DC meet up. I met up with SqueakyChu, drneutron, Chatterbox, qebo, norabelle414 (the fearless organizer), _zoe_, bell7, gilroy. I have no pictures but there are many over on the meet up thread.
And I bought some books at the library book sale. (good thing I had to go to a soccer game or I might have bought more--they were each a dollar and I have no self-restraint.)
Troubles - J. G. Farrell
July's People - Nadine Gordimer
Heat Wave - Penelope Lively
Quicksand - Junichiro Tanizaki
Brown Girl, Brownstones - Paule Marshall
Cane Jean Toomer
The Lifetime Reading Plan - Clifton Fadiman
The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman
The Great War and Modern Memory - Paul Fussell
An Episode of Sparrows Rumor Godden
The Finn Family Moomintroll - Tove Jansson
Hi Nancy and Beth!
The 80s list was really fun to do--it almost wrote itself once I started skimming over lists of books published in the 80s. I can also tell that this is when I first developed a list of favorite authors, because they're all here.
I really enjoyed Death and the Penguin when I read it a couple of years ago. Did you know there is a sequel (fairly recent I think? I haven't read it, but I hope to get to--sometime---
Wow that 80s list looks remarkably like mine How to explain since I haven't written one yet? Well if I do it will definitely include a Tyler (but probably Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, an Erdrich, a Kingsolver, The Joy Luck Club, Beloved....well you see where I'm going here. I'm off to try to find the meet-up thread.
Ann- That's a fantastic list! Maybe doing an 80s list is easier than it looks, especially if someone else does the footwork. I've read 7 of them. I could not get into the Rushdie.
(I posted this on Paul's thread, as well).
Glad you had a nice time at the Meet-Up! And nice book haul! I was hoping to FINALLY find a copy of Troubles yesterday but did not. I recently read/listened to The Zookeeper's Wife and liked it.
Anne - as usual a strong list - Couple on my list too and plenty of em on the shelves, Great haul at the library sale too - how I wish we had those here - I would save myself a small fortune,
Anne, I agree with almost all your 80s list! That's amazing!!! I'd have everything you list except Irving, Allende, Ishiguro, Garcia Marquez, and Tyler, but I've read and liked those.... I'm not sure what I'd replace them with. One day I'll think about it.
And your new finds are wonderful! AND a meet-up! Lovely weekend!
Cannot keep up so thought I would just drop a quick Hello on your thread. Congrats on passing the 75 books mark already!
Anne: Great list for the 80s -- I'll just use yours. I've read most of them, and the others are on my wishlist.
Hi Anne, I'm having fun looking at your "decades" lists and what you bought at the library book sale! I have a copy of July's People that I'm hoping to read sometime after my brother returns it. And I'm a little bit jealous of your acquisition of The Lifetime Reading Plan - I think I could get through it in a library borrow, but I would really want to take my time and read through each chapter after reading the literature from the list that I wanted to. To do that, I'd really have to own the book (or borrow it for a year or two). Oh well - I really can't complain, as it is I left 3 books behind at my sister's place to be sent up with my parents in a month or so.
Anne - I'm going the opposite way - read July's People a while ago and need to get to The Conservationist sometime soon.
62: What a great list of books from the 1980s, Anne. I'll be like a few others and use your list! I've read 8 out of your 10 and loved them all. The only addition I can think of would be The Bone People.
I have The Name of the Rose queued up to be read soon. Doesn't look like I'm going to get to it this month. I always think I have the "War/World" book in my library. I had to go check again but I still have Hard-Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World by Murakami. *Adding the MVL book to my groaning wishlist*
Well, it looks like I haven't been here for a few days!
I think I'll work my way backwards.
>81 Donna, I have a feeling The Bone People would make my list, too--if I had read it. I keep hearing such rave reviews and there it sits on my shelf. I'm aiming for July.
>77-80 Kerri, Beth, Linda, Paul, and Mary--I actually picked up July's People because I've already read it (library book) and it stayed with me enough to want my own copy. I'm not sure I loved it, but it was a thought-provoking and memorable read. I have not read The Conservationist, but have read some other Gordimer. Not The House Gun, though.
>76 Mary, the Fadiman book was vaguely on my wish list after someone here on LT read and reviewed it, but I know what you mean about it not working well as a library borrow--it's the kind of book I'd like to dip in and out of alongside other reading. So I was pleased to see it for $1!
>75 Hi Megan--silly me, I didn't bring my own camera so don't get to post any pictures.
>74 Good idea Beth--I'm happy to share! It's nice to see so many people with similar favorites. Of course, it's also interesting to see people with completely different favorites.
>73 Hi Lori and thanks! I need to stop by your thread too. I feel like I'm weeks behind here...
>72 Hi Peggy! It was a lovely weekend (and now another lovely one has come and gone). I've had such a good time rediscovering favorite books by making these decade-lists. I almost feel like I want to create a shelf now and put all the actual books together.
>71/70 Hi again Beth and Paul--thank you for keeping my thread warm while I'm neglecting it!
>69. Mark, I think if I had read Midnight's Children in the actual 80s, I might not have gotten into it either. As it was I read it a couple of years ago as part of a book group, and found it--memorably bizarre.
I, on the other hand, wasn't looking for Troubles at all at the book sale but it found me--and at the discount price of $1. You really can't say no to a book from your wish list for a dollar, can you?
>68 Oh, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is a great one too, Bonnie--I recently picked up a new copy of that one (to replace a disintegrating paperback) and it just might be time for a reread. I pick Breathing Lessons because of the husband who whistles tunes that reveal what he's thinking--he reminds me of my husband. I enjoyed your lists too.
>67 Hi Deborah--I had heard there was a sequel but I haven't seen it myself. I've started so many new series this year that I may just let that one rest for now. I do like it when you don't automatically have to read the next book in the series.
Tis the season for graduations.
We had another one this week--this time not one of my own kids, but the inner-city charter school that I helped to found (back in 2000) just graduated its very first senior class. All 40 of these kids have been accepted to college, and for 80% of them they will be the first in their families to go--in fact, 8 of them are the very first in their family to finish high school at all. It was such a moving ceremony--I am so so proud of these kids and their amazing teachers.
Congrats on your charter school graduation. My daughter and I were just talking about some possible mentoring -- so many kids from poor families don't have any idea how to succeed in school.
#83 Wow! What a wonderful success story, Anne! Congratulations to all of your grads : ).
83: That is such uplifting news, Anne. You must be busting your buttons over the accomplishments of your progeny.
Congratulations Anne - what a great thing you've helped to do.
Loved your 80s list - have only read 3 of them but all were wonderful (Remains of the Day, the Bean Trees and the Name of the Rose).
Congratulations to you Anne and those students who are so lucky to have you and the other wonderful teachers in your charter school. What a wonderful accomplishment. I don't blame you for being proud.
>43 all 40 accepted for college!? That is great, what a proud day for so many people.
#83 Anne that's amazing! How powerful! How wonderful you are!
Going back a few posts - loved your 80s list and read quite a few. I enjoyed The Joy Luck Club very much - don't see it on any of our male LT lists. Do you think it is chick lit? (said with a big smile on my dial!!). It was a good movie,l too!
Anne - add mine to the plaudits you and the kids so richly deserve.
83: the inner-city charter school that I helped to found (back in 2000)
Congrats to the kids! What got you involved in founding a charter school, and how did you go about it?
>83 That is an incredible success story, Anne, for you, the staff and the students. I'd love to hear or read more about your charter school.
Just posting to say that I've finally read Translation of the Bones which you recommended on your last thread, and I found it as rewarding as you did. I'll be writing a review in the next couple of days.
Wow, that's great news about the charter school graduates; while you may have had a more personal tie to your daughter's graduation, the role you played for these kids has undoubtedly made a dramatic difference in their lives, the full extent of which will only be clear decades from now. Kudos...
btw, I confess to more forceful persuasion re Anne & the book sale purchases....
Hi Anne - I agree with everyone - wonderful about the charter school students!
Well I've been busy the last few days looking up publication dates of my books year by year, in an attempt to see if I can match Paul. This has cut into both reading and posting, but it's been a strangely absorbing project. I will eventually post the results.
Rhian, Brenda, Beth, Nancy, Donna, Roni, Cushla, Bonnie, Megan, Prue, Paul, Katherine, Darryl, Suzanne, and Kerri -- Thanks so much for all the well wishes! These kids--er, young adults--will need all the support they can get moving forward and I sure hope they find it. I am no longer directly involved with the school, so I get to sit in the audience and beam and clap and be proud, without having to worry about anything, which is very nice. (And a big change from a few years ago when I would have been planning the ceremony.)
>95 Katherine, well, of course how I got involved in starting a charter school is a very long story. I'm trying to think about how to condense it. It was not something I ever imagined myself doing, and not something I remotely had any relevant background to do.
To summarize, a group of other parents and I got involved with schools in the ordinary way--by volunteering at our children's elementary school when our kids were first in PreK. We encountered some difficulties that are probably not uncommon in a notoriously dysfunctional school system whose top leadership changes every one to three years.
In DC, middle-class parents tend to look at their school options in the following way: leave the city when your kids reach school-age, opt for private schools, buy or rent in an expensive neighborhood where the public schools are good, or hope to get an out-of-boundary spot in one of those good schools. (We had done the latter and then watched in dismay as the school seemed to fall apart before our eyes.) Or, you can do what everyone suggests parents should do, enroll in the local school that you have major concerns about and hope to improve it by getting involved. (In my experience this sounds admirable, but is really pretty difficult in the best case, and impossible in the worst).
While we tried to figure out how to make things better, I found myself increasingly bothered by a few things:
1) the degree to which middle class families in the city--even when they are very committed to the idea of public education-- jockey and battle and maneuver to nurture and protect small pockets of excellence, while there are schools, and not just a few, that are so catastrophic that no one with a choice would ever consider sending a child there.
2) the obvious fact that in DC as in many other places rich kids and poor kids go to completely different schools, with almost no overlap (and then everyone pretends to be surprised that the outcomes are so different)
DC's charter school law, which was relatively new at the time, gave us an opportunity to take what we valued about the school we were at and try to make it available to a different set of families. We got a lot of encouragement, and it started to feel like something we had to do. And it's worked! (Not only has it worked for our students, who now number about 600, but there have been other schools established later that either wholly or partly adopted our models and are also working.)
So that's an attempt to answer the why, and you also asked how did we go about it? There is an application process you have to go through to be approved to get a charter, and in my experience, the process itself was pretty helpful in highlighting the things you would have to think about in order to operate a school. We set about answering all the questions in the application, and in the process either educated ourselves about the things we didn't know, or dragged in the right people to help us. In particular, our founding principal, who had been a teacher in the original school and was getting her masters degree in administration the year we were planning, was instrumental in helping us lay out the vision, plan the curriculum, and hire an amazing set of teachers. She is still heading the school, and although I know she never would have started a school on her own, she is really the person responsible for its success.
Darryl, since you asked, here is a link to the school's website.
Prue, I loved The Joy Luck Club so much when I read it years ago (Shhh--I re-read it a few years ago and found it wasn't quite as wonderful as when I first experienced it, but my original feelings about it are so vivid that I'm keeping it as an all-time favorite)
I confess I've never really been sure what "chick-lit" is--books about women?
I do know that what I loved about The Joy Luck Club at the time was the intricate web of mother-daughter relationships that Tan explored in that book (so realistic). And, I loved the immersion into a Chinese immigrant culture that was unknown to me. Two examples of why I read!
Rhian I am glad you enjoyed The Translation of the Bones! I will look for your review. I have An Equal Stillness, by the same author, waiting to be read.
Anne, An amazing story about your involvement in the charter school. I'm so impressed with the initiative and creativity it takes to pull off this kind of successful endeavor. Again, let me offer my congratulations and, well, awe.
Agree about The Joy Luck Club. . . I have not re-read it recently, and am now curious about what my current reaction would be. I loved it for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Realistic mother/daughter relationships, history, and Chinese culture. It was one of my first immersions into Chinese culture and history, which I find fascinating.
#100 I had heard about charter schools as there has been a lot of talk in the UK about using them as a model for city schools here so I found your explanation really interesting. We live in one of those places that people move to when they want to escape the problems of London schools, which have a lot of the issues that you describe in DC. All the local secondary schools here are pretty good, but even then I found the wait to find out what school J had been allocated very stressful. But the lengths some people will go to to get into the school of their choice is quite amazing.
Anne, how much of the inequity in outcomes do you believe comes from funding schools via property taxes? On the one hand, that policy does make schools reflect the community's priorities (theoretically), on the other hand, it seems to me that the risk is to systematize/lock in inequallities.
Anne - I am a believer in freedom of choice and the ability to channel your own funding into a school of your own devising appeals. It is the states/govts responsibility to provide a good system of education to those who need it and not to impose it upon those who don't. (My word I would never have typed that 15 years ago when I was as left leaning as it is possible to be without being a card carrier - and before the welfare state encouraged the scrounger society to flourish in England and families to no longer need to have responsiblity!). Having said all that I am still what you what call a liberal generally and the government has to play a role to ensure that the needy and downtrodden are elevated and that prejudice is unable to foster.
Congrats to the new high school grad and her family!
I LOVED the poem.
#105 Oh dear - I'm going to have too have an argument with Paul and I'm not very good with arguments! I'm exactly of the opposite opinion. If the state schools are only left for those who need them then you get left with sink schools and more and more people taking the private education route, not because they want to but because they feel they have to, which in turn leads to more social segregation which does absolutely nothing for the aspirations of the children in those schools.
And as for scroungers, I think in any system you get people who will milk it for all it's worth, but I think that the vast majority of people on benefits in the UK would be very happy to be in a different situation if they could. I used to think that if I found myself in that situation I would find it fairly easy to get myself out, so why couldn't everyone? But then I realised that I wasn't everyone: I had intelligence, good qualifications, good health, was brought up in a supportive family environment where I was encouraged to succeed, good housing, savings, access to credit, the list goes on and on. If you've got none of these things (and statistically the poorer you are the worse your health is likely to be) and additionally have no role models for success or aspiration within your family and friends then everything becomes much more difficult. Some will get out of these circumstances, the exceptional ones perhaps, but by definition not everyone is exceptional and I think many people just get bogged down by the day-to-day business of living. I don't mean that we should accept the situation, but rather than just criticising people as scroungers we should look at ways in which aspirations can be raised: by improving schools, by volunteer programmes in schools, by mentoring schemes, by improving the ability of job-centres to work with the reality of people's lives to get them back to work rather than just ticking boxes.
There - rant over - it's just a subject on which I feel quite strongly.
Rhian - don't know about not being good - I thought you put your point of view across very well indeed! I have lived in Asia for the past 20 years and can appreciate the very different take on social values that prevail here whilst recognising that it can also be callous and put strains unduly on family units (which tend to be more extended). The Welfare State in the UK is to be credited with correcting many of the basic inequalities and providing to those in need and genuinely unable to care for themselves - the National Health Service was a model for the provision of universal health care throughout the world. My point on education was that the state needs to provide a good system of education to all those who need/want it irrespective of their ability to pay for it - but I also feel that those who wish to make alternative arrangements for such provision should not be disbarred from being able to do so.
What we are seeing unfortunately is that Europe is failing under the weight of its welfare system and cannot compete with those parts of the world which views things fundamentally differently. I am not saying that the state should not provide a safety net for those incapable of providing for themselves through age or disability because it always should but the welfare system over there is out of control. I know through my many friends in the North of England that there are many families whose members have never worked either because they couldn't get wages that would better their dole money or because there simply aren't enough jobs. Unless governments protect their economies sufficiently to make sure its people have a job of work then Europe is going to collapse soon at the expense of Asia which has no such qualms. In Malaysia if you don't work the government does not provide an alternative source of income but jobs are easier to find - society here expects the family to provide the carer role in such eventualities. In Europe this is obviously not so simple and neither would it be fair nor humane to cast aside literally millions of those without work as governments have successively with their short sighted policies failed to provide anywhere near enough job opportunities as they have allowed goods and businesses to be imported or sold off from/to China and India. Europe should be paying more for its goods and products in order that they be made locally and in order in the long run to save themselves. The governments there ought to realise that everything is not driven merely by profit and provide public bodies that act as a humanising national service for the long term unemployed whereas instead of simply paying people not to work the nations infrastructure be redeveloped at a similar cost and national manufacturing plants be established to provide work. Instead of simply spending billions in overseas aid it should be implemented via targeted projects and programmes under another such national service scheme. In this way people would be put to work, wealth generated and socially responsible policies still effected. The "scrounger" society does exist in Europe which is not a direct criticism of those on welfare but a criticism of the governments who have allowed the real possibility of full employment to pass them by and give very many no real choice because it would be ridiculous not to accept that there are enough jobs to go round as it stands.
Rhian I am no leave alone conservative who believes the market will solve all ills because it is not operated fairly across the world but neither am I someone who believes the State should dictate all our actions. I am not someone who begrudges the payment of reasonable taxes to contribute to those less fortunate than I but I do baulk at filling a governments coffers only for it to be squandered when alternative means could make much better use of the money available. I too am passionate on the subject - love my country despite being estranged from it for 20 years and am deeply concerned about its present predicament in which it cannot compete with the world at large but is being forced to do so anyway.
Rhian - no argument intended I can see you are passionate about education - I agree with you fully that state education should be funded to the hilt but I don't see that this need necessarily mean that private education be wholly frowned upon. btw I went through the state education system in Yorkshire and don't feel unduly encumbered by it.
Anne - sorry for this long and imposingly serious post. Have a lovely weekend.
>103 Rhian--My family moved to London a couple of years ago, though just for a year, and the school decisions for our three kids were major and confusing. It seems that in London school attendance is determined slightly differently than the way we do it, at least here in DC. Here there is a very direct correspondence between address and school. If you live at a particular address, you are assigned to a particular elementary school, middle school, high school. If you live at that address that school has to enroll you (even if classrooms are over-capacity). You can sometimes choose to attend a different school, but only if there is space available and you get permission (now permission is granted through a citywide lottery for open spaces). Redrawing the boundaries is very contentious and therefore rare.
It seemed like London schools worked on more of a zone system, where you were entitled to attend a school in that zone but not necessarily one particular school. Is that right? It also seemed like the school authorities were aiming to create schools that had a mix of different sorts of students--which I wish we did here. We ended up bypassing the London schools and opting for independent schools, partly because we needed to have a school plan in advance and we didn't have an address until July, and partly because we just couldn't figure out where to begin.
>104 Suzanne, the problem in DC is actually not related to property taxes. I know there are some states--Connecticut comes to mind--that are embroiled in legal challenges to school funding, where reliance on property taxes is said to violate state constitutional guarantees to provide all students with an adequate education. That seems to me to be a huge and tricky issue, as you point out, but it isn't in DC, which is so small it has only one funding system, and so every school receives exactly the same amount for every student.
But, even with levels of funding that are exactly equal, it isn't the case that students really receive an equal education. It's more the problem that a lot of things that are associated with academic success tend to occur together and to be highly correlated with income, and things that put kids at risk of failure also tend to occur altogether.
Imagine an affluent neighborhood with high property values and low housing density (few apartment buildings and few rental options). Parents are professional, college-educated, affluent. Kids start school at 4 or 5 (all that research on early vocabulary development, etc.) already ahead--their homes are full of books and parents read to them and take them to museums and music lessons. Parents are aggressive in identifying learning disabilities etc and getting them treated--often advocating for private placements. There are a disproportionate number of stay-at-home parents, often highly educated women who have the time and the organizational skills to really help the school, through volunteering and fundraising. (There are PTAs around here that have raised as much as $1 million in extra funds, and they can pay for a classroom aide, a music teacher, or art supplies.) In these public schools nearly all kids score at proficient or advanced levels in reading and math, and they have time to do lots of other great things too.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town there are schools where 100% of kids are living below the poverty line. Few adults have professional jobs or went to college, many are single parents working multiple jobs. School populations have health, safety, and nutrition issues that you don't see in more affluent settings and that interfere with learning. Teachers have to cope with undiagnosed learning and emotional disabilities. Many kids are learning English and their parents don't speak it at all. Kids come into kindergarten already behind--they don't have that early literacy and vocabulary development that their peers across town get, and every summer they lose some of the skills they gained that year (while their peers across town actually gain academic skills over the summer). These schools have higher teacher turnover (they are tough places to teach) and as a result they get disproportionately more new and inexperienced teachers. While some of those new teachers have the potential to be great, they need support that they are unlikely to get in these high-stress school settings.
These schools and students need so much more--they need reading specialists, social workers, gifted and highly experienced teachers and principals, and smaller student-teacher ratios. They need subsidized after-school programs and summer programs--etc, etc. It all costs money, and though some additional funding comes from federal programs --it's not really enough to approach a level playing field.
Just to detour back into books for one second, an eye-opening read for me many years ago was a book called Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol. It is about school funding and was a real wake-up call for me.
Anne: You articulate very well the problems with schools. I loved the Kozol book -- also thanks for not blaming the teachers for all of the woes of the school system. Diane Ravitch wrote a couple of articles earlier in the year that discussed her finding that poor student test scores were most directly linked to poverty -- for many of the reasons you mentioned.
I also remember the Kozol book -- and thanks for clarifying this. It does seem as if the property tax issue may just be the icing atop the cake -- if the funds aren't there, that just worsens the problem.
Rhian/Paul -- I can understand where both of you are coming from, but tend to tilt more in favor of Rhian's argument. It seems to me that it's like a snowball moving downhill -- the first few people that move their kids into the private sector don't alter much, but over time it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that that is what it takes to give your kids the best education possible. So anyone who can, will, except in the very rare instances where a particular public school -- say, one in an affluent neighborhood, like the Upper West Side of Manhattan or Park Slope in Brooklyn, or one with a competitive entrance exam, like Stuyvesant -- transcends that. So what is left are the kids whose parents can't even afford the much more modest fees to go to Catholic schools. (I used to tutor in a school in Newark, a Catholic school in which a fraction of the kids were Catholic in any real sense of the word; what they had in common wasn't religion but the fact they were minorities and children of blue collar workers who could afford a few thousand a year, if they scrimped or saved, to give at least one child a better chance.)
In comparing the UK/W. Europe to Asia, as you will know even better than I, Paul, you need to take into account the historical role of family/clan/community. Even a century ago, when the level of poverty was much greater than it is today in cities like London and Paris, a nuclear family might band together, but not an extended family unit or clan. Nor did someone who managed to pull himself out of poverty automatically feel a reciprocal obligation to his specific community (vs a general sense of the need to be seen to be philanthropic.) I admit I'm very curious to see where China is in 50 years' time (not that I will be around to see it...) given the incredible wealth gap emerging there now -- I think it is the largest in the world. Can the social mores/cultural rules transcend/overcome what might be the ugliest consequences of that -- or were they destroyed during the Cultural Revolution? And if the economic stresses can't be contained, what happens? There's an implicit tradeoff between economic wellbeing and lack of political freedom, but if the Chinese see less opportunity for economic mobility...
There's an interesting psychological experiment that I've heard of. You are given the characteristics of two different nations -- demographics, everything ranging from average incomes to tax rates to education levels; healthcare, prenatal care; social mobility; education rates and costs, etc. You are told that you can choose one of them to be born into, but that you will have no choice about what level you are born into -- silver spoon in mouth, or teenage mother belonging to a minority group, for instance. Which do you choose? Even those who cling to the ideal of doing away with more "socialist" things like subsidized state education and healthcare systems routinely choose the one that equates most closely to Sweden. They have faith in their ideas -- but not when it applies to themselves; they don't have the confidence that if they were born into poverty as an African American that they would have the same opportunities that someone born into a Kurdish refugee family in Sweden might have. I have always found that experiment revelatory. It's the same thing I see happen with parents I know here -- they claim to want to send their kids to public schools because they believe in the concept of public schools. But they don't, because it's their kid, and they aren't going to risk that kid's future for a principle.
My family couldn't afford principles, like many, I'm sure. I went to a mix of private and public schools: public schools in Canada when we were "home", and private schools when we were overseas. Did I get a better education at the latter? Yup. Smaller class sizes, for one thing; teachers who weren't overwhelmed. And this was in the 1970s, decades ago. I can't tell what would have been different in my life had I finished high school in Ottawa, of course (other than that I would have been a year older when I finished...) Some diplo families we knew were able to afford private boarding schools for their kids in high school, and it was those kids who made up a surprising portion of my college class, however -- surprising, in terms of their absolute number, relative to the size of their graduating classes. My university was considered one of the "elite" Canadian institutions, and I'd estimate that at least a quarter of the kids on my residence floor in first year (the closest I can come to an arbitrary sample) were from Havergal, Branksome Hall and others, or from top-tier public high schools like North Toronto. All came from big cities, and were the children of professionals. Not a single girl on my first-year floor came from a blue-collar background. We may have been selected for our grades and achievements, but looking back today, I suspect that those were made possible by other factors.
Very very interesting education discussion here!
I wont weigh in with my opinion as I am, in typical Libra fashion, can see everyone's point of view. I am currently looking at our local school for Wilbur, and not loving it. If there has been one advantage to us of the earthquakes, it is that the formerly central city "alternative school", has moved very close to where we live, so that is looking quite attractive to us right now.
Thanks for the explanation of your involvement in the charter school Anne, (#100) and it has a great website too.
Rhian and Paul,
I'm always hesitant to step into controversy but heck, it is my thread and I probably started it.
I don’t know very much about educational history in Britain but in the US the idea of public education is historically a project in common citizenship and democracy—not an entitlement program for the needy, but a public good, like a highway, that everyone benefits from and everyone has a stake in. I think this notion has really been eroded over the last few decades, however. I do really worry about a “gated community” approach to education (and everything else), where people who can increasingly secure education on the private market, opting out of the public sphere, and then oppose investment in public education or try to hold it to a minimum level. These actions do not have to go together, but all too often it seems that they do. It is disturbing to me to see people who are willing to spend $25,000 a year or more for their own child’s schooling but then oppose much lower funding levels for public schools that would provide other people’s children with an appropriate education. Of course, what is “appropriate” is highly subjective—but should it really vary dramatically depending on whether I’m talking about what my kids need versus what other kids need?
This is not to say I’m opposed to private schools—my own daughter just graduated from a private school, though she attended public schools for most of her years, and I think parents should have choices about education. Still, I can't say I'm completely easy in my mind about taking the private school route, even though the school was a terrific fit for her. I like to think I've compensated in other ways!
When I first got involved with charter schools, education activists in DC used to say they feared charters and parental choice would create a two-tiered education system of good schools and other schools. I would look at them in disbelief, thinking “why don’t you see that that’s the system we already have?”
The reality of a low-performing public school system is that parents do lose confidence and do opt out, and then it does become a system of last resort. This is a really hard process to reverse. I think the addition of a crop of new public schools into the mix, some of them admittedly mediocre but some of them outstanding, has actually made things better.
>106 Thanks Joanne--I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. I first heard that poem in church in celebration of some youth transition ceremony or other and it's always stuck with me.
>110 Suzanne, I actually think the property tax issue is an even bigger one because of course all those other circumstances still occur--but on top of that, the funding is unequal. It's just that even if you could equalize funding, you may not have solved the equity problem.
The psychological experiment you recount is very interesting. I suspect there is a connection between the anxiety of living in a highly unequal society where if you fall you can fall so very far--and the level of frenzy around education. I suspect that in Sweden parents do not camp out overnight to secure a spot in the best preschool, because it probably doesn't matter that much.
>111 Hi Megan. I feel like a lot of times decisions about schools end up feeling very very personal, and can be hard to reconcile with what we believe beforehand. Good luck with that!
Now I think I'll go back to making lists.
#108 I don't dispute for a minute the right of parents to send their children to an independent school and we would have done the same if we had been faced with no choice but a failing state school for our son. I think the point I'm making is that there is a certain cut-off point where if you continually cream off enough of the children of the better educated and more prosperous in society from state education, there will be a detrimental effect on the education of those that are left, and that this is not a desirable situation either from an educational or a social viewpoint. Although surveys show that many people say they would opt for private education if they had the money, with average fees running at £14,000 a year this is not an option for most people; in practice what they usually want is a good local school.
I don't really feel qualified to comment on the situation in Malaysia as opposed to the UK as I'm not familiar with it at all. I do think because of the differences in culture and attitudes between countries it can be difficult to apply solutions which work in one country to another. I don't dispute that there will be certain 'scroungers' who have no desire to work but overall these will be a small proportion of the people on benefits who won't be helped by categorising them as such. I agree that the issue of unemployment is a wider one which needs to be tackled by government but I wouldn't pretend to know what the answer is there.
#109 Anne, in general in the U.K. theoretically there is a choice of schools. In the town where I live, for example, there are five secondary schools, two of which were not available choices for us (one a catholic school with hardly any non-catholic intake and the other a girls school). We had three choices which we had to put in order of preference, so effectively that meant ranking the three remaining schools, although we could have also chosen schools further away but with a greatly reduced chance of getting in as most schools operate some sort of distance rule. The schools then deal with each application based on their own published criteria and you are allocated your highest choice school who can offer you a place. If none of your choices can offer you a place then it is automatically selected for you by the local council from a school that is undersubscribed. Here, our first choice was speculative as it is a very oversubscribed school but I was reasonably confident of getting whatever school we
put second. In the end we got our first choice school, but I would have been reasonably happy with either of the other schools. Most of my son's classmates got their first (or at least second) choice school. The only time I have been aware of a child being allocated a school which was not one of their original choices was when those choices were very odd indeed. I think the problem in London is that the proportion of good schools is much lower and so the competition for them is much greater. Arriving in July I would say that you definitely did the best thing - finding a decent state school with a place available at that date in London would be virtually impossible.
I have taken a crack at a list of favorite books by year (spurred on by Paul). Intentionally it's primarily a list of novels, although there is the occasional play, poem, or short story collection and a memoir or two.
I have only included children's books when I really wasn't excited about any adult books for that year--I am thinking about making a separate list for childrens and young adult books. For some years, I seem to have read nothing, or nothing that stands out, while for some years it was too hard to choose just one book.
I wasn't very consistent in my dates--for trilogies I sometimes used the publication date of the first book, and sometimes the last, depending on where I wanted to fill a hole. Also for translated books I sometimes used the original publication date but I sometimes used the date of the English translation.
1900 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum, Uncle Vanya - Anton Chekhov
1901 The Three Sisters – Anton Chekhov, The Tale of Peter Rabbit –Beatrix Potter
1902 The Hound of the Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle
1903 The Call of the Wild - Jack London
1905 A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett
1906 The Railway Children - E. Nesbit
1907 Ozma of Oz - L. Frank Baum
1908 A Room with a View - E. M. Forster
1910 Howard’s End - E.M. Forster
1911 Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton
1912 Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
1913 O Pioneers! - Willa Cather
1914 Kokoro –Natsume Soseki
1915 The Good Soldier - Ford Madox Ford, Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
1916 Understood Betsy - Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
1917 Summer - Edith Wharton
1918 My Antonia – Willa Cather
1920 Women in Love – D.H. Lawrence, The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton, This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
1921 Kristin Lavransdatter – Sigrid Undset
1922 The Waste Land - T.S. Eliot , Ulysses – James Joyce
1923 The Inimitable Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse
1924 A Passage to India - E.M. Forster, So Big - Edna Ferber
1925 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
1926 The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
1927 The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder
1928 All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Remarque
1929 A Room of One’s Own - Virginia Woolf
1931 The Good Earth - Pearl Buck
1932 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons, Mutiny on the Bounty – Charles Northoff
1933 Man's Fate - Andre Malraux
1934 I, Claudius - Robert Graves
1935 Time Out of Mind – Rachel Field
1936 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
1937 Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
1938 Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
1939 The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
1940 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
1941 The Song of Bernadette – Franz Werfel
1942 The Stranger - Albert Camus
1943 A Tree Grows In Brooklyn - Betty Smith
1944 A Bell for Adano – John Hersey
1945 Animal Farm - George Orwell, The Bridge on the Drina - Ivo Andric
1946 The Member of the Wedding – Carson McCullers, All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
1947 The Plague - Albert Camus, The Diary of Anne Frank
1948 The Lottery – Shirley Jackson, The Caucasian Chalk Circle - Berthold Brecht
1949 1984 – George Orwell
1950 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
1951 The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
1952 The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
1953 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
1954 The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
1955 The Quiet American - Graham Greene ,
1956 Palace Walk - Naguib Mahfouz
1957 Dr. Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
1958 Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe , The Once and Future King – T.H. White , The King Must Die – Mary Renault
1959 Hawaii - James A. Michener
1960 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
1961 Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
1962 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1963 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold - John Le Carre, Bride of Pendorric - Victoria Holt ,
1965 Everything that Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor
1966 The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
1967 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
1968 The First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1969 In This House of Brede - Rumer Godden, The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
1970 The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison, The Driver’s Seat – Muriel Spark
1971 The Winds of War - Herman Wouk, Grendel – John Gardner
1972 Watership Down - Richard Adams, Green Darkness – Anya Seton
1973 The Princess Bride – William Goldman
1974 Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig (Jaws – Peter Benchley)
1975 Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
1976 Trinity – Leon Uris, Roots - Alex Haley, Ordinary People – Judith Guest
1977 Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison (The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough, The Shining – Stephen King)
1978 The World According to Garp - John Irving
1979 Sophie's Choice - William Styron
1980 The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
1981 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
1982 Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler
1983 The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley
1984 The War of the End of the World – Mario Vargas Llosa, The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
1985 Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich, Love in the Time of Cholera (orig) – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
1987 Beloved – Toni Morrison, Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe
1988 Breathing Lessons - Anne Tyler
1989 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
1990 Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingsolver
1991 A Thousand Acres – Jane Smiley
1992 All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy, At Weddings and Wakes – Alice McDermott, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents – Julia Alvarez
1993 The Shipping News - E. Annie Proulx
1994 Pereira Maintains – Antonio Tabucchi
1995 Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
1996 Fall on your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
1997 The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy, Paradise – Toni Morrison
1998 The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
1999 Waiting – Ha Jin
2000 White Teeth - Zadie Smith, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
2001 Atonement - Ian MacEwan
2002 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold, Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
2003 The Known World – Edward P. Jones, The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
2004 Small Island – Andrea Levy
2005 The Book Thief – Marcus Zukas, Three Day Road - Joseph Boyden, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Swed.) – Stieg Larsson
2006 Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
2007 The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears – Dinaw Mengestu
2008 Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh, When Will There Be Good News? – Kate Atkinson, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Plague of Doves - Louise Erdrich
2009 Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel, Let the Great World Spin – Colum McCann, Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese
2010 The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell, Lord of Misrule – Jaimy Gordon, A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
2011 The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna, The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern, The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes
2012 Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller, Bring up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel, Painter of Silence – Georgina Harding
Just read your list on the lists thread....my faves of yours include Catcher in the Rye, All the Pretty Horses, Fall on your Knees, The God of Small Things, The World According to Garp and The Stranger (which is known to me as The Outsider)
Impressive list. . . I'll be using this as a reference. I appreciate your taking the time and thought to compile it, because Iknow how you hate lists!
Great list, Anne. I'll be posting mine on my January 2013 thread because it will probably take me that long to make it!
A wonderful and varied list, Anne, with many books that I would agree with you on. My own capacity for lists stops far short of being able to complete a project like this! But now I am quite curious about what books were published during the years for which you could not make a selection.
Wonderful and ambitious list, Anne! Appreciate the time you put into this. So many well loved books - and so many more that stand out as "have not yet gotten to-s."
OH my goodness! I'm just going to have to come back when I have time to read and digest.
Anne, congratulations for your daughter and on the school's first graduating class! Miraculous!
I'll leave until I've read and can join the debate.
Also the closer reading of your list. What a list!! Thank you for letting us see it!!!
Great list Anne - and probably a good idea to defer the very difficult choices and list down more than one for a year if your not sure! I think if I revisited my list in a year or two I might not agree with myself any longer.
Love your list, Anne. I see we shared a lot of the children's books and a few others through the years.
>110 Beth, I think I missed this post initially. To me teachers are unsung heroes and need support of various kinds much more than they need criticism and threats. And while I believe there are some teachers who might be better off in another field, this small percentage hardly can account for the bigger problems with schools--I think blaming teachers is often a distraction from thinking about bigger issues people don't really want to address.
>116 Rhian I'm glad you think we made the right call on our London school adventure. Ironically I stayed in Washington with the kids for a full year after my husband moved, partly to settle things with my job but also to try to ensure a smooth school transition, and it still felt like we didn't have enough time to plan appropriately!
I totally agree with your worry about the cumulative impact of people turning away from state schools. I think it argues for aiming to make state-funded schools excellent instead of settling for some kind of minimum level of quality, which has the effect of triggering an endlessly downward spiral. Enrollment goes down, support for funding gets weaker, quality goes down, enrollment goes down more, etc.
I see the question of choice as almost separate from that, in that for me it goes beyond the choice to opt out of a failing school. Kids have different needs, personalities, and interests, and families often have very different values and priorities related to education. I think state schools can suffer enormously from trying to be all things to all people, and I would much rather see an array of schools that are intentionally different, with parents able to express preferences. I think it's a shame when the only way people are able to make these kinds of choices is by choosing a private/independent school. I like to see a diversity of public school options that families of all income levels can access.
>117 Megan--hmm, now that you mention it I'm not sure what the proper English title of l'Etranger actually is. I read it in French, long ago, and tend to think of it as The Foreigner, myself. (The Stranger makes me think of my old Billy Joel album.)
>118 Brenda--yep, you got that right--no lists at all here on this thread. (Actually I'm working on two more, three if you count my planned July reads). I had a lot of fun making the list, and while I'd be lying if I said it didn't take much time, it was very satisfying and interesting. I recommend the exercise to all compulsive list makers!
>119 Good plan, Donna. 2013 sounds about right. (I will say, however, that if you draw out the list making process too long you might experience the temptation to read books published in a certain year just to make sure there aren't any holes. Not that that thought occurred to me ever...)
>120 Linda--yes, those blank years are like missing teeth aren't they? I scrutinized other peoples' lists to see if I could be inspired to fill in the blanks, but usually the problem is that I haven't read their favorite book of that year (yet). Which is why this has been an exercise in mushrooming wish lists!
>121 Yes, well, Beth, I suppose I don't have to reiterate that those are some of my favorites, too!
>122 Nancy--soon I will post my 19th century list, which is a completely different exercise. More--did I read any of the books published this year?, rather than which one did I like the best.
>123 Thanks Peggy and thanks for stopping by. Yes, there's too much here even for me to digest, especially when I stay away for days at a time.
>124 Paul, I admire the discipline and mental toughness that enables you and others to settle on one book per year, but I quickly realized that I would find it a chore rather than a joy if I forced myself to make too many decisions. And like stabbing a treasured book in the back to leave it off the list!
>125 Bonnie, I'm not too shocked to discover there might be some overlaps. Creating the list definitely distracts from reading (and grocery shopping).
>126 Judy--somewhat sheepishly I will confess to working on a separate list for children's books. There were just too many! On this list, where you see a children's book it was either too memorable to leave off, or just that much better than anything else published that year (that I've read). But I've barely scratched the surface of my favorite kid lit.
I am in the process of finishing a few more June reads--Color Me English, Kangaroo Notebook, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and Black Hearts in Battersea. The last I am reading aloud to my daughter, and I won't finish it by Saturday, but I'm so hooked on the storyline (I've never read this one) that I will probably read ahead after she is asleep.
I will not finish either River of Smoke or The Balkan Trilogy this month but happily I've already found homes for them among the July TIOLI challenges.
And I've been on a streak of rather harrowing books--Mudbound, which refers to just about every form of human brutality I can think of, while concentrating on racial oppression in post-war Mississippi; Between Shades of Gray about the deportation of Lithuanians to Siberia under Stalin; and S.: A Story of the Balkans about the rape and torture of Bosnian women during the Bosnian war. I think I will start off July with more escapist fare.
Hi Anne - I just got caught up here! Great discussion above, and I love reading everyone's list of favorites. Thank you and have a lovely weekend.
Anne - as usual I had great fun catching up on your delightfully erudite thread. Loved the discussion on education and the right of parental choice - I agree that it should not come down to a question of money and that, in an ideal world, governments could provide the choice themselves but it doesn't happen - sometimes a question of principle when faced with the realities of a better education for your kids and the principle gets compromised. My three go to private international schools in Malaysia. This is largely because core subjects in Malaysia are taught in the vernacular which would seriously disadvantage the kids when looking to further their studies abroad later. The government in Malaysia made a huge mistake IMO when it consciously decided to run down the distinct advantage it had regionally in the command of English. Singapore is reaping the benefits of this.
Have a lovely weekend.
My Increasingly Insane Monthly Reading Plan, July edition
Finish What You've Started
✔*River of Smoke - Amitav Ghosh
*The Balkan Trilogy - Olivia Manning
✔The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (audio)
✔*Our Mutual Friend (personal year-long Dickens challenge)
East of Eden (Steinbeckathon)
*Palace Walk - Naguib Mahfouz (Reading Globally: Middle East)
Read Before Date Due (library books)
Pops - Terry Teachout
✔*Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake - Anna Quindlen
The Man Without a Face - Masha Dessen
*There but for the - Ali Smith
Island of Wings - Karin Altenberg
Ministry of Pain - Dubravka Ugresic
✔Jane Fairfax - Joan Aiken
Escapist Fare (also with due dates)
✔*The Coroner's Lunch - Colin Cotterill
✔*Faithful Place - Tana French
The Shape of Water - Andrea Camillieri
✔*A Rule Against Murder - Louise Penny
Home - Marilynne Robinson
✔Old Filth - Jane Gardam
*The Siege - Helen Dunmore
Brick Lane - Monica Ali
*The Road Home - Rose Tremain
Tempted by TIOLI
(Books I had no plans to read this month, but they fit so nicely into a challenge or shared read that I'm thinking about them even though I've already listed over 20 books)
*Go Tell it on the Mountain - James Baldwin (#1)
The Cat's Table - Michael Ondaatje (#9)
Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden (#6)
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - Anne Tyler (#16)
*The Bone People - Keri Hulme (#1)
✔The Box Man - Kobo Abe (#6)
The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai (#7)
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy (#12)
Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell (#15)
The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo (#11)
I see some prioritizing is in order!
Hello Anne! My oh my! I just came over to catch up on your thread and stumbled about the charter school debate. I really don't have much to add . . . .so I'll just sneak out!
Congrats on reaching 75!
I'm glad I'm not the only person who has gone crazy with adding books due to the TIOLI this month. I know I'll end up leaving a few, but at least I have options now!
Top Reads of the 19th Century
(actually this is more of a list of books I've read, whether or not they are "top." It turns out it's quite rare that I've read more than one book published in any given year.)
1811 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
1812 Grimms Fairy Tales
1813 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
1814 Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
1815 Emma - Jane Austen
1816 The Nutcracker and Other Tales – E.T.A. Hoffman
1817 Rob Roy - Sir Walter Scott
1818 Persuasion – Jane Austen
1820 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving
1822 A Visit From St. Nicholas – Clement Clark Moore
1826 The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper
1830 The Red and the Black - Stendahl
1832 The Lady of Shalott – Alfred Tennyson
1833 Eugene Onegin – Aleksandr Pushkin
1834 The Queen of Spades – Aleksandr Pushkin
1835 La Pere Goriot - Honore de Balzac
1836 The Nose - Gogol
1837 The Emperor’s New Clothes – Hans Christian Andersen
1838 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
1839 The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allen Poe
1840 A Hero of Our Time – Mikhail Lermontov
1841 The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Edgar Allen Poe
1842 Dead Souls - Gogol
1843 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
1844 The Chimes – Charles Dickens
1845 The Raven – Edgar Allen Poe
1846 Poor Folk – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
1847 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte, Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
1848 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
1849 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens,
1850 The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
1851 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
1852 Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
1853 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
1854 Hard Times - Charles Dickens
1855 North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
1856 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
1857 Les Fleurs du Mal – Charles Baudelaire
1859 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
1860 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
1861 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
1862 Fathers and Sons - Turgenev
1863 What Is To Be Done? - Chernyshevsky
1864 Notes from the Underground - Fyodor Dostoevsky
1865 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
1866 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky
1868 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
1869 A Sentimental Education - Flaubert
1871 Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll, Little Men – Louisa May Alcott
1872 Middlemarch - George Eliot
1873 Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne
1874 Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
1875 Eight Cousins – Louisa May Alcott
1876 Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
1877 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
1878 The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy
1879 A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
1880 The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky
1881 The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
1882 The Prince and the Pauper – Mark Twain
1883 Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
1884 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
1885 A Child’s Garden of Verses – Robert Louis Stevenson
1886 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
1887 A Study in Scarlet – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
1888 The Happy Prince – Oscar Wilde
1889 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
1890 Hedda Gabler – Henrik Ibsen
1891 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
1892 The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
1894 The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
1896 The Country of the Pointed Firs – Sarah Orne Jewett
1897 What Maisie Knew – Henry James
1898 The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
1899 The Awakening - Kate Chopin
As for those holes, note to self: Walter Scott, Trollope, H.G. Wells
Thanks Brit (I just snuck over to your thread too--I see it's still very quiet over there)
Lori, I don't know why TIOLI makes me so irrational. I guess there's no downside to it, because it gets me extra excited about a range of books, and even if I don't end up reading them it's still fun to consider the options.
We had a big storm last night as as a result this morning's swim meet, scheduled to take place from 8:30-noon in the 104 degree sunshine, was cancelled because the pool has no power.
Now it feels like I have a bonus day.
#132 Anne, I've just done the same list - you're much more successful than me in the 1830's - I need to read some Pushkin and Balzac to fill in those gaps I think. I'm going to copy The Lady of Shalott for 1832 as I have read it but I didn't think of putting in poems!
Yes, relatively quiet. Contractions keep coming but they are just of the Braxton-Hicks variety . . . .
That is a fabulous 19th C list, Anne! We share many favourite classics : ). Your July reading list is staggering, but superb! Many favourites on that one, too, as well as several I'm meaning to get to. I had also thought about Old Filth for Orange July.
Hi Anne, I am terribly behind, and wish it hadn't been so, after the interesting and impassioned discussions! With school-aged children and working on education masters degrees, these issues are at the heart of my world. I've had Kozol's book on my radar after having read his Letters to a Young Teacher a few years ago, which I loved. There are no easy answers, unfortunately, and you're right -- it is awfully easy to blame teachers for school ills.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
>131 Wow! That's a fantastic list of planned reads, Anne. Mine looks paltry in comparison.
>135 Impressive, Anne. Not only that you have read them, but that you remember them and had the wherewithal to determine their dates of publication. There are a few on your 19th century list that I have never even heard of, so I must go investigate!
Anne what a list......oh and the 19th century list is great too. But that list of books for July is just...well...crazy insane. maybe if you never go to sleep in July at all...........
100: Ask a simple question... and the thread becomes overwhelming!
Or, you can do what everyone suggests parents should do, enroll in the local school that you have major concerns about and hope to improve it by getting involved. (In my experience this sounds admirable, but is really pretty difficult in the best case, and impossible in the worst).
I have friends in Boston who are doing this, and it's essentially the mom's job now, organizing fundraising events and such. And after six years, with the end in sight, they're pinning hopes on an exam school.
while there are schools, and not just a few, that are so catastrophic that no one with a choice would ever consider sending a child there
Yeah, I've seen them, kids ricocheting through the hallways and classrooms. One thing that charter schools can do, and regular public schools cannot, is expel students who do not comply with behavior standards. In my brief experience as a teacher in the dregs of an urban public high school system, every class had some truly amazing kids who managed to remain focused despite surrounding chaos, but one seriously disruptive kid could pull everyone else into the vortex, and few teachers were able to maintain control. (I was not among them; good intentions and 60 hour weeks were woefully inadequate, and the experience increased my appreciation for the teachers.) How to motivate the half of ninth graders who expect to drop out within a year or two? The most disruptive kids, not surprisingly, were also the kids whose families were nearly impossible to contact; disconnected phone numbers and shifting addresses as the kid was shuttled among relatives.
Hi Anne, I love your ambitious book list for July. Darn that TIOLI Challenge! I see soooo many books that I want to read there. I'll be interested to see which books of your list make the cut!
>135: I seem to be stuck in the 20th century with making my 'Top Reads' list. I'm rather impressed that you had so few gaps in the 19th century. Thank goodness for those classics!
Impressive 19th century list - good to see so much Thomas Hardy! I'll be reading a Thomas Hardy biography this month - he's one of my favorites.
>138 Rhian, I put in a few poems (and plays, in the 20th century) out of desperation, to fill holes, though most of my list is novels. But I did read them at least once, and they showed up on the publication list, so I figured "why not poems?" Not that I'm much of a poem reader, in general.
>139 Well, last time I checked you were at the hospital so I will have to mosey back over and see how you're doing.
>140 Nancy I'm not surprised we share some classics in common given what I've observed of your reading habits. I have Old Filth on my list mainly because I have it in an audiobook, so I know I can make time for it (once I finish the unbelievably long Count of Monte Cristo--which somehow I've never read.)
>141 Hi, Anne. I've not read Letters to a Young Teacher but I'd be interested in looking for it. More recently I've also read Kozol's The Shame of the Nation, which not one but two friends gave me for Christmas a few years ago. I guess people know what my interests are.
>142 I wouldn't say paltry, Darryl--I think I'd say yours is a bit more realistic. What I do like about making these lists is that even though I won't get to them all this month, it seems to increase the odds that I'll get to them soonish.
>143 Mark, I thought Mudbound and Between Shades of Gray were both terrific books, but so sad and disturbing each in their own way.
>144 Linda, I can't say much for my memory--wikipedia's xxxx in Literature turns out to be a useful research tool. That's my "wherewithal." Making this list did remind me of how much I love 19th century literature, though.
>145 Intentionally crazy insane, Bonnie. I'm already deciding which ones I'll have to forgo. Even if I could figure out what to do about those pesky kids and work obligations, and forgo eating and sleeping I don't think I read fast enough to get through all those. But it's fun to have options.
Hi Anne! I'm just making my way around the threads and trying to catch up with everyone. I hope you've had a great summer so far and it looks like July has some impressive reads lined up. Can't wait to see what you think of them since a lot of them are on my wishlist!
Well, I seem to have taken another little mini-vacation from LT and my thread. Back with a mid-year summary and (maybe) some reviews.
>146 Katherine. The expulsion thing--sure, one tool among many, but I think it is far from the whole story. As a public charter school we are able to adopt and enforce discipline policies that include expulsion, but our policies on expulsion closely reflect the policies in effect for the public school system as a whole. We have expelled students but rarely, and almost always for violent incidents. The DC public schools are technically allowed to expel students for similar offenses, but I don't know whether they do or not, and if they don't, I don't know the exact reasons why they don't--I'm sure there is complicated history there.
My impression, though, is that what matters much more than the ability to expel students is the presence or absence of an intentional school culture and climate, and a discipline policy designed to respond to and correct everyday sorts of minor misbehaviors--so that the school feels safe and orderly to everyone. And I think it's really important that classroom teachers are not left alone to deal with disruptive students and that there's some kind of bigger picture and administrative support. Unfortunately it seems to me that administrative support is often lacking.
>147 Donna, right now I'm bogged down in some real doorstoppers, so I'm interested to see which books make my July cut too! Could be anything. I took a little break from Dickens and Dumas to revisit Three Pines, and I'm starting on the final part of River of Smoke.
>148 Hi Kerri--yes, I do enjoy Hardy. I noticed when I did my list that if I finally read Jude the Obscure I could fill in that 1895 hole. So that goes on the list. (Silly, I know.)
>150 Valerie! So great to see you back!
Love your comment above on the "increasingly insane" reading list. Do hope you manage to make room for Boyden and Ondaatje soon -- both are v.v. good books!
I'm determined to finish Redbreast. Dunno why it has been such a chore.
My impression, though, is that what matters much more than the ability to expel students is the presence or absence of an intentional school culture and climate
Agreed in principle.
And I think it's really important that classroom teachers are not left alone to deal with disruptive students and that there's some kind of bigger picture and administrative support.
Exiting this conversation. Too painful.
20 books read (0 reviews)
Regular books: 15
My shelves (pre 2012) 1
New: 12 (includes audio and kindle)
Translated books: 3 (Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, Russian)
Orange Prize: 0
1001 Books: 4
Nobel authors: 1
19th century: 1
21st century: 7
Nationality: 6 US, 6 UK, 2 Russian, 2 Japanese, 1 Croatian
New-to-me authors: 8
(Penelope Lively, Olivia Manning, Elly Griffiths, Hillary Jordan, Gail Carriger, Ruta Sepetys, Slavenka Drakulic)
Best of the month: Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
Black Hearts in Battersea - Joan Aiken
Soulless - Gail Carriger
Harrowing Accounts of Man's Inhumanity to Man:
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Mudbound - Hillary Jordan
S: A Novel About the Balkans - Slavenka Drakulic
Between Shades of Gray (no, not that book) - Ruta Sepetys
How it All Began - Penelope Lively
The Beginners Goodbye - Anne Tyler
Kangaroo Notebook - Kobe Abe
Longest Time To Complete:
I Am A Cat - Soseki Natsumi
Audiobook May Not Have Been the Best Choice
Speak, Memory - Vladimir Nabokov
Love your categories -- Anne's version of the Harper's Index of reading??
You had an amazing run in June Anne! I thought I'd missed your review of Bring Up the Bodies but see you haven't reviewed any of your June reads. It does bog things down (reviewing, that is), doesn't it?
Between Shades of Gray (no, not that book) - Ruta Sepetys
Haha, I had a chuckle there. So many of my friends have read this book and they aren't even readers to begin with! I've heard so much about it that I feel like I've already read it without actually picking up the book and I have no plans to read anytime soon... :)
Anne: Wow. You have a lot going on here. Love your 19th century list.
It looks like you had a great June in reading. I'm glad you liked How It All Began; that is one of my favorites this year.
Your July list is crazy. Good luck. I've had my eye on There But for the, The Road Home, and The Island of Wings. Right now I'm working my way through Our Mutual Friend, so I don't know what else I'll get through this month.
> 152 and 155 Suzanne, The Cat's Table and Through Black Spruce are in a special stack of "really want to get to soon" books. For what that's worth. I know they both come with ringing endorsements from you (and others no doubt). I think I may opt for the Boyden for the Olympic rings challenge (over The Redbreast--I think you just decided me), and The Cat's Table is conveniently deckle-edged.
Anne's Index of Reading LOL. In truth, the categories are either a new alternative to producing even a micro-summary of the books I've read, or a sneaky way to avoid picking one favorite book from the month (although once I created the categories, I became much less resistant to choosing a best). Most likely some combination of both.
>153 Consider it exited Katherine.
>154 Thanks Nancy!
>155 No, Bonnie, you haven't missed a thing. I guess I should just face the fact that I would read fewer books if I stopped to review every pesky one. Even though a goal I set at the beginning of the year was to read less review more, I'm doing even worse with this than with the silly idea that I was going to restrain my book buying habit. Sometime this week I do intend to turn my attention to a new batch of mini-reviews for June--including Bring Up the Bodies--so watch this space.
>156 Valerie, no plans here either, but you're right these books do seem to be ones that everyone has heard of whether they're readers or not.
>157 Beth, I've had both Island of Wings and There but for the out from the library since the day the Orange Prize long list was announced (in early March!), but still haven't managed to read either one. The library keeps letting me renew them even though I'm long past the point when they weren't supposed to be renewable, so they keep getting another chance.
And thanks for your excellent review of How it All Began, which inspired me to request in from the library.
Hi Anne, I totally in awe of both the books you read in June and the ones you are planning for July. The Grapes of Wrath is one of my all time favorite books, Mudbound was a very moving read, Souless was a fun read and I am looking forward to continuing on with that series - I can see a few that are definitely going to be added to my wishlist, in particular Between Shades of Grey and I am sure I will find more in your July reading.
Anne - Your library is more forgiving than mine. We can renew an item twice -- unless people are waiting for it -- and they are pretty firm with that. I have asked for an extension a few times and sometimes they give it and sometimes they don't. I'm reading Foreign Bodies (it's due), which I like a lot. I know it didn't get a lot of love here on LT.
Beth, my library is forgiving, or maybe just inconsistent.
I can check out a book for three weeks, and I can renew it twice online (but only if there are no holds on it). But, if my renewal period has expired, and I bring the actual book into the branch, they will always let me check it in and then check it back out again immediately if there are no holds. What happens if I don't have the book in hand depends on who's at the desk. Sometimes, I ask if they can renew something and they say no. Sometimes they say yes. And sometimes, even if I don't ask but they notice I have overdue books they just go ahead and renew them.
Recently the library changed its policy on fines. It used to be 20 cents a day for every day a book was overdue. Now, no fees kick in at all until 30 days after the due date, and then the fine shoots immediately to $5. So, no matter what day my books say they're due, there's a voice in my head that says "but it's not REALLY due until 30 days after that." So I have an assortment of technically overdue books, with due dates ranging from June 16 to July 8. I think it's a bad policy, because now even if someone has a hold on a book, there's no penalty for keeping it out an additional 30 days--which is longer than the initial borrowing period. I'm curious about why they changed it--too hard to keep track of all the daily fines?
Yikes, I have to agree that the library's new policy on overdue books is a bad one. My head works the same way yours does, "This isn't really due for another 30 days." And sometimes the wait list on popular books is long enough, without adding an extra 30 days into the mix for every borrower.
Our library is pretty good. We can renew items up to 4 times (3 weeks at a time) as long as there are no holds on it. If I can't read it in 12 weeks, its probably a sign that I should just let it go. I have been notorious for the fines that I've paid to the library. Let's just say its been in the double digits before and that deterred me from using the library for the longest time. This time around, I've got reminders plastered EVERYWHERE so I don't run into the same problem. So far, I haven't broken the bank account so it's all good. :)
At our library, we can check things out for 4 weeks and renew it twice unless there are patrons waiting for it. High demand items can only be checked out for two weeks. A friend and I have been trying to figure out what the threshhold is for the two-week check out. Maybe more than five holds? But I agree, if I haven't read it in three months, it's probably time to let it go. Our fines are .25 per day.
Our library has a 28 day check-out renewable four times unless there is a hold request. New fiction is a 14 day check-out with a 2 renewal limit. Fines are .15 per day with a maximum of 4.50. The item is assumed lost after 30 days and a bill sent for replacement costs. Interlibrary loan items typically cannot be renewed, so getting them read whenever they randomly show up is sometimes a trick. I love the computer friendly policies for requests, renewals, etc. The library uses e-mail notices for books about to be due and for notifying patrons requested books are in which is very handy since I am on-line several times a day checking LT. . .
The best thing about my library is that it's diagonally across the street from my house, so there's never an excuse for overdue books (something that can be problematic for me), as I can practically throw them in the slot from my door. As for policies, I'm never really clear. I get 99% of my library materials through inter-library loan, so I think I have to follow the rules of whatever library I'm borrowing from.
>163 Perhaps the library got tired of people trying to pay 40 or 60 cent fines with credit cards?
I would bet that the fine policy had something to do with stupid human behavior -- that people will keep books out longer, accumulate more small fines, etc. And then end up owing the library lotsa money, which they can't really collect because it's small potatoes. With the new machines in Brooklyn, we can pay our fines with a credit card -- well, to be precise, we can put money on our ABC card account, as it's called, and then draw on that account to pay the fines. And we can pay directly with the credit card online. I've used both options. In any event, Brooklyn once again is doing a summer fines waiver -- if you return a book in July that is overdue and was originally due in July, they will waive the fines. I've got a bunch of them that come due, and there's no incentive for me to return them promptly or even to be vigilant and renew them.
#168 -- ILL is pretty draconian. The initial period is either 15 or 21 days, and it's almost impossible to renew them, regardless of the source. But I'm in the same boat as you -- all I have to do is literally walk past two buildings to my corner, cross a street (OK, it's 5 lanes of traffic) and the library is right there. I can get there, drop books off, pick books up and take them out, and be home again in 7 to 10 minutes. There's no excuse.
Sigh, "those books" are ruining a perfectly good phrase. Between Shades of Gray is a book that a friend of mine picked up at BookExpo and really liked (well, given the subject matter), and I just requested it from the library. Tks for reminding me I had intended to read it. Wonder if my quasi-stepmother-who-is-younger-than-I-am has seen it -- she is Lithuanian, it seems to have been published there & Poland first.
Perhaps the library got tired of people trying to pay 40 or 60 cent fines with credit cards/
Are you friggin' kidding me.... oh what am I saying. I am always stuck behind people in the coffee shop that put their $2.00 morning coffee on their credit card. Seriously, they don't have two bucks in the purse/pocket? *rolls eyes in frustration*
Interesting discussion about library fines. Anne, you didn't mention - or I failed to notice - does your library have a maximum unpaid fine amount when they cutoff your ability to check out more items? The only reason I ask is our library system last year went from a $20 maximum outstanding fine limit to a $10.00 limit..... once you hit that limit the system bars you from checking out any further materials until the fine has been paid. That is not to say they don't continue to rack up the fines for materials still outstanding that haven't been returned, they are just saying that that is the maximum dollar amount the house will let you borrow against - does anyone see an interesting gambling saloon analogy at work here or it is just me? ;-)
I am getting more crotchety as I get older I notice but what is wrong with having a little smalle change in your pockets to set against the inexactitudes of life. A couple of dollars in change to pay your fines is surely better than having stuck on a card, incurring interest on it and having a queue of crotchety chaps like me forming up behind. btw I am going to ask my Secretary to change a RM50 for me for lunch for my RM3.50 (US$1.17) lunch of nasi goreng cendawan (mushroom fried rice) - as I don't have any change!!
I think there should be two separate lines in coffee shops like Starbucks. The first line should be for people who want a simple cup of coffee or tea, and are paying with cash. The second line is for those who are ordering upside down caramel macchiatos with triple whipped goat's milk or other equally absurd dessert drinks, or are using a credit card for purchases under $10.
more and more on libraries
Yes, Nancy, I'm thinking that the 30 day grace period does not bode well for my chances of getting Gone Girl anytime soon (115 on the hold list). Not if other library users are anything like me (although it sounds like a quick read, so maybe no reason to keep it out for the full time).
Valerie , and Beth--I know what you mean about the 12 weeks--it should be enough time. I used to be almost pathologically incapable of returning a book to the library unread though (or a rented movie unwatched--no matter how many late fees I accrued)--but I'm getting better (a little) about returning things unread. My only problem with the library checkout period is that I check out far more books than I can read at one time and then end up stuck in a system of rolling renewals. I should probably pick an arbitrary date, return them all, and start all over.
Our library does not designate "high demand" items in any way, although I know many libraries do. It would be interesting to see how libraries determine this--"new fiction" sounds reasonable, but I'd guess not all new fiction is universally popular. I think I'm a fan of a simpler system with no designation--2 weeks is not that much shorter than 3 weeks, and the hold system should do a pretty good job of flagging popular items--but only if people return books on time.
Brenda I guess our maximum late fee is the $5 one-time fee, and items are billed as lost at 60 days. For ILL, my library card gives me access to the whole city's library system, and no special rules apply if I'm requesting a book from another branch. I've never tried any kind of InterLibrary Loan that involves other library systems. I'm sure those would have different rules and they would not be nearly so tolerant!
Kerri--my library is about two blocks from my house. Right now the regular library is being renovated, so the library is in temporary quarters in a retail storefront. It's still two blocks from my house, but now it is two blocks in the direction that I walk multiple times every day. (But there's still an excuse for overdue books--the interim library doesn't have an after-hours drop slot, so it has to be open to return a book).
Nora--I like that theory, but since the library previously had adopted a policy that you couldn't pay fines with cash or a check at branch libraries, they were pretty much expecting that you would pay your fees online with a credit card, even if they were only 40 cents. Although it might be the logical result of that earlier decision.
Suzanne, I'm sure it has to do with addressing some form of stupid human behavior, but I'm wondering which form of stupid human behavior they're targeting, because it seems certain to encourage new and different forms of behavior. In the past I have been very much of a stickler about returning books on time--and it wasn't that the 20 cents was such a hefty penalty but just the principle. Then one day I found myself in the middle of a very good book that I wanted to finish, but it was due and couldn't be renewed, and I started to think, well, if I return it tomorrow instead of today it will cost 20 cents, and finishing the book would be worth it. Still, the idea of a late meter steadily increasing works pretty well at making me return books sooner, rather than later, and I've rarely incurred fines. The 30 day grace period gives me exactly the wrong signal.
The DC library also had a fine amnesty (ours was in January and February). Which caused me to hold onto all my books from November and December and return them during the amnesty period. The amnesty policy seems designed to get books back, eventually, whereas I'm not sure what the $5 lump-sum late fee is doing.
Lori, I didn't say, and I didn't know, but I just looked it up and at $40 of unpaid fines they cut off your borrowing privileges unless you pay.
It may not be clear from all this but I LOVE my library. It gets more and more convenient with the passage of time--I can place holds check due dates, and renew books online, they almost always have the book I want somewhere and they bring it to my branch, they send me emails (many) when I have books approaching their due date or when my hold books are available, and it's closer to my house than any bookstore (with the possible exception of Amazon which delivers to my doorstep of course).
All you crotchety people rolling your eyes in line...I hear you. my particular annoyance is people who wait until they get to the front of the long line to decide what they want. What, the wait wasn't long enough to make up your mind? Or you were too busy texting and now you're going to make the rest of us wait even longer?
Darryl, I actually think Starbucks does a pretty good job with line management as people ordering fancy drinks just get their order placed and step aside, whereas if I only want coffee it's a one-step transaction--order, pour, pay, and I'm out the door before the venti iced caramel frappucino with soy milk customer even gets their drink. It's much worse in places where the person taking the order is also stopping to make drinks.
My brother and my sister live year-round in an island tourist community and they can barely handle the summer months when their regular coffee establishments are taken over by throngs of tourists--ordering, of course, lots of upside down caramel macchiatos with triple whipped goat's milk They want a separate line for "locals ordering their morning cuppa" and "everyone else!"
What drive me batty are the people trying to use Smartphones and have the little scanny thing on their screens read by the Starbucks gizmo to pay. The problem is that one of the two inevitably seems to malfunction...
Somehow, fines manage to creep up and creep up on me. I"m pretty good at monitoring what I have out and renewing, but every so often something will take me by surprise by not being renewable.
And I loathe the women (usually) in any kind of line at all who didn't realize that they were going to have to pay for something when they got in line. So they open their purses when they hear the amount and hunt and fidget and generally WASTE MY PRECIOUS TIME!!!
O.K. Got that one out of the way.
LISTS! I can only bow down in humility.
>141 (That was a really long time ago!) I have been with J. Kozol since Death at an Early Age. And I think that the main reason that teachers bear the brunt of complaints about schools is that they are the only ones that administrations at any level have control over.
It's fun hearing all the little things that can drive one crazy!
I have nothing but praise for both my libray and the staff there, even though I have to admit I have very little to do with them these days. I preorder my books on-line, pop in and pick them up and use the self-serve check out.
But in my day to day life, people who seem to think they are "special" in some sort of way and don't need to (a) wait in lines, or, (b) follow traffic signs can drive me around the bend! These same people also think they have the right to (a) hold everyone up while they have a personal conversation with the sales clerk, or, (b) talk loudly, using inappropriate language in public while on their cell phone.
Hmmm... I guess I'm getting crotchety as well!
I love my library and use it regularly. Since I'm making a concerted effort to read the books I own, I don't use it quite as much as I used to but still take out a few books every month. One thing I like about our library is my ability to get new books really early on. Right now I even have Zadie Smith's new book NW on my request list even though it won't be published until September. I'm pretty sure I'll get it right after it's published. 7-day books are usually any newly published fiction. They can be renewed twice, as long as there is no waiting list. New non-fiction and new fiction over 500 pages can be checked out for 21 days and renewed twice as long as there's no waiting list. There's a $.25 fee to request a book from another library branch. Overdue books garner a $.25 per day fine. $10.00 in fines and your account is locked until you pay. You can have 99 books checked out at the same time. (I know, why not 100?)
The best thing about our library system is that I've never requested a book that wasn't available to me in a fairly reasonable amount of time. They just have everything and if they don't I can make a request and they will purchase that book. I've done that twice recently. And yes, it's all online to make it easy to use at any time, night or day. My branch is five minutes from my house but my books come from all over the county.
I have not one single complaint about our library. It's just about the best thing our county has to offer and they do amazing things with a budget that's been slashed way too often. That's why I have a bumper sticker on my car that says "I Love My Library and I Vote."
160: Anne, I made the opposite goal of "read more, review less" this year. I still do formal reviews of books that need promoting or ones that particularly impress me one way or another, but I'm happy to just put some comments on my thread about the others.
I love the library talk here. I use my library regularly, and am happy to support the semi-annual book sales to add to my personal library while supporting the extras such as summer reading programs for children and book-related programs.
Suzanne, this is why I almost never attempt self-checkout in the grocery store. It seems like a great idea but almost every time I try, something goes wrong with the machine and I spend more time trying to get assistance than I would have in the line.
Peggy, oh yes--money and payment--it does seem to surprise some people that payment is the inevitable conclusion of any shopping transaction. I think you're probably right about teachers as regards administrators, but I think it also comes from teachers being the main point of contact for most people dealing with schools or even thinking about schools--something like the poor customer service reps on the phone.
Judy, yes, the "that rule exists for other people" attitude. It is unbelievable sometimes. A friend was just telling me last night about a woman who had illegally parked across her driveway, completely blocking it, while she ran to pick up her child from school across the street. My friend, who was trying to exit her driveway at the time, objected, and the woman said "oh, it's alright, I'll just be a minute" and ran off, leaving my friend unable to get out of her own driveway.
Hmmm. Bonnie, it seems like you've made the reasonable conclusion that if you're serious about reading the books you own that means taking out fewer books from the library. Why didn't I think of that? I think 1/3 to 1/2 of the books I've read this year have come from the library and it does get in the way of reading the books already in my house.
99 books? We can only have 50 and although I had 39 books out as of Monday (but I returned 8), I have never gotten to 50.
I've never thought of asking the library to acquire a book I want. How great! I wonder if we have a process for that...
Donna I like that goal. Maybe I should have made that one instead! I need to find a happy medium. Maybe something like "review some but do it promptly." Speaking of library book sales, I went to another one today (where I was able to take home a bag of books for $10. I mean that was the actual deal--$1 a book, or fill a bag for $10. The bag was a much better deal I have to say.)
I have been completely sucked into my audiobook of The Count of Monte Cristo for the past few days and unable to tear myself away long enough to visit threads or do much of anything besides make up excuses to keep listening.
My family had four swim meets this weekend but I opted to duck out of the morning one to attend the library book sale a few blocks away.
Here's the haul ($10 for as many books as I could fit in a paper bag)
Waterland - Graham Swift
Private Enterprise - Angela Thirkell
The Photograph - Penelope Lively
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
The Bell - Iris Murdoch
Kokoro - Natsume Soseki
Loitering With Intent - Muriel Spark
The Cellist of Sarajevo -Steven Galloway
Enormous Changes at the Last Minute - Grace Paley
Gabriela, Clove, and Cinnamon - Jorge Amado
Crossing the River Caryl Phillips
Black and Blue - Anna Quindlen
and some children's books:
Lassie Come-Home - Eric Knight
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - Robert O'Brien
The Wouldbegoods - E Nesbit
The Upstairs Room - Johanna Reiss
Woot! $10 for all the books you can fit in a bag! Sign me up! Great haul, Anne.
Wow what a haul for ten bucks. Waterland is a great novel IMO and your list is littered with my favourite writers - Murdoch, Spark et al.
Anne, I'm just waving hello, and adding my congratulations at your great haul of books! i'm glad you found The Cellist of Sarajevo. That alone would be worth $10! am curious to see how you like quite a few of the other books - Graham Swift, Angela Thirkell and Penelope Lively are all on my radar but I haven't read anything by them.
And *four* swim meets at the weekend trumps my one hour of swimming lessons (although it was one hour for 12 of the lats 14 days...). Very cool! Do you have to go to lots of early morning practice sessions? i would love our kids to keep going with swimming and I think I could handle the early starts, but I would need to take a good book...
Anne: Great haul. Library book sales are the best. I also picked up some great books at our sale earlier in the summer.
Anne, I'm very curious who is narrating The Count of Monte Cristo that you're enjoying so much! It's one of my all-time favourite reads, and I think a re-read via audio would be wonderful!
I love those "fill the bag" sales. So dangerous, but it feels so good to get that much bang for your buck. The problem is then coming home and find a shelf for all those goodies!
Hi, Nancy, Brenda, Paul, Cushla, Beth, Kerri, Valerie, Anne, Prue, and Darryl--thank you for stopping in and especially thank you all for reinforcing the book-buying habit. It's hard to argue with 10 bucks, though.
Paul, I'm fairly sure Waterland ended up in that bag on your recommendation, and Cushla, the same goes for The Cellist of Sarajevo.
Cushla--Swim meets! Two of my kids swim year round, two of them swim on a summer swim team, and two of them swim on their high school teams. My son is a pretty competitive swimmer and he does all three. Summer swim team meets normally happen on Saturday mornings in June and July. But, because a power outage cancelled one a few weeks ago, it was rescheduled for Sunday and so we had two. And Eric's championship meets for his year-round swim club happened to be this weekend as well, so from the morning meets we took him directly to his afternoon meets. But this was hardly a typical weekend.
We have morning swim practices at 5, 6, or 7 every day except Sunday, but fortunately the pool is nearby, and Eric can now get himself from the pool to home or school on the bus. For evening swim practices, I always bring a book, and I look forward to the reading time.
Beth, this is the second library sale I've been to this summer and I love them--besides getting great books for cheap I am supporting the library.
Nancy, the narrator is John Lee. I feel like he's narrated something else I've listened to recently but I can't seem to figure out what--possibly Great Expectations. He reads with quite a variety of intriguing accents. I can't believe I've never read The Count of Monte Cristo before--I absolutely loved it. All 47 hours of it.
Valerie I still haven't taken them out of the bag.
Anne, I read (and loved) Mrs. Frisby as a child but we don't have it, so I snapped it up. I think Helen might like it too.
Hi, Prue. I have read Last Orders but nothing else by Graham Swift.
Hi, Darryl. I just started on my reread of Palace Walk. I'm about two chapters in, but it's astonishing to me how well I remember this family!
Hahaha, I'm so the opposite. I whip them out of the bag as soon as I can so I can log them into my ridiculous spreadsheet and then find some hole on my shelf that I can cram them. That way, I am ready to start buying again at any random moment. :)
I am more like Anne . . . I have stacks of recently purchased books, removed from the bags they came home in only because I needed the bags for more buying, awaiting attention!
John Lee, thanks Anne. His name is also familiar to me. I've listened to several Blackstone Audiobooks, so I've come across him somewhere ...
I think you guys in DC have the best library sales around!! I think I'll have to plan a weekend jaunt around some of these... Apparently the Seattle library has one of the best sales anywhere in the country, just utterly mammoth.
YIKES Anne that is a lot of swimming. And a lot of reading time!
#196 Valerie, I am the same as you - I race home when I've bought something and type in the bar code and investigate who's got the new book etc. Except for Kindle books - I always forget to enter those.
Update--Valerie and Brenda, I have now taken the books out of the bag, entered them into LT, and placed them on their appropriate shelves. I will confess that this is more complicated than it sounds, because my fiction books are all organized in alphabetical order on a particular set of bookshelves, and so new acquisitions by authors beginning with letters on crowded shelves require shifting everything around. (but it makes it very easy to find things, really!) I recently had to relocate everything published before 1900 to another room to clear out some space, but that's a different issue.
Yes, Nancy, he seems to do a lot of Blackstone narrations. I just used a credit to download The Warden (Simon Vance reading) on your recommendation so I'm looking forward to getting to that before the end of the year. I seem to do much better working my way through my audiobook collection than my book collection, probably because there are fewer of them.
Hi Mark. I'm really eager to read The Cellist of Sarajevo so we'll see where it ends up on the pile. (It kind of ties into a very loose Balkans-related theme I've been half-heartedly pursuing so it has that going for it). I've read relatively little Margaret Atwood though I always mean to--I've read The Handmaid's Tale and Cat's Eye, both of which were impressive in their own ways, but that's where it ends.
Suzanne--the great thing about our library sales is that they are all coordinated by the various "Friends of" the different branches, so they occur kind of randomly throughout the year--if you really tracked it you could probably arrange to go to one at least once a month. I rely mostly on serendipity rather than planning, however (although I did once skip a college reunion mainly to attend the Cleveland Park library sale). They're great both for donating old books to (not that I really do that very often, book-hoarder that I am, but I do sometimes end up with duplicates) and for really great and cheap finds.
Cushla, I've become pretty resigned to the swim practices largely because it gives me a guilt-free opportunity to read. (Although, I'm increasingly aware of how anti-social this appears, since the other alternative is chatting with other swim parents. I find a little of this goes a long way, though, and frequently find myself dying to get back to my book.)
Right now I am nearly finished with Our Mutual Friend, and reading the last sections eagerly to find out what happens.
I'm also slowly immersing myself in Palace Walk, which is a re-read for me, but I read it the first time almost 25 years ago, so I wasn't sure how much I remembered. It turns out that many of the details have remained surprisingly vivid and I'm really looking forward to rediscovering this wonderful trilogy over the course of the summer.
And I'm listening to Tana French's Faithful Place on audiobook, which has me thinking "is it time to walk the dog again?" so I can steal a few more minutes of listening time. I really love this series and the fourth book is coming soon, so for once I will be caught up with an active series.
And now for some recent reads:
117. The Box Man by Kobo Abe 3.0
I've been reading Kobo Abe for the Author Theme Reads Japanese authors focus, and although the second quarter ended in June, I've been catching up with my TBR pile. (It also fit this month's TIOLI challenge to read a book that has "boy" or "man" in the title). This is my third Abe and I'm ready to move on!
This is the record of a box man.
I am beginning this account in a box. A cardboard box that reaches just to my hips when I put it on over my head.
That is to say, at this juncture the box man is me. A box man, in his box, is recording the chronicle of a box man.
There is a box man, or maybe several, a fake box man, a doctor (and a fake doctor), a nurse. Or is the fake doctor really the fake box man? Or the real one? A box man apparently is no ordinary vagrant--in fact, vagrants, beggars and homeless people despise box men.
I can see that there are many things at play in this (short) novel)--narrative perspective, themes of alienation and identity, childhood sexual trauma, the appeal of looking at people without being looked at, reality versus dreams--how do you know for sure when you've woken up? Much of this book has the feeling of an extended dream sequence, where reality is distorted but (vaguely) recognizable, surreal and disorienting.
At the start the narrator provides detailed mechanics of how to be a box man--what kind of box, where to put the observation window, how to attach all your indispensable gear (you know, your radio, thermos, flashlight, towel) to the inside of the box. At one point I found myself scurrying to the internet to determine whether box men actually exist roaming the streets of Japanese cities--it started to seem so plausible, but I could find no evidence of this. So I give points to the author for successfully drawing me into a delusion and convincing me it could be reality.
While trying to make sense of this book I came across an article in The Millions that grouped Kobo Abe's works into "Relatively Sane Works," ""Less Sane Works," and "Insane Works," and placed this one in the latter category (along with Kangaroo Notebook, which I also read this quarter). This made me feel a little better (need I say I agree with the categorization?) I can't say I understood The Box Man. And I can't say I liked it very much either, although I'd have a hard time arguing if someone told me it was brilliant--it could very well be.
Hi Anne, such interesting reviews as always. I haven't read The Box Man, but I'm certainly familiar with the feeling that greatness and insanity might be easily interchangeable under the right circumstances. Tana French I haven't gotten to yet, but MUST ... your comment that you are looking for reasons to walk the dog (again) makes me realize I need to make French a priority! Thanks for that : ). This series sounds particularly well suited to audio, yes?
First, you're inspiring me to try The Palace Walk again. I hope that now is the right time --- just as soon as I finish *OMF*! (I'm finally getting into Book 4!)
Our local library gives us a bag for $1 at the end of the annual sale, but I'd never pick up even one of the fantastic books that you found --- lots of romance and chick lit from the 50s, but no honest-to-goodness authors. Sometimes I luck into one book I've been lusting after, but not often.
I don't think I'll read The Box Man, but it appeals to the Paul Auster/Haruki Murakami reader in me. Maybe someday I'll start with a relatively sane one.
Anne (and anyone else), I'll be doing a tutored read of The Warden with Heather (souloftherose) next month - we'd love to have you there! :)
116. Jane Fairfax - Joan Aiken 3.5
I stumbled on this book in the library catalog when I was looking for Aiken's Black Hearts in Battersea (next in our evening read-aloud series, but which my library does not have). Usually I steer clear of Austen spinoffs of every variety, but I succumbed because I've loved Joan Aiken's childrens' books, and because I have a soft spot for Jane Austen's Emma, and have a special interest in Jane Fairfax.
Aiken takes the character of Jane Fairfax, who, while very important in the plot of Emma, is mostly off-stage for most of the novel, and re-imagines the developments in Emma from the point of view of Jane. It was pretty much exactly what I expected--not great literature, not like discovering a previously unpublished Austen novel, but a light and entertaining read. It's a little sappier than Austen, and I can't say I approve of all the directions Aiken chose to go in, but I enjoyed her imaginary take on Jane.
>204 Nancy, I really do love the Tana French books. They're crime/police stories but layered with psychological ambiguity, and the setting in contemporary Dublin draws me in every time. I've found each of them absolutely gripping in its own way, and I've found there's much more to each of them than the inevitable whodunit. IMO they're GREAT on audio because the narrators' accents really help to convey the setting.
>205 Anne, I've never read any Trollope at all so I am long overdue.
>206 Peggy, I have just discovered the truth about Bad Boffin--dod not see that coming!--and am entering the final stretch. Hooroar!
I was wondering about Murakami while reading Kobo Abe, and am reminding myself that I need to get back to IQ84--which I was enjoying but it is just too big and heavy to cart around, so I kept putting it aside for lighter books or my Kindle. The Woman in the Dunes falls in the "relatively sane" group and was a much more coherent read--disturbing, but not so disorienting. Kangaroo Notebook was by far the weirdest--I've yet to attempt a summary.
>207 Liz--I will definitely check out the tutored read thread. So far I've only followed tutored reads for books I'm not actually reading but it would be wonderful to follow along when I read (listen to) a brand new book and author..
Hi there Anne, interesting reviews as usual. I have no interest in reading The Box Man but I do have The Woman in the Dunes on my shelf so will get to that at some point. I absolutely lovedPalace Walk and am looking forward to the second book. I'm really enjoying Middle East Theme Read and will also be reading Mornings in Jenin next month.
I don't know exactly what a tutored read is but I need to read Trollope as I haven't read any of his books.
Well, I think I'm decided that Tana French is going to have to be audio! Thanks, Anne! Enjoyed your comments on Jane Fairfax: interesting take on a character from a well-loved classic.
Hello Anne - fabulous reviews but I think I dodged some BBs - have a feeling I have somethink by Kobo Abe on my shelves..I'll have to see if it is sane or insane! If you are reading Japanese autors, may I recommend House of the Sleeping Beauties by Yasunari Kawabata - it is not a common book (I got mine on BD) but these are beautifully sensitive stories...
Hi Anne - Congrats on finishing OMF. I'll be anxious to hear your comments. I love your adventuresome reading, but I'll pass on The Box Man. I know what you mean about spinoffs; I have a few on my shelves that people have given me. I've read a couple that were amusing, but overall I prefer the real thing.
Hi Anne! Looks like you were busy reading and were able to knock out some of those reviews!
115. Old Filth – Jane Gardam 4.3
This was a delightful read, which made it to the top of my “pile” for Orange July mainly because I needed an audiobook and I had this one available. I’ve never read anything by Jane Gardam before, but now I will be looking out for more.
Old Filth is essentially a character study of Sir Edward Feathers, whom we meet at the age of 80, quietly retired to a Dorset village after a successful, even legendary career as a judge in Hong Kong. His nickname, Old Filth, comes from the phrase he reportedly coined “Failed in London Try Hong Kong.” Old Filth is successful, and a bit of a mystery, the consensus of legal community seeming to be that his life has been all smooth sailing, without a ripple of adversity. Gardam sets out to lift the curtain on his stiff-upper-lip façade to give us a fuller portrait of the man and his life. Weaving back and forth in time, the novel unfolds the various layers of Eddie Feathers’ life, giving us glimpses into a sad and traumatic childhood as a Raj orphan and an increasingly lonely existence as an aging widower. The novel is wonderfully constructed and a pleasure to read.
I have to note in passing that the nemesis of Filth’s Hong Kong days is a fellow by the name of Terry Veneering—a name I’m currently very familiar with from Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend. (Coincidence? I think not.)
Although entirely different in tone, aspects of Old Filth reminded me a little of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand—touching on both end of life and end of empire issues in contemporary England.
Wonderful review of Old Filth, Anne. I've had this one in my iPad for some time ... appreciate the incentive!
Bonnie, The Woman in the Dunes was a much easier read than the two others I read, and although disturbing and strange, quite interesting. And I did understand what was going on! I am reviewing in reverse order at the moment, so that one is lost back in May's black hole and there is no guarantee that comments will ever surface. I'd say The Box Man is best reserved for die-hard fans of Kobo Abe.
Tutored reads are where a person very knowledgeable about a book generously volunteers to provide one-on-one help to another person who wants some guidance getting through it. squeakychu and lyzard pioneered this idea last year when Madeline read Emma, and you can currently check out Suz tutoring Ilana through Wolf Hall. It's a lot of fun as well as very informative to lurk on the threads!
You won't regret it Nancy. At least, I don't think you will.
Thanks for the recommendation Prue. I am participating in the Japanese authors theme read (another group) this year and have so far stuck pretty closely to the featured authors--I have next to no experience with Japanese literature so it's all been completely new. I will keep an eye out for the Kawabata. Is it short stories?
Mark, I always like to see fans of the French books. I have one chapter to go in Faithful Place (so what am I doing on here, right?).
It's funny, I think I picked up IQ84 the first time in connection with a group read, but got so far behind that it made no sense to persevere. So I may just take you up on that October plan, because I'm definitely not packing it as beach reading next month. It will be a good motivator. (By the way I LOVED the first four chapters that I did read. I am not at all sure why I haven't been able to get back to it.)
Beth, not quite finished yet with OMF--I have one more chapter and the postscript to go, but I should be done any time now.
While I'm almost never tempted by Austen spinoffs, there is something to be said for a good bit of fluff once in a while. So I've read two, both this year, and coincidentally both by favorite YA authors (Joan Aiken and Shannon Hale).
A few, Valerie, a few. I shudder to think how many I haven't written, but of course there is no obligation to review them all!
114. Nightbirds on Nantucket - Joan Aiken 4.0
This is one I recall fondly from my own childhood. Oddly, although it's the third in Aiken's "Wolves Chronicles" series it's the only one I ever read as a child, and I read it as a stand-alone story because of its Nantucket setting. It makes more sense as part of a series.
Dido Twite, who was first introduced in Black Hearts in Battersea and whose fate was left up in the air at the end of that book, is rescued by the Nantucket whaling ship the Sarah Casket and wakes up after a months-long sleep to befriend the captain's daughter, the timid Dutiful Penitence, whose mother has just died. Aiken's stories combine alternate history (the ongoing Hanoverian plot against King James III), fanciful elements like a 10-month sleep and a cannon that can fire across the Atlantic, and realistic details about whaling ships and 19th century island life. There are inverted references to Moby Dick in the story of Captain Casket and Rosie the pink whale. At heart these are adventure stories, with a fearless female heroine, bad bad villains, and cliffhanger chapter endings. My daughter is quite interested in the series so I think we'll be carrying on.
Oh and a bunch more books arrived in my house yesterday. I had almost forgotten I'd ordered them, but there was an online sale...
Small Wars - Sadie Jones
The Year of the Hare - Arto Paasilinna
The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
Mutiny on the Bounty - Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
The Collected Stories - Amy Hempel
Yesterday's Weather - Anne Enright
Close Range - Annie Proulx
Mothers and Sons - Colm Toibin
Life Times - Nadine Gordimer
A lot of short story collections, to be added to other short story collections I haven't read yet. I think I see a 2013 category shaping up.
Anne: Wow - great new additions. Nice reviews. I loved Old Filth as well -- you must read The Man in the Wooden Hat -- great companion piece. I read one after the other and was glad I did. One illuminates the other. I vaguely remember reading the first Aiken book to my kids; sounds like I might enjoy the others in the series.
You have been doing some great reading and reviewing, Anne. I recently bought The Woman in the Dunes. I also found used copies of two of Yasunari Kawabata's books, Beauty and Sadness and The Lake, which will count towards my reading of Nobel Laureates, although Snow Country is the one of his I have been looking for, based on some excellent LT reviews.
Great to see Gordimer's Life Times in your latest acquisitions. She is one of my very favorites. How do I miss these online sales?
Bonnie, do take advantage of the tutored reads. They are, in a word, amazing! They make unintelligble (to me, anyway) works readable, but also (and more importantly) fun!
I'm just about ready to finish my reading of Clermont, an 18th century* gothic novel which was one of the "horrid" novels to which Jane Austen referred in her novel Northanger Abbey. Clermont was absolutely and totally out of the realm of anything I would ever have even considered reading before, but with my tutor's help (lyzard), it has become a fun and educational project. I have every intention of being tutored again in the future. This is like taking a tuition-free college course only it's just for me (the tutee!).
Anyway, go for it! By the way, lyzard *loves* to tutor Trollope.
More information about tutored reads can be found here.
*It was originally published in 1798!
Anne - I'll also be having a 2013 category on short story collections - let's compare notes!
>221 Sold, Beth! I had heard of The Man in the Wooden Hat but I just looked up the details and it sounds like a must read now. The same story, from Betty's point of view? I think I'll see if the library has it.
>222 Nancy, I haven't read Small Wars yet but I did read the Outcast last year and it was a good one. I can never pass up an Orange title on sale, it seems.
>223 Thanks, Linda (though I have to say my reviews feel like slapdash affairs compared to yours which are invariably thoughtful and lovely).
I think I might continue with Japanese authors into next year, but maybe with a focus on Nobel authors, so I could pull in Kenzaburo Oe and Yasunari Kawabata, neither of whom I've ever read. And maybe some Murukami and Tanizaki while I'm at it, which seem to be piling up unread on my shelves.
I've read a few of Nadine Gordimer's novels but not any short stories.
Online sales--I could do sometimes with missing them, I'm afraid, but having ordered once from book closeouts.com they are very persistent in notifying me about sales, and I always take the bait. (Sometimes it feels like I've ordered books in my sleep.) It's very easy to get on their mailing list!
>224 Thanks Madeline for stepping in with an actual link about tutored reads! I was too lazy to go back and relearn how to do it, which is always an obstacle for me and html. The other great thing about tutored reads is how much the bystanders and lurkers enjoy them. (Speaking for myself).
Yesterday I finished up both Our Mutual Friend and Tana French's Faithful Place. They were both excellent reads and I will review them shortly. Broken Harbor, the fourth book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, was released yesterday, and I confess I've already downloaded the audiobook--I thought I might be able to slot it into the TIOLI "begins with B" challenge and just keep on going.
>225 Hi Paul--you must've snuck in while I was posting.
Here's what I have on my shelves by way of unread short story collections:
Enormous Changes at the Last Minute - Grace Paley
The Book of Other People - Zadie Smith, ed.
Beethoven was One Sixteenth Black - Nadine Gordimer
The Snows of Kilimanjaro - Ernest Hemingway
Birds of America - Lorrie Moore
The Best American Non-Required Reading 2010 - Dave Eggers, ed.
Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri
Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
The Collected Stories - Amy Hempel
Yesterday's Weather - Anne Enright
Close Range - Annie Proulx
Mothers and Sons - Colm Toibin
Life Times - Nadine Gordimer
Plus, I have my eye on Binocular Vision, as well as remedying my neglect of John Cheever, Raymond Carver, and Alice Munro, for starters. Plus I'd like to reread some Flannery O'Connor.
This could keep me busy in 2013, dontcha think? I'd be happy for company.
Oh boy I haven't read any short stories since I was completely stunned by Binocular Vision several months ago. I own Birds of America and a couple of Alice Munros and I loved Olive, and Interpreter. But I think the next one I read will probably one that just about everyone else has read ages ago: The Things They Carried.
Anne: I also have a large collection of short story collections. I want to get to Binocular Vision sooner rather than later.
Hi Anne - Great review of Old Filth! I'll definitely read that next year. However, I think I'll stay away from The Box Man.
I've been trying to read more short stories (but I'm currently failing miserably). Do you know about the short story thread in the 75 group?
I've read two of Abe's books. I loved The Woman in the Dunes, but I have to say that I was also quite intrigued by The Box Man. It's truly a bizarre book, but not one that turned me off. I found it fascinating. To me, it spoke of alienation and loss of identity more than anything. It's a book I could easily reread if only to look for more meaning in it. It would be a fun book for a group read because readers could interpret it however they wanted as the read proceded.
Heh! I just went back to read the review that I wrote of The Box Man years ago when I read it. I have no idea when I read it. The review was on my PC. Those were BLT years (beore Librarything).
In hindsight, I liked it less than I thought I did. I only gave it two stars! I think I found the end of the book a bit too confusing.
Im drawn to a few on your short stories list, but must confess, Ive barely read one in months! Ill get back to them though as have a few goodies on my shelves.
Bonnie, of course I am hankering to read Binocular Vision because of your raves, and wouldn't you know it doesn't happen to be one of the 13 unread collections I already own. But how much do you want to bet I end up ignoring all those others and checking it out from the library? I haven't read The Things They Carried yet, either, but it's on the list.
Beth, me too. I don't think it's in the cards for August, though--I already have too many library books.
Thank, Kerri. I'd seen that short story thread but thought I'd wait to really check it out until I had some actual plan to read a short story or two. Or I could mosey over there and reprint my list.
Madeline that is hilarious--I'm glad you bothered to look up your rating! I know what you mean--I thought the concept was intriguing and the idea of the box man will stay with me for a long while, but I just got so lost by the end and sometimes I am low on patience for that feeling of total bewilderment. I would love to discuss a book like The Box Man in a group, though. That would be a great use of a book group.
Only too true, Linda, although I probably should get myself over to your thread and comment there.
Megan--I must be drawn to my short stories list too because I've managed to accumulate them all--but somehow they haven't been enticing enough to read. Maybe it's time for a short story goal.
Still looking for that August TIOLI thread, but since it hasn't appeared, I'm going to have to pack books for my vacation tomorrow without it. Why that feels like such a problem I can't really say!
The Warden - Anthony Trollope(audio) READ
*Palace of Desire - Naguib Mahfouz
*Moon Tiger - Penelope Lively READ
There but for the - Ali Smith READ
The Siege - Helen Dunmore
Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol
Go Tell it on the Mountain - James Baldwin READ
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
*Possession - A.S. Byatt
Scandal - Shusaku Endo
Popular Hits of the Showa Era - Ryu Murakami
The Man Without a Face - Masha Gessen
Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 - Jefferson Morley READ
Thirty Three Teeth - Colin Cotterill READ
Broken Harbor - Tana French (audio) READ
The Brutal Telling - Louise Penny
Haroun and the Sea of Stories - Salman Rushdie READING
*The Spoilt City - Olivia Manning
I'm not sure which of these will come along with me, but I will choose a few.
Oh, and I'm still in the middle of The Cat's Table, Palace Walk, and Blood Meridian, at least one of which will have to come along with me as I can't finish them all by tomorrow.
Anne, I'm waving hello from down here and am waaaay behind on here. But I too seem to buy short stories then not read them, but really like them when I do. I have some William Trevor on my Kindle.
Hope you like the Warden if you get time in August - I loved it and now am wading through the equally good Barchester Towers.
Have a lovely holiday!
Hi!! Just catching up....
How are you enjoying The Cat's Table? Do make some time for Dr. Siri in August...
Hi Anne - Have a great vacation. Where are you going? As always, that's an ambitious list. I looked at my short story collections; I have 45 unread. So, I should get going on some of those.
Anne- Lots of fun stuff going on over here. That's a terrific SS line-up you made. Some incredible titles. I'm about 200 pages into binocular Vision and it's amazing and a perfect tweener read. You should post that list over on the SS thread, just to revive it over there a bit.
Glad you enjoyed Faithful Place. And I might follow your lead and try the latest on audio. Good idea.
BTW-Did you just finish the Big Burn? I've had that saved on audio forever and NEED to get to it.
Hi Anne - Great list of August possibilities. I was recently thinking that I'd like to read some Anthony Trollope soon. Also, if I get a vote, I vote that you read Go Tell it on the Mountain, as it's one of my favorites of all time.
Have a lovely vacation (and I can totally relate to your slight TIOLI anxiety)!
Anne, what a fabulous list of planned August reads! You go! Will look forward to thoughts and reviews.
Paul, that's a good list too. I could be tempted into some Joyce Carol Oates and/or rereading some of the lovely and giant Trevor collection I worked my way through last year.
Hi Cushla! I almost certainly will get to The Warden since I've downloaded the audio and audio is what I use to fill in gaps of time when I can't be doing anything else. So I'm ready to go--I'm glad you loved it. I read a massive compilation of Trevor stories last year and it was absolutely fantastic.
Hi Suzanne, nice to see you. I'm a bit more than halfway through The Cat's Table and am really liking it so far. I should finish it up on the next leg of my flight. I'm pretty sure I stashed Dr. Siri in my bag somewhere--if not, he's waiting for me when I get home.
Darryl, I've been trying to get to Dead Souls for several months now and it keeps getting bumped. But I absolutely have to get to Palace of Desire--I had forgotten how Palace Walk ends.
Hi Beth. I'm on my way to Nantucket Island for a week at the beach. Three of my siblings live there year round so it's our summer vacation as well as a chance to catch up with family as well as relax (and usually those two goals are not in conflict, fortunately). Wow--45! even more than I have.
Hi Mark. I surely will go over and post my list on the short story thread--maybe that will even motivate me to get reading. I'm still thinking about Faithful Place, though I finished it several days ago, and already have the next one downloaded. It's about Scorcher Kennedy--hmmm--hardly the hero of the last book, but I love the way French shifts the perspective with each book. I've ended up "reading" all of these on audio, and really loved the extra dimension the narrators brought to the story. Particularly the Irishness of it.
I did just finish The Big Burn and thought it was fascinating. He paints such a panoramic picture of a moment in US history. I read The Worst Hard Time last year and thought this was just as good.
Kerri--GTiotM is one I grabbed for my trip, so I'm glad it's a have.
>245 Oooh. Did you read the entire William Trevor short story collection, Anne? I bought an inexpensive used copy this summer, but it is such a chunkster that I wish I had sprung for the Kindle edition instead.
I have been tempted by the Tara French books and audiobook sounds like a great option, if only our library had not discontinued this service when they started offering e-books.
This topic was continued by AnneDC's 75 in 2012--Part 4.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.