Bryan reads 120 books in 2018
Join LibraryThing to post.
My 9th year of reading at least 100 books, and 7th year in Librarything 100 book challenges. Managed 112 books last year and plan to get to 120 this time.
I read a range of books - modern fiction, classics, fantasy, some nonfiction.
Have plenty of my own books that have been sitting on the shelves for years, need to get serious and read 30 or so.
Am also in the Big Fat Book Challenge, books of 600 pages or more, read 14 last year.
May we all have a great year of reading in 2018 !
1. The Passage of Love by Alex Miller.
Alex Miller's new novel, "The Passage of Love is Miller's own story brilliantly cast in the mould of fiction."
"Filled with wry humour, incisive observation and rare wisdom, Miller brilliantly solves the challenge of merging memoir and the novel."
I agree with these reviews, great story and of course beautifully written.
>7 bryanoz: I have been thinking about reading the whole of Shakespeare’s work too. I read The Tempest at university a long time ago. It always struck me as a bit like Shakespeare’s ‘White Album’!
Reading the whole of Shakespeare in a year is more than I want to tackle, but I do want to read more Shakespeare this year.
I quite enjoy The Tempest, but I was on hand for all rehearsals when my dad directed it with high schoolers. I was 10 or 11 and just loved it. I think it's one that is much harder to appreciate in text.
Looking forward to following your reading again! I need to re-read Shakespeare myself.
#8#9 James and John it seems that reading (and appreciating) the Shakespeare canon is a right of passage into claiming to be a serious reader of literature, so I'm in ! I count 37 plays plus the Sonnets, and have read 11 up to now so 27 in a year is acheivable.
Have read Romeo, Hamlet (brilliant), Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelth Night, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, and the Tempest, next up Antony and Cleo.
A confession ; I have been using the No Fear editions, which give the original script and the 'updated' text, so that I better understand them !
#10 Meredith I am sure you are quite right that seeing the plays performed, and no doubt being involved for rehearsals would deepen the experience, I'll get around to watching those that I enjoyed reading sometime.
Enjoyed your reading as well, hope 2018 is a good year for you.
#12 - I've only read 5 Shakespeare plays - Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet (both multiple times, including at school 35 years ago), Hamlet, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. Must read more.
But I am well read in other canonical English literature - 14/15 major Dickens novels, and 3.25 (or so)/6 Jane Austen novels.
Hi John, my reading in classic lit was mainly due to coming across The Novel 100 by Daniel S. Burt, a Professor who ranks the 100 best novels in his opinion. I had only read about 5 on the list so decided to start with number 1 and read through. Took me some years, some brilliant novels, many ok to good, and a few I hated. Dickens and Austen are well represented, although I don't get what many love about Austen, think I lack the gene !?
3. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
Another classic I have finally gotten around to reading, and a powerful story based on the author's own experiences in the First World War. Any pretense of heroics is absent here as the waste of human lives and sheer absurdity of war is made startlingly clear.
Meredith, I’m sure you will enjoy it, another similar ‘war’ novel I have enjoyed was Journey to the End of Night if you haven’t read it already.
Pam, Houllebecq certainly doesn't censor himself, reminds me of William Burroughs.
5. The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker.
The much anticipated final volume in the Second Apocalypse Cycle. Wrapping up a complicated and long running saga would not be an easy task but I feel Bakker has done a pretty good job.
I won't go into the story but Bakker writes the most philosophical epic fantasy I have read, maybe the Malazan Books of the Fallen come close to its scope.
Hope he continues to write about this fascinating world he has created.
8. Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson.
Great fun as Bill, an American who has been living in England for many years does a tour of the island before he and family returns to the US.
Many humorous situations as he reflects on the British way of life and bemoans how things are changing for the worse.
10. About Grace by Anthony Doerr.
Doerr's first novel and suggested by someone in our book club after we all thoroughly enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See.
David Winkler dreams of things that come true when he is awake. However knowing what is going to happen turns out not be a gift, and many problems ensue.
Something felt forced in this novel and I can only rate it as ok.
Oh, and yet another huge favorite is Trustee from the toolroom
Shute is actually a great storyteller!
13. The Wonderling by Mira Bartok.
Thoroughly enjoyed this charming story of Arthur, a fox-like being with one ear, who is unfortunately living at The Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. He finds an inventive friend and adventure soon follows.
Lovely story with great imagination, highly recommended.
Hi Bryan! We are in the same BFB group. I have this on my TBR pile and I've noticed people either loved it or hated it; but sounds lukewarm for you?
Hi Tess, Ove was an ok read for me, plenty of readers recommend it so why not give it a try, I'll be interested to know your thoughts. Good luck with the BFBs !
15. Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart.
Third volume in the Kopp sisters series, based on true stories of American women's experiences in 1916.
Challenging the traditional roles of women in society with fun and adventure thrown in, these are recommended, the first book is Girl Waits With Gun.
16. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.
This is an unusual 'experimental' novel that won the Man Booker Prize in 2017.
Based on the real-life tragedy of the death of Abraham Lincoln's son, this is a touching account of a father's mourning, while the son is bizarrely suspended in the Bardo with many other characters...
>41 bryanoz: We must have a lot of the same books on deck, that is also on my TBR pile!
I really need to get to Girl Waits With Gun. I love the story of the Kopp sisters but often forget those books are based on them!
Hi Tess, if your TBR pile is of similar dimensions to mine then you have my deepest sympathies !
Hi Meredith, you will love Girl Waits With Gun and the sequels, I guarantee it !
Hi Pam, it is a different read and I will interested to see what you make of it.
19. Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe.
Enjoyed the classics "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Tell-Tale Heart", also the satirical "The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq." and others. Plenty of stories and the poems I didn't think much of.
24. The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco.
"Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there's anything I've learned from him in the years since, it's that the dead hide truths as well as the living."
In a world of monsters and witches, Tea finds out her gift is death magic, a powerful but misunderstood ability. Fortunately she is found and trained by an older, wiser Death Witch.
Very much enjoyed this darkly imaginative teen fantasy, the second in the series The Heart Forger to be published soon and I will be reading it.
26. Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare.
Comedy and romance, the indomitable Beatrice is a new favourite character !
Cheers Pam !
30. The Complete Short Stories, by Franz Kafka.
While not approaching the scope and depth of The Trial or The Castle, Kafka's stories are always going to range from odd to bizarre. His well known The Metamorphosis is included :
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."
31. A Long Way From Home, by Peter Carey.
Peter Carey's last novel Amnesia I thought was very underwhelming, the new A Long Way from Home is much better.
Using the 1954 Redex Trial race that went around Australia, Carey takes us on a sometimes nostalgic, often confronting tour of 1950's Australia.
Earlier Carey novels I have enjoyed ; Bliss (first novel published in 1981), Illywhacker, The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith (very underrated IMO), and True History of the Kelly Gang.
32. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place, by Alan Bradley.
The ninth and newest Flavia De Luce novel and for the legions of us that have followed her exploits since The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, an absolute delight.
The blurb : "In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia’s grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia’s mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave."
Books read listing up to date !
34. Fall of Light, by Steven Erikson.
The 2nd of Erikson's Kharkanas trilogy, and a slower, more philosophical approach than Forge of Darkness.
The less action/more introspective nature of the story has proven to be less popular, so much that Erikson has decided to put the next Kharkanas book on hold and begin a new trilogy based on the Karsa Orlong character from the Malazan series. I for one hope he returns to Kharkanas and finishes this series of events which investigate the Malazan world origins.
For all of the epicness and struggles of the Malazan world, I enjoy Erikson's lesser characters, often there to provide a lighter side to the story, such as Kruppe, Sergeant Hellian, Hetan and many others.
In the Kharnakas stories I have appreciated the sisters Envy, Malice, and Spite, soldiers Prazek and Dathenar, and the compelling Lasa Rook.
Haven't been here for a while, have been reading of course...
35. Soonish, by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith.
Entertaining look at ten new technologies and their possible influence on our future.
36. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
37. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa.
Disturbing but intriguing story of a Jewish family fleeing Germany on the S.S.St. Louis, heading for Cuba.
45. The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson.
Three shorter Malazan stories involving the mysterious Bauchelain & Korbal, wherever they go chaos soon ensues.
Hi Tess, I'm concentrating on the Bard this year, trying to read the plays I haven't yet. I count 37 plays plus the Sonnets so plenty to go.
As I've noted the Histories I have read - Henry V and Richard the III have been unexpectedly good so looking forward to more.
Have The Merchant of Venice and Cymbeline ready to go, good luck with your Shakespeare challenge !
PS, which has been your favourite so far ?
>72 bryanoz: I love Richard III. He is one of the great theatrical villains. There is a marvellous moment in the Laurence Olivier film. Just after Richard has siezed the crown, he holds his hand out to one of his sidekicks (I think it was Buckingham). Just as Buckingham stoops to kiss the royal hand, Olivier dropped his arm down very low so Buckingham had to fall to his hands and knees.
I also enjoyed Henry IV Part I, which is almost a comedy in many ways with Falstaff at his glorious best (- he seems a slightly more melancholic figure in Part II).
>72 bryanoz: My favorite so far is Julius Caesar and Macbeth. I've read a multitude of comedies, but they are seem to be the same to me: All's Well that Ends Well, Loves Labour Lost, Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice and The Winter's Tale. Of the comedies I think I liked The Winter's Tale the best. I've read Cymbeline and I did like it--not sure if it's a comedy or a tragedy or a romance!
>73 Eyejaybee: Eyejaybee I'll find that film, thanks for the idea. I have Henry IV parts 1,2,3 coming up soon. I gather he wrote them in part 2,3,1 order, wonder if they should be read 2,3,1 or 1,2,3 ?
>74 tess_schoolmarm: Tess I agree that the comedies are not so memorable, have enjoyed Hamlet and probably Macbeth the most. Cymbeline was his last tragedy I think.
50. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.
"But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit."
"All that glisters is not gold."
"If you prick us do we not bleed?.."
"The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
>80 bryanoz: I found most of the comedies unmemorable; in fact, after reading most of them they all were the same. I think for Shakespeare, especially the comedies, you need to see it !
>82 bryanoz: Alas, the realization that the Comedy of Errors might not actually be a total waste after all (I didn't think much of it when I read it, either), came to me while I was watching a "Shakespeare in the Park" production of it.
So, not only no video to recommend... I'm not even sure I can recommend it AS video. I mean, if Dromio isn't tripping over your feet as he tries to hide behind the fat lady in the row in front of you... is it even the same show?
(Nowadays, I would probably be the fat lady he is trying to hide behind.) :)
I suspect that almost any production would prove to be less confusing than just the text, however. When you can actually see the people running here and there, it's just so much easier to keep track of what is going on. It's a very physical play.
My library has a dvd of the Shakespeare's Globe production of The Comedy of Errors, so have reserved it, hopefully will enhance my experience of the play, thanks LShelby !
55. The Starlit Wood by D. Parisien & N.Wolfe eds.
Eighteen fairy tales updated, this collection of short stories includes some of my favourite authors - Margo Lanagan, Garth Nix, Theodora Goss, Sofia Samatar, and others.
I enjoyed "Seasons of Glass and Iron" by Amal El-Mohtar, "Penny For a Match, Mister ?" by Garth Nix,
"The Briar and the Rose" by Marjorie Liu, and "The Other Thea" by Theodora Goss.
57. Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence.
Following on from Red Sister, Grey Sister is the middle book in the Book of the Ancestor trilogy. Gifted Nona grey is settled at the Convent and in her training, but everything is about to be turned upside down.
I really enjoy Lawrence's fantasy writing and am enjoying this series. He also doesn't take long to write his novels which is nice !
Hi Nancy, I also enjoyed his 'Red Queen's War' trilogy, beginning with Prince of Fools.
Happy reading !
61. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset.
Set in 14th century Norway, the story follows Kristin's life from infancy to old age. At 1146 pages this is a saga and the reader certainly learns much of the Norwegian lifestyle of that time.
The story is so well written (and translated) that the reader is quickly caught up in Kristin's life of joy, tragedy, love, and doubt.
>97 bryanoz: My favourite among Shakespeare’s plays, I think (should that be ‘methinks’?).
I enjoyed them tess, especially meeting the self-proclaimed great Sir John Falstaff, a classic anti-hero !
74. Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare's first tragedy and quite a nasty one.
"Oh why should nature build so foul a den,
Unless the gods delight in tragedies."
"Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand.
Blood and revenge are hammering in my heart."
"Come and take choice of all my library
and so beguile thy sorrow." !!!
>118 bryanoz: I saw this performed at the New Shakespeare Theatre in London in 2003. I'm of course a native English speaker. I could barely understand a word they said.....they had such heavy British accents and spoke so fast it might as well have been a foreign language! My friend and I went to the little bookstore within the theatre at intermission and bought a copy of the book; thinking we would follow along. However, when the lights went down, it was too dark to see! Alas, we read the script at a later date
Hi Tess, seeing the play live without a rewind button or not being able to go back over the script would make understanding difficult.
I'm impressed by all the Shakespeare! I keep meaning to get through them all some day. In a perfect world, I could read one and then go see it live.
Impressed by the Shakespeare as well, and also by the Wolfe--that series is practically the Shakespeare of science fiction!
Following my declaration in #9, I have failed thus far this year to read any more Shakespeare, but still aim to do so.
Thanks Jennifer and Roni, my aim was to finish reading the Shakespeares by year's end, 12 plays plus the sonnets to go. Have enjoyed much of them although still haven't watched any of them...must get onto that, I promised LShelby I would find a performance of The Comedy of Errors and one is on the way.
Roni I have meant to read the Wolfes for years, very glad I finally have, and holidays meant I could take time to really connect with the story. I see he has written further in Severian's world and I'll find them in good time. I remember really enjoying his Free Live Free and must reread that soon. Have you read them ?
Hi John, it is not too late to start, I enjoyed Richard III and Henry V if you haven't encountered them.
Tess, that's one I haven't read either, will be interested in your review, cheers
82. The First Part of Henry the Sixth by William Shakespeare.
"I have heard it said, unbidden guests
Are often welcomest when they are gone."
"Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends."
"Here on my knee I beg mortality,
Rather than life preserved with infamy."
"To be a queen in bondage is more vile
Than is a slave in base servility."
84. The Second Part of Henry the Sixth by William Shakespeare.
"Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep."
"For where thou art, there is the world itself,
With every several pleasure in the world:
And where thou art not, desolation."
"Small things make base men proud."
"Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school." !!!
"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." !!!!
85. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst.
Booker Prize winner that I have had sitting around for years and finally got to.
Well written story of a young gay English man in 1980s Thatcher England who spends much of his thinking about, setting up, and being involved in sexual activities.
Between consenting adults this is all well and good, not my favourite thing to read about though...
86. The Elephant by Peter Carnavas.
Another shortlisted CBCA book for younger readers, Olive's father is very sad, and she sees the sadness as a huge grey elephant following him and weighing him down. With the help of her Grandad she is determined to help her dad be rid of the elephant.
An engaging story of grief/depression and how such anyone can help.
87. The Science of Discworld II. The Globe by Terry Pratchett.
I am an avid Pratchett/ Discworld fan and I have realised that there is still some Pratchett's I haven't read. The 2nd (now read), 3rd and 4th Science of Discworld books, and the final 2 in the Long Earth series.
Of course anything Sir Terry touched was genius so these are/will be great reads !
88. The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth by William Shakespeare.
"Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust ?
And, live we how we can, yet die we must."
"O, tiger's heart, wrapt in a woman's hide !"
"The smallest worm will turn being trodden on."
Nine plays and the sonnets to go, next up is the comedy Love's Labour's Lost.
90. The Shop at Hooper's Bend by Emily Rodda.
Another shortlisted CBCA novel for younger readers, a satisfying read.
I read the first three in the Long Earth series, but just wasn't enjoying it much. That third book (or potentially it was the second, it's been years, but I think it was the third) felt like it only existed to set up a later book. I'll be curious to see what you think if you read the last two.
I didn't enjoy them that much either Meredith but read them I will, in honour of Sir Pterry.
91. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
Enjoyed this fantasy novel in which two very different characters that are surviving in a corrupt society inevitably come together and "find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire."
Will be reading the sequel A Torch Against the Night.
>143 bryanoz: Ha, my devotion to authors doesn't go that far (I mean, it went far enough that I gave the series three chances).
You are quite right Meredith, and the 4th and 5th books are probably worse again, but....
94. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.
Enjoyed this intriguing, quirky novel based on the Blackwood sisters Constance and Mary Katherine who survived a family poisoning six years ago. We gradually find out what happened and it fits in perfectly with the whole weirdness - great fun !
>153 bryanoz:. What were your views of this play? It is one of Shakespeare's less well known plays, and seems to be performed only very rarely.
I own a battered copy of the Arden edition which I have been promising myself finally o read for ages, but still haven't got around to it yet.
James, I found King John to be a more subtle play than the better known histories such as Richard III or Henry V.
John is portrayed as a soft character whose right to be king is challenged, and his tendency to listen to others is seen to be weakness. I felt some empathy for King John and his efforts to do the job, and I think a careful reading/listening to any of Shakespeare's plays will illuminate aspects of our own characters and lives.
Look forward to your thoughts after reading the play.
100. Maybe by Morris Gleitzman.
Latest book in the Once series by Morris Gleitzman, after Once, Then, Now, After, and Soon.
Set in 1946 Poland, Felix is a boy who always sees the best of things and is caught in a difficult time and place.
The series begins with Once, 1943 Poland, and Felix is a Jewish boy who is trying to find his missing parents.
A highly recommended series as Gleitzman manages to balance humour with the awefulness of Felix's situation. A school I work at has Once and Then as class novels for year 6/7s (12-13 year olds) and though it is confronting, all the students are totally engaged with the story.
Cheers Tess !
101. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare.
"Why, then the world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open."
"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late."
"I think the devil will not have me damned, lest the oil that's in me should set hell on fire."
(A rather corpulent Falstaff !!)
Well done on reaching your century, with so much of the year still left, too.
107. So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernieres.
De Bernieres' latest novel, and a sequel of The Dust That Falls From Dreams, his 2015 novel. The characters try to find some semblance of meaning to their lives after the Great War, written with De Bernieres' unerring ability to bring his characters to life.
109. Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare takes an alternative look at the Trojan War in this tragedy.
"The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue !"
"But you are wise,
Or else you love not, for to be wise and love
Exceeds man's might ; that dwells with gods above."
110. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry.
Really enjoyed his Days Without End so tried this one.
"The mental hospital where psychiatrist Dr Grene works is about to shut down, and he sets about investigating the history of his patient Roseanne. She was committed there as a young woman and now - her records lost - is nearing her hundreth birthday. At the same time, Roseanne is looking back on the tragedies and passions of her life through a secret journal : her turbulent childhood in rural 1930s Ireland, and the subsequent marriage which she believed would finally bring her happiness."
This is a touching, troubling, but always engaging story that I recommend !
>172 bryanoz: On my list it goes! Also, read so much Shakespeare in 2016-2017 and none this year---need to get back to you!
Hi Tess, everyone in our book club liked The Secret Scripture so that's a good sign !
This is my year to read all of Shakespeare's works that I hadn't read so far, it has been enjoyable to come across plenty of quotes that are commonly used in our language. Plenty of interesting characters and humour as well.
About to begin All's Well That Ends Well, four plays and the sonnets to go after that !
>158 bryanoz: The Morris Gleitzman series sounds interesting.
>168 bryanoz: I wasn't really convinced by An Ember in the Ashes or A Torch Against the Night, but am still somewhat considering reading the third. It's interesting to have a less popular view of those kinds of YA hits, I find. Only now I see there's a fourth book planned as well, so I'll probably leave it.
I liked Ember in the ashes but thought the second one had way too much cruelty and violence. I was sorry l read it and won’t be reading the others.
Hi Meredith, the Once audiobook is narrated by the author, very good !
Nancy and Meredith, I'll probably give the next Tahir book a miss, there is so much great fantasy to read...happy reading !
111. Area X by Jeff VanderMeer.
This is the Southern reach trilogy Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance in one volume ; I read them in one volume so they count as a Big Fat Book !
Some decades ago a large area of the south eastern United States became cut off behind an almost impenetrable barrier. This is Area X, a mysterious place into which several expeditions are sent and either don't return, or are never the same again. Annihilation begins as the twelfth expedition, four women with various roles head in to Area X.
This is new weird fiction so anything can happen but it probably won't be what you expect !
112. The Choke by Sofie Laguna.
A book club read, and a tough one. Justine is a ten tear old girl living in country Australia in the 1970s, with a very difficult and abusive life but she is determined to survive. Amidst the struggles and pain, the beauty of true friendship in the unlikeliest of places, and fighting for what you love shines through.
115. Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton.
Peter Hamilton is well known for his sweeping scifi sagas, but this is a stand alone novel, although in true Hamilton form Great North Road is over 1000 pages.
Set in the 2100s, this is half detective story, half alien killing soldiers in a bizarre wilderness.
Long, often slow( bordering on tedious at times), but sill satisfying overall, an ok read.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.