Bucketyell's attempt to make a dent in the 2010 listing
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I just bought the 2010 version and am always up for a new challenge. I am happy to admit that I have made a minor (very minor) dent in the pile with stuff already read (who knew?)
I know I will never get this done but I figure by posting, it will inspire me to add a few more to the list at least. Here goes nothing....
I am following the combined list :)
Ones already read:
1) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Adams
2) Little Women by Alcott
3) Alias Grace by Atwood
4) The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood
5) Emma by Austen
6) Jane Eyre by Bronte
7) A Clockwork Orange by Burgess
8) Tarzan of the Apes by Burroughs
9) The Children's Book by Byatt
10) The Outsider by Camus
11) The Plague by Camus
12) Through the Looking Glass by Carroll
13) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Carroll
14) The Hours by Cunningham
15) Dangerous Liaisons by de Laclos
16) Ragtime by Doctorow
17) Rebecca by du Maurier
18) Birdsong by Faulks
19) The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald
20) Madame Bovary by Flaubert
21) A Passage to India by Forster
22) The Corrections by Franzen
23) Lord of the Flies by Golding
24) The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne
25) The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway
26) Brave New World by Huxley
27) A Prayer for Owen Meany by Irving
28) Cider House Rules by Irving
29) Remains of the Day by Ishiguro
30) The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver
31) Kim by Kipling
32) To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee
33) Main Street by Lewis
34) Fall on Your Knees by MacDonald
35) The Life of Pi by Martel
36) Atonement by McEwan
37) Fugitive Pieces by Michaels
38) A Fine Balance by Mistry
39) Gone with the Wind by Mitchell
40) Song of Solomon by Morrison
41) The Bluest Eye by Morrison
42) Lives of Girls and Women by Munro
43) Nineteen Eighty Four by Orwell
44) Animal Farm by Orwell
45) The Bell Jar by Plath
46) Pamela by Richardson
47) Tin Flute by Roy
48) The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger
49) The Reader by Schlink
50) Frankenstein by Shelley
51) The Stone Diaries by Shields
52) The Strange Case of Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde by Stevenson
53) Uncle Tom's Cabin by Stowe
54) The Hobbit by Tolkien
55) Felicia's Journey by Trevor
56) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain
57) The Color Purple by Walker
58) The War of the Worlds by Wells
59) Native Son by Wright
60) Day of the Triffids by Wyndham
62) Cry, The Beloved Country by Paton - 06/07/10. Very well written and enjoyable.
64) Heart of Darkness by Conrad. Oops, missed one off my original list.
65) The Secret History by Tartt. Another one I forgot to log... I read this one earlier in the year and really enjoyed it.
66) Regeneration by Barker. I liked it for the psychological bit. An interesting read overall.
69) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Spark. Not sure why but I really didn't enjoy this one. I was quite bored by Miss Brodie and her 'prime' by the end.
I felt the same way about Jean Brodie. I am going to give Muriel Spark another go though...
Miss Jean didn't do it for me either--I thought I was the only one on LT who felt that way. However, I recently listened to the audio book of Spark's Loitering with Intent and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Thanks! I saw another one of hers on the list and thought, "crap... I hope it's short". I generally give an author 2 bad books to make me turn away so we will see how the next goes!
Disliked Miss Jean? One of my favorite books! Of course I first read it when I was 14 and perhaps this biased me. The movie is one of my faves for the same reason.
Spark's style is very distinctive but the texture of Miss Jean, the flash-fowards etc., is not repeated in the other books. Did you know that a famous aesthetician actually wrote a book called "The Transfiguration of the Commonplace" because somebody needed to really write the book Sandy writes in her convent? True fact.
71) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Christie. Good but not great. This is the first Christie book I have read so maybe not the best one?
I used to read a lot of Christies, and I was very disappointed in that one. I can't remember which ones I liked though. I seem to remember preferring Miss Marple to the French dude.
edited to say: even though I didn't like that one, it IS one I remember. That and Murder on the Orient Express, which I also didn't like as much as others.
I will try a Marple one and see how they compare.
72) The Death of Ivan Ilych by Tolstoy. I felt really bad for the poor guy! He is dying and everyone around him seems to be counting the days until they would benefit from his death.
This was my first Tolstoy and I can see why he is on the list. DOII is one of those short little stories that one can get as much or as little out of. I probably missed half of it but I quite enjoyed what I did get from it.
73) The Thirty-Nine Steps by Buchan. Just a little far-fetched but a neat little adventure novel overall.
74) The Pit and the Pendulum by Poe
75) The Fall of the House of Usher by Poe
And also 76) The Purloined Letter (which I guess is on the older list), The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death and The Raven.
Not bad to knock a few off the list at the same time! This is my first foray into Poe and I regret not reading some of his stuff before. I love the dark creepiness of it: the descent into madness, the encompassing guilt that threatens to eat one up... Loved it all and will keep reading.
77) The Invisible Man by Ellison. Very good but very long. There were parts that were unbelievably powerful and I had to read them again and then there were parts that were long and boring and made me scratch my head. Worth reading overall.
78) The Island of Dr Moreau by Wells. Meh. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I actually read the book instead of listened to it as an audio book. The narrator gave 'voices' to the beasts. After listening to him grunt through most of the story, I was done with him and the book.
79) Things Fall Apart by Achebe. Interesting, disturbing and overall quite sad.
Things Fall Apart is one of those books I've been meaning to get around to for I can't remember how many years. Disturbing ... at least it was better than your last book, right?
Much better (read: no grunting)! I enjoyed it immensely but the descriptions of domestic violence were a little hard to take at times. Reading it was a little like watching a train wreck. I was fascinated and horrified at the same time.
I somehow crossed out my own thread and forgot about it! D'oh.
I have started using the combined list (I tend to like the ones that have come and gone) so I will attempt to update myself here.
80) Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Adams
81) Long Dark Teatime of the Soul by Adams
82) Cat's Eye by Atwood
83) Surfacing by Atwood
84) The Blind Assassin by Atwood
85) The Robber Bride by Atwood
86) The Ghost Road by Barker
87) Breakfast at Tiffany's by Capote
88) The Awakening by Chopin
89) A Christmas Carol by Dickens
98) Pippi Longstocking by Lindgren
99) The Call of the Wild by London
100) The English Patient by Ondaatje
101) The Club Dumas by Perez-Reverte
102) The Yellow Wallpaper - Gilman
103) The Shipping News by Proulx
104) Bonjour Tristesse by Sagan
105) Kreutzer Sonata by Tolstory
106) Candide by Voltaire
107) Brideshead Revisited by Waugh
111) Cold Comfort Farm by Gibbons - what an odd book! I was thoroughly irritated with Flora until I realised that this is a spoof. Then it was fun to pick out the 'characters'
112) In the Heart of the Seas by Agnon - interesting but I am obviously way too much of a heathen to fully 'get' this one.
113) Aesop's Fables by Aesop. I have one list that shows this as an adult listing and one that shows it on the children's list. So, I will happily check it off both! I remember quite a few of these from my childhood so it was a nice little trip down memory lane.
114) The Lambs of London by Ackroyd. A very good fictional read about a man who claims to have found lost works by Shakespeare and attempts to bring them to life. The story leaves you guessing until the end as to whether he really found these or whether it's an elaborate hoax. Very good read (much better than the first Ackroyd I read The House of Doctor Dee).
115) Their Eyes Were Watching God by Hurston - I really don't get the hype. This one was a chore to get through.
118) Possessing the Secret of Joy by Walker - I read this one back in high school but really can't remember too much about it. I probably should re-read it at some point.
119) Cause for Alarm by Ambler - an enjoyable spy thriller. I would never have picked this up on my own as I don't normally read this type of stuff but I really liked it.
Wow - that's quite a chunk in the last year.
I use the combo list too - though 1,296 to read before you die doesn't have quite the same ring to it...
122) A Modest Proposal by Swfit. This is the shortest one I have read on the list (about 7 pages for the title essay) but it's also the most fun. I have been putting off Gulliver's Travels but maybe I need to give Swift a closer look.
I'm currently reading Mrs Dalloway and I'm really enjoying it. I haven't read any others by her though so I couldn't say how similar it is in style to the ones you have mentioned. I'm finding her character's observations on situations creating certain emotions very astute.
I think she writes well but I really hate all the run-on sentences and I found that you really have to pay attention or you will miss something. I think perhaps I am just too lazy a reader to fully appreciate her style.
I adore Virginia Woolf, but I have to be very focused when I read her. She doesn't come across well to a reader who is being lazy! ;-)
Hmmm - that may say something about me too - I also loathe her...
Oh and the rest of the Maya Angelou series are also readlly good.
I absolutely hated To The Lighthouse. Although after reading the remainder of this thread I'm beginning to suspect that was my fault!! I'll try harder with her others.
I hated Woolf when I first read her, but in the process of actively disliking her writing*, I started seeing things that I hadn't at first and it all became really amazing. And now she's my favourite author. One of my very favourite English profs loathed her though, so I know she's not for every reader.
*I say I actively disliked her writing, but not her--I always thought she herself was an interesting literary character. But at first I found her writing so dry and pretentious. Like many worthwhile things, she is an acquired taste!
I did not enjoy Mrs Dalloway and it was my first Woolf. It's made me a bit gunshy to try others.
Heh, I liked Room of One's Own but her actual novels, I think I have started a couple and wandered to read something else after couple of pages...
53- I also adore Virginia Woolf, but I have to be vveerrryy careful about when I'm reading her. As in, everyone else has to be asleep and it has to be nighttime and silent and I have to have nothing else to do. Otherwise, I get unfocused and lost and miss a lot. She's a lot of work, but worth it. Except I didn't like A Room of One's Own, which I thought should be re-titled "Snobby McSnoberson Mayor of Snobville."
124) Everything That Rises Must Converge by O'Connor. Some of the stories were amazing and some were meh. I really enjoyed the title story - I read it on-line a little while ago and that lead me to buying the actual book.
127) A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn. Very good. One wouldn't think there would be much to write about given that it's just a day in the life of a prisoner in a Siberian gulag but this was quite fascinating.
128) Empire of the Sun by Ballard. Good but not great. I was more than a little irritated by the kid at the end and am not sure why.
129) Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie. Started off slowly and I will admit, I had a bit of a struggle keeping everyone straight but once it got going, I was hooked. I know very little about Nigeria so it was definitely an eye-opening experience.
130) Fingersmith by Waters. What a romp! Mystery, suspense, twists and turns and a little romance thrown in for good measure. I spoiled myself as I saw the movie beforehand and it followed the book to the letter (although the book explained a lot more of the backstory) so I knew what was coming. But it still sucked me in. Loved it!
131) The Maltese Falcon by Hammett. Good but I was a little underwhelmed by the ending.
132) Great Expectations by Dickens. My second Dickens novel but not my last. It was surprisingly exciting.
133) Foundation by Asimov - not sure I fully understood everything packed into this slight book but the parts I did get were fascinating
135) Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck. All this time, I thought I hated Steinbeck. I had to read Grapes of Wrath in university and never got past the first chapter so I have gone through life thinking Steinbeck was horribly boring. But now I discover that he isn't! I am totally going back to Grapes to see what I was missing.
Over in the 75group we are doing a "Steinbeck-a-thon" this year - reading a Steinbeck novel every month. Grapes of Wrath is scheduled for May. Here's the link to the main thread in case you'd like to participate or to read some of the comments: http://www.librarything.com/topic/130105
Of Mice and Men will be read in August.
139) Out of Africa by Blixen. A wonderful look at a beautiful part of the world. Very different from the movie.
141) Elegance of the Hedgehog by Barbery. Slow start but once it picked up, it was very good
142) Dracula by Stoker. Good book. I liked the epistolary style as it gave a varied and in-depth view. I am ashamed to say that after watching Winona Ryder play Mina in the latest film version (shudder), I had hoped that her character would bite it.
I posted this over in book talk but since you just got done with Dracula you will appreciate this laugh....
Last night a friend of mine texted me wanting book advice. He said he just got done with Treasure Island and enjoyed it very much. I threw out Dracula. He came back with "Oh I read that when it first came out!!!" Hmmmmmmmmmmmm when it first came out are you trying to tell me YOUR a vampire then?????
I will not let him live that one down for a very long time.
143) The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes by Anonymous. Geez, how much can happen in the life of one guy? At times I felt very sorry for him but then other times, the silly twit deserved what he got. The version I got from Project Gutenberg had three sections to it but I am not sure if all are part of the list. Regardless, it is quite short and the translation is easy to read.
I'm new to this discussion, but I love that list of books (and I especially like finding so many that I've read--it makes me feel very accomplished). I'd add Portrait of a Lady by Henry James and Beloved by Toni Morrison. I noticed that The Bluest Eye, Morrison's first novel, is on the list but I wouldn't include it in the final list; it just doesn't seem important enough.
It doesn't does it? I have impressed myself with the number I have read (with all the crap I read in high school, I never would have figured I'd be over 100). Bluest Eye was my first Morrison book and my fave so far but she really doesn't write a bad book does she?
Maybe but vampires are sexier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know a co-worker and I have this converstation all the time.
You got me there. But I must say, if I had to choose, Team Jacob all the way!
144) Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck - tried this one in university and never got past the first few chapters. I absolutely hated it and have no idea why because now, this is a 5-star read (and I don't give those out very often). I laughed and cried and then laughed and cried some more.
145) Everything is Illuminated by Foer - loved the movie (laughed my butt off at the Officious Seeing Eye Bitch) but the book was even better. There is a lot they left out and I think it was quite of important.
That's good to hear. I adore the movie and couldn't bring myself to hope that the book could live up to it.
The only movie that is soooooooooo much better then the book has to be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When I see a really good movie I always go hunt for the book and normally the book is so much better.
Meh, I wasn't impressed by that movie. There just wasn't enough to sustain it for a feature length story in my opinion.
But I was so highly disappointed with the book. I was like okay the movie was good so now lets go find the book and lets see what Hollywood left out of the story and boy what a slap in the face. I was expecting something like Gone With the Wind where the movie is good but they did leave out many details from the book, so even if I really like both the book still won out.
Ha wow, I thought the text was just a short story. I'll definitely steer clear if it was that much less impressive than the movie.
Well at the time I havent embarked on my quest of putting a dent in the 1001 list so honestly I didnt know it was a short story so that may have added to my major disappointment. Nor do I like it when they put books out to be mirrors of the movie. I have already watched the movie I dont need to read the same thing. I want the original book please.
146) The 13 Clocks by Thurber - kind of feels like cheating to list this one because it's a short kids book but hey, it's on the list. What an awesome tale (even though the feminist in me cringes at the 'damsel in distress' plot line).
94 - I can't say the movie did anything for me but I haven't read the book so I can't compare the two.
I have had a lot of fun with my last few young adult/kid reads. Who knew I would enjoy Verne so much?
I've always loved Verne... Read a number of his books for my French classes, because they're relatively easy to read, but they are considered to be literature...
108 - Treasure Island is in my Nook and ready to go! I think you read my mind :)
Me too! I started it this morning and couldn't stop reading (housework be damned!) It reminded me of Thorn Birds for some reason.
It reminded me of Thorn Birds for some reason.
Okay, now you have me intrigued.
152) Treasure Island by Stevenson - what fun! I have heard the story a million times but never actually sat down and read the original. I just loved Silver! Sly devil that he is :)
153) Fanny Hill by Cleland - okay, I get that this was really risque for the time (written in 1749ish) but me and my 'laboratory of love' were bored silly by the end. I did get quite a few good laughs at the terminology he used. It's basically softcore porn without the hardcore language of today.
#111 A town like Alice is brilliant isn't it - have you read any of his others? I LOVE The Pied Piper though that is sadly not on the list.
I imagine it's the whoel descriptions of the outback that rings a bell re Thorn Birds - which I was really surprised to find I loved when I read it a few years ago.
Nope, this was my first Shute book. I have a few others on my nook so I will definitely read more. Never heard of Pied Piper but I will look out for it.
154) Chocky by Wyndham - to think, my imaginary friend just liked to go on car rides and doctor's visits. She never tried to teach me the secrets of the universe!
155) Agnes Grey by Bronte - my first one by one of the 'other' sisters and I quite liked it. A quick little romantic read.
156) Chess Story by Zweig. What an awesome little book! 84 pages but I was deeply enthralled (and I don't like chess much!)
158) White Teeth by Smith - part way through and I am liking it so far.
ETA... first part was great but the second half (parts 3 and 4 about Irie and the twins) dragged on and on.
161) Casino Royale by Fleming. Interesting to read about Bond for the first time but man, the sexism got a little grating over time. Thankfully it was short!
Did you like it? It has been on my TBR for years, can get myself to actually read it.
Yes and no. Good book but quite dated (re extreme sexism) and lacking in substance. It could have been much longer and had more action but maybe I am just comparing it to the movie.
162) Smilla's Sense of Snow by Hoeg - I am rather mixed on this one. On the one hand, it is rich in description (I would love to visit Greenland and Denmark) and the plot is interesting but on the other, it is needlessly long. I am wondering if a lot got lost in translation because it seemed rather distorted to me.
#162 That's much how I found it. I liked the cultural references, but wondered if the translation was the reason I was left with something to be desired.
163) Lolita by Nabokov. Like others have posted, this one is disturbing but brilliant.
164) Small Island by Levy. This one surprised me a little. The premise sounded good and it got great reviews so I was expecting to be wowed from the start. But I found that it is a story that you need to slowly immerse yourself in. It's told from the point-of-view of four characters who are connected in some way and it alternates between past and present. I really liked how you would meet a character, form an opinion of them and only then get to see who they really are and how they got to that point. I loved how my views changed as I progressed.
Cleaning up the thread a little. My numbers didn't add up and I realised that I counted three books twice and a few others were missed completely. I think I am up-to-date now :)
I am not a fan of Falling Man at all so I am curious to see how the others fare. Maybe I will try Libra next so I don't completely write the man off!
#139 - Ursula, I was surprised by Falling Man. I'd heard all sorts of "ugh" comments and wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. And it's short.
172) On Beauty by Smith. I liked this one more than White Teeth but I must admit, I really didn't see the point of it. It's the Montagues and Capulets modernised but without any characters to cheer for. Dad is in idiot who can't keep it in his pants. Daughter is one of those annoying people who always thinks they are right and never lets anything go. One son is a moron who jumps on the flavour-of-the-month bandwagon depending on who he is friends with at that time. The other son flits around life never knowing who he is or what he wants. Even mom, who I guess I am supposed to feel sorry for, seems more doormat than anything else. And that is just the Montagues! Smith writes very well but I just can't engage with any of her characters.
Yep, I tried that one last year. I gritted my teeth for a 100 pages but in the end I just put it aside. As you said, I could not engage with any of the characters.
173) Talented Mr Ripley by Highsmith. I totally got sucked into this one. Highsmith created an awesome tale with lots of twists and turns. It reminded me a lot of Rebecca by duMaurier and I quite enjoyed that one too. I was a little apprehensive about it because I loathed the movie but the book is a million times better. I think I will check out Strangers on a Train next (liked that movie!)
174) Like Water for Chocolate by Esquivel - odd but really neat as well. I like magical realism so I enjoyed that part of this novel. The storyline was more than a little strange (just tell your mother where to go already) but yet it was rather compelling as well. It's just such a hard novel to define! I saw the movie years ago and liked it so I always wondered about the book.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a surprising book, I think. She really manages to draw you in to Tom's story even though there's nothing likable about him. I keep meaning to read the other Ripley books but I haven't gotten around to it.
Exactly... I hated Ripley but cheered him on the whole time. Every time it looked like he would be found out, I was on the edge of my seat. Gotta love that in a book!
175) All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque. What an amazingly powerful novel. One of the few 5* reads I have.
I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slaying one another. I see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it yet more refined and enduring. And all men of my age, here and over there, throughout the world see these things; all my generation is experiencing these things with me. What would our fathers do if we suddenly stood up and came before them and proffered our account? What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when war is over? Through the years our business has been killing; -- it was our first calling in life. Our knowledge of life is limited to death. What will happen afterwards? And what shall come out of us?
176) Invisible by Auster. I think I am an Auster fan. This was my first but now I want to read more. It reminded me of Talented Mr Ripley but it wasn't really the story that was similar, it was more that the character Born reminded me of Ripley; charismatic and charming but with a very dark side. It's a story told in different voices but it's not told by the usual suspects. Adam is the main character and it is his life (or at least, his life as he sees or wants it to be) but the missing parts are filled in by bit characters who he encounters along the way. I really liked that detail because they were somewhat detached from him so their version of events seemed more honest.
177) The Sea by Banville. I loved his writing style, especially his descriptions of everything, but I was really confused by the story. He jumps back and forth a lot and I found it rather challenging to keep up. I was reading the Wikipedia blurb afterwards and only then realised that that part with the Graces was in the past (I lost a close family member this week so I will admit that my brain wasn't working at full capacity). I might need to give this one another whirl later on because I think knowing what I know now, I would approach the book differently (and not think the main character was a creepy old man lusting after a young teenager).
178) Virgin Suicides by Eugenides. I was rather surprised at how different this one was from Middlesex. I love finding authors who can write about many different things and do justice to them all. This one looks at the decline of a rather ordinary family. At first, they were that mysterious family on the street who kept to themselves but did enough odd things to make them a constant topic of gossip. Then, as the family began to interact with society more, the family dynamic began to decline and slowly the daughters committed suicide. It is a rather complex novel that asks more questions than it answers.
180) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Dick. I don't normally read sci-fi so I am thinking that something passed right over my head with this one. I liked it but I feel like there is something profound that alluded me; something that connects all the weird randomness. I will have to google and see what I missed.
181) Wasp Factory by Banks. Where to start? Frank is a 17-year-old boy growing up in rural Scotland. He loves to behead animals (and blow up rabbits), kill his relatives (but that was when he was younger and going through a phase) and when he needs advice, he turns to his wasp factory, a device he created to tortures wasps in various ways and apparently divine the future by the method of their death. His brother has escaped from a mental hospital (he is considered the crazy one) and is slowly making his way home much to the dismay of the town folk who are finally able to have pets again. The whole thing culminates with one of the strangest endings I have ever read in a book. But yet, despite its weirdness, I actually liked it. And found myself mildly amused by Frank and his antics. I think Banks is a lot like Nabokov in that way. Both have an amazing ability to write about vile people and then make you almost like them.
182) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Chabon. Finally finished and quite enjoyed it. I had no idea what it was about before starting so really didn't know what to expect. But who can find fault with a book that combines history, comics and magic?
183) Story of O by Reage. I was rather mixed with my reaction so I went on-line to see what others thought. I do understand how risqué this was coming out in 1950. It really was miles ahead of its time because really, who wrote about BDSM then? Fifty Shades (as horrible as it is) is just bringing that subject out of the closet now! The writing style was great and the language used was actually rather subdued comparatively speaking so it really is less porn and more erotic literature.
Just a warning... while the overall nature of the book is well known, my comments to follow are spoilers....
My problem with it, and I guess my problem with BDSM in general, is about consent. I get that the premise is that submissive actually has the power in the relationship because they ultimately choose if and when they wish to stop. I suppose for the garden-variety part-time BDSM participant, this works. But in this case, this was an overall, all-consuming lifestyle choice. O, while being told she could say no at any time, was completely infatuated with Rene and went along with everything because she felt that that was the only way to keep him. Sure she has a choice but really, what kind of choice is it? My boss gives me projects all the time and I have the choice of whether to do them or not. But if I don't, I won't have a job much longer. Rene asks her if she is okay with things but since he has tremendous power over her to begin with, she goes along with it all for fear of losing him.
I also had a big problem with Rene. He continually says that he loves her but the whole time he seems to view her as a psychological experiment. He sells her to the highest bidder (Sir Stephen) because he claims that he isn't strong enough to handle her conversion but I think it was more that he wanted to be a passive observer. He was prominent in the beginning but by the end, he almost becomes part of the furniture as he watches from the sidelines.
O starts off the novel with no name and by the end, she doesn't even have a personality. It is presented as if she is okay with everything that occurs but really, does someone being brainwashed know that they are being brainwashed? How does one really know what she wanted until after she is removed from the situation and can verify things for herself? Apparently the author wrote this as a love story for her boyfriend and that makes me really sad.
Hmmmm. Interesting. Not sure I'm up to read that one, but I appreciate your thoughts. Do you think that it was included in the list because it was controversial, or that and also because it's actually an important work of literature (solid or artful technique, multidimensional characters, ambiguity, etc.)? Your description reminds me of the movie 9 1/2 Weeks, which all my friends and I loved back in the 80s, but at the same time all said "there's no way I'd put up with that shit though"
Good question. The novel was apparently written on a dare by Anne Desclos. Her boyfriend claimed that a woman couldn't write something like this so she decided to write a 'love letter' of sorts to prove him wrong. The 1001 book states that "The Story of O is a shocking novel and at the same time a masterfully boring one. The deep erotic joy of suffering, it tells us, is rooted in the terror of boredom." I can't say that I fully understand that sentiment as I don't really see how watching the gradual degradation of a person is something to do to pass the time (but that could just be the feminist in me that had obvious problems with this novel). I do think it's a remarkably well-written book and the fact that it came out in the 50's AND became a bestseller is surprising. But if I am in the mood for well-written pornography, I think I will choose Nin any day.
186) Portnoy's Complaint by Roth. What did you get when you take a man obsessed with his penis, add in some residual Jewish guilt leftover from overbearing parents and a profound fear of sexually transmitted diseases? One of the more interesting books I have read this year. Not sure whether to laugh at the poor schmuck or be very, very happy that I never dated him!
I read Portnoy many years ago and hated it! What a whiner he was. Be very glad you never dated him!
He is isn't he? Good grief... It wasn't a long book but it took me a long time to read because it was just really, really exhausting to listen to ramble on and on. I am now reading Confederancy of Dunces and there are a lot of similarities (although Ignatius is more the guy who says whatever he feels but doesn't whine - he just doesn't care!)
187) Confederacy of Dunces by Toole. I have finally finished this one. Interesting but exhausting! I gotta admit, as horrible as Ignatius was, I actually felt bad for him at times. Mr Levy reminded me of that boss that George had on Seinfeld. I totally pictured him the whole time I was reading. And now that I think about it, Mrs Reilly could be Estelle...
188) Moon Palace by Auster. I am fast becoming an Auster fan. It was weird at times and over-the-top but I couldn't stop reading.
189) The Namesake by Lahiri. Proof that she can write a good full-length story as well! I think overall, I liked her short stories a bit better - they seemed more complex with greater depth. But this story made me angry, happy and sad. Will have to get her other one out of the library now...
190) The Nose by Gogol. Gotta love it when you read a really neat short story about a man who loses his nose (a nose that goes out and has an adventure on its own I might add!) and you get to knock one off the list while only reading 30 pages give or take. After reading the namesake, I just had to read something by Gogol.
191) A Kestrel for a Knave by Hines. A 1001 book and quite enjoyable. It's about a young boy growing in a Yorkshire mining town who finds and trains a hawk.
192) The Fox by Lawrence. This short novella had me until the end - I thought this one would end much differently.
Oooo I haven't read D.H Lawrence in years, I may dig this out and have a read.
193) Life and Times of Michael K by Coetzee. I just love this author! He has the ability to so completely immerse the reader in the novel. I only came up for air when I turned the last page and realised the ride was over. I will move Disgrace up the list.
I have never read Lawrence before but it made me want to read his long stuff.
Was Life and Times your first Coetzee? I wish it had been my first... I might not be dreading the rest so much.
Nope, I did read Waiting for the Barbarians before and enjoyed it. And because I like him so much, I just finished Disgrace.
194) Disgrace by Coetzee. Very well done. It's a very disturbing book overall but well written. I didn't get the ending I was hoping for but it was a satisfying one (although I can't honestly say why I was satisfied in the end because really, it kind of goes against everything I believe in... maybe I am just so enamoured by his writing?)
Good to hear that there are other Coetzee's to be enjoyed. Disgrace was my first and I did not enjoy it.
197) Bleak House by Dickens - finally finished and quite enjoyed it. The middle could have been whittled down a bit as it get a little draggy at times. I love the little bits of Dickensian sarcasm that bled through every once in awhile.
200) Thank You, Jeeves by Wodehouse
ETA - because I obviously can't count, this is actually 200 not Egan. Oy....
201) A Visit From the Goon Squad by Egan - read this one last year but didn't realise it was on the list. I was trying to figure out what to read for the big '200' and lo and behold, I already read it!
Oh, you are already very much ahead! Congratulations on book 200! Only 801 to go. :)
202) Timbuktu by Auster. A book narrated by a dog. You would think it would be weird but it's not.
Two more I missed from last year. I need to pay better attention!
I am halfway through Neuromancer and it's interesting so far.
207) Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Murakami. I love the worlds he creates!
I just recently finished Wind-Up Bird Chronicle myself. What did you think of it?
208) Jacob the Liar by Becker. I saw the movie years ago and quite liked it so I was happy to see it was a book (and on the list!) Quite liked it.
190 - I tried to respond earlier but my tablet was acting up. I am now home from vacation and can get caught up! I quite liked Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I discovered Murakami earlier this year when I read 1Q84 so this was my second one of his. I love the different worlds he creates. I generally avoid these types of books because I prefer books with a linear plot that gets tied up neatly at the end but for some reason, I don't find myself wanting for anything at the end.
209) Neuromancer by Gibson. I am sure most of this went over my head but what a cool book! I don't generally read a lot of sci-fi (which is weird because I love sci-fi movies) but perhaps I should change that.
211) Unbearable Lightness of Being by Kundera. Do I love this book because Kundera has an amazing way of describing things? Or do I hate it because the main character is a womanising idiot who never truly appreciates what he has?
212) Hawksmoor by Ackroyd - spooky! He does a good job transitioning between the past and present.
Hawksmoor by Ackroyd - spooky!
Yes, it was, wasn't it. I didn't register that exactly when I read it last summer as I was all wrapped up in the places (I read it while in east London), but you're right--spooky. I need to read it again one day as I think too much of it went over my head.
To be honest, a lot went over my head but when I read the blurb on wikipedia afterwards, it all made sense. I was going to rate it lower but when I realised how it all fit together, it was brilliant :)
And then I read Master and the Margarita and it was awesome. This was nothing like what I had expected! I figured Russian literature... okay, dark and dramatic. This? Was a romp! I loved the Devil's Ball.
#199 - Would you recommend Master and Margarita for someone who's a little (read: very) afraid of Russian lit?
Yup! I have read very little Russian lit (probably because people keep saying how depressing it can be) but this is a hoot. The devil hits 1930s Russia and has some fun - what more can you ask from a book! :)
>200 CayenneEllis: For Master & Margarite, I would recommend that you be familiar with the bible, however. I did not know who Pontius Pilate was and he figures prominently in Master & Margarita. I didn't get the humor because I was too frustrated by all the references that I did not understand.
For gateway Russian lit, I'd recommend The Nose, an absurd short story by Gogol and maybe One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (I haven't read it in years, but it packs a lot of punch for a short novel), and if you're a science fiction fan, We. Then maybe segue into Ivan Turgenev before tackling "the biggies".
As for the "difficult" longer novels, War and peace is very good and not that hard (It's just long. And there are the occasional boring history-lecture digressions), and Crime and Punishment is darkly fascinating. I am not great with satire so most of the humor of Dead Souls and Demons was lost on me.
I have read all your gateway lit references so maybe that is why I loved it?
Yup, there are a lot Biblical references in there. I am a bit of a heathen but grew up with Baptist grandparents so I had a good background and found that I got most of it. I think a better understanding of Russian history might have helped me a few more of those references.
215) Michael Kohlhaas by von Kleist. What a neat little story with a bit of an O Henry ending.
What did you think of it? I just bought it and am planning to read it soon!
I loved it! I finished late at night so didn't have a chance to put comments. It was my first Zola - for some reason, I thought he would be a little stuffy and dramatic but this wasn't at all what I expected. It's a fascinating psychological look at the effects of a guilty conscience (I was a psych major so I found it really neat). It's also rather spooky! In some ways it reminded me of Rebecca by du Maurier.
That sounds promising. I loved Rebecca and your thoughts of the book.
219) Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Diaz. Missed this one from last year.
221) The Gathering by Enright. From all the mixed reviews I have read on this book, I really wasn't sure what to expect with this one but I quite liked it. But, I seem to be drawn to books on dysfunctional families (especially ones far more dysfunctional than my own family) so maybe that it why I liked it. Family secrets bubble to the surface when a member of a large family dies.
222) Return of the Soldier by West. I think this is a book that would have been better if it were a little longer. It's about a soldier who returns from battle with amnesia and doesn't remember the last 15 years of his life. It's an intereting premise but the ending was really rushed.
223) Inheritance of Loss by Desai. This is one that I have pulled off the shelf many, many times but for whatever reason, never read until now. And I am mixed: it is a beautifully written book but, it jumps around too much and I found it rather confusing at times. There are two stories playing out but I found that I really didn't care about the cook's son Biju living in America. I would have preferred a story just about Sai.
224) Wide Sargasso Sea by Rhys. I am trying to get to all the ones that I have meant to read forever but keep passing by and this was definitely one of those. I love Jane Eyre so I have always been curious about this one. And I must say, by the end, I wasn't sure who I felt more sympathy for! Very well done.
225) The Afternoon of a Writer by Handke. Meh. Is he a writer? Isn't he a writer? Not sure I really care to be honest.
226) The Vicar of Wakefield by Goldsmith - a rather non-descript tale of someone who loses it all and then gains it back and more. Will have to read the blurb to see why this is on the list - is it because this is the start of the rags to riches/riches to rags storyline?
227) Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas by Thompson. Interesting in a train wreck kind of way.
228) Bunner Sisters by Wharton - gotta say, this was gripping little tale. But so, so sad...
229) Ethan Frome by Wharton - good grief, another depressing tale. Are all Wharton's shorter novels this sad? Maybe House of Mirth should be my next one... unless the title is misleading!
230) Wittgenstein's Nephew by Bernhard. A sad but beautifully written story/memoir. Bernhard is in one wing of the hospital after having lung surgery and his friend Paul is in the mental ward across the field. As he plots a way to try to visit, he reflects on their friendship.
I recently ran across the source for the title of House of Mirth, which makes me unsurprised it's depressing. It's from the Bible: "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." I haven't read the book yet, but that quote will probably stick with me.
232) Worstward Ho by Beckett - short but since I had to read it aloud a few times to make sense of it, not short. I understood enough to get the general idea but not enough to ever try to explain it to someone (but maybe that is the point?)
233) Rashomon by Akutagawa. What neat stories! Very enjoyable.
234) The History of Love by Krauss. Not bad... better than the other one of hers I read.
235) Silk by Baricco. Perhaps someone can explain to me why this one is on the list. Not a bad book but nothing special.
I can't help you. I read it, not even that long ago, and can't remember what it is about. Maybe that says it all..!
I did read the entry afterwards and yup, just a plot summary. I enjoyed the book but it just seemed like a random entry. Oh well... on to something else! I am in the middle of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Joyce and am REALLY surprised at how much I am liking it.
236) The Body Artist by DeLillo - I liked this one better than Falling Man (the only DeLillo I had read before). The problem I have with this type of book is that I find myself obsessing about all the unanswered questions. Some, like whether Mr Tuttle exists or not, I can accept and all the other little unanswered things drive me nuts. I guess this is why I prefer a fatter, more straight-forward novel.
237) The Girls of Slender Means by Spark. Much better than Prime. I loved the letters to writers - that made me laugh. Wasn't expecting the ending though.
238) The Marriage Plot by Eugenides - loved this one! It's about books (awesome), psychology (awesome but sad) and travel (awesome). Oh, and there is a story in there as well.
239) The Driver's Seat by Spark - I think she is starting to grow on me. This was a creepy little read.
I am a huge Muriel Spark fan so glad you are developing the taste. Not sure why you didn't adore The Prime. Had you seen the movie, also brilliant? Although my love for both book and film dates from my adolescence and possibly coming to them as an adult is less thrilling.
Can't remember why I didn't like it to be honest but I remember being very glad it was over! Quite enjoyed the last two so a reread might be in the cards. Never saw the movie so will have to hunt that one down.
240) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Joyce. My first Joyce. Quite liked the beginning but as he grew, I think he became much smarter than me because a lot went over my head. Will need to reread at some.
241) July's People by Gordimer - short but quite powerful. A white family is driven out of their African home due to fighting and is saved by their servant. They take up residence is his village and put everyone at risk.
242) The Graduate by Webb. The movie was definitely better. How creepy and manipulative was Benjamin? He didn't come across this creepy in the movie.
243) Cat and Mouse by Grass. I guess I should have read Tin Drum first? Might need to move it up the pile a bit... This one was an interesting book on its own. The cat is the Great Mahlke, a loner child who becomes everyone's hero and the mouse is his extra long Adam's apple (and penis apparently). Those symbols come up quite a bit throughout the book as a group of children come to terms with war and themselves.
244 & 245) Quicksand by Larsen & Passing by Larsen. I was quite excited to find both novellas in one novel (both are in the 1001 list) and even more excited to find out how awesome they are. Quicksand is about a young mixed race woman who struggles to belong. She moves between both worlds and becomes frustrated when she doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. Passing is similar and looks at race as well but this time it's about being fair enough to fit into a white world but the consequences of being discovered.
247) A Pale View of Hills by Ishiguro. I think this was his first novel and it was quite good. There are so many layers to this novel - it's about a woman who reminisces about a friendship she had years ago but then it also looks at the affects of war, status etc. Very well done.
248) The Immoralist by Gide. Odd book. At times, quite disturbing but oh so beautifully written.
249) Music of Chance by Auster. Love Auster but man, what an odd book.
250) Summer Book by Jansson - I really can't say whether I liked this one or not. It's a series of vignettes of a grandmother and her granddaughter and their adventures on an island one summer. The language and descriptions were wonderful and brought the novel to life. But the characters were awful. The granddaughter, at times, was a crabby, whiny child. And grandma wasn't much better. I really tried to be patient with them as they were dealing with death but I they just lost me.
251) Kafka on the Shore by Murakami. This is my third Murakami and definitely not my last. But honestly, how does one describe any of these novels without others thinking you are strange for liking them?
252) The Breast by Roth. Okay then... A short story about a man who turns into a breast. Very odd yet well written.
253) Written on the Body by Winterson. As usual, her writing is wonderful. She packs a lot into a sentence, paragraph, page... but I really didn't like the main character. I get that Winterson purposely doesn't reveal his/her sex and I liked that part. But the over-the-top obsession with Louise was more creepy than romantic.
#251 - I recently finished that book too and walked away with the same sort of review that you just wrote. Not a bad read, but not something that I'll rave about either.
I remember you saying on another thread that you had read this on so I was going to try to hunt it down to see what you had to say! She really is a wonderful writer but these characters drove me nuts.
254) In the Heart of the Country by Coetzee. I think that this is my least favourite Coetzee novel so far. I liked the story, as uncomfortable as it was, but I am not a fan of poetry or experimental prose so the style rather bugged me.
255) The Pigeon by Suskind. What a neat little book! And my first Suskind. It chronicles the day when Jonathan Noel's life literally fell apart and was rebuilt in the span of 24-hours. Now some could say that a pigeon shouldn't cause such chaos but I don't think it would have mattered what it was; when you live your life the same way every day and find comfort in that sameness, it can be easy to have life knocked out of balance by something different and unpleasant. It was a little over-the-top but at the same time, I could totally relate.
256) The Sense of an Ending by Barnes. And another great book. This one was very different from Flaubert's Parrot (the only other Barnes book I have read) but just as good. It reminded me a little of The Talented Mr Ripley for some reason. And the best part, even though I thought I had it figured out from the start, the last page threw me for a loop. Didn't see that coming at all.
257) The Passion by Winterson. My favourite one so far. Beautifully written and quite different from the others I have read.
260) Perfume by Suskind. What a creepy novel! I really didn't expect that ending but it summed the book up perfectly.
261) After the Quake by Murakami. Hunh, he can write good short fiction as well.
263) Elizabeth Costello by Coetzee. If I had more patience, I think I would have enjoyed this better. But Elizabeth Costello is just one of those ornery people who seem to argue about everything so she annoyed me to no end.
264) Franny and Zooey by Salinger. Teenage angst turns into adult angst.
266) Clear Light of Day by Desai. Nutshell: woman returns to her childhood home to visit. Her sister never married and remained in the home along with their autistic brother. In part, it's a story about consequences and unfulfilled dreams. But it's also about discovering that life maybe isn't quite as bad as you thought it was.
267) An Artist of the Floating World by Ishiguro. Interesting mix of art and politics in mid-century Japan. It would help if I had a better understanding of Japanese politics as much went over my head I am sure but it was enjoyable nonetheless. A few of the characters drove me nuts but I suppose the sexism was a sign of the times.
269) Catch-22 by Heller. I will have to re-read this later on because there is just so much in there. Very humourous and tongue-in-cheek look at war and all its glorious hypocrisy.
270) On the Road by Kerouac. Finished and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought. But seriously, if this wasn't written when it was, would we like it half as much? Stoned dudes travel across North America and don't do much of anything except get further stoned and leave a few illegitimate babies behind.
271) Death Sentence by Blanchot. Meh... not my cup of tea. I thought it might be a book about death and losing someone but apparently not. Foucault may like it but I didn't.
272) Jealousy by Robbe-Grillet. Really don't know what to say. I appreciate his writing but really didn't like his technique of having the narrator act as a distanct observer. I found the whole thing rather creepy and the repetition boring.
273) Woman at Point Zero by El Saadawi - wow, what a sad tale about a woman who, in her short miserable life, finally finds peace in death.
274) The Garden Party by Mansfield - I have no idea how I have managed to get this far in life without reading this short story but I have now rectified that! Now to find more stories by her.
275) Suite Francaise by Nemirovsky. Not sure why this sat unread on the shelf for years because it's awesome. I knew a bit of Nemirovsky's story beforehand but reading the footnotes and appendices really hammered home what a tragedy her death was. So sad.
276) Embers by Marai. Halfway through and really curious to see where it goes.
#271 -- these were two of my five-star reads -- glad you are enjoying them.
Embers - Well, I guess I like it because I started it this afternoon and ploughed on through! I figured that it was a love triangle kind of thing but wasn't really expecting everything else that happened. Well written and totally engrossing.
I can definitely see why those were two of your five-star reads. Now to find something fitting to follow such good novels...
277) Left-Handed Woman by Handke. That was a rather uncomfortable read.
278) The Electric Kool-Aid Test by Wolfe. Having never read anything that Wolfe has written, colour me surprised at how well he writes! Wasn't really sure what to expect with this one to be honest.
282) Black Dogs by McEwan. The only other McEwan book I have read was Atonement (and thought it was okay but not really worth the hype) so I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. But I really enjoyed it. It's a slim little book but he does a lot in those short pages. He brought all the characters to life so it was easy to connect with them.
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