puckers attempt to read 1001

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puckers attempt to read 1001

Edited: Jun 9, 2020, 3:43am

To mark the half way point on the list (book number 653) I will start a new thread.

When I'm looking to see what others thought of books I've just read or intend to read, I like those threads that have a listing cross referenced to specific posts. I therefore intend to add an index linked to all my reviews, in published date order per the 1001 books app. A work in progress at the moment....

Pre 1700

✔ Aesopus - Aesop's Fables
✔ Ovid - Metamorphoses Book 629
Chariton - Chaireas and Kallirhoe - Chariton
✔ Heliodorus - Aithiopika Book 632
✔ Anonymous - The Thousand and One Nights Book 400
Anonymous - The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter
Shikibu, Murasaki - The Tale of Genji
✔ Guanzhong, Luo - Romance of the Three Kingdoms Book 600
✔ Nai'an, Shi -The Water Margin Book 833
✔ Apuleius, Lucius - The Golden Ass Book 192
✔ Martorell, Joanot - Tirant lo Blanc Book 777
✔ de Rojas, Fernando - La Celestina Book 779
✔ De Montalvo, Garci Rodriguez - Amadis of Gaul Book 501
✔ Anonymous - The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes -Book 371
✔ Rabelias, Francois - Gargantua and Pantagruel Book 342
✔ de Camos, Luis Vaz - The Lusiad Book 354
✔ Ch'eng-en, Wu - Monkey - Journey to the West Book 287
Lyly, John - Euphues : The Anatomy of Wit
✔ Nashe, Thomas - The Unfortunate Traveller Book 395
✔ Deloney, Thomas - Thomas of Reading Book 497
✔ de Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel - Don Quixote
de Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel - The Travels of Persiles and Sigismunda
✔ del Castillo, Bernal Diaz - The Conquest of New Spain Book 270
✔ von Grimmelshausen, Hans - The Adventurous Simplicissimus Book 616
✔ Bunyan, John - The Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan
✔ de La Fayette, Madame - The Princess of Cleves Book 482
✔ Behn, Aphra - Oroonoko Book 238

1700 to 1799

✔ Swift, Jonathan - A Tale of a Tub Book 959
✔ Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe Book 490
✔ Haywood, Eliza - Love in Excess Book 632
✔ Defoe, Daniel - Moll Flanders
✔ Defoe, Daniel - Roxana Book 929
✔ Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels Book 823
✔ Swift, Jonathan - A Modest Proposal
✔ Fielding, Henry - Joseph Andrews Book 572
Arbuthnot, John - Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus
✔ Richardson, Samuel - Pamela Book 894
✔ Richardson, Samuel - Clarissa Book 221
✔ Smollett, Tobias George - Roderick Random Book 945
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
✔ Cleland, John - Fanny Hill Book 398
✔ Smollett, Tobias George - Peregrine Pickle Book 174
✔ Fielding, Henry - Amelia Book 839
✔ Lennox, Charlotte - The Female Quixote Book 252
✔ Voltaire - Candide Book 562
✔ Johnson, Samuel - Rasselas Book 681
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques - Julie; or, the New Eloise
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques - Emile; or, On Education
Walpole, Horace - The Castle of Otranto
✔ Goldsmith, Oliver - The Vicar of Wakefield Book 605
✔ Sterne, Laurence - Tristram Shandy Book 911
✔ Sterne, Laurence - A Sentimental Journey Book 161
✔ Mackenzie, Henry - The Man of Feeling Book 552
✔ Smollett, Tobias George - Humphry Clinker Book 828
✔ von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang - The Sorrows of Young Werther
✔ Burney, Fanny - Evelina Book 338
✔ Rousseau, Jean-Jacques - Reveries of a Solitary Walker Book 916
✔ de Laclos, Pierre Choderlos - Dangerous Liaisons Book 473
✔ Rousseau, Jean-Jacques - Confessions Book 703
✔ Burney, Fanny - Cecilia Book 264
✔ de Sade, Marquis - The 120 Days of Sodom Book 502
Moritz, Karl Philipp - Anton Reiser
✔ Beckford, William Thomas - Vathek Book 236
✔ de Sade, Marquis - Justine Book 148
Xueqin, Cao - A Dream of Red Mansions
✔ Godwin, William - The Adventures of Caleb Williams
✔ Equiano, Olaudah - The Interesting Narrative Book 535
✔ Radcliffe, Ann - The Mysteries of Udolpho Book 141
von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang - Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
✔ Lewis, M.G. - The Monk
Burney, Fanny - Camilla
Diderot, Denis - Jacques the Fatalist
✔ Diderot, Denis - The Nun Book 509
✔ Holderlin, Friedrich - Hyperion Book 646

1800 to 1849

✔ Edgeworth, Maria - Castle Rackrent Book 158
✔ Novalis - Henry of Ofterdingen Book 584
Diderot, Denis - Rameau's Nephew
✔ von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang - Elective Affinities Book 602
✔ Edgeworth, Maria - The Absentee Book 541
✔ von Kleist, Heinrich - Michael Kohlhaas Book 423
✔ Austen, Jane - Sense and Sensibility Book 376
✔ Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
✔ Austen, Jane - Mansfield Park Book 838
✔ Austen, Jane - Emma
✔ Scott, Sir Walter - Rob Roy Book 319
Edgeworth, Maria - Ormond
✔ Austen, Jane - Persuasion Book 730
✔ Austen, Jane - Northanger Abbey
✔ Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein Book 856
✔ Scott, Sir Walter - Ivanhoe Book 903
✔ Scott, Sir Walter - The Monastery Book 273
✔ Maturin, Charles Robert - Melmoth the Wanderer Book 782
Maturin, Charles Robert - The Albigenses
Hoffman, E.T.A. - The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr
✔ Hogg, James - The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner Book 145
✔ von Eichendorff, Joseph - The Life of a Good-for-Nothing Book 696
✔ Cooper, James Fenimore - Last of the Mohicans Book 480
✔ Manzoni, Alessandro - The Betrothed Book 771
✔ Stendhal - The Red and the Black Book 171
✔ Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame Book 290
✔ Pushkin, Alexander - Eugene Onegin Book 744
✔ de Balzac, Honore - Eugenie Grandet Book 491
✔ de Balzac, Honore - Le Pere Goriot Book 176
Gogol, Nikolay - The Nose
✔ Dickens, Charles - Oliver Twist
✔ Dickens, Charles - The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
✔ Conscience, Hendrik - The Lion of Flanders Book 479
✔ Stendhal - The Charterhouse of Parma Book 597
✔ Poe, Edgar Allan - The Fall of the House of Usher
Hildebrand - Camera Obscura
✔ Lermontov, Mikhail Yurevich - A Hero of Our Time Book 729
✔ Gogol, Nikolay - Dead Souls Book 603
✔ Dickens, Charles - A Christmas Carol Book 551
de Balzac, Honore - Lost Illusions
✔ Poe, Edgar Allan - The Pit and the Pendulum
✔ Dickens, Charles - Martin Chuzzlewit Book 440
✔ Poe, Edgar Allan - The Purloined LetterBook 889
✔ Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers Book 513
✔ Dumas, Alexandre - Le Reine Margot Book 372
Sarmiento, Domingo Faustino - Facundo
✔ Sand, George - The Devil's Pool Book 923
✔ Dumas, Alexandre - The Count of Monte-Cristo Book 136
✔ Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
✔ Thackeray, William Makepeace - Vanity Fair Book 526
✔ Bronte, Anne - Agnes Grey Book 164
✔ Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights
✔ Bronte, Anne - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Book 409
✔ Gaskell, Elizabeth - Mary Barton Book 595
✔ Bronte, Charlotte - Shirley Book 418

1850 to 1899

✔ Dickens, Charles - David Copperfield Book 507
✔ Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter Book 625
✔ Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
✔ Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The House of the Seven Gables Book 229
✔ Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Blithedale Romance Book 733
✔ Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin Book 405
✔ Gaskell, Elizabeth - Cranford Book 559
✔ Bronte, Charlotte - Villette Book 179
✔ Dickens, Charles - Bleak House Book 200
✔ Thoreau, Henry David - Walden Book 149
✔ Dickens, Charles - Hard Times Book 633
Keller, Gottfried - Green Henry
Gaskell, Elizabeth - North and South
✔ Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Stifter, Adalbert - Indian Summer
✔ Eliot, George - Adam Bede Book 216
✔ Gocharov, Ivan - Oblomov Book 607
✔ Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities Book 193
✔ Collins, Wilkie - The Woman in White Book 259
✔ Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss Book 333
✔ Trollope, Anthony - Castle Richmond Book 276
✔ Turgenev, Ivan - On the Eve Book 668
Multatuli - Max Havelaar
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Marble Faun
✔ Dickens, Charles - Great Expectations Book 753
✔ Eliot, George - Silas Marner Book 203
✔ Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
✔ Hugo, Victor - Les Miserables Book 209
✔ Kingsley, Charles - The Water-Babies
✔ Dostoevsky, Fyodor - Notes from the Underground Book 317
✔ Le Fanu, Sheridan - Uncle Silas Book 723
✔ Dickens, Charles - Our Mutual Friend Book 863
✔ Carroll, Lewis - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Book 459a
Verne, Jules - Journey to the Centre of the Earth
✔ Dostoevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
✔ Trollope, Anthony - The Last Chronicle of Barset Book 849
✔ Zola, Emile - Therese Raquin Book 358
✔ Collins, Wilkie - The Moonstone Book 478
✔ Alcott, Louisa May - Little Women
✔ Dostoevsky, Fyodor - The Idiot Book 669
de Lautreaumont, Comte - Maldoror
✔ Trollope, Anthony - Phineas Finn Book 951
✔ Flaubert, Gustave - Sentimental Education
✔ Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
✔ Trollope, Anthony - He Knew He Was Right Book 151
&3x2714 Turgenev, Ivan - King Lear of the Steppes Book 967
✔ Carroll, Lewis - Through the Looking Glass Book 459
✔ Eliot, George - Middlemarch Book 460
✔ Turgenev, Ivan - Spring Torrents Book 564
✔ Butler, Samuel - Erewhon Book 425
Dostoevsky, Fyodor -The Devils
✔ Le Fanu, Sheridan - In a Glass Darkly
✔ Verne, Jules - Around the World in Eighty Days
✔ Leskov, Nikolai - The Enchanted Wanderer Book 731
✔ Hardy, Thomas - Far from the Madding Crowd Book 220
✔ Flaubert, Gustave - The Temptation of Saint Anthony Book 576
Hardy, Thomas - The Hand of Ethelberta
✔ Eliot, George - Daniel Deronda Book 536
Turgenev, Ivan - Virgin Soil
✔ Valera, Juan - Pepita Jimenez Book 279
de Queiros, Jose Maria Eca - The Crime of Father Amaro
Zola, Emile - Drunkard
✔ Tolstoy, Leo - Anna Karenina Book 300
✔ Hardy, Thomas - Return of the Native Book 330
Hernandez, Jose - Martin Fierro
✔ Strindberg, August - The Red Room
✔ Dostoevsky, Fodor - The Brothers Karamazov Book 508
✔ Wallace, Lew - Ben-Hur Book 784
Zola, Emile - Nana
✔ James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady Book 350
Verga, Giovanni - The House by the Medlar Tree
de Assis, Joaquim Maria Machado - The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas
✔ Flaubert, Gustave - Bouvard and Pecuchet Book 417
✔ Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
✔ de Maupassant, Guy - A Woman's Life Book 498
✔ Tolstoy, Leo - The Death of Ivan Ilyich Book 948
✔ Huysmans, Joris-Karl - Against the Grain Book 334
Alas, Leopoldo - The Regent's Wife
✔ de Maupassant, Guy - Bel-Ami Book 339
✔ Pater, Walter - Marius the Epicurean Book 875
✔ Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Book 554
✔ Zola, Emile - Germinal Book 454
✔ Haggard, H. Rider - King Solomon's Mines Book 819
✔ Stevenson, Robert Louis - Kidnapped
✔ Hardy, Thomas - The Mayor of Casterbridge Book 432
van Eeden, Frederik - The Quest
✔ Stevenson, Robert Louis - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde Book 955
✔ Haggard, H. Rider - She
Hardy, Thomas - The Woodlanders
✔ Bazan, Emilia Pardo - The Manors of Ulloa Book 399
✔ Strindberg, August - The People of Hemso Book 957
Perez Galdos, Benito - Fortunata y Jacinta
de Maupassant, Guy - Pierre and Jean
✔ Stevenson, Robert Louis - The Master of Ballantrae Book 153
Vazov, Ivan - Under the Yoke
✔ D'Annunzio, Gabriele The Child of Pleasure Book 516
Couperus, Louis - Eline Vere
✔ Hamsun, Knut - Hunger Book 933
Strindberg, August - By the Open Sea
✔ Zola, Emile - La Bete Humaine Book 567
✔ France, Anatole - Thais Book 582
Tolstoy, Leo - The Kreutzer Sonata
✔ Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
✔ Huysmans, Joris-Karl - Down There Book 655
✔ Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the D'Urbervilles
✔ Lagerlof, Selma - Gosta Berling's Saga Book 305
✔ Gissing, George - New Grub Street
✔ Morris, William - News from Nowhere Book 811
✔ Conan Doyle, Arthur - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
✔ Grossmith, George - Diary of a Nobody Book 618
✔ Gissing, George - Born in Exile Book 654
✔ Perkins Gilman, Charlotte - The Yellow Wallpaper Book 885
Ross, Somerville - The Real Charlotte
De Roberto, Federico - The Viceroys
✔ Hardy, Thomas - Jude the Obscure Book 619
✔ Fontane, Theodor - Effi Briest Book 577
✔ Wells, H.G. - The Time Machine
✔ Wells, H.G. - The Island of Dr. Moreau Book 804
✔ Sienkiewicz, Henryk - Quo Vadis Book 445
✔ Stoker, Bram - Dracula
✔ James, Henry - What Maisie Knew
✔ Wells, H.G. - The Invisible Man
✔ Galdos, Benito Perez - Compassion Book 588
Prus, Boleslaw - Pharoah
✔ Gide, Andre - Fruits of the Earth Book 756
✔ Wells, H.G. - The War of the Worlds
✔ James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw Book 675
Svevo, Italo - As a Man Grows Older
✔ de Assis, Joaquim Maria Machado - Dom Casmurro Book 489
✔ Chopin, Kate - The Awakening - Book 466
Fontane, Theodor - The Stechlin
✔ Gardonyi, Geza - Eclipse of the Crescent Moon Book 606
✔ Somerville and Ross - Some Experiences of an Irish R.M. Book 949
Salgari, Emilio - Sandokan: The Tigers of Mompracem

1900 to 1919

✔ Dreiser, Theodore - Sister Carrie Book 198
✔ Conrad, Joseph - Lord Jim Book 470
Schnitzler, Arthur - None but the Brave
✔ Kipling, Rudyard - Kim
✔ Mann, Thomas - Buddenbrooks Book 353
✔ Conan Doyle, Arthur - The Hound of the Baskervilles
✔ Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
✔ James, Henry - The Wings of the Dove Book 471
Gide, Andre - The Immoralist
James, Henry - The Ambassadors
James, Henry - The Golden Bowl
✔ Childers, Erskine - The Riddle of the Sands Book 469
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Schreber, Daniel Paul - Memoirs of my Nervous Illness
Butler, Samuel - The Way of All Flesh
✔ Rolfe, Frederick - Hadrian the Seventh Book 195
✔ Conrad, Joseph - Nostromo
Forster, E.M. - Where Angels Fear to Tread
✔ Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth Book 189
Mann, Heinrich - Professor Unrat
Catala, Victor - Solitude
Musil, Robert - Young Torless
✔ Galsworthy, John - The Forsyte Saga Book 241
✔ Sinclair, Upton - The Jungle Book 183
✔ Conrad, Joseph - The Secret Agent Book 415
Gorky, Maxim - Mother
✔ Hodgson, William Hope - The House on the Borderland Book 647
✔ Bennett, Arnold - The Old Wives' Tale Book 213
London, Jack - The Iron Heel
✔ Barbusse, Henri - The Inferno Book 388
Wells, H.G. - Tono-Bungay
✔ Forster, E.M. - A Room With a View Book 219
✔ Gide, Andre - Strait is the Gate Book 601
London, Jack - Martin Eden
Stein, Gertrude - Three Lives
Rilke, Rainer Maria - The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
✔ Forster, E.M. - Howards End Book 515
Roussel, Raymond - Impressions of Africa
✔ Allain, Marcel - Fantamos Book 177
✔ Wharton, Edith - Ethan Frome Book 443
Stephens, James - The Charwoman's Daughter
Mann, Thomas - Death in Venice
✔ Lawrence, D.H. - Sons and Lovers
Tressell, Robert - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
Jimenez, Juan Ramon - Platero and I
✔ Burroughs, Edgar Rice - Tarzan of the Apes Book 344
Hesse, Herman - Rosshalde
Roussel, Raymond - Locus Solus
Soseki, Natsume - Kokoro
✔ Buchan, John - The Thirty-Nine Steps Book 204
Lawrence, D.H. - The Rainbow
✔ Maugham, W. Somerset - Of Human Bondage
✔ Woolf, Virginia - The Voyage Out Book 472
✔ Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Ryunosuke, Akutagawa - Rashomon
✔ Barbusse, Henri - Under Fire Book 224
✔ Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Wharton, Edith - Bunner Sisters
✔ Azuela, Mariano - The Underdogs Book 188
Timmermans, Felix - Pallieter
Tagore, Rabindranath - The Home and the World
✔ Hamsun, Knut - Growth of the Soil Book 623
✔ Wharton, Edith - Summer Book 249
✔ Conrad, Joseph - The Shadow Line Book 271
West, Rebecca - The Return of the Soldier
Lewis, Wyndham - Tarr
✔ Woolf, Virginia - Night and Day Book 311

1920 to 1929

Junger, Ernst - The Storm of Steel
✔ Lawrence, D.H. - Women in Love Book 437
Lewis, Sinclair - Main Strret
✔ Wharton, Edith - The Age of Innocence Book 566
Huxley, Aldous - Crome Yellow
Lawrence, D.H. - The Fox
Papini, Giovanni - Life of Christ
✔ Joyce, James - Ulysses Book 500
✔ Lewis, Sinclair - Babbit Book 368
✔ Lawrence, D.H. - Aaron's Rod Book 304
Kraus, Karl - The Last Days of Humanity
Colette - Claudine's House
Sinclair, May - Life and Death of Harriett Frean
Wharton, Edith - Glimpses of the Moon
Rebreanu, Liviu - The Forest of the Hanged
✔ Hesse, Herman - Siddhartha Book 638
Woolf, Virginia - Jacob's Room
✔ Cummings, E.E. - The Enormous Room Book 448
✔ Mansfield, Katherine - The Garden Party
Undset, Sigrid - Kristin Lavransdatter
Zweig, Stefan - Amok
✔ Huxley, Aldous - Antic HayBook 653
Toomer, Jean - Cane
Radiguet, Raymond - The Devil in the Flesh
Svevo, Italo - Zeno's Conscience
✔ Forster, E.M. - A Passage to India Book 581
Zamyatin, Yevgeny - We
✔ Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain Book 450
✔ Arlen, Michael - The Green Hat Book 266
Melville, Herman - Billy Budd, Foretopman
✔ Cather, Willa - The Professor's House Book 302
✔ Gorky, Maxim - The Artamonov Business Book 609
✔ Kafka, Franz - The Trial
✔ Gide, Andre - The Counterfeiters Book 307
✔ Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
✔ Woolf, Virginia - Mrs. Dalloway re-read
Passos, John Dos - Manhattan Transfer
Mofolo, Thomas Chaka the Zulu
Stein, Gertrude - The Making of Americans
✔ Christie, Agatha - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Book 150
Pirandello, Luigi - One, No One and One Hundred Thousand
✔ Lawrence, D.H. - The Plumed Serpent Book 285
Bernanos, Georges - Under Satan's Sun
✔ Hasek, Jaroslav - The Good Soldier Svejk Book 580
Sandel, Cora - Alberta and Jacob
Kafka, Franz - The Castle
Green, Henry - Blindness
Hemingway, Ernest - The Sun Also Rises
✔ Kafka, Franz - Amerika Book 250
Zweig, Arnold - The Case of Sergeant Grischa
Williamson, Henry - Tarka the Otter
Woolf, Virginia - To The Lighthouse
Proust, Marcel - Remembrance of Things Past
✔ Hesse, Herman - Book 140
Breton, Andre - Nadja
Larsen, Nella - Quicksand
✔ Waugh, Evelyn - Decline and Fall
✔ Rhys, Jean - Quartet
Lewis, Wyndham - The Childermass
Tanizaki, Junichiro - Some Prefer Nettles
✔ Ford, Ford Madox - Parade's End Book 579
✔ Hall, Radclyffe - The Well of Loneliness
✔ Lawrence, D.H. - Lady Chatterley's Lover Book 546
✔ Woolf, Virginia - Orlando Book 352
Bataille, Georges - Story of the Eye
Shahnour, Shahan - Retreat Without Song
✔ Cocteau, Jean - Les Enfants Terribles Book 475
✔ Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury Book 570
✔ West, Rebecca - Harriet Hume Book 284
✔ Bowen, Elizabeth - The Last September Book 243
Doblin, Alfred - Berlin Alexanderplatz
✔ Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front Book 568
Moravia, Alberto - The Time of Indifference
✔ Green Henry - Living Book 613
Hammett, Dashiell - The Red Harvest
Wilson, Edmund - I Thought of Daisy
✔ Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms Book 240
Larsen, Nella - Passing
de Chirico, Giorgio - Hebdomeros
Wolfe, Thomas - Look Homeward, Angel

1930 to 1939

✔ Hammett, Dashiell - The Maltese Falcon Book 556
✔ Waugh, Evelyn - Vile Bodies Book 453
Manning, Frederic - Her Privates We
Lewis, Wyndham - the Apes of God
Maugham, W. Somerset - Cakes and Ale
Hammett, Dashiell - The Glass Key
Lewis, Saunders - Monica
Witkiewicz, Stanislaw Ignacy - Insatiability
Woolf, Virginia - The Waves
Bowen, Elizabeth - To the North
✔ Hammett, Dashiell - The Thin Man Book 621
✔ Celine, Louis-Ferdinand - Journey to the End of the Night Book 391
✔ Gibbon, Lewis Grassic - Sunset Song
Krieza, Miroslav - The Return of Philip Latinowicz
✔ Roth, Joseph - The Radetzky March Book 312
Slauerhoff, Jan Jacob - The Forbidden Realm
✔ Gibbons, Stella - Cold Comfort Farm Book 139
✔ Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World Book 225
Mauriac, Francois - Vipers' Tangle
Musil, Robert - The man Without Qualities
Eisschot, Willem - Cheese
Malraux, Andre - Man's Fate
Jameson, Storm - A Day Off
✔ Brittain, Vera - Testament of Youth Book 199
Stein, Gertrude - The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
Sayers, Dorothy - Murder Must Advertise
West, Nathanael - Miss Lonelyhearts
Roth, Henry - Call it Sleep
Schultz, Bruno - The Street of Crocodiles
Wodehouse, P.G. - Thank You, Jeeves
✔ Fitzgerald, F. Scott - Tender is the Night Book 575
✔ Waugh, Evelyn - A Handful of Dust Book 356
Miller, Henry - Tropic of Cancer
✔ Cain, James M. - The Postman Always Rings Twice Book 187
✔ Ageyev, M. - Novel With Cocaine Book 361
✔ Brecht, Bertolt - Threepenny Novel Book 289
Cioran, Emil - On the Heights of Despair
Aragon, Louis - The Bells of Basel
Sayers, Dorothy L. - The Nine Tailors
✔ Orwell, George - Burmese Days Book 377
✔ Greene, Graham - England Made Me Book 615
✔ Bowen, Elizabeth - The House in Paris Book 412
✔ Canetti, Elias - Auto-da-Fe Book 135
✔ McCoy, Horace - They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Isherwood, Christopher - The Last of Mr. Norris
✔ Anand, Mulk Raj - Untouchable Book 367
✔ Laxness, Halldor - Independent People Book 401
✔ Barnes, Djuna - Nightwood Book 390
Lovecraft, H.P. - At the Mountains of Madness
✔ Faulkner, William - Absalom, Absalom! Book 329
MacPherson, Ian - Wild Harbour
✔ Capek, Karel - War with the Newts Book 373
Orwell, George - Keep the Aspidistra Flying
Mitchell, Margaret - Gone with the Wind
West, Rebecca - The Thinking Reed
Huxley, Aldous - Eyeless in Gaza
Warner, Sylvia Townsend - Summer Will Show
✔ Hemingway, Ernest - To Have and Have Not Book 447
She, Lao - Rickshaw Boy
✔ Dinesen, Isak - Out of Africa Book 512
Lewis, Wyndham - The Revenge for Love
Jones, David - In Parenthesis
Gombrowicz, Witold - Ferdydurke
Hedayat, Sadegh - The Blind Owl
✔ Tolkein, J.R.R - The Hobbit
✔ Woolf, Virginia - The Years
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
✔ Steinbeck, John - Of Mice and Men
Beckett, Samuel - Murphy
✔ Dos Passos, John - U.S.A. Book 518
✔ Greene, Graham - Brighton Rock Book 297
✔ Ambler, Eric - Cause for Alarm Book 364
Bartol, Vladimir - Alamut
✔ du Maurier, Daphne - Rebecca Book 522
✔ Satre, Jean-Paul - Nausea Book 301
Watson, Winifred - Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Warner, Sylvia Townsend - After the Death of Don Juan
Krleza, Miroslav - On the Edge of Reason
✔ Chandler. Raymond - The Big Sleep Book 462
Isherwood, Christopher - Goodbye to Berlin
✔ Orwell, George - Coming Up for Air Book 332
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
✔ Green, Henry - Party Going Book 614
✔ Rhys, Jean - Good Morning, Midnight
Miller, Henry - Tropic of Capricorn
O'Brien, Flann - At Swim-Two-Birds
Joyce, James - Finnegans Wake

Edited: Jan 17, 2020, 1:34am

1940 to 1949

Wright, Richard - Native Son
✔ Buzzati, Dino - The Tartar Steppe Book 520
Greene, Graham - The Power and the Glory
✔ Hemingway, Ernest - For Whom the Bells Toll Book 138
✔ Chandler, Raymond - Farewell My Lovely
✔ Faulkner, William - The Hamlet Book 442
✔ Woolf, Virginia - Between the Acts Book 274
✔ Hamilton, Patrick - Hangover Square Book 627
Stead, Christine - The Man Who Loved Children
Alegria, Ciro - Broad and Alien is the World
✔ White, Patrick - The Living and the Dead
O'Brien, Flann - The Poor Mouth
Pavese, Cesare - The Harvesters
Vittorini, Elio - Conversations in Sicily
✔ Camus, Albert - The Outsider Book 166
Faulkner, William - Go Down, Moses
Marai, Sandor - Embers
Zweig, Stefan - Chess Story
Hesse, Herman - The Glass Bead Game
✔ Green, Henry - Caught Book 278
✔ Mann, Thomas - Joseph and His Brothers Book 555
✔ de Saint-Exupery, Antoine - The Little Prince Book 505
✔ Bellow, Saul - Dangling Man Book 406
✔ Borges, Jorge Luis - Ficciones Book 201
Maugham, W. Somerset - The Razor's Edge
Seghers, Anne - Transit
✔ Lindgren, Astrid Book 246
✔ Green, Henry - Loving Book 612
Mitford, Nancy - The Pursuit of Love
✔ Steinbeck, John - Cannery Row Book 517
✔ Orwell, George - Animal Farm
✔ Andric, Ivo - The Bridge on the Drina Book 369
✔ Levi, Carlo - Christ Stopped at Eboli Book 262
Breton, Andre - Arcanum 17
✔ Waugh, Evelyn - Brideshead Revisited Book 565
Andric, Ivo - Bosnian Chronicle
Roy, Gabrielle - The Tin Flute
Broch, Hermann - The Death of Virgil
✔ Peake, Mervyn - Titus Groan
Kazantzakis, Nikos - Zorba the Greek
Green, Henry - Back
Caldwell, Erskine - House in the Uplands
Calvino, Italo - The Path to the Nest of Spiders
Lowry, Malcolm - Unde rthe Volcano
Levi, Primo - If This Is a Man
Queneau, Raymond - Exercises in Style
✔ Bellow, Saul - The Victim Book 431
✔ Camus, Albert - The Plague Book 456
Mann, Thomas - Doctor Faustus
✔ Mahfouz, Naguib - Midaq Alley Book 419
Vian, Boris - Froth on the Daydream
Cela, Camilo Jose - Journey to the Alcarria
✔ Andrzejewski, Jerzy - Ashes and Diamonds Book 370
Moravia, Alberto - Diobedience
✔ Desani, G.V. - All About Hatterr Book 506
Paton, Alan - Cry, The Beloved Country
✔ Greene, Graham - The Heart of the Matter Book 223
Agnon, Shmuel Yosef - In the Heart of the Seas
Borowski, Tadeusz - This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
Blanchot, Maurice - Death Sentence
Orwell, George - Nineteen Eighty-Four
✔ Algren, Nelson - The Man with the Golden Arm Book 275
✔ Carpentier, Alejo - Kingdom of this World Book 458
✔ Bowen, Elizabeth - The Heat of the Day Book 434
Mitford, Nancy - Love in a Cold Climate
Serge, Victor - The Case of Comrade Tulayev

1950 to 1959

Vestdijk - The Garden Where the Brass Band Played
✔ Asimov, Isaac - I, Robot
✔ Lessing, Doris - The Grass is Singing Book 348
✔ Shute, Nevil - A Town Like Alice
Pavese, Cesare - The Moon and the Bonfires
Peake, Mervyn - Gormenghast
Thurber, James - The 13 Clocks
✔ Greene, Graham - The Third Man Book 433
Paz, Octavio - The Labyrinth of Solitude
✔ Bataille, Georges - The Abbot C Book 397
Broch, Hermann - The Guiltless
✔ Lagerkvist, Par - Barabbas Book 320
✔ Greene, Graham - The End of the Affair Book 549
✔ Beckett, Samuel - Molloy Book 402
Camus, Albert - The Rebel
✔ Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Gracq, Julien - The Opposing Shore
✔ Asimov, Isaac - Foundation Book 154
✔ Beckett, Samuel - Malone Dies Book 403
✔ Wyndham, John - Day of the Triffids
✔ Yourcenar, Marguerite - Memoirs of Hadrian Book 590
Thompson, Jim - The Killer Inside Me
✔ Cela, Camilo Jose - The Hive Book 465
O'Connor, Flannery - Wise Blood
✔ Hemingway, Ernest - The Old Man and the Sea Book 635
✔ Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man Book 532
Durrenmatt, Friedrich - The Judge and His Hangman
✔ Pym, Barbara - Excellent Women Book 167
Kawabata, Yasunari - A Thousand Cranes
✔ Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain Book 381
✔ Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March Book 205
✔ Fleming, Ian - Casino Royale Book 184
✔ Burroughs, William - Junkie
Carpentier, Alejo - The Lost Steps
Koeppen, Wolfgang - The Hothouse
Beckett, Samuel - Watt
✔ Beckett, Samuel - The Unnamable Book 404
Chandler, Raymond - The Long Goodbye
✔ Hartley, L.P. - The Go-Between Book 630
Laye, Camara - The Dark Child
Kosmac, Ciril - A Day in Spring
Moravia, Alberto - A Ghost at Noon
Reage, Pauline - The Story of O
Murdoch, Iris - Under the Net
✔ Golding, William - The Lord of the Flies
✔ de Beauvoir, Simone - The Mandarins Book 492
Sagan, Francoise - Bonjour Tristesse
Koeppen, Wolfgang - Death in Rome
Mishima, Yukio - The Sound of Waves
Linna, Vaino - The Unknown Soldier
Lewis, Wyndham - Self Condemned
✔ Frisch, Max - I'm Not Stiller Book 463
Pasolini, Pier Paulo - The Ragazzi
✔ Gaddis, William - The Recognitions Book 589
Rulfo, Juan - The Burning Plain and Other Stories
✔ Greene, Graham - The Quiet American
Plunkett, James - The Trusting and the Maimed
Bowen, Elizabeth - A World of Love
White, Patrick - The Tree of Man
Kazantzakis, Nikos - The Last Temptation of Christ
Rosa, Joao Guimaraes - The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
✔ Nabokov, Vladimir - Lolita Book 251
✔ Highsmith, Patricia - The Talented Mr. Ripley Book 642
✔ Tolkien, J.R.R. - The Lord of the Rings
Selvon, Sam - The Lonely Londoners
✔ Gary, Romain - The Roots of Heaven Book 269
✔ Barth, John - The Floating Opera Book 394
✔ Bellow, Saul - Seize the Day Book 548
Baldwin, James - Giovanni's Room
✔ Durrell, Lawrence - Justine Book 525
Thurber, James - The Wonderful "O"
Junger, Ernst - The Glass Bees
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Nabokov, Vladimir - Pnin
✔ Kerouac, Jack - On the Road Book 254
Meri, Veijo - The Manila Rope
Ruyslinck, Ward - The Deadbeats
✔ Frisch, Max - Homo Faber Book 586
Bataille, Georges - Blue of Noon
✔ Wyndham, John - The Midwich Cuckoo Book 324
White, Patrick - Voss
Robbe-Grillet, John - Jealousy
Vesaas, Tarjei - The Birds
White, John - The Once and Future King
Barth, John - The End of the Road
✔ Murdoch, Iris - The Bell Book 256
Behan, Brendan - Borstal Boy
✔ Gallico, Paul - Mrs 'Arris Goes to Paris Book 592
✔ Amado, Jorge - Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon Book 363
Sillitoe, Alan - Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
✔ Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart Book 228
✔ Dillon, Ellis - The Bitter Glass Book 511
Narayan, R.K. - The Guide
di Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi - The Leopard
Arguedas, Jose Maria - Deep Rivers
✔ - Capote, Truman - Breakfast at Tiffany's Book 457
✔ Oe, Kenzaburo - Pluck the Bud and Destroy the Offspring Book 557
✔ Boll, Heinrich - Billiards at Half-Past Nine Book 411
✔ Spark, Muriel - Memento Mori Book 499
Bellow, Saul - Henderson the Rain King
Mphahlele, Es'kia - Down Second Avenue
Lee, Laurie - Cider with Rosie
✔ Grass, Gunter - The Tin Drum Book 611
✔ Burroughs, William - Naked Lunch Book 422
✔ Waterhouse, Keith - Billy Liar Book 310
MacInnes, Colin - Absolute Beginners

1960 to 1969

✔ Gary, Romain - Promise at Dawn Book 594
✔ Updike, John - Rabbit, Run
✔ Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Singer, Isaac Bashevis - The Magician of Lublin
Walser, Martin - Halftime
O'Brien, Edna - The Country Girls
Calvino, Italo - Our Ancestors
Beckett, Samuel - How It Is
O'Connor, Flannery - The Violent Bear it Away
Cassola, Carlo - Bebo's Girl
Sembene, Ousmane - God's Bit of Wood
Onetti, Juan Carlos - The Shipyard
✔ Heller, Joseph - Catch-22 Book 636
Lem, Stanislaw - Solaris
Grass, Gunter - Cat and Mouse
✔ Spark, Muriel - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Book 355
✔ Murdoch, Iris - A Severed Head
Salinger, J.D. - Franny and Zooey
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - No One Writes to the Colonel
✔ Frame, Janet - Faces in the Water Book 217
Vilas, Xose Neira - Memoirs of a Peasant Boy
✔ Heinlein, Robert - Stranger in a Strange Land Book 631
✔ Borges, Jorge Luis - Labyrinths Book 133
✔ Lessing, Doris - The Golden Notebook Book 156
✔ Ballard, J.G. - The Drowned World Book 187
Santos, Luis Martin - Time of Silence
Nabokov, Vladimir - Pale Fire
✔ Burgess, Anthony - A Clockwork Orange
Kesey, Ken - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
✔ Fowles, John - The Collector Book 446
O'Brien, Edna - Girl with Green Eyes
Fuentes, Carlos - The Death of Artemio Cruz
Llosa, Mario Vargas - The Time of the Hero
✔ Bassani, Giorgio - The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Taksis, Costas - The Third Wedding
Grass, Gunter - Dog Years
✔ Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar Book 318
✔ Burgess, Anthony - Inside Mr. Enderby Book 267
Spark, Muriel - The Girls of Slender Means
✔ Le Carre, John - The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Book 553
Pagnol, Marcel - Manon des Sources
Webb, Charles - The Graduate
✔ Vonnegut, Kurt - Cat's Cradle Book 341
Pynchon, Thomas - V.
✔ Bellow, Saul - Herzog Book 175
✔ Duras, Marguerite - The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein Book 524
✔ Achebe, Chinua - Arrow of God Book 316
Barthelme, Donald - Come Back, Dr Caligari
Infante, Guillermo Cabrera - Three Trapped Tigers
Kesey, Ken - Sometimes a Great Notion
Lispector, Clarice - The Passion According to G.H.
Wolkers, Jan - Back to Oegstgeest
✔ Hrabal, Bohumil - Closely Watched Trains Book 650
Thiong'o, Ngugi wa - The River Between
Kis, Danilo - Garden, Ashes
✔ - O'Connor, Flannery - Everything That Rises Must Converge Book 484
Vonnegut, Kurt - God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
O'Brien, Edna - August is a Wicked Month
Perec, Georges - Things: A Story of the Sixties
✔ Capote, Truman - In Cold Blood Book 142
Selimovic, Mesa - Death and the Dervish
✔ Endo, Shusaku - Silence Book 410
Sciascia, Leonardo - To Each His Own
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Barth, John - Giles Goat-Boy
✔ Goytisolo, Juan - Marks of Identity Book 610
Duras, Marguerite - The Vice-Consol
✔ Fowles, John - The Magus Book 573
✔ Johnson, B.S. - Trawl Book 291
✔ West, Rebecca - The Birds Fall Down Book 294
Perec, Georges - A Man Asleep
✔ Bulgakov, Mikhail - The Master and the Margarita Book 424
✔ Rhys, Jean - Wide Sargasso Sea
O'Brien, Flann - The Third Policeman
✔ Mahfouz, Naguib - Miramar Book 420
Vassilikos, Vassilis - Z
Kundera, Milan - The Joke
Richardson, Dorothy - Pilgrimage
✔ Singer, Isaac Bashevis - The Manor Book 280
✔ Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Llosa, Mario Vargos - The Cubs and Other Stories
✔ Wyndham, John - Chocky Book 495
Wilson, Angus - No Laughing Matter
Merle, Robert - Day of the Dolphin
Wolfe, Tom - The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
✔ Bowen, Elizabeth - Eva Trout Book 550
Honchar, Oles - The Cathedral
✔ Hines, Barry - A Kestrel for a Knave Book 644
✔ Brautigan, Richard - In Watermelon Sugar Book 414
Lenz, Siegfried - The German Lesson
✔ Lowry, Malcolm - Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend is Laid Book 325
Wolf, Christa - The Quest for Christa T.
✔ Dick, Philip K. - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Book 218
✔ Clarke, Arthur C. - 2001: A Space Odyssey Book 474
Cohan, Albert - Belle du Seigneur
Murdoch, Iris - The Nice and the Good
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr - Cancer Ward
Vidal, Gore - Myra Breckinridge
✔ Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr - The First Circle Book 558
✔ Perec, Georges - A Void Book 239
✔ Oates, Joyce Carol - them Book 438
Nabokov, Vladimir - Ada
Puzo, Mario - The Godfather
✔ Roth, Philip - Portnoy's Complaint Book 547
Becker, Jurek - Jacob the Liar
✔ Amis, Kingsley - The Green Man Book 365
✔ Fowles, John - The French Lieutenant's Woman
✔ Vonnegut, Kurt - Slaughterhouse Five Book 194
✔ Himes, Chester - Blind Man with a Pistol Book 643
✔ Coover, Robert - Pricksongs and Descants Book 481
Amado, Jorge - Tent of Miracles

1970 to 1979

✔ Ballard, J.G. - The Atrocity Exhibition Book 430
Konrad, Gyorgy - The Case Worker
Erofeyev, Venedikt - Moscow Stations
Puig, Manuel - Heartbreak Tango
✔ Salih, Tayeb - Seasons of Migration to the North Book 337
Poniatowska, Elena - Here's to You, Jesusa
✔ Davies, Robertson - Fifth BusinessBook 487
✔ Didion, Joan - Play It As It Lays Book 510
Johnson, Uwe - Jahrestage
✔ Farrell J.G. - Troubles Book 428
✔ Beckett, Samuel - Mercier and Camier Book 346
Echenique, Alfredo Bryce - A World for Julius
✔ Angelou, Maya - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Book 309
Handke, Peter - Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick
Morrison, Toni - The Bluest Eye
Tournier, Michael - The Ogre
✔ Spark, Muriel - The Driver's Seat Book 383
Mishima, Yukio - The Sea of Fertility
Updike, John - Rabbit Redux
✔ Burroughs, William - The Wild Boys Book 277
Osadchyi, Mykhailo - Cataract
Boll, Heinrich - Group Portrait with Lady
✔ Thompson, Hunter S. - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Book 444
Doctorow, E. L. - The Book of Daniel
Munro, Alice - Lives of Girls and Women
Johnson, B.S. - House Mother Normal
✔ Naipaul, V.S. - In a Free State Book 197
✔ Atwood, Margaret - Surfacing Book 427
✔ Berger, John - G Book 407
✔ Jansson, Tove - The Summer Book Book 328
Roth, Philip - The Breast
Ariyoshi, Sawako - The Twilight Years
Welty, Eudora - The Optimist's Daughter
✔ Calvino, Italo - Invisible Cities Book 455
✔ Morrison, Toni - Sula Book 359
✔ Murdoch, Iris - The Black Prince Book 159
✔ Pynchon, Thomas - Gravity's Rainbow Book 315
Greene, Graham - The Honorary Consul
✔ Ballard, J.G. - Crash Book 155
✔ Calvino, Italo - The Castle of Crossed Destinies Book 561
✔ Farrell, J.G. - The Siege of Krishnapur
Head, Bessie - A Question of Power
Jong, Erica - Fear of Flying
Vonnegut, Kurt - Breakfast of Champions
✔ Le Carre, John - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Book 345
Le Guin, Ursula K. - The Dispossessed
Laurence, Margaret - The Diviners
Boll, Heinrish - The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
✔ Coetzee, J. M. - Dusklands Book 435
Kotzwinkle, William - The Fan Man
Soljan, Antun - The Port
✔ Doctorow, E.L. - Ragtime
Anderson, Jessica - The Commandant
Paasilinna, Arto - The Year of the Hare
Bellow, Saul - Humboldt's Gift
Ballard, J.G. - High Rise
✔ Saadawi, Nawal El - Woman at Point Zero Book 533
Brautigan, Richard - Willard and His Bowling Trophies
Kertesz, Imre - Fateless
✔ Barthelme, Donald - The Dead Father Book 396
✔ Rushdie, Salman - Grimus Book 452
Bernhard, Thomas - Correction
✔ Amis, Martin - Dead Babies Book 366
✔ Powell, Anthony - A Dance to the Music of Time Book 237
Perec, Georges - W, or the Memory of Childhood
✔ Garcia Marquez, Gabriel - Autumn of the Patriarch
Wolf, Christa - Patterns of Childhood
Barthelme, Donald - Amateurs
✔ Taylor, Elizabeth - Blaming Book 281
Thornburg, Newton - Cutter and Bone
✔ Rice, Anne - Interview with the Vampire
Coover, Robert - The Public Burning
✔ DeLillo, Don - Ratner's Star Book 436
✔ Handke, Peter - The Left-Handed Woman Book 624
Puig, Manuel - Kiss of the Spider Woman
Murakami, Ryu - Almost Transparent Blue
✔ Coetzee, J.M. - In the Heart of the Country Book 244
Skvorecky, Josef - The Engineer of Human Souls
Pym, Barbara - Quartet in Autumn
Lispector, Clarice - The Hour of the Star
Morrison, Toni - Song of Solomon
Thiong'o, Ngugi wa - Petals of Blood
✔ Findley, Timothy - The Wars Book 574
✔ Herr, Michael - Dispatches Book 639
✔ King, Stephen - The Shining Book 234
Nin, Anais - Delta of Venus
Carter, Angela - The Passion of New Eve
Munro, Alice - The Beggar Maid
Selby Jr, Hubert - Requiem for a Dream
✔ Farrell, J.G. - The Singapore Grip Book 560
✔ Murdoch, Iris - The Sea, The Sea
Perec, Georges - Life: A User's Manual
✔ Irving, John - The World According to Garp Book 245
Gaite, Carmen Martin - The Back Room
✔ Byatt, A.S. - The Virgin in the Garden Book 426
Bernhard, Thomas - Yes
✔ McEwan, Ian - The Cement Garden Book 351
✔ Adams, Douglas - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Book 134
✔ Calvino, Italo - If On a Winter's Night a Traveler
Boll, Heinrich - The Safety Net
✔ Ba, Mariama - So Long a Letter Book 380
✔ Gordimer, Nadine - Burger's Daughter Book 608
Naipaul, V.S. - A Bend in the River
Lessing, Doris - Shikasta
✔ Brink, Andre - A Dry White Season Book 416
✔ Kundera, Milan - The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
Douka, Maro - Fool's Gold
Le Carre, John - Smiley's People
Montalban, Manuel Vazquez - Southern Seas

1980 to 1989

✔ Eco, Umberto - The Name of the Rose
Leonard, Elmore - City Primeval
✔ Desai, Anita - Clear Light of Day Book 504
✔ Toole, John Kennedy - Confederacy of Dunces Book 210
Nooteboom, Cees - Rituals
Kossman, Alfred - Smell of Sadness
Kadare, Ismail - Broken April
✔ Golding, William - Rites of Passage Book 604
✔ Rushdie, Salman - Midnight's Children
✔ Coetzee, J.M. - Waiting for the Barbarians Book 477
Tsypkin, Loenid - Summer in Baden-Baden
✔ The House with the Blind Glass Windows Book 503
Jie, Zhang - Leaden Wings
Llosa, Mario Vargas - The War of the End of the World
✔ Gray, Alasdair - Lanark Book 286
✔ Updike, John - Rabbit is Rich Book 323
DeLillo, Don - The Names
Bernhard, Thomas - Concrete
Strauss, Botho - Couples, Passerby
Gordimer, Nadine - July's People
✔ McEwan, Ian - The Comfort of Strangers Book 451
✔ Chatwin, Bruce - On the Black Hill Book 468
Banville, John - The Newton Letter
✔ Allende, Isabel - The House of Spirits Book 265
Keneally, Thomas - Schindler's Ark
Ishiguro, Kazuo - A Pale View of the Hills
Bernhard, Thomas - Wittgenstein's Nephew
Walker, Alice - The Colour Purple
White, Edmund - A Boy's Own Story
Levi, Primo - If Not Now, When?
Pessoa, Fernando - The Book of Disquiet
✔ Saramago, Jose - Baltasar and Blimunda Book 232
Claus, Hugo - The Sorrow of Belgium
Jelinek, Elfriede - The Piano Teacher
Lessing, Doris - The Diary of Jane Somers
✔ Coetzee, J.M. - The Life and Times of Michael K Book 212
✔ Swift, Graham - Waterland
Leonard, Elmore - La Brava
Trevor, William - Fools of Fortune
Beckett, Samuel - Worstward Ho
Tunstrom, Goran - The Christmas Oratorio
Antunes, Antonio Lobo - Fado Alexandrino
Saer, Juan Jose - The Witness
Rushdie, Salman - Shame
✔ Amis, Martin - Money: A Suicide Note
✔ Barnes, Julian - Flaubert's Parrot
Kross, Jaan - Professor Marten's Departure
✔ Acker, Kathy - Blood and Guts in High School Book 172
Rios, Julian - Larva: Midsummer Night's Babel
Carter, Angela - Nights at the Circus
✔ Gibson, William - Neuromancer Book 335
✔ Banks, Iain - The Wasp Factory Book 385
Didion, Joan - Democracy
Duras, Marguerite - The Lover
✔ Saramago, Jose - The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis Book 392
✔ Ballard, J.G. - Empire of the Sun Book 384
Kelman, James - The Busconductor Hines
✔ Pavis, Milorad - Dictionary of the Khazars Book 375
✔ Kundera, Milan - The Unbearable Lightness of Being
✔ Gemmell, David - Legend Book 587
Strauss, Botho - The Young Man
✔ Erdrich, Louise - Love Medicine Book 537
DeLillo, Don - White Noise
✔ Bernhard, Thomas - Old Masters Book 408
Xianliang, Zhang - Half of Man is Woman
✔ Hempel, Amy - Reasons to Live Book 641
Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale
✔ Ackroyd, Peter - Hawksmoor
✔ Burroughs, William - Queer Book 378
✔ Suskind, Patrick - Perfume
✔ McCarthy, Cormac - Blood Meridian Book 313
✔ Sagan, Carl - Contact Book 483
✔ Ellis, Brett Easton - Less Than Zero
Fowles, John - A Maggot
✔ Fredriksson, Marianne - Simon and the Oaks Book 226
Irving, John - The Cider House Rules
✔ Winterson, Jeanette - Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Book 357
Kincaid, Jamaica - Annie John
✔ Hofmann, Gert - The Parable of the Blind Book 645
ⅴ Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - Love in the Time of Cholera Book 591
Heerden, Etienne von - Ancestral Voices
Szczypiorski, Andrzej - The Beautiful Mrs. Seidnman
Levi, Primo - The Drowned and the Saved
✔ Coetzee, J.M. - Foe
✔ Moore, Alan - Watchmen Book 168
Oates, Joyce Carol - Marya
Bernhard, Thomas - Extinction
Ishiguro, Kazuo - An Artist of the Floating World
✔ Galeano, Eduardo - Memory of Fire Book 593
✔ Amis, Kingsley - The Old Devils
Thiong'o, Ngugi wa - Matigari
Moore, Lorrie - Anagrams
Leavitt, David - Lost Language of Cranes
Cho, Jung Rae - The Taebaek Moutains
Paskov, Viktor - Ballad for Georg Henig
Naipaul, V.S. - Enigma of Arrival
✔ Boyle, T. Coraghessan - World's End Book 413
Suskind, Patrick - The Pigeon
✔ Allende, Isabel - Of Love and Shadows Book 362
✔ Morrison, Toni - Beloved Book 439
Marias, Javier - All Souls
✔ Auster, Paul - The New York Trilogy Book 242
Oz, Amos - Black Box
✔ Wolfe, Thomas - The Bonfire of the Vanities
✔ Ellroy, James - The Black Dahlia Book 214
Winterson, Jeannette - The Passion
Handle, Peter - The Afternoon of the Writer
✔ Drabble, Margaret - The Radiant Way
✔ Yoshimoto, Banana - Kitchen Book 162
✔ Adams, Douglas - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Book 360
Adams, Douglas - The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul
Matthews, Henry - Cigarettes
✔ McEwan, Ian - The Child in Time
✔ Dandarembga, Tsitsi - Nervous Conditions Book 488
Banks, Iain M. - The Player of Games
✔ DeLillo, Don - Libra Book 496
✔ Hebert, Anne - The First Garden Book 633
✔ Ransmayr, Christoph - The Last World Book 628
✔ Carey, Peter - Oscar and Lucinda
✔ Hollinghurst, Alan - The Swimming Pool Library Book 648
Rushdie, Salman - The Satanic Verses
Markson, David - Wittgenstein's Mistress
White, Edmund - The Beautiful Room is Empty
Zwagerman, Joost - Gimmick!
✔ Esquivel, Laura - Like Water for Chocolate Book 538
✔ Galloway, Janice - The Trick is to Keep Breathing ✔ Book 596
Ishiguro, Kazuo - Remains of the Day

1990 to 1999

✔ Ghosh, Amitav - The Shadow Lines Book 599
✔ Kotzwinkle, William - The Midnight Examiner Book 292
O'Brien, Tim - The Things They Carried
✔ Carter, Angela - Wise Children Book 461
✔ de Bernieres, Louis - Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord
Sebald, W.G. - Vertigo
Fakinou, Eugenia - Astradeni
✔ DeLillo, Don - Mao II Book 347
Doolittle, Hilda - Aspodel
Toibin, Colm - The Heather Blazing
Morrison, Toni - Jazz
Ozdamar, Emine - Life is a Caravanserai
Sebald, W.G. - The Emigrants
✔ Eugenides, Jeffrey - The Virgin Suicides Book 542
✔ Shields, Carol - The Stone Diaries
✔ Seth, Vikram - A Suitable Boy
✔ Coe, Jonathan - What a Carve Up! Book 476
✔ de Botton, Alain - On Love Book 493
✔ Banks, Iain - Complicity Book 157
✔ Roth, Philip - Operation ShylockBook 449
✔ de Loos, Tessa - The Twins Book 211
✔ Kennedy, A.L. - Looking for the Possible Dance Book 282
✔ Faulks, Sebastian - Birdsong Book 283
Welsh, Irvine - Trainspotting
✔ Proulx, E. Annie - The Shipping News
Klima, Ivan - Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light
Timm, Uwe - The Invention of Curried Sausages
✔ Dabydeen, David - Disappearance Book 343
✔ Endo, Shusaku - Deep River Book 539
✔ Trevor, William - Felicia's Journey Book 326
✔ de Bernieres, Louis - Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Kelman, James - How Late It Was, How Late
Topol, Jachym - City Sister Silver
Tabuchi, Antonio - Pereira Declares: A Testimony
Murakami, Haruki - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Coetzee, J. M. - The Master of Petersburg
Vallejo, Fernando - Our Lady of the Assassins
Kyung-ni, Park - Land
✔ Houellebecq, Michel - Whatever Book 261
Hollinghurst, Alan - The Folding Star
✔ Auster, Paul - Mr. Vertigo Book 331
✔ Ferrante, Elena - Troubling Love Book 571
✔ Markaris, Petros - The Late-Night News Book 258
Davis, Lydia - The End of the Story
Rose, Gillian - Love's Work
Mistry, Rohinton - A Fine Balance
Schlink, Bernhard - The Reader
Sebald, W.G. - The Rings of Saturn
Roth, Philip - Sabbath's Theater
Rushdie, Salman - The Moor's Last Sigh
Amis, Martin - The Information
Martinez, Tomas Eloy - Santa Evita
✔ Ishiguro, Kazuo - The Unconsoled Book 247
✔ Atwood, Margaret - Alias Grace Book 374
Pelevin, Victor - The Clay Machine-Gun
✔ Foster Wallace, David - Infinite Jest Book 288
Haase, Hella - Forever a Stranger
✔ Barker, Pat - The Ghost Road Book 160
✔ Michaels, Anne - Fugutive Pieces Book 651
✔ Duncker, Patricia - Hallucinating Foucault Book 523
✔ Ballard, J.G. - Cocaine Nights Book 544
✔ Mendoza, Eduardo - A Light Comedy Book 257
MacDonald, Ann-Marie - Fall on Your Knees
✔ Baricco, Alessandro - Silk Book 389
✔ Banville, John - The Untouchable Book 163
✔ Roth, Philip - American Pastoral Book 563
✔ Roy, Arundhati - The God of Small Things
Pynchon, Thomas - Mason & Dixon
Hemmerechts, Kristien - Margot and the Angels
Pelevin, Victor - The Life of Insects
Piglia, Ricardo - Money to Burn
✔ Carey, Peter - Jack Maggs
✔ DeLillo, Don - Underworld Book 190
✔ McEwan, Ian - Enduring Love
✔ Self, Will - Great Apes Book 327
✔ Golden, Arthur - Memoirs of a Geisha
Miyabe, Miyuki - Crossfire
Kingsolver, Barbara - The Poisonwood Bible
✔ Coelho, Paulo - Veronika Decides to Die Book 207
✔ Cunningham, Michael - The Hours Book 486
✔ Barker, Pat - Another World Book 186
✔ Easton Ellis, Brett - Glamorama Book 531
Waters, Sarah - Tipping the Velvet
Nooteboom, Cees - All Souls Day
✔ Banks, Russell - Cloudsplitter Book 386
McEwan, Ian - Amsterdam
Kureishi, Hanif - Intimacy
Delibes, Miguel - The Heretic
✔ Houellebecq, Michel - Elementary Particles Book 649
Murakami, Haruki - Sputnik Sweetheart
O'Hanlon, Ardal - The Talk of the Town
✔ Gutierrez, Pedro Juan - Dirty Havana Trilogy Book 620
✔ Bolano, Roberto - Savage Detectives
Coetzee, J.M. - Disgrace
✔ Rushdie, Salman - The Ground Beneath Her Feet Book 336
Drakulic, Salenka - As I Am Not There
Stephenson, Neal - Cryptonomicon
Mishra, Pankaj - The Romantics
✔ Auster, Paul - Timbuktu Book 379
Maron, Monika - Pavel's Letters
Volpi, Jorge - In Search of Klingsor
Ugresic, Dubravka - The Museum of Unconditional Surrender
Nothomb, Amelie - Fear and Trembling
Kennedy, A.L. - Everything You Need

Edited: Feb 4, 2020, 1:40am

2000 to 2009

Saunders, George - Pastoralia
Oates, Joyce Carol - Blonde
Danielewski, Mark Z. - House of Leaves
Ballard, J.G. - Super-Cannes
Vila-Matas, Enrique - Bartleby and Co.
✔ Esterhazy, Peter - Celestial Harmonies Book 540
Peace, David - Nineteen Seventy-Seven
✔ Kundera, Milan - Ignorance
Deshpande, Shashi - Small Remedies
✔ Murakami, Haruki - After The Quake Book 263
✔ Atwood, Margaret - The Blind Assassin
✔ Roth, Philip - The Human Stain Book 180
Self, Will - How the Dead Live
✔ Doctorow, E.L. - City of God Book 640
✔ Smith, Zadie - White Teeth Book 173
✔ Faber, Michel - Under the Skin Book 569
Mda, Zakes - The Heart of Redness
Kadare, Ismail - Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
✔ Coelho, Paulo - The Devil and Miss PrymBook 185
Sharma, Akhil - An Obedient Father
✔ Cahbon, Michael - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay Book 464
✔ Llosa, Mario Vargas - The Feast of the Goat Book 231
✔ Ammaniti, Niccolo - I'm Not Scared
✔ Cercas, Javier - Soldiers of Salamis Book 467
✔ McEwan, Ian - Atonement
McGowan, Heather - Schooling
Sebald, W. G. - Austerlitz
Kureishi, Hanif - Gabriel's Gift
Auster, Paul - The Book of Illusions
✔ Martel, Yann - The Life of Pi
Palahniuk, Chuck - Choke
O'Neill, Jamie - At Swim, Two Boys
✔ Rushdie, Salman - Fury Book 248
✔ DeLillo, Don - The Body Artist Book 209
Mazzantini, Margaret - Don't Move
✔ Franzen, Jonathan - The Corrections Book 144
Houllebecq, Michel - Platform
✔ Pamuk, Orhan - Snow Book 308
✔ Hemon, Aleksandar - Nowhere Man Book 637
Banks, Iain - Dead Air
✔ Coetzee, J. M. - Youth Book 202
✔ Eugenides, Jeffrey - Middlesex
✔ Banville, John - Shroud Book 152
✔ O'Brien, Edna - In the Forest Book 349
McGahern, John - That They May Face the Rising Sun
Trevor, William - The Story of Lucy Gault
✔ Foer, Jonathan Safran - Everything is Illuminated Book 441
Saramago, Jose - The Double
Waters, Sarah - Fingersmith
✔ Mistry, Rohinton - Family Matters Book 298
Sinclair, Iain - London Orbital
✔ Coetzee, J. M. - Elizabeth Costello Book 260
✔ Murakami, Haruki - Kafka on the Shore
Shields, Caro, - Unless
✔ Sleigh, Dan - Islands Book 272
Lahiri, Jhumpa - The Namesake
✔ Pierre, DBC - Vernon God Little
✔ Kadare, Ismail - The Successor Book 230
Somoza, Jose Carlos - Lady Number Thirteen
✔ Hustvedt, Siri - Book 652
✔ Swift, Graham - The Light of Day Book 299
✔ Garner, Alan - Thursbitch Book 598
✔ Tremain, Rose - The Colour Book 322
✔ Boyle, T. Coraghessan - Drop City Book 382
✔ Haddon, Mark - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
✔ Oz, Amos - A Tale of Love and Darkness Book 253
Marias, Javier - Your Face Tomorrow
✔ Mitchell, David - Cloud Atlas Book 306
Sinclair, Iain - Dining on Stones
✔ Ackroyd, Peter - The Lambs of London Book 146
Markson, David - Vanishing Point
Schatzing, Frank - The Swarm
Nemirovsky, Irene - Suite Francaise
Toibin, Colm - The Master
Roth, Philip - The Plot Against America
✔ Drabble, Margaret - The Red Queen Book 521
✔ Enquist, Per Olov - The Book about Blanche and Marie Book 534
Levy, Andrea - Small Island
✔ Bolano, Roberto - 2666 Book 421
Hollinghurst, Alan - The Line of Beauty
✔ Smith, Ali - The Accidental Book 321
Manson, Peter - Adjunct: An Undigest
✔ Coetzee, J.M. - Slow Man Book 268
Smith, Zadie - On Beauty
✔ McEwan, Ian - Saturday
✔ Ishiguro, Kazuo - Never Let Me Go Book 206
✔ Banville, John - The Sea
✔ Lewycka, Marina - A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Kehlmann, Daniel - Measuring the World
Krauss, Nicole - The History of Love
St Aubyn, Edward - Mother's Milk
✔ Hyland, M.J. - Carry Me Down Book 222
✔ Pynchon, Thomas - Against the Day Book 255
✔ Desai, Kiran - The Inheritance of Loss
Littell, Jonathan - The Kindly Ones
✔ Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi - Half of a Yellow Sun
✔ Hamid, Mohsin - The Reluctant Fundamentalist Book 143
✔ DeLillo, Don - Falling Man Book 170
Sinha, Indra - Animal's People
✔ Barbery, Muriel - Elegance of the Hedgehog Book 182
✔ Enright, Anne - The Gathering Book 527
✔ Diaz, Junot - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Book 191
✔ Frank, Julia - The Blind Side of the Heart Book 583
✔ Kelman, James - Kieron Smith, Boy Book 235
Robinson, Marilynne - Home
✔ Adiga, Aravind - The White Tiger
Robinson, Roxana - Cost
✔ Auster, Paul - Invisible Book 543
✔ Byatt, A.S. - The Children's Book Book 169
✔ Meyer, Philipp - American Rust Book 303

2010 to 2019

✔ Murakami, Haruki- 1Q84 Book 215
Saramago, Jose - Cain
✔ Moore, Lorrie - A Gate at the Stairs Book 296
✔ Franzen Jonathan - Freedom Book 578
✔ Roth, Philip - Nemesis Book 178
Eugenides, Jeffrey - The Marriage Plot
✔ Barnes, Julian - The Sense of an Ending Book 393
✔ Egan, Jennifer - A Visit from the Goon Squad Book 530
✔ Smith, Ali - There but for the Book 295
✔ Harbach, Chad - The Art of Fielding Book 626
Tartt, Donna - The Goldfinch
Eggers, Dave - The Circle
Aidiches, Chimamanda Ngozi - Americanah
Kushner, Rachel - The Flamethrowers
McBride, Eimear - A Girl is a Half-formed Thing
MacDonald, Helen - H is for Hawk
Lerner, Ben - 10:04
Ferrante, Elena - The Story of the Lost Child
Smith, Ali - Winter
Barker, Nicola - H(A)PPY

Edited: Jan 17, 2020, 1:33am

654. Born in Exile - George Gissing. Godwin Peak seeks to escape from his socially inferior origins. The themes of social climbing and failing to fit in ("exile") are overwhelmed by the long debates about science versus religion which are a bit dated these days, and the story never rises to any great heights 2.5/5

655. The Damned - Joris-Karl Huysmans. Durtal investigates Satanism in late nineteenth century Paris while writing a biography of the notorious Gilles de Rais. This novel is more a series of history lessons, with the main characters gathering for dinner to hear about the life of fifteenth century Gilles de Rais (compatriot of Joan of Arc who was later hung for mass rape and murder of children), and Satanism through the ages. I found this all interesting and, according to the notes the historical aspects seem well researched. I also liked Huysmans descriptive abilities when the story returns to more contemporary Paris. 3.5/5

Dec 23, 2017, 10:05pm

Having completed the "H" authors I'm taking my annual break to read some of the authors that I have multiple books sitting in my TBR piles.

656. The Sound of Waves - Yukio Mishima. Shinji falls in love with Hatsue, recently returned to his island home in Japan. This is a fairly simple love story/moral fable told in the direct straightforward style of many Japanese novels (at least in translation). The sea dominates the island and is integrated throughout the story. There are probably deeper insights to be gained here, but I enjoyed it for its simple story of true love winning through - the sort of novel you could quite happily give your mother for Christmas. 4/5

Dec 25, 2017, 11:15pm

657. Group Portrait with Lady - Heinrich Boll. An unnamed author (Au.) interviews various people connected with Leni Pfieffer. An intriguing book, with the interviews being far more revealing about the interviewees and the author than the subject of his investigations. The novel is dense and progress slow, and Leni remains enigmatic right to the end. 3/5

Edited: Jan 6, 2018, 10:26pm

658. The Golden Bowl - Henry James. Maggie Verver marries Prince Amerigo then discovers a secret from his past. This book is from James’ late period during which his use of long complex sentence structures reached its peak. I had previously read The Wings of the Dove from the same period and found the latter very difficult so I decided to do this as an audiobook and let someone else work the sentence rhythms out for me. This helped but it is still a circuitous piece of writing and you constantly feel you are missing half of what’s going on, despite the focus being limited to four characters over 500 pages. The final third (subtitled “The Princess”) has more interest but still wanders around. There is little doubt that Henry James is a literary talent, and the person who has least doubt is Henry James. 2.5/5

Jan 8, 2018, 3:52am

Oh darn. I already hate Henry James. I am now dreading both Golden Bowl and Wings of the Dove.

Jan 14, 2018, 6:00pm

659. Thank You, Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse. Bertie Wooster and his butler Jeeves part ways over a banjolele. This was a fun read. Very funny with many witty observations and the exceptionally dry deadpan humour of Jeeves the butler. The regular use of the "N" word dates this, but the humour is faultless. 4/5

Jan 16, 2018, 6:00am

660. The Moon and the Bonfires - Cesare Pavese. Anguilla returns from the United States to his childhood village in the Italian countryside. The evolution of the story from musings about an exile returning to his old home, through tales of his childhood in the farms, and finally the impact of the war on the lives of his friends was interesting. Pavese evokes the Italian countryside and its cycles very nicely. A short story that packs quite a bit in to it. 3.5/5

Jan 18, 2018, 7:30pm

The Guermantes Way - Marcel Proust. Our narrator moves in to the salons of Paris. The third and longest of books in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, and it feels the longest with Prousts verbosity at its best/worst in some endless high society conversations. However I continue to enjoy Prousts wording, even if at times I’m tempted to switch off the detail, like listening to a (cricket) Test match commentary. Anyone with young children should try this on long car journeys; my girls were asleep in minutes! 3.5/5

Edited: Jan 20, 2018, 7:03am

661. White Noise - Don DeLillo. Jack Gladney, his wife, and children from various marriages live in a Midwestern town. My seventh of the eight DeLillos on the list, and the one I’ve enjoyed the most - a humorous look at consumerism, modern family life, environment issues and obsession with death. It doesn’t have the sweep and gravitas of Underworld but there are lots of memorable lines and relatable situations. 4/5

Jan 20, 2018, 10:18am

>12 puckers: Yikes, I did not realize that there were EIGHT DeLillo's on the list! Well, so far I have read two, liked one quite a lot and disliked the other a fair amount. So this is a better record for me that Ian McEwan and I suppose I'll be able to manage eight. White Noise sounds quite enjoyable.

Jan 20, 2018, 2:47pm

>13 annamorphic: This is the most straightforward and lineal narrative of his books to date. I find his writing in others more disjointed, and two failed for me - The Body Artist (too hard to follow) and Ratners Star (too Pynchonesque).

Edited: Jan 22, 2018, 5:35pm

662. High-Rise - J.G. Ballard. Conflicts between residents in an apartment block get out of control. This touches on themes explored in other Ballard books - the violent interaction of humans and inanimate objects (Crash), enclosed communities operating to a different set of rules (Cocaine Nights). My main problem with this was it seemed entirely unrealistic. I have lived in apartment blocks so could empathise with the early chapters where irritation between neighbours gets magnified to a ridiculous extent. However to see this degenerate in to mass anarchy, starvation, rape and murder without any intervention from external authorities robbed the later chapters of any credibility. However there was a certain fascination if you could ignore this. 3/5

Jan 22, 2018, 8:07pm

>15 puckers: It is quite the train wreck isn't it? But there is just something oh so compelling about his work. Like Crash, you just can't look away!

Jan 23, 2018, 12:07am

>16 Yells: I found Crash too graphic and (perversely) very dull. Definitely preferred High-Rise over that, but my favourite remains The Empire of the Sun.

Jan 27, 2018, 6:27pm

663. Hard Times - Charles Dickens. Masters and servants in Coketown during the Industrial Revolution. Shorter than the usual Dickens (at 350 pages) and therefore more focused, without too many side characters/plots, which I quite liked. While Dickens deals with the disparity of wealth, he doesn't have the hard realism of a Zola or similar. Nevertheless an entertaining read. 3.5/5

Edited: Jan 30, 2018, 5:18pm

664. The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene. A priest is on the run in southern Mexico where organised religion is treasonable. I was interested to discover there was a time in Mexico in the 1930s when priests were executed for their faith. As with other Greene's, the Catholic priest at the centre of the story is prey to alcohol and self-doubt. The closing chapters are maybe a little heavy in their Calvary symbolism (the betrayal, the absolution of the condemned murderer, the executioner recognising the good man etc), but like virtually all the Greene's on the list I enjoyed this novel. 4/5

Edited: Feb 1, 2018, 12:16am

665. The Player of Games - Iain. M. Banks. Gurgeh is one of the best players of games in the Culture universe. This is the second book in Banks' Culture series, and I read the first one, Consider Phlebas last year. There is no overlap in characters between the two other than being set in the same universe and it isn't necessary to read the first book, though I preferred it for action and tension. The latter part of the current story is based in the Empire of Azad whose inhabitants share many attributes with humankind, and the Culture characters take a very dim view of their morals and hunger for domination. 3.5/5

Edited: Feb 11, 2018, 2:54am

666. Your Face Tomorrow, Volume 1: Fever and Spear - Javier Marias. Jacques Deza has left his estranged wife in Spain and is approached to work for an intelligence organisation in London. The first of three volumes, this is an intriguing book. Rather Proust-like in structure with a handful of events which last hundreds of pages thanks to long philosophical digressions. While these were dense with many multi-page paragraphs, they were quite engrossing and touch on interesting aspects of human communications. This volume ends with a knock on his front door. Press on.... 4/5

Your Face Tomorrow, Volume 2: Dance and Dream - Javier Marias. Similar pace to the first volume but darker as the location moves from the Oxford don’s drinks party that anchored volume 1, to a London night club. Continues to be skilful and engrossing. 4/5

Your Face Tomorrow, Volume 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell - Javier Marias. A different pace in the final volume with multiple locations and players. Ties everything up nicely though. 4/5

Highly recommended for those who enjoy (perhaps excessively) thoughtful and reflective novels of the human condition. On a final note I’d recommend reading the three volumes close together as there are many cross references and allusions to things said in earlier volumes which you might miss over time.

Feb 16, 2018, 3:42am

Pilgrimage III: Deadlock, Revolving Lights, The Trap - Dorothy Richardson. The third volume of Richardson's Pilgrimage covers three books published between 1921 and 1925. Richardson's style appears to be maturing (i.e. getting more difficult to follow). I have enjoyed her way of describing places, particularly London, but in these volumes there is a lot of difficult dialogue about socialism and feminism, and while there are some entertaining passages in here I struggled to find much of interest in most of it. I rated Volumes one and two 3.5 stars and 3 stars respectively; this one is 2.5/5 overall. One more volume to go next year...

Feb 20, 2018, 3:00pm

667. The Master - Colm Tóibín. The life of the writer Henry James between 1895 and 1899. I have struggled with James’ novels, particularly his later works that were written following the period in this novel. This is a touching portrait of a private man struggling with failed relationships in his life. It probably won’t make reading his novels easier to enjoy, but at least I now have an understanding of the man who wrote them. 4/5

Edited: Feb 23, 2018, 5:56am

668. On the Eve - Ivan Turgenev. A poor young Bulgarian man and a wealthy young Russian woman fall passionately in love despite class and ethnic differences. A pleasant and relatively straightforward love story with the expected tragic ending. 3/5

Edited: Feb 26, 2018, 9:45pm

669. The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevsky. Prince Myshkin arrives in Russia and puzzles everyone with his disarming honesty and lack of social skills. I had mixed feelings about this book. The initial chapters I enjoyed, and some of the more ridiculous characters were entertaining. However there were other characters who's actions and motivations I couldn't quite figure out, and therefore I found parts of it a drag. 3/5

Mar 6, 2018, 5:36am

670. Three Trapped Tigers - G. Cabrera Infante. Night life in pre-Castro Havana. I enjoyed the first part of this book, with inventive structure and similar events described from various perspectives. Later the book goes off in drug/alcohol induced tangents reminiscent of Joyce's fantasy passages in Ulysses - I enjoyed these bits much less, but there is enough clever word play to keep you going. I wonder about the translation; the book is packed with clever word play in English (double entendre and plays on pronunciation) so how much of this is a translation of the original and how much is new material? Overall a bit of work to get through it. 3/5

Edited: Mar 11, 2018, 3:35am

671. Goodbye to Berlin - Christopher Isherwood. A semi-autobiographical account of Berlin in the early 30s on the verge of Nazi domination. Written in mildly interesting short stories this book introduces us to Sally Bowles, famously developed in to Liza Minnelli's character in the movie "Cabaret". 3/5

Edited: Sep 26, 2019, 3:18am

672. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro. Stevens, a butler at Darlington Hall for 30 years, goes on a holiday to meet his former housekeeper. This is so well written - a subtle depiction of a man so repressed by his sense of dignity and loyalty that he can't bring himself to admit it. Thought-provoking, evocative and moving. Excellent. 5/5

Mar 14, 2018, 4:50am

one of the few books off the list that has a film version which I think has an equivalent rating... have you seen it?

Mar 14, 2018, 2:32pm

>29 arukiyomi: I saw the movie on release 25 years ago and thought it a bit dull, but 25 years ago I might have found the book dull too. I think the former was pretty faithful to the latter but (from memory) a bit more explicit about Stevens feelings of regret for what might have been. I should revisit it as many scenes came back to me as I read the novel.

Edited: Mar 14, 2018, 6:26pm

673. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving. John Wheelwright recalls his life with his best friend, the diminutive Owen Meany. I really enjoyed this. Owen Meany is one of the most original creations in fiction, and his much larger than life presence dominates every page he appears on. In comparison the other characters in the book (with the exception of Grandma "merciful heavens" Wheelwright) are insignificant and you miss Owen when he is not present. The only irritation in the book was the anti US foreign policy editorial asides which relate to a period 20 years after the Owen Meany story, and seem out of place. Despite these reservations I still give this 4.5/5.

Edited: Mar 17, 2018, 8:01pm

The “I” authors are few on the list so we move swiftly on to the “J”s:

674. A Day Off - Storm Jameson. A lonely middle aged woman decides to go out for the day. There is little to like about this rude slatternly woman, and the author gives you a slice of realism without anything to engage your sympathies. 2.5/5

Mar 18, 2018, 6:16pm

675. The Turn of the Screw - Henry James. A new governess in a remote country estate experiences "ghosts" of her predecessors. Henry James moderates (but doesn't abandon) his usual elliptical style for this short ghost story. The subject matter and unresolved questions maintain interest. 3/5

Mar 21, 2018, 3:40am

676. The Piano Teacher - Elfriede Jelinek. A sadomasochistic piano teacher has an explosive affair with one of her students. The movie appears in the 1001 Movies book; I hated it. The book at least is redeemed by some dark visceral poetic writing, and a tense climax in the closing pages. However this is still an unpleasant read and the characters are unlikeable. 2/5

Mar 22, 2018, 6:40pm

677. Leaden Wings - Jie Zhang. Life in a Chinese community as industrial reforms are introduced. The synopsis didn't sound too promising - debates in the local communist party and a factory about the necessity and pace of reforms in industrial production in 1980. Yawn. However I enjoyed this. There are many books about the impact of the start of Cultural Revolution on people's live (Wild Swans etc), but I've read very little about the reverse impact of the market reforms in the 1980s when party members and Maoists fought locally to maintain the status quo. While we know now that they ultimately lost this fight, this novel is focussed on this pivotal moment in Chinese history at the micro-level of one factory at a point in time. Interesting. 3.5/5

Mar 24, 2018, 4:01pm

678. Platero and I - Juan Ramón Jiménez. The author and his donkey walk around the town of Moguer in Andalusia. Evocative little snapshots of the town and countryside but increasing focus on decay and death towards the end. Each chapter is less than a page long so hard to get much depth in them; the overall impact is pleasant but melancholy. 3/5

Edited: Apr 4, 2018, 7:28pm

679. Albert Angelo - B. S. Johnson. Albert is a supply teacher in London. The primary interest in this novel Is the style and physical attributes of the book. Johnson throws in poetry, columnular layouts, and even has holes cut in two pages (a printers nightmare?). Towards the end he goes meta to explain all this and then brings the story to an abrupt end. The story itself is not of great interest, and is rather irrelevant in all this showing off. 3/5

680. House Mother Normal - B.S. Johnson. Eight residents of a nursing home narrate the events of one evening. Like Albert Angelo, the highlight of this novel is the layout - eight 21 page narratives paced identically but with varying degrees of lucidity (including blank pages when a narrator falls asleep). 3.5/5

Mar 28, 2018, 6:12pm

681. The History of Rasselas - Samuel Johnson. A prince who has lived in solitude goes in to the world to discover the secret of happiness...and doesn't. The writing style is quite readable and modern for a book from 1759, but the contents are rather dull - lots of talk and little action or profound conclusions. 2.5/5

Apr 4, 2018, 7:27pm

682. Fear of Flying - Erica Jong. A young writer and her relationships with the men in her life. Jong is often mentioned in the same breath as Germaine Greer so I braced myself for 300 pages of ear-bashing. Instead I found this an entertaining, energetic and often amusing story of a young woman seeking to find herself while being drawn to a diverse range of men. 3.5/5

Edited: Apr 5, 2018, 1:58am

683. Finnegans Wake - James Joyce. Joyce's famously incomprehensible final novel.

First a confession. I "read" this using Jim Norton's marvellously narrated but abridged audiobook. 5 hours rather than the full novel which would be closer to 25 hours. Joycean scholar Frank Delaney recommended that you do not try to read this from cover to cover, but rather dip in and out randomly and enjoy the words. Based on what I listened to this seems sound advice and justifies for me the abridgement. Certainly there is much debate about the plot and the characters, and I can add nothing to that discussion as I couldn't discern either! What you do have though is a marvellous celebration of the sound and rhythms of the English/Irish language. I found myself chuckling at passages even though I could only understand half of what was being said; in the words of another famous Irishman (Frank Carson) - "it's the way I tell 'em". I recommend the audio book as a unique listening experience, and I still have the full hardcopy on the shelf if my conscience gets the better of me. 3.5/5

Apr 6, 2018, 5:58am

684. Remembering Babylon - David Malouf. Gemmy, an Englishman abandoned as a child with Australian aborigines, walks in to a remote town in pioneering outback Queensland. This is a short book that impressively gets in to the head of many characters and develops them nicely. Strangely though Gemmy remains elusive to the end. I found the closing chapter oddly jarring but still enjoyed this book very much. 4/5.

Apr 10, 2018, 4:05pm

685. Storm of Steel - Ernst Jünger. Memoirs of a German officer in WWI. It is always interesting to read books written from the perspective of “the other side”, and this memoir by Jünger shows that life for the German soldier in the trenches was just as awful as that of “the Allies”. Where Jüngers memoirs differ from those of other eyewitness books is that he does not philosophise or get bogged down in remorse or regret; he just gets on with his job without questioning why or reflecting on the bigger picture. Even when his men are killed by their own side - “Mistakes like that happened quite frequently at that time, and one didn’t spend too much time anguishing over them”. He appears to have been a remarkable soldier and officer, and remarkably lucky to have lived to tell his tale. 4/5

Edited: Apr 12, 2018, 5:42am

On to the "K" authors:

686. Spring Flowers, Spring Frost - Ismail Kadare. A young painter's experiences following the fall of communism in Albania. The book is a mixture of legends and issues arising from the move from dictatorship to a different set of rules overlaid by the revival of the old Albanian blood feud laws (Kanun). Some interesting education on this remote country, but the storyline was a bit of a hot potch that didn't really go anywhere. 2.5/5

Edited: Apr 23, 2018, 7:36am

687. The Castle - Franz Kafka. K arrives in a village where he has been employed as a land surveyor. Typically Kafkaesque, with a massive invisible bureaucracy that thwarts any resolution of issues. I preferred The Trial as more oppressive. In this novel the main character does little to engage the readers sympathies, and most of the other characters are more silly than threatening. 3/5

Apr 23, 2018, 4:47am

"The Trail" - is that the one where his sat nav keeps redirecting him to destinations that don't exist?

Edited: Apr 23, 2018, 7:36am

>45 arukiyomi: Ha ha. Trying to think of a witty comeback but failing miserably.... See what happens when the touchstones are disabled (now resolved).

Apr 23, 2018, 7:34am

688. Thousand Cranes - Yasunari Kawabata. Kikuji meets his deceased father's mistress at a Japanese tea ceremony. A typical Japanese novel where the writing and plot is deceptively simple and laden with symbolism and atmosphere rather than action. One to think about. 3/5

Apr 26, 2018, 5:29am

689. Measuring the World - Daniel Kehlmann. The life of two great German scientists - Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauss. I had never heard of the latter, and was only aware of the former through various place names in South America. It was therefore nice to learn something new from reading a novel. This is written in a way that makes these great men seem eccentric verging on comical. I don't know the extent to which the various events in their life are apocryphal, but I found the book both entertaining and educational. 3.5/5

Apr 29, 2018, 7:34pm

690. The Busconductor Hines - James Kelman. Rab Hines is a young father with a dead-end job in Glasgow. Having spent my student and early working life in Glasgow at around the time this book was written I really wanted to like this book. The language and places were familiar to me, but I found the story hard to get in to. The main character is feckless and irresponsible, and while you have some sympathy for him, he is frustrating. Both he and the plot go nowhere. 2.5/5

Apr 30, 2018, 6:18am

691. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver. A Southern Baptist preacher takes his wife and four girls to be missionaries in the Belgian Congo shortly before independence (in 1960). This was written in an engaging way and was quite engrossing. It gets a bit preachy towards the end, but its good to be reminded of the failures of Western interference in Africa from time to time. I also regretted that while each of the five females told the story of their life in the Congo, the fathers thoughts on his (many) failings as a father and evangelist were never given voice. Nevertheless this is a worthwhile read. 4/5

Edited: May 2, 2018, 5:02am

692. Passing- Nella Larsen. Two former school friends meet accidentally in a Chicago hotel. To say much more would trespass into spoiler territory, but it deals with the issue of racism in 1920s USA. Nicely written with a few twists and turns. 3.5/5

May 3, 2018, 7:37pm

693. Schindler's Ark - Thomas Keneally. Oskar Schindler's factory provided a relative refuge for over 1,000 Jews during the extermination campaigns in Poland during the Second World War. The story of Schindler became well known following the release of Spielberg's excellent movie adaptation of this book. The book treads a nice line between drama and historical facts, based on eyewitness testimony. The tightening of the noose around the Jews of Cracow was for me perhaps the tensest part of the story as hopes of a stabilisation in the persecution are relentlessly crushed. Fact can be more horrific than fiction. 4/5

May 5, 2018, 10:00pm

694. The Girls of Slender Means - Muriel Spark. The May of Teck Club is a hostel in London in 1945 for "girls of slender means". A short novel, and filled with Spark's trademark strong and somewhat unhinged women. For me there were too many characters and loose ends, and not much happens until the drama and tension during the climax near the end. My last and least favourite Spark on the 1001 list. 3/5

May 6, 2018, 5:26am

both Thomas Keneally (Schindler's Ark) and Muriel Spark (Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) feature in recent episodes of the BBC's podcast Bookclub. You might find them interesting after these last couple of reads.

May 6, 2018, 7:45am

>54 arukiyomi: Thanks. I'll keep my eye out for these.

695. The Call of the Wild - Jack London. Short story about a domestic dog that is taken to Alaska to work in sled teams and feels the call of his wild ancestors. Entertaining enough if not overly deep. 3/5

May 8, 2018, 8:16am

696. The Life of a Good-For-Nothing - Jospeh von Eichendorff. The narrator traipses around Europe looking for romance. Nothing really offensive about this piece of German Romanticism, but nothing much of anything else. Just lots of skulking in shrubbery and other nonsense. Using amaryann21's food comparisons, this is a strawberry mouse - light and fluffy, overly sweet and in need of some texture. 2.5/5

697. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey. McMurphy is admitted to a "mental ward" ruled by the unflappable sadistic Big Nurse. This was a great read, with a battle of wits between the immovable object and the irresistible force, and McMurphy's life affirming impact on the patients of the hospital. Jack Nicolson made McMuphy his own in the multi-Oscar winning film, even though physically he differs from the barrel-chested redhead described in this book. 4.5/5

May 14, 2018, 7:48am

698. The Case of Sergeant Grischa - Arnold Zweig. Grisha, a Russian POW is mistaken for a deserter and sentenced to death. It was in some ways refreshing to have a novel set in WW1 that wasn't all about mud and massacre. The descriptions of locations and seasons in this book were a highlight for me, and even though I didn't really empathise with the central character I quite enjoyed the story. 3.5/5

May 14, 2018, 5:54pm

Any big plans for #700?

May 14, 2018, 7:45pm

>58 Yells: I always plan to have a long and iconic book from a different country for my "100s" books. To date I've gone with Bleak House (England - 200), Anna Karenina (Russia - 300), The Arabian Nights (Middle East - 400), Ulysses - (Ireland - 500), Romance of the Three Kingdoms (China - 600). For 700 I've made a start on Gone with the Wind which should keep me busy for a couple of weeks.

May 14, 2018, 10:47pm

What an excellent plan!

May 18, 2018, 1:03am

699. Murder Must Advertise - Dorothy L. Sayers. Lord Peter Wimsey is sent undercover following the murder of an employee of an advertising company. I didn't enjoy this as much as many of the LT reviewers, finding it a bit dry and full of irrelevant detail of workings of an advertising agency. I was also not convinced about the attempts to cover up the identity of Lord Wimsey and his undercover persona when others begin to suspect they are one in the same person. The mode of the operation of the crime gang however was quite ingenious. A crime novel for the mind rather than tensions and emotions. 3/5

May 25, 2018, 9:28am

700. Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell. An epic story centering on Scarlett O'Hara around Atlanta during and following the Civil War. This is a great read. There are many wonderfully developed characters, led by Scarlett O'Hara, a self-centered, insensitive but remarkably determined young woman, and Rhett Butler, her opportunistic, sarcastic but perceptive suitor. Casting Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable for these roles in the movie was inspired and for once the movie personae exactly fit the characters in the book. The only thing that holds me back from a perfect score is the authors unapologetic acceptance of slavery, and her casting of the Ku Klux Clan as decent but misguided gentlemen. 4.5/5

May 25, 2018, 12:06pm


May 25, 2018, 2:56pm

>62 puckers: Wow! That's an impressive number and also a great review of one of my favourite books on the list.

May 25, 2018, 4:42pm

May 25, 2018, 9:24pm

May 26, 2018, 3:34am

Wow! Just wow.

>62 puckers: I read Gone with the wind for the BBC Top 100 about 10 years ago (still haven't completed that list darn it!), and was so surprised. I don't really know what I expected but I loved it.

May 26, 2018, 6:06am

>66 ELiz_M: I couldn't decide and might have gotten carried away. They seem so much bigger this morning. But in any case, congrats!

May 27, 2018, 1:29pm

Belated congratulations! That is mighty impressive!

Edited: May 27, 2018, 4:03pm

>67 BekkaJo: >68 ELiz_M: >69 paruline: Thank you all.
>66 ELiz_M: Nice to have my thread brightened up!

May 28, 2018, 5:31am

Yay... one book closer to death


May 28, 2018, 2:31pm

Wow, congratulations!

Jun 2, 2018, 9:34pm

701. Fateless - Imre Kertesz. Semi-autobiographical account of a teenage Hungarian boy who is sent to Auschwitz. The young narrator deals with his environment with a fatalistic detachment that provides a clinical rather than horrific view of life for Jews during the Holocaust. The author was awarded the Nobel for Literature. 3/5

Edited: Jun 4, 2018, 7:53am

702. Annie John - Jamaica Kincaid. Follows Annie John's coming of age from 12 to 17 on the island of Antigua. A familiar experience for many as a child becomes a adult. 3/5

Jun 11, 2018, 1:46pm

703. The Confessions - Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau’s autobiography. For someone who’s works had such an impact on 18th century France, Rousseau narrates his life in a most uninteresting way. “The Confessions” soon becomes “The Whinges” which are mostly petty and directed at numerous friends who eventually seem to give up on him. A dull book. 2/5

Jun 15, 2018, 11:30am

704. The Leopard: a Novel - Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa. The Prince of Salina observes the decline of the Sicilian aristocracy following the unification of Italy in 1861. A wonderfully evocative description of change and decay. Drama is kept to a minimum and the book relies on atmosphere which the author delivers in spades. Very nice. 3.5/5

Jun 26, 2018, 1:02am

705. Death in Venice - Thomas Mann. A man becomes obsessed with a beautiful teenage boy on a trip to Venice. I thought Mann's descriptions of Venice and surrounds were evocative, and the increasingly risky behaviour of Aschenbach is nicely played out to its end. 4/5

Edited: Jun 27, 2018, 7:02pm

706. Everything You Need - A.L. Kennedy. Mary Lamb joins a writers colony where, unknown to her, her father lives. This isn’t my sort of book. Kennedy’s writing is very intense and hard to get in to, the book is too long for the glacial progression of the story, and the father is too self obsessed and self loathing. Towards the end I did start to care about what happened, and the ending itself I quite liked. Overall then 2.5/5.

Jul 1, 2018, 2:58am

707. Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis. A bookish man goes to Crete to open a mine, taking along with him an assistant in the earthy Zorba. Some of the philosophising in the book goes on a bit, but you find it hard to resist Zorba's "seize the day" attitude to a life of wine, women and song. 3/5

Jul 5, 2018, 6:25am

708. The Violent Bear it Away - Flannery O'Connor. An old man believes his great-nephew is destined to be a prophet. Well written in the Southern Gothic tradition with dark fanaticism and no hope or happy endings. 3.5/5

Jul 6, 2018, 8:28am

709. Under the Net - Iris Murdoch. A struggling writer in 1950s London gets entangled with various other people. A very readable book. The main character and narrator is a Jake Donaghue. He didn't evoke my sympathies as he acts in a foolish and impractical way, but I did enjoy the novel. 3.5/5

Edited: Aug 2, 2018, 7:11pm

710. Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light - Ivan Klima. A repressed film maker lives through the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia only to find his creative spirit broken by the freedoms the fall of the regime bring. Thought provoking look at individuals trying to reinvent themselves when what they wished for actually happens. "It made sense to make the film when it couldn't be made. It doesn't make sense now". Seamless time transitions mid paragraph were occasionally confusing. 3.5/5

Edited: Aug 11, 2018, 10:24am

711. Death in Rome - Wolfgang Koeppen. Shortly after WW2 a German family reunite in Rome. The writing at times is dense and switches narrator without warning. However I got quite caught up in this story of the members of a German family each representing aspects of post-war Germany (the SS general, the government official , the composer, the priest, the ambitious law student). The action takes place in many of the locations I visited recently in Rome which adds personal texture to the read. The title alludes to Mann's Death in Venice (reviewed at book 705 above), and closing lines of this book ("That same evening {the death} had made world news, though the fact of it can have shocked no one") compare with Mann's "Before nightfall a shocked world received the news of his decease". 4/5

Edited: Jul 17, 2018, 3:49pm

712. The History of Love - Nicole Krauss. In New York an old man is waiting for death while a girl is seeking friendship for her mother. A typical 21st century novel with changes to typeface, layout, narrator and stories within stories. There was enough to maintain my interest, and as the stories inevitably converged there were moving moments. 3.5/5

Jul 15, 2018, 11:31am

Catching up on your excellent short reviews, many of books that I have not read and have been planning to -- so very useful! And a quite belated congrats on blowing past 700. You are an inspiration.

Jul 15, 2018, 3:26pm

>85 annamorphic: thank you for your very kind words. I am approaching the pointy end of the list so reading a lot of books I wouldn’t have picked up but for Boxalls book. A mostly positive experience thus far.

Jul 17, 2018, 3:48pm

713. The Joke - Milan Kundera. A student in communist Czechoslovakia writes a witticism on a postcard with dire consequences. A well constructed novel with multiple narrators. Mostly serious with some dark twists, but some humour and even farce towards the end. 3.5/5

Jul 19, 2018, 7:07pm

714. The Buddha of Suburbia - Harif Kureishi. London in the 1970s and a few years in the life of Karim who's father is an Indian immigrant and who's mother is Anglo-English. This novel doesn't seem to be able to make its mind up about its focus - at times it has serious things to say about racism and the immigrant experience, and then it throws in some unlikely farcical comedy. Nevertheless this is overall a quite enjoyable read. 3.5/5

Edited: Jul 24, 2018, 9:13am

715. The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri. Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli, Indian immigrants to the USA, have a son whom they name Gogol. I enjoyed this read. The novel didn’t have anything terribly original to say, but I thought it captured nicely the dynamics of generations in a multicultural family, and the experience of moving out of home to create your own life. 4/5

Edited: Aug 2, 2018, 7:10pm

716. Quicksand - Nella Larsen. Helga Crane is the child of a mixed-race couple and moves from one dissatisfying situation to another. Larsen doesn't allow for much sympathy for this woman who struggles to fit in, wilfully throwing aside many advantages and sympathies as she uproots herself time and again. However the writing was engaging enough. 3.5/5

Aug 2, 2018, 7:09pm

717. The Diviners - Margaret Laurence. Morag Gunn, a Canadian writer, reflects on her life. I thought this book was beautifully constructed and paced. A slow present-time story interspersed with numerous short stories from her past, which gradually converge into a moving conclusion. Morag's upbringing was a million miles from my own, but Laurence brings out many universal truths about growing up and getting old. 4.5/5

Aug 2, 2018, 7:44pm

>91 puckers: Margaret Laurence really deserves to have more than one book on the list IMHO. Most Canadians would probably also like to see The Stone Angel on the list. It is the first book in the Manawaka cycle (The Diviners is #5 and her final novel); so it was the start of her rise to fame. She had written some other books before The Stone Angel based upon her experiences while living in Africa but they didn't strike a chord with readers like The Stone Angel.

Laurence grew up in Neepawa, a small Manitoba town very similar to the town I lived near before I left for university. So her upbringing and mine share common roots but I'm pleased to know that her writing transcends that shared history.

Aug 2, 2018, 8:37pm

>91 puckers: Oh, there have just been several reviews of The Stone Angel in another group that had me intrigued. I didn't realize Margaret Laurence has a book on the list!

Edited: Aug 2, 2018, 8:54pm

>92 gypsysmom: >93 japaul22: I was surprised to read that this was quite a controversial book in the 1970s, and was banned in schools as obscene. The sex/morality aspects didn't strike me as anything extraordinarily offensive.

Aug 4, 2018, 10:39pm

718. The Dark Child - Camara Laye. The author recalls his childhood in Guinea. Noteworthy for its autobiographical tale of life and rituals in a West African village. There's not much excitement or tension in a fairly matter-of-fact retelling, except for the coming of age ceremonies which were quite fascinating. 3/5

Aug 6, 2018, 7:35am

719. The Rainbow - D.H. Lawrence. The lives of three generations of a family in a Nottinghamshire town. My sixth D.H. Lawrence book off the list, and I'm still not a fan. I find his writing too intense and his characters passionately obsessed with conflict and miserable dissatisfaction. At least this book moved along from generation to generation so the misery was shared around, and there were moments of calm that were quite enjoyable. 3/5

Aug 6, 2018, 1:58pm

>96 puckers: You're not giving me much hope, but it's good to know I'm in good company.

Aug 9, 2018, 7:15am

720. Smiley's People - John Le Carre. George Smiley comes out of retirement after the murder of one of his old Russian agents. Le Carre's Smiley is the antitheses of Fleming's Bond - no fast women, fast cars, fast anything, just a methodical piecing together of information and teasing of old contacts to bring about the desired result. At times it feels like a jigsaw puzzle without a picture, but it all eventually comes together. 4/5

Aug 10, 2018, 6:21am

721. At the Mountains of Madness - H.P. Lovecraft. A group of Antarctic explorers stumble upon a previously unknown civilisation. A bit long on detail and short on tension, but fairly entertaining and imaginative, and the source of many subsequent sci-fi/horror sequels. 3.5/5

Edited: Aug 11, 2018, 10:20am

722. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro. A once revered artist in post war Japan recalls events in his life leading up to the war. A teasing book with an unreliable narrator justifying his actions in the buildup to the war without really admitting fault. Is he now despised or is his conscience exaggerating imagined slights? Interesting to read a novel dealing with Japanese society following the war. 4/5

Aug 15, 2018, 8:06pm

723. Uncle Silas - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. A rich young heiress is put under the guardianship of her mysterious Uncle Silas. A classic Gothic tale with sprawling mansions, creepy servants and a half-hysterical heroine (though in this case she does seem to be less prone to fainting away than the usual Gothic-heroine-in-distress). Despite my cynical eye-rolling I did get caught up in the last few page-turning chapters. Some of the suspense is lost knowing from the start that the narrator of the novel is the lady in question in later life (so she must live to tell the tale), and the loose ends are wrapped up rather too rapidly, but nevertheless I'll give this 3.5/5

Aug 17, 2018, 6:16pm

724. The Lost Language of Cranes - David Leavitt. Philip is deciding whether to come out to his parents, Owen and Rose; Owen himself is a closet homosexual. This novel is as much about failure to communicate as it is about repressed homosexuality. Sensitively done, but a little bit dull. 3/5

Aug 18, 2018, 8:33am

Totally belated BIG CONGRATS on hitting 700, okay by now even 724! This is incredible! :O
I'm always surprised when reading other threads how many books are listed I'd swear I never heard of, although I've been browsing the list and two different editions so often. Great reviews, and several new book bullets for me.

Aug 18, 2018, 4:11pm

>103 Deern: Thank you!

Aug 19, 2018, 6:32pm

725. Cider with Rosie - Laurie Lee. Lee describes his childhood in a Cotswold village. At times it verges on the rose-tinted, but then a moment of darkness drags it away from being mawkish. He captures rural life from child’s perspective nicely, and sparked memories of some of my similar childhood experiences in semi rural Scotland. 3.5/5

Aug 22, 2018, 7:14pm

726. Bosnian Chronicle - Ivo Andric. Covers the years 1807-1814 in the town of Travnick, Bosnia, and in particular the relations between the French and Austrian consulates, the Turkish rulers and the local multi-religious population. The novel is nicely written, but nothing much happens other than a race riot sadly reminiscent of more recent conflicts in that region. I preferred The Bridge on the Drina with its wider historical sweep, but there is nothing to dislike in this read. 3/5

Aug 23, 2018, 7:14am

727. Solaris - Stanislaw Lem. Kelvin is sent to a space station on Solaris, a planet consisting of a much researched but still mysterious ocean. This is a quite fascinating work of science fiction. Parts of the story are a bit dry as Lem builds the history of human research on this planet, but he creates something that is quite original, credible (in a science fiction sense) and thought-provoking. 4/5

Edited: Aug 25, 2018, 4:49pm

728. Get Shorty - Elmore Leonard. Chili Palmer, a debt collector from Miami makes a trip to Hollywood. A satire about the process of getting a movie idea off the ground, this novel has some good witty dialogue and original twists and turns, but brings in too many superfluous characters and doesn’t really go anywhere, which might be the point Leonard is making? Entertaining enough but a bit pointless. 3/5

Aug 27, 2018, 4:46am

729. A Hero of Our Times - Mikhail Lermontov. Chapters in the life of Russian officer Pechorin. Pechorin is dissatisfied with life and treats his friends and lovers with disdain. I never really connected with why Pechorin is so jaded, and why he treats people the way he does, nor do we get a moral as midway through the book (it isn't chronological) he disappears on us, the reader, too. However its not a difficult book to read. 3/5

Edited: Aug 28, 2018, 4:15pm

730. Persuasion - Jane Austen. Solidly in the Austen comfort zone - a lot of amusingly self-centred characters in the leisured classes, and a sensible but repressed heroine with a former love attachment that she was reluctantly persuaded to terminate. No great surprises and no great villains, but Austen is the queen of these comedies of manners, and her wit and turn of phrase sparkles throughout. 3.5/5

Aug 28, 2018, 4:14pm

731. The Enchanted Wanderer - Nikolai Leskov. A collection of picaresque stories as the narrator, Ivan Severyanych Flyagin, relates his life of largely self-inflicted torment. The incidents are mostly absurd and I didn’t feel sympathetic or amused by his largely foolish behaviour. 2.5/5

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 3:50pm

732. Shikasta - Doris Lessing. Earth seen as an experimental site for other powers in the universe. There are some original ideas here, particularly in the early pre-human parts of the book where she weaves in stories from Genesis, but once we get in to more contemporary political conflicts it all gets dense and at times deadly dull. I found this a difficult book to sustain interest in (my sock draw has been reorganised several times this week) but got there in the end. 2.5/5

Sep 4, 2018, 4:57am

>112 puckers: Well done! I'm about halfway through and have been for over a year...

Sep 4, 2018, 5:55am

>113 BekkaJo: I’d love to give you some encouragement but I think the best bits are in the first half.....

Sep 5, 2018, 5:16pm

733. The Blithedale Romance - Nathaniel Hawthorne. Coverdale joins an agricultural commune at Blithedale. An odd book. I imagine Hawthorne wanted to base a book around a commune (he lived in one for some time) and then threw in a random bit of romance/mystery. It doesn’t really work. You get little sense of the commune and its inhabitants, and it has virtually no relevance to the plot. The main characters motivations are confusing, and the narrator Coverdale is miserable and annoyingly interfering. Not difficult but not really worth what little effort is required. 2.5/5

Edited: Sep 7, 2018, 10:43pm

734. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood. A dystopian society where women are completely subjugated. Atwood hooks you from the opening lines and then expertly teases out horror after horror over the course of the book, never allowing the reader to settle in to a comfortable "I know what's going on" mode. I listened to the Joanna David narrated audiobook which others have criticised ("too old, too English") but I thought was nicely done. The recent TV series meant this is the first list book in a long while I could discuss with work colleagues. Chillingly possible, and brilliantly written. 5/5

Sep 8, 2018, 3:54am

735. The Day of the Dolphin - Robert Merle. A dolphin research project is used to bring the world to the edge of nuclear war. It sounds a ridiculous proposition, and the execution by the author makes it so. The scary thing is that I think he meant this book to be taken seriously. There are many annoying aspects of the book from inexplicable long unpunctuated paragraphs, through gratuitous descriptions of female scientists bodies, to the whole idea that dolphins could hold a conversation about the movies of Anita Ekberg! Enough. 1.5/5

Sep 11, 2018, 8:35pm

736. The Dispossessed - Ursula Le Guin. Shevek, a physicist from Anarres seeks to open communication with the planet of Urras. A work of science fiction, but much of the book is an exploration of two different social cultures (one capitalist, one anarchist/socialist), neither proving to be perfect. At times it is a bit too intellectual, but generally entertaining enough. 3/5

Sep 12, 2018, 5:18am

how does this compare to The Player of Games? Have you read that?

Sep 12, 2018, 7:31am

>119 arukiyomi: Now I think about it there are common elements - the best in his field travels from one planet/culture to meet the best in his field on another planet. In both books the individual is a pawn in a larger game of interplanetary politics. Player is more traditional sci-fi with high tech elements whereas Dipossessed is based on earth-like planets with technology and social structures not dissimilar to ones we could experience here. So similar, and I gave them similar ratings.

Sep 12, 2018, 11:12am

ah... I thought so. Haven't read Dispossessed but I did enjoy Player so will anticipate another good read. THanks.

Sep 13, 2018, 7:14pm

737. If This is a Man - Primo Levi. The author describes day to day survival during his 10 months in Auschwitz. Levi describes what it took to survive in Auschwitz in an analytical way, devoid of drama, until the end when the prisoners are left to fend for themselves waiting for the arrival of the Russians. Sadly we get a bit desensitised to tales from the Nazi concentration camps with constant retelling. Levi's book brings out the psychological effects of the camps, with the need to keep a little spark of humanity and hope alive while everything conspires against both. A necessary book, one to read before you die, but not a comfortable read. 3.5/5

Sep 14, 2018, 10:15am

>119 arukiyomi: >120 puckers: I enjoyed Player much more than Dispossessed. I agree with your analysis, puckers. I think I also enjoyed Banks's writing style more than Le Guin's.

Sep 16, 2018, 5:58am

738. Small Island - Andrea Levy. An English couple and a Jamaican couple live in the same building in Earls Court in 1948. An examination of racism and the immigrant experience in England following WW2. At times serious but often humorous and touching as the back story to each character is slowly revealed. 3.5/5

Sep 19, 2018, 6:14am

739. Main Street - Sinclair Lewis. A picture of life in the small town of Gopher Prairie in Minnesota. The central character is Carol Kennicott, a city girl whose efforts to introduce change in the conservative community all meet with failure and ridicule. Lewis introduces some great characters in this novel, but he is ruthless in putting down small minded "middle America" with its fear of outsiders. Glad to see so much has changed 100 years later....! 3/5

Sep 23, 2018, 7:05pm

740. Tarr - Wyndham Lewis. An English and German artist both become involved with the same two women in Paris. There are five Wyndham Lewis novels on the 1001 list; this is apparently the most approachable of the five. It is fairly readable but with unlikable protagonists and unappealing choices of words and phrasing. There is a bit of drama with a duel and aftermath later in the book, but on the whole I was happy to get this one over with. 2/5

Sep 28, 2018, 7:06am

741. Unknown Soldiers - Vaino Linna. Follows the fortunes of a Finnish machine-gun battalion during the 1941-43 war with Russia. This is a more mainstream book than most on the list, reminiscent for me of the Sven Hassel books I read as a teenager, with lots of action and not much philosophising. Its place on the list is presumably due to its immense popularity in its native Finland. A gritty, realistic look at soldiers lives on the front line and, like GoT, you don't want to invest too much in the main heroes as they disappear in the flash of one bullet. I found it an exhilarating and at times moving page turner and hard to put down. 4.5/5

Oct 2, 2018, 7:09am

742. The Passion According to G.H. - Clarice Lispector. G.H. finds and squashes a cockroach in her maid's room, precipitating an existential crisis. There are some books that make me feel rather dumb and insensitive, and this is one. This book is admired by many, and I enjoyed the opening chapters up to the point that the narrator charges off on her rambling, circular musings on existence which I couldn't make head nor tail of.

"The great neutral reality of what I was living was overtaking me with its extreme objectivity. I was feeling incapable of being as real as the reality that was reaching me - could I be commencing in contortions to be as nakedly real as what I was seeing? Yet I was living all the reality with a feeling of the unreality of the reality...." and so on for 200 pages. Sorry 1.5/5 for me.

Edited: Oct 4, 2018, 6:49am

743. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami. Okada loses his cat and wife, and meets various bizzare characters in his search for them. Unusual characters, other-worldly settings and strange coincidences which are the stock-in-trade of Murakami. There is enough of interest to sustain a story, but while some threads appear to come together by the end, much is unexplained and left to the reader to muse at their own leisure. 3/5

Oct 6, 2018, 7:31am

744. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin. Eugene Onegin is an idle dandy who discovers his true love too late. Written in verse with unique rhyming stanzas ("Onegin stanzas"), you wonder how much of the Russian original was sacrificed to maintain these rhythms. The version I listened to was warm and often witty, though it helped to research the plot in advance. 3/5

Edited: Oct 8, 2018, 12:33am

745. The Iron Heel - Jack London. Early twentieth century USA falls under the dictatorship of an oligarchy. A rather preachy socialist novel from 1908, yet entertaining once the action gets under way, and eerily accurate in some predictions (naval attack on Honolulu bringing US and Germany to war - who'd have thought!). 3/5

Oct 10, 2018, 6:17pm

746. Wild Harbour - Ian Macpherson. A couple take to the highlands of Scotland as war threatens. The first half deals with the detailed practicalities of setting up a refuge in a remote mountain cave, and then there is increasing tension as their refuge area comes under increasing threat of violent discovery. I found Hugh hard to empathise with as he had his rages and fits of depression, and at times Terry seemed impractical, but in both cases it was likely a fairly realistic portrayal of a couple caught up in this extreme scenario. Similarly I thought the highs and lows of preparing their refuge in the wilderness seemed realistic rather than the more romanticized "desert island" type stories. Worth a read. 3.5/5

Oct 12, 2018, 8:54pm

747. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf. The Ramsay family and friends holiday each year in Scotland, near to a lighthouse. Virtually all interior monologue, with frequent changes of perspective that can catch you unawares. This is skilfully written, and Woolf has some wonderful phrases to describe nature and thoughts. However I drifted off in a few passages and was suddenly aware that I hadn't a clue whos thoughts I was in. 3/5

Oct 16, 2018, 11:03pm

748. The Middle Parts of Fortune - Frederic Manning. Bourne is a soldier on the Western Front in WW1. Based on Manning's own experiences this, rather like Under Fire, is a more realistic look at the practicalities of life within a group of soldiers - the manoeuvres , the billeting, finding drink, keeping dry in the trenches, and the diversity of the ordinary soldiers reactions to war. There are a few passages of front line "action" where the expected horrors occur. Not as "anti war" as many WW1 novels, but not supportive of it either. 3/5

Oct 17, 2018, 5:11am

have you read Storm of Steel yet? If so, how does this compare to that autobiographical account?

Edited: Oct 17, 2018, 6:08am

>135 arukiyomi: They are similar in that there is little of the ‘big picture’, and both Junger and Bourne see soldiering as a job and just get on with it. Manning’s book is not autobiographical, but is a novel based on his memories (10 years later) and so has a less directly personal feel to it. I also rated Jungers novel higher as it was written from the more rarely seen German perspective.

Oct 18, 2018, 5:17am

thanks for that insight. I would have guessed that from your review of Middle Parts so good to have that confirmed.

Oct 22, 2018, 6:16pm

749. The Time of the Hero - Mario Vargas Llosa. Life in a Peruvian military academy. Constantly changing narrators (and nicknames) and flashbacks can be a little confusing at first but once you've worked out "who's who in the zoo" this is increasingly compelling and tense. The brutality, corruption and coverups seem too much to be true, but the fact that the military academy in question burnt numerous copies of this novel on publication tend to support its authenticity. 4/5

Edited: Oct 26, 2018, 4:51pm

750. The Kindly Ones - Jonathan Littell. Maximilien Aue recalls his time in the German security forces in World War 2. I was surprised how much I got caught up in this book, despite the horrific violence as the narrator sweeps across Eastern Europe slaughtering Jews, gets caught in the final days of Stalingrad, helps manage the concentration camps, and survives in Berlin as the Russians revenge themselves on the German population. Overarching this is a sexual obsession with his twin sister. Hardly a laugh a minute type read, yet it is quite absorbing particularly in some of the intellectual debates about whether a certain tribe is Jewish enough to be murdered, or the cost-benefit analysis for providing rations in Auschwitz. The suspension of all morality and humanity is chilling. 4/5

Edited: Jan 10, 2019, 12:21am

Sodom and Gomorrah - Marcel Proust. Our narrator becomes obsessed by homosexuality. This fourth book in Proust's cycle focusses on same-sex attraction ("inversion"). Some of the views seem a bit old-fashioned, but Proust continues to engage with his language, and much time is spent with the wonderfully pompous closet gay Baron de Charlus. I did drift off on occasion, but returned happy to know that as usual with Proust I'd missed nothing of importance! 3.5/5

Oct 29, 2018, 1:50pm

>139 puckers: This book impressed me far beyond my expectations. I still find myself thinking about it, months later.

Nov 1, 2018, 4:15pm

751. Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry. A day in the life of the alcoholic British Consol of a town in Mexico. One gets a sense of this being a variation on Ulysses - a largely stream-of-consciousness ramble through a town over a day as a man muses on his life and his wife. This is easier to follow than Joyce's book with the rambling largely restricted to the thoughts of the increasingly drunk consol, and there is more drama. 3/5

Nov 3, 2018, 12:10pm

>143 ELiz_M: Nice timing -- finishing the day before the date on which the book is set

Nov 3, 2018, 3:12pm

>143 ELiz_M: Thanks, I missed that and I usually enjoy coincidences of time and place with books I’m reading. I see it was actually the 80 year anniversary the day after I finished.

Nov 9, 2018, 4:49am

752. The Honorary Consul - Graham Greene. A group accidentally kidnap a minor British official mistaking him for the American ambassador. Like most Greene books (this is my eighth and last from the list), I liked the writing and story. However it covers familiar ground for Greene with a lapsed Catholic priest and an alcoholic foreign official as two of the central characters so feels a little bit like more of the same. 3.5/5

Nov 10, 2018, 1:26am

753. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens. Pip finds himself the recipient of education and wealth from a mysterious benefactor. The story was familiar to me from TV and movies so the several twists were no surprise, but this is a good story even if the coincidences are fairly unbelievable. For once the hero of the piece is someone whos sense of entitlement leaves you with mixed feelings, though he comes good at the end. 3.5/5

Nov 17, 2018, 5:38pm

754. H is for Hawk - Helen MacDonald. The author trains a goshawk as a means of dealing with grief following the death of her father. One of the few autobiographies on the Boxall list, this is also a biography of T H White, another Boxall list author, and his attempts to train a goshawk. At times a little repetitive and dry it did however have some nice observations, particularly around the folly of trying to humanising animals thoughts and actions. 3/5

Edited: Nov 23, 2018, 6:30am

755. The Sea of Fertility - Yukio Mishima. Over his lifetime Honda sees his friend Kiyoaki reincarnated in three people. A four volume, 1250 page story on completion of which the author committed ritual suicide (spoiler - like one of the characters in his book). The book deals with Buddhist philosophy and Japanese culture over the years 1910 to 1970, though the war years are dealt with pretty lightly. I agree with others that the first two books are the stronger ones, with less plot and less well-rounded characters in the last two, but overall an interesting epic read. 3.5/5

Nov 29, 2018, 12:11am

756. Fruits of the Earth - Andre Gide. The narrator (Gide?) describes scenes from his travels to his friend Nathaniel. This is more poetry than prose, with sensuous descriptions of scenery and sounds around Europe and North Africa. The effect is more a hedonistic ramble without any attempt at progression and plot, but I enjoyed much of this. His allusions to his sexual relations with boys were a little jarring. 3/5

Edited: Nov 30, 2018, 4:22am

757. Pilgrimage vol 4 - Dorothy Richardson. The final volume of Richardson’s Pilgrimage contains 5 short novels charting Miriam’s involvement in socialism, Quakerism, and her affair with the married Hypo (H. G. Wells in real life). I found much of this hard work. Her style is perhaps closest to Virginia Woolf but harder to follow. At her best she has beautiful observations, particularly of places, but much of the time it’s hard to follow what exactly she’s saying and I end up scanning paragraphs to get a sense of them without worrying about each word. I rate this volume 2/5.

Volumes 1,2 and 3 I’d rated 3.5, 3 and 2.5 respectively as they got progressively harder to read, and while I appreciate the pioneering style of Richardson (her “interior monologue” predating Woolf, Joyce and other modernists in her early books), I’m glad to have this 2,500 page list entry behind me.

Dec 4, 2018, 11:05pm

758. The Enigma of Arrival - V.S. Naipaul. The narrator describes the changes around his cottage on a declining Wiltshire estate. I found this book rather enigmatic; it reads like a deeply philosophical autobiography of an unremarkable period in the life of the author, yet it is (apparently) a work of fiction. All around him change and decay, and this brings out much musing on what is authentic in life. I listened to the audiobook by Simon Vance; I normally very much enjoy his narration but in this case his clipped Home Counties accent didn't seem to suit an ethnic Indian immigrant from Trinidad. Having said that, I think the questions raised by this book will keep me thinking for quite a while. 3/5

Edited: Dec 8, 2018, 8:10pm

759. The Man Who Loved Children - Christina Stead. Sam Pollit and his irredeemably estranged wife Henny bring their children up in a house marked by conflict and chaos. As a (very happily) married man with young children and a large number of in-laws passing through the house each week, I found there was nothing in this family I could relate to - presumably there are family groups that manage to function like this one as the novel is apparently largely autobiographical. Sam Pollit ("The Man") has infuriating way with baby talk, irresponsible behaviour and he only appears to have "Loved Children" who were unquestioning of his frequent mental cruelty. I waited for some redemptive aspect of his character to emerge, in vain.

I was left wondering what the purpose of the story was, apart perhaps from being a cathartic brain-dump by the author. There are some "big moments" in the story, but they are just speed bumps on the road to ruin rather than turning points. 2.5/5

Dec 11, 2018, 7:03am

"virginia woolf but harder to follow" - ha!

Dec 11, 2018, 9:20am

>150 puckers: hmm. I’m planning to try this book in 2019. Well, I've committed to the first volume with a group read. I’m not going to make promises about reading all 4 volumes! I don’t remember ever reading a glowing review of it.

Edited: Dec 13, 2018, 5:55pm

760. Indigo - Marina Warner. Two stories set 450 years apart about the "discovery" of a Caribbean island by Kit Everard in 1600, and then his descendants in the 1940s onward. The novel contains many allusions to Shakespeare's The Tempest so I had to remind myself of the plot/characters of the latter on a regular basis. I very much enjoyed the story of the "discovery" of the island and the early interactions of the indigenous people and European settlers. That worked well and the use of colours as chapter headings added an additional texture to the story. The more modern story didn't work so well for me - I found the Tempest allusions and the connections to the earlier story were less coherent. There is however much to enjoy overall. 3.5/5

Edited: Dec 18, 2018, 4:40am

761. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - Robert Tressell. A satirical novel about the plight of the working classes in Britain at the turn of the 20th century. I had mixed feelings about this story. On the positives it has a range of wonderfully almost Dickensian characters with appropriate names like Didlum and Grinder (the corrupt councillors), Rev Belcher (the overfed church minister), Crass (the cringing foreman) etc etc. The banter amongst the painters that form the core of the story is humorous ,and there are many moving moments as poverty claims its victims. On the other hand the book is very preachy (and in retrospect simplistic) on the virtues of socialism, and paints a uniformly grim picture of all employers, politicians and church people as corrupt, hypocritical and self-seeking, and all working people as slavishly devoted to the current conditions without any shade between black and white.

The book was written when the poverty and starvation depicted was real and the rights of workers virtually non-existent (1910), and perhaps needed to be extreme to provoke thought and action on the question of the plight of the working class. However it makes this more of a historical document with less entertainment value today. 3/5

Dec 18, 2018, 4:51am

Congratulations! Half way - that is amazing! I am just starting, looking forward to reading lots that I probably wouldn't choose to pick up.

Edited: Dec 18, 2018, 5:14am

>30 puckers: I agree. I first saw the movie in my early 20s, but re-watching with just a few more years under my belt, I loved it. Both Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins excel at subtle, supressed acting. Emma Thompson was just wonderful in Sense and Sensibility too.

Dec 22, 2018, 7:23am

Moving on to the "M" authors which will keep me busy until mid 2019, The first of these is:

762. Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald. The story of four sisters on Cape Breton Island. Well written and readable novel. On a couple occasions it was threatening to be derailed by too much going on, and this occurred in the last 20 or so pages, but by then I'd enjoyed the novel sufficiently to still give it 4/5

Dec 22, 2018, 5:34pm

>159 puckers: It is a saga of a book! I enjoyed it, no matter how uncomfortable some of the scenes were.

I hadn't noticed you were reading alphabetically! Great idea.

Dec 22, 2018, 6:17pm

>160 soffitta1: I decided that an alphabetical approach was the only way not to skip over books that looked tedious. I honour it more the breach though with numerous diversions.

Edited: Dec 24, 2018, 3:01am

763. The Razor's Edge - W. Somerset Maugham. Maugham as the passive narrator/participant reminisces on a number of American's he associated with over the years in Paris. A fine piece of writing and interesting characters, with touches of Proust (parties of the nobility in Paris), James (Americans in Europe) and Hesse (a long distracting aside on Eastern philosophy which to be fair to Maugham he does warn at the start of the chapter you could skip without missing any of the plot). I enjoyed this more than his widely accepted masterpiece, Of Human Bondage. 3.5/5

Dec 27, 2018, 5:56pm

764. Absolute Beginners - Colin Macinnes. Teenage life in London in 1958. Captures the mood of youthful rebellion in music, dress and language on the eve of the race riots of 1958. 3/5

765. Winter - Ali Smith. A young man visits his mother in Cornwall over Christmas. I can understand why this might have been added to the latest list with its very up to date references to Trump, Brexit, emojis etc. Parts were good but I didn’t feel engaged by the whole. 3/5

I think that is it for 2018. 109 list books read, and hoping for a similar number in 2019.

Dec 27, 2018, 11:52pm

>163 puckers: Happy reading for 2019! I just hit 100 books for the year, happy with that! Look forward to reading more of your reviews next year.

Jan 16, 2019, 4:32am

766. Ada - Vladimir Nabokov. Van Veen describes his 75 year relationship with Ada Veen. I have to say I enjoyed most of this. Parts were a bit over my head (the fourth section on the nature of space and time for example), the central relationship between Ada and Van was initially uncomfortable (though matured later on) and the Penguin paperback cover I had needed to be discretely hidden while I was reading this on the train! However there was much rich and clever language to enjoy, and I'd give this 3/5.

Jan 17, 2019, 5:13pm

767. The River Between - Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Two Kenyan villages are brought in to bitter conflict by the arrival of Christianity. A well written short story about the conflict of traditional tribal values and "western" culture in Africa. While the latter is brought by British colonisers, it is interesting that they never appear as participants in the story. It is also interesting that the major flash-point revolves around the practice of female circumcision, a practice now pretty much universally condemned but seen almost as a point of honour in this 1965 novel. 4/5

Jan 23, 2019, 3:21am

768. Man's Fate - Andre Malraux. Follows a number of communists during the failed Communist revolution in Shanghai in 1927. Malraux wrote this novel not long after the event and seems to assume a lot of knowledge of the various factions involved in China at that time. While there is tension in the action sequences, I found the psychological/philosophical aspects of the book rather dull and (without the background that Malraux assumed) didn't fully engage with the plight of the Communists. 2.5/5

Jan 29, 2019, 5:28pm

769. Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell. A brutal double murder at a remote farmhouse is investigated by Kurt Wallander. A standard police detective story. Like most modern detective novels, the detective has more issues than the criminals (are there any sober senior police officers with stable marriages and who are capable of a good nights sleep left in the world?). While there is nothing wrong with the story as such, I did find it a bit plodding and the resolution doesn't have much tension. Not sure why it is on the list except for its raising of the issue of mass refugees in to small communities, a subject that continues to be relevant. 3/5

Feb 7, 2019, 4:24am

770. Doctor Faustus - Thomas Mann. The biography of (fictional) German composer Adrian Leverkuhn. This was quite a slog, one of the slowest list reads I've undertaken. The book is very wordy and dense, and very intellectual. My last Mann from the list, and the least enjoyable for me. 2/5

Feb 13, 2019, 5:22pm

771. The Betrothed - Alessandro Manzoni. A young couple are forced to separate when a local lord attempts to abduct the young woman. In some ways this book reads like it was written earlier than it was (written in the 1820s about life in Northern Italy in 1620s) with an old fashioned plot and some simple religious moralising at its heart. The interest for me came from the bigger picture descriptions of the plague and the bread riots in Milan which occurred in Milan in the 1620s. 3/5

Feb 15, 2019, 5:18am

772. The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford. The narrator describes the various love affairs of her cousin Linda. A witty novel full of eccentrics, but restrained enough not to spill over in to complete farce. I found this light and entertaining, though the ending comes rather abruptly. 3.5/5

Edited: Feb 20, 2019, 2:38pm

773. Embers - Sandor Marai. Two old men sit down for dinner in a castle at the foot of the Carpathian mountains to discuss the events of 41 years ago for the first time. One thing I love in a novel, even more than plot, is atmosphere. This book opens with atmosphere in spades - the General alone in a neglected castle, dinner in a long closed dining hall with his best friend who he hasn't seen for four decades, armchairs round the log fire, ancestral portraits, aged wines, curtains disturbed by a brewing storm, the coach pulling up at the castle door..... - what a perfectly described set up. The novel loses some of this once the General delivers his hundred page monologue - interesting enough in its own right about the nature of friendship and marriage but not taking advantage of the initial set-up. Still 4/5.

Feb 20, 2019, 2:38pm

774. A Heart So White - Javier Marias. A young woman excuses herself from lunch, goes to the bathroom and shoots herself through the heart - why? This is a dense but cleverly constructed novel, with a repetition of actions, themes and phrases which come together by the end. I preferred the recently dumped Your Face, Tomorrow but this is still a good, thought-provoking read. 3.5/5

Feb 22, 2019, 6:13pm

775. The Godfather - Mario Puzo. The story of the Corleone crime family and their patriarch Vito (Don) Corleone, the Godfather. It is always difficult to come fresh to a book that has been made in to a well-known movie, particularly one as revered as Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece. I found the movie benefitted from a tighter focus on the family, largely ignoring the Vegas sub-plot involving the singer Johnny Fontane and Sonny Corleone's lover, Lucy Mancini; this subplot goes nowhere in the book. The movie is an unquestionable 5/5; the book 4/5.

Feb 23, 2019, 2:28am

As a great fan of both, I think you're spot on with those ratings. It's one of the rare books on the list where the film is better.

Feb 25, 2019, 6:00am

776. Santa Evita - Tomas Eloy Martinez. The story of the life and death of Eva Peron, with particular emphasis on the cult of her corpse. A mixture of fact and fiction, with a generous splash of South American magic realism. Where fiction takes over from fact isn't always clear and the author quotes Oscar Wilde in a chapter header: "The only duty we have towards history is to rewrite it". I felt that novel does go on a bit longer than necessary about the journey of the corpse(s) with my interest and star rating waning in the closing third of the book. 3/5

Mar 4, 2019, 6:02am

777. Tirant Lo Blanc - Joanot Martorell. Follows the adventures of Tirant lo Blanc, a 14th century knight. The book was published in 1490 and like other books of similar vintage tends to over-wordiness and repetition. While parts were interesting (eg it contains the earliest surviving references to the Order of the Garter), there is some distasteful rape and mass slaughter and the ending tends to drag on. Cervantes apparently liked it, but he probably didn't have a wide choice of reading. 2.5/5

Mar 4, 2019, 4:42pm

Oh no, I have just found that book in a charity shop. I have found some of the books of that time a real slog.

I hope your next book is better!

Mar 5, 2019, 2:38am

>178 soffitta1: So do I! I really haven’t enjoyed any books prior to the mid 18th century, and I have another 15th century book lined up shortly (La Celestina - at least its short..).

Mar 6, 2019, 5:31pm

778. The Daughter - Pavlos Matesis. A woman recalls her childhood in Nazi-occupied Greece. An intriguing novel recalling the privations of Greece during and following WW2. As you progress you realise that the narrator has some delusions and its not clear what is real and what is imagined. 3.5/5

Mar 8, 2019, 4:19am

779. La Celestina - Fernando de Rojas. A rich young man employs a wily old procuress to arrange a meeting with a young lady he has seen. Hot on the heels of my reading of Tirant Lo Blanc (777 above) comes another 15th century Spanish "novel", another much admired by Cervantes. A surprisingly entertaining read, not withstanding that it is written entirely in dialogue with no third party exposition other than chapter headings with a list of characters and location. Where this book succeeded for me was its likeable characters, its wit and its brevity. 3.5/5

Mar 12, 2019, 6:27pm

780. The Double - Jose Saramago. An teacher watching a video spots an actor who is his physically his double. Even if the basic premise is (I understand) scientifically impossible, you'd think that differences in psychology and experience would be more obvious to those who know them well. Anyway its a work of fiction and enjoyable as such, and I liked the twist on the last page. 4/5

Mar 13, 2019, 2:05am

781. The 13 Clocks - James Thurber. In Coffin Castle it is so cold that its thirteen clocks have stood frozen at ten minutes to five. A wonderful fairy tale blending standard kids fare (prince seeking the hand of a princess is set a seemingly impossible quest by a wicked uncle) with some black humour and absurd creatures thrown in to aid and impede him. Short, sweet and quite delightful. 5/5

Mar 20, 2019, 6:04pm

782. Melmoth the Wanderer - Charles Robert Maturin. Young John Melmoth visits his dying uncle and learns of a satanic ancestor who appears at times of crisis. Classic gothic fiction which lays it on in spades to the extent that large chunks of the book are rather tedious. Like much classic gothic fiction the internal logic is regularly tested and credibility is not to be looked for. It uses the device of stories within stories which tend to wander off track, but it does wrap up quite neatly in the last few pages. 2.5/5

Mar 25, 2019, 6:07pm

783. The Knot of Vipers - Francois Mauriac. An unpleasant wealthy lawyer starts to write a death-bed confession to his wife. Nicely written and you have flashes of sympathy for this mean man at the centre of a viperous family. 3.5/5

Edited: Mar 26, 2019, 10:31pm

784. Ben Hur - Lew Wallace. A Roman Jew is consigned to galleys for a crime he didn't commit. Subtitled "A Tale of Christ", Jesus is only central at the start (Nativity) and end (Crucifixion) of the novel. The rest consists of Ben-Hur's quest for justice against Rome for his imprisonment. The basic plot should make a good story, and William Wyler's famous 1959 film is testament to that (11 Oscars and the second highest grossing movie ever at the time). The book however suffers from too much dull detail and stilted writing (all "thou"s and "thine"s), and the audiobook I listened to is compounded by a somewhat laboured narration. The famous chariot race is exciting, but overall this is a 2.5/5 for me.

Mar 28, 2019, 6:13pm

785. Don't Move - Margaret Mazzantini. While his daughter undergoes emergency surgery, a man narrates a confession to her about a passionate affair he had at the time of her birth. There are a couple of confronting scenes early on in the book that made me think that this was the sort of violent/sordid book I don't like. However it develops in to something quite engrossing and moving. The narrator is a self-centered coward, damaging people around him by his inability to "do the right thing" and you get angry with him while recognising that his flaws are all too human (in some way similar to book 783 above, though this time it is sex not money that is the obsession). Not a feel good book, but a powerful read that stirs your emotions. 4/5

Mar 31, 2019, 3:54am

786. Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut. A difficult book to capture in one sentence. The limited plot involves Pontiac dealer Dwayne Hoover and sci-fi author Kilgore Trout as their paths cross in Midland City. There are numerous asides, metafiction and cynical descriptions of American history and environmental pollution, but all quite random. To make the experience more bizarre for me, there are numerous illustrations in the book which the narrator of the audiobook (a languid John Malkovich) pauses to mumble descriptions of at regular intervals. I loved this at the start of the book but there is only so much plotless randomness I can tolerate so ended up giving this 3.5/5.

Apr 1, 2019, 6:08pm

787. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing - Eimear McBride. An Irish girl copes (or not) with an indifferent mother, an abusive uncle and a dying brother. I can see why this made the cut for the latest Boxall update. The voice of the narrative is a genuine stream of consciousness made up of half finished sentences and single words. This makes for a unique read and one I admired. On the other hand the subject matter doesn't hold back and there are parts that are hard to stick with. Nothing light-hearted or enjoyable here, but recommended if you are in the right frame of mind to tolerate graphic and depressing material written in a unique way. 3/5

Edited: Apr 4, 2019, 6:11pm

788. The Butcher Boy - Patrick McCabe. Francie Brady lives in a small Irish town where his life revolves around his parents and larking about with his friend Joe. Narrated by a school boy whose intellect fails to mature, there are many amusing observations and turns of phrase, and you feel some sympathy for him as he becomes increasingly violent and deranged. 3/5

Apr 8, 2019, 6:52am

789. Summer in Baden-Baden - Leonid Tsypkin. The narrator travels from Moscow to St Petersburg, while reflecting on Dostoyevsky's trip to Germany with his wife Anna. An odd book. The style is similar to the likes of Saramago with multi-page paragraph/sentences. Unlike Saramago I didn't quite get in to the odd structure of these. I also found the modern narrators journey uninteresting. On the other hand the difficult and self-destructive Dostoyevsky makes for an interesting if frustrating travel companion and makes the book worth reading. 3/5

Apr 11, 2019, 4:56pm

790. Vineland - Thomas Pynchon. Fourteen year old Prairie looks for information about the mother she has never met. This is typical Pynchon - sex, drugs and rock and roll all wrapped up in a conspiracy, with an array of bizarre characters and situations that increase with every page. I found this easier to follow than the other Pynchon's I've read to date, and there is some good humour amongst the overwhelming oddness, but it remains to be seen if a read the other Pynchon's on the list before I die. 2.5/5

Apr 12, 2019, 1:18am

791. Fingersmith - Sarah Waters. Two orphan girls lives intersect in 1860s London. Initially this played out like a nicely written but straightforwardly plotted heiress cheated out a fortune by two confidence tricksters, but then there is a twist, and a change in narrator and you have something much more interesting. It is drawn out at times and you are left a little impatient for the penny to drop for one or other of the characters, but an entertaining and nicely written novel. 4/5

Apr 15, 2019, 6:15am

792. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien. A fictional memoir of the war in Vietnam. Tim O'Brien served as a soldier in Vietnam, but this book is a fictional account of that time. It is so authentic and filled with reflective honesty that you wish everything in it had happened; and if you follow his asides on the art of storytelling you arrive at the conclusion that everything he says did happen in some way or other. Great writing and great reading. 5/5

Apr 15, 2019, 7:31am

>194 puckers: I'm glad you loved this one as much as I did -- definitely in my top 10 from the list.

Apr 15, 2019, 10:14pm

793. All The Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy. Three boys ride their horses to Mexico. Understated narrative but with a rich sense of place. I liked the pace of the first half of the book and therefore the extreme violence in the second half was a bit jarring before McCarthy returns to a more leisurely pace to close the book. 4/5

Edited: Apr 17, 2019, 7:17pm

794. Amsterdam - Ian McEwan. Four men meet at the funeral of Molly Lane; one is her husband, the others are her former lovers. This was an entertaining read, nicely paced with a tight cast of characters and a twist or two to keep you on your toes. One character is being touted as a potential British Prime Minster and is condemned by the others as "He wants to take us out of Europe. Economic catastrophe!"; as if. The ending is maybe a little far-fetched, but I very much enjoyed this. 4/5

Edited: Apr 23, 2019, 6:53am

795. The Reader - Bernhard Schlink. A German schoolboy has an affair with an older woman with a hidden past. For a book dealing with first love, the Holocaust and war trials I found this a detached and oddly unaffecting book. 3/5

796. Amongst Women - John McGahern. An Irish Catholic family is dominated by the stubborn and irritable father. As soon as I realised that this book was about an Irish Catholic domineering father I expected this to be another tale of physical/sexual abuse hidden in the past etc etc, however here the abuse is of mostly verbal and really nothing much happens from start to finish. Even his time as an IRA guerrilla leader isn’t taken anywhere much. Nothing wrong with it as such but nothing compelling either. 3/5

Apr 23, 2019, 6:53am

797. Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor. A returned serviceman from a preacher family forms the Church without Christ. This is my third list book by O'Connor, and like the others it is rooted firmly in poverty and religious obsession in the Deep South of the USA. The characters in this book are even more eccentric/extreme (mentally ill) than in her other books and while entertaining enough I preferred the other books I have read of hers. 3/5

Apr 30, 2019, 5:01am

798. Keep the Aspidistra Flying - George Orwell. Gordon Comstock has bitter contempt for the moneyed world and its most enduring symbol, the aspidistra. It is hard to sympathise with the main character and his self-pitying obsession with money. This is however an entertaining book even if you feel some contempt for the self-destructive hero (semi-autobiographically written by George Orwell). I listened to the audio book narrated by Richard E Grant, an excellent narration as he inhabits the various parts. It was only when I'd finished the book that I learnt that he played Gordon Comstock in the movie of the book. 4/5

Apr 30, 2019, 5:29am

799. Schooling - Heather McGowan. An American schoolgirl is sent to a boarding school in England. I can see why this is on the list for its writing - stream of consciousness in truncated sentences, with unflagged changes to perspective, location and time made this a pretty unique reading experience but very difficult to follow beyond a general gist of what is going on. Which frankly doesn't seem to be much and makes this not really worth the effort for me. 2/5

May 1, 2019, 10:03am

So close to 800!

May 1, 2019, 3:42pm

>202 paruline: maybe four more days..(it’s one of the 1000+ page books which I’ve been nibbling away at for several weeks as it’s too big for my commute).

May 2, 2019, 5:24pm

>203 puckers: I hope it's a good one!

May 5, 2019, 12:31am

800. Kristin Lavransdatter - Sigrid Undset. Tells the life story of a woman living in 14th century Norway. An epic 1150 page book that immerses you in the domestic, religious and village life of the early 14th century in Scandinavia. Very readable. I quite admired that the writer doesn't make her heroine a typical "virtue and tenacity triumphing over the odds" character that a book of this length often requires. Kristin Lavransdatter is stubborn to the point of unreasonable and she deceives her very loving and responsible parents , and her husband is a reckless and immature man who she backs despite him constantly letting everyone down. 4/5

May 5, 2019, 9:36am

What a great book on which to reach 800! Congratulations!!!

May 5, 2019, 7:06pm


May 8, 2019, 7:44am

>206 annamorphic: >207 Yells: Thank you. On with the next 100:

801. Love in a Cold Climate - Nancy Mitford. Life among the wealthy in their estates in England. A slight but very witty short novel which makes fun of the superficial lives of the rich without being too cutting. A light diversion on the list that I enjoyed. 4/5

May 11, 2019, 7:37am

The Captive - Marcel Proust. The fifth volume of Proust's In Search of Lost Time centres on the relationship between the narrator (named for the first time as Marcel) and his lover Albertine, both of whom are "captive" to the other. There is much to enjoy in this, and we revisit a number of old friends including the wonderfully pompous Baron Charlus. Yes, it again goes on a bit but there are a twist at the end that leaves you hanging for the next volume. 3.5/5

May 11, 2019, 6:40pm

802. The Heart of Redness - Zakes Mda. A village in South Africa is still split by their response to a prophetess 150 years ago. This put me in mind of Indigo which I read recently with its mixture of tribal culture, magic realism and early colonial settlement. This book also touches on some of the issues of corruption and nepotism in post-Apartheid South Africa. Interestingly, for a South African novel, Apartheid is barely mentioned. 3/5

May 12, 2019, 8:09pm

803. Billy Budd, Sailor - Herman Melville. Billy Budd joins the crew of a warship where his good looks and positive nature attract popularity and jealousy. The moral of the story is a bit ambiguous, maybe because Melville died before the work was completed - was his fate correct justice or not (law v morality)? A quick read that gives you something to think about. 3/5

May 14, 2019, 1:00am

804. The Island of Dr Moreau - H. G. Wells. A notorious vivisectionist is chased out of Britain and continues his experiments on a remote island. Not very believable, and written in the "ripping yarns" language of the time that is short on character development. Nevertheless this short sci-fi/horror story is entertaining enough. 3/5

May 16, 2019, 5:48am

805. Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller. Henry Miller describes a bohemian life of poverty in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. There are many novels dealing with "garret living" in Paris and similar European cities in the early 20th century. These are often miserable tales of poverty, starvation and crime whereas Miller's semi-autobiographical novel seems to almost revel in this and is mainly upbeat. It is famous for its explicit language (do not read if you find the "c" word offensive, particularly as a description of most women in the book), and I found his more surreal passages less interesting, but it is refreshing to have something more upbeat to read from this period. 3/5

Jun 6, 2019, 6:27am

806. Bonjour Tristesse - Francoise Sagan. When her father announces his intention to marry an old friend, a 17 year old girl takes steps to split them up. This is a short and readable story that I sailed through in less than a day. I thought it was well written and it sucked me in. Not quite sure I've met any seventeen year old who would be capable of putting a plan in to operation like this, but apart from that quibble I found this entertaining. 3.5/5

Jun 10, 2019, 8:56pm

807. The Romantics - Pankaj Mishra. A young Indian student forms relationships with a number of Anglo tourists in Benares. The point of the novel is that European and Indian cultural differences are hard to bridge. For me the best thing about the book were the descriptions of the places and seasons that brought back vivid memories of a couple of visits I'd made to the sub-continent. The characters were harder to get attached to and most seemed to drift along listlessly from start to finish. 3/5

Jun 12, 2019, 11:52pm

808. The Once and Future King - T. H. White. A retelling of the legend of King Arthur. This book (five books actually) is a mixture of history, chivalry, mild humour and more than a touch of early Harry Potter. There is always a danger in novels of 800 pages that they can get bogged down or distracted, but overall this maintained an entertaining flow. The entry in Boxall refers to the first four books, but my version included the fifth posthumously published "Book of Merlin" which White wrote to reinforce his anti-war message and is a bit preachy. 4/5

Jun 13, 2019, 12:34pm

I got sucked in to that book. Have you read H is for Hawk? It is one of the new additions - there is a connection with T.H. White.

Edited: Jun 13, 2019, 3:56pm

>217 soffitta1: I forgot to mention that connection - thanks for the reminder. It is worth reading H is for Hawk before The Once and Future King as you can feel White’s love-hate with raptors and his wish to humanise wild animals reflected in the latter.

Jun 15, 2019, 8:05pm

809. Anagrams - Lorrie Moore. Five stories involving the same characters in different relationship to each other (hence "anagrams"). I liked the initial variations that Moore presents, though the momentum of this is lost when the last variation takes up 75% of the book. Some clever wordplay (hence "anagrams" again). 3.5/5

Jun 17, 2019, 9:29pm

810. Ghost at Noon (aka "Contempt") - Alberto Moravia. A script-writer reflects on his deteriorating relationship with his wife. As I started this novel I expected it to be fairly dense and depressing as the whole story is told from the perspective of the somewhat paranoid husband. However there are enough other threads to maintain interest including descriptions of time spent on the island of Capri and much discussion of "The Odyssey" which the scriptwriter has been employed to develop into a movie. The latter brings in Joyce's version in the form of Ulysses. 3/5

Jun 19, 2019, 6:36am

811. News from Nowhere - William Morris. A man finds himself in a future utopian England. I had two problems with this book. Firstly it was completely idealistic and unrealistic - an agrarian society with no poverty, no crime and no ugliness of any sort, where work was voluntary and everything was abundant and free. Morris is describing a society he would like to see from the perspective of his Victorian socialist viewpoint but fails to describe how human nature and industrialisation is completely turned on its head. Secondly large chunks of this book are rather dull lectures on the details of how this new society works. Maybe Morris should have stuck to his textile designs. 2.5/5

Jun 21, 2019, 7:19am

812. Jazz - Toni Morrison. A story of a couple and the husband's young lover in Jazz-era New York. This was more style than substance; a dreamy stream of consciousness shifting through time and perspective. I get the jazz writing experiment - the various voices coming in and out, picking up the theme of the previous voice, but I felt that the story got lost and like much jazz improvisation there was little that stuck in the memory. 2.5/5

Edited: Jun 22, 2019, 9:45pm

813. The Case of Comrade Tulayev - Victor Serge. A random shooting of a Soviet official leads to the trial, exile and execution of a number of senior party members. The first work of fiction dealing with Stalin's purges, this is a sobering look at the political paranoia that resulted in up to 1 million deaths in the late 1930s. 3.5/5

Jun 26, 2019, 5:14am

would be good to follow that with Solzhenitsyn... The First Circle perhaps?

Jun 26, 2019, 5:54am

>224 arukiyomi: I read The First Circle back in 2016. From memory much of that was based on life in one of Stalins prisons. Serges book focuses on a smaller range of characters but places them in a broader sweep of Russian history, a number being friends of Lenin and Stalin, senior officials of the party who get caught up in the wiping out of the old guard of the Russian revolution. Both books have Stalin as a character and neither paint a flattering portrait!

Jun 28, 2019, 5:21am

814. The Holder of the World - Bharati Mukherjee. A modern researcher traces the life of 17th century Hannah across three continents, from Puritanical Salem, to London and on to Madras where she becomes the lover of an Indian prince. The story as outlined could make a gripping story but Mukherjee makes a bit too literary/intellectual and I didn't get the attempts by the researcher to contact Hannah across time using a virtual reality machine. 3/5

Jun 30, 2019, 1:52am

815. Monica - Saunders Lewis. Monica MacEwan is an unhappy housewife in the Welsh town of Swansea. There are no silver linings in this short story of a woman living an unhappy life, but it is well written and deserves a wider audience than the paltry 43 LT members who have this in their library. 3/5

Edited: Jun 30, 2019, 5:16pm

>227 puckers: I've never heard of this one. I'll put it in my TBR list.

Edited: Jun 30, 2019, 4:24pm

>228 japaul22: It’s available to borrow at archive.org, or will be once I remember to return it!

Jul 7, 2019, 2:49am

816. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry. The lives of several people overlap during 1975 Emergency in India. Mistry successfully brings the full complexity of India to play in this absorbing book - the prejudices of religion and caste, the endemic corruption, the vast powerless poor. Where this differs from other Indian epics on the list is that this focusses almost exclusively on those at the bottom of the social scale. No aromatics of mango and spice here, but rather stench of the filth pouring along the street gutters. You end up caring very much for the main characters and therefore (call me old-fashioned and sentimental) it is disappointing that there is no redemption at the end of this. 4/5

Jul 7, 2019, 7:06pm

817. The Discovery of Heaven - Harry Mulisch. Two friends fall for the same woman and they have a son together. I can't say too much more about the plot as there are big twists and turns throughout. The book deals with big ideas (religion, philosophy, politics, music, history) in an accessible/entertaining way. The second half of the book isn't quite as entertaining, and the ending is surreal, but this book is well worth a read. 4/5

Jul 10, 2019, 7:32pm

818. Correction: A Novel - Thomas Bernhard. The narrator seeks to sort-out the papers of obsessive genius Roithamer. As with Bernhard's other novels this is as much about style as substance. The 250 pages consist of two paragraphs. I had previously read Old Masters which had one 250 page paragraph. Whereas the latter suited the ranting style of the narrator, I couldn't really see that this book justified the style. Nevertheless it was quite compelling and despite the intimidating look and a fair bit of repetition I found myself pouring over page after page. 3.5/5

Jul 12, 2019, 9:29pm

819. King Solomon's Mines - H. Rider Haggard. Three adventurers go in search of a legendary store of diamonds. A Victorian adventure story, the forerunner of other "lost world" novels, full of adventure, treasure, battle, a damsel in distress and good old-fashioned British pluck. The narrators attitudes fail all modern tests of acceptability - all non-whites are "savages", all animals "brutes" for the slaughter, and women are nothing but trouble. A relic of a previous era of writing, best summed up in the books dedication to "all the big and little boys who read it". Nevertheless if you can set aside the colonial prejudices this is a rollicking adventure. 4/5

Jul 13, 2019, 6:39pm

820. Lives of Girls and Women - Alice Munro. A coming of age story of a girl in a Canadian town in the 1950s. This was very nicely written and there were lots of relatable observations on growing up in a small community, and the experiences of being a teenager. 4/5

Jul 15, 2019, 7:20pm

821. Sputnik Sweetheart - Haruki Murakami. A Japanese girl falls in love with an older married woman, follows her to a Greek island and disappears. This is story is initially more straightforward than other Murakami novels - there are cats and parallel worlds but less about them than usual. It does get weirder towards the end, and leaves the central mystery unexplained so not that satisfying a read. 3/5

Jul 17, 2019, 7:23pm

822. Inland - Gerard Murnane. A man sits at a desk and starts to write. Murnane is an Australian author who has had some publicity here recently as he turned 80 this year. I have never read his books before, and I don't know anyone who has, and its not difficult to see why as his writing is difficult to get in to. As the narration progresses he changes where and what he is writing and who he is writing to. Towards the end of the book it clarifies itself as a memoir of his childhood in Melbourne, and a girl he knew who has haunted him since. A fairly unique read and for that I'll give this 3/5.

Jul 22, 2019, 6:51am

823. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift. Gulliver travels to unchartered parts of the world and discovers startling different nations. Most people are familiar with the picture of Gulliver pinned to the ground by numerous tiny Lilliputians. That however is only a small part of this book as Swift contrasts lands of giants, airborne islands, noble horse-like beings etc with mainstream Europe. The satire is biting at times, but overall this gets a little tedious. Also (ignoring the "unchartered globe" aspects of the story) there are aspects of Gulliver that didn't really add up for me. However as an early (1726) novel highlighting the short-comings of politics and justice in the Western World this is an important book. 3/5

Jul 22, 2019, 9:57am

You're on a roll lately!

Jul 22, 2019, 3:32pm

>238 paruline: I read quite a few large non list books earlier in the year but I’m currently working my way through a lot of consecutive 1001 books. Plenty still to go!

Jul 23, 2019, 6:05am

824. The Nice and the Good - Iris Murdoch. An investigation into an apparent suicide in an office results in many complications. This is my last of the six Murdochs on the list, all of which I've found entertaining. This one doesn't quite rise to the same level, mainly because there are just too many characters (15 plus pets) almost all suffering from similar unrequited love that Murdoch has to wrap up too neatly and quickly. 3/5

Jul 24, 2019, 6:54am

>240 puckers: I am currently halfway through The Nice and the Good - my first Murdoch (that I can remember, maybe I read some in my youth?)
I am really enjoying this one so I am pleased to hear that the others will only be better!

Jul 24, 2019, 3:06pm

>241 JayneCM: the other Murdoch’s were 3.5 - 4 star reads for me so I hope you enjoy them too when you get to them.

Jul 25, 2019, 6:04am

825. The Confusions of Young Torless - Robert Musil. The experiences of a boy at a boarding school in Eastern Europe. Even though there is much sadism and sexuality in the plot this is not a graphically described but rather we spend most of our time in the mind of young Torless as he processes what he is learning and his maturing adolescence. The writing is skilful and there are quotable observations that I enjoyed. However I got bogged down to the point of getting lost in some of the long psychological passages which detracted from my enjoyment. 3/5

Jul 29, 2019, 8:17pm

826. Maqroll - Alvaro Mutis. Maqroll is addicted to dodgy ventures in remote parts of the world. First a confession - my version of this book has only three of the seven novellas that make up the Boxall list entry, being the first three books published to 1993. I am comforted by reviews I've read which state that the later four books are not as good as these first three, but I will seek them out at some point. All three stories have a similar plot line with Maqroll setting out on some venture (all in Latin America) for ill-defined reasons and a sense of them being doomed from the start. The first book has more of a surreal/poetic feel to it, part adventure and part philosophical, narrated in the first person. By the third story your are in third person narration with a more straightforward action plot. I enjoyed them all. 4/5

Edited: Jul 31, 2019, 8:38am

After eight months I’ve finished the “M” authors and start the “N”s with:

827. Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov. Hapless Russian expat professor, Timofey Pnin, and his time at Waindell College. There is much to enjoy in this book. Nabokovs language is a marvel and the book is full of wonderful turns of phrase. 4/5

Jul 31, 2019, 10:40am

Congratulations on finishing the Ms!
I really liked Pnin, a very accessible book from Nabokov and, as you said, the writing is fab.

Jul 31, 2019, 8:24pm

828. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker - Tobias Smollett. Matt Bramwell and his family go on a tour of the UK. A kind of 18th century Bill Bryson book, with Smollett pouring amused scorn on the foibles of the residents of towns and cities in the UK (and on the eccentric narrators). There are a host of farcical incidents of varying degrees of amusement (I did laugh out loud on a couple of occasions), though Smollett's love of his native Scotland does lead to a more admiring and less humorous chunk of the tour which is as a consequence a little duller. All ends well. 3.5/5

Aug 7, 2019, 7:46pm

829. The Tree of Man - Patrick White. Stan Parker lives his entire life on a bush farm on the outskirts of Sydney. This is a great work of literature. It looks across the span of the life of an undemonstrative man and his wife, the dynamics of marriage and the changing relationships with children and neighbours. The style of writing is poetic and a little abstract so it took me a while to get in to it, but once I was immersed in the style I found it quietly moving, and full of life truths. 4.5/5

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 3:32am

830. The Plot Against America - Philip Roth. An imagined US history where FDR is defeated by aviator Charles Lindbergh as President of the United States in 1940 and forms a friendship with Adolf Hitler. The story is largely told through the eyes of a 9 year-old Philip Roth living in Newark, and the characterisation of his family members is nicely done as they remaining somewhat annoyingly true to the character he paints. Roth describes the gradual rise of anti-Jewish sentiment in the absence of moral leadership at the top and it is believable in the scenario described but the violent way this plays out late in the book I found less credible. Of course to get the most out of this book you have to believe that a candidate for POTUS with xenophobic speeches on his record and little else other than celebrity to sell could be elected to that post - that couldn't possibly happen, could it??? 3.5/5

Aug 11, 2019, 7:44am

831. Kokoro - Natsume Soseki. A student befriends a self-doubting misanthrope, Sensei. Typically simple and cool Japanese narration. The death of Sensei is flagged early on and it is the background story that leads to this death that forms the story, with the final third of the book consisting of Sensei's suicide note. 3/5

Aug 16, 2019, 8:41am

832. Murphy - Samuel Beckett. The life and death of Murphy, an Irishman living in London. I have preferred Beckett’s plays to his novels so compromised with this one, listening to it on audiobook. Stephen Hogan’s excellent narration made this an amusing tale, particularly its plays on/mangling of everyday English idioms. 3.5/5

Aug 21, 2019, 7:46pm

833. The Water Margin - Shi Nai'An. A 14th century novel based on the exploits of 12th century Chinese bandit Song Jiang and his companions. This is the most entertaining of the "four great Chinese novels" on the list, with well-differentiated characters, varied adventures and definitive plot. It is still a long book (I read the Shapiro 100 chapter translation which weighs in at around 1300 pages), but unlike some other contemporaries you don't too often feel like you are treading water. 3.5/5

Edited: Aug 22, 2019, 6:59am

834. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day - Winifred Watson. Miss Pettigrew, a plain middle aged spinste, finds herself swept up into a world of wealth, romance and booze. This is entertaining, witty, easy to read and worst of all has a happy ending that can’t help but leave a smile on your face; how the heck did this make the list?? 3.5/5

Edited: Aug 24, 2019, 6:53pm

835. A Bend in the River - V. S. Naipaul. The experience of post-colonial Central Africa through the eyes of a shop owner in a central African country. Well written, engrossing and enlightening. It offers little hope, and there is one scene of unprovoked domestic violence which seems to be as irrelevant as it is jarring, but this is well worth a read. 4/5

Aug 26, 2019, 6:50pm

836. The Guide - R.K. Narayan. Raju, released from prison, takes refuge in a temple where he is mistaken for a swami. This is an entertaining read with a storyline that moves along from lows to highs and back to lows again. 3.5/5

Aug 29, 2019, 5:37am

837. Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston. The story of a young black woman's search for a husband who will let her live her life as she wishes. This is a beautifully written story with its combination of poetic phrases and heavily accented dialogue. The latter takes some careful reading, thus slowing you down a little which is no bad thing as you are absorbed in this young woman's story. 4/5

Aug 30, 2019, 8:13pm

838. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen. Fanny Price is sent as a child to her uncle at Mansfield Park. Those who love Austen will find little to disappoint here. Her familiar plot of young people in the idle classes at cross-purposes in love, her brilliant phrasing and subtle wit, an unconsciously obstinate and selfish aged aunt for comic relief... If it wasn't for the annoyingly excessively timid heroine I might have rated this higher. 3.5/5

Sep 3, 2019, 1:18am

839. Amelia - Henry Fielding. In which not an awful lot happens. This novel is written in an amiable manner and raises some of the injustices of the political/justice system in 18th century Britain. The plot gets a bit repetitive (various people aiming to seduce Amelia; various people putting her husband in prison) without rising to any great heights. 3/5

840. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams. "It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression 'As pretty as an airport.'" From this wonderful opening line you know you are in for a treat, and I enjoyed this witty and silly novel about Norse Gods, an inept private investigator and an American obsessed with pizza home-delivery. 3.5/5

Sep 3, 2019, 4:34pm

841. Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky. Two linked stories relating to the German invasion of France in 1940. I particularly liked the first one about the citizens of Paris fleeing from (and then returning to) the city, an event I hadn't read anything about before beautifully captured through the experiences of a handful of people. The author perished in Auschwitz in 1942 yet you get no sense of the terror she must have been experiencing as she wrote this book; the German soldiers are painted sympathetically and there is no mention of the plight of the Jews. It is also a quite hopeful book despite it being written at the height of the Nazi domination of Europe.

The story of the manuscript is remarkable. It was carried by her children from hiding place to hiding place and was thought to just be a scribbled diary until her surviving daughter started to transcribe it, realised it was a novel and published it in 2004, 60 years after her mother had written it and been murdered. 4/5

Sep 5, 2019, 7:13am

842. Matigari - Ngugi wa Thiong'o. A freedom fighter emerges from years in the jungle to find independence has not improved the lot of the common people. A strange little book. The central character does little but ask where is truth and justice but so alarms the authorities and inspires the people that he is attributed supernatural powers and a Christ-like aura. There are allusions to New Testament stories mixed with satirical radio pronouncements from The Voice of Truth. An interesting read 3/5

Edited: Sep 8, 2019, 6:03am

843. Delta of Venus - Anais Nin. Short story erotica. Written for clients at one dollar per page, there isn’t much time for plot. A variety of sex acts dominate virtually every page but the writing style makes this more than straight “porn”. 3/5

844. Amok - Stefan Zweig. A passenger on a ship listens to the confession of a reclusive passenger. This was very good - a tense story told well in less than 100 pages. 4/5

Sep 8, 2019, 7:54pm

845. Disgrace - J. M. Coetzee. A professor in Cape Town causes a scandal and retreats to his daughters farm in the Eastern Cape. I can see why many find this an unlikeable book. The main character is unlikeable, women are subservient tools in power struggles, and there is no glimmer of hope in the conclusion. Having said that I found it a deeply affecting (even if depressing) book and as the middle-aged father of two girls I was often asking how I might react in (God forbid) similar circumstances. 3.5/5

Edited: Sep 12, 2019, 7:41am

846. Rituals - Cees Nooteboom. Inni Wintrop, who drifts through life, meets a father and son whos exacting rituals contrast with his life. A book of existential philosophy that is presented in a clever and at times amusing way. 3.5/5

Sep 12, 2019, 7:42pm

847. Fear and Trembling - Amelie Nothomb. Amelie, a Belgian living in Japan, takes a job in a large Japanese corporation office. A quick and entertaining read about a clash of cultures. It plays to the stereotypes of Japanese culture, with the concept of face and different interpretations of honour given prominence. I'm not sure how much of this is autobiographical and how much Nothomb's characters are caricatures, but it highlights the perils of cultural sensitivity. 3.5/5

Sep 14, 2019, 6:05am

I've finished the "N" authors and so move on to my annual trawl through the authors whom I have 3 or more books on my shelves still to read, starting with:

848. The Newton Letter - John Banville. A writer retreats to a cottage in Ireland to finish his book on Isaac Newton. This is my fifth and last Banville from the list. Banville is one of my Boxall list discoveries; I love the way he describes things, particularly the sense of place, nature and weather. I have also discovered a liking for novellas through the Boxall list. For once though I feel this story was too short. Each of the characters was potentially fascinating but none were served well by the 92 pages of this book. Banville's descriptive nuggets did transport me though and I look forward to reading some of his non-list work in the future. 3/5

Sep 17, 2019, 8:29pm

849. The Last Chronicle of Barset - Anthony Trollope. A clergyman is accused of stealing a cheque for 20 pounds. This is the last of Trollope's six Barsetshire novels. I read the previous five earlier but they are not essential to understanding this novel - they provide background on some of the major and minor characters in this book and are all good novels in their own right if (like me!) you are a fan of somewhat long-winded Victorian novels. I like that Trollope's characters are flawed and some of his plot conclusions bitter-sweet so that you are not always certain whether there will be a happy ending. 4/5

Sep 21, 2019, 5:29am

850. The Passion - Jeanette Winterson. A French youth and a Venetian girl meet during the retreat from Moscow. I initially thought I might love this - a short novel with a touch of magic realism involving Napoleon's campaigns, a poultry chef, Venice as backdrop for half the book.. what's not to like. But somehow it lost a bit of steam and became a bit too dreamy for me. Still pretty entertaining. 3.5/5

Sep 23, 2019, 6:59am

851. Vertigo - W.G. Sebald. The author visits Italy and his boyhood home in Germany. An interesting blend of travel, reminiscences, art, history and fiction. I found it very readable and quite absorbing. 4/5

Sep 23, 2019, 1:07pm

I hadn't heard of Sebald before starting the 1001 challenge, but I really like his observations. Very readable! Little did I know that I would end up living in East Anglia like him!

> 266 - I have found the book, but was wondering whether I could drop in on the last book, but sounds like I should search them all out.

Sep 23, 2019, 3:19pm

>269 soffitta1: Yes, I had braced myself for Sebald to be dense and difficult as his books are not easy to find, so was pleasantly surprised by his very readable and absorbing style and observations, and the quirky photos scattered throughout.

Sep 25, 2019, 1:02am

852. The Color Purple - Alice Walker. Celie is an African American girl who survives an abusive father and violent husband to become an independent confident woman. This is a powerful and moving story, with some shocking moments and an unlikely tear-jerker of an ending. Marvellous stuff and would have been 5 stars but for the long and relatively dull asides about the life of African missionaries. 4.5/5

Sep 26, 2019, 2:53am

>271 puckers: I have not read The Color Purple since high school and am really looking forward to a reread.

Sep 26, 2019, 6:25am

853. The Heather Blazing - Colm Toibin. A senior Irish judge reflects on his life on annual visits to his family coast house. You see the words "understated", "restrained" and "quiet" in every review of this book, and for good reason - there are deaths, there is involvement in Irish republicanism, yet zero drama. The book is readable and the meditative pace let me think, but there is nothing too compelling about the book. 3/5

Sep 30, 2019, 5:44am

854. Fools of Fortune - William Trevor. An act of violence leads to multi-generational tragedy. Set in Ireland during the revolution, this story has an interesting structure with each chapter being half the length of the one that precedes it. While interesting as a device I'm not sure it works as a nicely fleshed out story at the start leaves a lot of questions unanswered in the brief concluding chapters. Overall nicely told though. 3.5/5

Sep 30, 2019, 12:39pm

I enjoy his writing -I have The story of Lucy Gault 9/10. Just got swept away by the writing and story.

Sep 30, 2019, 4:17pm

>275 soffitta1: I also enjoyed Felicia’s Journey so will look forward to Lucy Gault.

Sep 30, 2019, 9:12pm

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
Hi Katrina just following up on why I did not get a Chrismas card.

Jessica and I were really disappointed by this.
PS. The kids and Phil say hi.


Oct 3, 2019, 7:16am

855. The Waves - Virginia Woolf. Six friends soliloquise over the course of their lives. As Woolf described the book: "I am writing to a rhythm and not to a plot". Certainly this is an original book with six childhood friends meeting regularly and talking about each other but never too each other. The talk is always in a musing dream-like manner and at the end of the day I found it all a bit elusive and cold, not withstanding there were some gems of observations scattered throughout. 3/5

Oct 4, 2019, 12:36am

856. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley. Classic horror story about a scientist who creates a being from human parts and brings it to life. The image of Boris Karloff as the monster in the 1931 movie is one of the most enduring cultural icons of the last century. While the film is obviously based on Shelley's book, there are no electrical switches, bolts in the neck, hunchback assistants and pitchfork wielding mobs in the latter. Initially in fact there is little horror at all in the book which is more early sci-fi until the monster's empathy runs out and he seeks revenge. I found the book a bit over melodramatic and you could drive a large truck through gaps in the plot and logic, but there is no doubting the importance of this book that is now over 200 years old. 3/5

Oct 8, 2019, 3:24pm

857. The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie. Two Indian actors survive falling from a hijacked plane and are transformed into archangel Gabriel and a devil. The controversy of this book is largely lost on me as I don’t have sufficient knowledge on the origins of a Islam. Much of the book is confusing and not particularly enjoyable. Rushdie seems to enjoy showing off his skills and knowledge rather than entertaining and while I liked a few passages I never really got in to the story. 2.5/5

Oct 10, 2019, 4:55am

858. Marya: A Life - Joyce Carol Oates. Tells the story of Marya Knauer from neglected childhood to academic womanhood. Marya is not particularly appealing and while "stuff happens" to her and around her, there is nothing compelling in the story which ends just at the moment it could get interesting. 2.5/5

Oct 17, 2019, 6:08pm

859. The Country Girls - Edna O'Brien
860. Girl with the Green Eyes - Edna O'Brien

The first two books of "The Country Girls" trilogy about the coming of age of two Irish country girls who move to Dublin and have their first love affairs. The books are well written and engaging. I preferred the second book which is more intense as the girls mature in to women. The controversy regarding adultery, and the grooming of teenage girls that got the books banned in Ireland in the 1960s seem very tame these days and I'm not sure that both books need to be on the list as they are very similar (first written in the third person, second written in the first person is the only noticeable difference). Worth a read though - 3.5/5 and 4/5 respectively.

Oct 21, 2019, 5:51am

861. At Swim-Two-Birds - Flann O'Brien. Various characters conspire against their author. A generous helping of Joycean Irish mythology, a sprinkling of Beckett's Irish existential angst, a metafictional plot where all characters in different stories become aware of each other and their author - clever but too much for me to engage with. I liked some of the Irish humour but not enough to rate this more than 2/5

Oct 22, 2019, 6:50am

862. The Talk of the Town - Ardal O'Hanlon. The lives of nineteen year-olds in an Irish town told through the eyes of Patrick Sully and his sometimes girlfriend Francesca. Not sure why it is on Boxall's list, and the open ending is a let down but I found much of this entertaining with occasional cringes of recognition. 3.5/5

Oct 23, 2019, 6:07am

863. Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens. A rich man leaves a will requiring his son to marry a girl he's never seen in order to inherit his wealth. Dickens' last completed work, and my last Dickens from the list. There is much humour in this, though mainly of a biting satirical sort as Dickens aims at those who are corrupted by money. Less well known than some of Dickens' work, I thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommend the entertaining narration of David Timson on the Naxos audiobook. 4/5

Oct 25, 2019, 5:07am

864. The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje. Four people, all scarred by the war, find themselves in a ruined villa in Tuscany. I loved the movie, and the book has a similar sensual/dream-like feel to it. There are differences of emphasis and in the individual characters actions and motivations. The book also leaps around a lot more and therefore can be harder to embrace. Both complement each other well and it's worth experiencing both. So, book or movie? For me the movie with its stunning visuals and soundtrack, but the book is a 4/5

Oct 30, 2019, 5:44am

865. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell. Winston Smith lives in a world where all actions and thoughts are controlled. There is no doubting the impact of this book and its continuing frightening relevance in a world of Big Brother, thought-police and reinvention of history to suit political ends. At times it gets a little dry and preachy, but this should be essential reading for everyone to be on their guard and aware of how they are manipulated by those in power. One of the truly important books on the Boxall list. 4/5

Nov 1, 2019, 5:41am

866. At Swim Two Boys - Jamie O'Neill. The coming of age of two boys on the eve of the Easter Rising in Dublin. The story of two boys coming to terms with their (homo)sexuality is sensitively done, with a nicely drawn supporting cast and inevitable tragedy as the story climaxes on Easter week April 1916. 4/5

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 5:07pm

867. The Shipyard - Juan Carlos Onetti. A man returns from exile to take up the role of General Manager of a defunct shipyard. This is a thought-provoking book about the futility of much of life; all the characters are aware that the roles they are employed in have no ultimate purpose or outcome, and they'll never receive any reward. 3/5

Nov 3, 2019, 8:54pm

Hi puckers! Can I ask where you got the list sorted alphabetically by Authors surname?

I would love to use it on my list :)

Also, how do you do the 'ticks' and the stars?

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 9:20pm

>290 withlightandlove: Welcome!

I use the 1001 books app for sorting - you can sort all editions (individually are in total) by author or length. I think the app is still available, for Apple devices only, through the Apple app store.

The script for ticks is written below (as best I can without creating the symbol). Unfortunately I can't write the script for stars as it converts it even if a leave gaps, quotations etc. I suggest you look at the thread 75 Books Challenge for 2012:"How to Do Cool Stuff in Your Threads" which explains all the fancy things you can do around symbols, bolding text etc

Ticks are & followed by #x2714

Hope that makes sense!

Nov 5, 2019, 7:05pm

868. Black Box - Amos Oz. A bitterly divorced couple resume communications after 9 years. A throw back to the 18th century epistolary novel. This starts well, throwing you in the deep end with bitter, formal letters between the ex-partners. As it goes on the letters become longer and incorporate (unrealistically) long quoted conversations, and some dull political/philosophical ramblings. Towards the end it all comes together and is at times moving. 3/5

Nov 6, 2019, 10:42am

>292 puckers: How does the writing compare with A Tale of Love and Darkness? I loved his imagery in that one, but it sounds like this was a little less appealing?

Nov 6, 2019, 1:37pm

>293 amaryann21: it’s been six years since I read A Tale of Love and Darkness so I don’t recall much of it but I did give it 3.5 stars so must have preferred it. This book is more experimental in style and the characters are all broken and violent or extremists so it’s hard to empathise with any of them. Still worth a read though.

Nov 6, 2019, 2:04pm

>294 puckers: Thank you! Man, you're getting close!!

Nov 7, 2019, 1:44pm

The "O" authors are finished so on to the "P" authors:

869. The Year of the Hare - Arto Paasilinna. A journalist leaves his job in the city and wanders around the wilds of Finland with a hare. This is an easy, amiable read. I smiled a few times but didn't quite get in to this story which is too silly to be taken seriously as a motivational/"back to the simple things in life" book. Presumably the occasional extreme violence must be something to do with the Finnish sense of humour... 3/5

Nov 8, 2019, 9:56pm

870. Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak. The life of Doctor Zhivago told against the background of the Russian revolution. I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did - a doomed love affair amongst scenes of revolution and vast snow-covered forests. Somehow though it didn't click with me. I never really understood the relationship between Dr Zhivago and Lara, both happily married to other people yet happy to betray their partners without regret. 3/5

Edited: Nov 12, 2019, 4:27pm

871. Choke - Chuck Palahniuk. Victor discovers a novel way to fund his mother's hospital care. There are some bleakly funny passages in this book, and I found Victor's interactions with patients at his mothers care facility were sometimes quite poignant, but the obsession with sex addiction got a bit wearing. I much preferred Palhniuk's (non-list) Fight Club. 3/5

Nov 12, 2019, 4:27pm

872. The Street Kids (The Ragazzi)- Pier Paolo Pasolini. The lives of boys in post-war Rome, stuck in poverty and crime. A slice of Italian neo-realism, this is fairly grim and aimless, much like the lives of the boys Pasolini depicts, but skilfully immerses you in a world you hope you never have to experience. 3/5

Edited: Nov 15, 2019, 1:41am

873. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas - Gertrude Stein. Describes the authors life in Paris before, during and after WW1. I enjoyed this. There is the outrageous conceit of Gertrude Stein (as she calls herself throughout the book, never Gertrude) writing a flattering portrait of her life and works ostensibly through the eyes of her life companion. I found this an amusing device. There is also her jaw-dropping array of friends, anecdotes of whom fill most of the book (Picasso, Matisse, Henri Rousseau, Derain, Hemingway, Man Ray, T.S. Elliot, Jean Cocteau, Ford Maddox Ford.....). Worth reading if you have an interest in art and literature of the early 20th century. About the only person you don't get to know a lot about is Alice B. Toklas! 4/5

Nov 15, 2019, 12:43am

I'm pretty sure there's a movie adapted from this book! Just reading your description it sounds like it. I liked the movie, I hope I like the book :)

Nov 17, 2019, 6:04am

874. Cane- Jean Toomer. A collection of poems and short stories about the African American experience in the South (Georgia) in the early 20th century. Some of the poetry was beautifully written and atmospheric. The main story ("Kabnis") didn't grab me so much. 3/5

Nov 17, 2019, 8:32am

>302 puckers: I have never noticed this book on the list or remember anyone reading it in this group! Poetry, huh? It's amazing to me that even in our closed group with the limited list of books I'm still surprised sometimes!

Nov 17, 2019, 6:45pm

875. Marius the Epicurean - Walter Pater. Marius becomes attached to the retinue of Marcus Aurelius around 170AD. The bulk of this book is a wordy comparison of different schools of philosophy and religion in second century Roman. I found this rather laboured and tedious. It does contain some nicely atmospheric passages that capture Rome at that time, but then you are just settling in to this when Pater jars you from this sense of time and place when he starts discussing Dante, Montaigne, and Calvin etc. 2/5

Nov 18, 2019, 7:07pm

>303 japaul22: I read it within the last couple years, and agree with puckers assessment. I don't remember much about it, honestly.

Nov 20, 2019, 5:58pm

876. Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton. An African pastor leaves his country village to look for his son in Jo'burg. This is an excellent book: an important book about the effects of apartheid in South Africa written 40 years before that regime was changed, and yet it is a moving story, beautifully written. I have read a number of books on the same subject that shout out in anger and emphasize the brutality of the regime; this is much more even-handed, explaining coolly and succinctly the practical results of the injustice and cruelty of what was done there (and by extension in many other countries including my own) without hectoring the reader. The hopeful concluding pages are deeply moving. 5/5

Nov 20, 2019, 8:20pm

>306 puckers: I remember being deeply moved by this book when I was a teenager. So I will look forward to reading it again after such a long time.

Nov 22, 2019, 5:27am

877. The Labyrinth of Solitude - Octavio Paz. Examines the character of Mexicans and how that character has affected the course of Mexican history. This is one of the few pure non-fiction works on the list. There were some interesting observations in these sociological essays, they assume a knowledge of Mexican history and culture, and an interesting in analysing the same. As I have little of either this was a dull read for me, but I recognised that for students of these topics there were some interesting discussions. 2.5/5

Nov 24, 2019, 10:11pm

The Fugitive - Marcel Proust. The sixth, shortest and penultimate book in Proust's In Search of Lost Time. The departure of Albertine at the end of the last book sets the scene for much rambling on the subjects of loss and memory. Proust also returns at length to his obsession with same-sex relationships. As the latter has dragged on for a couple of volumes now I am beginning to feel like I'm trapped in a room with an old person with a one-track mind. Get over it! 3/5

Nov 26, 2019, 5:51am

878. Nineteen Seventy-Seven - David Peace. It's 1977 and the Yorkshire Ripper is murdering prostitutes. This is grim stuff. The whole book reeks of violence and corruption, and offers no hope or lightness. I can see why it made the list; the books approach to the detective novel is unique with violence on every page and lack of sensible detective work, and the staccato writing style leaves you a bit dazed and confused. Interesting, but not pleasant. 2.5/5

Nov 26, 2019, 6:30am

>306 puckers: I'm glad you found a book that was worth 5 stars! i find that the more I read, the fewer of those there are. Not sure if I already read too many of them, or if I'm just getting jaded.
I am wildly impressed with your pace of reading!

Nov 26, 2019, 1:29pm

>311 annamorphic: I think the bar does get raised as we concentrate on the list making it harder for books to truly make an impact. I appreciate the skill in many of the books but like you I don’t come across too many that are moving, fully engaging and thought provoking enough to get 5 stars.

I’m on a long run of shorter (200-300 page) books at the moment as I go through the P authors which given my 3 hour commute means I can read a book every 2-3 days. Still plenty to read but hoping to get to 1001 by end of 2020.

Nov 27, 2019, 4:12am

>312 puckers: Wow! What will you do then?! You must have another reading project plan in the works.

Nov 27, 2019, 5:43am

>313 JayneCM: I still have the remaining 314 Boxall books to read so a few more years work yet, but will mix it up a lot more with lighter books and more non-fiction (travel, history etc).

Nov 28, 2019, 8:36pm

879. The Life of Insects - Viktor Pelevin. The lives of humanoid insects in Russia. This was weird and a bit confusing. Characters in the stories changed from humanoid to insect forms randomly and seemed to be often both at the same time. They also changed species at will. Apparently the book was an allegory about modern Russia but those allusions and the philosophizing was largely lost on me. 2.5/5

Nov 30, 2019, 2:43am

>314 puckers: Good plan! I also have the 1000 Books To Read Before You Die by James Mustich, so will be looking through that as well.

Edited: Dec 2, 2019, 5:02pm

880. The Names - Don DeLillo. Revolves around a security analyst in Greece. I liked many of the observations DeLillo makes in this book; pithy observations on life. The trouble is that they are contained in a plotless and ,for me, pointless novel. I can barely remember anything that happened here and how the various characters fitted in to the story. DeLillo even makes various interactions with a cult devoted to human sacrifice come across as dry and intellectual. 2.5/5

881. Things: A Story of the Sixties - George Perec. A young French couple strive for happiness through possessions. It might be called A Story of the Sixties but it is just as relatable to today's constant craving for possessions and experiences. There was much in this that was nostalgic of the hopes, experiences and friendships of a younger me. 3.5/5

882. A Man Asleep - George Perec. A young man withdraws from the world. Perec describes the obsessive isolated world of a depressed young man. This doesn't really go anywhere and gets tedious. 2/5

Dec 6, 2019, 6:32pm

883. Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake. Continues the trilogy about Titus Groan, seventy-seventh Earl and heir to the vast decaying fortress of Gormenghast. Peake draws a marvellous world within the walls of this ancient and now largely empty castle. His characters are all eccentric and misshapen, creating a novel that is more Dahl than Game of Thrones, but still with enough murder and treachery to build a tense atmosphere. 4/5

Dec 7, 2019, 10:39pm

884. The Dumas Club - Arturo Perez-Reverte. Murder and mystery in the world of antiquarian literature. This should appeal to those in the group who like old books as the main protagonist trawls through priceless collections of original manuscripts and centuries old books on the trail of a mystery. A sort of intellectual Dan Brown thriller with a touch of Raymond Chandler (the blond femme fatale that keeps popping up). There are some unlikely twists, but overall good fun. 4/5

Dec 8, 2019, 3:13am

885. The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gillman. A woman with a ‘nervous condition’ is confined to a room with yellow wallpaper. One of if not the shortest book on the list, at 25 pages, so no space for background or character development. However the descent into madness (for want of a more politically correct term) is nicely done. 3.5/5

Dec 11, 2019, 4:17pm

886. The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa. Existential ramblings of one of Portugal’s leading poets. I struggled with this, finding it repetitive, unstructured and not particularly profound. As the author says at one point: ‘I write, or rather scribble, these lines not in order to say anything in particular but to give my distraction something to do’. Others rave about this book and it’s overall LT rating is 4.3 so feel free to dismiss my rating of 2/5.

Dec 13, 2019, 4:16am

887. Money to Burn - Ricardo Piglia. A novel based around eye-witness accounts of a real bank heist and subsequent siege in Argentina in 1965. There was some tension in the retelling, but its hard to have much sympathy for the remorseless psychopaths that are the "heroes" of the piece. 3/5

Dec 16, 2019, 5:16pm

888. The Trusting and the Maimed - James Plunkett. Short stories set in Ireland in the early twentieth century. The subject matter is typical of many Irish novels of this period - Irish independence, alcohol and Catholic guilt. Most of the stories are quite powerful and sufficiently disparate not to get repetitive. 3.5/5

Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 5:55am

Three short reads finished close to each other:

889. The Purloined Letter - Edgar Allan Poe. A stolen letter proves hard to find. More Sherlock Holmes than horror, the explanation of the letter's discovery is teased out for a bit too long (even if the novella is only 24 pages long!). 3/5

890. Rashomon - Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Six enigmatic short stories involving dubious morality and unreliable witnesses. "in the Grove" was made in to the famous Kurosawa film "Rashomon". 3.5/5

891. Exercises in Style - Raymond Queneau. The short two paragraph story of a man on a bus is retold in 99 writing styles. Interesting exercise. The story itself is inconsequential, but most of the retelling is clever, if a bit forced at times. 3.5/5

Dec 18, 2019, 4:00pm

892. The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt. A delinquent teenage boys life changes after a terrorist attack on the Met Museum in New York. I must admit that I found the narrator/hero a bit too whiny and self-indulgent to care about, but the story is well told and there are enough twists and turns to keep you interested over its considerable length. 3.5/5

Edited: Jan 7, 2020, 5:15am

Correction/Edit. While travelling in Europe I posted a review here of Rose Tremain's Music and Silence as the only difference between the 2008 list and a version published in Australia by the ABC in 2009. Returning home and looking at this book I realised that the Tremain book that is added to the list is Tremain's The Road Home. I'll get to that another day....

Dec 30, 2019, 5:04am

>326 puckers: I did not know there was an Australian version of the list as well. I have tried looking it up but cannot find it. I don't suppose you have a link to it at all?

Hope you had a lovely trip to Denmark. I would love to visit the palaces one day.

Dec 30, 2019, 3:36pm

>327 JayneCM: it was a hardback version published by the ABC and introduced by Jennifer Byrne. I think Music and Silence is the only difference from the 2008 edition of Boxall.

Dec 30, 2019, 9:39pm

>328 puckers: Thank you - I might add this book to my list as well.

Jan 5, 2020, 3:50am

893. The Nine Tailors - Dorothy L. Sayers. Lord Peter Wimsey is stuck in a Fenland village at New Year when a corpse is discovered in the village graveyard. I liked this and learnt a fair bit about campanology (not a word I ever expected to use!) as a bonus. 4/5

Jan 5, 2020, 4:09am

>330 puckers: I read this last year and found the campanology sections fascinating. I am looking forward to a year long read of all the Lord Peter books this year (fortunately this is the only one I have read previously!)

Jan 7, 2020, 5:21am

>329 JayneCM: Please note my correction at >326 puckers:. The Rose Tremain book to read if you are a completist is The Road Home. It is still an odd addition to come in an Australian update, about a Russian travelling to England. I note that the contributor for this was from the University of London so I suspect the ABC were sent an unchecked proof of Boxall's 2008 publication and this one slipped through somehow.

Jan 7, 2020, 6:45am

>332 puckers: Thank you for that! I agree, it does seem a strange choice for an Australian edition.

Jan 8, 2020, 7:31pm

894. Pamela - Samuel Richardson. A young maid is imprisoned, abused and is subject to attempted rape, and is so grateful to her employer for all this that she marries him and becomes the happiest woman in the world. Morally indefensible, even if it was written 300 years ago, and drawn out in a long series of solo correspondence and journals. This has little to recommend it other than it is shorter than Richardson's Clarissa. 1.5/5

Jan 9, 2020, 4:33pm

>330 puckers: as a bellringer myself, I can tell you that we'd never use the word campanology to describe what we do. No idea why, it's just one of those things.
There are a few technical errors, but the non-ringer wouldn't notice them and they don't have an imapct on the story itself. I can let them go, my husband (also a ringer) finds them really very irritiating.

Edited: Jan 9, 2020, 10:14pm

>335 Helenliz: as a birder I have similar disdain for authors that name birds in geography, habitat or seasons that they couldn’t possibly be in. It can be destroy the credibility of a novel if it matters to the story (particularly bad in film soundtracks - e.g. kookaburras in Tarzan movies (not that credibility exists there at any level!))

Jan 12, 2020, 7:08pm

895. To The North - Elizabeth Bowen. Sisters-in law share a house in London in the 1920s. I enjoyed Bowen's turns of phrase, and while the overall story was not particularly compelling, I quite liked the ending. 3.5/5

Jan 13, 2020, 1:55pm

896. Mother’s Milk - Edward St. Aubyn. Explores the tensions within the generations of the Melrose family. Very caustic wit. It might have helped to have read the preceding trilogy about the Melrose family to understand the weariness of the adult players in the drama, but I enjoyed this as a stand-alone novel 4/5

Jan 14, 2020, 6:42pm

897. Kiss of the Spider Woman - Manuel Puig. A gay man and a political prisoner share a prison cell. This is an interestingly constructed novel consisting almost entirely of straight dialogue between two men. These dialogues include descriptions of the plots of various movies which provide some emotional texture and diverting stories. There are also stream of consciousness passages in italics and lengthy footnotes about the history of psychology of homosexuality which I found distracting and irrelevant. Interesting and a bit of an emotional kick at the end. 3.5/5

Jan 15, 2020, 5:10pm

898. The Life and Death of Harriett Frean - May Sinclair. Harriett Hume lives her life in loyalty to the principles her parents instilled in her. I read this short but absorbing novella in one session. Capturing a life, its motives and the people who passed through it in 100 pages is quite an achievement, and Sinclair pulls it off nicely. 4/5

Edited: Jan 17, 2020, 4:26am

899. The Killer Inside Me - Jim Thompson. Affable Texan deputy sheriff Lou Ford is also a brutal murderer. This is not a "whodunit?" but more a "will he get caught?". The answer....well you'll just have the read the book. I was intrigued by the cool amoral mind of the narrator, and while never quite sympathising with him I did find myself drawing up a chair next to him, pouring a bourbon and listening to him tell his laconic story. 4/5

Edited: Jan 21, 2020, 2:34pm

900. The Devil To Pay in the Backlands - Joao Guimarães Rosa. An outlaw recalls his time with a gang in the sertao of Brazil. This novel is elevated above a standard “Wild West” style novel by its poetic descriptions of the people and places of the wild semi-desert of inland Brazil, and by the conflicted romantic emotions of the narrator. I was less convinced by the big twist at the end. 4/5

Jan 21, 2020, 3:32pm

Wow, that is amazing! Congratulations on 900!

Jan 21, 2020, 8:51pm

900! Congratulations! And with an impossible to find book as well!

Jan 22, 2020, 2:10am

Congratulations- amazing to reach 900 so quickly!

Jan 22, 2020, 3:21am

Congrats on 900 - that's amazing!

Jan 22, 2020, 8:48am

Adding my congratulations! Wow!

Jan 22, 2020, 5:10pm

>343 BentleyMay: >344 JayneCM: >345 soffitta1: >346 BekkaJo: >347 paruline: Thank you all. Approaching the start of my ninth year with this group and it is a pleasure to be sharing the journey with you all.

Jan 22, 2020, 5:17pm

901. Quartet in Autumn - Barbara Pym. Four lonely people sharing an office contemplate life in retirement. The sort of thing English writers do well - a gentle and somewhat melancholy portrait of four elder people told with quiet humour. You read it with a half smile on your face without ever breaking out into anything as undignified as a chuckle. 3.5/5

Jan 23, 2020, 5:02pm

I enjoyed the book as well, your description is very apt.

Jan 25, 2020, 12:53am

902. The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon. "One summer afternoon Mrs Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity." Of all the Pynchon's I've read this is the one I've minded the least. Feint praise, and this does contain the Pynchon trademarks of numerous bizzare characters, subplots that ramble on nowhere and an underground conspiracy. Where this book improves is its brevity and thereby more focus on what passes for a plot, and a nice suspenseful ending that explains "the crying of Lot 49". 3/5

Edited: Jan 27, 2020, 6:05am

903. Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott. Outlaws and old Saxon lords unite to combat the injustices of Prince John. This is rollicking historical fiction from the early 19th century - predictable romantically and dubious historically, but good fun. It is quoted as the novel that revived interest in medieval romances, and it introduces Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and his merry men who is embellished by other 19th century authors. The only sour point is that having condemned antisemitism Scott proceeds to paint the main Jewish character as a coward who values money above everything. Nevertheless I enjoyed the story 4/5

Edited: Jan 27, 2020, 5:07pm

With the "P" authors completed I now move on to the "R"s:

904. The Devil in the Flesh - Raymond Radiguet. A 16 year old schoolboy has an affair with a 19 year old married woman. This is a largely autobiographical novel written by a young man who died when he was 20. It nicely captures the selfishness of youthful passion, and reads as if written by someone with more maturity than the youthfulness of the author would suggest. 3.5/5

Jan 29, 2020, 5:30am

905. The Story of O - Pauline Reage. A woman makes herself a slave to physical, sexual and mental abuse. Not an easy read - none of the characters are sympathetically drawn, and the motivations of O are hard to understand. While sold as "one of the most famous erotic novels of all time", this is mainly dull and pointless, and the ending is nothing. 1.5/5

Jan 29, 2020, 8:46am

>354 puckers: That one is on my list of books that I will not read before I die.

Edited: Jan 29, 2020, 9:01am

>354 puckers: that's one of the books I wish I hadn't read before I die.
Funnily enough, the library catalogue showed several copies. When I reserved one, they were found to be in the prison library and "in a condition unfit to lend". Which adds a whole new level of ick to the proceedings.

Jan 29, 2020, 12:31pm

Edited: Jan 29, 2020, 1:59pm

906. Adjunct: An Undigest - Peter Manson. Random thoughts and observations. I read this on the link provided by sometimeunderwater which may or may not be the entire work but likely doesn’t matter. I enjoyed the cultural references to life in Glasgow in the 80s and 90s, many of which I hadn’t thought of in 30 years. I didn’t get the point of the work but it’s brief and worth a read for the experience. 3/5

Jan 30, 2020, 12:33am

>358 puckers: I also read Adjunct while it was in my mind - thanks to the link from sometimeunderwater! I found a reference soomewhere else to the last line being the one about the sponge, so I know that link went up to the end of the work. Not sure about the beginning though! I think it was enough anyway to say I have read it.

Jan 30, 2020, 5:06pm

907. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge - Rainer Maria Rilke. An impoverished Dane in Paris muses on death and family. A mixture of anecdotes, history and philosophy. The reminiscences about his childhood in Denmark worked best for me; the contemporary observations in Paris less so, and you had to keep referring to footnotes to understand his allusions to historical figures. The fleshing out the parable of the prodigal son (presumably explaining why he was in the condition he found himself in) worked as a conclusion to the book. Overall 2.5/5

Jan 31, 2020, 2:12pm

908. Jealousy - Alain Robbe-Grillet. A man closely observes his wife and a neighbour. This is an intriguing book in a number of ways. Firstly there is obsessively observed detail (eg the exact placement of furniture in a room, the number of banana trees on a hillside...). Secondly observations are repeated often with no chronology leading you to question what if anything has actually happened. Thirdly, and most ingeniously, the jealous husband is never seen or heard - you only know he exists by the number of place settings for dinner, or glasses on a tray. Thought provoking, though I would have preferred a few more clues to build some sort of story. 4/5

Feb 4, 2020, 2:37pm

909. Home - Marilynne Robinson. After a 20 year absence a miscreant son returns home. A meditatively paced novel focussing on the “bad sheep” of the family, his middle aged spinster sister and their ailing preacher father. Lots of talk and reflection, and little action, this gives you much to ponder on family and forgiveness. A fine piece of literature. 4/5

Feb 7, 2020, 11:28pm

910. Cost - Roxana Robinson. A family discover the youngest son is a heroin addict. I got caught up in this story which plays out in a probably more realistic way than Hollywood would demand. A chillingly scary story for those of us who are parents of young children where these temptations and choices still lie ahead of them. 4/5

Edited: Feb 19, 2020, 6:38pm

911. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman - Laurence Sterne. A lengthy novel that goes nowhere. It is an early 18th century novel and therefore original in its day - a putative autobiography that tells very little of the life and opinions of its subject and, due to numerous irrelevant digressions, little else besides. It is amusing in parts but I'm not sure that it needed 500+ pages to make its point, whatever that might be. 2.5/5

Feb 9, 2020, 5:22pm

912. Love's Work - Gillian Rose. Combination of autobiography and philosophy, on love and death. Rose was a philosophy professor and the language in this book seems aimed at those familiar with the language and styles of philosophy. Hard to engage with. 2/5

Feb 12, 2020, 2:16am

913. Pastoralia -George Saunders. Six short stories about the white under-class in the USA. These stories focus on (if I might be permitted an un-PC term) "losers", stuck in dead end jobs and dead end relationships with not quite enough motivation to make decisive changes. The world they live in must be modern day USA but each manages to have a bizarre element that makes them not quite reality. There is much bleak humour which appealed to me a lot. 4/5

Feb 12, 2020, 11:42am

>366 puckers: I quite enjoyed these stories as well. And bizarre is definitely a good descriptor - the first story about the stone-age theme park was my favourite.

Edited: Feb 13, 2020, 4:58pm

914. Call It Sleep - Henry Roth. Life in early twentieth century New York through the eyes of a young immigrant Jewish boy. This book had a great sense of place and time, and you inhabit the naïve mind of a young boy. I found the irrational paranoia of David and the over-protection of his mother a bit annoying, and there are parts where the heavily accented dialogue is hard to follow even when you sound it out. 3/5

915. The Breast - Philip Roth. David Kepesh awakes one morning to discover he has metamorphized into a 155 pound breast. It sounds silly, and it is with little attempt to explain the physical (im)practicalities of dealing with this situation. However some of his thought processes were quite entertaining, particularly when he was convincing himself that he was merely insane and there had been no physical changes at all. 3/5

Feb 14, 2020, 6:30pm

916. Reveries of a Solitary Walker - Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau rambles and philosophies in his lonely old age. While I agreed with some of his thoughts there was nothing very compelling in this short book. 2.5/5

Feb 17, 2020, 5:13pm

917. Impressions of Africa - Raymond Roussel. The coronation of an African king is highlighted by surreal musical and visual illusion performances. The book throws you in the deep end of the bizarre performances of a variety of mainly Caucasian characters, and it is only after 10 chapters that you get to the backstory. While there are entertaining passages in the latter, it is rather like having a series of magic tricks explained which detracts from the wonder of the first chapters, and some of his explanations go in to a lot of detail which can be dull. Cleverly constructed but eventually 3/5.

Feb 19, 2020, 5:02pm

918. Unless - Carol Shields. Reta Winter's eldest daughter suddenly leaves home to live on the streets. I liked Shield's writing style, but nothing much really happens in this novel until everything is explained and wrapped up in the last few pages. 3/5

Feb 19, 2020, 5:53pm

>371 puckers: Yes, I didn't think Unless was her best work but it does have some great characterizations. I see you have read The Stone Diaries but don't have a rating for it. I think it was Shields' masterwork. A new literary prize for Canadian and American women and non-binary writers named after Shields has just been announced. I'm looking forward to seeing what books are nominated for the inaugural prize.

Feb 19, 2020, 6:33pm

>372 gypsysmom: I read The Stone Diaries a long time ago and don't recall much about it. Likely deserves a re-read at some point now I'm much more in tune with "literature".

Feb 20, 2020, 2:26pm

>373 puckers: I read it when it first came out when I was in my 40s and then I read it again a few years ago. Different things stood out for me on the second read than on the first and I attribute it to my different stage in life. I firmly plan to re-read it when I am in my 80s to see what my impressions are then.

Feb 23, 2020, 11:12pm

919. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck. The tale of the Joad family driven from their home in Oklahoma to seek work in California. A powerful but depressing story about a family caught up in circumstances out of their control and exploited by the more powerful taking advantage of the situation. This isn't a part of history I know much about so I wondered whether the situation portrayed was the universal experience of these migrants. It portrays most Californians as rapacious oppressors and I'd hope this wasn't the case in reality - maybe wishful thinking. 4/5

Feb 24, 2020, 5:25pm

920. Shame - Salman Rushdie. The rise to power of related families in a country that is not Pakistan (yeah, right). This is probably my favourite of the six Rushdie's I've read off the list - it has interesting characters, dashes of magic realism and a lot of dark humour. More detailed knowledge of Pakistani politics would likely have made the satire more biting, but the principles of incestuous cronyism and military dictatorship could sadly be applied to many countries. 4/5

Edited: Feb 27, 2020, 2:59am

On to the “S” authors:

921. The Witness - Juan Jose Saer. A young man is captured by natives in 16th century South America. This starts off as a kind of Robinson Crusoe but develops in to an existential musing on the reality and the thought processes of a remote tribe of people. Thought-provoking. 3.5/5

Feb 27, 2020, 5:12pm

922. Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger. Franny and Zooey are the youngest members of the cerebral Glass family. I enjoyed Salinger's writing and the dark wit. However while this is a "meaning of life" story I'm not sure it was particularly profound. 3.5/5

Edited: Feb 29, 2020, 12:08am

923. The Devil’s Pool - George Sand. An old (29 years old!) widower falls for a younger girl and marries her. Pleasant enough if not particularly originally plotted book from a woman who was known in life for her originality (dressing in male clothing, smoking in public, 10 year affair with Chopin). 3/5

Mar 3, 2020, 3:21pm

924. Alberta and Jacob - Cora Sandel. Alberta lives an oppressive and tense life with her family in northern Norway. Sandel captures the awkwardness of a shy teenage girl rather well, but I wish she had been allowed to develop a bit at some point. 3/5

Edited: Mar 5, 2020, 5:15am

925. Cain - Jose Saramago. Old Testament stories told through the eyes of Cain. Saramago bends time to allow Cain (son of Adam and Eve) to act as witness at various Old Testament stories including Noah's ark, Abraham sacrificing Isaac, Moses and the 10 commandments and the trials of Job amongst others. Saramago pokes fun at God's inconsistency and disproportionate violence. Deemed to be "controversial" but as a Christian I'd have to say this is all low-hanging fruit. Most Christians these days don't take these stories as the literal truth and would agree with much of Saramago's sarcasm and incredulity. 3/5

Mar 5, 2020, 11:30pm

926. The Street of Crocodiles - Bruno Schulz. Short stories revolving round the author's childhood in a Polish city. Presumably using the overactive imagination of a child, these wander off into magic realism with inanimate objects coming to life and flocks of birds being reared in the attic. I enjoyed some of the imagery, but other parts washed over me. 3/5

Mar 9, 2020, 4:52am

927. The Emigrants - W. G. Sebald. The author tells the story of four Jewish men who left Germany in the Nazi era. I had previously read Vertigo and enjoyed it. This book is similarly structured with photos scattered throughout, but I found it less quirky and the stories were told in a relatively straightforward way. Interesting enough but not compelling for me. 3/5

Mar 16, 2020, 9:26pm

928. 10:04 - Ben Lerner. A 30 something New York poet/author contemplates his mortality. Not sure why this was added to the latest list, though reviews I read talked about it pushing the boundaries of the novel - I did this as an audiobook so maybe the physical book was more interesting. Anyway, there were some well written passages but at the end I'm not sure that anything of note/interest really happened. 2.5/5

Mar 17, 2020, 3:29pm

It left me cold as well. I finished it no further informed than when I opened it!

Mar 18, 2020, 11:11pm

929. Roxana - Daniel Defoe. The tale of a woman who hides her previous marriages and her children to pursue wealth benefactors. This story arcs through to an inevitable undoing of the heroine. A lot longer than it needs to be. 2.5/5

Mar 23, 2020, 7:15pm

930. Sometimes a Great Notion - Ken Kesey. Set in the timber forests of Oregon during a strike in the 1960's, the story deals with the tensions between the town and an independent family who seek to profit from the strike. A "messy" book as characters/perspectives are constantly changing, often several times in a paragraph. It requires concentration but I think ultimately pays off as a tense piece of writing. 3.5/5

Edited: Mar 24, 2020, 7:42pm

931. Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov. The narrator analyses a 999 line poem. A pretty unique book, the story as such being told through line by line footnotes to a poem. Presumably a parody of over-intellectualised analysis of literature (the explanations of single words running for pages sometimes). Nabokov's writing as always is entertaining but the disjointed nature of a story told through footnotes wasn't very engaging. 3/5

Mar 26, 2020, 6:48am

932. The Lonely Londoners - Samuel Selvon. The lives of young West Indian migrants in 1950s London. Written in the vernacular of West Indian English, the book captures the aimless life of a group of young men struggling to make ends meet while chasing English girls. 3/5

Mar 28, 2020, 4:11am

933. Hunger - Knut Hamsun. A writer becomes increasingly delirious as poverty and hunger tighten their grip. All rather bleak and meandering. 3/5

Mar 31, 2020, 3:29am

934. How the Dead Live - Will Self. Lily Bloom describes her death and afterlife. This is all in fairly bad taste, and certainly not for everyone (lady dies of breast cancer then hangs out with her junkie daughter and a resurrected foetus - what's not to love!). Sadly I did like some of the very dark humour, but glad when it was finished 3/5

Edited: Apr 4, 2020, 9:14pm

935. An Obedient Father - Akhil Sharma. A corrupt bureaucrat is confronted by the daughter he sexually abused as a child. The underlying theme is grim, but I thought the writing was good and you get caught up in the story of corruption and revenge. 3.5/5

Apr 4, 2020, 9:14pm

936. Saturday Night, Sunday Morning - Alan Sillitoe. 21 year old Arthur Seaton works in a factory by day, drinks and chases women at night. A working class slice of life without authorial moralising or blaming. Quite absorbing. 4/5

Apr 6, 2020, 12:21am

937. Confessions of Zeno - Italo Svevo. Zeno's analyst asks him to write the story of his life. He gets addicted to nicotine, his father dies, he gets married, he has an affair, he gets involved in a failed business venture and he sees an psychoanalyst. All pretty tedious. 2.5/5

Apr 7, 2020, 5:08am

938. Mr Norris Changes Trains - Christopher Isherwood. While travelling on a train from Holland to Germany, William Bradshaw meets the mysterious Arthur Norris. I enjoyed this novel - it's entertaining and the mystery of what Mr Norris is exactly up to is maintained until close to the end. 4/5

Apr 9, 2020, 5:25pm

939. The Glass Key - Dashiell Hammett. The death of a senator’s son complicates the re-election of a corrupt politician. An entertaining hardboiled crime story from the 30s. 3.5/5

Apr 10, 2020, 5:23pm

940. The Magician of Lublin - Isaac Bashevis Singer. Yasha Mazur travels around Poland with his magic show. This is a good read with both characters and locations nicely written. 4/5

Apr 13, 2020, 9:23pm

941. Animal's People - Indra Sinha. Animal is a boy who's spine is bent following a gas leak from an American owned factory. Based on the aftermath of the Bhopal gas leak, this book does deal with the efforts of the American company to avoid liability for the death and injury, but it is the relationships between the various residents that provides the main interest in this entertaining and at times moving story. 4/5

Apr 15, 2020, 12:37am

942. Rabbit Redux - John Updike. Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom's life enters his late 30s. While Rabbit is hardly someone I can identify with I have appreciated this series of novels. "Redux" is the second in the series, but my fourth. Like the others it deals with the issues current in the decade it was based (and written) - in this case Vietnam, the moon landing, and racial tensions in USA, while charting our heroes failures in life. There is an obsession with sex and an excessive use of "the "c" word" throughout which detracted from my enjoyment of this one. Interestingly the "Rabbit' novel I have liked the most is the one that didn't make Boxall's list, Rabbit at Rest. 3/5

Apr 18, 2020, 11:31pm

943. On Beauty - Zadie Smith. A pair of professors at a New England university feud with each other and their families. I didn’t find this as deep as the blurb suggested, but it is an enjoyable read. 4/5

Apr 20, 2020, 3:14am

944. The Master of Petersburg - J.M. Coetzee. A father arrives in Petersburg following the death of his son. This is my 10th and last Coetzee from the Boxall list. I have enjoyed the variety of his writing which justifies to some extent the large number of novels listed. This one was not a favourite - there are parts, particularly at the start of the novel, which are intriguing, but it tends to get bogged down in certain themes. The identity of the father which is revealed in the first half of the book adds a note of interest, but apparently the events that are described here are entirely fictitious as far as they relate to him. 3/5

Apr 24, 2020, 5:27pm

945. The Adventures of Roderick Random - Tobias Smollet. Roderick Random leaves his home in Scotland to travel the world. A picaresque novel from 1744, this novel has much slapstick and bawdy humour, but also takes numerous digs at the corruption and petty fraud rampant in society at that time. I enjoyed this very much. 4/5

Apr 25, 2020, 7:42am

946. The Home and the World - Rabindranath Tagore. An Indian woman is torn between her traditional role as wife and involvement in an Indian uprising. There were moments of poetic beauty and others of plot tension involving the wife, her wealthy but progressive husband, and the self-centred revolutionary leader. Each gets to narrate part of the story, but some of this narrative gets a bit obscure and tedious. 3/5

Apr 25, 2020, 9:46am

I just finished The Home and the World yesterday. Obscure and tedious, yes! Too much "Women are this..." and "Men are this..." garbage.
Also, I need a better understanding of the period. I would appreciate the story more. However, I kind of liked the rotating narration.

Edited: Apr 26, 2020, 4:07pm

Two classic short stories from Russia:

947. The Death of Ivan Ilyich - Leo Tolstoy. A lawyer faces his mortality. While there was nothing wrong with this, I didn't get caught up in it. 3/5

948. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandra Solzhenitsyn. Ivan Denisovich is a prisoner in a Siberian labour camp and describes what is a maybe better than average day. This book did suck me in to a life lived on the edge of life and death. It reminded me of Primo Levi's If this is a Man in that the author (who like Levi experienced what is described in this book) doesn't assign blame or flare up in anger against the chance/injustice that brought him to this horrific place, but rather describes what it takes to survive there while preserving some humanity. 3.5/5

Apr 29, 2020, 4:16pm

949. Some Experiences of an Irish R.M. - E. Somerville and M. Ross. An English Major is appointed magistrate in rural Ireland. A series of humorous anecdotes set amongst the gentry of Ireland who spend their timing hunting and horse riding. Much excellent humour in this. The stories ignore The Troubles and other social ills of Ireland of the late 19th century but it is nice to find a funny and superficial book amongst Boxalls list. 4/5

May 3, 2020, 5:17am

950. Three Lives - Gertrude Stein. Stein describes the lives of three women. While set in the same fictional town, there is no crossover of characters. Steins trademark repetition and circularity make these stories tedious and while you get a sense of the characters of the three women, there is no noticeable development or resolution. 2/5

May 10, 2020, 7:24am

951. Phineas Finn - Anthony Trollope. Phineas Finn is elected M.P. I have a soft spot for rambling Victorian novels, and Trollope is amongst the best writers of that style. The novel is the second of his six Palliser novels, and is as good as anything he ever produced out of Bartsetshire. A fine novel with Trollope’s bitter-sweet conclusions. 4.5/5

May 10, 2020, 7:54am

>408 puckers: I love Trollope as well. I'm glad he was so prolific! I think I've read about 16 and I've really enjoyed them all.

May 10, 2020, 8:45am

>409 japaul22: I’m looking forward to eventually reading the other five Palliser novels once my Boxall list is done. Certainly a style I could read for hours.

May 10, 2020, 10:30am

>410 puckers: I've read all of the Barchester novels and all of the Pallisers. I loved them all, but I think I preferred the Barchester series. But probably only because I read them first!

May 11, 2020, 12:16am

952. The Wonderful O - James Thurber. A tyrannical sea captain forces an island to eliminate the letter "O" from its language. There was an enjoyable playfulness about all this, but the lists of objects containing "O" stretched the story a bit thin even for a book less than 100 pages long. 3/5

May 15, 2020, 4:59pm

953. Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson. Two stories in parallel about code-breaking in WW2 and a data hub in 1990s S.E. Asia. I quite liked the first, less so the latter; the cutting edge technology has dated over 20 years. The back cover mentions Pynchon twice and this book has elements of his writing - lengthy (over 900 pages), dense and overpacked with detail. This made the overall experience a slog for me. One for the nerds. Worth it? Maybe. 2.5/5

May 15, 2020, 7:56pm

954. Myra Breckinridge - Gore Vidal. Sex and sexuality on the fringe of Hollywood. I can understand how this book focusing on what we now term sexual fluidity caused some outrage at the time, but the explicit passages are more silly than titillating. 3/5

Edited: May 17, 2020, 4:51am

955. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson. A lawyer is alarmed by his friend Dr. Jekyll’s association with the violent Mr. Hyde. The finally revealed twist in this short story is known to all through numerous retellings of the tale, so it is difficult to read this mystery cold. However it is a well written story and worthy of its impact on popular culture. 4/5

May 17, 2020, 10:02am

>955 I can't believe that you are on your #955 and you've still got enjoyable short reads like this one! I think that if/when I get to this stage, I will be reading only long and unbearable books.

May 17, 2020, 4:07pm

>416 annamorphic: Hi. I started my “alphabetical by author” assault on the list around 4 years ago and have broadly stuck to it so a few classics have only popped up now. I see Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth coming up soon, and after just completing Cryptonomicon nothing too long apart from a couple of books I’ve reserved for 1000 and 1001.

May 20, 2020, 7:56pm

956. Z - Vassilis Vassilikos. Z, a political activist, is assassinated by senior anti-Communist police. The assassination is described from the perspective of various participants and witnesses, and then the cover-up takes up the second half of the book. The outcome is more realistic than tense, and too realistic for the Greek military dictatorship who banned the book and exiled the author. 3/5

Edited: May 20, 2020, 9:21pm

>418 puckers: I started this one a few weeks ago, but then got sidetracked with a million other books. I'm not sure I have the attention span to finish it right now.

May 20, 2020, 10:27pm

>419 Yells: I won’t spoil the ending then, though you can probably guess where it’s heading.

May 21, 2020, 12:12pm

Are you able to say what your 1000 and 1001 books will be, or are you keeping that under your hat for now?

May 21, 2020, 4:37pm

>421 sometimeunderwater: Every 100 milestone I like to have a large book from a different culture so at this stage I’m aiming for Murasaki Shibuku’s The Tale of Genji as 1000, and then hit the 1001 with an icon of world literature in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Of course I might mistime everything and end up with some obscure piece of German existentialism instead!

May 22, 2020, 4:54pm

957. The Natives of Hemso - August Strindberg. Life on an island off southern Sweden. This is an amiable read about a small farming and fishing community, with a little bit of tragic drama thrown in. Nicely atmospheric. 3.5/5

May 23, 2020, 1:46am

958. The Pigeon - Patrick Suskind. A pigeon outside a man’s room precipitates a psychological crisis. I liked this - a nicely rounded tale of the fragility of ones purpose in life. 4/5

May 23, 2020, 9:27pm

959. A Tale of a Tub - Jonathan Swift. A satire on church denominations and much besides. My copy of this book is one of the oldest in my collection, being the third edition from 1704. A bookplate on the inside cover shows that in 1817 it was in the collection of Thomas Musgrave who went on to become Archbishop of York in 1847. Reading a book printed 300 years ago was the one pleasure I got from this experience; the contents of the book are largely incomprehensible and while occasionally lucid and witty the book when judged apart from its cover is only 2/5.

May 25, 2020, 3:47am

960. Tipping the Velvet - Sarah Waters. Nancy Astley discovers love in the Victorian music hall. This is a entertainingly written novel that captures life in London in the late 19th century. I liked the story, but found Nan to be too self-centred to have me sympathising with her losses or celebrating her victories so it lost some impact with me there, and the conclusion where all the major characters appear together was far-fetched. Overall though 3.5/5

May 26, 2020, 8:02am

961. The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman - Andrzej Szczypiorski. Various lives intersect during the German occupation of Warsaw in 1943. The novel uses an interesting device where the ultimate fate of the characters up to 40 years hence is revealed early in their story. This dissipates the tension, but also adds an air of melancholy knowing that one boy will die within a few short months and his best friend will live to a ripe old age. 3/5

May 27, 2020, 5:02pm

Finished the “S” authors and on to the “T”s.

962. Pereira Declares - Antonio Tabucchi. An overweight aging journalist is drawn in to political activism in Salazar’s fascist Portugal. A neatly drawn portrait of a man aiming to be politically neutral but ultimately outraged. Packs a punch at the end, though the frequent “declarations” were annoying. 3.5/5

Edited: May 31, 2020, 9:18pm

963. The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor. The author traces the twentieth century political history of India through a fictional dynastic family. I thought this was well done - an educational history of the India from the British Raj to the assassination of Indira Ghandi, mixed in with a work of fiction that was often witty and sometimes moving. To add to the cleverness apparently the structure and characters mirror the ancient epic poem Mahabharata but knowing nothing of the latter I can't offer any helpful comment on that. 4/5

May 31, 2020, 11:32pm

964. Tono-Bungay - H.G. Wells. George Ponderevo is left in the care of his uncle, an eccentric swindler who makes a fortune from a useless tonic. I liked this book, even if it sometimes seems to waver in the mood it is trying to capture - from the witty portrait of the antics of Uncle Edward, to a nostalgic reminiscence of nineteenth century England, and bitter recollections of a failed loveless marriage. To that extent it appears Wells is trying to emulate Dickens in his range of character portrait, and overall he succeeds with this book.4/5

Jun 3, 2020, 12:54am

965. Some Prefer Nettles - Junichiro Tanizaki. An Osaka couple face up (or not) to the prospect of divorce. The cool detachment is typical of Japanese novels I’ve read as is the slow pace. However it was nicely readable and I’m not sure whether to be intrigued or annoyed by the unresolved ending. 3/5

Edited: Jun 6, 2020, 4:51pm

966. Cutter and Bone - Newton Thornburg. Cutter and Bone are self-destructive dropouts living in LA who attempt to blackmail a tycoon. I enjoyed this crime novel. There is a lot of strong language but delivered with black humour, and the twists and turns keep you interested up to the sudden end. 4/5

Jun 7, 2020, 4:27pm

967. A Lear of the Steppes - Ivan Turgenev. A father gives all he possesses to his two daughters. Basic elements of Shakespeare’s King Lear set in the Russian countryside, including a Fool to stir things up. 3/5

Jun 8, 2020, 3:55pm

968. The Invention of Curried Sausage - Uwe Timm. An old German lady recalls her experiences from the end of WWII. This is a pleasant enough read though I found it slight with little in the way of excitement. More spice and heat needed! 3/5

Jun 8, 2020, 11:38pm

969. The Glimpses of the Moon - Edith Wharton. Two young people agree to marry for a year so they can sponge off their rich friends. The plot has been used in numerous rom-coms - a couple marry for convenience and then fall in love.... Wharton's writing is enjoyable as always, even if the happy ending is somewhat predictable and out of character for her. It gets an extra half star for taking me back to places I can't revisit any time in the foreseeable future. 3.5/5

Jun 11, 2020, 8:02am

970. The Kreutzer Sonata - Leo Tolstoy. A man who murdered his wife in jealous rage tells his story. I’m not quite sure what the point of this short novella is - are we supposed to sympathise or condemn him? Tolstoy apparently identified with the scruples of the husband but I doubt few these days would. 3/5

Jun 12, 2020, 10:12pm

971. The Story of Lucy Gault - William Trevor. An event during the Irish Troubles affects a family and those around them for the rest of their lives. This is an elusive, melancholy yet reflective and peaceful work. 3.5/5

Edited: Jun 15, 2020, 8:20am

The “T” and “U” authors are done so on to the “V”s:

972. Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Jules Verne. A professor and his nephew come across a coded manuscript that leads them in to an Icelandic volcano. The story is a stretch, not so much from the prehistoric world under the earths surface (which you have to accept to get into the spirit of the book) but from the glaring inconsistencies in the plot details. I found the latter annoying enough to only give this sci-fi classic 2.5/5.

Jun 18, 2020, 6:29am

973. The Quest - Frederik van Eeden. Little Johannes leaves home in a quest for goodness. Part fairy story, part morality story, part sermon on social and religious structures. An intriguing story with characters as diverse as Death, the devil, a circus performer, a monkey, a dragonfly and a Christlike wandering knife-grinder. 3/5

Edited: Jun 20, 2020, 5:46pm

974. The Cubs and Other Stories - Mario Vargas Llosa. A collection of seven short stories from early in the acclaimed authors career, all dealing with male adolescence and machismo. I have enjoyed his full novels and some of these felt like they were just chapters lifted from a longer work. The title story is the most interesting of the group, while “A Visitor” and “On Sunday” worked best for me as complete short stories. 3/5

Jun 23, 2020, 8:26am

975.God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater - Kurt Vonnegut. Eliot Rosewater is sole heir to $3.5 million a year. A biting but very humorous attack on a society that values money and the monied above everything. 4/5

Jun 25, 2020, 6:23am

On to the “W” authors.

976. Voss - Patrick White. Voss sets out on an expedition to cross Australia. Patrick White is our Nobel laureate and this is his best known work, however I found it hard to get emotionally connected to. The motives for the expedition and its various members isn’t clear, and while Voss is an intriguing character I felt White never really opened him up for me. Some striking and original passages helped maintain interest though. 3/5

Jun 27, 2020, 5:22pm

977. The Temple of My Familiar - Alice Walker. Various African Americans explore their past. I found this novel with its shifting characters, past lives and long preachy monologues a bit too much like hard work, even if it’s central theme of feminism and racism is very current. 2/5

Jun 28, 2020, 12:13pm

I see that you haven't read a 5/5 book since #876. I too haven't read a 5-star book yet this year, although I've gone through a lot fewer than you have! I worry that I'm getting jaded with the 1001-ers, like reading too many high-quality books one after the other. Have you wondered about this?

Jun 28, 2020, 3:03pm

>444 annamorphic: absolutely. I still enjoy many of the books (anything over 3.5 means I enjoyed the read) but the bar has been raised for a 5/5 which has to have a special “wow factor” rather than just be a well written and enjoyable book. I’m planning to throw more popular mainstream books in to my reading schedule once I get to 1001 so might re-rate some of the current reads in retrospect.

Jun 29, 2020, 5:12am

^ Although the opposite is also true. Not seeing any 1/5s here. I guess being on the 1001 list should result in a higher rating by definition, or are there any that you thought were irredeemably bad?

Jun 29, 2020, 7:33am

>446 sometimeunderwater: there have been some authors I found difficult to read (Acker, some Ballards, some Burroughs, Iain Sinclair to name a few) and have consequently rated them between 1 and 2 out of 5. In most cases I can see why they made the list but my ratings reflect my enjoyment rather than literary merit.

Jun 29, 2020, 7:40am

978. Morven Callar - Alan Warner. Morven Callar, a young woman living in a Scottish highlands port town, wakes up to find her partner dead in the kitchen. The book is written in a unique voice that takes a bit of getting in to, but once I got in to the rhythm of her voice I enjoyed much of this book. The concluding pages I found a bit disappointing after a strong start. 3.5/5

Jun 30, 2020, 12:56am

979. The Castle of Otranto - Horace Walpole. Wedding plans in a medieval castle are disturbed by the groom being crushed under a giant helmet! The original gothic novel (spooky goings on in a medieval castle), this is one to read for its historic significance rather than any excitement in the plot which quickly abandons the spooky and heads off in to melodrama. 2.5/5

Edited: Jul 3, 2020, 7:30pm

980. Summer Will Show - Sylvia Townsend Warner. Sophia Willoughby runs a country estate in England while her husband lives with his mistress in Paris; she follows him there and ends up behind the barricades of the 1848 French Revolution. There were large twists in this book that weren’t very believable which lessened the impact for me. However I did very much enjoy Warner’s descriptive language and turns of phrase and I look forward to reading more by this author. 4/5

Jul 5, 2020, 6:09pm

981. Heartbreak Tango - Manuel Puig. Various women look back on the life of Juan Carlos Etchepare. A novel as much about form as substance, told through letters, police reports, confessions and prayers, and stream of consciousness. Interesting and nicely done. 3.5/5

Edited: Jul 8, 2020, 12:13am

982. The Graduate - Charles Webb. "Mrs. Robinson, you are trying to seduce me"..."Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?" The famous film captures the awkward Benjamin Braddock and the manipulative Mrs. Robinson as they appear in this novel and the voices of the characters as I read the book are automatically Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. This is a quick read thanks to its fast-paced dialogue and I enjoyed it. Coincidental to my reading this I see that Webb passed away only three weeks ago, aged 81. 4/5

Jul 8, 2020, 1:45pm

>452 puckers: I saw the obituary and hadn't realised that the film was based on a book at all. Oops.

Jul 10, 2020, 1:25pm

You are so close! *shakes pompoms*

Jul 10, 2020, 4:01pm

>454 BekkaJo: you might need to shake the pom-poms for a little while yet!

Edited: Jul 20, 2020, 2:50pm

>455 puckers: 9 books? That should take you about 27 days. Maybe 30 if one of them is 1000+ pages.

Sigh. I can't do subtraction. 19 books, ~57 days.

Jul 12, 2020, 7:09am

983. Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh. Snapshots of junky life in Edinburgh. Written in broad dialect and expletives on every line, nevertheless I enjoyed the bleak humour and aspects of it were moving. 4/5

Jul 16, 2020, 4:37pm

984. Tarka the Otter - Henry Williamson. The life of an otter in Devon. Williamson wonderfully evokes the countryside of southern England in his detailed descriptions of habitats and animals. He tends not to humanise the otters life and thoughts which makes it more realistic though a bit repetitive (hunt, kill, eat, sleep.....). Humans appear regularly as aggressors and the descriptions of the otter hunts are quite sickening. This book contributed to the public condemnation and ultimate banning of this “sport”. 3.5/5

Jul 17, 2020, 11:22pm

985. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell. The Hale family move to a northern industrial town. Gaskell as at her “Grim up T’North” best here and all the major characters are bags of misery. While Gaskell has an attempt at P&P romance, Margaret Hale and Mr Thornton are hardly Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy, and I only wanted a successful conclusion to their non-courting so we could leave the story. While the overall feeling of the book is dreary, the writing is fine and so I’ll give this 3/5.

Edited: Jul 18, 2020, 5:08am

986. The Optimist’s Daughter - Eudora Welty. A middle-aged daughter returns home to her ailing father. I found this a bit difficult to follow, Welty’s phrasing and thought processes being vague at times. The concluding confrontation between the daughter and her fathers second wife however did pull it together for me, bringing out the theme of how the living honour memories of the dead. 3/5

Jul 18, 2020, 8:48pm

987. Miss Lonelyhearts - Nathaneal West. Miss Lonelyhearts is the pseudonym of an "agony aunt" of a New York newspaper. I can see why this short story is on the Boxall list - a quite surreal indictment of Depression America - but I couldn't get in to it. 2.5/5

Edited: Jul 20, 2020, 8:08am

988. The Return of the Soldier - Rebecca West. A soldier is invalided out of the war with amnesia. This was a great little book revolving around the soldier and the three women in his life - his cousin Jenny (the narrator), his elegant cold upper class wife (who he has no memory of) and the love of his youth who is now a married middle aged working class woman. The doctors aim to cure his amnesia, but will it make him happier? Thought provoking, touching and nicely written. 4.5/5

Edited: Jul 24, 2020, 7:53am

989. A Boy’s Own Story - Edmund White. A teenager in 1950s USA wrestles with his homosexuality. I found the title deceptive as the writing style and philosophy seem very grownup and hardly what a teenager would be thinking. For me this made the novel unauthentic and a bit dull. 2.5/5

Jul 25, 2020, 6:18am

990. Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman emigrates to the USA. This is a good story, very well written. It offers many insights in to the experience of immigrants (and emigrants), and the often subtle racism even from die-hard liberals towards black immigrants in both the USA and UK. It probably should be a rare five star read, but I found the wrap up of the romance between Ifemelu and Obinze a bit melodramatic and annoying. 4.5/5

Jul 25, 2020, 6:42pm

991. Sexing the Cherry - Jeanette Winterson. Around 1630 a woman finds a baby in a sack by the Thames. An exuberant mix of surreal and time-warping adventures. I liked this. 4/5

Jul 28, 2020, 4:41pm

992. The Quest for Christa T. - Christa Wolf. A former school friend pieces together the life of Christa T. I found this hard work. The narrative is vague and jumps around without really getting to a point. I think that is the point of the book - how do you capture a life from scraps of information and experiences - but if so it was lost on me. 2/5

Jul 31, 2020, 10:17am

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm feeling genuinely excited by the prospect of you being so close to finishing the 1001. Has anyone from LT been in touch with you? This feels like an obvious thing that their marketing team would want to celebrate.

Aug 1, 2020, 3:17am

>467 sometimeunderwater: I think I might have a glass of something with bubbles when I turn over to the back cover of book number 1001...and then move on to the remaining 314.

Aug 1, 2020, 3:29am

993. The Information - Martin Amis. Failed author Richard Tull tries to sabotage his more successful friend Gwyn Barry. I very much enjoyed the bitter humour in this novel, particularly as narrated by Steven Pacey. I had many a chuckle and often laughed out loud on my daily drive to work. Notwithstanding an ambiguously dark conclusion this was much needed comic relief in these troubling times. 5/5

Aug 1, 2020, 8:34am

I'm impressed that you still have short books left (Return of the Soldier!) this late in the game!

Aug 1, 2020, 4:09pm

>470 japaul22: according to the 1001 books app I still have 8 books of 100 pages or less on my TBR shelves. One of these Chess Story will be coming up shortly before I tackle the other extreme with Proust (though I’ve chipped away at most of its 3400 pages over the years).

Edited: Aug 3, 2020, 7:25am

994. The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test - Tom Wolfe. An account of Ken Kesey and The Pranksters in California in the mid 1960s. I had never heard of this piece of hippy culture, and this record of those times therefore was educational from that perspective. However like turning up late and sober to a drunken party, I got nothing out of the lengthy descriptions of various acid trips, and apart from Kesey and Mountain Girl the various members of the troupe were all pretty bland and indistinguishable. I guess you had to be there. 2/5

Aug 4, 2020, 6:19am

995. Dead Air - Iain Banks. Ken Nott, a young “shock jock” has an affair with a gangsters wife. Our hero is an overconfident, foul mouthed philanderer who I took a great dislike to and therefore when he falls foul of violent criminals I found myself cheering them on, which I don’t think was what Banks intended. This spoilt what I assumed was supposed to be a suspenseful novel and the happy ending was a big letdown! 2.5/5

Aug 5, 2020, 5:35am

996. Giovanni’s Room - James Baldwin. A young American shares a room in Paris with an Italian barman, but then his fiancée announces her return. This was nicely written, with great sensitively and refreshingly free of explicit sex scenes. 4/5

Edited: Aug 8, 2020, 4:13pm

997. Half of Man is Woman - Xianliang Zhang. A worker at a Chinese State Farm marries a fellow farm worker. The author spent 20 years at a similar labour reform camp during the Cultural Revolution and it is interesting to get insights in to this era. In contrast to Solzhenitsyn, Zhang’s experiences see the camps as a relative sanctuary from the madness of Maos various Movements, though the emasculation of the experience destroys his ability to relate to his wife. 3/5

Aug 10, 2020, 7:42pm

998. The Long Goodbye - Raymond Chandler. Philip Marlowe helps a man escape to Mexico after finding his wife murdered. Classic noir - crooked cops, tough cynical one-liners, and the beautiful blonde who is more dangerous than any man. I enjoyed this very much, and constant twists and turns kept coming up to the final pages. 5/5

Aug 11, 2020, 4:11pm

999. Chess Story - Stefan Zweig. On an ocean liner two chess experts accept the challenge of a game. A nice tight short story about obsession and psychological disorder. 4/5

Aug 11, 2020, 7:34pm


Aug 11, 2020, 8:43pm

I think we are all watching with great excitement!

Aug 12, 2020, 5:44am

Aug 12, 2020, 8:03am

>479 DeltaQueen50: Yes, we are!!

Aug 13, 2020, 11:01am

So close!

Aug 13, 2020, 4:48pm

1000. The Tale of Genji - Murasaki Shikibu. The life of Genji, the son of a Japanese emperor. Dating from around 1000 A.D. this is arguably the worlds first novel. Certainly there is something special about being able to read a lengthy story written over 1000 years ago. The writing is poetic, however the pace is slow and there is a fair bit of repetition as Genji falls in love, conquers the object of his desire and then moves quickly on to repeat the process. The overall moral of the tale is about the fleeting nature of life and I don’t think I’ve seen more use of the words “evanescence”, “mutable” and “sleeves soaked in tears”. Overall gets a bit tedious, but still an achievement to have survived a millennium. 3/5

Aug 13, 2020, 8:04pm

Yay! How awesome is it to see that number? Congrats!!

Edited: Aug 13, 2020, 10:05pm

Woah! Wow! Many, many congratulations!
What happens now?
Or, after the next one...

Aug 14, 2020, 3:46am

>484 Yells: >485 annamorphic: Thank you. I'm looking forward to making 1001 in the next week, and then continuing on (the app tells me I have 139 more Boxall books on my book shelves at home), but I think a new thread might be called for.

Aug 14, 2020, 5:49am

Awesome achievement! Curious to see the next book!

Aug 14, 2020, 1:03pm

>483 puckers: Congratulations on reaching 4 figures. I know I will never get there but I am so in awe of those of you who do.

Aug 16, 2020, 3:27pm

>487 soffitta1: >488 gypsysmom: Thank you. Couple of days away from 1001 which I hope is a worthy book for the milestone.

Aug 17, 2020, 6:51am

1001. Time Regained - Marcel Proust. The seventh and concluding book in Proust’s monumental In Search of Lost Time. This is a great final book, not only pulling together Proust’s central themes of time and memory but also revolving around a grand party at the Duchesse de Guermantes where many familiar faces like Odette, Gilberte, and Baron de Charlus appear. Maybe it’s a time of life thing but I found his lengthy musings on the effect of time on these old friends and philosophising on the time left for completion of his legacy (this book) quite touching. 4/5

Aug 17, 2020, 7:01am

So I made it (or at least 1001 books from the combined lists). While some of the books have been heavy going there have been many gems and I feel like I’ve been exposed to many influential authors who’s works I’d been unlikely to pick up if it hadn’t been for Boxall’s list.

This group has been the main reason I’ve stuck to the task and I’d like to thank you all for joining in the group reads and challenges, posting insightful reviews to guide my reading and help me understand the more obscure works, and being a supportive community throughout.

There are still several years of reading ahead to cover off the remaining books on the list, so I’ll be here for quite a while yet, but on another thread that takes me beyond the first 1001 Books to Read before I Die....

Aug 17, 2020, 1:24pm

Fantastic!! 1001 books is still a pipe dream for me, but seeing someone get to that number is really encouraging. Proust is another pipe dream for me, but that's another story :) Congrats!

Aug 17, 2020, 5:07pm

Amazing! Congratulations!!

And what a wonderful book to hit 1001 with. Glad you're going to keep reading and stick around.

Aug 18, 2020, 2:42am

>490 puckers:. Wow. On so many counts! 1001 and Proust is pretty impressive, however you look at it.

Aug 18, 2020, 7:36am

Amazing! What a book to finish on - I have got the first 2 parts staring at me from my TBR shelf.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the books, you have inspired me to pick up quite a few I may have missed along the way.


Aug 18, 2020, 8:57am

Congratulations! What an achievement!
When you finish up the rest of the books and are feeling bored - there's always 1000 Books to Read Before You Die by John Mustich :)
Thanks for inspiring us all.

Aug 18, 2020, 12:45pm

Congratulations. I am very happy that you are continuing on as I get a lot of inspiration and reading ideas from your comments on the books you have read.

Aug 18, 2020, 10:24pm

Congratulations! It's been a bad reading summer for me. You have inspired me!

Aug 18, 2020, 10:53pm

So many congratulations to you!! It can be done, and you're living proof!!

Aug 20, 2020, 9:07am

Congratulations on hitting 1,001!

Aug 20, 2020, 6:08pm

>492 Yells: >493 japaul22: >494 Helenliz: >495 soffitta1: >496 GerrysBookshelf: >497 DeltaQueen50: >498 BentleyMay: >499 amaryann21: >500 amerynth: Thank you all very much! I look forward to celebrating your own milestones down the track.

>496 GerrysBookshelf: I have a spreadsheet of Mustichs list which I’ve started sourcing some books from. I like that he includes poetry, plays and the classics. His nonfiction is a bit American centric so I’ll pick and chose those that look interesting. I also have the Guardian 1000 which I like as it covers a larger range of fiction (sci-fi, humour, horror etc), and the Guardian 100 best non-fiction that covers classics of philosophy, biography, history etc.

My project for the next little while is to combine these four lists and work through them alphabetically again. Will slow my progress on the Boxall list but that’s not a bad thing so I can hang around here longer.

Aug 21, 2020, 2:32am

>491 puckers: Wow! Congratulations on such an amazing achievement. We must now all strive to reach the same pinnacle of reading glory!

I have the Mustich book as well as I agree that I appreciate the variety. Is there a place we can see your progress on that list too?

Aug 21, 2020, 3:35am

>502 JayneCM: Thanks! The only thread I keep is this one on the 1001 Books group. Maybe I should start one in the general groups for the other lists. Anyway for the record I've read 583 of the Guardian 1000 fiction, and 276 of the Mustich list, mostly overlaps with the Boxall list though I have ticked off 12 of the Shakespeare plays (I think you are allowed to count them if you've watched the play in its entirety rather than reading them).

Aug 21, 2020, 8:55am

>503 puckers: Quite an achievement! I have a LOOOONG way to go!

Aug 21, 2020, 4:36pm

>490 puckers: Wonderful news! I thought when I saw all the comments on your thread "I'll bet puckers reached 1001" and I was right. I am so impresssed and also impressed that you plan to keep going to read all of them.

Aug 24, 2020, 12:01pm

>490 puckers: Congratulations! Wow! Are you going to do a kind of retrospective for the rest of us mere mortals?

Aug 31, 2020, 4:51pm

>505 gypsysmom: >506 paruline: Thank you both.

Just finished my next book so will start a new thread