Bryan reads on in 2019
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Looking forward to another year of reading, hoping to read 120 books or so..
I read modern fiction, classics, fantasy, some children's fiction, not enough nonfiction, spiritual themes..
There is no particular theme for the year but I do want to accomplish these things :
Finish the top 100 fiction books on thegreatestbooks.org site - 10 to go, beginning with Paradise, Lost.
Read 15 or more books of 600 pages or more, most of them mine.
Read some more Australian classics, starting with The Harp in the South.
Read the Miles Franklin, Booker, Pulitzer prize winners.
Read some new authors - Joyce Carol Oates, Charles Bukowski, Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler.
Read 10 or so of my neglected books that have been languishing on the shelves for years.
Read The Mahabharata and Being and Nothingness.
There is a host of books I would love to reread but with all the new reads it just doesn't happen. Maybe 2020 could be the year of rereads, will ponder that..
Anyway, look forward to following everyone's reading, may we all have happy, healthy, bookish 2019 !
Welcome back! I'm looking forward to following your reading and your inspiring/witty comments again in 2019.
Best wishes for the New Year. I am looking forward to following your reading again.
Thanks Jennifer and James, I also enjoy following both of your readings, good luck to us in 2019 !
New books coming this year !
The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley. New Flavia De Luce soon !
The Outlaw and the Upstart King by Rod Duncan. New Gas-Lit Empire novel !
The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri.
The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman. New Lyra hopefully this year !
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale.
Poison For Breakfast by Lemony Snicket.
And hopefully The Winds of Winter, Doors of Stone, and The God is Not Willing.
Looks like lots of good reading coming up here, again. :) Good luck with your reading goals in 2019!
I put a star here to follow your progress. Happy just to tag along for the ride since my only chance of clearing 100 books is to make half of them short stories or poetry collections. (which I do, for chronology, but will keep it in my 50 Book thread)
Have a wonderful year of reading with your insatiable approach to literature! I have stolen tons of ideas from your 2018 collection...
Thanks wookie and Francine, may we all have a year of reading some great books !
Hope you have a great reading year.
I plan to start listening to the new Flavia de Luce the day it is released.
Happy to see your reading again! I've worked on more re-reads the last couple years, and I think it's been rewarding.
Hi Zozette, the Flavia de Luce series has been great hasn't it ! Good luck with your reading.
Hi Meredith, yes I will have to fit some rereads in somewhere, if it doesn't happen spontaneously (and it won't !?),
I'll make 2020 my reread year. Have a great 2019 !
1. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik.
This is the second of Novik's 'remake of fairy tales' novels, the first was Uprooted, with hints of Beauty and the Beast, an engaging and imaginative story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The second Spinning Silver is her take on the Rumpelstiltskin story but reimagined and expanded.
I found this story harder to follow and be engaged in, I think due to the multiple narrators, but this adds depth to the story with the different perspectives.
I enjoy these engaging modern fairy tales with strong female characters, recommended.
Hope you enjoy it Wookie, there is some great fantasy being written these days !
2. Transcription by Kate Atkinson.
I have been a Kate Atkinson fan ever since her Life After Life.
Transcription is her latest novel and is a somewhat traditional spy story interspersed with her typically wry comments on life, love, etc.
In 1940, 18 year old Julie gets a job recording overheard conversations with Nazi sympathisers, and the plot thickens from there.
Not my favourite Atkinson novel but plenty here to enjoy.
Been away for a week, big reading plans with very underwhelming results !??
3. Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend.
The first ya novel by the Australian author Nevermoor was a revelation in fantasy, somewhat Potterish but plenty of original and creative ideas.
The sequel Wundersmith continues Morrigan's journey as she grapples with the enormity of her ability.
These ya fantasy novels are a creative and fun read, and recommended.
4. The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas.
In 1967 four women scientists invent time travel.
In a fascinating debut novel, the author explores how time travel would change our world, from going back in time to give your younger self some advice, to going to your funeral to see who is there.
To complicate things a time traveller is brutally murdered within the machine....
6. The Recognitions by Wiliam Gaddis.
This is a big, formidable novel that has been sitting on the shelf for years, so it was good to open it and slowly read/work through it.
Gaddis' first novel crackles with ideas and language, and his creativity and humour are a joy.
Perhaps the main theme is one of authenticity ; we meet forgers of art, money, relationships...
I suggest his meaning is deeper and questions us ; who is/has been really authentic, and if we are not being our authentic selves then who are we being and why ?
(Disclaimer : written after a considerable volume of fine wine was quaffed, it has been hot here !)
"-I really prefer books. No matter how bad a book is, it's unique, but people are all so ordinary.
-I think we really like books that make us hate ourselves...
-But...why doesn't someone just write a happy book..."
Oh, I saw The Psychology of Time Travel at the bookshop the other day, now I'm regretting resisting. :)
Knowing your scifi interest wookie, I'll be interested to see your reaction to the story. Mine was a library copy, just saying...
7. Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami.
Murakami's latest novel and a story reminiscent of his amazing 1Q84.
" a thirty-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a strange painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances."
The author's surrealist style means things are weirder than they at first seem, and the reader is soon swept up in a saga that is both strange and entrancing, and a page turner as well !
My book club friend tells me that Bridge of Clay improves and that she couldn't wait to find out what happens, well I'm 335 pages in and apart from some touching moments I am struggling through.
Nancy : you were wise to stop, agree with you re his other novels.
Zozette : I'll be interested to read your thoughts if you get to it.
Meredith : I think you will like Nevermoor and maybe The Psychology of Time Travel, I have The Calculating Stars to read next, a theme of feminist scifi seems to be occuring !
8. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak.
After the acclaimed The Book Thief and I am the Messenger, and a long wait comes Bridge of Clay.
What a disappointing read !? The author chose a dearth of description, and short, cutting sentences, I presume to present the story in a particular way. As a consequence I developed very little interest or empathy for the setting and the characters, and apart from a few touching moments disliked the whole experience.
Book club meeting soon, will report back with the consensus..
10. The Science of Discworld III. Darwin's Watch by Terry Pratchett.
On their round world experiment Charles Darwin publishes the wrong book.
In go the Discworld wizards to fix things up, with their usual blundering, bumbling approach, but it all works out.
In these science editions the story is interspersed with a science explanation, this one mainly concerning biology/evolution.
11. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.
A big meteor smashes into the sea just off the eastern US coast, wreaking devastation and impending climate change. This results in a fast tracking of the space program to colonise the moon.
Racism and sexism were firmly entrenched but Elma York and her pilot friends, black and white, see no reason why they wouldn't have the opportunity to go into space.
Enjoyed this alternative history novel, will read the sequel The Fated Sky.
One of my challenges this year is to read from 'The Greatest Books' list, I have ten to read to complete the first hundred on the list :
Paradise, Lost, begin when Mason & Dixon is finished.
Gargantua and Pantagruel, big book
The Flowers of Evil
Fairy Tales, big book
A Sentimental Education
Metamorphoses, big book
Decameron, big book
One a month will do...
Have begun The Golden Tresses of the Dead, Flavia's new adventure...
"She's got 'er nose stuck in a book. Useless, I think it's called, by some woman called Joyce."
Great fun !
^^^ Had to chuckle when Mrs Mullet said that. I have really enjoyed all the Flavia books.
14. The Gateless Barrier by Robert Aitken, zen ramblings !
15. Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon.
Seems to me Pynchon has much fun with the characters Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon as they struggle to navigate boats, find their way across country, and survive the natural world and each other.
They are also caught between the processes of science (1760s) and the alternatives presented by the people they meet, country types and natives.
I don't know which parts are accurate and which are fabrications, probably it is all made up but enjoyed this rambling account that doesn't take itself seriously.
18. The Armoured Saint by Myke Cole.
I hadn't read any Myke Cole but the premise to this series sounded interesting...teen heroin in a medieval, magical world, plus militaristic war engines..
Enjoyed this fantasy novel, the sequel is The Queen of Crows and I am looking forward to following Heloise's next adventure.
19. The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley.
"Flavia de Luce, the twelve-year-old chemist and amateur detective, is eager to turn professional. She and her father's valet Dogger, have founded a detective agency, Arthur Dogger & Associates, and unexpectedlly cut into their first case during the revelry at her sister Ophelia's wedding reception."
Flavia's tenth and latest story is an absolute pleasure, fans of the series will have already read and enjoyed it, anyone else find a copy of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and begin to enjoy this delightful series.
Already way behind on my posting/reviews, but reading is so much better !
Have read 23 books so far, on track more or less....
I absolutely adore the Flavia De Luce series - maybe she never grow up, I love her just the way she is.
24. Preservation by Jock Serong.
An Australian historical fiction novel, based on the wreck of the Sydney Cove in 1797.
Three survivors have walked hundreds of miles through the wilderness and are rescued.
Their stories of what happened are vague and evasive and when Lieutenant Grayling investigates, he gradually realises there is an evil presence involved that may threaten his family and others.
An engaging and unsettling story, enjoyed this.
27. Reading the World by Ann Morgan.
Realizing that most of her reading was English/American, Ann Morgan decided to spend 2012 reading a book from every country (196).
A list of the books is included but this book is more of a reflection on cultural identity, translation, technology, censorship and much more.
Ann maintains a website 'A Year of Reading the World', well worth a look.
A quick check of my reads shows 56 countries, so a long way to go. Tempting as it is to add another challenge to my collection, I might occasionally track down a country I haven't read from yet. Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are close...
>56 bryanoz: Do the books have to be written by author from the country, or can they just be set the country?
>55 bryanoz:. I recently read The Corfu Trilogy and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I had remembered reading My Family and other Animals at school more than forty years ago, and completely hating it (a fate that so many books I read at school also suffered). I was persuaded to give it another chance, and was glad that I did.
29. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Written as a tragic play and in two parts, the first published in 1808, the second in 1832.
Faust is the well known character who makes a pact with Mephistopheles (the devil's representative) that for the rest of his life he can have whatever he wants, but after he dies he is Mephistopheles' slave.
The first part is interesting, I found the second part confusing.
65th on The Greatest Books list, next up in The Oresteia, 77th on the list.
30. The Queen of Crows by Myke Cole.
Second in the Sacred Throne trilogy and following straight on from The Armoured Saint.
After the battle with the devil, Heloise, her war machine and village await the coming of the Order. Should they run, should they fight ?
Unexpected allies emerge but the battle looks hopeless.
Enjoying this series of epic fantasy.
Behind with posts again...
33. The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, fun Australian children's book.
34. The Oresteia by Aeschylus, ancient Greek tragedy, 77th on The Greatest Books list.
35. Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys, second in The Innsmouth Legacy, recommended fantasy which places the Cthulhu myth in 1940s America and has us supporting the monster's position.
Haven’t read The Third Policeman Zozette, sounds similar to At Swim, onto the TBR slab it goes, thanks !
43. Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, fantasy, famous band of warriors these days old, fat, and drunk are
hauled out of retirement to rescue a daughter, good fun.
44. Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, 1500s classic fiction, satire of society, over 1000 pages, ok.
45. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, based on true love story in appalling circumstances, ok.
46. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, children's Celtic fantasy, enjoyed this.
47. One Hundred Years of Dirt by Rick Morton, book club read, autobiography, looks at damage of poverty and abuse.
48. The Science of Discworld IV. Judgement Day by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen. Part great discworld story, part ok science explanations.
49. Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington.
Fascinating account of the life, trials, and execution of Louisa Collins, who after her two husbands died suddenly, suspicions were raised. The Crown was convinced that she had poisoned them, and were determined to convict her.
Much more than a 'did she do it ?', a well researched and compassionate take on the lack of equality for women in the 1880s and the determination of many women to fight for Louisa and their status in society.
>79 bryanoz: I read ‘Last Woman Hanged’ last year and I remember that I could not make up my mind if she was guilty or whether it was environmental. I could not see why the authorities were so eager to find her guilty that she had to have four separate trials.
Hi Zozette, I'm not certain she was guilty, maybe of the first murder, but nowhere enough evidence for a conviction. I guess the Crown didn't want women's issues with dubious husbands to connect with the prevalence of rat poison !
am again behind on reviews, have read 60 books so far...
51. Normal People by Sally Rooney. Modern love story set in Ireland, interesting in places.
52. Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett. Really enjoyed this inquiry into what wisdom means.
53. Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence. Final book in the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, a satisfying end, I didn't get into this series as much as his Red Queen's War trilogy.
54. The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett. His first published novel and a fun read.
57. Lenny's Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee. Good children's read.
58. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Enjoyed this first novel in a lond epic fantasy series.
59. The Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett. An early work and not up to his later fiction.
60. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.
"If you knew the date of your death, how would you choose to live the rest of your life? In the late ’60s in New York’s Lower East Side, word spreads of a psychic who can predict the date a person will die. The four Gold children visit this mysterious seer, unprepared for what they will hear and how this knowledge will define each sibling’s life."
An intriguing premise and a good read.
61. The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl by Ishbelle Bee. Following on from the crazy but engaging The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath comes the equally creative but weird, fun but quite violent tale of the Butterfly Girl.
62. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan. Second in the famous Wheel of Time series, and I am right into the story and have The Dragon Reborn sitting close, ready to resume this intriguing saga.
63. The Uncollected Plays of Shaun Micallef.
Australia's funniest comedian's (in my opinion) most recent book, hilarious !
64. The Complete Illustrated Works of Hans Christian Anderson.
Read this for my 'Greatest Books' challenge, plenty of famous stories and many little known.
73. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan, third in the Wheel of Time saga, very good so far.
74. Metamorphoses by Ovid, Roman classic.
75. The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard, highly recommended fantasy, just couldn't get into it somehow.
76. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton, ok, no need to read the rest of the series.
Hi wookie, I thought it was 'over the top' and very unbelievable, but you and many others enjoyed the story so wrong I appear to be :)
I'll be interested to see what you think of the next 'Shattered Wings story, still not sure why it didn't work for me...
Happy reading !
77. Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac, ok classic, 90th on the greatest books site, 2 to go to finish the first hundred !
78. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, book club read and none of us liked it !?
79. Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeanette Ng, her first novel and it was excellent !
"Catherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, has disappeared in Arcadia, legendary land of the magical fae. Desperate for news of him, she makes the perilous journey, but once there, she finds herself alone and isolated in the sinister house of Gethsemane. At last there comes news: her beloved brother is riding to be reunited with her soon – but the Queen of the Fae and her insane court are hard on his heels."
80. Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare, a book club read and a pyschological thriller (not my usual kind of read), ok but I was frustrated with how long the author took to allow the reader more information to begin to understand the situation.
81. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth, one of those modern classics I didn't read, probably more shocking back in 1969 when it was published.
90. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie.
Leckie's first foray into fantasy and an interesting story. Took me sometime to work what was happening (no surprise here !) but there are two stories told 'in parallel', one from an ancient god's perspective, the other from a young soldier. These different settings give a thoughtful depth to the story, recommended.
Really looking forward to The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman released 3rd October.
Also coming is The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss,
new Elliot Perlman Maybe the Horse Will Talk,
The Killing Light by Myke Cole,
new Bill Bryson The Body:a Guide for Occupants.
And recently published...
Kopp Sisters on the March by Amy Stewart,
and of course The Testaments.
Great time to be a reader !!
Been busy working, not as much reading as I would like...
98. The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri, his latest novel, and a compelling read.
99. Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales, Leigh is an Australian journalist who looks at prominent cases of personal tragedy, how people cope and then recover, confronting and inspiring.
Congratulations on making it to one hundred, and a great way to get there with The Secret Commonwealth. I have bought it, but am just rereading the original trilogy so as to be match fit for it.
Hi Pam, I had forgotten about the villain’s name and I completely agree, cheers.
Congratulations on 100, and woot! on the new Pullman being a great read! (I love Lyra too!)
Oh dear, I've been looking forward to The Dry... I'll have to bump it up the pile a bit and see what my take on it is.
wookie, plenty of people enjoyed The Dry, will be interested to see what you make of it.
102. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan, 6th in the Wheel of Time series, enjoying the characters and story, next up A Crown of Swords.
103. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie, reread for my book club, a powerful look at how the young can be drawn to fundamentalist causes, and the effect on their families.
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