Cobscook's Third Time is a Charm
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For about 20 years I have been attempting to finish a college bound reading list given to me by a favorite high school teacher. I only get through a few titles on the list a year but I keep plugging away.
Remaining on The List:
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer
The Crucible - Arthur Miller
Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmond Rostand
Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather
A Death in the Family - James Agee
Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
Go Tell It On the Mountain - James Baldwin
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
King Lear - William Shakespeare
Look Homeward, Angel - Thomas Wolfe
Macbeth - William Shakespeare
The Naked and the Dead - Norman Mailer
Native Son - Richard Wright
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
The Power and the Glory - Graham Grenne
The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy
The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
The Stranger - Albert Camus
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
I am also trying to read a biography of each of our American Presidents. I just finished John Quincy Adams and will be moving onto Andrew Jackson next.
Other than that, I will continue to try to reduce the massive TBR mountain.
This is what I've been doing with my time lately...going to my daughter Katie's soccer games.
Source: off my shelves
So good. So, so good.
Stephen King can write the hell out of a story. His characters are people you can relate to. There's always a good guy or girl to root for. The endings are always satisfying. Doctor Sleep is old school Stephen King and boy is it fun. My only recommendation is to make sure you read The Shining first. Otherwise, what are you waiting for?!?!
>6 ronincats: Hi Roni! No, I don't get to read at Katie's games. I generally socialize with the other parents. The good news is soccer season is almost over. The bad news is basketball season starts in November, and both kids play that sport!
>7 lyzard: Hi Liz! Thanks for stopping by. I am not surprised you have read so many of the classics on my list. I'll bet you could explain them all to me too. I wish you had time to do a tutored read for each of them!! LOL
Well...you only have to ask... :)
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - about 40% into this YA book....very good so far.
Billy Budd by Herman Melville - 75% through this classic.
Arguably by Christopher Hitchens - just reading one or two essays before bed
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Watching my Red Sox tonight....lets hope they can keep the lid on Detroit!
Congratulations on your latest thread and its relaxing autumnal hues.
Have a lovely weekend.
You must be so proud of your soccer diva!!
Your list intimidates me! I'm not going to count how many on that list I *haven't* read. That was a HS reading list though? Maybe I'll "borrow" it since its much less intimidating than the 1001 list!!!
Source: my Kindle
Eleanor is a high school student in hell. She is the new girl, she is chunky, and she has bright red hair. She's just moved back home with her mom and abusive stepfather. Park is the part Korean boy who reluctantly offers her a seat on the bus on her first day. The novel tells the story of their developing relationship/romance in alternating point of view chapters.
I felt this book gave a realistic view of the torment high school kids put each other through. Eleanor was sympathetic but also hard to like as she put up a lot of barriers between herself and Park as she tried to protect herself from the emotional connection. The abusive stepfather angle was difficult to read but also felt true to life. Having the book set in the 80s with lots of pop culture references added a bit of lightness which I enjoyed. If you like YA books I would definitely recommend this one.
Glad to see you enjoyed E&P.
I love pictures on a thread and especially family! Is that co-ed soccer at that age? wow!
Tell me, when you go to your daughters soccer games, are you allowed to read? Or are you drawn to the game? I like to think I will be able to read at my kids sporting things, but I guess you cant help but watch what your kids are doing!
I still love your college reading list. It will a great day when you get that list accomplished! A champagne-cork-popper for sure.
>20 LovingLit: Hi Megan! You could read at the games for sure. I don't because I am one of those parents who gets involved and yells encouragement throughout! I actually tried to read a little before her game yesterday afternoon, but I got drawn into conversation with other parents. I do read as I wait in the car to pick her up after practices.
I am getting ready to post the complete reading list I started from as there seems to be some interest in it.
Recommended Reading List for College Bound Students
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
Billy Budd by Herman Melville
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
Daisy Miller by Henry James
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
A Death in the Family by James Agee
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Emma by Jane Austen
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
King Lear by William Shakespeare
Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
Native Son by Richard Wright
1984 by George Orwell
The Odyssey by Homer
Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Stranger by Albert Camus
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I will confess that I'm not in the least inclined to go back and pick up any of the ones I didn't get to 50 years ago. Too many good ones out there now!
What can I say about Behind the Beautiful Forevers that hasn't already been said? This is narrative nonfiction at its best....a touching story that reads like fiction. Heartbreaking and all too real, Katherine Boo has documented the lives of the slumdwellers near an airport in Mumbai, India. She shows us how when living in abject poverty, among filth and in sewage, human kindness is unaffordable. Morality is lost along with hope. The poor turn on the poor, instead of banding together to fight for a better life.
Boo says it best herself:
What was unfolding in Mumbai was unfolding elsewhere, too. In the age of global market capitalism, hopes and grievances were narrowly conceived, which blunted a sense of common predicament. Poor people didn't unite; they competed ferociously amongst themselves for gains as slender as they were provisional."
Source: My Kindle
Another read off my classics list.....
Billy Budd is a young, handsome sailor conscripted from a merchant ship into the English Navy in the late 1700s. He is a willing and good natured worker so quickly becomes a favorite amongst the crew of the navy ship. Unfortunately this earns him the enmity of an officer who concocts a scheme to accuse Budd of inciting a mutiny.
This is a short book and I comprehended it, but I don't understand the point of it. This is my major gripe about classics. After I read the book, my main thought was that book is trying to say being a good person is no guarantee that you aren't going to get shafted in life for no apparent reason. If that is the overall message of the book, its utterly depressing!
Source: My Kindle
I have a new obsession.....essay collections. In recent weeks I have read a Nick Hornby collection and this book by David Foster Wallace. I am currently reading from Christopher Hitchings Arguably and Best American NonRequired Reading 2011. I just borrowed Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 from the library. I just can't get enough of this kind of stuff right now.
I picked up Wallace's Consider the Lobster because I was interested in reading the titular essay which is about the Maine Lobster Festival. This event takes place every August in Rockland, Maine and I have been many times. I wanted to see what Wallace thought of the whole thing. In a nutshell, he wasn't impressed! But, even though he kind of dismisses the event as a redneck and irritating to his more urbane sensibilities, I found his thoughts about lobsters in general to be interesting.
Some of the other essays in the collection were much better and more interesting in my opinion. My favorite was one he wrote for Rolling Stone after joining the John McCain campaign tour for one week during the 2000 primaries. This was fascinating.
The first essay in the collection was a bit of investigative reporting about the adult film version of the Academy Awards. I was both entertained and repelled by this often hilarious piece.
Another essay that I really enjoyed was "Authority and American Usage". I am not one to really be interested in the minutia of grammar and vocabulary constructs but Wallace engages the reader with sarcastic asides and interesting tidbits of historical information. He adds a lot from his own experience teaching writing at the college level that I found both compelling and uncomfortably honest in its portrayal of how language is used in this country to further class (rich white vs. everyone else) distinctions.
Wallace is a curious combination of pompous ass and snarky pop culture commentator. I will definitely be seeking out more of his nonfiction work. I'm still a bit scared of his fiction so I probably won't pick up Infinite Jest just yet.
Glad you loved Doctor Sleep. I have that one saved on audio and hope to get to it next month. I was also a big fan of the Boo book!
I love your book selections.
I have heard that Doctor Sleep is fantastic on audio. I haven't listened to a Stephen King book on audio for about ten years....I think I need to change that very soon.
>34 ronincats: Hiya Roni! I am clicking along nicely this fall but still behind where I want to be overall for the year. Its always a moving target though, in terms of the total number of books I want to read for the year.
The best Stephen King audios I listened to in the past were the ones King narrated himself. Even when I read his stuff now myself, I hear his voice in my head.
Almost time for game three of the World Series! I'm excited to see if the Sox can pull off a win tonight. We have friends coming over to watch and hang out. I've been baking all day to prepare. I made apple squares and white chocolate chip cranberry cookies. I also made a ton of applesauce.
Not much reading today but I am over halfway through Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander which is excellent. I'm still reading my various essay collections as well.
So I have had a brutal migraine all day today which has not helped my to do list in any way. However, I was able to finish my audiobook and the Alexander mystery which I was nearly done with. I am all medicated up right now but will attempt some short comment.....please excuse any nonsensical comments!
Source: my audiobook
I love the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency books on audio. The pacing is very excellent and Lisette Lecar does a fantastic job narrating. This this episode of the series Fanwell gets into trouble, Mma Ramotswe's assistant Grace is building a house with her new husband, and the patroness of the local orphan farm needs help. Add to all this, an unexpected visitor from the U.S. drops in. I enjoyed the heck out of it!
101. Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: off my shelves
The Lady Emily Hargraves mysteries are set in the late 1800s. This is the fifth in the series, and while it was good, was not my favorite. There were a lot of dislikable characters in this book and Lady Emily was much more emotional than we are used to seeing her. Much of the book deals with madness and how mental illness was handled in this time period.
I'm hugely embarrassed to admit that I've only read 13 on the list! My high school was Christian based and we read portions of books, but very few classics in their entirety. Anyway, I've saved the list and I am going to use it for a bit of a personal challenge over the next year. I refuse to read War and Peace having suffered through Anna Karenina earlier this year and agree with Tina / Tui in #23 that there are so many other good books waiting on me.... But, I am going to make an effort anyway, so thanks for this list! :)
>53 TinaV95: Hi Tina! Glad to be of service with my list! I never did get through Crime and Punishment and I will not be going back to it I can tell you! Life is too short to read books you hate. On the other hand, that list has exposed me to many many books I would not have otherwise picked up and I am a better person for having read them. Give them a try and if they don't speak to you, move on.
What a wonderful opening photo! I love Maine!!! We vacation in Princeton -- Northern Maine, near Canada. Some of our best times were spent there.
Thanks for your comments regarding Doctor Sleep. I need a birthday gift for my son in law who has a December birthday. I usually struggle with what to get him. He loves the books of Stephen King.
My partner recently read the Christopher Hitchens book you mentioned. He liked it a lot.
Genre: Science Fiction
103. A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Genre: Science Fiction
What a wonderful couple of books these are! In Komarr Miles Vorkosigan starts his new career as Lord Auditor on the planet Komarr. We meet all new characters as Miles has to solve a mystery. This story is not so frenetic as we have come to expect in the Vorkosigan series but it still sweeps you along.....and then you get to the end and realize you MUST read the sequel A Civil Campaign IMMEDIATELY!
And A Civil Campaign is hands down the best Vorkosigan book I have read so far. Bujold pays homage to Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and the like in this comedy of manners. It is a romance, a domestic drama, and a comedy all wrapped up in one fantastic book. It has the absolute best dinner party scene of any book I've ever read....it is hysterical. The dinner party from hell is followed up by the most romantic apology letter.....Mr. Darcy move over, Miles is taking your spot!
A Civil Campaign takes place on Barrayar and we get to spend time with all our favorite Barrayar characters. I particularly liked Mark the clone brother's romantic storyline, the butter bug entrepreneurial project, and Miles's parents involvement. There's another fantastic scene where Miles's mother negotiates Mark's love life.....so, so great.
I will definitely be re-reading this book in future!
>59 PrueGallagher: Hi Prue! The Christopher Hitchings is good so far. My only complaint is the book is soooo heavy. I can only read it in certain places and I definitely can't lug it outside my house! Right now I'm in the first section which is all reviews of books about presidents and other historical figures. Its complimenting my presidential reading challenge nicely!
>60 Whisper1: Hi Linda! Princeton, Maine is only about an hour from my house. My daughter's school plays the Princeton Elementary school in sports.
You can't go wrong in buying Doctor Sleep for your son-in-law if he is a King fan. The Hitchings book is great too. I thought of you when I read an essay about Kennedy and his health problems. I need to get to American Adulterer which you sent me soon! I had no idea Kennedy suffered from so many ailments.
I would like to share some of your daughter's sweeties but my fitness trainer (fresh from his hospital bed) will be here in an hour or two so I had better not.
Have a lovely weekend.
I would love to share some of Katie's candy with you....and get it OUT of MY house! I will need your personal trainer if it all stays here! LOL
>65 ronincats: I haven't been able to stop thinking about A Civil Campaign since I finished it Roni. I just loved everything about that book!
I hope you have a perfect weekend, filled with glorious reading time.
Its day one of my husband and son's moose hunting trip. My daughter and I are curled up in living room....she's watching some tv and I am reading with short breaks for LT...its a staycation!
>68 jnwelch: Hi Joe! That dinner scene was the best ever! I love how things always get out of control for Miles...especially when he is trying his hardest to keep everything under control!! Treat yourself to a re-read!
Genre: Nonfiction, Essays
Source: Off my shelves
Continuing my new found addiction to essays, I read this book which has been on my shelves for a loooonnnng time. There are nine separate essays which describe Jacobs' experiments in living in nine different ways. All of them are funny and also make you think about American culture and why we do things the way we do. Most, if not all of the essays, were originally published in Esquire magazine.
My favorite essay was "What Would George Washington Do?", in which Jacobs tries to live by Washington's 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. I read Washington by Ron Chernow at the beginning of my Presidential Challenge reading and while exhaustive, it never mention this list that Washington lived by. It really brought the man to life and seeing how Jacobs applied it in modern life was quite enlightening.
"The Rationality Project" was very intriguing. Evidently, humans are prone to making assumptions and are filled with 'cognitive biases'. For example, newspaper headlines report that 15 people were killed in a plane crash and never report that 2,000 people died of heart disease on the same day. Our brain files that away and we end up more frightened of airplane travel than we do of eating Big Macs.
Living with Jacobs must be very irritating for his wife. I can't imagine being married to a guy who is constantly doing wacked out things for the sake of writing stories. We get to understand a little of her point of view in the last essay, "Whipped".
A short book, The Guinea Pig Diaries is a fun and interesting read.
The Small House at Allington - Anthony Trollope - 15% complete on Kindle
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 - 80% complete on Kindle
Arguably by Christopher Hitchens - about one quarter of the way done with this behemoth hardcover. I can only read it sitting up in bed with the book propped on a pillow!
The Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert Remini - on chapter 2
Genre: nonfiction, essays
Source: Library ebook
While I didn't like every essay in this book, I did enjoy a great majority of them. The topics of some of my favorite stories were:
- the increase in jellyfish populations in the world's oceans
- same sex albatross couples
- the problems caused by space junk
- the horrors of fracking
- the black market for human organs
My absolute favorite was the story about killer whales and what being kept in captivity does to them. This article was spurred by the trainer that was killed by an orca at SeaWorld in 2010. Horrifying (both for the trainer and the orcas) and a true eye-opening read.
I must confess I skipped all of the physics based essays....I just couldn't understand them. I am definitely more inclined to like writing about the natural sciences.
In looking back at your list and my last post, I'm listening to my first ever podcast of Books on the Nightstand where they are talking about lengths of books and discussing how there are only so many books we can read in a lifetime... whether that stops us from reading them, etc. I just thought it was timely seeing how we were discussing that here too!
I know I will never get through all the books I'd like to read but I'm starting to get worried I will never get through all the books on my physical TBR shelves!! LOL
>76 richardderus: Too right Rdear!
>77 richardderus: Heh! I like to make sure the books arrive in the condition I sent them! I can't believe it made it to you already though...two days using media mail must be a record.
They are all fun in their own ways and I find them better for encouraging me to keep exercising than my audiobooks. I generally do audiobooks while in the car or while doing housework. I'm afraid this makes me sound a little strange but there it is!
I usually listen to the book podcasts, while I am casing mail inside, where I am likely to be a bit more distracted and disturbed.
Is it all gone already?
And yes, I did notice the latest BOTNS podcast was cut off, but it seemed like it was just about at the end.
Genre: Fiction, 19th century
While I generally enjoyed The Small House at Allington, it is my least favorite of the Barsetshire series thus far. I found the overall tone of the book to be quite joyless in that many, if not most, of the characters were quite unhappy throughout. The book did introduce one of the most awful slimeballs I've encountered in Aldolphus Crosbie. Luckily, he definitely pays (and pays, and pays) for his horrible behavior. I think this book actually reminds me a lot of Dickens' tales in that most of the story is depressed, about depressing people. That is not to say I didn't like the story or find it enjoyable but I did find it more slow-going than previous books in the series.
107. Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Source: Off My Shelves
And now for something completely different......
After seeing the discussion on Roni's thread about the Liaden universe novels, I was compelled to start on a re-read of the books I own in the series. Conflict of Honors is the first story in the Partners in Necessity omnibus. This is Priscilla and Shan's story.
Happy Sigh.......I had forgotten how great these books are!
Do seek out Ann Patchett's new collection, which I think is available now. Have you delved in to some of the older essays? If you haven't, I heartily recommend authors like Hazlitt (On the Pleasures of Hating) and Charles Lamb (Essays of Elia). There are a couple of great anthologies. Also, Virginia Woolf's Common Reader collections of essays are WONDERFUL! If your project is working through the college-bound reading list, mine is going to be reading her complete essays. I began buying these volumes back in the early 1990s, and I think they have now published #5.
That's a very good list, although someone recently said to me that if you haven't read Thomas Wolfe by the age of 25, you shouldn't bother. (I think the people who held this view argued that after that age, you tend to find him sophomoric -- I dunno, I've not read it.) Of your unread books, The Crucible would be a thought-provoking and fast read? I read The Stranger in French back in 10th grade and I suspect I'd get a lot more from it today -- both literal comprehension and philosophically -- if I read it today. And I really do NEED to read some James Joyce.
I can't help wondering what I'd put on thank kind of list? It's actually fairly broad and comprehensive, in terms of "Western" literature, in both space and time. I suspect I'd throw in some Tagore, Things Fall Apart by Achebe, something from Latin America (Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa) and some Chinese and Japanese authors. Great Shakespeare choices, though. And the lovely thing about Shakespeare is that it cries out to be read aloud.
>90 Chatterbox: Hi Suz! Thanks for all the recs on essay collections! I haven't read a one of those. Sadly, I don't I've read anything by Ann Pratchett before. I did a quick Google and read a short essay she wrote called "How to Love a Dog". It was awesome and I definitely want to read more of her. Can you recommend any particular titles? The others sound intriguing to so I will add them to my WL.
Thanks for your comments on my college bound reading list. I agree that if I were to put together a list it would need to have some more modern stuff on it...something written since 1990 would be great! Of course, I was given this list in 1991 and I think my teacher had kept it from the 70's. My original copy was mimeographed!!
The Shakespeare is tough for me. I've only read Romeo and Juliet thus far....and I never read any Shakespeare in school. I am nervous about trying the rest so I keep avoiding them.
Suz, 25 is generous, IMO. If you haven't read Wolfe by college enrollment or at latest 20-21, it's too late.
*ignores Pileated Western Satanic Book Warbler*
Ann Patchett's new collection is This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and it's just out -- probably available from the library? It's a wonderful collection. One of the longer essays is available as a Kindle Single, The Getaway Car.
Re the Shakespeare, trying getting an audio recording and reading along. Honestly, the rhythms make so much more sense when it's spoken if you're a neophyte, and even if you're not, that adds so much to the experience. Try Macbeth first -- full of witches, ghosts and murder and revenge. All perennial themes... :-)
>93 richardderus: Richard, you and Suz are not making me excited to read the Thomas Wolfe on my list.....I am far past the recommended reading age! LOL (The Liaden books are great...you should really try them!)
>94 Chatterbox: Wonderful suggestion Suz! I am definitely going to try listening to the audio as well as reading along. I think that will really make a difference to me. I will take your suggestion and start with Macbeth.
I did put This is the Story of a Happy Marriage on the WL and will see if my library has it.
>95 PrueGallagher: Hi Prue! The Warden is the place to start, at least that is where I started. Its the first book in the Barsetshire series. You should definitely look up the tutored read thread for The Warden. Our own Lyzard explains all the stuff you need to know about Trollope, the Barsetshire novels, and the time period. It really adds to the enjoyment of the book!
Prue, if you are going to start with The Warden I would also suggest accessing the tutored read thread - it's not a difficult novel as such, but it is full of very topical references to 19th century church matters that can leave the modern reader feeling rather lost! Please feel free to add comments or ask more questions if you need to.
The only book on that list I haven't read is the Mailer. I feel that I have read something by Mailer, but what????? Probably I won't bother!
Your daughter with her candy made me nostalgic. Our LD (little darling) is 'past all that' although she still adores dressing up and eating candy!
It's almost time for me to pick up Framley Parsonage. Oddly, I started reading Trollope at about the same time that I delved into essays. Although Trollope I abandoned after the first two books in each of the main series. I think I started it because in the TV series, Lady Glencora was played by the sister of my elementary school headmistress, who used to give us all free film tickets and come to our school plays -- waaay back in the day.
And I'd definitely concur with Orwell & Ozick, though I'm less enamored of Nora Ephron's, especially her later work.
>97 lyzard: Liz, I have really enjoyed the Trollope books with all your help. I know I would not have gotten so much out of them without your commentary.
>98 sibylline: I will definitely have to check out E.B. White's essays. I loved Charlotte's Web and The Trumpet of the Swan of course.
>99 Chatterbox: Nice personal connection to Trollope. I am definitely interested in seeing some of his work that made it onto the screen.
>100 bohemima: Hi Gail! Its nice to see you out and about! I will have to check out George Orwell, Cynthia Ozick, and Nora Ephron for essays. I did not realize how large the essay genre really is! It makes me excited to think about how many new authors there are out there for me to try.
>101 Chatterbox: I'm glad I could help contribute to your category challenge planning! LOL! So many books, so little time!
Genre: Sci Fi
Source: Off my shelves
Agent of Change introduces us to Miri, the mercenary, and Val Con, the first-in scout and soon to be head of Clan Korval. Miri and Val are in danger and on the run throughout the book and we are left with a cliffhanger at the end. Luckily for me, I am reading these in the Partners in Necessity omnibus and can move right along to Carpe Diem!
Also, you meet the Edger and the turtles in Agent of Change...its worth reading the book for the turtles alone!
Genre: Nonfiction, Essays
This is a very enjoyable collection of essays written by Patchett over the course of the last decade or so. A few of the essays cover the reading life, one is about how she became part owner of a bookstore, and most of the rest deal with her personal relationships.
My favorite essay by far was one she wrote about taking care of her grandmother. It was beautiful and touching and so real. When my grandmother became very ill a few years ago, I would spend the night with her and have to help her use the toilet in the night. Your relationship with someone changes dramatically when you have to help them with such a personal thing. I am so thankful I was able to help care for my Grammie before she passed away and Patchett's book put many of my feelings into words in a way that I would never be able to do myself.
This certainly will not be the last book I read by Patchett. All thanks to Suz for pointing me in her direction.
Source: reread, off my shelves
The adventures of Val Con and Miri continue as they are stranded on a backwater, low tech planet. Shan and Priscilla try to find them with help from the rest of Clan Korval and the awesome turtles. There are a bunch of nasties trying to find our heroes too.
This book made me realize how much I enjoy stories in which characters are dumped into environments, cultures, or situations in which they are "fish out of water". SciFi tends to have this situation a lot but it can be found in other kinds of books too. This plot is so much fun.
As it happens, I bought a collection of philosophical essays today...The Reason of Things by AC Grayling. I have high hopes for it!
Two out of three isn't bad to paraphrase Meatloaf.
I like the first and last by the way and am often left cold by the one in the middle.
Have a lovely weekend.
>112 PaulCranswick: Ha! Meatloaf....I was a big fan back in my younger days. I think you just haven't found the right SciFi books Paul. There's lots of great stuff out there.
>113 sibylline: Hi Lucy! I'm trying to get through Night Film before I start Plan B. I was reading it yesterday at home by myself and actually had to put it down because it was creeping me out too badly! And I am a Stephen King fan!!
>114 jnwelch: Joe, you should definitely do a re-read. This time of year things get so crazy and its nice to have a comforting read like the Liaden books to sink into.
I will be watching your thoughts on Night Film. I plan on starting it soon.
Mark is to blame. ;) I'm easily influenced by his recommendations and I've been reading the emails for a while, but only in the last few weeks started listening. I like the podcasts much better than just the brief email outline!
>117 TinaV95: I am glad you discovered BOTN, Tina. That Mark is a true trendsetter!!
>118 richardderus: Good day to you sir! I am well, but I won't admit to comporting myself with gravitas!! :P
111. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Maine Readers Choice Award 2014 Long List
I had no idea really what this book was about when I picked it up. I thought it was probably a suspense book and I had heard that it was good....other than that I went in cold.
Night Film is a creepily atmospheric book about a journalist, Scott McGrath, who is swept up in an investigation about a horror film director and the unexpected death of said director's daughter. The story is told in an interesting style, with realistic looking excerpts from newspaper articles, websites, and other supporting documentation from McGrath's investigation.
I don't want to say much for fear of spoilers. I will say that I greatly enjoyed the book. It reminded me a lot of a Stephen King tale, to the point where I had to put the book down twice because I was so creeped out by it. Unfortunately, I did not love the ending. The story got to a certain point and then seemed to lose steam and slowly dribbled to an end. I would have preferred a less "literary" ending.
Regardless, I definitely enjoyed the book and would recommend to anyone who enjoys psychological suspense thrillers or horror movies!
Calculated in Death by JD Robb - about halfway through and its super fun as always
The Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert Remini - about 75% complete, its a slow read
Arguably by Christopher Hitchens - I am only reading the essays I'm interested in but this is a brick of a book so I'll be at it awhile!
>129 richardderus: *smooch* right back at ya!
>130 msf59: Yeah, I don't think Night Film would work in audio. There are too many "value added" materials within the book.
Genre: futuristic police procedural
Source: off my shelves
In this installment of the long-running series, detective Eve Dallas must solve a murder that hinges on finances and accounting. I, of course, am a huge fan of these books so I loved the story. One of the things I most enjoy about these books are the small character sketches that come from the periphery of the main storyline. For example, in this book, Eve has to interview the owner of a hardware store. The scene takes place in two or three pages, yet the hardware store owner has a complete personality that totally rings true and made me laugh thinking I've totally met people like him before!
113. Plan B by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Source: off my shelves
It's been a treat to re-read the Liaden series. This book in the series has more battle scenes than other episodes. We get to see all our favorite characters and meet one new one who becomes part of our inner circle of Clan Korval.
OTOH, it's always nice to discover some new author or work and have it become an instant favorite.
>136 bohemima: Its true Gail, sometimes new authors or books become comfort reads immediately. I definitely turn to specific genres when I am stressed/sick. For example, I wouldn't pick up a Literary Fiction title if I were feeling stressed but fantasy or scifi especially with a romantic element always work for me.
Source: off my shelves, re-read
I Dare wraps up all the story lines from Shan's story, Val Con's story, and Pat Rin's story. The evil Department of the Interior gets its just desserts and all our romantic storylines are tied up with bows. Just as great on this re-read as its been in the past!
115. The Ocean at the End of the Laneby Neil Gaiman
Maine Readers Choice Award 2014 Long List
I have seen many positive reviews of this short fantasy novel and the book definitely lived up to its advance press. A seven year old boy encounters magic and the dark places in humanity after meeting the eleven year old girl who lives at the end of his lane. This book is very dark and creepy. It explores the idea that children experience horrific things when they are young and they don't consciously remember these things as adults. What seems all to real to children can be glossed over, ignored, or not even seen by adults. Who's to say which experience is more real? Do we stop experiencing magic as we grow up or is the magic of childhood simply a figment of a kid's imagination? The Ocean at the End of the Lane is very thought-provoking for a short fantasy novel.
I take things much too seriously or something, but I can't read scary/creepy......
Gotta get back to I Dare!!! Been sneaking a few pages here and there all day. Bye!
Hope the week is going well.
My library has it.....so I may soon too.
I found I Dare particularly un-putdownable on this re-read!
>140 msf59: Night Film is a long one for sure. I think it took me over a week to get through which is a long time for me if I am reading one book exclusively. The week is very busy. I am squeezing a few minutes here at lunch to check in with my LT peeps!
>141 LovingLit: Please do check out Night Film! I think you would like it. I also read my library's copy....I like to try books I'm not sure of through the library!
>142 jnwelch: Yes, Joe I agree. There is a very haunting aspect to Ocean. I have found myself thinking about it quite a lot since I finished it. There was a lot there about friendship that was important but the thing that is "haunting" me was the main character's relationship with his father. I keep wondering how the boy and his father got on after the events when he was seven. We don't really find out other than that they weren't close. I think this is the kind of book in which the reader's age and life experience will really affect how they respond to the book. Which is quite a lot for a fantasy book to do!
Willa Cather- January – Death Comes for the Archbishop
Cormac McCarthy- February Substitute: Arthur Miller - The Crucible
William Faulkner- March - The Sound and the Fury
Toni Morrison- April – Substitute: Richard Wright - Native Son
Eudora Welty- May – Substitute: Carson McCullers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Kurt Vonnegut- June- Substitute: James Agee - A Death in the Family
Mark Twain- July - Life on the Mississippi (recommended by Richard)
Philip Roth- August – Substitute: John Steinbeck - The Grapes of Wrath
James Baldwin- September - Go Tell It On the Mountain
Edith Wharton- October Substitute: Ernest Hemingway - For Whom the Bell Tolls
John Updike- November Substitute: Arthur Miller - Death of a Salesman
Larry Watson- December – Montana 1948 (recommended by Mark)
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer - This is much, much better than I thought it would be....at page 200 now.
Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope - about 10 chapters in and reading on my Kindle
The Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert Remini - am finally down to the last 100 pages or so, I'm really hoping to finish this up before the end of the year.
Arguably by Christopher Hichens
I might join in reading the Cather book; it all depends. Your choices for next year look great. I'm trying a No-Planning Plan for 2014. Can't remember the last time I did that.
Oh, I loved Can You Forgive Her this fall. I thought the title had multiple applications within the book. You must let us know what you think.
My reading of Can You Forgive Her is definitely suffering from the holiday madness and my short attention span at the moment!
But insomnia is a great tool for getting through some of the books I had laying around half-read that don't require so much concentration! Last night I finished The Interestings and my Andrew Jackson book.
Maine Readers Choice Award 2014 Long List
Six teenagers meet at an arts summer camp in Massachusetts, form a group calling themselves the Interestings, and become lifelong friends. This novel tells their stories over the course of forty years weaving in moments in history from the 70s to the present day.
The Interestings is a compulsively readable book even though it is not a plot driven book. The characters lives drive the story and there is a lot the reader can relate to in it. From the arrogance of the teen years when you are so sure your talents are going to lead to greatness, to the struggles to find work that pays enough to meet your obligations in your 20s, to starting a family and all that entails, this book took me on a journey. This is not the type of book I would normally pick up....but I kind of loved its gentle pace and the reality of the story. I also liked that while the main characters were flawed, none were truly evil (except Goodman, he was a prick, but he wasn't on stage most of the time!), and there was no shocking twist. These were just some people with good traits and bad traits, dealing with talents, ambitions, and the realities of life.
The only bad part of the whole book was the ending for me. Personally, I hated the ending. It did not end the way I wanted it to and I threw the book down in disgust when I read the last page! However, that is my personal bias and has nothing to do with how well the story is written. I have since re-written the ending in my mind and it now ends the way I want it to! LOL
Source: Off my shelves
So Andrew Jackson was not a very nice guy especially in his younger days. He got in a ton of fights, shot some people, stole another man's wife, lost a whole bunch of money on land speculation, and imposed his considerable will on whole groups of people. After winning the battle of New Orleans, and wresting Florida away from the Spanish, he was a national hero and he used this status as leverage to get elected President.
As you can probably tell, I came away from The Life of Andrew Jackson not liking the man very much. He was a bully that believed only his way was the right way. In addition to that, he was responsible for the forceable removal of the Native Americans from the southern part of the US to west of the Mississippi, an unhappy event known as the Trail of Tears.
In spite of the negative reaction I had to Jackson's personality and personal beliefs, I feel he was a decent president overall. The parts of the book dealing with his presidency and the years after his retirement were more interesting and I could see some of the good things Jackson did.
Overall though, I don't feel like I want to read anymore about this president.
Celebrate the return of the light with feasts, merriment, and gratitude for all the wonders of this wide green earth.
Have a lovely weekend, Heidi.
Heidi, it has been a constant pleasure visiting your thread this year. Have a lovely Christmas. xx
Glad you had a nice Christmas, Heidi! Yes, we will wait patiently for your book report.
I will be back to report on my books!!!
Maybe just come on over to the 2014 group? Let's leave all this 2013 mishegas behind!
As promised, here is a list of the lovelies I received for Xmas:
Martin Van Buren by Ted Widmer
William Henry Harrison by Gail Collins
These are both from my mom, for my Presidential challenge.
Different Seasons by Stephen King
The Third Bullet by Stephen Hunter
These are from my niece.
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
All from my Secret Santa Mamie!
Plus I received Amazon gift cards from my husband and my parents so there will be more great reads coming into my house soon!
I hope your power gets restored soon!!!
I popped over to wish you some belated Merry Christmas wishes and to say I'll be following you in the new year (hopefully much more diligently).
Thanks to all for your kind messages of support. It means a lot to me! Unfortunately, it looks like another big snowstorm headed our way for Sunday into Monday....hopefully, our power will be back on by then!
And best wishes for a healthy and satisfying 2014!
Ice Storm ~ Our power line pulled away from the house and lying in the driveway.
I have been doing some reading and finally finished two more books.
118. Lexicon by Max Barry
Another one off the Maine Readers Choice Award longlist. It was a fun, fast read!
119. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Source: off my shelves
Thanks to my Secret Santa Mamie for this great book about a young girl with Asperbers who is learning to deal with the death of her beloved older brother. A fantastic read.
All good wishes for a wonderful holiday and a bright, happy new year.
My husband and I will head to Bangor ahead of the storm to pick up a new refrigerator and some groceries tomorrow. Its been a stressful week but really we were and are lucky it wasn't worse.
Thanks to all! LT friends are the best!!
When you get around to making a thread in the 2014 75 books group (if you're going to), please drop me a note here and I'll come find you!