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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The "Unread" Books ...

The Top 106 Books Most Often Marked As “Unread” By LibraryThing’s Users

  • Orangish color for books I’ve read. (23)
  • Orangish color with an * for audiobooks I’ve listened to. (4)
  • Italics for books I’ve read before but haven’t finished. (4)
  • Purple for ones I've only watched as movies. (21)
  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  2. Anna Karenina
  3. Crime and Punishment
  4. Catch-22
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  6. Wuthering Heights
  7. The Silmarillion
  8. Life of Pi : a novel
  9. The Aeneid
  10. The Name of the Rose
  11. Don Quixote
  12. Moby Dick
  13. Ulysses
  14. Madame Bovary
  15. The Oddessey
  16. Pride and Prejudice
  17. Jane Eyre
  18. The Tale of Two Cities
  19. The Brothers Karamazov
  20. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
  21. War and Peace
  22. Vanity Fair
  23. The Time Traveler’s Wife *
  24. The Iliad
  25. Emma
  26. The Blind Assassin
  27. The Kite Runner
  28. Mrs. Dalloway
  29. Great Expectations
  30. American Gods
  31. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  32. Atlas Shrugged *
  33. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
  34. Memoirs of a Geisha
  35. Middlesex
  36. Quicksilver
  37. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
  38. The Canterbury Tales *
  39. The Historian : a novel
  40. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  41. Love in the Time of Cholera
  42. Brave New world
  43. The Fountainhead
  44. Foucault’s Pendulum
  45. Middlemarch
  46. Frankenstein
  47. The Count of Monte Cristo
  48. Dracula
  49. A Clockwork Orange
  50. Anansi Boys
  51. The Once and Future King
  52. The Grapes of Wrath
  53. The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
  54. 1984
  55. Angels & Demons
  56. The Inferno
  57. The Satanic Verses
  58. Sense and Sensibility
  59. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  60. Mansfield Park
  61. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  62. To the Lighthouse
  63. Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  64. Oliver Twist
  65. Gulliver's Travels
  66. Les Miserables
  67. The Corrections
  68. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay *
  69. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  70. Dune
  71. The Prince
  72. The Sound and the Fury
  73. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
  74. The God of Small Things
  75. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
  76. Cryptonomicon
  77. Neverwhere
  78. A Confederacy of Dunces
  79. A Short History of Nearly Everything
  80. Dubliners
  81. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  82. Beloved
  83. Slaughterhouse-five
  84. The Scarlet Letter
  85. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  86. The Mists of Avalon
  87. Oryx and Crake : a novel
  88. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
  89. Cloud Atlas
  90. The Confusion
  91. Lolita
  92. Persuasion
  93. Northanger Abbey
  94. The Catcher in the Rye
  95. On the Road
  96. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  97. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything *
  98. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
  99. Watership Down
  100. Gravity’s Rainbow
  101. The Hobbit
  102. In Cold Blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
  103. White Teeth
  104. Treasure Island
  105. David Copperfield
  106. The Three Musketeers

Well, there's my list ... 52 books/movies isn't all that bad!

Weekly Geeks #1: Discover New Blogs

Ok, this is my first blog challenge (for details on how it works, check out Dewey's blog) and I'm excited to get started!

The challenge was to browse the blogs of the other participants and find at least 5 that are new-to-you that catch your attention. Considering that there are over 100 people participating there were LOTS of blogs to browse! Here are 5 that I liked ...

Bibliolatry - I read through several reviews and was hooked. She seems to pick books that I'm interested in - which is a good thing for me! :)

Book-a-rama - I love the look and feel of this blog!

Bookworms and Tea Lovers - ok, books and tea are some of my favorite things, so this was a no-brainer! Plus Samantha has a lovely writing style. I'm looking forward to reading more from her!

Reader Rabbit - I love the fact that these sisters are blogging together! I can't wait to read more from them.

Just a (Reading) Fool - I loved some of the posts and I'll be stealing on of the topics for myself soon!

Summary: April

I think I'm getting back in the swing of things ... finally! After several months of little to no reading I'm feeling the withdrawl!

Books - 2 (816 pages)

  • Suite Francaise (448 pages)
  • The Mermaid Chair (368 pages)
Plus I'm working on several other books, and I've made it up to Book 5 in the audio version of The Wheel of Time series. FYI, that's a pretty big accomplishment, seeing as each book in the series is about 30 cassettes or CDs!

The Mermaid Chair (Apr '08)

I read Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair in about 3 days. Needless to say, it was an easy read! I'm not sure what to say about it exactly ... it was pleasant to read, quick to get into, easy to identify with the characters ... but I'm just not sure about this book.

It's not the type of book I USUALLY read, so maybe that's what's bugging me about it. Or MAYBE I identified with the main character more than I really wanted to or will admit to?! That thought just occurred to me as I sat here writing this. When people (in books and in real life) act irresponsibly in some way - even if it is for good reason - it really irks my nerves. So as I read this book and saw how Jessie basically walked out on her marriage it really bothered me. I won't give away the ending, but I will say that in the end, I was happy with the way things turned out. I might even say it was worth all the drama in the middle but I'm not really sure about that.

Ok, this is probably the most scatterbrained review you've ever seen. Sorry about that ... this book is hard for me to review for some reason. In all honesty, I think I see myself in Jessie in many ways ... and that is really quite scary.

UPDATE, 5/1/08: Laying in bed last night, I kept thinking about this book and I just had to post a few more thoughts. I think what got to me is that I've been married for 10 years and I can see how Jessie might feel after 20 years of marriage. Couples can get complacent, their relationship doesn't grow, and each partner can cease to have an individual identity. That being said, that is NOT how I feel about my marriage. No, it's not perfect, but I'm deeply committed to making it work every day. But I do understand how Jessie got to where she was, and I think that's what really hit home about this book for me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Historical Fiction Challenge

Ok, I'm participating in my first online reading challenge, and it's on my favorite genre: Historical Fiction!!!

The challenge is to read 6 books in this genre between April 1 and Oct 1. I've got a bit of a headstart since I read my first book before signing up (but it WAS within the deadline!).

So here's my list:
  1. Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky
  2. The Avengers: A Jewish War Story, by Richard Cohen ... not sure if this counts as it was based on true events ... I'll see what the moderator says!
  3. The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck ... it's been on my TBR pile for many months!
  4. I'll post the rest when I think of them ... I'm going on vacation from 4/23-4/29 so I'm a bit preoccupied with that and can't really think about too many books right now!
If you'd like to sign up, here's the link to the yahoo group. Happy Reading!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Suite Francaise

While browsing back in June, I came across Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. The story of the author - a Russian Jew living in German-controlled France during WWII, sent to Auchwitz and gassed - got my attention right away. She was writing this novel at the time of her death, writing about the world and the people around her. She had no way of knowing what would happen at the end of the war, who would win, or even if she would still be alive. Most novels of WWII were written with the advantage of hindsight but Nemirovsky didn't have that luxury. Something about that completely fascinated me and I just had to get this book.

It took me several months to begin reading it, then I put it aside for several more months. I enjoyed the story, but found the writing to be rather choppy. It could be the translation, or it could be how it was written, I can't say either way. But it didn't keep my attention the way I hoped it would. I picked it up again earlier this week and this time I couldn't put it down. I think the story became more and more interesting as it progressed (although the writing style did not change).

One thing I noticed is the author's hatred of collaborationists. She must have seen that on a daily basis! Another main theme in the novel is the idea that those who treat their neighbors badly will get their just desserts in the end. She came up with some pretty cool ways to get rid of some nasty characters!

I have to say that my favorite part of the entire book was the Appendices at the end. The first part was excerpts from her journal where she wrote about her plans for the book. It was unfinished at the time of her death but the journal gives insight into what she planned for the main characters. It also conveys he feeling on the world around her. The second part contains letters written by her and to her, and also by and to her husband from friends after she was deported. That part send shivers down my spine. She was dead within a month yet her family and friends didn't know for years.

This book gets great recommendations from me. The novel itself isn't the best but with the author's story alongside, it's a must read for everyone.

Here are links to other reviews of this book ... it seems that opinions are widely varied!
Book Club Girl's review
The Inside Cover's review
John at The Book Mine Set
Book Nut

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