JayneCM attempts to read the 1001 List in 10 years

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JayneCM attempts to read the 1001 List in 10 years

Editado: Fev 11, 5:55 am

Probably like most people who start the List, I have already read a fair amount of the books. BUT I am going to start from scratch and see if I can read them all in the next ten years.
What do you think - sounds crazy or not?!

My very first read will be the Kristin Lavransdatter books, simply because I already have them down for my January SeriesCAT.

And for even more fun, I have also got the 1001 Childrens Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up and will be using them as read alouds for my boys! Pretty sure there is some overlap here, so that will be handy.
Note here: I have decided to move the 1001 Childrens Books to their own thread.

I have put the 1001 Books on hold at my library, so hopefully it will arrive soon! Until then, I would love to hear which online list you think is the best to use as they can all be somewhat different, depending on the version of the book and whether they have combined different editions to make their list.

Glad to be here! Any excuse to read some more is fine by me! Looking forward to chatting books!

105/1314 read = 7.99% completed (as at 10th February 2024)

Editado: Jan 4, 2019, 9:35 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

December 2018 reads

1. The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen #1055
2. Animal Farm by George Orwell #419
3. Mrs. 'Arris Goes To Paris by Paul Gallico #1121

3/1314 read = 0.23% completed

Sorted out my numbering system. I will be using the 2018 edition of 1001 Books for the first 1001, then I have assigned numbers in alphabetical order by author name for any books that have been taken out of previous editions. Giving me the magic 1300+ books! Wow! That's a LOT of books!

Editado: Dez 19, 2018, 6:41 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Dez 17, 2018, 12:01 pm

First of all, welcome! It's always nice to 'meet' fellow bibliophiles and list-followers. You are setting a lofty goal for yourself but a fun goal - it'll be interesting to see how far you get!

I am going through both lists as well and use a combined list for the adult books. I like having options :)

Dez 17, 2018, 4:28 pm

>4 Yells: It is a lofty goal! Ten years sounds like ages but there are a lot of books! When I was a kid, it always used to make me sad that I would never be able to read all the books in the world! Must be why I like these challenges - makes me feel as though I am making progress.
There are so many lists and challenges out there to follow; we could never keep up!
Thanks for the welcome!

Dez 18, 2018, 4:47 am

Welcome, and good luck with all your (re)reading!

Dez 18, 2018, 5:15 am

>6 puckers: Thanks! I am looking forward to seeing what I think of books I first read in my teens and twenties, now that I am more 'mature'!

Dez 18, 2018, 5:24 am

I collected 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up from the library today. It was so lovely to look through and see all the beautiful artwork. I love picture books - they really are a form of art.

This should be a lot easier to get through than the adult version as many of them are picture books. It is divided into age groups:
Ages 3+
Ages 5+
Ages 8+
Ages 12+

My seven year old will read many of the picture books to us as part of his reading practice.
My ten year old was happy to find that the book he just started as part of his Summer Reading Challenge is in there. If you have kids, I cannot recommend this series enough - it is simply delightful. My son said today that he just wants to live in their house! The first book is The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard.
It was very clever of the challenge organiser too as the category is 'read the first book of a series you have not read before'. Otherwise there would have just been 20 kids discussing Harry Potter yet again!!

Anyone else have kids that would like to read along? My ten year old is super keen to have some online book friends!

Dez 18, 2018, 7:16 am

Welcome! And you couldn't start at a better place than Kristen Lavransdatter -- one of my very favorites from The List.

Dez 18, 2018, 4:01 pm

>9 annamorphic: Thanks! I remember absolutely loving Kristin Lavransdatter but that was twenty years ago! It will be good to re-read.

Dez 18, 2018, 9:07 pm

Just added the three Harry Potter books that are in 1001 Childrens Books to our read list.
These are the only ones that I am 'cheating' on, as we are currently reading aloud Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so have just gone through them all in the last few months.
As I am on to child number 4 and 5, I have already read Harry Potter a few times! Myself (before kids), then to each of the kids as they were old enough. It is lucky that I am a super HP fan!

I am debating starting a separate thread for 1001 Childrens to make it easier for me to keep track of. Would that be within the parameters of the group, do you think?

Dez 19, 2018, 2:58 am

>11 JayneCM: I’m sure a thread on the 1001 children’s books would be of interest to some so feel free to start a thread on that list. It should make your numbering easier! I have 6 and 4 year old girls who love books so some on the list are very familiar to me but I’ve never checked off how many we’ve read.

Dez 19, 2018, 6:27 am

>12 puckers: Thanks! I think I will - otherwise I can see this thread become unwieldy very quickly!

Dez 19, 2018, 6:29 am

OK, I think it does make more sense to have the 1001 Childrens Books on a separate thread as I can see this become messy as it grows.
I have three sons reading, aged 7, 10 and 14 so between the three of them there should be a broad range of the book choices covered.
I'll edit this thread to just have my 1001 reading.

Dez 19, 2018, 12:19 pm

Welcome aboard! Your enthusiasm is wonderful. 10 years is not crazy; it's simply ambitious.

Please be sure to add a line for yourself in the 1,001 Progress Index here, so you can join us formally in this fun project:


Best of luck!

Dez 19, 2018, 12:21 pm

Welcome to the group, I am looking forward to following along with both of your threads.

Dez 19, 2018, 4:07 pm

>15 MartinBodek: I did it! I haven't done HTML for many years, but just copied everyone else! I think I will be sitting at the bottom there for many months to come.

>16 DeltaQueen50: Thanks for the welcome!

Dez 21, 2018, 1:08 pm


Editado: Jan 1, 2019, 7:27 am

Still waiting for my copy of the 1001 Books to arrive. But pretty sure I have seen this one on lists, so this is my first official read for my 1001 Books challenge!

1. The House In Paris by Elizabeth Bowen

I found this book fascinating, albeit slow in parts. If this book was made into a movie, it would be one that would drive my hubby crazy as 'nothing' happens.
At the beginning, Miss Fisher and her mother seem the classic figures of fun of many novels, the spinster daughter caring for the domineering mother. As the book progresses though, you begin to see that behind all that hand-wringing and worrying, Naomi has actually had to make some important decisions in the lives of the people around here and has tolerated so much while maintaining her goodwill towards them (where they do not deserve it). It seems that the novel is showing the juxtaposition between Naomi's passivity and Karen's 'take what you want' regardless of the consequences. Karen says at one point, 'Surely what happens to one is what one makes happen oneself?' Yet we see who is strongest in the end.
All the characters appear to be trapped - some in traps of their own making and some, through no fault of their own, caught in the traps of others. Leopold is the one who expresses a wish to be free of his trap and is quite vocal about it. It is possible though that he has fallen for the grass always being greener and he is simply exchanging one trap for another.
I was slightly affronted on behalf of mothers as the portayal of every mother in the book is either selfish and domineering or weak and misguided. The most motherly figure being Aunt Violet, who had never actually had children.

I enjoyed this book as an interesting emotional study. The writing is elegant and her descriptions are divine. It is a very visual novel - you can see everything the writer is describing.

Dez 26, 2018, 2:11 pm

>19 JayneCM: This book is on the list. First step on the long journey - enjoy the challenge!

Dez 26, 2018, 3:34 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Dez 26, 2018, 4:57 pm

>21 biblioskalia: Thanks for the message! I certainly see your points and I absolutely agree that there will be a percentage of books that I will not like, that will not resonate with me, etc. But I see it as a good ooportunity to push past your comfort zone. There are many books that people abandon too early or do not attempt and I feel they are missing out.

I read about 150 books a year on average so there is a lot of variety there. I am doing other challenges and free-reading as well. I don't want it to become a chore to read!

I must admit to diagreeing about re-reading. Re-reading a book is one of my favourite things to do. There is always something more than can be gleaned and with some books, it is like visiting old friends. I always think of children, how they will happily listen to the same book over and over and I think it is because of that feeling of comfort and happiness at being with a book that is like a friend.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Editado: Jan 1, 2019, 7:26 am

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell

I feel I don't really need to review this book as such. For most people, I think it would just be part of cultural literacy; although sadly maybe not so much any more.
I was more interested in my own reaction to it. I remember reading this as a rebellious teenager and being totally struck by the story. And thank goodness my expectations were not destroyed. I still see it a fabulously succinct expose of the Communist reegime in Russia; how it began with all good intentions (and as an idealistic teenager, I was all for that kind of fairness and equality in society) and quickly disintegrated into a regime worse than the one that had been overthrown. The question that was always in my mind was does ALL power corrupt to some extent or is there such a possibility as an equal society? It seems that human nature simply will never allow a truly equal society. Power corrupts, and eventually, as in the book's ending where the animals watching through the window could no longer tell pig from man, all leaders end up corrupted by power in some way.
An age-old discussion topic that I feel will never have an answer.

Great quick read.
'All animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others.'

Editado: Set 30, 2019, 10:37 pm

And why not add some more, just for fun?!
This is my 52 books in 52 weeks challenge that I am in on Facebook (the group is just called 2019 Reading Challenge), so I thought I would add it here as well.

1. A book published in 2019 The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (sequel to The Handmaid's Tale) publication set for 10th September 2019
2. An author you have never heard of before The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
3. A book you've read before Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. A book with a strong female lead So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba
5. A play La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas
6. A book set in Southern USA House in the Uplands by Erskine Caldwell
7. A biography of someone you admire -autobiography - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
8. Set in the Victorian era The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
9. A character with a career you wish you had Unless by Carol Shields
10. A plant on the cover The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
11. Published the year you graduated school - 1988 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
* 12. A graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore - finished 10th April 2019
13. Featuring music A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
14. An ugly cover The Nose by Nikolai Gogol
15. A teen as the main character Little Women by Louise May Alcott
16. A re-telling of a well-known story The Once and Future King by T.H. White
17. Set during a holiday A Room With A View by E.M. Forster
18. A book chosen for you by someone else The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
19. Gothic fiction novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
* 20. A book about time travel The Time Machine by H.G. Wells - finished 12th January 2019
21. A title that starts with the letter 'J' Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
22. Fantasy novel Legend by David Gemmell
23. True crime novel In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
24. A self-published book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
25. The name of a colour in the title The Color Purple by Alice Walker
26. A one word title Voss by Patrick White
27. A book that makes you mad American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
28. A book that discusses mental health The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
29. A book published by HarperCollins The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
30. An author who uses initials Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
31. A book that everyone's talking about To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - most reviews on LT and GoodReads
32. A western All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
33. A book about a cult IQ84 by Haruki Murakami
34. Nominated for (but didn't win) the 2018 Goodreads Choice awards Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (a 1001 author)
35. A sports related book Underworld by Don DeLillo
36. A humorous novel Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
37. Set in South America The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
38. An allegorical book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
39. Military related: fiction or non-fiction War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
40. A character that is an immigrant A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
41. A book suggested by someone else in the challenge The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - puckers' review of 5/5
42. A family member's favourite book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
43. A children's book The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley
44. An author who uses a pseudonym The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
* 45. A 'beach read' Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote - finished 1st August 2019
46. The first book you see in a bookstore/library The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
47. Set in a country you've visited A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
48. Set in a post-apocalyptic world The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
* 49. A speed read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - finished 9th February 2019
* 50. A fairy tale The 13 Clocks by James Thurber - finished 15th July 2019
51. A book about organised crime/the mob The Godfather by Mario Puzo
52. An audiobook Moby Dick by Herman Melville, narrated by Stephen Fry

I was trying to determine a structure to my reading of the 1001 Books. And I decided I like a list! So I have managed to pretty much fill this with 1001 Books. I was actually surprised that I could find books to cover nearly everything!

Couldn't do the following:
1. a book published in 2019 - I compromised on this one and chose the sequel to a 1001 Book.
5. a play
12. a graphic novel
34. a book nominated for 2018 GoodReads choice awards - again compromised and chose a book by a 1001 Books list author.

Pretty sure there are no plays or graphic novels in the 1001 Books. But please let me know if there are, or you can think of a permutation that will work. Otherwise, I'll think of something else for these two.

Yay! Thanks to paruline, I know have filled in all the categories! There really is a huge range in the 1001 Books!

Editado: Jan 1, 2019, 7:26 am

3. Mrs. 'Arris Goes To Paris by Paul Gallico. #1121

I did not even know this was on the 2006 list, just picked it up at the library by coincidence. And I am so glad I did!

Mrs. Harris is an absolute delight. Talk about an indomitable spirit! Mrs. Harris has an ability to treat everyone as an equal and not be ashamed of her poorer background. She acts as though she belongs whereever she happens to be. She has that rare quality of being happy with whatever comes her way. Yes, she is striving to save for the dress, but it is not making her discontent with her life as it is.

I was cringing as I was reading the end, knowing that something terrible was bound to happen. But Mrs. Harris just pulls herself up by her bootstraps and keeps on going. A lesson to us all, I think.

“They were worlds apart in everything but the simplicity of their humanity, and so they were really not apart at all.”

A fun read and one to make you smile. Read this if you need a boost.

Dez 30, 2018, 7:21 am

For a graphic novel that is also a 1001 book, you could read Watchmen. And La Celestina has a play format.

Dez 30, 2018, 7:38 am

>26 paruline: Thanks so much! I haven't seen either of those before, so thank you for your help!

Editado: Jan 31, 2019, 6:41 pm

I am calling it as it is already New Year's Day here in Australia, so bring on the 2019 reading!

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

January 2019 reads

4. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark #560
5. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell #372
6. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells #197
7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger #468
8. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman #1230

8/1314 read = 0.61% completed

Happy 1001 reading in 2019, everyone!

Dez 31, 2018, 7:00 pm

I still have 5 hours but as I probably won't make it until then, I will celebrate now with you :) Happy new year and happy reading!

Dez 31, 2018, 8:51 pm

>29 Yells: I must admit, I was reading at midnight, as all my exciting, party hard family had already gone to bed! Exciting times here!!

Editado: Jan 1, 2019, 7:25 am

First book for 2019 just finished! It was a quick read and not even a 1001 book, but I am going to mention it as it is the first novel of a 1001 author.

The Comforters by Muriel Spark.

I enjoyed this book. It was a bit long-winded in places and seem to wind around trying to get to the point, but you can certainly see the Muriel Spark acerbic wit poking through. Ingenious construct too in that the main character felt she was a character in a novel. The author even mentions 'the prime' of one of the characters a few times, so obviously already a theme in her mind which would be developed later.
A theme throughout was the fact that, as in Alice in Wonderland, all the best people are mad, that we all have our little quirks and eccentricities and it all depends on how the rest of society perceive them as to whether we are considered mad or not.

'Is the world a lunatic asylum then? Are we all courteous maniacs discreetly making allowances for everyone else's derangement?'

Worth giving this a read if you enjoyed Muriel Spark's 1001 Books.

Jan 2, 2019, 5:08 pm

Book 4 completed - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

How can one person be so myopic, both to their own faults and the consequences of their actions on those around them? 'Her prime' was such that it almost became a character of its own! And it seemed, in her mind, to allow her all sort of concessions in her behaviour that other people were not to be allowed. Even the girls saw Miss Brodie as being 'outside the context of right and wrong.'

Miss Brodie really was a contemptible character to me - her manipulative behaviour, her total lack of conscience, her constant denigration of that which she either doesn't understand or doesn't consider important to her and her total inability to see anything from any other point of view but her own.

The lead up to the 'betrayal' was such that by the time it came, it was both anti-climactic and much wished for by me as all that Miss Brodie deserved.

By the time Sandy is eighteen, she and Mr. Lloyd are in agreeance that Miss Brodie is 'ridiculous' and Sandy wants to 'put a stop to her.' I suppose you can feel slightly sorry for her as she becomes a bit pathetic in the end, with her obsession with who and what caused her downfall.

Very well-written, sparse, concise and witty.

'One's prime is the moment one was born for.'

'One’s prime is elusive. You little girls, when you grow up, must be on the alert to recognise your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur. You must then live it to the full.'

Jan 3, 2019, 6:10 pm

I've read a couple by Muriel Spark - Loitering with Intent, which I loved, and Memento Mori, a 1001 book, which I didn't like as much, but still liked. I'm looking forward to reading more by her.

Jan 3, 2019, 7:19 pm

>33 LisaMorr: I haven't got to either of those yet. I have a biography of Muriel Spark that I am looking forward to reading too.

Editado: Jan 5, 2019, 4:58 am

My copy of the 2018 edition of 1001 Books arrived in the mail today! Yay, now I can give all the books numbers, my nerdy accounting brain needs lists and numbers! :)
Currently reading Gone With The Wind so it will be a while before I log another book. Although I will probably start a smaller one at the same time. We will see!

P.S. I've even added a ticker to my first post. I am feeling so tech literate at the moment! :)

Jan 5, 2019, 8:30 am

Ha! I was so proud of myself when i learned how to add book covers and stars. It's the little things :)

Jan 10, 2019, 7:12 pm

Book 5 - Gone With The Wind.

I have been meaning to re-read this one for years and I am so glad the list 'made' me do it finally!

After having last read this at 18 years old, there is so much more to it. I had certainly forgotten all the political issues after the Civil War and how the South was crippled for generations. Particularly of note for me was one sentence that just mentioned that many children of Southerners were not permitted to enter the free schools as they were children of ex-Confederate soldiers and they could not afford to pay for education. It makes you wonder how different the Southern states would have been had the Civil War not occurred, or at least if the years after were managed differently. It has made me want to read more American history of the late 1860s/1870s. Any suggestions?

And Scarlett! The first quote I noted during my read was the one that stood out to me at 18 (you know, that rebellious, want to take on the world age!) and felt Scarlett was my feminist heroine. She stood up to everyone, fought tooth and nail for what she wanted and didn't let anyone get under her skin.

'Men willingly gave the ladies everything in the world except credit for having intelligence.'

Reading it back now, in my wise old age :) however, I would have to say Melly is my heroine. She had total self-awareness, quiet but unerring strength and always managed to guide Scarlett and keep her safe without Scarlett even realising until the end.
It is almost the end of the book before poor Scarlett realises what she has lost. And before she finally has an unselfish thought or action.

'With one of the few adult emotions Scarlett had ever had . . .

Throughout the book, she has seemed selfless to others, due to her care and protection of Melly and Beau and all her hard work rebuilding Tara, but really she has never done anything unless it benefited her in some way. She is the ultimate personification of 'what's in it for me?'
Even if she thought she had done something wrong, she would simply pop it in that box of 'tomorrow' and think about it later, which of course she never did as tomorrow never comes!

I wonder where Scarlett ended up? Being only twenty eight at the end of the book, she had a lot of years left. I think she was far too strong to end up as a Miss Havisham type character, but whether she would have gone back to her old selfish course or changed her ways, who knows?

Definitely still one of my favourites! And now I want to watch the movie again!

Jan 10, 2019, 8:07 pm

If you like nonfiction, Eric Foner is known for his writing on Reconstruction. I read Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution a few years ago. It is a little dry because it's very thorough, but also enlightening. Reconstruction was a very complicated time, politically.

Jan 10, 2019, 9:20 pm

>37 JayneCM: Another big list book set immediately prior to the civil war is Cloudsplitter. On the Guardian 1000 list is Andersonville which gives another view of life in the south during civil war in a POW camp. Both these books run to 750 pages - must be something about works of fiction based in this period that encourages long novels.

Jan 11, 2019, 1:26 am

>38 japaul22: >39 puckers: Thanks! I'll take a look for all those.

Editado: Jan 12, 2019, 12:30 am

Book 6 - The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Not being a sci fi fan, I have never read any H.G. Wells, Jules Verne or similar.

I wouldn't say I was overly thrilled by this book, but it did keep me wanting to read it to find out what happened to the Time Traveller.
It seemed as I was reading towards the end that the book became more hurried, with less detail. The beginning sequence in the dining room explaining the time machine is very detailed, whereas the 'action' part of the book seems to be less so.

I thought it was an excellent premise, that the pampered aristocratic class had became so pampered and disinclined to work that they actually lost the ability and the intelligence to do so, and thus became the 'fatted cattle' for the working class who now had the power and control of the situation. Although the Morlocks had the power, it was still quite a hand to mouth, bestial existence.

Altogether not a very promising future for the human race!

I also enjoyed the descriptions of the actual time travel itself. Most time travel books I have read are more about the place they end up, rather than being focused on the science and possibility of real time travel, so do not include anything about how it actually occurs. The descriptions of travelling through time and observing the same place as it alters in time were very interesting to me. I wish we could really do this so we could see in fast motion the terrible damage we are causing to our natural environment. It might open some eyes!

Jan 12, 2019, 11:03 am

>41 JayneCM: I really enjoyed your comments. As a big sci fi fan (it was the first genre I was introduced to as a kid by my dad), it was interesting to see what you, as a non-sci-fi fan, thought of The Time Machine.

And I appreciate your last sentence. Interestingly enough we do get to see that damage now when we show the exact same picture of a natural area over time. But it doesn't seem to make as much of an impact as when Ebenezer Scrooge gets his visit from the ghost of Christmas future!

Editado: Ago 31, 2019, 11:40 pm

Book 7 - The Catcher in the Rye

This is my first time reading this book, so I have come to it with a lot of preconceptions. I can see glimpses of its greatness but to me, it was all wrapped up in too much colloquial language of the time and that seemed to almost distract me. By the end of it, I thought I would go mad if I read another 'crumby' or 'goddam'!

The message is as relevant today as it was then, of course. In the 50s, the good-time era after WWII, it was all about money, consumerism and having a good time. Salinger was ahead of his time in calling all this out as 'phony'. Holden looks more deeply at life and feels depressed, wondering if this is all there is to life. We seem destined to follow the same pattern, no matter what our hopes and dreams may have been in our idealistic youth.
Holden questions the societal norm of consumption for its own sake, that there is no actual thought behind it, no actual choice to live this way. Nowadays, there are books and social media posts galore telling us to live intentionally and that 'stuff' does not equal happiness. So possibly the book has lost some of its power as it is just one of many now.

Holden is worried that once he gets caught up in the so-called 'real world' of earning money, it will be impossible to break free. He doesn't want to just do what society expects, he wants to live his life his way.

He feels he has to be the 'catcher in the rye', to save everyone from themselves, even though they don't know they need saving.

'What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them.'

I think there are many people who still feel this way about society and the direction we are taking. I know I feel it often when I look at what is happening in the world in so many arenas and wonder why we cannot make changes, why we are just lemmings heading for the cliff. And I too want desperately to stop them. It can be overwhelming.

All in all, I can see that the book would have been almost revolutionary, with its questioning of all societal norms of the time. And I absolutely believe in the message. I totally relate to Holden, especially when he talks about books. I have had that feeling as well, where I would love to just be able to ask the author some questions and have a chat about their book.

Jan 31, 2019, 6:50 pm

Book 8 - The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories

Quick to read story collection, yet each one packed a punch. Even though these were written between 1890 and 1916, the issues are still relevant, particularly those of depression.
I love short stories as the author needs to fill in the picture quickly and thus needs to choose their words with more care. There is no room to fill out characters, so I find short stories to be almost like a puzzle, where you need to use the clues to fill in the details for yourself.
All the stories but one were written from the perspective of the submission required of women. I did particularly like that there was one story written also showing the man's perspective, in that, for men of that time, they were expected to care for and financially support the women of their family. Not just wives and children, but widowed mother, unmarried sisters, and any other family members. So one story was about a man who worked a job he hated to support all these family members. Good to show that there are always two sides to the story.

Jan 31, 2019, 6:56 pm

And I am only 16 pages into Lolita and it is already creeping me out! But I will push on - I need to see why The Independent (as quoted from the front cover of the book) called this 'A masterpiece. One of the great works of our age.'

Jan 31, 2019, 6:59 pm

>45 JayneCM: It is the creepiest book I've ever read but also one of the best. Only a genius could write such a disturbing brilliant novel.

Jan 31, 2019, 7:08 pm

>46 Yells: I will keep pushing on then! I must admit, if it wasn't on the list, I would never have picked it up. I'm not a fan of books that really make me feel 'uuggh'. It took me about three times of picking the book up just to get through those 16 pages. I kept getting physical urges to just push the book away, like I didn't want to touch it any more. Not sure how I will get through the rest.

Jan 31, 2019, 8:24 pm

>46 Yells: >47 JayneCM: I thought the writing was brilliant and would have given it 5 stars but for the subject matter so lopped off half a star. I did the same thing with Gone with the Wind because of its unapologetic racism. I'm sure Nabokov and Ms Mitchell are turning with regret in their graves at the thought of having lost half a star on the puckers ratings!

Jan 31, 2019, 8:53 pm

>48 puckers: They got a 4 & 3 star rating from me. I might have a little more explaining to do if they ever come back to life :)

Jan 31, 2019, 10:45 pm

>48 puckers: >49 Yells: I agree, the writing is brilliant so far. I would be interested a read a biography about Nabokov as I know nothing about his actual life.

Editado: Jun 17, 2021, 11:23 pm

February already!

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

February 2019 reads

9. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov #509
10. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery #413
11. Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin #481

11/1314 read = 0.84% completed

Hope to reach 1% completed by the end of February!

Fev 1, 2019, 6:55 am

>45 JayneCM: If you listen to audiobooks, try the one narrated by Jeremy Irons.

Fev 1, 2019, 11:09 pm

>52 ELiz_M: That would be great - his voice would be just perfect! Not sure whether listening to it would be even worse than reading it though!

Fev 2, 2019, 7:45 am

>53 JayneCM: it is fabulous; it was my third or fourth attempt at audiobooks, and the one that finally convinced me that I could read books through audio -- I just the right books/narrator.

Fev 5, 2019, 7:20 am

Book 9. Lolita

Definitely a master of language - it was beautiful to read. And a master at crafting to keep the reader on edge all the time. I would find myself lost in a beautiful description of the scenery, etc. on their road trip and then he would subtly slip in a little reference to Lolita. It would take me a second to think, hang on, did I just read that?! And then it would be back to shudders of disgust as I was reminded of the subject matter of the book.
Also wickedly clever in its wit. Again, I would find myself laughing and then feeling I shouldn't be laughing at a book about a topic like this.
The ending was especially wonderful - reminded me of the scene with the knight in Monty Python.

All together I am going to have to agree with the reviewer on the front cover of my copy, that this book is a masterpiece.

I will say, the constant French phrases annoyed me. There were so many, I gave up on looking them up so not sure if I missed something important there!

Although I ended up appreciating this book, I don't think I will be picking up another Nabokov book for a while!

Fev 5, 2019, 11:48 am

>55 JayneCM: I feel the same way when I read Nabakov. All of the ones I've read -- I understand what makes them fine books but to me, very off-putting. It's why I didn't join in last month's group read. Ada may be one of the 1001ers that I die without reading.
>32 JayneCM: (catching up here) -- this is one of my very favorite books. All of your comments are right so I'm left wondering what I so love about it. If you ever watch movies, you should definitely watch this one with Maggie Smith. It's interestingly different from the book yet a work of complete genius in its own way.

Fev 6, 2019, 4:07 am

>56 annamorphic: I did buy Ada for the group read as I found a cheap one. But I am not hurrying to get to it!

I saw there was a movie of Miss Brodie. I am going to have to look for it as Maggie Smith is always fabulous and I have not seen too many of her older movies. I just picked up the DVD of Tea With The Dames which I am planning to watch tonight. Love all the dames!

Fev 9, 2019, 6:31 am

Book 10 The Little Prince

One of only a few books that appear in both the 1001 Books To Read and the 1001 Childrens Books lists. So I did this as a read aloud with my 10 year old son. To him, it was just an interesting story, but I think it is good to read it first as a child where you take it all at face value and then again as an adult where it can all sink in on a completely different level.

Editado: Mar 30, 2019, 11:13 pm

February was a terrible reading month for me! Writing it off and starting fresh for March.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

March 2019 reads

12. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston #382
13. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams #718
14. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells #205

14/1314 read = 1.06% completed

Editado: Mar 12, 2019, 8:48 pm

Book 12 - Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

This is the perfect example for me of a book that previously I could not get through but this time, wow!

I first tried it when I was about 18 and it just didn't speak to me, plus the dialogue was, at the time, annoying. Now I found this such a powerful and beautiful book. It speaks to anyone - although it is written from the viewpoint of an African-American woman, it is universal and speaks to us all.

From the first paragraph about our dreams being on board ships and some come into port and some drift forever, this book was just beautiful. I cannot think of another word to describe it. Her imagery was so powerful - down to earth imagery, but even more powerful because of it. Such as describing Janie as being 'a rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels.'

The dialogue still grated a bit, but once I got used to it, it was OK. And that is all part of the experience of reading this novel and brings the characters more clearly to life.

Editado: Abr 10, 2019, 7:57 pm

Book 13 - The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams #718

First read this series in the 1980s. Still love it, still hilarious!

Mar 26, 2019, 11:38 pm

Had to share with people who realise how exciting this is!!

I just bought all four volumes of Anthony Powell's A Dance To The Music Of Time at the op shop, in brand new condition.
I have had these in my Book Depository cart for ages but each volume is $34 and I couldn't afford it.

Now guess how much?! You won't believe it - 20c each! Yes, 80c for all twelve novels!

Happy dance!

Mar 26, 2019, 11:40 pm

So, extra question? Do we need to read all of them to say we have read that 'book'?! Not that I won't anyway!

Mar 26, 2019, 11:46 pm

Great buy! Yes, you should read them all as they build on each other.

Mar 27, 2019, 6:28 am

A Dance to the Music of Time starts (in my opinion) slowly, and at the end of the first book it probably won't be apparent as to why they are held in such high regard. The way the books build upon each other, feels like real life, characters pop in and then disappear, whilst others can then reappear with gaps of ten or twenty years later. The series is amazing, I hope you enjoy i!

Mar 27, 2019, 6:50 am

>63 JayneCM: that's the question that always intrigues me, how much do you feel the need to read to tick the box? I'm just a bit intimidated by the idea of committing to finishing a series like that. Although I managed the 3 novels and 2 interludes of The Forsyte Saga by taking a novel a month. Part of me feels obliged to finish the next 6 books that follow on as well...

Mar 27, 2019, 7:40 am

>62 JayneCM: I was at a used book sale last year and out of the corner of my eye, I saw this colourful stack of books stuck in a corner. It turned out to be 11 of the 12 volumes for $4. I went from being super excited to super disappointed in the blink of an eye. I didn't buy them after all but I think my library might have them.

Mar 28, 2019, 2:02 am

I definitely want to read them all, but as I also want to be able to 'tick' off some finished books! I may put them aside until I am not quite so busy.

>67 Yells: How disapppointing! That is why I was practically hyperventilating when I saw these. Satisfies my OCD need to have all volumes of a series being the same editions as well. I also picked up Pat Barker's Regeneration for 20c, in the hope I will see the other volumes another time.

Editado: Abr 10, 2019, 7:57 pm

Book 14 - The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells #205

I am surprising myself by really enjoying all the science fiction I am reading so far. This one was no exception. I can see why they changed the ending of the movie - the book ending was definitely not Hollywood exciting enough! But definitely more realistic.
I will have to keep going with all the sci-fi I have ignored up to now. Who knows, I may even find myself liking the Stephen King book that is on the list!

Editado: Abr 16, 2019, 12:28 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

April 2019 reads

15. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons #797
16. Winter by Ali Smith #1000

16/1314 read = 1.22% completed

Editado: Maio 14, 2019, 5:58 am

Book 15. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons #797

So, I have done a naughty thing! I totally prejudged this book by its cover, so to speak. I went into it thinking this would be a quick, simple read - after all, it's a comic!

Not so. This is so well-constructed and complex. It is still not subject matter that particularly interests me, but it is so cleverly done. The use of magazine/newspaper articles, excerpts from books, etc. add more depth to the story. I love books that go backwards and forwards in time and I was getting lost in some parts, trying to remember which time period we were in for each of the characters.

I am probably not going to choose a graphic novel (and DO NOT get me started on using graphic novels instead of the real thing to teach English classes! - another story!) but I can certainly see why this is a standout in this genre.

I am really loving how the 1001 List is 'making' me read books I would never have chosen myself.

Abr 15, 2019, 4:30 am

And this is what I love about reading!
I am currently reading Ali Smith's Winter and one of the characters talks about a picture by William Blake. I did not know that Blake was an artist as well as a poet.
I love how reading leads you down so many different paths. My son always asks how I know things - the answer is always from reading!

Abr 16, 2019, 12:25 am

Book 16. Winter by Ali Smith #1000

I needed a read I knew I woud enjoy and relate to after Watchmen and this did not disappoint.

Editado: Maio 21, 2019, 7:37 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

May 2019 reads

17. The Colour by Rose Tremain #1282
18. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald #293

18/1314 read = 1.37% completed

Maio 14, 2019, 9:20 pm

Book 17. The Colour by Rose Tremain

Finally finished this group read! I enjoyed it, as I am a fan of historical fiction and have not read many set in New Zealand. Not sure if I would consider it a 1001 Book though. A good read nonetheless.

Maio 16, 2019, 12:55 pm

You're making great progress!

I'm working on Pilgrimage right now, which is 13 novels in 4 books, and I know how you feel about A Dance to the Music of Time. I've read two of the novels so far (the first book has 3 novels), and I won't take credit here for reading the whole thing until I finish all 4 books; however I do plan to take credit for each physical book read over on my 2019 Category Challenge thread.

Maio 17, 2019, 11:50 pm

I would love to read Pilgrimage, but my library doesn't have the books and I doubt whether I will be as lucky again as I was with A Dance To The Music of Time books! I will have to save up to purchase them.
It is the same with the SeriesCAT on 2019 Category Challenge - I won't count them until I have read all of the books in the series, which makes for me never finishing the SeriesCAT in the month!

Maio 19, 2019, 11:40 am

>77 JayneCM: You are a tough cookie on the SeriesCAT! It seems the way it's set up is that you only ever have to read one book in a month to meet the goal; the goal this month seemed a bit unattainable because it was to read the newest book in a series and I'm not caught up enough on any of my series to read the newest book, but then it was updated to be the newest/latest book in a series for each person, which made it doable for me. I was looking forward to the SeriesCAT to really help me catch up on my series, and so far it is! (Although I did start one new series as a result of one of the challenges!)

Maio 21, 2019, 7:31 am

>78 LisaMorr: Maybe I am being too tough! I do like to read a series all at once though, if it is a 'finished' one. I'm lucky I had just read Ali Smith's Autumn and Winter and Spring has just come out, so it fit perfectly!

Maio 21, 2019, 11:18 am

I love Ali Smith; I have Autumn to read; I may wait until they are all out and then read them together.

Maio 26, 2019, 8:31 pm

Starting Spring this week hopefully.

Editado: Jun 29, 2019, 8:33 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

June 2019 reads

19. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe #91
20. The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe #96
21. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien #381
22. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham #525

22/1314 read = 1.67% completed

Jun 13, 2019, 6:34 am

Book 21. The Hobbit

This was a two for one, as The Hobbit appears in both the 1001 Books and the 1001 Childrens Books lists. I read this as a read aloud to my two youngest boys.
No need to say anything about this - I have loved this book since childhood and this must be more than my tenth re-read.

Editado: Jul 30, 2019, 7:14 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

July 2019 reads

23. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence #317
24. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro #660
25. The 13 Clocks by James Thurber #460
26. The Nice and the Good by Iris Murdoch #1212
27. Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote #539

27/1314 read = 2.05% completed

Jul 1, 2019, 1:39 am

Hmmm, to be even vaguely on track for 10 years, I needed to be through 10% by the end of the year. Not looking promising so far!
Admittedly, out of the last seven books I have read, only one was a 1001 Book. Maybe I need to be more focused and single-minded!

Jul 1, 2019, 9:25 am

I've found that, for me, an enjoyable ratio of "list reading" is about 25-30% of my overall reading. I read 75-100 books a year so I usually get somewhere between 20-30 books read from the list each year. It was easier when I first started to read more because there were lots of books that I already knew I'd like and intended to read. As I get farther into the list, I've slowed a bit. Many of the books I read now stretch my reading in some way, which I enjoy, but also means that I need more breaks with books I know I'll love that aren't on the list.

Keep it fun!

Jul 2, 2019, 2:28 am

>86 japaul22: That's what I was thinking! It is no good slogging miserably through the list! As I am not far, it is still easy to pick and choose but I am going to try slotting in one I am not as keen to read every now and then or they will all be left until the end. Then it will be hard work!
I read 100+ books a year, which is why I estimated 10 years, forgetting that I would want to read lots of other books as well.

Editado: Jul 4, 2019, 5:12 am

>85 JayneCM: I read about 100 books per year and maybe 5-10 per year are from this list. I really would not want to read more. To be honest, I have found few out of the 120 I have read that really entertained me; most of them I had to force myself to read, which isn't fun.

Jul 4, 2019, 6:20 am

>88 Tess_W: Definitely not fun to force your way through a book! I will just be happy to take it slower!

Jul 4, 2019, 6:48 pm

Book 23 - Lady Chatterley's Lover

While I agree with the themes of the book - the dehumanising effect of industrialisation; man's thirst for and willingness to prostitute himself for money, success and fame; the acknowledgement that women are entitled to satisfactory sexual experiences - I found it long-winded and slightly pompous in tone.
A book that, in my opinion, has not aged well.

Jul 7, 2019, 4:31 pm

>85 JayneCM: I did think you had set yourself rather a difficult goal. I never contemplated reading all of the books on the list, partly because I was in my 50s when I first became aware of the list and had only read about 100 of them at that time and partly because there are too many other new and new to me books that i want to read. So I only commit to reading a small number each year; this year I am hoping to read 12 and since I've read 6 already I'm pretty sure I can accomplish that. I take note of what people write about the books they read and if one sounds good I put WTR (for want to read) beside the title on the spreadsheet. I'm not sure how old you are but given that you have children you read aloud to I am assuming you are quite a bit younger than I was when I came to the list. You could be more focused and single-minded but that doesn't sound like fun to me and I think reading should be fun. You could lengthen the time limit for reading the list (after all it is supposed to be read before you die and I hope you have longer than 10 years) or you could commit to reading a certain percentage in 10 years time and see how you do.

Jul 8, 2019, 6:17 am

>91 gypsysmom: I am certainly not planning on making it into a chore! I just chose 10 years as I read 100+ books a year. But realistically, I do not want to read exclusively from the list as there are heaps of fantastic books I want to read that are not on the list. I have been enjoying it so far as I have read a few from the list that I would probably not have picked up otherwise.
I will just take it as it comes!

Jul 15, 2019, 8:05 am

Book 25 - The 13 Clocks by James Thurber

Another book that is on both the 1001 Books and 1001 Childrens Books lists. A clever fun fairy tale.

Jul 30, 2019, 7:24 pm

Book 27 - Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote

This would be one of the few books that I have seen the movie before reading the book. (The film comes up as the touchstone before the book!) I think there would be many people who don't know that the delightful movie with the ever beautiful Audrey Hepburn is a book at all. As the movie is so iconic, it is hard to read the book without seeing and hearing Audrey (one of the reasons I always read the book first!)

And this book is a gem. Understated and elegant, it has just the right amount of description, dialogue, everything to convey Holly. Her past is given just enough airplay to show how it has shaped the person she has become. In a short book, every word becomes important and Capote has 'nailed it'.

Having just re-read The Great Gatsby, I couldn't help drawing parallels between Holly and Jay. Both beloved while the party lasts and then abandoned by all but one loyal friend.

Editado: Ago 31, 2019, 11:31 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

August 2019 reads

28. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers #361
29. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger #562
30. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick #626
31. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos #288

31/1314 read = 2.36% completed

Ago 10, 2019, 7:47 pm

30. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Who knew how much I loved science fiction until I started this challenge? I would have called myself a lover of the classics and historical reading, but I seem to have read a high proportion of sci fi from the list now and loved them all. What a great way to broaden reading horizons!

When approaching a book I have never read (or really heard of), I try not to read any reviews, commentary, etc. beforehand. As I was reading this, it began to seem familiar. After finishing, I looked it up and found it was the inspiration for Blade Runner. But the book is so much more (as is generally the case in movie adaptations).
Great twists and turns as you are never quite sure whether certain characters are androids. We find that in life there are no clearcut, easy distinctions between groups of people and that we cannot simplify classify someone and assume all people in a certain 'classification' will share the same characteristics.
I loved the 'keeping up with the Joneses' theme of having a real animal. People will always find some way of looking down on others and Deckard's shame at having an electric sheep rather than a live one made him feel excluded from certain groups in their society.

A great read!

Ago 28, 2019, 2:14 am

>96 JayneCM: Glad you enjoyed that book, Jayne. I too usually only read history or the classics. I actually "fear" sci fi and especially fantasy. I have this book on my ereader. I may now gather the "courage" to it!

Ago 28, 2019, 11:41 pm

>97 Tess_W: I have been pleasantly surprised by how many of the sci fi books in the list I have enjoyed. So much so, that I seem to have chosen a high proportion of my books from this genre. Hope you enjoy it!

Editado: Ago 31, 2019, 11:51 pm

31. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

Hilarious little gem of a book! Of course, as I was reading it, I was hearing Marilyn Monroe's breathy voice in my ear. The movie, while true in tone to the book, differs markedly in actual events.

Many laughs to be had as Lorelei navigates her way around Europe and all the various gentlemen she meets. It is up to the reader whether Lorelei is really as naive and innocent as she professes to be - could anyone really take everything at absolute face value as she does? Does she really feel that her manipulative plans are an acceptable way to behave?

Quote of the book is the line that inspired the iconic song.

'Kissing your hand may make you feel very good but a diamond bracelet lasts forever.'

In reading the introduction written by Anita Loos in 1963, I think she would have been an extremely witty lady. She obviously had no qualms about saying exactly what she thought as evidenced by this part of the introduction. I can imagine it made her very unpopular with the residents of Little Rock!

I wanted Lorelei to be a symbol of the lowest possible mentality of our nation . . . Therefore, I chose Little Rock, Arkansas, for my heroine's early years; Little Rock which even today lives up to Mencken's choice as the nadir in short-sighted human stupidity.'

Wow, harsh words indeed! Loos is referring to a 1920 essay written by H.L. Mencken, entitled The Sahara of the Bozart (meaning beaux art).

Editado: Set 30, 2019, 10:02 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

September 2019 reads

32. H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald #998
33. Passing by Nella Larsen #328
34. Quicksand by Nella Larsen #312

34/1314 read = 2.59% completed

Set 14, 2019, 2:47 am

H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald

I love reading from the 500-599 section of the library. Generally they seem to range from more scientific and analytical books to the heartwarming hand-rearing a baby hedgehog type.
This book fits neither and is unique compared to anything else I have read from this section.
At first, I couldn't get into it by the end, I loved it.

As an INFJ (with 99% introverted - and I am thinking this is because the test won't give 100%!), I could totally relate to both Helen and T.H. White's feelings at their inability (and often unwillingness) to fit in. Not that I would want to cope with White's reason for not fitting in - what a giant to wrestle. But this is certainly a major theme of the book. The word 'normal' is mentioned many times as the so-called standard to live up to. But who determines that standard? It is an age old question - why should we have to alter our thoughts, feelings, behaviour to meet a societal standard of so-called normal, that in most instances, no one can determine exactly what we are trying to meet.

Helen became my best friend in the Postscript with this:

" 'Turn left for the best views,' the man at the sentry box said. I turned right out of sheer contrariness. ."

Yep, sometimes I am known to do that too! My own quiet little revolution!

Editado: Set 30, 2019, 10:39 pm

Passing by Nella Larsen

What a relevant book, considering the work that is currently being done regarding inclusivity. As a middle-class white woman, I am very aware of my privileged status and that much as I want to understand these issues, I will never have to actually live them.

The internal dilemmas that people 'passing' must have faced would have been enormous and all-encompassing. You could never escape that fear that you would be discovered. And you would never really belong in either world. By choosing to pass as white so she could marry well, Clare had lost her past connections; she could not contact them without risk of discovery.

There are few white characters in the book. Of the two, I think I prefer Jack's open contempt for Negroes as being at least more honest. Hugh has supposedly befriended the Negro community yet he still makes a reference in conversation to 'my superior race.' His patronising attitude reflects many whites of the time who felt they were being so radical by going to parties and dances in Harlem but really it was just their way of showing how wonderfully liberal they were.

This quote summed up the book for me, as well as being entirely relevant in today's discussions on race. For me, it has never even been something I have to think about. But for others, it is something that they think of every day and are reminded of constantly in all sorts of ways.

Irene Redfield wished, for the first time in her life, that she had not been born a Negro. For the first time she suffered and rebelled because she was unable to disregard the burden of race. It was, she cried silently, enough to suffer as a woman, as an individual, on one's own account, without having to suffer for the race as well.

Such a shame that Nella Larsen only wrote two books in her late 20s. Despite being offered a Guggenheim fellowship for creative writing, she suffered some personal and professional setbacks that crushed her and she gave up writing. I feel she would have had lots more to give us.

Editado: Out 19, 2019, 7:42 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

October 2019 reads

35. Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald #920
36. Quartet In Autumn by Barbara Pym #703

36/1314 read = 2.74% completed

Out 1, 2019, 4:15 am

And now it is Victober! Where we read Victorian novels for the month of October. So hopefully I will finally get some of these classics from the list reread, starting with one of my favourites, Great Expectations.

Out 8, 2019, 1:53 am

35. Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

What a ride! I love family sagas and this one had so many twists and turns - it kept you thinking and guessing the whole way. A very engaging read.

Out 11, 2019, 12:28 am

Great Expectations is on rotation this year - finally getting to it! I just keep Dickens on a permanent rotation as he is so wonderful.
It is funny that I had not noticed in all my years of reading Dickens just how many Shakespeare references he makes. It was pointed out to me today and now they are popping up everywhere! As I have been reading in the past, I knew they were Shakespeare, but I had never noticed the vast quantity of them.
I might need to start keeping track of them!

Editado: Nov 15, 2019, 7:20 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

November 2019 reads

37. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie #994
38. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood #784
39. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren #417

39/1314 read = 2.97% completed

Nov 14, 2019, 6:58 pm

Not much that needs to be said about The Handmaid's Tale. This has always been a five star read for me, since I read it when it first came out when I was 16 to this most recent re-read.
Of course, I read it at 16 with all that teenage rebelliousness and questions about the world and where my place would be in it and anger at all the injustices that existed.

Reading it now I still see all that but I definitely appreciate much more just how easy it could be for these sorts of changes to occur in a society. It was particularly interesting to read this just after I had read Resistance Women. This is a historical fiction based on some of the real people who made up the Red Orchestra, a resistance movement based in Berlin before and during World War II. Most historical fiction based on the Resistance seems to focus on the more 'exciting' aspects, mainly during the war itself. But this book began in 1929 and it was chilling to read of the slow, insidious creep of Hitler's rise to power, which is mirrored in the rise of Gilead, and how people explained away and became used to the changes. Hitler's call for 'Kinder, Kuche, Kirche (children, kitchen, church) sounds all too similar to Gilead's ideas for the place of women. Lebensborn could also have been expanded to quite Gilead proportions. It is horrifying to think just how far Hitler would have gone if he had not been defeated.

I did not know this until recently but Margaret Atwood was actually living in West Berlin while writing The Handmaid's Tale so witnessing the coming of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And you can definitely see the influences from German history in the book.

I am now starting The Testaments, so am looking forward to finding out more about Gilead.

Dez 20, 2019, 6:10 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

December 2019 reads

40. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink #910

40/1314 read = 3.04% completed

Editado: Abr 12, 2021, 7:27 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

January 2020 reads

41. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien #848
42. Adjunct: An Undigest by Peter Manson #1185

42/1314 read = 3.19% completed

Editado: Jan 4, 2020, 6:06 pm

They Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

The only word I can think of when I read books like this is futility. Futility and waste. It makes me heartsick to read experiences such as these and to think that we will never learn our lesson about war.

These young men, many of them teenagers, had been sent to participate in a war that many of them could not have explained - even their political leaders had trouble explaining why they were there. And then to read that their platoon leader had been told to treat them as 'interchangeable units of command' , I just found that heartbreaking. A simple sentence in a book of harrowing experiences, but it really summed up the pointlessness of the whole war and their participation in it.

I think it is vitally important that we read books such as this - Wilfred Owen's poetry, All Quiet on the Western Front, Testament of Youth, so many books on the Holocaust - we must not forget.

Jan 26, 2020, 12:51 am

Adjunct by Peter Manson

All I can say is at least it was relatively short!

Thank you so much to sometimeunderwater for pointing us in the direction of the below link to this work. I thought I had better read it straight away after reading the post as otherwise I would forget all about it. I am glad I did - if I had gone to the trouble to try and purchase this work, I would have been very annoyed!


This is the kind of writing you can imagine clever young things discussing intensely late into the night. In my more pretentious younger years, I may have been one of them. Now I am afraid, this is not for me!

The following two quotes from the work pretty much sum up my feelings about the whole thing. Or maybe these lines mean the author wasn't even taking himself seriously!

The world owes the poet nothing and we should not be expected to dig and delve into a rambling discourse searching for some inner meaning.

My main argument against you is that you are an abomination.

Editado: Fev 23, 2020, 6:15 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

February 2020 reads

43. The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham #415
44. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier #389

44/1314 read = 3.35% completed

Fev 12, 2020, 8:23 am

The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

I really don't have a lot to say about this book - maybe it's just me, but it was just meh. I could take it or leave it. I will say, Maugham is wonderful with his character descriptions. He provides those little observational details that really build the characters in your mind.
But the actual story really didn't capture me. In its day I would say it was definitely groundbreaking. One of the main characters, Larry, decides to forgo the good life of society, success and money to travel the world to find his happiness and spirituality. Larry went to India to find his Guru before the Beatles did! At the time this was written, I assume it was virtually underheard of for a man to not buckle down to work and marriage but instead chose to give away all his worldly possessions in pursuit of a different ideal.
Despite the descriptive characters, I just found I couldn't really care what happened to them. Without doubt, well-written but it seemed too disjointed to me, particularly as it covered a long time span.

Fev 23, 2020, 6:20 pm

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I loved this as a teenager so was wondering how I would feel about it many years later. As soon as I read that first line, I knew I was hooked again. It has all the Gothic undertones and you can see the influences of Jane Eyre with the characters and Wuthering Heights with the atmospheric setting.

Editado: Mar 29, 2020, 2:31 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

March 2020 reads

45. Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham #472
46. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons #342
47. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto #819

47/1314 read = 3.58% completed

Editado: Abr 4, 2020, 2:05 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

April 2020 reads

48. Felicia's Journey by William Trevor #1284
49. If On A Winter's Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino #719

49/1314 read = 3.73% completed

Editado: Jun 3, 2020, 1:55 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

June 2020 reads

50. Woman At Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi #686

50/1314 read = 3.81% completed

Jun 1, 2020, 2:57 am

Wow! May just disappeared all together! I did not even realise until I went to update this post that I had not read a 1001 book in May. My reading has slowed down so much.

Editado: Jul 13, 2020, 3:43 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

July 2020 reads

51. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison #653

51/1314 read = 3.88% completed

Jul 13, 2020, 3:46 am

The Bluest Eye was a raw and painful read. It is devastating to think that a young child could have so little self worth simply because of her race. The author shows that racial hatred does not have to be violent. It can manifest in the looks of disdain and distaste, the turned up noses and turned away glances, which make people feel worthless.

Editado: Ago 31, 2020, 12:35 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

August 2020 reads

52. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West #265

52/1314 read = 3.96% completed

Editado: Set 24, 2020, 4:21 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

September 2020 reads

53. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute #457
54. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll #129

54/1314 read = 4.11% completed

Out 2, 2020, 6:39 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

October 2020 reads


54/1314 read = 4.11% completed

Editado: Abr 12, 2021, 7:32 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

February 2021 reads

55. In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan #623

55/1314 read = 4.19% completed

Editado: Maio 23, 2021, 6:09 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

April 2021 reads

56. The Commandant by Jessics Anderson #683

56/1314 read = 4.26% completed

Editado: Jul 11, 2021, 1:35 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

June 2021 reads

57. Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel #835
58. The Book of Evidence by John Banville #1032

58/1314 read = 4.41% completed

Editado: Jul 19, 2021, 5:44 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

July 2021 reads

59. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez #793
60. Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor #695
61. Lord of the Flies by William Golding #494

61/1314 read = 4.64% completed

Editado: Set 5, 2021, 2:29 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

August 2021 reads

62. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie #297
63. Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud #863
64. A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch #561

64/1314 read = 4.87% completed

Editado: Set 14, 2021, 9:06 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

September 2021 reads

65. Strait Is The Gate by Andre Gide #240
66. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys #610

66/1314 read = 5.02% completed

Out 31, 2021, 4:50 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

October 2021 reads

67. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte #101

67/1314 read = 5.09% completed

Nov 25, 2021, 5:16 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

November 2021 reads

68. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley #74

68/1314 read = 5.18% completed

Dez 27, 2021, 5:02 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

December 2021 reads

69. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte #103

69/1314 read = 5.25% completed

Editado: Fev 2, 2022, 9:02 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

January 2022 reads

70. Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice #697
71. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak #518

71/1314 read = 5.4% completed

Editado: Mar 28, 2022, 8:22 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

March 2022 reads

72. The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch #713

72/1314 read = 5.48% completed

Editado: Abr 30, 2022, 11:56 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

April 2022 reads

73. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy #154
74. White Teeth by Zadie Smith #944

74/1314 read = 5.63% completed

Editado: Maio 8, 2022, 2:54 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

May 2022 reads

75. Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne #148
76. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens #1097

76/1314 read = 5.78% completed

Editado: Ago 6, 2022, 5:59 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

June 2022 reads

77. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen #70
78. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen #71

78/1314 read = 5.94% completed

Editado: Ago 30, 2022, 8:38 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

August 2022 reads

79. Walden by Henry David Thoreau #112
80. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson #163
81. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain #358
82. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs #251

82/1314 read = 6.24% completed

Editado: Set 4, 2022, 6:39 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

September 2022 reads

83. King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard #172

83/1314 read = 6.32% completed

Editado: Nov 28, 2022, 8:18 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

November 2022 reads

84. H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker #1001
85. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin #676
86. The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro #710
87. Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig #699
88. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway #476

88/1314 read = 6.69% completed

Nov 2, 2022, 3:33 am

84. H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker #1001 - finished 1st November 2022

Like so many dystopia/utopia novels before, this book focuses on an individual living in a so-called perfect society who rebels against this perfection.

. . . "and everything has been mapped out and nothing is unknown. Nothing can run out - even life. We are eternal. And we always have enough. Just enough. We do not crave more than enough. We are content. We are In Balance."

But Mira A starts to wonder, starts to question, starts to think for herself. Her aberrant thoughts are visually represented in the text of the book using different colours and fonts, which added an extra layer to the reading experience.
As the book progresses, Mira A is overloaded with information, so much so that she says, "I don't think I fully understand what is being asked of me."

And is that not one of the questions of the human condition? Do we ever fully understand what we are doing here, what our purpose in life is? Where is the line to be drawn between ignorance is bliss and information overload to the extent that we are unable to mentally function?

Nov 9, 2022, 7:20 am

85. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin #676 - finished 8th November 2022

Published in 1974, this is Le Guin's take on the capitalist vs socialist society debate that is eternally debated. Both societies were detailed and finely structured and we discover that, of course, no one societal model is perfect. There are flaws within both, due to the fallible nature of humans.
Shevek is a physicist from the anarchist world of Anarres. He is the only person to travel to the capitalist sister planet, Urras, since colonisation of Anarres. Shevek leaves his planet with all good intentions but soon discovers it is a much more difficult proposition than he imagined.

"And he had been fool enough to think that he might serve to bring together two worlds to which he did not belong."

The converging timelines were cleverly done, as they simultaneously highlighted Shevek's growing disillusion with both the structure of the systems of Urras and Anarres.

Nov 28, 2022, 8:19 am

88. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway's ode to 'you win some, you lose some.'

Editado: Dez 29, 2022, 8:08 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

December 2022 reads

89. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James #1154
90. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton #245
91. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte #104
92. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein #350

92/1314 read = 7.00% completed

Dez 15, 2022, 7:32 pm

90. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome is so beautifully written yet so miserable and heartbreaking. It is a story of wasted lives and lost happiness. The wintry woods setting is so evocative and stunning as a descriptor for Ethan's life in a perpetually miserable winter. Foreboding hangs heavy throughout.

Ethan is so kindhearted and good and has been taken advantage of his whole life because of his integrity and his desire to always do the right thing by everyone, leaving himself always last.
As Mrs Hale says to Ethan, "You've had an awful mean time, Ethan Frome."

And he has, caring for his father and mother in their old age, taking on the family farm and giving up his university aspirations, then marrying a woman who becomes an invalid and is manipulative and cruel to boot.

Ethan wishes he could remake his life, rather "than to devote your whole life, hereafter, to misery and vain regret".

And then a cruel twist of fate permanently turns the key on his cage of misery and regret.

Jan 25, 2023, 5:30 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

January 2023 reads

93. Chess Story by Stefan Zweig #410

93/1314 read = 7.08% completed

Abr 29, 2023, 11:36 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

April 2023 reads

94. The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna #684

94/1314 read = 7.15% completed

Maio 22, 2023, 9:33 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

May 2023 reads

95. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith #510

95/1314 read = 7.23% completed

Editado: Set 30, 2023, 11:25 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

August 2023 reads

96. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas #100
97. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott #135
98. The Sorrow of Belgium by Hugo Claus #754

98/1314 read = 7.46% completed

Editado: Out 16, 2023, 10:47 pm

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

September 2023 reads

99. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides #884

99/1314 read = 7.53% completed

Editado: Out 21, 2023, 4:40 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

October 2023 reads

100. The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley #488
101. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro #1152

101/1314 read = 7.69% completed

Out 17, 2023, 2:06 pm

Yeah 100! Congratulations.

Out 19, 2023, 4:46 am

>153 puckers: Thank you! It has taken far too long to get here!

Nov 1, 2023, 9:23 pm

>152 JayneCM: 100! Wow! Nice going! You're gaining on me!

Nov 2, 2023, 12:00 am

>155 MartinBodek: Thank you! It has been a long haul to the first 100 though!

Nov 9, 2023, 5:37 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You

November 2023 reads

102. Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan #496

102/1314 read = 7.76% completed

Dez 12, 2023, 6:30 am

December 2023 reads

103. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Green #1130

103/1314 read = 7.84% completed

Jan 31, 11:47 pm

January 2024 reads

104. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy #140

104/1314 read = 7.91% completed

Fev 11, 5:55 am

February 2024 reads

105. Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter #768

105/1314 read = 7.99% completed