DeltaQueen's Attempt at the 1,0001 List - Part 2

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DeltaQueen's Attempt at the 1,0001 List - Part 2

Editado: Fev 2, 12:37 pm

I have now been seriously working on the 1,001 list for the past 3 1/2 years, mostly because of a bet I made with my brother. My brother has now bowed out of our contest but I am still planning on continuing my exploration of the list. I have found some excellent reads that I probably wouldn't have read if I wasn't checking the 1,001 list. Of course there have been a few that I really had to force myself to get through, but so far, the plus outweighs the minus.

I am a member of the Category Challenge which is where I keep my main thread that details all my reading. My 2024 Thread can be found here:

Current Reads from the 1,001 List:

Editado: Ago 14, 2023, 3:46 am

The following list is of the books that I have completed from the list. The highlighted books are ones that I have read and posted my thoughts on. I am not concentrating on any particular list, if a book has appeared on any of the 1,001 List of Books to Read Before You Die List, it is fair game.

Pre 1700

* Aesopus – Aesop’s Fables
* Anonymous - One Thousand and One Nights: The Complete Collection
* Anonymous - The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter
* Guanzhong Luo - The Three Kingdoms Part 1 & Part 2
* Shi Nai'An - The Water Margin: Outlaws of the Marsh

1700 to 1799

* William Beckford - Vathek

* Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe

* Henry Fielding - Tom Jones

* Jonathan Swift - A Modest Proposal

* Voltaire – Candide

* Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe - The Sorrows of Young Werther
* Horace Walpole The Castle of Otranto

Editado: Abr 7, 3:00 am


* Louisa May Alcott – Little Women
* Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice
* Jane Austen – Mansfield Park
* Jane Austen – Northanger Abbey
* Jane Austen – Emma
* Jane Austen – Persuasion
* Jane Austen - Sense and Sensibility

* Anne Bronte – Agnes Grey
* Anne Bronte - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
* Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre
* Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights

* Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
* Lewis Carroll – Through the Looking Glass
* Kate Chopin - The Awakening
* Wilkie Collins – The Woman in White
* Wilkie Collins – The Moonstone
* James Fenimore Cooper – The Last of the Mohicans

* Guy de Maupassant - Bel Ami
* Charles Dickens – Oliver Twist
* Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol
* Charles Dickens – David Copperfield
* Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities
* Charles Dickens – Great Expectations
* Charles Dickens - Hard Times
* Fyodor Dostoevsky - Notes From Underground
* Arthur Conan Doyle – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
* Arthur Conan Doyle – The Hounds of the Baskervilles
* Alexandre Dumas – The Three Musketeers
* Alexandre Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo
* Alexandre Dumas - Queen Margot

* George Eliot – Silas Marner
* George Eliot - Adam Bede

* Gustave Flaubert - Madame Bovary

* Elizabeth Gaskell North and South
* Nikolai Gogol - Dead Souls
* Nikolai Gogol - The Nose
* George Grossmith – Diary of a Nobody

* H. Rider Haggard – King Solomon’s Mines
* H. Rider Haggard - She
* Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter
* Victor Hugo - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

* Henry James – The Turn of the Screw

* Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis - The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas

* Edgar Allan Poe – The Pit and the Pendulum
* Edgar Alan Poe – The Murders in the Rue Morgue
* Edgar Allan Poe - The Fall of the House of Usher
* Edgar Allan Poe - The Purloined Letter

* George Sand - The Devil's Pool
* Sir Walter Scott - Ivanhoe
* Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
* Robert Louis Stevenson – The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde
* Robert Louis Stevenson – Treasure Island
* Robert Louis Stevenson - Kidnapped
* Robert Louis Stevenson - The Master of Ballantrae
* Bram Stoker - Dracula

* Leo Tolsyoy – Anna Karenina
* Ivan Turgenev - Spring Torrents
* Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

*Jules Verne – Around the World in Eighty Days
* Jules Verne – Journey to the Centre of the Earth

* H.G. Wells – The Island of Doctor Moreau
* H. G. Wells – The Invisible Man
* H.G. Wells – The War of the Worlds
* H. G. Wells - The Time Machine
* Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray

* Emile Zola – Nana

Editado: Fev 2, 12:31 pm


* Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart
* Douglas Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
* Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
* Ryunosuke Akutagawa - Rashomon
* Eric Ambler - Cause For Alarm
* Kingsley Amis - Lucky Jim
* Kinglsey Amis - The Green Man
* Mulk Ray Anand - Untouchable
* Jessica Anderson - The Commandant
* Maya Angelou - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
* Michael Arlen - The Green Hat
* Isaac Asimov - I, Robot
* Margaret Atwood – Alias Grace
* Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale
* Margaret Atwood - The Robber Bride
* Margaret Atwood - Cat's Eye

* Mariama Ba - So Long A Letter
* James Baldwin - Go Tell It On The Mountain
* J. G. Ballard - The Drowned World
* J. G. Ballard - Empire of the Sun
* Iain Banks – The Wasp Factory
* Iain Banks - The Crow Road
* John Banville - The Book of Evidence
* Henri Barbusse - Hell
* Pat Barker – The Ghost Road
* Pat Barker - Regeneration
* Julian Barnes - Flaubert's Parrot
* Giorgio Bassani - The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
* Richard Brautigan - Willard and his Bowling Trophies
* Anthony Burgess – A Clockwork Orange
* Edgar Rice Burroughs – Tarzan of the Apes
* John Buchan – The Thirty-Nine Steps

* James M. Cain – The Postman Always Rings Twice
* Albert Camus - The Stranger
* Karel Capek – War with the Newts
* Truman Capote – Breakfast At Tiffany’s
* Truman Capote – In Cold Blood
* Angela Carter - Nights At the Circus
* Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep
* Raymond Chandler - Farewell My Lovely
* Raymond Chandler – The Long Goodbye
* Jung Chang – Wild Swans
* Erskine Childers – The Riddle of the Sands
* Agatha Christie – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
* Arthur C. Clarke – 2001: A Space Odyssey
* J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
* J. M. Coetzee - Foe
* Colette - Claudine's House
* Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness
* Joseph Conrad - Lord Jim

* Tsitsi Dangarembga - Nervous Conditions
* Antoine de Saint-Exupery – The Little Prince
* Philip K. Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
* Joan Didion - Play It As It Lays
* E.L. Doctorov – Billy Bathgate
* E.L. Doctorov - Ragtime
* Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca

* Umberto Eco - The Name of the Rose
* Brett Easton Ellis – American Psycho
* James Ellroy – The Black Dahlia
* Louise Erdrich - Love Medicine
* Laura Esquivel - Like Water for Chocolate
* Jeffrey Eugenides – The Virgin Suicides

* J.G. Farrell – The Singapore Grip
* J.G. Farrell – The Siege of Krishnapur
* J.G. Farrell - Troubles
* William Faulkner - The Sound and The Fury
* Sebastian Faulks - Birdsong
* Timothy Findley - The Wars
* F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
* Ian Fleming – Casino Royale
* E. M. Forster - Where Angels Fear to Tread
* E. M. Forster – A Room With A View
* John Fowles – The Collector
* John Fowles – The Magus
* John Fowles – The French Lieutenant’s Woman
* Esther Freud - Hideous Kinky

* Paul Gallico - Mrs. 'arris Goes to Paris
* John Galsworthy - The Forsyte Saga
* Romain Gary - Promise At Dawn
* David Gemmell - Legend
* Stella Gibbons – Cold Comfort Farm
* Arthur Golden – Memoirs of a Geisha
* William Golding – The Lord of the Flies
* Henry Green - Living
* Graham Greene – Brighton Rock
* Graham Greene - The End of the Affair
* Graham Greene - The Quiet American

Editado: Set 13, 2023, 10:00 pm

* Radyclyffe Hall - The Well of Loneliness
* Dashiell Hammett – The Maltese Falcon
* Dashiell Hammett – The Glass Key
* Dashiell Hammett – The Thin Man
* Dashiell Hammett - Red Harvest
* Anne Hebert – The First Garden
* Sadegh Hedayat - The Blind Owl
* Ernest Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises
* Ernest Hemingway – A Farewell to Arms
* Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls
* Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea
* Michael Herr - Dispatches
* Herman Hesse - Siddhartha
* Patricia Highsmith – The Talented Mr. Ripley
* Barry Hines – A Kestrel for a Knave
* Zora Neale Hurston - Their Eyes Were Watching God
* Aldous Huxley - Crome Yellow
* Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

* John Irving – The Cider House Rules
* John Irving - The World According to Garp
* Christopher Isherwood - Mr. Norris Changes Trains
* Kazuo Ishiguro - An Artist of the Floating World

* Storm Jameson – A Day Off
* Tove Jansson - The Summer Book
* Erica Jong – Fear of Flying
* James Joyce - A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man

* Ismail Kadare - Broken April
* Imre Kertesz - Fateless
* Ken Kesey – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
* Jamaica Kincaid – Annie John
* Stephen King – The Shining
* Rudyard Kipling – Kim

* Nella Larsen - Passing
* D. H. Lawrence - Lady Chatterley's Lover
* Margaret Laurence - The Diviners
* John le Carre - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
* Harper Lee – To Kill A Mockingbird
* Laurie Lee – Cider With Rosie
* Elmore Leonard – City Primeval
* Elmore Leonard - Get Shorty
* Doris Lessing – The Grass is Singing
* Sinclair Lewis – Babbitt
* Astrid Lingren – Pippi Longstocking
* Vaino Linna - Unknown Soldiers
* Jack London – The Call of the Wild
* Jack London - The Iron Heel
* H. P. Lovecraft – At The Mountains of Madness

* Colin MacInnes - Absolute Beginners
* Ian Macpherson - Wild Harbour
* Henning Mankell – Faceless Killers
* Thomas Mann - The Magic Mountain
* Thomas Mann - Death in Venice
* Katherine Mansfield – The Garden Party
* Patrick McCabe – The Butcher Boy
* Cormac McCarthy - Blood Meridian
* Cormac McCarthy – All the Pretty Horses
* Horace McCoy – They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
* Ian McEwan - The Cement Garden
* Ian McEwan – The Child in Time
* Robert Merle - The Day of the Dolphin
* Henry Miller – Tropic of Cancer
* Henry Miller - Tropic of Capricorn
* Margaret Mitchell – Gone With the Wind
* Nancy Mitford – The Pursuit of Love
* Nancy Mitford – Love in a Cold Climate
* Thomas Mofolo - Chaka
* Allan Moore - Watchmen
* Lorrie Moore - Like Life
* Toni Morrison - The Bluest Eye
* Toni Morrison - Beloved
* Toni Morrison - Sula
* Alice Munro - Lives of Girls and Women
* Alice Munro - Who Do You Think You Are?

* Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita

Editado: Mar 22, 10:02 pm

* Joyce Carol Oates - Them
* Edna O'Brien - The Country Girls
* Tim O’Brien – The Things They Carried
* Flannery O'Connor - Wise Blood
* Flannery O'Connor - The Violent Bear It Away
* George Orwell – Animal Farm
* George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four

* Charlotte Gilman Perkins – The Yellow Wallpaper
* Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
* Mario Puzo – The Godfather
* Barbara Pym - Excellent Women

* Pauline Reage – The Story of O
* Erich Maria Remarque – All Quiet on the Western Front
* Jean Rhys - Wide Sargasso Sea
* Anne Rice – Interview With a Vampire
* Philip Roth – The Breast
* Philip Roth – Portnoy’s Complaint
* Philip Roth - Sabbath's Theater

* Francoise Sagan – Bonjour Tristesse
* J. D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye
* J. D. Salinger - Franny And Zooey
* Dorothy Sayers – Murder Must Advertise
* Dorothy Sayers - The Nine Tailors
* Bernhard Schlink - The Reader
* Sam Selvon - The Lonely Londoners
* Vikram Seth – A Suitable Boy
* Carol Shields - The Stone Diaries
* Nevil Shute – A Town Called Alice
* May Sinclair - The Life and Death of Harriet Frean
* Isaac Bashevis Singer - The Magician of Lublin
* Muriel Spark – Memento Mori
* Muriel Spark – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
* Muriel Spark - The Girls of Slender Means
* Muriel Spark - The Driver's Seat
* Christina Stead - The Man Who Loved Children
* John Steinbeck – The Grapes of Wrath
* John Steinbeck – Of Mice and Men
* Patrick Suskind - Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
* John Steinbeck – Cannery Row
* Graham Swift – Waterland

* Elizabeth Taylor - Blaming
* Ngugi wa Thiong'o - The River Between
* Jim Thompson – The Killer Inside Me
* Newton Thornberg – Cutter and Bone
* James Thurber – The 13 Clocks
* J.R.R. Tolkein – The Hobbit
* J.R.R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings

* Sigrid Undset – Kristin Lavransdatter
* John Updike - Rabbit, Run

* Tarjei Vesaas - The Birds
* Gore Videl – Myra Breckinridge
* Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse Five

* Alice Walker - The Color Purple
* Keith Waterhouse - Billy Liar
* Winnifred Watson – Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
* Evelyn Waugh – Vile Bodies
* Evelyn Waugh - A Handful of Dust
* Charles Webb – The Graduate
* Irvine Welsh - Trainspotting
* Nathaniel West - Miss Lonelyhearts
* Rebecca West – The Return of the Soldier
* Edith Wharton - The House of Mirth
* Edith Wharton – Ethan Frome
* Edith Wharton – The Bunner Sisters
* Edith Wharton - Summer
* Edith Wharton - The Glimpses of the Moon
* Patrick White - Voss
* T. H. White - The Once and Future King
* Henry Williamson – Tarka the Otter
* Jeanette Winterson - Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
* P. G. Wodehouse – Thank you, Jeeves
* Virginia Woolf – Jacob’s Room
* Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway
* John Wyndham – The Day of the Triffids
* John Wyndham – The Midwich Cuckoo
* John Wyndham - Chocky

* Yevgeny Zamyatin - We
* Stefan Zweig - Amok
* Stefan Zweig - Chess Story

Editado: Abr 7, 3:00 am


* Aravind Adiga - The White Tiger
* Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half a Yellow Sun
* Niccolo Ammaniti - I'm Not Scared

* John Banville - The Sea

* Michael Chabon – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

* Kiran Desai – The Inheritance of Loss

* Dave Eggers - The Circle

* Michael Faber - Under The Skin

* Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

* Kazuo Ishiguro - Never Let Me Go

* Ismail Kadare - Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
* James Kelman - Kieron Smith, Boy

* Andrea Levy – Small Island

* Helen Macdonald - H is for Hawk
* Yann Martel - Life of Pi
* Eimear McBride - A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
* Philipp Meyer – American Rust

* Joyce Carol Oates - Blonde

* David Peace – 1977
* Dbc Pierre - Vernon God Little

* Jose Saramago - The Double
* Akhil Sharma - An Obedient Father
* Ali Smith – The Accidental

* Colm Toibin - The Master
* Rose Tremain - The Colour
* William Trevor – The Story of Lucy Gault

* Sarah Waters – Fingersmith

Total Books Read = 346

Books To Be Added:

Goldfinch Donna Tartt
The Circle Dave Eggers
Americanah Chimamanada Ngozi
The Flamethrowers Rachel Kushner
The Story of the
Lost Child Elena Ferrante
10:04 Ben Lerner
H(A)PPY Nicola Barker
Winter Ali Smith

Jun 11, 2021, 5:28 pm

Book #293: The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton is set in the 1920s and follows the romantic misadventures of Susie and Nick Lansing. They have been socializing with the wealthy even though each is actually quite poor. Relying on their good looks and clever conversation, they accept the patronage and gifts that are directed their way. Although each had planned on snagging themselves a rich spouse, they fall in love and decide to wed. Susie comes up with a plan whereby they will enjoy their honeymoon year together, accepting help from their rich and generous friends, but at any time if one of them finds a rich partner, they will part and divorce with no consequences.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story-line reminded me of some of the screwball comedies that were made in Hollywood during the 1930s and I couldn’t help but picture Carole Lombard and Cary Grant in the roles of Susie and Nick. Although this could be looked at as a rather cliched love-or-money story, Edith Wharton elevates the book to another level with her beautiful writing and her clever satirical digs at the wealthy. Of course as in all screwball romances, there are misunderstandings, jealousy and troubled consciences that have our young couple losing their trust in one another, separating and perhaps exploring other options. Nick can be a little priggish at times and Susie is a definite schemer, but I grew attached to this couple and wanted to see them work it out.

The Glimpses of the Moon shows the lighter side of Edith Wharton, this romantic romp through the world of 1920s privilege, is a book that is not meant to be taken seriously, it is sheer entertainment. It’s romantic settings such as Lake Como, Venice and Paris only add to it’s captivating magic. This book surprised, amused and entertained me.

Jun 11, 2021, 6:41 pm

That sounds great!

Jun 12, 2021, 12:22 pm

I thought it was great and it was also just the right book for me at the time.

Jun 15, 2021, 3:57 pm

Popping by to drop a trail of breadcrumbs.
I've not read many Wharton, so I still have that one to come.

Jun 16, 2021, 3:31 pm

>11 Helenliz: This is the second book of Wharton's that I hadn't known about before I saw it on the list. I read her Bunner Sisters a couple of years ago and liked it as well. I still have her Age of Innocence to read, I've been saving it.

Jun 26, 2021, 6:47 pm

Book #294: Claudine's House by Colette

Claudine’s House by French novelist Colette is actually a collection of semi-biographical essays that explore her childhood in rural France. These are simple stories, written beautifully that hearken back to a different time and place capturing her past, her love of nature, and her relationships with various pets and family members.

Originally published in 1922 I found this an immersive read filled with poetic images of the lush French countryside. When she turns to her memories of family, in particular her mother, we can feel the bonds of love that existed. Although it doesn’t follow a strict timeline, we are given glimpses of her life as a child, a teenager and then as an adult with her own children. The author writes with verve, at times adding humor and at others a dark melancholy.

Claudine’s House is a gentle read that reminds one of the small pleasures that life can offer.

Jul 1, 2021, 1:05 pm

Book #295: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

I found The Summer Book by Tove Jansson a delightful read. The author writes about the special bond that grandparents and children share as she offers up an assortment of adventures and stories about 85 year old Grandmother and ten year old Sophia. They are spending their summer on a small, remote island off the coast of Finland. Sophia's father is with them, but he is kept in the background throughout the book. Although separated by years, these two are boon companions as they argue, fight, laugh, plot and explore together. Grandmother is near the end of her life and is dealing with the anxieties of aging and coping with physical frailty. Sofia is just starting to expand her horizons, and learn about the workings of the world yet they compliment each other and feel free to express their opinions to each other.

Although my relationship with my granddaughter is quite different from the one portrayed in the book, I was reminded of some of our early conversations, before the child learned to guard herself and not expose her feelings directly. At times conversations between Sophia and her grandmother were deep and meaningful, at others light and completely random. I smiled a lot through this book but I was also touched by emotion at times as well.

The author has captured the relationship between these two, but she has also painted a picture of island life and the beauty of nature. From sunlit waters to stormy seas, her language is simple, descriptive and magical. The Summer Book was an excellent reflection of life and a joy to read and one that I was disappointed to see end.

Jul 12, 2021, 1:08 pm

Book #296: The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carre

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre is a brilliant literary thriller that was originally published in 1963. This book exposes the dirty, messy business of spies on both sides of the Cold War and is totally unlike James Bond with his martini on one side and a beautiful woman on the other. In this book we meet Alec Leamas, a disillusioned British spy who is both mentally and physically fatigued. He is being used as a faux defector to help a British mole from being exposed.

It’s obvious that the author has a strong understanding of how the British intelligence worked during the Cold War and the result is a unique and flawlessly crafted story. His characters are complex and nuanced to give the book a feeling of authenticity. As disturbing as the story content is, I was even more upset by the casual immorality of the characters. They go about their shadowy dealings much like playing a game, there is no sense of right or wrong in the unethical world of espionage.

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold is my first book by this author and I am now looking forward to reading more. This was an intelligent and dark story that shows how the line between good and evil can be blurred and the many twists and turns it takes, along with the excellent writing rises this book beyond the “spy genre” into the Classic it has become.

Jul 21, 2021, 10:28 am

>14 DeltaQueen50: This book was a cold drink on a hot day, list-wise. It was delightful and a book to find joy in, compared to some of the heavy tomes.

Jul 21, 2021, 9:32 pm

>16 amaryann21: The Summer Book was just a perfect summer read for me. Light, refreshing and, indeed, a great break from some of the heavier tomes on the list.

Editado: Set 10, 2021, 9:46 pm

Book #297: Promise At Dawn by Romain Gary

Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary is a memoir of his coming-of-age years. It stands as a tribute to his mother, a unique and remarkable woman, who shaped Gary into both the man and the artist he became. She was an independent, fierce woman who fought to give her son everything she could. Gary recounts his childhood in Russia, Poland and France.

Gary and his mother were poor Russians. His father abandoned them soon after Gary was born, but his mother decided that her son was meant for greatness and that his future lay in France. She put all her energies into ensuring that they reached this promised country and that Gary was prepared for the glorious future she envisioned for him. The successes of his career as a prize-winning novelist as well as a decorated officer who fought in WW II, and a diplomat for the French government, were all planned by his mother from his early childhood.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning the details of Gary’s early life. From how they fought the bailiffs to his torture at the hands of his first love at the ripe age of ten, he recounts episodes and adventures in a wry and at times, amusing way. He readily admits that there were many times when his mother embarrassed him but his admiration and love for her shines through each page. I was touched by the bond between these two, she in her single-handed determination to shape his future and he, who appreciated this motherly love and actually strove to fulfill her expectations. I found Promise At Dawn to be a humorous, charming and poignant story.

Set 28, 2021, 1:24 pm

Book #298: The Three Kingdoms Part 1 & 2 by Guanzhong Luo


The epic adventure novel, The Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong was an excellent read for me. I have long had a knowledge of the characters of the book, picked up by years of playing both Dynasty Warriors and Romance of the Kingdom Strategy games which were based on this traditional Chinese epic. Set in the years of 220 to 280 AD, China was, at that time, divided into three separate states, that of Wei, Shu and Wu. This era signified the crumbling of the Han Dynasty, and the book exposes the rivalry, intrigues and wars that were fought during the turbulent years that the three states were jostling for position.

I admit to feeling rather overwhelmed at first as the story opened up with the appearance of dozens of warlords and generals that were hard to keep track of. Thank heavens I persevered as what brings this book to life are these exciting and varied characters that the reader meets throughout the journey. Eventually a pattern emerges and the story narrows to follow certain characters which makes it much easier to absorb the story. The names of Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang, and Cao Cao may have little or no meaning to westerners, but these are just a few of the heroes that through their loyalty or treachery live on and have become cultural icons in China.

Other than having to keep track of a multitude of characters, the book was very easy to read and I quickly became absorbed in the adventure, culture and geography of the story. This is a book that I have long wanted to read and now, I am happy to say that I have completed this massive volume and was very satisfied with the historical and mythical aspects of this story that truly does romanticize the lives of these feudal Chinese warlords.

Editado: Out 11, 2021, 12:57 am

Book #299: The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

I don’t quite know what to make of The Blind Owl by Iranian author Sadegh Hedayat. Although very short it was a difficult and dark read. The story is of a lonely pen case illustrator and his decent into madness through his use of opium, his obsession with death and decay, and his obvious sexual frustration.

As he hallucinates we enter into his dream sequence about a woman who he sees and then can’t find however much he searches. Later she shows up on his doorstep, appears to die in his bed upon which he dismembers her body and buries her in the ancient city of Rey. The second part of the book reveals more about the narrator. He is ill, deranged, and taking opium. He is an invalid being looked after by an old woman and his wife, whom he calls “the bitch” and who he imagines is sleeping with every man she meets. It isn’t pleasant being given access to this man’s fevered mind.

With no clear plot or obvious point to make, I guess I would label The Blind Owl as a bleak psychological portrait that is meant to challenge the reader to reach some element of self-knowledge but it was entirely too opaque for me.

Out 11, 2021, 8:25 am

>20 DeltaQueen50: Interesting, but does not sound like something I'll read. I don't remember seeing other reviews of it in our group. Thanks for the review!

Out 11, 2021, 10:50 pm

>22 DeltaQueen50: For me, the best thing about The Blind Owl was that it was only 108 pages. I spent most of those 108 pages wondering what was going on!

Editado: Out 11, 2021, 11:51 pm

>20 DeltaQueen50: I think you might have successfully dissuaded me from seeking this one out. (There was a future release on Audible I had flagged on my Wish List; I might un-wish it!)

Out 12, 2021, 1:12 pm

>23 puckers: Oh, I hate to discourage people from reading a book! Although I was left dazed and confused by the book, it obviously has some worth as many people rate it highly.

Out 14, 2021, 12:43 am

Book #300: The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe

The Purloined Letter was originally published in 1845, and is one of three stories featuring the famous Parisian amateur detective C. Auguste Dupin. These three stories are considered early forerunners of the modern detective story.

This case involves the blackmail of the queen. A letter from the queen’s lover has been taken. The police know who took the letter and are trying to retrieve it but all their efforts to locate it’s hiding place have failed. On being handed a cheque in the amount of 50,000 francs, Dupin was able to produce the letter. Using his method of identifying with the criminal, Dupin was able to put his mind to work and discover where the letter had been hidden.

A simple story with the answer relying on the deductions made by Dupin who worked out that the letter’s appearance had been altered and that it was in plain sight if one cared to look. Having the detective simply use his brain to solve the mystery allowed this genre to become both based on action as in The Murders of Rue Morgue and on analytical thinking by allowing the detective to ponder the case and track down the clues through his own deductions as in this story.

Out 14, 2021, 8:14 am

300! Congrats!!!

Out 14, 2021, 1:08 pm

>26 Yells: Thank you. I am happy to have reached this landmark.

Out 14, 2021, 1:20 pm

Now you can celebrate by reading and possibly buying more books. Funny how that works :)

Out 14, 2021, 2:34 pm

Congratulations on reaching 300! Looking forward to your future reviews.

Out 16, 2021, 12:51 pm

>28 Yells: Buying more books is always a good thing!

>29 puckers: Thank you.

Out 18, 2021, 9:35 am

Congrats on 300!!

Out 18, 2021, 10:47 am


Out 19, 2021, 10:31 pm

>31 annamorphic: & >32 paruline: Thank You. I hope to get three or four more under my belt before the year end and then next year, perhaps a goal of reaching 325 would work.

Out 28, 2021, 1:48 pm

Book #301: The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark

The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark is a short novel about a woman who leaves behind her dull office job in London and heads to a warm country on vacation. She appears to be searching for a man, but has great difficulty finding a man that is “her type”. The story is rather strange and this reader had some difficulty in pinning down the main character’s motivation, but looking back through the pages, I can see that clues were scattered throughout the book.

Although written in a light, almost tongue-in-cheek manner, this is a dark story about a woman who is clearly not quite right in the head. She spends her first day on vacation by picking up an eccentric old lady and wandering the town, looking for her type of man. She is not very likeable, and can be very annoying but the author is so skilled that the story works and the reader becomes involved.

Muriel Spark has written a book where it is impossible to empathize with the main character, in fact, her over-the-top actions made this reader rather uncomfortable. Yet this uncomfortable, awkward novel is so well written that you find yourself immediately engaged by this inventive and unusual story.

Nov 8, 2021, 12:42 pm

302. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates

Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates is the author’s portrait of an American icon, Marilyn Monroe, and while the author illuminates her life, it’s biggest impact is how she was able to get inside her subject and deliver interior dialogues that felt visceral and real. We know Marilyn Monroe through her appearance and her work in film, she’s the dumb/smart blonde, the sexy bombshell. We have also read enough about her in the past to see her as a lost soul, a self-destructive diva, a star that was used and abused by Hollywood.

In this novel, Joyce Carol Oates brings her to life and gives her a voice on these pages. Using the facts of Marilyn Monroe's life and blending in the author's insights, we learn that Norma Jeane Baker was doomed almost from birth. She was damaged by her single parent mother and she grew up never knowing her father. By the time she was eleven, her mother was in a psychiatric hospital and Norma Jeane was in an orphanage and later foster homes. Her first marriage was at fifteen and she appeared to be searching for a father figure most of her life. Although today she is remembered as the leading sex symbol of the 1950s this engrossing novel gives us not only Marilyn but is an epic story about the dangers and pitfalls of becoming a celebrity. We experience her triumphs and her downfalls, her troubled private life, along with her addictions and mental disorders.

Blonde plays upon mythology of Marilyn Monroe but also delivers a story of a character that is imaginative, engrossing and complex. I had become a fan of this author through her short stories and this was the first full-length novel of hers that I have read, and although I have to admit I did find this novel of over 750 pages to be overly long, my admiration for Joyce Carol Oates has grown.

Nov 17, 2021, 9:44 pm

303. The Stranger by Albert Camus

I was rather taken aback by The Stranger by Albert Camus. I had heard that this book was a fine example of both existentialism coupled with absurdism and these terms had me convinced the book would be a difficult read and most likely, impossible to understand. Actually I found the very opposite, this very short novel was easy to read and on the surface, easy to understand. It’s only when one starts to dig a little deeper into what the author was writing, that one can see that the author was exploring the meaning of life by raising questions about morality, justice and the responsibilities of the individual.

The book, set in Algiers, is divided into two parts, the first introduces the main character while he attends to the death of his mother. This character is one of most apathetic and inaccessible characters that I have come across. We see aspects of his life but the ending of this part happens when this main character commits a totally senseless murder. The second part of the book deals with his incarceration and the eventual trial for the murder. I should mention that I read the novel as translated by Stuart Gilbert, and I wonder if the original work and/or other translations have made this character more sympathetic.

While the murder was shocking and the trial seemed utterly ridiculous, the main character never seemed to advance beyond indifference. Although it was this very indifference that brought about his downfall as it spoke volumes about his lack of remorse and his absence of character. It isn’t until the final paragraphs of the book that he expresses a moral or ethical concern and even then his philosophy seems to be that life is pointless and that everyone has to face their end in their own way.

Nov 19, 2021, 5:57 am

>36 DeltaQueen50: Meursault isn't any more sympathetic in Dutch translation.
Kamel Daoud wrote The Meursault Investigation in 2013, the story from the murderd Arab's view.

Editado: Nov 19, 2021, 1:03 pm

>37 FAMeulstee: I think the genius of The Stranger is that it is an easy read even though the main character remains quite unaccessible. I will have to look into The Meursault Investigation as it sounds like this author, Daoud, humanizes the story.

ETA: I have picked up a copy of The Meursault Investigation for my Kindle. Thanks for letting me know about this one, Anita!

Dez 9, 2021, 12:55 pm

304. The Iron Heel by Jack London

The Iron Heel by Jack London is considered one of the first modern dystopian novels. Published in 1908, the story paints a picture of a futuristic society that becomes repressive and it is obvious that the author presented this as a warning that if society continued along its current path then this repressive society would be the result. This book highlights his interest in Socialism and his strong leftist leanings.

While I personally did not care for the book, finding it entirely too heavy handed, I can see why it is considered to be influential. George Orwell praised the author and credited him with prophesying the rise of Fascism that was destined to tear the world apart in the 1930s and 40s. This story, although portraying the future, deals with the politics of the time rather than any technical advances as his main character’s focus appears to be on the unequal distribution of wealth and power that leaves the working class struggling for justice and equality.

While Jack London is mostly identified as a writer of adventure novels, this particular book is a sympathetic nod to socialist causes. Although it was unusual for a male author to use a female as his first person narrator, I did appreciate that Jack London did so here. He also appeared quite comfortable pointing fingers at governments, religious organizations and big business and skewering them with a few home truths.

Dez 28, 2021, 10:23 pm

305. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is a wonderful blend of romance and social commentary. Set in England during the time of the Industrial Revolution, the book takes on some of the major economic and social issues of the time. The author also cleverly depicts the difference between the rural agricultural south of England with the harsher home of manufacturing in the north. Throughout the story we follow the life of pastor’s daughter, Margaret Hale and her romantic prospects with the author’s observations on class struggles, social injustice and the effect of capitalism woven throughout. The result is an engaging and informative story that I really enjoyed.

The main character, Margaret Hale is 19 when the book opens. She has just returned to her parents home in Hampshire after receiving a genteel upbringing in her aunt’s London home. At the same time her father announces his decision to leave the church and that he has accepted a position as a private tutor in the northern industrial town of Milton. The family has a lot of adjustments to make when they settle in Milton. Margaret has a lot on her shoulders and she tends to withdraw from people causing them to think her haughty and prideful but one man, Mr. John Thornton, a local mill owner, takes the time to see her true personality and is very taken with her. Unfortunately, when she barely knows him, she lets others know that she thinks he is unrefined and lacking in his treatment of others.

Elizabeth Gaskell develops her story through social and economic upheavals, personal tragedies, and the development of her characters. Margaret in particular grows throughout the story. She is steadfast and loyal and takes it upon herself to hold her family together. She does what needs to be done, sometimes even to the point of damaging her reputation. But she also acknowledges her errors and has a sense of humor which makes her altogether very human. North and South was an excellent read and had me rooting that the southern lady would eventually bend to the will of the formidable northern man.

Editado: Jan 4, 2022, 1:26 pm

306. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor - when going through the list the other day, I realized that I have read this book a number a years ago and hadn't counted it.

I suspect there may be others that I have read previously as before I joined LT, my book reading records weren't very accurate.

Jan 10, 2022, 6:27 pm

307. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys was originally published in 1966 as a response to the novel Jane Eyre. This small volume touches on many issues including race, class and feminism. Although only 152 pages long, it is packed with story, with the first part being dedicated to Antoinette’s early years as the daughter of an ex-slave owner. The middle part of the book is narrated by Antoinette’s husband, who married her for a payment of $30,000.00. Once he learns that madness runs in her family, he begins to detect signs of Antoinette’s insanity. He leaves the island and takes himself and Antoinette to England where she is totally isolated. The third part of the story is narrated once again by Antoinette. She has no sense of time or place. She resorts to violence when she feels threatened and she has a recurring dream of setting the house on fire as she feels that she can never be free until she ends both her life and the place in which she is imprisoned. The book ends with Antoinette holding a candle, leaving her prison and walking downstairs.

Beautifully written and terribly sad, the book appears to be Jean Rhys’ answer to the trope of the “madwoman in the attic” by allowing us to see Antoinette as a real person living a very tragic life. While Charlotte Bronte gives us one version of the “truth”, Jean Rhys gives us another. Evocative, passionate and dark, Wide Sargasso Sea is an interesting companion read to Jane Eyre.

Jan 10, 2022, 9:53 pm

>42 DeltaQueen50: Wide Sargasso Sea didn't really work for me, but I love the idea of taking a side character from a classic and writing a whole new story about them. I would like to write a novel from the point of view of the drunk husband in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (the main character Helen seemed like quite a pill. Maybe I'd drink in the morning too if I were married to her uptight prissiness.) (Joking, but there's a story there) and also I'd like to write a novel about Isabella Linton from Wuthering Heights and how she ended up in that terrible marriage with Heathcliff (also, they all needed to leave the neighbourhood and expand their dating pool). Funny that all these stories are based on Bronte novels. Hmmm.

Anyway, I hear that The Other Bennet Sister, about Mary Bennett from Pride and Prejudice is very good. Hmmm. I might check it out, but Longbourn didn't impress me much, so maybe a library loan.

Jan 11, 2022, 1:52 pm

>43 Nickelini: Jane Eyre is not a favorite of mine, I have always disliked Mr. Rochester and thought Jane should have run as far away from him as she could. Wide Sargasso Sea only confirmed my opinion. I liked this short, dark story that gave me a backstory to the "mad woman" in the attic. I would be first in line for a story about the husband in Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I do agree with you about Wuthering Heights, another book that I loved when young, but didn't have the same feelings about it when I reread it as an adult. (Ha! They definitely needed to widen the dating pool!) I love Pride and Prejudice but do disagree with you about Longbourn as I loved it. I am a sucker for any version of P&P and may also have to hunt down a copy of The Other Bennet Sister.

Editado: Jan 11, 2022, 9:13 pm

I liked Jane Eyre just fine. It's not a top favourite, but I read it once and liked it, and then studied it at university a year or two later with a wonderful instructor and really got to appreciate it. So top 100 for me for sure, but not top 10. Anyway, I totally agree with you on Mr Rochester. Ugh! He's horrible! I think it was his essay "Can Jane Eyre Be Happy" where literary scholar John Sutherland suggests that Rochester would have murdered her within a decade of marriage. Can Jane Eyre Be Happy is the title essay of a really interesting book, BTW.

I'm glad you liked Longbourn. I didn't hate it, but in my P&P pastiche, I need a lot more Darcy and Elizabeth. :-D

Anyway, you've bumped me toward giving Wide Sargasso Sea another read. I even have the Norton edition with all the extra essays.

Jan 11, 2022, 11:47 pm

>45 Nickelini: I will look forward to your comments on Wide Sargasso Sea.

Jan 17, 2022, 1:22 pm

308. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Although Siddhartha by Herman Hesse was originally published in 1922, I remember that it was very influential during the 1960s and was touted as a book to help lead one to a higher level of enlightenment and towards learning the meaning of life. I was able to avoid the book back then but picked it up recently as it fit both the challenge of reading 1,001 Books and the topic of Eastern Philosophies for another challenge. I found the book was easily read, but this type of internal belly-button gazing really isn’t my cup of tea.

The book details the life of Siddhartha, a son of a prominent Brahmin in ancient India. Although born to a life of privilege, he turns his back on home and family and chooses instead to join a group of Samanas, who live as hermits, giving up all possessions in the hope of finding himself and reaching a higher level of self awareness. After a number of years he felt he had learned all that he could from the hermits and chose to continue his journey of self-discovery in a different direction, including the embracing of an excess of material goods. He experiments with different teachers and methods but finds no satisfaction. Eventually he turns to a simple life and this helps him as he strives to approach Nirvana.

This allegorical tale was written by a westerner for a western audience and as such barely skims the surface of Indian philosophy. I think this could be a good place to start one’s journey to understanding karma but most likely lacks the depth that one would need in order to fully grasp the wisdom and ascetics of eastern spirituality. Personally I never felt that this book resonated with me or offered me any type of revelation so it was a book of interest but not one of learning.

Fev 16, 2022, 7:51 pm

309. Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant is set in Paris and depicts the belle epoque era as it tells the story of Georges Duroy, an opportunistic young man who grows more and more corrupted as the book advances. Georges is a user of people and doesn’t seem to care much if he is taking advantage of a male or a female. As he rises to success in the field of journalism, he does so on the backs of the people that have helped him achieve his position.

At the beginning of the book, George is a handsome young man who is penniless and without prospects. At this point in the story it is possible to feel some sympathy for him but that quickly disappears as he begins to covet wealth and influence and climbs the social ladder by using his cunning, wit and his built-in appeal to rich and powerful women. It is all about what they can do for him. His nickname is Bel Ami which means beautiful friend, but his beauty is only skin-deep and his friendship is only for himself.

Although peopled, for the most part, with selfish and soulless characters, I enjoyed this very short book. The Parisian setting showed a lively and pleasure seeking society, and the narcissist rake, George Duroy, was fascinating to read about.

Mar 1, 2022, 10:09 pm

310. The Crow Road by Iain Banks

I found The Crow Road by Iain Banks a very enjoyable read. The author skilfully mixes multi-generational family drama with a mystery that threads throughout the book. Prentice McHoan is the young man who relays the story. He is in his early twenties, a student at university in Glasgow, who loves to party. The memorable opening of the book finds Prentice at his family home in Gallanach for the funeral of his grandmother, but he finds himself thinking about his Uncle Rory, a travel writer who disappeared eight years earlier, many in the family believe that Rory has died, calling it “away on the Crow Road”.

From here the book jumps around between the generations of three families, the McHoans, the Urvills and the Watts. These families have been entwined by both friendships, careers and marriages through the years and as we learn of the past and the present we are introduced to some interesting characters that the author has developed with sly humor and intelligence. We learn to care about them through the wildly funny or, at times, deeply tragic incidences that have occurred through the years.

The Crow Road is a coming-of-age, mystery combination whose setting in Scotland brings the story to life. I was a little confused at the beginning of the book when the author jumped between times and characters, but the individual voices were so well developed that I soon felt comfortable with this format. The book evoked feelings of warmth, sadness, and humor and this, along with some fascinating plot twists made The Crow Road a memorable read.

Mar 2, 2022, 10:18 pm

Hi, Judy

Okay, further to our other conversation, I've weeded out what I can see you've read, and here's what I have for you if you're interested:

In no order . . .

Walden, Thoreau
Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, De Beernieres
London Orbital, Sinclair
The Marble Faun, Hawthorne
Silence, Endo
Pale Fire, Nabokov
News From Nowhere, Morris
The Plot Against America, Roth
Empire of the Sun, Ballard
The Bell Jar, Plath
Catch 22, Heller
The Temple of My Familiar, Walker
A Home at the End of the World, Cunningham
The Female Quixote, Lennox
The Book of Illusions, Auster
Manhattan Transfer, Dos Passos
Amongst Women, McGahern
What Maisie Knew, James
The Last September, Bowen

and 3 I really enjoyed but realized I won't reread . . .

The Blind Assassin, Atwood
Love In the Time of Cholera, Marquez
The Name of the Rose, Eco

Mar 3, 2022, 1:31 pm

>50 Nickelini: Wow! There are a few that I have on my shelves and Kindle but haven't read:

Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, De Bernieres
The Bell Jar, Plath
Catch 22, Heller
What Masie Knew, James
The Name of the Rose, Eco

But I would love to get all the rest - now we need to come up with a coffee shop or someplace to meet!

Mar 4, 2022, 1:08 pm

In comparing my list of 1,001 Books Read to my Reading library, I have found another book that I have read years ago but forgot to count.

311. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Mar 7, 2022, 12:51 am

>51 DeltaQueen50: Okay, I have them all put aside for you. I'm glad I didn't try to squeeze anything in this weekend because things got busy. This week after work isn't good because I have appointments and a trip to Victoria mid-week. We could try for the weekend of Mar 12-13 or after work Mar14 - 18. I was thinking maybe meeting at a Starbucks or something, but if that doesn't work for you I can bring them to you too. I'm just happy my books are going to a good home. I don't know Surrey-Delta very well, but I do have a GPS, so can you suggest something?

Mar 7, 2022, 9:31 pm

>53 Nickelini: I'll check out where the Starbucks/Tim Hortons are somewhere around Strawberry Hill which is at 72nd Street and 120th Ave. in Surrey and about half way between our locations. I'll PM you with some choices.

Mar 7, 2022, 10:58 pm

>54 DeltaQueen50: Sounds good . . . I know where Strawberry Hill is

Mar 11, 2022, 4:50 pm

312. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett is considered to be the inventor of the ‘hard-boiled’ crime story and Red Harvest is certainly a fine example of this type of fiction. This is the first in his Continental Op series about a private detective who works for the Continental Detective Agency, a PI for hire who knows how to get the job done.

In this outing, the nameless Continental Op is in a city called Personville, nicknamed Poisonville, to consult with newspaper publisher, Donald Willsson about the possibility of cleaning this crime controlled city up but before he can meet with Willsson, the publisher is shot to death. After almost getting killed himself, he gains a new client, the publisher’s father who founded the city and has played close to the edge himself but now wants the gangs gone. The Continental Op sets to work in earnest by sowing dissension between the rival mobs and the corrupt police force and we learn that the name Red Harvest is apt as the book is riddled with gun play, murders and violence.

A little over the top and slightly dated, Red Harvest is still a fun read filled with thugs, molls and a tough-as-nails hero. Written in abrupt, spare prose, with plenty of violence to spice up the simple story, Red Harvest is a classic of it genre and is known to have influenced many writers such as Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy.

Mar 28, 2022, 10:19 pm

313. Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison is set after the American Civil War and tells the story of a family of former slaves whose home is haunted by a malevolent spirit. This is a beautifully written, haunting story that is a tale of horror, but it also is a story of love, forgiveness, loss and confusion. I found this a difficult read as the narrative is non-linear, the point of view is constantly shifting and I found Morrison’s writing style took some getting used to. It is a painful look at certain aspects of slavery and the oppression and exploitation that slavery perpetuated.

The characters in the book are distinct and help to reveal both the story and the underlying messages. Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free within herself. She is full of memories of her past life and her deceased two year old baby haunts the house in which she and her daughter, Denver, live. Previously her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, lived with them but she has passed away and Sethe’s two sons have both been driven away by the spirit. There are flashbacks to the time that Sethe was a slave at the Sweet Home plantation in Kentucky, along with her love interest Paul D, but moving forward proves to be near impossible.

Beloved is truly a novel about how difficult it is to move on from the past and how we are shaped by it. We may try to progress but the past never really leaves us. Morrison also pulls no punches in this powerful story, the residue of slavery is there on every page. As the writing includes both stream of consciousness, poetry and there was no set time sequence, I can’t say that I really enjoyed this book, but I can say that I admire her visceral and brilliant writing and can see why Beloved is considered a classic.

Mar 29, 2022, 1:46 am

>57 DeltaQueen50: I remember thinking this was very well written and interesting, but not really my thing. Since I read it though I've become interesting in inter-generational trauma, and I think this might be the ultimate novel on that subject. Maybe I want to reread this one.

Mar 29, 2022, 9:37 pm

>58 Nickelini: I think Beloved is one of those books that one would get something different from it every time they read it. There's a lot to it.

Mar 30, 2022, 12:58 am

>59 DeltaQueen50: Yes, good point!

Abr 22, 2022, 3:10 pm

314. The Wars by Timothy Findley

The Wars by Timothy Findley is a short book but it packs a very large punch. The story of one Canadian lad who goes off to the trenches in World War I was an intricate and heart wrenching story. The brutality that the author describes in rich, lyrical language makes it plain that there is really nothing noble about warfare and that the psychological effects of this particular war were devastating.

This book really grabbed me and I think this had a great deal to do with my own grandfather who ran away at age sixteen to fight in World War I. He was caught the first time, but succeeded a year later at seventeen. The things he saw and did affected him for the rest of his life. He kept a diary about his experiences and many of his descriptions matched with this book.

The Wars was a moving account of one Canadian man’s experience during World War I, and while it is not an in-depth exploration, the author introduces his character and allows us to sample his early life, his training and his war experiences that together paint a clear and penetrating picture of the shock and struggle that these soldiers were exposed to. Although the book left me feeling emotionally drained, The Wars was a very impressive read.

Abr 28, 2022, 12:26 pm

Hi Judy, I've just joined this group and it's nice to see someone I know here.

I was just talking to a co-worker about how embarrassingly skimpy my reading of Shakespeare's works has been and I got to thinking that I bet I haven't much at all outside of my usual comfort zone (mysteries/sports/history) in recent years.

Anyway, I'm curious as to how many of the 1001+ books I've read and maybe I'll add to it more regularly now.

Abr 28, 2022, 6:45 pm

>62 lindapanzo: Hi Linda - great to see you here! I would like to read three books from the 1,001 List per month but more realistically I usually manage to read 1 or 2. I am struggling right now as I am just not in the mood for serious reads as I am dealing with my mother's failing health but I have planned for a couple this month, so we'll see. I will be sure to pop by your thread and see how you are doing.

Maio 22, 2022, 2:55 pm

315. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym is an amusing slice of life story that directs our attention to that group of unmarried women that are considered smart, supportive, and slightly repressed. They are entitled ‘excellent women’ by the men who both rely and ignore them, these are the type of women who populate the committees, who volunteer for charities and, in fact, have much to do with the actual running of both church and community affairs. First published in 1952 this light satiric story about loneliness being bravely borne centres on Mildred Lathbury, a 35-ish spinster who, through her friendship with the vicar and his sister, involves herself in church affairs, as well as becoming engaged with her new neighbours and their friends.

While Mildred is virtuous and intelligent she is alone and quite content to be so, happily involving herself in churchgoing and part-time charity work. However as the story progresses, a number of potential suitors are presented, and the more Mildred tries to remove herself, the more tangled in the affairs of others she becomes. What does become apparent is that Mildred is an excellent social observer and her dry, witty comments bring a sense of playfulness to the book. In the long run Excellent Women could be considered a romantic comedy about a stereotype that perhaps might be happiest if she stays single.

I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the postwar setting of London in the early 1950s. This was the first Barbara Pym novel that I have read, but I am looking forward to reading more in the future.

Editado: Jun 24, 2022, 1:41 pm

316. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson is a novel that was originally published in 1985. It is a coming-of-age story about a lesbian girl who is raised in a Fundamentalist Christian community. Her rigid childhood of complex family relationships and strict organized religion is loosely based on the author’s own life.

The main character, Jeanette, has been adopted and is raised by her religious mother to believe that she is destined to be a missionary. Her mother is strong-willed but not emotionally available and her father is virtually non-existent. Then as an adolescent, Jeanette finds herself attracted to another girl which causes her mother to organize exorcisms to rid her of the demon that has possessed her. She is also subjected to a calling out in church and banishment. Jeanette truly was able to justify her love for Melanie and God, but when Melanie chose to turn her back on her and fit into the church’s doctrine, the betrayal cut deeply. The religious fervour is prevalent throughout the novel, but clearly Jeanette’s own self-belief and faith in her God gives her the strength to chose the lifestyle that gives her the freedom to be her true self.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit was her debut novel but the author writes with a distinct and confident voice that draws the reader into her story. Her factual delivery, dry wit and sharp imagery paints a vivid picture of a young girl whose image of evangelicalism is shredded by an unforgiving religious community that deals in hellfire and damnation.

Jul 3, 2022, 5:10 pm

317. Hell by Henri Barbusse

Hell by Henri Barbusse was originally published in 1908. I found it a rather unusual book as the unnamed narrator, a young man staying in a Paris boarding house, spies on his fellow house guests through a peephole in his wall and after he has studied the private moments and secret activities he then makes assessments on their behaviour and their motivation.

I found being locked inside this voyeur’s head was a very claustrophobic experience. It appears this young man drifts through life without making a huge impression yet his morbid curiosity encourages him to watch others and then philosophize about human behaviour. But does he have the right to make these judgments or is he simply projecting his views on others.

I have seen reviews that give this book a very high rating but frankly, it creeped me out. The young man is annoying and arrogant and all his fancy musings cannot change the fact that he is a peeping tom taking advantage of the hole in his wall to leer at others. Obviously Hell is not a book that I enjoyed or even could see a lot of merit in.

Jul 22, 2022, 3:21 pm

318. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a brilliant young women who is slowly being devoured by her clinical depression. The book is a semi-autobiographical account of the author’s own life, a life riddled with depression and suicide attempts.

It opens in New York City where Esther is spending a month as a guest editor for a magazine, I was surprised at the lightness of tone and the humor in some of her encounters. Slowly the book turns dark and disturbing as Esther starts to unravel and is eventually unable to cope. By now she is back home in Boston and as her breakdown accelerates in intensity, she sinks deeper into her own thoughts of suicide.

The Bell Jar was an emotional and immersive experience. Plath was a poet and certainly knew how to write expressively but nevertheless, this book is a glimpse into the dark side of the mind, and of course, knowing the details of Plath’s life made this book all the more realistic and poignant. I will long remember how the author lyrically exposed her raw feelings of vulnerability and failure.

Jul 23, 2022, 12:09 pm

>66 DeltaQueen50: Ooof ! I'm going to say you took one for the team here. Hell will not be on my future reading list.

Ago 1, 2022, 12:39 pm

>68 Nickelini: It was definitely a struggle to read. I have heard that the other book he has on the list is a good read so I will be giving him another try at some point.

Ago 1, 2022, 12:41 pm

319. The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Circle by Dave Eggers is a dense novel of ideas, it warns how we are exposing our inner selves to public scrutiny by allowing the internet access to all aspects of our lives. We are trading our privacy and individuality in favor of mob rule with membership to media sites like Facebook and Tic Tok. We walk around with our cell phones turned into to various sites all the while seemingly oblivious to the fact that everything we do and say has become public property.

The story has us following Mae Holland as she is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company. The Circle is operated out of a large California campus, linking the users’ personal email, social media, banking and purchasing with their operating system resulting in ease of operation but offset by the transparency it creates. As Mae learns more and more about the Circle, her ambition accelerates and she embraces the ideas that are being developed. It is left to the reader to decide whether Mae has sold her soul as questions about privacy, democracy and the limits of exposure are raised.

The Circle was an interesting, although slow read. I give it high marks for concept, but the story never really engaged me. The perils of the internet are well documented and I expect this book would resonate with people at many different levels depending on one’s opinion on how much data manipulation and on-line exposure they will accept.

Ago 3, 2022, 8:45 am

>69 DeltaQueen50: I haven't read Hell - which sounds a bit creepy - but Under Fire is a brilliant book about WWI through the eyes of a group of front line soldiers. It is not a pleasant read, of course. Feeling like you are running into enemy lines isn't nice, but it is very well written.

Ago 8, 2022, 2:23 pm

>71 Henrik_Madsen: Thanks for the information. I have heard that it is a pretty good read so I expect I will be reading Under Fire in the not-too-distant future.

Ago 9, 2022, 10:35 pm

320. Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro

Who Do You Think You Are? (also known as The Begger Maid) is a book of interconnected short stories by Alice Munro. The stories are told by Rose in an anecdotal manner and as we read these tragicomic stories we learn of her life in rural small-town Ontario, her relationship to her step mother, Flo and as she grows and spreads her wings we learn of her aspirations and dreams.

The seemingly simple stories cover some forty years beginning when Rose is a small child growing up in a poor household. Each story covers a different period in Rose’s life, from her home life with her step-mother and father, to her early school days as well as her time in high school and college. Her first serious relationship and on to her marriage, motherhood, and divorce. Each story adds another layer to the life of this woman.

This is the second book by Alice Munro that I have read and I have been surprised at how much I liked both of them. The author has a way of putting words together that paint a clear and definitive picture. She doesn’t shy away from describing embarrassing moments and her writing makes it clear that she knows human nature. There are a lot of similarities between the author’s own life and that of Rose which served to make the book all the more intriguing.

Editado: Ago 22, 2022, 5:39 pm

321. Franny And Zooey by J. D. Salinger

The very short novel Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger is in actuality a short story and a novella which were originally published separately but in 1961 were put together as published as one. The book focuses on sister Franny and brother Zooey, the two youngest members of the colorful Jewish/Irish Glass family.

The short story, entitled “Franny” tells a story about Franny going to visit her boyfriend at his university. Franny is going through a difficult time as she has become disenchanted with academia and she is questioning the importance of a college education as well as the selfishness and falseness that she sees all around her. Her boyfriend, Lane is rather obtuse and much more concerned with his affairs than in trying to help Franny. The novella, "Zooey", takes place very shortly after while Franny is still in the throes of a breakdown. The mother is very concerned and approaches Zooey, in a very amusing bathroom scene, and ask him to help Franny. He does try but fails in his first attempt. He then phones her and pretends to be one of the other brothers, she eventually sees through this ruse, but they continue to talk and Franny appears to be more peaceful when the book ends.

I have to admit that it took the second story before I fully understood that Franny was having an emotional crisis. I thought that she was pregnant and having difficulty dealing with this. Apparently I was not alone in this misconception, even Salinger’s publishers thought that the short story was about a college girl facing up to pregnancy. I also have to admit that I didn’t fully understand what the author was hoping to accomplish with these stories although he does seem to stress that life can become meaningless and that religion can help in engaging one’s devotion in a meaningful way.

Set 18, 2022, 11:05 pm

322. The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon

The Lonely Londoners is a 1956 novel by Trinidadian author Samuel Selvon and is about immigrant life in London. It’s focus is on the poor, working-class black people from the Caribbean who came to England after World War II for economic reasons. They came believing that England would offer opportunity, education and a better way of living but unfortunately what they found was prejudice, discrimination and a lack of good jobs and decent housing.

The novel is comprised of several short stories about various West Indian characters and their experiences. Written in a colorful dialect that gives the book a sense of authenticity, the author captures their feelings of loneliness, isolation and alienation. As it was mostly male immigrants that came to London at this time, the characters in the book are mostly male and females are more-or-less peripheral characters.

The Lonely Londoners was interesting as it captured a particular perspective regarding the post-war influx of Caribbean immigrants, but I did find the various stories were too short for me to become fully attached to the characters. There is no real plot to speak of, as the book consists of loosely connected vignettes, but although quite dark I did find quite a bit of humor was used as well.

Set 20, 2022, 3:06 am


A bit of a so-so review, but I'm looking forward to getting to that one

Set 21, 2022, 3:39 pm

>76 Nickelini: I think it is a much better book than I have described - I think I just wasn't in the right mood for it, probably should have set it aside for another time.

Set 21, 2022, 3:41 pm

323. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a dystopian story that is set in the very near future or in an alternative reality. Told in a series of anecdotes by Kathy in an earnest, conversational manner, we learn about the students and guardians at a school called Hailsham.

Although the students are taught very little about the outside world, spending their time with arts and crafts, sports and literature with the occasional mention of future “donations” that they will be expected to give, they do not seem to question their lives. Although for the reader, the purpose and fate of the characters wasn’t particularly cloaked in secrecy as the author inserted plenty of hints throughout the story for us to be well aware of the direction he was taking the book. Kathy and her friends grow from young children to young adults in the shelter of Hailsham, but upon leaving this sanctuary, they come to realize their purpose in life.

While I loved the writing and the ultimate shock value of the story, I don’t understand why there wasn’t more reaction to the horrible fate that was awaiting these young people. The characters in this alternate reality seem almost sheep-like in their bland acceptance. I was hoping that there would be some type of rebellion. This novel explores what it is to be human, and what value we put on life. It also raises questions about what is ethical science and what is not.

Set 29, 2022, 3:52 pm

324. The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong’o is about the Gikuyu people of Kenya who lived in a remote area of ridges and valleys. The time is during the early days of white settlement, some of the people were lured by the new religion and “magical” customs and so they followed Joshua, a Gikuyu convert who preached Christianity. Others wanted to keep to the tribal customs and old ways. Battle lines over female circumcision have been drawn as the Christians try to outlaw the pagan practice while the traditionalists feel it is an important part of their culture.

Firmly in the middle stands Waiyaki a young man who has been educated by the missionaries but belongs to a family of visionaries who foresaw the coming of the white man and the turmoil, changes and confusion that would arise with their arrival. To make matters more complicated he falls in love with Nyambura, the Christian daughter of the fiery pastor, Joshua. Waiyaki believes that education is the answer but he also wants to honour his father’s wishes without really understanding what his father was trying to say.

The River Between stands as a social critique as there is, of course, no answer to the problems that the Gikuyu were facing. The two factions were both doomed as once colonialism and Christianity get a firm hold and white settlers arrive in their numbers, the rift will continue to grow and tribal independence along with their customs and culture will disappear.

Out 19, 2022, 12:03 am

325. Willard and his Bowling Trophies by Richard Brautigan

I don’t consider myself a sexual prude but a book where every other chapter is about Bob and Constance, a couple having sex in ways that keep their venereal warts from infecting the other’s intimate parts was very off-putting to me. The other chapters were about three brothers who were searching for their stolen bowling trophies. We learn that the trophies are stored in the apartment below Bob and Constance and guarded by Willard, a paper-mache bird who stands about three feet tall. Weird – yes, but I read on as this is a very short book and I have to admit these opening chapters intrigued me.

It quickly became obvious that while this book poses a number of mysteries, it had no intention of actually solving the mysteries or explaining the who, what, when, why or where of the story. It is whimsical, outrageous, silly and highly stylized and yet, I couldn’t stop myself from reading on.

The subtitle of this book is “a perverse mystery” and perverse seems to be the right word. This short book takes the reader on a very bumpy ride with it’s false leads and contradictory statements. I’ve seen this author’s style described as comic realism which I would say is pretty apt. Willard and His Bowling Trophies blended satire, suspense and comedy in an absurdly unique way that certainly caught my attention.

Out 19, 2022, 12:34 am

>80 DeltaQueen50: Awesome review! Your first sentence made me snort out loud

Out 20, 2022, 1:25 pm

>81 Nickelini: Believe me, I was doing a little snorting during the first third of the book as well!

Editado: Out 25, 2022, 12:36 am

326. Amok by Stefan Zweig

Amok by Stefan Zweig is a short novel that tells the story of a troubled doctor who loses his mind in the tropics. He allows his passion to overtake his sanity and now is paying the price for his folly. The story is narrated by a passenger on a ship who meets the doctor and hears his story late one night. The doctor appears to be in desperate need for human contact and to confess his disturbing secret to someone.

This is a short and powerful story and, although I had very little sympathy for the doctor I was fascinated by his account of how his emotions were overpowered and he ran “amok”, heedless of any restrictions or rules. As he tells his story, we learn that he has a history of being influenced by domineering women but he also seems to be signifying that he has overcome his madness but by the end of the story it becomes clear that he had not.

Amok is a story of hatred, passion and duty as the doctor meets, becomes obsessed yet fails to help an English lady. I found the story quite captivating revealing as it does this man’s decaying values and morality.

Nov 15, 2022, 2:04 pm

327. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

Death in Venice is a novella written by German author, Thomas Mann. It was first published in 1912. It is a story about a writer who is suffering from writer’s block. He visits Venice and finds himself liberated, uplifted and then obsessed by the sight of a beautiful boy. Though he never actually speaks to the boy, or has any contact whatsoever, the writer feels a great passion. This obsession that he feels distracts him from the fact that rumors have begun to circulate about a disease that is spreading through the city.

Although a slim volume, Death in Venice is far from light reading. Strangely decadent and uncomfortable yet beautifully written the author uses the contrast between the young boy and the elderly author to symbolize the variation between youth and old age, as well as external and internal beauty and, of course, life and death. This symbolic story definitely held my attention but I felt myself more drawn to his writing style than to the story itself.

Nov 15, 2022, 3:50 pm

>84 DeltaQueen50: I read Death in Venice years ago and really enjoyed the bits of story and descriptions of the decay of Venice, but I did not care at all about all the philosophy. I think it might have been required reading in Swiss high schools -- a Swiss guy I know didn't want to go to Venice on holidays because this book made it sound so dirty and decayed (Mann lived in Switzerland for much of his life)

Nov 16, 2022, 12:34 am

I doubt that I will get to Venice in this life, but it has always been a place that I would love to have visited. I think I fell in love with it from watching the Katherine Hepburn film, Summertime. However, I can see why Mann placed his story there.

Nov 17, 2022, 6:26 am

I liked Venice - arriving by sea was something extraordinary. So I'm torn on reading this one. I'm happy with my rose tinted summer holiday memories in place.

Nov 17, 2022, 10:14 am

I loved Venice. We are planning to go back next year. My Italian family is from Italy, north of Venice, and I have visited where my grandparents lived. I have not read Death in Venice but have added it to my TBR list.

Nov 17, 2022, 1:48 pm

>87 Helenliz: Venice is a city that seems to be a mecca for authors to use. It seems to work well in everything from light-hearted romances to dark horror. Death in Venice is a rather grim story so the author played up on that side of the city.

>88 mnleona: Oh, how lovely that you have a trip to Venice to look forward to. I envy you.

Nov 17, 2022, 6:19 pm

The scene of my ultimate book read in the correct geographically location

Nov 17, 2022, 6:29 pm

>90 puckers: that's amazing! Great picture. I hope you put the book back in your bag though and experienced Venice for yourself ;-)

Nov 18, 2022, 1:48 pm

Nov 18, 2022, 3:58 pm

>90 puckers: Now, I have to get the book. We took pictures of us reading Death on the Nile i January when we were on a Nile cruise. That is a great picture.

Editado: Dez 5, 2022, 9:50 pm

328. Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand

Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand was originally published in 1935. It is a short novel that depicts a day in the life of Bakha, a young "sweeper", who is classed as an untouchable due to his work of cleaning latrines and sweeping the streets. This story highlights the unjustness and inhumanity of the Indian caste system.

Over the course of this particular day various incidents occur that cause Bakha to question the system of oppression that he lives under. It is a day of being slapped, shouted at, and having crowds set against him. Getting no sympathy from his father, he spends the afternoon playing grass hockey with his friends. But when he carries a higher caste injured player home all he gets is more abuse. His father, angry at him for being gone all afternoon, throws him out and he finds himself at the train station listening to a speech by Mahatma Ghandi who talks about the plight of the Untouchables and how he would like to end the caste system. Bakha also overhears a couple educated men discussing Ghandi's speech and although he doesn't understand much of what has been said, he does hear them say that changes are coming and that there will soon be flushable toilets which sends him home with some hope for the future.

Untouchable was obviously written to show the lack of dignity given to the lower caste people of India. The author also seems to pointing out the upcoming clash between modernity and tradition. The story also brought home to me my own ignorance about the caste system and how it affected all levels of society. I had never realized before that the caste system was followed by the Hindus while the Muslims did not. Untouchable was an easily read story filled with well described images that gave the book a feeling of authenticity.

Dez 6, 2022, 4:03 am

Jan 9, 2023, 3:27 pm

329. Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard

Loosely based on his own experiences during World War II, Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard was originally published in 1984. It tells the story of Jim, the young son of British ex-pats, who was eleven when the Japanese occupied Shanghai. During the chaos, he becomes separated from his parents and spends the duration of the war on his own.

Eventually imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp, Jim adapts to a life of starvation and violence, surviving by scheming, stealing and knowing who to ingratiate himself to. The author does an excellent job of relating the conditions through the eyes of a child and how the sickness, death and violence kept all the prisoners on the brink of madness. As Jim ekes out a miserable existence with no parental guidance and little adult supervision, it becomes clear that the boy simply accepts that the inadequate food, arbitrary punishments and killings are part of his everyday life.

Although the book is based on the author’s own experiences, it is a work of fiction. Written in a simple yet compelling manner, the story is challenging and powerful. The author conveys the young boy’s thoughts and feelings in a realistic yet at times almost dreamlike style. This is a coming-of-age story that explores large issues and stirs the readers’ emotions.

Jan 19, 2023, 10:28 pm

330. Chess Story by Stefan Zweig

The novella Chess Story was Stefan Zweig’s last piece of work, written in Brazil and sent to his publisher only days before he and his wife committed suicide in 1942. This is the only story in which Zweig looks at Nazism.

Travellers on a ship from New York to Buenos Aires find that a fellow passenger is the world champion of chess. He is an arrogant and unfriendly man. The passengers band together to try their chess skills against him and are soundly beaten. Then a mysterious passenger steps forward to advise them and the tables are turned. He reveals how he came into his chess knowledge to the narrator and it turns out he was held prisoner in total isolation by the Nazis but did manage to steal a book about chess and he memorized 150 master chess games. Unfortunately the isolation and the chess drove him mad so he could not manage more than one game against the chess master.

In 1938 the Nazis had taken over Austria, Zweig’s home country forcing him into exile and by using chess as a metaphor for political oppression, Zweig expresses his opinion of fascism and the war on freedom that was currently raging in Europe. It is also obvious from the story that Zweig wasn’t confident of the outcome and although the connection is rather oblique, his true feelings of despair were more openly expressed by his and his wife’s suicides.

Fev 3, 2023, 2:08 pm

331. Vathek by William Beckford

Vathek by William Beckford was first published in 1786. The author was only 21 and the story apparently was inspired by his own coming-of-age celebrations. The story is both a comic farce and a tragic parable. This dark and twisted fairly tale shows that the author was obviously influenced by the popularity of Arabian Nights which had recently been translated.

The tale is about Caliph Vathek and his temptation by a supernatural being known as the Giaour, who promises to reward him with treasures and talismans from the Gods. Thus he embarks on a journey to damnation. Vathek is both greedy and cruel. In order to be admitted to the subterranean palace he must renounce Islam and perform a series of atrocious crimes which he does without a sign of remorse.

This strange and dark story definitely gives me Gothic vibes and it is known to have influenced other literary figures such as Byron, Hawthorne, Poe and Lovecraft. It provides an insight into early orientalist fantasies of the east and is crammed with lavish excesses, both sensory and sexual. I can’t say that I enjoyed this story finding it rather overdone, but it did have it’s moments and thankfully wasn’t too long.

Fev 12, 2023, 8:22 pm

332. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Apparently when The Awakening by Kate Chopin was first published in 1899, it shocked readers with it’s story of a wife’s marital infidelity. The author’s tale of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage who seeks outside fulfillment was considered extremely controversial.

Personally I wasn’t very engaged by this story. I really didn’t like the main character, Edna, finding her too wishy-washy, too unsure of herself and what she wants from life. It didn’t really bother me that was a rather neglectful mother and wife, but she seems to drift through life, expecting others to fill in her gaps. At first she has Robert who spends all his time with her while she is vacationing. She rather takes him for granted until he leaves for Mexico, then she decides that she loves him but when he doesn’t write or come back to her, she allows herself to fall into another relationship with a notorious womanizer. When Robert returns, she once again realizes that it’s him that she loves but when her friend begs her to think of her children, she realizes that society will never accept her leaving her husband and children for Robert.

There are a number of books written about this subject including Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina and I quite frankly had more sympathy for each of those characters. Edna Pontellier acknowledges her awakening and her urge to break free from restrictions placed on her by society, but when push comes to shove, she takes an entirely different route to freedom. For all of that, The Awakening is a classic of American Literature and a well done example of feminist writing.

Editado: Abr 10, 2023, 4:36 pm

333. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster

I just completed reading Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster and unfortunately, I really didn’t like the plot or the characters, finding it an altogether depressing read. It is often called a “comedy of manners”, but I found nothing amusing about the book. From the very upright and staid British characters to the handsome but uncultured and rather stereotypic Italian, Gino, there wasn’t a sympathetic character among them.

For me, Where Angels Fear to Tread was a sad story of unfulfilled passions and life unlived. This was Forster’s first novel, written when he was 26, and I felt that it was uneven and at times rather cruel. Of course there were glimmers of his writing genuis but in this early work, he still had quite some way to go.

Mar 19, 2023, 4:33 pm

>333 I hated that one too! Thank goodness Forster improved with age.

Abr 10, 2023, 4:38 pm

>101 annamorphic: I was surprised as I really liked A Room With a View so he obviously improved. I still have A Passage to India to read.

Editado: Abr 26, 2023, 2:40 pm

334. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley

Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley was his debut novel and was originally published in 1921. Although a social satire of it’s time, I am afraid that this book hasn’t held up well as it seemed exceedingly dated to me. Unfortunately my take away from the book was that it was quite dull and largely pointless.

The story follows Denis Stone, a young aspiring writer, as he goes to stay at a country house called Crome. Denis appears to be suffering from a case of puppy love, but the object of his desire seems to find him too young and is amused by his attentions. The other guests are a varied group of eccentrics and are apparently thinly disguised portraits of Huxley’s acquaintances in real life. Other than some historical lectures and a few religious sermons not a lot happens. I was crying out for a murder and a visit from Hercule Poirot to liven things up!

As I mention above, Crome Yellow is the author’s debut novel and seemed to me a loosely disguised critique of various cardboard characters and their ability to pontificate about life, culture, philosophy, etc. without really saying very much at all.

Maio 17, 2023, 11:09 pm

335. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

I found reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco a chore as it was dense, slow moving and complex. Often touted as a whodunit, I would class the book as historical fiction as it is set in an Italian monastery in 1327, and the mystery also includes a fair amount of biblical analysis, medieval studies, and a slight knowledge of classical Latin as there are many quotes that need to be deciphered.

The story is told by Adso, a young novice monk who is travelling with William of Baskerville, who has been called upon to investigate a crime in a Benedictine abbey. Of course the deaths mount and it becomes apparent that William is on the trail of a conspiracy with both dangerous knowledge and the future of the Catholic Church hanging in the balance. William is a very interesting character and he sets about solving the mystery with logic, theology and his own innate curiosity and intelligence. The book is layered with history, religion and, the part I found most difficult, lengthy passages of medieval rhetoric.

Originally published in 1980, The Name of the Rose has won many awards and is considered a literary masterpiece. For me, it was just too long, too dense, and too difficult to keep track of. The many untranslated Latin passages made me feel uneducated and I suspect that I might have gotten more out of simply watching the 1986 film.

Maio 17, 2023, 11:18 pm

>104 DeltaQueen50: I feel your pain. I got through it because some wise person suggested that I get a copy of The Key to the Name of the Rose and read the two at the same time. I'd never have understood all the esoteric references otherwise.

Maio 19, 2023, 1:00 pm

>105 Nickelini: I do feel a sense of accomplishment for sticking with it though I admit that my eyes glazed over a number of times and I skimmed some of the lengthy passages. I never thought about a guide to help me - should have!

Maio 24, 2023, 10:59 am

>104 DeltaQueen50: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book, and really thought I'd find it more difficult. I haven't seen the movie, but the miniseries with John Turturo was fantastic.

Jun 5, 2023, 12:32 pm

>107 amaryann21: I am hoping to watch the movie one of these days but I suspect that the mini-series might be more accurate to the book.

Jun 25, 2023, 3:56 pm

>108 DeltaQueen50: There's so much to the book, I have a hard time imagining how they could get it all in a movie. I will have to find the movie, though, to compare.

Jun 25, 2023, 11:37 pm

>109 amaryann21: I haven't seen the movie yet but I would bet that a great deal of the book didn't make it to the film.

Jul 18, 2023, 5:08 pm

336. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

I found The Stone Diaries to be both highly interesting and thoroughly readable. This is a biography of a fictional woman, from her moment of birth in 1905 through to her death in the 1990s. Daisy Goodwill Hoad Flett lived a seemingly simple life yet this novel captures not only her and her family but also paints a vivid picture of life in 20th century North America. The author also includes a detailed family tree and a selection of black and white photographs that brings the whole book to the edge of reality.

The book is divided into chapters, each one entitled after an event or episode of Daisy’s life, hence we have “Birth, 1905”, “Marriage, 1927”, “Motherhood, 1947”, and as her life plays out over the pages, we absorb both her story and that of her family. Included are obituaries, recipes and shopping lists all of which open her life for the reader to explore.

The Stone Diaries is an inventive and original look at a person’s life and although Daisy was always surrounded by family and friends, it is obvious that her journey, as indeed all of our journeys, is internally a solitary one. And while the author acknowledges loneliness, she also allows for grace, candour, and dignity.

Jul 20, 2023, 1:50 pm

>111 DeltaQueen50: Knowing your vast reading history, I'm surprised you didn't read this years ago. But I know, we can't read *everything*

Jul 21, 2023, 9:42 pm

>113 DeltaQueen50: I have a confession to make - I have spent most of my reading life avoiding Canadian authors. It's only been since I joined Library Thing that I have sampled many Canadian writers and found that I was really missing something before. I was amazed that I loved Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and now Carol Shields. I don't really have a valid reason why I avoided Canadian authors and I am ashamed that I didn't have more confidence in writers from own country!

Jul 22, 2023, 8:30 am

I really loved The Stone Diaries and also The Diviners if you haven’t read it yet.

Jul 22, 2023, 2:55 pm

>114 japaul22: I have read The Diviners and loved it. I remember my mother reading a lot of Margaret Lawrence when I was young, but I never got the urge to pick her up when I was younger.

Jul 25, 2023, 7:46 pm

337. Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter

Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter gives us the story of Sophie Fevvers, the “Cockney Venus”, who in 1899 was a famous aerialist who had all of Europe applauding her. Sophie is tall, blonde, curvy and beautiful. She was raised in a brothel as a foundling, never knowing who (or what) her parents were. Her main claim to fame is that she professes to be part woman, part bird and she is joined on the opening pages by Jack Walser, an American journalist who wants to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Fevvers act consists of her flying up to the trapeze where she performs a high wire routine. And although she is nothing special at this artistry, the crowds come to see her display her six foot wingspan. After speaking to her, Walser finds himself spellbound and follows her as she joins the circus on it’s Grand Imperial tour across Russia to Tokyo with plans to go on to America.

I almost gave up on this book but I pushed through and I actually found myself rather enjoying parts of it. This is a bizarre story told in earthy, bawdy language that has the author telling us how women are used and abused by men. Pretty much every woman character is a victim who is being manipulated by a man. Ultimately although the author’s writing is rich and imaginative, I had difficulty becoming engaged by this surreal story finding it a little overdone and somewhat silly.

Jul 26, 2023, 4:06 pm

>116 DeltaQueen50: everyone raves about Carter but she doesn’t appeal to me at all. She writes some pretty sentences but I don’t like her writing on the whole

Jul 28, 2023, 1:14 pm

>117 Nickelini: I remember quite liking The Bloody Chamber and although I found the story a little silly, I didn't hate Nights at the Circus. I still have The Passion of New Eve to read and I have heard that it is really strange so I am not looking forward to it. After I get through it, Angela Carter will be retired from my bookshelves!

Editado: Ago 14, 2023, 3:49 am

338. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter by Anonymous

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter was written by an unknown Japanese author around the tenth century AD. It is considered the earliest piece of Japanese literature still in existence. The story is a blend of romance and science fiction as a baby is found amongst some bamboo. As she grows, she reveals that she is a Princess exiled from the Moon, and eventually her people come in their spacecraft to take her home. Thus this story becomes the earliest known tale to tell of extraterrestrials visiting Earth. This version is a re-telling of the story by Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata originally published in 1998 and translated by Donald Keene.

This story would be at home in any collection of fairy tales as it is about a beautiful princess who cannot stay on Earth. The Emperor falls in love with her but stands aside and watches her return to the moon. Of course this is also a morality tale as many of the moon maiden’s suitors cheat at their tasks and suffer for that cheating. This very short tale was an easy read and an easy tick for the 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die list.

Ago 14, 2023, 9:10 am

>119 DeltaQueen50: I have wanted to read this one for ages but have never been able to access it. Thanks to, I can now read the version you read!
Very interesting that it was the first known tale of 'alien visitation'.

Ago 14, 2023, 5:41 pm

>120 JayneCM: It reminded me of many of the stories from The Arabian Nights, but having the princess come from the moon was certainly interesting!

Set 13, 2023, 10:04 pm

339. Chaka by Thomas Mofolo

Chaka by Lesotho writer Thomas Mofolo was originally published in 1925 and first translated into English in 1931. This is a mythic retelling of the life of Chaka Zulu the first king of the Zulu empire who lived from 1787 to 1828, ruling from 1816 to 1828. He is credited with inventing the assegai, the short stabbing spear that enabled his warriors to repeatedly attack instead of just throwing one spear.

Chaka had a difficult life as one of the sons of a warrior chief. There was jealousy and plots among both the chief’s many wives and the sons who jostled for position. At one point Chaka and his mother were forced to leave, and Chaka was constantly bullied and tormented. According to this legend, Chaka became involved with a sorcerer who practised black magic and showed Chaka the path to power. Upon the death of his father, one of his brothers comes for him, but Chaka defeated him and became chief. At this point his ambition grew and he continued to overtake tribes and band them together into the newly formed Zulu nation. He was physically imposing and had witchcraft helping him but his personality changed and he was responsible for the deaths of thousands, including that of his mother and the love of his life.

Chaka reads like a classic story of blind ambition that turns a young man into a power-hungry monster. He is originally described as tall, handsome, brave and hardworking but as his craving for control and dominance grows he changes and becomes distrustful of all, willing to sacrifice whoever is closest to him. Although at times the writing can be a little stilted, this is an engaging and tragic story that certainly held my interest.

Set 25, 2023, 12:35 pm

340. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography of her early years by American author-poet Maya Angelou. This is a powerful coming of age story that covers her life from age three to eighteen, ending with the birth of her son. The author details some of her struggles with both racism and misogyny and she explains how the love of literature, her strength of character and her eventual acceptance and embracing of black culture allowed her to move forward and feel empowered.

Most of her growing years were spent in the small segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas under the care of her paternal grandmother who implanted a strict moral code. They are taught to avoid contact with white people and stick to their own kind but nevertheless there were some racist incidents. When she and her brother were sent to live with their mother in St. Louis, eight year old Maya is raped by her mother’s boyfriend, another trauma for her to overcome.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is considered a classic of African-American writing as her story shines a light not just on her race and gender but many other aspects as well. She wasn’t afraid of showing that at times she was confused, uncertain and naive which in turn, allowed me to see her as a real person and become invested in her childhood journey.

Out 6, 2023, 10:26 pm

341. An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma

An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma is a story set in India during the time of the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rayiv Gandhi in 1991, it is centred upon the life of a corrupt civil servant who we soon realize is a loathsome creature who, having molested his own daughter many years ago is now looking at his twelve year old granddaughter. This is a man who is so self-centred that he doesn’t think about anything other than what he wants. I seriously considered abandoning this book, but it was very well written and the parts that were about his extorting money and collecting bribes drew me in, also I read with the hope that his daughter’s rage and hatred would be unleashed upon him.

The story is full of misery, but the author paints a vivid picture of daily life in poverty-stricken Delhi and the main character, loathsome as he is, does show some depth and intelligence. An Obedient Father was a difficult read due to the subject matter but like driving past a car accident, it was almost impossible to look away. Although written in a light conversational tone, this is a book that is raw and uncompromising as it tells the story of a man’s inner conflict and base desires. The political corruption that it exposes seems quite tame in contrast.

Nov 23, 2023, 1:13 pm

342. The Green Hat by Michael Arlen

First published in 1924, The Green Hat seems to be a reflection on a generation that came through the first world war and is now living a shallow life of gaiety, and non-purpose. The book was very popular during the 1920s, a melodrama that is centred around Iris Storm, a woman who has caused death and destruction but seems to have a fatal appeal for men. The writing was dense and poetic but the author had clearly studied British society in order to have produced this well drawn picture of the upper classes.

Iris, who wears a green hat and drives a yellow Hispano-Suiza is presented as a woman of easy virtue but in fact, has a dark secret in her past. It is obvious that the narrator of the book is totally fascinated by her and apparently the author based her on Nancy Cunard, who I now feel that I need to investigate. I simply wasn’t in the right mood to enjoy this book, although I can see it’s merit and appreciate the author’s talent for writing.

I had to push myself through the first few chapters but after that the story did pull me in. There were plenty of “hot button” issues such as suicide, homosexuality, venereal disease, and excessive drinking touched upon but, for me, the tragic story was a little too dark, without the sparkle that Fitzgerald can add or the humour of Waugh.

Nov 28, 2023, 11:52 pm

>125 DeltaQueen50: I don't even remember hearing about this one. Sounds like one of those books that I'd wonder why of all the many wonderful books on the list, why this was on the list (s)

Nov 29, 2023, 9:29 am

>125 DeltaQueen50: I read this one last year - I had never hear of the book or author before, but found a used copy somewhere. I remember thinking that it was Waugh-lite. Interesting but lacking Waugh's patented panache. I didn't know about Nancy Cunard - thanks for that tidbit.

Dez 2, 2023, 1:01 pm

>126 Nickelini: I have to admit that I really don't think that this book belongs on the list, but apparently it was very popular during the 1920s.

>127 Yells: Apparently Nancy Cunard and Michael Arlen developed a friendship in Paris and he obviously used her as inspiration for Iris.

Jan 10, 9:13 pm

343. The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas

The Birds by Norwegian poet and novelist Tarjei Vesaas was originally published in 1957, but due to it’s timeless subject matter, could easily have been written much more recently. Mattis, a mentally disabled man lives with his lonely sister, Hege, in a cottage on a lake. Mattis is often mocked and called “Simple Simon” but with his sister to look after him and his ability to ponder and observe nature he is generally happy. His one fear is that Hege will get fed up and leave him.

He is encouraged to act as a ferryman on the lake although he only ever has one customer, Jorgen, a lumberjack, that he brings home and who stays with them. Hege and Jorgen become lovers which disturbs Mattis and scares him as he feels his sister’s attention lessening and he comes up with an unusual plan to help make sense of the situation.

I loved this beautifully written, sensitive story. It is a moving portrait that has a soft sadness running through every page. There were parts where the story seemed in a lull but being given Mattis’ point of view, seeing how he processes life events and catching a glimpse of his inner world was unique and compelling. There was a feeling of inevitability as Mattis travels his own path, a simple soul in a complicated world.

Fev 2, 12:35 pm

344. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani is an Italian historical novel that was originally published in 1962. It records the relationship between the narrator and the children of an aristocratic Jewish family, the Finzi-Continis, spanning the years of Benito Mussolini’s rise to the start of WW II.

Set in the Italian city of Ferrara, we see through the eyes of the young narrator how he fell in love with Micol Finzi-Continis and although both were Jewish, their families couldn’t be further apart in social standing. The young narrator falls back upon friendship with both Micol, the daughter, and Alberto, the son. The family tennis court becomes their meeting place but all around them the anti-Semitic forces are tightening their grip.

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is a touching and melancholy coming-of-age story of lost love. And while the outcome is not a surprise, the beautiful writing and evocative descriptions bring to life this small world. While there has been lots written about the plight of the Jews under the Nazis, I haven’t read much about how the Italian Jews were treated so I found this haunting story quite captivating.

Mar 22, 10:05 pm

345. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

Our sense of smell and how it can trigger emotional feelings and memories is used in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind as we read about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, an unloved orphan in 18th century France who is born with an exceptional sense of smell but without a personal scent of his own. This young orphan exhibits all the characteristics of a psychopath as he has no sense of empathy toward people or animals and only cares about how he can use them to his advantage.

After a very difficult young life, he is able to talk his way into becoming apprenticed to one of Paris’ successful perfumers but in his search for new smells he encounters a young girl with a wondrous personal scent. He murders her simply to have access to that scent. Eventually he leaves Paris in an attempt to learn new techniques so that he can preserve an even wider range of odors. Although he becomes increasingly disgusted with people and spends some time living as a hermit, he soon heads to the south of France and works for a perfumer there. He also finds another young girl whose scent makes him believe that he can develop a perfume that would hypnotize people into thinking the wearer is god-like. In his quest for developing this perfume he murders more young women in order to use their body parts to evolve the fragrance that he is working on.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a gruesome, fantasy tale in which the author blends both factual information and fairy-tale story telling about a murderer and his obsessive quest for a perfect perfume. I found the information and facts about the manufacture of perfume to be very interesting but, this was a difficult book to enjoy due to it’s dark themes. However, the author gives us well written prose that elevates the story and makes us ponder upon the importance of fragrance.

Mar 22, 10:39 pm

>131 DeltaQueen50:
I really liked that one. It was unique. You're right though that it's very dark. The first summer of Covid, my daughter decided to take an online uni course (because nothing else was really going on) and it was about vampires. Part of the course was an assignment to watch 6 vampire films and Perfume was one of them, which was interesting as I didn't think of the monster as a vampire when I read the book. Anyway, I watched all the films with her and I liked this one quite a bit.

Mar 23, 4:37 pm

>132 Nickelini: Hi, Joyce. I don't mind dark books at all - in fact, I often prefer them - although I'm not sure what that says about me. Perfume certainly held my attention and the blend of murder and perfume was unique. I will now be on the lookout for the film.

Abr 3, 3:55 pm

>131 DeltaQueen50: It's one of my favourites! I first read it when it came out - it was super popular from the start in Europe. I've been obsessed with perfumes ever since and have even visited a perfumery in the South of France. Such an original novel!

Abr 4, 10:01 am

>345 I'm continually surprised when I see some of the 1001 books reviewed that I've never heard of and/or that they are on the list. This is one I will definitely want to get to sooner rather than later!

Abr 7, 3:04 am

>134 Cecilturtle: I would love a chance to visit a perfumery. The descriptions in the book really sharpened my interest in scents - so well done.

>135 LisaMorr: It's one of those books, Lisa, that grabs you, pulls you in and you are absorbed for the duration of the read. Yes, it's dark, but so well done.

Editado: Abr 7, 3:06 am

346. Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev

Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev is a novella about love, lust and betrayal. It opens with the elderly Dmitry Sanin remembering his past and contemplating his
failure to secure love, marriage and children in his life.

As a young man in 1840, Sanin arrives in Frankfurt where he meets and falls in love with Gemma Roselli. Although Gemma is engaged to another, Sanin pursues her. They eventually admit to loving each other and go on to become engaged. He declares himself deliriously happy and decides to sell his Russian estate to fund his marriage to Gemma. He then meets a wealthy young married woman, the seductive Maria. He allows himself to fall for her charms and though feeling remorseful he decides to follow Maria and leave Gemma.

The story sharply defines the idea of love versus the concept of lust. Love is meant to be the ideal, but Sanin turned toward lust and ended up losing everything. Although Spring Torrents is meant to be autobiographical I still found it difficult to have much sympathy for Sanin. He didn’t have the strength of character to resist Maria, who was obviously toying with him. The author does give the story a sense of closure by having Sanin write to Gemma in later life and in turn receives her forgiveness.