Bryanoz Reads On in 2014

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Bryanoz Reads On in 2014

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1bryanoz
Jan 1, 2014, 11:13 pm

My third year in this esteemed group, and my 5th year of reading 100 books or more.
I read mainly modern fiction with some classics thrown in, and some nonfiction, generally self-help spiritual type books.

My main challenge this year to to finish The Novel 100, by Daniel S. Burt, the second edition is extended to 125 novels, I have 33 to go and am determined to finish this year.
I am also working on the "New Canon : The 21 Books from the 21st Century Everyman Should Read", I have 14 left to read, so should finish that list as well.
Also Orange Prizes "50 Essential Reads by Contemporary Authors" - 21 to go on that list.

This all sounds a bit ponderous but with all the new books from favourite authors and the many recommendations from the 100 books group 2014 will be a great reading year !

Of course comments and suggestions are always welcome, I have started Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson and it is great so far.

Tomorrow we are off on a road trip to Melbourne (I live in the Adelaide Hills) and then to Canberra to some Old Map Exhibition, so won't be around for the next 2 weeks.

Hope we all have great new years and plenty of time to relax and read !

2wookiebender
Jan 1, 2014, 11:50 pm

Happy New Year! Glad to see you back, and reading Mistborn which I enjoyed last year.

I'm heading to Canberra tomorrow, but it's going to be Questacon, and I think the kids would rebel if I tried taking them to the map exhibition. And nothing spoils my fun like a grumpy child or two!

3bryanoz
Jan 2, 2014, 4:26 am

Cheers wookie.

Some great new books coming this year, including :

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley ; more Flavia de Luce !, due Jan 14th.

Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson, 2nd in the Stormlight Archives series.

The Unholy Consult, by R. Scott Bakker, long awaited finale to the Aspect-Emperor series.

The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters, set in 1922.

The Bone Clock, new David Mitchell 'venturing into the realms of fantasy'.

new Murakami Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage,

and a collection of nonfiction A Slip of the Keyboard, by Terry Pratchett, due Oct

Great year ahead !

4divinenanny
Jan 2, 2014, 4:56 am

Oooh a new David Mitchell, I need that one! And I'd heard about the Murakami, definitely another 'need' book too ;)

5divinenanny
Jan 2, 2014, 4:56 am

BTW, weeeeeirrrd touch stone on The Bone Clock ;)

6bryanoz
Jan 3, 2014, 3:55 am

I noticed the wrong touchstone on The Bone Clock divinenanny, maybe the book isn't due for 10 months so isn't on the system yet ?

Trip postponed until Sunday, too wet to mow the lawn so some reading time....

1. Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson.

First Sanderson I've read and won't be the last ; engaging characters, interesting magic system, and a gripping story !
I'm guessing that most fantasy fans would have read this, but if you haven't, read it soon !
First in a trilogy, the others are The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages, have them and will be immersing myself in Vin's misty world soon.
Rating : Excellent.

7wookiebender
Jan 3, 2014, 4:59 am

Glad you liked Mistborn too! I keep on looking at the sequels at the shops, but always seem to have something else more important to buy. Will have to rectify that.

Of your list of upcoming releases, it's the David Mitchell and Sarah Waters that are making my hip pocket nerve antsy...

8rainpebble
Jan 3, 2014, 2:12 pm

Happy New Year Bryan & good luck with your 2014 reading challenges. I look forward to following you.

9bryanoz
Jan 4, 2014, 5:43 am

Cheers rainpebble, may you have a great reading year !

2. The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

A Novel 100 read, ranked 75.
Published in 1774 and apparently one of the most successful novels of the 18th century.

In a series of letters, Werther recounts how he meets and falls in love with Charlotte. She is engaged to the serious Albert, but is happy to be friends with Werther. He tries to relieve his torment by moving away for work but returns a year later. Charlotte is now married and asks him to be sensible, but in his desperate state Werther can see only one tragic option.
Rating : ok.

10judylou
Jan 4, 2014, 9:06 pm

Have a great trip Bryan. But the weather is not at its best here in Melbourne unfortunately. A map exhibition is something you could get lost in for hours I think. Enjoy that!

Looking forward to following your reading again this year.

11Eyejaybee
Jan 8, 2014, 6:04 pm

Hi Bryan. Best wishes for the year's reading challenge!

I have just read your list of forthcoming books and can't wait for new works from both David Mitchell AND Murakami. What a year this is going to be!

12bryanoz
Jan 9, 2014, 5:20 am

Thanks judylou and Eyejaybee, it's going to be a great year.

3. The Well of Ascension, by Brandon Sanderson.

2nd in Mistborn series, story and characters develop and deepen, excellent fantasy !

Now onto The Luminaries, promising beginning.

13wookiebender
Jan 9, 2014, 6:07 am

Ooooh goodie, will buy Well of Ascension sooner rather than later!

My (online) bookgroup is happily discussing The Luminaries, I've been ignoring the emails as. Don't have a copy... Yet.

14bryanoz
Jan 15, 2014, 5:37 am

Hi wookie, I'm sure you will enjoy the sequel, I'm keen to get to the third The Hero of Ages in the series, some library books have got in the way.
I very much enjoyed The Luminaries, Catton certainly can tell an engaging tale.

15bryanoz
Jan 15, 2014, 6:25 am

4. Candide, by Voltaire.

Ranked at 80 in The Novel 100, published in1759, a brief 172 pages but quite entertaining read.

Some of these older classics can be fairly dull, ponderous reads (at least to this perhaps undiscerning reader), but not this one.
Candide is a young man cast out from the castle of the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh for being found cuddling the Baron's daughter. He has been taught by an absurdly naive tutor and so flails around the country with much difficulty, meeting all kinds of characters, some helpful, some not.

It seems to me Voltaire had a lot of fun penning this humorous, absurd, and cautionary tale, recommended.
Good read.

16bryanoz
Editado: Jan 17, 2014, 10:26 pm

5. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton.

Booker prize winner, big chunk of a novel at over 800 pages, I'll cheat and use the blurb ;

"It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes......Moody is soon drawn into the mystery : a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky."

This is a detailed,complex novel and Catton does a great job of holding the characters and plot together, and gradually upping the tension. I began a little meh, but was dragged into the story and quickly read the last 200 pages to find out what happened.
I didn't get the emphasis on astology and palnets, but hope that doesn't matter too much.
Great read !

17Eyejaybee
Jan 15, 2014, 9:20 am

Hi Bryanoz. It looks like you have got the year off to a pretty marvellous start.

I shall definitely try Candide on the basis of your reommendation. I am conscious of being lamentably inorant of French literature, though I am reading the Penguin translation of Stendhal's Le Rouge et le Noir at the moment.

18bryanoz
Jan 17, 2014, 10:04 pm

Hi Eyejaybee, hope you find Candide a good read, I didn't find The Red and the Black a particularly stirring read, can't remember why !?

19bryanoz
Jan 17, 2014, 10:53 pm

6. The Human Stain, by Philip Roth.

More cheating :

"It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town an ageing classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would astonish even his most virulent accuser."

Published in 2000, this is an angry story that tears into political correctness, the effects of war, and the frailties of families, with the Clinton - Lewinsky hearings ongoing in the background.

American Pastoral is the other Roth novel I have read and I respect his hard-hitting but honest portrayal of modern American life.
Good read.

20jfetting
Jan 18, 2014, 11:19 am

Oh, Young Werther. I read somewhere that after it was published there was a wave of suicides bc of idiots who idolized and mimicked him. I hope that isn't actually true.

21judylou
Jan 22, 2014, 5:24 pm

I just checked my account and I am now no. 268 on the holds list for The Luminaries. Oh dear.

22bryanoz
Jan 23, 2014, 4:21 am

#20 I heard the same jfetting, could understand it if they had read Clarissa or Finnegans Wake !

#21 It is still worth waiting the 10 years or so for it to get to you !

23bryanoz
Jan 23, 2014, 4:35 pm

7. The Hero of Ages, by Brandon Sanderson.

The finale to the Mistborn trilogy, a satisfying (though not expected) end to a great fantasy series, definitely recommended.

24bryanoz
Jan 25, 2014, 12:01 am

8. Dog Boy, by Eva Hornung.

Recommended by a friend, this is a teen read and a good story.

Four year old Romochka is abandoned in a cold Moscow flat. He follows a stray dog and becomes one of the clan. Caught between human and canine life presents all kinds of challenges.
Very good.

25judylou
Jan 25, 2014, 4:59 am

Loved Dog Boy. While reading it, it felt like it was completely possible.

26bryanoz
Jan 29, 2014, 7:41 am

Cheers judylou !

9. White Teeth, by Zadie Smith.

Just a great story following three families over three generations, witty and humorous, recommended !

27Eyejaybee
Jan 29, 2014, 12:43 pm

Hi Bryan. I loved White Teeth too. I have read her subsequent novels which have been good but they haven't quite had that special feel that she managed with that one. She was only 25 when it was published, which seems amazing.

28bryanoz
Jan 29, 2014, 8:22 pm

Hi Eyejaybee, an incredible achievement for a first novel, her On Beauty is on a list I have somewhere so I'm looking forward to that one.

29bryanoz
Editado: Jan 29, 2014, 8:53 pm

10. Berlin Alexanderplatz, by Alfred Doblin.

This is a Novel 100 read and it took me months to find it. Library had never heard of it, unavailable on Book Depository, could get a 2nd hand hard cover from the US for $90, but managed to find a Kindle copy for $10 !

Ranked 70 in The Novel 100, published in 1929 in Germany, this is partly the story of Franz Biberkopf who has just been released from jail and wants to get on with life, and partly the story of Berlin and its culture, which we encounter through songs, menus, advertisements, etc.

This is one of the 'stream-of-consciousness' type of story which can be brilliant, such as Ulysses, or ho hum, like this one.
This story was not helped by a poor translation, the translator's use of 'blimey' and a host of other colloquial English terms doesn't belong in a German story.
Poor to OK.

30wookiebender
Jan 30, 2014, 5:43 am

Berlin Alexanderplatz is also on the 1001 list. Maybe there's a better translation out there?

31bryanoz
Jan 31, 2014, 12:15 am

wookie there probably is but I couldn't find it, not to worry, onto the next book......

32bryanoz
Jan 31, 2014, 5:33 am

Just found out our book club meeting is this Monday, straight to the local book shop to buy Burial Rites, something to read this weekend !

33wookiebender
Fev 1, 2014, 5:24 am

I think it's probably a rare Australian bookclub to *not* do Burial Rites, I've got to read that for our next meeting too. (But I have a few more weeks to go!)

34bryanoz
Fev 1, 2014, 7:45 pm

Enjoyable read so far !

35bryanoz
Editado: Fev 10, 2014, 9:48 pm

11. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent.

At my Book Club meeting we all agreed this was a great novel - the fascinating subject of Agnes who is condemned to death for murder ; an intriguing setting - 1829 Iceland, which comes to life with Hannah Kent's detailed descriptions and authentic documents ; and the possibility that Agnes is being treated unfairly, with the author's possibly sympathetic portrayal.
Great first novel and heartily recommended.

36judylou
Fev 2, 2014, 2:14 am

I'm glad you liked Burial Rites. It was one of my favourites last year. An incredible story and told beautifully. And White Teeth was one of my favourites in whatever year I read it. Sadly, I agree with eyejaybee that her subsequent novels were not as good.

37bryanoz
Editado: Fev 10, 2014, 10:02 pm

Cheers judylou, I completely agree with you on Burial Rites, a fascinating and touching story.

12. The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller.

Another great read, I wasn't sure that a novel based on Ancient Greek legends would be of any interest to me (also not having read The Iliad or The Odyssey...I know...I know), but not to worry, a brilliant story.
I'll cheat again and use the blurb :

"Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to Phthia to live in the shadow of King Peleus and his strong, beautiful son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend....Then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped."

Won the Women's Award in 2012, highly recommended.

38wookiebender
Fev 2, 2014, 6:45 am

Oh, you are reading some great books here!

39bryanoz
Fev 10, 2014, 7:52 pm

Thanks judylou and wookie, if only the reviews were as easy as the reading !

40bryanoz
Editado: Fev 10, 2014, 10:35 pm

13. U.S.A., by John Dos Passos.

Ranked at 72 by The Novel 100, at 1184 pages U.S.A. is a sizable and serious read.
Published 1930-38 and originally comprised of 3 separate novels, Passos has attempted to portray American life during the first three decades of the 20th century.
He does this by alternating between 'Newsreel' headline sections, 'Camera Eye' which are the authors own spontaneous observations, and following the lives and loves of a multitude of characters, many of whom intersect.
This approach creates a disjointed, jumbled, confused experience, which I presume was the author's view of this period in American history.
Although I found the News headlines and Camera Eye sections ok, I did enjoy Passos' portrayal of various characters, both fictional and biographical - including Henry Ford, Rudolph Valentino, Isadora Duncan, and many others.
I recommend this one for readers of 'serious fiction', there are rewards for those prepared to tackle this chunk of a novel.

41bryanoz
Fev 12, 2014, 4:31 pm

14. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley.

Latest in the Flavia De Luce series (6 books so far, more to come), and in true Bradley style he adds just a little tantalising information to Flavia's story.

Almost everyone who first encountered this daring 11 year old sleuth/chemist in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie will have devoured the sequels, and have read/ be ready to read Arches.

Those who haven't, find a copy of Sweetness as soon as possible and become entranced by the humour and mystery of Flavia !

42bryanoz
Editado: Fev 22, 2014, 5:02 am

15. The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht.

Left this review too long to remember too much detail, it was an ok read.
Two streams to this novel, a modern one by the narrator, not that interesting to me ; and her grandfather's childhood years, the characters the 'deathless man' and the 'tiger's wife' much more engaging.
Won the Women's Prize in 2011, an OK read.

43wookiebender
Fev 18, 2014, 7:24 am

Well, I do hope you liked The Tiger's Wife more than I did, I was quite disappointed in that one.

44jfetting
Fev 18, 2014, 10:16 am

I really liked the "Newsreel" sections of U.S.A. and agree that the characters were well-done. I'm never going to read it again, but I'm glad I did once.

45judylou
Fev 18, 2014, 7:14 pm

I agree with wookie on this one.

46Eyejaybee
Fev 19, 2014, 2:08 am

So do I. There was a lot of media hype surrounding The Tiger's Wife after it won the Orange Prize, but I found it stultifyingly ordinary.

47bryanoz
Fev 28, 2014, 4:26 am

16. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel.

Both Wolf Hall and this novel are very readable accounts of Thomas Cromwell and his manipulations for Henry VIII.
Not my preferred genre but ok read. Won Booker Prize 2012.

48wookiebender
Fev 28, 2014, 7:27 am

I did love Wolf Hall, am yet to read Bring Up the Bodies, but I won't let your lukewarm enthusiasm dissuade me. :) I'll let its size do that. :(

49bryanoz
Fev 28, 2014, 4:01 pm

wookie I was lukewarm about Wolf Hall as well, just not my thing, so you'll love Bodies as well, as for size there are plenty of bigger books lurking.....

50bryanoz
Mar 1, 2014, 10:29 pm

17. The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion.

Easy, humorous read, more thorough review to follow (maybe).

52bryanoz
Mar 9, 2014, 8:56 pm

54bryanoz
Mar 17, 2014, 7:28 am

55bryanoz
Mar 25, 2014, 2:31 am

23. Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper.

Ranked 96 by The Novel 100, not sure why as I found the story quite uninteresting.

56bryanoz
Mar 26, 2014, 9:08 pm

24. The Death of Artemio Cruz, by Carlos Fuentes.

71 year old Artemio Cruz regains consciousness in hospital, and has to come to terms with his imminent demise.
He reflects back on his life, as a rebel in the Mexican revolution, his success as a businessman, his loves and losses.
Ranked 78 in The Novel 100, I found this novel an ok read.

My recent classic novel reading has been decidely underwhelming, so am changing tack for a while, A Prayer For Owen Meany is next and then a nice big fantasy.

57bryanoz
Mar 30, 2014, 1:32 am

25. The People Smuggler, by Robin De Crespigny.

My book club read, the author has interviewed Ali Al Jenabi, who chronicles the persecution that he, his family and thousands of Iraqis suffer at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Ali eventually gets to Indonesia and takes on the task of getting the fleeing Iraqis to Australia.
For us Australians who have been hearing for years how greedy and evil the people smugglers are, this is an enlightening account that presents an alternative view.

58bryanoz
Mar 30, 2014, 1:33 am

26. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving.

Positive review to follow.

59wookiebender
Mar 30, 2014, 6:56 am

I'll have to check out The People Smuggler, we've definitely been getting just one narrow point of view about refugees from the media and the government. (if the government actually allows us to hear anything, can't believe we have to get our news from overseas media.)

60bryanoz
Abr 3, 2014, 5:42 am

It is a worthwhile read wookie, I agree with your comments.

27. The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson.

First volume of 'The Stormlight Archive', and a significant start at 1258 pages. Fortunately I haven't worked for 4 days (not fortunate for the bank balance, but it is only $) so have been able to devote some serious reading time, and once I got into the saga I didn't want to stop. More comments to follow.

61bryanoz
Abr 10, 2014, 6:43 pm

62judylou
Abr 13, 2014, 2:46 am

I too was unimpressed with WOlf Hall, leaving it halfway through. So I don't think I'll read Bring up the Bodies either. However, I remain interested in The People Smuggler. One day I hope to read it.

63bryanoz
Editado: Abr 17, 2014, 8:22 am

It carries an important message judylou, hope you get to it.

29. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo.

Read this sizable classic because it is ranked 97 in The Novel 100, and having been underwhelmed by most of my recent 100 reads I will admit I wasn't that keen.

Well I should have read this wonderful story a long time ago because it embodies the meaning of a classic (in my opinion); a very readable story that encompasses the human experience - tragedy, hope, luck, sacrifice, courage, despair, challenge, love - that traps the reader, challenges them, and changes them.

I won't go into the story or characters, just put some time aside and read this classic novel.

A further observation, how can this great novel be ranked only 97 in The Novel 100 ?

64bryanoz
Abr 17, 2014, 7:52 am

30. Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart.

Cheating again...'In a very near future (oh, let's say next Tuesday), a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse--crushed by a credit crisis,..... But don't tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, the thirty-nine-year -old owner of a bald spot shaped like the great state of Ohio. Lenny's from a different century-he totally loves books (known as "printed, bound media artifacts"), but even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel twenty-four-year-old Korean American college graduate with a major in Images and a Minor in Assertiveness."

An amusing satire on our modern lives, must read another of Shteyngart's novels, perhaps Absurdistan.

65bryanoz
Editado: Maio 4, 2014, 12:43 am

31. Eyrie, by Tim Winton.

First I am not a Tim Winton fan, I enjoyed Cloudstreet, but not Dirt Music or Breathe, two of his more recent acclaimed novels.
Eyrie being a major Australian book release I dithered and then reserved it at my local library.
Unfortunately after the read my unwintoness continues, I couldn't get past the crappy language, unappealing characters, and the ambiguous ending.
The story is set in Winton's native Fremantle and he paints such a sordid, dirty, nasty picture of Freo that I am sure he won't be getting a Xmas card from their tourism people !

66judylou
Abr 18, 2014, 2:44 am

Uh oh. A negative review for Winton? That's surely UNAustralian!!

67bryanoz
Editado: Maio 4, 2014, 12:49 am

32. 2666, by Roberto Bolano.

This is a big, sometimes dark and disturbing read, and I am not sure if I enjoyed it !?

I did enjoy how the seemingly disparate sections came together, particularly the final book where we find out about Benno von Archimboldi.
But didn't enjoy 'The Part About the Crimes' where one wades through details of the murders of hundreds of young women with apparently little being done to solve the crimes, I presume this highlights Bolano's concerns with crime and justice in Latin America.
Might give the movie a miss....

68bryanoz
Editado: Maio 4, 2014, 12:50 am

33. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Enjoyed this humorous and honest account of the author's travels.

69bryanoz
Editado: Maio 4, 2014, 12:53 am

34. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck.

Read this because my niece is studying it for year 11, brief at 106 pages but intense story of two men trying to get ahead in the Depression, ultimately to no avail.

70bryanoz
Maio 4, 2014, 12:19 am

35. No Time To Lose, by Pema Chodron.

This is Pema's guide to The Way of the Bodhisattva, an 8th century Tibetan Buddhist classic.
Basic but motivating.

71bryanoz
Maio 4, 2014, 12:31 am

36. The Last Chronicle of Barset, by Anthony Trollope.

Published in 1866 and ranked 82 in The Novel 100, and deservedly so. I enjoyed this thoughtful, relaxed visit to Barsetshire and its inhabitants. Trollope was a contemporary of Dickens and Eliot and although less widely known this work happily sits in the same company.
The final volume of five in the Chronicles of Barsetshire, this is the first Trollope I have read and presume it would have been even better to have read the first four books first, I'll get to them someday.

72bryanoz
Maio 5, 2014, 7:05 pm

37. An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine.

Not sure where I got the recommendation for this novel, but it is an enjoyable read .... blurb

"Asaliya lives alone in her Beirut apartment, assault rifle at the ready and surrounded by her books-books she has collected over a lifetime, books she meticulously translates into Arabic. Each year, on the first of January, she begins a new work. And once it is finished she packs it away tenderly and ceremoniously, never to be read. Now, an unimaginable disaster threatens all she holds dear."

Many thoughtful comments on life and literature, an absorbing read.

73bryanoz
Maio 12, 2014, 5:14 am

38. Solar, by Ian McEwan.

Ok read, won the Wodehouse -Bollinger Award for best humorous novel, not sure why.....

74Eyejaybee
Maio 12, 2014, 6:55 am

Hi Bryan.
I remember being very surprised by that award, too. I enjoyed the book but it certainly didn't come close to being side-splittingly funny.

75bryanoz
Maio 15, 2014, 3:07 am

Hi Eyejaybee, I came across the award when Terry Pratchett's Snuff won it in 2012, but Zoo Time, Super Sad True Love Story, and now Solar are not in Terry's league IMO.
May give the others a miss, cheers !

76jfetting
Maio 15, 2014, 8:19 pm

Oh, you should read the rest of the Barset novels. I loved them - I'm not sure I would have cried during Last Chronicle if I hadn't started way back with The Warden (I am a Mr. Harding fan).

I think there are six total, though, not five.

77bryanoz
Maio 18, 2014, 8:59 am

Thanks, yes I'll read them, not sure when though....

78bryanoz
Maio 18, 2014, 10:42 pm

39. Under The Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry.

Published in 1947, and ranked by The Novel 100 as the 89th best novel ever, this is the story of Geoffrey Firman's last day. It happens to be the Day of the Dead, November 1938 in Mexico and Geoffrey is attempting to drink himself to death, when his exwife arrives to attempt to rekindle the past.
A novel that apparently has a cult following, I don't know why as I found it a difficult and unrewarding read.

79bryanoz
Maio 19, 2014, 7:43 am

Just realized am behind in my book recording...

40. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin.

Published 1899, ranked as the 83rd best novel ever by The Novel 100 and apparently very controversial at the time. Edna is an American wife with the ideal life/husband/family, but she awakens to value being free of any traditional roles, with much angst from those directly effected.
Ok read.

80bryanoz
Maio 19, 2014, 7:59 am

41. The Tournament, by Matthew Reilly.

Read this for book club and I wasn't impressed to have a Matthew Reilly book to read in a kind of serious book club. My apologies to Jenny who suggested it and to Matthew, because this was a good read !
Blurb...

The year is 1546. Suleiman the Magnificent the powerful and feared sultan of the Ottoman Empire, issues an invitation to every king in Europe:

"You are invited to send your finest player to compete in a chess tournament to determine the champion of the known world."

The English delegation - lead by esteemed scholar Roger Ascham - journeys to the glittering city of Constantinople. Accompanying Ascham is his pupil Bess, who is about to bear witness to events she never thought possible. (Bess happens to be in line for the throne and this journey plays an important role in the history of Europe - read to find out how !).

A historical page turner (and not for younger Reilly fans with plenty of sauciness) which works admirably and you don't need to know anything about chess to enjoy it, recommended for an entertaining, escapist read.

81bryanoz
Maio 19, 2014, 8:00 am

42. Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift.

Review soon.

82ronincats
Maio 21, 2014, 4:52 pm

I have most of those Sanderson books lined up waiting for me to get to him. I read Elantris last year.

I've been reading the Flavia books from the library and you remind me that I need to order the next one from there.

83bryanoz
Jun 7, 2014, 7:17 pm

Cheers ronincats, the new Flavia is certainly worth chasing up.

Bit behind with posting books...

43. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBride.

84bryanoz
Jun 8, 2014, 1:02 am

44. The Authentic Life, by Ezra Bayda.

85bryanoz
Jun 8, 2014, 1:03 am

45. The Alloy of Law, by Brandon Sanderson.

86wookiebender
Jun 8, 2014, 6:54 am

Looking forward to the reviews, especially after A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing's Bailey Prize win last week.

87bryanoz
Jun 17, 2014, 7:15 am

Must get onto those reviews...

46. We Need New Names, by Noviolet Bulawayo.

88bryanoz
Jul 11, 2014, 10:26 pm

Really must get to any reviews !

47. The Sleepwalkers, by Hermann Broch.

48. Night Games, by Anna Krien.

49. Change Your Mind, Change Your Life, by Gerald Jampolsky.

50. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.

89wookiebender
Jul 13, 2014, 7:13 am

Congratulations on reaching the halfway point!

90bryanoz
Jul 14, 2014, 7:49 pm

Thanks wookie, I'm about to finish my 61st read, just slow at posting them, hope all is good with you, your family and your reading !

91bryanoz
Jul 26, 2014, 3:15 am

Falling way behind..

51. Call It Sleep, by Henry Roth, 85th in The Novel 100, ok read.

52. Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout, won Pulitzer in 2009, ok read.

53. Alcatraz, by Brandon Sanderson, compilation of his teen books, good fun !

54. Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe, 108th in The Novel 100, ok read.

55. Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson, 2nd and latest in Sanderson's projected 10 volume
epic fantasy series 'The Stormlight Archives', going to be a great series and Sando is a prolific writer so no waiting 5 or more years for the next instalment !

92bryanoz
Editado: Jul 26, 2014, 3:31 am

56. The Castle, by Franz Kafka, typical absurd, uneasy Kafkaish story, interesting.

57. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, by Douglas Adams, ok read.

58. The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, read this many times, great spiritual read.

59. Waverley, by Walter Scott, 86th in The Novel 100, ok.

60. The Year of Reading Dangerously, by Andy Miller, humorous look at Miller's decision to read 50 great books in a year, enjoyable.

93wookiebender
Jul 26, 2014, 9:14 pm

#55 I do agree, it's wonderful having a writer who doesn't leave you hanging for years for the next installment!

94bryanoz
Jul 27, 2014, 7:14 pm

Then we don't want them to rush the book either !?
Luckily there will be some great books to come this year from David Mitchell, Sarah Waters, Sir Terry, Clive Barker, Garth Nix-new Abhorsen book !, Justin Cronin, and Haruki Murakami - cheers wookie !

95bryanoz
Jul 28, 2014, 7:01 am

61. Home, by Marilynn Robinson, won Women's Prize in 2009, ok, preferred Gilead.

62. Happy For No Reason, by Marci Shimoff, self-help, ok.

63. Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell, his first novel, good.

64. Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart, enjoyable and humorous fantasy about ancient China.

65. Notes From Underground/The Double, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, interesting.

96bryanoz
Jul 28, 2014, 7:07 am

66. Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson.

His first published novel, and unusually for the fantasy genre a stand-alone novel.
From Library Journal :
'The author's skill at turning conventional fantasy on it's head produces a tale filled with surprising twists and turns and a conclusion both satisfying and original', and I agree !

97jfetting
Jul 28, 2014, 6:20 pm

Which was interesting? Notes from Underground or The Double or both? And I am super excited about the new Murakami novel. And the Cronin book. And the Mitchell book... I need to start saving money!

98bryanoz
Jul 29, 2014, 7:55 am

Fair question jfetting, describing Dostoyevsky as 'interesting' is a bit of a cop-out.

Notes from Underground is a short novel where the narrator attacks the philosophy, politics, and just about everything else in early 1800 Russia. The story and narrator didn't grab me, it was ok.

The Double, apparently not well received at the time, was about a government clerk who meets his exact double and looks on exasperatingly as the double pushes him out of his own life, enjoyed this one !

Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is released here (Australia) on August 12 !!

99jfetting
Jul 29, 2014, 8:30 am

I really enjoyed The Double too and while I am not a huge fan of Notes from Underground, that is in part because I'm pretty sure I don't understand it.

100bryanoz
Jul 29, 2014, 8:53 am

Probably the same with me, although I really rate his Crime and Punishment and The Idiot.

101bryanoz
Ago 8, 2014, 5:55 am

Some more reading with brief reviews...

67. Oblomov, by Ivan Goncharov.

Published 1859, ranked 87 by The Novel 100, an enjoyable novel about Ilya Oblomov, too lazy to get out of bed until the love of a young lady stirs him into action.

68. Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson.

Ranked 7 in 'The 21 Books from the 21st Century Everyman Should Read', the story of Skip Sands, a CIA spy in South-East Asia during the Vietnam War, an ok read.

69. The Diamond in Your Pocket, by Gangaji, reread and excellent spiritual work.

70. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan.

Enjoyed this confronting but sensitively written novel about the life of Dorrigo Evans, his early life in prewar Australia, his struggles in a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, and afterwards.

102bryanoz
Set 2, 2014, 6:21 am

71. The Shadow Year, by Jeffrey Ford.

Quite a good, teenish read about a strange year in a boy's life where people are mysteriously disappearing and it seems his younger sister has a psychic connection to the townspeople's movements. Page-turner.

72. Tigers On The Beach, by Doug MacLeod.

Another teen read, Doug is apparently getting over the difficulties his stroke caused because this funny, wise novel - in the Siggy and Amber tradition - is a good read !

73. I Am That, by Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Famous collection of talks from this simple, spiritual, and somewhat crazy (!) Indian teacher.
Recommended for those on a spiritual path.

74. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner.

Somewhat more readable than the other Faulkners I have read - what was Absalom, Absalom ! about ??-
as the Missisippi Bundren family try to bury the family matriarch according to her wishes.

103bryanoz
Set 14, 2014, 5:31 am

Another infrequent update, hope everyone's reading is going well...

75. All the Birds, Singing, by Evie Wyld.

"Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the story of how one woman's present comes from a terrible past. Miles Franklin winner, ok read.

76. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami.

Lacks the scope of 1Q84 but still an offbeat and engaging story in the true Murakami way.

77. Native Son, by Richard Wright.

Ranked 100 in The Novel 100 and deservedly so, this is a powerful tale of a black American youth Bigger Thomas, living in abject poverty in 1930s Chicago. He gets an opportunity to pull himself and his family out of the mire, but tragedy almost inevitably follows, great read.

78. The Wonder of Presence, by Toni Packer.

Toni's talks on meditative enquiry are deep and inspiring.

79. Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow, by Peter Hoeg.

Interesting info on Norway and Greenland but somehow the story left me behind.

104bryanoz
Editado: Set 25, 2014, 7:53 am

80. Thud, by Terry Pratchett.

Reread and great fun as the City Watch try to keep the dwarves and trolls from killing each other. There is a moral here for all of us.

81. Life Ahead, by J.Krishnamurti.

Talks given to school students by this great spiritual teacher, importantly telling kids to question everything and pursue their passion.

82. The Long Mars, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

Suspect this series is mainly written by Baxter as it lacks much of the Pratchett sparkle, will read the rest in the series but nowhere as good as Discworld.

105bryanoz
Set 29, 2014, 7:59 pm

83. A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov.

Published in 1840 and ranked 106 in The Novel 100, this is the story of Grigory Pechorin who interestingly is hardly a hero, rather selfish and manipulative.
A forerunner to the Great Russian Novel and at 208 pages an easy and reasonable read.

106bryanoz
Out 13, 2014, 4:58 am

84. Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson.

Another Sanderson fantasy, this one is stand-alone, uses breath and colour as magic, sister princesses, gods, and a very interesting and bloodthirsty sword, great read.

85. The Last Thread, by Michael Sala.

A book club read about a Dutch boy whose family migrate to Australia and then back, and then back again, not feeling at home in either country. Ok.

86. A Very Unusual Pursuit, by Catherine Jinks.

"Monsters have been infesting London's dark places for centuries, eating every child who gets close. That's why ten-year-old Birdie McAdam works for Alfred Bunce, the bogler. With her beautiful voice and dainty looks, Birdie is the bait that draws bogles from their lairs so that Alfred can kill them".
Great story, suitable for upper primary and older, first in a trilogy.

107bryanoz
Out 13, 2014, 5:26 am

Some more...

87. The Road Home, by Rose Tremain.

88. Love For No Reason, by Marci Shimoff.

89. The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni, ranked 94 in The Novel 100, good read.

90. Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak, ranked 99 in The Novel 100, ok.

108bryanoz
Editado: Nov 15, 2014, 8:44 pm

91. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, by Wells Tower. Short stories, reasonably interesting.

92. The Bone Clocks,by David Mitchell. Quite an engaging read, took me a while to work what was behind it all, still not sure !?

93. The Awakening of Intelligence, by Jiddu Krishnamurti, collection of his talks about all things spiritual, now to put it into practice.

94. The Leopard, by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa.

95. Wintersmith, by Terry Pratchett, reread, Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegles are brilliant !

Am up to 105 reads for the year, just slow posting...

109wookiebender
Nov 16, 2014, 4:46 am

Congratulations on reaching - and exceeding! - 100 books already!

I thought The Leopard was fascinating, I hope you liked it too. And I'm looking forward to The Bone Clocks, it's been a while since I've read anything by David Mitchell.

110jfetting
Nov 16, 2014, 8:28 pm

Ok? You only rate Doctor Zhivago ok, and then don't elaborate? Shaking my head...

Great reading, as always. Congrats on hitting 100! With substantial books, too. I'm only going to make it if I read a bunch of Dr. Seuss.

111wookiebender
Nov 17, 2014, 5:51 am

Can we count Dr Seuss?? Damn, I'm changing my reading plan! :)

112bryanoz
Nov 22, 2014, 5:03 am

#110 Thanks jfetting and sorry to confound you, I thought Dr Zhivago was an ok story without understanding why it is so highly rated by many. Obviously I am tending not to write much in the way of reviews, I seem to start keen in January and then wither through the year.

#111 Many Dr Suess books would be much better reads than some of mine this year wookie so go for it !

113bryanoz
Nov 22, 2014, 5:22 am

96. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. Enjoyed this 18th century mystery, ranked 116 in The Novel 100 and deserves to be in there.

97. A Slip of the Keyboard,by Terry Pratchett. A collection of Terry's nonfiction articles and reviews, with observations on the fantasy genre, his fans, his illness and approaching mortality, that span his writing career.
Great read but Pratchettphiles will already have read this.

98. The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. Published in 1920 and set in New York in the 1870s, Newland Archer is keen to marry the desirable May. But the appearance of May's cousin Ellen after a scandalous separation from her husband causes Newland to question both society's expectations and his own future.

114wookiebender
Nov 25, 2014, 5:43 am

Um, how does something get to be #116 on a list of 100? :)

115bryanoz
Nov 28, 2014, 6:46 pm

Hi wookie, the first edition had 100 novels, he expanded the second edition to 125.

That's partly why I am head down finishing the list in case he expands it again and I never finish !?

He also has 'A Second Hundred - Honorable Mentions' of which I have only read 16, so this list sickness continues !

116wookiebender
Editado: Nov 28, 2014, 9:10 pm

I understand, I was quite addicted to the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, and that went through several revisions. I'm never going to get to the end of it all!

117bryanoz
Nov 29, 2014, 6:37 pm

The 1001 books is a big challenge for sure. I have the app on my ipad that tells me I am 20% through the complete list of 1305 books, and 28.9% on the essential list which I think is those books that have been listed in every edition.
The app has the question "Am I on target to read this list before I die ?" and answers " Yes", which I find comforting !?

118wookiebender
Nov 30, 2014, 9:44 pm

I have that app too, and I'm on target for the "essential" list, but not for the full list. And considering I haven't read a "1001" title in the longest time, I may not be on target anymore!!

119bryanoz
Dez 3, 2014, 1:29 am

Lists, targets, goals ???? What have we become ? Lets just enjoy a good read and share it with friends.

Now onto my list...

99. Clariel, by Garth Nix, a 600 year prequel to Sabriel, a good read but I had forgotten much of the Old Kingdom series, those with better memories may get more from the story.

100. Dom Casmurro, by Machado de Assis, a Brazilian classic, the narrator Bento is outraged when he finds his wife and best friend have been cheating on him, and his son is not his own. However Bento is quite paranoid so we don't know what really happened. An interesting story, number 105 in The Novel 100.

101. Throwim Way Leg, by Tim Flannery, a book club read and recount of the author's travels in Papua New Guinea, searching for mammals, fossils, and learning about the native culture. For natural history readers but quite readable for the rest of us.

102. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh, 1945 novel in which the narrator Charles Ryder, while at University befriends the eccentric Sebastian Flyte. They both struggle with their lives, Sebastian with alcohol and Charles with love. An ok novel that didn't grab me. Ranked 111 in The Novel 100.

120Helenliz
Dez 3, 2014, 1:31 am

well done on reaching 100!

121wookiebender
Dez 3, 2014, 5:41 am

>119 bryanoz: Regardless, I'm going to congratulate you on reaching your 100 goal. :)

122bryanoz
Dez 7, 2014, 5:43 am

Thanks wookie !

103. Prince of Fools, by Mark Lawrence, enjoyed this fantasy of the anti-hero Prince Jallan (only interested in sweet women and soft living) and his protector the Viking Snorri. First of a trilogy and I will read the others when they are published.

104. The Good Soldier Svejk, by Jaroslav Hasek, published in 1921, this satirical novel follows the "feebleminded" and bumbling Svejk, who when the First World War breaks finds himself in the Austrian Army.
Good read !

105. Dragons at Crumbling Castle, by Terry Pratchett, a collection of his earliest stories, for younger readers but Pratchett fans will enjoy this and will have already read it.

123bryanoz
Dez 7, 2014, 6:29 pm

106. Memories of Ice, by Steven Erikson

Third book in 'The Malazan Books of the Fallen' and a big epic read. As with Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates the reader is dropped into the story and swept along working out what is happening and thoroughly enjoying the ride.
Amidst other plots an uneasy alliance between the Bridgeburners and Dujek Onearm's Host and others, must defend the city of Capustan against a terrifying Pannion Domin force that devours any one they can.
A vast number of characters and alliances made this story confusing at times but I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the epic battles, the humour and the questions raised.
The Barghast warrior Hetan is a new favourite character of mine ;"I enjoy killing and riding men and little else", and her cavorting with Kruppe was a particular highlight.

124bryanoz
Dez 8, 2014, 5:51 am

107. A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle, read this many times, always find something new and valuable.

108. The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov, published in 1969, seems to be about the Devil and his human sized black cat assistant visiting 1930s Russia and generally causing confusion and mischief.

125wookiebender
Dez 17, 2014, 12:32 am

Oh, I'm eyeing off Dragons at Crumbling Castle for Miss Boo for Xmas, but am horrified by the price tag ($35!!!). Still, it is Xmas, and I think she'd love it...

126bryanoz
Dez 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

It is expensive wookie but it is great fun ! And turning readers onto Sir Terry is worth it at almost any price !

109. The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters, her new novel and thoroughly enjoyable !

110. Manon Lescaut, by Abbe Prevost, 1731 classic and controversial love story where the young Chevalier and Manon dare to run away and live together though not married, ok read.

111. Some Prefer Nettles, by Junichiro Tanizaki, 1929 Japanese novel where the married Kaname and Misako are drifting apart and divorce is nigh. Japan's struggle between tradition and the pervading Western influence is highlighted in this story. Ok read.

112. A Bend in the River, by V.S. Naipaul, 1979 novel set somewhere in the heart of Africa after independence. Salim, a shopkeeper, observes the many changes that come, many destructive. Ok read.

127bryanoz
Dez 19, 2014, 4:55 am

113. Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence, enjoyed his more recent Prince of Fools, but not this one so much, won't worry about the rest of the series.

114. Cold Nights, by Pa Chin, published 1947 and concerns the drastic effects of war on civilians, particularly Chinese people caught up in the Sino-Japanese war, ok read.

128bryanoz
Dez 19, 2014, 5:16 pm

115. Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks.

A bookclub reread for me and a powerful story of love and the horrors of the 'Great War', recommended !

129bryanoz
Dez 19, 2014, 5:25 pm

116. Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.

Wasn't looking forward to this but was pleasantly surprised. If you are one of the few who haven't read this famous American classic there is much more than the well known romance between Scarlet and Rhett.
Mitchell questions the roles of men and women, slavery, the horrors of war, and much else.
Scarlet is a strong woman who is faced with many challenges and doesn't sit back and wait for a man to take charge, certainly not the prevailing view of the times.

This completes my 'Novel 100 challenge' and given it has taken me some years and many wonderful hours of reading the classics (and some frustrating hours of reading some crappy novels as well !?), there is a bottle of my favourite Sav Blanc chilling in the fridge !

130bryanoz
Dez 21, 2014, 6:59 am

117. Tales From The Half-Continent, by D M Cornish, latest instalment from the excellent fantasy Monster Blood Tattoo series, just 2 short stories but good to be back in the Half-Continent world.

118. Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Orange Prize winner 2007, following people's experiences in the Biafran War, ok read.

119. Nation, by Terry Pratchett, reread and another thoughtful and humorous story, not on the discworld this time but based on a Pacific Island. In an interview I read recently Terry claims Nation is his best novel, not sure about that but great read !

120. Reflections on Silver River, by Ken McLeod, translation and comments on the Tibetan Buddhist 'Thirty-Seven Pratices of a Bodhisattva', an insightful read for those into spiritual matters.

131bryanoz
Dez 21, 2014, 4:58 pm

121. "Shouldn't You Be In School?", by Lemony Snicket.

3rd in the All The Wrong Questions series and great fun as Lemony and friends try to stop the vicious Hangfire from destroying Stained-by-the-Sea.

132wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 11:31 pm

Oh, it's been years since I read Gone With The Wind, glad you enjoyed it. And congratulations on finishing your 'Novel 100' challenge! (A bottle of nicely chilled Sav Blanc sounds like a great way to celebrate, too!)

133bryanoz
Dez 28, 2014, 10:04 pm

Thanks wookie, the challenge has taken me some years, but well worth it. We enjoy a nice Sav Blanc are pondering a NZ Marlborough Valley wine tour sometime soon !

122. Demons, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Also known as The Devils and The Possessed, published in 1872, this novel seems to be a commentary on the radicals versus conservatives in political Russia. This is no Crime and Punishment, I found it a rambling, confusing read.

134SouthernBluestocking
Dez 29, 2014, 11:04 am

Congrats on completion! Love so much of what you've read lately (The Woman in White, The Age of Innocence, The Paying Guests)--adding others to my list. I'm intrigued by this 100 books app--sounds like the sort of thing that might drive me right around the bend!

135jfetting
Dez 29, 2014, 11:09 am

Congrats on finishing the Novel 100 challenge! Are you going to read the runner-up list too?

136bryanoz
Dez 29, 2014, 7:05 pm

SouthernBluestocking - thanks, there has been some great reads, The Novel 100 isn't an app, it is a book I came across years ago at my library, then the trouble started...

Thanks jfetting, I have been trying to ignore his Second Hundred (Honorable Mentions), I have read only 16 of them and after a little more determination not to have anything to do with lists no doubt I will !

137bryanoz
Editado: Dez 30, 2014, 12:37 am

123. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North.

"No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.
Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August", she says. "I need to send a message."
Harry finds there are others with his ability who will erase him or anyone else who gets in the way of their future plans.
An intriguing story.

138bryanoz
Dez 31, 2014, 5:32 am

124. Making Money, by Terry Pratchett.

"It's an offer you can't refuse. Who would not wish to be the man in charge of Ankh-Morpork's Royal Mint and the bank next door ?
It's a job for life. But, as former conman Moist von Lipwig is learning, life is not necessarily for long."

Reread for me, Terry's books are always a joy to read, and can be read and enjoyed many times.

That's my reading finished for 2014, happy with 124 books at an average of 429 pages, and my Novel 100 challenge complete.

Hope we all have a great 2015 with plenty of good reads, cheers !

140wookiebender
Dez 31, 2014, 7:21 pm

Adding some books to my wishlist... Happy New Year!