gypsysmom's 1001 list

Discussão1001 Books to read before you die

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gypsysmom's 1001 list

1gypsysmom
Editado: Ago 2, 2015, 2:44pm

I decided instead of just lurking on this group I really should post my list. I'm using the combined list and I have read 224. I tend to read contemporary books more than books from the list so I just try to make it through 10 a year. I know, I'll never read all of them before I die as I am 61 now and even if I lived to 100 that would only add 390 to the list. I really just try to use the list as ways to find good books that I think I should have read.

I will post separately for the books I've read from each century.

2gypsysmom
Editado: Set 11, 2018, 5:51pm

2000s (updated September 2018)
The Lambs of London
Half of a Yellow Sun
The White Tiger
The Blind Assassin (possibly one of my favourite Margaret Atwood books)
The Sea
The Children's Book
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Inheritance of Loss
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
City of God
The Red Queen
The Gathering
Middlesex
The Marriage Plot
The Corrections
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Carry Me Down
Never Let Me Go
The Namesake
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
H is for Hawk
The Life of Pi
Atonement
Saturday
Family Matters
Cloud Atlas (just read this last year and was blown away by it)
Kafka on the Shore
Suite Francaise
In the Forest
At Swim, Two Boys
Unless
The Goldfinch
Fingersmith

34 in all

3gypsysmom
Editado: Set 11, 2018, 6:15pm

1900s
Arrow of God
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Of Love and Shadows
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Foundation
I, Robot
Alias Grace (this would be my other choice for favourite Atwood)
The Handmaid's Tale
Surfacing
The Robber Bride
Cat's Eye
Silk
The Ghost Road
Regeneration
Another World
The Floating Opera
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
Humboldt's Gift
The Thirty-Nine Steps
A Clockwork Orange
Possession (one of my favourite books of all time)
Oscar and Lucinda
The Long Goodbye (listened to this a short while ago and was not impressed)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
2001: A Space Odyssey
Disgrace
Waiting for the Barbarians
Nostromo
The Heart of Darkness
The Hours
Fifth Business (reread this a month ago and got much more out of it this time than I did when I was young)
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Out of Africa
Ragtime
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Rebecca
Foucault's Pendulum
The Name of the Rose
Love Medicine
Like Water for Chocolate
Troubles
The Wars
The Great Gatsby
Casino Royale
Howard's End
Where Angels Fear to Tread
The French Lieutenant's Woman
The Magus
The Collector
The Forsyte Saga
Love in the Time of Cholera
Neuromancer
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Lord of the Flies
July's People (really great book set in South Africa)
The Tin Drum (could not really understand why this book is so admired)
The Heart of the Matter
Stranger in a Strange Land (this book profoundly affected me when I read it in my teens)
Catch-22
Brave New World
The World According to Garp
The Cider House Rules
Goodbye to Berlin
Remains of the Day
Fear of Flying
Ulysses
Confederacy of Dunces
On the Road
Sometimes a Great Notion
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Poisonwood Bible
Kim
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Diviners
Lady Chatterly's Lover
Smiley's People
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Dispossessed
To Kill a Mockingbird
Get Shorty
The Golden Notebook
Pippi Longstocking
The Call of the Wild
Fall on Your Knees (there is no doubt this is a well-written book but the subject chilled me)
Midaq Alley
The Razor's Edge
Of Human Bondage
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Enduring Love
Amsterdam
The Day of the Dolphin
Fugitive Pieces
A Fine Balance (terrific book set in India)
Gone with the Wind
Beloved
The Bluest Eye
Lives of Girls and Women (Munro is one of the finest writers of short fiction)
Under the Net
A Bend in the River
The English Patient
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Animal Farm
Doctor Zhivago
Cry, the Beloved Country
The Dumas Club
The Bell Jar
The Shipping News
The Godfather
All Quiet on the Western Front
Interview with the Vampire (I don't like vampire fiction)
Portnoy's Complaint
American Pastoral
The Tin Flute
Contact
The Little Prince
Franny and Zoey
The Catcher in the Rye
Murder must Advertise
Requiem for a Dream
The Stone Diaries
A Town Like Alice (great book set in Australia)
The Jungle (chilling book about the meat trade)
Cancer Ward
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck was a master)
Of Mice and Men
The Secret History
The Lord of the Rings
The Hobbit
Rabbit is Rich
Rabbit Redux
Rabbit, Run
Myra Breckenridge
Slaughterhouse Five
Breakfast of Champions
Cat's Cradle
The Color Purple
Brideshead Revisited
The Graduate
Harriet Hume
The Age of Innocence
Ethan Frome (the best Wharton IMHO)
The House of Mirth
The Once and Future King (great retelling of the Arthurian legend)
Oranges are not the Only Fruit
The Bonfire of the Vanities
The Voyage Out
Chocky
The Midwich Cuckoos
Day of the Triffids

154 in total. You will notice that I have read virtually all of the speculative fiction on this list; a result of my misspent youth devouring science fiction.

4M1nks
Ago 2, 2015, 2:33pm

It's certainly unusual to see a list that doesn't have any of the earlier works on it; no Austen, and no Dickens. I was the complete opposite really but I've managed to fill a few of my more glaring gaps already.

Welcome aboard.

5gypsysmom
Editado: Set 11, 2018, 7:29pm

1800s
Little Women
Emma
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Persuasion
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Agnes Grey
Jane Eyre
Shirley
Wuthering Heights
Alice's Adventure in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
The Awakening
The Moonstone
Woman in White
A Christmas Carol
A Tale of Two Cities (why isn't this one on all the lists?)
Bleak House
David Copperfield
Great Expectations
Hard Times
Oliver Twist
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (this book made me realize how great Dickens was when read aloud)
Crime and Punishment
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Count of Monte-Cristo
Adam Bede (I think this is my favourite Eliot)
Daniel Deronda
Middlemarch
Silas Marner
The Mill on the Floss
Madame Bovary
Cranford
Far from the Madding Crowd (definitely my favourite Hardy)
Jude the Obscure
Return of the Native
Tess of the d'Ubervilles
The Hand of Ethelberta
The Mayor of Casterbridge
The Woodlanders
The House of Seven Gables
The Scarlet Letter
Les Miserables
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Turn of the Screw
The Water-Babies
Moby Dick
King Solomon's Mines
Frankenstein
Kidnapped
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Treasure Island
Dracula
Vanity Fair
Walden (listened to this just last year but was disappointed)
Anna Karenina
War and Peace
Spring Torrents
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Around the World in Eighty Days
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Ben-Hur
The Invisible Man
The Island of Dr. Moreau
The Time Machine
War of the Worlds
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Nana

69 in all

6gypsysmom
Editado: Set 11, 2018, 5:53pm

Pre-1800s (updated September 2018)
Aesop's Fables
The One Thousand and One Nights
Oroonoko
The Pilgrim's Progress
Don Quixote
Robinson Crusoe
A Modest Proposal
Gulliver's Travels
Candide

9 in all

7gypsysmom
Ago 2, 2015, 2:48pm

>4 M1nks: M1nks If you look below you will see that I have read Austen and Dickens as well as all of Hardy.

8puckers
Ago 2, 2015, 3:25pm

Welcome, and never say never - this List has a way of sucking you in!

9M1nks
Ago 2, 2015, 4:35pm

Oh there they are! You just hadn't posted them up!

10gypsysmom
Ago 6, 2015, 10:11pm

#225

So now from the 1900s I can add Foucault's Pendulum which was challenging but as riveting as a contemporary thriller. If you read it be prepared to immerse yourself in conspiracy theories and age-old secrets.

11Cliff-Rhu-Rhubarb
Ago 8, 2015, 6:21am

I commiserate about not having enough time to finish the list. At the rate I'm progressing, I won't make it to 400.

There is quite a lot of overlap between our lists, though shamefully I've yet to read any Dickens or Hardy. Like you, I spent a lot of my youth reading speculative fiction (I like that term); also like you Stranger in a Strange Land had a big impact on me as a teenager. I doubt I could abide Heinlein now, though.

Glad to see another fan of The Once and Future King, which is one of my favourite books.

12gypsysmom
Ago 8, 2015, 9:13pm

>11 Cliff-Rhu-Rhubarb: Cliff-Rhu-Rhubarb

I recommend both Dickens and Hardy. If you like to listen to audiobooks Dickens is better that way I think. I know what you mean about Heinlein but I think some of the contemporary sf writers like Kim Stanley Robinson and John Scalzi owe a lot to him. The Once and Future King was a book club read from about 6 years ago so it took me a long time to find it.

13gypsysmom
Ago 20, 2015, 11:45am

#226

Since I participated in the August group read I can now add Midaq Alley to my list. Very interesting view of life in Cairo; I almost felt I was right there in the alley. I gave it 3.5 stars.

14gypsysmom
Out 18, 2015, 3:27pm

#227 Troubles

I just finished reading the book for the September group read. Travelling in September didn't allow me to read as much as I would ordinarily and I didn't get to this book. However, since no-one else seemed to be looking for it from the public library I kept renewing it until I did have time to read it. Very glad I did so. I thought Farrell's writing was great and the setting was terrific. I gave it 4.5 stars. My major reservation was the treatment of the animals, especially the cats. Don't recall anyone else mentioning this in their reviews or comments so I guess it is just my thing.

15gypsysmom
Nov 3, 2015, 12:30pm

#228 The Awakening

I listened to this book (read by Shelly Frasier) and I loved it. It's not a happy story but the writing is wonderful and the feelings of the main character are expressed perfectly. A plus for me is the setting in Louisiana, first on Grand Isle and then in New Orleans, one of my favourite places in the world. Apparently the reaction to this was pretty vitriolic and Chopin didn't write any more novels after it. She was a woman ahead of her time. Five stars.

16ELiz_M
Nov 3, 2015, 1:43pm

>15 gypsysmom: Nice review! I also listened to this recentlu and found it charming. And then felt bad about calling a book with a tragic ending charming. :)

17gypsysmom
Nov 7, 2015, 2:36pm

>16 ELiz_M: Thanks Eliz_M. I agree that it is charming if you think of the use of that word as something that enchants or transports you because it really does that.

18gypsysmom
Nov 8, 2015, 8:15pm

#229 Candide

Another audiobook and since it is quite short I finished it quickly. I found it fun, quirky, fantastical but not really to my taste. However I can see how it deserved inclusion in the list since it would have been very controversial when it came out in 1759. Apparently Voltaire didn't even put his name to it until some years later. 3.5 stars.

19paruline
Nov 20, 2015, 10:38am

>18 gypsysmom: I've been really impressed with some of the older books on the list. I had to rethink my impression that classics were stuffy and boring. Now I try to read a pre-1800 book every year.

20gypsysmom
Nov 20, 2015, 4:33pm

>19 paruline: Candide is the first pre-1800s book that I have read since I was quite young but I've been taking notes of what others in this group have been saying and there are at least 16 more that I want to read. It makes a kind of sense that if these books have been in continuous circulation for all this time that there must be something redeeming about them.

21gypsysmom
Dez 27, 2015, 2:31pm

#230 Ulysses

I started this in January and, along with a group on BookCrossing, read one episode every 3 weeks. It was hard going at times but with the help of The Bloomsday Book and online guides plus my BookCrossing friends I finished. I wouldn't call it the greatest novel of the 20th century as Anthony Burgess did. Joyce is too much of a male chauvinist and misogynist for me but I do acknowledge his education and writing ability. I have to say that if I could only take a few books with me onto a desert island this might be one to take if only because there would be lots to discover reading it over and over again.

22gypsysmom
Dez 31, 2015, 1:07pm

#231 King Solomon's Mines

Classic adventure story that made me realize a lot of things have changed in the 130 years since it was written. Easy to read if you don't get hung up on the British colonialism, ivory hunting and bloody warfare.

23.Monkey.
Dez 31, 2015, 3:41pm

>22 gypsysmom: I just read that a couple days ago, too! And yeah the elephants were my biggest issue. While there was a bit of racism, and a bit more sexism, he was actually pretty good about his treatment of the Africans, for the time it was from. He was even apparently a bit taken with Zulu culture.

24Nickelini
Jan 6, 2016, 12:55pm

>19 paruline: I've been really impressed with some of the older books on the list. I had to rethink my impression that classics were stuffy and boring. Now I try to read a pre-1800 book every year.

Picking up an old conversation here . . . I find myself consistently surprised by pre-1800 works too. I think our culture has really fooled us with a pseudo-Victorian prudish view of the past that never actually existed.

25gypsysmom
Jan 12, 2016, 9:53pm

#232 Don Quixote
Listened to this extensive novel and quite enjoyed it. Rated it at 3.5 out of 5. I was disappointed that DQ recanted just before he died. Chivalry died when he died. I became quite fond of Sancho Panza. He turned out to have a lot more going for him than it seemed at first. There certainly was a difference between the first part and the second in how Panza was portrayed. Maybe Cervantes had a change of heart about him.

26gypsysmom
Fev 21, 2016, 2:32pm

#233 The Voyage Out

Thought it would be good to introduce myself at last to Ms Woolf and so I decided to take part in the February book. Gave it 3 out of 5 stars. So little happened for so long and then boom the ending comes with Rachel's death. Clarissa Dalloway and her husband make a brief appearance and several characters refer throughout the book to the Dalloways so I am sure they must have some sort of purpose but I couldn't figure out what it was. It did strike me as amusing that all the English went all that way just to recreate England in South America.

27gypsysmom
Abr 8, 2016, 7:43pm

#234 Harriet Hume

I was very interested in reading this mostly because of Ms West's affair with H. G. Wells. I remember hearing a radio play based on their relationship and I was always intrigued by it. I can't say I was very impressed with this book. In my review I hypothesized that it was because of the subtitle "A London Fantasy". I don't read much fantasy and it takes a very special writer to get me to enjoy it. Rebecca West is not that special. 3.5 stars out of 5

#235 Frankenstein

I figured it was time that I read this classic. Actually I listened to it and I don't know if that was the best choice or not. The narrator seemed too reserved for the book but maybe that's just me. At any rate I am glad that I "read" this. I gave it 3.5 stars out of 5 as well.

28gypsysmom
Maio 6, 2016, 12:33pm

#236 A Turn of the Screw
What a strange little book this was and not what I expected from Henry James. It is a gothic ghost story involving a young governess in a country house with two young children, some servants and two phantoms. The ghosts are a male and female who used to work in the house, had a love affair and died in circumstances that are not clear to me. They haunt the house and the two children and the governess is determined to break their hold on the children. I only gave it 2.5 stars out of 5 because so many elements of the story were not clear.

29Cliff-Rhu-Rhubarb
Maio 10, 2016, 2:32pm

>28 gypsysmom: I remember it being a huge disappointment. I'd seen The Innocents (1961) as a kid and was terrified. Then there are all the other adaptations and references to it - so maybe by the time I came to the original, I was suffering from the burden of expectation.

For me, it was the prose style. I just couldn't get on with James' circumlocutious sentence structure. By the time I'd got to the end of one of his sentences, I couldn't recall what was at the start of it.

>27 gypsysmom: I don't use audio books, and I didn't really get on with Frankenstein either. I really wanted to, and really tried, but it just didn't ring my bell. Still, better than Dracula by several thousand parsecs.

30gypsysmom
Jun 22, 2016, 12:25pm

#237 The Ghost Road by Pat Barker 4.5 stars

I was otherwise engaged by life when this book came out in 1995 (return to school and recently married) so, although I had read Regeneration and The Eye in the Door I didn't complete this WWI trilogy until now. I am sure there are many things I don't remember from the first two books but the main characters stick in my memory. I think that is what Barker does best, gets inside her characters' minds. It is really quite remarkable given that she is a female living in the latter part of the 20th century and her characters are almost exclusively men from the beginning of the 20th century. And of course, the tragedy and the horror of that awful war comes through very clearly. Barker's prose is almost sparse and simplistic but riveting nevertheless. If you haven't read the first two books then I recommend you read them first but be sure to read this one to get the complete picture.

31gypsysmom
Jun 30, 2016, 9:20pm

#238 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque 5 stars

This book deserves all the accolades it has been given including the one on the front of my copy "The GREATEST WAR NOVEL of ALL TIME". I have read a lot of books set in World War I, including the last 1001 book that I read The Ghost Road, and many of them have been devastating and horrific and gripping. However this book, written by a person who fought in the war and was wounded five times, has such verisimilitude and I believe only someone who had been there could carry that off. The fact that it is the point of view of a German is also of note. After all "history is written by the victors" but it is certainly good to get alternate points of view.

32Jan_1
Jul 1, 2016, 1:16am

adding All Quiet on The Western Front to my list after that review, thanks!

33gypsysmom
Jul 3, 2016, 7:30pm

You're welcome. Always glad to assist others in adding to the TBR mountain.

34gypsysmom
Jul 22, 2016, 3:44pm

#239 The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani 4 stars

I'm glad I read this book which wasn't really on my radar until it was picked for the group read for July 2016. At first I had trouble with the writing style and wondered if it was the fault of the translator but then I got more used to the style and decided the translation was probably fine. The story itself, about a group of young Jewish people in Italy just before the start of the second world war, is tragically beautiful. It is also a universal story because who hasn't been in love with someone and have them not feel the same way? Thanks for the suggestion.

35gypsysmom
Ago 31, 2016, 1:19pm

#240 The Secret History by Donna Tartt 4 stars

I listened to this book which I downloaded from my library's electronic media site. I didn't realize until I was half-way through that it was on the list. I just decided to listen to it because I had enjoyed The Goldfinch last year. I really liked how Tartt (who also narrates the audiobook) structured the plot. Right at the beginning we learn that a group of college students murdered one of their friends. At least half of the book is the back story of how this came to pass. And it didn't spoil the story at all to know about the murder.

#241 The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri 5 stars
I love the way Lahiri writes. This book is a combination family saga and immigrant experience story. Gogol Ganguli, born in a Boston hospital shortly after his parents emigrated from Calcutta, was named after Nikolai Gogol who was his father's favourite writer as well as being his saviour in a manner of speaking. Gogol comes to hate his name and legally changes it when he started university. This and other choices distance him from his traditional Bengali family. Then with his father's death he returns to appreciating the family. He even goes so far as to marry a Bengali American woman but that doesn't work out so well. Gogol must learn to walk a fine line between Bengali and American life. Be warned: I was (and still am) craving Indian food as I read this book because the Ganguli family celebrations center around food which was described in considerable detail.

36mdoris
Ago 31, 2016, 10:31pm

Enjoying following your books that you have read and reading your wonderful reviews. I too enjoyed The Goldfinch and have The Secret History on my big "to read" pile along with All's Quiet on the Western Front which I just picked up in a 2nd. hand store in our new city! A great store! Want to read the Pat Barker books too.

37Nickelini
Ago 31, 2016, 11:00pm

The Secret History has been on my bookshelf for years. You make me want to pick it up.

38gypsysmom
Set 6, 2016, 10:45pm

>36 mdoris: Thanks for your accolades. I have found some goodies lately.

39gypsysmom
Set 6, 2016, 10:46pm

>37 Nickelini: Hope you enjoy The Secret History whenever you get around to reading it.

40gypsysmom
Set 15, 2016, 3:29pm

#242 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 4 stars

I am feeling quite proud that I have overcome my longstanding aversion for Conrad. I listened to this book and I think the excellence of the narration helped me understand why Conrad is considered a great writer. After all the book is written as a story told by Marlow to his buddies so it makes sense that it works well as an audiobook. However, in spite of the great writing, this book with its casual violence by the civilized men against the "savages" will haunt me for some time. And, I suppose, that is probably what Conrad was hoping to achieve.

41gypsysmom
Out 27, 2016, 4:10pm

#243 Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende 5 stars

Along with others in the group I read this for the Group Read of October 2016. I realize I am in the minority in giving this book such a high rating but I felt it was extremely well written and had an important story to tell (that's my criteria for the top rating). Some of the group said they felt the book was rushed toward the end but I didn't feel that way. I thought it was fitting that the urgency of their situation in a flight to safety was told without much embellishing language. The love story juxtaposed with the horror of people being disappeared by the military and the police made an indelible impression on me.

42Henrik_Madsen
Out 29, 2016, 9:45am

#41 Glad you enjoyed it - if everyone agreed on the books it would be no fun talking about them.

43Jan_1
Out 30, 2016, 4:45am

I agree with Henrik, one of the reasons I enjoy this site is reading everyones different reactions to the books. Enjoying your reviews.

44gypsysmom
Nov 1, 2016, 8:29pm

>42 Henrik_Madsen: >43 Jan_1: Thanks for your comments. It is a lesson that bears repeating that we don't all like the same things in books.

45gypsysmom
Dez 4, 2016, 4:31pm

#244 The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble 4 stars

Interesting tale set in 18th century Korea, modern Korea and modern England. The 18th century portion centres around the title character who was never actually a queen as she was married to the Crown Prince who went mad and then was put to death before he could become King. Two hundred years later an English health researcher reads the memoir written by the Princess while flying to a conference in Seoul. She is so entranced by the story that she feels disembodied on her arrival in Korea. She may be under a spell by the spirit of the Princess who wants to make sure that her story lives on. Certainly the Englishwoman acts uncharacteristically while she is in Seoul and when she returns to London. Although I don't think I believe in spirits I have read a few books that have made a profound impression on me at the time of reading and long after.

46M1nks
Dez 4, 2016, 5:06pm

I think you are the first person I've seen to review this book and actually like it! It seems that it's a little too peculiar for general taste.

47Nickelini
Dez 4, 2016, 5:24pm

>46 M1nks: I enjoyed The Red Queen tremendously when I read it about 10 years ago.

48gypsysmom
Dez 27, 2016, 4:10pm

#245 Dracula by Bram Stoker 3.5 stars

Finished off another book from the list by listening to the audiobook of this classic. I am not a fan of vampire fiction but when I saw that Simon Vance was the narrator of this audiobook I decided to give it a try. Vance does a terrific job of narration and I was able to appreciate how the writing style fitted the story. I had not realized before that this book is in the epistolary style. Although I know some people don't care for that style I usually like it. And I think it was well suited to advancing this plot by enabling all the different characters to speak in the first person.

49gypsysmom
Jan 23, 2017, 6:27pm

#246 In the Forest by Edna O'Brien
Since 1998 I have kept a list of books that were reviewed in some publication which I thought I would like to read. In those early days I didn't have a computer nor internet access so I would just strike through the title after I read it. After almost 2 decades my recollection of a lot of those books is not very good and I was just going through it to check if I really had read some Canadian books which appear on the CBC list of 100 Novels that Make You Proud to be Canadian. In doing so I realized that I had read this book. I really don't remember anything about it although Nickelini's excellent review here sparked a few neurons. But I am going to count it for my life list.

50gypsysmom
Fev 20, 2017, 7:28pm

#247 Carry Me Down by M. J. Hyland 3 stars

I really wanted to like this book which I listened to off and on over the past month. The narrator, Gerard Doyle, was very good and generally I like books set in Ireland. However, I just could not warm up to the main character, twelve year old John Egan. This boy in a man's body was annoying (for me) most of the time and then he would do something that I found really repugnant. There must be a trend among modern writers to show people warts and all but really I don't want to know that he was picking at his head until it bled or that he had diarrhea that went everywhere. As for the plot it seemed rather pointless. I realize I am in the minority since the book was shortlisted for the Booker and won some other prizes and all the reviews that I found seemed to be glowing.

51gypsysmom
Abr 14, 2017, 4:38pm

#248 The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells 2.5 stars

This was the only book on the 1001 list by Wells that I had not read. I shied away from it because I knew it involved vivisection. I finally decided to read it, well actually listen to it, because it was available from my library's electronic media site as an audiobook and I was needing some books to load onto my mp3 player for a long trip. Thankfully it was fairly short because it was as disturbing as I expected it would be. The descriptions of the surgery Dr. Moreau carried out on various animals was bad enough but the resulting creatures who had to treat Moreau as a deity were what really bothered me. Obviously Wells meant the book to be disturbing and to protest against vivisection as it was practised at the time he wrote it. I still could not get around the revulsion I felt and that is reflected in my rating.

52gypsysmom
Maio 30, 2017, 1:32pm

#249 Silk by Alessandro Baricco 5 stars

I read this in one day but that doesn't mean I skipped through it. It is only 91 pages and many of the pages have only a paragraph or two on them. Each word was perfect I thought. In essence this is a love story but it is also a mystery and a travelogue and a history. A Frenchman who deals in silk worms goes to Japan when supplies closer to home become infected. There he meets a woman who is European in appearance but only speaks Japanese. He doesn't speak Japanese so they cannot talk. She is a companion to the merchant he is buying silk worm eggs from and so is forbidden. Nevertheless they manage to convey their feelings for each other. During his four trips to Japan the Frenchman never touches the woman but he is obsessed by her.

When my dog woke me up in the middle of the night last night I found my thoughts going back to this book and I saw themes that I hadn't noticed as I was reading. I think this is a book that would benefit from rereading.

53Henrik_Madsen
Maio 30, 2017, 4:18pm

>52 gypsysmom: Nice review - and it sounds like a wonderful book. I will look forward to it.

54gypsysmom
Jul 7, 2017, 3:18pm

#250 Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood 4 stars

I chose this to read for number 250 because I'm a proud Canadian and we just celebrated our 150th birthday. It seemed appropriate to read a book by the Canadian author who has the most books on the list. Now that I have read it I think I possibly read it years ago--some parts were so familiar to me. I thought maybe I had started reading it but put aside for some reason but there was a scene toward the end of the book that I know I have read before so I guess I did read it and it just didn't make a huge impression on me. Of all the Atwoods on the list I would say this is my least favourite and it is mostly because of the protagonist, Elaine. She is not a very likable character and it doesn't matter to me that the childhood she experienced, as set out in this book, is probably why she is not a very nice person. I did not experience any empathy for her and her situation so I couldn't forgive her as an adult when she does hurtful things. There are many of Atwood's trademarks in the book, like her wit and commentary about people's foibles, but I think she has done it better in other books. If you haven't read Alias Grace then read it before you try Cat's Eye

55gypsysmom
Jul 9, 2017, 6:16pm

#251 Torrents of Spring by Ivan Turgenev 3 stars

I finally finished listening to this book which I started in May when it was the Monthly read. Mostly it took me so long because I just did not have much time to sit down and stream it. Additionally, I did not want it to be my book for #250 so I deliberately didn't finish it until after Cat's Eye. And thirdly, I could tell almost from the beginning how the romance with Gemma was going to end so there was no suspense. I didn't like the second half of the book very much; the relationship between Dimitry and Maria Nikolaevna was just too fraught with skulduggery (on the part of Maria) and stupidity (on the part of Dimitry) to make it interesting. It was more like watching a traffic accident unfold before your eyes. Even the first half, with the unfolding romance between Dimitry and Gemma was too saccharine for my taste but at least it seemed to be innocent. Wikipedia says that there are autobiographical elements in this book which makes me feel rather sad for Turgenev. I'm still only giving it 3 stars though.

56gypsysmom
Ago 6, 2017, 3:07pm

#252 Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

On going through a list of books read that I kept prior to joining LT I discovered this one. I've looked at a synopsis of the plot and I don't really remember much about it but I do remember the obsessional stalker.

57Henrik_Madsen
Ago 8, 2017, 6:05am

>56 gypsysmom: I tend to agree with your memory on this one. Not much worth remembering.

58gypsysmom
Ago 8, 2017, 2:31pm

Thanks Henrik. Good to know I haven't completely lost it.

59gypsysmom
Ago 9, 2017, 8:27pm

#253 Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene 4 stars

This was my first Graham Greene so I wasn't sure what to expect. I did vaguely know that he was Catholic but I didn't expect that to be such a major theme in the book. It almost makes me wish that instead of being a lapsed Protestant that I was a lapsed Catholic. The church that I attended when I was young was so careful not to put any expectations on people that the concept of hell and purgatory is quite foreign to me. The other major theme that stood out for me is the British colonialism. I can't imagine spending years in a foreign place trying to impose a system on people and failing miserably (as colonialism always does). Scobie couldn't even get home when his only child died and he could never express any emotion about it. It was not an uplifting read but I thought it was well written and I'm glad I read it.

#254 The Gathering by Anne Enright 2.5 stars

In going through my old reading records I discovered this book which I didn't realize was on the list because my spreadsheet where I keep track had the author's name spelled wrong. I didn't much care for this book when I read it which is strange because I usually enjoy books set in Ireland. I thought the flipping between different times was not very well handled. Also Veronica, the narrator, is unreliable so it was hard to tell what really happened. I know this book won the Booker in 2007 but one of the other contenders Mister Pip was much more to my taste.

60gypsysmom
Ago 31, 2017, 8:49pm

#255 The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe 4 stars

I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I was going to. I actually ended up feeling sorry for Sherman, the main character, even though at the beginning he was everything I despise in an American, pompous, amoral, self-centred. His legal problems were far more than he deserved for his actual part in the incident which started them off. The book was much funnier than I thought it would be as well.

61puckers
Ago 31, 2017, 10:14pm

>60 gypsysmom: It is many years since I read this but I remember finding it surprisingly enjoyable. I also reflected it would have been difficult to translate in to a movie, the latter being widely panned when it was released.

62gypsysmom
Nov 16, 2017, 5:23pm

#256 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 3.5 stars

I can't quite believe I never read this when I was younger. I was a fiend for reading science fiction especially books that were considered classics but somehow I never got around to this one. I heard enough discussion about it from my contemporaries that I knew quite a bit of the story but it is nice to have it finally digested. I am sure the ideas in this novel were earth-shaking when it first came out but in today's age they seem rather trite. The sexual promiscuousness in the book doesn't seem too much different that what happens nowadays. We probably could reproduce the genetic manipulation of fetuses now but IVF and fetal surgery are controversial enough for most societies. God may not be absent from our society as s/he is in Brave New World but we can't really be considered a religious society (or not in the First World anyway). So if Huxley wrote Brave New World as a warning I would say we have mostly ignored it.

#257 City of God by E. L. Doctorow 3.5 stars
There was a lot in this book that I liked but I found the organization of the material problematic. There were too many diversions from the main story for my taste and I thought it was difficult to follow. On the whole I thought the writing was good and I was quite caught up in the story of the Jewish ghetto and looking for the documents.

It was interesting to read these two books together since religion or, at least, belief in a higher entity are a major part of both.

63gypsysmom
Jan 24, 2018, 5:19pm

#258 Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adicie 5 stars
This was an audiobook narrated by Zainab Jah who did a terrific job. I am old enough to remember mention of Biafra and the civil war but not old enough to have really grasped much about it or its causes. If all this book did was explore the history of that benighted time in Nigeria it would have been worth the read. But it does so much more exploring human relationships and man's inhumanity to man and a young man's coming of age. Even the structure of the book is worthy of note as it takes us from a time before the war to a time during the war then back to the period in between to explain some developments and then to the ending of the war. This was a fantastic way to start of my 1001 reading for 2018.

64.Monkey.
Jan 25, 2018, 6:27am

>59 gypsysmom: I love Greene's writing, he's one whose whole body of work I collect, but yeah definitely do not look to him for uplifting, heh.

65gypsysmom
Maio 17, 2018, 6:10pm

#259 Oroonoko by Aphra Behn 2.5 stars
Not a story that has really survived the test of time but I can see what an impact it would have had at its time since it dealt with the ravages of slavery. Aphra Behn was an unusual woman and many later writers credit her with making writing a suitable occupation for women.

66gypsysmom
Jun 8, 2018, 12:27pm

#260 Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard 4 stars
I enjoyed this more than I expected. I read quite a lot in the mystery genre but this is more of the hard-boiled crime type which is not really my cup of tea. However, I found the multiple layers of story quite interesting and it certainly does a number on the Hollywood film industry. I understand that Leonard had been treated badly over the script of a previous book and he wrote this revenge story as a revenge on the industry and one particular short actor in particular.

67gypsysmom
Jun 30, 2018, 12:42pm

#261 Surfacing by Margaret Atwood 4 stars

This was the only book of Atwood's on the list that I had not read and, as a Canadian, that is somewhat shameful. This book was published in 1972 and was only her second published novel. Reading through it I was struck by how, even in this early stage of her career, she was exploring many of the themes that she is most known for. Briefly, this is the story of a woman going back to her childhood home to search for her father who has gone missing. Returning to this natal land starts her on a psychological journey which ends with what I can only think of as a spirit quest. We are now quite familiar with the concept of spirit quests and native spirituality but in the early 1970s non-aboriginal Canadians barely acknowledged native Canadians. I'm pretty sure that there were still residential schools in operation at that time where white Christians tried to vanquish any remnants of native language and spirituality. So for a white Canadian writer to incorporated native spirituality and religion into a book would have been astonishing. When I finished reading I was only prepared to give it 3.5 stars but as I wrote my review and thought about it more I upped my rating to 4 stars because of the historical significance. This will never be my favourite Atwood but I think I agree that it deserves a spot on the 1001 list.

68gypsysmom
Jul 15, 2018, 2:26pm

#262 Under the Net by Iris Murdoch 3.5 stars

This was chosen for the July monthly read. That's probably a good thing because I don't think I would have picked it up otherwise. I haven't read anything else by Murdoch but I knew of her through her husband's book Elegy for Iris. Since this was her first published book it is probably a good way to be introduced to her writing. More than anything else this book reminded me of those bedroom farces where people are always popping into one room while the person they are after is down the hall popping into someone else's room. Nobody achieves their heart's desire, especially not the main character, Jake Donoghue. By the end, though, Jake has matured somewhat; maybe there is hope for him.

69gypsysmom
Set 5, 2018, 9:54pm

#263 The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo 3.5 stars
I listened to this book which I think was just as well because I think my eyes would have glazed over reading some of Hugo's long-winded descriptions. Even though I had never read this I knew a fair amount about the story and the characters but I wasn't quite prepared for the tragedy of the ending. And I wasn't expecting La Esmeralda to be quite as much a ninny about Phoebus as she was. The best person in the book was certainly Quasimodo. The other thing I enjoyed was the descriptions of the church and the architecture in general.

70gypsysmom
Set 7, 2018, 7:53pm

#264 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 3.5 stars
Although I really like Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte this book did not appeal to me at all. Maybe if I was younger I would have been swept up by the passionate feelings of Cathy and Heathcliff but now they seem borderline insane. And Heathcliff is a thoroughly nasty guy. I would love to know how Emily Bronte conceived this character since by all accounts she lead quite a sheltered life.

71gypsysmom
Set 11, 2018, 7:40pm

Since others are adding ones they have read from the 2018 additions I decided it was time I did the same:
#265 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 4 stars (read in 2015)
I thought this was a pretty good book for a coming-of-age story.

#266 H is for Hawk 4.5 stars (read in 2017)
One woman's way of dealing with grief and depression was to train a goshawk. Interesting.

72gypsysmom
Set 19, 2018, 10:02pm

#267 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe 4.5 stars

I thought this was a really good book about the effects of colonization in Africa (or at least in Nigeria). There were many things about the pre-colonial tribal way of life that were distasteful to me (leaving twins to die in the forest as an example) but I don't think imposing English values and law and religion made things better. In fact, as the title says, things fall apart. I was impressed to read that this was Achebe's first book because I thought it was very well written. Achebe sent his only copy, handwritten, to an office in England for them to do a typewritten copy but as months went by and he didn't get it he grew despondent. He said if the book MS had been lost he would never have written again. Wouldn't that have been tragic?

73Yells
Set 20, 2018, 1:59pm

>72 gypsysmom: I love Achebe's writing. I can't imagine how horrible that would have been!

74gypsysmom
Out 18, 2018, 2:50pm

#268 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway 4.5 stars

I've always resisted reading Hemingway because I perceive him as a male chauvinist both in his personal life and in his writing. However a friend who would never put up with chauvinistic writing told me this was her favourite Hemingway so I thought I would give it a try. Plus it is short, only a little over 100 pages. And I was surprised by how much I liked it mostly because the old man of the title is such a humble character. I also like the descriptions of the sea and the life in and over it.

75gypsysmom
Out 21, 2018, 8:16pm

#269 H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker 3 stars

This is one of the books added this year to the list. I guess I can see why it merited inclusion because it is a very different type of book and probably brilliant. For me I was just glad it was a quick read although I did spend some time after looking up some of the things referenced in it. I felt like the author spent as much time thinking about the design of the book as she did of the content and it was just too chaotic for me a a linear thinker. Of course, that's probably what she intended. Has anyone else read this? Any thoughts?

76gypsysmom
Nov 2, 2018, 5:08pm

#270 Amongst Women by John McGahern 4 stars

This is probably one of the shorter 1001 books (only 184 pages) but I found it gave me lots to think about. It centers on a former IRA fighter who is now a farmer with 5 children. His wife died and he meets and charms a younger woman from the neighbourhood who returned home to help her family after her father died. She is warned that the man is far different at home than he is out in public and she finds that is true. Everyone in the house caters to the man and lives in fear of his rages but when he is in a good mood the women of the household forgive him all his bad behaviour. Not so his two sons who he drives from the home when they are still very young. The oldest son never returns home but as his father is nearing the end of his life he does respond to a letter his father wrote saying that he forgives him. It is an interesting portrayal of a family dynamic but I'm glad I wasn't one of Moran's children.

77gypsysmom
Fev 27, 2019, 10:48pm

#271 A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh 4 stars

I read this some months ago when it was chosen for a monthly read and I didn't realize I hadn't recorded it until I came to put in my latest book. I actually enjoyed it much more than I thought I would because when I read Brideshead Revisited years ago I really struggled even though I had liked the TV series. All of the characters were so hopeless that I sometimes wanted to shake them but at the end I did feel sorry for the husband who ended his life in a South American back woods having to read Dickens' novels to a madman.

#272 The Colour by Rose Tremain 4 stars

I almost gave this book 4.5 stars but I took off half a star because I thought the sub plot involving the Maori woman was weak. Otherwise it is an excellent historical novel about the gold rush in New Zealand with a strong female main character. About 3 years ago I listened to the long The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton which won the Booker prize. It is also set in the gold fields of New Zealand but I liked this book much more.

78gypsysmom
Mar 30, 2019, 12:47pm

#273 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys 3.5 stars

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I hoped to given that Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books of all time. (I presume everyone knows this book is a prequel to Jane Eyre focusing on Mr. Rochester's first wife.) It does, however, give a jarring portrait of women's rights i.e. none at that time period. Rochester got his wife's entire fortune by marrying her and she was completely dependent on him. That appeared not to bother her at first because she loved him but when he turned away from her because he listened to evil stories about her and her mother she was devastated. Then she realized that he controlled her entire life. Small wonder she went insane.

79gypsysmom
Maio 15, 2019, 12:35pm

#274 Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen 3 stars

I am mystified how this book has stayed on the list through all its iterations. Some of Bowen's writing is marvelous I agree but the whole plot of this rich child heiress who adopts a mute and deaf son seemed contrived. The ending was foreshadowed so extensively that it was not a surprise. Eva as the main character was an enigma; if there had been a little more interior discussion I think I would have found it more interesting.

80gypsysmom
Jun 25, 2019, 12:33pm

#275 Justine by Lawrence Durrell 3 stars

This is the first of the Alexandria Quartet but the only one on the list. I think I understand why it is on the list as it must have been groundbreaking when it came out in 1957. However, I found the writing too dense for my brain; it took me two and a half weeks to read the 214 pages! The story revolves around the affair between the narrator and Justine, the wife of a friend. Others might find the psychology of the affair interesting but I just found it boring. The picture of the city of Alexandria and surrounding area was interesting though.

81gypsysmom
Jul 27, 2019, 11:00am

#276 In the First Circle by Aleksandr Sozhenitsyn 5 stars

I am glad I joined in this group read for July 2019 even if it did take me most of July to get through it. Solzhenitsyn documented the USSR prison experience so thoroughly in this book that I feel his other books, like The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, must cover much of the same ground. I have only read The Cancer Ward and that was so long ago I don't retain much of it so I don't really know and would appreciate any comments from people who have read them. Even though this book is set 7 decades ago I feel it is still relevant as there are many regimes in the world with similar attitudes towards their citizens. For this reason I felt the book deserved 5 stars which I usually only give to books that have a lasting significance to me.

82gypsysmom
Set 9, 2019, 4:59pm

#277 Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks 5 stars

I have seen the movie made from this book but long enough ago that I didn't remember much about it. Although there was much to be cringed at in this book the comradeship between the men in the trenches redeemed that and I loved the ending. Every book I read about World War I makes me angry that so many lives were lost and this one was no different. We have to keep reminding ourselves that war is hell I think.

83gypsysmom
Dez 2, 2019, 3:59pm

#278 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte 4 stars

I'm glad this was chosen as the November read by the group. I read Wuthering Heights last year and was not overly impressed with it so I wasn't sure I wanted to read any other Bronte works. As it turned out I enjoyed this one quite a bit more and certainly much more than Anne's other novel Agnes Grey. Perhaps it was because Anne was writing about matters of which she had no personal experience having never married whereas Agnes Grey mirrored her own experiences as a governess. I know conventional wisdom is to write about what you know but there is such a thing as being too close to a subject. This cautionary tale about marriage would be something that she knew about from her father's clerical work but she didn't personally experience it.

I had hoped to read 12 list books this year but this is only #9 and I don't think I'll get 3 more books read. So I'll probably read one more before the end of the year and settle for 10.

84Helenliz
Dez 2, 2019, 4:14pm

>83 gypsysmom: The introduction to the edition I read had this book based on her observations of a marriage in a house that she was engaged as governess in, while her brother was an alcoholic. So I think you're right, this was written from observation, not first hand experience. I wonder if that disytance allowed her to get inside it and really poke about a bit. I agree with you, I enjoyed this more than Agnes Grey. I found it a lot more real than both Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre. Having sampled all 3 Bronte sisters, Anne strikes me as the most down to earth.
I'm glad to have finally got this one off the shelf.

86gypsysmom
Jan 1, 2020, 11:34am

#279 White Teeth by Zadie Smith 4 stars

This was an audiobook narrated by 4 different people and I think that worked well to voice the different ethnicities of the characters. I finished it just as 2019 was coming to a close which was an accidental bit of synchronicity since the story ends on New Year's Eve of 1992. So instead of being out at some drunken debauch I was in London on New Year's Eve with all of the different characters protesting (although some were supporting) an experiment to genetically modify a mouse that might usher in new medical advances. I'm not sure if Smith meant this as a cautionary tale about scientific experimentation; I think she was more going for an exploration of how closely people are connected even if they come from distant spots. I thought it was quite well done.

87gypsysmom
Jan 8, 2020, 12:14pm

#280 The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe 4 stars

I saw this listed as a favourite read for 2019 and thought it would be something I would also like since I am a mystery fan. This is certainly one of the first detective works of fiction and it was undoubtedly a catalyst for later writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie who used a non-police detective to solve crimes that eluded the plodding police. It also has the advantage of being short.

88gypsysmom
Jan 19, 2020, 3:15pm

#281 The Life and Death of Harriet Frean by May Sinclair 3.5 stars

Someone in this group (sorry I don't remember whom) recommended this book and also said it was short. I read that post when I was having trouble sleeping and looking at my laptop in bed (I know you're not supposed to do that but sometimes it does help me wind down) so I found that Project Gutenberg had it on line and I started reading it. I didn't finish it that night but I did the next. I thought May Sinclair did a remarkable job in summing up the entire life of a 19th century British woman in remarkably few words. Now some might say that was possible because not too much happened to Harriet Frean during her life but that overlooks the societal commentary exemplified by her life. Harriet is brought up to always do the right thing and so when her best friend's fiance confesses he is in love with her she sends him back to the friend even though she also loves him. Since well brought up ladies in that time did not work their only chance of leaving home was to marry and Harriet never had another chance. She adores her parents, especially her father, so that was not a hardship but when she finds herself alone she really has very few outlets. That and the gradual realization that her great sacrifice made everyone involved unhappy soured her existence. Poor Harriet.

89gypsysmom
Mar 26, 2020, 5:29pm

#282 Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin 4.5 stars

I found the writing in this book to be absolutely lovely. And the story was incredibly sad. I also kept having to check that it really was written in the 1950s because it seemed so advanced for that time when men were men but they certainly didn't admit to desiring each other. I know that homosexuality and bisexuality has existed for as long as humans have populated the earth but it is really only in the 21st century that LGBTQ folks have been able to speak out about their sexuality (and even still some experience hate and violence). This book must have opened a lot of eyes when it came out.

90gypsysmom
Abr 13, 2020, 3:14pm

#283 Cannery Row by John Steinbeck 5 stars

Another book with great writing and a story that resonated with me as I am living through the Covid-19 pandemic. It's not about a pandemic but it is set in another great time of crisis, the Great Depression of the 1930s. People were unemployed in droves and those who had impairments were especially hard hit. But people in the community would band together and help each other out even if they didn't have much themselves. I've now read 5 books by Steinbeck and this may be my favourite one. I think I should go back and reread Grapes of Wrath to see which one I prefer.

91Yells
Abr 13, 2020, 3:58pm

>90 gypsysmom: There is a sequel called Sweet Thursday. I loved Cannery Row but haven't read further yet.

92gypsysmom
Abr 19, 2020, 8:17pm

>91 Yells: I did see a mention about a sequel. I think that's one I would definitely like to read as well.

93gypsysmom
Jul 25, 2020, 3:45pm

#284 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison 4 stars

When Morrison died I made a vow to read more of her books so I was happy that my library had a copy of the audiobook read by Morrison herself. It took me quite a while to get through listening to it but that wasn't because I didn't enjoy it. I loved Morrison's narration and I found the different characters intriguing but I just didn't find that the story moved along very quickly until the last one-third to one-quarter of the book. Now that I've finally finished it I keep reviewing it in my head which is a sign of a good book for me.

94gypsysmom
Editado: Jul 31, 2020, 6:36pm

#285 The Fan Man by William Kotzwinkle 3 stars

I didn't know until after I finished this book that Kotzwinkle is also the author of Walter the Farting Dog books. I might have thought twice about reading it if I had known that so I'm kind of glad I was in the dark. This is probably a comic classic and I did laugh at several spots. I also agreed with T.C. Boyle who introduced my copy and said that the main character, Horse Badorties, is a Don Quixote for modern times. Poor Horse does get into a lot of scrapes but he brings it mostly on himself. In a way I wish there was a soundtrack with the book because I would really like to hear the concert Horse put together with a choir of 15 year old girls singing church music accompanied by a saxophonist and trumpeter with everyone holding portable battery operated fans.

95Yells
Jul 31, 2020, 11:46am

>94 gypsysmom: A soundtrack would have been fantastic! The 12-year-old in me giggled all throughout this book. Not really sure how it made the list, but it was a fun afternoon read.

96gypsysmom
Ago 30, 2020, 5:15pm

#286 The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West 5 stars

I read this for the August challenge which was to read a book someone else recommended. I had previously read this author's Harriet Hume and wasn't overly impressed by it but I thought this little novel was terrific. Every word she used seemed perfect for every occasion. The story of a soldier in World War I who loses his memory for the last 10 years and thus does not remember his wife but believes he is still in love with the young woman he dated for one halcyon summer is tragic but also beautiful.

97gypsysmom
Nov 7, 2020, 4:10pm

#287 The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield 3.5 stars

The November challenge was to read something from the list that was unknown previously. Not only was this unknown I didn't even know who the author was. This is a short story and I always say I don't really like short stories because I often feel they don't tie up the details. However, with this story I thought it was complete in and of itself. I also liked the writing style but I didn't find it all that interesting as in it didn't illuminate anything for me. I already knew there was a class divide in England between the landed gentry and the ordinary working class and that seemed to be it's central theme. I did find the author's biographical details quite interesting; she seemed to be unusual for the time.

98gypsysmom
Nov 28, 2020, 3:36pm

#288 Passing by Nella Larsen 3.5 stars

I listened to this book and while I thought the narrator did a good job I'm not sure I would recommend it as an audiobook. Although it is only about 4 hours long it took me a long time to finish it because I kept having to go back to check previous passages. That's much easier to do with a paper book than an audiobook. I did find it interesting and certainly eye-opening as a portrayal of pressures on mixed-race people, particularly women, in the early 20th century in the USA. Two light-skinned women make different choices with one passing as white and the other proud of her black heritage.

99gypsysmom
Jan 21, 5:37pm

#289 Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis 4.5 stars

Another audiobook and I quite enjoyed this one. The narrator was George Guidall who was an excellent choice as he could sound like Zorba at one spot and then immediately become the voice of the much younger Boss. I've known a few men like Zorba. On the one hand they esteem women but they also don't give them much credit for taking care of themselves. You bristle when they patronize but when they turn the full force of their attention on you it's hard to stay angry with them. Zorba is certainly a fascinating character. Supposedly around 60 years of age he can work all day, cook dinner, drink wine and play the santuri and dance and still find time to romance the aged courtesan Madame Hortense. The Boss is primarily the recorder of incidents but also the philosopher that puts every action into a larger context. I'm glad I took the time to listen to this.

100gypsysmom
Fev 7, 4:24pm

#290 Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens 4 stars

Typical Dickens with lots of characters and description. One source said that Dickens thought this was his best novel. I wouldn't say that (i liked A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations more) but it was good enough to keep me reading. I especially enjoyed the sections set in the USA which were quite unflattering. And I couldn't help thinking that not a lot has changed in that nation in the ensuing almost 200 years. (Before Americans start flaring up I know and admire lots of US citizens but the last four years have shown the worst that the country has to offer.)

101gypsysmom
Mar 21, 8:05pm

#291 The Book of Evidence by John Banville 4 stars

I didn't much care for the main character but several days after finishing the book I am still thinking about him and, to me, that means that Banville did a great job of portraying him. Also, at the end he rather redeems himself after writing the story of how he came to attempt to steal a painting from family friends and killed a young maid in the process. It seems he learned something from writing this.

102Nickelini
Mar 21, 9:37pm

>101 gypsysmom:
at the end he rather redeems himself after writing the story of how he came to attempt to steal a painting from family friends and killed a young maid in the process. It seems he learned something from writing this.

Hmmmm. A dubious recommendation for sure.

103Henrik_Madsen
Mar 22, 4:08am

>101 gypsysmom: Oh, I agree it was well done. I didn't like the book, but it definitely touched me. Just out of curiosity: In what way does he redeem himself at the end? I thought he was equally annoying and unrepentant until the very end but I might have missed something.

104gypsysmom
Mar 22, 5:39pm

>103 Henrik_Madsen: I thought he redeemed himself by refusing to plea bargain down to manslaughter and taking the full brunt of punishment for murder. The Freddie who started out thinking he was owed by almost every person he encountered would have leaped at the chance of a lesser sentence.

105gypsysmom
Abr 23, 4:22pm

#292 Watchmen by Alan Moore 3.5 stars

I understand why this book is on the list as it certainly helped to lift graphic novels from being viewed as juvenile reading to a viable literature genre. I was impressed by the level of detail to this super-hero story and the artwork is superb. I think I am never going to be blown away by super-heroes though. The current spate of movies that feature comic book heroes does not appeal to me and although this work was created long before Hollywood took interest I'm just not that interested.

106gypsysmom
Maio 2, 8:24pm

#293 Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico 4 stars

I thought this was a pretty sweet little story about a London char who sets her heart on buying an original Dior frock. Realistic? No probably not but full of heartwarming details and interesting people, especially Ada Harris. The edition I bought also had the follow-up story of Mrs 'Arris Goes to New York. I didn't think it was quite a good as the first one and I quickly figured out the identity of the American father of the little boy Mrs. 'Arris rescued from the abusive people looking after him.