ursula's assault on the 2006 list continues

É uma continuação do tópico ursula's assault on the 2006 list.

Discussão1001 Books to read before you die

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ursula's assault on the 2006 list continues

Fev 6, 2016, 11:08am

I figured it was time to move on from that first thread, and the beginning of a new year is a good time. I know, it's a month past the beginning of the new year, but close enough.

Fev 6, 2016, 11:10am

The Human Stain - 1990s New England academia wrapped up with a whole stupid thing about political correctness. I liked some of it, was enraged by some of it.

Total: 201/227

Mar 3, 2016, 5:12pm

The Art of Fielding - luckily, an interest in baseball isn't required for this one. A little long, but driven by very real-feeling characters.

Total: 201/228

Mar 14, 2016, 7:50am

The Little Prince - not my thing.

Total: 202/229

Mar 14, 2016, 10:17am

But very short :-)

Editado: Set 26, 2016, 7:49am

Far from the Madding Crowd - deliciously written.

Silas Marner - also mostly deliciously written, although it took a little bit to get into.

Both of these also took plot turns that were unexpected, and I enjoyed that a lot.

Total: 204/230

Editado: Set 26, 2016, 7:49am

La ragazza di Bube - boy meets girl, boy gets in trouble, girl meets other boy ... against the backdrop of post-WWII Italian politics.

Total: 204/231

Editado: Set 26, 2016, 7:49am

It's been a while, partially because the book I just finished was a giant: David Copperfield. The other reason is because it's just been hard for me to keep up with list books this year for some reason. I could blame reading Clarissa, but I managed to keep on track while reading In Search of Lost Time, so it's not really much of an excuse.

Anyway, David Copperfield - actually really good, much to my surprise.

Total: 205/232

Editado: Set 26, 2016, 7:49am

The Well of Loneliness - ah, I liked this a lot. And yet, it's so sad how many of the scenes are still familiar for today's LGBT community. Put the conversation between Stephen and her mother about her sexuality into more modern language and it's being had somewhere in the world right this very moment.

Total: 206/233

Editado: Set 26, 2016, 7:50am

Fingersmith - well, just about totally unexpected. I liked it though I had some minor quibbles, which mostly resolved themselves after the first section.

Total: 207/234

Editado: Set 26, 2016, 7:50am

The Drowned World - I don't know that it held together completely but wow, I love Ballard's vocabulary.

Total: 208/235

Editado: Set 26, 2016, 7:50am

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum - my second book by Böll, completely different from the first but just as enjoyable. The commentary on the "news" is really just as relevant today.

Total: 209/236

Set 23, 2016, 12:36am

>12 ursula: That makes me curious what the 'news' is about but I have tries to get a copy for years, with no luck.

Set 23, 2016, 6:50am

>13 Simone2: It's really just commentary on journalism and the way that stories can be sensationalized. But it's very clever and sarcastic, and like I said, it's still relevant today. Plenty of irresponsible "journalists" out in the world still. Sorry to hear you can't find a copy of the book. I just moved to a very small town and the library had one on their shelves. I guess it pays off sometimes to be in a backwater where lots of the original books are still there from the '70s.

Set 23, 2016, 8:43am

>12 ursula: I enjoy Böll's writing as well and find him still relevant. I have read this one and The Safety Net and enjoyed The Safety Net more but both were well done. I am hoping to get in another one of his books next year.

Set 23, 2016, 8:53am

>15 Lynsey2: The other Böll I read was Billiards at Half-Past Nine, which was brilliant but so completely different in style and tone. Much denser and more intricate.

Set 23, 2016, 11:15am

Böll has really strong sense of style so every book of his I have read has been quite distinct. The Lost Honor was my first Böll years ago and it got me hooked...

Editado: Set 26, 2016, 7:50am

The Cement Garden - my 3rd McEwan, an author I've been pretty resigned to not liking. I was generally annoyed with Atonement, hated Amsterdam, and spent a good half of this book feeling essentially the same. And then it sort of came together, tipping this into "pretty good" territory.

Total: 210/237

Set 24, 2016, 11:44am

>17 hdcanis: I'm finding him a really intriguing author.

Set 30, 2016, 11:20am

July's People - this was ambiguous on almost every level. An imaginary uprising ends apartheid in South Africa (this was written in 1981) and a white family takes refuge with their black servant's family.

Total: 211/238

Out 5, 2016, 9:37pm

The Dead Father - wow. Okay, this was a deconstructed, all-over-the-place "story" about a dead father (sort of - he's gigantic and partially mechanical and dead but he talks and sometimes goes around on his own even though most of the time he's being dragged by a team of people) and his journey toward ... something. Pretty quickly you realize this is at least partially about fatherhood and fathers as concepts rather than about the physical being that's described. But there's still a lot of wtf-ery with strange nonsensical conversations and other odd interludes. I felt like I got enough out of it to enjoy it but plenty of meaning remained tantalizingly out of reach to me (assuming it actually exists, it's hard to know with books like this).

Total: 212/239

Out 6, 2016, 9:49am

Your review is very intriguing. This book wasn't on my radar and now I definitely want to read it.

Out 11, 2016, 7:05am

>22 amaryann21: It's funny, isn't it, how we're all reading the same list but it's totally possible for books to slip by unnoticed until someone else reads them? Happens to me all the time!

Out 11, 2016, 7:10am

Things Fall Apart - The classic African novel, finally checked off the list. Colonization from the perspective of the colonized, as well as a glimpse into day to day life in Igbo society before the white men really arrived. I spent all afternoon thinking about it from various angles.

Total: 213/240

Out 25, 2016, 5:47pm

The Brothers Karamazov - Checked another Russian novel off the list. I can't say I enjoyed it overall, although some parts of it were really good. Philosophical novels are not my thing.

Total: 214/241

Out 25, 2016, 5:54pm

The Honorary Consul - I quite enjoyed this overall, although the combined lack of female characters and feelings about the ones who were there (a whore and a mother) annoyed me.

Total: 215/242

Editado: Nov 1, 2016, 6:10pm

Nights at the Circus - things are weird, and then they get weirder. A circus, and women, perched on the edge of the turn of the 20th century and living in a world of magical realism.

Total: 216/244*

*I know I just skipped a number but my counting was off, starting somewhere last year so I'm fixing it here.

Nov 2, 2016, 7:44am

The Radetzky March - I loved this beautifully written, melancholy book about three generations of men in the Trotta family, the end of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and the coming of World War I.

Total: 217/245

Nov 15, 2016, 7:17am

Clarissa or the History of a Young Lady - this was my big project for 2016, and I finished it in early November. It was sometimes entertaining, sometimes instructive, sometimes stultifyingly boring, sometimes ridiculous. But I am glad I read it.

Total: 218/246

Nov 15, 2016, 1:12pm

>29 ursula: Well done!

Nov 15, 2016, 3:00pm

>30 puckers: Thank you! Now I have to figure out what the big project of 2017 will be. No rest for the wicked.

Dez 1, 2016, 11:19am

Love Medicine

I thought I'd like this one, but it just seemed disjointed to me. I didn't connect with it except in a few chapters. Oh well.

Total: 218/247

Dez 1, 2016, 11:20am

The Adventures of Augie March - Another one I had a hard time connecting to. It was so long, and I wasn't fascinated enough with Augie to enjoy the dense writing and detailed journey through a large part of his life.

Total: 219/248

Dez 2, 2016, 11:49am

>33 ursula: I'm reading this right now and really not into it. I don't think Bellow and I are friends.

Dez 2, 2016, 2:00pm

>34 amaryann21: Have you read other books by him? This was my first. I will say some of the most interesting stuff happens in the last third, but it's frustrating because I don't even necessarily think the first 2/3 has any payoff in the end, so it could have not existed at all. I didn't get the feelings the blurbs on the book said I was supposed to, I can tell you that.

Dez 2, 2016, 2:04pm

>35 ursula: I read Seize the Day and it feels very similar. I wasn't looking forward to Augie and I'm avoiding it right now in favor of lighter fare. The blurbs on mine declare it "important" and "a notable achievement" which, to me, mean boooring.

Dez 2, 2016, 2:32pm

Mine had those, too, along with something saying it was essentially life affirming or hope giving or something of the sort (not those words, but that concept), and I did not get that at all.

Dez 4, 2016, 12:49pm

I have only read Henderson the Rain King which I thought was really good. So maybe there is hope? (Of course, I might just have different taste)

Dez 4, 2016, 10:53pm

>38 Henrik_Madsen: I have heard good things about Henderson the Rain King, so we'll see. And you're right, on both counts. I've certainly had books I loved and ones I loathed by the same author, and all books aren't for all people. :) The merit of this one mostly escaped me.

One thing I learned, though, is that "jitney" was at some point slang for a nickel. Never heard that one before.

Dez 8, 2016, 7:40am


I know this is supposed to be brilliant (TS Eliot tells me so in the introduction), but I just didn't feel it. It was so overwrought and melodramatic. I appreciate its place in literature, and I'm sure that it wasn't easy to get a book about lesbians published in 1936, but although it was a short book, sometimes it felt like it was going on forever.

Total: 220/249

Dez 9, 2016, 8:25am

>40 ursula: I do recognize what you say. It seemed to go on forever and it was so hard to keep focussed.

Dez 10, 2016, 6:17pm

>41 Simone2: So strange for such a small book and with what sounds like an interesting story. But I definitely lost focus and had to go back and try to concentrate on the words sometimes, and they didn't always entirely make sense to me then either. :/ Oh well, onward. I can accept that sometimes I don't see the brilliance in a book.

Dez 10, 2016, 6:19pm

The Sense of an Ending

I liked this book about memory and interpretation and how we don't always have a handle on them, even when we're remembering and interpreting our own lives. And I felt for the narrator, Tony, who thought he was pretty hot stuff when he was young and then went on to live a typical life without much thought about who he used to be.

Total: 220/250

Jan 3, 2017, 6:19pm

The Floating Opera

I enjoyed this first book of Barth's. I understand that from here, his writing style developed in other, less linear directions. This one was a relatively straightforward tale of a suicide that doesn't happen. The narrator changes his mind for reasons that he'll explain to you at his own meandering pace (he apologizes for being an amateur author).

Total: 221/251

Jan 3, 2017, 6:21pm


A book about a friendship of sorts between two women who don't know how to be friends. They meet on a cruise, during which the husband of one dies and the other accompanies her to make arrangements. Awkwardness ensues from there. Neither woman is particularly likable, but the interactions were compelling.

Total: 221/252

Jan 9, 2017, 10:12pm

The Graduate

The main accomplishment of this book is that almost everything in it went straight into the movie, often verbatim. A couple of my favorite moments were missing ("this whole idea sounds half-baked" ... "no, it's completely baked", and "plastics"), and there's some other stuff here that got cut for time. But it took remarkably little adaptation to make this into a movie. But aside from that, there's nothing here that really recommends the book over the movie - just watch that and call it done.

Total: 222/253

Jan 10, 2017, 2:03am

>46 ursula: I hardly ever feel that way but in this case I also think the movie is better than the book.

Jan 11, 2017, 6:57am

>47 Simone2: I wonder if I would have felt differently if I hadn't seen the movie (and so many times). This way, it just felt like there were absolutely no surprises, no differences, and it made it impossible to eradicate the images from the movie.

Abr 8, 3:23am

Goodness only knows what I've read in the intervening years, but it only totals a little over 50 books from the list apparently!

I was at 222/253 and now I'm at 270/308.

This will take all of my cats' extra lives if I don't speed it up.

The last list book I read was The Labyrinth of Solitude and the one I'm currently reading is The Red and the Black.

Abr 8, 3:31am

Welcome back! Nice progress and congratulations on 300.

Abr 30, 5:43am

The Red and the Black by Stendhal

Oh, I loved this. So much drama. It's the 1820s in France and Julien Sorel is a carpenter's son who is great at Latin and has an incredible memory (his party trick is to ask someone to give him the start of a page from the Bible and he'll recite the entire page from memory). His father and brothers hate him and he returns the favor. He gets a position teaching Latin to the children of some upper-class types. The wife takes a shine to his beautiful face (seriously, so much time is spent talking about how beautiful Julien is), and Julien likes ... that making her fall in love with him would be a great way to stick it to the bourgeois man.

The chip on his shoulder eventually leads him from there to Paris and things get much, much more complicated. Eventually Julien finds himself in big trouble of his own making and the ending...

(my numbers still don't add up quite right, I'll have to figure out what I've done before commenting again with my totals.)

Editado: Maio 11, 3:48am

Waiting for the Barbarians by JM Coetzee

Well. I read Disgrace a really long time ago (2011, in fact) and absolutely hated it and dreaded the further Coetzee on the 1001 Books list. So I put it off and put it off ... finally convincing myself to read this one now.

The verdict? This one was good. A short (156 pages) allegory about civilization and empire and colonization and humanity. It is narrated by the Magistrate of an outpost on the frontier of the Empire. They've been at peace with the surrounding Barbarians but one day the military shows up and everything changes - though perhaps not what you might expect. There isn't much action in this book, and what exists is ugly - torture, deprivation, the ugly sides of sex, cruelty in many forms.

That makes it sound like a slog, but it really wasn't. The entire time I was thinking about what conclusions Coetzee wanted me to draw from this story. Is redemption possible? Does anyone have pure motives? Can you be part of an unfair system in any way without being an oppressor? (Timely question, that.)

Total: 278/320 (I had my sorting missing some of the ones I'd read and I hadn't added the books from the 2018 list before. I think this is now the correct total.)

Maio 19, 2:11am

Cause for Alarm by Eric Ambler

From the 1001 Books list - a spy novel set in Italy in the late 1930s. An English engineer works for a company that is manufacturing arms for Italy in the run-up to what will become World War II. (I should say, Eric Ambler did not know that; the book was published in 1938.) It's always kind of weird reading books written in this time period because it's hard to imagine the casual mention of Hitler or Mussolini or the non-ironic comment made about Mussolini getting the Italian trains to run on time. Don't get me wrong, Ambler was not a fan, and the communists and socialists get the hero edits here, but still. Anyhow, the main character, Marlow, gets sent to Italy and finds himself embroiled in a plot he doesn't understand, getting played at every turn.

The last part of the book is an extended escape story and it's pretty tense.

Total: 279/321