Paruline's attempt - thread 2

Discussão1001 Books to read before you die

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Paruline's attempt - thread 2

Dez 21, 2017, 1:36pm

Hello all and welcome to my second thread! I realized that my other second thread has a typo in the title and I thought I should just start again instead of staring at that typo for years.


I've been aware of the 1001 book list for a few years now and getting quite obsessive about it ever since. According to arukiyomi, I have to read 24 books/year from now on, which might give you an indication of my age :).

My first language is French and I try to get translated works in French when I can. But I am also fluent in English and enjoy its rich literary tradition.

Editado: Jan 4, 9:12am

301- Cannery Row

How to throw a party.


Editado: Jan 4, 9:12am

302- The long dark tea-time of the soul

Dirk Gently investigates the realm of North gods. Douglas Adams sure knew how to turn a phrase. Quite funny but several plot holes.


Editado: Jan 1, 2018, 6:48am

303- Solitude

Beautifully told story of a young woman's self-actualization despite a disastrous marriage. The Catalan mountains provide a gorgeous setting and are almost a character.


Editado: Jan 4, 9:13am

304- Casino Royal

Dated, sexist, racist, but could make a good movie if handled right. Oh wait.


Jan 1, 2018, 10:28am

>19 paruline: Wonderful review! :)

Jan 1, 2018, 2:21pm

Jan 1, 2018, 2:22pm

305- Dispatches

A free-lance journalist reports on the Vietnam war, the soldiers, their fears, other journalists, superstition in the face of death, rock & roll and the local culture.


Editado: Dez 16, 2019, 4:00pm

306- Meurtriers sans visage (Faceless killers)

When the last word of the dying elderly victim of a brutal robbery is "stranger", local detective Wallander has to solve the crime while also protecting immigrants from retaliation.

Nice read for a wintery evening.


Jan 1, 2018, 2:35pm

307- La ferme de cousine Judith (Cold Comfort Farm)

Pretty funny parody of all the pastoral novels of the 19th century. Flora Poste, newly orphaned, calls upon relatives to take her in and sets about putting everything and everyone right at Cold Comfort Farm.


Jan 1, 2018, 2:47pm

These succinct reviews work well!

Jan 1, 2018, 5:35pm

308- The invisible man

Violent, unpredictable, megalomaniac Griffin finds the means to become invisible and realizes that instead of solving his problems, being invisible just compounds them.


Jan 1, 2018, 5:36pm

>25 m.belljackson: Thanks! They're useful to me when I look back and try to remember the main impressions a book gave me.

Editado: Jan 4, 9:14am

309- Les treize horloges (The 13 clocks)

An evil Duke gives impossible tasks (and failure is punishable by death) to any suitor that comes for the hand of his niece. But will the impoverished minstrel complete his task in time?

Some clever word play make this an enjoyable read.


Jan 1, 2018, 5:50pm

310- L'assassin qui est en moi (The killer inside me)

Told in the first person by the Sherif of a small town in Texas, who during the day is thought of as a lovable if slightly daft member of the community, but turns into a sadistic murderer when no one is looking. Because, who will ever suspect the Sherif?

Very well done.


Jan 1, 2018, 6:03pm

Last ten books by order of enjoyment, from most to least enjoyed. Books 301-310 (title -my rating) :

Solitude -4
Cold Comfort Farm -4
Cannery Row -4
The killer inside me -4
Faceless killers -3,5
The invisible man -3,5
The thirteen clocks -3,5
The long dark tea-time of the soul -3,5
Dispatches -3
Casino Royal -2,5

Editado: Jan 4, 9:15am

311- Silas Marner

Charming tale of a miser that looses his gold only to find an abandoned child who brings him true happiness.


Set 9, 2018, 9:35am

312- Memento Mori

Sometimes humorous, sometimes dark, and sometimes darkly humorous read about the foibles and quirks of an aging group of people.


Set 9, 2018, 9:38am

313- Exercices de style

The same anecdote, told again and again in different writing styles. Interesting to see how the writer's chosen emphasis can manipulate the reader.


Set 9, 2018, 9:42am

314- The once and future king

I think I read an abridged version of the first section as a child as I remembered some passages vividly. What started as a charming adventure grew dark and a bit tiresome in the last two sections when the focus shifted to Lancelot.


Set 9, 2018, 9:58am

315- Uncle Silas

Entertaining. Gothic. Non-insipid heroine. What else could you ask for?


Editado: Set 9, 2018, 10:10am

316- H is for Hawk

I didn't know it would be in the updated version of the 1001 list when I read it earlier this year. I'm not sure about its future staying power but it gave interesting insights into The once and future king and I learned a lot about about falconry!


Set 9, 2018, 10:13am

317- Silence

A 20th century Japanese writer made me believe I was reading the diary of a 17th century Jesuit missionary. Impressive.


Set 9, 2018, 10:18am

318- Absalom, Absalom!

Ugh. Most tedious, longest 300 pages of my life. A student recounts to his roommate the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen in the US south.


Set 9, 2018, 10:26am

319- À la courbe du fleuve (A bend in the river)

An outsider observes over many years the changes in a post-colonial small, unnamed African city. Considered important, but not by me.


Set 9, 2018, 10:30am

320- Lives of girls and women

A young intelligent girl grows into adulthood in a small Canadian town post-WWII and navigates the expectations placed upon the lives of girls and women.


Set 9, 2018, 10:40am

Last ten books by order of enjoyment, from most to least enjoyed. Books 311-320 (title -my rating) :

Memento Mori -4,5
Exercices de style -4
Silas Marner -4
H is for Hawk -4
The once and future king -4
Uncle Silas -4
Lives of girls and women -3,5
Silence -3,5
À la courbe du fleuve -3
Absalom, Absalom! -2,5

Set 10, 2018, 9:25pm

I am dreading reading Faulkner, I tried once before many years ago and gave up, so I do have very high expectations for his works.

Set 13, 2018, 11:02am

>42 DeltaQueen50: Some books/authors I consider "duty-read" in that they were so influential they are basically required reading. But that doesn't mean I necessarily enjoy reading them!

Otoh, I've been pleasantly surprised more than once by books I had previously avoided because I felt they would be too difficult. The 1001 books I read from the 1700s and pre-1700s were for the most part surprisingly engaging!

Out 18, 2018, 5:36am

I'm enjoying your thread - you are making great progress!

Out 18, 2018, 7:58am

Two here that are were not on my radar, Uncle Silas and Exercices de Style. I'll add them to my mental list!

And regarding Faulkner, I studied his Sound and the Fury in my teen years at school and was so excited by the world he created. It set me up to love and understand (at least a little) his other works.

Out 20, 2018, 2:32pm

>41 paruline: Interesting ranking. I too really liked the Muriel Spark (she is so brilliant), and Exercises in Style was just brilliant. But I also really liked Silence. Both that and the Queneau have been books I keep coming back to, talking about, recommending to others.

As for Faulkner, I'm with >45 japaul22: here -- loved Sound and the Fury in high school, nothing else has lived up to that.

Enjoyed catching up with your thread!

Jan 21, 2019, 3:20pm

321- The Colour

The gold rush, and the gold fever it brings, in New Zealand in the 1860s. Pleasant read, but not ground breaking.


Jan 21, 2019, 3:26pm

322- The virgin suicides

Over the span of one year, five teenage sisters commit suicide. As readers, instead of the point of view of these teenagers, we get the endless speculations of the neighbourhood's boys.


Jan 21, 2019, 3:31pm

323- La vie de Lazarillo de Tormes

Lazarillo is cast out into the world as a child and goes through seven masters, who really are just there so the anonymous author can critique his society. Hugely influential and quite enjoyable centuries later.


Jan 22, 2019, 10:40am

324- Some experiences of an Irish R. M

A string of humorous episodes detailing the settling in of an Englishman of Irish extraction sent to be a Registered Magistrate in Ireland. Of course, there will be drinking, horse racing, and hunting.



Jan 23, 2019, 10:55am

>50 paruline: But of course:)

Jan 23, 2019, 6:47pm

Fev 18, 2019, 12:58pm

325- Légende

Fantasy where a city has to defend itself against powerful hordes. A bit predictable and with several characters that are thinly drawn, but the logistics of preparing for a siege and the battles themselves were convincing.



Fev 20, 2019, 1:11pm

326- She

Adventure story about a lost world, decadent civilizations, an irresistible queen who-must-be-obeyed, super powers, immortality, all wrapped up in some dated clichés.

A crowd pleaser.


Mar 7, 2019, 11:15am

327- The water babies

Somewhat interesting at the beginning, reminding me a bit of Dickens (poor child chimney sweep becomes suspected of a crime), but once he turns into a water baby, I completely lost interest.

A slog.


Mar 7, 2019, 4:31pm

328- Tout est illuminé (Everything is illuminated)

I very much enjoyed the story of the Jewish writer traveling to Europe to find out about the woman who saved his grandfather during WWII. The story within a story about the shtetl of Trachimbrod was less successful for me, especially since it involved so much misery for one of the only woman character.


Mar 18, 2019, 12:45pm

329- The house on the borderland

Two fishermen come across an old manuscript detailing how a house served as a portal through time and space for both the owner and otherworldly creatures.

An important precursor of horror and science-fiction tropes but a bit melodramatic in its delivery.


Mar 18, 2019, 12:57pm

330- A town like Alice

During three years in WWII, a group of women and children are marched from town to town in Malaysia because no Japanese officers wants the responsibility of caring for them. Years later, one of the survivor has become an heiress and looks for an Australian POW that helped them through a difficult time. As they reunite and fall in love, they set about remaking a remote Australian outpost into a comfortable town (A town like Alice).

Only my second book by this author but I found I'm enjoying his writing style and his stories of ordinary people stuck in difficult situations. There is some casual racism and sexism from several characters, and the remodeling of the outpost sometimes felt like something out of Cold Comfort Farm, but the first part in Malaysia was riveting.


Mar 18, 2019, 1:04pm

Last ten books by order of enjoyment, from most to least enjoyed. Books 321-330 (title -my rating) :

A town like Alice -4
Some experiences of an Irish R.M. -4
The colour -4
Legend -3.5
The life of Lazarillo de Tormes -3.5
She -3.5
Everything is illuminated -3
The house on the borderland -3
The virgin suicides -3
The water-babies -2.5

Maio 28, 2019, 10:39am

331- Wide Sargasso Sea

For such a short novel, this packs quite a punch. A retelling of the famous Jane Eyre but from the point of view of the mad woman in the attic, and how she came to be there.


Maio 28, 2019, 11:01am

332- Catch 22

Not really my cup of tea. Too long, the timeline is confusing, the humour is repetitive, and the women are mistreated as a matter of course. Next.


Editado: Jun 4, 2019, 11:58am

333- Les jumeaux de Black Hill (On the Black Hill)

Famous for his travel stories, Bruce Chatwin tries something different: a novel where the protagonists never leave an area but are nevertheless influenced by the events of their time.


Editado: Jun 6, 2019, 11:54am

334- Love in a cold climate

Must have been great fun when it was published, especially among the upper class, but since we don't have these reference points nowadays, it has aged rather badly, although Cedric is great fun.

I much preferred The pursuit of love.


Jun 6, 2019, 12:04pm

335- The grass is singing

Doris Lessing's first novel details the life and murder of a woman trapped in a bad marriage. We are witnesses to her slow deterioration from a happy woman to a helpless, confused, and despairing person who turns to a black servant for companionship. While Mary is racist and not very sympathetic, the writing is subtle, evocative and powerful, and the book a harsh critique of South Africa's culture under white rule.


Editado: Jul 15, 2019, 11:44am

336- The picture of Dorian Gray

The corruption of young, handsome Dorian Gray. Lots of witticisms, predictable story line.



Jul 11, 2019, 1:33pm

337- Le talentueux Mr. Ripley (The talented Mr. Ripley)

Crime was a lot easier before cellphones.


Editado: Dez 16, 2019, 3:54pm

338- Do androids dream of electric sheep

A bounty hunter looks for a last job "retiring" androids. But when the androids become virtually indistinguishable from humans, both in looks and in thought patterns, what does that do to the bounty hunter's own empathy and humanity?



Editado: Dez 16, 2019, 3:55pm

339- A farewell to arms

Semi-autobiographical novel about a young American that fights in WWI, gets wounded and taken care of by an English nurse with whom he falls in love. I found the characters boring in words and actions, but the scenery was at least interesting.

Added half a star for the well-built ending.


Editado: Dez 16, 2019, 3:55pm

340- L'ancêtre (The witness)

A young sailor is taken prisoner for 10 years by a remote tribe in the 16th century. His first impression of his captors as sex-obsessed violent drunken cannibals is transformed over the years as he learns about their world view. A quiet, introspective novel that is both dreamlike and realistic.

Laure Bataillon won a major prize for the French translation of this book, and I can understand why.


Jul 15, 2019, 12:02pm

Last ten books by order of enjoyment, from most to least enjoyed. Books 331-340 (title -my rating) :

The witness -4
The talented Mr. Ripley -4
On the Black Hill -4
Do androids dream of electric sheep? -4
The grass is singing -4
The picture of Dorian Gray -4
Wide Sargasso Sea -3.5
A farewell to arms -3.5
Love in a cold climate -3
Catch 22 -2.5

This time, I can't really discriminate between the top four contenders; I liked them all equally but for different reasons.

Editado: Dez 9, 2020, 10:04am

341- Autobiographie d'Alice Toklas (The autobiography of Alice B. Toklas)

Well, I never learned less about the subject of an autobiography than I did here for Alice B. Toklas. Because really, this is the autobiography of Gertrude Stein, written by herself.

I learned quite a bit about the art scene of Paris at the turn of the 20th century, but I found it quite dry and surprisingly boring.


Editado: Dez 9, 2020, 10:02am

342- Falling man

Several unpleasant people react in different ways to the terrorist attack of 9/11.


Jan 1, 2020, 5:35pm

343- Après le tremblement de terre (After the quake)

A much better take of the aftereffects of a catastrophe, which are explored through the reactions of people in a series of short stories, some with a fantastical bend. The characters have no other link than the fact they see the earthquake on the news and that it changes them.


Editado: Dez 9, 2020, 10:01am

344- The big sleep

Classic noir with a famously complicated plot. The movie is fairly faithful to the book.


Dez 9, 2020, 9:59am

345- Sula

I understand what Toni Morrison was trying to do but that doesn't mean I enjoyed it; all the characters were just unpleasant.


Dez 9, 2020, 10:12am

346- La guerre des salamandres (The war with the newts)

First book read after a two-months hiatus. The discovery of a new species of newts brings about all the worst human instincts. Darkly humorous. Recommended.


Dez 9, 2020, 10:19am

347- Cane

Collection of poetry and short stories with some arresting imagery, exploring the realities of being an African American in early 20th century US. Interesting but I ultimately failed to connect.


Editado: Dez 9, 2020, 10:38am

348- Le loup des steppes (Steppenwolf)

I've met people like this: disdainful of mass culture but unable to detach themselves from it. I was impressed with the insights into this mentality by the author but the final magic theater section went on a bit too long. And Hermine's ultimate fate was a real letdown.


Editado: Dez 10, 2020, 9:23am

349- The Glass Key

Corruption, murder, seduction, fist fights, more corruption, politics. You'd think all this would make the novel interesting, but you'd be wrong.


Dez 10, 2020, 9:28am

350- Get Shorty

Corruption, murder, seduction, fist fights, drugs, movies, Hollywood, humour. That's more like it. The movie is also pretty great, especially with that Booker T & the M.G.'s soundtrack.


Editado: Dez 10, 2020, 3:37pm

Last ten books by order of enjoyment, from most to least enjoyed. Books 341-350 (title -my rating) :

War with the newts -4
After the quake -4
Get Shorty -3,5
Steppenwolf -3,5
The big sleep -3,5
Falling man -3,5
Sula -3
Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas -3
Cane -2,5
The glass key -2

Dez 16, 2020, 1:51pm

Catching up with all your reviews and just wanted to say -- love the way that you pause after every 10 books and rank them. That's a good idea. I might have to appropriate it.

Some of your brief reviews are also hilarious. I definitely laughed at >66 paruline: and >79 paruline: - >80 paruline:!

Dez 17, 2020, 9:12am

Appropriate away! I've neglected my thread this year, but I keep reading and being inspired by everyone in the group :)