Karen's 75 Books on a Stick (2009)

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2009

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Karen's 75 Books on a Stick (2009)

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Jan 31, 2009, 2:41 pm

75 books? Fun! Okay, here's what I've read so far this year...

1. Night of the Gun (David Carr)
2. Holidays on Ice (David Sedaris)
3. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
4. A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)
5. Best American Short Stories (2008) (ed. Salman Rushdie)
6. Possessing the Secret of Joy (Alice Walker)
7. The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
8. 2010: Odyssey Two (Arthur C. Clarke)

In case you're wondering, "on a stick" refers to the Minnesota State Fair, where an unbelievable number of food items are offered "on a stick." It's my nod to summer in the middle of winter.

Jan 31, 2009, 3:08 pm

Nice list. Welcome!

Fev 1, 2009, 3:21 am

Welcome to the group!

Fev 6, 2009, 5:26 pm

Thanks for the welcome messages!

I just finished

9. Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

I don't read many books of...sociology?...but this one was thought-provoking.

Fev 10, 2009, 4:41 pm

10. Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

Really well-written and quite applicable to today's economic climate.

Fev 12, 2009, 1:58 pm

11. Slaughterhouse-Five Or The Childrens Crusade by Kurt Vonnegut.

I'd read this back in high school (a LONG time ago) but wanted to refresh my mind with it. Glad I did. Terrific book--imaginative, well-written.

Fev 12, 2009, 2:29 pm

I've only read Cat's Cradle and Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut and loved them both (especially the former). I look forward to reading more by him - thanks for the recommendation!

Fev 12, 2009, 11:12 pm

I have never read any Vonnegut, so Slaughterhouse-Five sounds like a good place to begin.

Fev 16, 2009, 3:29 pm

Slaughterhouse-Five is very much an anti-war book. I hope that you'll like the book as much as I did.

Fev 16, 2009, 3:31 pm

I think you're right -- I think it would be good place to start with Vonnegut. I hope you like it!

Fev 16, 2009, 3:35 pm


12. 2061:The Third Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.

I've enjoyed the series (2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: The Second Odyssey, and now this one, but with diminishing response. There's one more book in the series 3001: The Final Odyssey and I'll probably read that one, as well. It's probably a little anal-retentive of me, but I like to complete things.

Fev 16, 2009, 3:59 pm

Exactly my thoughts, I have read till 2010: Odyssey Two, which was vastly inferior to 2001: A Space Odyssey and from review like yours, I know I cannot expect much from the rest of the series either, but then, if it is a series and once you start it, well, you NEED to finish it!

Fev 16, 2009, 5:18 pm

>8 alcottacre: and >6 klobrien2:: I LOVED Slaughterhouse 5, despite having been forced to read it at school as part of my GCSE course (which is usually a killer for me - I had to study Hamlet for major exams at 16, 18 and 21 and can never go back there, sadly...). Just find it incredible that the Dresden firebombing could ever have been carried out. I've read several more of Vonnegut's on the back of this but nothing ever really touched it for impact for me.

Fev 19, 2009, 4:03 pm

PiyushChourasia, I appreciated your corroboration of my feeling about the 2001 books.

FlossieT, I also was really moved by Slaughterhouse 5. The terrible destruction of such a beautiful city. War is truly hell on earth.

Fev 19, 2009, 4:06 pm

13. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Loved this one, although it does build slowly. Although one view of the book is that it presents an alternate future, the look at relationships was very interesting.

Editado: Mar 3, 2009, 7:16 pm

14. The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith

I really like this guy's books. He's got several series of books going, and this one is set in Edinburgh, with a range of really interesting characters. The writing is sweet, simple, but profound.

Fev 25, 2009, 7:52 pm

15. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

A patron at the library raved about this book and the two that follow it in the series. It's actually a "juvie" book (juvenile fiction) but it was a delight to read. The author has a real gift with language and an obvious love of books. It's the kind of book where you feel sad knowing that you'll never read it again for the first time.

Fev 26, 2009, 8:14 am

I love Young Adult/Children's Fiction... I think that's where some of the best books with the most poignant messages come from. Often, YA authors can tackle things that people wouldn't otherwise accept in an 'adult' book, while also developing that sense of wonder for the reader.

I've got the next 2 (Inkspell, Inkdeath) on my TBR list for the year. Did you see the Inkheart film? Though it changed the ending somewhat, I really enjoyed it and thought that from a film perspective, the changes were for the better.

Mar 3, 2009, 7:10 pm

dk_phoenix--thanks for your comments. I agree strongly with your opinions on YA/Children's fiction.

I just got notice that Inkspell is on hold for me at the library. 8>)

I haven't seen the Inkheart movie yet. I sometimes fear seeing a movie version of a book that I really liked--what if they wreck it? So your recommendation is very helpful to me --Thanks!

Mar 3, 2009, 7:15 pm

16. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

In a seminar on Reader's Advisory by Nancy Pearl (the Book Lust author), we were challenged to read something out of our normal selections.

So, this was my pick. The book had an interesting concept, but the writing was not real strong, and I thought the book's ending was cheap and almost thrown together. I don't know if I'll read anymore of Picoult's books.

Good news is that I'm working on a set of Dashiell Hammett books--they are luscious!

Mar 6, 2009, 7:15 pm

17. Red Harvest Dashiell Hammett

This is one of the "1001 Books," and I really enjoyed it. It is a hard-boiled detective story, but Hammett has such a gift for description and keeping it "short and sweet."

Mar 11, 2009, 11:49 pm

18. Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders by Larry Millett

I read this for my book club. Millett is a local (Minnesota) author, and he places his novel in late 19th century St. Paul. Written in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle, of course.

It was a fun read, and well written. I've requested a few more of the books in the series from my library.

Mar 12, 2009, 9:52 am

I love Larry Millett's Sherlock Holmes books - they are the best SH books I've read, since the originals of course. I think the Ice Palace Murders was the best one I've red so far, but I've only read the first three in the series. Millett creates a great character in Shadwell Rafferty, who is in most of the books!

Mar 14, 2009, 11:45 pm

amwmsw04, I agree 100% with you about the Shadwell Rafferty character--just loved him in "Ice Palace Murders." Can't wait to read the other books in the series.

Mar 14, 2009, 11:48 pm

19. The War of the Worlds H.G. Wells

Wells was so ahead of his time with this novel. I found that it dragged a little from time to time (maybe it was because I wanted to find out what happened?!) This is in the "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" list, and it is my 62nd book read (I know, quite pathetic, but I'm making progress).

Mar 15, 2009, 2:58 am

#25: 62 books in sounds like quite an accomplishment to me!

I am going to have to look for the Millett books, being a big Holmes fan. Thanks for the mention.

Mar 15, 2009, 10:20 am

#25: Exactly my thoughts on the book when I read it last year, pitched Wells to a friend a couple of days back with almost the same words, he was so ahead of his time

Arukiyomi's excel sheet tells me I need to read 24 (19+5) books an year to finish with the 2006 and 2008 versions, will check at the end of the year if I am doing fine without really following the list or do I need to pop in more books from the 1001 list...

Mar 15, 2009, 10:30 am

I also read The War of the Worlds last month and, while I did feel that Wells was ahead of his time with the science/aliens/machines stuff, I never really connected to the main characters well enough. I've got a review on my thread if you're interested, I rated the book a 3 stars. Liked it, didn't love it :)

Mar 15, 2009, 10:34 am

Stasia, now that you are a member of PBS, you might be able to get the Larry Millett books that way - that's how I got all 5 of them. (I traded the first 3 back after I read them, though) Unless your library has them, of course!!

Mar 15, 2009, 7:33 pm

girlunderglass, thanks for the tip on War of the Worlds --I'll go look for your review.

Mar 16, 2009, 12:25 am

#29: My library has 1 of them, so I am going to try it first to see if I like it, and then put them on my PBS wishlist if I do.

Mar 17, 2009, 3:46 pm

First, I just want to say how amazing LibraryThing is (as if you didn't feel the same way). It's wonderful to connect with people on the topic of books.

Next, I just read "The Nose" by Nikolai Gogol for the "1001 Books..." project, but I won't list it as one of my books, since it really is quite short. Very funny, surreal.

20. The Nineteenth Wife by David Ebershoff

This is like two books in one - two wives of polygamy, separated by more than a century. Really interesting history (it did get bogged down at times) and modern day mystery, but the ending was completely unsatisfying. I felt as if I had missed the ending (I even checked my page numbers to make sure they were all there!) That's the second recently-penned book that I've read recently where it seemed the author just couldn't wind things up (see my number 16 My Sister's Keeper). I'm not a writer, and I'm sure that it must be hard to write a perfect ending, but I am a voracious reader, and this book left me wanting something more.

Mar 23, 2009, 12:02 am

21. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

The edition I read included a few of Capote's short stories as well.

What a great read! Great characterization and atmosphere.

Mar 26, 2009, 3:52 pm

22. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Don't know quite what to make of this one. Psychological drama? Ghost story? Enjoyed the read; a book one needs to think about.

Abr 1, 2009, 5:35 pm

23. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett Really good reading, with great dialogue and plot twists.

24. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson. LOVED this one--even tastier than the movie, with wit and warmth.

So, I made 24 books in 3 months; if I keep up the pace, that will be 96 books by the end of the year (without pushing too hard). Maybe I'll make 100 books!

Abr 1, 2009, 5:37 pm

I also read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for the "1001 Books" project, but I'm not including that in my count since it was so short. Excellent read, caused shivers and dread of what was happening. My coworker has recommended the film version, so I am on the hunt for that.

Abr 1, 2009, 6:18 pm

>36 klobrien2: movie version? movie version?? I too love The Yellow Wallpaper but never knew there was a film adaptation of it. Thanks for the info, I'll go and look for it now!

Abr 2, 2009, 11:47 pm

>37 girlunderglass: Well, it was a tv version - BBC (of course). I asked for it via my library's ILL - can't wait to get it.

Abr 2, 2009, 11:49 pm

25. Ibsen: Four Major Plays by Henrik Ibsen

I had wanted to read these plays for a long time. I feel like I'm intellectually more responsible now, but the plays were SO dark and depressing. People dying all over the place. So I'm glad that I read them, but also glad that I don't feel like I have to read anymore.

Abr 7, 2009, 7:55 pm

26. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

I had read this in my youth, but it was great to revisit it. I enjoy Dickens, but he has this tendency to write extremely long sentences. A reader really has to focus to keep attention until the end of the sentence.

Abr 8, 2009, 3:38 pm

27. The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

Wow, this was so fun a read (and so funny!) that it practically read itself. Another truly enjoyable read.

Abr 8, 2009, 4:48 pm

I read a couple of Ibsen plays this year, A Wild Duck and A Doll's House, while they were on the darker side, I expected it from the reputation he commands and therefore it didn't come as a shock, I am sorry that you felt depressed, I must advice you to never read Kafka or be very well prepared if you do so...

Abr 11, 2009, 9:33 am

>42 PiyushC: Thanks for the advice! And I think you're right--I didn't know the plot of the (Ibsen) plays, so wasn't prepared emotionally. I don't feel that I wasted my time, however--the plays were very interesting, and a gap in my education has been filled.

Abr 11, 2009, 9:40 am

28. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

This was a treat to read. Science fiction, history, political science, love story,...

Abr 16, 2009, 8:57 pm

29. Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

Finding and reading this book was a serendipitous thing for me. My local library system is having their book sale ("Book-a-Palooza!") and I found a beat-up copy of this book. It is on the 1001 Books list.

What a charming read! Beautifully and crisply written. The plot was simple, almost like a fairy tale, a Cinderella story.

Abr 17, 2009, 9:09 am

>45 klobrien2:: There's at least one more in that series—I've also got Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Moscow. It was also charming.

Editado: Abr 17, 2009, 4:25 pm

My local library also has Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament so there is no telling how many places Mrs. 'Arris ended up!

Abr 20, 2009, 2:29 pm

Thank you, TadAD and alcottacre! I'm sure I'll keep an eye open for those Mrs. 'Arris books.

Abr 20, 2009, 2:31 pm

30. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Another great book (with recipes!) Almost like poetry, with elements of fantasy, humor, and great beauty. I will certainly look for other works by the author.

Abr 21, 2009, 5:02 pm

31. The Suicide Collectors by David Oppegaard

I couldn't put this down once I started reading it. Exciting plot, lots to say about life and relationships.

Abr 24, 2009, 4:34 pm

32. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

I've been reading a lot lately. I visited some libraries I hadn't been to before, and felt like I should check something out, so...

I liked this book; it was funny and witty, but kind of bizarre. It was a good experience.

33. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathon Swift

This was on the 1001 Books list. I think I had read this back in my youth, but it's a lot more meaningful with a lifetime's worth of experiences in the mind of the reader.

Abr 30, 2009, 1:26 pm

I'll be tracking your thread now, seeing that you're enjoying most of the 1001 Must Read books you've finished so far. Me too--and the ones I don't like--well, that's okay too. I did find Diary of a Nobody fun and very informative about lifestyles of the class of the brothers. I also have become a great fan of Hammett's and wish he had written more. If you liked his work, you might also enjoy Cornell Woolrich, another noir writer of that period. And if you're totally burned out on Hamlet itself, you might try Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard, which also has a good film version available. Basically, the two courtiers are trying to figure out what the heck is going on in Elsinore.

Abr 30, 2009, 4:06 pm

Thanks, Prop2gether (#52). I have read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and found it very interesting. I love writing that comes at a well-known story or topic from a completely different angle.

Abr 30, 2009, 4:09 pm

34. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Thoroughly engaging story of shipwreck and survival. There are levels to this book, however. I'm going to have to let it stew in my mind to get to the deeper levels, but it was a topnotch survival story.

Abr 30, 2009, 4:12 pm

#54: The Life of Pi seems to be one of those divisive books - people either love it or hate it. I am one of the former, but I know several people here in the group are amongst the latter.

Abr 30, 2009, 7:08 pm

>54 klobrien2: & >55 alcottacre: I fall between 'love' and 'hate' on Life of Pi.

You should really go on and read Edgar Allen Poe - The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket - and discover the original Richard Parker (seriously!). I read it and wanted to go back to Pi to cross-reference, but couldn't quite face it.

Maio 11, 2009, 2:52 pm

Re: Life of Pi: I agree with >56 FlossieT:, in falling between "love" and "hate" (of the book). Still, it was a worthwhile book to read. And, FlossieT, thanks for the tip on the Poe book - I will certainly keep it in mind.

Maio 11, 2009, 2:55 pm

35. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

I'd read this in my youth, but needed to reread (1) because my book club is reading it, and (2) it's on the 1001 Book list.

I have mixed feelings about this. It was certainly an interesting story, and the author has some great powers of description, but then there's the Sherlock Holmes character...which gets to be so annoying to me.

Oh, well, another step closer to 75!!

Maio 12, 2009, 6:11 pm

You might try Pierre Bayard's Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles. Ignore or skim the middle part—like all of Bayard's books, he gets a little preachy about his theories—and enjoy the revised story. I think Bayard's solution is better than Holmes'.

Maio 15, 2009, 2:26 pm

>59 TadAD: Thanks for the tip, TadAD. The Bayard book looks really interesting.

36. The Gudwulf Manuscript Robert B. Parker

A patron at a library at which I work suggested Robert B. Parker, so I thought I'd start with one of his old ones (the first Spenser book?)

Really pretty funny, although somewhat dated. Light, entertaining reading.

Maio 17, 2009, 12:32 pm

37. Silas Marner by George Eliot

Such a beautiful book, both in the writing and the story. I had read this in my youth, but, once again, it seems I have more insight and appreciation now.

Book 78 of "1001 Books" for me.

Maio 25, 2009, 9:11 pm

38. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Book 79 of "1001 Books" for me.

Nonstop action, but I had to work at it to finish up. Historically very interesting.

Maio 31, 2009, 2:22 pm

39. Justine: Or The Misfortunes of Virtue by Marquis de Sade

Book 80 of "1001 Books" for me.

And that's the only reason I would have read this, other than its historical value. Not so much because of the twisted psychology, but because it was mostly boring.

Jun 1, 2009, 1:15 am

#63: One of the reasons I cannot get real excited about the 1001 books list is because of some of the titles - things I would never touch, this being one of them. I sincerely hope your next book is better for you!

Jun 8, 2009, 11:21 am

I hear what you're saying (#64). But I've also read some wonderful novels, ones that I would have put on my TBR list and then, probably never read.
The 1001 Books list has been a prompt to stick with things, looking for the beauty of each book. I haven't read a completely not worthwhile book yet (and here's hoping that I don't, at all!)

Editado: Jun 8, 2009, 11:25 am

40. Metamorphoses by Ovid

A case in point of the previous message. Never, in a million years, would I have read this collection of poetry without the prompting of the 1001 Books project. Although it was really hard work for me to get through it, I'm glad I read it.

Jun 8, 2009, 2:49 pm

#40: I loved Metamorphoses when I read it years ago. Glad you enjoyed it.

Jun 9, 2009, 4:34 am

I can spot a couple of my favourites there, Life of Pi and The Time Machine, good reads both of them.

Jun 11, 2009, 1:15 pm

Oh, sounds like me talking about the 1001 Must Read list--I've read books and authors I would never have found and I've talked myself into revisiting some I swore never to read--only found I really enjoyed them. A couple of clinkers in the mix--but hey, you get that with anything you read. Enjoy!

Jun 15, 2009, 8:56 am

#69, that's exactly how I feel about 1001 Books. I feel as if the list lends a little guidance and gives me that little push to keep reading books that may be a little tougher to read. I'm really enjoying it.

Jun 15, 2009, 8:58 am

41. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Here I'm playing catch-up with my childhood, because I never read the Winnie the Pooh books when I was a child. This was wonderful! So sweet, so funny--no wonder they are considered classic. I will definitely read the rest of the Milne collection.

Jun 23, 2009, 7:47 pm

42. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John Le Carre

43. The House at Pooh Corner by A.A.Milne

44. Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives by David Snowdon

I usually have a number of books going, and here I finished three of them in short succession.

The le Carre book is classic, and I was engaged from the get-go. I'm glad there are a few le Carre books on the 1001 Books list.

The Pooh book was terrific, too. I think I'd read those books again even if I had read them before, instead of just playing catch up.

Aging with Grace was a wonderful book about a fantastic group of people. Lots of insight into living well in the latter part of one's life.

So, three out of three winners here.

Jun 23, 2009, 10:50 pm

Wow! Congratulations on batting 1000!

Jun 27, 2009, 2:18 pm

45. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

This month's book for my book club. I didn't know how I would like this one, but it was a compelling read. Three mysteries in one, with a complex and very funny protagonist.

Jun 29, 2009, 3:10 pm

46. Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley

An excellent and touching book. Buckley is a terrific writer, and I intend to catch up with him after reading this memoir.

Jul 7, 2009, 4:11 pm

47. God is My Broker by Christopher Buckley

I'd gotten hooked on Christopher Buckley on my book #46 (Losing Mum and Pup). Chris Buckley is a very funny writer, and an excellent writer. I'll keep an eye out for his other books.

Jul 7, 2009, 4:16 pm

48. The Enchanted Places by Christopher Milne

My library coworker recommended this book (actually went and got it off the shelf) when I mentioned I was reading the A.A. Milne books. I waited to read this book until I had finished When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. The Enchanted Places is an autobiography by "Christopher Robin" Milne. I found it a very compelling book, full of insight into both the Pooh books, and into the life of the author.

Jul 11, 2009, 2:25 pm

49. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Well, I think this is the last children's book for a while. I've really enjoyed catching up on my childhood, and feel only a bit guilty for including a Juvy book on my list of 75.
Terrific book; very enjoyable. I cried at the end.

Jul 11, 2009, 11:43 pm

#78: I have read it innumerable times and I still cry at the end every time. You are not alone, lol.

Jul 12, 2009, 2:47 pm

Me too! How can you read that and NOT cry - such a sweet story, and one of my favorite childhood books. The Trumpet of the Swan was also a beautiful story.

Jul 12, 2009, 3:14 pm

Thanks for your empathy! I will find The Trumpet of the Swan and probably Stuart Little as well.

Jul 12, 2009, 3:22 pm

50. Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

After finishing this book, I understand why it is considered a masterpiece. It must be really something in the original French.

That said, it took me a long time to get through the ornate language of the translation, and the twists and turns of the plot. It was also difficult to feel any empathy for the main characters; I really felt like they deserved what they got.

The device of using letters as the entire format of the novel was very interesting.

Jul 14, 2009, 12:20 am

51. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Now here's a "children's" book that is also on the "1001 Books" list.

Totally charming read. Drawings were beautiful. I need to spend more time with this book.

Jul 14, 2009, 1:45 am

#83: I re-read The Little Prince this year and think that not only is it charming, but it stands up well with the test of time. A children's book that works very well for adults and that is saying something these days IMHO.

Jul 17, 2009, 5:12 pm

52. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Okay, this one was just for fun, and I had already read it twice, but this is my list, so I'm counting it!

It was still just as involving and moving on my third time through. I'm hoping to get to see the movie in the next few weeks.

Jul 18, 2009, 4:57 am

#85: I saw the movie opening night. It was OK, but I was disappointed - I guess I expected too much.

BTW - It is your list so if you want to count re-reads, go ahead! We are not the book police, lol.

Jul 20, 2009, 2:32 pm

#86: I know what you mean about books/movies. I think it's because so much of what a book gives one happens inside one's brain.

I'm glad I get to count rereads! And glad that there aren't any book police here!

Jul 20, 2009, 2:37 pm

53. The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell

I'd been working on this one for a while--it was kind of a slow starter. But it was fascinating and inspiring and helped me figure out a few people in my life. Very nicely written for a non-fiction item.

54. Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

Excellent, tragic, witty. Evocative of people (rooming house of women), places (London, as WWII is ending). This "1001 book" is wonderful.

Jul 20, 2009, 9:39 pm

I had to chuckle when you said that book #53 helped you figure out a few people in your life. I'm sure I would enjoy it for the same reason. I love books in that genre.

:) Angela

Jul 21, 2009, 10:35 am

#88: If you've not read Spark's autobiography, Curriculum Vitae, I recommend it.

Jul 27, 2009, 4:34 pm

Ooh, #90, thanks! I'll add that to my list!

Jul 27, 2009, 4:41 pm

55. Heartburn by Nora Ephron

I had read an interview with Nora Ephron, and decided to give this book a read. It was wonderful--very funny and very sad. A work of fiction, but thinly-veiled story of the end of Ephron's second marriage after she learns of her husband's infidelity. at the time of the events in the book, she was seven months pregnant with the couple's second child.

I picked up the DVD of the movie (with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson) at the library, too. I always find it interesting to compare the book with the movie.

I will most definitely be checking out more Nora Ephron--she's terrific.

Jul 27, 2009, 4:53 pm

Heartburn is one of my all-time favorite movies. Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson are fantastic.

I love, love, love this movie. I'm curious to learn of your impressions.

Jul 28, 2009, 4:25 pm

I just watched "Heartburn." What a wonderful movie! Superb acting by all--Streep and Nicholson, of course, but the supporting actors--what a treasure trove!

I laughed, I cried. I'm glad that the movie makers seemed to cleave pretty close to the book. And now I know why that Carly Simon song incorporates "Itsy Bitsy Spider."

"Heartburn" is now on my all-time favorites list, too (#93).

Jul 29, 2009, 2:45 pm

56. Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

This book was a breath of fresh air. I hadn't read any Wodehouse before, but he was on my list. Wodehouse just has so much fun with language; I found myself laughing aloud at times while reading.

What might have made the experience more profound is that I'm finishing up Pilgrim's Progress. Thank You, Jeeves was a great change of pace.

This book is also on the "1001 Books" list.

Jul 31, 2009, 3:55 pm

57. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

I finally can mark this one completed. Not that I didn't enjoy it, but it was a little slow at times.

And I had such trouble finding a complete version. The first copy I got from the library had only the first part (and I didn't know then that there were two parts). It was also abridged--I hate that! Only a tiny little disclaimer on the title page, "slightly abridged for the modern audience." Give me a break! Don't do ME any favors!

I found a copy on my book shelves, but it was quite ratty, and had messy underlining and notes all over. Not a pleasant read.

So I got a different, complete version from the library--a book that was truly a pleasure to read. Nice, thick paper, at least a little white space, and guaranteed complete.

So, the book itself. Part One is the one I was aware of, the story of Christian, who leaves friends and family for a pilgrimage to the Celestial City. The second part is the story of Christiana, Christian's wife, who, with her four sons and friend Mercy, follows her husband's route on her own pilgrimage.

Pilgrim's Progress was meant to be a devotional book, but I found it funny, sweet, exciting in parts, and even of use in the spiritual department.

Ago 10, 2009, 4:42 pm

58. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

Loved this book. A set of elderly folks is receiving phone calls telling them: "remember you must die." The characters are wonderful, I loved the theme.

59. Not So Big Remodeling by Sarah Susanka

This was something really different for me to read. There are a lot of pictures, but it was a lot to read. I try to read all of Susanka's books, and this one was especially practical as I consider remodeling my home. Really great book.

Ago 12, 2009, 4:22 pm

60. Blind Sight by Terri Persons

It was so nice to have a nice fluffy novel to read (not that it wasn't exciting and well-written, because it was). But to be able to read a book at a clip, not worrying about missing nuance or intricate plot development. Delicious!

This book is the third in a series by a Minnesotan, a crime novel featuring a quirky female FBI agent.

I'd certainly recommend this book, although LibraryThing doesn't seem to "know" about it yet!

Ago 13, 2009, 1:07 am

#98: I have read several of the books Persons has written as Theresa Monsour (they are very good!), so I will look for this series as well. Thanks for the recommendation.

Ago 14, 2009, 3:20 pm

Just a note to say I loved Momemto Mori too. 'Remember you must die' stuck with me too.

Ago 16, 2009, 6:12 pm

61. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

I have been working on Don Quixote for months, and I finally finished. I really enjoyed it - such a witty and beautiful book, and the characterization is exceptional. I'll really miss Don Quixote and squire Sancho Panza.

I usually prefer reading real books (of the paper type) but this one was physically so large that I really preferred reading it on my crusty old ebook reader.

Ago 16, 2009, 10:51 pm

Congratulations on finishing Don Quixote, that's a real achievement. I really should have a go sometime. Did you do the group read?

Ago 18, 2009, 3:27 pm

#102 I had started DQ on my own several months ago. I just lately (about a month ago) found the group read. So I did join the group, but I don't know how the others are doing. Knowing about the group read really did give me incentive to finish.

Ago 18, 2009, 3:29 pm

62. The Godfather by Mario Puzo

I had read this about a million years ago, so wanted to read again (and it's on the 1001 Books list).

Great book, interesting story and characters. I followed the reading of the book with a watching of the movie (also very good).

Ago 19, 2009, 2:02 pm

63. Decoding the Heavens by Jo Marchant

Really interesting book on the "Antithykera Mechanism" (sp?), a mechanical artifact found off of the Grecian island of Antithykera. The mechanism was used to give locations of the sun and moon, predict eclipses, chart positions of the planets, and who knows what else.

A lot of the science went over my head and I didn't even try to grab it, but I loved the history (both ancient and modern) and the mystery of the thing.

Editado: Ago 23, 2009, 3:32 pm

Two books read, very different, but both about women in crisis...

64. The Nun by Denis Diderot

Written in 1760, published in 1796. A young woman gets one bad deal after another, forced to take nun's vows. Tries to have her vows annulled. Mostly horrible convents, nuns, life. Really don't know why this one is on the 1001 Books list. Its only saving grace is that it's pretty short in length.

65. Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark

Hundreds of years later, Spark wrote Driver's Seat. This one is a little gem. Story of woman on vacation, somewhere in southern Europe. I felt, right away, that things were not right, that something bad was going to happen. Even with all of the ominous things going on, there is lots of really funny, witty dialogue. I'm a real fan of Muriel Spark now.

Ago 24, 2009, 1:49 am

#106: If you've not read Spark's autobiography Curriculum Vitae I recommend it.

Ago 24, 2009, 6:26 pm

#106--There was a film made of The Driver's Seat starring Elizabeth Taylor, which, I've been told by a friend who read the book, is pretty close to the story, although it was a "cheap" film in its day. I enjoyed this book a lot.

Ago 25, 2009, 3:54 pm

I'll have to look for the movie. I really liked the book, as strange and eerie as it is. Thanks for the heads up!


Ago 29, 2009, 11:34 pm

66. Barbarians by Terry Jones

I've had a couple of non-fiction books in the works. I'm a history nut, and this one (authored by a Monty Python alumnus), is a witty and interesting look at ancient history.

Set 1, 2009, 7:26 pm

67. Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's by R.A. Scotti

Really interesting look at church history, architecture, art history...I would have liked to have more illustrations (there are a dozen or so black and white plates, and drawings scattered throughout) but what was there did succeed in enlivening the writing (which was very nice on its own).

Set 2, 2009, 11:40 am

Hi Karen - been meaning to stop by for ages and mention Anne Fine's new book, Eating Things on Sticks - which instantly made me think of you!! LT's not giving me a touchstone for it unfortunately, but she told a great anecdote about her son-in-law's annual date with his friend, going to the California state fair to "eat things on sticks" which was the inspiration behind a very funny dysfunctional-family story.

Set 2, 2009, 2:15 pm

#112 Thanks for the recommend--I'll look for the book. The Minnesota State Fair is on right now, with a plethora of things on sticks!

Set 8, 2009, 1:02 pm

68. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Loved this book, on many levels. One of those I felt compelled to finish, to find out what happens next. I think this is one that can be best understood by someone at least middle-aged. I first read the book in my late 20s and I'm sure I didn't feel as philosophical about it as I do now.

Set 9, 2009, 5:38 pm

69. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

Read this book for my in-person book club, but I'd been meaning to read it for a while. I really enjoyed getting some insight into Obama and his complex family structure. I like him even more now!

Set 14, 2009, 12:57 pm

70. Veronika Decides to Die by Paolo Coelho

This is a strange little book, but the author paints some lovely word-pictures of Veronika and the people she comes into contact with. Great discussion of what is "crazy." I can't wait to read more Coelho.

Set 16, 2009, 2:59 pm

71. Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor

This is actually a book of short stories, part of the "1001 Books" list. O'Connor might have had a gift for description and evocation, but the stories left me uneasy and sad.

Set 16, 2009, 3:17 pm

In just a quick review of what I've read so far this year, I have 58 fiction, 13 non-fiction, and 43 for my "1001 Books" reading. It's been a great year for reading, and there are still three months left!

Set 17, 2009, 1:49 am

Sounds like you have had a wonderful reading year!

Set 20, 2009, 9:27 pm

72. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Terrific book. Du Maurier does atmosphere like no one else. And what a fun, twisty plot. One of my "1001 Books" reads -- number 96!

Set 27, 2009, 2:36 pm

73. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

What an amazing book. It worked out well for me that the writing was so compelling, since the book is so big. I've been reading this one for a few months, but lately I've put other books aside to concentrate on this one; I just had to find out what happened next!

There's a 1001 Books group who have just started reading The Count. I plan to hang around and read the discussion, but if I contribute, I'll watch what I say very carefully so as to not spoil the read for anyone.

This one is one of my favorites on the 1001 Books list.

Editado: Set 27, 2009, 8:21 pm

74. Origins: Creation Texts from the Ancient Mediterranean by Charles Doria and Harris Lenowitz

One advantage of being sick (I have a cold/flu?) is lots of time for reading.

I love reading transcripts of ancient texts as found in this collection. I was really surprised to not have come across this before, but very glad to have found it. Some of the texts are just beautiful.

Set 28, 2009, 3:55 am

#122: That one looks right up my alley. Thanks for the recommendation.

Set 29, 2009, 4:01 pm

#123: I liked "Origins" so much that I ordered a used copy of it; I'm sure I'll be rereading it. I hope you like it, too!


Editado: Out 2, 2009, 7:50 pm

75. Homer & Langley by E.L. Doktorow

Ta-da! Made the 75-book challenge, with three months to spare.

I loved this book. It's nominally about a pair of brothers who spend their lives in a mansion on Fifth Avenue in NYC and manage to fill the house with tons of collections of ... stuff. Homer becomes blind in eraly adulthood; Langley suffers the effects of mustard gas and mental illness. The reader is a witness of 20th century American history and societal changes. The book is sad, at times funny, and unnerving. It's amazing to me that eighty years of living can be described in 200 pages, but Doktorow does it. Highly recommended.

Out 1, 2009, 2:52 pm

Congrats! Homer and Langley is on my list too...

Out 3, 2009, 3:02 am

Out 3, 2009, 5:02 pm

Oh, that is so cool! Thank you so much!


Out 4, 2009, 7:00 am

You are quite welcome!

Out 9, 2009, 2:02 pm

Congratulations on hitting the goal!

Out 9, 2009, 2:51 pm

Of course, I'm not stopping here! I've got a few books in the works right now (100 Years of Solitude, Adjunct: An Undigest, The Three Musketeers, Les Miserables, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I usually have an assemblage of books in my stack, but I think I started the Agatha Christie novel because I needed something a little lighter (yikes!)

Out 13, 2009, 3:23 pm

76. Adjunct: An Undigest by Peter Manson

This was one of the more unusual books on the 1001 Books list. I really enjoyed reading it, although it's so dense that I really had to focus on every word: the reader needs to work hard on this one. Laughed aloud a lot; felt sadness for all of the "So-and-so is dead." I just love ILL--this book is kind of scarce.

Out 14, 2009, 5:53 pm

77. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Finally finished this one! It is my book club's read for the month, as well as on the 1001 Books list.

I'm really glad to have read it--there were some points of pure poetry--but it was really hard to slog through at times.

This book marks my 100th book of the 1001 Books. I had set myself to hit the 100 mark by the end of the year, so I'm pleased. 100 seems more substantial a number than even 99. I'm in the triple digits!

Out 15, 2009, 11:13 am

#133: I have yet to make my way through that one despite a number of attempts, so you have my congratulations not only on the 100 books, but for reading that one!

Out 19, 2009, 3:13 pm

78. Heat Wave by Richard Castle

This was a fun read. I confess that I never miss the TV show "Castle," even though I have to tape it because I work Monday nights. It's a terrific show, well-written, lots of great dialogue, humor and drama.

The fictional author Richard Castle, one of the main characters in the show, has just published his "Heat Wave." To carry on the fiction, an actual "Heat Wave" was published. I just love the overlapping of the real world and the fictive world. And the book was actually pretty good. Short and sweet.

Out 25, 2009, 10:17 am

79. The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

What a good read! Exciting and interesting. It was again a treat for me to read something a little lighter (I'm currently working through Les Miserables and Three Musketeers).

Out 25, 2009, 11:50 pm

#136: I really like Michael Connelly's books. I am glad to see he has found another fan.

Out 28, 2009, 1:34 am

80. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Excellent book. Sweet little "cozy" mystery, with a nice twist at the end (I never saw it coming). This is the only Agatha Christie book on the "1001 Books" list.

Out 28, 2009, 2:54 am

#133: I finished 100 years of solitude this month as well and I agree 'slog' sums it up. I liked his Love in the time of cholera much much more.

Out 28, 2009, 5:33 pm

#133: As "slog-i-licious" as "100 Years" was, there were paragraphs of pure poetry, and beautiful images. Thanks for the tip on Love in the Time of Cholera--I'll have to give that one a try. Thanks for the comment!

Nov 1, 2009, 8:05 pm

81. The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan

Frightening little Halloween read. When I was reading, I often felt that the characters were trapped and unable to move away from the danger that threatened them--just like in a nightmare. A good scary read.

Nov 6, 2009, 1:38 pm

82. The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Enjoyed this one. I read an edition that had lots of illustrations and background information throughout the book (I forget the edition name, and I've already returned the book to the library). I started out thinking, "Man, this book has a lot of misogynistic statements in it!" but then I realized that the people espousing the crap were definitely not held up as role models.

Nice and scary, interesting read. Laugh-out-loud funny at times.

Nov 7, 2009, 1:19 am

There was a good version of the book made into film back in the 1940s starring Hurd Hatfield and a very young Angela Landsbury. You might want to give it a try.

Nov 7, 2009, 3:32 pm

#143: Sounds great! I'll have to look for it. I've really enjoyed watching film versions of the books I've read. Thanks for the recommendation.

Nov 7, 2009, 11:27 pm

I hope you enjoy it!

Nov 14, 2009, 3:41 pm

83. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Such a sense of place in this book--cold, gloomy, and isolated. A real tragedy in that the main characters couldn't find a way to break out of the lives in which they found themselves.

Nov 19, 2009, 11:15 pm

84. The National Parks: America's Best Idea: An Illustrated History by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns

Really beautiful book, with wonderful photos, many spanning verso and recto (I think those are the correct terms). Lots of cool history and biography, too. I didn't watch the TV series, but I think this was a good substitute.

85. 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help by Benjamin Wiker

I ran across this one while working at the library, and couldn't resist the title. The book was very interesting, but I sense a definite Catholic, or at least Christian bias. The author is definitely educated and intelligent; I'd never read any of the books he discussed, but I felt I was getting a fair approximation of them. Highly footnoted and a nice index.

Nov 20, 2009, 12:22 pm

#147: I saw The National Parks book in a catalogue the other day and wondered how it was. I will see if my local library has a copy. Thanks for the recommendation!

Nov 23, 2009, 12:00 pm

#143: I just got the movie (A Picture of Dorian Gray) from ILL--it was great! The song that Angela Lansbury sang in the movie has been going through my head ever since..."Goodbye, little yellow bird..." Thanks for the recommendation.

86. The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield

The short story, The Garden Party, is on the 1001 Books list. I liked Mansfield's style, so I read the rest of the stories. The stories are quite amazing; the author is great at building atmosphere and painting relationships. I'd highly recommend this little book--these are little jewels of short stories. No vampires or mayhem--just good stories.

87. Good Dog. Stay by Anna Quindlen

Came across this little book at work at the library yesterday. I really like Quindlen's writing (she was a regular columnist in Newsweek for a while). This tiny little book is like a delicious truffle, one that you wish would last longer. Added bonus of lots of wonderful pictures of beautiful dogs. This is a very personal look at Quindlen's life. If you read it, have some tissues handy.

Nov 23, 2009, 12:16 pm

I am a huge fan of Katherine Mansfield's short stories so I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Re Doctorow, have never read Homer & Langley (*wishlists*) but I just finished - yesterday - Doctorow's The Book of Daniel which was really really good. Though having read a different book, I too was impressed by just how much history Doctorow can fit into a small book (mine was 300 pages). If you haven't read this one, I can definitely recommend it! It's the fictionalized story of the Rosenbergs' lives - their son, Daniel being the protagonist - leading up to their trial and death penalty.

Nov 24, 2009, 3:22 am

#149: I am glad you liked it!

Nov 24, 2009, 4:57 pm

#150 girlunderglass

Regarding Katherine Mansfield, I had never heard of her before starting the 1001 Books business. I am in risk of sounding very corny, but my literary world has opened up because of that 1001 Books book, especially in view of all of the wonderful female authors in the world.

I have added The Book of Daniel to my list--sounds great. Thanks for the recommendation.

Nov 28, 2009, 11:07 pm

88. Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon by Gijs van Hensbergen

Quite interesting book about the awe-inspiring painting, its painter (Picasso) and history.

Nov 29, 2009, 7:23 am

Years ago I saw Picasso's Guernica painting at the Modern Art Museum in New York City. It was massive and very impressive.

Nov 29, 2009, 2:47 pm

#154: Whisper1

I would LOVE to see it up close and personal. It's been moved a lot over the years, but is currently (and permanently?) in Madrid. The painting has had such an impact on so many people. Thanks for sharing your own recollection of seeing it hanging.

Dez 3, 2009, 2:35 pm

89. Pilgrims: A Lake Wobegon Romance by Garrison Keillor

Excellent, fun read. The book is set up almost like a modern-day Canterbury Tales, with a group of people from the fictional Lake Wobegon (and the real? fictional? Gary Keillor) on a pilgrimage to Rome. I've read many of Keillor's books, and this is my new favorite.

90. The Book of Kells: An Illustrated Introduction by Bernard Meehan

A little gem of a book. I came across this one working at the library the other night; it grabbed my eye right away. Amply illustrated with selections from the illuminated Book of Kells. I will be reading more books about the Book, and dreaming of a trip to Dublin to maybe see the real thing. Wouldn't that be something?!

Dez 3, 2009, 6:26 pm

#154,155 - I saw Guernica last year when I was in Madrid - an extremely impressive work of art. It's now permanently housed in a room of its own in the beautiful Reina Sofía Museum of Art. There were also many of his preliminary sketches and sculptures that he did in preparation for it. I'm not sure if they were all part of the permanent collection or part of a visiting selection of his work from Paris.
The Book of Daniel is already on my tbr pile, I wanted to read it this year, but only got to read Ragtime

Editado: Dez 7, 2009, 2:59 pm

91. The Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor

I'd just read Keillor's Pilgrims, but loved the timing of a book called Christmas Blizzard. The Christmas Blizzard is a sweet little book with lots of good storytelling. Keillor seems to lose interest a little at the end, because the book ends abruptly and kind of magically (maybe that's the point). But a real nice read. I might make this an annual read.

Dez 6, 2009, 11:39 pm

#158: I will give that one a try. I have enjoyed Keillor's writing in the past, but it has been a while since I have read any of his books. Thanks for the recommendation!

Editado: Dez 7, 2009, 3:00 pm

#159 alcottacre

I hope you like The Christmas Blizzard. The storytelling gets a little silly at times, but I would definitely recommend the book. I felt at the end, though, that the book just finished a little too quickly and awkwardly. But I truly am glad that I read it (I even paid a tiny rental fee because I didn't want to wait).

Congratulations on your 500 books! (I follow your threads). What would we do without books?!

Dez 8, 2009, 5:14 pm

#160: What would we do without books?!

Die. At least I would.

Dez 9, 2009, 7:00 pm

#161 "Die. At least I would."

Then I'm more than ever glad that we have an ever-growing mountain of books to read!

I watch the television show "Castle." On the last episode, one of the characters, a voracious reader, suffered amnesia, and realized that he had a library of books that he couldn't remember, that he would have to read again "for the first time." The character Castle, who is a novelist, said that he envied him for that.

Oh, I took the book quizzes at Blue Pyramid, and I got Watership Down for Quiz 1 and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man for Quiz 2. Those were fun!

Dez 10, 2009, 2:00 am

#162: I am with Castle! I recently unpacked boxes of books that have been in storage for 3+ years and it was just like meeting old friends!

I agree about the book quizzes. They are fun.

Dez 14, 2009, 4:35 pm

92. The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith

I can't get enough of this guy. His books are so low-key, so philosophical, so genuine. Isabel Dalhousie is such an intelligent, likable woman (most of his female characters are).

Dez 18, 2009, 4:26 pm

93. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

Wonderful book, full of adventure, drama (and comedy). Lots of swashbuckling occurring. This was also a 1001 Books book, my 106th.

Dez 19, 2009, 2:40 am

Wow! Congratulations on making it through so many of the 1001 books!

Dez 19, 2009, 3:05 pm

166: alcottacre

Thanks! I am really enjoying the process.

Dez 27, 2009, 6:45 pm

94. Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

Eh. Although this was a thin volume, it took time to slog through each little short story. A few of the stories actually had a plot, who would have thought?! I guess this was just not my cup of tea.

Maio 10, 2011, 8:25 am

Wake this baby up!