Sunday, 24 November 2013

A Century of Books

All of my other challenges that I'm partcipating are in one post here, but I thought this one would need its own post as it'll form a big list.
This challenge, held over at Stuck in a Book is ongoing, it doesn't need to be completed within a year. The aim is to read one book for each year of the 20th century. This is perfect, but as I read quite a lot of older books, and I'm going to also keep note of what I read in the 19th century and see if I can make that a personal goal. (P.S I'm starting straight away, I'm only a month and a week early)
These are my possibilities taken from my TBR stacks, I will place read books in bold and link to my reviews
1999 The Great Ideas/Girl with a Pearl Earring
1998 The Notebook of Don Rigoberto/Girlfriend in a Coma
1997 Enduring Love/Seven Years in Tibet
1996 Salt/Hunger
1995 In the Cut/The Unconsoled
1994 East, West
1993 A River Sutra/The Matisse Stories
1992 Wildreness Tips/The Troublesome Offspring...
1991 Senor Vivo and the Coco Lord/The Virgin in the Garden
1990 Haroun and the Sea of Stories
1989 Foucault's Pendulum/Canal Dreams
1988 Bonfire of Vanities/Satanic Verses
1987 Strangers/A Sport of Nature
1986 It
1985 Hardboiled Wonderland.../Tobo
1984 The Riddle of the Wren
1983 Rise Up O Young.../Blood Brothers
1982 Schindler's List/A Boy's Own Story
1981 Rabbit is Rich/Tar Baby
1979 The Sea, The Sea
1978 The World According to Garp
1977 Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
1976 Meridian/Fiesta
1975 The Autumn of the Patriarch
1973 Crash/Rainbow's Gravity
1970 Losing Battles
1969 Dora Flor and her Two Husbands
1968 The Iron Man/Slouching Towards Bethlehem
1967 The Third Policeman/The Master and Margarita
1963 V/The Collector
1962 Pale Fire/ The Golden Notebook
1961 A House for Mr Biswas/Hertzog
1960 The Child Buyer
1959 Titus Alone/Billiards at Half-Past Nine
1958 Borstal Boy
1957 Devil By the Sea/Kokoro
1956 Everything that Rises Must Converge
1955 Lolita
1954 The Story of O/ Lord of the Rings
1953 Golden Apples of the Sun
1952 Invisible Man
1951 Secret Tribe/Day of the Trifids
1950 Gormenghast
1949 A Rage to Live/The Second Sex
1948 The Pearl
1946 Titus Groan/All Men are Mortal
1945 Cannery Row
1942 Embers
1941 Frenchman's Creek
1939 Grapes of Wrath
1937 Nightwood
1936 Eyeless in Gaza
1934 Now in November
1933 Over the River (Forsyte)
1932 Flowering Wilderness (Forsyte)/The Radetzy March
1931 Maid in Waiting (Forsyte)
1929 Steppenwolf
1928 Swan Song (Forsyte)/Orlando
1927 Seven Pillars of Wisdom/Tarka the Otter
1926 The Silverspoon (Forsyte)
1925 Shen of the Sea
1924 White Monkey (Forsyte)
1923 Kirstin Lavransdattar
1921 To Let (Forsyte)
1920 In Chancery (Forsyte)
1915 The 39 Steps
1913 Pollyanna
1910 Howard's End
1908 A Room With a View/Anne of Green Gables
1906 Man of Property (Forsyte)
1905 Jungle
1902 Just So Stories
1900 Lord Jim/ The Wizard of Oz

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Book Haul and Update

Today I left the house with a stack of books and authors who I wanted to check out at the local secondhand bookshop - I can't afford to buy lots of new books, nor jusify it with a 500+ unread TBR pile - but the bookshop was shut! :( I wasn't too happy, but as I live in one of those trendy little coffee shop villages there are a lot of charity shops and generally their book selections are better than you'd find in the average town. I also had a stack of reservations to pick up from the library so I ended up with quite a haul.

From the library I got:
The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre and Frederic Lemercier - this book is a mix of real life photographs and graphic novel. Lefevre is a photographer who travelled to Afgahnistan during the war with doctors and nurses from the Doctor's Without Borders programme. It looks amazing but harrowing.
Epileptic by David B. another graphic novel which is an autobiography about growing up with an epileptic brother. Both of these were found on an amazon search and then reserved at the library.
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata a Japanese book I know nothing about, except it's tiny, ordered because it is the International Reads goodreads group books for December.
Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov because in January the Bookish group, also on goodreads, are doing a joint reading of a memoir by Nabokov called Speak. Memory alongside Pale Fire, so I thought I would like to read his most famous work first.

From the chrity shop I brought the following for less than £12
Eve was Framed by Helena Kennedy - for my flatmate but I'm planning on reading it too, (although she doesn't know that yet)
America by Stephen Fry- I love Stephen Fry, I've met him several times too when he would shop in a quirky shop I worked in whilst at university, and I'm planning on reading more non-fiction next year.
A Rage to Live - John O'Hara - never heard of this or his other novels but this is a Vintage classic and I love that series.
Losing Battles by Eudora Welty - I saw this for 50p and knew she was a Southern author and I think their is a Southern reading month this January on Brooke's youtube channel/blog.
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon- I actually went into this charity shop because last weekend they had The Amazing Adventure's of Kavalier and Klay (which I keep hearing great things about) but I didn't have any cash on me and the shop was about to close, unfortunately someone else had snapped it up but this was still there.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - I read Wolf Hall and loved it, despite knowing nothing about history and getting a bit mixed up with the names. I've been meaning to buy this for ages.

This is a big book haul for my, normally I'm fairly conservative as there isn't any space left to store books in the house, I think it maybe a reaction to signing up for the final TBR Triple Dog Dare where I can only read from my shelves for three months from January 1st till April 1st.

I'm off to spend the next hour finishing The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I have a feeling is going to make me cry, this is a bookclub read for a brand new RL bookgroup, in a trendy delicatessans/coffee shop/location of many wine and cheese nights, live jazz nights, poetry reading nights etc. I'm really looking forward to the group meet, but will certainly be doing some research as I'm not sure what other type of people will be there - not sure my Literature degree and MA in Literature will hide my w/c accent in a room full of plumming accented, shiny-never-seen-a-speck-of-mud Land Rover driving stay-at-home Mums. But maybe I'm the one being the snob!

Oh, and I am now addicted to booktube. I blame Estella's Revenge, I watched one of her videos and it's now become an obsessesion. Some favourites are MercysBookishMusings, From the Shelf and chboskyy. I swear if I had used the video watching time this week to read I would have fininshed my next read It by Stephen King.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Slynx - Tatyana Tolstaya

The SlynxThe Slynx is a Russian dystopian novels written by a relative of Tolstoys. I had never heard of this book before and only became aware of it because of the International Reads group formed on goodreads and book tube.
Set hundreds of years in the future life has regressed. People spend their days catching mice to eat and sell to be made into clothes, they live in primative buildings and the society is ruled over by one man. The dictator is praised for the things he brings them such as fire and the written word. There are three sets of people the Oldeners, who remember the time before, those with Consequences - some type of mutation like claws for feet and the regular people.
The main character starts off as a fairly poor man constantly hungry and searching for food, until he marries a richer woman and is welcomed to novels and fiction.

I liked many aspects of this book, but I thought much of it was a political message that went straight over my head as I know nothing of Russia. Many parts of the book seemed silly, and I think that within a week I will have forgotten the majority of this novel.

Book 3 of 5 for The Dystopian Challenge

The Classics Club Spin

The Classics Club are having a spin this Monday, I have to pick 20 books, number them 1-20 and then they will pick the number and I have to read that book by the end of the month. I'm only picking books on my TBR as I'm on a buying ban this month. I've put them in the suggested categories but them muddled the numbers up.

Twelve Months of Classic Literature5 I am dreading:
5. Dombey and Son - Charles Dickens
3. Moby  Dick - Meilville
17. The Brothers Karamakov
15. The Master and Margarita
11. The Lord of the Rings

5 I can't wait to read
7. Invisible Man - Ellison
6. Hunger
4. The Namesake
12. Gilead
19. Snow Country

5 I'm feeling neutral about
1. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
10. North and South - Gaskell the choosen book
13. Gulliver's Travels
14. Crime and Punishment
9. Don Quixote

5 Free Choices
8. Howard's End
2. Orlando
16. The Princess Bride
20. Dora Flora and her Two Husbands
18. The Sea, The Sea

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Classics Club

I'm heading on down and joining The Classics Club. The idea is that you create your own list of classics you would like to read and set yourself a 5 year goal to tick these read off of your list. As someone with an English Literature degree, masters and a teacher of Literature I have read a lot of classics but I still have a stack to go and I do find myself distracted by new and shiny covers.
I was supposed to have a list of 50 but that slipped away and I ended up with 100! The list has serious classics, and modern classics plus classics from particular countries and genres.
This is the 100 books I plan to tackle by 12/11/2018:
1. Finnegan's Wake - James Joyce
2. Domby and Don - Charles Dickens
3. Canary Row - John Steinbeck
4. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
5. Kristin Lavransdattar - Sigrid Undset
6. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
7. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
8. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
9. Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
10. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
11. Sister Carrie - Theodore Dresier
12. Native Son - Richard Wright
13. For Whom the Bell Tolls - Earnest Hemmingway
14. The Ideal Husband - Oscar Wilde
15. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
16. The Warden - Anthony Trollope
17. Beowulf
18. Adam Bede - George Elliot
19. The Old Curiosity Shop - Charles Dickens
20. The Life and Opinions of Tristian Dhandy, Gentlemen - Laurence Sterne
21. Gulliver's Travels
22. The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
23. Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton
24. My Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
25. Howard's End - EM Foster
26. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin
27. Crime and Punishment - Fydor Dostoyevsky
28. The Brothers Karakov - Dostoyevsky
29. The Master and Margarita - Mikail Bulgakov
30. Dead Souls - Nokoli Gogol
31. Lolita - Vladamir Nabokov
32. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
33. The River Between - Ngugi wa Thiongo
34. Houseboy - Ferdinand Oyono
35. House of Leaves
36. This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
37. The Street of Crocodiles, Bruno Schulz
38. The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass
40. The Leopard
41. The Odyssey, Homer
42. Don Quixote
43. The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
44. The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann
45. Orlando - Virginia Woolf
46. The Waves - Virginia Woolf
48. Candide - Voltaire
49. Fathers and Sons - Ivan Turganev
50. The Black Book - Pamuk
51. And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
52. Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead - Tom Stoppard
53. Hunger - Knut Hamsum
54. Chronicle of a Death Foretold - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
55. The Good Earth - Pearl S Buck
56. The Lord of the Rings - Tolkein
57. The Princess Bride - Goldman
58. Sula - Toni Morrison
59. A Prayer for Owen Meaney
60. Red Sorghum - Mo Yan
61. Waiting - Ha Jin
62. The Arabian Nights
63. The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahari
64. Shantram
65. Red Earth and Pouring Rain
66. A River Sutra - Gita Mehta
67. Gilead
68. The War at the End of the World - Llosa
69. Ines of my Soul - Isabel Allende
70. Eva Luna - Iabel Allende
71. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands - Jorge Amado
72. The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros
73. Norweigan - Murakami
74. The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter
75. Kokoro - Soseki
76. Snow Country - Kawabata
77. The Tale of Gneji
78. The House Keeper and The Professor - Yoko Owaga
79. Thousand Cranes- Kawabata
80. Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
81. Seize the Day - Saul Bellow
82. Pere Goriot - Balzac
83. The Three Maskateers - Dumas
84. Out of Africa - Karen Blixen/Isak Dineson
85. The Sorrows of Young Werther - Goethe
86. The Wings of the Dove - Henry James
87. The Sea, The Sea - Iris Murdoch
88. A Severed Head - Iris Murdoch
89. Divisadero - Ondaatje
90. Everything that Rises Must Converge - Flannery O'Connor
91. Confederates - Thomas Keneally
92. When We Were Orphans - Ishiguro
93. The Satanic Verses - Rushdie
94. Reading in the Dark -Seamus Deane
95. Fasting, Feasting - Anita Desai
96. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
97. Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
98. The Cider House Rules, John Irving
99. The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
100. The 39 Steps - John Buchan

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Non-Fiction November

I have loved non-fiction reads across the years and I have a shelf jam-packed with non-fiction books which I desperately want to read but some how I always end up reading fiction. I really need to make it my mission to read more non-fiction. This idea of a month to read non-fiction is a great idea, I'm going to try and squeeze in one non-fiction text around two fictional books I need to read for book clubs, a looming MA essay which I have done no reading for and marking which is stacked up higher than the ceiling!

But I thought I would share three non-fiction books I have read in the past and loved.
 A Human Being Died That Night: Forgivng Apartheid's Cheif Killer by Pumla Gogooo-Madikizela this book was very popular with the book blogging community a few years ago. The author is a psychologist who interviews one of the leaders of South Africa's apartheid, someone who worked on the ground abusing and organising the abuse of black South Africans. I still have really vivid pictures of the scenes from this book and the emotions that it caused in me.  My copy os this book travelled across the world through bookcrossing and then was returned to me to pass on, one of my friends hated it but on the whole many people were angered and very touched by this book. My review can be found here.

A Year in Green Tea and Tuk Tuks by Rory Spowers. This is the type of non-fiction which I prefer, one persons account of their life in another country, culture or community.

I really want to visit Sri Lanka so this book was a great way to find out about the country without reading a dry factual book. Spowers writes about his first year trying to set up a tea-farm in Sri Lanka. I love families, individual successes and failures. My review can be found here.

Normal by Amy Bloom each chapter of this book looks at a different community, transexuals, hemaphrodites, gay men, cross dressing etc. The accounts are touching, shocking and in places humorous. Very insightful and a great step into a world which is normally hidden from view. My review can be found here.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Road - McCarthy

And another 1001 book tackled! I also read this for the Dystopia Challenge so two hits in one :) I've been meaning to read The Road since all of the hype years ago but somehow I failed to get around to it, but I'm glad I kept it so long.
The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel, set in a grey, cold and very bleak America which fitted perfectly with the weather over the few days I was reading, which was wet and windy. The majority of the novel was read when I was woken by a huge storm at 4 in the morning, so I was curled up on the sofa with a book watching the mad dog walkers battling against winds and rains to ensure their pets had been taken out!
I would guess that the majority of books I read have a female protagonist and the view of family life and relationships is from a female perspective so it was interesting to read about a father-son relationship. The two nameless characters rely on each other for everything, they battle the world and their fears together. Other people present figures of danger, with some very grim scenes occurring when the father and son encounter gangs travelling on the road.
This book is bleak, but the relationship between the two characters brings a light to the whole book, regardless of the situation love still shines through. The novel is written in short fragments so is quick to read and highly recommended.