Monday, December 3, 2012

Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day by Winifred Watson

I added Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day after hearing about the movie with the same name. I decided to read the book and I'm glad I did. It was a light hearted romp.
Miss Pettigrew's adventure starts with her looking for employment. Miss Pettigrew is a terrible governess but needs a job in order to keep her room. At the employment agency, Miss Pettigrew is given the name of Miss LaFosse who is looking for a governess. Miss Pettigrew heads to Miss LaFosse's residence determined to make this stick. But when she gets to Miss LaFosse's there are no children, but Miss LaFosse needs a lot of help and Miss Pettigrew is determined to help her. Miss LaFosse leads the opposite life of Miss Pettigrew. Miss LaFosse is a lounge singer, with more men than she knows what to do with. Determined to see Miss LaFosse settled down, Miss Pettigrew injects herself in a world she knows nothing about.
I loved both the fish out of water and the Cinderella aspects to Miss Pettigrew. Miss Pettigrew is about twenty years older than Miss LaFosse and her friends. Their expectations in life and with relationships are completely different. But Miss LaFosse welcomes Miss Pettigrew and gives her a makeover.
I really enjoyed Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. It was cute and an enjoyable read.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Darlene's Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I'm not doing very well with this challenge and need to pick up the pace! I need to make more of an effort to choose books from my list. But the new ones that come out are so tempting! Ah, the bane of a book-lover :)

I just finished Book #2 on my Fill In The Gaps list:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
3/5 stars

Here is the link to my review:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Updates to List

I honestly can't remember my last update, but, I have read some more titles on my list. If my previous posts had correct math, I think I've read 51 books.

Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White
Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield.
Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit.
 Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist.
Dickens, Charles. Our Mutual Friend.
Steinbeck, John. Grapes of Wrath
Zamyatin, Yevgeny. We.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Michelle (3M) at 1morechapter's Progress

Michelle (3M) from 1morechapter here. Wowsers. I just realized that I have less than two years to  finish at least 75% of this list. Reading 46 titles in two years is very doable. I just regret that I haven't gotten further along by now. One of the reasons is personal issues in 2010 that made me forego reading more than I should have. Hope to get back on track now, though. I didn't review all that I read, either, but there are some that are linked below.
Happy reading, everyone!
Bold titles have been read.
  1. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1001)
  2. War and Peace by Tolstoy (1001)
  3. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky (1001)
  4. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1001)
  5. If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino (1001)
  6. Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (1001)
  7. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (1001)
  8. Unless by Carol Shields (1001)
  9. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (1001)
  10. Memoirs of a Geisha by Golden (1001)
  11. What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt (1001)
  12. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Kundera (1001)
  13. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (1001)
  14. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (1001)
  15. Kafka on the Shore by Murakami (1001)
  16. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Murakami (1001)
  17. Cry, the Beloved Country by Paton (1001)
  18. Labrynthes by Borges (1001)
  19. Ficciones by Borges (1001)
  20. The Hobbit by Tolkien (1001)
  21. Out of Africa by Denison (1001)
  22. Brave New World by Huxley (1001)
  23. Summer by Edith Wharton (1001)
  24. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1001)
  25. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1001)
  26. Breathing Lessons – Anne Tyler (Pulitzer)
  27. A Thousand Acres – Jane Smiley (Pulitzer)
  28. Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Pulitzer)
  29. Empire Falls by Richard Russo (Pulitzer)
  30. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Pulitzer)
  31. American Pastoral by Philip Roth (Pulitzer)
  32. A Confederacy of Dunces by Toole (Pulitzer)
  33. The Good Earth by Buck (Pulitzer)
  34. So Big by Ferber (Pulitzer)
  35. Gone with the Wind by Mitchell (Pulitzer)
  36. Lonesome Dove by McMurtry (Pulitzer)
  37. Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis (Pulitzer)
  38. Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson (Pulitzer)
  39. one title from 2010-2013 Pulitzers (Tinkers)
  40. second title from 2010-2013 Pulitzers
  41. one title from 2009-2013 Bookers (The Sense of an Ending)
  42. second title from 2009-2013 Bookers
  43. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (Booker)
  44. Remains of the Day by Ishiguro (Booker)
  45. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (Booker)
  46. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally (Booker)
  47. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Booker)
  48. Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald (Booker)
  49. Possession by A.S. Byatt (Booker)
  50. On Beauty by Zadie Smith (Orange)
  51. Small Island by Andrea Levy (Orange)
  52. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (Orange)
  53. The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville (Orange)
  54. Larry’s Party by Carol Shields (Orange)
  55. The Road Home by Rose Tremain (Orange)
  56. Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset (Nobel laureate)
  57. Doctor Zhivago by Pasternak (Nobel laureate)
  58. Blindness by Saramago (Nobel laureate)
  59. The Piano Teacher by Jelinek (Nobel laureate)
  60. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlof (Nobel laureate)
  61. The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing (Nobel laureate)
  62. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (Nobel laureate)
  63. Home by Marilynne Robinson (NYT/Orange)
  64. The Maytrees by Annie Dillard (NYT)
  65. Intuition by Allegra Goodman (NYT)
  66. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (NYT)
  67. Natasha and Other Stories by David Bezmozgis (NYT)
  68. The Inhabited World by David Long (NYT)
  69. The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin (NYT)
  70. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Chabon (NYT)
  71. Complete Tales of Nikolai Gogol, Vol. 2 (classic)
  72. Anne of Windy Poplars by Montgomery (classic)
  73. Anne’s House of Dreams by Montgomery (classic)
  74. Anne of Ingleside by Montgomery (classic)
  75. Rainbow Valley by Montgomery (classic)
  76. Rilla of Ingleside by Montgomery (classic)
  77. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis (sci-fi classic)
  78. Perelandra by C.S. Lewis (sci-fi classic)
  79. Our Horses in Egypt by Belben (James Tait Black Prize)
  80. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (PEN/Hemingway)
  81. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Hugo)
  82. The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon (Nebula)
  83. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Commonwealth Writers’ Prize)
  84. Outlander by Gil Adamson (Books in Canada First Novel Award)
  85. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson (Books in Canada First Novel Award)
  86. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (Norwegian in translation)
  87. Periodic Table by Primo Levi (Italian in translation)
  88. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (French in translation)
  89. The Character of Rain by Nothomb (French in translation)
  90. Sulphuric Acid by Nothomb (French in translation)
  91. The Oxford Murders by Martinez (Spanish in translation)
  92. The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
  93. The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy
  94. History of Love by Krauss
  95. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer & Barrows
  96. In the Woods by Tana French
  97. Petropolis by Anya Ulinich
  98. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  99. The Thing Around Your Neck by Adichie
  100. The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan

Summary: Rachel is a missionary kid living in British East Africa. The year is 1919 and The Great War is far from her, but a different kind of war dramatically changes her life and all that she has known for the past 13 years. Influenza has advanced and in its wake, it takes both her parents, who are mission doctors. Rachel has to trust her British neighbors, who she believes is dishonest. They take her in and send her to England. Her body maybe in England, but her heart is not. Her one desire is to return to the land that she calls home, Africa. 

My Thoughts: I've never been to Africa, so I can't tell you if the descriptions were accurate, but I can tell you that they were detailed. You could see and hear it, which I loved about this book. The other part that I liked is that Rachel is a third culture kid. I live overseas and have three TCKs of my own, so I could relate to some of the feelings she had when leaving Africa and adjusting to life in England. 

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Monday, April 23, 2012


I'm now one year and four months into the challenge and have read 27 of my books. They probably haven't been the toughest books on my list--and I know some of the driest are left--but I have read several books that I've put off for years. I loved The Poisonwood Bible, The Book Thief, The Remains of the Day, and The Shadow of the Wind. I appreciated Anna Karenina, although I can't say that I completely enjoyed it. I was bored by A Year in Provence and struggled with 100 Years of Solitude, although that may have been because I was sick. Last year was a slow reading year for me because I bought an old fixer-upper and planned and hosted a wedding for my daughter. This summer I hope to tackle a few of the weightier tomes on my list while I sit by the pool.
My list is here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lindy's Reading List

Some of these books have been stuck on my bookshelf for ages, and some are ones I am desperate to read, as always I am sure I have missed books and the list will grow ever longer with time.

1. The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
2. Regeneration – Pat Barker
3. The Eye in the Door – Pat Barker
4. A Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain
5. Villette – Charlotte Bronte
6. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte
7. The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan
8. Possession – A.S.Byatt
9. The Postman Always Rings Twice – James M Cain
10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John le Carre
11. The Magic Toyshop – Angela Carter
12. Girl with the Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
13. An Autobiography – Agatha Christie
14. The Shooting Party – Isabel Colegate
15. The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
16. Going Solo – Roald Dahl
17. Nothing is Safe – E.M.Delafield
18. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
19. Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens
20. The Old Curiousity Shop – Charles Dickens
21. The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Charles Dickens
22. Middlemarch – George Eliot
23. The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
24. Charlotte Gray – Sebastian Faulks
25. Human Traces – Sebastian Faulks
26. Faulks on Fiction – Sebastian Faulks
27. Snobs – Julian Fellowes
28. The History of Tom Jones – Henry Fielding
29. The Beautiful and the Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald
30. Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
31. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safron Foer
32. Fall of Giants – Ken Follett
33. Howards End – E.M. Forster
34. A Room With A View – E.M.Forster
35. A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
36. The Six Wives of Henry VIII – Antonia Fraser
37. Must You Go? – Antonia Fraser
38. The Forsyte Saga – John Galsworthy
39. North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
40. Goodbye to All That – Robert Graves
41. Fallen Skies – Philippa Gregory
42. The Lady of the Rivers – Philippa Gregory
43. The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
44. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
45. The Woodlanders – Thomas Hardy
46. The Go-Between – L.P Hartley
47. Young Romantics – Daisy Hay
48. Howards End is on the Landing – Susan Hill
49. The Man in the Picture – Susan Hill
50. The Stranger’s Child – Alan Hollinghurst
51. The Iliad – Homer
52. The Expendable Man – Dorothy. B. Hughes
53. Birthday Letters – Ted Hughes
54. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
55. Goodbye to Berlin – Christopher Isherwood
56. When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro
57. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
58. The Report – Jessica Frances Kane
59. Little Boy Lost – Margahrita Laski
60. Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H.Lawrence
61. Women in Love – D.H.Lawrence
62. Small Island – Andrea Levy
63. Bring up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
64. My Cousin Rachel – Daphne Du Maurier
65. Pure – Andrew Miller
66. Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
67. Wigs on the Green – Nancy Mitford
68. The Blessing – Nancy Mitford
69. Madresfield – Jane Mulvagh
70. Starter For Ten – David Nicholls
71. The Understudy – David Nicholls
72. Byron in Love – Edna O’Brien
73. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
74. 1984 – George Orwell
75. Decline of the English Murder – George Orwell
76. Half of the Human Race – Anthony Quinn
77. Clarissa – Samuel Richardson
78. Midnight’s Children – Salmon Rushdie
79. The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton – Elizabeth Speller
80. Perfume – Patrick Suskind
81. Vanity Fair – William M Thackery
82. The Hobbit – J.R.R.Tolkien
83. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
84. Jane Austen – Claire Tomalin
85. Charles Dickens – Claire Tomalin
86. Thomas Hardy – Claire Tomlain
87.The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters
88. Decline and Fall – Evelyn Waugh
89. Scoop – Evelyn Waugh
90. Mary Boleyn – Alison Weir
91. The Lady in the Tower – Alison Weir
92. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
93. The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
94. Greenbanks – Dorothy Whipple
95. They Were Sisters – Dorothy Whipple
96. The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
97. The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
98. The Kenneth Williams Diaries – Kenneth Williams
99. The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh
100. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

As well as posting updates on here I will be writing about my reading progress on my word press blog

I'm looking forward to hearing how everyone else is getting on with this challenge

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dubliners Competition

Dublin: One City, One Book is an award-winning initiative, which encourages everyone to read a book connected with the capital city of Ireland during the month of April every year.

This year is the "Dubliners" by James Joyce, so to mark this event I thought that I would give a prize of the 'One City, One Book' O'Brien edition of the book "Dubliners" (see right) along with some nice goodies to EACH person who posts a review of the "Dubliners" or other works of Joyce this month?

This is open till 30th April.

Any takers??

Anyhoo happy Reading and looking forward to the reviews  :)


For more info on Dublin: one city, one book see website:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

My first book completed for Fill in the Gaps! Yay!

My thoughts:
This is probably not going to be very long because, frankly, I don't know quite what to write.  How to review a book that I liked and found very interesting, yet still gave me a headache every time I read it and has still left me scratching my head?  I'm not sure.  House of Leaves is literally a labyrinth.  Yes, there is an entire chapter that is actually a labyrinth...on the page.  What can I say?  The book is really an enigma.  I still don't know what the truth is, or who was actually telling the story, and this would normally piss me off.  But ironically, it just made me more intrigued.  Even though I finished the book, I'm still going to look over it more and I found a helpful page on Mark Danielewski's blog.  The page is Exploration Z and it's The Idiot's Guide to House of Leaves.  I'm going to explore this page and see if it can help me figure a few things out.  I know that this review has not really given much insight into if the book is good or not and I apologize for that.  Let me just say again...I liked it (4 stars on Goodreads), it's confusing, it gets the reader thinking (I think that's where the headache comes from).  Okay, now I'm getting a headache writing this review.  ;O)

About the book:
Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Update + Review

La la la la la. I just realized that I have 13 months before my 5 years are up. And I've read 14 books (ok, 14.5, but that .5 is Atlas Shrugged, so that should count for like, 6 or something). So, we all know what I'll be doing in the next 13 months, right? BUT! When I was looking at my list to see what I had left to read, I saw a book that I had actually already read! So, Midnight on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie I was most excited because this was the first Kindle book that I checked out from the library, on the day that OverDrive became Kindle compatible. My full review is here, but here's the relevant bit: I like the twist on the contained environment, but you don't get a sense of the claustrophobia that must have been there-- train cars stuck in snow with murder? There should have been more tension, but that's not Christie's style. What I find most ingenious about Christie's work isn't how her detectives solve the crimes but rather in ingenuity of her criminals. Poirot just kinda sits back and thinks through details only he's noticed. But the real genius of Christie is how intricate the murder plots are.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Blogger tells me I haven't posted here since the start of bad! Back then I was hauling myself through Midnight's Children, which in the end I really enjoyed. I'm looking forward to reading more Salman Rushdie one of these days.

Between then and now I've crossed a couple of other books off my list. The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields, I really enjoyed. It's the fictionalised autobiography of an ordinary Canadian woman, it's beautifully written. The Gathering, by Anne Enright I wasn't too wild about - it's the story of the ups and downs of an Irish family. I finished it feeling mildly irritated.

Then over Christmas I read Anna Karenina, which I probably would have enjoyed more if I hadn't read The Master and Margerita right before it. (Sidenote: that book is a new favourite. It's so wonderfully depraved!) Having said that though, l did like it. It's a great epic saga, and all of the characters are wonderfully flawed. Really, they all are. At one point or another I hated every single character in this book, but as collective group they're all okay :)

So that's where I'm at right now - 42 down, 58 to go! I'm thinking about possibly tackling Gone With the Wind next, although I might just resort to my tried and true method of a random number generator.

Also, I've decided to stop putting it off so I'm writing this now so you all can remind me - I'm going to read Ulysses this year EVEN IF IT KILLS ME WHICH IT PROBABLY WILL! I'm determined.

PS - I seem to be much better at updating my Goodreads account, so in case I disappear for another eight months, I might be here.

PPS - Moonrat, I just finished reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

13% down, 87% to go....

Maybe I shouldn't have titled my post that way - it's fairly demoralizing. Well, here are the 10 books I have read :) (in no particular order):

1) Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy - an interesting book that I would read again. The now-deceased author was best friends with author Ann Patchett. I'm a fan of Patchett's - when I read her book, Truth & Beauty, which was about her friendship w/Grealy, I had to read this book as well.

2) The Book Thief by Mark Zusak - the title alone had me. I liked it enough to recommend it to a friend who enjoys books set in Europe during WWII.

3) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - I'm currently in the middle of this one, so the jury is out, folks! I've read so many promising things about it that I'll be sad if I don't enjoy it.

4) City of Thieves by David Benioff - I loved this book. It's another WWII story. It's brutal, difficult to read at times and hilariously funny. I finished it and thought it's bound to become a classic.

5) The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean - ANOTHER WWII story. Sense a theme here? I enjoyed this book for its originality and because I learned much about the Hermitage Museum's art and history.

6) Hyper-chondriac by Brian Frazer - another book I'd like to read again. This was a hilarious memoir with a lot of practical information about medical treatment.

7) Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - remember when everyone and their brother was reading this book? I was late to the party (I often resist trends), but I have to say I enjoyed this memoir enough to purchase his following 2 books in this trifecta of memoirs.

8) Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer - I used to work at a bookstore and all of the "kids" I worked with L.O.V.E.D this book. Their love bordered on obsession, actually. This reason, coupled with the fact that I am a fan of the author, Jon Krakauer (adored his book Into Thin Air), ensured that my expectations were enormous. I was a bit let-down. Chris McCandless' story IS compelling, interesting and sad...I just didn't love the book.

9) Empire Falls by Richard Russo - this book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002. Again, I had ginormous expectations. The book was good. It just wasn't as good as I expected it to be.

10) A Disorder Peculiar to the Country by Ken Kalfus - the description on the back of this book made me snatch it up and purchase it immediately. I loved how original, yet dark, this story appeared to be. Well, it was original and dark. For me, however, it took a turn into the absurd and never returned.

11) Still Alice by Lisa Genova - this is a moving and heartbreaking novel about early onset Alzheimer's Disease. The author has a PhD in Neuroscience, so she knows her topic well.

12) Little Bee by Chris Cleave - it seems people either love this book or hate it. I fall into the "meh" category. I am second-guessing myself because I was sick when I read it. I've saved it for a possible 2nd read some day in the future. We'll see if that day every comes.

13) Barrel Fever by David Sedaris - I consider myself a Sedaris fan. This book - essays, of course - fell short for me. Not his best work.

That's all, folks! I'm going to attempt to read more often and read more of the books on my list. Otherwise, this list is going to take me 20 years to complete.

One other note: I hadn't reviewed my list in a very long time. When I looked it over recently, I was not surprised to see that I had been overly ambitious when I created it. I included several trilogies (as one selection), and I also included numerous HUGE tomes. Ugh. Will I ever learn?

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their picks.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

HRO's 100 Oranges

This is the list of 100 books I plan to read for the "Fill in the Gaps: 100 Books Project." All of the titles are taken from the Orange Prize for Fiction lists. (Thus the reason I'm calling it 100 Oranges.)

About the abbreviations: W=Winner; SL=Shortlist; LL=Longlist; NW=New Writers Award


  1. 26a by Diana Evans (2005 NW/W)
  2. Afterwards by Rachel Seiffert (2005 LL)
  3. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (1997 SL)
  4. Annabel by Kathleen Winters (2011 SL)
  5. Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk (2007 SL)
  6. The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith (2003 SL)
  7. The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (2009 LL)
  8. Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed (2010 LL)
  9. Blonde Roots by Bernadine Evaristo (2009 LL)
  10. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan (2001 LL)
  11. The Book of Colour by Julia Blackburn (1996 SL)
  12. The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale (2010 NW/SL)
  13. The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini (2010 NW/W)
  14. Buddha Da by Anne Donovan (2003 SL)
  15. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (2005 LL)
  16. The Colour by Rose Tremain (2004 SL)
  17. The Dancers Dancing by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne (2000 SL)
  18. The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert (2002 LL)
  19. Disobedience by Naomi Alderman (2006 LL; 2006 NW/W)
  20. The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin (2006 NW/SL)
  21. The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas (2008 LL)
  22. An Equal Stillness by Francesca Kay (2009 NW/W)
  23. Evening is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan (2009 LL)
  24. The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates (2005 LL)
  25. Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai (2000 LL)
  26. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (2002 SL)
  27. Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (2002 LL)
  28. The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews (2009 LL)
  29. Fox Girl by Nora Okja Keller (2003 LL)
  30. Fred and Edie by Jill Dawson (2001 SL)
  31. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels (1997 W)
  32. Gilgamesh by Joan London (2004 LL)
  33. Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold (2009 LL)
  34. Gut Symmetries by Jeannette Winterson (1997 LL)
  35. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie (2007 W)
  36. Heliogoland by Shena Mackay (2003 SL)
  37. Hen’s Teeth by Manda Scott (1997 SL)
  38. The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi (2001 LL)
  39. Homestead by Rosina Lippi (2001 SL)
  40. Hotel World by Ali Smith (2001 SL)
  41. House of Orphans by Helen Dunmore (2006 LL)
  42. The Hunter by Julia Leigh (2000 LL)
  43. I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn (1997 SL)
  44. Ice Road by Gillian Slovo (2004 SL)
  45. The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville (2001 W)
  46. If I Told You Once by Judith Budnitz (2000 SL)
  47. Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna (2008 NW/W)
  48. Island - Jane Rogers (2000 LL)
  49. Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg (2012 LL)
  50. Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (2011 LL)
  51. La Cucina by Lily Prior (2002 LL)
  52. Larry’s Party by Carol Shields (1998 W)
  53. The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt (2001 LL)
  54. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (2010 LL)
  55. The Lizard Cage by Karen Connely (2007 NW/W)
  56. Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill (2008 SL)
  57. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (2011 SL)
  58. Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun (2009 NW/SL)
  59. Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden (2009 SL)
  60. Mother of Pearl by Mary Morissy (1996 LL)
  61. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (2012 LL)
  62. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (2006 SL)
  63. The Observations by Jane Harris (2007 SL)
  64. On Beauty by Zadie Smith (2006 W)
  65. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2004 SL)
  66. The Outcast by Sadie Jones (2008 SL)
  67. Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (2012 LL)
  68. The Personal History of Rachel Dupree by Ann Weisgarber (2009 LL; 2009 NW/SL)
  69. Poppy Shakespeare by Clare Allen (2007 LL; 2007 NW/SL)
  70. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie (2004 SL)
  71. The Remedy by Michelle Lovric (2005 LL)
  72. The Road Home by Rose Tremain (2008 W)
  73. The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone (2011 LL)
  74. Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman (2009 SL)
  75. The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (2012 LL)
  76. A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka (2005 SL)
  77. The Siege by Helen Dunmore (2002 SL)
  78. Small Island by Andrea Levy (2004 W)
  79. So I Am Glad by A.L. Kennedy (1996 LL)
  80. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2012 LL)
  81. Sorry by Gail Jones (2008 LL)
  82. A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (1996 W)
  83. The Submission by Amy Waldman (2012 LL)
  84. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (2011 LL)
  85. This is How by M.J. Hyland (2010 LL)
  86. Tides of War by Stella Tillyard (2012 LL)
  87. The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (2011 W)
  88. The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay (2012 LL)
  89. Twisted Heart by Rebecca Gowers (2010 LL)
  90. Unless by Carol Shields (2003 SL)
  91. The Vintners Luck by Elizabeth Knox (1999 LL)
  92. A Visit from Voltaire by Dinah Lee Kung (2004 LL)
  93. War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen (2003 LL)
  94. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (2005 W)
  95. What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn (2007 LL)
  96. When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant (2000 W)
  97. White Ghost Girls by Alice Greenway (2006 LL)
  98. White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000 SL)
  99. The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey (2009 SL)
  100. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2010 SL)

Start date: March 15, 2012

Some housekeeping

Hey Ladies and Gents,

It's been a while, but I've gotten a few emails asking for updates on link information on the site (e.g. blog roll, 100 list etc). I know I've fallen behind on the book cover review links/author links etc - and hope to remedy this in the future.

At the moment though I want to update member info, so I'd really appreciate it if people could leave comment below or email me if they notice (a) their name isn't on 100 list drop down menu or/and (b) blog is not mentioned on the blog roll.

If this is the case - leave me your name (as it appears here), link to your 100 list/blog and I'll sort it out.

Thanks Everyone and hope all is going well with life and the challenge :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Are Your Favourite Books?

I have been a little lax in reading books from my list over the past thirteen or twelve months.  When I tried to get back in the swing of things, I remembered why that was the case.  I simply can't find some of these titles.  Whilst I expected some difficulty finding a few, I had no idea so many of them would hard for me to get.  I have tried interlibrary loan, several times, skimmed stacks of garage sale books, and called everyone I know who owns a book on the off chance someone had a copy down the back of the sofa.
Buying books is not an option for me right now, so I have decided I must replace some of the titles from my original list.  I am going to start with ten, but that number may go as high as thirty.  So I am asking you all for your recommendations, any genre welcome.

Help me Obi-Wan, you are my only hope.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Darlene's Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Hi, everyone!

I am on the board! I just completed the 1st book on my list. I know, I know...not much to cheer about but I'm happy to stroke just one off the list :)

Here is the link to my review of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Palladian by Elizabeth Taylor

Cassandra Dashwood, at the age of eighteen is quiet, bookish and, dare I say, a little dull. And, after her father’s recent death, she is alone in the world.

Fortunately Mrs. Turner, her former headmistress, takes an interest in Cassandra, and finds her a post: Marion Vanbrugh is a widower with a young daughter, Sophy, and he needs a governess.

It was so, so easy for Cassandra to cast herself and Jane Eyre and Marion as Mr Rochester.But reality would prove to be a little different.

Marion was as quiet, bookish and dull as Cassandra. And he was weighed down by his family; an elderly aunt, who kept house quite ineffectually; a cousin, pregnant by her lover, not her husband; another cousin, who was charming but quite directionless; and Violet, his wife who had died but still had a presence.

And they all lived together, their lives stagnating in a crumbling mansion.

It was fortunate that Sophy was charming, and that her father took a great interest in his daughter and her governess …

This is a story with echoes of other authors: Jane Austen in the heroine’s name, and in more besides; Charlotte Bronte in the heroine’s position; Ivy Compton-Burnett in some of the dialogue and relationships; Daphne Du Maurier in the presence, and untold story, of Marion’s wife; Molly Keane in the crumbling mansion; Thomas Hardy in some of the darker moments; and maybe even more that have passed me by when I was caught up …

Not a satire, not a pastiche, but something rather different, and rather more interesting. Something I can’t quite explain.

A dark tale, but the darkness is offset by wry humor and dry wit.

Events unfold slowly, but every sentence brings a new insight, or a new development. There are small, subtle changes, and there is one sudden, tragic, utterly real event that will change everything.

Everything is driven by the characters; characters I found difficult to like, but they were pinpointed so accurately that I was always fascinated. Because I understood their situations, their inner lives, their motivations, and what made each of them unique.

And there is a nicely drawn love song threaded through. Though there will not be happy endings for all …

Palladian is a strangely intriguing novel – just as good as I had hoped but not at all what I had expected.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola

The Ladies’ Paradise was one of those books I meant to read, expected to love, but never quite got to for a long, long time. But now I have, and the verdict is flawed but fabulous.

Let me explain.

The story begins with twenty year-old Denise Baudu and her two young brothers arriving in Paris from the country. Denise has done her best for her brothers since their parents died, but she was struggling, and so she came to Paris to take up the offer of help and support that her uncle had offered.

I was immediately pulled in by the storytelling, and I worried that maybe that offer was the kind you make but expect never to be taken up. And indeed it was. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to help but he was struggling, his small shop losing business to the expanding department store across the street: The Ladies’ Paradise.

And that presented Denise with a problem: she had to work, but the only work available was at The Ladies’ Paradise. The establishment hated and resented by her uncle and his neighbours.

She understood their feelings, but she had to work, and she was drawn to dazzling emporium. Denise secured a job. And she stepped into The Ladies’ Paradise.

There is so much to say about The Ladies’ Paradise.

It is an almost magical emporium, a huge department store that grew from a small draper’s shop, packed full of seductive colours, fabrics, clothes, furnishing, and so much more. The descriptions are rich, detailed, and utterly captivating.

It draws in the ladies of Paris very cleverly, with carefully planned layouts, seasonal sales, attentive service, such well thought out, modern marketing. So much modernity, but behind the scenes it was rather different. For the staff it was not so very different from life in service in a big house. They lived in dormitories, ate in a canteen, had little time of their own, and had to work, work, work to secure the commission they so desperately needed and to hold on to their jobs.

Denise struggled at first, and she was easy prey for ambitious, ruthless salesgirls. But she knew she had to support her family, she held on to her principles, and, though there were many setbacks, in time she would rise through the ranks.

And Denise caught the eye of Octave Mouret: the creator, the owner of The Ladies’ Paradise. A man who knows how to seduce women, in his private life and in his wonderous emporium. But Denise is the woman who will not be seduced. And of course, that makes her all the more fascinating …

The Ladies’ Paradise held me from start to finish. With wonderful, readable storytelling. With rich descriptions, and so, so many details. And with some quite extraordinary set-pieces.

I’m afraid that the characters didn’t quite live up to all of that. The leads were a little too predictable, a little too straightforward, and the supporting cast a little too one-dimensional. And the view of human nature was a little bleak. So many thoughtless, selfish people.

But I loved watching the social changes that the department store was bringing, and I was captivated by the nicely predictable love story.

And now I am wondering which of Zola’s works to read next.

Any suggestions?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shelly's Updates

I liked seeing the updates of other readers here recently. I'm about a third of the way into the 54th title from my list. I seem to go in spurts, but I'm moving ahead nonetheless.

The last three books I finished were Crime and Punishment, The Truth About Jesus, and Crimes of the Heart. The one I'm working on now (#54 of 100) is Tarzan of the Apes. I just posted an entry at my main blog with some ramblings on (not reviews of) those titles.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

J.C.'s Update

I was inspired by Moonrat's post to take a moment and post about what's been going on with this challenge. (Thanks Moonrat!)

So far I've only read 13 books. Kinda pathetic, but I'm hoping to catch up a bit this year.

I've read 4 since the last update and they are:

010. Capote, Truman -- Breakfast at Tiffany’s
011. Atwood, Margaret -- The Handmaid’s Tale
012. Gaiman, Neil -- The Graveyard Book
013. Hemingway, Ernest -- The Old Man and the Sea

My favorite of the lot was The Graveyard Book. The surprise was Breakfast at Tiffany's. Classic case of seeing the movie first and then reading the book, which was very different. Still a great read.

This year, my goal is to read at least 10 from my list. The ones I'm looking forward to most are:

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Hope all is going well with everyone else. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Moonrat's update

Hi, folks! I haven't posted an update in a long time, but I'm still working pretty hard on my list.

I realize I have read the following since I last posted:

East of Eden, John Steinbeck
The Farming of Bones, Edwidge Danticat
The Known World, Michael Chabon
Werewolves in Their Youth, Michael Chabon

I've also read significant portions of David Copperfield and Moby Dick, but these are both titles I am working through slowly when I'm in the right mood.

I've also started trying to read a lot of classic crime fiction. It's a second (and less well-structured) reading project. Anyway--if you're a crime fiction reader, let me know some of your favorites. I'm very curious.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Michelle(TBA)--My 100

Hi, I'm Michelle.  Since we have several Michelles already, I'll be know as Michelle(TBA).  My main book blog is The True Book Addict (hence the TBA = True Book Addict), on which my primary focus is historical fiction.  I also have a horror/speculative fiction review blog, Castle Macabre.  I track all my reading challenges, including perpetual challenges and long term challenges like this, at my challenge blog, Challenges of The True Book Addict.  My list comes from my 3000+ home library, of which many of the 2000+ fiction books have been languishing--unloved--for years.  LOL! These are books I've been wanting to read for a long time.  There are also some more recent acquisitions which are books I purchased because I'd really been wanting to read them (but aren't they all that for us, truth be told).

These are listed in alphabetical order by author's name, but will not be read in this order.  Goal date is January 17, 2017.

  1. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  2. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  3. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  4. Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks
  5. The Last Days of Pompeii by Edgar George Bulwer-Lytton
  6. Possession by A.S. Byatt
  7. The Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr
  8. The Love Knot by Elizabeth Chadwick
  9. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
  10. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  11. The Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu
  12. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  13. The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
  14. Enemy of God by Bernard Cornwell
  15. Excalibur by Bernard Cornwell
  16. The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
  17. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  18. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  19. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  20. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
  21. Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
  22. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
  23. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  24. Queenmaker by India Edghill
  25. Under the Snow by Kerstin Ekman
  26. Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
  27. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  28. The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan
  29. In the Woods by Tana French
  30. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  31. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  32. Grendel by John Gardner
  33. Helen of Troy by Margaret George
  34. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  35. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
  36. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
  37. The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland
  38. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  39. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  40. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  41. Roots by Alex Haley
  42. Forever by Pete Hamill
  43. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  44. Tess of the D'urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  45. Chocolat by Joanne Harris
  46. Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart
  47. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  48. Dune by Frank Herbert
  49. The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
  50. Lord of the Dead by Tom Holland
  51. The Society of S by Susan Hubbard
  52. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  53. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  54. Ahab's Wife, or the Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund
  55. Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles
  56. The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis
  57. The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis
  58. The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
  59. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
  60. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  61. The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale
  62. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  63. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  64. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
  65. The  Covenant by James Michener
  66. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  67. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
  68. The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch
  69. The Eight by Katherine Neville
  70. Anno-Dracula by Kim Newman
  71. The Red Church by Scott Nicholson
  72. The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates
  73. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  74. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  75. An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
  76. The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
  77. Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
  78. Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
  79. Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
  80. Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault
  81. The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice
  82. Christ the Lord by Anne Rice
  83. Angel Time by Anne Rice
  84. A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice
  85. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  86. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  87. Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts
  88. Dreaming the Eagle by Manda Scott
  89. Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  90. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  91. The Terror by Dan Simmons
  92. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  93. The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith
  94. Ghost Story by Peter Straub
  95. Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth
  96. The Passion of Artemesia by Susan Vreeland
  97. The Religion by Tim Willocks
  98. The Keep by F. Paul Wilson
  99. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
  100. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey

A wonderful opening pulled me straight into the 1920s. And straight into London's theatreland.

It was beautifully written and it was clear that Josephine Tey, already a successful playwright, knew and loved the world she was writing about. And that she understood the importance of the big picture, of the small things, and of the psychology of her characters.

And in the very first chapter there was the crime. Such an elegant, clever scenario:

" 'Chap fainted,' said someone. No one moved for a moment or two. Minding one's own business in a crowd today is as much an instinct of self-preservation as a chameleon's versatility. Perhaps someone would claim the chap. But no one did; and so a man with more social instinct or more self-importance than the rest moved forward to help the collapsed one. He was about to bend over the limp heap when he stopped as if stung and recoiled hastily. A woman shrieked three times horribly; and the pushing, heaving queue froze suddenly to immobility.

In the clear white light of the naked electric in the roof, a man's body, left alone by the instinctive withdrawal of the others, lay revealed in every detail. And rising slant-wise from the grey tweed of his coat was a little silver thing that winked wickedly in the baleful light.

It was the handle of a dagger."

An audacious murder, in the middle of a queue of people, all pressing forward, eager to see the final performance of popular musical.

The investigation fell to Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard. A detective without the gimmicks, or idiosyncracies of many of his contemporaries, but with a great deal of intelligence and charm, I soon suspected that his creator was a little in love with him ... quite understandably ...

There was little physical evidence, little witness evidence, but a careful, methodical investigation began, and in time the dead man was identified, his life examined, and suspects identified.

Often the story was quiet, but it was always engaging.

The characters were so well drawn, and they always offered me a question to ponder.

There were some great moments and some lovely diversions: a trip to the Highlands of Scotland in pursuit of a fleeing suspect stood out for me.

And the writing was wonderful. Josephine Tey wrote such lovely prose, balancing rich descriptions and perfectly observed dialogue, with intelligence and wit always threaded through.

Elements of the modern police procedural can be seen, but this is very much a book of its time. The language, the world it describes tie it to the 1920s, and references to the Great War emphasise its lasting impact on a generation.

I was caught up in that world, and with Inspector Grant and his investigation.

The resolution owed as much to luck - or maybe policeman's instinct - as solid police work.

I didn't mind that, but it did confirm my feeling that this was a good book rather that a great book.

And certainly more than good enough to make sure that I will read my way through the rest of the series ...