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 ...