Sunday, October 6, 2013

Erin G's 100

I know I'm joining the party late, but here is my 100:

Brisingr by Christopher Paulini
Inheritance by Christopher Paulini
The Plains of Passage y Jean M Auel
The Tapirs Morning Bath by Elizabeth Royte
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Wonder by R J Palacio
Grimms Complete Fairy Tales by The Fall River Publishing Company
Eldritch tales By HP Lovecraft
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Five Weeks in a Balloon
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
From the Earth to the Moon
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Around the World in 80 Days
The Mysterious Island (Last 7 by Jules Verne(
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Mansfield Park by Jane Austin
Emma by Jane Austin
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin
Persuassion by Jane Austin
Lady Susan by Jane Austin
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn BY Mark Twain
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Short Story Collection by Mark Twain
The Son of the Wolf By Jack London
The God of hid Fathers By Jack London
Children of the Frost By Jack London
White Fang By Jack London
The Faith of Men By Jack London
Uncollected Stories and Tales By Jack London
The Call of the Wild By Jack London
The Sea Wolf By Jack London
Tales of the Fish Patrol By Jack London
Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer
Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Whitman: Poetry and Prose by Walt Whitman
Essays and Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Waldn by Henry David Thoreau
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
The Illiad By Homer
Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathon Swift
Possession by AS Byatt
Tipperary by Frank Delaney
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
Aphrodite by Isabel Allende
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
The Mystic Life of Merlin by RJ Stewart
The Works of Kipling by Black’s Readers Company
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein
The Return of the King by JRR Tolkein
The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Beowulf By Unknown
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Magic Kingdom For Sale – Sol by Terry Brooks
The Talismans of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Druid of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Elf of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Sciones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Talismans of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley
Tales from the Hood by Michael Buckley
Magic and Other Misdemeanors by Michael Buckley
The Problem Child by Michael Buckley
The Everafter War by Michael Buckley
Once Upon a Crime by Michael Buckley
The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages y Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A little over halfway

I've been at this for two years and nine months now and have fallen a bit behind, having only read 47 of my books. I have decided that I am going to take the liberty of swapping out up to five books, two for books that I have attempted and decided that I am just not interested in, plus up to three others. I subbed a book once before, when I decided that Three Cups of Tea needed to go because of the dishonesty in the book.

I will mark my substitutions in red. I'm not going to chicken out and sub for Karamazov  or Les Mis, as much as I would like to take the easy way out.
 So here is my list:
  1. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (2/13/2012)
  3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  4. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  5. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  6. North and South by Gaskell
  7. Dune by Frank Herbert (3/19/2011)
  8. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
  9. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
  10. Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
  11. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  12. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (3/16/2012)
  13. Law and Gospel by CFW Walther
  14. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (3/17/2013)
  15. Beach Music by Pat Conroy (3/22/2012)
  16. The Children of Hurin JRR Tolkien
  17. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  18. The Frontiersmen by Allen Eckert
  19. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  20. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (12/5/2011)
  21. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2/21/2012)
  22. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  23. The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (1/27/2012)
  24. The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov (2/5/2013)
  25. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (4/29/2011)
  26. Death Comes for the Archbishop  by Willa Cather
  27. Churchill by Paul Johnson
  28. The Conquest of Gaul  by Julius Caesar, subbing The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
  29. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
  30. The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
  31. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (11/4/2012)
  32. Summerland by Michael Chabon (6/25/2012)
  33. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  34. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  35. The House on the Strand by Daphne DuMaurier (5/19/2011)
  36. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (6/28/2012)
  37. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  38. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Miller (2/9/2011)
  39. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
  40. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  41. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (4/12/2011)
  42. A Life Worth Living by John Holt
  43. Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536 by Reston
  44. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  45. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois (12/13/2012)
  46. Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple (3/20/2011)
  47. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (1/7/2011)
  48. Desolation Road by Ian McDonald (7/10/2012)
  49. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (9/25/2012)
  50. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (4/3/2012)
  51. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  52. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  53. Faust by Goethe
  54. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (5/29/2013)
  55. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington (4/7/2013)
  56. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (4/24/2012)
  57. Redwall by Brian Jacques
  58. The Guns of August by Barabara Tuchman (just can't get into the military history), subbing Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut 
  59. Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
  60. Life of Pi by Yann Mertel, subbing Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  61. Aeneid by Virgil
  62. The Complete Poetry of  John Donne
  63. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, T.S. Eliot (4/23/2012)
  64. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  65.  My Antonia by Willa Cather (1/15/2013)
  66. Dead Souls by Gogol
  67. The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
  68. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (9/28/2011)
  69. East Lynne by Ellen Wood (6/18/2011)
  70. Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle
  71. Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (1/6/2012)
  72. The Hobbit JRR Tolkien
  73. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (12/26/2010)
  74. Robinson Crusoe (9/9/2013)
  75. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  76. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (7/18/2011)
  77. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  78. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  79. Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (3/25/2013)
  80. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
  81. The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton, subbing Middlemarch by George Eliot
  82. Introducing Father Brown by GK Chesterton (10/6/2011)
  83. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (5/2/11)
  84. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper
  85. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  86. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  87. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (5/6/2013)
  88. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (7/2/2012)
  89. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1/20/2013)
  90. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  91. Foundation by Isaac Asimov (3/6/2011)
  92. The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes (12/30/2012)
  93. The Warden by Anthony Trollope (1/28/2013)
  94. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  95. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  96. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  97. Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin, (I have read other works by LeGuin this year) subbing The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  98. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  99. Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
  100. The Histories by Herodotus

Saturday, June 15, 2013

57 books read

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley's Secret.
Gaskell, Elizabeth. Ruth.
Heyer, Georgette. Faro's Daughter
Heyer, Georgette. Friday's Child
Trollope, Anthony. Can You Forgive Her?
Trollope, Anthony. Phineas Finn.
Webster, Jean. Daddy Long Legs.
Webster, Jean. Dear Enemy.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Darlene's Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Hi, everyone!

This is Book #4 for me! I read it aloud to my kids.

5/5 stars!

You can read the review on my blog HERE.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

I had such high hopes that I would love this book, and I did, so very much.

So many people had said that it was so good, that it was Barbara Pym’s best book, and when I realised that it was the story of a spinster, in her thirties in the fifties, my mind went spinning back.

Not to the fifties – I’m not that old – but to when my mother took me to church as a very small child. We always sat behind a row of elderly ladies, and I spent a long time looking at their backs and hats during dull sermons and lengthy intercessions. They always spoke to my mother – they had know her since she was a small girl coming to church with her own mother – and whenever something was going on, be it a coffee morning or a jumble sale, they were always there and they were always busy.

When I was a small girl I thought that they were ancient, but looking back I think most of them would have been in their sixties. Years layer my mother used to visit one of those ladies when she was housebound, and I remember my mother telling me that she was always so welcoming and so appreciative. Not long after she did her nephew appeared on our doorstep with two carved elephants. My mother had mentioned in passing that she remembered her parents having a similar pair, and she had made a note that nother was to have her elephants.

I’m rambling, but I’m going to come to the point now. Mildred Lathbury – the excellent woman who tells this story was so real, so utterly believable that I am quite prepared to believe that I might have been looking at her back and her hat back in the day.

Excellent Women
Mildred was the daughter of a clergyman, and she had been brought up in a country vicarage, but when she found herself alone in the world she moved to a small flat near the Anglican church that she regularly attended. She was a stalwart of that church and had formed a close friendship with Winifred Mallory. She was the vicar’s sister and, as both sister and brother were ummarried, they lived together in the vicarage. It had been suggested that Mildred would be an excellent wife for Julian Mallory …

New arrivals heralded change.

First new neighbours moved into the flat below Mildred’s. Helena Napier, an anthropologist, arrived first, and Mildred was taken aback when Helena spoke to her freely and frankly, when she announced that she didn’t go to church, when she said that she didn’t believe in housework. Her husband, Rockingham had just come out of the navy and was on his way home from Italy. Mildred wasn’t sure if she liked Helena but she was intrigued by her, and by new possibilities.

And then the Mallory’s decided to let a room. Allegra Grey was a clergyman’s widow and she seemed to be the ideal person to share the vicarage. She wasn’t, and some worked that out more quickly than others. There was much speculation, and a good deal of gossiping.

Mildred’s relationship with the Napiers was lovely to watch. She was flattered to be asked for help and advice, and she came to realise that marriage was far, far more complicated than she had realised. And that she was rather more involved than she really wanted to be. Events at the vicarage offered interesting parallels and contrasts. Church events provided a wonderful backdrop. And I haven’t even mentioned Everest Bone …

Barbara Pym constructed her story so cleverly and told it beautifully. There is wit, intelligence and insight, and such a very light touch and a natural charm. A simple story, but the details made it sing. It was so very believable.

It offers a window to look clearly at a world that existed not so long ago, but that has changed now so completely.

Mildred’s voice rang completely true, and I did like her. She was a genuinely nice woman, practical intelligent, and dependable. She didn’t think marriage was the answer to everything, she liked having her independence and her own space, but she did rather like the idea of being married, of having a companion in life.

And now I have just one more word – excellent!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mariana by Monica Dickens

This may be the loveliest opening to a novel that I have ever read.

"Mary sometimes heard people say: 'I can't bear to be alone." She could never understand this. All her life she had needed the benison of occasional solitude, and she needed it now more than ever. If she could not be with the man she loved, then she would rather be by herself."
It captured my own feelings perfectly, and expressed them more beautifully than I ever could.

Mary escaped to the country with just her small terrier dog, Bingo, in tow. Her husband was at sea, in the navy, and the country was at war. Because she wanted to be quiet, to remember, to think.

It was lovely watching Mary and Bingo settle in, lovely to be reminded of the depth of Monica Dickens' understanding of character and of her talent for catching exactly the right details to paint a perfect picture.

I was particularly taken with her understanding that a terrier can be sound asleep and alert at the same time ...

The peaceful scene was disturbed when Mary switched on the wireless, when she heard that her husband's ship had been hit. There were survivors, there was hope, but Mary had a night to get through before she found out the next morning if her husband was alive or dead. It was a sleepless night, and as she lay awake Mary turned over memories in her mind.

She remembered her childhood, with a mother who had been widowed in the last war and who worked as a dressmaker to support them. Her husband's family would have helped but she didn't want to be beholden to them. It was enough that they gave Mary lovely, idyllic summer holidays in the country. And a place in a bigger family.

She remembered going to drama school with grand plans, and coming to realise that she was on the wrong path. Fashion college in Paris was a much better idea. She could have a lovely time and she could play a part in the family business. Mary had a wonderful time in Paris, and she made a marvellous catch. But even the most marvellous catch is not necessarily the right catch.

Mary found her happy ending back in England, at the most unexpected moment.

Now it has to be said that Mary is not the most sympathetic of characters. She is often awkward, thoughtless, selfish even. But she was real, and for all her failing I did like her, I did want her to find her path in life, her place in the world. Sometimes fallible heroines are so much easier to love. And Mary was real, alive, and her emotional journey was so utterly real. There were highs and lows, tears and laughter. Every emotion a young woman might go through. And so many incidents, so many moments to recollect. All of this was observed so beautifully, with understanding, intelligence, and just the right amount of empathy.

But if Mary's life was the foreground, the background was just as perfectly realised. Her world was as alive as she was, and every character who was part of that word, even if only for a short while, was caught perfectly.

I loved watching over Mary's life. It was an ordinary life, but every ordinary life is unique and Monica Dickens highlighted that quite beautifully.

And I could have stayed in her world quite happily, but morning eventually came, and Mary had to face whatever news of her husband might come. And when it came I had to leave. I'd love to know what happened in the next chapters of Mary's life, but failing that I'll go back and read about the years I know all over again one day. Because this is a lovely book, and a lovely way to get lost in another life and another world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Darlene's Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Hi, everyone!

I'm not doing very well with this challenge!

This is Book #3 for me:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
5/5 stars
Link to my review on my blog is HERE