Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Penguin Classics - B
1. Babbitt - Sinclair Lewis
2. The Bacchae and Other Plays - Euripides
3. The Barber of Seville and The Marraige of Figaro - Bede
4. Barchester Towers - Anthony Trollope
5. Barnaby Rudge - Charles Dickens
6. Bayou Folk and a Night in Acadie - Kate Chopin
7. The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me - Richard Farina
9. The Beggar's Opera - John Gay
10. Bel-Ami - Guy de Maupassant
11. The Bell - Iris Murdoch
12. Beowulf - Anonymous
13. The Betrothed - Alessandro Manzoni
14. Between Past and Future - Hannah Arendt
15. The Bhagavad Gita - Anonymous
16. Billiards at Half Past Nine - Heinrich Boll
17. Billy Budd and Other Stories - Herman Melville
18. The Birds and Other Plays - Aristophanes
19. Black Lamb and Gray Falcon - Rebecca West
20. The Black Prince - Iris Murdoch
21. The Black Sheep - Honore de Balzac
22. The Black Tulip - Alexandre Dumas
23. The Blazing World and Other Writings - Margaret Cavendish
24. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
25. The Blithedale Romance - Nathaniel Hawthorne
26. The Book of the City of Ladies - Christine de Pizan
27. The Book of the Courtier - Baldesar Castiglione
28. The Book of Lamentations - Rosario Castellnos
29. The Bostonians - Henry James
30. The Bounty Mutiny - William Bligh
31. Brand - Henrik Ibsen
32. The Bride of Lammermoor - Walter Scott
33. Brighton Rock - Graham Greene
34. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
35. A Burnt-Out Case - Graham Greene
36. Burning Bright - John Steinbeck

Monday, November 26, 2007


The Penguin Classics - A
1. Adam Bede - George Eliot
2. The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
5. The Aeneid - Virgil
6. The Alexiad - Anna Comnena
7. Adolphe - Benjamin Constant
8. The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow
9. The Adventures of David Simple - Sarah Fielding
10. Against Nature - Jori-Karl Huysmans
11. Agape Agape - William Gaddis
12. The Age of Alexander - Plutarch
13. The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
14. Agnes Gray - Anne Bronte
15. The Agricola and the Germania - Tacitus
16. The Aleph and Other Stories - Jorge Luis Borges
17. Alfred the Great - Anonymous
18. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
19. All My Sons - Arthur Miller
20. All's Well That Ends Well - William Shakespeare
21. The Ambassadors - Henry James
22. The American - Henry James
23. Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner
24. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
25. Antony and Cleopatra - William Shakespeare
26. An Apology for Raymond Sebond - Michael de Montaigne
27. Apocalypse - DH Lawrence
28. Armadale - Wilkie Collins
29. Around the Wolrd in 80 Days - Jules Verne
30. Arthurian Romances - Chretien de Troyes
31. As I Crossed the Bridege of Dreams - Sarashina
32. As You Like It - William Shakespeare
33. At Fault - Kate Chopin
34. Au Bonheur de Dames - Emile Zola
35. The Awakening and Selected Stories - Kate Chopin
36. The Awkward Age - Henry James

A lover of lists....

I am an ardent lover of lists. I like to make lists of whatever I am doing. I especially like to find lists books, list of the greatest novels, most evil villians, banned books, whatever. And then I plan to read all of them. Unfortunately, I'm much better at FINDING the lists then I am at READING the lists. I have so many, but I don't get too far.

The London Observer's 100 Greatest Novels
100. Austerlitz - W.G. Sebald
99. American Pastoral - Philip Roth
98. Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
97. Atonement - Ian McEwan
96. Wise Children - Angela Carter
95. LA Confidential - James Ellroy
94. Haroun and the Sea of Stories - Salmon Rushdie
93. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Milan Kundera
92. Oscar and Lucinda - Peter Carey
91. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguru
90. Money - Martin Amis
89. The Periodic Table - Primo Levi
88. The BFG - Roald Dahl
87. The New York Trilogy - Paul Auster
86. Lanark - Alasdair Gray
85. Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
84. Waiting for the Barbarians - J.M. Coetzee
83. A Bend in the River - V.S. Naipaul
82. If on a Winter's Night a Traveller - Italo Calvino
81. The Executioner's Song - Norman Mailer
80. The Bottle Factory Outing - Beryl Bainbridge
79. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
78. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - John Le Carre
77. Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor
76. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
75. Herzog - Saul Bellow
74. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
73. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
72. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
71. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
70. The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass
69. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
68. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
67. The Quiet American - Graham Greene
66. The Lord of the Flies - William Golding
65. Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
64. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
63. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
62. Wise Blood - Flannery O'Conner
61. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
60. Malone Dies - Samuel Beckett
59. 1984 - George Orwell
58. The Plague - Albert Camus
57. The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford
56. The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
55. USA - John Dos Passos
54. Scoop - Evelyn Waugh
53. Brave New World - Aldous Huckley
52. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
51. Journey to the End of the Night - Louis-Ferdinand Celine
50. Men Without Women - Ernest Hemmingway
49. The Trial - Franz Kafka
48. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
47. A Passage to India - E.M. Forster
46. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
45. Ulysses - James Joyce
44. The Thirty-Nine Steps - John Buchan
43. The Good Soldier - Ford Madox Ford
42. The Rainbow - D.H. Lawrence
41. In Search of Lost Time - Marcel Proust
40. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
39. Nostromo - Joseph Conrad
38. The Call of the Wild - Jack London
37. The Riddle of the Sands - Erskine Childers
36. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
35. The Diary of Nobody - George Grossmith
34. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
33. Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome
32. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
31. Huckelberry Finn - Mark Twain
30. The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
29. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dosteoevsky
28. Daniel Deronda - George Eliot
27. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
26. The Way We Live Now - Anthony Trollope
25. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
24. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
23. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
22. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
21. Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
20. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
19. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
18. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
17. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
16. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
15. Sybil - Benjamin Disraeli
14. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
13. The Charterhouse of Parma - Stendhal
12. The Black Sheep - Honore de Balzac
11. Nightmare Abbey - Thomas Love Peacock
10. Frankenstine - Mary Shelley
9. Emma - Jane Austin
8. Dangerous Liasons - Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
7. Tristram Shandy - Laurence Sterne
6. Clarissa - Smauel Richardson
5. Tom Jones - Henry Fielding
4. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
3. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
2. Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan
1. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes

Strike through are books that I've read and Italics are books I've attempted. I started at the end of the list and am working my way back towards the greatest novel of all time. I imagine I'll reread some of those already tried or read before. Most have only been attempted or read once, and then quite some time ago. We'll see how I do!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Boleyn Inheritance - Philippa Gregory

the boleyn inheritance
philippa gregory
c. 2007
544 pages

This is now the fifth Philippa Gregory novel I have completed. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical fiction writers. There is one more that has already been written into this Tudor series that I have to read, The Virgin's Lover, mostly about Queen Elizabeth and Lord Dudley, I believe. And then she is coming out with a new one next year, The Other Queen, about Mary Queen of Scotts. I will have to aquire that one as well.

One of my absolute favorite things about her books, at least in this series, is how these characters are seen in multiple books and yet they are not the same person. Each story shows a completely different side and characterization of these people leaving them so deep and complex. You see Henry VIII grow from being a child in The Constant Princess, to a handsome and intelligent king in The Other Boleyn Girl, and lastly into crazed old tyrant in The Boleyn Inheritance. Each book tells a different chapter and let's you put another piece into the puzzle that was the reign of the Tudors.

I also love that she is making sure to include everyone. There are only a few people in the family she has yet to really touch on. She is working on Mary, Queen of Scotts. Maybe Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife will be next.

As for this book itself, I thought the characterization of the three women was incredible. As was said in her author's note it is generally accepted that Anne of Cleaves was ugly and Katherine Howard was stupid. This book, instead fleshed them out to let us understand those generalizations. Anne of Cleave's brought with her clothes and customs that were not the norm of England. She was not ugly, just different. In fact, this book continued to remark on her prettiness, even thinking the king might relent and ask for her back. As for Katherine Howard, we see that she was so much stupid as young and uneducated. She was fifteen when the king married her. And she was shown very little love from those who should have been looking out for her. Instead she was used merely as a pawn for her family's, namely her uncle's, advancement.

The fate's of the two queen's were already known by me before reading this book, however that did not stop that small, irrational hope that something could spare Katherine's life. Her odd request of having the block in her cell so that she could practice before she was executed brought tears to my eyes. At least she was prepared as she liked to be.

I was definitely not prepared for the Duke's betrayal of Jane. Her death came as an immense shock to me. I thought she would be just like the Duke and survive when all the others were dead and gone. Not so. The portrayal of those sences was incredible, her death being just as much a shock to the reader as it was to her.

I really hope that when the subject of the Tudor's has been exhausted, Philippa Gregory merely moves on to her next family.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Decades Challenge 2008

I am still fairly new to this whole book blog phenomenon. And as such, have only just begun reading others and looking at the challenges that they offer. I (sort of, kind of) participated in the RIP Challenge and have now been searching through other blogs to find more. I have decided on the Decades Challenge 2008! It seems nice and slow. All I have to do is read books from different decades. And I have all year to do it. The requirement is 8 books, but I have decided on 12, one book for each month of 2008. My list, though it is subject to change, currently stands as:

1. Persuasion - Jane Austin (1818)
2. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving (1820)
3. The Red and the Black - Stendhal (1830)
4. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (1847)
5. Madame Bovary - Gustav Flaubert (1856)
6. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott (1868)
7. Daisy Miller - Henry James (1878)
8. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)
9. Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde (1890)
10. The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Emmuska Orczy (1905)
11. Pollyanna - Eleanor H. Porter (1913)
12. The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald (1922)

It's possible this list is a bit to ambitious for me (let's be for real, I was only able to read 14 books so far this year), but we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

something wicked this way comes
ray bradbury
c. 1962
312 pages

This is the second book I read for the RIP Challenge. I think I liked this one quite a bit better, though I cannot tell you why. If you really think about it, the story of this book is rediculous. An evil carnival full of freaks who can live forever because of their magic carousel.

I think what I liked about this book was mostly the prose style, for Ray Bradbury has an amazong way with words, and also the backdrop of Indiana in the '60's and the characterization of boys and Will's father. This is one of my favorite time periods, the innocence and simplicity of the '60's. And even and evil carnival couldn't break that magic for me.


The Castle of Otranto - Horace Walpole

the castle of otranto
horace walpole
c. 1764
128 pages

I read this book as one of the two to be used for my RIP Challenge. I chose this book as it is said to be the first of the gothic fiction genre. I read this one first because it was considerably shorter. I am proud to say I completed my challenge, though I was definitley not a huge fan of this book. Maybe the genre itself I could get more into, but this one in particular just didn't do it for me.

The story itself is fairly simple. And short. Guy dies and in order to save the family line his evil father decides to put aside his own wife and marry his son's bride. However a lot of supernatural stuff stands in the way: spirits, a giant, a mysterious peasant, etc. So, what I didn't like was that at the end you find out that really this guy is mostly evil because his grandfather stole this castle from somebody. This guy didn't steal anything, his grandfather did.

The ending came about pretty aprubtly. I hate that. If all this stuff has been happening, you shouldn't take a page and a half to explain and end the story.


Wise Children - Angela Carter

wise children
angela carter
c. 1991
240 pages

This book is number 96 on the London Observer's "100 Greatest Novels" list, and more than likely, had it not been for me finding that list and deciding that I was going to read them all, I probably would never have heard of this books, much less have read it. And so I would like to say, "Thank you, London Observer!"

I was greatly surprised and delighted by the book. It is so much different from the things I normally read. As we have pretty firmly established, I am a historical fiction girl, and by that we generally mean British history around the time of Henry the VIII or American History around the time of the American Revolution. And this, instead, is Britain and a small bit of America in the 20th century revolving around the theater.

The characters of Nora and Dora Chance are hilarious. They are funny and sad, smart and frivolous, and Dora tells the story of their lives so colorfully and shamelessly. I absolutely loved them, and definitely plan on looking into reading more by Angela Carter.

This book did bring to a head a question I have started to develop after reading other books, generally by British authors, but...do the British have a different idea of what constitutes incest? Is it okay for people to...do stuff with their aunts and uncles? Hmmm...maybe this is a question for my sister's British boyfriend.