(member since Mar 22, 2008)
I just reached 100 books! Of course, when I think that it is still less than 10% of the 1001 books, it makes it seem such a small achievement...
Just started The House of Mirth
by Edith Wharton. It is my first Wharton. So far, so good. Although, I have to say it is much like so many other books written about this era -- rigid social conventions, especially for women, the search for a good husband, the social iniquities that keep life exciting. I'm waiting to see what twist this particular book brings to these themes.
I just finished this book. I can't say I loved it but I did enjoy it. It was definitely a book about change and transitions in society -- nostalgia for the "old England", the industrialization and looming problems from industrialization, the beginning of changes in social interactions (especially for women), etc. I also never got what attracted Connie to Mellors. In the end, it seems that it was all about the sex and 'lust' that connected her to him. She married into a sexless marriage, which was alright for her at first but after some time she longed for more. In addition, she was so isolated with her whole life centering around her husband and Wragby. It almost seemed as though Mellors was her search for identify or simply for something different.
I don't know if different versions of the book had different endings but I felt I was left hanging. Someone in this thread referred to being surprised that Connie and Mellors ended up together. But, in my version of the book (view spoiler)[everything was still up in the air at the end. Both were waiting for divorces and were not even physically together. I understand ending it that way and leaving things to the imagination -- a good literary technique that the French often employ. But, I am not sure I felt completely satisfied with that ending either. It felt as though I should be on the lookout for the sequel. Is there a follow-on book? (hide spoiler)]
Just finished Middlemarch
by George Eliot. I really enjoyed getting into the lives of these provincial families and people and rather miss riding along with them.
Just finished Rabbit, Run
by John Updike. Not sure what I think... It isn't exactly a plot driven book and there isn't a lot that actually happens. But I found it rather disturbing watching what did happen. I will have to continue digesting. But, I think I am interested enough to now read the next book and see if it brings me any more insights.
Just started Middlemarch
by George Eliot. A loooong read - perfect for some winter hibernation.
I am aiming to read 16 list books to get me to the milestone of 100 books from the 2006 list. Seems so small - I am a slow reader. But, love the challenge of it!
I just started Slaughterhouse-Five
by Kurt Vonnegut. So far, I am wondering where it is going as the first couple of chapters just kind of babble and meander on. But, I am looking forward to getting more into it.
I just finished The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells. This is the third Wells book I have read and the each packs such a big punch for being such short books. He writes so vividly that you are automatically part of the story. This book raises some interesting issues about what the future will look like and makes one think about how our actions today may influence the future. I would have enjoyed more of his adventures exploring different parts of the future, but I guess one wouldn't want to ruin the surprise of what is to come!
Recently started The Idiot
by Dostoyevsky. So far I am really enjoying it!
I recently finished The Yellow Wallpaper
. I have heard so much about it. But, I was surprised to find it a short story rather than a novel. So, it was a quick read but I still can't quite figure out how I feel about it... At any rate, another one checked off the list, although it was so short it feels like I cheated somehow.
For the first half of the book, I was a bit annoyed. The book had so many seemingly unconnected stories and there seemed to be no real plot. During the second half of the book, I saw the different stories/threads come together. But, I still didn't feel completely satisfied by the time I had finished. I wasn't sure exactly what it was that I had just read or what it really all meant. So, I needed some time to reflect on it and read some reviews and history of the book.
I was a bit bothered that some of the characters (such as Evelyn Nesbitt) were dropped partway through the book. I understand it -- she was just a mechanism to show the development and moves of Tateh and his daughter. But, I think I was so bothered by it because Evelyn's section of the book was kind of told through her perspective rather than Tateh's. So, I unconsciously expected her character to continue or come back up again.
In trying to figure this book out, I did a little internet research and read some of the analysis provided by SparkNotes. It brought up an interesting perspective of the two 'unnamed families' - Father, Mother and Younger Brother compared to Tateh and his daughter. It suggested that the two families (who could really have been any well-off or immigrant family) parallel each other and provide different perspectives on the social and cultural changes that were taking place at the turn of the century.
After some reflection, I still can't say I loved the book. But, I think I appreciate it's perspective on an interesting time in American history.
Just finished Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson. The story line did not really differ from the one everyone knows so well, but it was interesting to read the book (finally!) for the details and tone it sets. Plus, it was a super quick read.
I just finished Beloved
by Toni Morrison. One word: Lyrical. I guess I never realized Toni Morrison fell into the Magical Realism category. The book was poetic, a bit creepy, but overall a great read. I look forward to reading more of her books that are on the list.
Recently started The War of the Worlds
by H.G. Wells. Enjoying it so far. It is one of those books I am surprised I have never read before now.
Just finished Les Liaisons Dangereuses
by Pierre A.F. Choderlos de Laclos
. I wasn't sure I would like the epistolary structure but ended up really enjoying it.
Recently finished The Island of Dr. Moreau
by H.G. Wells. A quick read that elicits lots of interesting questions/discussion about science, morality, nature/nurture, whether we should do things just because we can, etc.
Just started Les Liaisons Dangereuses
in French. I've had this one on the shelf for forever. So far I am enjoying it.
Just finished The Tin Drum
by Gunter Grass. Not sure what to think of it. It is a quirky, odd book, with a dark side to it. Has anyone else read this? What did you think?