Great American Read List discussion

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message 1: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
books/series already read:
1. 1984 - George Orwell
2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
3. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
4. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
5. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
6. Dune - Frank Herbert
7. Foundation (series) - Isaac Asimov
8. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
10. Harry Potter (series) - J.K. Rowling
11. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
12. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
13. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
14. The Lord of the Rings (series) - J.R.R. Tolkien
15. Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
16. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
17. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

There are about a dozen books on the Great American Read list that I'd like to read some time soon. My time is limited, and I'm a slow reader, so I'm not sure how many I'll get through.


message 2: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jun 07, 2018 06:56AM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Thank you for creating a personal bookshelf, Andrew! I look forward to watching it grow.
I'd like to read them all, eventually. If I can manage ten before a winner is announced I'll be satisfied.
I've made more time recently to read than is usual for me, but there are days when it's difficult to fit in even an hour. Generally, my schedule eases up when the good weather ends, when yard work is unnecessary and it's no longer taking up a lot of my free time.
The speed at which I read depends on my environment—how distracted I am, and the quieter the better!
I'm glad you've begun reading The Sirens of Titan (and joined the Great American Read List challenge with a goal of 13 books) and hope you'll join the discussion!


message 3: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
I got bored at work today and read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the Project Gutenberg site. It's short, but I'm counting that as the first book I've finished for my TGAR challenge. TGAR is a good excuse to read some classics that I've always meant to read but never got around to.


message 4: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jun 10, 2018 04:24PM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
If memory serves, I read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 2010 (or thereabouts). I enjoyed it! I liked the second book in the series, Through the Looking Glass, even more. Do you plan on reading that book as well?


message 5: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Lavan wrote: I liked the second book in the series, Through the Looking Glass, even more. Do you plan on reading that book as well?

Yeah, I really should.


message 6: by Cindy (new)

Cindy  | 35 comments I have a little time in between books. You might have talked me into reading Through the Looking-Glass.


message 7: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
I thought I'd post an update today, on my general progress with my Great American read goal.

I finished reading The Martian this week. I'd been meaning to read that one for a while. One of my friends strongly recommended it to me some time ago. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. I really enjoyed it.

I'm also rereading The Little Prince. This actually might be the first time I've read it in English. (I read it in French back when I was high school.) I'm just reading it a few pages at a time. I've always thought of it as one of my favorite books, though I haven't reread it in many years.

I plan on reading Siddhartha with the group soon, and probably Ghost too.

I also want to start Ready Player One soon too. I've had a couple of friends recommend that to me, and I've been meaning to read it. Since it's on the TGAR list, that's a good excuse to pick it up now.


message 8: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jun 22, 2018 11:07AM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
The television adaptation of The Martian was so good that I watched it twice within a short period of time. Have you seen it, Andrew? I've yet to read the book, but since you gave it five stars I'm encouraged that it's a great read.

I'm always impressed when readers are multilingual, as I am not. I did take Italian in high school, but did not retain much. I think it's wonderful when you're able to read a book in its original language, as the author intended.

I'm delighted you'll be reading Siddhartha with the group and possibly Ghost too. The more members that join in, the better!

I haven't read Ready Player One yet, but a friend of mine rated it five stars. That's another list book that I'm looking forward to reading.


message 9: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Lavan: I haven't watched The Martian yet, but I will at some point. (I wanted to read the book first.)

And while I did read The Little Price in French, that's about as far as I could go in French. Anything more advanced would be beyond me. These days, I could probably manage to order coffee and a croissant in French but not much beyond that!


message 10: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jun 24, 2018 08:07AM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I didn't know The Martian movie was based on a book. I'd watched it before PBS's television series aired. When I saw it on the list I was pleasantly surprised!
I always prefer reading the book first, because once you see the movie or television series it's difficult to get specific visuals out of your head and read the book with fresh eyes. I'm having that trouble with The Song of Ice and Fire series. I saw it on TV first, which was a mistake on my part. Wish I hadn't!


message 11: by Andrew, moderator (last edited Aug 26, 2018 05:05AM) (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
I got a paperback copy of Lonesome Dove in the mail yesterday. Then, this morning, I got email notifications that two ebooks that I had on hold at the local library became available at the same time: Catch-22 and 1984. So now I have three GAR books to read all at once. I feel like I should read the library books first, so I'm not just sitting on them and preventing someone else from getting them. And since 1984 is the group read for September, I'll probably start with that. (Though I already read about 20 pages of Lonesome Dove last night, and I'm enjoying it. Too many good options...)


message 12: by Lavan, moderator (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I read about half of Catch-22 awhile back, but got distracted with life and never finished it. I remember thinking it was dry and didn't hold my interest. I wonder if I'll like it more when I read it cover to cover, and I'm curious what you'll think of it.

I'm glad you're enjoying Lonesome Dove, even though you're setting it aside to read your library books first (which is considerate of you, of course).

In four days I'll start my reread of 1984. Looking forward to it!


message 13: by Andrew, moderator (last edited Aug 28, 2018 04:26PM) (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Lavan,
Catch-22 is one of those books I've been meaning to read for a long time, so I hope I like it! Meanwhile, I'm making good progress through my reread of 1984, and enjoying that.


message 14: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Mildly interesting update: I've been reading a beat up paperback copy of Lonesome Dove, since my library didn't have an ebook copy for the Kindle. Just for yuks, I clicked a button on the web site, to recommend that they buy a copy. I didn't think anything would come of that, but I got a notice yesterday that they bought one! So now I have the ebook checked out and can read it on my Kindle. I get the feeling I won't be done with it before the loan period is up, though, and I see that a hold queue has started, so I guess I'll just have it for a few weeks, then switch back to the beat up paperback.

And I started reading Catch-22 on my Kindle, from the library, but have switched to a paperback copy of the 50th anniversary edition, which I bought used, in pretty good shape.

Meanwhile, I bought a used paperback copy of And Then There Were None for a few bucks. I should have held off on buying that, though, since I just saw it at my library's book sale today, and could have bought it there for 50 cents. Oh well.

Either way, I've got plenty to read lined up for October. My plan is to try to get to a good breaking point in Lonesome Dove, then switch to And Then There Were None. Then back to Catch-22 maybe. And I kind of want to try to fit Frankenstein in there before Halloween, if I can.


message 15: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Oct 01, 2018 08:33PM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
"Mildly interesting update" — That made me smile.

That's excellent! I love hearing members' good news of their local libraries getting involved with The Great American Read. I wonder if yours responded favorably and quickly to your Lonesome Dove request because it's a list book or if they'd have done it anyhow.

I enjoyed your Catch-22 quotations. Thank you for sharing them!

I started And Then There Were None today. I plan to post my first impression thoughts tomorrow.

I hear that! My October reading schedule is ambitious too. I hope to finish And Then There Were None, Lonesome Dove, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Doctor Faustus before November.

I noticed that you've finished Part I of Lonesome Dove. I think that's a good place to pause the story. The characters and story are familiar by that point so it'll be easy for you to pick it back up and be drawn in again. The action really picks up in Part II. If you read further you may not want to stop.

And Then There Were None is a short novel. My copy is 189 pages. You might have time to read Frankenstein before October ends, depending on how fast you read Lonesome Dove.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on And Then There Were None!


message 16: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Since the last show aired last night, I might as well post an update: My goal was to read 13 Great American Read books before the TV series ended. I managed to read 12. So that's pretty good. I'm about halfway through Lonesome Dove, so I could call it 12.5. And I'm about 20% through Catch-22, So I could add in a little more and call it 12.7. So that's pretty close!

I'm definitely going to finish Lonesome Dove and Catch-22, and will likely read The Lovely Bones and Lu with this group too, so I'll probably get to at least 15 list books before the end of November.

There are a few other list books that I would like to read before the end of the year. I might or might not get to some of these:

1. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
2. Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
3. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

I already own copies of all three of those, so it's just a matter of finding the time to read them.


message 17: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Oct 25, 2018 09:21AM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Thank you for the update, Andrew!
I think you did a fantastic job with our group challenge. We can round up and say you completed it. (I'm grinning.) Not only that, but you've read every single group read with us and contributed to those discussions—The Sirens of Titan, Siddhartha, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, 1984, And Then There Were None, Ghost, Patina, and Sunny (plus, you're reading Lonesome Dove right now). You're a model member!

I've read Frankenstein. I enjoyed it. I would definitely reread and recommend it.
I've read Invisible Man too. It was so long ago that I don't remember it well. A reread would be a good idea.
I'm looking forward to Ready Player One. It has a high GoodReads rating of 4.29. Two of my friends rated it 5 stars and three rated it 4 stars. The overview sounds cool.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on these side-reads!


message 18: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
My current status on GAR books:
The Lovely Bones: just finished it.
Lonesome Dove: finished part 2, so about 2/3rds of the way through. (Accidentally marked it as finished today, then fixed it. I think I have it back as "currently reading" now...)
Lu: checked out the ebook from the library, so I will start this soon.
To Kill A Mockingbird: I have a paperback copy of this, ready to go for our group read in December.
Catch-22: still gradually working my through this one.

Overall, I'm a bit behind on my reading, mostly due to work stuff.
Hope everyone here had a good Thanksgiving!


message 19: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jan 19, 2019 12:54PM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
You're a bit behind on your reading? Looks like you're on top of it by this post!
November has been a bad month for reading for me. I hope to do much better in December and end 2018 well.
I plan to finish The Lovely Bones by December 2ⁿᵈ. I think I can finish Streets of Laredo by Dec. 13ᵗʰ. I'll start Lu after The Lovely Bones and then To Kill a Mockingbird after Lu. I'm going to be a busy reader next month.

I had a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving. Good food and good company. I hope you did too, Andrew!

Thank you for updating us. It's always nice to know how you're doing.


message 20: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Current status:
I finally finished Catch-22 today. I posted a review here.
I'm at chapter 49 in Pride and Prejudice.
And I'm planning to start The Intuitionist as soon as I can get a copy from the library.


message 21: by Lavan, moderator (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Yay, you finished Catch-22!
I thoroughly enjoyed your review and I agree that it can be helpful to read other books at the same time while tackling a challenging read. Sometimes it's less daunting to take it in doses rather than all in one go without other stories to take a break with.
Do you plan to read the second book in the series, Closing Time?

I noticed you started The Intuitionist today. I'm looking forward to your thoughts as I've not read speculative fiction before.

Will you be reading Flowers in the Attic with us for March, too?


message 22: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Lavan wrote: "Do you plan to read the second book in the series, Closing Time?"
Not any time soon. Too much other stuff to read. It does look like an interesting book though. Maybe next year...

Lavan wrote: "Will you be reading Flowers in the Attic with us for March, too?"
I think I'm going to skip that one. I don't know. Maybe I'll try the first chapter and see what I think. But I have too much other stuff to read right now, really.


message 23: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
I've fallen a bit behind in posting here, so I'm going to write a quick general post with my status on a few things:

War and Peace: I'm at around 90% now. I'm currently reading the first epilogue. It's taken me longer than expected to finish this, but I'm finally near the end!

The Stand: I borrowed this from the library and read the first few chapters, but then I ran out of time and had to return it. I thought those first few chapters were surprisingly well-written, but that's faint praise since my expectations for King are kind of low. I might pick this back up and finish it at some point, but I want to get some other reading finished first.

Home: I bought a used copy of this, and want to read it, but just haven't started it yet. But I will, and I'm looking forward to it.

Lila: I haven't picked up a copy of this yet, but I probably will, after I read Home.


message 24: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
I haven't posted here in a while, but thought I'd mention that, now that I'm finally done with Invisible Man, I've started a couple of other TGAR books. I started both Americanah and The Outsiders recently. I borrowed them both from my local library as ebooks. I didn't really mean to start reading them both at the same time, but I'd put myself on the wait list for a few TGAR books, and they both became available one right after the other.

I got through the first few chapters of Americanah, and I'm interested in seeing where it goes, but I haven't really gotten far enough to form much of an opinion yet.

I'm about halfway through The Outsiders now, and I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would. What little I knew of it before starting it made me think it would probably be too corny for me. (I guess I couldn't imagine that a book with a lead character named "Ponyboy" could really be that great.)


message 25: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Loder | 3 comments Andrew wrote: "I haven't posted here in a while, but thought I'd mention that, now that I'm finally done with Invisible Man, I've started a couple of other TGAR books. I started both [book:Americanah..."

Have you watched The Outsiders?


message 26: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Kevin wrote: "Have you watched The Outsiders?"
I've never seen the movie, but I'm curious about it. I might rent it after I finish the book.


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