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message 1: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited Jul 25, 2022 01:22PM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Inspired by Jody and dalex, I've decided to tackle this challenge. I'm currently 29 (turning 30 in April), but I figured writing it out now might give me the headstart I need.

Like dalex, I decided to pick notable books from different decades. Because I'm doing 40 books, I decided to do 5 books from the 1920s-1990s. Considering that of the 52 books I've read so far this year, 47 of them have been from the 2000s, this is really stretching my reading!

1920s
✔️1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920) Read 7/28/2022
2. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1922)
3. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1923)
4. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (1927)
5. Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence (1928)
alt. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (1922)
alt. The Castle by Franz Kafka (1926)

1930s
1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (1931)
2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
3. I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1934)
✔️4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) Read 6/11/2019
✔️5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939) Read 8/16/2018
alt. The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White (1938)

1940s
1. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940)
2. The Women on the Porch by Caroline Gordon (1943)
✔️3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943) Read 7/28/2019
4. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946)
5. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (1948)
alt. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. (1948)

1950s
✔️1. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (1951) Read 1/9/2020
✔️2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952) Read 10/11/2020
3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)
✔️4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958) Read 2/12/2021
5. A Separate Peace by John Knowles (1959)
alt. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
alt. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1955)

1960s
1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (1962)
3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1968)
5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969)
alt. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)

1970s
✔️1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970) Read 7/4/2019
✔️2. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson (1972) Read 9/4/2021
3. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1978)
✔️4. The World According to Garp by John Irving (1978) Read 6/1/2021
5. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews (1979)
alt. Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor

1980s
1. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)
2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)
3. Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (1983)
4. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
✔️5. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) Read 7/4/2022
alt. Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)

1990s
✔️1. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (1993) Read 7/30/2018
2. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (1994)
3. The Liars' Club by Mary Karr (1995)
✔️4. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (1997) Read 3/18/2019
✔️5. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998) Read 8/31/2020

Goals:
April 2020 (Age 31) - Goal: 4 | Actual: 7
April 2021 (age 32) - Goal: 8 | Actual: 10
April 2022 (Age 33) - Goal: 12 | Actual: 12
April 2023 (age 34) - Goal: 16 | Actual: 14
April 2024 (Age 35) - Goal: 20 | Actual: 14
April 2025 (age 36) - Goal: 24 | Actual: 14
April 2026 (Age 37) - Goal: 28 | Actual: 14
April 2027 (age 38) - Goal: 32 | Actual: 14
April 2028 (Age 39) - Goal: 36 | Actual: 14
April 2029 (age 40) - Goal: 40 | Actual: 14


message 2: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments Girl, I was all jazzed about doing this challenge, but then I thought, I don't like thinking about goals to set by the time I reach 40. That seems far away (8 years for me), but this challenge somehow makes it feel less far away. I like the way you have it laid out with the 5 from each decade though. Maybe I'll consider that. And then do 40 earlier. The list-making possibilities are endless.


message 3: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited Jul 10, 2018 06:17AM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Katie wrote: "Girl, I was all jazzed about doing this challenge, but then I thought, I don't like thinking about goals to set by the time I reach 40. That seems far away (8 years for me), but this challenge some..."

I'm really in it for the list making bahaha.

I'm adding some alternates in there in case my moods and preferences change by the time I'm 40, but I'm also adding some that's on my list to read this year haha.

I'm also considering expanding it to 80 before 40, just because I'm finding a ton of books I want to read, and I have 10.5 years to read them. Those alternates may eventually become part of the list... we will see!

Katie, you should absolutely join me in this, if only so that I can see your list and get inspiration!


message 4: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 704 comments I would highly recommend The Heart is a Lonely Hunter for your 1940's options. Excellent!

This should be fun for you!


message 5: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Tammy wrote: "I would highly recommend The Heart is a Lonely Hunter for your 1940's options. Excellent!

This should be fun for you!"


Thanks Tammy! I'm nervous because I neverrrrr read classics, so this is all new territory for me.


message 6: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2785 comments You have a good list going! Two of my favorites are A Tree Grows... and East of Eden. I’m a big PKD fan so I’m glad to see one of his books on your list, too. He has some unusual ideas! Enjoy your challenge and the planning! I think the planning is half the fun. 😀


message 7: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Finished my planning (for now!) and realized I have 10 alternates... so this may end up being a 50 before 40 list! Reserving my alternates there in case I end up hating one on the list.. I'll have backup.

Thanks for confirming some of my choices! I'm really mostly working off of "Best Of.." lists, so it's helpful to know that real people enjoyed it as well.


message 8: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Yay Emily!!

There are some books on your list that I loved - I hope you do too! The Color Purple was a huge surprise for me, as in how much I loved it. Once I got the hang of the language, I totally fell in love with it.


message 9: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Yay, I'm so glad you've decided to join in this silliness! :) You have a great list with some of my favorites (Mrs. Dalloway, East of Eden, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Winter's Tale). I hope you enjoy all your choices.

I know you said you've finished your list but I thought I'd recommend two vintage fantasy-ish books that I quite enjoyed - Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (1926) and Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison (1952).


message 10: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments Great list! I read The Bell Jar for the first time this year and absolutely loved it.

Flowers in the Attic is the book/series that really started my love of reading. I don't want to spoil anything if you don't know the details, but I'm still surprised my mother let 10 year old me read a book with that subject matter but I'm pretty sure she had no idea what they were about.

I've decided to jump on the bandwagon that Jody started but plan to do mine a little differently, starting in the 70s when I was born and continuing to my big 5-0 which is in 4 years.


message 11: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2484 comments Nice list, Emily. I like that you have alternates. I'd have to do that too because a book I'm dying to read one week, I look at the next week and wonder why did I want to read that!

Enjoy your challenge!


message 12: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Haha I'm the same Kathy -- the definition of a mood reader!

Dalex, thanks for your suggestions! I'm going to add them to my alternates when I get a moment!

Rachel, I'm looking forward to seeing your list!


message 13: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 704 comments Do you ever do audio recordings, Emily? You've got some pretty challenging books in here and sometimes the audio can really help make them come alive. I read Mrs. Dalloway about 8 months ago and I kind of thought that I'd never touch a Virginia Woolf book again. It is written in the modern stream of conscious style and, like a hot potato being passed, it jumps between the thoughts of each character. I ended up listening to Woolf's To the Lighthouse this year and it really helped me fall into the flow of the prose. It was much easier to tell what was going on.

Garp should be pure pleasure. I've read 3 or 4 out of each decade of your sections and I have my bets on which ones will like. It will be fun to follow your progress!


message 14: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Tammy wrote: "Do you ever do audio recordings, Emily? You've got some pretty challenging books in here and sometimes the audio can really help make them come alive. I read Mrs. Dalloway about 8 months ago and I ..."

Thank you for the suggestion! In the past, I've been such a stickler about reading paper books always. I don't do ebooks, and the few audiobooks I've listened to were books that I was reading physical copies of and wanted to listen to while I was driving... so the audio was more of a supplement than the sole way I read.

That being said, I finally have bluetooth in my car, and as much as I love podcasts, I'm thinking I should get with audiobooks as well. I may try it with the Virginia Woolf book and see how I like it. I do most of my listening in the car, but I also don't often drive far distances, so I don't know how well I'll be able to get into a book in 15-20 minute drives.

(As you can tell, I've been having this internal dialogue about audiobooks for a while, but it may be time to try it out! haha!)


message 15: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments I adore Virginia Woolf! I think Mrs. Dalloway is her most accessible work (which is why I put it on my list to re-read) but my absolute favorite is The Waves.

A great book to accompany Mrs. Dalloway is The Hours by Michael Cunningham, which is kind of a mirror work of Mrs. Dalloway. And the movie based on The Hours - with Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore - is fabulous.


message 16: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I absolutely *loved* The Hours. Loved loved loved it. I really should watch the movie. I haven’t found a Woolf book that. I love yet. She writes beautifully, but I just haven’t clicked with one yet.


message 17: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited Jul 20, 2018 10:59AM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
So I wrote "20 Before 40 Nonfiction Challenge"

And then I added 37 books to the list from my TBR.

I need y'all to either help me eliminate 17 books or add 3 to get to 40 before 40. Because why the heck not?

(Truly, I appreciate the "I hated this a lot" comments more than you know.)


message 18: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments You might find some nonfiction choices on the Emma Watson's Book Club list. There are quite a lot of buzzy titles that I've heard good things about.


message 19: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
dalex wrote: "You might find some nonfiction choices on the Emma Watson's Book Club list. There are quite a lot of buzzy titles that I've heard good things about."

I follow Our Shared Shelf and I hadn't even thought of that! Thanks!


message 20: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Emily wrote: "(Truly, I appreciate the "I hated this a lot" comments more than you know.) "

I love these as well! They're just as helpful as when someone tells me they loved something.

Let me see if I can dig up a few NF recommendations for you!


message 21: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Ok, so these ones I loved, and I couldn't find them on your 'read' shelf.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson (very readable, and super interesting)
Night by Elie Wiesel (this one was, for me, as close to perfect as a memoir could be)
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (this was a life-changer - the only book I've read that I would call that)
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung (if you're reading around the world, this is a great one for Cambodia - it was interesting, but heartbreaking to learn more about the genocide in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge)
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (if you need a fun non-fiction, this might be for you - I found it hilarious)
The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler by Laurence Rees (this book gave me a really good insight into just how and why the German people supported HItler - I'd really recommend it)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby (the first book I read this year - it's beautiful, whimsical, moving)
So Sad Today: Personal Essays by Melissa Broder (there were parts in this I could do without, but her writings on depression and anxiety are excellent)
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (I read the complete, but I wasn't the biggest fan of the second part - the first part was really eye-opening though)

Hopefully something in there will be appealing!


message 22: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited Jul 21, 2018 08:44AM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Thank you SO MUCH Jody! I'll be looking into all of these (and I guess, doing a 40 before 40 challenge...)

Any on my list you hated? Or just don't think is a MUST READ? I need to cut some out!


message 23: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments The only one I've read on your list that I was disappointed in is Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - I struggled to connect with her and felt pretty disinterested most of the time.

Another note though - Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West I found really interesting (and horrifying), but he (the subject, not the author) has since admitted to some inaccuracies/inconsistencies. You can see here.

I'm going to be taking some inspiration from your list for sure!


message 24: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Jody wrote: "The only one I've read on your list that I was disappointed in is Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - I struggled to connect with her and felt pretty disinterested most of the time..."

Ah that's good to know! I have Escape on my list because I've owned it for years and I haven't gotten around to reading it. I think I'll leave it on the list, but take everything with a grain of salt.


message 25: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I definitely think it's still worth reading, because a lot of it is still true.


message 26: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments We watched the movie version of Brain on Fire last night and it was so good!


message 27: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
dalex wrote: "We watched the movie version of Brain on Fire last night and it was so good!"

I think I'm going to keep it on my list (despite Jody's hating it) because so many of my IRL book club read it and loved it, and I hear the movie is amazing!


message 28: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I definitely didn't hate it! I was just ok for me though. The story itself was interesting.


message 29: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Ok I added to and culled my list, and I organized (loosely) by type of nonfiction. I also changed my list a bit for 1990s fiction, since I had some nonfiction in there.

I feel good about this! But I'm going to give myself until the end of the year to make any changes and edits. Anything I add after will be an alternate, only used if I DNF one on the original list. Otherwise, I'd get distracted by all of the new and shiny nonfiction books people rave about and end up cheating on my list.

Please, let me know if you've read some of these and hated them, or if you think I'm missing a MUST READ.


message 30: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2785 comments I’ve read 3 of your books. I loved Diving Bell (and the movie) and Brain on Fire (but not the movie). Psychopath Test was middle of the road for me. Have fun w your challenge! I’m trying hard to not create my own non-fiction challenge. I included a few in my 60 before 60. That should be good enough!


message 31: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Ooh, I love your list! And I love how you've categorised it too. I need to get working on my list ... so much to do, so little time.


message 32: by Perri (new)

Perri | 796 comments So I added about ten books to my TBR list! On your list I loved Yes, Please (huge Parks and REc fan!) Midwife (so touching) Escape for Camp 14( horrifying but fascinating) Brain on Fire (the movie is good too) Let's Pretend This Never Happenned (hysterical) I'll Be Gone in the Dark (so timely!)

I really didn't like Persepolis (but at least it's short) and The Fact of a Body (but seems I'm in the minority on that)


message 33: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Perri wrote: "I really didn't like Persepolis"

I found her quite unlikeable, but I did like the first part. The second part I was definitely less fond of.


message 34: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments Here are a few more NF recs for you!

Memoirs:
Brown Girl Dreaming This is a memoir written in verse which was weird at first but I ended up really enjoying it.
A Life in Parts If you are a Bryan Cranston/Breaking Bad fan I highly recommend this.

Politics/Commentary/Crime/History
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst
No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II


message 35: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments Ooh, I really want to read Just Mercy. Glad to see you recommend it, Rachelnyc.


message 36: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments Katie, I can't recommend it highly enough. I am in awe of Bryan Stevenson and all that he's done and continues to do to correct the injustices of our flawed justice system.


message 37: by Perri (new)

Perri | 796 comments I cant' second Rachelnyc's recommendation strongly enough...powerful reading!


message 38: by Liz (new)

Liz | 509 comments I love this so much, & I am all about making the lists too - it's an addiction! Haha!

My live book club read Their Eyes Were Watching God this year, & it was beautiful. I really hope you love it.


message 39: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Liz wrote: "I love this so much, & I am all about making the lists too - it's an addiction! Haha!

My live book club read Their Eyes Were Watching God this year, & it was beautiful. I really hope..."


I've heart nothing but good things about that book... it's one I'm most looking forward to!


message 40: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
I just checked, and 20 of the books on my fiction list are also on the 1001 books list, which means that prompt will be THE EASIEST to check off next year haha!


message 41: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Finished my first book off this list, and I'm already so grateful to all of you who inspired me to take on this challenge, because I never would have picked up The Virgin Suicides otherwise. SO GOOD.


message 42: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I’m so glad you liked it! It’s such a beautifully melancholic book.


message 43: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Jody wrote: "I’m so glad you liked it! It’s such a beautifully melancholic book."

It is! It's one of those books I want to recommend to everyone, except I know it's not great popular fiction. I feel like it will stick with me for a while.


message 44: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 704 comments Emily...I love the movie, too. Give it a try if you haven't seen it. Glad you enjoyed this one. It seems to be pretty hit or miss with people, but it is right up my alley!


message 45: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Tammy wrote: "Emily...I love the movie, too. Give it a try if you haven't seen it. Glad you enjoyed this one. It seems to be pretty hit or miss with people, but it is right up my alley!"

I plan on watching the movie this weekend!


message 46: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Just finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I didn't put it on my list because I knew I would be reading it this month for work, but I just wanted to come here and HIGHLY recommend it for anyone who is thinking about doing a nonfiction list like this. SO. GOOD.


message 47: by Perri (new)

Perri | 796 comments Emily wrote: "Just finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I didn't put it on my list because I knew I would be reading it this m..."

One of my favorites-so good!


message 48: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 704 comments Emily wrote: "Just finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I didn't put it on my list because I knew I would be reading it this m..."

Excellent! Quiet is on my 60 songs list!


message 49: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments It’s really great - it was a lot more focused on being on the corporate world than I’d expected but still really interesting.


message 50: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8323 comments Mod
Jody wrote: "It’s really great - it was a lot more focused on being on the corporate world than I’d expected but still really interesting."

Agreed. But as an economics teacher, I didn't mind the references too much!


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