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Past TBR lists > Cafe Mom (Diane Zwang) TBR Challenge

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message 1: by Diane (last edited Dec 25, 2019 10:39AM) (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
1. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (367 pg)
2. Black Water by Joyce Carol Oats (154 pg)
3. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (125 pg)
4. Casino Royale (200 pg)
5. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote(142 pg)
6. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (300 pg)
7. The Color Purple by Alice Walker(253 pg)
8. Beloved by Toni Morrison (275 pg)
9. English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (305 pg)
10. Pippi Longstocking (150 pg)
11. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (529 pag) book on shelf
12. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (468 pg)
13. End of the Affair by Graham Greene (160 pg)
14. The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi (200 pg)
15. Kokoro by Soseki Natsume (248 pg)
16. Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz (286 pg)
17. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (410 pg)
18. Passing by Nella Larsen (122 pg)
19. Girl with the Green Eyes by Edna O'Brien (200 pg)
20. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark (250 pg)
21. Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson (150 pg)
22. Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud (200 pg)
23. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James Cain (100 pg)
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (550 pg)

message 2: by Hilde (new)

Hilde (hilded) | 341 comments Great list, enjoy!:)

message 3: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

My first read of the year and a 5 star read. I have had this book on my TBR list for far too long and I am glad to finally have finished. The beginning with Celie and Nettie as children almost broke my heart, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through the book. Once Celie moved out and Shug joined the picture, it was easier for me. I really enjoyed the letter writing between Celie and Nettie and my favorite part was the ending, it brought me to tears. Alice Walker is a new author for me and I look forward to reading more of her books.

message 4: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
Kokoro by Soseki (1914)
3/5 stars

Kokoro means “the heart of things”. Soseki is concerned with man's loneliness in the modern world.

This was a character study of Sensei mostly but also of his friend of the present and the friend of the past. I appreciate the story as being 'modern' for its time period; men talking about their feelings and internal struggles. I enjoyed the quietness of the story for parts one and two but part three was a bit long in Sensei recounting his past but I know it was necessary to bring the story full circle. For the most part I enjoyed the book but not as much as others.

message 5: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Bond. James Bond. This is the book that started it all, a phenomenon. It was nice to get introduced to characters I know so well; 007, M, Miss Moneypenny. “One of the Double 0's – I guess 007.” First published in 1953, this book is dated and rather chauvinistic. Much of the book takes place in a casino with card playing. I became more engaged in the story when the main characters actually left the casino. I enjoyed the adventure of it all and it ended in typical Bond fashion.

message 6: by Diane (last edited Apr 14, 2019 04:16PM) (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
Passing by Nella Larsen
4/5 stars

This was a fascinating look at race. In 1927, childhood friends Irene and Clare re-connect after many years in Harlem. They catch-up on marriage and their children. Clare confides that she hides a dark secret, she is 'passing' as white. Even though this was a short book I felt that I got to know Clare and Irene well. As their past is told it really put perspective to the story.

“You know, 'Rene, I've often wondered why more coloured girls, girls like you and Margaret Hammer and Ester Dawson and – oh, lots of others – never 'passed' over. It's such a frightfully easy thing to do. If one's the type, all that's needed is a little nerve.”

“It's funny about 'passing.' We disapprove of it and at the same time condone it. It excites our contempt and yet we rather admire it. We shy away from it with an odd kind of revulsion, but we protect it.”

“But Clare, it was plain, had shut away reason as well as caution. She shook her head. “I can't, I can't,” she said. “I would if I could, but I can't. You don't know, you can't realize how I want to see Negroes, to be with them again, to talk with them to hear them laugh.”

message 7: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

“When Irene Nemirovsky began working on Suite Francaise, she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died. For sixty-four years, this novel remained hidden and unknown.”

War is raging in Europe and Nazi Germany has invaded France. As the Germans move through the country the French flee south in hopes of out running the Germans. War affects everyone; rich, poor, city folk, country folk, and families. This is the first two sections of Suite Francaise; Storm in June and Dolce. Irene's writing is so descriptive; her characters are easy to relate to and authentic. I felt like I was living the journey with her. The best part of the book is the appendices. Appendix I is Irene Nemirovsky's handwritten notes on the situation in France and her plans Suite Francaise, taken from her notebooks. Appendix II is written correspondence 1936-1945 from Irene, her husband and varies friends. The insight into the horrors of war was astounding especially the notes that Irene wrote on the day she was arrested and taken to a concentration camp. It is amazing that all this correspondence has survived all these years. The information after the unfinished novel is what made it a 5 star read for me.

message 8: by Diane (last edited Jun 01, 2019 11:53AM) (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
5/5 stars
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Reading about the iconic characters I know so well; The Red and White King and Queen, Tweedledum & Tweedledee. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.” My favorite chapter was Queen Alice with all the word plays and turn of phrases.

message 9: by Diane (last edited Jul 29, 2019 08:33PM) (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
4/5 stars

A thought provoking book but not an uplifting one.

“And that I, a little black man with an assumed name should die because a big black man in his hatred and confusion over the nature of a reality that seemed controlled solely by white men whom I knew to be as blind as he, was just too much, too outrageously absurd.”

message 10: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
4/5 stars

One of the few children's books that made the list of 1001 books. I don't remember reading Pippi when I was growing up and I don't think I read it to my son but I do have fond memories of the 1960s TV show. The copy I checked out was illustrated by Lauren Child who illustrated the Charlie and Lola series which I did read and watch with my son. Pippi's story is timeless. It is still fresh to read about a precocious child who gets into all sorts of trouble and adventure.

message 11: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
4/5 stars

Lovely novella about Holly Golightly and her neighbor Fred in 1950s New York. I can see how this story was modern for the time. Holly is a very entertaining character and I enjoyed learning her back story. Looking forward to re-watching the movie.

message 12: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
The Lonely Girl by Edna O'Brien (previously published as Girl with Green Eyes)
4/5 stars

Second in the Country Girls Trilogy, I read the first book back in 2014. I really enjoyed this coming of age book about childhood friends Kate and Baba who are growing up in Ireland. The girls friendship is steadfast even when Kate falls for an older married man which does not go over well with her alcoholic father and conservative Catholic town.

“But I could not decide; I had never made decisions in my life. My clothes had always been bought for me, my food decided on, even my outings were decided by Baba.” This quote suites Kate, the girl with the green eyes, to a tea. I couldn't imagine being 21 and not making decisions for myself.

“What Baba doesn't know is that I'm finding my feet, and when I'm able to talk I imagine that I won't be so alone, but maybe that too is an improbable dream.”

I have read 3 of 4 of Edna O'Brien books on the list and I look forward to the last book.

message 13: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
Beloved by Toni Morrison
4/5 stars

“Slave life; freed life-every day was a test and a trial.” Not an easy read. Not what I expected. I was drawn in as the pages turned, sucker-punched many a time. Probably one of the most meaningful books I have read about a terrible time in our country's history. “It ain't my job to know what's worse. It's my job to know what is and to keep them away from what I know is terrible. I did that.”

“She threw them all away but you. The one from the crew she threw away on the island. The others from more whites she also threw away. Without names, she threw them. You she gave the name of the black man. She put her arms around him. The others she did not put her arms around. Never. Never. Telling you. I am telling you small girl Sethe.”

“Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.”

message 14: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi
4.5/5 stars

The third book in the Auschwitz trilogy. The author, a survivor, committed suicide at 68 one year after its publication. This book looks at society 40 years after the Holocaust. Given that the author committed suicide you can see the darkness in its pages. Focusing on humans who do the inhumane, an important story told from first person knowledge but not for the faint of heart. I could only handle one chapter a day due to the seriousness of the matter. Primo Levi is told by a religious friend that one of the reasons he survived is to bear witness which is one of the reasons he wrote his books. I can tell that he takes this responsibility seriously and he still has guilt for surviving.

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