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Past TBR lists > Jamie B's 2019 TBR Takedown

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message 1: by Jamie (last edited Nov 30, 2019 12:43PM) (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments 1. The Grass is Singing - Doris Lessing
2. The Master - Colm Toibin
3. Ulysses - James Joyce
4. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
5. Henderson the Rain King - Saul Bellow [Drop City - T.C. Boyle, removed from TBR, BOTM April 2019]
6. Alberta and Jacob - by Cora Sandel
7. At Swim, Two Boys - Jamie O'Neill
8. The Plot Against America - by Philip Roth
9. The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie
10. Enigma of Arrival - V.S. Naipaul
11. The World According to Garp - John Irving
12. The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles
13. Snow by Orhan Pamuk [formerly The Shining - Stephen King]
14. The Cider House Rules - by John Irving
15. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
16. All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
17. A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
18. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test - Tom Wolfe
19. Out of Africa - Isak Dinesen
20. The Tin Drum - Günter Grass
21. The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
22. The Collector - John Fowles
23. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
24. Arrow of God – Chinua Achebe [formerly Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides]


message 2: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 439 comments You are crazy! I have spent nearly a year reading Ulysses, and you want to read the whole thing in a month. lol


message 3: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Leni wrote: "You are crazy! I have spent nearly a year reading Ulysses, and you want to read the whole thing in a month. lol"

I finished a lot of long ones this year, which I'll admit was a bit grueling, but I put in more short ones for 2019. With luck more of the short ones will be chosen next year.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Ulysses is the hardest book I have ever read -- and actually I have DNFd it four times.


message 5: by Hilde (new)

Hilde (hilded) | 342 comments You are indeed very brave to include Ulysses on this list!


message 6: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3895 comments Mod
Ulysses is a book you want to sit back and really enjoy. We did it as a quarterly read here a few years back. It was great to read with others.


message 7: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Yay, a relatively short one for February! My book #15 is Ragtime, by Doctorow. January's book, At Swim, Two Boys, was fun, but I've read too many books focused on a homosexuality theme lately.


message 8: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments February's book was ok. Ragtime reminded me a bit of I Thought of Daisy, by Edmund Wilson, only with less depth. Both books are set during the first part of the 20th Century, and deal with the decadent, turbulent social and economic dynamics of that era, but Ragtime was more like the book version of one of those sketchy cartoon drawings illustrators do where they stuff all sorts of bits and pieces of a story into one single frame, a snapshot of a story/era rather than a realistic image.
Next up- #4, A Suitable Boy. I gave up on this tome-sized novel last year, so maybe this month I can actually get into it.


message 9: by Jamie (last edited Mar 26, 2019 02:47PM) (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Hah. This month's book deserves a chorus of "We Are the Champions" because not only did I finish it before the end of the month, but it was a 1300-1400pg book. It was good though, and 20 days is plenty of time to read that many pages. :)
I'm still going to be wary for the next couple months because my last edit didn't save properly when I made my 2019 list, removing Middlesex (which I read on last year's TBR list) and putting in a new title. As long as #24 is not chosen before the mid-year swap, I'll be fine, cause then I can fix the error and put in an unread book for that slot. Copying and pasting my old list and replacing the read books with new ones seemed like such a great idea, if only I had noticed that error in time to fix it before 2019!


message 10: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Lovely, I sure hope I can find my copy of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test still. But at least this month's book is not #24, so I'm still safe. Still, Murphy's Law suggests that given a list of books where one may be missing, that book will be the one selected. I know I own a copy though, so it may just be in a box somewhere now.


message 11: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Since Drop City was chosen as a BOTM for April, and I want to read it while everyone else is, I am making a substitution. My new selection for #5 will be Henderson the Rain King, by Saul Bellow.


message 12: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Yay, I finished The Grass is Singing.
My review: This novel is a tragedy about a woman whose awful choices lead to her eventual demise. Mary, having grown up in a less than perfect household, becomes a woman terrified of her own adulthood. She spends as long as she can putting off developing adult relationships and planning for her own future, but eventually she gives in to social pressure to find a husband and accepts the first man she can get. She knows what life in the countryside is like, having grown up there herself, and she knows she hates the countryside, yet she marries a farmer. She spends the next few decades basically pouting and throwing tantrums because she lives out in the middle of nowhere, is revulsed by sexuality, and has a very strong racist hatred of the black workers on her husband's farm. She has no goals of her own, no hobbies or interests, and no intention of being involved with her husband's world. Not surprisingly, her attitude leads to her tragic end.
This would be an interesting book to read in a gender studies class, because while it highlights all sorts of ways that society created the situation Mary found herself in, it also shows how Mary's own lack of willingness to act on her own behalf vastly multiplies her hardships. This book also gets into the mentality behind some flavors of racial hatred, which tends to make Mary even more unlikable, but also makes this book interesting for use in class discussions or book clubs.


message 13: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments June's book, #3, will be Ulysses, by James Joyce.


message 14: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments I am pretty happy with my selections this year, so far, aside from #24, which I accidentally left as last year's selection (and thus already read last year) and #13, which I do not own a copy of. I lost a bunch of time on The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by having to track down a copy when mine turned out to be unfindable. So, I am only making 2 swaps this June- #13 is now Snow, and #24 is Arrow of God.


message 15: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments My review for Ulysses-
If you like puzzles and poetry, and are not really interested in reading a story, you might like this book, at least if you take a year and read a hundred pages per month, taking time to analyze and ponder every single line. If this text was a long lost key to the 'grand unified theory of everything', or the only available record on the history and culture of the lost city of Atlantis, such an undertaking could be quite rewarding, since spending that long trying to tease some sense out of a text makes sense where the text has such value. Otherwise, who in their right mind would bother wasting so much time on so much drivel just for a tale about a couple drunk, sexist men in Dublin wandering about town after a funeral?

So, did I enjoy this book? Nope. Would I recommend this book? Nope. Are there thousands of books more worth spending time on compared to this book? Absolutely. I occasionally enjoyed the nerd-factor of recognizing references to other stories, books and authors, and there are lots of these references, but this enjoyment never quite made up for the pointlessness of focusing so much energy on just trying to focus on the text for a few more pages without getting too bored and annoyed. Some classics are just not that good, and this is one of them.


message 16: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments July's book, #24, is Arrow of God.


message 17: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Finished Arrow of God.
"This story continues to follow Ezeulu, the priest of a small village in Nigeria, under British colonial power. His son has returned home after being made a Christian, and his lack of understanding of local customs, along with his intolerance of non-Christian traditions and beliefs that he developed while he was away, lead him to stuff a python in a box, insulting the villagers and bringing scandal on his family. Meanwhile, Ezeulu's 'friend' Mr. Winterbottom has been instructed to assign a local administrator for Ezeulu's area, and he decides to assign Ezeulu to this position. The misunderstandings and posturing that follow these two events lead Ezeulu to take drastic action, and his stubbornness drives his people away from their traditional beliefs, into the waiting arms of the lurking Christian church. "


message 18: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments August's book is Enigma of Arrival.


message 19: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Finished Henderson the Rain King. Yay points!


message 20: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments October will be Out of Africa.


message 21: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Finished Out of Africa a few days ago, and finally got back online to post the review. Yay snow.
So, next up, for November, will be Roth's The Plot Against America.


message 22: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Finished The Plot Against America a couple days ago. It was ok, but Sinclair's It Can't Happen Here was more convincing.


message 23: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 443 comments Last TBR takedown book for 2019- The Cider House Rules.


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