Book Search Results - BY TITLE

It’s hard to come up with a list of the top novels of all time. No one agrees on what they are. The best you can do is come up with a combination of lists from different sources. This is a list of the top 272 books from a combination of lists. The list is numbered, but this is not meant to imply a ranking system. Instead they are in order by title. If you want to see how I rank the novels, you would have to see if it is listed on my personal reading page. I've put a check mark next to the ones I've read.

This list is a combination of 7 different sources; one of those in fact a consolidation on its own. I count them as 5 sources. They are as follows:

(1) MODERN LIBRARY book publishers.

(2) Time Magazine

(3) The Novel 100: A Ranking of Greatest Novels All Time (Checkmark Books/Facts On File, Inc.: New York, 2004), written by Daniel S. Burt

(4) NYTimes - Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.

(5) The Friendswood library has consolidated four sources' lists:

a. Harvard Bookstore's Top 100 Recommended Titles,

b. Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, - which means this got twice the weight.. hum...

c. Koen Book Distributors' Top 100 Books of the Past Century, and

d. Library Journal's 150 20th-century Most Influential Fiction. (list includes only English-language books written in the 1900's)

What the Symbols mean:

Banned This means the book was banned or challenged at some point. Click on it to see this information!
NWord This means the book uses the N-word. Click on this symbol to see a summary of how it is used.
Checked This means I have personally read the book. Nothing to click on here, just my way of keeping track.
unknown This is my rating for the book. I rate them from 0 to 5.. 0 = terrible; 5 = Terrific
ThumbsUP This is my extra special recommendation for this book. It means I really enjoyed it, and have no problem recommending it to others.
Movie This means a movie was made from the book. Click the symbol to learn about the movie with links to the IMDB database.
Underlines If an Author Name or Title is underlined, it is a link to the WIKIPEDIA page for that Author or Title. Click it to learn more.
(2) Under the Author's Name you will find a number that represents the number of times that author appears in this collection
Best Book List: 1,4,5 You might see a note like this next to a book title. This tells which of the best book lists this title appeared on. Very few appeared on every list.

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No Results for that Search

Index Author Name Title & Notes
1 Orwell, George
(2)
1984  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This book is listed as one of the top books of all time, and I can see why. It's quite powerfully written, and contains logic that seems undeniable. The dystopian society makes sense in horrible, twisted manner. The main character is ground down to nothing.. completely destroyed. It's easy to imagine that such a society could actually exist and actually work. What a horror show.

A good reflection of the fears of the time. I give this a thumps up.


SUMMARY

Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

2 Clarke, Arthur C.
(14)
2001:A Space Odyssey  Best Book Lists: 5 (SciFi)

unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

One of Arthur C. Clarkes greatest and grandest works, this book is amazing to read. I still have a wonderful impression of it from more than 30 years ago when I first read it.


SUMMARY

The year is 2001, and cosmonauts uncover a mysterious monolith that has been buried on the Moon for at least three million years. To their astonishment, the monolith releases an equally mysterious pulse-a kind of signal-in the direction of Saturn after it is unearthed. Whether alarm or communication, the human race must know what the signal is-and who it was intended for.

The Discovery and its crew, assisted by the highly advanced HAL 9000 computer system, sets out to investigate. But as the crew draws closer to their rendezvous with a mysterious and ancient alien civilization, they realize that the greatest dangers they face come from within the spacecraft itself. HAL proves a dangerous traveling companion, and the crew must outwit him to survive.

3 OConnor, Flannery
(1)
A Good Man is Hard to Find  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This is a collection of short stories, with the title story being about a family that encounters and escaped serial killer. What an odd topic.

The people and pictures painted in these stories are vivid, and meet the challenge of short story telling (something more difficult to do than in a novel). I enjoyed it, and you may too.


SUMMARY

4 Smiley, Jane
(1)
A Thousand Acres  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A successful Iowa farmer decides to divide his farm between his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will. This sets off a chain of events that brings dark truths to light and explodes long-suppressed emotions. An ambitious reimagining of Shakespeare's King Lear cast upon a typical American community in the late twentieth century, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride, and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humanity.

5 Faulkner, William
(4)
Absalom,Absalom!  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Absalom, Absalom! is Faulkner's epic tale of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who comes to Jefferson, Mississippi, in the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness. He was a man, Faulkner said, "who wanted sons and the sons destroyed him."

6 Bellow, Saul
(3)
The Adventures of Augie March  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The great novel of the American dream, of "the universal eligibility to be noble," Saul Bellow's third book charts the picaresque journey of one schemer, chancer, romantic, and holy fool: Augie March. An impulsively active, irresistibly charming and resolutely free-spirited man, Augie March leaves his family of poor Jewish immigrants behind and sets off in search of reality, fulfillment, and most importantly, love. During his exultant quest, he latches on to a series of dubious schemes – from stealing books and smuggling immigrants to training a temperamental eagle to hunt lizards – and strong-minded women – from the fiery, eagle-owning Thea Fenchel, to the sneaky and alluring Stella. As Augie travels from the depths of poverty to the peaks of worldly success, he stands as an irresistible, poignant incarnation of the American idea of freedom. Written in the cascades of brilliant, biting, ravishing prose that would come to be known as "Bellovian," The Adventures of Augie March re-wrote the language of Saul Bellow's generation.

7 Twain, Mark
(2)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Fun from start to finish. Huck Finn and run away slave Jim have howling adventures as they make their way down the river – each running from something and to something. Huck is a little more down to earth than his friend Tom Sawyer, and so handles his moral dilemmas in a very straightforward manner. As you read, you beg for him to come to the right choice, and in a round about and strange way, he eventually does. Then, in the end, he and Tom Sawyer team up again for one last rousing adventure to make sure slave Jim gets freed up right and proper.

You will enjoy it.


SUMMARY

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Set in a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.

Perennially popular with readers, ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN has also been the continued object of study by literary critics since its publication. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur "nigger", despite strong arguments that the protagonist and the tenor of the book are anti-racist.

8 Wharton, Edith
(3)
The Age of Innocence  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Edith Wharton (1862–1937) wrote carefully structured fiction that probed the psychological and social elements guiding the behavior of her characters. Her portrayals of upper-class New Yorkers were unrivaled. The Age of Innocence, for which Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize in 1920, is one of her most memorable novels.

At the heart of the story are three people whose entangled lives are deeply affected by the tyrannical and rigid requirements of high society. Newland Archer, a restrained young attorney, is engaged to the lovely May Welland but falls in love with May's beautiful and unconventional cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska. Despite his fear of a dull marriage to May, Archer goes through with the ceremony — persuaded by his own sense of honor, family, and societal pressures. He continues to see Ellen after the marriage, but his dreams of living a passionate life ultimately cease.

9 Durrell, Lawrence
(1)
The Alexandria Quartet  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The Alexandria Quartetis a striking and sensuous masterpiece, breathing vivid life into each of its unforgettable characters and the dusty Mediterranean city in which they live. Set in Alexandria, Egypt, in the years before, during, and after World War II, the books follow the lives of a circle of friends and lovers, including sensitive Darley, passionate Justine, philosophical Balthazar, and elegant Clea. Written in Durrell's trademark evocative prose, these four novels explore the central theme of modern love, building into a remarkable whole that the New York Times hailedas "one of the most important works of our time."

10 ReMarque, Erich Maria
(1)
All Quiet on the Western Front  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Another book that will punch you in the guts... and that is exactly what it should do. It's about one soldier and World War I - trench warfare - a phrase that many younger people have never heard of. It's about what war does to a man (to a boy really). The pleasure in the mundane.. the horror.. the mechanisms you use to cope. There really isn't anything different between these boys and the boys we send to Iraq today - there may be a century of time between them, but the human mind has to cope with horror.. and that hasn't changed since written history began.

Now, don't get me wrong. This book is not all horror stories. Most if it, in fact, is pretty mundane. Someone once described war as "hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer panic"... and this book is the same. It follows the soldiers as they try to get along between those moments of panic. But the moments of panic are vivid, and affect the reader like they affect the characters.

This one gets a big thumbs up.


SUMMARY

Considered by many the greatest war novel of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front is Erich Maria Remarque's masterpiece of the German experience during World War I.

I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. . . .

This is the testament of Paul BĂ€umer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army during World War I. They become soldiers with youthful enthusiasm. But the world of duty, culture, and progress they had been taught breaks in pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.

Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principle of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another . . . if only he can come out of the war alive.

11 Warren, Robert Penn
(1)
All the King's Men  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

All the King's Men traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark, a fictional character loosely based on Governor Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana. Stark begins his political career as an idealistic man of the people but soon becomes corrupted by success and caught between dreams of service and an insatiable lust for power, culminating in a novel that Sinclair Lewis pronounced, on the book's release in 1946, "one of our few national galleries of character."

12 James, Henry
(4)
The Ambassadors  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

When Lambert Strether of Woollett, Massachusetts, is dispatched to Europe by his wealthy fiancée to fetch her son, Chad, home from Paris, the middle-aged innocent is impressed by the young man's sophistication, the delights of Paris, and Chad's charming friend, the married Marie de Vionnet. Strether is so taken with European culture that he begins to question the manner in which he's lived his own life.

Henry James considered The Ambassadors to be the best of his novels, and it is ranked on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century. The novel has been adapted for stage, film, and television.

13 Roth, Phillip
(2)
American Pastoral  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Wow. This book is dense. It's a little like reading Lolita in that every page is just fantastically written, and it takes a long time to absorb what you are reading. I'm a quick reader and this took me two weeks plus. But the roller coaster ride is worth it. Phillip Roth is one of the great American writers.

If you want a deep book touching on family, religion, the 60's, rebellion and the despair of life and why things go wrong; this is a good book for you.


SUMMARY

American Pastoral is the story of a fortunate American's rise and fall—of a strong, confident master of social equilibrium overwhelmed by the forces of social disorder. Seymour "Swede" Levov—a legendary high school athlete, a devoted family man, a hard worker, the prosperous inheritor of his father's Newark glove factory—comes of age in thriving, triumphant postwar America. But everything he loves is lost when the country begins to run amok in the turbulent 1960s. Not even the most private, well-intentioned citizen, it seems, gets to sidestep the sweep of history. With vigorous realism, Roth takes us back to the conflicts and violent transitions of the 1960s. This is a book about loving—and hating—America. It's a book about wanting to belong—and refusing to belong—to America. It sets the desire for an American pastoral—a respectable life of space, calm, order, optimism, and achievement—against the indigenous American Berserk.

14 Dreiser, Theodore
(2)
An American Tragedy  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

I have yet to read the book, but it sounds like the Woody Allen film Match Point


SUMMARY

Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy (1925) is nothing less than what the title holds it to be; it is the story of a weak-willed young man who is both villain and victim (the victim of a valueless, materialistic society) and someone who ultimately destroys himself. Dreiser modeled the story of Clyde Griffiths on a real-life murder that took place in 1906; a young social climber of considerable charm murdered his pregnant girlfriend to get her out of the way so that he could instead play to the affections of a rich girl who had begun to notice him.

But An American Tragedy is more than simply a powerful murder story. Dreiser pours his own dark yearnings into his character, Clyde Griffiths, as he details the young man's course through his ambitions of wealth, power, and satisfaction.

15 Stegner, Wallace
(1)
Angle of Repose  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents' remarkable story, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the surface of America's western frontier. But his research reveals even more about his own life than he's willing to admit. What emerges is an enthralling portrait of four generations in the life of an American family.

16 Orwell, George
(2)
Animal Farm  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown
Checked

REVIEW

I re-read this recently, and it's still as obvious as it was back when. A heavy dose of allegory to make points about greed and government that we all should remember.


SUMMARY

Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong has rivaled Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea as the Shortest Serious Novel It's OK to Write a Book Report About. (The latter is three pages longer and less fun to read.) Fueled by Orwell's intense disillusionment with Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is a nearly perfect piece of writing, both an engaging story and an allegory that actually works. When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust their drunken human master and take over management of the land, all are awash in collectivist zeal. Everyone willingly works overtime, productivity soars, and for one brief, glorious season, every belly is full. The animals' Seven Commandment credo is painted in big white letters on the barn. All animals are equal. No animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, or kill a fellow four-footed creature. Those that go upon four legs or wings are friends and the two-legged are, by definition, the enemy. Too soon, however, the pigs, who have styled themselves leaders by virtue of their intelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power. "We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." While this swinish brotherhood sells out the revolution, cynically editing the Seven Commandments to excuse their violence and greed, the common animals are once again left hungry and exhausted, no better off than in the days when humans ran the farm. Satire Animal Farm may be, but it's a stony reader who remains unmoved when the stalwart workhorse, Boxer, having given his all to his comrades, is sold to the glue factory to buy booze for the pigs. Orwell's view of Communism is bleak indeed, but given the history of the Russian people since 1917, his pessimism has an air of prophecy. --Joyce Thompson

17 Tolstoy, Leo
(2)
Anna Karenina  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and thereby exposes herself to the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness.

18 OHara, John
(1)
Appointment in Samarra  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown
Checked

REVIEW

Well written, but not as powerful or as insightful as some of the others that are rated less on the best books list. This is an easy read, but, once you know that the title means, the downward progress of the main character seems pretty inevitable - and pretty un-motivated. I must have missed it, but I can't see why this guy collapsed the way he did. Good marriage, good job, reasonable people around him, and he just self destructs.

I think Phillip Roth is the better writer, but from a different perspective.


SUMMARY

The best-loved book by the writer whom Fran Lebowitz compared to the author of The Great Gatsby, calling him "the real F. Scott Fitzgerald"

One of the great novels of small-town American life, Appointment in Samarra is John O'Hara's crowning achievement. In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, social circuit is electrified with parties and dances. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction.

Brimming with wealth and privilege, jealousy and infidelity, O'Hara's iconic first novel is an unflinching look at the dark side of the American dream—and a lasting testament to the keen social intelligence if a major American writer.

19 Blume, Judy
(1)
Are You There God? It's Me Margaret  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This book is really enjoyable. A coming of age novel for a girl (in my experience, coming of age stories tend to be about boys). Margaret has many questions and many challenges, and needs guidance. Some of it comes from family, some of it comes from friends, and some of it comes from experience. Just like for all of us.

An excellent read... A great look into her life as she enters a time of amazing change in a girls life. I recommend this one.


SUMMARY

Margaret Simon, almost twelve, has just moved from New York City to the suburbs, and she's anxious to fit in with her new friends. When she's asked to join a secret club she jumps at the chance. But when the girls start talking about boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret starts to wonder if she's normal. There are some things about growing up that are hard for her to talk about, even with her friends. Lucky for Margaret, she's got someone else to confide in . . . someone who always listens

20 Faulkner, William
(4)
As I Lay Dying  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

I had a difficult time starting this book. The imagery is written such that I could not tell what was real, and what was in the mind of the character at the time. What looked like a dream turned out to be real.

As the book progressed, however, and the characters became more finely etched, I found myself enjoying this book more and more. And by the end, when I felt I had finally gotten the hang of how to read this, it ended with a twist that I am still trying to understand.


SUMMARY

"I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall." —William Faulkner on As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying is Faulkner's harrowing account of the Bundren family's odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic.

21 Malamud, Bernard
(1)
The Assistant  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The story of Morris Bober, a grocer in postwar Brooklyn, who "wants better" for himself and his family. First two robbers appear and hold him up; then things take a turn for the better when broken-nosed Frank Alpine becomes his assistant. But there are complications: Frank, whose reaction to Jews is ambivalent, falls in love with Helen Bober; at the same time he begins to steal from the store.

22 O''Nolan, Brian
(1)
At Swim Two Birds  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A wildly comic send-up of Irish literature and culture, At Swim-Two-Birds is the story of a young, lazy, and frequently drunk Irish college student who lives with his curmudgeonly uncle in Dublin. When not in bed (where he seems to spend most of his time) or reading he is composing a mischief-filled novel about Dermot Trellis, a second-rate author whose characters ultimately rebel against him and seek vengeance. From drugging him as he sleeps to dropping the ceiling on his head, these figures of Irish myth make Trellis pay dearly for his bad writing. Hilariously funny and inventive, At Swim-Two-Birds has influenced generations of writers, opening up new possibilities for what can be done in fiction. It is a true masterpiece of Irish

23 Rand, Ayn
(2)
Atlas Shrugged  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

I only finished half this book. It was dull. Preachy. The conclusion was obvious. The message was obvious. The sexism was a bit tough to take. I hated it.

I do not recommend this book - which is going to piss off a whole lot of people - but really... really.. do you believe the premise. Are you one of the elect? I seriously doubt it. If you are, then you have a serious narcissistic streak.

In all probability most of the people who read this book are in the group LEFT BEHIND.


SUMMARY

This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world—and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world's motor—and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life—from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy—to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction—to the philosopher who becomes a pirate—to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph—to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad—to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions. This is a mystery story, not about the murder—and rebirth—of man's spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, that is the first of your premises to check.

24 McEwan, Ian
(1)
Atonement  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia's childhood friend. But Briony' s incomplete grasp of adult motives–together with her precocious literary gifts–brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime's repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

25 Chopin, Kate
(1)
The Awakening  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

A short novel about a woman who, over the course of a couple of years, wakes up to her real desires. The house, the husband, the kids... are not what she is interested in. The ending REALLY REALLY sucks... as if the author was saying that, you may want it, but you can never have it, so.... This is an easy read, but kind of a waste of time unless you want to know what life was like for the middle class in New Orleans at the turn of the century. In that regard it's rather interesting


SUMMARY

The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating mixed reaction from contemporary readers and criticism. The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.

26 Allison, Dorothy
(1)
Bastard out of Carolina  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Another book about a young girl growing up poor in the south (e.g.. Ellen Foster). I really enjoyed this book because it brought to mind many scenes from my own youth when we used to visit family in North Carolina. Now, my family was not abusive or exceedingly poor... but the flavor of the time is so present in this book it took me back so perfectly.

I readily recommend this book for anyone who grew up in the south, or wants to taste what it was like to do so.


SUMMARY

The publication of Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina was a landmark event. The novel's profound portrait of family dynamics in the rural South won the author a National Book Award nomination and launched her into the literary spotlight. Critics have likened Allison to William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Harper Lee, naming her the first writer of her generation to dramatize the lives and language of poor whites in the South. Since its appearance, the novel has inspired an award-winning film and has been banned from libraries and classrooms, championed by fans, and defended by critics.

Greenville County, South Carolina, is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright family-a tight-knit clan of rough-hewn, hard- drinking men who shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who get married young and age too quickly. At the heart of this story is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective. When her stepfather Daddy Glen, "cold as death, mean as a snake," becomes increasingly more vicious toward her, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that tests the loyalty of her mother, Anney-and leads to a final, harrowing encounter from which there can be no turning back.

27 Kingsolver, Barbara
(1)
The Bean Trees  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown
Checked

REVIEW

There are books you know you are going to like as soon as you finish the first page. This is one of them.. Like Ellen Foster, this first page of this novel sets the tone for what is to come and makes you really want to jump on the bus to see where it ends up.

A young woman named Taylor (the name she gives herself because that's where she ran out of gas) manages to avoid the pitfalls of teen pregnancy in rural (hillbilly) Kentucky and makes her way across country ending up in Tucson, Arizona. Along the way she acquires a Native American child she calls Turtle, and on arriving meets the people with whom she will make a family. In the end she realizes that what she is, is a mother. And when that is threatened, she goes on a journey to keep what is now hers.

This story of self discovery, love, motherhood and hope will grab you and keep you until the very end. If you don't enjoy this, then there is something seriously wrong with your emotion-o-meter. (I couldn't put it down.)


SUMMARY

The Bean Trees is bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver's first novel, now widely regarded as a modern classic. It is the charming, engrossing tale of rural Kentucky native Taylor Greer, who only wants to get away from her roots and avoid getting pregnant. She succeeds, but inherits a 3-year-old native-American little girl named Turtle along the way, and together, from Oklahoma to Tucson, Arizona, half-Cherokee Taylor and her charge search for a new life in the West.

Written with humor and pathos, this highly praised novel focuses on love and friendship, abandonment and belonging as Taylor, out of money and seemingly out of options, settles in dusty Tucson and begins working at Jesus Is Lord Used Tires while trying to make a life for herself and Turtle.

The author of such bestsellers as The Lacuna, The Poinsonwood Bible, and Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver has been hailed for her striking imagery and clear dialogue, and this is the novel that kicked off her remarkable literary career.

28 Plath, Sylvia
(1)
The Bell Jar  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This is a wonderful little book about a disturbing topic; one woman's descent into mental illness and her slow climb back out. It's told from the inside, and what struck me was the cohesion. Her thoughts made sense, and yet, grew more ill as time went on, until the final straw of her attempted suicide. At which point she describes how the right doctor finally met her, and how she came back from that brink - a brink which is always there, no matter how far back you come.

Given that some say this is autobiographical, it makes it an even more interesting read.

At times I didn't want to put this down. The story pulls you in, and you want to go with it.

I would recommend this one along with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - so you get both sides of the mental illness picture.


SUMMARY

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under -- maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.

29 Morrison, Toni
(2)
Beloved  Best Book Lists: 2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This was a much tougher read than I was expecting. I was expecting horrific stories of slavery and the struggle to be free, and these are there, though mostly oblique as the characters themselves don't want to remember what happened to them. What I didn't expect was a ghost story - a shocking killing - a ghostly retribution - and desperation caused by a terrible shared past. Time is so fluid that you have a had time knowing exactly where you are in the story on any given page. Baby Suggs dies early, but then she is back and preaching. One minute you are in the house at 124, and the next in Sweet Home (the plantation) trying to keep track of which Paul is which (several slaves were named Paul - A, B, C, and D)

This is not a book I am going to recommend since it is such a tough read, BUT... if you want to know how newly freed slaves lived - in fear that it might all come to an end, and that even decent white folk could not be trusted - this would be a good one to pick up.


SUMMARY

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

30 Naipaul, V. S
(2)
A Bend in the River  Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In the "brilliant novel" (The New York Times) V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man - an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.

31 Isherwood, Christopher
(1)
The Berlin Stories  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

First published in the 1930s, The Berlin Stories contains two astonishing related novels, The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin, which are recognized today as classics of modern fiction. Isherwood magnificently captures 1931 Berlin: charming, with its avenues and cafĂ©s; marvelously grotesque, with its nightlife and dreamers; dangerous, with its vice and intrigue; powerful and seedy, with its mobs and millionaires?this is the period when Hitler was beginning his move to power. The Berlin Stories is inhabited by a wealth of characters: the unforgettable Sally Bowles, whose misadventures in the demimonde were popularized on the American stage and screen by Julie Harris in I Am A Camera and Liza Minnelli in Cabaret; Mr. Norris, the improbable old debauchee mysteriously caught between the Nazis and the Communists; plump FrĂ€ulein Schroeder, who thinks an operation to reduce the scale of her BĂŒste might relieve her heart palpitations; and the distinguished and doomed Jewish family, the Landauers.

32 Doblin, Alfred
(1)
Berlin, Alexanderplatz  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The novel relates the story of Franz Biberkopf, an ex-convict, who has to deal with misery, lack of opportunities, crime and the imminent Nazism lived in Germany during the 1920s. During his struggle to survive against all odds, life rewards him with an unsuspected surprise but his happiness will not last as the story continues.

33 Manzoni, Alessandro
(1)
The Betrothed  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Set in northern Italy in 1628, during the terrible, oppressive years under Spanish rule, it is sometimes seen as a veiled attack on Austria, which controlled the region at the time the novel was written. It is also noted for the extraordinary description of the plague that struck Milan around 1630.

34 Chandler, Raymond
(1)
The Big Sleep  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - Mystery/Detective)

ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

This was a pretty good read. You start to wonder why Private Eye Phillip Marlowe keeps on when everything and everyone keeps trying to warn him off. He's not even going to get paid anymore, but still he persists. Just can't stand a loose end, I guess

This is one of the original "hard boiled" detective novels that started an entire genre, and worth the read for that reason alone. But you will be wondering right up to the twist ending that I sure didn't see coming - but I think Marlowe did.


SUMMARY

When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

"Chandler [writes] like a slumming angel and invest[s] the sun-blinded streets of Los Angelos with a romantic presence."
--Ross Macdonald

35 Dickens, Charles
(5)
Bleak House  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown
Checked

REVIEW

Dickens can write. There is no doubt about that. But lordy, if you want to sample his work then read something else. This book is a long swim in murky waters, though the ending is characteristically Dickens (ie. the father of the happy endings - well.. mostly happy.. if you can be happy about getting your head cut off at the end of Tale of Two Cities).

I digress.

 This book is a long complicated read. There are absolute GEMS of writing in here. Read the first 10 pages and you will have read one of them (his description of Chancery Court and environs and denizens). They are sprinkled throughout. But there are long section of drudgery, and I put this down several times before making a run for the end of the book.

If you like Dickens, you may like this. I like Dickens. I would recommend reading something else.


SUMMARY

As the interminable case of 'Jarndyce and Jarndyce' grinds its way through the Court of Chancery, it draws together a disparate group of people: Ada and Richard Clare, whose inheritance is gradually being devoured by legal costs; Esther Summerson, a ward of court, whose parentage is a source of deepening mystery; the menacing lawyer Tulkinghorn; the determined sleuth Inspector Bucket; and even Jo, the destitute little crossing-sweeper. A savage, but often comic, indictment of a society that is rotten to the core, Bleak House is one of Dickens's most ambitious novels, with a range that extends from the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to the poorest of London slums.

36 Atwood, Margaret
(2)
The Blind Assassin  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This was truly a strange book. At first you are reading the biography of two sisters told in flash back after the death of the younger sister. Suddenly you are in a hotel room with an unknown man and woman who, together, make up a fantasy tale about a fictitious middle east kingdom in which a guild of blind assassins work while the city is attacked by barbarians. Next you are in the past living the life of the older sister from age 8 until she is quite elderly. The book switches from past to "present" to fantasy so fast that at time you feel whipsawed about. About half way through things get really interesting.. It's obvious that the "unknown" woman in the hotel room is one of the sisters, but which one. Trust me, the final solution is completely satisfying. At the end of the book, all the strings are tied together and you find yourself grinning because the "blind assassin" really wins in the end.

Difficult to start... takes a while to get going.. really satisfying once you get to the end. This one is worth the time.


SUMMARY

The Blind Assassin opens with these simple, resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister's death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura?s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist. Brilliantly weaving together such seemingly disparate elements, Atwood creates a world of astonishing vision and unforgettable impact.

37 McCarthy, Cormac
(1)
Blood Meridian  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Western)

NWord unknown
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REVIEW

This book holds its own with Lolita in that the author is an amazing writer. You are taken on a journey through the wilds of the southwest before civilization has taken hold. The descriptions of the desert, of the life and sights are breath taking. So to is the horrific violence. The troop of men we are following with the Kid are out for scalps. There is a reward for Indian scalps, and these men are out to take them. And it does not matter if they are not always Indian. They drink, rape and kill as if life has no meaning what-so-ever; and even among their own, life has little value.

This book is an amazing read, on par with Virginia Woolf and Nabakov in terms of the use of language. But be prepared before going in, because death and horror await around every corner.


SUMMARY

Blood Meridian is an epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the Wild West. Based on historical events that took place on the Texas--Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into a nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.

38 Huxley, Aldous
(4)
Brave New World  Best Book Lists: (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Okay, I have to say that I find the world that Huxley created as a dystopia to be really not so bad. People are happy. They are free to do as they please within their social class and conditioning. (Are we any freer or less conditioned?) The people in control are not blind to the lack of stimulation and variety, but they have come to the decision that the greatest good comes from less of this - less conflict.

The people who are "free" - the native - are miserable the entire time they live. Perhaps misery is a natural condition, but I imagine much of the human population on the planet would not mind living in Huxley's Brave New World.

You read it an you decide.


SUMMARY

Aldous Huxley's tour de force, Brave New World is a darkly satiric vision of a "utopian" future—where humans are genetically bred and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order. A powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations, it remains remarkably relevant to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying entertainment.

39 Waugh, Evelyn
(3)
Brideshead Revisited  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The wellsprings of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Evelyn Waugh's masterpiece-a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire. Through the story of Charles Ryder's entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world he knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh's early satiric explorations and reveals him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity

40 Wilder, Thornton
(1)
The Bridge of San Luis Rey  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

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REVIEW

This was a nice little book that makes a huge point in very few pages. It's not a hard read, but it addresses one of the biggest questions of the human race... WHY? Why... anything? Why are we here? Why do things happen the way they do? Why to good people suffer and bad people not? The monk who is trying to figure this all out after the tragedy at the bridge (it collapses and 5 people fall to their deaths) never comes to a satisfactory solution. But one character does, and though its not grand, it is enough.

This book is somewhat along the lines of Of Mice And Men - but with a few more characters.. and a tad more tragic (though no one does tragedy like Steinbeck). It's short and to the point. Mildly disturbing as you realize who it was who died, and who lived, and how random it all was.

Read it. It's worth it.


SUMMARY

"On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below." With this celebrated sentence, Thornton Wilder begins The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of the towering achievements in American fiction and a novel read throughout the world.

By chance, a monk witnesses the tragedy. Brother Juniper seeks to prove that it was divine intervention rather than chance that led to the deaths of those who perished in the tragedy. His study leads to his own death -- and to the author's timeless investigation into the nature of love and the meaning of the human condition.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey is now reissued in this handsome hardcover edition featuring a new foreword by Russell Banks. Tappan Wilder has written an engaging and thought-provoking afterword, which includes unpublished notes for the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, illuminating photographs, and other remarkable documentary material. Granville Hicks's insightful comment about Wilder suggests an inveterate truth: "As a craftsman he is second to none, and there are few who have looked deeper into the human heart."

41 Dostoevsky, Feodor
(2)
The Brothers Karamazov  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Completed only two months before his death, The Brothers Karamazov is Dostoyevsky's largest, most expanisve, most life-embracing work. Filled with human passions — lust, greed, love, jealousy, sorrow and humor — the book is also infused with moral issues and the issue of collective guilt. As in many of Dostoyevsky's novels, the plot centers on a murder. Sucked into the crime's vortex are three brothers: Dmitri, a young officer utterly unrestrained in love, hatred, jealousy, and generosity; Ivan, an intellectual capable of delivering, impromptu, the most brilliant, lively, and unforgettable disquisitions about good and evil, God, and the devil; and Alyosha, the youngest brother, preternaturally patient, good, and loving.

Part mystery, part profound philosophical and theological debate, The Brothers Karamazov pulls the reader in on many different levels. As the Introduction says, "The characters Dostoyevsky writes about, though they may not appear to be ones who live on our street, or even on any street, seem, in their passions and lack of self-control, the familiar and intimate denizens of our souls." It's no wonder that for many people The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest novels ever written.

42 Mann, Thomas
(2)
Buddenbrooks  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Buddenbrooks, first published in Germany in 1900, when Mann was only twenty-five, has become a classic of modem literature -- the story of four generations of a wealthy bourgeois family in northern Germany. With consummate skill, Mann draws a rounded picture of middle-class life: births and christenings; marriages, divorces, and deaths; successes and failures. These commonplace occurrences, intrinsically the same, vary slightly as they recur in each succeeding generation. Yet as the Buddenbrooks family eventually succumbs to the seductions of modernity -- seductions that are at variance with its own traditions -- its downfall becomes certain.

43 Gordimer, Nadine
(1)
The Burger's Daughter  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

This is the moving story of the unforgettable Rosa Burger, a young woman from South Africa cast in the mold of a revolutionary tradition. Rosa tries to uphold her heritage handed on by martyred parents while still carving out a sense of self. Although it is wholly of today, Burger's Daughter can be compared to those 19th century Russian classics that make a certain time and place come alive, and yet stand as universal celebrations of the human spirit. Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born and lives in South Africa.

44 Roth, Henry
(1)
Call It Sleep  Best Book Lists: 2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

When Henry Roth published his debut novel Call It Sleep in 1934, it was greeted with considerable critical acclaim though, in those troubled times, lackluster sales. Only with its paperback publication thirty years later did this novel receive the recognition it deserves----and still enjoys. Having sold-to-date millions of copies worldwide, Call It Sleep is the magnificent story of David Schearl, the "dangerously imaginative" child coming of age in the slums of New York

45 London, Jack
(2)
The Call Of The Wild  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

What a great little book. The story of a dog's life from easy living in California, to the wilds of Alaska in the gold rush. A very nice story. Well written, and a page turner.

Completely recommended.


SUMMARY

The Call of the Wild is a novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story is set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush—a period when strong sled dogs were in high demand. The novel's central character is a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a ranch in the Santa Clara valley of California as the story opens. Stolen from his home and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog, he reverts to atavistic traits. Buck is forced to adjust to, and survive, cruel treatments and fight to dominate other dogs in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of civilization, relying on primordial instincts and lessons he learns, to emerge as a leader in the wild. London lived for most of a year in the Yukon collecting material for the book. The story was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903; a month later it was released in book form. The novel's great popularity and success made a reputation for London. Much of its appeal derives from the simplicity with which London presents the themes in an almost mythical form. As early as 1908 the story was adapted to film and it has since seen several more cinematic adaptations

46 Voltaire,
(1)
Candide  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown
Checked

REVIEW

I can see why this book caused such a stir when it was first written in 1759. I pokes fun at everyone and every thing. Voltaire has no respect for kings, religion, monks, inquisitors, philosophers, soldiers, or romantic love. Everything is lambasted at one point or another, though the main character, Candide, stays optimistic throughout.

A very fast read, but one I would only recommend to someone with an interest in old French comedy, or a bit of history and philosophy combined.


SUMMARY

Voltaire's Candide is political satire that has endured for centuries. Required reading in many high school AP courses and college English courses, Candide tells the story of a starry-eyed young man who struggles to reunite with his lost love. Eschewing mysitcal optimism for a more philosophy, Candide and his companions finally retire together, embracing a simple life on a small farm.

47 Heller, Joseph
(1)
Catch 22  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - Humor)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

This book was fun to read though in the early part is was strange getting into. Once you start to believe in the insanity, then it all starts to make a twisted sense, and becomes entertaining. Not having served in the military it's hard to believe what you read here, but somehow, the insanity all seems just about right. Poor Yossarian, trying to make sense of the crazy around him; then learning that one of the most crazy people actually had a plan !!! It's fun.


SUMMARY

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he's assigned, he'll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22's intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war.

48 Salinger, J.D.
(1)
The Catcher in the Rye  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED
Checked

REVIEW

I read it so long ago – high school – and honestly cannot remember a thing about it except the name Holden Caulfield and the dream of wanting to catch the children in the rye – which symbolized something I'm sure. Got to re-read to rate.


SUMMARY

Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories ? particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme ? With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is fully of children. The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

49 White, E.B.
(1)
Charlotte's Web  Best Book Lists: 5 (Childrens Books)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

I would read this to my children. It's the story of a pig, who is saved from slaughter by his friends in the barn yard - especially a spider named Charlotte. They all work to make Wilbur out to be a very special pig - the talk of the town and the fair.

Really a story about having a purpose in life - Charlotte's purpose is to save Wilbur, and in the end she succeeds.


SUMMARY

Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.

50 Munif, Abd al-Rahman
(1)
Cities of Salt  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Banned in Saudi Arabia, this is a blistering look at Arab and American hypocrisy following the discovery of oil in a poor oasis community.

51 Richardson, Samuel
(1)
Clarissa  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Pressured by her unscrupulous family to marry a wealthy man she detests, the young Clarissa Harlowe is tricked into fleeing with the witty and debonair Robert Lovelace and places herself under his protection. Lovelace, however, proves himself to be an untrustworthy rake whose vague promises of marriage are accompanied by unwelcome and increasingly brutal sexual advances. And yet, Clarissa finds his charm alluring, her scrupulous sense of virtue tinged with unconfessed desire. Told through a complex series of interweaving letters, Clarissa is a richly ambiguous study of a fatally attracted couple and a work of astonishing power and immediacy. A huge success when it first appeared in 1747, and translated into French and German, it remains one of the greatest of all European novels.

52 Burgess, Anthony
(1)
A Clockwork Orange  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

When published in the U.S. they left off the last chapter. Chapter 21 – 21 being symbolic of maturity where the character ALEX finally -grows up-. The implication of the movie, and the book without this chapter, is completely different than it is with this chapter.

The book is much more horrifying that the movie, in that the ages of the victims and the criminals is so much younger than represented on screen. (For example, the girl in the rape scene in the movie was an adult, while in the book she was twelve.) The cruelty is more pronounced. (I remember hearing a story that Stanley Kubrick expected people to be horrified when they saw A Clockwork Orange in the movies - and was surprised to find that people were not shocked at all. Course I think Sam Peckinpah was really getting started at this time too. Given that lions eating Christians used to be entertainment, I don't think we can ever underestimate the human capacity for violence.)

And yes, it takes a while to get through the special vocabulary of Alex and his droogs, but after a while you begin to swing with it, and your brain takes in what is being said quiet readily.

This was an interesting attempt at a new slang language and worth reading for that, and the moral dilemma it poses.


SUMMARY

Great Music, it said, and Great Poetry would like quieten Modern Youth down and make Modern Youth more Civilized. Civilized my syphilised yarbles.
A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

53 Burns, Olive Ann
(1)
Cold Sassy Tree  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the characters. I enjoyed the look into small town southern life and mores. And I enjoyed the scandal. I give it a thumbs up.


SUMMARY

The one thing you can depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, is that word gets around - fast. When Grandpa E. Rucker Blakeslee announces one July morning in 1906 that he's aiming to marry the young and freckledy milliner, Miss Love Simpson - a bare three weeks after Granny Blakeslee has gone to her reward - the news is served up all over town with that afternoon's dinner. And young Will Tweedy suddenly finds himself eyewitness to a major scandal. Boggled by the sheer audacity of it all, and not a little jealous of his grandpa's new wife, Will nevertheless approves of this May-December match and follows its progress with just a smidgen of youthful prurience. As the newlyweds' chaperone, conspirator, and confidant, Will is privy to his one-armed, renegade grandfather's second adolescence; meanwhile, he does some growing up of his own. He gets run over by a train and lives to tell about it; he kisses his first girl, and survives that too. Olive Ann Burns has given us a timeless, funny, resplendent novel - about a romance that rocks an entire town, about a boy's passage through the momentous but elusive year when childhood melts into adolescence, and about just how people lived and died in a small Southern town at the turn of the century. Inhabited by characters who are wise and loony, unimpeachably pious and deliciously irreverent, Cold Sassy, Georgia, is the perfect setting for the debut of a storyteller of rare brio, exuberance, and style.

54 Walker, Alice
(1)
The Color Purple  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This book is excellent. At the beginning it is hard to see how anything could turn out well for the characters here. Life is so down on them, and they are so down on themselves. But as time goes by.. they live, and learn. Makes you sad for people that don't learn from life - even a life with as hard a start as these.


SUMMARY

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of African-American women in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

55 Toole, John K
(1)
A Confederacy of Dunces  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A Confederacy of Dunces recounts the adventures of Ignatius J Reilly of New Orleans, a mammoth of a man and a martyr to trapped wind who is engaged in a Quixotic running battle against pretty much anything that the modern world can come up with. The book is peopled with interconnecting characters whose lives are buffeted and disrupted by Ignatius as he fights "offenses against taste and decency" and laments the general "lack of theology.

56 Styron, William
(2)
The Confessions of Nat Turner  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

SUMMARY

The explosive 1967 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, a gripping and unforgettable portrait of the leader of America's bloodiest slave revolt

The Confessions of Nat Turner is William Styron's complex and richly drawn imagining of Nat Turner, the leader of the 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia that led to the deaths of almost sixty men, women, and children. Published at the height of the civil rights movement, the novel draws upon the historical Nat Turner's confession to his attorney, made as he awaited execution in a Virginia jail. This powerful narrative, steeped in the brutal and tragic history of American slavery, reveals a Turner who is neither a hero nor a demon, but rather a man driven to exact vengeance for the centuries of injustice inflicted upon his people.

Nat Turner is a galvanizing portrayal of the crushing institution of slavery, and Styron's deeply layered characterization is a stunning rendering of one man's violent struggle against oppression.

57 Franzen, Jonathan
(1)
The Corrections  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Jonathan Franzen's third novel, The Corrections, is a great work of art and a grandly entertaining overture to our new century: a bold, comic, tragic, deeply moving family drama that stretches from the Midwest at mid-century to Wall Street and Eastern Europe in the age of greed and globalism. Franzen brings an old-time America of freight trains and civic duty, of Cub Scouts and Christmas cookies and sexual inhibitions, into brilliant collision with the modern absurdities of brain science, home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare, and the anti-gravity New Economy. With The Corrections, Franzen emerges as one of our premier interpreters of American society and the American soul.

58 Gide, Andre
(1)
The Counterfeiters  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A young artist pursues a search for knowledge through the treatment of homosexuality and the collapse of morality in middle class France.

59 Dostoevsky, Feodor
(2)
Crime and Punishment  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

An interesting novel. I had a hard time starting it, but after a bit, what with all the twists and character interconnections I have to say I started to enjoy the ride. The main character, Raskolnikov, commits a murder which he thinks is justified because he is one of those rare people that is allowed to ignore the law for personal and greater good. Its obvious that he is not in possession of all his faculties as he does this, and realizes soon afterward that he was mistaken in his special status. The agonies he goes through from that point onward, and how the other people in his life are affected is fascinating. As the reader sometimes you want him to get away with it, and sometimes you realize that it's murder and he needs to be punished. You don't know right up to the end whether he will or will not get away with it, and whether or not the greater good was indeed served by his act.

A moral dilemma all the way round with a somewhat satisfying ending. (Note: The novel contains some anti-Semitic stereotypical references.)


SUMMARY

Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.

60 Paton, Alan
(1)
Cry the Beloved Country  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

A wonderful book about a black minister in South Africa in the late 1940's near the beginning of the formalization of Apartheid. He travels from his small village area to the metropolis of Johannesburg - along the way meeting people both bad and good who have all been affected by the discrimination against the black by the white.

In the city he learns that his son has committed murder and is to go on trial. He finds is daughter has been a prostitute, and discovers that the girl his son was to marry is pregnant with his grandchild. Through all this he and others think much on the problem of black oppression by a white minority.

In another section, the a white man travels to Johannesburg only to discover that his son has been killed by a black man. What he learns about his sons work changes him and disposes him to help the people living around his estate - the very place where the black minister is from

The two men meet by accident, and realize how their sons are connected. Both are forever changed.

Read this book if you have any interest in good story and the struggles of South Africa. It is very readable and very touching. If at some point you don't have tears in your eyes, there is something wrong with you.


SUMMARY

An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa's history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton's impassioned novel about a black man's country under white man's law is a work of searing beauty.

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

The eminent literary critic Lewis Gannett wrote, "We have had many novels from statesmen and reformers, almost all bad; many novels from poets, almost all thin. In Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country the statesman, the poet and the novelist meet in a unique harmony."

Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.

61 Pynchon, Thomas
(2)
The Crying of Lot 49  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - Mystery/Detective)

NWord unknown
Checked

REVIEW

It's obvious that Thomas Pynchon had a sense of humor and the command of the language to let is shine. There are many funny bits in this book.. Especially if you know LA and the Bay Area in California. His description of the whole LA area is great. But, well, for me, something was missing. Fun to read, but not engaging, Pynchon tries to generate a historical and world spanning conspiracy that is just not interesting enough make me care about what the main character Oedipa Maas is going through. Lots of good scenes. A little suspense. Plenty of good jokes and puns. Some nice satire. An incoherent whole. I won't spoil the ending... because you can't spoil the ending.

Read it for the humor. But there's much better out there.


SUMMARY

The highly original satire about Oedipa Maas, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self-knowledge.

62 Powell, Anthony
(1)
A Dance to the Music of Time - 12 Volumns  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art. In the second volume they move to London in a whirl of marriage and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.). The third volume follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. In the climactic final volume, England has won the war and must now count the losses.

63 Koestler, Arthur
(1)
Darkness at Noon  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This book is excellent. If you want to delve into communist party thinking, then this is the book to do it. If you want to understand how revolutions tear themselves apart, then this it the book to read. So much better than 1984 because it exposes the underpinnings of the logic used to come to the conclusion that the "ends justify the means". We so often say that this is not true, but how do we know that? Can reason alone be a guide to human governance? Can the "masses" (a.k.a. "we the people") really understand enough to govern themselves?

All these questions and so much more are explored by the poor prisoner Rubashov as he waits in his cell for the state to decide his fate. His logic is perfect... and, he comes to realize, perfectly flawed.

I totally recommend this book. I found it to be a page turner that was hard to put down. It might not be to everyone's taste, but it's a great book, none the less.


SUMMARY

Originally published in 1941, Arthur Koestler's modern masterpiece, Darkness At Noon, is a powerful and haunting portrait of a Communist revolutionary caught in the vicious fray of the Moscow show trials of the late 1930s.

During Stalin's purges, Nicholas Rubashov, an aging revolutionary, is imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the party he has devoted his life to. Under mounting pressure to confess to crimes he did not commit, Rubashov relives a career that embodies the ironies and betrayals of a revolutionary dictatorship that believes it is an instrument of liberation.

64 West, Nathanael
(1)
The Day of the Locust  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

An interesting tale of those hanging on on the outside of Hollywood, looking for that big break, but taking anything that comes to make ends meet. The characters are users; selfish; shallow, and not really living life.. but looking for the big score that is never going to come.

An easy read, but not that entertaining.


SUMMARY

Admired by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and Dashiell Hammett, and hailed as one of the "Best 100 English-language novels" by Time magazine, The Day of the Locust continues to influence American writers, artists, and culture. Bob Dylan wrote the classic song "Day of the Locusts" in homage and Matt Groening's Homer Simpson is named after one of its characters. No novel more perfectly captures the nuttier side of Hollywood. Here the lens is turned on its fringes — actors out of work, film extras with big dreams, and parents lining their children up for small roles. But it's the bit actress Faye Greener who steals the spotlight with her wildly convoluted dreams of stardom: "I'm going to be a star some day—if I'm not I'll commit suicide."

65 Gogol, Nikolai
(1)
Dead Souls  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

As Gogol's wily antihero, Chichikov, combs the back country wheeling and dealing for "dead souls"--deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them--we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of peasants, landowners, and conniving petty officials, few of whom can resist the seductive illogic of Chichikov's proposition. This lively, idiomatic English version by the award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky makes accessible the full extent of the novel's lyricism, sulphurous humor, and delight in human oddity and error.

66 Cather, Willa
(2)
Death Comes for the Archbishop  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

unknown
Checked

REVIEW

The title of this book sounds ominous, but the book is not much concerned at all with death, but with life; and a religious life well lived. It is the historical story of 2 priests from France who are ordered to the territory of New Mexico to form a new dioceses there. It is the story of how they manage; of the people they encounter; of the growth of the area and the growth of their church.

Willa Cather is one of those writers I love who can "take you there." When you read this book you are riding on a mule with the priest wondering if you will find water or die in the desert doing God's work. I really like books that can transport you to where the characters are acting and join them, for good or evil, in whatever befalls.

Whether you are Catholic or not, I highly recommend this book.


SUMMARY

The primary character is a bishop, Jean Marie Latour, who travels with his friend and vicar Joseph Vaillant from Sandusky, Ohio to New Mexico to take charge of the newly established diocese of New Mexico, which has only just become a territory of the United States. The names given to the main proponents reflect their characters. Vaillant, valiant, is fearless in his promulgation of the faith, whereas Latour, the tower, is more intellectual and reserved than his comrade.

At the time of his departure, Cincinnati is the end of the railway line west, so Latour must travel by riverboat to the Gulf of Mexico, and thence overland to New Mexico, a journey which takes an entire year. He spends the rest of his life establishing the Roman Catholic church in New Mexico, where he dies in old age.

The novel portrays two well-meaning and devout French priests who encounter a well-entrenched Spanish-Mexican clergy that they are sent to supplant after the United States has acquired New Mexico in the Mexican–American War. As a result of the U.S. victory, the dioceses of the new state have been remapped by the Vatican to reflect the new national borders.[5]

Several of these entrenched priests are depicted as examples of greed, avarice, and gluttony, while others live simple, abstemious lives among the Native Americans. Cather portrays the Hopi and Navajo sympathetically, and her characters express the near futility of overlaying their religion on a millennia-old native culture.

67 Agee, James
(1)
A Death in the Family  Best Book Lists: 4,5 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Unread as yet.


SUMMARY

Published in 1957, two years after its author's death at the age of forty-five, A Death in the Family remains a near-perfect work of art, an autobiographical novel that contains one of the most evocative depictions of loss and grief ever written. As Jay Follet hurries back to his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, he is killed in a car accident'a tragedy that destroys not only a life, but also the domestic happiness and contentment of a young family. A novel of great courage, lyric force, and powerful emotion, A Death in the Family is a masterpiece of American literature.

68 Fuentes, Carlos
(1)
The Death of Artemio Cruz  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

As the novel opens, Artemio Cruz, the all-powerful newspaper magnate and land baron, lies confined to his bed and, in dreamlike flashes, recalls the pivotal episodes of his life. Carlos Fuentes manipulates the ensuing kaleidoscope of images with dazzling inventiveness, layering memory upon memory, from Cruz's heroic campaigns during the Mexican Revolution, through his relentless climb from poverty to wealth, to his uneasy death. Perhaps Fuentes's masterpiece, The Death of Artemio Cruz is a haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico.

69 Bowen, Elizabeth
(1)
The Death of the Heart  Best Book Lists: 1,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The Death of the Heart is perhaps Elizabeth Bowen's best-known book. As she deftly and delicately exposes the cruelty that lurks behind the polished surfaces of conventional society, Bowen reveals herself as a masterful novelist who combines a sense of humor with a devastating gift for divining human motivations.

In this piercing story of innocence betrayed set in the thirties, the orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London.There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and he fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal--and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature.

70 Dickey, James
(1)
Deliverance  Best Book Lists: 1,4,5 (Fiction - Thriller)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

The book is basically the same as the movie, but you can tell the author is one of those well in touch with his own sense of the world around him; able to feel that world and put it into words where the rest of us simply could not. No wonder he was a poet.

Not a bad read if you want a little something to read on the beach.


SUMMARY

The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the states most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

71 Stone, Robert
(1)
Dog Soldiers  Best Book Lists: 4 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This was not a bad book about drug deals and drug using gone bad. Only a few of the characters are truly reprehensible; most of them seem lost in a culture that isn't working for them very well. In the end, some of them realize that what they have been about isn't going to carry them in the future. When we leave them it seems like they might just be okay. (I was kind of pulling for them all along to tell the truth.)

Others seem destine to remain bastards.

Though parts of this sink into the drug addled prose that made me sick of NAKED LUNCH, most of it is a not bad portrayal of the late 60's and what Vietnam did to many people in the era. Not a bad read.


SUMMARY

In Saigon during the waning days of the Vietnam War, a small-time journalist named John Converse thinks he'll find action - and profit - by getting involved in a big-time drug deal. But back in the States, things go horribly wrong for him. Dog Soldiers perfectly captures the underground mood of America in the 1970s, when amateur drug dealers and hippies encountered profiteering cops and professional killers - and the price of survival was dangerously high.

72 Cervantes, Miguel de
(1)
Don Quixote  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

I started this one, and could not finish it. After 250 pages I saw no point. When Don Quixote would help someone, they would fall back into their misery as soon as he rode off. It just seemed to go on and on, the story of a crazy man, doing crazy things. to no point. I did not finish this one. If someone who has finished it would tell me that this eventually had a point, then I might be inclined to continue as it is not difficult to read.


SUMMARY

Don Quixote a man stricken with delusions of chivalry tries to re-create nobler days by being a Knight and attempting to live up to the Knights code - in a world where people laugh at the idea.

73 Stoker, Bram
(1)
Dracula  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - Horror)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

The legend of Dracula has been served up in so many different ways that it's kind of fun to go back and read the original. The book consists of a series of letters, journals, diary entries, and new articles - laid out in chronological order. The main characters do most of the writing and pass their writings among themselves to keep each other up to date. Mina acts as secretary to the group of hero's by transcribing everything using the new fangled typewriter and the amazing carbon paper to make multiple copies. Dracula himself appears very little after the beginning of the book. The book is an interesting look at Victorian sexism and morality. And much longer than I at first thought it would be. A little tedious at times, still, you want to keep reading to see what it going to happen next. The defeat of Dracula is almost anti-climactic.

Read this one for fun, then jump ahead to Anne Rice.


SUMMARY

During a business visit to Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count's transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula's grim fortress, but a friend's strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker's 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire. Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.

74 Xueqin, Cao
(1)
Dream of the Red Chamber  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The novel provides a detailed, episodic record of life in the two branches of the wealthy and aristocratic Jia (?) clan—the Rongguo House (???) and the Ningguo House (???)—who reside in two large, adjacent family compounds in the capital. Their ancestors were made Dukes and given imperial titles, and as the novel begins the two houses are among the most illustrious families in the city. One of the clan's offspring was made a Royal Consort, and a lush landscaped garden was built to receive her visit. The novel describes the Jias' wealth and influence in great naturalistic detail, and charts the Jias' fall from the height of their prestige, following some thirty main characters and over four hundred minor ones. Eventually the Jia clan falls into disfavor with the Emperor, and their mansions are raided and confiscated.

75 Steinbeck, John
(3)
East of Eden  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

76 Gibbons, Kaye
(1)
Ellen Foster  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown
Checked

REVIEW

WOW. What a great little book. It is written from the perspective of a girl who starts out as 9 and ends when she is 11. Her life is awful. Her mother dies. Her father is a drunk and a molester. Her only family want nothing to do with her. Her grandmother blames her for her mother's death and can't stand to look at her as she reminds her of the worthless son-in-law. The grandmother even sends her to work in the fields with the black laborers.

But Ellen triumphs!! She learns from every knock and figures out how to take care of herself, and what is important in life (at least for a 10 year old). She triumphs over abuse by getting smart. She triumphs over racism by maintaining her best friendship with a black girl her own age. She is an amazing, and completely believable character. I had a tear in my eye when I got to the end of this book. (NOTE: There is a sequel for this girl.. and I may have to read it.

TOTALLY RECOMMEND !!!!


SUMMARY

Winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation's Citation for Fiction. An eleven-year-old heroine tells her unforgettable story with honesty, perceptivity, humor, and unselfconscious heroism. "The honesty of thought and eye and feeling and word!"--Eudora Welty; "A lovely, breathtaking, sometimes heart-wrenching first novel."--Walker Percy. A LITERARY GUILD SELECTION.

77 Austen, Jane
(2)
Emma  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - Romance)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

When her former governess finds happiness as the bride of a local widower, the brilliant and beautiful Emma Woodhouse – one of Jane Austen's immortal creations – flatters herself that she alone has secured the marriage and that she possesses a special talent for bringing lovers together. The young heiress next busies herself with finding a suitable husband for her friend and protégé, Harriet Smith, setting off an entertaining sequence of comic mishaps and misunderstanding in this sparkling comedy of English-village romance. Beneath its considerable wit, the novel is also the story of a young woman's progress toward self-understanding.

78 Wharton, Edith
(3)
Ethan Frome  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This is not a happy book. In fact, if you come away from this book with happy feelings, then check yourself into a psych ward - there is something wrong with you.
The main character ignores his own feelings because of his sense of duty and propriety - and because he is a wimp. Oh he tries to wheddle what he wants from life and love, but his indirect approach (and his not taking care of his own needs) leaves him in a worse state than one could imagine.
Read this book to find out how a dismal life can be made worse... by ignoring your own feelings and failing to care for your own happiness. The ending is shocking.


SUMMARY

Perhaps the best-known and most popular of Edith Wharton's novels, Ethan Frome is widely considered her masterpiece. Set against a bleak New England background, the novel tells of Frome, his ailing wife Zeena and her companion Mattie Silver, superbly delineating the characters of each as they are drawn relentlessly into a deep-rooted domestic struggle. Burdened by poverty and spiritually dulled by a loveless marriage to an older woman. Frome is emotionally stirred by the arrival of a youthful cousin who is employed as household help. Mattie's presence not only brightens a gloomy house but stirs long-dormant feelings in Ethan. Their growing love for one another, discovered by an embittered wife, presages an ending to this grim tale that is both shocking and savagely ironic.

79 Uris, Leon
(1)
Exodus  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The Exodus was just one ship among many that carried survivors of the Holocaust to Palestine to establish a new nation. But the path that Jewish immigrants took to enter British-controlled Palestine was a difficult one, fraught with danger and political intrigue. The boat was intercepted by British forces and the refugees were placed in concentration camps.

Uris's blockbuster novel traces the lives of the men and women who brave British naval blockades to help Israel come into being, from Ari Ben Canaan, who works tirelessly to smuggle in settlers, to Kitty Fremont, an American nurse drawn into a vast, tragic history. Weaving together fact and fiction, history and dramatic storylines, Exodus stands today as one of the most influential narratives of the founding of the State of Israel.

80 Bradbury, Ray
(4)
Fahrenheit 451  Best Book Lists: 5 (SciFi)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

A short but powerful book about censorship and desperation. I've read plenty of Bradbury in the context of Science Fiction, but I think this is the best book of his I have ever read.

The edition I read contains an after word by Bradbury talking about what has happened to the novel in the years since it was first published - how, in fact, a book about strict censorship has itself been slowly censored over the years, and how requests have been made for him to revise it to cope with various people's offended feelings. Unbelievable!!!

(NOTE: The amazon edition on the side is not the edition with the epilogue by Bradbury - as soon as I find that I will change the link.

I recommend this to everyone for it's dystopian view of the future, and one man's look into his sudden dissatisfaction with his world. If we all don't feel that way once in life, I don't know what makes us more human.


SUMMARY

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family." But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn't live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

81 Cheever, John
(2)
Falconer  Best Book Lists: 4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Stunning and brutally powerful, Falconer tells the story of a man named Farragut, his crime and punishment, and his struggle to remain a man in a universe bent on beating him back into childhood.

82 Hemingway, Ernest
(4)
A Farewell To Arms  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Why is Hemmingway considered such a great writer? This novel seemed to make no point one way or the other - about life, war, relationships, or anything. It's about a character who spends very little time involved in the war, and much more, involved in hospital life, and a woman he meets while recovering from an injury. This character, Fredric Henry, doesn't even CARRY arms as a soldier - he is captain of an ambulance corp. He eventually deserts (though, under the circumstances no one can blame him), and makes his way to Switzerland with his (now pregnant) girlfriend.

The dialog is stilted. The plot meandering. The book... pointless. In the end you are left wondering why you bothered to read it - no great impression is left other than ... well.. the uselessness of just about everything.

Don't waste your time on this one.


SUMMARY

Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.

83 Turgenev, Ivan
(1)
Fathers and Sons  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

When a young graduate returns home he is accompanied, much to his father and uncle's discomfort, by a strange friend "who doesn't acknowledge any authorities, who doesn't accept a single principle on faith." Turgenev's masterpiece of generational conflict shocked Russian society when it was published in 1862 and continues today to seem as fresh and outspoken as it did to those who first encountered its nihilistic hero.

84 Joyce, James
(3)
Finnegan's Wake  Best Book Lists: 1,3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A story with no real beginning or end (it ends in the middle of a sentence and begins in the middle of the same sentence), this "book of Doublends Jined" is as remarkable for its prose as for its circular structure. Written in a fantantic dream language, forged from polyglot puns and portmanteau words, the Wake features some of Joyce's most brilliant inventive work. Sixty years after its original publication, it remains, in Anthony Burgess's words, "a great comic vision, one of the few books of the world that can make us laugh aloud on nearly every page."

Good Luck with THAT!!!

85 Hemingway, Ernest
(4)
For Whom the Bell Tolls  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving and wise.

86 Rand, Ayn
(2)
The Fountainhead  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

When The Fountainhead was first published, Ayn Rand's daringly original literary vision and her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism, won immediate worldwide interest and acclaim. This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him.

87 Shelley, Mary
(1)
Frankenstein  Best Book Lists: (Fiction - Horror)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

A classic horror novel, which is much more horrible in the movies than in the reading. I found myself in much more sympathy with the monster than with Frankenstein. The entire book is told in the form of a letter, though you quickly forget this. The Dr. Frankenstein is picked up by a ship seeking the famous North-West passage, and relates the tale of how he created the creature and then shunned it. The creature, for his part, seems to be a perfectly fine human being, motivated by the same needs that move us all. He is, however, incredibly hideous and is rejected by everyone who sees him. He turns finally to his creator and asks Frankenstein to make for him a companion. Frankenstein at first agrees, but then refuses. What follows is a tragedy of revenge and hate.

Written in the style of the times, some people might not enjoy it, but it is a fine read, and an interesting glimpse into what people of the time thought of science - how, though it held much promise, also held much fear.


SUMMARY

Few creatures of horror have seized readers' imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein's terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense. Considering the novel's enduring success, it is remarkable that it began merely as a whim of Lord Byron's.

"We will each write a story," Byron announced to his next-door neighbors, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley. The friends were summering on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in 1816, Shelley still unknown as a poet and Byron writing the third canto of Childe Harold. When continued rains kept them confined indoors, all agreed to Byron's proposal.

The illustrious poets failed to complete their ghost stories, but Mary Shelley rose supremely to the challenge. With Frankenstein, she succeeded admirably in the task she set for herself: to create a story that, in her own words, "would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart."

88 Fowles, John
(2)
The French Lieutenant's Woman  Best Book Lists: 4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Set in the mid-nineteenth century, the narrator identifies the novel's protagonist as Sarah Woodruff, the Woman of the title, also known as "Tragedy" and as "The French Lieutenant's Whore". She lives in the coastal town of Lyme Regis as a disgraced woman, supposedly abandoned by a French ship's officer named Varguennes who had returned to France and married. She spends some of her limited free time on The Cobb, a stone jetty where she stares out the sea.

One day, Charles Smithson, an orphaned gentleman, and Ernestina Freeman, his fiancée and a daughter of a wealthy tradesman, see Sarah walking along the cliffside. Ernestina tells Charles something of Sarah's story, and he becomes curious about her. Though continuing to court Ernestina, Charles has several more encounters with Sarah, meeting her clandestinely three times. During these meetings, Sarah tells Charles of her history, and asks for his emotional and social support. During the same period, he learns of the possible loss of place as heir to his elderly uncle, who has become engaged to a woman young enough to bear a child. Meanwhile, Charles's servant Sam falls in love with Mary, the maid of Ernestina's aunt.

In fact, Charles has fallen in love with Sarah and advises her to leave Lyme for Exeter. Returning from a journey to warn Ernestina's father about his uncertain inheritance, Charles stops in Exeter as if to visit Sarah. From there, the narrator, who intervenes throughout the novel and later becomes a character in it, offers three different ways in which the novel could end:

89 Jones, James
(1)
From Here to Eternity  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company's boxing team, he gets "the treatment" that may break him or kill him. First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he's risking his career to have an affair with the commanding officer's wife. Both Warden and Prewitt are bound by a common bond: the Army is their heart and blood . . .and, possibly, their death.

90 Zola, Emile
(1)
Germinal  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The thirteenth novel in Émile Zola's great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanity's capacity for compassion and hope.

Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.

91 Donleavy, J.P.
(1)
The Ginger Man  Best Book Lists: (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown
Checked

REVIEW

What can I say? Good literature. Crappy subject. I really really fail to see why authors write about people who are simply disgusting. Oh, in the reviews they call the main character a rogue. But that has a sort of dashing, positive connotation. There is nothing positive about Sebastian Dangerfield. He is lazy, supposedly pursuing a law degree, but really just wasting his time stealing things from other people, running up bills he will never pay. The only income he ever has is pawning what isn't nailed down. He is a drunk. He is a lout. He will sleep with any woman he can; to hell with his wife and child. When he can't get his way he resorts to violence, but only if he knows he can beat up the person he is threatening (like a woman); otherwise he is an unmitigated coward.

Reading about this guy made me want to throw up.

But, it is literature. I have learned to recognize that when I see it. There are better things to read for the same effect. Have a go at James Joyce, and leave this book in the dust bin where it belongs.


SUMMARY

First published in Paris in 1955, and originally banned in the United States, J. P. Donleavy's first novel is now recognized the world over as a masterpiece and a modern classic of the highest order. Set in Ireland just after World War II, The Ginger Man is J. P. Donleavy's wildly funny, picaresque classic novel of the misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield, a young American ne'er-do-well studying at Trinity College in Dublin. He barely has time for his studies and avoids bill collectors, makes love to almost anything in a skirt, and tries to survive without having to descend into the bottomless pit of steady work. Dangerfield's appetite for women, liquor, and general roguishness is insatiable—and he satisfies it with endless charm.

92 Baldwin, James
(1)
Go Tell It on the Mountain  Best Book Lists: 1,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This book (so it is said) is very auto-biographical.  If that is the case then James Baldwin faced tough times as a youth with an abusive father who was also a preacher with very fundamental Christian religious views.  No one could live up to his expectations, mostly because he suffered from his own secret sins.  Or so he thought they were secret. 

An interesting look into the world of black fundamentalism in the 1930's this book explores religion, sin, self-loathing, racism and family relationships and abuse.  It may or may not be an easy read, depending on your views on religion.  But in any case, it is something one should read if one wants to explore religion and race in American history.


SUMMARY

"Mountain," Baldwin said, "is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else." Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

93 Puzo, Mario
(1)
The Godfather  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

If you saw the movie, then you read the book. There is very little more (in terms of action) in the book that Puzo didn't manage to get up on the screen; which, given the length of the book manes that he was a pretty masterful screen writer as well as novelist. Still, the book is a very enjoyable read. I can imagine when this book came out it was a shock to people to learn just how organized Italian crime worked. What was meant by "respect" and "business". The motivations for and origins of the Mafia crime families is made clear - and you develop sympathy even for the why's if not the methods of how these people lived.

I'm not exactly sure how this book got it's place on the "best books" list. Its not great literature. But it was awful popular in it's day and a good solid story.

If you enjoyed the movie, you will enjoy the book. If you have never seen the movie.. the book is a good engrossing read. Give it a try.

Oh.. and the ending is not the same as the movie... in the last 5 pages there is a complete turn around from the movie version that is ... touching.


SUMMARY

More than thirty years ago, a classic was born. A searing novel of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and the powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor that was passed on from father to son. With its themes of the seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and family allegiance, it resonated with millions of readers across the world—and became the definitive novel of the virile, violent subculture that remains steeped in intrigue, in controversy, and in our collective consciousness.

94 James, Henry
(4)
The Golden Bowl  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Henry James's highly charged study of adultery, jealousy and possession, The Golden Bowl is edited with an introduction and notes by Ruth Bernard Yeazell in Penguin Classics. Maggie Verver, a young American heiress, and her widowed father Adam, a billionaire collector of objets d'art, lead a life of wealth and refinement in London. They are both getting married: Maggie to Prince Amerigo, an impoverished Italian aristocrat, and Adam to the beautiful but penniless Charlotte Stant, a friend of his daughter. But both father and daughter are unaware that their new conquests share a secret - one for which all concerned must pay the price.

95 Lessing, Doris
(1)
The Golden Notebook  Best Book Lists: 3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Anna is a writer, author of one very successful novel, who now keeps four notebooks. In one, with a black cover, she reviews the African experience of her earlier years. In a red one she records her political life, her disillusionment with communism. In a yellow one she writes a novel in which the heroine relives part of her own experience. And in a blue one she keeps a personal diary. Finally, in love with an American writer and threatened with insanity, Anna resolves to bring the threads of all four books together in a golden notebook.

Doris Lessing's best-known and most influential novel, The Golden Notebook retains its extraordinary power and relevance decades after its initial publication.

96 Mitchell, Margaret
(1)
Gone with the Wind  Best Book Lists: 3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This classic about the effects of the Civil War as told through the eye's and actions of one Scarlett O'Hara. This book was MUCH more than I expected it to be. Scarlett herself is a pretty despicable character. She thinks of one person, and one person only her whole life. Yet through it all she keeps body and soul together, not just for herself, but for many others as well.

I found this a fantastic guide to the war from a southern point of view. Race relations in particular are served up in ways I had not seen before.


SUMMARY

Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea. A historical novel, the story is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.

Gone with the Wind was popular with American readers from the onset and was the top American fiction bestseller in the year it was published and in 1937. As of 2014, a Harris poll found it to be the second favorite book of American readers, just behind the Bible. More than 30 million copies have been printed worldwide.

97 Buck, Pearl S.
(2)
The Good Earth  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The Good Earth is Buck's classic story of Wang Lung, a Chinese peasant farmer, and his wife, O-lan, a former slave. With luck and hard work, the couple's fortunes improve over the years: They are blessed with sons, and save steadily until one day they can afford to buy property in the House of Wang—the very house in which O-lan used to work. But success brings with it a new set of problems. Wang soon finds himself the target of jealousy, and as good harvests come and go, so does the social order. Will Wang's family cherish the estate after he's gone? And can his material success, the bedrock of his life, guarantee anything about his soul?

98 Ford, Ford Madox
(2)
The Good Soldier  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read as yet.


SUMMARY

The Good Soldier is the fascinating tale of an apparently perfect marriage which is gradually revealed to be anything but that. Ford uses flashbacks to narrate the story and is credited with pioneering what became known as literary impressionism.

99 Steinbeck, John
(3)
Grapes of Wrath  Best Book Lists: 1,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

OH MY GOD. If this book doesn't move you, then you have no soul. The Joads make their way to California at the promise of a better life and are ill used at every turn. Once it was the Chinese – today it is the Hispanics – In this novel it's the Oakies; enticed to California by the hope of making a living, only to have those hopes dashed time and again. Yet they remain strong in the face of it.

The very last scene of this book was so powerful, and had such an affect on me that I vowed I would not be reading any more Steinbeck – because I never wanted to feel that way again. I highly recommend this book even after that statement.


SUMMARY

First published in 1939, Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man's fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman's stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck's powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

100 Pynchon, Thomas
(2)
Gravity's Rainbow  Best Book Lists: 3,4 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

"A screaming comes across the sky. . ." A few months after the Germans' secret V-2 rocket bombs begin falling on London, British Intelligence discovers that a map of the city pinpointing the sexual conquests of one Lieutenant Tyrone Slothrop, U.S. Army, corresponds identically to a map showing the V-2 impact sites. The implications of this discovery will launch Slothrop on an amazing journey across war-torn Europe, fleeing an international cabal of military-industrial superpowers, in search of the mysterious Rocket 00000, through a wildly comic extravaganza that has been hailed in The New Republic as "the most profound and accomplished American novel since the end of World War II."

101 Dickens, Charles
(5)
Great Expectations  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

The first third of this book is as funny as it gets. In describing how PIP grows up, Dickens lets the jokes fly and I found myself laughing out loud. The middle part was a little slow, until Pip discovers who his benefactor really is (nope, not who you think it is at all). The final third of the book turns out a bit sad... as only Dickens can make it. In the end, Pip learns what is and is not valuable, who is and is not worthy, and what life really means once you sweep away all the Great Expectations !!!


SUMMARY

In this unflaggingly suspenseful story of aspirations and moral redemption, humble, orphaned Pip, a ward of his short-tempered older sister and her husband, Joe, is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman. And, indeed, it seems as though that dream is destined to come to pass — because one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of "great expectations." In telling Pip's story, Dickens traces a boy's path from a hardscrabble rural life to the teeming streets of 19th-century London, unfolding a gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, and love and loss. Its compelling characters include Magwitch, the fearful and fearsome convict; Estella, whose beauty is excelled only by her haughtiness; and the embittered Miss Havisham, an eccentric jilted bride.

Written in the last decade of Dickens' life, Great Expectations was praised widely and universally admired. It was his last great novel, and many critics believe it to be his finest. Readers and critics alike praised it for its masterful plot, which rises above the melodrama of some of his earlier works, and for its three-dimensional, psychologically realistic characters — characters much deeper and more interesting than the one-note caricatures of earlier novels. "In none of his other works," wrote the reviewer in the 1861 Atlantic, "does he evince a shrewder insight into real life, and a cheaper perception and knowledge of what is called the world." To Swinburne, the novel was unparalleled in all of English fiction, with defects "as nearly imperceptible as spots on the sun or shadows on a sunlit sea." Shaw found it Dickens' "most completely perfect book." Now this inexpensive edition invites modern readers to savor this timeless masterpiece, teeming with colorful characters, unexpected plot twists, and Dickens' vivid rendering of the vast tapestry of mid-Victorian England.

102 Fitzgerald, F. Scott
(2)
The Great Gatsby  Best Book Lists: 1,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This is rated as one of the best novels of all time – though I cannot understand why. The characters are shallow people. The plot is thin, and a little obvious. The whole mess is a tragedy from beginning to end (you can feel it throughout the book, even if you don't know what is coming). I never felt strongly for or against any of the people I read about here. And at the end I felt no sympathy for Gatsby or anyone else.


SUMMARY

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

103 Waugh, Evelyn
(3)
A Handful of Dust  Best Book Lists: 1,4,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last has grown bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set. In a novel that combines tragedy, comedy, and savage irony, Evelyn Waugh indelibly captures the irresponsible mood of the "crazy and sterile generation" between the wars.

104 Atwood, Margaret
(2)
The Handmaid's Tale  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

If you enjoyed 1984 or Brave New World then this will be right up your alley. A vision of a terrible future in which women have become infertile, and those that are fertile are forced to become "handmaids" - referencing the bible story where a handmaid is given to the husband to bear a child. It's a pretty chilling little environment with the wives hating the handmaids, and the husbands secretly desiring them. And it's revealed to be a hypocritical society too, with sex available freely to those in the upper stratum while morality is preached to everyone else.

Though they preach morality... they are completely morally bankrupt.

And the end is a complete shock..


SUMMARY

The Handmaid's Tale is not only a radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment's calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid's Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.

105 McCullers, Carson
(1)
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter  Best Book Lists: 1,4,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated -- and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

106 Conrad, Joseph
(4)
Heart of Darkness  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - Adventure)

NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Another good one by Conrad, though much more muddled (I think) than Lord Jim. Some of the prose in here will carry you away, but the overall sense of the book is ... well.. strange. A journey into a dark and forbidding land.. a land that is untamed and untamable. With the moral descent of the characters as they move further into more primitive areas, its no wonder this book inspired the movie "Apocalypse Now" with Marlon Brando being the evil at the end.

I believe Lord Jim is the better book, but this one has some powerful imagery - and some pretty accurate descriptions of the treatment of colonial natives.


SUMMARY

This Dark allegory describes the narrator's journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad's finest, most enigmatic story.

107 Greene, Graham
(2)
The Heart of the Matter  Best Book Lists: 1,4,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Graham Greene's masterpiece, The Heart of the Matter, tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity.

When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor—a vortex leading directly to murder. As Scobie's world crumbles, his personal crisis develops the foundation of a story by turns suspenseful, fascinating, and, finally, tragic.

108 Bellow, Saul
(3)
Henderson the Rain King  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Saul Bellow evokes all the rich colors and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this acclaimed comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe. Henderson's awesome feats of strength and his unbridled passion for life win him the admiration of the tribe—but it is his gift for making rain that turns him from mere hero into messiah. A hilarious, often ribald story, Henderson the Rain King is also a profound look at the forces that drive a man through life.

109 Bellow, Saul
(3)
Herzog  Best Book Lists: 3,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

This is the story of Moses Herzog, a great sufferer, joker, mourner, and charmer. Although his life steadily disintegrates around him—he has failed as a writer and teacher, as a father, and has lost the affection of his wife to his best friends—Herzog sees himself as a survivor, both of his private disasters and those of the age. He writes unsent letters to friends and enemies, colleagues and famous people, revealing his wry perception of the world and the innermost secrets of his heart.

110 Hughes, Richard
(1)
A High Wind In Jamaica  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This novel has been compared to The Lord of the Flies, but it doesn't offer the morality play that LOTF does. Instead it tries to present an adventure through the eyes of children who have little concept of right and wrong, and no concept of a future in which their actions of today will mater. They are completely heedless of the consequences of what they do on others.

The book starts and ends at no particular point... in the same disjointed way that the children look at time.

I don't really think the author managed to capture the lives of children at all. The children I know are simple not that heedless of the goings on around them. They are not likely to forget their parents or their previous lives, though I think he may have nailed the adaptability to circumstance right on.

Interesting only if you loved LOTF.


SUMMARY

Richard Hughes's celebrated short novel is a masterpiece of concentrated narrative. Its dreamlike action begins among the decayed plantation houses and overwhelming natural abundance of late nineteenth-century Jamaica, before moving out onto the high seas, as Hughes tells the story of a group of children thrown upon the mercy of a crew of down-at-the-heel pirates. A tale of seduction and betrayal, of accommodation and manipulation, of weird humor and unforeseen violence, this classic of twentieth-century literature is above all an extraordinary reckoning with the secret reasons and otherworldly realities of childhood.

111 Tolkien, J.R.R.
(4)
The Hobbit  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - Fantasy)

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Checked

REVIEW

Bilbo's adventures are wonderful – and tragic when you know the results. An innocent loses it, and grows to manhood (or hobbithood) by exploring the wide world outside his comfortable little home. Good reading.


SUMMARY

A great modern classic and the prelude to THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

"A glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irresistible . . . All those, young or old, who love a fine adventurous tale, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts." – New York Times Book Review

112 Doyle, Arthur Conan
(1)
The Hound of the Baskervilles  Best Book Lists: 3,5 (Fiction - Mystery/Detective)

unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

A fun read with another glimpse into a historical time of the British Empire. Sherlock Holmes putting together clues while Dr. Watson assists (even without knowing it). The stuff of many a movie past, and I am sure, future.

It's fun. You'll like it.


SUMMARY

At Baskerville Hall on the grim moors of Devonshire, a legendary curse has apparently claimed one more victim. Sir Charles Baskerville has been found dead. There are no signs of violence, but his face is hideously distorted with terror. Years earlier, a hound-like beast with blazing eyes and dripping jaws was reported to have torn out the throat of Hugo Baskerville. Has the spectral destroyer struck again? More important, is Sir Henry Baskerville, younger heir to the estate, now in danger?

Enter Sherlock Holmes, summoned to protect Sir Henry from the fate that has threatened the Baskerville family. As Holmes and Watson begin to investigate, a blood-chilling howl from the fog-shrouded edges of the great Grimpen Mire signals that the legendary hound of the Baskervilles is poised for yet another murderous attack. The Hound of the Baskerville first appeared as a serial in The Strand Magazine in 1901. By the time of its publication in book form eight months later, this brilliantly plotted, richly atmospheric detective story had already achieved the status of a classic. It has often been called he best detective story ever written. It remains a thrilling tale of suspense, must reading for every lover of detective fiction.

113 Naipaul, V. S
(2)
A House for Mr. Biswas  Best Book Lists: 1,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In his forty-six short years, Mr. Mohun Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr. Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr. Biswas embarks on an arduous–and endless–struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own. A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House for Mr. Biswas masterfully evokes a man's quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial canvas.

114 Wharton, Edith
(3)
The House of Mirth  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

unknown movie
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REVIEW

How complicated were the lives of the social elite around the turn of the century in New York. Especially for women who had to find themselves a rich husband to maintain their social standing or always be one step away from losing it. Lily Bart makes a terrible mistake when she lets a rich man (who she was admittedly not very interested in) get away through a stupid mistake.

Then again, her ego is such that she believes (like most of the characters) that she is entitled to a high life of leisure and so does not realize that most people must work and live low lives until it is much to late to save herself.

Her character, though, maintains her upright morals, and does not use an advantage that comes her way to save herself - though it would mean having her life back.

An easy read - no obscure language - and it moves along at a sufficient pace to hold your interest. Not recommended unless you are interested in this time period and these people. I was sad at the ending, but glad I read the book.


SUMMARY

A bestseller when it was originally published nearly a century ago, Wharton's first literary success was set amid the previously unexplored territory of fashionable, turn-of-the-century New York society, an area with which she was intimately familiar.
The tragic love story reveals the destructive effects of wealth and social hypocrisy on Lily Bart, a ravishing beauty. Impoverished but well-born, Lily realizes a secure future depends on her acquiring a wealthy husband. Her downfall begins with a romantic indiscretion, intensifies with an accumulation of gambling debts, and climaxes in a maelstrom of social disasters.
More a tale of social exclusion than of failed love, The House of Mirth reveals Wharton's compelling gifts as a storyteller and her clear-eyed observations of the savagery beneath the well-bred surface of high society. As with The Age of Innocence and Ethan Frome, this novel was also made into a successful motion picture.

115 Robinson, Marilynne
(1)
Housekeeping  Best Book Lists: 4 (Fiction - General)

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REVIEW

You read this, and realize right away why this book is considered a classic. There is a sense you get that the author is really connected to the surroundings being described - though I am not sure such a place actually exists.

Another book about dysfunctional people interacting and changing each others lives - not so much for the better or worse, just different than it would have been.

There are better books to read for this type of thing.


SUMMARY
You read this, and realize right away why this book is considered a classic. There is a sense you get that the author is really connected to the surroundings being described - though I am not sure such a place actually exists.
Another book about dysfunctional people interacting and changing each others lives - not so much for the better or worse, just different than it would have been.
There are better books to read for this type of thing.

A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother. The family house is in the small town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake in the Far West, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere." Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transcience.

116 Forster, E. M.
(3)
Howards End  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The self-interested disregard of a dying woman's bequest, an impulsive girl's attempt to help an impoverished clerk, and the marriage between an idealist and a materialist — all intersect at a Hertfordshire estate called Howards End. The fate of this beloved country home symbolizes the future of England itself in E. M. Forster's exploration of social, economic, and philosophical trends, as exemplified by three families: the Schlegels, symbolizing the idealistic and intellectual aspect of the upper classes; the Wilcoxes, representing upper-class pragmatism and materialism; and the Basts, embodying the aspirations of the lower classes. Written in 1910, Howards End won international acclaim for its insightful portrait of English life during the post-Victorian era.

117 Hamsun, Knut
(1)
Hunger  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

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REVIEW

If I were to make a list of ODD books, this would be on it. The main character is hungry. He can barely keep body and soul together yet believes he is a great intellectual. Mildly self-destructive, he attempts to write - sometimes succeeding - but fails to concentrate. His hungers are many - food, clothing, warmth, a place to sleep, recognition, sex. It's almost an exploration of the pyramid of needs.

I can't recommend this one.. odd as it is. It simply didn't hold my interest because after a while I didn't care WHAT happened to our dear hero.


SUMMARY

"I suffered no pain, my hunger had taken the edge off; instead I felt pleasantly empty, untouched by everything around me and happy to be unseen by all. I put my legs up on the bench and leaned back, the best way to feel the true well-being of seclusion. There wasn't a cloud in my mind, nor did I feel any discomfort, and I hadn't a single unfulfilled desire or craving as far as my thought could reach. I lay with open eyes in a state of utter absence from myself and felt deliciously out of it." 
..Norwegian Nobel Prize winner, Knut Hamsun, published his highly regarded novel, "Hunger" in 1890. Influenced, no doubt, by the author's own struggles as an unknown writer; it is an outstanding example of modern psychology driven literature.

118 Graves, Robert
(1)
I, Claudius  Best Book Lists: 1,4,5 (Fiction - General)

unknown
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REVIEW

So Claudius decided to write an autobiography and hide it away so that in 900 years someone can read it. That is the premise of this book, and it works well. Claudius is a studios crippled young man who happens to be a member of the family that rules the Roman Empire. As such he is alternately shunned and has his life under threat. He writes of the political intrigue, of the murders and betrayals, and always tries to stay in the back ground and out of sight, lest he end up dead as well.

If you are not a big fan of history then this will probably bore you to death. As it is, it can be a little dry at the start, but as things get moving - particularly at the rise of Caligula, there is an excitement that builds. We all know that Claudius will become Emperor one day, but there just doesn't seem to be any way that could happen given his general poverty and lack of backing. The book, however, makes it clear how this happens and ends at the instance he becomes the Emperor of Rome. Who would have ever believed it? It was almost by accident.

Like I said.. Not for those who are not fans of history or Roman history in particular.


SUMMARY

Once a rather bookish young man with a limp and a stammer, a man who spent most of his time trying to stay away from the danger and risk of the line of ascension, Claudius seemed an unlikely candidate for Emperor. Yet, on the death of Caligula, Claudius finds himself next in line for the throne, and must stay alive as well as keep control.

Drawing on the histories of Plutarch, Suetonius, and Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, noted historian and classicist Robert Graves tells the story of the much-maligned Emperor Claudius with both skill and compassion. Weaving important themes throughout about the nature of freedom and safety possible in a safety and a monarchy, Graves' Claudius is both more effective and more tragic than history typically remembers him.

119 Proust, Marcel
(1)
In Search of Lost Time  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

«In Search of Lost Time» is a novel in seven volumes. The novel began to take shape in 1909. Proust continued to work on it until his final illness in the autumn of 1922 forced him to break off. Proust established the structure early on, but even after volumes were initially finished he kept adding new material, and edited one volume after another for publication. The last three of the seven volumes contain oversights and fragmentary or unpolished passages as they existed in draft form at the death of the author; the publication of these parts was overseen by his brother Robert.

120 Wallace, David Foster
(1)
Infinite Jest  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

121 Ellison, Ralph
(1)
Invisible Man  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown
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REVIEW

Not to be confused with the HG Wells novel, this great book is the story of a black man who learns that he is invisible because no one can really see him. Oh they all see a person and they all see someone they can use, but the don't see him. By the end he begins to revel in his invisibility realizing that, as an invisible man, he has a freedom he never realized.

This book, along the lines of E.L. Doctorow's RAGTIME is about racial injustice and racial relations. It's a big book, but I found to be a page turner. Once I started it, I didn't want to put it down. I wanted to see where our man was going next, what would befall him and how he would learn from it. His dream of a letter in the beginning that said, "Keep this nigger-boy running." presaged much of what happened in the book.

Big time recommended.


SUMMARY

Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky

122 Kennedy, William
(1)
Ironweed  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Ironweed, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is the best-known of William Kennedy's three Albany-based novels. Francis Phelan, ex-ballplayer, part-time gravedigger, full-time drunk, has hit bottom. Years ago he left Albany in a hurry after killing a scab during a trolley workers' strike; he ran away again after accidentally—and fatally—dropping his infant son. Now, in 1938, Francis is back in town, roaming the old familiar streets with his hobo pal, Helen, trying to make peace with the ghosts of the past and the present.

123 Bronte, Charlotte
(1)
Jane Eyre  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - Romance)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

An orphan girl's progress from the custody of cruel relatives to an oppressive boarding school culminates in a troubled career as a governess. Jane's first assignment at Thornfield, where the proud and cynical master harbors a scandalous secret, draws readers ever deeper into a compelling exploration of the mysteries of the human heart. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

124 Tan, Amy
(1)
The Joy Luck Club  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

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REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I can understand completely why it would not appeal to men. It's a book about the the relationship between mothers and daughters. It reminded me a bit of the book My Mother, Myself - where a women wonders about all those things her mother tried to tell her - what she got and what she missed. Only in The Joy Luck Club the problem is magnified because the daughters have grown up in a completely different culture than their mothers, so they miss much of the wisdom and much of the humanity of their mother's lives.

I really enjoyed it. I'd recommend it for women, and a few guys I know.


SUMMARY

This widely acclaimed bestseller spans two countries and two generations, following a group of Chinese women who meet to play mah jong, invest money and tell the secret stories of their lives. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club.

125 Sinclair, Upton
(1)
The Jungle  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - Historical)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown
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REVIEW

Almost required reading for everyone in either High School or College, this is the story about an immigrant family that tries to make a living in the appalling conditions in Chicago's Meat Packing district in the early 1900's. Sinclair researched this book heavily, and when it came out American's were shocked at what went on with their food supply. After the book came out laws were passed to clean up the industry.

Poor Mr. Sinclair however never realized his dream. He spends the whole book describing how awful conditions are for workers under what he calls "wage slavery", and how capitalists will always keep the working man down. Then he spends the last 2 chapters talking about socialism, and how socialism can solve everything! He was really hoping to foment a socialist revolution in this country.

Unfortunately, the socialist world he describes sounds like an even worse situation than the "wage slavery" he decries. Under socialist rule a worker would have no choice about what to consume.. it would all be decided for him. He even would not be able to settle in one place because workers could be moved by society to wherever they are most needed. He doesn't even get to chose what he wants to EAT!!! Meat production would cease because it's not as efficient as vegetarianism. Every aspect of life would be controlled and dictated. Wouldn't that be just wonderful!!!

UGH... Sinclair failed in his primary goal, but succeeded amazingly in changing society for the better.


SUMMARY

An ardent activist, champion of political reform, novelist, and progressive journalist, Upton Sinclair is perhaps best known today for The Jungle — his devastating exposĂ© of the meat-packing industry. A protest novel he privately published in 1906, the book was a shocking revelation of intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards. It quickly became a bestseller, arousing public sentiment and resulting in such federal legislation as the Pure Food and Drug Act.|The brutally grim story of a Slavic family who emigrates to America, The Jungle tells of their rapid and inexorable descent into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and social and economic despair. Vulnerable and isolated, the family of Jurgis Rudkus struggles — unsuccessfully — to survive in an urban jungle.

A powerful view of turn-of-the-century poverty, graft, and corruption, this fiercely realistic American classic is still required reading in many history and literature classes. It will continue to haunt readers long after they've finished the last page.

126 Archer, Jeffrey
(1)
Kane and Abel  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

William Lowell Kane and Abel Rosnovski, one the son of a Boston millionaire, the other a penniless polish immigrant-born on the same day near the turn of the century on opposite sides of the world-are brought together by fate and the quest of a dream. Two men - ambitious, powerful, ruthless - are locked in a relentless struggle to build an empire, fueled by their all-consuming hatred. Over sixty years and three generations, through war, marriage, fortune, and disaster, Kane and Abel battle for the success and triumph that only one man can have..

127 Shaara, Michael
(1)
The Killer Angels  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - Historical)

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REVIEW

If you have an interest in the history of the Civil War, then you must read this book. Our family had relatives on both sides of the battle, and I have been to Gettysburg. I never understood the battle of Gettysburg as I do now. This book is a completely accurate description of what took place during the 3 days of that battle. It is listed under fiction because Shaara has written it from the viewpoint of the various commanders of that battle - including what they thought internally and how they interacted with each other. No one knows enough to say what Shaara says, but his speculation is based on extensive research, and makes this lesson in history extremely readable.

Having read this, I hope to go back to Gettysburg, book in hand, and re-live some of what my forefathers suffered in those days.


SUMMARY

In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation's history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable—the dramatic story of the battleground for America's destiny.

128 Kipling, Rudyard
(3)
Kim  Best Book Lists: (Fiction - Adventure)

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REVIEW

I really enjoyed this book. It's about a white boy, son of a British soldier, who's mother is gone and whose father has died, growing up as a Hindu boy in the streets of the bazaar in Lahore, India. His color is so dark and his manners so street wise that know one knows he is a sahib – master. He befriends a traveling Buddhist monk, and their fates become intertwined. During his travels, Kim performs a small service for a horse trader – who, he realizes is actually a spy for the British Government. As Kim and the monk travel together and grow to love one another, but then Kim's true heritage is discovered and he is shipped off to the white man's school. His beloved monk pays to have him sent to the best school where he grows in white man's knowledge and white man's ways, and is recruited to also be a spy for the British. On his holiday's and after graduation he always travels and learns from his Buddhist master. Eventually there is intrigue and a mission accomplished through skill and luck – with always the monk by his side.

This book is spectacular. My problem is whether I would recommend it to others. The Indian cultural and religious (as well as geographic) references are so thick that one can become frustrated at it. The footnotes are invaluable. But the picture it paints of India awash in all the different religions (Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Christian) and cultures (British rulers/soldiers, differing castes of Indians, foreigners who are spies) is so detailed and rich it just takes one away. (And that is my ultimate measure of a good book.. does it take you where the author wants to go.)

Kim is a great book. Read it and get lost in India.


SUMMARY

Rudyard Kipling's adventure novel is luminously visualized in this adaptation. The story line remains true to the original and follows Kim as he departs from his boyhood home with a Buddhist lama and embarks on adventures as a boy spy. Kumar's watercolor scenes and expressions lend authentic views of Kim's moods as well as his surroundings. However, this is more illustrated classic than graphic novel, as aside from the visual scenery, little is left for the images to convey that isn't spoken by the text. Accessible and continuing to be a story of interest, this book nonetheless has a place in most collections serving classics. A bit of front matter sets the story's context against the author's own life, and a bit of back matter provides interesting details about spy tools of the era. Grades 5-8. --Francisca

129 Lawrence, D. H.
(4)
Lady Chatterley's Lover  Best Book Lists: 5

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Lyric and sensual, D.H. Lawrence's last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely woman trapped in a sterile marriage and her growing love for the robust gamekeeper of her husband's estate. The most controversial of Lawrence's books, Lady Chatterly's Lover joyously affirms the author's vision of individual regeneration through sexual love. The book's power, complexity, and psychological intricacy make this a completely original work—a triumph of passion, an erotic celebration of life.

130 Trollope, Anthony
(1)
The Last Chronicle of Barset  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In The Last Chronicle of Barset, Mr. Crawley, curate of Hogglestock, falls deeply into debt, bringing suffering to himself and his family. To make matters worse, he is accused of theft, can't remember where he got the counterfeit check he is alleged to have stolen, and must stand trial. Trollope's powerful portrait of this complex man, gloomy, brooding, and proud, moving relentlessly from one humiliation to another-achieves tragic dimensions.

131 Cooper, James Fenimore
(1)
Last of the Mohicans  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican friends Chingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War. The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests.

132 de Balzac, Honore
(1)
Le Pere Goriot  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Le PĂšre Goriot is widely considered Balzac's most important novel. This is the story of the relationship between a doting father and his two adult daughters. Blinded by his love for his children, PĂšre Goriot can not see their flaws and gives them everything they ask for even though the giving destroys him. A cautionary tale about the dangers of placing society and money before all else.

133 Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi di
(1)
The Leopard  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A classic of modern fiction. Set in the 1860s, THE LEOPARD is the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution.

134 Hugo, Victor
(1)
Les Miserables  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

One of the greatest epic novels in history, Les Misérables is the moving story of Jean Valjean's struggle for redemption and his lifelong pursuit by Javert, a police detective determined to return Valjean to chains. Always one step ahead of Javert, Valjean encounters the tragic Fantine, and ultimately rescues Fantine's daughter, Cosette, from her wretched life with the Thénadiers, treating the child as his own as she comes of age in pre-revolutionary Paris.

135 Faulkner, William
(4)
Light in August  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Light in August, a novel about hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality, features some of Faulkner's most memorable characters: guileless, dauntless Lena Grove, in search of the father of her unborn child; Reverend Gail Hightower, who is plagued by visions of Confederate horsemen; and Joe Christmas, a desperate, enigmatic drifter consumed by his mixed ancestry

136 Lewis, C.S.
(1)
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe  Best Book Lists: 2,4,5 (Fiction - Fantasy)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

A quick read, but only mildly entertaining as all the action is described through the eyes of children. I don't quite understand how this made the best book list, even if it is allegorical. There are probably better.


SUMMARY

Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

A quick read, but only mildly entertaining as all the action is described through the eyes of children. I don't quite understand how this made the best book list, even if it is allegorical. There are probably better.

137 Wilder, Laura Ingalls
(1)
Little House on the Prarie  Best Book Lists: 5 (Childrens Books)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Set during the pioneer days of the late 1800s and early 1900s, Laura Ingalls Wilder's books chronicle her life growing up on the Western frontier.

138 Nabakov, Vladimir
(2)
Lolita  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

Wow, can Nabakov write. I can totally see how this book became one of the top novels of the century, even if the subject matter is, to most minds, distasteful. At first it was a bit dull because we spend so much time in Humbert's mind, and so little actually interacting with the world. But then he finally meets his Lolita, and from there the book really takes off. Pay attention, because dropped here and there in the text is foreshadows, hints, and signs of what is going on in other characters, and how the book is going to end tragically. Though it ends tragically, I feel that Humbert Humbert (not his real name) turns out to be a mildly decent sort in the end (strange as that may seem).

This is worth reading just to taste what Nabakov can do with the English language – not his native one in fact.


SUMMARY

Awe and exhilaration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

139 McMurtry, Larry
(1)
Lonesome Dove  Best Book Lists: 5 (Western)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize— winning classic, Lonesome Dove, the third book in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic, Lonesome Dove is a book to make us laugh, weep, dream, and remember

140 Wolfe, Thomas
(1)
Look Homeward, Angel  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Look Homeward, Angel is an elaborate and moving coming-of-age story about Eugene Gant, a restless and energetic character whose passion to experience life takes him from his small, rural hometown in North Carolina to Harvard University and the city of Boston. The novel's pattern is artfully simple -- a small town, a large family, high school and college -- yet the characters are monumental in their graphic individuality and personality. Through his rich, ornate prose, Wolfe evokes the extraordinarily vivid family of the Gants, and with equal detail, the remarkable peculiarities of small-town life and the pain and upheaval of a boy who must leave both. A classic work of American literature, Look Homeward, Angel is a passionate, stirring, and unforgettable novel.

141 Conrad, Joseph
(4)
Lord Jim  Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - Adventure)

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REVIEW

Conrad can write. At first I had difficulty feeling sorry for Jim since he seemed inclined to constantly blame forces outside himself for his failure. But then, as he stands to take responsibility when no one else will; and as he takes on the task of bringing better lives to the people he finds himself among; you begin to feel that he has more than redeemed himself. So in the end, when he once again takes responsibility for things over which he had little control, his first failing does not seem so much a character flaw, and he has more than atoned for his error.

Conrad was a psychologist long before the science existed. His insight into the minds of people is sometimes startling. Every now and then in the text you come across an insight that stands the test of time so well that you think to yourself, Yes, I know people like that, or I have to remember that when trying to read people.


SUMMARY

Lord Jim tells the story of a young, idealistic Englishman--"as unflinching as a hero in a book"--who is disgraced by a single act of cowardice while serving as an officer on the Patna, a merchant-ship sailing from an eastern port. His life is ruined: an isolated scandal has assumed horrifying proportions. But, then he is befriended by an older man named Marlow who helps to establish him in exotic Patusan, a remote Malay settlement where his courage is put to the test once more. Lord Jim is a book about courage and cowardice, self-knowledge and personal growth. It is one of the most profound and rewarding psychological novels in English. Set in the context of social change and colonial expansion in late Victorian England, it embodies in Jim the values and turmoil of a fading empire. This new edition uses the first English edition text and includes a new introduction and notes by leading Conrad scholar Jacques Berthoud, glossaries, and an appendix on Conrad's sources and reading.

142 Golding, William
(1)
Lord of the Flies  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - Adventure)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

I read this in high school, and again a few years ago. A scary look at how thin the veneer of civilization is, but then, as the years go by, and we see beheadings and mass slaughter on our TV screens, perhaps that lesson should be more obvious.


SUMMARY

William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible.Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.

143 Green, Henry
(1)
Loving  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Henry Green explored class distinctions through the medium of love. This volume brings together three of his novels contrasting the lives of servants and masters (Loving); workers and owners, set in a Birmingham iron foundry (Living); and the different lives of the wealthy and the ordinary, (Party Going).

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

144 Amis, Kingsley
(2)
Lucky Jim  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - Humor)

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REVIEW

Jim Dixon is a not-very-qualified-nor-interested lecturer in History at some nondescript University outside London. He doesn't much like his mentor, but sucks up because he sees no future for himself other than gaining a full time position at the University. He amuses himself (and you the reader) with an inner dialog that runs counter to his exterior ways. Then, one day, it all starts to fall apart. And it falls apart so spectacularly that even as you cringe, you enjoy the ride to the bottom. Ahh, but the bottom isn't what is seems for a man who really needed a change, and things might work out better for LUCKY Jim once everything he “values” (for the wrong reasons) is gone and new hope dawns. In the end you are cheering him along as he destroys his life with one amusing blunder after another.

I enjoyed this book. I am not recommending it to everyone. It's a style of British novel that presages the dry humor of Have You Been Served or Mr. Bean or Monty Python (The dry stuff.. not the slapstick). It takes a while before you start to care for the character – after all, even he knows he is settling for a life he is not interested in. But once you warm up to him, you find yourself rooting for him, even as he self destructs. Remember, there is a reason its called LUCKY Jim, because, in the end, he is the luckiest of men.


SUMMARY

Regarded by many as the finest, and funniest, comic novel of the twentieth century, Lucky Jim remains as trenchant, withering, and eloquently misanthropic as when it first scandalized readers in 1954. This is the story of Jim Dixon, a hapless lecturer in medieval history at a provincial university who knows better than most that "there was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones." Amis's scabrous debut leads the reader through a gallery of emphatically English bores, cranks, frauds, and neurotics, with each of whom Dixon must contend in one way or another in order to hold on to his cushy academic perch and win the girl of his fancy.

More than just a merciless satire of cloistered college life and stuffy post-war manners, Lucky Jim is an attack on the forces of boredom, whatever form they may take, and a work of art that at once distills and extends an entire tradition of English comic writing, from Fielding and Dickens through Wodehouse and Waugh. As Christopher Hitchens has written, "if you can picture Bertie or Jeeves being capable of actual malice, and simultaneously imagine Evelyn Waugh forgetting about original sin, you have the combination of innocence and experience that makes this short romp so imperishable."

145 Flaubert, Gustave
(1)
Madame Bovary  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

This exquisite novel tells the story of one of the most compelling heroines in modern literature--Emma Bovary. Unhappily married to a devoted, clumsy provincial doctor, Emma revolts against the ordinariness of her life by pursuing voluptuous dreams of ecstasy and love. But her sensuous and sentimental desires lead her only to suffering corruption and downfall. A brilliant psychological portrait, Madame Bovary searingly depicts the human mind in search of transcendence. Who is Madame Bovary? Flaubert's answer to this question was superb: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1857, the work catapulted Flaubert to the ranks of the world's greatest novelists. This volume, with its fine translation by Lowell Bair, a perceptive introduction by Leo Bersani, and a complete supplement of essays and critical comments, is the indispensable Madame Bovary.

146 Mann, Thomas
(2)
The Magic Mountain  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Mann uses a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps--a community devoted exclusively to sickness--as a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, a book that pulses with life in the midst of death.

147 Tarkington, Booth
(1)
The Magnificent Ambersons  Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize when it was first published in 1918, The Magnificent Ambersons chronicles the changing fortunes of three generations of an American dynasty. The protagonist of Booth Tarkington's great historical drama is George Amberson Minafer, the spoiled and arrogant grandson of the founder of the family's magnificence. Eclipsed by a new breed of developers, financiers, and manufacturers, this pampered scion begins his gradual descent from the midwestern aristocracy to the working class.

148 Fowles, John
(2)
The Magus  Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A man trapped in a millionare's deadly game of political and sexual betrayal.

Filled with shocks and chilling surprises, The Magus is a masterwork of contemporary literature. In it, a young Englishman, Nicholas Urfe, accepts a teaching position on a Greek island where his friendship with the owner of the islands most magnificent estate leads him into a nightmare. As reality and fantasy are deliberately confused by staged deaths, erotic encounters, and terrifying violence, Urfe becomes a desperate man fighting for his sanity and his life. A work rich with symbols, conundrums and labrinthine twists of event, The Magus is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, a work that ranks with the best novels of modern times.

149 Lewis, Sinclair
(1)
Main Street  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The first of Sinclair Lewis's great successes, Main Street shattered the sentimental American myth of happy small-town life with its satire of narrow-minded provincialism. Reflecting his own unhappy childhood in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Lewis's sixth novel attacked the conformity and dullness he saw in midwestern village life. Young college graduate Carol Milford moves from the city to tiny Gopher Prairie after marrying the local doctor, and tries to bring culture to the small town. But her efforts to reform the prairie village are met by a wall of gossip, greed, conventionality, pitifully unambitious cultural endeavors, and—worst of all—the pettiness and bigotry of small-town minds.

Lewis's portrayal of a marriage torn by disillusionment and a woman forced into compromises is at once devastating social satire and persuasive realism. His subtle characterizations and intimate details of small-town America make Main Street a complex and compelling work and established Lewis as an important figure in twentieth-century American literature.

150 Hammett, Dashiell
(3)
The Maltese Falcon  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - Mystery/Detective)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This is the novel that created the whole "hard-boiled" detective genre - both books and movies. it's tightly written, and centered in San Francisco (which made it extra fun for me). The story stands the test of time, though police work has changed over the years. Not entirely admirable, Sam Spade, the detective, is a character you find you can like in the end. One of the good guys, if certainly no angel

A good read


SUMMARY

A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett's coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.

151 Stead, Christina
(1)
The Man Who Loved Children  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Were the critics and the public right in 1940 when they rejected this strange book? Or were later critics right when, in 1968, they "rediscovered" The Man Who Loved Children and dubbed it a modern classic? Given the book's excesses and strengths, it is difficult to make a reasonable literary judgment either way. But simply as a portrait of an extraordinary family, the book probably has no equal. And what a family! A charismatic, egotistical father (Sam) spouts nonstop high-minded rubbish while using playful camaraderie to dominate his seven children. His bitter wife (Henny), overworked and desperate, communicates mostly through screaming tirades. Louie, the sensitive older daughter, agonizes as she witnesses the events that eventually lead to tragedy. Although the larger-than-life domestic scenes may not always be pleasant to read, they are nevertheless unforgettable.

152 Musil, Robert
(1)
The Man Without Qualities  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Set in Vienna on the eve of WWI, adn peopled with some of the most memorable characters in literature, this novel presents a profound, witty, and striking portrait of life as it dissects and tries to define the individual in the modern world.

153 Eliot, George
(1)
Middlemarch  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

George Eliot's novel, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. The proposed Reform Bill promises political change; the building of railroads alters both the physical and cultural landscape; new scientific approaches to medicine incite public division; and scandal lurks behind respectability. The quiet drama of ordinary lives and flawed choices are played out in the complexly portrayed central characters of the novel—the idealistic Dorothea Brooke; the ambitious Dr. Lydgate; the spendthrift Fred Vincy; and the steadfast Mary Garth. The appearance of two outsiders further disrupts the town's equilibrium—Will Ladislaw, the spirited nephew of Dorothea's husband, the Rev. Edward Casaubon, and the sinister John Raffles, who threatens to expose the hidden past of one of the town's elite. Middlemarch displays George Eliot's clear-eyed yet humane understanding of characters caught up in the mysterious unfolding of self-knowledge

154 Rushdie, Salman
(1)
Midnight's Children  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India's independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India's 1,000 other "midnight's children," all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight's Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.

155 Bradley, Marion Zimmer
(1)
The Mists of Avalon  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - Fantasy)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come....

156 Melville, Herman
(1)
Moby Dick  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - Adventure)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Moby Dick counts as my favorite book of all time. I picked this up one day because I thought I should read some of the books I was supposed to read in High School English.
My GOD, I could not put the book down.. I was on page 400 something and I never wanted it to end. Oh yeah yeah.. there is a story about a mad Captain's pursuit of a White Whale.. all that you know. What you don't know is that you get to live aboard that boat. You learn how a whaling ship worked.. you feel what the men go thru.. it transports you to a place that doesn't exist on this planet anymore, BUT DID. When the book ended I was truly sorry to put it down. Being there, in that place was magic for a time, and I will never forget the impact that had on me. I LOVE Science Fiction... but I can't recall any book of SciFi that took me to a place and made it real as MOBY DICK did.

On another note; I have to say that the interpretation I learned in high school as to why Ahab was so angry at the whale (because it took his leg) was completely wrong. You have to connect to very separate parts of the book, and take is seriously that Ahab is does not appear until the ship is well under way (and why that is); but the reason Ahab wants to kill the whale - it took his immortality. Ahab is a married man. After his first encounter with the whale, he cannot have children. Even the most retched creatures of the earth can have progeny. But that has been stolen from him.

A pretty good reason for revenge.


SUMMARY

Moby-Dick is the story of Captain Ahab's quest to avenge the whale that 'reaped' his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic. But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab s appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each individual responsible for the security of each. Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel's narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader. Digressive, allusive, vulgar, transcendent, the story Ishmael tells is above all an education: in the practice of whaling, in the art of writing.

157 Beckett, Samuel
(1)
Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Molloy, the first of the three masterpieces which constitute Samuel Beckett's famous trilogy, appeared in French in 1951, followed seven months later by Malone Dies (Malone meurt) and two years later by The Unnamable (L'Innommable). Few works of contemporary literature have been so universally acclaimed as central to their time and to our understanding of the human experience.

This is actually 3 novels, so someone cheated when they put these together on the best books list.

158 Amis, Kingsley
(2)
Money: A Suicide Note  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read

.
SUMMARY

Money tells the story of, and is narrated by, John Self, a successful director of adverts who is invited to New York City by Fielding Goodney, a film producer, to shoot his first film. Self is an archetypal hedonist and slob; he is usually drunk, an avid consumer of pornography and prostitutes, eats too much and, above all, spends too much, encouraged by Goodney.

The actors in the film, which Self originally titles Good Money but which he eventually wants to rename Bad Money, all have some kind of emotional issue which clashes with fellow cast members and with their roles — the principal casting having already been done by Goodney. As examples: the strict Christian Spunk Davis (whose name is intentionally unfortunate) is asked to play a drugs pusher; the aging hardman Lorne Guyland has to be physically assaulted; the motherly Caduta Massi, who is insecure about her body, is asked to appear in a sex scene with Lorne, whom she detests.

Self is stalked by "Frank the Phone" while in New York, a menacing misfit who threatens him over a series of telephone conversations, apparently because Self personifies the success Frank was unable to attain. Self is not frightened of Frank, even when he is beaten by him while on an alcoholic bender. (Self, characteristically, is unable to remember how he was attacked.) Towards the end of the book Self arranges to meet Frank for a showdown, which is the beginning of the novel's shocking denouement. Money is similar to Amis' five-years-later London Fields, in having a major plot twist.

Self returns to London before filming begins, revealing more of his humble origins, his landlord father Barry (who makes his contempt for his son clear by invoicing him for every penny spent on his upbringing) and pub doorman Fat Vince. Self discovers that his London girlfriend, Selina, is having an affair with Ossie Twain, while Self is likewise attracted to Twain's wife in New York, Martina. This increases Self's psychosis and makes his final downfall even more brutal.

After Selina has plotted to destroy any chance of a relationship between him and Martina, Self discovers that all his credit cards have been blocked, and, after confronting Frank, the stars of film angrily claim that there is no film. It is revealed that Goodney had been manipulating him; all the contracts signed by Self were loans and debts, and Goodney fabricated the entire film. He is also revealed to be Frank. He supposedly chose Self for his behavior on the first plane to America, where Goodney was sitting close to him. Felix, a bellhop, helps him escape the angry mob in the hotel lobby and fly back to England, only to discover that Barry is not Self's real father.

Amis writes himself into the novel as a kind of overseer and confidant in Self's final breakdown. He is an arrogant character, but Self is not afraid to express his rather low opinion of Amis, such as the fact that he earns so much yet "lives like a student." Amis, among others, tries to warn Self that he is heading for destruction but to no avail. Felix becomes Self's only real friend in America and finally makes Self realise how much trouble he has: "Man, you are out for a whole lot of money."

The novel's subtitle, "A Suicide Note", is clarified at the end of the novel. It is revealed that Barry Self is not John Self's father; his father is in fact Fat Vince. As such, John Self no longer exists. Hence, in the subtitle, Amis indicates that this cessation of John Self's existence is analogous to suicide, which of course, results in the death of the self. A Suicide Note could also relate to the novel as a whole, or money, which Self himself calls "suicide notes" within the novel.

After learning that his father is Fat Vince, John realizes that his true identity is that of Fat John, half-brother of Fat Paul. The novel ends with Fat John having lost all his money (if it ever existed), yet he is still able to laugh at himself and is cautiously optimistic about his future.

159 Percy, Walker
(1)
The Moviegoer  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown
Checked

REVIEW

Did you ever read one of those books ... and your within 30 pages of the end, and you are wondering, "What is the point?" and "How is the author going to wrap this mess up in the little bit remaining?" - Well, this is one of those books. It's about a guy who's life is empty; who drifts from girl to girl; from day to day; kind of wondering what is interesting in life, but making no great effort to find it. One of those guys. And one day he does something mildly stupid, and the people around him (mostly his Aunt) come to realize what an empty person he really is.

That pretty much sums up what I got out of this book. Almost another Appointment in Samarra, but not as blatant.

While reading this book it suddenly dawned on me (in words I could describe) what makes a good book for me. It's a book that takes me there - THERE being with the characters in a place, or inside their minds - I read a few lines and I am no longer in my world, but in the creation of the authors.

This book did not take me there. A shame too as it had such a fantastic backdrop to play against - New Orleans during Mardi Gras.


SUMMARY

Percy's National Book Award­–winning classic: A young man, torn between the forces of tradition and change, searches for meaning in post-war America On the cusp of his thirtieth birthday, Binx Bolling is a lost soul. A stockbroker and member of an established New Orleans family, Binx's one escape is the movie theater that transports him from the falseness of his life. With Mardi Gras in full swing, Binx, along with his cousin Kate, sets out to find his true purpose amid the excesses of the carnival that surrounds him.

Buoyant yet powerful, The Moviegoer is a poignant indictment of modern values, and an unforgettable story of a week that will change two lives forever.

160 Woolf, Virginia
(2)
Mrs. Dalloway  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? I AM !!!

Before starting this book I understood that the plot was about Mrs. Dalloway going through her day, and that it was written using stream of consciousness. "Hey", I figured, "I can deal with that. I have a stream of consciousness. I know how that works." Then I started reading.

What I found so confusing at first was that it's stream of consciousness for every character. You jump from the inside of one mind to another, sometimes without a clear boundary being set. And the odd thoughts that pop up while another thought is being explicated... you hit tangents and impressions of things.. they suddenly swerve to another topic, and back again, rounding corners that you didn't see coming. And suddenly you're thinking who is doing the thinking here. Who am I now?

But if you stick with it.. it starts to flow and becomes fun. This is a book you cannot read in little 2 page bites (like I read many books). This is a book you have to set aside an hour to read at least, and then pause now and then to re-cap it in your mind while you play in other peoples.


SUMMARY

In Mrs. Dalloway, the novel on which the movie The Hours was based, Virginia Woolf details Clarissa Dalloway's preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman's life. The novel "contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century" (Michael Cunningham).

161 Cather, Willa
(2)
My Antonia  Best Book Lists: 3,5 (Fiction - General)

unknown
Checked

REVIEW

A great little book about growing up in the early days of settlement in Nebraska. The author is speaking from personal experience so it is a really good and accurate look into what life was like for these relatively early settlers. Follows the life of some children as they grow up .. first on farms, and then moving into the closest town. I've never read "Little House", but I imagine it to be something like this, only with the children growing up and dealing with more and more adult lives as the book progresses.

If you have an interest in this type and time... I recommend this book. I know at the end it really pulled at my heartstrings... nothing turned out the way you expected.. or hoped.. but still, the characters ended up well.


SUMMARY

My Ántonia evokes the Nebraska prairie life of Willa Cather's childhood, and commemorates the spirit and courage of immigrant pioneers in America. One of Cather's earliest novels, written in 1918, it is the story of Ántonia Shimerda, who arrives on the Nebraska frontier as part of a family of Bohemian emigrants. Her story is told through the eyes of Jim Burden, a neighbor who will befriend Ántonia, teach her English, and follow the remarkable story of her life. Working in the fields of waving grass and tall corn that dot the Great Plains, Ántonia forges the durable spirit that will carry her through the challenges she faces when she moves to the city. But only when she returns to the prairie does she recover her strength and regain a sense of purpose in life. In the quiet, probing depth of Willa Cather's art, Ántonia's story becomes a mobbing elegy to those whose persistence and strength helped build the American frontier.

162 Mailer, Norman
(1)
The Naked and the Dead  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Widely considered the greatest American novel written about World War II, and perhaps about any war, The Naked and the Dead secured Norman Mailer's position, at only twenty-five, as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Based on the author's own experience, it is a spellbinding account of a platoon of American soldiers in brutal combat to reclaim a Pacific island held by the Japanese and to face the unimaginable, within and without.

163 Burroughs, William
(1)
Naked Lunch  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Gibberish.

That's the kindest word I can use for this book. From page 1 to page 130 (where I gave up on it) this book is pure crap. Why does the fall of self destructive people make such great literature. This entire book is a series (which can be read in any order according to the author) of drug induced hallucinations culminating in NOTHING. There is no point. There is no story. There is gibberish.

Under the Volcano & Appointment in Samarra are better books to read if you want to watch someone self destruct. But this book is crap. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy

I'm going to go to Google image search and see if I can find a new symbol for this book... because I don't even want to give it one start.


SUMMARY

Since its original publication in Paris in 1959, Naked Lunch has become one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. Exerting its influence on the relationship of art and obscenity, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume—that contains final-draft typescripts, numerous unpublished contemporaneous writings by Burroughs, his own later introductions to the book, and his essay on psychoactive drugs—is a valuable and fresh experience of a novel that has lost none of its relevance or satirical bite.

164 Wright, Richard
(1)
Native Son  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

165 Gibson, William
(1)
Neuromancer  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (SciFi)

unknown
Checked

REVIEW

I have to guess that this is on the "top book list" because it was a first of it's kind. An exploration into a future of cyberspace before the word really existed - and the potential of AI.

Well, I didn't think this was very good. And I've read a lot of science fiction. Feel free to skip by this one, unless you are interested in story developmental history and how we got to where we are today.


SUMMARY

The Matrix is a world within the world, a global consensus- hallucination, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace . . .

Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employees crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on an adventure that ups the ante on an entire genre of fiction.

Hotwired to the leading edges of art and technology, Neuromancer ranks with 1984 and Brave New World as one of the century's most potent visions of the future.

166 Ishiguro, Kazuo
(2)
Never Let Me Go  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.

Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

167 Conrad, Joseph
(4)
Nostromo  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Nostromo reenacts the establishment of modern capitalism in a remote South American province locked between the Andes and the Pacific. In the harbor town of Sulaco, a vivid cast of characters is caught up in a civil war to decide whether its fabulously wealthy silver mine, funded by American money but owned by a third-generation English immigrant, can be preserved from the hands of venal politicians. Greed and corruption seep into the lives of everyone, and Nostromo, the principled foreman of the mine, is tested to the limit.

168 Goncharov, Ivan
(1)
Oblomov  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Ilya Ilyich Oblomov is a member of Russia's dying aristocracy—a man so lazy that he has given up his job in the Civil Service, neglected his books, insulted his friends, and found himself in debt. Too apathetic to do anything about his problems, he lives in a grubby, crumbling apartment, waited on by Zakhar, his equally idle servant. Terrified by the activity necessary to participate in the real world, Oblomov manages to avoid work, postpones change, and—finally—risks losing the love of his life.

Another book about a bum... this does not inspire me to read it. WHY WHY WHY are these books so prevalent?

169 Maugham, W. Somerset
(1)
Of Human Bondage  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The first and most autobiographical of Maugham's masterpieces. It is the story of Philip Carey, an orphan eager for life, love and adventure. After a few months studying in Heidelberg, and a brief spell in Paris as a would-be artist, he settles in London to train as a doctor where he meets Mildred, the loud but irresistible waitress with whom he plunges into a tortured and masochistic affair.

170 Steinbeck, John
(3)
Of Mice and Men  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

Short and tragic; a story about two men trying to make it in a hard world and a hard place. Another look into how California used to run, and still runs today with a different race of workers.


SUMMARY

They are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

171 Hemingway, Ernest
(4)
The Old Man and The Sea  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Not really a novel. More of a short story and parable. Could be a bedtime story.

It's a simple story, well told. But it also seems to have deeper meanings and references to religion - and paganism, if you will in the brotherly connection between the old man and the fish.

I leave to other people to explore the depths of all this. It's a nice read of itself.


SUMMARY

The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal -- a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

172 Bennett, Arnold
(1)
The Old Wives Tale  Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

First published in 1908, The Old Wives' Tale is widely considered as one of Arnold Bennett's finest works.

The Old Wives' Tale tells the story of the Baines sisters, shy, retiring Constance and defiant, romantic Sophia, over the course of nearly half a century.

Bennett traces the sisters' lives from childhood in their father's drapery shop in provincial Bursley during the mid-Victorian era, through their married lives, to the modern industrial age, when they are reunited as old women.

The setting moves from the Five Towns of Staffordshire to exotic and cosmopolitan Paris, while the action moves from the subdued domestic routine of the Baines household to the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

173 Kerouac, Jack
(1)
On The Road  Best Book Lists: (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

"It is often considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiences." So says Wikipedia.

I don't know. Maybe if I had read this book as a teenager I would have enjoyed the irrepressible freedom of the characters. But reading this in my 50's I found the people in this book totally despicable. They stole constantly. Stole food, stole cars. stole anything they could easily get away with stealing. They used people - One character marries a gal for her money to fuel a trip across country, and then abandons her in Texas when the money runs out. One character father's children left and right, and could care less. They talk about how they are going to "dig" a place and how fantastic it is; and in a week are bored with it, and want to be on the road again.

If this book defines a generation, I'm glad I didn't grow up in it.

There was a scene near the end of the book, where they are wandering the jazz joints in San Francisco. The descriptions of the music and the players is real art. Kerouac shines in small sections like this. But overall the book gets to be tedious as we follow one character who relentlessly sinks into mania.

I barely finished this, and only because I promised myself I would finish it.


SUMMARY

Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951, in an apartment on West Twentieth Street in Manhattan, that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120 foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history. It represents the first full expression of Kerouac's revolutionary aesthetic, the identifiable point at which his thematic vision and narrative voice came together in a sustained burst of creative energy. It was also part of a wider vital experimentation in the American literary, musical, and visual arts in the post-World War II period.

It was not until more than six years later, and several new drafts, that Viking published, in 1957, the novel known to us today. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road, Viking will publish the 1951 scroll in a standard book format. The differences between the two versions are principally ones of significant detail and altered emphasis. The scroll is slightly longer and has a heightened linguistic virtuosity and a more sexually frenetic tone. It also uses the real names of Kerouac's friends instead of the fictional names he later invented for them. The transcription of the scroll was done by Howard Cunnell who, along with Joshua Kupetz, George Mouratidis, and Penny Vlagopoulos, provides a critical introduction that explains the fascinating compositional and publication history of On the Road and anchors the text in its historical, political, and social context.

174 Kesey, Ken
(1)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest  Best Book Lists: 2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

This book is an easy read on one level, and a harder read on another. As a story it's easy; none of the deep literary references or symbolic imagery that makes other books a tough read. But on another level the more you learn about the patients, and the control by Nurse Ratched, the more you start to think they are not the crazy ones. Big Chief sure sounds crazy in the beginning, but after a while you start to believe that his description of the controls in the wall sounds about right.


SUMMARY

An international bestseller and the basis for a hugely successful film, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was one of the defining works of the 1960s. A mordant, wickedly subversive parable set in a mental ward, the novel chronicles the head-on collision between its hell-raising, life-affirming hero Randle Patrick McMurphy and the totalitarian rule of Big Nurse. McMurphy swaggers into the mental ward like a blast of fresh air and turns the place upside down, starting a gambling operation, smuggling in wine and women, and egging on the other patients to join him in open rebellion. But McMurphy's revolution against Big Nurse and everything she stands for quickly turns from sport to a fierce power struggle with shattering results.

With One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Kesey created a work without precedent in American literature, a novel at once comic and tragic that probes the nature of madness and sanity, authority and vitality. Greeted by unanimous acclaim when it was first published, the book has become and enduring favorite of readers.

175 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia
(1)
One Hundred Years of Solitude  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buends, a family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

176 Kosinski, Jerzy
(1)
The Painted Bird  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This is the story of a little boy, and how he survived being sent away by his parents during World War II. it's really a tale of bloody human ignorance; or at least, that's how I read it. This boy is abused by belief systems, one after another. First its peasant ignorance and superstition, then its church ignorance and superstition, then its Nazi ignorance and superstition, next comes Communism. No matter what the system, this poor child is abused over and over until the end of the book, at which point at the ripe old age of about 12, he is starting to realize that every system manages to have its share of ignorance and superstition.

The book was mildly auto-biographical, but there was lots of controversy about that. Having listened to an interview with the author's son, it's easy to believe that there was indeed abuse in the author's childhood.

Still and all, I rate this book with a thumbs up, if only because I happen to agree with the author's assessment of most of humanity.


SUMMARY

Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Kosinski's story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. Through the juxtaposition of adolescence and the most brutal of adult experiences, Kosinski sums up a Bosch-like world of harrowing excess where senseless violence and untempered hatred are the norm. Through sparse prose and vivid imagery, Kosinski's novel is a story of mythic proportion, even more relevant to today's society than it was upon its original publication.

177 Nabakov, Vladimir
(2)
Pale Fire  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In Pale Fire Nabokov offers a cornucopia of deceptive pleasures: a 999-line poem by the reclusive genius John Shade; an adoring foreword and commentary by Shade's self-styled Boswell, Dr. Charles Kinbote; a darkly comic novel of suspense, literary idolatry and one-upmanship, and political intrigue

The book is several "things" inside a book, chronicling a fictitious writer and a fictitious critic.

178 Porter, Katherine Anne
(1)
Pale Horse, Pale Rider  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

This is actuall 3 short novels in one volumn.


SUMMARY

Published in 1939, this landmark collection of three short novels, now available in an exclusive Library of America e-book edition, elevated Katherine Anne Porter, in the words of one contemporary reviewer, "into the illustrious company headed by Hawthorne, Flaubert, and Henry James."

179 Ford, Ford Madox
(2)
Parade's End  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Ford Madox Ford's masterpiece, a tetralogy set in England during World War I, is widely considered one of the best novels of the twentieth century.

First published as four separate novels (Some Do Not . . ., No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up, and The Last Post) between 1924 and 1928, Parade's End explores the world of the English ruling class as it descends into the chaos of war. Christopher Tietjens is an officer from a wealthy family who finds himself torn between his unfaithful socialite wife, Sylvia, and his suffragette mistress, Valentine. A profound portrait of one man's internal struggles during a time of brutal world conflict, Parade's End bears out Graham Greene's prediction that "There is no novelist of this century more likely to live than Ford Madox Ford."

180 Forster, E. M.
(3)
A Passage to India  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

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REVIEW

A novel that tries to understand, explain, and make clear the impossibility of the British domination of India. The British occupation is seen through both sets of eyes, Indian and British; the misunderstandings and problems looked at from both points of view - each of which is flawed.

The only conclusion that can be reached is that British and Indian can never be friends until the are separate.


SUMMARY

Among the greatest novels of the twentieth century and the basis for director David Lean's Academy Award-winning film, A Passage to India tells of the clash of cultures in British India after the turn of the century. In exquisite prose, Forster reveals the menace that lurks just beneath the surface of ordinary life, as a common misunderstanding erupts into a devastating affair.

181 Bely, Andrey
(1)
Petersburg  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

After enlisting in a revolutionary terrorist organization, the university student Nikolai Apollonovich Ableukhov is entrusted with a highly dangerous mission: to plant a bomb and assassinate a major government figure. But the real central character of the novel is the city of Petersburg at the beginning of the twentieth century, caught in the grip of political agitation and social unrest. Intertwining the worlds of history and myth, and parading a cast of unforgettable characters, Petersburg is a story of apocalypse and redemption played out through family dysfunction, conspiracy and murder.

182 Dickens, Charles
(5)
The Pickwick Papers   Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Charles Dickens's first published work, The Pickwick Papers was an instant success that captured the public imagination with its colourful characters and farcical plot. This Penguin Classics edition of Charles Dickens's is edited with notes and an introduction by Mark Wormald. Few first novels have created as much popular excitement as The Pickwick Papers - a comic masterpiece that catapulted its twenty-four-year-old author to immediate fame. Readers were captivated by the adventures of the poet Snodgrass, the lover Tupman, the sportsman Winkle and, above all, by that quintessentially English Quixote, Mr Pickwick, and his cockney Sancho Panza, Sam Weller. From the hallowed turf of Dingley Dell Cricket Club to the unholy fracas of the Eatanswill election, via the Fleet debtors' prison, characters and incidents spring to life from Dickens's pen, to form an enduringly popular work of ebullient humour and literary invention. This edition is based on the first volume edition of 1837, and includes the original illustrations. In his introduction, Mark Wormald discusses the genesis of The Pickwick Papers and the emergence of its central characters. Charles Dickens is one of the best-loved novelists in the English language, whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in 2012. His most famous books, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers, have been adapted for stage and screen and read by millions. If you enjoyed The Pickwick Papers, you might like Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Dickens sees human beings with the most intense vividness ... Consequently his greatest success is The Pickwick Papers' George Orwell 'One of my life's greatest tragedies is to have already read Pickwick Papers - I can't go back and read it for the first time' Fernando Pessoa

183 Didion, Joan
(1)
Play It As It Lays  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

unknown movie
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REVIEW

This novel reads like Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, with one character teetering on edge of suicide, pretty much the whole novel. Her marriage has not worked out, her daughter is in some kind of medical/mental care facility (the reason for which is never made clear); she can't get work, even if she was capable (she is an actress), and her friends are all pretty superficial. The end, however is a surprise in that it is not she that dies (though she does end up in a mental care facility herself.

An extremely short novel, I would recommend The Bell Jar over this. The title basically means you have to play LIFE as it lays - and refers to the odds on a craps table (the characters father was a gambler who taught her all about craps)


SUMMARY

A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, Play It as It Lays captures the mood of an entire generation, the ennui of contemporary society reflected in spare prose that blisters and haunts the reader. Set in a place beyond good and evil-literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul-it remains more than three decades after its original publication a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis and stunning in the still-startling intensity of its prose.

184 Huxley, Aldous
(4)
Point Counter Point  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A sophisticated novel for a sophisticated age (1928) with rational and fantastic characters who are modern in their promiscuities, virtues and vices.

185 Roth, Phillip
(2)
Portnoy’s Complaint  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

"Then came adolescents
" Thus begins chapter 2 of Portnoy's Complaint – and boy what a roller coaster ride it is. I read this when I was in High School. I have no clue why I picked it up, but I have never regretted it. I learned so much about Jewish culture and the pressures on young Jewish males to make just the right choices in life. And Alexander Portnoy tells us everything he encounters in the years of sexual frustration that start with adolescents and masturbation.

I also learned most of the Yiddish I know today from this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone (particularly to men) who can relate to growing up and trying to figure out how sex is supposed to work .


SUMMARY

Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patient's "morality," however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. "The Puzzled Penis," Internationale Zeitschrift fĂŒr Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) It is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship.

186 James, Henry
(4)
The Portrait of a Lady  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Regarded by many as Henry James's finest work, and a lucid tragedy exploring the distance between money and happiness, The Portrait of a Lady contains an introduction by Philip Horne in Penguin Classics. When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy the freedom that her fortune has opened up and to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. Then she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond. Charming and cultivated, Osmond sees Isabel as a rich prize waiting to be taken. Beneath his veneer of civilized behaviour, Isabel discovers cruelty and a stifling darkness. In this portrait of a 'young woman affronting her destiny', Henry James created one of his most magnificent heroines, and a story of intense poignancy.

187 Joyce, James
(3)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Like much of James Joyce's work, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a fictional re-creation of the Irish writer's own life and early environment. The experiences of the novel's young hero, Stephen Dedalus, unfold in astonishingly vivid scenes that seem freshly recalled from life and provide a powerful portrait of the coming of age of a young man of unusual intelligence, sensitivity, and character.

The interest of the novel is deepened by Joyce's telling portrayals of an Irish upbringing and schooling, the Catholic Church and its priesthood, Parnell and Irish politics, encounters with the conflicting roles of art and morality (problems that would follow Joyce throughout his life), sexual experimentation and its aftermath, and the decision to leave Ireland. Rich in details that offer vital insights into Joyce's art, this masterpiece of semiautobiographical fiction remains essential reading in any program of study in modern literature

188 Byatt, A.S.
(1)
Possession  Best Book Lists: 2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "a gifted observer, able to discern the exact details that bring whole worlds into being" and "a storyteller who could keep a sultan on the edge of his throne for a thousand and one nights," A. S. Byatt writes some of the most engaging and skillful novels of our time. Time magazine calls her "a novelist of dazzling inventiveness."

Possession, for which Byatt won England's prestigious Booker Prize, was praised by critics on both sides of the Atlantic when it was first published in 1990. "On academic rivalry and obsession, Byatt is delicious. On the nature of possession—the lover by the beloved, the biographer by his subject—she is profound," said The Sunday Times (London). The New Yorker dubbed it "more fun to read than The Name of the Rose . . . Its prankish verve [and] monstrous richness of detail [make for] a one-woman variety show of literary styles and types." The novel traces a pair of young academics—Roland Michell and Maud Bailey—as they uncover a clandestine love affair between two long-dead Victorian poets. Interwoven in a mesmerizing pastiche are love letters and fairytales, extracts from biographies and scholarly accounts, creating a sensuous and utterly delightful novel of ideas and passions.

189 Cain, James M.
(1)
The Postman Always Rings Twice  Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - Mystery/Detective)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This is a fast paced book about a bum and a woman in a bad marriage who fall in passion (not love to start) and come up with a plot to kill her husband. Their first attempt fails, but the second attempt just about succeeds - still, they land in court. All is well that ends well though, and the two of them realize they are really in love after all - but things don't end well for these two.

Like I said... Fast paced. Raw. And not filled with a bunch of tender emotions. This human passion out in the open.


SUMMARY

An amoral young tramp. A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband. A problem that has only one grisly solution--a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve.

First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic of the roman noir. It established James M. Cain as a major novelist with an unsparing vision of America's bleak underside, and was acknowledged by Albert Camus as the model for The Stranger.

190 Greene, Graham
(2)
The Power and the Glory  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, the Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly "whiskey priest" is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.

191 Irving, John
(2)
A Prayer for Owen Meany  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany

192 Austen, Jane
(2)
Pride and Prejudice  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - Romance)

ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

After seeing the movie with Kira Knightley I wanted to read the book to see how well the characters were represented by the movie. I loved the movie, and I loved this book. The characters in the book were perfectly played in the movie.

What I loved MOST about the book was its glimpse into how life was lived at the time of the novel. How people entertained themselves before mass entertainments took hold. The character of Mr. Bennet (Lizzie's father) is just as Donald Sutherland played him in the movie. So to was the character of Mr. Darcy (played by Mathew McFayden – who was also fantastic in Death At A Funeral).

I would recommend this book to anyone with even a slight interest in this time in history, or romance in general.


SUMMARY

Five daughters of a country gentleman who married for beauty and lived to regret it, are enticed by their foolish (though a gentlewoman) mother's announcement of two eligible bachelors in the neighborhood who are newly come down from London. The meetings between the five daughters and these two, as well as other eligible bachelors, at balls result in hoped for love for one sister, disdain and infatuation and irritation from three separate bachelors for another sister, a dangerous elopement for a third sister, and nothing much more than scoldings for the other two sisters.

Jane hopes for marriage with Mr. Bingley but her evenly bestowed smiles lead Darcy to convince Bingley that his love is not returned, while Darcy finds greater and greater attraction in Elizabeth whom he thought too unexceptional to dance with at the Meryton ball. Darcy's old enemy, Wickham, accidentally arrives on the scene and turns Elizabeth's head--and heart--with gossip about Darcy that steels Elizabeth's negative opinion against Darcy. When a visit to Rosings Park to visit Charlotte--Elizabeth's best friend who shocked her by marrying the cousin whom Elizabeth had strongly rejected--exposes Elizabeth to a proposal of marriage form Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth begins a journey of self-discovery.

When a holiday with her Aunt and Uncle surprises Elizabeth with a tour of Pemberley, Darcy's estate and manor house, and then surprises her with the unannounced presence of Darcy himself, Elizabeth's future begins to look brighter as Darcy seems to have taken some of her scathing insults to heart when she rejected his proposal and made himself into a kinder person. But news of Lydia's strange elopement with Darcy's enemy, Wickham, throws Elizabeth on Darcy's mercy and ends her newly sprung hopes of a renewal of his affections. Darcy recognizes his fault of prideful silence in Wickham's being allowed to socialize with respectable families and immediately goes to set things right.

After making amends for the harm his pride and ill-judged decisions had caused, Darcy and Bingley return to Netherfield Park and visit the Bennet home. This time Bingley knows his affection is returned and Darcy knows, because of the outcome of Elizabeth's interview with Darcy's meddling aunt, Lady de Bourgh, that Elizabeth may no longer despise him. Both ladies and men receive their heart's desires when each couple finds a moment to be alone and two weddings are joyously celebrated.

193 Spark, Muriel
(1)
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

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REVIEW

This is a fun and interesting little book about a teacher (Jean Brodie) who is constantly telling her select set of students that she is in her "prime" and that they shall be the crĂšme de la crĂšme of students in the school. Miss Brodie is quite unorthodox in her manner of teaching and her manner of love life. The girls who start at age 9 and are carried to age 17 or 18 in the book, get to explore life through the eyes of Miss Brodie, accepting and rejecting and wondering constantly about the real Miss Brodie and who and how she loves.

The book jumps forwards and backwards in time, sometimes from paragraph to paragraph, but is all the more fun to read because of it. Miss Brodie's manner is disapproved of by the school's Head Mistress who grills the girls through the years and who, through the betrayal of one of the girls, manages to get rid of this strange teacher. We learn of the betrayal early in the book, but not who or how, until just before the end.

I enjoyed this, and would recommend it. It was fun.


SUMMARY

At the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls, in Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods, in her attraction to the married art master, Teddy Lloyd, in her affair with the bachelor music master, Gordon Lowther, and—most important—in her dedication to "her girls," the students she selects to be her crùme de la crùme. Fanatically devoted, each member of the Brodie set—Eunice, Jenny, Mary, Monica, Rose, and Sandy—is "famous for something," and Miss Brodie strives to bring out the best in each one. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises her girls, "Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me."

And they do. But one of them will betray her.

194 Lafayette, Madame de
(1)
The Princess of Cleves  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Poised between the fading world of chivalric romance and a new psychological realism, Madame de Lafayette's novel of passion and self-deception marks a turning point in the history of the novel. When it first appeared anonymously in 1678--in the heyday of French classicism--it aroused fierce controversy among critics and readers, particularly for the extraordinary confession which forms the climax of the story. It is now regarded as a landmark in the history of women's writing. In this entirely new translation, The Princesse de Cleves is accompanied by two shorter works also attributed to Mme de Lafayette, The Princesse de Montpensier and The Comtesse de Tende.

195 Updike, John
(1)
Rabbit, Run  Best Book Lists: 2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his—or any other—generation. Its hero is Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification and family duty—even, in a sense, human hard-heartedness and divine Grace. Though his flight from home traces a zigzag of evasion, he holds to the faith that he is on the right path, an invisible line toward his own salvation as straight as a ruler's edge.

196 Doctorow, E. L.
(1)
Ragtime  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

NWord ThumbsUP unknown
Checked

REVIEW

Doctorow uses language almost as well as Nabikov, but more straight forward. A brilliant look at the early 20th Century American scene before we plunged into WWI. A tragedy wherein a black man seeks justice and what happens when he can't find it.

Like Dumas, Doctorow took actual history and weaved a set of fictional characters into it. I love how Charlie Chaplin appears in the book, though you don't know it is him. It's almost like reading newspapers of the time, but with a tragic story line woven in. A good read.


SUMMARY

The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.

197 Buck, Pearl S.
(2)
The Rainbow   Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A tale of romance in an exotic locale; published posthumously.

198 Lawrence, D. H.
(4)
The Rainbow   Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Set against the backdrop of England's industrial revolution, D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow examines shifting social roles in pre-First World War England. Three generations of Brangwen women, Anna, Ursula, and Gudrun, each deal with their own challenges: forbidden sexual desire, unfulfilling marriages and the impossibility of physical love. Despite their station in life, the Brangwen women are able to emerge beyond the conventions of their time and place, challenging English society and emerging with strong convictions of both their selves and their desires.

The Rainbow was banned upon publication in 1915, and all copies were subsequently seized and burnt. Upon republication the novel achieved commercial success, shocking readers with its frank discussion of sexuality and women's physical desire. The Rainbow is the first of two Brangwen family novels, whose story is concluded in Women in Love. The Rainbow has been adapted for film and television.

199 Maurier, Daphne du
(1)
Rebecca  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

200 Gaddis, William
(1)
The Recognitions  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The book Jonathan Franzen dubbed the "ur-text of postwar fiction" and the "first great cultural critique, which, even if Heller and Pynchon hadn't read it while composing Catch-22 and V., managed to anticipate the spirit of both"--The Recognitions is a masterwork about art and forgery, and the increasingly thin line between the counterfeit and the fake. Gaddis anticipates by almost half a century the crisis of reality that we currently face, where the real and the virtual are combining in alarming ways, and the sources of legitimacy and power are often obscure to us.

201 Stendhal,
(1)
The Red and the Black  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

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SUMMARY

Charting the rise and fall of an ambitious young social climber in a cruel, monarchical society, Stendhal's The Red and the Black is translated with an introduction and notes by Roger Gard in Penguin Classics. Handsome, ambitious Julien Sorel is determined to rise above his humble provincial origins. Soon realizing that success can only be achieved by adopting the subtle code of hypocrisy by which society operates, he begins to achieve advancement through deceit and self-interest. His triumphant career takes him into the heart of glamorous Parisian society, along the way conquering the gentle, married Madame de RĂȘnal, and the haughty Mathilde. But then Julien commits an unexpected, devastating crime - and brings about his own downfall. The Red and the Black is a lively, satirical portrayal of French society after Waterloo, riddled with corruption, greed and ennui, and Julien - the cold exploiter whose Machiavellian campaign is undercut by his own emotions - is one of the most intriguing characters in European literature. Roger Gard's fine translation remains faithful to the natural, conversational tone of the original, while his introduction elucidates the complexities of Julien's character. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading and an appendix on Stendhal's use of epigraphs. Stendhal (1783-1842) was the pseudonym of Henri Marie Beyle, born and raised in Grenoble. Offered a post in the Ministry of War, from 1800 onwards he followed Napoleon's campaigns throughout Europe before retiring to Italy. Here, as 'Stendhal', he began writing on art, music and travel. Though not well-received during his lifetime, his work, including The Red and the Black (1830) and The Charterhouse of Parma (1839), now places him among the pioneers of nineteenth-century literary realism.

202 Crane, Stephen
(1)
The Red Badge of Courage  Best Book Lists: 3,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

Before reading this I was always under the impression that it was a history of one person's view of the civil war. Well, it is that, but most of the action takes place in one two-day battle. The range of emotions and reactions that Crane wanted to explore took no more than this. Our young protagonist goes through hell in 2 days - and most of it of his own making. The battle scenes are full of chaos, and rarely is the enemy even seen, though his presence is always imminent. At only one point is he clearly seen, and by then our hero has determined to face his demon's and devil take the hindmost.

And easy short and entertaining read.


SUMMARY

The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane (1871–1900). Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound, a "red badge of courage," to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer. Although Crane was born after the war, and had not at the time experienced battle first-hand, the novel is known for its realism. He began writing what would become his second novel in 1893, using various contemporary and written accounts (such as those published previously by Century Magazine) as inspiration. It is believed that he based the fictional battle on that of Chancellorsville; he may also have interviewed veterans of the 124th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the Orange Blossoms. Initially shortened and serialized in newspapers in December 1894, the novel was published in full in October 1895. A longer version of the work, based on Crane's original manuscript, was published in 1982.

203 Hammett, Dashiell
(3)
Red Harvest  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - Mystery/Detective)

unknown
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REVIEW

This was a good read. You couldn't tell who to trust, or what everyone was out to gain - though you could trust that everyone was out for themselves and would stab you in the back in a heart beat. Another of the hard boiled detective series, this book is more violent than the others. I enjoyed it.


SUMMARY

When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty--even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.

The Continental Op, hero of this mystery, is a cool, experienced employee of the Continental Detective Agency. Client Donald Wilson has been killed, and the Op must track down his murderer. Personville, better known as Poisonville, is an unattractive company town, owned by Donald's father, Elihu, but controlled by several competing gangs. Alienated by the local turf wars, the Op finagles Elihu into paying for a second job, "cleaning up Poisonville." Confused yet? This is only the beginning of an incredibly convoluted plot. Hammett's exquisitely defined charactersDthe shabby, charming, and completely mercenary lady-of-the-evening; the lazy, humorous yet cold and avaricious police chief; and especially the tautly written, gradual disintegration of the Op's detached personality make this a compelling read. In addition, William Dufris's performance is outstanding. Each character has his/her own unique vocal tag composed of both tonal inflections and speech patterns suited to his/her persona. Wonderful! The only flaw is the technical difficulty of cueing the "track book marked" CD format. An exceptional presentation of a lesser classic from the golden age of the mystery genre. Recommended for all but the smallest public and academic libraries.DI. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

204 Ishiguro, Kazuo
(2)
The Remains of the Day  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving "a great gentleman." But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness" and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.

A tragic, spiritual portrait of a perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England. A wonderful, wonderful book.

205 Yates, Richard
(1)
Revolutionary Road  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

From the moment of its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road was hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs. It's the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.

206 Defoe, Daniel
(1)
Robinson Crusoe  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - Adventure)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

This is a great book. Crusoe's reflections on his life before and God - how God seems to have at first mistreated him by casting him away on an island, but then coming to terms with and finding faith in God are interesting for any Christian to read. It's also fun to read how he survives on the island, and how he makes his escape. How he treats the character Friday - whom he views as a savage at first, good for nothing but a slave, but then develops a real liking and respect for his companion is interesting as well, given the morality at the time the book was written. (Still, you can see that DeFoe had serious issues with anyone other than his fellow Britains. No country on the planet embodies civilization other than his home. Even the Spanish are cast in a very poor life, and left to fend for themselves in the end - even after he began to make an alliance with them.)

As always, the look into the author's own mind is perhaps the most interesting of all. I may have to check out some more Defoe.


SUMMARY

The sole survivor of a shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe is washed up on a desert island. In his journal he chronicles his daily battle to stay alive, as he conquers isolation, fashions shelter and clothes, enlists the help of a native islander who he names 'Friday', and fights off cannibals and mutineers. Written in an age of exploration and enterprise, it has been variously interpreted as an embodiment of British imperialist values, as a portrayal of 'natural man', or as a moral fable. But above all is a brilliant narrative, depicting Crusoe's transformation from terrified survivor to self-sufficient master of an island. This edition contains a full chronology of Defoe's life and times, explanatory notes, glossary and a critical introduction discussing Robinson Crusoe as a pioneering work of modern psychological realism.

207 Forster, E. M.
(3)
A Room With a View  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In common with much of his other writing, this work by the eminent English novelist and essayist E. M. Forster (1879–1970) displays an unusually perceptive view of British society in the early 20th century. Written in 1908, A Room with a View is a social comedy set in Florence, Italy, and Surrey, England. Its heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, struggling against straitlaced Victorian attitudes of arrogance, narrow-mindedness and snobbery, falls in love-while on holiday in Italy-with the socially unsuitable George Emerson.

Caught up in a claustrophobic world of pretentiousness and rigidity, Lucy ultimately rejects her fiancé, Cecil Vyse, and chooses, instead, to wed her true love, the young man whose sense of freedom and lack of artificiality became apparent to her in the Italian pensione where they first met. This classic exploration of passion, human nature and social convention is reprinted here complete and unabridged.

208 Haley, Alex
(1)
Roots  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - Historical)

NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

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SUMMARY

One of the most important books and television series ever to appear, Roots, galvanized the nation, and created an extraordinary political, racial, social and cultural dialogue that hadn't been seen since the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The book sold over one million copies in the first year, and the miniseries was watched by an astonishing 130 million people. It also won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Roots opened up the minds of Americans of all colors and faiths to one of the darkest and most painful parts of America's past.

209 Hawthorne, Nathaniel
(1)
The Scarlet Letter  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Like all of Hawthorne's novels, "The Scarlet Letter" has but a slender plot and but few characters with an influence on the development of the story. Its great dramatic force depends entirely on the mental states of the actors and their relations to one another, —relations of conscience, — relations between wronged and wrongers. Its great burden is the weight of unacknowledged sin as seen in the remorse and cowardice and suffering of the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale. Contrasted with his concealed agony is the constant confession, conveyed by the letter, which is forced upon Hester, and has a double effect, — a healthful one, working beneficently, and making her helpful and benevolent, tolerant and thoughtful ; and an unhealthful one, which by the great emphasis placed on her transgression, the keeping her forever under its ban and isolating her from her fellows, prepares her to break away from the long repression and lapse again into sin when she plans her flight. Roger Chillingworth is an embodiment of subtle and refined revenge. The most striking situation is perhaps "The Minister's Vigil," in chapter xii. The book, though corresponding in its tone and burden to some of the shorter stories, had a more startling and dramatic character, and a strangeness, which at once took hold of a larger public than any of those had attracted. Though imperfectly comprehended, and even misunderstood in some quarters, it was seen to have a new and unique quality; and Hawthorne's reputation became national.

210 Waugh, Evelyn
(3)
Scoop  Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - Humor)

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REVIEW

This is another English farce/comedy novel that makes fun of the world of journalism, particularly as it relates to foreign correspondents. A case of mistaken identity starts the problems, and they balloon from there. A much better novel in the vein is LUCKY JIM - also on the best books list.

You can see, if you read this genre of books, how the farce developed and led to the novels of Terry Prachett, Neil Gaiman and Tom Holt - Modern day writers of the farce genre. This is an early example, and amusing as such. Like I said, LUCKY JIM is funnier and more relatable.


SUMMARY

Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner party tip from Mrs. Algernon Stitch, Lord Copper feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. So begins Scoop, Waugh's exuberant comedy of mistaken identity and brilliantly irreverent satire of the hectic pursuit of hot news.

211 Conrad, Joseph
(4)
The Secret Agent  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

A chilling tale of espionage and terrorism by a literary master. On the surface, Adolf Verloc is a bookstore owner in London. Beneath his carefully crafted persona, dwells a spy for a foreign government. When his handlers decide it's time for action, Verloc is tasked with blowing up the Royal Observatory. This modern novel is still as fresh and relevant as ever and makes an exciting and though-provoking read.

212 Bowles, Paul
(1)
The Sheltering Sky  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown movie
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REVIEW

Okay, having read HOW TO READ LITERATURE LIKE A PROFESSOR, I can tell you that this is a quest novel with vampire characters. What does that mean... It means that the characters are on a journey - in this case through parts of the Sahara desert. And vampire characters are characters who suck the life out of another character, using them up over time (not like actual vampires sucking blood - think "users"). The book follows 3 people who journey through post WWII Northern Africa in search of... well, what is not really clear. They all seem to want to find the meaning of the desert, but are wrapped up in various self worries that they fail to reach this goal. When the married couple, Paul and Kit, become separated from their traveling companion (on purpose), it becomes clear that Paul is the vampire character, and with only Kit left to "feed" on, he starts to unhinge her mind. He eventually sickens and dies, but by this time Kit is so lost that she is captured by desert native and made part of his harem. When she escapes this and is "re-captured" by the civilized world she has no sanity left - and retreats back to the wandering nomad she has become.

There, I treated it like literature. As far as a read goes - it is mildly interesting in its description of North Africa at this time in history (Paul Bowles grew up there). Beyond that the characters are not quite quirky enough to hold your interest, other than to wonder why they seem bent on destroying themselves.

Its obvious that the author loves the country, and his descriptions are wonderful. I would only recommend this book to someone who had plenty of time, and an inclination to try and find out what it all means. Good luck.


SUMMARY

The Sheltering Sky is a landmark of twentieth-century literature. In this intensely fascinating story, Paul Bowles examines the ways in which Americans' incomprehension of alien cultures leads to the ultimate destruction of those cultures.

A story about three American travelers adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II, The Sheltering Sky explores the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness and impassive cruelty of the desert.

213 Proulx, Annie
(1)
The Shipping News  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

What a nice little book. The story of a broken man who, through tough times and odd events, finds himself on the road to wholeness (along with his children). This was wonderfully readable and engaging. Illustrates the harsh life of people trying to make their way in a dying culture (Newfoundland fishing communities). People who have grown up around the water and the water is all they know and love. The main character, Quoyle, is deeply broken from his love for his abusive first wife (who dies early in the book, thank goodness). Over time he learns some disturbing things about his ancestors and family, but also learns that he can heal and grow and fall in love again.

I really enjoyed this book - it is one of the ones that "takes me there". I recommend it completely.


SUMMARY

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Annie Proulx's The Shipping News is a vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary North American family.

Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack, with a "head shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair...features as bunched as kissed fingertips," is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just desserts. An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland. Here, on desolate Quoyle's Point, in a house empty except for a few mementos of the family's unsavory past, the battered members of three generations try to cobble up new lives.

Newfoundland is a country of coast and cove where the mercury rarely rises above seventy degrees, the local culinary delicacy is cod cheeks, and it's easier to travel by boat and snowmobile than on anything with wheels. In this harsh place of cruel storms, a collapsing fishery, and chronic unemployment, the aunt sets up as a yacht upholsterer in nearby Killick-Claw, and Quoyle finds a job reporting the shipping news for the local weekly, the Gammy Bird (a paper that specializes in sexual-abuse stories and grisly photos of car accidents).

As the long winter closes its jaws of ice, each of the Quoyles confronts private demons, reels from catastrophe to minor triumph—in the company of the obsequious Mavis Bangs; Diddy Shovel the strongman; drowned Herald Prowse; cane-twirling Beety; Nutbeem, who steals foreign news from the radio; a demented cousin the aunt refuses to recognize; the much-zippered Alvin Yark; silent Wavey; and old Billy Pretty, with his bag of secrets. By the time of the spring storms Quoyle has learned how to gut cod, to escape from a pickle jar, and to tie a true lover's knot.

214 Dreiser, Theodore
(2)
Sister Carrie  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

An 18-year-old girl without money or connections ventures forth from her small town in search of a better life in Theodore Dreiser's revolutionary first novel. The chronicle of Carrie Meeber's rise from obscurity to fame — and the effects of her progress on the men who use her and are used in turn — aroused a storm of controversy and debate upon its debut in 1900. The author's nonjudgmental portrait of a heroine who violates the contemporary moral code outraged some critics and elated others. A century later, Dreiser's compelling plot and realistic characters continue to fascinate readers.

215 Yasunari, Kawabata
(1)
Snow Country  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer's masterpiece: a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.

At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome. In chronicling the course of this doomed romance, Kawabata has created a story for the ages — a stunning novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.

216 Stephenson, Neal
(1)
Snow Crash  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (SciFi)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he's a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that's striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous
you'll recognize it immediately.

217 Guterson, David
(1)
Snow Falling on Cedars  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - Mystery/Detective)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

An excellent novel about human emotion, motivation, struggle and love in a time of high stress. A young man falls in love with a Japanese girl - part of the community living on an island near Washington State. Her, and her family, and all the members of the Japanese community are forced to prison camps in the U.S. when Pearl Harbor is bombed. The young man goes to war in the Pacific and loses one arm. When they both return, the young man is filled with love and hate; and the young girl is now a married woman.

Then, the woman's husband is accused of murder. Is it prejudice that will convict him? Does the young man, still in love with the now married woman, share the information that he believes will exonerate her husband? Can he resolve his feelings of love and hate?

This book is amazingly well written. Everything about every character is explored... Every detail of farming, fishing, weather, and life on an island where everyone knows everyone is described. The internal thoughts of every character are made explicit.. right down to the feeling of the coroner about the victim's penis. No detail is to small to skip, and yet, the book flows wonderfully. I enjoyed the descriptions and the detail. It made everything real - like I could almost touch the lives of the people.

This book gets a big thumbs up from me.


SUMMARY

San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries--memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense-- one that leaves us shaken and changed.

218 Morrison, Toni
(2)
Song of Solomon  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel GarcĂ­a MĂĄrquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family's origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.

219 Lawrence, D. H.
(4)
Sons and Lovers  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

This semi-autobiographical novel explores the emotional conflicts through the protagonist, Paul Morel, and the suffocating relationships with a demanding mother and two very different lovers. It is a pre-Freudian exploration of love and possessiveness.

220 Styron, William
(2)
Sophie's Choice  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Three stories are told: a young Southerner wants to become a writer; a turbulent love-hate affair between a brilliant Jew and a beautiful Polish woman; and of an awful wound in that woman's past--one that impels both Sophie and Nathan toward destruction.

221 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
(1)
The Sorrows of Young Werther  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Celebrated as a leading figure of the German literary movement known as Sturm und Drang ("storm and stress"), Goethe made his reputation with this short novel, originally published in 1774. Its tale of a sensitive young man's self-destructive passion for a lover who ultimately rejects him was based in part on the author's own experiences, and the story's tragic resolution inspired a wave of suicides among young romantics throughout Europe. Goethe's portrayal of Zerrissenheit, "the state of being torn apart," in which a character struggles to reconcile his artistic sensibilities with the demands of the objective world, proved tremendously influential to subsequent writers, and The Sorrows of Young Werther continues to speak to modern

222 Barth, John
(1)
The Sot-Weed Factor  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The novel is a satirical epic of the colonization of Maryland based on the life of an actual poet, Ebenezer Cooke, who wrote a poem of the same title. The Sot-Weed Factor is what Northrop Frye called an anatomy —[citation needed] a large, loosely structured work, with digressions, distractions, stories within stories, and lists (such as a lengthy exchange of insulting terms by two prostitutes).[page needed] The fictional Ebenezer Cooke (repeatedly described as "poet and virgin") is a Candide-like innocent who sets out to write a heroic epic, becomes disillusioned and ends up writing a biting satire.

The novel is set in the 1680s and 90s in London and on the eastern shore of the colony of Maryland. It tells the story of an English poet named Ebenezer Cooke who is given the title "Poet Laureate of Maryland" by Charles Calvert. He undergoes many adventures on his journey to Maryland and while in Maryland, all the while striving to preserve his innocence (i.e. his virginity). The book takes its title from the grand poem that Cooke composes throughout the story, which was originally intended to sing the praises of Maryland, but ends up being a biting satire based on his disillusioning experiences.

223 Faulkner, William
(4)
The Sound and the Fury  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

There was another yellow butterfly, like one of the sunflecks had come loose.' This title comes with an introduction by Richard Huges. Depicting the gradual disintegration of the Compson family through four fractured narratives, The Sound and the Fury explores intense, passionate family relationships where there is no love, only self-centredness. At its heart this is a novel about lovelessness - 'only an idiot has no grief; only a fool would forget it. What else is there in this world sharp enough to stick to your guts?'

224 Ford, Richard
(1)
The Sportswriter  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

As a sportswriter, Frank Bascombe makes his living studying people--men, mostly--who live entirely within themselves. This is a condition that Frank himself aspires to. But at thirty-eight, he suffers from incurable dreaminess, occasional pounding of the heart, and the not-too-distant losses of a career, a son, and a marriage. In the course of the Easter week in which Ford's moving novel transpires, Bascombe will end up losing the remnants of his familiar life, though with his spirits soaring.

225 Shields, Carol
(1)
Stone Diaries  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

ONE OF THE MOST successful and acclaimed novels of our time, this fictionalized autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett is a subtle but affecting portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life. What transforms this seemingly ordinary tale is the richness of Daisy's vividly described inner life--from her earliest memories of her adoptive mother to her awareness of impending death.

226 Camus, Albert
(1)
The Stranger  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

unknown
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REVIEW

A short easy read, and an interesting character who seems to be more of a nihilist than and existentialist. The main character doesn't seem to feel much about anything; every possibility is as good as any other since they all end the same way - in death. What difference does it make what day we die, we all die one way or the other.

A pretty clear exposition of what it means to be a nihilist.


SUMMARY

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.

227 Farrell, James T.
(1)
The Studs Lonigan Trilogy  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord unknown
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REVIEW

This has been called Farrell's Magnum Opus, and at over 800 pages, I would say it qualified. I was a little hesitant to start this, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. Not because the story was so compelling... the story is just a series of events in a life... but because I've never read a book that looked so carefully and so accurately at the internal goings on of one character, Studs. Lots of books let you look into the mind of a character, but that mind is often depicted as a straight forward monologue, keeping to one topic to advance the story. Rarely is it a chaotic mix of conflicting emotions, motivations, insecurities, wishful thinking and self analysis that is written here. Studs mind flits from thing to thing, influenced by the world around him and his own desires. He starts as a boy wanting respect and admiration, and knowing of only one way to get that - by being a "tough". But as he grows older he is always afraid of letting his real thoughts show, and constantly puts on a facade that he thinks will gain him what he wants from life. Course, he has no clue what he wants from life, and so he ends up directionless.

I enjoyed this because I've been told that I too spend much of my time in my own head, and though I am nothing like Studs Lonigan in character... I recognized how his mind worked and saw myself in him. I saw many people in him. It was pretty amazing.

BUT... these characters are not nice people. Be prepared for racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and just plain criminal behavior. Sometimes this is difficult to read. It does seem to be an accurate reflection of these kind of people - I imagine Farrel grew up with just this gang.


SUMMARY

Collected here in one volume is James T. Farrell's renowned trilogy of the youth, early manhood, and death of Studs Lonigan: Young Lonigan, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, and Judgment Day. In this relentlessly naturalistic portrait, Studs starts out his life full of vigor and ambition, qualities that are crushed by the Chicago youth's limited social and economic environment. Studs's swaggering and vicious comrades, his narrow family, and his educational and religious background lead him to a life of futile dissipation. Ann Douglas provides an illuminating introductory essay to Farrell's masterpiece, one of the greatest novels of American literature.

228 Hemingway, Ernest
(4)
The Sun Also Rises  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie
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REVIEW

I read this when I was probably too young to appreciate it. I just kept thinking that Hemingway committed suicide, so why should I pay attention. I won't rate this till I re-read it.


SUMMARY

The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.

229 Shikibu, Murasaki
(1)
The Tale of Genji  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Written in the eleventh century, this exquisite portrait of courtly life in medieval Japan is widely celebrated as the world's first novel. Genji, the Shining Prince, is the son of an emperor. He is a passionate character whose tempestuous nature, family circumstances, love affairs, alliances, and shifting political fortunes form the core of this magnificent epic. Royall Tyler's superior translation is detailed, poetic, and superbly true to the Japanese original while allowing the modern reader to appreciate it as a contemporary treasure. Supplemented with detailed notes, glossaries, character lists, and chronologies to help the reader navigate the multigenerational narrative, this comprehensive edition presents this ancient tale in the grand style that it deserves.

230 Fitzgerald, F. Scott
(2)
Tender Is the Night  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

NWord UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise.

231 Hardy, Thomas
(1)
Tess of the D'Urbervilles  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The ne'er-do-well sire of a starving brood suddenly discovers a family connection to the aristocracy, and his selfish scheme to capitalize on their wealth sets a fateful plot in motion. Jack Durbeyfield dispatches his gentle daughter Tess to the home of their noble kin, anticipating a lucrative match between the lovely girl and a titled cousin. Innocent Tess finds the path of the d'Urberville estate paved with ruin in this gripping tale of the inevitability of fate and the tragic nature of existence.

Subtitled A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, Thomas Hardy's sympathetic portrait of a blameless young woman's destruction first appeared in 1891. Its powerful indictment of Victorian hypocrisy, along with its unconventional focus on the rural lower class and its direct treatment of sexuality and religion, raised a ferocious public outcry. Tess of the D'Ubervilles is Hardy's penultimate novel; the pressures of critical infamy shortly afterward drove the author to abandon the genre in favor of poetry. Like his fictional heroine, the artist fell victim to a rigidly oppressive moral code.

232 Hurston, Zora Neale
(1)
Their Eyes Were Watching God  Best Book Lists: 2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord unknown
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REVIEW

A great book. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in reading about someone's discovery of life. Hurston is a black author, and the dialog is deep southern black of the last century, and sometimes hard to read because of that. But after a while you begin to get used to it and the characters shine through.


SUMMARY

"A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don't know how to live properly." —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences' rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston's classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

233 Achebe, Chinua
(1)
Things Fall Apart  Best Book Lists: 2,3,4 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
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REVIEW

Called the archetypical African novel, this book is very easy to read, and, though the prose are simple and direct, the story will swing you up and down emotionally. In the end, you are ashamed to be a white person. It follows the life of Okonkwo, from a boy with a father he is not proud of, to a proud member of his tribe with three wives. Okonkwo has a good handle on life, and how he will rise to be an important member of his tribe. He is half way there when
 well.. things fall apart. He struggles, using everything he has learned, but as the world changes (and not really for the better) all his learning and knowledge does him no good. He watches as his world does fall apart.

This is an excellent read.


SUMMARY

Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a "strong man" of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world. The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.

234 Dumas, Alexandre
(1)
The Three Musketeers  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - Adventure)

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REVIEW

Fun… From beginning to end. One could say that what Dumas was writing was non-fiction. He takes actual history, and weaves his characters into it so seamlessly that you would think this was a true story. The Musketeers are as fun as you have seen them portrayed in various movies (the 1973 version being my favorite, and very close to the book). The book is an adventure for all time.


SUMMARY

When d'Artagnan goes to Paris to become a Musketeer, he embarks on a swashbuckling adventure with the legendary Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. If they wish to trump the nefarious Cardinal Richelieu, it's got to be "all for one, one for all."

235 Grass, Gunter
(1)
The Tin Drum  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The Tin Drum, one of the great novels of the twentieth century, was published in Ralph Manheim's outstanding translation in 1959. It became a runaway bestseller and catapulted its young author to the forefront of world literature. This edition, translated by Breon Mitchell, is more faithful to Grass's style and rhythm, restores omissions, and reflects more fully the complexity of the original work.

After more than fifty years, The Tin Drum has, if anything, gained in power and relevance. All of Grass's amazing evocations are still there, and still amazing: Oskar Matzerath, the indomitable drummer; his grandmother, Anna Koljaiczek; his mother, Agnes; Alfred Matzerath and Jan Bronski, his presumptive fathers. And Oskar's midget friends—Bebra, the great circus master, and Roswitha Raguna, the famous somnambulist; Sister Scholastica and Sister Agatha, the Right Reverend Father Wiehnke, the Greffs, the Schefflers, Herr Fajngold, all Kashubians, Poles, Germans, and Jews—waiting to be discovered and rediscovered.

236 Lee, Harper
(1)
To Kill A Mockingbird  Best Book Lists: 2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

Racism and justice through the eyes of a child. This book is great. I had seen the movie years ago, and it is faithful to the book. The scenery and some of the characters are autobiographical – the boy Dill is actually Truman Capote as a child – he and Harper Lee were friends for life.

I would recommend this book to everyone.


SUMMARY

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father-a crusading local lawyer-risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

237 Woolf, Virginia
(2)
To The Lighthouse  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

unknown
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REVIEW

It is absolutely no wonder at all to me anymore why Virginia Woolf committed suicide. Anyone who can extract so much excruciating detail from the tiniest little thing is living WAY to much inside their own head. Did she think that other people around her perceived the world the way she wrote about it? If she did, then her entire life must have been one huge disappointment after another. Her fellow human beings must have seemed shallow and more like mechanical robots than herself. And the swing of emotions occurring within seconds of each other must have been worse than any manic-depression I have ever heard described.

Okay - I can see why this is listed as one of the greatest books of all time. If you want to learn how to describe a scene or the inside thoughts of a character, then nothing holds a candle to Woolf. But, damn, it's nearly an impossible read. James Joyce's Ulysses makes more sense from paragraph to paragraph then this small but weighty book.

One star because it's very hard to read; not because it is no good. Read Mrs. Dalloway instead, if you want to read Woolf. If you love that one, then this one might be your cup of tea.


SUMMARY

As Virginia Woolf's greatest novel, this is a vivid portrait of a single day in a woman's life. When we meet her, Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of party preparation while in her mind she is something much more than a perfect society hostess. As she readies her house, she is flooded with remembrances of faraway times. And, met with the realities of the present, Clarissa reexamines the choices that brought her there, hesitantly looking ahead to the unfamiliar work of growing old.

"Mrs. Dalloway was the first novel to split the atom. If the novel before Mrs. Dalloway aspired to immensities of scope and scale, to heroic journeys across vast landscapes, with Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf insisted that it could also locate the enormous within the everyday; that a life of errands and party-giving was every bit as viable a subject as any life lived anywhere; and that should any human act in any novel seem unimportant, it has merely been inadequately observed. The novel as an art form has not been the same since.

"Mrs. Dalloway also contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century."

--Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours

238 Caldwell, Erskine
(1)
Tobacco Road  Best Book Lists: 1 (Fiction - General)

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REVIEW

Oh lord, what a painful book to read. Not painful in that it was difficult, no, this is a very easy to read book - you can finish it in one day. No, it's painful in the manner of Steinbeck, but not quite. In Steinbeck the characters are very human and you can identify with them such that, when tragedy hits them, you are just punched in the gut by it. In Tobacco Road, the characters are so flawed, so ignorant, so de-humanized, that it's just painful from start to finish to read what they do to themselves. You keep thinking, no one could be this ignorant; and yet, in the back of your head there is that bothersome thought that Caldwell is not making any of this up. That these are real people. That they are living in real circumstances. And that bothersome little thought comes charging to the fore every now and then as you read - and you want to vomit. My GOD, humanity can't be that bad - OH YES IT CAN.

I seriously don't know how to rate this book. If a book is supposed to evoke a response (laughter, tears, perplextion) then this is a 5 star book, no doubt. Will you feel good after putting it down. No way. Will you be glad you read it. Probably. I seriously don't know how to rate it. So.. here goes...


SUMMARY

Caldwell's bestselling, controversial classic: the story of a Southern sharecropper family ground down by the devastation of the Great Depression

Even before the Great Depression struck, Jeeter Lester and his family were desperately poor sharecroppers. But when hard times begin to affect the families that once helped support them, the Lesters slip completely into the abyss. Rather than hold on to each other for support, Jeeter, his wife Ada, and their twelve children are overcome by the fractured and violent society around them.

Banned and burned when first released in 1932, Tobacco Road is a brutal examination of poverty's dehumanizing influence by one of America's great masters of political fiction.

239 Fielding, Henry
(1)
Tom Jones The History of; a Foundling  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Henry Fielding's picaresque tale of a young man's search for his place in the world, The History of Tom Jones is edited with notes and an introduction by Thomas Keymer and Alice Wakely in Penguin Classics. A foundling of mysterious parentage brought up by Mr Allworthy on his country estate, Tom Jones is deeply in love with the seemingly unattainable Sophia Western, the beautiful daughter of the neighbouring squire - though he sometimes succumbs to the charms of the local girls. But when his amorous escapades earn the disapproval of his benefactor, Tom is banished to make his own fortune. Sophia, meanwhile, is determined to avoid an arranged marriage to Allworthy's scheming nephew and escapes from her rambunctious father to follow Tom to London. A vivid Hogarthian panorama of eighteenth century life, spiced with danger and intrigue, bawdy exuberance and good-natured authorial interjections, Tom Jones is one of the greatest and most ambitious comic novels in English literature. In his introduction Thomas Keymer discusses narrative techniques and themes, the context of eighteenth century fiction and satire, and the historical and political background of the Jacobite rebellion. This volume also includes a chronology, further reading, notes, a glossary and an appendix on Fielding's revisions. Henry Fielding (1707-1754) born at Sharpham Park, in Somerset, was a dramatist, novelist, political agitator and founder of London's first police force, the 'Bow Street Runners'. As a playwright he was a thorn in the side of Sir Robert Walpole's Whig government, who effectively legislated his retirement from the theater with the Licensing Act of 1737. Undeterred, Fielding launched his career as a novelist in 1740 with Shamela (a parody of Samuel Richardson's Pamela), followed by Joseph Andrews (1741), an anticipation of his masterpiece, the comic novel Tom Jones (1749)

240 Smith, Betty
(1)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

241 Kafka, Franz
(1)
The Trial  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
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REVIEW

This book is boring. Oh sure, it is "Kafkaesque"... meaning pointless.. from beginning to end.. pointless. You have this character (a rather arrogant fellow by the name of Josef K.) who is arrested (but never taken into custody) and must face "trial" on a charge we never learn. He flounders from person to person looking for someone who can help him - or even someone who understands what is going on - which is seems no one does. There is never any date in court... there is never any evidence or testimony. There never really is any trial... just this man who maintains his innocence (innocence of what exactly?) who feels the weight of an obscure and impenetrable bureaucracy weighing down on him (though really, the requirements are almost nothing.. all the weight is self applied),

The whole thing is pointless - and dull. Which is maybe the point. In any case, I would not recommend this - just realize that sometimes things make no sense, and yet everyone believes in them.. and you have the whole point here.

Spoiler alert - read the last 5 pages to see how the trial ends - you will never discover the charge, but you can see the ending is as pointless as the rest of the book.


SUMMARY

Written in 1914, The Trial is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century: the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, Kafka's nightmare has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers. This new edition is based upon the work of an international team of experts who have restored the text, the sequence of chapters, and their division to create a version that is as close as possible to the way the author left it.

242 Sterne, Laurence
(1)
Tristram Shandy  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Laurence Sterne's great masterpiece of bawdy humour and rich satire defies any attempt to categorize it. Part novel, part digression, its gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate 'hero' Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters, including Dr Slop, Corporal Trim and the parson Yorick. A joyful celebration of the endless possibilities of the art of fiction, Tristram Shandy is also a wry demonstration of its limitations.

243 Miller, Henry
(1)
Tropic of Cancer  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord unknown movie
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REVIEW

If you liked Kerouac's ON THE ROAD, then you will like this one. I didn't. I found Kerouac's book reprehensible. Miller's book is much the same, but at least the main character has some interesting thoughts once in a while. it's not an endless litany of dishonesty and sloth. Miller has a descriptive power that beyond anything you are going to find in ON THE ROAD.
Oh... and it's pornographic as hell. The sort of pornographic that might be written by a 15 year old who discovered some bad words and wants to use them as much as possible... but its ignorable. I can totally see why they tried to ban this book.
In any case.. This was not quite as bad as ON THE ROAD... there were times that I actually wanted to pick this book up and read.. just to see what the character was going to do with himself today.


SUMMARY

Shocking, banned and the subject of obscenity trials, Henry Miller's first novel Tropic of Cancer is one of the most scandalous and influential books of the twentieth century - new to Penguin Modern Classics with a cover by Tracey Emin Tropic of Cancer redefined the novel. Set in Paris in the 1930s, it features a starving American writer who lives a bohemian life among prostitutes, pimps, and artists. Banned in the US and the UK for more than thirty years because it was considered pornographic, Tropic of Cancer continued to be distributed in France and smuggled into other countries. When it was first published in the US in 1961, it led to more than 60 obscenity trials until a historic ruling by the Supreme Court defined it as a work of literature. Long hailed as a truly liberating book, daring and uncompromising, Tropic of Cancer is a cornerstone of modern literature that asks us to reconsider everything we know about art, freedom, and morality. "At last an unprintable book that is fit to read." (Ezra Pound). "A momentous event in the history of modern writing." (Samuel Beckett). "The book that forever changed the way American literature would be written." (Erica Jong).

244 Passos, John Dos
(1)
U.S.A. (trilogy)  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Unique for its epic scale and panoramic social sweep, Dos Passos' masterpiece comprises three novels--"The 42nd Parallel," "1919," and "The Big Money"--which create an unforgettable collective portrait of modern America. This one-volume edition includes detailed notes and a chronicle of the world events which serve as a backdrop.

245 Dick, Phillip K.
(2)
Ubik  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (SciFi)

NWord unknown
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REVIEW

I've read some strange fiction in my time. And this is one of the strangest. It's Science Fiction, but half-way through you are scratching your head and thinking, what the hell is going on. By the end you start to feel like you are on good footing again, and in the last page, Dick knocks the supports out again.

I enjoyed this. It had themes in it unlike any sci-fi novel I've read before. There is a time-travel aspect to it, but time travel accomplished by the decay of things into their previous forms. A reference to Plato's cave of ideals is even mentioned in the text when one of the characters notices how things revert to earlier versions of themselves.

Strange and entertaining. Go for it if you like Sci-Fi or psycho-thrillers; because this is both.


SUMMARY

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business—deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in "half-life," a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciter's face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time. As consumables deteriorate and technology gets ever more primitive, the group needs to find out what is causing the shifts and what a mysterious product called Ubik has to do with it all.

246 Joyce, James
(3)
Ulysses  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned NWord UNRATED movie
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REVIEW

I confess right up front that I could not finish this book. I got about halfway through and decided I could not go on. This was not because the book is poorly written; it's probably one of the most amazing books ever written; but because I was simply not getting enough out of it. There are many references that are so obscure that I would be running to the internet every 10 pages to try and figure out what Joyce was talking about. I started reading with a dictionary by my side, but gave up on that when I realized that Joyce will often make up words just to give the reader a feeling that goes beyond meaning.

This is perhaps the "densest" book I have ever read excepting Kant'sProlegomena to Pure Reason. Some page simply drip with obscure religious and cultural references that you would take quite some time to understand.

Example: "Is that then the divine substance wherein Father and Son are consubstantial? Where is poor dear Arius to try conclusions? Warring his life long upon the contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality. Ill-starred heresiarch! In a Greek water closet he breathed his last: euthanasia. With beaded miter and crozier, stalled upon his throne, widower of a widowed see, with upstiffed omophorion, with clotted hinder pars."

Just to understand that part of a paragraph you need to know:

  • Who Arius was and how he died. (Seehere) [HINT: He died on the toilet.]
  • What the concept of consubstantiation means in the Catholic Church, and how the matter was decided. (Seehere)
  • And give up on finding the word - contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality - in any dictionary. it's a series of concepts thrown together to evince a feeling (Seehere)

There are, however, other parts that use words so poetically that it doesn't really matter what they are saying, but inside you get the feeling that Joyce was trying to give... as in a feast scene in a restaurant which, though full of descriptions of food and people eating with gusto, leaves you a tad sick as if you were watching some sort of awful orgy.

And then there is the scene in the outhouse where Bloom takes his morning relief... an odd bit of detail to which each and every human being can relate.

I can see why Joyce is hailed as one of the greatest writers in the English language. Anyone who wants to learn how to get more out of language than just the meaning of words and sentences should read this.

I simply could not continue to fight my way through. I admit defeat.


SUMMARY

Joyce divided Ulysses into 18 chapters or "episodes". At first glance much of the book may appear unstructured and chaotic; Joyce once said that he had "put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant", which would earn the novel "immortality".[12] The two schemata which Stuart Gilbert and Herbert Gorman released after publication to defend Joyce from the obscenity accusations made the links to the Odyssey clear, and also explained the work's internal structure.

Every episode of Ulysses has a theme, technique, and correspondence between its characters and those of the Odyssey. The original text did not include these episode titles and the correspondences; instead, they originate from the Linati and Gilbert schemata. Joyce referred to the episodes by their Homeric titles in his letters. He took the idiosyncratic rendering of some of the titles, e.g. "Nausikaa" and the "Telemachia". from Victor BĂ©rard's two-volume Les PhĂ©niciens et l'OdyssĂ©e which he consulted in 1918 in the Zentralbibliothek ZĂŒrich.

247 Stowe, Harriet Beecher
(1)
Uncle Tom's Cabin  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

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REVIEW

An American classic that retains so much power today that I can't even imagine the impact it had when it first came out prior to the civil war. Harriet Beecher Stowe shines her light on the inherent cruelties of the system of slavery - cruelty that is built into the system regardless of the intentions of the most well meaning slave owner. Slave owners, both good and bad, are in for a rude examination in this book. But she didn't stop there. She cast light on the non-slave owning northerners who still held such racist views that they would never want to mix with former slaves on any kind of equal basis. She puts light were it didn't exist before no matter who gets exposed.

No one escapes her examination - except herself. Yes, Ms. Stowe shows her own prejudice many times in the book - constantly making statements about the Negro race; that they have this character or that character - apparently she believed that "races" did have characteristics that made them different - and as such she was, herself, a racist. Oddly, every educated Negro in her book wound up in Liberia - where she thought it would be appropriate for them to go.. and any others would become America's White Man's Burden.

People at the time had such a hard time believing what she wrote that at the end of the story she had to include a chapter just to explain that all the stories were, in essence, true and where she got her information. Some of this is still hard to read today.

Banned and censored many times, this book was one of the factors that started the Civil War (according to Pres. Lincoln who, on meeting Ms. Stowe said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.") It still has the power to offend today - and would be banned still for it's constant use of the "N-word".

In an interesting side note; Ms. Stowe was not only writing against slavery but was making a strong appeal for the country to become a Christian nation - along the lines of her beliefs in Christianity. Like Sinclair's The Jungle, which was trying to change the country to socialism, Stowe's book is not remembered for this.

I highly recommend that anyone with any interest in American history read this book.


SUMMARY

Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman. Stowe, a Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Seminary and an active abolitionist, featured the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave around whom the stories of other characters revolve. The sentimental novel depicts the reality of slavery while also asserting that Christian love can overcome something as destructive as enslavement of fellow human beings. Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. It is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s. In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States; one million copies in Great Britain. In 1855, three years after it was published, it was called "the most popular novel of our day." The impact attributed to the book is great, reinforced by a story that when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe at the start of the Civil War, Lincoln declared, "So this is the little lady who started this great war." The quote is apocryphal; it did not appear in print until 1896, and it has been argued that "The long-term durability of Lincoln's greeting as an anecdote in literary studies and Stowe scholarship can perhaps be explained in part by the desire among many contemporary intellectuals ... to affirm the role of literature as an agent of social change."

248 Murdoch, Iris
(1)
Under the Net  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4 (Fiction - General)

unknown
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REVIEW

This was a short book and was supposed to be humorous. I'm guessing it was (there were some funny bits and twists and characters) but maybe I was not in the right head space to read this. It didn't hold my interest until the end when I finally began to care enough about the characters to wonder what the heck would happen to them. At least the dog made out okay (never having to work again).

A kind of cute exploration of some different people, but I think I must have missed the point.


SUMMARY

Jake Donaghue, garrulous artist, meets Hugo Bellfounder, silent philosopher.

Jake, hack writer and sponger, now penniless flat-hunter, seeks out an old girlfriend, Anna Quentin, and her glamorous actress sister, Sadie. He resumes acquaintance with the formidable Hugo, whose ‘philosophy' he once presumptuously dared to interpret. These meetings involve Jake and his eccentric servant-companion, Finn, in a series of adventures that include the kidnapping of a film-star dog and a political riot on a film set of ancient Rome. Jake, fascinated, longs to learn Hugo's secret. Perhaps Hugo's secret is Hugo himself? Admonished, enlightened, Jake hopes at last to become a real writer.

249 Lowry, Malcolm
(1)
Under the Volcano  Best Book Lists: 1,2,3,4,5 (Fiction - General)

unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

I'm beginning to understand what makes a book "great literature". This book hits the list as one of the greatest bits of literature of the 20th century. And as I read it, I can completely see why it would be on the list.

But that doesn't make it a good book. This book stunk. It was awful. The main character is an irredeemable drunkard. You never develop any sympathy for him. His wife; his brother; the doctor; all are trying to see him to a better life - and he cannot climb out of the bottle long enough to care. Who really cares what happens to this guy. It's no spoiler to say that he ends up dead at the end of the book... that was the obvious ending about 1/4 of the way in. And the trip to that ending was a complete bore.

Oh.. and it's semi-autobiographical - meaning that Lowry was a drunk too, and self-destructive. So if you want to read about being a drunk from the drunk's point of view - well, there is no better book for it. (ugh)

Read this ONLY if you want lessons in writing. Otherwise, if you really must read a book about a characters self-destruction read Appointment in Sammara. That book has the blessing of being much shorter, and more interesting than this hunk of junk.


SUMMARY

The acclaimed classic about one fatal day in a small Mexican town, hailed by the Modern Library as one of the one hundred best English novels of the twentieth century

Former British consul Geoffrey Firmin lives alone with his demons in the shadow of two active volcanoes in South Central Mexico. Gripped by alcoholism, Geoffrey makes one last effort to salvage his crumbling life on the day that his ex-wife, Yvonne, arrives in town. It's the Day of the Dead, 1938. The couple wants to revive their marriage and undo the wrongs of their past, but they soon realize that they've stumbled into the wrong place and time, where not only Geoffrey and Yvonne, but the world itself is on the edge of Armageddon.

250 Thackeray, William Makepeace
(1)
Vanity Fair  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her sentimental companion Amelia, however, longs only for caddish soldier George. As the two heroines make their way through the tawdry glamour of Regency society, battles—military and domestic—are fought, fortunes made and lost. The one steadfast and honourable figure in this corrupt world is Dobbin with his devotion to Amelia, bringing pathos and depth to Thackeray's gloriously satirical epic of love and social adventure.

251 Cheever, John
(2)
The Wapshot Chronicles  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

When The Wapshot Chronicle was published in 1957, John Cheever was already recognized as a writer of superb short stories. But The Wapshot Chronicle, which won the 1958 National Book Award, established him as a major novelist.

Based in part on Cheever's adolescence in New England, the novel follows the destinies of the impecunious and wildly eccentric Wapshots of St. Botolphs, a quintessential Massachusetts fishing village. Here are the stories of Captain Leander Wapshot, venerable sea dog and would-be suicide; of his licentious older son, Moses; and of Moses' adoring and errant younger brother, Coverly. Tragic and funny, ribald and splendidly picaresque, The Wapshot Chronicle is a family narrative in the tradition of Trollope, Dickens, and Henry James.

252 Tolstoy, Leo
(2)
War and Peace  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.

A s Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.

253 Moore, Alan
(1)
Watchmen  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Graphic Novel)

Banned ThumbsUP unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

I've never read a "graphic novel" before. I have to tell you this book is an experience. There is so much more you can do in a graphic novel - okay - call it a comic book if you want. Time is so much more flexible since the panels tell you where you are (one scene in particular is very impressive). Parallel stories can be weaved together much more seamlessly - in fact from panel to panel the story can be a different one - with the artwork in the panels helping you to keep track of which is which and how they inter-relate.

I was honestly impressed by this. The story might not be to everyone's taste, but the way it was done was massively impressive (like LOLITA). I give this a thumbs up.


SUMMARY

This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.

One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, WATCHMEN has been studied on college campuses across the nation and is considered a gateway title, leading readers to other graphic novels such as V FOR VENDETTA, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and THE SANDMAN series.

254 Adams, Richard
(1)
Watership Down  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This book was a hit when I was younger, but I just couldn't bring myself to read a book wherein all the characters are rabbits. I thought it would be stupid. I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are different and interesting. You get into the lives and cares of the rabbits and start to worry about how things are going to turn out for them. Believe it or not, this is an adventure book with battles and intrigue, plots and action. Plenty to hold the interest of a young (or, like me old) reader.


SUMMARY

A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adams's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of friends, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

255 Scott, Sir Walter
(1)
Waverley  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Sir Walter Scott was one of the bestselling novelists of the nineteenth century and is credited with establishing the historical novel. His first novel, Waverley (1814), tells the story of Edward Waverley, a naĂŻve young man who is posted to Scotland with his regiment. Edward must decide whether he will follow the civilization he has always known, or be drawn into an older world of honor. This edition is based on the authoritative Edinburgh version edited by Peter Garside

256 Butler, Samuel
(1)
The Way of All Flesh  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Hailed by George Bernard Shaw as "one of the summits of human achievement," Butler's autobiographical account of a harsh upbringing and troubled adulthood satirizes Victorian hypocrisy in its chronicle of the life and loves of Ernest Pontifex. Along the way, it offers a powerful indictment of 19th-century England's major institutions.

257 Sendak, Maurice
(1)
Where the Wild Things Are  Best Book Lists: 5 (Childrens Books)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This was and extremely short book, which I read while standing in the book store. Seeing how short it was, it didn't make any sense for me to buy it.

Having said that, I can see how there might be enough stuff in here to make a movie from... though it didn't really catch my imagination I can totally see how a parent might love to share this with their child and then talk about all the "wild things" that people will encounter while they grow up (and beyond).


SUMMARY

Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Let the wild rumpus with Max and all the wild things continue as this classic comes to life as never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak's artwork. Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art before his death in May 2012. Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year, Where the Wild Things Are became an iconic book that has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations. It continues to be one of the best loved books of all time the world over, by the one and only Maurice Sendak.

258 DeLillo, Don
(1)
White Noise  Best Book Lists: 2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This is a quirky little book. It's a book about death.. or... all the different ways you can think about death and how death becomes and issue when you start to think about it. Course, that's not really what happens in the book. No one spends a bunch of time talking about death.. it's just always there, in the background (and sometimes the foreground) just like it is in real life and the characters are pin balls bouncing around the whole death issue. Hell, the title WHITE NOISE means death to one of the characters.

Kinda funny in parts (the main character is a professor in Hitler studies - a department he created) and just plan strange in others (the non-sequiters don't seem entirely out of place, but I wonder what they are doing there - like between two paragraphs or at the end of a chapter something like this will pop out... Brill Cream, Lawn Mower, Oreo's ... and your like.. okay, what was that?

I give this one a thumbs up, but only if you are trying to read all the books on a list.. like me.


SUMMARY

Winner of the National Book Award, White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney, his fourth wife, Babette, and four ultra­modern offspring as they navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. When an industrial accident unleashes an "airborne toxic event," a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladneys-radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings-pulsing with life, yet suggesting something ominous.

259 Smith, Zadie
(1)
White Teeth  Best Book Lists: 2,4 (Fiction - General)

NWord ThumbsUP unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This is a WONDERFUL novel.  Humorous and touching with a mystery not revealed until almost the last page.  About cultures clashing and mixing; about parents and the conflicts with their children raised in a different culture.  About how things work out... and how they don't.  This is a really fun book to read.

Two best friends, one British and the other Bangladeshi, who served in the war together, start this novel.  Their children and their cross cultural struggles are the fodder for the plot.

It is hard to describe how enjoyable this book is.  The characters, even when acting foolishly, are everyman in which you should see so much of yourself.  Their struggles, though not your particular struggles, are the struggles with life that we all deal with.  How they all come to different conclusions given the same set of facts will ring with odd familiarity.

Read this book.


SUMMARY

Zadie Smith's dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons and deciding on everyone from Charles Dickens to Salman Rushdie to John Irving and Martin Amis. But the truth is that Zadie Smith's voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own.

At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England's irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn't quite match her name (Jamaican for "no problem"). Samad's late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal's every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London's racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

260 Rhys, Jean
(1)
Wide Sargasso Sea  Best Book Lists: 1,2,4,5 (Fiction - General)

NWord unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This is an odd book. It's supposed to be a "pre-quel" to Jayne Eyre - explaining the backgrounds of the characters - how Rochester came to be married to a "mad" woman - and how the woman (Bertha Antoinette) married Rochester and became mad. Having not read Jayne Eyre (but knowing the plot from The Eyre Affair) this was, in some sense an interesting introduction.

But it was a difficult read as there were many local references and character/time changes without pre-amble. (The edition I had had many notes to explain local references, but the book read much better when I started to ignore them.) This is a very short book, and if you enjoyed Jayne Eyre, then you might be interested in reading this. Otherwise I am not recommending it.


SUMMARY

Jean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Set in the Caribbean, its heroine is Antoinette Cosway, a sensual and protected young woman who is sold into marriage to the prideful Rochester. In this best-selling novel, Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.

261 Anderson, Sherwood
(1)
Winesburg, Ohio  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This is not really a novel, but a series of short stories that revolve around the people of a small town in Ohio. Each story tries to discover a "truth" about that person...and there are many truths to be discovered. The writing is a little inconsistent from story to story, but compelling all the same. One person is fascinating. Another is repugnant. Another seems lost. Another discovers false wisdom. All of them are still interesting.

Not sure how to recommend this book. I enjoyed it, but it's in a niche all it's own.


SUMMARY

This ebook is a series of loosely linked short stories set in the fictional town of Winesburg, mostly written from late 1915 to early 1916. The stories are held together by George Willard, a resident to whom the community confide their personal stories and struggles. The townspeople are withdrawn and emotionally repressed and attempt in telling their stories to gain some sense of meaning and dignity in an otherwise desperate life. The work has received high critical acclaim and is considered one of the great American works of the 20th century.

Sherwood Anderson (1876 to 1941) was an American novelist and short story writer, known for subjective and self-revealing works. Anderson published several short story collections, novels, memoirs, books of essays, and a book of poetry. He may be most influential for his effect on the next generation of young writers, as he inspired William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Thomas Wolfe.

262 James, Henry
(4)
The Wings of the Dove  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Emerging from the grit and stigma of poverty to a life of fairytale privilege under the wing of her aunt, the beautiful and financially ambitious Kate Croy is already romantically involved with promising journalist Merton Densher when they become acquainted with Milly Theale, a New York socialite of immense wealth. Learning of Milly's mortal illness and passionate attraction to Densher, Kate sets the scene for a romantic betrayal intended to secure her lasting financial security. As the dying Milly retreats within the carnival splendour of a Venetian palazzo, becoming the frail hub of a predatory circle of fortune-seekers, James unfolds a resonant, brooding tale of doomed passion, betrayal, human resilience and remorse.

263 Milne, A.A.
(1)
Winnie The Pooh  Best Book Lists: 5 (Childrens Books)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

This was on the "top books" list I compiled and so I decided to read it.

What a smart decision!! These stories are really wonderful. I would love to share them with a child, but I also enjoyed sharing them with my inner child. The small poetry within the stories, the innocence of all the characters, the amusing way they interact .. its all great.

If you have a child, or want to visit your childhood again, I really recommend these stories. (Oh.. be sure to get the originals, not the Disneyfied extensions... the originals are great.)


In 1926, the world was introduced to a portly little bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Along with his young friend, Christopher Robin, Pooh delighted readers from the very beginning. His often befuddled perceptions and adorable insights won the hearts of everyone around him, including his close group of friends. From the energetic Tigger to the dismal Eeyore, A. A. Milne created a charming bunch, both entertaining and inspirational. These simple creatures often reflected a small piece of all of us: humble, silly, wise, cautious, creative, and full of life. Remember when Piglet did a very grand thing, or Eeyore's almost-forgotten birthday?


SUMMARY

In 1926, the world was introduced to a portly little bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Along with his young friend, Christopher Robin, Pooh delighted readers from the very beginning. His often befuddled perceptions and adorable insights won the hearts of everyone around him, including his close group of friends. From the energetic Tigger to the dismal Eeyore, A. A. Milne created a charming bunch, both entertaining and inspirational. These simple creatures often reflected a small piece of all of us: humble, silly, wise, cautious, creative, and full of life. Remember when Piglet did a very grand thing, or Eeyore's almost-forgotten birthday?

264 Collins, Wilkie
(1)
The Woman in White  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, the first Victorian 'sensation novel' and one of the earliest mystery novels in English, weaves multiple narratives into a thrilling and suspenseful tale of mistaken identity and dark desires.

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, the 'Napoleon of crime', who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

265 Lawrence, D. H.
(4)
Women in Love  Best Book Lists: 1,3,5 (Fiction - General)

Banned UNRATED movie

REVIEW

A sequel to Lawrence's earlier The Rainbow (1915), Women in Love continues the story of the Brangwen sisters in the coal-mining town of Beldover. Based in part on Lawrence's own stormy marriage to German aristocrat Frieda von Richthofen, the tale is charged with intense feelings and psychological insights.


SUMMARY

A sequel to Lawrence's earlier The Rainbow (1915), Women in Love continues the story of the Brangwen sisters in the coal-mining town of Beldover. Based in part on Lawrence's own stormy marriage to German aristocrat Frieda von Richthofen, the tale is charged with intense feelings and psychological insights.

266 Baum, L. Frank
(1)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  Best Book Lists: 5 (Childrens Books)

Banned unknown movie
Checked

REVIEW

Okay, I hate to say it, but the movie is 100 times better than the book. The plot hangs together so much more logically and makes so much more sense than the book. The book starts with the cyclone, and ends with Dorothy landing in Kansas - not even being re-united with Auntie Em !!! How lame is that. Also, the wizard fulfilled the wishes of the characters in a completely different way than the movie. The movie made more sense. The feeling was there - in that the wizard told each of them they didn't need what they were missing because they already had it... but the characters insisted that he "do something" physical to prove to themselves that they had what they came for. So he did.

The book DID have some interesting things in it - for example: the TIN MAN was a real man once who accidentally chopped off all his parts and had them replaced because he loved a girl and his ax was cursed. The coming to life of the scare crow was amusing too.

All in all ... see the movie.


SUMMARY

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of both the popular 1902 Broadway musical and the well-known 1939 film adaptation. The story chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a cyclone. The novel is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. Its initial success, and the success of the 1902 Broadway musical which Baum adapted from his original story, led to Baum's writing thirteen additional Oz books.

267 Irving, John
(2)
The World According to Garp  Best Book Lists: 5 (Fiction - General)

ThumbsUP unknown movie
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REVIEW

What a nice novel. Well, actually, what a terrible novel. So many things happen that are terrible, and yet, you want to keep reading to see how life is going to turn out for these great characters.

John Irving has a way of putting the fear of doom in you, before anything even happens; and when it does you go "so now I know what I was afraid of...". Later in the book he even manages to create a tool to give you that sense of impending doominess - the Under Toad - who, whenever it is mentioned instantly fills you, the reader, with that "Uh oh... I can see it coming again."

And still it's kind of a happy book about family, friends, creativity, and how life can be strange no matter who you are - eccentric or not - it's well worth the time invested in reading.


SUMMARY

This is the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields--a feminist leader ahead of her times. This is the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes--even of sexual assassinations. It is a novel rich with "lunacy and sorrow"; yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust. In more than thirty languages, in more than forty countries--with more than ten million copies in print--this novel provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line: "In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases."

268 Bronte, Emily
(1)
Wuthering Heights  Best Book Lists: 3 (Fiction - General)

UNRATED movie

REVIEW

Not read


SUMMARY

Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë's first and only published novel, written between October 1845 and June 1846, and published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell; Brontë died the following year, aged 30. The decision to publish came after the success of her sister Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre. After Emily's death, Charlotte edited the manuscript of Wuthering Heights, and arranged for the edited version to be published as a posthumous second edition in 1850. Wuthering Heights is the name of the farmhouse where the story unfolds. The book's core theme is the destructive effect of jealousy and vengefulness both on the jealous or vengeful individuals and on their communities

269 Beerbohm, Max
(1)
Zuleika Dobson  Best Book Lists: 1,5 (Fiction - Humor)

ThumbsUP unknown
Checked

REVIEW

This is a farce written in 1911 and set in Oxford. And it's funny. Not laugh out loud funny (well, not too much laugh out loud.. a snicker here and there), but you can tell the author was writing camp. What I find really amusing is how 90 years later, another author, Jasper Fforde, would be writing similar camp... one mechanism hit me as odd, and I have to believe that the later author read the former. In Fforde's The Fourth Bear, 2 characters are babbling a load of nonsense, when one turns to the other and says, "That's a long way to go for a bad joke." To which the other replies, "Yes. I don't know how he gets away with it." - Thus the author refers to himself in the book (and not to kindly). Beerbohm does the same in a minor scene when he says that the main character, Zuleika, got some of her mannerisms of speaking after having had lunch with Max Beerbohm. He insinuates himself into his own book. The only other author I know of who has done that was Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five where a G.I. is having a bad time in an out house at which point Vonnegut states, "That was me. That was I. That was the author of this book."

Anyway.. if you like Jasper Fforde... and don't mind something a little more dry and drool.. a little more highbrow, but just as insane (the entire class of Oxford commits suicide over the love of a woman, while the Gods watch, and the marble statues comment).. then you will probably enjoy this one too.


SUMMARY

Have you ever met a woman so beautiful you knew instinctively you would die for her? The Duke of Dorset, one of the many undergrads at Oxford University, sees as his only option committing suicide to prove his love for the astonishingly attractive Zuleika Dobson. A witty and engaging satire which pokes fun at the Edwardian upperclass college experience, Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson makes all too plain the dangers of growing up wealthy and emotionally detached, while showing that when you place a high premium on aesthetics at the most impressionable time in one's life, the results really are "to die for."