Friday, January 09, 2009

Blogoversary Blues

I've neglected my poor book blog....and today is the Blogoversary.


I still read books, by the way. I also have a Kindle...

I really need to get some reviews going. I'll try to post one soon. Really.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Banned Books Meme

I've borrowed a meme from Caratime and My Private Casbah ; I am quite proud to have read banned books!

#1 The Bible

#2 Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
#3 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
#4 The Koran
#5 Arabian Nights
#6 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
#7 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
#8 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
#9 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
#10 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
#11 Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
#12 Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
#13 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
#14 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
#15 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
#16 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
#17 Dracula by Bram Stoker
#18 Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
#19 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
#20 Essays by Michel de Montaigne
#21 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
#22 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
#23 Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
#24 Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
#25 Ulysses by James Joyce
#26 Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
#27 Animal Farm by George Orwell
#28 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
#29 Candide by Voltaire
#30 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
#31 Analects by Confucius
#32 Dubliners by James Joyce
#33 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
#34 Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
#35 Red and the Black by Stendhal
#36 Capital by Karl Marx
#37 Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
#38 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

#39 Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
#40 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
#41 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
#42 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
#43 Jungle by Upton Sinclair
#44 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
#45 Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
#46 Lord of the Flies by William Golding
#47 Diary by Samuel Pepys
#48 Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
#49 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
#50 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
#51 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
#52 Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
#53 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
#54 Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
#55 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
#56 Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
#57 Color Purple by Alice Walker
#58 Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
#59 Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
#60 Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison
#61 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
#62 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
#63 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
#64 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
#65 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
#66 Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#67 Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais

#68 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
#69 The Talmud

#70 Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau

#71 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
#72 Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
#73 American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

#74 Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

#75 A Separate Peace by John Knowles
#76 Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
#77 Red Pony by John Steinbeck
#78 Popol Vuh
#79 Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
#80 Satyricon by Petronius

#81 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

#82 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

#83 Black Boy by Richard Wright
#84 Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
#85 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
#86 Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
#87 Metaphysics by Aristotle
#88 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
#89 Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
#90 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
#91 Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
#92 Sanctuary by William Faulkner
#93 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
#94 Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
#95 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

#96 Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#97 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud

#98 Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
#99 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
#100 Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

#101 Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines

#102 Émile by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#103 Nana by Émile Zola
#104 Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
#105 Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
#106 Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
#107 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
#108 Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
#109 Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
#110 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I read The Book Thief for a knitters' book club which seems to have vanished into the ether where deleted blogs go. The group now has a new life on Ravelry, so I still have an outlet for combining reading and my favorite craft....

Like a lot of readers on my newest obsession(GoodReads), I was originally skeptical about reading a YA book. Some of them just cannot hold my interest for very long. This book (not to mention this well-known series) is the rather notable exception.

I actually enjoyed the story very much, and Death intrigued me in his "job" as narrator. Aside from The Diary of Anne Frank, I have not come across many stories about the Holocaust that are really suitable for younger readers. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an intriguing take on that period.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Free Food for Millionaires

Free Food for Millionaires, by Min Jin Lee, is a book I really wanted to love. I am very interested in reading about cultures from an "insider's" perspective, so I thought this would be a good book to learn about the Korean-American immigrant experience from an insider. This book left me very much unsatisfied.

Casey, the main character, is rather ambivalent about everything in her life: school, friends, family, career choices (or lack of them, for that matter). In my view, the author attempts to make her into a sort of Korean, female Holden Caulfield (another character I dislike, for different reasons). Casey comes out of the Ivy League completely ill-equipped for real life in that she has developed an obsession with an affluent East Coast lifestyle without the money to fund it. In addition, she spurns opportunities offered to her that could give her access to the lifestyle she seems to crave. For example, her former boss is willing to fund graduate school in order to continue grooming her to be her eventual successor. She refuses because of her pride. In addition, she takes a job at a high-powered investment firm only to quit when she becomes eligible for promotion because of her secret desire to be a hat designer. She takes design classes but seems to lack the commitment for that field as well.

I grew so weary of her constant self-sabotage that I found myself skimming the pages to get to the end of the book faster. The ending was a bit too predictable for me. That is all I will say here; someone may be planning to read this book in spite of my comments.

All in all, I would recommend this as a "plane book;" something light to read while traveling. Trying to get anything more out of it would just be frustrating.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I have to admit avoiding reading Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar until many years after my days in high school and college. It seemed to be the province of those "smart" girls, the ones who dressed exclusively in black (before it was cool), smoked clove cigarettes (tobacco makes me nauseous and smoking is a foul, disgusting habit), and talked of attending some highbrow, ultra-expensive, uberprivate college back East . They always seemed to carry their rather tattered copies so that the entire world could see that they were "into" Plath.

I wonder how many of them actually read the book
.....

I now realize that this was mere affectation (for the most part), but these thoughts tended to keep me away from this particular book and author until recently. I read it as part of the Knit the Classics knitalong/readalong blog. I am about a month behind, but I need to catch up because the book for November is
Tom Jones, a very different book....indeed.

Sylvia Plath's life story and the circumstances of TBJ's publishing are pretty well known, so I won't go into that. I do have to say that the book was not tiresome as I believed it to be in school. I can't say she is a favorite, but the character of Esther Greenwood fascinated me. I could relate to a lot of the pressure she feels to live a certain lifestyle in which she has no interest, not to mention her dislike of the hypocrisy of the people around her.

I actually liked the ambiguous ending, which is highly unusual for me. Ambiguous endings usually frustrate me because I tend to believe some authors choose them so as not too seem too "pat."

Would I read this again? Probably not...but I did enjoy the book in spite of myself!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

American Bloomsbury





I finally (!) finished American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever. She describes the life and times of the Transcendentalists, and sheds light on some of the real-life individuals and events that gave Louisa May Alcott the background for Little Women.

I can say that I enjoyed the book. It made the characters from those rather stiff, ancient photographs seem much more interesting to me than how they tend to be presented in history and literature classes.

Ms. Cheever writes elegantly about the people and their lifestyle. She also describes her visits to some of their haunts and gives the reader rather moving descriptions of how these places have changed over time.