(38 books in 2004?)
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
The Plague by Albert Camus
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Any Woman's Blues by Erica Jong
Holes by Louis Sachar (not the Brandeis one, I assume!)
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.
Of course I loved this book, but still, I really really love this article that points out how Truss says, in her book, subtitled "The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation", that when a noun phrase is used to modify a noun, it needs to be hyphenated. You know, a noun phrase like "zero-tolerance" when used to modify a noun, like "approach". Hello, anybody home?
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams.
Now I want to see the movie. And now I'll get on a play-reading kick... Plays were the first books I loved to read, that I can remember. I used to go to the library with my grandma and just gather up every play I could find that looked readable. And I loved mysteries also, and plays that were mysteries? Heaven. Now I almost never read plays or mysteries...
The Journey to the East by Herman Hesse. Well, probably I just don't get it.
Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck. Have I mentioned that I really like Steinbeck? I really do. This one wasn't at all heart-rending, nothing like the usual. But lovely in a whole different, laid-back kind of way.
The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God by Etgar Keret. These stories are so good and so disturbing and so strange and so good. Thank you, Arnie.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I'd swear I've read a few of these before, which is possible since a few were published as short stories... but I don't know where I would have read them... anyway, I enjoyed this. I like the format, similar to Italo Calvino's books...
Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card. A good book for the plane ride home - long enough that I didn't finish it early, but easy to jump right into. Not one of Card's best, though, very strange and very heavy on the Mormonism.
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
To A God Unknown by John Steinbeck. Yeah, baby, reading a serious California desert Steinbeck while in the California desert. Perfect. And dusty.
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin. I met Ursula LeGuin once - she gave a reading at Brandeis and then select "Brandeis Scholars" got to have lunch with her. I hadn't read more than one book of hers, but I felt awfully cool to get to talk to her anyway. Since then I've sort of ended up owning copies of quite a few of her books, and somehow hadn't read any of them. I recently considered taking them to my favorite local used bookstore, but couldn't bring myself to do it, because what if I end up discovering I love her stuff?? So I read this one, and I liked it ok, but the jury's still out on whether I want to read more.
Beowulf. I started reading this because I was reading John Gardner's Grendel and thought it would be better to know the story from the Beowulf side first. This was a mistake; I would have been much happier finishing Grendel first and then reading Beowulf, but oh well. I really enjoyed the other; this one wasn't as unreadable as I expected.
Grendel by John Gardner
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. I thought this was quite good, actually. I had been warned that it was really depressing, but I didn't think it was that bad. It wasn't egregiously depressing, anyway, and it had a nice symmetry that I like in long novels.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Wow, I really liked this! It started a little slow, I thought; I was surprised how long it took us to even meet Madame Bovary herself, but I didn't feel like it dragged though that was what I had expected. Obviously not shocking or anything in our time, but understandable how it had been ground-breaking during its time, and it's still a good read now. I didn't know anything about this before I read it, and I still haven't done any of the literary research about it to understand it beyond its most superficial face, but that face wasn't at all bad by itself.
Total Immersion by Allegra Goodman. The short stories that were clearly the precursors to the characters in her novels. The novels are way better, in my opinion. I found these stories mostly depressing, or confusing. It's ok to have that many characters in a full-length novel, but in short stories it's just too much for my little brain.
Girlfriend 44: A Novel by Mark Barrowcliffe. Apparently part of the so-called "lad lit" that is the trend to accompany "chick lit". I admit to reading a lot of both of these genres (Nick Hornby being the poster boy for the former), but while this one perfectly fits the profile, it just wasn't very good.
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck. So, it turns out that I really like Steinbeck. This book was particularly wonderful, in that it was kind of about the indomitable human spirit, where I'd say most Steinbeck is generally about the domitable human spirit.
How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne
A collection of three Dilbert books. The collection was called, I think, All Dressed Down and Nowhere to Go. $5 at Borders, ohmigod.
Talking It Over by Julian Barnes. The book that comes before a book I already read. Similarly ungreat. Read his wonderful
A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters instead.
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. Now I understand.
Rebekah by Orson Scott Card. The next in his "Women of Genesis" series. Similar to Sarah, a fun quick read. Maybe more fictionalized and somewhat less thought-provoking...
You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers. Pretty weird. Not nearly so good as his other book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but you have to love this guy anyway, since he's the founder of McSweeney's, and we loooooove McSweeney's.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I read this in about a day and a half, while hanging out with my mom in the hospital (she had minor surgery and she's doing great, thanks). It was good for escaping into, but not so great that I understand all the fuss.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich.
It's My F---ing Birthday : A Novel by Merrill Markoe
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. This is a terrific book. It's non-fiction and it is a wonderful read. Really gives you a lot of things to think about, and the ideas stay with you after you're done with the book (they're "sticky!"). Summarizes some really fascinating studies.
Unintended Consequences by John Ross. A heavy book, in more ways than one. Really changed how I thought about the "gun culture" and about gun laws and about government and about all sorts of things. Highly recommended, whichever side of gun control issues you're on.
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut.
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike. My first Updike, actually. I didn't love this book. I saw the movie a lot of years ago and while I have great memories of the circumstances of seeing it (on video), I have nearly no memories of the movie itself, and either the story is quite different from that of the book or else what I do "remember" I totally invented. Reading the book, I kept waiting for the stuff I remembered to kick in, and it never happened. Very distracting.
Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought by Jonathan Rauch. Excellent.
Hey, what's your favorite book ever? What would you recommend as a Great Book to just about anyone?
By the way, the reason these books are all hyperlinked to their pages on amazon.com is that I'm an amazon.com "associate", meaning that if you click through to amazon using any of the links on this page and then buy *anything* (even if it's NOT the item I have hyperlinked), then I get "credit" for having referred you in and I get some little percent of what you spend. So I LOVE IT WHEN YOU CLICK THROUGH! Please do it all the time, every time you want to buy something on amazon, come here first! You're the best!
You can also use this link to Amazon's main page to buy anything and I'll get a kick-back, yippee!!