Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Great American Read

(Updated October 26, after the final show)

PBS now has an 8 part series called "The Great American Read". The series description states that it explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through America's best-loved novels as chosen in a national survey.

Here is a list of the chosen books. The ones in bold are the ones I have read (71). Some of the series I did not finish for various reasons. Too many or grew boring (Outlander, Left Behind), too many years between installments (Game of Thrones), or I didn't realize it was really a series and I'm not sure if I read them all or not (Alex Cross Mysteries). Some of the ones I read, I wonder how they wound up on this list as "Great". How anyone could call "Flowers in the Attic" a good book, much less great is beyond me. I thought it was sick and disgusting. "Looking for Alaska", well lets just say anyone who reads John Green is just asking to be depressed. 

The others that I have read, were all memorable enough that I remember what they were about and, for the most part, liked. Some of these, actually most of the ones I've read, are among my personal favorites. "And Then There Were None" is my all-time favorite Agatha Christie. "Rebecca" is my favorite surprise ending. Everyone should read "The Handmaid's Tale", not for entertainment, but for the warning. "The Color Purple" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" for their lessons in racism. "Jane Eyre" is probably my all-time favorite high school required reading, "Siddhartha" in college. "Harry Potter" and "The Wheel of Time" I have read several times (yes, all 13 of the 1000 pages + "Wheel of Time" series, several times). "Ready Player One" is my current book and movie (very different) favorite. "Dune" was a great book, but one of the worst movie adaptations I've ever seen. One of my favorite book quotes is in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe" ("42", if you have read the book, you will know what that refers to!) "The Stand" for its power of suggestion (Steve and I both got really sick during the first half of the book and all symptoms disappeared the last half, not kidding, that really happened).

The Final Results:


  1. To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. Outlander (Series)
  3. Harry Potter (Series)
  4. Pride and Prejudice
  5. Lord of the Rings
  6. Gone with the Wind
  7. Charlotte's Web
  8. Little Women
  9. Chronicles of Narnia
  10. Jane Eyre
  11. Anne of Green Gables
  12. Grapes of Wrath
  13. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  14. Book Thief
  15. Great Gatsby
  16. The Help
  17. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  18. 1984
  19. And Then There Were None
  20. Atlas Shrugged
  21. Wuthering Heights
  22. Lonesome Dove
  23. Pillars of the Earth
  24. Stand
  25. Rebecca
  26. A Prayer for Owen Meany
  27. Color Purple
  28. Alice in Wonderland
  29. Great Expectations
  30. Catcher in the Rye
  31. Where the Red Fern Grows
  32. Outsiders
  33. The Da Vinci Code
  34. The Handmaid's Tale
  35. Dune
  36. The Little Prince
  37. Call of the Wild
  38. The Clan of the Cave Bear
  39. The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy
  40. The Hunger Games
  41. The Count of Monte Cristo
  42. The Joy Luck Club
  43. Frankenstein
  44. The Giver
  45. Memoirs of a Geisha
  46. Moby Dick
  47. Catch 22
  48. Game of Thrones (series)
  49. Foundation (series)
  50. War and Peace
  51. Their Eyes Were Watching God
  52. Jurassic Park
  53. The Godfather
  54. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  55. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  56. The Notebook
  57. The Shack
  58. A Confederacy of Dunces
  59. The Hunt for Red October
  60. Beloved
  61. The Martian
  62. The Wheel of Time (series)
  63. Siddhartha
  64. Crime and Punishment
  65. The Sun Also Rises
  66. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
  67. A Separate Peace
  68. Don Quixote
  69. The Lovely Bones
  70. The Alchemist
  71. Hatchet (series)
  72. Invisible Man
  73. The Twilight Saga (series)
  74. Tales of the City (series)
  75. Gulliver's Travels
  76. Ready Player One
  77. Left Behind (series)
  78. Gone Girl
  79. Watchers
  80. The Pilgrim's Progress
  81. Alex Cross Mysteries (series)
  82. Things Fall Apart
  83. Heart of Darkness
  84. Gilead
  85. Flowers in the Attic
  86. Fifty Shades of Grey
  87. The Sirens of Titan
  88. This Present Darkness
  89. Americanah
  90. Another Country
  91. Bless Me, Ultima
  92. Looking for Alaska
  93. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  94. Swan Song
  95. Mind Invaders
  96. White Teeth
  97. Ghost
  98. The Coldest Winter Ever
  99. The Intuitionist
  100. Dona Barbara






Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Year in Books 2017

By the Numbers:

Pages: 70,649 (approximate)
E-books: 30
Print Books: 13
Audiobooks: 186

My most very favorite book of the year was a re-read, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I love that book!
There is a tie for my favorite new read of 2017: Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi and All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders.

Favorite Reads of 2017

Series:
I'm still enjoying a few series: Parnell Hall's Puzzle Lady, Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin, Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles, How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell and JR Rain's Vampire for Hire.

New series I liked are: 
Magic 2.0 by Scott Meyer
Bear in the Backseat Bks 1&2 by Kim DeLozier & Carolyn Jourdan
Elfhome by Wen Spencer
Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Interdependency by John Scalzi
Broken Earth by NK Jemisin
Fred the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes
Bobiverse by Dennis E. Taylor
Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire

Stand Alone Books:
Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by JK Rowling
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg
Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
The City by Clifford D. Simak
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Greyhound by Steffan Piper
Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Beauty & the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

A Revisit to:
Midnight, Texas series by Charlaine Harris
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

Thumbs down to:
Throne of Glass series by Sarah Maas
Temperance Brennan #1: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs (believe it or not I like the TV series better!)
Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
Gather Round the Sound by Audible
Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris (did not finish)


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon

 
 
Several of my book reading friends have participated in this in the past. I thought I would give it a try this year. October 21st I should be driving back from a wedding, so there should be a lot of good audiobook listening time. Not sure what the book will be yet. It will have to be something Steve will want to listen to as well.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

According to BBC - Top 100 Books to Read

I got this off Facebook a while back and thought I'd post it here. I have to admit, I've never even heard of some of this books. Are they all supposed to be classics?

The Top 100 Books....According to the BBC

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.  

Instructions:
- Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
- Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.


1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 

6 The Bible 

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis 

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel 

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce 

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell 

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
 
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Really?

I have just spent the last hour looking back over this blog. I started it in 2007?? I started it as a Rune & Tarot study, not a book thing?? I had a lot of fun things back then that I don't now :(  Instead of using Facebook, I did the quizzes and tests and which character are you here instead of there. I actually wrote longer book reviews. I wrote about movies and TV series. I was much more fun in 2007-2008, lol.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Year in Review

Total Books: 267
E-Books: 55
Print: 11
Audiobooks: 201
Total number of pages (going with what GoodReads said): 70,085

I just went with the GoodReads habit of counting novellas and short stories as books rather than mini books. Of the 267, 48 were short stories or novellas.

This was the year of the re-reads (listens?)! A discussion on BookObsessed lead me to listen to the British audio version of the "Harry Potter" series. Stephen Fry is the narrator and I completely enjoyed a re-listen of this series. I also re-listened to the "Hunger Games". I had forgotten that the narrator of this series sounded far too old to be Katniss. They should do a re-do with a younger sounding narrator.

It was also the year of reading the big, huge classics that I always wanted to read, but never had before - "Anna Karenina" and "The Once and Future King" can now be marked off my classics-to-be- read list. I never realized it, but "The Once and Future King" is actually a series of 5 books, the last of which was not published for over 20 years after the 4th installment and is titled "Book of Merlyn, The Unpublished Conclusion to the Once & Future King". Strange title since the book is definitely published. How else would Amazon have gotten a copy?

There were many books I liked this year, but I had a hard time deciding on a favorite. Nothing really stood out as awesome or fantastic except for "Harry Potter" and "Hunger Games."

January
I think the best book I read in January is one my husband recommended, Fever by Mary Beth Keene. It was a very interesting and well researched historical fiction based on the life of Typhoid Mary.

I read the first book of the Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch and quickly obtained the other two books and read them all in January. Always a good sign that I really, really liked it. Nice horror series to start off the new year with.

February
I started the Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens. Nothing earth shattering, but a nice, enjoyable paranormal mystery series. I read the 2nd & 3rd books in 2016. I recently acquired book 4 and will get to it soon.

A surprise book for me, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I never expected to like this book as much as I did.

I began a new series that I could not wait to get a copy of the book because of the title, Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart. The first of the Constance Kopp series about a woman who becomes a deputy sheriff in the early 1900's.

March
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey, the first book in the trilogy of the same name, is one of the best YA dystopia series out there. The movie was good too. I read the other 2 books in the trilogy as they became available at the library.

The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect by Grahame Simsion were two extremely funny and enjoyable books.

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield was probably one of the best books I read this year.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman, was a very haunting novel about a young girl on the brink of death. She has the choice to stay or go.

April
Not a big month for favorite books.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman, continued the story began in If I Stay. These two should be read together and were two of my favorites for the year.

I read the Once and Future King by TH White. This is the series that most of our more mystical ideas of King Arthur came from. I wanted to run get a copy of Disney's "The Sword & the Stone" after reading this one.

Probably the best of the April reads was Gatlin Wedding by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It is a short novella from one of my all time favorite series, The Casters.

May
May was a much better month for reading. Much better than April.

Secret of Goldenrod, a children's book by Jane O'Reilly was a nice cozy ghost story for children.

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was an interesting selection for my BookObsessed Book Club. Several of the women started reading it and quit because they disliked all the characters. I disliked them all as well and this is probably the first book I've ever read where I seriously did not like any of the main characters. I don't really think you were meant to like any of them. However, this was a great read that stays with you long after the last page.

The Fold by Peter Clines - Peter Clines is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors because he knows how to tell a great story in ONE BOOK. He doesn't have to write nine hundred more, retelling the same plot over and over again in different ways.

Ok, so right after my rant about authors not being able to write a good story in one book, I began a new series that I like, the Chronicles of St. Mary's by Jodi Taylor. The first book, One Damn Thing After Another, was a great story about time travel.

Just After Sunset, a book of short stories by Stephen King, always a favorite author of mine. I was already familiar with some of these stories from other sources, but was a nice re-read of those and a first time read of the others.

The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi was a wonderful non-fiction book about the man who helped King George VI overcome his problem with stuttering.

June
Anyone who knows me, knows I love cats, so The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie making my 2016 favorites list will come as a surprise to no one.

The last book in the Midnight Texas series, Night Shift by Charlaine Harris makes my list of favorites. My favorite character in the book is Mr. Snuggley, the cat. I won't say anymore except that I have heard this is to be a new TV series. Please, please don't let them screw this Harris series up as much as they did True Blood.

The Wives: The Women Behind Russia's Literary Giants by Alexandra Popoff was a very good non-fiction book about the wives of Tolstoy, Dostevsky, Nabokov, Mandelstram, and several others.

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is a nice, spooky thriller. I should have read this one in October.

July
I began the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling alias) this month and finished the last book in August. After her huge success with Harry Potter, Rowling wrote an extremely disappointing Casual Vacancy. She used an alias for this one and it didn't take long for someone to leak that she was the actual author. Though not near as good as Harry Potter, (seriously, whatever will be?) these were a good read that I really enjoyed.

I tried listening to World War Z by Max Brooks on audio once and did not finish it. A BookObsessed friend, Marlene, gave me the ebook copy and I loved it. This was a much better read than a listen. I haven't seen the movie yet. Maybe I should set that as one of my 2017 goals.

This was the month of the BIG read, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Though I liked it, I didn't rate it with one of my all time favorites. I think it deserves a re-read.

The re-listen (and re-watch the movies) of Harry Potter began this month and continued through the rest of the summer and into the fall. These books never get old and I really enjoyed listening to the British narrator, Stephen Fry.

August
Lots of series reading this month. However, there was one stand alone book I read that is one of this year's favorites, The Dead Key by DM Pulley, which was a nice, scary mystery.

September
Another month of series reading. That is not to say that there were no books I enjoyed. If I am continuing to read a series past book 3, then that means I like it and the author is keeping the stories interesting (even if they are a plot pete and re-petes).

I started the Jennifer Estep series Black Blade this month. There are three books so far and I read all three.

I started the Haunted Guest House series by EJ Copperman. It was entertaining.

I read the second installment of the Constance Kopp series by Amy Stewart, Lady Cop Makes Trouble.  

October
One of my favorite books of October, was a non-fiction book that my son gave me, The Character Vault by Jody Revenson. In keeping with my re-read and re-watch of the Harry Potter series, this book was about the costuming for the movies. I loved it! I especially liked the part about the wands. I had no idea all the wands were different and made specifically for the character. *Sigh* why did my favorite wand belong to Delores Umbridge?

A re-reading of the Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman in graphic novel form was a fun read this month.

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff was an interesting read. I haven't seen the movie (another of the ones that needs to go on my 2017 movies to watch list), but the cover of the book I read was from the movie. The guy that played the Danish girl is also plays Newt in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. " I am having a hard time separating him from the Danish girl, which is odd since I've never seen the movie!

I joined a "SciFi-Fantasy Challenge" online, sponsored by a friend from BookObsessed, Shaunesay. I tried listening to a sci-fi book I'd given up on the first time around because of the extremely annoying first chapter of "Daul said", "Duval said" that went on FOREVER. Well, not really, once I got past that first very long, long chapter, the rest of the book got really interesting. Redshirts was by John Scalzi and I will probably now read more by him because it turned out to be really good. Wil Wheaton narrated it (see month of November).

The Fireman by Joe Hill was a good pick for October. A nice cozy horror thriller by Stephen King's son. Joe Hill is one of my favorite authors, just like his dad.

A listen to Dracula by Bram Stoker finished out the month. A good read for Halloween's month. I read the book years ago and still love, LOVE who kills Dracula.

November
One of my favorite narrator of science fiction, space travel books is Wil Wheaton, the Westley Crusher of Star Trek fame. He is also the author of several books, all of which I read during November, beginning with Just a Geek, his memoir. Oh, by the way, he narrates it.

I began a trilogy, The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I really liked it and requested the next two books from the library. It is January and I just finished book 2 and am currently listening to book 3. A mini series was made from the trilogy. I have started watching it, but I'd rather read than watch TV, so I haven't gotten very far.

December
I started a children's series of books, How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. Children's authors get a pass on my rant about series vs. stand alone books because anything that will spark a child's interest and keep them reading is just fine in my book (pardon the pun). The book was totally different from the movie. I think I preferred the book's version over the movies, but they were both enjoyable. I read books 2 and 3 and will continue with this series as I acquire the books.

Feed by Mira Grant was a great story about the power of social media in a crisis. There are more in this series and I will probably continue reading it.

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle VanArsdale was a freebie book given to me by the book publisher. Very, very good horror book. It caught my interest early on and just got better and better as the story continued.

Well this finishes up my 2016 "Year in Review". I hope 2017 holds as many hours of fascinating reading and listening.






Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Challenge 2017


One of my BookObsessed friends, Shaunsay, will be hosting this challenge that will run throughout next year. I plan on trying for the Orion level, 9 to 12 books. That is about one each month. I might can handle that!