Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Time Machine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this a little late for the 1001 Books to Read November group read. Easy one to knock off the list. Given when this book was written, I find it a fascinating take on the future state of man and earth and wonderfully imaginative. It is a short read, so it did not go into the depth that I might have hoped for, but thoroughly enjoyable and still stands up today. Would definitely recommend.

Hoildays - More time or less?

Sorry for the hiatus. I have been reading, but at a much reduced rate. I hope to have a couple more posts before the New Year!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another one down

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the group read for October for the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die group. I am so glad that I read it! You can tell that Maya Angelou is a poet. The language she uses to describe such circumstances as she experienced growing up is mesmerizing. I was fascinated and enthralled and it made my heart ache that human being can treat each other like this. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

A little off topic, but please make liberal use of my click to fund mammograms Gadget, particularly this month. My mom is a 14 year survivor, and I like to do what I can! Thanks for any that can help. It is free to click, and you can do it several times a day!

Still Plugging Along

I am almost half-way through with Crime and Punishment. I have been reading other books at the same time to break it up. Having minored in Russian in college, I do enjoy the style as I am used to it. However, I do find that with the length, I need to break it up a little bit. But, as I said, I am almost halfway through, and I am busily planning for my next trip to the library as well as planning to start Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers so that I can read Murder Must Advertise (which is actually a list book). Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not a list book... but there are other good ones out there

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am trying to pinpoint why this has been my favorite, by far, of this series. Could it be that it has been so long since I have read the first two, that I have fallen in love with the series again? Could it be that the focus was much more on the case than on the relationship between Russell and Holmes (which, frankly, I still have trouble believing the romantic aspect of)? In the end, all I can say was that I had a hard time putting this book down. I literally carried it with me everywhere. I found it to be fascinating and back to true detection. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another one down!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was beautifully written, but difficult to read from the standpoint that it examines the depths of human suffering. And yet, the author manages to make everything ok in the end, even if not in the traditional sense. It is a very powerful book, and I look forward to reading more by this author.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Housekeeping - 1001 Books style

Now that I have completed my first book from the 2010 version of the list (see post on Elegance of the Hedgehog), I have to go update my Excel spreadsheet. I am thinking that I will keep separate tabs for each version (a kind Goodreads friend has sent me the books added to the 2008 and 2010 versions). I will keep a running total for each version and a SUPERTOTAL for all books read from all versions. My supertotal is up to 28, I guess with the two recent additions. Woo-hoo. Now to make more progress on Crime and Punishment and start the pre-cursors to the Dorothy L. Sayers list books. Happy reading everyone!

Elegance of the Hedgehog - 2010 version of the LIST

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't usually like character studies as they tend to be slow moving in my experience. However, I did not find this to be slow moving at all. I found it to be one of the most beautiful books that I have ever read. To the point that I literally teared up as I completed it just now. The language is beautiful. The descriptions of the other tenants by both the narrators is priceless. The movement of the book through short chapters and the exchange of the narration between a 12 year old girl and a 54 year old woman was marvelous. As someone who obtained a minor in Russian in college, and read Anna Karenina with Oprah, I definitely enjoyed the references to this text. I can't say enough good things about this book. I am so glad that my mother-in-law recommended it. It is on the 2010 version of the 1001 Books to Read Before you Die list, and for good reason. I can't wait to pick up Gourmet Rhapsody from the local library. It is definitely now on my to read list.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I agree with other reviews that I have read that the author does a spectacular job of using the autistic boy as the narrator. While I am not familiar enough with autism to know whether it is possible for an autistic boy to have the kinds of insights that were shared about why he does certain behaviors, it was very enlightening, and the book was very enjoyable. One of my best friends works with autistic high schoolers, and I once counseled a high school boy with Asberger's Syndrome (a mild form of autism), so I could certainly identify with much that was shared. I think it was brilliant to use the narrative of an autistic boy to examine such emotionally charged subjects as affairs and divorce. The end is a bit abrupt, but given the narrator, that is not all that surprising. I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School starts... more time or less?

I am still trying to determine whether school starting last Thursday allows for more time to read, or less. On the one hand, I am definitely up earlier... On the other hand, there is more to do and most of it has associated time frames.

On the up side, one of my Goodreads group has decided to read a 1001 book as a group read. Not because it is on the list, but because it is a mystery. So, while I am still working on Crime and Punishment (currently at 5% and liking it so far), I will be reading "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time" by mark haddon.

It is apparently told from the point of view of an autistic boy who is accused of killing a neighbor's dog. From the reviews I have read, the POV is done very well, giving a glimpse into the autistic world. The author worked with autistic children, so has some insight into their world.

I am looking forward to it, and will keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Not neglecting... really

So, I think I mentioned that while I have started Crime and Punishment, I had several other books that I am juggling to finish off summer read challenges that I committed to prior to finding the 1001 Books challenge. So, I am not neglecting "the LIST", I am just trying to get some other things wrapped up. I am still working on my Excel spreadsheet and figuring out how to best track what I have access to, and not, so that I can sort the ones that I have access to by interest level. Trying to figure out the best way to approach this so that I can move from book to book with a minimum of hemming and hawing about the next selection. I did spend some time the other day downloading a bunch of books that are now public domain and free to my Kindle, so I have quite the selection electronically, and I am not done yet! Stay tuned. Once August is over, I will be able to devote more time to this endeavor having finished up my other reads.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


So, I decided to forego Brave New World for the moment and go with something entirely different. Just started Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I studied Russian in college, but this was not included in my Russian Lit courses (too many books, too few semesters). So, I am looking forward to checking it out. I will admit, though, that while I did "start" this today, I have several other books to read before the end of the month, so I don't know how fast my progress will be!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was warned that this was not a feel good book, and it definitely is not. I found it a little bit difficult to follow. I just mentioned in my last review that I enjoy authors that leave things open for interpretation, but that it frustrates me if there are too many unknown quantities (in my opinion) to draw a conclusion. In the case of 1984, I can come up with a chain of logic that explains the end to my satisfaction, but I am not confident that it is the intended logical chain. There is a difference between being able to draw multiple conclusions (based on individual perspective) and being unsure of your own conclusions due to feeling like you lack information.

That being said, it is a very thought provoking book, and is still very poignant today given the political climate. I would highly recommend it to anyone that hasn't read it. Next on my list is Brave New World I have been told that this is the mirror image of 1984 regarding method of control of the populous.

I've made progress while away!

I am, now, officially at 26 completed on the 2006 list. I finished 1984 and Prayer for Owen Meany while on a long weekend with the family. Now to create the spreadsheet to figure out what to tackle next. I did find out that my mother-in-law is a Dorothy L. Sayers fan, so I can borrow the two Dorothy L. Sayers books on the list (Murder Must Advertise and the Nine Tailors) from her. My husband has several of the sci-fi selections in his book collection, so I just need to figure out what I have access to and where I want to go next. Stay tuned for progress reports and reviews!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love John Irving's writing style. It is detailed without being bogged down. It is beautiful without losing the story. I have read several of his books, and finally got to this one. I can totally see why it is my father's favorite. Definitely a case of you don't know what you have until it's gone. Why is it the we have such a hard time recognizing the gifts that are given to us every day? Is it a matter of taking things for granted, or is truly that our perspective changes when things are missing from the equation? I highly recommend this book. Also, I recommend reading the author's note at the end AFTER reading the book. (I love reading author's notes). I found it quite interesting that given the predominance of the religious theme in this book that John Irving does not consider himself to be a religious person. Yet, he writes it very convincingly. I also like the fact that John Irving always leaves the reader with things that they have to interpret on their own instead of laying it all out for them. If I don't feel like I get enough pieces of the puzzle, this can annoy me, but I never feel that way reading John Irving.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

2006 version - 1001 Books to Read - Completed

#43 The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen

#93 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

#117 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

#196 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving (currently reading)

#238 The Cider House Rules – John Irving

#301 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

#303 The World According to Garp – John Irving

#400 The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

#436 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

#444 Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein

#456 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

#547 Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

#564 Animal Farm – George Orwell

#574 The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry (in English AND French)

#603 Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

#610 The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

#689 The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

#695 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie

#767 The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

#780 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

#809 The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

#837 The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky

#840 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

#863 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

#897 The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

#904 Jane Eyre – Charlotte BrontĂ«

TWENTY-SIX (and that includes two that I am currently reading). Sad, sad, sad.

There are a couple that I think I might have read, but since I wasn't sure, I didn't include them. For example, I am almost positive that I have read The Color Purple, but not entirely, so I am being conservative and not including it.

So, this is a classic turning point moment... Glass half full or half empty? Do I concentrate on the fact that it is pitiful that I have only read 26 of these books, or do I enthuse because of the opportunity to read so many more? I think I am going for the adventure....

Thank you to my mostly public school education (there were two years of private school in there), Oprah's book club (although I am behind and would have a few more under my belt if I had read all of her picks), and my Russian literature class in college. Master and Margarita is a very entertaining read.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kelly's Summer Reading Challenge List

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (completed)

2. Bad Debts by Peter Temple (completed)

This book is set in Melbourne, and I have always wanted to visit Australia!

3. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

My favorite Irish author lives in Conneticut currently, so I searched out one still living in Ireland. (Figured that was easier than finding an author from Virginia who was living abroad!)

4. 1984 by George Orwell (reading currently)

5. Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (reading currently)

This is one of my dad’s favorites, and has been on my to-read list for a while

6. For Nothing by Nicholas Denmon (completed)

7. Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier (completed)

8. A friend of the Earth by TC Boyle

9. Rain Fall by Barry Eisler

10. the insider by Reece Hirsch (also a first time novelist, whose book I won on Goodreads!) (Completed)

So, I am more than half way there, which is great since I started about a month late!

Summer Reading Challenge

So the thing that is currently preventing me from jumping into the research on how many of the 1001 books I have read to date is this summer reading challenge that I am trying to complete by August 31:

Reading is great summer entertainment! No batteries required. No annoying cinemagoer talking on his/her cellphone. It's just you, your books, and your imagination. This summer reading challenge should be lots of fun. I thank you for joining me as we read just for the love of good writing. So here's to summer reading!

GOAL: 8 titles that you have never read before! (10 for a bonus. Hey, why not )

June 1 - August 31

CRITERIA: Choose any title in the following categories:

1. A book that was turned into a major motion picture.

2. A book set in a place that you would like to visit.

3. A book written by an author from your home country, region, or with your ancestoral

background who lives in a foreign country.

4. A classic novel.

5. A book from the BBC list (List in previous post)

6. A novel by a first time author.

7. A biography/autobiography/memoir about someone you admire.

8. A book about the environment, or any cause that concerns you. :)

9. Free choice!

10. Free choice!

Blogon to http://readingwriters-pet.blogspot.com/ @ "Reading Writers" blog Join today!!!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


So, I thought I should clarify... I don't actually expect to read a book a day. However, there shouldn't be a day that goes by that I am not reading a book (or 2 or 3 as I juggle a Kindle, a "real" book, and my phone apps). And, if I have any hope of reading 1001 books before I die (while simultaneously reading books that are NOT on the list that are of interest to me), I better be reading every day!

I still need to do further research as to how far along I am on the 1001 list, but I am currently reading two selections off of the 2006 version (don't know if they are also on the updated versions): A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving and 1984 by George Orwell. I am reading them both for a summer reading challenge that I am participating in and enjoying them both so far. A Prayer for Owen Meany was on the BBC list of must reads (one of the categories for my summer reading challenge), and it is a favorite of my dad's that I had not yet read, so I put it on the list. 1984, I somehow missed as required school reading (I blame my mid-high school move which also required me to study Romeo and Juliet twice!), so it is in the classic novel category for my summer reading challenge.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wow, I'm Blogging. Who Knew?

So, I don't even have a Facebook account, and yet I have suddenly become compelled to become a blogger. Why?


I have been a member of Goodreads.com for several years now, but only recently become more active (thanks in part to a loss of employment). In investigating new groups and such, I ran across a couple of challenges like - reading a mystery set in each of the 50 states of the US. Interesting. And, it's partner challenge - reading a mystery set in each of 50 countries of the UN, arbitrarily picked by the challenge leader (as there are more than 50 countries in the United Nations). I love mysteries (have since getting caught under the covers with a flashlight and a Nancy Drew book). So these are right up my alley!

But, while these challenges were intriguing, they did not inspire a blog.

Today, I found the ultimate challenge - 1001 Books to Read before you Die. And, of course there are already 3 versions of the list (2006, 2008 and 2010) none of which are the same.

So, if I am going to even pretend to attempt this feat, I need to share my trials, tribulations, and triumphs with whoever will listen (or read, as the case may be).

I have not yet even determined how many I have already read, having but scanned the 2006 list, but this should be an adventure.

So many questions. Which list to work on? Try to do all 3? How to select books from such an overwhelming cornucopia? How to read as much as possible while still running a family of 5?

These are the things that I hope to share, as well as my thoughts on the books that I have read and am reading.

I hope you come along for the ride, and bear with me if there are lags in posts.

If I am going to read at all, I must go to sleep now, and tackle this more tomorrow.