100 novels everyone should read – Telegraph

Another “books you should read” list, this time from the telegraph. The one’s I’ve read are crossed off. This is actually a pretty good list – mostly classics, and not a single Ayn Rand title on it.

Source: Telegraph “100 novels everyone should read
The best novels of all time from Tolkien to Proust and Middlemarch

100 The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
WH Auden thought this tale of fantastic creatures looking for lost jewellery was a “masterpiece”.

99 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A child’s-eye view of racial prejudice and freaky neighbours in Thirties Alabama.

98 The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
A rich Bengali noble lives happily until a radical revolutionary appears.

97 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Earth is demolished to make way for a Hyperspatial Express Route. Don’t panic.

96 One Thousand and One Nights Anon
A Persian king’s new bride tells tales to stall post-coital execution.

95 The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Werther loves Charlotte, but she’s already engaged. Woe is he!

94 Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
The children of poor Hindus and wealthy Muslims are switched at birth.

93 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
Nursery rhyme provides the code names for British spies suspected of treason.

92 Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Hilarious satire on doom-laden rural romances. “Something nasty” has been observed in the woodshed.

91 The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki
The life and loves of an emperor’s son. And the world’s first novel?

90 Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
A feckless writer has dealings with a canine movie star. Comedy and philosophy combined.

89 The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Lessing considers communism and women’s liberation in what Margaret Drabble calls “inner space fiction”.

88 Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
Passion, poetry and pistols in this verse novel of thwarted love.

87 On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Beat generation boys aim to “burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles”.

86 Old Goriot by Honoré de Balzac
A disillusioning dose of Bourbon Restoration realism. The anti-hero “Rastingnac” became a byword for ruthless social climbing.

85 The Red and the Black by Stendhal
Plebian hero struggles against the materialism and hypocrisy of French society with his “force d’ame”.

84 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
“One for all and all for one”: the eponymous swashbucklers battle the mysterious Milady.

83 Germinal by Emile Zola
Written to “germinate” social change, Germinal unflinchingly documents the starvation of French miners.

82 The Stranger by Albert Camus
Frenchman kills an Arab friend in Algiers and accepts “the gentle indifference of the world”.

81The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Illuminating historical whodunnit set in a 14th-century Italian monastry.

80 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
An Australian heiress bets an Anglican priest he can’t move a glass church 400km.

79 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Prequel to Jane Eyre giving moving, human voice to the mad woman in the attic.

78 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Carroll’s ludic logic makes it possible to believe six impossible things before breakfast.

77 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Yossarian feels a homicidal impulse to machine gun total strangers. Isn’t that crazy?

76 The Trial by Franz Kafka
K proclaims he’s innocent when unexpectedly arrested. But “innocent of what”?

75 Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Protagonist’s “first long secret drink of golden fire” is under a hay wagon.

74 Waiting for the Mahatma by RK Narayan
Gentle comedy in which a Gandhi-inspired Indian youth becomes an anti-British extremist.

73 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
The horror of the Great War as seen by a teenage soldier.

72 Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
Three siblings are differently affected by their parents’ unexplained separation.

71 The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
Profound and panoramic insight into 18th-century Chinese society.

70 The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Garibaldi’s Redshirts sweep through Sicily, the “jackals” ousting the nobility, or “leopards”.

69 If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
International book fraud is exposed in this playful postmodernist puzzle.

68 Crash by JG Ballard
Former TV scientist preaches “a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology”.

67 A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul
East African Indian Salim travels to the heart of Africa and finds “The world is what it is.”

66 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Boy meets pawnbroker. Boy kills pawnbroker with an axe. Guilt, breakdown, Siberia, redemption.

65 Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Romantic young doctor’s idealism is trampled by the atrocities of the Russian Revolution.

64 The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz
Follows three generations of Cairenes from the First World War to the coup of 1952.

63 The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson’s “bogey tale” came to him in a dream.

62 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Swift’s scribulous satire on travellers’ tall tales (the Lilliputian Court is really George I’s).

61 My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
A painter is murdered in Istanbul in 1591. Unusually, we hear from the corpse.

60 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Myth and reality melt magically together in this Colombian family saga.

59 London Fields by Martin Amis
A failed novelist steals a woman’s trashed diaries which reveal she’s plotting her own murder.

58 The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
Gang of South American poets travel the world, sleep around, challenge critics to duels.

57 The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
Intellectuals withdraw from life to play a game of musical and mathematical rules.

56 The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
Madhouse memories of the Second World War. Key text of European magic realism.

55 Austerlitz by WG Sebald
Paragraph-less novel in which a Czech-born historian traces his own history back to the Holocaust.

54 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Scholar’s sexual obsession with a prepubescent “nymphet” is complicated by her mother’s passion for him.

53 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
After nuclear war has rendered most sterile, fertile women are enslaved for breeding.

52 The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Expelled from a “phony” prep school, adolescent anti-hero goes through a difficult phase.

51 Underworld by Don DeLillo
From baseball to nuclear waste, all late-20th-century American life is here.
READ: The best books of 2014

class=”checked”50 Beloved by Toni Morrison
Brutal, haunting, jazz-inflected journey down the darkest narrative rivers of American slavery.

49 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
“Okies” set out from the Depression dustbowl seeking decent wages and dignity.

48 Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
Explores the role of the Christian Church in Harlem’s African-American community.

47The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
A doctor’s infidelities distress his wife. But if life means nothing, it can’t matter.

46 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
A meddling teacher is betrayed by a favourite pupil who becomes a nun.

45 The Voyeur by Alain Robbe-Grillet
Did the watch salesman kill the girl on the beach. If so, who heard?

44 Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
A historian becomes increasingly sickened by his existence, but decides to muddle on.

43 The Rabbit books by John Updike
A former high school basketball star is unsatisfied by marriage, fatherhood and sales jobs.

42 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A boy and a runaway slave set sail on the Mississippi, away from Antebellum “sivilisation”.

41 The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
A drug addict chases a ghostly dog across the midnight moors.

40 The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Lily Bart craves luxury too much to marry for love. Scandal and sleeping pills ensue.

39 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A Nigerian yam farmer’s local leadership is shaken by accidental death and a missionary’s arrival.

38The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
A mysterious millionaire’s love for a woman with “a voice full of money” gets him in trouble.

37 The Warden by Anthony Trollope
“Of all novelists in any country, Trollope best understands the role of money,” said W.H. Auden.

36 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
An ex-convict struggles to become a force for good, but it ends badly.

35 Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
An uncommitted history lecturer clashes with his pompous boss, gets drunk and gets the girl.

34 The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts” in this hardboiled crime noir.

33 Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
Epistolary adventure whose heroine’s bodice is savagely unlaced by the brothel-keeping Robert Lovelace.

32 A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
Twelve-book saga whose most celebrated character wears “the wrong kind of overcoat”.

31 Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky
Published 60 years after their author was gassed, these two novellas portray city and village life in Nazi-occupied France.

30 Atonement by Ian McEwan
Puts the “c” word in the classic English country house novel.

29 Life: a User’s Manual by Georges Perec
The jigsaw puzzle of lives in a Parisian apartment block. Plus empty rooms.

28 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Thigh-thwacking yarn of a foundling boy sewing his wild oats before marrying the girl next door.

27 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Human endeavours “to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world” have tragic consequences.

26 Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Northern villagers turn their bonnets against the social changes accompanying the industrial revolution.

25 The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Hailed by TS Eliot as “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels”.

24 Ulysses by James Joyce
Modernist masterpiece reworking of Homer with humour. Contains one of the longest “sentences” in English literature: 4,391 words.

23 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Buying the lies of romance novels leads a provincial doctor’s wife to an agonising end. For other Romantic books suggestions, you may click the link to see more.

22 A Passage to India by EM Forster
A false accusation exposes the racist oppression of British rule in India.

21 1984 by George Orwell
In which Big Brother is even more sinister than the TV series it inspired.

20 Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
Samuel Johnson thought Sterne’s bawdy, experimental novel was too odd to last. Pah!

class=”checked”19 The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
Bloodsucking Martian invaders are wiped out by a dose of the sniffles.

18 Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Waugh based the hapless junior reporter in this journalistic farce on former Telegraph editor Bill Deedes.

17 Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Sexual double standards are held up to the cold, Wessex light in this rural tragedy.

16 Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
A seaside sociopath mucks up murder and marriage in Greene’s literary Punch and Judy show.

15 The Code of the Woosters by PG Wodehouse
A scrape-prone toff and pals are suavely manipulated by his gentleman’s personal gentleman.

14 Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Out on the winding, windy moors Cathy and Heathcliff become each other’s “souls”. Then he storms off.

13 David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Debt and deception in Dickens’s semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman crammed with cads, creeps and capital fellows.

12 Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
A slave trader is shipwrecked but finds God, and a native to convert, on a desert island.

11 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Every proud posh boy deserves a prejudiced girl. And a stately pile.

10 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Picaresque tale about quinquagenarian gent on a skinny horse tilting at windmills.

9 Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Septimus’s suicide doesn’t spoil our heroine’s stream-of-consciousness party.

8 Disgrace by JM Coetzee
An English professor in post-apartheid South Africa loses everything after seducing a student.

7 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Poor and obscure and plain as she is, Mr Rochester wants to marry her. Illegally.

6 In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
Seven-volume meditation on memory, featuring literature’s most celebrated lemony cake.

5 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
“The conquest of the earth,” said Conrad, “is not a pretty thing.”

4 The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
An American heiress in Europe “affronts her destiny” by marrying an adulterous egoist.

3 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy’s doomed adulteress grew from a daydream of “a bare exquisite aristocratic elbow”.

2 Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Monomaniacal Captain Ahab seeks vengeance on the white whale which ate his leg.

1 Middlemarch by George Eliot
“One of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” said Virginia Woolf.

Continue Reading100 novels everyone should read – Telegraph

Character lists in famous novels

Covers of Famous Novels

The characters in these lists are main characters and key secondary characters in these stories. In some cases there are additional secondary and minor characters not listed here. This list may be updated periodically with additional famous novels and their character lists.

The Great Gatsby Characters: 10
Nick Carraway
Jay Gatsby
Daisy Buchanan
Tom Buchanan
Jordan Baker
Myrtle Wilson
George Wilson
Owl Eyes
Meyer Wolfsheim

Treasure Island Characters: 11
Jim Hawkins
Billy Bones
Black Dog
Squire Trelawney
Dr. Livesey
Captain Smollett
Long John Silver
Ben Gunn
Israel Hands
Tom Redruth

The Sun Also Rises Characters: 12
Jake Barnes
Lady Brett Ashley
Robert Cohn
Bill Gorton
Mike Campbell
Pedro Romero
Frances Clyne
Count Mippipopolous
Harvey Stone

Moby-Dick: or, The Whale Characters: 16
Moby Dick
Father Mapple
Captain Boomer

As I Lay Dying Characters: 16
Addie Bundren
Anse Bundren
Cash Bundren
Darl Bundren
Jewel Bundren
Dewey Dell Bundren
Vardaman Bundren
Vernon Tull
Cora Tull

To Kill a Mockingbird Characters: 18
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
Atticus Finch
Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch
Arthur “Boo” Radley
Bob Ewell
Charles Baker “Dill” Harris
Miss Maudie Atkinson
Aunt Alexandra
Mayella Ewell
Tom Robinson
Link Deas
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Nathan Radley
Heck Tate
Mr. Dolphus Raymond
Mr. Walter Cunningham
Walter Cunningham

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Characters: 25
Huckleberry Finn
Tom Sawyer
Widow Douglas and Miss Watson
Pap (Huck’s Father)
The Duke and the King
Judge Thatcher
The Grangerford family – Bob, Buck, Charlotte, Col., Emmeline, Sophia, Tom
The Wilks family – Harvey, Joanna, Mary Jane, Peter, Susan, William
Silas and Sally Phelps
Aunt Polly

Anna Karenina Characters: 26
Anna Arkadyevna Karenina
Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin
Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky
Konstantin Dmitrich Levin
Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya (Kitty)
Stepan Arkadyich Oblonsky (Stiva)
Darya Alexandrovna Oblonskaya (Dolly)
Sergei Alexeich Karenin (Seryozha)
Nikolai Dmitrich Levin
Sergei Ivanovich Koznyshev
Agafya Mikhailovna
Countess Vronsky
Alexander Kirillovich Vronsky
Varvara Vronsky
Prince Alexander Dmitrievich Shcherbatsky
Princess Shcherbatskaya
Countess Lydia Ivanovna
Elizaveta Fyodorovna Tverskaya (Betsy)
Marya Nikolaevna
Madame Stahl
Varvara Andreevna (Varenka)
Nikolai Ivanovich Sviyazhsky
Fyodor Vassilyevich Katavasov

War and Peace Characters: nearly 600 characters

Related Reading:
Book Magazine’s The 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900
Book Magazine, now defunct, compiled a panel of 55 authors, literary agents, editors, and actors in 2002 to “rank the top one hundred characters in literature since 1900.”

Continue ReadingCharacter lists in famous novels

Project Fill-in-the-Gaps

Project Fill-in-the-Gaps created by Moonrat on her blog Editorial Ass: fill in the gaps in your reading lists of classics and contemporary fiction. Make a list of 100 titles, give yourself 5 years to complete reading the list, and give yourself 25% “accident forgiveness” – consider the task accomplished if you achieve 75 titles in the time span. I found this via some blog or other — and sent it to Stephanie, who loves these sorts of projects and immediately put together her list.
I have some rather heavy lifting on my list (Proust!!!!!!) so I have 65 76 titles, rather than 100.

Reading Deadline: April 10, 2014

* = I own the book
Italic = I’ve started it
strikethrough = I’ve finished it

  1. Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale *
  2. Ballard: Crash
  3. Samuel Butler: Way of All Flesh
  4. Celine: Death on the Installment Plan *
  5. Cervantes: Don Quixote *
  6. Chaucer: Canterbury Tales *
  7. Chopin: The Awakening *
  8. Clarke: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell *
  9. Collins: The Moonstone *
  10. Connolly: The Book of Lost Things *
  11. Conrad: The Secret Agent *
  12. Danielewski: House of Leaves *
  13. Dreiser: An American Tragedy
  14. Don DeLillo: Underworld *
  15. Elliot: Middlemarch *
  16. Ellison: Juneteenth *
  17. Gibson & Sterling: The Difference Engine
  18. Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha *
  19. Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley *
  20. Hilton: Lost Horizon *
  21. Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  22. James: The Golden Bowl *
  23. James: The Portrait of a Lady *
  24. Jerome: Three Men in a Boat
  25. Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man *
  26. Lethem: Motherless Brooklyn *
  27. Lewis: Main Street
  28. Maugham: The Razor’s Edge *
  29. McCarty: The Road *
  30. McEwan: Atonement *
  31. Melville: Moby Dick *
  32. Moore: Fool
  33. Naipaul: A House for Mr. Biswas
  34. O’Connor: A Good Man is Hard To Find *
  35. Pasternak: Doctor Zhivago
  36. Proust: (In Search of Lost Time – Vol 1) Swann’s Way *
  37. Proust: (In Search of Lost Time – Vol 2) In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower *
  38. Proust: (In Search of Lost Time – Vol 3) The Guermantes Way *
  39. Proust: (In Search of Lost Time – Vol 4) Sodom and Gomorrah *
  40. Proust: (In Search of Lost Time – Vol 5 & 6) The Prisoner & The Fugitive *
  41. Proust: (In Search of Lost Time – Vol 7) Finding Time Again *
  42. Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel *
  43. Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea *
  44. Safran Foer: Everything is Illuminated *
  45. Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men *
  46. Stendhal: The Charterhouse of Parma *
  47. Sterne: A Sentimental Journey *
  48. Stephenson: Cryptonomicon *
  49. Gene Stratton Porter: A Girl of the Limber Lost *
  50. Donna Tartt: A Secret History *
  51. Tolstoy: Anna Karenina *
  52. Updike: TBD *
  53. Verne: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea *
  54. Wallace: Infinite Jest *
  55. Wharton: The House of Mirth *
  56. Wroblewski: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle *
  57. Richard Yates: Revolutionary Road *
  58. Zusak: The Book Thief *
  59. Bloom: Shakespeare – The Invention of the Human *
  60. Bryson: A Short History of Nearly Everything *
  61. Campbell: The Hero of a Thousand Faces *
  62. Dawkins: The God Delusion *
  63. Diamond: Guns, Germs and Steel *
  64. Diamond: Collapse *
  65. Jacobs: Life and Death of Cities *
  66. Jacobs: Economy of Cities *
  67. Jacobs: Nature of Economies *
  68. Steven Johnson: The Ghost Map *
  69. Pinker: The Blank Slate *
  70. Stein: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas *
  71. Weisman: The World Without Us *
  72. Zimbardo: The Lucifer Effect *
  73. Burroughs: Queer *
  74. Dickinson: Complete Works
  75. Plath: The Bell Jar *
  76. Whitman: Leaves of Grass *
Continue ReadingProject Fill-in-the-Gaps

Books I’ve Read – First quarter 2009

Wow, I’ve done horribly at documenting my reading for this year. Maybe I need to just give up trying to do posts for every book and just aggregate them into 1 post each quarter. Here’s what I’ve read in the first quarter of 2009:

D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths
by Ingri D’Aulaire
I loved D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths as a child and bought a copy of it as an adult, but never realized they had illustrated Norse Mythology as well until I discovered this in the children’s section last year. It’s excellent; while their illustrations of the sunny Greek Gods and Heroes have always been the pictures in my mind’s eye of those iconic characters, their illustrative style is even more suited to the dark and sometimes grim Norse story telling.

The Various: Book 1 in the Touchstone Trilogy
by Steve Augarde
I picked this up at Unabridged bookstore in Boystown while we were there for the gay games. That independent bookstore has been well-known for many years for it’s staff recommendations (a technique since picked up by large bookstores around the country) and The Various was a highly recommended title in the young adult section. It was very lovely, and reminded me a lot of I Capture The Castle, although this book fits very much in the fantasy genre. I enjoyed it enough to put the second two books on my wishlist. I have to see how it all comes out.

The Limerick Trick
by Scott Corbett
I picked this up at Midland Antique Mall because Scott Corbett was the author of a childhood favorite book of mine – The Great Joke Game. This was cute, but not as exciting – a young man needing to write a poem for class invokes a spell and ends up spouting limericks unintentionally. Fortunately, none of them had anything to do with Nantucket.

The Fourth Bear: A Nursery Crime
by Jasper Fforde
I’ve been a fan of Jasper Fforde’s literary comic mysteries, and like the Tuesday Next series, the Nursery Crime series is clever and quite funny.

The Book of General Ignorance
by John Mitchinson and John Lloyd
A fun book of trivia and arcane factoids that challenge common wisdom, old wives tales and some of the rather general notions handed down in our elementary school textbooks.

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
This year’s Newbery award winner. It’s excellent, and quite worth it. Pick it up to read.

The Eight
by Katherine Neville
I bought this thinking it was a book about a jeweled chess set that I’ve been hunting for many years. It turned out not to be the book I remember, but it was quite engaging. Katherine Neville was Dan Brown years before Dan Brown, and she was much better at it. The story of the mysterious lost chess set of Charlemagne; this book spans several centuries and continents as various players race to gather up the pieces and unlock the mystery encoded there centuries ago.

Fresh Styles for Web Designers: Eye Candy from the Underground
by Curt Cloninger
A revised edition covering more modern styles of site design; a must-own book for web designers.
Wow, practically everything I’ve managed to finish so far this year is a children’s book. Yeesh! That’s sad, right there. I know I’ve been busy, but this is pretty unprecedented, even for me. But here’s the reason why….

Books I have in progress:
I’m in another one of those stuck modes where I keep getting distracted and picking up and putting down books. Here’s what I have on my plate to work through:
The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror
by Beverly Gage
This is a really engaging book and one that I will absolutely finish. I especially enjoy walking around saying “The day Wall Street asploded.” I am a mental five-year-old, after all.

The Writer’s Idea Book
Jack Heffron

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
by Twyla Tharp

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
by Ph.D., Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

Cities in Civilization
by Peter Hall

The Lovecraft Lexicon: A Reader’s Guide to Persons, Places and Things in the Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
by Anthony Brainard Pearsall

H.P. Lovecraft Unabridged
by H.P. Lovecraft
I have finished quite a few of his short stories, but this is a complete set, so it’ll be awhile before I get through them all.

The Moment It Clicks: Photography secrets from one of the world’s top shooters
by Joe McNally
This is a great book for any photographer. McNally and Scott Kelby are great for people who have some experience with photography in understanding technical proficiency. However I keep picking it up, and then returning to the more technical other photography book I’m reading to fill in the gaps…

Photography (9th Edition)
by Barbara London (Author), Jim Stone (Author), John Upton (Author)
This is the best book I’ve read so far at explaining the fundamentals of how a single lens reflex camera actually works – at helping me sort out what I need to know about aperture, focal lengths, depth of field, etc. I had learned all that back in photography class in college, but in the 20 years since then, I managed to spring a leak in my brains and all those bits of data fell right out. This book has helped me put them back in again.

Castle Waiting
by Linda Medley
Publisher’s weekly explains it might better than I could – “A set of linked nouveaux fairy tales, this graphic novel extends the story of Sleeping Beauty into a modern, feminist Chaucer for happy people.”

Continue ReadingBooks I’ve Read – First quarter 2009

Charles Shulz, The Code of the Woosters, Digital Photography

Stuff I’ve read lately:

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography
by David Michaelis
Who knew that Charles Schulz was such a prickly pear? And a fascinating artist. His rise to prominence as a cartoonist occurred when I was a tiny tot in the late 60’s and early 70’s, and the perspective I had of the Peanuts cartoon from that age is thrown into quite a contrast by this biography — and for the better, I’d say. It’s interesting to discover that a cartoon I have such strong childhood memories of was originally aimed at and popular with the college students of it’s generation.

The Code of the Woosters
by P.G. Wodehouse
One of the few remaining Wodehouse books I haven’t read; funny as always.

The Digital Photography Book
by Scott Kelby
A really handy book for people who are picking up a DSLR camera for the first time and learning what it can do. Kelby leaves out the dry boring crap and tells you “here’s how I would set up my camera in this situation.”

Night Work (Kate Martinelli Mysteries)
by Laurie R. King
Fourth book in the series. I seem to be reading them backwards; I haven’t read the first 3 yet. That hasn’t impaired my enjoyment at all.

Continue ReadingCharles Shulz, The Code of the Woosters, Digital Photography

Words that end in “-ist” for a thousand, Alex

In creating my current “recently read” list today, I noticed an oddity in my reading choices…

Previously, my reading list included The Sonambulist, and a few years back, one of my very favorite books was The Intuitionist. I also recently enjoyed The Illusionist on DVD.

I know there’s at least one other “-ist” title in my “recently read” list, but when I started to go back and look for it, I realized I have 11 years worth of book lists to look through, and I decided I was too lazy for that. You’d think I’d keep a running list after all these years, but, well, refer to previous sentence re: lazy.

“The suffix -ist is used to denote a person who either practices something or a person who is concerned with something or a person who holds certain principles, doctrines, etc.”

Yes, well people seem to like to write lots of books about such people, don’t they? I have not read The Alchemist, or The Alienist, but I’m not going to be compulsive about it and put them on my “to read” list. The first doesn’t interest me, and the second I heard about from others and I’m pretty sure I might not like it.

The Impressionist is on my bookshelf now, and I’ll probably give it a read.

Given the prominence of the suffix in published works, I thought I might title my own future novel with an “-ist” ending, so I began reading through 1201 such words.

Alas, both The Balloonists, and The Little Balloonist are taken, so it seems that non-engine powered aeronautics covered.

I could go with the Anarchist – there doesn’t seem to be a novel by that name, although there is a Cookbook, and apparently, they are in the Library of late. (that last one is on my reading list, BTW. The first is probably going to get me on watchlists just for linking.

So, how about the Aviarist, or The Bronchioscopist? Well, maybe not that last one. That sounds a bit squishy. The Anecdotalist? That sounds a bit like Auntie Gert telling stories with endless tangents and no endpoint.

An “aquarellist” is a person who paints water colors.

A “cinquecentist” is a poet or artist in 16th century Italy. Both would require me to do research. See: lazy.

The Deconstructionist! Ugh. I think I’d rather shoot them that write about them.

The Fabulist — I think that’s it. Yes, the Fabulist. Damn it — that’s already written. And about that fine fellow Stephen Glass, too. That title almost makes him seem whimsical.

A Feist is a small dog – or a singer whichever you prefer.

A funambulist is a tight-rope walker.

Where the hell am I in this list? F? This could go on forever. or perhaps all the way to
Z. Best quit now.

la·zy·ish: \-zē-ish\ adjective – a: disinclined to activity or exertion : not energetic or vigorous. Indolent, Slothful.

2022-03-13 Update:
I have since read The Alchemist, The Alienist,and The Impressionist.

I did avoid the Anarchist Cookbook. I am still thinking about the The Anarchist in the Library.

And I’m thinking there are more books with -ist since 2008. I may do a revisit. Alas, still la·zy·ish; I may not.

Continue ReadingWords that end in “-ist” for a thousand, Alex

Book Meme: What I’ve Read

(via Publishing Careers)

The National Endowment for the Arts has an initiative you may have heard of called the Big Read. According to the website, its purpose is to “restore reading to the center of American culture.” They estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.

Here’s what you do:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list on your own blog.

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 – loved this in high school, but don’t care for it now.
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 Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’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 Hitchhiker’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’s Adventures 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 – CS 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- (started this)
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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
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 (started it)
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 Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – A. S. 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 – EB 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

My score: 63/100

Continue ReadingBook Meme: What I’ve Read

What I’ve Read Recently

The problem I had with being unfocused and skipping from book to book seems to have passed, post-wedding. At one point, I believe I had 9 books partially read. I haven’t gone back to finish any of them, but started fresh with some lighter summer reading in order to carry paperbacks on the plane with me.

The Areas of My Expertise
by John Hodgman
John Hodgman is a writer and comedian who has appeared on the Daily Show and is the “PC” in the Mac/PC commercials from Apple. It’s a very funny book, but I think I’d prefer to hear him read this out loud though – his deadpan delivery is what really sells his offbeat humor.

Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy (Jane Austen Mysteries, book 8)
by Stephanie Barron
While I still can’t quite reconcile this mystery series’ rendition of Jane Austen with the woman I see in my mind’s eye after reading her biographies, the series is pretty entertaining.

Justice Hall (Mary Russell Novels)
by Laurie R. King
The Game (Mary Russell Novels)
by Laurie R. King
Looping back to pick up the two mysteries in the series that I skipped over accidentally. Justice Hall is the 6th in the Mary Russell series, and for those that may not have read my previous reviews, Mary is married to detective Sherlock Holmes. They’re pretty well written, and I enjoy Mary’s character, although Holmes seems at times to take a back seat and plot is sometimes a bit ambiguous.

The Somnambulist
by Jonathan Barnes
Wow. For a debut novel, this is a killer job. I really loved this book. Edward Moon is a British magician in Victorian London, with an unusual, hulking silent partner called “The Sonambulist” who participates in his acts and helps him solve the odd mystery on the side. Moon’s career is on the wane after years of popularity, mainly because his act has been the same for years and people have tired of seeing the same old thing. He’s drawn into the investigation of an actor’s murder, and manages to stumble into a full-blown conspiracy to destroy the city of London, which he must quickly get to the heart of before doom strikes the city. The book is funny, quirky and full of Dickensian-like oddballs. Can’t wait for the sequel. I hope there is one.

The Secret of Lost Things
by Sheridan Hay
Rosemary Savage comes to America at age 18 to settle in New York City after the death of her mother in her home country of Tasmania. She finds a job in the Arcade Bookshop (similar to the real bookshop the Strand) and stumbles into a mystery of a lost Herman Melville manuscript, and those who want to profit from it.

Continue ReadingWhat I’ve Read Recently

Book Review Catch-Up – Spring 2008

Boy, am I behind on recording what I’ve read. I’ve had this post in progress forever trying to summarize some of these books, and I kept tacking new titles onto the end. I finally stole enough free time to get it finished.

The Geographer’s Library
by Jon Fasman
A literary history suspense novel, along the lines of The Davinci Code. it follows two separate threads – one of a rather lazy young reporter at a sleepy small-town paper investigating the death of a college professor from his alma mater, and the other thread the fate of a collection of various alchemical objects put together by a court librarian/philosopher in 10th century Sicily. It takes a rather long time for the two threads to come together, and when they finally did, I was too impatient to care much about what happened.

Locked Rooms (Mary Russell Novels)
by Laurie R. King
I’d forgotten how much I like this series of mystery novels until I picked up the latest. King’s Mary Russell series is a continuation of/homage to Sherlock Holmes, but unlike some I’ve read, this series is well done. Holmes purists tend to sniff at them — but if you think about that for a minute, the idea of there even being Holmes purists to begin with is rather silly. Conan Doyle wasn’t exactly a literary lion, and King’s novels have some weight to them in terms of character voice and plot. The series is based on a Sherlock Holmes that has “retired” from London investigations and fallen in love with the titular Mary Russell, a brilliant young woman half his age but completely his equal.

This particular novel is set in San Francisco, where Holmes and Russell have traveled to wrap up her family’s estate and to stumble into what really happened when her parents met their deaths in a long-ago automobile accident. It’s a nice picture of early San Francisco history during and post the great fire. The mystery comes together decently at the end, but I enjoyed the ride so much I wasn’t all that hung up on whether it did or not.

The Art of Detection
by Laurie R. King
The fifth book in King’s Kate Martinelli series. I haven’t read the first four (somehow I got a bit mixed up when I was buying this) but it didn’t impede my enjoyment of this book. Martinelli’s a San Franciso cop and lesbian mom with a toddler who gets a strange case indeed. A man who enjoys dressing up like victorian detective Sherlock Holmes is killed in an unusual fashion, over what turns out to be an original, lost story of Sherlock Holmes, set in San Francisco. (Yep, the book had some subtle references to the “Locked Rooms” book I read just before this. Not necessary to read both, but I love neat continuity stuff like this.)

Standard Hero Behavior
by John David Anderson
Standard Hero Behavior is a funny teen fantasy novel written by one of Stephanie’s former co-workers. Mason Quayle is a bard in in the small town of Darlington (formerly Highsmith) whose hero father went off 10 years ago with the rest of the town heroes on a mysterious quest, never to return. Now the town is threatened, and only Mason and his friend/sidekick Cowel can save the day – by locating the lost heroes and brining them home to defend the town.

I really like that Anderson wrapped up the novel completely, but there are some tiny signs of where he could go with a sequel. I’ve mentioned before that leaving fantasy fiction novels wide open at the end is one of my pet peeves, this is one satisfying example where that doesn’t happen.

I have to say there was a character in the novel I have concerns about because the character could be interpreted a couple different ways, and I could see where some folks I know might take offense. That’s a question I’ll have to ask Dave next time I run into him, though, about what he was trying to convey.

The Best of MAKE (Make)
by Mark Frauenfelder and Gareth Branwyn
I read this entire book when we were stuck on the plane for six hours on the way to SXSW. Some of the electronics stuff is way over my head, but with some specific instructions and possibly some help from Steph’s dad, those projects aren’t beyond my reach.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 1: The Long Way Home
by Joss Whedon, Andy Owens, Georges Jeanty, and Jo Chen
The first volume of the comic book version of Season 8 of the show – it doesn’t go back and recap for new people, so you’ll want to start reading the Omnibus comics from the beginning or pick up the DVDs. Volume 1 is great – if you’re a Buffy fan, you’ll definitely want to own this.

Marvel 1602
by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert
Neil Gaiman writes a graphic novel where Marvel’s classic characters (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Peter Parker, Nick Fury, Daredevil) come to life in Elizabethan Age. Nicely done!

Continue ReadingBook Review Catch-Up – Spring 2008

Books I Got for Christmas 2007

Part of the awesome loot I got this holiday season from my family.

The Daring Book for Girls
by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz

The Best of MAKE Magazine
by Mark Frauenfelder and Gareth Branwyn

Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto
by David Tracey

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 1: The Long Way Home
by Joss Whedon

Readymades: American Roadside Artifacts
by Jeff Brouws

Monopoly: The Story Behind the World’s Best-Selling Game
by Rod Kennedy

The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books
by J. Peder Zane

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
by Syrie James

Greetings from Jamaica, Wish You Were Queer
by Mari Sangiovanni

The Great American Road Trip
by Eric Peterson

Forbidden Knowledge: 101 Things Not Everyone Should Know How to Do
by Michael Powell

Far Out: 101 Strange Tales from Science’s Outer Edge
by Mark Pilkington

Magnum Magnum
by Brigitte Lardinois
A landmark book celebrating the engaging mix of photographer as both reporter and artist that has defined Magnum for sixty years. Magnum Magnum brings together the best work, celebrating the vision, imagination, and brilliance of Magnum photographers, both the acknowledged greats of photography in the twentieth century—among them Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Eve Arnold, Marc Riboud, and Werner Bischof—and the modern masters and rising stars of our time, such as Martin Parr, Susan Meiselas, Alec Soth, and Donovan Wylie. And it shows the work at a breathtaking scale: the vast page size of Magnum Magnum—12 by 15—gives the photos an impact never seen before in book form.

Continue ReadingBooks I Got for Christmas 2007