challenges, reading goals

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge


If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen every episode of Gilmore Girls. Twice. You love to drink coffee and talk fast and you maybe (just maybe) stalked the Netflix premiere party of A Day in the Life because it was happening on your own campus and DUH you couldn’t just not go and gape at all the stars passing you by!!

And maybe you relate a lot to the protagonist Rory Gilmore, a bookish teen who’d rather read than party, like I do. (the one in the original series, not the lost twenty-something in A Day in the Life though I’m sure that’s in my future!)

Here’s my own personal progress on the Rory Gilmore reading challenge in my quest to emulate every part of the character that I can; I will keep this updated as I slosh my way though my TBR pile. I probably won’t read all of them (ESPECIALLY The Shining. I hate horror and Stephen King is just too good at what he does) but its fun to keep track!

Legend: bolded are books that I possess; striked out are books that I have read; I will include links to reviews if I have reviewed that book on my blog

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  5. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  9. Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
  10. The Art of Fiction by Henry James
  11. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  13. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  14. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
  15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  16. Babe by Dick King-Smith
  17. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
  18. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
  19. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  20. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  21. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  22. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
  23. The Bhagava Gita
  24. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
  25. Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
  26. A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
  27. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  28. Brick Lane by Monica Ali
  29. Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
  30. Candide by Voltaire
  31. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
  32. Carrie by Stephen King
  33. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  34. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  35. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  36. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
  37. Christine by Stephen King
  38. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  39. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  40. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
  41. The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
  42. A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
  43. Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
  44. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
  45. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
  46. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  47. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
  48. Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
  49. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  50. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
  51. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  52. Cujo by Stephen King
  53. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  54. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  55. David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
  56. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  57. The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
  58. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  59. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  60. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  61. Deenie by Judy Blume
  62. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  63. The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
  64. The Divine Comedy by Dante
  65. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  66. Don Quijote by Cervantes
  67. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
  68. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  69. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  70. Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
  71. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
  72. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
  73. Eloise by Kay Thompson
  74. Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
  75. Emma by Jane Austen
  76. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  77. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
  78. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  79. Ethics by Spinoza
  80. Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
  81. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
  82. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  83. Extravagance by Gary Krist
  84. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  85. Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
  86. The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
  87. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
  88. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  89. The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
  90. Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
  91. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  92. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  93. Fletch by Gregory McDonald
  94. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  95. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  96. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  97. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  98. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  99. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  100. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
  101. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  102. George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
  103. Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
  104. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  105. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  106. The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
  107. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – started and not finished
  108. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
  109. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  110. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
  111. The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
  112. The Graduate by Charles Webb
  113. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  114. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  115. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  116. The Group by Mary McCarthy
  117. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  118. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
  119. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  120. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  121. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  122. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
  123. Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
  124. Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
  125. Henry V by William Shakespeare
  126. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  127. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
  128. Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
  129. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
  130. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
  131. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  132. How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
  133. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  134. How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
  135. Howl by Allen Gingsburg
  136. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  137. The Iliad by Homer
  138. I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
  139. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  140. Inferno by Dante
  141. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
  142. Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
  143. It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
  144. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  145. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  146. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  147. The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
  148. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  149. Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
  150. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
  151. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
  152. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  153. Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  154. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
  155. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  156. The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
  157. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
  158. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  159. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
  160. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  161. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  162. The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
  163. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  164. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  165. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  166. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  167. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  168. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  169. The Love Story by Erich Segal
  170. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  171. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  172. The Manticore by Robertson Davies
  173. Marathon Man by William Goldman
  174. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  175. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
  176. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
  177. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  178. The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  179. Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
  180. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
  181. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  182. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  183. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
  184. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  185. The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
  186. Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
  187. A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
  188. Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
  189. A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
  190. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  191. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  192. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
  193. My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
  194. My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
  195. My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
  196. Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
  197. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  198. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  199. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  200. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  201. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
  202. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
  203. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
  204. The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
  205. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
  206. Night by Elie Wiesel
  207. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  208. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
  209. Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
  210. Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
  211. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  212. Old School by Tobias Wolff
  213. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  214. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  215. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  216. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
  217. Oracle Night by Paul Auster
  218. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  219. Othello by Shakespeare
  220. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  221. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
  222. Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
  223. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  224. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  225. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
  226. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  227. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  228. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  229. Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
  230. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  231. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
  232. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
  233. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  234. The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
  235. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
  236. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  237. Property by Valerie Martin
  238. Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
  239. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  240. Quattrocento by James Mckean
  241. A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
  242. Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
  243. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  244. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
  245. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
  246. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  247. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
  248. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  249. Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
  250. The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien
  251. R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
  252. Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
  253. Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
  254. Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
  255. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  256. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  257. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  258. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
  259. The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
  260. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
  261. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
  262. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
  263. Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
  264. The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  265. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  266. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  267. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  268. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  269. Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
  270. Selected Hotels of Europe
  271. Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
  272. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  273. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  274. Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
  275. Sexus by Henry Miller
  276. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  277. Shane by Jack Shaefer
  278. The Shining by Stephen King
  279. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  280. S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  281. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  282. Small Island by Andrea Levy
  283. Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
  284. Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
  285. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
  286. The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
  287. Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
  288. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
  289. Songbook by Nick Hornby
  290. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
  291. Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  292. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
  293. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  294. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
  295. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  296. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  297. A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
  298. Stuart Little by E. B. White
  299. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  300. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  301. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
  302. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
  303. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  304. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  305. Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
  306. Time and Again by Jack Finney
  307. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  308. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
  309. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  310. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
  311. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  312. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  313. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
  314. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
  315. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  316. Ulysses by James Joyce
  317. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
  318. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  319. Unless by Carol Shields
  320. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  321. The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
  322. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  323. Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
  324. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  325. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  326. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  327. Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
  328. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  329. We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
  330. What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
  331. What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
  332. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  333. Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
  334. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
  335. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  336. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  337. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  338. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  339. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

So far I have read 35/339..which comes out to around 10%. I guess I better keep reading!

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to be read

TBR jar / TBR masterpost

So, I’d seen the idea of a TBR jar floating around on another book blog…so I decided, why not? I barely have any room for the books that I have and my separate TBR lists are amazingly long, so I decided to compile the lists into one masterlist.

Well, that might have been a mistake. I counted all of the tiles that I have written down…and there are 127 titles. 127 you guys! Because I am interested in so many genres and try to read diversely…well…let’s just say I will be committing to this TBR jar for a while.

The way the TBR jar will work is that I have written each title on my TBR list and the names of the books that I own that are unread on separate slips of paper. I will fold them up, mix them in a Mason jar, and pick out a couple to read each month.

So as of now- I am hereby banning myself from buying any more books/adding to this TBR list until I can get it to a more manageable size. (It’s obvious to pretty much everyone except me that I have a huge problem).

I’m gonna keep track of what I’m reading and when, and I will do so on this post:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
  2. Alex and Eliza
  3. Alexander Hamilton
  4. America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction (September 2017)

  5. Angel
  6. Angels in America (#1)
  7. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  8. Anton Chekhov: The Complete Short Novels
  9. Anton Chekhov: Stories
  10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
  11. As I Descended
  12. The Awakening
  13. A Bad Feminist
  14. The Bell Jar
  15. Between Shades of Gray
  16. The Bluest Eye
  17. The Boy in Striped Pajamas
  18. Boy Meets Boy
  19. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  20. Catch-22
  21. Casual Vacancy
  22. A Circle of Quiet
  23. City of Bones
  24. The Collected Stories- Pushkin
  25. Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
  26. The Color Purple
  27. The Complete Plays: Christopher Marlowe
  28. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
  29. Crazy Rich Asians
  30. Difficult Women
  31. Dreamology
  32. Dreams from My Father (Finished September 2017)
  33. Elbow Room
  34. Eleanor and Park
  35. Eligible
  36. Every Heart a Doorway
  37. Extras
  38. The Eyre Affair
  39. Fangirl  (Finished August 2017)
  40. The Fault in Our Stars
  41. Fire
  42. Flame in the Mist
  43. From the Silence of the Tao House
  44. The Fountainhead
  45. Fun Home
  46. The Geek Feminist Revolution
  47. Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  48. Girl, Interrupted
  49. The Girl on the Train
  50. The Girls of Atomic City
  51. Give us the Ballot
  52. The Glass Castle
  53. The Goldfinch
  54. Gone Girl
  55. Good Wives (Little Women #2)
  56. The Handmaid’s Tale
  57. The Hate You Give
  58. The Help
  59. History is All You Left Me
  60. The Hobbit
  61. How to Make a Wish
  62. The Iceman Cometh
  63. If I was Your Girl (Finished September 2017)
  64. I’ll Give You the Sun
  65. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Finished September 2017)
  66. It Takes a Village
  67. The Jane Austen Book Club
  68. The Jungle
  69. Larger than Life
  70. The Life of Pi
  71. Lowlands
  72. The Luster of Lost Things
  73. Mark of Athena
  74. Memoirs of a Geisha
  75. The Melody of You and Me
  76. Mom & Me & Mom
  77. More Happy than Not
  78. Mourning Becomes Electra
  79. My Antonia
  80. My Sister’s Keeper
  81. Nevermore
  82. The Nightingale
  83. Not Otherwise Specified
  84. Notorious RBG
  85. Of Fire and Stars
  86. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  87. The Opposite of Loneliness
  88. The Outsiders
  89. Paper Towns
  90. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  91. Persepolis 2
  92. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  93. The Price
  94. The Princess Bride
  95. Queens of Geek
  96. Ramona Blue
  97. Red Fire
  98. Room
  99. Sara Bareilles: Sounds Like Me (finished August 2017)
  100. The Secret Life of Bees
  101. Seven Ways We Lie
  102. The Shell Collection
  103. Shiver
  104. A Short History of Nearly Everything
  105. Sightseeing
  106. Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  107. Story of the Trapp Family Singers
  108. A Streetcar Named Desire
  109. The Sun is Also A Star
  110. Tales from Watership Down
  111. Tash Hearts Tolstoy
  112. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  113. Tender is the Night
  114. A Thousand Splendid Suns
  115. To All the Boys I Loved Before
  116. Two Boys Kissing (Finished August 2017)
  117. The Virgin Suicides
  118. Walden
  119. We are Okay (Finished September 2017)
  120. When Breath Becomes Air
  121. When We Collided
  122. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  123. Wild
  124. Wild Swans
  125. Wuthering Heights
  126. The Year of the Runaways
  127. The Zoo Story

This started out as a cute idea, but now it has turned into something that I’ve probably needed to do for a looong time.

Progress: Read- 8/127

Bolded Books are those in my possession.

 

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book review, reading recommendations, short story sunday

Short Story Sunday: Killings


For those of you who find it hard to set time aside to read, but still love the pull of a good novel, I introduce to you Short Story Sundays! Basically, I will review a short story or even an essay that I loved each Sunday (most of them will be recommendations) instead of a full length novel or play that you can easily pick up, read, and digest in the span of an hour.

This week’s short story is Killings by Andre Dubus, and it is from a genre I rarely read and probably rarely will talk about, and that’s thriller. If you enjoy this work, I would recommend that you read other works by Dubus who is simply put, a genius.

SUMMARY: Matt Fowler is a husband and father who is grieving the loss of his son. His son, Frank, was murdered by Richard, who was the ex-husband of the girl that Frank was involved with. Matt cannot stand to see that Richard is out and about in town while his wife and he are in tremendous pain. And so, Matt sets out on a mission and enlists a buddy of his to seek revenge on Richard. I won’t say what it is Matt does, but the title probably gives you a good enough idea of what happens.

REVIEW: Okay so even though the title is pretty explicit, I was still taken aback by the events of the story, especially those at the end. Why? Because Dubus does an excellent job of humanizing Matt, of making the reader feel for his grief, his anger, and his overall sense of dissatisfaction. Dubus makes one fall in love with Matt’s backstory, and even can provoke some readers to feel that Matt was justified in his actions. And that is the mastery of fiction writing at its best: when readers find themselves sympathizing with those who commit heinous acts and are horrified when they realize what a strange place that is to be in too late. So even though the events of the story seem almost inevitable, it comes as a surprise just because Matt is so much like you or me.

RATING: 5/5 stars; if you are a fan of thrillers, I would especially recommend this to you.

 

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book review, fiction

Review: So Long, See You Tomorrow

I had inadvertently walked through a door that I shouldn’t have gone through and couldn’t get back to the place I hadn’t meant to leave.

So Long, See You Tomorrow, William Maxwell

so-long-see-you-tomorrow

Click on the image above to purchase on Amazon.

AUTHOR: William Maxwell

GENRE: Fiction

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: Amazon

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

SUMMARY: A middle-aged narrator looks back on the events surrounding the murder that had affected his best friend, Cletus, when both of them were adolescents. The narrator was not personally affected by the murder, but keeps returning to it in his memory, unable to let it go. He reconstructs the persons involved in the crime, and the part they might have played in leading up to the murder. As he digs back into the past and how it upset his friend, Cletus, he finds bits and pieces of his own past that also beg for closure, at last.

THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed Maxwell’s writing in this book. It had dreamy qualities to it, ones that appropriately fitted the farmtown he was describing and that enhanced the fact that this story was told throughout memories. I also like Maxwell’s choice of a narrator- by choosing someone who was not involved in the murder, there is no bias in the narrator’s retelling of the events.

The subject of loss, and coming to terms with loss, is heavily explored in this book. The figurative language used to demonstrate the narrator’s struggle with his own losses, as well as how lost he is in the present, is done so masterfully and in a unique style that I have not encountered before.

The multiple narrators, or at least, the multiple personas that the narrator takes on when trying to explain the events, gives the story multiple points of views; and this choice is appropriate, so that characters are neither villified nor idealized, but rather, as human as they possibly can be.

In a way, the way that this book approaches memories was reminiscent of The Glass MenagerieThe fact that memories and fiction go so well together, and the fact that the relationship between the two is so tangible and yet unreachable, since memories are only configurations of our imaginations, the things that only we think happened, makes for an interesting subject to read about. I also like how the subject of maturity and maturation is not necessarily linked to a certain age- the narrator is in his fifties (don’t quote me on that) but he is still learning a lot from reflecting on his youth and examining emotions that he has repressed for too long and has never really learned to leave behind in the past.

The plot is engaging, even though there is no suspense or mystery to the crime. There isn’t supposed to be, and if it were, it would take away from the actual story. I read this novel in the span of a couple of hours, and if you are looking for a quick, thought-provoking, and enjoyable read, then I would definitely recommend this book to you.

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challenges, reading goals

Our Shared Shelf


Did you guys know that THE Emma Watson has a book club? AND it’s all about reading books about feminism?

I’m technically part of the book group on Goodreads but I have a confession…I haven’t been keeping up with the book of the month that they have been reading. Actually, I’ve barely read any of the books that they’ve read. But for the sake of expanding the genres that I read and the subjects I read about…I am going to start a masterlist and keep track of my progress on it. They’re only about 15ish books in…so it shouldn’t be too hard to catch up!

striked out titles means I’ve read them; I’ll link reviews if I have reviewed them on this blog.

I got their read list here.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale
  2. Women who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories about the Wild Women Archetype
  3. The Vagina Monologues
  4. Mom & Me & Mom
  5. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
  6. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
  7. The Complete Persepolis
  8. The Agronauts
  9. All About Love: New Visions
  10. The Color Purple
  11. My Life on the Road
  12. The Beauty Myth
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book review, classics, reading recommendations

Review: Little Women

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

little-women-book-cover

Click the image above to purchase on Amazon.

If you don’t know by now, I’m a sucker for a good classic. And this happens to be one of my childhood favorites.

AUTHOR: Louisa May Alcott

GENRE: Coming-of-Age, Realistic Fiction

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: I got it so long ago…I don’t exactly remember.

RATING: 5/5 stars.

SUMMARY: This story follows four sisters (Jo, Beth, Amy, and Meg) and their mother, Marmee. Their financial situation is tight since their father is gone to fight in the American Civil War. Meg and Jo must work in order to support the household. Each sister has a specific and distinct personality: Jo is the tomboy who dreams of being a writer with a best friend named Laurie, Meg is the most maternal out of all the sisters and is a natural beauty, Beth is the musical and shy sister, and Amy is the baby of the family. These four girls must face the challenges of poverty, the challenges of maturation, and above all, preserve their sisterly bonds in the face of tragedy and even happiness.

THOUGHTS: I love, love, love this novel. I read it as a child, and I aim to read it again as soon as I get through the monstrosity that is my TBR list. Alcott’s writing is clear and touching, so much so that I’d be surprised if you could make it through the novel without being choked up or crying.

The strongest part of this book is the characterization, both individual characterizations and the characterizations of friendships, in this novel. The four sisters are all unique and all flawed, but still love each other unconditionally. Each sister possesses a strong voice in the story, and anyone with a sister will recognize the origins of their bickering and the cause for their affections towards each other. This book is all about women supporting women, which I am HERE for.

Even though this book can be consumed by children easily, it still approaches the mature themes that coming-of-age novels often approach. The subjects of career, marriage, child-rearing, illness, death, love, and courting are all touched on in this novel. Alcott creates real portraits of real women that any female reading can relate to and any male reading can recognize.

So, enough of my prithering. Go read this classic if you haven’t already!

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book review, memoirs/biographies, nonfiction, reading recommendations

Review: Bossypants

Some people say, “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.

Bossypants, Tina Fey

tinafeycover

Click the image above to purchase the book on Amazon.

I love Tina Fey. I have seen Mean Girls more times than I can count and I have seen every episode of 30 Rock. Also, how can I forget her unforgettable performances and writing on Saturday Night Live? If something has Tina Fey involved, I will probably be there.

AUTHOR: Tina Fey

GENRE: Memoir, Humor

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: local library

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

BACKGROUND: Tina Fey: writer, actress, humorist. This is her memoir, which follows her from an awkward high schooler to the comedian trying to make it in Chicago to the female head writer at SNL and beyond. Always witty, and always funny, she relays the events in her life and her thoughts on feminist topics, such as the use of Photoshop, the morality of abortions, and more, but always maintains a lighthearted tone. Quirky, humorous, and honest, this memoir offers a deeper insight into the events of Fey’s career and the thoughts that occupy Fey’s mind.

THOUGHTS: I think Tina Fey has a very specific kind of humor in her command. It is the same kind that branded 30 Rock. It is a kind of humor that speaks to me and entertains me, but of course, it is not for everyone. 30 Rock, while critically acclaimed, never caught on to mass popularity with the general public. So, this book may or may not tickle your funny bone, but I thoroughly enjoyed the humor of it.

It was cool to gain the insider’s perspective of all the media that I had been a fan of for so long- Mean Girls, 30 Rock, working with Tracy Jordan and Alec Baldwin, and how she was introduced to Amy Poehler. I also liked learning about what Tina Fey, who has stood up for women in the entertainment industry multiple times, thought about the certain debates in feminist thinking as well. However she didn’t lecture on the morality or the rightness or wrongness of certain feminist perspectives, which I appreciated.

Fey’s writing is captivating, as as quirky as her own personality. Many of her insecurities throughout the year are more relatable to me than would be most actress’ memoirs; Fey is a comedian, is not classically attractive, and was somewhat socially awkward in her early twenties. All of these qualities, and the experiences that accompany them makes Fey much more relatable to the average reader than other actresses or celebrities that may write memoirs.

If you are a fan of Tina Fey and her work, and if you enjoy a good laugh, I would highly recommend this read!

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book review, reading recommendations, short story sunday

Short Story Sunday: The Story of an Hour


For those of you who find it hard to set time aside to read, but still love the pull of a good novel, I introduce to you Short Story Sundays! Basically, I will review a short story or even an essay that I loved each Sunday (most of them will be recommendations) instead of a full length novel or play that you can easily pick up, read, and digest in the span of an hour.

This week’s short story is titled The Story of an Hour, written by Kate Chopin, who also authored The Awakening. You can read it at American Literature online, through this link.

SUMMARY: Louise Mallard, a wife with heart issues, learns that her husband had passed away. Instead of screeching and loudly mourning his loss, she prefers instead to sit by a window and ponder the thought. Josephine, her sister, is worried sick about Louise, but Louise seems rather calm, even excited. An hour later after the news is broken to Mrs. Mallard, however, a surprise comes to her unexpectedly and troubles her weak heart.

THOUGHTS: I absolutely adore how Kate Chopin manages to take a particularly cliched story with a predictable ending and turn it completely on its head. She does what she does best in this story: she examines the assumptions about femininity, finds the strength in what is supposed to be soft and yielding, and coaxes it unashamedly out of all her characters.

Louise Mallard is no different, and in the span of only a couple thousand words, the reader is invited into the most intimate parts of her life, and she is instantly recognizable. The use of time throughout the story is also cleverly used; you only get a glimpse of one hour of Louise Mallard’s life, but it is enough for you to piece the entirety of her story together.

The language is introspective, as much of the story takes place inside of Louise’s head. The constant shifts of emotion, the sudden urges of excitement, and all the other feelings are captured in Chopin’s graceful, stream-of-consciousness prose. And of course, no one can resist the excitement of a surprise ending.

If you are the kind of person who likes forward, feminist writing and a story with a twist, then I would highly recommend this short story to you.

RATING: 5/5 stars.

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book review, reading recommendations, young adult

Review: Uglies

…when Peris and I would go into town, we’d see a lot of them, and we realized that pretties do look different. They look like themselves. It’s just a lot more subtle, because they’re not all freaks.

Uglies, Scott Westerfield

uglies

I, as much as anyone, love a good dystopian, young adult novel. And this series by Scott Westerfield, with the first book being named Uglies, is one of my favorite that fits that genre.

AUTHOR: Scott Westerfield

GENRE: Young Adult, Dystopian Future

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: Barnes and Noble

RATING: 4/5

SUMMARY: Years into the future, humans become subject to a surgical operation that transforms them from “uglies” into “pretties”. This operation is performed by the government, and completely transforms your physical appearance as well as enhances your body with other technological functions. Tally, our protagonist, excitedly waits the day that she is old enough to receive this operation and finally become attractive, and not like the “ugly” subhuman she currently is. Tally’s friend Shay runs away before she can get the operation to join the Rusties, a rebel group in hiding that refuses to undergo the operation. The government brings in Tally for questioning about Shay, and blackmail her into giving them Shay’s location, otherwise she would never be turned into a Pretty. Tally agrees, but along the way finds out the government has not entirely been truthful to her and finds herself in the middle of a mess far larger than herself and her vanity.

THOUGHTS: I read this book in middle school, but none of the prevalence of this story has been lost on me throughout the years. And I have read the rest of this series as well-Westerfield is a master story teller and manages to avoid those same pitfalls that a lot of dystopian literature can often run into. He writes a compelling universe and although it is set far into the future, it is still eerily recognizable.

Tally is a sympathetic narrator, in which she longs to be what society tells her she ought to be. In a materialistic, consumer-driven world, it is easy to see how Tally got so swayed into naively believing the lies that were being fed to her, even though it is clear to the reader that something fishy is up. This important balance between fantasy and reality holds up an interesting mirror to our own society, which is exactly, in my opinion, is what a good dystopian novel should do.

The language is simple, but that can be explained through the fact that this book’s target audience is younger. The characterization of relationships between characters, especially between Tally and David and Tally and Shay, is so beautifully done. All the intricacies and subtext lies beneath and between Westerfield’s words so that one can never really be certain of how certain characters are going to react to one another. It is as much suspenseful as it is masterful.

If you are a fellow reader who enjoys a good, original dystopian plot line, then this book is for you.

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