countdown

#DNF list- Books I Did Not Finish


It is nearing the end of the calendar year, and I figured I’d wrap up the year with some books I have never finished. Hopefully, in 2018, I will be able to finish these novels (at least some of them!)

  • The Aeneid by Virgil:

This was a book that I was assigned to read for an Ancient Roman culture class. We only were assigned to read excerpts of it throughout class and I honestly never picked it up again after that class ended, mostly because that particular class required so much reading every week that I had to take a break from that story. However, it is interesting and educational so I’d like to think that I’d pick it up again.

  • Anna Karenina  by Leo Tolstoy

I have been “reading” this book for over a year now and I always make excuses not to read it- I’ll go and read a shorter book or I’ll listen to my audiobook or I’ll read my ebook. It’s a really bad habit and I’m nearly halfway through, so hopefully I will get the urge to just power through it. I am really enjoying it, it’s just dense and sometimes I have to switch to something lighter or more contemporary. The issue is I often get stuck in those other novels while forgetting about this classic.

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

I had to read excerpts of this for a science class and actually really enjoy the spin that Bryson puts on science- it’s accessible to laymen who have never taken a psychics class in their life like me and it’s entertaining. There are narratives behind every discovery described and I would like to finish the parts that were not assigned to me because it was that good.

  • Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott

I tried reading this book as an adolescent and it was a more adult version of Little Women that young me just didn’t identify with as much as the characters in the original book. However, as a younger adult now, I think I would like to give this book the second chance it deserves.

  • The History of Rome by Livy

Again, I was assigned this book for my ancient Rome class, and because a lot of Rome’s “history” is mythologically based, I would like to continue reading this book but in a less academic, more relaxed setting.

  • Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

I regret never finishing the Inkheart trilogy, especially because I loved the first two. I was deterred by the enormous size of the third book, as well as a couple of friends who told me that the book was not worth my time. Thinking back on it (in my defense I was ten years old so the opinions of my peers had great weight on me) I should have formed my own opinion on the book and just committed to finishing the series in the first place.

  • The Complete Sonnets of Shakespeare

It’s not like me to read poetry as I would a novel, but instead pick it up from time to time. However, I believe I don’t pick up this poetry book quite as often as I should, and I do hope to, one day, have read every poem and play written by Shakespeare.

  • The Story of Earth by Robert M. Hazen

I was also assigned parts of this for a science class. However, I am not sure I am as determined to finish this one as the others- it describes the origins of Earth and is kind of dry unless you are a geologist enthusiast? It is interesting though, but maybe this one will be a book I’ll never finish.

  • The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp

I love, love, love The Sound of Music. I am pretty sure I have the entire soundtrack memorized at heart. I tried to read this memoir at a young age, but it differed so much from the idealized, romanticized version of this story portrayed in the movie that I quickly lost interest. However, as an adult (do you see a theme here?) I’d like to think I’d appreciate the real story more.

  • Tender is the Night by Scott Fitzgerald

This was simply a vacation read that I never quite finished, but I would really like to. I don’t have a good excuse for this one, besides the simple fact that I forgot I was reading it.

How many books on your #didnotfinish list? Will you continue reading those, or will they remain unfinished for you?

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book review, young adult

Review: Annie John

I was afraid of the dead, as was everyone I knew. We were afraid of the dead because we never could tell when they might show up again

Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid

annie-john

Click on the image above to purchase on Amazon.

I was assigned to read this novel in class, but I was already familiar with Jamaica Kincaid’s short stories, which are, quite moving. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed with my introduction to her novel writing.

AUTHOR: Jamaica Kincaid

GENRE: Young Adult, Fiction, Coming of Age

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: Amazon

RATING: 4.5 stars/stars

SUMMARY: Annie John is your typical girl who grows up on the island of Antigua. Her life is dominated by a couple of things; fear of the dead, her undying love for her mother, and her affection towards her friends. However, as she grows older, the nature of the affectionate relationship between her and her mother shifts. Suddenly, Annie John finds herself the victim of lectures about what it means to be a young lady and on the other side of childhood that she never thought she’d find herself on.

THOUGHTS: The theme of the English class I took, the one that assigned me this novel, was coming-of-age. This theme is heralded throughout Annie John and is dealt with a truthful and unapologetic way that makes me love the book even more. There are all sorts of emotional complexities that accompanies one as she makes the transition from young girl to young woman, and these are laid bare in this novel. It was a delight to share in Annie John’s pain and struggles for me personally, because it is a stark reminder that a) I’m not alone and b) maturing into a woman is significantly different than maturing into a man.

Coming-of-age novels can often be a hit and miss with me (The Catcher in the Rye was a total miss) and Annie John was a hit. Maybe it is because I identify so strongly with parts of Annie’s narrative: her urge to leave her home for the greater world beyond, her struggle with the aspects of her identity as a woman-of-color and what expectations that identity entails, and her rebellious side. There are also aspects of female-female friendships throughout the book that are so strong, as those bonds typically are in young girls, which is amazing to read from a feminist point of view. However, there are also rivalries between girls, though not over boys as other young adults might espouse, but over academic achievement. This subject is also broached in a respectful way (because the girls attend an all-girl school) and enhances the truthfulness of the narrative.

Kincaid’s language, as per usual, flows well from one chapter to the next. Annie’s voice as a narrator is easily identifiable as youthful, though wise beyond her years. Annie is smart, she is snarky, she has attitude and she has pity and is capable of humiliation. She goes through all the awkward struggles that comes with those early teenage years, and all of this is made clear in Kincaid’s diction. Annie is sometimes identifiable, sometimes sympathetic, and sometimes not. All in all, her humanity- the best and the worst of it, are on full display in this novel.

Those of us who like novels that end neatly and with no lingering, unexplored topics waiting at the end might not enjoy this particular novel. It is true that the character of Annie progresses from girl to adult, from naive to seasoned, and from full of love to full of other, more complicated emotions; however, the book only ends with her as a young adult. As as many young adults can attest, just because one makes it through physical puberty does not mean that the emotional journeys started in puberty also come to an end. However, this open-ended ending does all the more to make the novel believable, and the character of Annie John identifiable as a young woman with more still to figure out as she continues to mature.

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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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book review, reading recommendations, short story sunday

Short Story Sunday: Hills Like White Elephants

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 comes from the one, the only, Ernest Hemingway. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Surprisingly enough, this short story has nothing to do with war.

SUMMARY: There are two main characters in this story, both unnamed, but it is clear that they are a man and a woman in a relationship. They are waiting at a train station, talking about small things like the drinks they are about to order and the hills that mysteriously look like white elephants. The tension rises until the man mentions an “operation”, trying to reassure the woman that it will go over smoothly and that all will be alright. The elephant (see what I did there?) in the room is finally addressed, and the couple goes back and forth on whether this operation will be good for the both of them, whether the woman actually wants it, and whether they are happy and how the operation will affect their happiness. The story ends as their conversation does and as the train is about to arrive.

REVIEW: Stylistically, this story is a masterpiece. There is very little exposition, most of the story is told through dialogue. The imagery and metaphors of this story are beautiful and it is easy to sympathize with both the characters though little to nothing is said about their identities nor their backgrounds. And that’s the beauty of this story- it does not need descriptions nor does it need blatant characterization. Everything that you need to know is communicated in the dialogue and the simple exposition, and that is a trick that only a master like Hemingway can truly pull off.

Before you dive into it, I will warn you that it is a little heartbreaking- but would you really expect anything else out of Ernest Hemingway? I will link the PDF from Weber State University here if you’d like to read it. And it’s only four pages, so why shouldn’t you read it?

RATING: 5/5 stars, would highly recommend.

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book tour

Book Tour: The Punch Escrow

Author: Tal M. Klein

Narrator:Matthew Mercer

Length: 8 hours 42 minutes

Publisher: Audible Studios

Released: Jul. 25, 2017

Genre: Tecnothriller

It’s the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure… Arrival… Delight!

 

Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980’s new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting.

 

Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.

 

 

Tal M. Klein was born in Israel, grew up in New York, and currently lives in Detroit with his wife and two daughters. When she was five years old, his daughter Iris wrote a book called I’m a Bunch of Dinosaurs that went on to become one of the most successful children’s book projects on Kickstarter ―something that Tal explained to Iris by telling her, “your book made lots of kids happy.” Iris then asked Tal, “Daddy, why don’t you write a book that makes lots of grownups happy?” Tal mulled this over for a few years, and eventually wrote his first book, The Punch Escrow. It won the Inkshares Geek & Sundry Hard Science Fiction publishing contest, and is the first book published on the Geek & Sundry imprint.

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Narrator Bio

Matthew Christopher Miller, known professionally as Matthew Mercer or Matt Mercer, is an American voice actor involved in English dubs of Japanese anime as well as cartoons, films and video games. In anime shows, he voiced Levi in Attack on Titan, Kiritsugu Emiya in Fate/Zero, Kanji Tatsumi for episodes 13-26 in Persona 4: The Animation and Trafalgar Law in the Funimation dub of One Piece. In video games, he voices Leon S. Kennedy in the Resident Evil series, Jack Cooper in Titanfall 2, Chrom in Fire Emblem Awakening, McCree in Overwatch, MacCready in Fallout 4 and Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5. In addition to voice-over, Mercer has developed some live-action web series including a Nintendo character parody called “There Will Be Brawl” and the famous Geek & Sundry and Alpha Dungeons & Dragons gaming session show “Critical Role.” The Punch Escrow is his first audiobook.

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Q&A with Author Tal M. Klein
  • How did you select your narrator, Matthew Mercer?

I always knew I wanted Matt Mercer to narrate my book, the hard part was getting him to agree to do it. Between Critical Role and his various Nerdist responsibilities, he’s also an incredibly prolific voice actor. Recording an audiobook is a serious time commitment! There was also the challenge of getting Audible to agree to having Matt do the book because he’d never done an audiobook before. Ultimately I got lucky in that Matt read my book, liked it, agreed to do the audiobook, and Audible was easily convinced to sign off once they heard his voice acting reel. The rest is history!

  • How closely did you work with Matthew before and during the recording process? Did you give him any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?

Matt is a consumate professional. We did one session on pronounciation, but everything else was entirely in his court. I wanted him to make my book is canvas. He did an outstanding job.

  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

The Inkshares community is incredibly supportive, so they are owed a lot of credit, but my wife deserves the lion’s share. She was my rock throughout the writing process and the book would have never gotten finished without her support and enthusiasm.

  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?

I love audiobooks, though I tend to prefer listening to nonfiction. One of the reasons I was so particular about choosing Matt Mercer to do my book is because I knew he would give each chracter a unique voice. I feel like many fiction audiobooks lose me when they are narrated in monotone.

  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?

Nothing beats Matt Mercer singing Karma Chameleon. That alone is worth the price of admission in my humble opinion.

  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

I think the two experiences are distinctly different. As I mentioned, I rarely listen to fiction audiobooks, but when I do it’s usually after I’ve already read the book.

  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?

A bottle of expensive bubbly with my family and friends!

 

Oct. 4th:
Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews
Brian’s Book Blog

Oct. 5th:
Buried Under Books
Lomeraniel
Lilly’s Book World

Oct. 6th:
It’s Novel to Me
Macarons & Paperbacks
The Bookworm Lodge

Oct. 7th:
Book Stacks Amber
Here’s to Happy Endings

Oct. 8th:
Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm
Bookwormerz

Oct. 9th:
Canadian Book Addict
Audio Spy

Oct. 10th:
The Book Addict’s Reviews
Bound 4 Escape

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Is There a Wrong Way to Read?

So the other day my friend was gracious enough to lend me Eleanor and Park and as she was leaving, she told me that her policy on her books she lent out was nonexistent. As in, I could dog ear it, I could do whatever to it, etc.

Years ago, I had borrowed a friend’s copy of Wicked by Gregory Maguire and ended up pretty much destroying the front cover because I had been dragging it around with me to Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. She was less than thrilled (I was in middle school okay) but she was not pissed. I managed to tape up the tear and color it back in with a sharpie so that the tear wasn’t too noticeable except to the two of us.

Now I normally do not dog-ear pages in a book, especially if they are not my own. I also typically do not write in books unless I am studying them for school and it’s just easier to annotate that way rather than stick in a million post-it notes. I like to keep my books as pristine as possible, but there are times that they get eaten up by the horror that is my backpack.

For my AP Language and Composition class in high school, we had to read an essay titled Never Do That to a Book by Anne Dilliard. Dillard describes two kinds of reading: “carnal” reading and the kind of reading that I do. It is a humorous essay, and if you can get your hands on it, I would definitely recommend reading it. Carnal readers are those who dog-ear the pages, who write all over the pages, and who expose their books to the elements. Those other kinds of readers are those who refuse to let dust get on their books, and make sure that book covers remain uncracked and brand-new.

Basically, what I got from this essay is that there is no one way to love a book and to take care of them. Even though some readers may seem like they disregard the care of their books, it is really how they express their love for reading.

So I want to know…how do you read? Do you think you could read any other way and enjoy it in the same way?

 

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book review, reading recommendations, short story sunday

Short Story Sunday: A Good Man is Hard to Find

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 story comes from the brilliant writer who is a masterful commentator on American life: Flannery O’Connor.

SUMMARY: The narrator of this story comes in the form of a Southern grandmother who would rather vacation in Tennessee, rather than in Florida, where her daughter and her grandson are dragging her along to. This is the kind of woman who is stuck in the past, and stuck in the idea that she was part of a Southern aristocracy, and stuck in an idealized American past that no longer exists in a modern world. She points out an article concerning “The Misfit”, or a serial killer who is out on the road. She finds herself at odds with her family, and she has antiquated values, but this story is still a thriller and the plot twist at the end may have revealed that this grandmother was right about something that she may or may not live to regret.

REVIEW: I was introduced to this chilling story in school, and I am eternally grateful for this introduction because it prompted me to pick up Flannery O’Connor’s collection Everything that Rises Must Converge which I absolutely adored.

O’Connor is great at capturing the feelings of those who are stuck in a different kind of American South, where the wealthy, white plantation owners reigned supreme and in which all of society catered to them. This story proves no exception, and O’Connor manages to concurrently validate those stuck-in-the-past feelings as well as satirizing them.

I also loved the plot and the twist it has at the end, and how it was treated. Yes, it is not the happiest of endings, but that’s O’Connor for you- her stories will leave you somewhat terrified and somewhat in awe. The characterization in this story is particularly some of O’Connor’s best as well; even though you do not know a lot about these characters, they are easily identifiable to any reader. Even the one character in the restaurant that is only briefly mentioned is fleshed out enough for the reader to have an idea of who he is. Additionally, the diction and symbolism is simply enthralling.

If you like a story with excitement, suspension, and an ending that will leave you feeling queasy, (as well with some colorful insights into American generation gaps and American psyches), this story is for you.

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

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