Sunday, November 22, 2009

96 Books to Review on the Shelf...

Hmm, I’m a wee bit behind on reviews! No excuses … except that I’m on the computer 9 hours a day at work, and sitting in front of the keyboard is the last thing I want to do nowadays when I get home. There are too many other things to do, like cook or hike or read or run or play soccer! I’m finally learning the truth of the common saying that nothing is more valuable than time.

Anyway, here’s the list of books I’ve read but haven’t reviewed. I’m going to try and write about as much of them as possible, even if only a sentence or so. If there’s something here you particularly want my august opinion on (*ahem*), let me know in the comments, and I'll make sure to cook something up. Also, anything marked with an “*****” is excellent and should be read AT ONCE. I’ve selected these books because I think everyone will probably like them. Some books I personally adore aren’t so marked. And anything marked with a “CRAP” should be avoided … forever. Unless you’re curious to know how bad it is. In which case, you were warned.

Children’s and Young Adult

Little Lord Fauntleroy, Francis Hodgson Burnett
The Witches, Roald Dahl*****
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster*****
A Ring of Endless Light, Madeleine L’Engle*****
The Arm of the Starfish, Madeleine L’Engle
Troubling a Star, Madeleine L’Engle
Dragon Haven, Robin McKinley
Tom’s Midnight Garden, Philippa Pearce
The Complete Tales, Beatrix Potter
Runaway and Swear to Howdy, Wendelin van Draanen
Twilight, Stephanie Meyer

By, For, and About Jane Austen

I have a specific section below on books that I’ve re-read, but I put the Austen here because I liked having them all together. In short, anything below by Austen you can assume I’ve read at least three times (Northanger Abbey). The others … well, it’s too many to count. (Also, this category has the distinction of having the first book labeled as CRAP! Without reading any further, you may be able to guess what it is…)

Searching for Jane Austen, Nina Auerbach
Becoming Jane, Jon Spence
Lost in Austen, Emma Campbell Webster
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith - CRAP
Emma, Jane Austen
Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
Persuasion, Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen


They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan, Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsian Deng, and Judy Bernstein
Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
The Book of Dead Philosophers, Simon Critchley
I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora Ephron
Ex Libris, Anne Fadiman
The Ode Less Traveled, Stephen Fry*****
The Remarkable Case of Dorothy Sayers, Catherine Kenney
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver******
Small Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver
Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, Linda Lear
A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L’Engle
Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis
Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv
When French Women Cook, Madeleine Kamman
Savoie, Madeleine Kamman
Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
My Little Red Book, Ed. Rachel Kouder Nalebuff
Real Food, Nina Planck
In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan*****
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks
Touching the Void, Joe Simpson
Night, Elie Wiesel

General Fiction

Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood
The Solitaire Mystery, Jostein Gaardner
Changing Planes, Ursula K. Le Guin
Lavinia, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R. King
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Contact, Carl Sagan*****
The Five Red Herrings, Dorothy Sayers
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Dorothy Sayers*****


Flatland, Edward Abbot*****
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Tr. by Simon Arbitage
Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins*****
Diary of a Provincial Lady, E.M. Delafield
Light in August, William Faulkner
The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling, Henry Fielding
The African Queen, C.S. Forester
The Complete Short Stories, Graham Greene
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot*****
All Things Bright and Beautiful, James Herriot
All Things Wise and Wonderful, James Herriot
A Separate Peace, John Knowles
The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula K. Le Guin
Lolita, Nabokov*****
Excellent Women, Barbara Pym
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf
Night and Day, Virginia Woolf

Target Practice

I don’t know what it is about all the books below that irritated me so excessively. All of them were written fairly recently, and to generally favorable reviews. I wish I had liked them more. But they all struck me as being pretentious and overly-written. And none of them made me happy. If anyone has any deeper insights, let me know.

In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez - CRAP
Genesis, Bernard Beckett - CRAP (But only with a $20.00 sticker price ... it's a perfectly respectable book to get from the library.)
Possession, A.S. Byatt - CRAP
What is the What, Dave Eggers - CRAP
Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer – CRAP CRAP DOUBLE CRAP
Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen - CRAP
The Secret History, Donna Tartt - CRAP
The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon - CRAP


All of these are fantastic books that have stayed with me for a long time … and will probably stay with me for life. Many were read when I was an impressionable little munchkin, which might account for the fondness I feel for them. Some of them I’ve already previously reviewed as re-reads … and appear here again because I read them – again.

A Little Princess, Francis Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden, Francis Hodgson Burnett
The Farthest Shore, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis*****
Beauty, Robin McKinley*****
The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley*****
Deerskin, Robin McKinley
Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery
Anne of the Island, L.M. Montgomery
Gaudy Night, Dorothy Sayers
Strong Poison, Dorothy Sayers

Books My Dad Got Me To Read

The Crusades, Henry Treece

posted by Elizabeth at 5:35 PM


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