Thanks to A Readers Journal for this list. I love lists. It’s Entertainment Weekly’s list of new classics.

I’ve marked off the ones I’ve read. The ones with * after them means I tried to read it, but gave up.

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding (1996)
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)*
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1999)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
47. World’s Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)*
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)*
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (199
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1999)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators’ Ball, Connie Bruck (1989)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes I finally finished a book! It took me about a week to read it. This is not a slur against the book. The only reason I kept reading in the middle of my reading funk, was because I couldn’t stop. I’ve never read one of Picoult’s books before, but I’ve been assured all of her work is like this. It is not a book you can remain detached from.

Peter Houghton has been bullied his entire life. More like tortured. Every day is an exercise in trying to stay unnoticed. Finally, one day in his junior year of high school, he finally loses it. He takes two handguns and two rifles into Sterling High School and shoots 29 people. I’m not giving anything away. This happens in the beginning of the book. The real story is how Peter got to this place and what happens to certain members of the community after the shootings.

After forcing myself through the first half of the book a few pages at a time, I read the last 150 pages in one day. Picoult made the characters believable (which isn’t easy to do with teenagers) and memorable. I found myself thinking about them all day.

Something New

Weekly Geek Couch So since I’m in this horrible reading funk right now, and can’t manage to read anything right now, I found this cool community called Weekly Geeks. This week’s discussion topic is Classics. Right up my alley!

For your assignment this week, choose two or more of the following questions:

1) How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don’t get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!

2) A challenge, should you choose to accept it: Read at least one chapter of a classic novel, preferably by an author you’re not familiar with. Did you know you can find lots of classics in the public domain on the web? Check out The Popular Classic Book Corner, for example. Write a mini-review based on this chapter: what are your first impressions? Would you read further? (For a larger selection of authors, try The Complete Classic Literature Library).

3) Let’s say you’re vacationing with your dear cousin Myrtle, and she forgot to bring a book. The two of you venture into the hip independent bookstore around the corner, where she primly announces that she only reads classic literature. If you don’t find her a book, she’ll never let you get any reading done! What contemporary book/s with classic appeal would you pull off the shelf for her?

4) As you explore the other Weekly Geeks posts: Did any inspire you to want to read a book you’ve never read before—or reread one to give it another chance? Tell us all about it, including a link to the post or posts that sparked your interest. If you end up reading the book, be sure to include a link to your post about it in a future Weekly Geeks post!

So, okay. Number 1) I love classic literature. It’s what I go to when I’m feeling down. I am intimidated by some of it (Ulysses, anyone?), but I generally love what I’ve read. My fourth grade reading teacher read us Jane Eyre which totally hooked me. It was my favorite book until I read Pride and Prejudice when I was about 21. My favorite Dickens is A Tale of Two Cities which is a much better introduction to his works than Great Expectations (which is required by the school system where I live).

Number 3) What would I suggest to dear cousin Myrtle? Well, I’d have to second a couple of suggestions I read while looking through the other posts on this topic and go with The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I would normally consider Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier a classic, but it’s less than 100 years old, so I might recommend that. Oh! And The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. And Shadows of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon. Yup. That should do it.

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman Files: A Novel This novel is so funny! The Spellmans are a seriously messed up family. They operate a private investigations firm out of their home. They assume everyone is always hiding something and it is their job to find out what it is. This includes family members. Everyone has deadbolts on their bedroom doors which they change every 6 months, but it doesn’t matter because they all know how to pick a lock.

The story is told from the point of view of 28 year old Isabel Spellman who works for her parents, and is frequently under their surveillance. She starts dating a dentist. In her parents’ eyes this is worse than the bartenders with shady pasts that she normally chooses. This leaves her open to high grade snooping from her family, including her 14 year old sister.

You almost feel sorry for the normal people this family runs across. Well, you would if you could stop laughing.


That’s how I’ve been feeling the last few days. Just blah. I gave myself permission to stop reading the HUGE book I was trying to read, that was just too violent and sad. It made me not want to read. That is a bad thing.

I also started 2 or 3 other books and decided I have no intention of actually ever reading those.

At book club, no fewer than 2 people told me I needed to read The Spellman Files, and Debbie then pressed it into my hand. It’s pretty hilarious, and just what I needed.

Good news: I went to the had specialist today for my recheck. The doctor was running an hour and a half late for his appointments, so I read a lot of my book. Then the doctor said my hand was healing really well. For the next three months I need to be “very careful with my fingers.” And “mindful of where my fingers are.” And “careful lifting heavy things like books.” Other than that, I’m golden.

Still here.

I haven’t posted anything lately because I read the book club book, but I don’t like to post on those in case book club people read my post.

And now I’m reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin which is about 800 pages long. I’m going very slowly because the subject matter is a bit difficult. Lots of bad people doing bad things.

So that’s where I’m at. Wish me luck.

Codex by Lev Grossman

Codex The first 3 chapters of this book were amazing. I really liked that this guy was an investment banker asked to come catalog this rich family’s library. And while he’s at it, he was supposed to look for a specific book.

After that, it sort of devolves into a techno-suspense-type thing. The guy starts playing a computer game that is incredibly life-like, blah-di-blah. It didn’t seem like the author knew a whole lot about game development. It was entirely plot-driven, which is fine if you like that sort of thing. I tend to like a little more character development.

The ending was entirely confusing. I have no idea what happened at Heathrow airport. Something happened. Then it was referred to later as, “…after what happened at the airport.” It was just over.

If you like plot-driven suspense books, this might be your thing.

501 Must-Read Books

501 Must Read Books Yes, my first book of the year is a book about books. This is a very nice, very LARGE, book about books. There are lots of pictures. I like books with pictures!

They are divided by category. Children’s, classic, history, memoirs, fiction, science fiction, thriller, and travel. It is a British book, so I had the joy of reading about books I’d never heard of; not just the same books that are in every must-read collection.

Sadly, I’d only read 77 of the books discussed. 80 if you count the ones I started and hated too much to finish.

Does a Mom’s Heart good.

So last night, we went to some friends’ house for Rock Band 2 night. It’s really fun to go to their house because between all the families that get invited to the game nights, there are often more kids than adults, and they all get along really well. Aged 3 to 12. Really.

At one point last night, the kids took over the Rock Bank stage (he seriously has a stage built that he puts up in the living room to make it more real). All the instruments were being rocked by the kids. After a little bit of that, some of the kids drifted off to other pursuits. Then I heard a new voice. When I went in the living room, the owner of the house was playing drums, his 7 year old son was rocking the guitar, and my 8 year old son was singing. The song? Livin’ on a Prayer.

To quote Crooked X:
Every boy needs a rock n roll dream.


My readolutions for 2009 are the following:

I will read classic kid books with my kids. I will pick a book and read a chapter a night at bedtime. We already have a bedtime story ritual, but the kids don’t stick to a book long enough for us to get all the way through it. Or we’ll start it together and they’ll carry it off and finish it without me. But this way, I get to choose the book.

Also, I will read all the unread books sitting around on my shelves. There are around 50 or 60 of those so it shouldn’t be a huge difficulty.

What are your readolutions?

Books of 2008 tres

And the third set of Books of 2008.

1. Girl From the South – Joanna Trollope
2. Slash – Slash and Anthony Bozza
3. Territory – Emma Bull
4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
5. The Shack – William P. Young
6. A Light in the Window – Jan Karon
7. Don’t Know Much About Anything Else – Kenneth C. Davis
8. Giotto’s Hand – Iain Pears
9. Pandora – Anne Rice
10. Watch You Bleed – Stephen Davis
11. Enchanted, Inc. – Shanna Swendson
12. Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing – Ted Conover
13. Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
14. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
15. The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday – Alexander McCall Smith
16. Murder Books a Return – Marion Moore Hill
17. Bookmarked for Murder – Marion Moore Hill
18. The Book Stops Here – Ian Sansom
19. Disobedience – Jane Hamilton
20. I Was Told There’s Be Cake – Sloane Crosley
21. The Pemberley Chronicles – Rebecca Ann Collins
22. The Ghost in Love – Jonathan Carroll
23. Apple of My Eye – Helene Hanff
24. Dewey – Vicki Myron
25. The Lost Dog – Michelle de Kretzer
26. Essential Guide for Reading Groups – Susan Osborne
27. Death With Interruptions – Jose Saramago
28. Heath Ledger: Hollywoods Dark Star – Brian J. Robb
29. Spanking Shakespeare – Jake Wizner
30. Domino: The Book of Decorating – Domino Magazine
31. Jane and Prudence – Barbara Pym
32. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
33. The Knight of Maison Rouge – Alexander Dumas
34. Emma And Knightley – Rachel Billington
35. Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder – Gyles Brandreth
36. Pemberley – Emma Tenant
37. So Many Books, So Little Time – Sara Nelson
38. The Name of This Book is Secret – Pseudonymous Bosch
39. Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City – Anne Thomas Soffee
40. Twenty Fragment a Ravenous Youth – Xiaolu Guo
41. When You Are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris
42. The Fifth Sacred Thing – Starhawk
43. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
44. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
45. Salvation in Death – J.D. Robb
46. The Eye of the Crow – Shane Peacock
47. December – Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop
48. Holidays on Ice – David Sedaris
49. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
50. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Nonfiction – 17
Childrens – 1
YA -2
Mystery – 7
Classic – 3
Science Fiction – 3
Fiction – 17

Books From the Library – 27
Books From My Shelf – 21
Books Borrowed From Friends – 2

Books Written by Women – 27
Books Written by Men – 22
Books Written by a Group – 1

Best Books of This Section – Death With Interruptions, Dewey, The Ghost in Love, Disobedience, The Book Stops Here, Newjack, Watch You Bleed, Territory, Slash, The Glass Castle, December

So, I have been reading, even if I wasn’t able to blog about what I was reading.

Books of 2008 part deux

And the books from May to August:

1. The Fug Awards – Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
2. Why We Read What We Read – Lisa Adams and John Heath
3. Things I want My Daughters to Know – Elizabeth Noble
4. Lonely Werewolf Girl – Martin Millar
5. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
6. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years – Julie Andrews
7. The Girl With No Shadow – Joanne Harris
8. Maps and Legends – Michael Chabon
9. The World Before Her – Deborah Weisgall
10. Quiet, Please – Scott Douglas
11. Captain Wentworth’s Diary – Amanda Grange
12. The Geography of Bliss – Eric Weiner
13. Nothing Remains the Same: Rereading and Remembering – Wendy Lesser
14. Acqua Alta – Donna Leon
15. Cat O’Nine Tales – Jeffrey Archer
16. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
17. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch – Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
18. Howard’s End – E.M. Forster
19. Free For All – Don Borchert
20. Mercy Street – Mariah Stewart
21. The Monster of Florence – Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi
22. The Rough Guide to Classic Novels – Simon Mason
23. Fearless Fourteen – Janet Evanovich
24. The Monsters of Templeton – Lauren Groff
25. The Other – David Guterson
26. The Enchantress of Florence – Salman Rushdie
27. The Black Hand – Will Thomas
28. Books: A Memoir – Larry McMurtry
29. Odds and Gods – Tom Holt
30. Hidden Latitudes – Alison Anderson
31. Strapless – Deborah Davis
32. The Way Life Should Be – Christina Baker Kline
33. Atonement – Ian McEwan
34. Savvy – Ingrid Law
35. Odd Thomas – Dean Koontz
36. The Dead Father’s Club – Matt Haig
37. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
38. How to Read Novels Like a Professor – Thomas C. Foster
39. The Stranger – Albert Camus
40. The Fifty-Minute Hour – Robert Lindner
41. Coastliners – Joanne Harris
42. Motherless Brooklyn – Jonathan Lethem
43. Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners – Josephine Ross
44. Kiss My Book – Jamie Michaels
45. The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. LeGuin
46. 1001 Books For Every Mood – Hallie Ephron
47. The Jane Austen Book Club – Karen Joy Fowler
48. Death in a Strange Country – Donna Leon
49. The Watsons and Emma Watson – Joan Aiken
50. The Pirates! In An Adventure with Ahab – Gideon Defoe

Nonfiction: 16
YA: 2
Mystery: 5
Classic: 5
Science Fiction: 1
Short Stories: 1
Fiction: 20

Books From the Library – 22
Books From My Shelf – 27
Borrowed From Friends – 1

Books Written by Women – 24
Books Written by Men – 25
Books Written by Both – 1

Best Books of this Section – Motherless Brooklyn, Odd Thomas, The Other, The Monsters Of Templeton, Why We Read What We Read

Books of 2008

In order to keep you from tearing your hair out, I’ll probably divide this into 3 posts. Here is what I read last year:

1. The Blood of Flowers – Anita Amirezvani
2. Reading With Oprah – Kathleen Rooney
3. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
4. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop – Lewis Buzbee
5. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Critical Reading – Amy Wall and Regina Wall
6. Mr. Knightley’s Diary – Amanda Grange
7. She Got Up Off Te Couch and Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland Indiana – Haven Kimmel
8. The Adultery Diet – Eva Cassady
9. The Tea Rose – Jennifer Donnelly
10. AVersion of the Truth – Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman
11. Snow – Orhan Pamuk
12. Cotillion – Georgette Heyer
13. Rhett Butler’s People – Donald McCaig
14. Lost in Austen – Emma Campbell Webster
15. The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists – Gideon Defoe
16. Cassandra’s Sister – Veronica Bennett
17. Love is a Mix Tape – Rob Sheffield
18. The Heroines – Eileen Favorite
19. Away – Amy Bloom
20. The Winter Rose – Jennifer Donnelly
21. Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky
22. Mom, Have You Seen My Leather Pants? – Craig A. Williams
23. The City of Falling Angels – John Berendt
24. The Joy of Books – Eric Burns
25. Strangers in Death – J.D. Robb
26. Great Books For Girls – Kathleen O’Dean
27. Imagined London – Anna Quindlen
28. W.A.R. The Unauthorized Biography of W. Axl Rose – Mick Wall
29. George’s Marvelous Medicine – Roald Dahl
30. Vinegar Hill – A. Manette Ansay
31. Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin
32. Soldier’s Heart – Elizabeth Samet
33. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
34. Purity of Blood – arturo Perez-Reverte
35. Last Night at the Lobster – Stuart O’Nan
36. Then We Came to the End – Joshua Ferris
37. Sacred Games – Vikram Chandra
38. Skin – Ted Dekker
39. Signed, Mata Hari – yannick Murphy
40. Old Friends new Fancies – Sybil G. Brinton
41. 1000 Books to Change Your Life – Time Out Magazine
42. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union – Michael Chabon
43. The Case of the Missing Books – Ian Sansom
44. The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
45. Mozart’s Ghost – Julia Cameron
46. Soft-Spoken Parenting – H. Wallace Goddard, Ph.D
47. Gods Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips
48. Ella Minnow Pea – Mark Dunn
49. More Letters From Pemberley – Jane Dawkins
50. Year of Wonders – Geradine Brooks
51. Losing It And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time
52. Gentlemen and Players – Joanne Harris
53. People of the Book – Geraldine Brooks

Okay, that gets us through April.

So far:
Non-fiction – 16
Juvenile – 1
YA – 1
Mysteries – 2
Fiction – 33

Library Books – 29
Books From My Shelf – 22
Books Borrowed From Friends – 2

Books Written by Women – 29
Books Written by Men – 22
Books with Various Authors – 2

Best Books of This Section: An Uncommon Reader, W.A.R., The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, The Case of the Missing Books, Year of Wonders, Gentlemen and Players