Thursday, September 30, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: The Mosquito Coast



"We drove past Tiny Polski's mansion house to the main road, and then the five miles into Northampton, Father talking the whole way about savages and the awfulness of America -- how it got turned into a dope-taking, door-locking, ulcerated danger zone of rabid scavengers and criminal millionaires and moral sneaks."

-- The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux.

Now that's some kind of opening sentence!

This book is on the Anthony Burgess list of Top 99 novels, and it won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

State of the Blog, Part Three: The Challenges

It's fall and time for another quarterly blog progress report. This is a three part assessment. Part One looked at my book lists. Part Two had to do with my favorite authors. This Part Three deals with my challenges.

I am hosting two "Battle of the Prizes" challenges this year and working on several others.  All are listed in the right-hand column. I've finished one challenges, added one, and am lagging behind on others. I have to bust a book move to get this task wrapped up by the deadlines.


CHALLENGES HOSTED BY ROSE CITY READER

Battle of the Prizes: American Version


National Book Award winners v. Pulitzer Prize winners, rules here. There is still time to sign up! The challenge doesn't end until January 31, 2011.

I am ashamed to say that I haven't read any of my three books yet. However, chaotic compendiums, 100 Books. 100 Journeys, J.G. at Hotchpot Cafe, and Musings are already finished.

Books read so far: zero (how shameful!)
Books I'm going to read for this challenge: 3
  1. Them by Joyce Carol Oates for my National winner;
  2. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler for my Pulitzer winner; and
  3. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter for my double dipper choice.


Battle of the Prizes: British Version


Man Booker Prize v. James Tait Black Memorial Prize, rules here. Again, there is still time to sign up!This one doesn't end until January 31, 2011 either.

Books read so far: one (The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry for my James Tait Black winner; reviewed here

Books I'm going to read for this challenge: 2 more
  1. The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch for my Booker winner; and
  2. G by John Berger for my double dipper choice. 

CHALLENGES I AM PARTICIPATING IN

Bibliophilic Books Challenge



A challenge to read books about books. The home page is here.

I signed up for the "Bibliomaniac" level, which means I have 12 to read by the end of the year. I do not have a final list yet, but I have several in mind.

Books read so far: 5
  1. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (reviewed here);
  2. The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris by Edmund White (reviewed here);
  3. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman (reviewed here);
  4. A Year in the World by Frances Mayes (reviewed here); 
  5. Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby (not reviewed yet).
Books I may read for this challenge (so many to chose from):
  1. Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby; 
  2. Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love, edited by Anne Fadiman; 
  3. 99 Novels by Anthony Burgess;
  4. The Well-Educated Mind by Wise S. Bauer;
  5. How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom;
  6. Studies in Classic American Literature by D. H. Lawrence;
  7. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald;
  8. The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte; 
  9. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon;
  10. At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries by Estelle Ellis;
  11. The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier;
  12. Literary Essays by Mark Twain;
  13. Speak Memory by Vladimir Nobokov;
  14. Saul Bellow: A Biography of the Imagination by Ruth Miller;
  15. Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius by Barbara Belford;
  16. Capote by Gerald Clarke;
  17. Greene on Capri: A Memoir by Shirley Hazzard; and
  18. Walks in Hemingway's Paris: A Guide To Paris For The Literary Traveler by Noel Fitch

Birth Year Reading Challenge 



This challenge is to read one or more books published in the year you were born, hosted by Hotchpot Cafe. My main post for this challenge is here.

Books read so far: two
  1. Indian Summer by John Knowles (reviewed here),
  2. The Valley of the Dolls by Jaqueline Susann (reviewed here)


Book Awards Challenge


The challenge involves reading ten books that won ten different prizes by November 1, 2010. The home page is here. Many of my picks overlap with other challenges, but I better get hopping.

Books read so far: 5
  1. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (National Book Critics Circle winner;
  2. The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips (Discover Award winner; reviewed here);
  3. Citizen Vince by Jess Walter (Edgar winner; reviewed here);
  4. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Costa winner; reviewed here); and
  5. Small Island by Andrea Levy (Orange winner, reviewed here). 
Books I may read for this challenge:
  1. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (Pulitzer winner);
  2. Them by Joyce Carol Oates (National winner);
  3. The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (Booker winner);
  4. G by John Berger (James Tait Black winner);
  5. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (Nobel winner); and
  6. Seaview by Toby Olson (PEN/Faulkner winner).



I signed up for the "Mor-book-ly Obese" level, meaning I will read six 450+-page books (or three 750+-pagers). Caribousmom hosts this challenge.

Books read so far: one (Three Loves by A. J. Cronin; reviewed here). Again, I better get those pages turning! I am behind on this challenge. I've tackled several big books this year, including the monumental Count of Monte Cristo, but I listened to the audiobooks. Those count in terms of a reading "life list" but not for this challenge, which specifically excludes audio books.
Books I may read for this challenge: 
  1. Them by Joyce Carol Oates (which I am reading for my Battle of the Prizes: American Version challenge); 
  2. The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (which I am reading for my Battle of the Prizes: British Version challenge);
  3. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (on the Radcliffe list);
  4. Echoes by Maeve Binckey; and
  5. one more that I haven't come up with yet because I was thinking of using Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell, but then realized it is a book of essays and that does not count.

100+ Challenge


I signed up for this because I am pretty sure I'll read more than 100 books this year. But I do not have my own post for it. The challenge home page is here.

I keep a book cover list of the books I've read this year in the right-hand column of this blog, although books don't show up over there if they are missing a cover picture on my LibraryThing library. I am up to 87 books so far this year if I didn't forget something. That happens.


Typically British Challenge (FINISHED)



I signed up at the "Cream Crackered" level to read eight "Typically British" novels. I blew through all eight pretty quickly, since probably half of the books I read qualify. The challenge home page is here.

So this is the first challenge I have completed this year. Jolly good!

Books read so far: 8
  1. One Fat Englishman by Kingsley Amis (reviewed here);
  2. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (finished, not reviewed);
  3. The New Confessions by William Boyd (reviewed here);
  4. Three Loves by A. J. Cronin (reviewed here);
  5. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster (reviewed here);
  6. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (reviewed here);
  7. Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis by Kinglsey Amis (reviewed here); and
  8. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (reviewed here).

Daphne du Maurier Challenge

This Challenge is hosted by Chris at book-a-rama. I was late to this challenge and only signed up for it a few weeks ago. But it goes through April 19, 2011, so I have plenty of time.


I signing up for the "Dreaming of Manderley" category, to read three novels. Since I am still new to du Maurier, I'll am starting with the greatest hits.

Books read so far: one: Rebecca (reviewed here)

Books I plan to read:
  1. The Flight of the Falcon; and
  2. My Cousin Rachel.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday Trifecta

Because I seem to be reading books faster than Tuesdays come around, I have another triple teaser this week, from a diverse batch of books. They are all non-fiction, but that's about the only thing they have in common.



In this place and time, facing the world and my ignorance of it, everything has become sharper.  When I look at Maung, I see someone who has given himself over, completely, to a cause bigger than his one life.

-- Burmese Lessons: A True Love Story  is Karen Connelly (reviewed here)



Congress should change the federal tax code so that individuals and families can deduct health care [insurance] premiums from their taxes.
Companies, but not their workers, can write off the cost of coverage.
-- The Truth About Obamacare by Sally C. Pipes



On my right, the horseman eyed my breakfast. having finished his own.  Maybe he was just looking for a way to be friendly.
-- from "A Stranger in Town" in Another Way the River Has: Taut True Tales from the Northwest by Robin Cody (published by OSU Press).



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.





Monday, September 27, 2010

Mailbox Monday


I recently heard Kathie England from Time for Success talk about simple time-management techniques. One that I liked in particular was using a minute timer to either set a limit for unimportant but tempting tasks like reading email, or to set a required amount of time to concentrate on an important project.

So I set off for Kitchen Kaboodle to buy a minute timer for my office.  But on the way, I stopped in at my neighborhood bookstore, Broadway Books, where I dawdled for an hour and walked out with a stack of books for Mailbox Monday. 

That's great for my reading pleasure, but what does it tell me about my time management skills?

My Lives: An Autobiography by Edmund White (because I recently read and enjoyed The Flaneur, reviewed here, for the Bibliophilic Books Challenge)



A Writer's House in Wales by Jan Morris (because her books on Venice and Oxford are favorites of mine)



The Snapper by Roddy Doyle (because I always mean to read more of his books besides Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha)



Blood From a Stone by Donna Leon (because I read one of her Venice mysteries, Death at la Fenice, and I want to read the rest of the series)



Sunday, September 26, 2010

State of the Blog, Part Two: The Authors

Part of being a compulsive "list" reader is keeping track of the progress I make on my many lists. I try to do a comprehensive assessment every quarter.  This fall progress review is the most important to me since I still have time to accomplish some reading goals before the end of the year.

This is a three-part assessment. This second part looks at my author lists (in the right-side column). Part One reviewed my reading lists.  Part Three, coming soon, will deal with the challenges I joined this year.

So far this year, I have read 19 books by my listed authors. I'd like to get up to 24 by the end of the year -- and average of two a month seems pretty good.

THE AUTHORS

Kingsley Amis
Books read so far: 8/48
Books read in 2010: four (or two, depending how you count compilations):
  1. One Fat Englishman (reviewed here); and
  2. Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis (reviewed here), which includes the complete, previously published volumes:
    • On Drink;
    • Every Day Drinking; and 
    • How's Your Glass
Books I hope to read in 2010: probably no more
Books on my TBR shelf: 5

Kate Atkinson
Books read so far: 2/8
Books read in 2010: one (Case Histories, for the Typically British Challenge)
Books I hope to read in 2010: 2
Books on my TBR shelf: 2

Cara Black
Books read so far: 2/9
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: one, Murder in Belleville
Books on my TBR shelf: one

William Boyd

Books read so far: 3/16
Books read in 2010: one (The New Confessions, reviewed here)
Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (Brazzaville Beach)
Books on my TBR shelf: 4

James Lee Burke
Books read so far: 13/17 (Dave Robicheaux series only)
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: maybe none
Books on my TBR shelf: 3

Lee Child

Books read so far: 13/14
Books read in 2010: one (Gone Tomorrow)
Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (61 Hours)
Books on my TBR shelf: one

A. J. Cronin

Books read so far: 1/25
Books read in 2010: one (Three Loves, reviewed here)
Books I hope to read in 2010: that may be it for this year
Books on my TBR shelf: 5

M. F. K. Fisher
Books read so far: 4/27
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: maybe one
Books on my TBR shelf: 4

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Books read so far: 8/13
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: probably zero, this is a future goal
Books on my TBR shelf: zero

Penelope Fitzgerald
Books read so far: 2/9
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: one (The Bookshop, for the Bibliophilic Books Challenge)
Books on my TBR shelf: 4

Richard Ford
Books read so far: 5/10
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: undecided
Books on my TBR shelf: 3

Dick Francis
Books read so far: 4/47
Books read in 2010: two
  1. Second Wind (reviewed here); and
  2. Under Orders.
Books I hope to read in 2010: 2 more
  1. Proof
  2. Shattered
Books on my TBR shelf: 4

Jim Harrison

Books read so far: 20/20 (prose only)
Books read in 2010: one (Farmer's Daughter, reviewed here)
Books I hope to read in 2010: no more
Books on my TBR shelf: zero

Nick Hornby
Books read so far: 5/11
Books read in 2010: 3
  1. The Polysyllabic Spree (reviewed here)
  2. Housekeeping vs. the Dirt
  3. Juliet, Naked (reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (Shakespeare Wrote for Money)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 3

    John Lescroart
    Books read so far: 16/17 (Dismus Hardy series and spin offs)
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (A Plague of Secrets)
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Elinor Lipman
    Books read so far: 4/10
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (Then She Found Me)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 2

    David Lodge

    Books read so far: 3/15 (fiction only)
    Books read in 2010: one (Deaf Sentence,reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: maybe one more, but I don't know which one
    Books on my TBR shelf: 8

    Ian McEwan

    Books read so far: 5/13
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: at least one, but I do not have any on my TBR shelf
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Jack Ohman
    Books read so far: 5/10
    Books read in 2010: one (Angler Management, reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more

    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Anthony Powell
    Books read so far: 14/32
    Books read in 2010: one (Venusberg, reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more
    Books on my TBR shelf: none

    Philip Roth

    Books read so far: 7/30
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: at least one, but I haven't decided which one
    Books on my TBR shelf: 11

    Martin Cruz Smith
    Books read so far: 6/6 (Arkady Renko series only)
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: zero, unless I get my hands on Three Stations
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Julia Spencer-Fleming
    Books read so far: 5/7
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (I Shall Not Want)
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    William Styron
    Books read so far: 2/10
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: probably zero
    Books on my TBR shelf: 2

    Anne Tyler
    Books read so far: 4/18
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (Breathing Lessons, for my Pulitzer pick for the Battle of the Prizes challenge)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 5

    John Updike
    Books read so far: 10/26
    Books read in 2010: 2
    1. The Witches of Eastwick
    2. The Widows of Eastwick
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more
    Books on my TBR shelf: 10

    Andrea U'ren
    Books read so far: zero/2
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: hopefully both of them
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Simon Winchester
    Books read so far: 5/16
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: two
    1. The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    2. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded
    Books on my TBR shelf: 2

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    State of the Blog, Part One: The Lists

    I love fall, with that back-to-school snap in the air that always fills me with energy.  I am invigorated by autumn and always feel like I can accomplish a thousand things before the end of the year.  With that in mind, let's see how much I've accomplished so far.

    This is the first of my quarterly blog assessment posts.  This first part addresses the book lists. Part Two, coming soon, will take a look at the author lists.  Part Three will deal with the challenges I joined this year.

    My List of Lists is over in the right-side column. These are Prize Winners, Must Reads, and other lists of books I have read or intend to read for some reason or another. Also in the right-side column is a list of my favorite authors. I add to both lists from time to time.

    So far in 2010, I have read a total of 28 books from my various book lists. That is better progress than I would have guessed, but I am still daunted by the number of books on my TBR shelves. I should spend more time reading and less time playing with my lists.

    THE LISTS


    1899 Top 100
    Books read so far: 7/100
    Books read in 2010: one, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more, either:
    1. The Moonstone by Willkie Collins, or
    2. Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
    Books on my TBR shelf: 16

    All-TIME Top 100
    Books read so far: 75 and 2/3 of 100
    Books read in 2010: 2 and 1/3
    1. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
    2. Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion (reviewed here)
    3. The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (one-third of The Lord of the Rings)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more
    Books on my TBR shelf: 14

    Anthony Burgess
    Books read so far: 28/99
    Books read in 2010: 2
    1. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (reviewed here)
    2. Titus Groan by Mervin Peake (reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 20

    BBC's Big Read
    Books read so far: 57 and 2/3 of 100
    Books read in 2010: 5 and 1/3 (wow!)
    1. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
    2. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake (reviewed here)
    3. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (reviewed here)
    4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
    5. The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (one-third of The Lord of the Rings)
    6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more, but I'm on a roll, so who knows
    Books on my TBR shelf: 7

    Book Club
    Books read so far: 18/18
    Books read in 2010: 3
    1. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
    2. The Red Tent  by Anita Diamant
    3. Small Island by Andrea Levy (reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (but I don't yet know what it will be)
    Books on my TBR shelf: none

    College Board
    Books read so far: 76/101
    Books read in 2010: one (Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 18

    Costa Book of the Year
    Books read so far: 6/24
    Books read in 2010: 3
    1. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
    2. Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney 
    3. Small Island by Andrea Levy  (reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more
    Books on my TBR shelf: one

    Easton Press
    Books read so far: 57/100
    Books read in 2010: 2
    1. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
    2. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas 
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more
    Books on my TBR shelf: 32

    Edgar Award
    Books read so far: 8/56
    Books read in 2010: 3
    1. New Orleans Mourning by Julie Smith
    2. Citizen Vince by Jess Walter (reviewed here
    3. Down River by John Hart
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more, I don't think
    Books on my TBR shelf: 4

    Erica Jong
    Books read so far: 32/100
    Books read in 2010: 3
    1. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbon (reviewed here)
    2. Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion (reviewed here
    3. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 3 more, if I'm lucky
    1. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
    2. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
    3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    Books on my TBR shelf: 22

    French Connection
    Books read so far: 46/112 (and counting -- there are more books to add to the list)
    Books read in 2010: 4
    1. The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris by Edmund White (reviewed here
    2. L'Affaire by Diane Johnson
    3. My Life in France by Julia Child (reviewed here)
    4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas  
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
    Books on my TBR shelf: 25

    Books read so far: I don't keep track, because I delete them after I read them
    Books read in 2010: same
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 13 more (I'll be busy)
    1. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
    2. The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda
    3. The Evolution of Shadows by Jason Quinn Malott
    4. Soldiers in Hiding by Richard Wiley
    5. Jumptown: The Golden Years of Portland Jazz 1942-1957 by Robert Dietsche
    6. Another Way the River Has: Taut True Tales from the Northwest by Robin Cody   
    7. An Architectural Guidebook to Portland by Bart King 
    8. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees
    9. A Geography of Secrets by Fredrick Reuss  
    10. To the Woods: Sinking Roots, Living Lightly, and Finding True Home by Evelyn Searle Hess 
    11. 42 States of Grace by Maureen Hovenkotter
    Books on my TBR shelf: 11

    James Tait Black Memorial Prize
    Books read so far: 8/96
    Books read in 2010: one (The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry; for my Battle of the Prizes, British Version challenge)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 3
    1. G by John Berger; also for my Battle of the Prizes, British Version challenge
    2. Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd
    3. The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
    Books on my TBR shelf: 11


    LT Early Reviewers

    Books read so far: 27/30
    Books read in 2010: 8
    1. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (reviewed here)
    2. Maimonides: and the Biblical Prophets by Israel Drazin
    3. Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow (reviewed here)
    4. The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain, published by Words Without Borders Anthologies (reviewed here)
    5. Short Stories, Book I by Anton Chekhov (reviewed here)
    6. A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks (reviewed here
    7. Burmese Lessons: A True Love Story by Karen Connelly (reviewed here)
    8. Peaceful Places, Los Angeles by Laura Randall (reviewed here)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 2 more
    1. The New York Stories by Elizabeth Hardwick
    2. Beautiful Maria of My Soul by Oscar Hijuelos 
    Books on my TBR shelf: 2

    Man Booker Prize

    Books read so far: 21/43
    Books read in 2010: one (The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 2 more (for my Battle of the Prizes, British Version challenge)
    1. G by John Berger 
    2. The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch
    Books on my TBR shelf: 15

    MLA's 30
    Books read so far: 22/30
    Books read in 2010: 1 and 1/3
    1. (The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    2.  The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (one-third of The Lord of the Rings)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more
    Books on my TBR shelf: 4

    Modern Library
    Books read so far: all of them!
    Books read in 2010: zero (finished this list a couple of years ago)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: none
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    National Book Award

    Books read so far: 26/64
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to Read in 2010: 2 (for the Battle of the Prizes, American Version challenge)
    1. Them by Joyce Carol Oates
    2. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
    Books on my TBR shelf: 13

    NBCC Award
    Books read so far: 16/34
    Books read in 2010: one (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (Counterlife by Philip Roth)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 11

    Nobel Laureates
    Authors read so far: 20/106
    Books read in 2010: one (Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 32 (but most by authors already read)

    Observer's Top 100
    Books read so far: 59/100
    Books read in 2010: 3 and 1/3

    1. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
    2. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler 
    3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
    4. The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (one-third of The Lord of the Rings)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: no more
    Books on my TBR shelf: 18

    Orange Prize
    Books read so far: 3/14
    Books read in 2010: 2
    Books I hope to read in 2010:
    1. Small Island by Andrea Levy (reviewed here)
    2. The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville (reviewed here)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 4

    Oregon Books
    Books read so far: 3/20
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: maybe none
    Books on my TBR shelf: 2

    PEN/Faulkner

    Books read so far: 7/30
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 2
    1. Soldiers in Hiding by Richard Wiley (also on my Guilt List)
    2. Seaview by Toby Olson
    Books on my TBR shelf: 12

    Pulitzer Prize
    Books read so far: 40/85
    Books read in 2010: one (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: at least 2 (for the Battle of the Prizes Challenge) 
    1. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
    2. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
    Books on my TBR shelf: 19

    Radcliffe's Top 100
    Books read so far: 88/100
    Books read in 2010: 4 and 1/3
    1. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (reviewed here)
    2. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
    3. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (reviewed here)  
    4. The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (one-third of The Lord of the Rings
    5. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (reviewed here
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 2
    1. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
    2. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
    Books on my TBR shelf: 8

    RCR Top 10
    Books read so far: 10/10 (it's my list)
    Books read in 2010: one (Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbon; reviewed  here)
    Books I hope to Read in 2010: probably none -- one change this year is a big step already
    Books on my TBR shelf: who knows?

    Well-Stocked Bookcase
    Books read so far: 35/60
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to Read in 2010: 2
    1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    2. Them by Joyce Carol Oates
    Books on my TBR shelf: 13

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Opening Sentence of the Day: Echoes



    "It was sometimes called Brigid's Cave, the echo cave, and if you shouted your questions loud enough in the right direction you got an answer instead of an echo."

    -- Echoes by Maeve Binchy.

    Sometimes I like nothing better than to sink into a  Maeve Binchy "Aga saga" and enjoy myself.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Opening Sentence of the Day: Proof



    "Agony is socially unacceptable."

    -- Proof by Dick Francis.

    I am on a Dick Francis roll this year. He has definitely caught my fancy.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Awards: Thanks Bev!

    I really shouldn't be given blog awards. I always appreciate them, but I am not good with the requisite follow up.  But Bev at My Reader's Block passed on several nice awards to me, so I will make an effort here. Geesh! I don't want to be a total wet blanket.


    Now the follow up part: I list 10 things about me and then pass the awards on.

    10 (Bookish) Things About Me

    1. According to my LibraryThing tags, there are 1142 books on my TBR shelves.

    2. I have never read Anna Karenina, Don Quixote, or War and Peace, all to my shame. And, yes, they are all on my TBR shelves.

    3. A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell is my favorite “book” even though it is really 12 separate novels.

    4. Jim Harrison is my favorite living American author, with Philip Roth as a close second.

    5. I have read all 121 books on the Modern Library’s list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century.

    6. Although I resisted Twitter, I now admit it is a very fun book-related time suck.

    7. David Lodge is my favorite living British author, with Ian McEwan as a close second.

    8. I have on a couple of occasions – and usually by accident – read a mystery from a series out of order, but it makes me very uncomfortable.

    9. I am currently working on 27 books lists of prize winners or other “must reads,” all listed over in the right column.

    10. If I had to define my favorite genre, it would be Mid-Century novels by dipsomaniacal, male British authors.

    My Choices for Award Winners

    I chose a few of my favorite Pacific Northwest bloggers:

    At Home With Books
    The Book Pirate
    The Life and Times of Michael5000
    We Be Reading
    Whimpulsive
    Worducopia

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Teaser Tuesday Trifecta

    My books are stacking up, going teaser-less. I'll catch up here with three books that have inspired my recent travel and cooking dreams:



    It should come as no surprise that the residents of the multimillion-dollar apartments and town houses at this world-famous address don't want you to know about the small riverside park that's accessed from a hidden, unmarked spot. Ask where the entrance is, and you're likely to be met with a shrug and a Cheshire cat smile.
    -- Peaceful Places, New York City: 129 Tranquil Sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island by Evelyn Kanter (already reviewed here).



    It's all about knowing where your ingredients come from (often local, family-owned farms) and respecting the ingredients enough to take time to see them through every step of the way.
    Luckily the fertile Willamette Valley, as well as the diverse growing regions throughout the state, result in incredible, year-round food.

    -- Food Lover's Guide to Portland by Liz Crain.



    Many of the recipes in the book were adapted from dishes served on the boat.  Others were inspired by the home packs we brought back with us: king crab and salmon, scallops and shrimp filled our freezers back on land.

    -- Fishes and Dishes: Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's Commercial Fisherwomen by Kiyo Marsh, Tomi Marsh, and Laura Cooper.



    Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.





    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Mailbox Monday


    Thanks go to Bermudaonion for hosting Mailbox Monday this month, and to The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox.

    Thanks to a lunchtime walk to Powell's, I have one book to list.

    These Granite Islands by Sarah Stonich (this is the debut novel by the author of The Ice Chorus, which I enjoyed and reviewed here)



    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    List: Erica Jong



    In response to the publication of the Modern Library’s list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century, Erica Jong wrote an article for The Nation in which she discussed the relatively few number of books written by women that made it to the Modern Library’s list.

    She also included a list of the Top 100 20th Century Novels by Women, compiled from votes cast by those “250 or so distinguished women writers and critics” and “about thirty male novelists, critics and poets” who Jong solicited directly and participants in “the rather lively writers’ forum” on Jong’s website. The results, while not scientific, would provide for some good reading. The list is in order of the number of votes received.

    Those I have read are in red. Those on my TBR shelf are in blue. As always, if anyone has undertaken to read all the books on this list, I am happy to post a link to your progress reports. Just leave a comment with the link address.

    Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

    Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

    To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

    The Waves by Virginia Woolf

    Orlando by Virginia Woolf

    Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

    The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

    The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

    Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

    The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

    Burger's Daughter by Nadine Gordimer

    The Dollmaker by Harriette Simpson Arnow

    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

    My √Āntonia by Willa Cather

    Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (reviewed here)

    Fanny by Erica Jong

    Obasan by Joy Kogawa

    The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

    The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

    The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

    A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

    Her First American by Lore Segal

    The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker

    The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

    Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

    Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

    Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (reviewed here)

    Anya by Susan Fromberg Shaeffer

    Trust by Cynthia Ozick

    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

    The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan

    Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie

    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

    A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion

    Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion (reviewed here)

    The Group by Mary McCarthy

    The Company She Keeps by Mary McCarthy

    The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley

    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

    The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

    Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

    Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson

    Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

    Beloved by Toni Morrison

    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (reviewed here)

    Mr. Fortune's Maggot by Sylvia Townsend Warner

    Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter

    Progress of Stories by Laura Riding

    Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (Booker winner)

    The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

    Possession by A.S. Byatt

    The Ghost Road by Pat Barker

    Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

    Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

    Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter

    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (reviewed here)

    Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (reviewed here)

    Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
     
    Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

     
    Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

    The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

    Things Invisible to See by Nancy Willard (reviewed here)

    Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson


    Disturbances in the Field by Lynne Sharon Schwartz

    Civil Wars by Rosellen Brown

    Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr

    The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford

    Novel on Yellow Paper by Stevie Smith

    The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

    The Mind-Body Problem by Rebecca Goldstein

    The Children of Men by P.D. James

    Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi

    The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon

    Collected Stories by Katherine Mansfield

    Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis

    The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich

    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

    The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O'Brien

    Realms of Gold by Margaret Drabble

    The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble

    The Locusts Have No King by Dawn Powell

    The Women's Room by Marilyn French

    The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty

    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

    Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

    Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen

    The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

    A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch

    Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai

    The Drowning Season by Alice Hoffman

    The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

    The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer


    NOTE

    Updated on July 18, 2016.

    OTHERS READING THESE BOOKS

    If you would like to be listed here, please leave a comment with your links to any progress reports or reviews and I will add them here.

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