Thursday, March 31, 2022

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


Do you reread books? 

I didn't used to. But in the last year or so I've been revisiting some favorite books that I read in high school and college. It's time. So far, I've concentrated on my favorite classics, like Lucky Jim, Oliver Twist, and A Tale of Two Cities. But I plan to make more of a habit of rereading and broaden my scope to include general favorites.

What are you reading this week? Please share the opening sentence (or so) with us here on Book Beginnings. You can also share the first lines from a book you want to highlight, even if you aren't reading it right now. 


I am rereading my favorite book from high school:

On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about halfway between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-colored hotel. 

-- Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I went through a big Fitzgerald phase in high school. Jazz Age Paris and the American authors who were part of that scene are always popular and I fell hard for the whole thing. 

Reading Tender is the Night again, I am surprised that I remember none of the plot! I remember that Dick and Nicole Diver hang out at the French Riviera. But I remember nothing about what happens. I find it more entertaining -- if less fraught with meaning -- than I did as a teenager. 

My reread of Tender is the Night is one of my Classic Club books


Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the Linky box below. Use the #bookbeginnings hashtag if you share on social media. 

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The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


From Tender is the Night:
They were all very nice people for a while, very courteous and all that. Then they grew tired of it and they were funny and bitter, and finally they made a lot of plans.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The BBC's Big Read -- BOOK LIST


Starting in April 2003, BBC began a search for Britain’s best-loved novel. Viewers voted for their favorite book and the top 100 books were compiled in a list called the BBC's Big Read. The books ranked 101 - 200 are sometimes referred to as the Bigger Read. 

The Top 100 list is below. This is definitely a people’s choice list. There are some excellent books here, but the list reflects the popular tastes of the early 2000s as much as literary merit.

So far, I've read 65 of the 100. I doubt I will finish all these because I don't see myself reading Harry Potter (with apologies to fans) and I am not a fan of sci-fi or fantasy. Now that I have grandkids, I may read some of the kids' books I didn't originally think I would. So never say never. 

See any of your own favorites on here? What about personal clunkers, books you didn't like?

Here's the list, with notes about whether I've read it, it's on my TBR shelf, or it is available as an audiobook from my library. Not many of these are on my TBR shelves because if I haven't read it it is most likely not my cup of tea. But I might give it a go as an audiobook.  

1. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien FINISHED

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen FINISHED

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman ON OVERDRIVE

4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (reviewed here) FINISHED

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J. K. Rowling ON OVERDRIVE

6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee FINISHED

7. Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne FINISHED

8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell FINISHED

9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis FINISHED

10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë FINISHED

11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller FINISHED

12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë FINISHED

13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks FINISHED

14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier (reviewed here) FINISHED

15. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger FINISHED

16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame (reviewed here) FINISHED

17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (reviewed here) FINISHED

18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott FINISHED

19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres FINISHED

20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy TBR SHELF

21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell FINISHED

22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J. K. Rowling ON OVERDRIVE

23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J. K. Rowling ON OVERDRIVE

24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling ON OVERDRIVE

25. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien FINISHED

26. Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy FINISHED

27. Middlemarch, George Eliot FINISHED

28. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving FINISHED

29. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck FINISHED

30. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll FINISHED

31. The Story of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson

32. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez FINISHED

33. The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett FINISHED

34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens FINISHED

35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl ON OVERDRIVE

36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson FINISHED

37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute FINISHED

38. Persuasion, Jane Austen FINISHED

39. Dune, Frank Herbert ON OVERDRIVE

40. Emma, Jane Austen FINISHED

41. Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery FINISHED

42. Watership Down, Richard Adams ON OVERDRIVE

43. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald FINISHED

44. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas FINISHED

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh FINISHED

46. Animal Farm, George Orwell FINISHED

47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens FINISHED

48. Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy FINISHED

49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian

50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher (reviewed here) FINISHED

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett FINISHED

52. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck FINISHED

53. The Stand, Stephen King ON OVERDRIVE

54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy TBR SHELF

55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth ON OVERDRIVE

56. The BFG, Roald Dahl ON OVERDRIVE

57. Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome

58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell FINISHED

59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer ON OVERDRIVE

60. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky FINISHED

61. Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman ON OVERDRIVE

62. Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden FINISHED

63. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens FINISHED

64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough FINISHED

65. Mort, Terry Pratchett

66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

67. The Magus, John Fowles FINISHED

68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman ON OVERDRIVE

69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett

70. Lord of the Flies, William Golding FINISHED

71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind ON OVERDRIVE

72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell ON OVERDRIVE

73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

74. Matilda, Roald Dahl ON OVERDRIVE

75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding FINISHED

76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt FINISHED

77. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins FINISHED

78. Ulysses, James Joyce FINISHED

79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens FINISHED

80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson

81. The Twits, Roald Dahl ON OVERDRIVE

82. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith FINISHED

83. Holes, Louis Sachar ON OVERDRIVE

84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake (reviewed here) FINISHED

85. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy FINISHED

86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson

87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley FINISHED

88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons (reviewed here) FINISHED

89. Magician, Raymond E Feist ON OVERDRIVE

90. On the Road, Jack Kerouac FINISHED

91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo FINISHED

92. The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M Auel

93. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett

94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho FINISHED

95. Katherine, Anya Seton FINISHED

96. Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer FINISHED

97. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez FINISHED

98. Girls in Love, Jacqueline Wilson

99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot ON OVERDRIVE

100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie (reviewed here) FINISHED


This is a reposting of a list I first posted in 2009. I needed to refresh all the links.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary by Laura Stanfill -- MAILBOX MONDAY



Work obligations and family life have kept me hopping the last few months and I haven't visited Mailbox Monday as often as I would like. 

But I am so excited about Laura Stanfill's new novel, Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary, that I had to post it on Mailbox Monday. Even if I am typing this post while keeping one eye on the zoom trial of the Boy Scouts' bankruptcy so I don't miss my turn to cross examine this BSA witness!

Singing Lessons is historical fiction set in France and America during the 1800s. Henri Blanchard is the son of a music-box maker who would rather make lace than follow in his father's footsteps. Henri discovers his father had son born before him to one of his father's American customers. When circumstances drive Henri to flee to America, he meets his half-brother and discovers a world beyond his small French village.

Laura Stanfill is the editor and publisher at Forest Avenue Press, a prize-winning independent publisher of literary fiction and memoir. She is a fine essay writer whose work has appeared in
Shondaland, The Rumpus, Catapult, The Vincent Brothers Review, Santa Fe Writers Project, and several print anthologies.

Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary is Stanfill's debut novel. It launches on April 18 from Lanternfish Press and is available now for pre-order. For those in the Portland area, Laura is reading from Singing Lessons at Powell's City of Books on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7:00 pm. Signed copies are available for pre-order from Powell's or available at the event.

Read a glowing review of Singing Lessons, recommending the book for fans of Joanne Harris, on Publishers' Weekly.

Read Beth Kephart's review of this "utterly beguiling" novel on Cleaver.

As a firstborn son of a master craftsman, Henri Blanchard is expected to inherit the family barrel organ workshop, but he would prefer to make bobbin lace like his best friend Aimée. In an effort to put his misgivings aside and prove himself a worthy heir, he attempts dramatic feats that draw derision from the townsfolk and finally land him in jail, accused of murder. Threatened with the hangman’s noose, he is forced to flee the cozy village of Mireville—and discover a world beyond that may be big enough for even the rarest bird to find a nest.

Suspenseful and heartwarming by turns, Laura Stanfill’s debut is a whimsical journey full of friendship, adventure, and self-discovery.


Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house last week. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf, and Velvet of vvb32reads graciously host Mailbox Monday.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci -- BOOK BEGINNINGS



I'm about halfway through the zoom trial on the Boy Scouts bankruptcy. I'm pretty frazzled. But at least I remembered to post this week's Book Beginnings on Fridays post! 

I can't read anything too complicated during trial, so Stanley Tucci's food biography is the perfect escape for me when I finish for the day. 

What do you like to read with your life is hectic?

Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading or a book you want to highlight. 


I grew up in Katonah, New York, a beautiful town about sixty miles north of Manhattan. We moved there when I was three years of age from Peekskill, New York, a small city with a large Italian population on the Hudson River where my father's family had settled after emigrating from Calabria. 

-- Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci. Is there anyone who doesn't like Stanley Tucci? 

I'm reading this one with my ears, which is particularly wonderful because Tucci reads it himself. 


Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

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TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


From Taste:
That basement to me was a wonderful kind of time capsule and sanctuary. Divided by a staircase that led to an upstairs hallway, it boasted the makeshift auxiliary kitchen on one side (complete with an old washing machine with hand-cranked rollers that was still very much in use) as well as my grandfather Vincenzo’s workshop on the opposite side.
Tucci's childhood memories are my favorite parts of the book. 

Meanwhile, back in real life, trial runs from 7:00 am - around 3:00 pm for me every week day because I'm on the West Coast and the court is in Delaware, on East Coast time. This is a picture of me at 7:30 in the morning, listening to the second day of mind-numbing testimony from BSA's data expert, after I had already cross examined him. It I look awake, don't be fooled! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

All-TIME Best 100 English-Language Novels -- BOOK LIST


In 2005, TIME Magazine critics Richard Lacayo and Lev Grossman picked the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923, the year TIME began publishing. Lacayo offers a thorough explanation of their process on the magazine's website, along with descriptions of each book.

As Lacayo said in his article, "Lists like this one have two purposes. One is to instruct. The other of course is to enrage." Everyone can argue about books they think should have made this list and others that should have been left off. 

Personally, I'd prefer seeing Mary McCarthy, Barbara Pym, and Penelope Lively on this list and jettison Pynchon, Kosinski, and DeLillo. I've read 84 of the 100 books on this list so far, but I may never finish all 100. I know I'm never going to read Infinite Jest, for example. And I will probably never read Gravity's Rainbow

How about you? What are your thoughts?

Here is the complete list in alphabetical order, with notes if I've read it, it's on my TBR shelf, or if it is available as an audiobook from my library. 

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (reviewed here) FINISHED

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (reviewed hereFINISHED

American Pastoral by Philip Roth FINISHED

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser FINISHED

Animal Farm by George Orwell FINISHED

Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara FINISHED

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume FINISHED

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud (reviewed hereFINISHED

At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien TBR SHELF

Atonement by Ian McEwan FINISHED

Beloved by Toni Morrison FINISHED

The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood TBR SHELF

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler FINISHED

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood FINISHED

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy FINISHED

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh FINISHED

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder FINISHED

Call It Sleep by Henry Roth TBR SHELF

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller FINISHED

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger FINISHED

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess FINISHED

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron TBR SHELF

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen FINISHED

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon FINISHED

A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell (discussed hereFINISHED

The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West FINISHED

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather FINISHED

A Death in the Family by James Agee FINISHED

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen FINISHED

Deliverance by James Dickey FINISHED

Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone FINISHED

Falconer by John Cheever TBR SHELF

The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles FINISHED

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing FINISHED

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin FINISHED

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell FINISHED

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck FINISHED

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon ON OVERDRIVE

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald FINISHED

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh FINISHED

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers FINISHED

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene FINISHED

Herzog by Saul Bellow FINISHED

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson FINISHED

A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul FINISHED

I, Claudius by Robert Graves FINISHED

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace ON OVERDRIVE (but 56 hours!)

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison FINISHED

Light in August by William Faulkner FINISHED

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis FINISHED

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov FINISHED

Lord of the Flies by William Golding FINISHED

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien FINISHED

Loving by Henry Green FINISHED

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis FINISHED

The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead ON OVERDRIVE

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (reviewed hereFINISHED

Money by Martin Amis (reviewed hereFINISHED

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy FINISHED

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf FINISHED

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs FINISHED

Native Son by Richard Wright FINISHED

Neuromancer by William Gibson ON OVERDRIVE

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro FINISHED

1984 by George Orwell FINISHED

On the Road by Jack Kerouac FINISHED

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey FINISHED

The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski (I finished as much as I could stand) FINISHED

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov FINISHED

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster FINISHED

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion (reviewed hereFINISHED

Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth FINISHED

Possession by A.S. Byatt FINISHED

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene FINISHED

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark FINISHED

Rabbit, Run by John Updike FINISHED

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow FINISHED

The Recognitions by William Gaddis

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett FINISHED

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates FINISHED

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles FINISHED

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (reviewed hereFINISHED

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson TBR SHELF

The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth TBR SHELF

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (reviewed hereFINISHED

The Sportswriter by Richard Ford FINISHED

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre FINISHED

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway FINISHED

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston FINISHED

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe FINISHED

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee FINISHED

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf FINISHED

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller FINISHED

Ubik by Philip K. Dick ON OVERDRIVE

Under the Net by Iris Murdoch FINISHED

Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry FINISHED

Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

White Noise by Don DeLillo ON OVERDRIVE

White Teeth by Zadie Smith TBR SHELF

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (reviewed hereFINISHED


This is a repost of the list I first posted back in 2009. The links needed refreshing. 

My progress is up to date as of March 28, 2022. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

It's My Blogiversary! 14 years of Rose City Reader


Rose City Reader has been around for 14 years now, since 2008. The popularity of book blogging seems to have waxed and waned over those years. Other social media platforms have lured away bloggers and potential bloggers with shiny new options, some which faded away themselves and some which are going strong like Instagram

My own blogging activity changes over time, depending on what else is going on in my life. Usually it is my work that takes me away. Don't you hate it when your job interferes with your hobbies? But I persevere with Rose City Reader because I love it and look forward to "someday" when I can spend less time in the office and more time reading and blogging. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Book Beginnings on Friday -- Trial Edition



I'm tied up in the Boy Scouts' bankruptcy confirmation trial (by zoom). I forgot all about Book Beginnings! I have to cross examine a witness in a few minutes, but just remembered I forgot to post anything here. 

Here's the Linky box. That's all I've got this week. Have fun!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Winners -- BOOK LIST


The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction honors the "best published works of fiction by American permanent residents in a calendar year." 

National Book Award winner Mary Lee Settle, with help from her friends, organized the award in 1980 as a peer-reviewed competitor of the National Book Award. They allied themselves with the Ineternational PEN organization (Poets, Editors, and Novelists) and named the award after William Faulkner who donated his Nobel Prize money to fund the award.

Here is the list of all the winners, with notes if I've finished the book, it is on my TBR shelf, or if it is available as an audiobook on Overdrive from my library. 

2021 The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw ON OVERDRIVE

2020 Sea Monsters by Chloe Aridjis ON OVERDRIVE

2019 Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi ON OVERDRIVE

2018 Improvement by Joan Silber ON OVERDRIVE

2017 Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue ON OVERDRIVE

2016 Delicious Foods by James Hannaham ON OVERDRIVE

2015 Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish

2014 We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler FINISHED

2013 Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

2012 The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka ON OVERDRIVE

2011 The Collected Stories by Deborah Eisenberg

2010 War Dances by Sherman Alexie ON OVERDRIVE

2009 Netherland by Joseph O'Neill ON OVERDRIVE

2008 The Great Man by Kate Christensen TBR SHELF

2007 Everyman by Philip Roth FINISHED

2006 The March by E. L. Doctorow ON OVERDRIVE

2005 War Trash by Ha Jin TBR SHELF

2004 The Early Stories: 1953-1975 by John Updike TBR SHELF

2003 The Caprices by Sabina Murray TBR SHELF

2002 Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (reviewed hereFINISHED

2001 The Human Stain by Philip Roth (reviewed hereFINISHED

2000 Waiting by Ha Jin FINISHED

1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham FINISHED

1998 The Bear Comes Home by Rafi Zabor TBR SHELF

1997 Women in Their Beds: New and Selected Stories by Gina Berriault TBR SHELF

1996 Independence Day by Richard Ford FINISHED

1995 Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson FINISHED

1994 Operation Shylock: A Confession by Philip Roth FINISHED

1993 Postcards by E. Annie Proulx FINISHED

1992 Mao II by Don Delillo FINISHED

1991 Philadelphia Fire by John Edgar Wideman

1990 Billy Bathgate by E. L. Doctorow FINISHED

1989 Dusk and Other Stories by James Salter TBR SHELF

1988 World's End by T. Coraghessan Boyle

1987 Soldiers in Hiding by Richard Wiley TBR SHELF

1986 The Old Forest and Other Stories by Peter Taylor

1985 The Barracks Thief by Tobias Wolff

1984 Sent for You Yesterday by John Edgar Wideman

1983 Seaview by Toby Olson TBR SHELF

1982 The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley

1981 How German Is It = Wie Deutsch Ist Es by Walter Abish TBR SHELF


This is a redo of the list I first posted in 2010. The links needed a refresh!

As of March 16, 2022, I've read only 12 of the 41 winners. 


Friday, March 11, 2022

National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award Winners -- BOOK LIST

The National Book Critics Circle presents annual awards for books published in English in six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Poetry, and Criticism. The NBCC Awards started in 1975.

I confess I bear a grudge against the NBCC fiction Award for inflicting some of my least favorite novels on me, including Being Dead, All the Pretty Horses, and Song of Solomon. On the other hand, I only read Americanah and Motherless Brooklyn because they are on list and I love both of them.

This is the list of the NBCC fiction Award winners, with notes about whether I've finished the book or not. I've also noted it a book is on my TBR shelf or available as an audiobook from my library. Those notes help me keep track. 

2021 The Love Songs of W.E.B DuBois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers ON OVERDRIVE

2020 Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell TBR SHELF

2019 Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat ON OVERDRIVE

2018 Milkman by Anna Burns FINISHED

2017 Improvement by Joan Silber ON OVERDRIVE

2016 LaRose by Louise Erdrich FINISHED

2015 The Sellout by Paul Beatty TBR SHELF

2014 Lila by Marilynne Robinson FINISHED

2013 Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie FINISHED

2012 Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain FINISHED

2011 Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman

2010 A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan FINISHED

2009 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (reviewed hereFINISHED

2008 2666 by Robert Bolano TBR SHELF

2007 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz FINISHED

2006 The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai FINISHED

2005 The March by E.L. Doctorow ON OVERDRIVE

2004 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (reviewed hereFINISHED

2003 The Known World by Edward P. Jones FINISHED

2002 Atonement by Ian McEwan FINISHED

2001 Austerlitz by Winfried Georg Sebald FINISHED

2000 Being Dead by Jim Crace FINISHED

1999 Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem FINISHED

1998 The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro TBR SHELF

1997 The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald FINISHED

1996 Women in Their Beds by Gina Berriault TBR SHELF

1995 Mrs. Ted Bliss by Stanley Elkin TBR SHELF

1994 The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields FINISHED

1993 A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines TBR SHELF

1992 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (reviewed hereFINISHED

1991 A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley FINISHED

1990 Rabbit at Rest by John Updike FINISHED

1989 Billy Bathgate by E. L. Doctorow FINISHED

1988 The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee TBR SHELF

1987 The Counterlife by Philip Roth TBR SHELF

1986 Kate Vaiden by Reynolds Price FINISHED

1985 The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler FINISHED

1984 Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich TBR SHELF

1983 Ironweed by William Kennedy FINISHED

1982 George Mills by Stanley Elkin TBR SHELF

1981 Rabbit is Rich by John Updike FINISHED

1980 The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard TBR SHELF

1979 The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan FINISHED

1978 The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever (reviewed hereFINISHED

1977 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison FINISHED

1976 October Light by John C Gardner TBR SHELF

1975 Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow FINISHED


Updated May 27, 2022. This is a refresh of the list I first posted in 2012. I needed to redo all the links to the books and bring the list up to date. 

As of March 10, 2022, I've read 29 of the 46 winners. How many have you read? Which were your favorites?

Thursday, March 10, 2022

On Night, New York by Lara Thompson -- BOOK BEGINNINGS



It has been an exciting week around here! I was in Omaha with my sister last week, house hunting. After five days of looking, seeing a few houses, but being frustrated by the minimal available inventory, we found a perfect house for her on our way to the airport Monday morning! It was a pocket listing, so she really lucked out. She made an offer Tuesday that was accepted Wednesday and her house here in Oregon is for sale today with people looking at it already. Things are moving fast!

In the meantime, trial on the Boy Scouts proposed bankruptcy plan starts this coming Monday. My law partner and I represent 65 sexual abuse survivors with claims in the bankruptcy. They all voted against the plan and object to confirmation. So I'm pulling together exhibits and preparing my witness questions. Whatever the outcome, there is no question this is the biggest trial I've ever been a part of. 

I probably won't have much time to read in the next few weeks. But I always like to stop by your Book Beginnings posts to see what you are all reading, even when I don't have time to leave comments. Thanks for participating and sharing the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, or just a book you want to highlight. 


Her initial shock at the height had faded, but if Frances moved closer to the edge, if she tipped her head over the waist-height balustrade, the hysterical sensation returned.

-- from One Night, New York by Lara Thompson. 

I got a copy of Lara Thompson’s debut novel, One Night, New York, from Pegasus Books and it looks terrific! The story takes place on one December night in 1932, when two young women plot to get revenge on a man who has wronged them by pushing him off the top of the Empire State Building.

Buzz about the book uses words like glitter, glamour, noir, bizarre twists, a story of old New York, bohemian, enthralling, and with an unexpected ending.

Sounds perfect!


Please add the link to your Book Beginnings posts in the Linky box below. If you post on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

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Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.


From One Night, New York:
Two of Mrs. Bianchi's three sons were sitting at the table by the open window, muttering in their own language, playing cards. They'd eaten her with their eyes when she first arrived, then gone back to their game without a greeting.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire, 1871-1918 by Katja Hoyer -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


Greeting from Omaha! My sis and I are in Omaha, Nebraska this week, our hometown. So I am doing my Book Beginnings post from the road. It seems appropriate to feature a book about German history because some of my favorite childhood memories are of the German American Society in Omaha, where we took German language lessons on Saturday mornings.

Please join me to share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. Or you can share the first line of a book you want to highlight. 


From Blood and Iron:

"To My People" was the title of the dramatic and passionate plea of the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III in 1813 to all his subjects to help liberate the German lands from French occupation.

-- from chapter I, "Rise 1815 - 71" in Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire, 1871-1918 by Katja Hoyer, new from Pegasus Books

Prior to 1871, Germany was not a unified nation but 39 separate states, including Prussia, Bavaria, and the Rhineland. In her new book, Blood and Iron, German-British historian Katja Hoyer tells the story of how a German Empire, united under Otto von Bismarck, rose to power only to face crippling defeat in the First World War. 


Please leave the link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below. Use the hashtag #bookbeginnings if you share on social media.

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.


Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.


From Blood and Iron:
After Sedan* and successive military victories from September 1870, an intoxicating wave of nationalist sentiment swept through the German lands. Bismarck used this temporary goodwill to bring the leaders of the states together for negotiations about a federal German nation state.
* The Battle of Sedan was a decisive battle during the Franco-Prussian War.

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