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Six Books

I just got caught up with what I've recently read off this list and here they are:

Dickens, Safran Foer, Mistry, Kingsolver, Atwood, WatersCollapse )

BLeak House by Charles Dickens
Excellent, I loved it, but it took me a while to get through. Normally I don't like Dickens, I think he's excessively wordy and am forced to read his stuff for school, but this was great. I'd also recommend the BBC mini-series with Gillian Anderson. It was phenomenal.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Hilarious, and I was sad when it was over. The movie is really funny, too.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
So good I bought a copy. It's long but don't be intimidated (I was). I got through it really fast and went back and reread some parts of it. It's informational (1970's India? who knew?) and touching and extremely sad.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Awesome. First of all, it made me interested in Africa and prompted me to rent Lumumba, a documentary/movie? I actually started it once and got bored and didn't finish it, but picked itback up and couldn't put it down.  It's the kind of book where you know what's going to happen but spend the whole time praying you're wrong.

FIngersmith by Sarah Waters
Really great and also surprising.  I thought I knew what was going on and then BAM! I want to read Tipping the Velvet, now, too.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
So good. Can this woman do no wrong? Actually, I thought the Blind Assassin was boring. But not this one. And it was about Canada, which I know nothing about, so I learned some stuff.

One of my favourite things about Dorian Gray is that it's just about influenced everything popular culture for so long.

Indeed, Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray is pretty much the epitome of "sensationalized" narratives that so frightened people at the time - and it works, in some ways, as a history lesson of all that craziness. And the BBC just made it into another film!.

But, then again, it's still relevant. That's what makes Wilde so spectacular - he really was so ahead of the times that he's still kicking around.

1984 by George Orwell

I knew a lot about 1984 book before reading it, and I wonder if that didn't interfere with my enjoyment of it. I can see why it is such an influential book but I had a hard time getting into it. It felt very familiar to me, and of course much of it was.

I did have some freaky dreams when reading 1984 before bed, but not as bad as when I was reading The Handmaid's Tale! ;)

Care to recommend any other dystopian novels?

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

The copy I read also had House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar, and A Christmas Memory as well as Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I did enjoy all the stories, but have to admit I prefered A Chrismtas Memory to Breakfast at Tiffany's. That probably says something about me. ;)

I plan on hunting down In Cold Blood the next time I make it to the book store.

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

Elaine Risley, a painter, reflects on her childhood when she returns to her home town of Toronto for an exhibit of her art. Elaine finds herself dwelling on her memories of Cordelia, her "best friend" and the chief tormentor of her childhood. Atwood does an excellent job of describing the ways girls befriend, judge and bully each-other as well the childhood code of secrecy that allows these petty cruelties to flourish. The fact that these memories still haunt the middle-aged Elaine is something I find very true to life.

ETA: I apologize for neglecting this community lately. I have been going through some major issues in my personal life and I apologize.

Next up from the list for me will be Breakfast at Tiffany's. I have also added the movie to my netflix queue, but I plan on finishing the book before I watch the movie.

Fugitive Pieces

Okay, so it's been a while since I finished something on the list.  But I've finally got one done.  I just finished Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels and it was . . . okay.  I wanted to love it, or hate it, or something, but I just couldn't get that into it.  The writing was very poetic, and sometimes I found that really touching and beautiful, but sometimes I just found it distracting or too much.
I'm not sure how I feel about fiction that uses the Holocaust for dramatic purposes.  On the one hand, maybe it's been enough time since it happened, and it's time to process all of our collective feelings about it.  On the other hand, maybe it's too soon, and mentioning the holocaust is just an easy way to make a story sadder and more dramatic.  It seems like I've been seeing a lot of fiction about the Holocaust and its aftermath lately, and I just don't know how I feel about it.  Does anyone know about Anne Michaels?  Does she have a personal connection to this stuff?

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

I am absolutely blown away by Kafka's writing style.  I have never read a book that has left such a profound imprint on my heart.  Though its a very melancholy story the message rings true.  Throughout the majority of the book the main character cannot speak or express his thoughts or emotions nor does the author project any emotion upon you.  His word pictures are created through actions, circumstances, and environment.  The rest is left up to you.  I think the emotion received is more a reflection of the readers soul.  Brilliant.

Here is a short review that does't give away too much info but sums it up very well:


House of Leaves

I just finished it, including the boatload of appendices.  I generally liked it, but I found it uneven.  I was really into the parts about The Navidson Record (suspenseful and really interesting to think about) but kinda bored by the Johnny Truant bits.  I had a really hard time sympathizing with him and really getting into his story.  Some of the appendices were similarly boring, but they did have useful clues about the rest of the book.  So this wasn't my favorite, but the Navidson bits definitely made the book worth it for me.


I just finished reading Atonement, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I saw the movie first, and for the most part hated it. But, after being told by a few people that the movie was awful compared to the book, I picked it up for cheap and read it. The thing that makes the book so great is the view into the characters' minds that you get, which you don't see at all in the movie. Really excellent book, I'm glad Ian McEwan has more books on the list, it'll give me an excuse to read some of his other work.

On a completely unrelated note, is anyone able to tell me if there's a community/list like this, but of movies? I'm addicted to both lists and movies so the combination would be great, haha.

Two more Books

So I read Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk.  Oh, it was a beating.  Not looking to read that guy again anytime soon.  Gross, full of totally unlikeable characters, definitely designed to shock and disgust as much as humanly possible.  The book kind of redeemed itself at the very end (like, last 20 pages or so?) so I didn't entirely regret reading it.  But still, it just wasn't for me.  I was warned, but sometimes you just have to find these things out for yourself.

On the upside, I read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and I kind of liked it.  This one had some weird sex stuff in it, too, but not the same way Choke did.  It was mostly a sweeping family saga of Greek immigrants.  It was interesting and easy to read, and I felt like the sex stuff (the grandmother married her brother and the grandson/narrator is a hermaphrodite) was presented well (mostly not too graphic or shocking, just kind of weird) and had a point.  It wasn't my favorite book ever, but I had fun reading it.