Adapting Non-Fiction November and NaNoWriMo?

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So I love having projects. I love doing reading projects to challenge myself, and I
l o v e  community-type projects because it excites me to be part of something that, without the internet, I wouldn’t even know existed.

Non-Fiction November is one of my favourite long-term reading projects and I’d really like to participate properly at some point (I half-heartedly tried last year), but November just isn’t that kind of month in my life. Which also always stops me from another project I’d really love to challenge myself with at some point: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

Once again, as the end of October approached, I sat in front of my planner trying to tell myself I can fit something in, but it just isn’t going to happen. Again.

I’ve got exams galore in November, I have an important presentation coming up, and by far most important: the much alluded to thesis is due in January. The latter got me thinking, though…

I’m not making the progress I’d like to see on it, and actual panic is starting to kick in right now, so I’ve decided to take what for me is the positive essence of both Non-Fiction November and NaNoWriMo and use it as a little kick in the bum to get back to work.

So. NaNoWriMo for me essentially means writing where usually you’d just plan on writing, pouring out words without too much of a filter to finally do it. It in my case being this thesis, and this in my case being very much necessary to fight paralysing perfectionism.
Non-Fiction November is even more directly applicable to my situation, as I’ll take this month to put aside any other reading ambitions and fancies (besides the two fiction books I’ll have to read for school) and just read my damn research.

With those two focus points set for the month and a massive internet community doing kind of the same thing, I’m all ready for progress and productivity. And once again thankful for the existence of bookish projects for me to adapt and make my own.

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Reading Bingo 2017

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So, you might’ve noticed there’s no post of Reading Resolutions or big plans for the year beside my (very chill) TBR. That’s because, while I love challenging myself, all I want this year’s reading to be is enjoyable and pressure-free.
I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in school right now, and there’s just more than enough pressure happening without me contributing to it further. And while I massively enjoyed #bustlereads last year, especially in November it stressed me out a lot because not only did I want to finish all tasks, but I wanted to do it in time for bookmas and loads of reviews.
While that kind of pressure might work for some, it doesn’t for me and makes reading, my literal favourite thing to do, a task I have to force myself to.

That’s why I didn’t want to do any fancy reading challenges for 2017. Until I wrote my wrap-up post for bustlereads and realised how many great books I discovered by doing it. So I decided, to keep it stressfree, to make my own reading challenge just for myself. Enter Reading Bingo 2017.

I called it that because in my reading diary, I drew a bingo field to mark my finished challenges in, inspired by the Diversity Bingo currently making its rounds on the internet. Here, however, I’ll only give you the prompts I ended up using.
I’m basically trying to challenge myself a bit to not fall asleep in my comfort zone, but very much adjusted all the tasks to fit my interests and what I’d like to personally achieve. Some may seem ridiculous, but I really feel this will just serve as a reminder to not get too comfortable, without stressing myself too much, because reading is my comfort place after all and I really need it right now.

Reading Bingo 2017 challenges:

o  Read a Shakespeare Play

o  Read a Collection of Poetry.

o  Read a Hyped Book You Wouldn’t Normally Read

o  Read a Book in French

o  Reread a Book

o  Read a Collection of Short Stories

o  Read a Book by John Steinbeck

o  Read a Book Set In An African Country. (obviously #ownvoices)

o  Read a Book Set In An Asian Country. (again, definitely #ownvoices)

o  Read a Book You’ve Never Heard Of

o  Read a Collection of Essays

o  Reread a Book You’ve Read in 2017.

o  Read a Book Over 500 pages

o  Read a Book That Intimidates You

o  Read a Play NOT by Shakespeare

o  Read a Man Booker Winner.

o  Read a Non-Fiction by Someone You Don’t Agree With.

I’ll try to, once again, do reviews on as many as possible and document my progress on the blog. I hope you’re as excited as I am about this, because I honestly think it’s exactly right for me right now…

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#bustlereads wrap-up

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So yes, bookmas is quite over and has spectacularly failed towards the end. I can only very lamely blame my falling ill unexpectedly (obviously, how else?) and being too consumed by coughing and sleeping to blog. Catching up now, guys, catching up.

So here we are. Probably the biggest thing I tackled last year in the reading department – #bustlereads, a reading challenge promoting diversity and female writers and that just resonated with me when I came across it early last year (this is the original post introducing the challenge).

Now, almost twelve months later, I’ve completed it proudly and am ready to bring you a gigantic masterpost of all the books I counted towards it. When planning bookmas last december, I decided to write a review on as many of them as I could, on the one hand to get myself to write some more posts on single books and on the other hand to prevent this post to grow into an uncontrollable monster of experiences, surprises and ever repeating recollections. That’s why I kept the reviewing extremely brief here and went all out on the self-promoting links to my reviews. Enjoy.

Read A Book Written By A Woman Under 25

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Sense and Sensibility apparently Jane Austen’s first novel and published when she was extremely young. You can kind of tell, but it’s lovely and cosy and Austen and I’m so excited to read more of hers. Full review here.

Read A Book About Non-Western History

I really wanted to complete this task extra-super proper because I was looking so forward to it. I really wanted to read something on the Chinese Cultural Revolution… but then, the year just flew by and I ended up slightly cheating this category. We’re counting The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende here, because although it is a novel, it heavily draws from actual Chilean history… full review here.

Read A Book Of Essays

I was looking forward to this category so much, and I was even more excited to get James Baldwin’s Notes Of A Native Son from the library. It’s a collection of essays on being a black man in the United States, and I wanted to be blown away by it so badly. I just didn’t know what even happened, and have decided to not write a full review because it was just a weird reading experience of feeling overwhelmed, but just not impressed. I suspect it’s a great book, but we didn’t click at all and I can’t help feeling that’s my fault.

Read A Book About An Indigenous Culture

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Well, this isn’t really about an indigenous culture, but I think I should get some extra credit for super inclusive comprehensiveness, right? The No-Nonsense Guide to Indigenous Peoples by Lotte Hughes is a very short, but very good introduction to indigenous cultures, historic as well as contemporary, and a perfect pick for the uneducated white girl I am. Full review here.

Read A Book Before You See The Movie

I always do this. Literally always. I’d never watch a film if I was planning on reading the book in the future, that’s just not how my input works. However, for this particular task in this particular challenge I chose Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind.
I read and analysed this in school for German class, and to conclude the unit on the book, our teacher watched the 2006 film with us. I’d recommend both, but the book is definitely very superior. I love it way too much considering I got graded on analysing it…

Read A YA Book By An Author Of Colour

This is one of the reasons I’m glad I did this challenge. I would never have discovered How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon without it, having only found it after some extensive internet research, and I absolutely adored it. It’s a book about a black teenager getting shot by a white man and everyone trying to figure out what really happened, to piece together the whole story. It’s gorgeous and contemporary, but very readable, and I did a full review of it here.

Read A Book Set In The Middle East

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A book you’re probably sick of hearing about by now, but I just love it way too much. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi is a memoir by a English literature scholar living in Iran before, during and after the Islamic Revolution who founded a book club with some of her female students to read and discuss Western works of literature. It’s absolutely brilliant, and fully dissected here.

Read A Book About Women In War

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I found it so hard to find a book for this category, so I ended up just asking my mother and she recommended this as an okay, fun read – a novel set post WWII, but handling events during the German occupation of the Channel Islands and features a lot of female characters, so I decided it’d work. Ended up liking it, but feeling no need to keep or recommend it… full review here.

Read A Graphic Novel Written By A Woman

For this I picked up The Three Incestuous Sisters by Audrey Niffenegger. This is literally the only graphic novel I’ve read this year, although I generally really enjoy them… this one though, I just didn’t love it. While I could appreciate the art, it wasn’t really my style and the story didn’t give me anything, either, so all in all, just a really disappointing read.

Read A Book About An Immigrant Or Refugee To The U.S.

I loved this challenge, and I absolutely loved the book I chose to pick up: The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. If I can make you pick up only one book from this list, it would probably have to be this one. It’s about Japanese picture brides coming to the US in the early 20th century, and manages to show the progress of their lifes in a very beautiful, unusual voice – it’s just gorgeous and poetic and I loved it.

Read A Children’s Book Aloud

I did this loads during my internship in a local kindergarten, and got really nostalgic for my own childhood. It’s just so lovely to read out to people who can’t yet read themselves – with the risk of being cheesy, it’s like recruiting future readers.

Reread Your Favourite Book From Your Childhood

This was so hard to choose, I’ve got an abundance of wonderful childhood favourites on my shelves. In the end, however, I went with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. This is without a doubt the warmest, cosiest book ever, despite some terrible stuff happening. I honestly don’t think there’ll ever be a time in my life when this won’t make me happy…

Read A Memoir By Someone Who Identifies as LGBTQIA

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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson isn’t really your typical memoir. It honestly felt unlike anything else I’ve ever read. While it of course talks about her discovering her sexuality and her (very Christian) mother throwing her out of the house as a consequence, it’s also about class in 70s Northern England, it’s about home and identity and how the two are linked and books, always books, as an inevitable part of her life story. I massively enjoyed it, and reviewed it in full here.

Read A Work Of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Written By A Woman

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is one of the books I never ever would have read without this challenge because postapocalyptic fiction isn’t my genre at all. And yet, I’m so glad I’ve read it. It’s about a flu pandemic and the world it leaves behind, jumps time a lot and tals about civilisation, art and living in an extremely interesting way. Definitely made me think, and write a review here.

Read A Feminist Sci-Fi Novel

For this, I went with Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Again, Science Fiction isn’t what I normally read at all, and with this more than Station Eleven, I was kind of reminded why I don’t, but I could appreciate its brilliance nonetheless. I’m sure most readers would like this much more than I do, and I already enjoyed it massively – it was just too much in its genre for me to absolutely adore. Still, the post-pandemic world, the narrative jumping and the feminist tones have me not hesitating to recommend this to loads of people. Reviewed here.

Read The First Book In A Series You’ve Never Read

Basically, I just avoid series. I don’t really like them, they don’t give me anything I can’t find in standalones, and often they take away from my enjoyment because they split up the story or stretch it out too much. That’s why I went for a very loose series, and read Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. This collection of short anecdotes about shallow, but hilarious young Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves charmed me, but didn’t give me as much as I’d hoped. Long monologue explaining my mixed feelings here.

Read A Book Set In Africa, By An Author From Africa

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This I should do much more. It’s ridiculous how little writers from African countries I’ve read, and I’m going to make myself pick up more (hopefully), because it’s such an interesting experience to explore a culture I tend to be shamefully ignorant about. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo was a great start for that project, because it really rubs your privilege and ignorance in your face in a way that doesn’t make you hate the writer… I agree that it was overstuffed with themes at times, but it did great at the immigration narrative and exploring identity and home in a very fascinating way. Reviewed here.

Read A Translated Book

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For this, I went with Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, a childhood and adolescence memoir by the brilliant Simone de Beauvoir. This, I loved because it combined feminism, existentialism and growing up in a very fascinating way, and while it didn’t speak to me personally as much as I’d hoped, I still really enjoyed it. Full review here.

Read A Contemporary Collection Of Poetry

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Search Party by George The Poet was a gorgeous christmas present 2015, and after reading it with massive enjoyment last year, I was (and am) so excited to read more poetry. Hasn’t happened, hopefully will, until then, this is a marvellous book of spoken word poetry about social justice issues, race and growing up which I gushingly reviewed here.

Read A Book By A Modernist Woman Writer

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Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. This one, I was just planning to pick up some time in my life. And then, I just spontaneously did it and enjoyed it very much…
I find it really hard to talk about this book because I just don’t feel as if I completely got it, so it definitely made its way onto my reread-list already. What this did give me however, the stream of consciousness-writing style and the motives and the 1920s London setting, I absolutely adored. Full review here.

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Non-Fiction November.

So here we are again, wrapping up the reading. In this case, the non-fiction reading done over the course of Non-Fiction November. I read eight books this month, three of which were non-fiction. I am halfway through another one, but still I’m quite disappointed with that number because I was originally planning to use this project for some more research reading for school, which kinda failed spectacularly…

Nonetheless, let’s look at the non-fiction I did finish, starting with The No-Nonsense guide to Indigenous Peoples by Lotte Hughes.

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This one is so straightforward what it says on the cover, I feel a bit weird even giving you a blurb, but here goes nothing. You’re looking at a very short, very comprehensive introduction to the different aspects of indigenous existence around the world, covering all the aspects from defining indigenous and relating key characteristics of indigenous culture over recounting the endless chain of colonisation and oppression that was indigenous peoples’ life the past few centuries to painting a picture of indigenous life today.

I find this hard to rate, because it was literally a let’s-get-a-vague-idea-of-this-kind of read, me trying to educate myself. Still, I feel like she handled that task very well, touching on a lot of things and always keeping a critical view of her own writing and position.
To make up for the fact that this was written by an outsider, the text was always accompanied by short writings of indigenous people themselves and short case studies to build a base for the theoretical exploration, and while that may sound like a good concept, it ended up making the text feel slightly choppy at places because you had to constantly jump.

Still, I’m glad to have read this to get a very first insight into something I didn’t and don’t know enough about.


 

Next, I read a book so incredibly unaesthetic that I didn’t even try taking a picture. Occupy- Räume des Protests by Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer is a book on Occupy Wallstreet and related movements, I read it for research purposes only and it annoyed me a lot. So much interesting thinking going on, and still such a boring book. That’s quite an achievement in itself.


 

Let’s quickly move on to some funnerer stuff: Protest by Srdja Popovic and Matthew Miller.

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This I enjoyed, I think. Popovic is a political activist from Serbia who, after cofounding a very successful political movement in Serbia, he went on to found CANVAS, a consultation organisation for nonviolent protest. And now, he wrote a book containing all his ideas about the dynamics and strategies of successful peaceful protest. This is it.

It’s very much what you would probably call a popular non-fiction, it’s very accessible and anecdotal, full of stories of different movements around the world and the author’s life, and while I wasn’t sure about that flippant presentation at first, it made his book very readable and stopped it from ever dragging. All in all I ended up enjoying his style, only ever finding it slightly inappropriate when talking about the Civil Rights Movement in the US, but that might be me.
Also, while the tone was very offhand and humorous, that completely worked with his views on politics and how protest should work, so that was actually quite interesting.

His ideas were fascinating to me as someone who’s still growing into a political position and gave me some perspective for the thesis I’m writing on protest and social media at the moment, which takes up so much of my brainspace, while also very much inspiring participation… would recommend.

Finishing with the book I’ve kind of started a bit this month and will definitely be continuously reading: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson.

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There’s definitely a complete review of this coming your way, but so far I’m very much enjoying the way Winterson weaves together her experiences (never really following any chronological line), quotes from and reactions to her novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (which shamefully, I haven’t read yet) and bigger ideas and themes. She does sometimes seem to go off on a bit of a digression, talking about literature or sociology, but I’m liking it friends, I’m liking it a lot.

So there you go. That’s november neatly wrapped up for you, and also, that’s the first day of #bookmas right here. I’m really freakin’ excited, which is good, because somebody has to be, amirite? Happy december everyone!

wrapping up #victober

Hello there.

I did a reading project. Or, let’s be real: I attempted it.
Victorian October, or #victober for you snazzy Snapchat-kids, was hosted by a whole bunch of booktubers and challenged you to read some Victorian literature (that being british stuff from in between 1837 and 1901).

Although that basically wraps up the general aim of the project, there was some specific challenges to tick off. Or fail *cough*.
Those included:

  • Read a piece of Victorian literature that isn’t a novel.
  • Read a Victorian novel where some kind of plot is afoot.
  • Read a Victorian book by a female author.
  • Read a Victorian gothic novel.
  • Read a Victorian novel in less than a week.

So now that we talked about what I should have done, let’s see what I actually did.

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Well yes. I read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and it was gloriously wonderful. This was my novel by a female writer and also my absolutely dying to read it because it sounds fecking marvellous, and it very much lived up to either.
One of my favourite things about hella long books is the nuanced character building they allow, and I felt like Gaskell really did pay attention to Margaret being a rounded character. I just loved her so much!

While in my edition (sidenote: would not recommend, blurb contains huge spoiler, WHY?) North and South was just declared a great love story, what I love about it so much is actually it not primarily being about marriage proposals and dinner parties, but the social tension in an industrialised town of workers and factory owners.
While it is a very much “Pride and Prejudice” and spends just a bit too much thought on propriety and relligion (which I understand are important in Victorian society!), it’s full of social criticism, of unions and strikes and ignorant factory owners and desperate workers and passionate discussions about their places in society, without being preachy.
The novel stuck to Margaret’s very subjective, but compassionate and intelligent voice (little excursions into Mr Thornton’s head being very much appreciated, but for the sake of textflow in this post lovingly ignored), which really made the female author task for me.

I just generally feel that, Victorian society being as it was, female authors tended to write more differentiated female characters (I am, however, someone who has read very little male Victorian authors), so having my book for this point include such a very well-written female character made me very happy indeed.
Also while I did expect the ending very early on in the book (and got spoiled massively. Just what is wrong with you Penguin?), it continually surprised and engaged me, and I don’t think I will ever get over the greatness that is it’s last sentence.

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So then: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. A very much Victorian novel with very much a plot afoot, in case you were wondering. Basic story: really big diamond gets stolen from India, just to end up birthday present and get stolen again. Was it the sinister Indians with their clairvoyant british footboy? Or the quiet maidservant who’s weirdly obsessed with an ugly piece of beach? Maybe the self-righteous evangelist cousin with her charitable organisations?

If you’re not hooked and willing to read this early crime novel already, I don’t know what more you can want. I really liked (again. I’m sorry) the characters in this book. Collins really got to play around with their voices and views because this book is told from changing perspectives, and I feel like he did that exceptionally well. Even (good going contradicting my own thesis just a few lines down) the female narrators.

It was loads of fun, it was gripping and it was really different from every other Victorian novel I’ve read so far. And while the ending feels slightly farfetched, it is (apparently) possible, and certainly very satisfying and surprising. So all in all, a very fun read.

So… that’s literally it. That’s all the books I’ve finished this month. Bit sad, really, isn’t it?Well, I can only give you that old excuse all over again: school. It literally wrecks your brain. (Yes, I know. Appreciate education. I do- but stuff’s just insane right now…)

I did, however, finish one audiobook and start another book, both of them in the swing of #victober. So let’s wrap those up too.

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While walking in Ireland, I listened to an audiobook version of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, which is a great choice for some rough Irish mountains, let me tell you. Also, I decided to count it as my Victorian gothic novel. And the one I “read” in less than a week. Don’t judge please.

This was a “reread” (excuse quotation marks, I can’t get myself to view audiobook-listening-doing as actual reading) for me, and let’s be real, I’ve just indulged in the comfort of a book you know and love. They shortened it so much for the audiobook narration, and every abbreviation annoyed me so much because it took a bit of listening pleasure away from me. Still a great idea. Get all your favourite books on audiobook and listen to them on endless-repeat-mode. Believe me, you’ll improve your life significantly. (If you’re actually interested in the book, I reviewed it briefly here.)

Moving on to the book I didn’t finish (and didn’t take a photo of, ’cause, lazy.). It is *drumroll* *keeping up the dramatic silence* my first Dickens. I know.

Pickwick Papers, people (she said with some satisfying alliteration), is so far a great read. I’m literally laughing out loud regularly, which in combination with the Penguin black classic in my hands, tends to confuse people slightly. Well, real people, who needs them once he’s got a taste of the Dickensian ones?

Have to say though that it is one of those that makes you doubt Victorian male writer’s ability to write women. Which I’ve heard gets better in Dickens’ later work. But still bothers me a bit, can’t lie.

Still, having heard people (not just people, but Katie) call it one of the worse makes me SO excited for Dickens’ other work. Because I’m already in love with his humour…

One more thing. Pickwick Papers isn’t really, really a novel. It’s more of a episodic novel. A collection of episodes. Of stories. Like, you know short stories. And I’ve read some chapters. Which, we’ve established, are kind of almost short stories.
So, if you’re all very nice and follow me on that 1984-bit of logic, I’ve read a piece of Victorian literature that isn’t a novel. Which would make me the absolute total super-winner of Victorian October.

Having written this post mainly to give me that closure and make you forget really quick what a terrible reading month this was, and having succeeded at either, all that’s left for me to do is wish you the loveliest of Wednesday’s (there’s an oxymoron for you…) and bid you Goodbye.

Merken

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

Here’s one of my favourite booklists of all time: every single book read or referenced by Rory Gilmore over the course of seven seasons of “Gilmore Girls”. I spent way too much time putting this together from various sources on the internet because I’m completely unsatisfied by the version that is all over the internet – it contains loads of books that make no sense whatsoever. This still doesn’t only contain books Rory read, but also some read by Jess and others or just generally referenced, but I really like the variety.
I do plan to not only update this list whenever I finish another book, but also link to the reviews I’m planning to write on some of the books mentioned…

Currently read: 47 out of 247 books

x  1984 – George Orwell  /  read in October 2015, reviewed here

o  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain  /

o  Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll  /

x  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon  /  read in June 2016, reviewed here

o  An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser  /

o  Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt  /

o  Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoi  /

o  The Art of Eating – Mary Francis Kennedy Fisher  /

o  The Art of Fiction – Henry James  /

o  The Art of War – Sun Tzu  /

o  As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner  /

o  Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand  /

x  Atonement – Ian McEwan  /  read in April 2016, reviewed here

o  The Awakening – Kate Chopin  /

x  Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women – Susan Faludi  /  read in June 2016, reviewed here

o  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sije  /

o  Bel Canto – Ann Patchett  /

x  The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath  /  read and proclaimed to be the best book ever written in August 2016

o  Beloved – Toni Morrison  /

o  Beowulf: A New Verse Translation – Seamus Heaney  /

o  The Bielski Brothers – The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest and Saved 1200 Jews – Peter Duffy  /

o  Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women – Elizabeth Wurtzel  /

o  A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays – Mary McCarthy  /

x  Brave New World – Aldous Huxley  /  read in May 2017

o  Brick Lane – Monica Ali  /

o  The Brontës – Juliet Barker  /

o  Candide – Voltaire  /

o  The Canterbury Tales – Chaucer  /

x  Carry On, Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse  /  read in September 2016, reviewed here

o  Catch-22 – Joseph Heller  /

x  The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger  /  read in April 2016, reviewed here

o  Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White  /

o  Chikara – Robert Skimin  /

o  The Children’s Hour – Lilian Hellman  /

o  A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens  /

x  A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess  /  read in September 2017

o  The Collected Stories – W. Somerset Maugham  /

o  The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty – Eudora Welty  /

x  A Comedy of Errors – William Shakespeare  /  read in June 2016

o  Complete Novels – Dawn Powell  /

o  The Complete Poems – Anne Sexton  /

o  A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole  /

o  The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas  /

o  Cousin Bette – Honor’e de Balzac  /

o  Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky  /

o  The Crimson Petal and the White – Michel Faber  /

o  The Crucible – Arthur Miller  /

x  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon  /  read in March 2016, reviewed here

o  Daisy Miller – Henry James  /

o  David Copperfield – Charles Dickens  /

o  Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol  /

o  Death of A Salesman – Arthur Miller  /

o  Demons – Fyodor Dostoyevsky  /

o  The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America – Erik Larson  /

x  Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank  /  read in June 2016

o  The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Volume One to Five – Virginia Woolf  /

o  The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri  /

o  Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells  /

o  Driving Miss Daisy – Alfred Uhry  /

o  Eleanor Roosevelt – Blanche Wiesen Cook  /

o  The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe  /

o  Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters – Mark Dunn  /

o  Emma – Jane Austen  /

o  An Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding/An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals – David Hume  /

o  Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton  /

o  Ethics – Spinoza  /

o  Eva Luna – Isabel Allende  /

o  Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer  /

o  Extravagance – Gary Krist  /

x  Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury  /  read in January 2017

o  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson  /

o  Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce  /

o  The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom  /

o  Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes  /

o  The Fortress of Solitude – Jonathan Lethem  /

o  The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand  /

x  Frankenstein – Mary Shelley  /  read in August 2016

x  Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger  /  read in June 2016

o  Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut  /

o  Gender Trouble – Judith Butler  /

o  A Girl from Yamhill – Beverly Cleary  /

o  Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen  /

x  The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy  /  read in March 2016, reviewed here

o  Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell  /

o  The Good Soldier – Ford Maddox Ford  /

o  The Graduate – Charles Webb  /

o  The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck  /

x  Great Expectations – Charles Dickens  /  read in March 2017

x  The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald  /  read in February 2016

x  The Group – Mary McCarthy  /  read in September 2016

x  Hamlet – William Shakespeare  /  read in September 2017

o  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers  /

o  Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad  /

o  Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Mansom Murders – Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry  /

o  Henry IV, Parts One and Two – William Shakespeare  /

o  Henry V – William Shakespeare  /

x  High Fidelity – Nick Hornby  /  read in April 2016, reviewed here

o  The Holy Barbarians – Lawrence Lipton  /

o  House of Sand and Fog – Andre Dubus III  /

x  The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende  /  read in March 2016, reviewed here

o  How to Breathe Underwater – Julie Orringer  /

o  How The Light Gets In – M.J. Hyland  /

o  Howl and Other Poems – Allen Ginsberg  /

o  The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo  /

o  The Iliad – Homer  /

o  In Cold Blood – Truman Capote  /

o  Inherit the Wind – Jerome Lawrence  /

o  Ironweed – William Kennedy  /

o  It Takes A Village – Hillary Clinton  /

o  James Joyce’s Ulysses – Stuart Gilbert  /

x  Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë  /  read in April 2016, reviewed here

o  The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan  /

o  Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare  /

o  The Jungle – Upton Sinclair  /

o  Just A Couple of Days – Tony Vigorito  /

o  The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini  /

o  Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence  /

o  The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 – Gore Vidal  /

o  Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman  /

o  Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis  /

o  Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke  /

o  Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them – Al Franken  /

o  Life of Pi – Yann Martel  /

o  Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel  /

o  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis  /

o  Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens  /

o  The Little Locksmith – Katharine Butler Hathaway  /

x  Little Women – Louisa May Alcott  /  read as a child

o  Lord of the Flies – William Golding  /

o  The Lottery and Other Stories – Shirley Jackson  /

o  The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold  /

o  Macbeth – William Shakespeare  /

o  Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert  /

o  The Manticore – Robertson Davies  /

x  The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov  /  read in July 2017

x  Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter – Simone de Beauvoir  /  read in May 2016, reviewed here

o  Mencken’s Autobiography (which part is not specified) – H.L. Mencken  /

o  A Mencken Chrestomathy – H.L. Mencken  /

o  The Merry Wives of Windsor – William Shakespeare  /

x  Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris  /  read in August 2016

x  The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka  /  read in May 2016

o  Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides  /

o  Mistress of Mellyn – Victoria Holt  /

x  Moby-Dick – Herman Melville  /  read in July 2016, reviewed here

o  Monsieur Proust – Céleste Albaret  /

x  A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway  /  read in September 2016

x  Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf  /  read in November 2016, reviewed here

o  My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath – Seymour M. Hersh  /

o  The Naked and the Dead – Norman Mailer  /

o  The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri  /

o  Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature – Jan Lars Jensen  /

o  New Poems of Emily Dickinson – Emily Dickinson  /

o  Nickel and Dimed – Barbara Ehrenreich  /

o  Night – Elie Wiesel  /

o  Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen  /

o  Notes of a Dirty Old Man – Charles Bukowski  /

o  Novels, 1930-1942 – Dawn Powell  /

o  Notes Of A Dirty Old Man – Charles Bukowski  /

o  Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham  /

o  Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck  /

o  The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway  /

o  Old School – Tobias Wolff  /

o  Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens  /

o  On The Road – Jack Kerouac  /

o  On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction – William Zinsser  /

o  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey  /

o  One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez  /

o  The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life – Amy Tan  /

o  The Optimist’s Daughter – Eudora Welty  /

o  The Origin of Species – Charles Darwin  /

o  Oracle Night –  Paul Auster  /

x  Oryx and Crake  – Margaret Atwood  /  read in June 2016

o  Othello – William Shakespeare  /

o  Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens  /

o  Out Of Africa – Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)  /

o  Paradise Lost – John Milton  /

x  A Passage to India – E.M. Forster  /  read in May 2017

o  The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky  /

o  Personal History – Katharine Graham  /

o  Peyton Place – Grace Metalious  /

o  The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux  /

o  The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde  /

o  Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk – Legs McNeil  /

x  The Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby  /  read in April 2016, reviewed here

o  The Portable Dorothy Parker – Dorothy Parker  /

o  The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill – Ron Suskind  /

x  Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen  /  read in September 2017

o  Property – Valerie Martin  /

o  Pushkin: A Biography – T.J. Binyon  /

o  Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw  /

o  The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe  /

o  The Razor’s Edge – W. Somerset Maugham  /

x  Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books – Azar Nafisi  /  read in September 2016, reviewed here

x  Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier  /  read in June 2017

o  Richard III – William Shakespeare  /

o  Roman Fever and Other Stories – Edith Wharton  /

o  Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare  /

o  A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf  /

o  A Room with a View – E.M. Forster  /

x  Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin  /  read in July 2016

o  Savage Beauty : The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay – Nancy Milford  /

o  The Scarecrow of Oz – L. Frank  Baum  /

o  The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne  /

o  The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir  /

x  The Secret History – Donna Tartt  /  read in August 2017

o  Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette – Judith Thurman  /

o  Selected Letters, 1913-1965 – Dawn Powell  /

x  Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen  /  read in April 2016, reviewed here

o  Siddharta – Hermann Hesse  /

o  Slaughter-house five – Kurt Vonnegut  /

x  Small Island – Andrea Levy  /  read in May 2017

o  The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories – Ernest Hemingway  /

o  Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World – Barrington Moore Jr.  /

o  Song of the Simple Truth: the Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos  /

o  Songbook – Nick Hornby  /

o  The Sonnets – William Shakespeare  /

o  Sonnets from the Portugese – Elizabeth Barrett Browning  /

o  The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner  /

o  Speak, Memory – Vladimir Nabokov  /

o  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach  /

o  The Story Of My Life – Helen Keller  /

o  The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson  /

o  A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams  /

o  Summer of Fear – T. Jefferson Parker  /

o  The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway  /

o  Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust  /

o  A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens  /

o  Tender Is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald  /

o  Terms Of Endearment – Larry McMurtry  /

o  Thoughts from Walden Pond – Henry David Thoreau  /

o  To Have and Have Not – Ernest Hemingway  /

x  To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee  /  read in February 2016

o  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – Betty Smith  /

o  The Trial – Franz Kafka  /

o  Ulysses – James Joyce  /

o  The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-62 – Sylvia Plath  /

o  Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe  /

o  Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann  /

o  The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age – Philip Meyer  /

o  Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray  /

x  The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides  /  read in May 2016

o  Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett  /

o  War and Peace – Leo Tolstoi  /

x  When the Emperor Was Divine – Julie Otsuka  /  read in May 2016

x  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – Edward Albee  /  read in April 2017

x  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Frank L. Baum  /  read as a child

x  Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë  /  read in May 2016

o  The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion  /