Monday, February 23, 2009

Fight Club

As I’ve written about this before, I’ve been having reading issues lately. Nothing holds my attention. I’m just not interested. I get this way every now and then, and it’s intensely frustrating. Sometimes, I go to my books shelves (and my piles, since I have run out of room on the shelves, and have not yet found a solution to this problem), and pick out everything I might be interested in reading and narrow them down...reading the first few pages, leafing through them, just looking at them. In one of these roundups I picked up Chuch Palahniuk’s Fight Club, and it went so fast that before I knew it, I was on page 50 or something...so I just kept reading it. It was finished in three days.

Most of you have probably seen the movie, so you pretty much know what it’s about. An unnamed narrator whose life pretty much consists of his job (avoiding car recalls) and his IKEA catalog, suddenly makes a friend named Tyler who is everything this guy probably always wanted to be: unafraid, gutsy, deviant. After an explosion at his house, he moves in with Tyler. Fight Club starts out as a way for men to prove something to themselves about their own masculinity I suppose. I can’t really relate to the masculinity thing...but I do know that kicking the crap out of something after a long day at work does make the world feel a little more tolerable. Anyhoo...this fight club thing really takes off, and Tyler begins to recruit members for his Project Mayhem, which is essentially anti-consumerism guerilla warfare...you know, blowing shit up and stuff. But it grows increasingly more violent and destructive, and also more serious, as Big Bob gets killed by police. The narrator tries to step in, to stop everything, but he quickly learns that people think he’s Tyler...and eventually he comes to realize that he is Tyler...that his insomniac brain has created this alter-ego to escape his horribly boring, completely unrewarding life. But he can’t step in and do anything...when he tries to stop Project Mayhem, the “space monkeys” say, “You told us you’d say that,” etc. His other ego has prepared his minions for that his “real” ego would try to do. And by now, Tyler has recruited EVERYONE it seems...the police, etc. In order to stop Tyler...to stop everything he created, the narrator tries to shoot himself, and waking up in a hospital, he only encounters more of Tyler’s trainees, who gleefully inform the narrator that they can’t wait until he’s back, and that they’ve been carrying on without him.

Like with Invisible Man, there are a lot of themes here that I could write about, but I just don’t feel like it. Or maybe I don’t care. Whatever. Sometimes you read a book to discover some deep meaning – about yourself or others or society or something like that – and sometimes you just want to be entertained. But while I’m on the topic, I will say, I liked this indictment of consumerism much more than American Psycho. I’m still reeling from the violence in that book, and it’s partly to blame for my difficulty in finding something I want to read...it’s like I maxed out my tolerance for the year in that one book...but fortunately for me – for my mental health - Fight Club really wasn’t that violent. Or maybe violent yes, but not as detailed, not as graphic. I don’t care about the hole in the narrator’s cheek. Just no more rape and torture, please.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t blown away by Fight Club. Maybe it was partly because I had seen the movie, so I already knew that Tyler and the narrator were the same person. But today, since the movie’s become such a cult hit, I imagine most people come to the book after seeing the movie. I mean, I can totally see punk-ass teenagers, probably mostly posers (or, as I called them in my day, PIDs – Preppies in Disguise) reading this novel and thinking, “DUDE THIS GUY IS AWESOME!” My own punk-ass (but not poser!...trust me, when I was into it, it was not the cool thing) teenage years have turned into cynical adult years, so it takes much more for me to be impressed by anything, especially writing. That said, it certainly was clever, and the repetitive/spiral style of writing (“I know this because Tyler knows this.”) reminded me of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. If I remember correctly though, in TPoMJB, you knew from the beginning what was going to happen...with Fight Club the clues are there from the beginning, you just don’t realize it. It was a good book, or a decent book, and the writing was good...almost Cormac McCarthy-esque but not as hard hitting. I’m not burning with a desire to rush out and devour other books by Palahniuk, but I certainly wouldn’t mind reading more in the coming years. I guess with my current state of reading, that’s perhaps the best compliment I can give at this time.

But there is a riddle I have been pondering while thinking about and writing this post...if the first rule of fight club is not to talk about fight club, should I have written this post at all? harharhar :-)



List-o-Phile Monday

This week’s list is the last part of the books REMOVED from the 1,001 Books You must Read Before You Die 2008 edition. These are books that made the ’06 edition but were taken off in ’08 to make room for the new books. This will wrap up our dealings with the 1,001 Books list.

Now we’re getting to the meat – the meat of the ’06 edition which has just been chopped off. Now, I’m not one to say that every work by Charles Dickens, or Jane Austen, deserves to be on any particular list. However, when works by those authors are removed from a list to make room for novels that frankly aren’t as good as the works that were removed, that’s when I start to get unhappy about things. I’ve said this before…it’s so much that I have beef with what was added, because honestly I haven’t read many of them, it’s what they left on the list that irks me. When you are sitting down with the ’06 list, and think, I have to cut something…what should I cut? and you decide to cut A Christmas Carol, in favor of, say, Interview with a Vampire, there is something wrong with you. I’m sorry, but there is. Seriously…if someone asked you, “Could you recommend some books I should make sure I read before you die?" and you have the choice to recommend A Christmas Carol or Interview with a Vampire, who the fuck would pick Interview with a Vampire?

I have two more gripes: if one of your intents in updating the list is to include more women, why would you remove Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper? Why would you remove the ONLY Charlotte Perkins Gilman on this friggin list? And to top it off, they removed Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. And Brothers Karamazov. And A Tale of Two Cities. And Pilgrim's Progress. I could go on and on here. To quote Shawn’s oft-used phrase: “Dumb shits.”

The first 100 books removed
The second 100 books removed

As always, list is in reverse chronological order and red (or a link) indicates that I've read it.
  1. Hebdomeros – Giorgio de Chirico
  2. Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett
  3. The Last September – Elizabeth Bowen
  4. Harriet Hume – Rebecca West
  5. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
  6. The Childermass – Wyndham Lewis
  7. Quartet – Jean Rhys
  8. The Plumed Serpent – D.H. Lawrence
  9. Manhattan Transfer – John Dos Passos
  10. Billy Budd, Foretopman – Herman Melville
  11. Cane – Jean Toomer
  12. Antic Hay – Aldous Huxley
  13. The Garden Party – Katherine Mansfield
  14. Jacob’s Room – Virginia Woolf
  15. The Glimpses of the Moon – Edith Wharton
  16. The Last Days of Humanity – Karl Kraus
  17. Aaron’s Rod – D.H. Lawrence
  18. The Fox – D.H. Lawrence
  19. Night and Day – Virginia Woolf
  20. The Shadow Line – Joseph Conrad
  21. Summer – Edith Wharton
  22. Bunner Sisters – Edith Wharton
  23. The Voyage Out – Virginia Woolf
  24. Rosshalde – Herman Hesse
  25. Three Lives – Gertrude Stein
  26. Martin Eden – Jack London
  27. Tono-Bungay – H.G. Wells
  28. The Iron Heel – Jack London
  29. Where Angels Fear to Tread – E.M. Forster
  30. The Golden Bowl – Henry James
  31. Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad
  32. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
  33. The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
  34. The Real Charlotte – Somerville and Ross
  35. The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  36. Born in Exile – George Gissing
  37. The Master of Ballantrae – Robert Louis Stevenson
  38. Fortunata and Jacinta – Benito Pérez Galdés
  39. The Woodlanders – Thomas Hardy
  40. She – H. Rider Haggard
  41. The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
  42. Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
  43. The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  44. Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
  45. Virgin Soil – Ivan Turgenev
  46. Daniel Deronda – George Eliot
  47. The Hand of Ethelberta – Thomas Hardy
  48. The Temptation of Saint Anthony – Gustave Flaubert
  49. He Knew He Was Right – Anthony Trollope
  50. Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
  51. On the Eve – Ivan Turgenev
  52. Castle Richmond – Anthony Trollope
  53. The Marble Faun – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  54. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  55. Hard Times – Charles Dickens
  56. Villette – Charlotte Brontë
  57. The Blithedale Romance – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  58. Shirley – Charlotte Brontë
  59. Mary Barton – Elizabeth Gaskell
  60. Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë
  61. La Reine Margot – Alexandre Dumas
  62. The Purloined Letter – Edgar Allan Poe
  63. Martin Chuzzlewit – Charles Dickens
  64. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  65. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens
  66. The Albigenses – Charles Robert Maturin
  67. The Monastery – Sir Walter Scott
  68. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  69. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  70. Ormond – Maria Edgeworth
  71. The Absentee – Maria Edgeworth
  72. Cecilia – Fanny Burney
  73. Amelia – Henry Fielding
  74. Roderick Random – Tobias George Smollett
  75. Roxana – Daniel Defoe
  76. A Tale of a Tub – Jonathan Swift
  77. The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
  78. Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit – John Lyly
  79. Aithiopika – Heliodorus
  80. Chaireas and Kallirhoe – Chariton
  81. Metamorphoses – Ovid
  82. Aesop’s Fables – Aesopus

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Invisible Man

I remember buying Invisible Man. It was 1999, and I was in my senior year of h.s. I took A.P. English...not for the college credits you could get, but because I liked to read, and in order to avoid being in classes with people who in some instances probably didn't know how to read, you had to take the honors/AP classes. Anyway, our teacher always gave us essays from old AP tests to practice our writing...we would be given a question and a list of books we could use to answer that question and then the rest of the class time to write our essay on the topic. Because this was practice and usually geared to get us thinking about a particular book we were reading in class, we weren't allowed to pick just anything off the list to write about. But I paid attention to what books were on the lists. I have always been competitive about reading...about making every effort to be well read, sometimes as or more well read than a specific person. The thought of being in a discussion with someone about literature - serious literature - and having to admit I hadn't read a particular book is a terrifying scenario for me. This is what constantly drives my reading...one-up-manship. Maybe I need other hobbies or something. Whatever. So this book, Invisible Man was a constant on these lists. I knew no one my age in my little region of the country had read this book. Most probably assumed it was the HG Wells book...if they assumed anything. I remember walking into the book store and buying Invisible Man.

The fact that it has taken me 10 years to just getting around to reading it should give you some indication of the shear volume of my book-backlog. I buy a book with every intention of reading it right away...sometimes going into a frenzy - I HAVE TO HAVE THIS BOOK NOW!!! - and it will sit on my bookshelf (or now, piles in front of my bookshelf) for YEARS before I actually get to picking it up. And not only did it take me 10 years to pick up this book, it took me four months to finish it...because honestly, I just wasn't into it.

I won't go into too much plot detail here, but I'll give a brief overview. Invisible Man is the story of an unnamed narrator, black, and when we're introduced, he's pretty much a squatter...living secretly in the basement of a NYC apartment building. He begins his story as a high schooler, class valedictorian in the rural south. After some really strange experiences at a men's club where he was to deliver a speech...(a stag party, a battle royal, naked women, an electrified rug, etc...in fact so many strange things occur in the chapter that I had to look up a summary on sparknotes to make sure I was really getting what was going on)...he is awarded a scholarship to a historically black college (modeled after Tuskegee). The unnamed narrator attends the college, where he's a good student. One of the college trustees (Mr. Norton, white) comes to visit, and he's charged with driving the guy around for the afternoon. During the course of the drive, he happens upon the black shanty town on the outskirts of the school, where they meet a guy who got his daughter pregnant. Mr. Norton is so overcome by the story - not with disgust or anger, but just overcome - he asks the narrator to get him a drink. The only place he can do so is to take him to a bar/brothel called the Golden Day...where they happen upon a bunch of mental patients out for the day. A fight breaks out at the bar, Mr. Norton faints and is cared for my a crazy former physician, etc. When they finally get back to the college, the President is so angry with the narrator, he kicks him out of school.

The President tells him that he might be let back into the college in the fall, but sends him to New York City with some letters of introduction so the narrator can find work. The earnest narrator heads north and presents the letters to their addressee, but never hears back from any of them. After delivering the last letter, he finds out that the letters pretty much said, "Don't hire this kid" so he's kind of screwed. He finds a job in a paint factory. First he has to mix the white paint with soem drops of black stuff, which he screws up and is sent to work in the boiler room. He and the man in charge down there get into a fight, the man tricks the narrator into turning the wrong valve and the boiler explodes. The narrator is injured, finds himself in a hospital where he receives shock treatments, and then is released. He collapses on his way home to his Harlem apartment and is taken in by a nice woman named Mary. All this happens in the first 250+ pages of the book.


After weeks without a job, wandering around Harlem he comes upon an old couple being evicted from their apartment. the narrator is inspired and gives an impromptu speech, which leads the crowd to take the evicted couple's stuff back into their apartment. His speech is heard by some Communist leaders (called the Brotherhood), and the narrator is enlisted in a job giving speeches throughout Harlem to agitate and organize the local population. He's super popular, but becomes too much so...his other "Brothers" accuse him of focusing too much on himself and not enough on the Brotherhood and their message. He's transfered back and forth for a bit, and then is called to help quell a riot - modeled on the riot of 1943. Like the other scenes, things seem crazy, including rival agitator, Ras the Exhorter, riding a horse in full African garb complete with spear. Through it all, the narrator realizes that the Brotherhood used him to get exactly that result, and he decides to pretty much drop out of society...to become invisible.


Ok, I said I was only going to give an overview, but I guess that was more than an overview. I skipped a lot of the end...there's just too much to try to describe. Invisible Man won the 1952 National Book Award, beating out Hemingway and Steinbeck. It brought him fame, but that fame stifled Ellison, and he was unable to publish another novel in his lifetime. There's a lot of themes in this book - invisibility and identity, racism, etc. It's obvious why it would be a ripe novel for AP English and people looking for an African-American literary perspective on these topics would find a lot of stuff here. But I just couldn't get into it. It failed to draw me in at the beginning - which might be as much my fault as Ellison's...a lot has been going on lately, and it started in November - and though the pace picked up about half-way through, I still wasn't interested. It's obviously an important book, and deserves to be on any Top 100 of the 20th Century list...but I just didn't like it very much. Sometimes I recognize that I don't like a particular work because it wasn't the right time for us...you know, "we're just in two different phases of our lives", but I don't think that was the case for me and Invisible Man. *Sigh* Oh well. On to the next...

Monday, February 16, 2009

List-o-Phile Monday

Last week we began the list of books REMOVED from the 1,0001 Books You must Read Before You Die 2008 edition. These are books that made the ’06 edition but for whatever reason (I think in some cases very questionable reasons), they were taken off to make room for the new books.

The list that I posted last week were all fairly recent works. Now we’re starting to get into the more important removals…the ones that don’t make sense. The ones where they start chopping William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf off at the knees.

The first 100 books removed

As always, list is in reverse chronological order and red (or a link) indicates that I've read it.
  1. Foe – J.M. Coetzee
  2. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  3. A Maggot – John Fowles
  4. Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis
  5. Old Masters – Thomas Bernhard
  6. Queer – William Burroughs
  7. Worstward Ho – Samuel Beckett
  8. Fools of Fortune – William Trevor
  9. The Diary of Jane Somers – Doris Lessing
  10. The Newton Letter – John Banville
  11. Concrete – Thomas Bernhard
  12. The Names – Don DeLillo
  13. The Comfort of Strangers – Ian McEwan
  14. Rites of Passage – William Golding
  15. City Primeval – Elmore Leonard
  16. Shikasta – Doris Lessing
  17. The Safety Net – Heinrich Böll
  18. The World According to Garp – John Irving
  19. Yes – Thomas Bernhard
  20. The Passion of New Eve – Angela Carter
  21. Petals of Blood – Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
  22. Ratner’s Star – Don DeLillo
  23. The Public Burning – Robert Coover
  24. Amateurs – Donald Barthelme
  25. Grimus – Salman Rushdie
  26. High Rise – J.G. Ballard
  27. Dead Babies – Martin Amis
  28. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – John Le Carré
  29. Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  30. The Black Prince – Iris Murdoch
  31. Sula – Toni Morrison
  32. The Breast – Philip Roth
  33. The Wild Boys – William Burroughs
  34. The Driver’s Seat – Muriel Spark
  35. The Ogre – Michael Tournier
  36. Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick – Peter Handke
  37. Mercier et Camier – Samuel Beckett
  38. Troubles – J.G. Farrell
  39. The Atrocity Exhibition – J.G. Ballard
  40. The Green Man – Kingsley Amis
  41. The Nice and the Good – Iris Murdoch
  42. Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend is Laid – Malcolm Lowry
  43. Chocky – John Wyndham
  44. The Cubs and Other Stories – Mario Vargas Llosa
  45. The Joke – Milan Kundera
  46. A Man Asleep – Georges Perec
  47. The Birds Fall Down – Rebecca West
  48. Trawl – B.S. Johnson
  49. August is a Wicked Month – Edna O’Brien
  50. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut
  51. Come Back, Dr. Caligari – Donald Bartholme
  52. Albert Angelo – B.S. Johnson
  53. The Collector – John Fowles
  54. The Drowned World – J.G. Ballard
  55. The Violent Bear it Away – Flannery O’Connor
  56. How It Is – Samuel Beckett
  57. Our Ancestors – Italo Calvino
  58. Henderson the Rain King – Saul Bellow
  59. Memento Mori – Muriel Spark
  60. Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris – Paul Gallico
  61. The End of the Road – John Barth
  62. The Wonderful “O” – James Thurber
  63. Seize the Day – Saul Bellow
  64. A World of Love – Elizabeth Bowen
  65. Self Condemned – Wyndham Lewis
  66. The Unnamable – Samuel Beckett
  67. Watt – Samuel Beckett
  68. The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
  69. The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
  70. The Third Man – Graham Greene
  71. The Heart of the Matter – Graham Greene
  72. The Victim – Saul Bellow
  73. Cannery Row – John Steinbeck
  74. The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford
  75. Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges
  76. Caught – Henry Green
  77. Go Down, Moses – William Faulkner
  78. The Poor Mouth – Flann O’Brien
  79. Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton
  80. Between the Acts – Virginia Woolf
  81. The Hamlet – William Faulkner
  82. Farewell My Lovely – Raymond Chandler
  83. Party Going – Henry Green
  84. Coming Up for Air – George Orwell
  85. Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller
  86. After the Death of Don Juan – Sylvie Townsend Warner
  87. The Years – Virginia Woolf
  88. The Revenge for Love – Wyndham Lewis
  89. To Have and Have Not – Ernest Hemingway
  90. Wild Harbour – Ian MacPherson
  91. The House in Paris – Elizabeth Bowen
  92. England Made Me – Graham Greene
  93. Burmese Days – George Orwell
  94. Threepenny Novel – Bertolt Brecht
  95. Novel With Cocaine – M. Ageyev
  96. A Handful of Dust – Evelyn Waugh
  97. A Scots Quair (Sunset Song) – Lewis Grassic Gibbon
  98. The Glass Key – Dashiell Hammett
  99. Cakes and Ale – W. Somerset Maugham
  100. Vile Bodies – Evelyn Waugh

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reading Update

I haven't been writing much here lately because I haven't been reading much. It's a combination of factors - I'm so exhuasted most of the time lately that expending any effort is too much. Going to bed at 9 p.m. without being able to even consider cracking a book takes its toll. The other factor is that I am terribly bored with all the books I'm reading. I'll give a brief rundown:
  • Invisible Man - If this were the H.G. Wells version, I wouldn't still be reading it because (1) it's shorter; and (2) it'd be more exciting. Instead I'm reading - have been reading since November - Ralph Ellison's version, which is 600 pages and slow going. I'm [finally] more than 70% of the way through, and fortunately it has picked up a little in the last 100 pages, but I'm still really not into it.
  • The Rainbow - All I have to say is: zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Two years ago I read Sons and Lovers but don't remember much about it. Maybe that's because it was as boring as this.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front - I'm really disappointed that I don't like this more. Maybe it's not the right time for it...maybe I just have to say, AQotWF, it's time for you to go back on the shelf for a bit. Like all these other books, I just really don't care.
  • Justine - this one is by Lawrence Durrell (not de Sade). Like AQotWF, I'm also confused why I'm not enjoying this one more. The writing is great, the plot ok, and the book's only 250 pages. But instead I've been reading it for months. I just can't get into it.
  • Dance to the Music of Time, Part #10 - This book...I mean this volume of books...has been on and off for me. Some times I plow through it, other times it's a chore to pick it up. Occassionally this has something to do with the actual plot, but other times it's just me. Currently I'm just stalled and it's very frustrating. I feel like I'm on the home stretch - the final volume, and I can't get started.

I think what I need to do is find a novel that will jump start my reading again, but I'm also at a loss as to what that novel might be. I think tonight I might spend some time with "the stacks" to see what I can find.

Monday, February 9, 2009

List-o-Phile Monday

Last week we wrapped up the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, 2008 edition – the added books. The next three weeks I’ll be posting the books they REMOVED from the 2006 edition. I wanted to post what they added first, so you could get a sense of that before I showed you what they removed to make way. This is the list that will make you angry. It makes me angry. The first 100 here aren’t so bad, though. It’s nice to see some of the 10 or so J.M. Coetzee that were on the original list be removed, as well as books like Memoirs of a Geisha. On the other hand, even with this part of the list, there are ones that were removed that are very frustrating. Now, I’ve never read a novel by Chuck Palahniuk (which is something I intend to correct this year), but I know that he’s very popular, and that his fiction is innovative and unique. And yet they remove the ONLY Palahniuk novel that was on the list, and it is not replaced by another one.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the criticism of the list – like most of these types of lists - being male-centered, and Western centered. It’s my understanding that the 2008 update to the list was done in part to correct these deficiencies. While it seems to me that they certainly did regarding the Western part, I’m not so sure about the male part. While they certainly added some women who were overlooked for the first edition, such as Eudora Welty and Alice Monro, as well as a number of lesser known and non-Western female authors, they did so at the expense (once again) of some of the giants not only of women’s literature, but of Western literature in general. They removed one of the two Gertrude Stein’s on the list (and arguably the one that had more influence), and they removed multiple titles by Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf, in addition to Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson. Now, I’m not arguing that because of who Virginia Woolf or Jane Austen were, that because of their place individually in the history of literature all of their works need to be on the list. Far from it. But if any of their novels, taken individually are better books than, oh, say some works by Henri Barbusse, which was left ON the list…then the better book should be on there. And frankly, the works of Jane Austen ARE better than the works of Henri Barbusse – at least what I’ve read. And THAT’s what makes me angry. I don’t really have beef with most of the books that were added – except, *cough, cough* Suite Francaise (oh how I wanted to like it!) – but with what they took off to make room.

As always, list is in reverse chronological order and red (or a link) indicates that I've read it.


  1. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. Saturday – Ian McEwan
  3. On Beauty – Zadie Smith
  4. Slow Man – J.M. Coetzee
  5. Adjunct: An Undigest – Peter Manson
  6. The Red Queen – Margaret Drabble
  7. Vanishing Point – David Markson
  8. *The Lambs of London – Peter Ackroyd
  9. Dining on Stones – Iain Sinclair
  10. Drop City – T. Coraghessan Boyle
  11. The Colour – Rose Tremain
  12. Thursbitch – Alan Garner
  13. The Light of Day – Graham Swift
  14. Elizabeth Costello – J.M. Coetzee
  15. London Orbital – Iain Sinclair
  16. Family Matters – Rohinton Mistry
  17. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  18. The Double – José Saramago
  19. Unless – Carol Shields
  20. The Story of Lucy Gault – William Trevor
  21. That They May Face the Rising Sun – John McGahern
  22. In the Forest – Edna O’Brien
  23. Shroud – John Banville
  24. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
  25. Youth – J.M. Coetzee
  26. Dead Air – Iain Banks
  27. The Book of Illusions – Paul Auster
  28. Gabriel’s Gift – Hanif Kureishi
  29. Schooling – Heather McGowan
  30. Don’t Move – Margaret Mazzantini
  31. The Body Artist – Don DeLillo
  32. Fury – Salman Rushdie
  33. At Swim, Two Boys – Jamie O’Neill
  34. Choke – Chuck Palahniuk
  35. An Obedient Father – Akhil Sharma
  36. Ignorance – Milan Kundera
  37. Nineteen Seventy Seven – David Peace
  38. City of God – E.L. Doctorow
  39. How the Dead Live – Will Self
  40. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  41. After the Quake – Haruki Murakami
  42. Super-Cannes – J.G. Ballard
  43. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
  44. Blonde – Joyce Carol Oates
  45. Pastoralia – George Saunders
  46. Timbuktu – Paul Auster
  47. The Romantics – Pankaj Mishra
  48. Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
  49. Everything You Need – A.L. Kennedy
  50. The Ground Beneath Her Feet – Salman Rushdie
  51. Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
  52. Intimacy – Hanif Kureishi
  53. Amsterdam – Ian McEwan
  54. Cloudsplitter – Russell Banks
  55. Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters
  56. Glamorama – Bret Easton Ellis
  57. Another World – Pat Barker
  58. Mason & Dixon – Thomas Pynchon
  59. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  60. Great Apes – Will Self
  61. American Pastoral – Philip Roth
  62. The Untouchable – John Banville
  63. Cocaine Nights – J.G. Ballard
  64. The Information – Martin Amis
  65. The Moor’s Last Sigh – Salman Rushdie
  66. Sabbath’s Theater – Philip Roth
  67. The Rings of Saturn – W.G. Sebald
  68. Mr. Vertigo – Paul Auster
  69. The Folding Star – Alan Hollinghurst
  70. The Master of Petersburg – J.M. Coetzee
  71. Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
  72. Complicity – Iain Banks
  73. Operation Shylock – Philip Roth
  74. The House of Doctor Dee – Peter Ackroyd
  75. The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
  76. The Emigrants – W.G. Sebald
  77. A Heart So White – Javier Marias
  78. Jazz – Toni Morrison
  79. Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates
  80. The Heather Blazing – Colm Tóibín
  81. Black Dogs – Ian McEwan
  82. Time’s Arrow – Martin Amis
  83. Downriver – Iain Sinclair
  84. Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord – Louis de Bernieres
  85. Wise Children – Angela Carter
  86. Vineland – Thomas Pynchon
  87. A Home at the End of the World – Michael Cunningham
  88. Possession – A.S. Byatt
  89. A Disaffection – James Kelman
  90. Billy Bathgate – E.L. Doctorow
  91. The Temple of My Familiar – Alice Walker
  92. The Book of Evidence – John Banville
  93. Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
  94. The Beautiful Room is Empty – Edmund White
  95. Libra – Don DeLillo
  96. The Player of Games – Iain M. Banks
  97. The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul – Douglas Adams
  98. The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
  99. The Child in Time – Ian McEwan
  100. Marya – Joyce Carol Oates

Monday, February 2, 2009

List-o-Phile Monday

Here is the final part of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list…2008 edition – the added books.

One thing that I didn’t mention from last week…Pippi Longstocking was added to the list this time around. That bothers me. If children’s books were going to be a part of this, I don’t understand why the singled out THAT ONE. What about Winnie-the-Pooh? The Wind in the Willows? Charlotte’s Web? My only guess is that going with the more world-literature theme, they threw Pippi on there because it’s Swedish. But really, is it the only children’s book we should read before we die?

As always, list is in reverse chronological order and red (or a link) indicates that I've read it.

The first 100 books added to the 2008 edition
The second 100 books added to the 2008 edition

  1. Untouchable - Mulk Raj Anand
  2. The Bells of Basel – Louis Aragon
  3. On the Heights of Despair – Emil Cioran
  4. The Street of Crocodiles – Bruno Schulz
  5. Man's Fate – André Malraux
  6. Cheese – Willem Elsschot
  7. Joseph and His Brothers – Thomas Mann
  8. Viper's Tangle – Francois Mauriac
  9. The Return of Philip Latinowicz – Miroslav Krleza
  10. The Forbidden Realm - J. Slauerhoff
  11. Insatiability - Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz
  12. Monica – Saunders Lewis
  13. I Thought of Daisy - Edmund Wilson
  14. Retreat Without Song - Shahan Shahnur
  15. Some Prefer Nettles - Junichiro Tanizaki
  16. The Case of Sergeant Grischa - Arnold Zweig
  17. Alberta and Jacob - Cora Sandel
  18. Under Satan's Sun - Georges Bernanos
  19. The New World - Henry Walda-Sellasse
  20. Chaka the Zulu - Thomas Mofolo
  21. The Forest and the Hanged - Liviu Rebreanu
  22. Claudine's House - Colette
  23. Kristin Lavransdatter - Sigrid Undset
  24. Life of Christ - Giovanni Papini
  25. The Storm of Steel - Ernst Junger
  26. The Underdogs - Mariano Azuela
  27. Pallieter - Felix Timmermans
  28. The Home and the World - Rabindranath Tagore
  29. Platero and I - Juan Ramon Jimenez
  30. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge - Rainer Maria Rilke
  31. Solitude - Victor Catala
  32. The Way of All Flesh - Samuel Butler
  33. The Call of the Wild - Jack London
  34. Memoirs of My Nervous Illness - Daniel Paul Schreber
  35. None But the Brave - Arthur Schnitzler
  36. The Tigers of Momopracem - Emilio Salgari
  37. Dom Casmurro - Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
  38. Eclipse of the Crescent Moon - Geza Gardonyi
  39. As a Man Grows Older - Italo Svevo
  40. The Child of Pleasure - Gabriele D'Annunzio
  41. Pharaoh - Boleslaw Prus
  42. Compassion - Benito Perez Galdos
  43. The Viceroys - Federico De Roberto
  44. Down There - Joris-Karl Huysmans
  45. Thais - Anatole France
  46. Eline Vere - Louis Couperus
  47. Under the Yoke - Ivan Vazov
  48. The Manors of Ulloa - Emilia Pardo Bazan
  49. The Quest - Frederik van Eeden
  50. The Regent's Wife - Leopoldo Alas
  51. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas - Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
  52. The Crime of Father Amaro - Jose Maria Eca de Queiros
  53. Pepita Jimenez - Juan Valera
  54. Martin Fierro - Jose Hernandez
  55. Indian Summer - Adalbert Stifter
  56. Green Henry - Gottfried Keller
  57. The Devil's Pool - George Sand
  58. Facundo - Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
  59. A Hero of Our Times - Mikhail Yurevich Lermontov
  60. Camera Obscura – Hildebrand (aka Nicolaas Beets)
  61. The Lion of Flanders - Hendrik Conscience
  62. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin
  63. A Life of a Good-for-Nothing - Joseph von Eichendorff
  64. The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr - E.T.A. Hoffman
  65. Michael Kohlhaas - Heinrich von Kleist
  66. Henry von Ofterdingen - Novalis
  67. A Dream of Red Mansions – Cao Xueqin
  68. Anton Reiser - Karl Philipp Moritz
  69. The Adventures of Simplicissimus – Hans von Grimmelshausen
  70. The Conquest of New Spain – Bernal Diaz del Castillo
  71. The Travels of Persiles and Sigismunda – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  72. Thomas of Reading – Thomas Deloney
  73. Monkey: Journey to the West – Wu Cheng'en
  74. The Lusiad – Luis Vaz de Camoes
  75. The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes - Anonymous
  76. Amadis of Gaul - Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo
  77. Le Celestina – Fernando de Rojas
  78. Tirant lo Blanc – Joanot Martorell
  79. Romance of the Three Kingdoms – Luo Guanzhong
  80. The Water Margin – Shi Nai'an
  81. The Tale of Genji – Murasaki Shikibu
  82. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter - Anonymous