Thursday, March 12, 2009

To Be Read...

I went through the books I already had, some I have read and some I haven't, and I bought three from the bookstore tonight. stands my current To Be Read pile. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One Hundred Years of Solitude

So to begin my journey I decided that availability of reading material would be how I base my selections from the list. Lucky for me my Aunt Mary is out of town and I was hanging out with her neighbor at her house and found that her bookshelf is chock full of smart people paraphanelia. I looked through her books and found that she had several selections from the list, apparently my Aunt Mary, or AM as she will now be called for purposed of this blog, is quite the well read broad.

I began this book super excited by the fact that it might make me even smarter, imagine that. I knew that I had heard of this book before and upon further examination on Wikipedia, I found that it was an Oprah Book Club Selection. If it is recommended by Oprah it may as well be recommended by God - so I am really down for this.

I started the book and it seemed aiight. The first line of the book, "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Clonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice", seemed like something I would like to read because books with firing squards are usually entertaining. This however, seemed to begin going south and I quickly became confused.

I should interject here that upon reaching page 39 I realized that I was not reading the introduction as I previously thought, but I was actually into the meat of the book. Why did I think it was an introduction? Because the entire book is written in a strange sort of situational narrative that provides about three lines of dialogue every 7 or 8 pages. It's a damn near painful way to read a book. Each new paragraph simply brings a new explaination of a situation that continues on and on and on and each situation seem more strange than the last. Because of the way it was written I thought that this wa sjust to let me know the background of the people in the book but then it turns out that this is the way the WHOLE book is written. I only found this out when in the nail salon last night a woman saw me reading it and asked how I liked it. I was so excited to meet someone who could answer my questions that I asked if this was the writing style that made up the whole book. Unfortunately she confirmed my worst fears by saying, "Yes."

I don't hate the book. I am only about 60 pages into it. I am a little confused though and hope that as I continue to read I find the jubilation that my personal savior Oprah found in it. One thing that drives me crazy is that the names of the characters al seem to be almost exactly the same. Arcadio, Aureliano, Arcadio, Amaranta are the major name players and almost every other name seems to be some derivation of that name or that exact name with a Jose attached either to the front or the back of it. When I am trying to keep all of these people straight, having names so similar makes me think that everything that is happening is to the same person and then I realize that they're talking about a woman, and I thought we were talking about a guy...then I have to flip back to the family tree and figure out who the hell I am reading about again! How did Gabriel Garcia Marquez keep all of these people straight. As a writer, I know that I often find myself without memory of details related to my characters and constantly refer back to character notes and charts that I draw with stick figures...this dude must really have some Einstein stuff going on in his head to do some stuff like this.

In any case, back to the topic at hand. Basically the part I am at right now is that the Clonel, who in the first line of the book is about to be execiuted, got a chick in the village pregnant then split with the gypsies and was last seen pushing a traveling cart that held a snake man. I think that Marquez was on drugs when he wrote this. Good drugs. Now the band of gypsies that he left with have returned and the dude ain't with them. The chick he knocked up gave their baby to his family and everyone is getting older.

One thing that is semi-fascinating is the idea of this town totally cut off from modernity and science and a man like Jose Arcadio, the patriarch of the family, who is constantly seeking to quench his thirst for knowledge in a most naive and foolhardy way. I feel for his wife who seems to always be picking up the pieces for a man who is disatisfied with his lot in life and his understanding of the world he lives in, and is willing to risk everything that he has, which includes everything that she has to make the truth fit his expectations.

Well...this was a long post. I'll read more and hopefully find myself in a super awseome web of Oprah and Gabrial Garcia Marquez and people whose names all start with the letter A.

Selection Numero Uno

Note: I am starting this book journey thing with Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.

The List


So via Facebook I was sent this list by a friend and it stated that the BBC did a poll and most people have only read 6 out of the following 100 pieces of literature. I decided to count for myself and see how many I had read, and in doing this realized how many pieces of literature that are commonly accepted as being wonderful, I had not read. To remedy this problem, I will be going through this list reading and reflecting on the literature that the BBC thinks is worthwhile and perhaps sprinkling some Longolicious ideas about literature as well. Below is the list...

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
READ - Doesn't this count as 7 books?
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee READ -
Don't remember it though so I will re-read.
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
READ - This was 3 books!
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
READ - In the middle of re-reading now.
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
Started, never finished, will continue.
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell READ -
Don't remember, will re-read.
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
READ (See #33!)
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Inferno - Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugoo