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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

What am I reading right now?
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter


Here's a list of my favorite old book friends.
I've read most of them in the past 15 years. Maybe there are some on this list that you would like. A top 10 list is too short, so I've divided it into an A list (must read), a B list (great books), a C list (if you have the time), and a D list (don't waste your time).

A LIST: (Must read)

MOBY DICK, Herman Melville. It's not about a whale. Yet Melville manages to make even cetology interesting. This book has it all.
LES MISERABLES, Victor Hugo. It will take months to read but it's worth it. You remember Jean Valjean and Cosette?
LOLITA, Vladimir Nabokov. A fantastic writer, an unforgettable book.
MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR, Herman Wouk. A light book (for a change of pace) with a real surprise ending
VANITY FAIR, W.M. Thackeray. An ironic and humorous novel about Becky Sharp and the mess she (and others) make of their lives in Vanity Fair
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, Theodore Dreiser. Not Dreiser's best writing but mesmerizing. I'd recommend it over "Sister Carrie" anyday. (Boy gets poor girl pregnant, boy meets rich girl, boy kills old girlfriend -- I think they made this into a movie called "A Place in the Sun")
LOST HORIZON, James Hilton. A very mysterious place that will also stick in your memory.
SOPHIE'S CHOICE, William Styron. Great modern literature

WALDEN, Henry David Thoreau. OK, so it's not fiction. You must read it anyway.
THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN, John Fowles. Forget the movie; read the book
THE JUNGLE, Upton Sinclair. You'll never eat a hamburger again.
ETHAN FROME, Edith Wharton
REBECCA, Daphne Du Maurier. A classic
ghost story
FRANKENSTEIN, Mary Shelley. Very sad book
JANE EYRE and WUTHERING HEIGHTS, those wonderful Bronte sisters. Who hasn't read them? Reread them
OUT OF AFRICA, Isak Dinesen. sheer poetry
ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER, Italo Calvino. Written in 1978, this book is already a classic and will possibly be the strangest novel you'll ever read
LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, Choderlos de Laclos. A novel about pure evil written in epistolary form
PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, Oscar Wilde. I loved this and will have to reread it
ANYTHING BY SINCLAIR LEWIS, especially MAIN STREET (the story of Carol Kennicott, the doctor's wife in stifling Sauk Centre, Minn.)
GREEN MANSIONS, Hudson. Haunting


B LIST (Great but not compelling)

MIDDLEMARCH, George Eliot. It takes a while this but is well worth it
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, Richard Llewelyn. A man grows up in Wales.
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, Betty Smith. A girl grows up in ... where else? If you like this, also read JOY IN THE MORNING, one of Grandma's favorites as a young woman
EMMA, Jane Austen. My favorite Austen book
AGE OF INNOCENCE, Edith Wharton
HOUSE OF MIRTH, Edith Wharton
JUDE THE OBSCURE, Thomas Hardy

RETURN OF THE NATIVE, Thomas Hardy
THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE, Thomas Hardy
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, Thomas Hardy
RETURN OF THE NATIVE, Thomas Hardy

SILAS MARNER, George Eliot
MILL ON THE FLOSS, George Eliot
ANNA KARENINA, Leo Tolstoy
DEPTFORD TRILOGY/SALTERTON TRILOGY by Robertson Davies


C LIST (Good but not great)
LAKE WOBEGON DAYS, Garrison Keillor
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, John Irving
TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES, Thomas Hardy.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Austen
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, Austen
PERSUASION, Austen
THE AWAKENING, Kate Chopin.
LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, D.H. Lawrence
MOLL FLANDERS, Daniel Defoe
DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP, Willa Cather
MY ANTONIA, Cather
THE YEAR OF THE FRENCH, Thomas Flanagan. Great historical fiction
MYSELF AS WITNESS, James Goldman. More great historical fiction
KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER, historical fiction
GREAT GATSBY, Fitzgerald
BEAUTIFUL AND THE DAMNED, Fitzgerald
KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER, Sigrid Undset
PERE GORIOT, Balzac


D LIST (Don't bother)
SONG OF THE LARK, Willa Cather
HOWARDS END, E.M. Forster
A ROOM WITH A VIEW, Forster



I started reading the classics seriously in 1993. Here is a list, year by year.

Classics Amy has read


1993
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
How Green Was My Valley
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
My Antonia
Death Comes for the Archbishop

1994
Moby Dick
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Emma
Northanger Abbey
Persuasian
Mansfield Park
The Awakening
Middlemarch
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
House of Mirth
Age of Innocence
If on a winter's night a traveler
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Moll Flanders
Les Miserables


1995
Sons and Lovers
Vanity Fair
Miss Marjoribanks
A Room with a View
Howards End
Song of the Lark
Make Way for Lucia
Jude the Obscure
The Secret Garden
Kristin Lavransdatter
Great Gatsby
Beautiful and the Damned

1996
Far from the Madding Crowd
Silas Marner
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Return of the Native
Anna Karenina
Deptford Trilogy
Salterton Trilogy
Cornish Trilogy
Mill on the Floss
Pere Goriot
Red and the Black
Adam Bede
War and Peace

1997
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Carmen
Crime and Punishment
Wind in the Willows
Red Badge of Courage
To Kill a Mockingbird
Of Mice and Men
Dr. Zhivago
Goodbye Mr. Chips
Chronicles of Narnia
Catch 22
Our Town
Haunting of Hill House
Swiss Family Robinson
Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural
The Brothers Karamazov
Turn of the Screw
Billy Budd

1998
Fathers and Sons
The Leopard
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
Short stories by Twain, Chekhov, Gogol, Tolstoy, Wharton
Diary of a Superfluous Man
First Love
Oxford Book of Short Stories
Tales of the Unexpected
Wagner's Ring and His Symbols
Custom of the Country
Watch the North Wind Rise

1999
Love in the Time of Cholera
Bridgeshead Revisited
The Robber Bridge
The Handmaid's Tale
Wide Sargasso Sea
Jane Eyre (reread)
The Remains of the Day
The Stranger
Wagner's Ring and His Symbols (reread)
Creative Mythology (Campbell)
Speak Memory
Wuthering Heights (reread)
Things Fall Apart

2000
Forsyte Saga
Oriental Mythology (Campbell)

2001
The Alexandria Quartet
Breakfast at Tiffany's
The Good Soldier

2002
Lonesome Dove
Cold Mountain
Angela's Ashes
The Jewel in the Crown
A Thousand Acres


And here is a list of books I still want to read (obviously not all of these are classics!):


Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry
Don Quixote translation by Edith Grossman
An American Pilgrimage: The Life You Save May Be Your Own
The Diaries of Jane Somers
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
Harry and Catherine
Closing arguments
If you lived here you’d be home by now
Tales of the City
The Brothers K
Inflating a Dog
Endless Love
Candy
Shanna
A Sport and a Pastime
The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto
The Good Parts: The Literary Companion to Sex: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry
Zen Buddhism: Everyday Zen
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
What the Buddha Taught
Siddhartha
Angel of Repose
The Country of Pointed Firs
Inventing the Abbots
Joy Luck Club
Shirley Jackson books
The Turn of the Screw
Reread Frankenstein
Reread Jane Austen





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