Sunday, June 21, 2009


Adam Bede by George Eliot. "What can I say, I love George Eliot. It takes 150 pages or so before I can understand what the characters are saying, but once you’re in – your hooked." I do notice that George Eliot generally requires a 100-150 page commitment!

Pere Goriot by Honore d Balzac by Pere Goriot. "It really is not that heavy, in English at least!"

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. "I read it recently and found it fascinating. you would perhaps, like me, see echoes of our endless quest for amelioration (a school in Arizona where it is illegal to touch another student?!) in this hyper-controlled, slave-like society."

East of Eden by John Steinbeck. "Again, big commitment, but worth it. Troubling characters, mediations on free will and the human character. Still second to Grapes of Wrath but Steinbeck is always worth the effort."

English Passengers by Matthew Kneale. This was on last year's list, and it is the best book I read all year. It's an award-winner, and perhaps not a beach read, per se. It is about smugglers from the Isle of Man who are forced to charter their boat and take an incredibly odd group of passengers to Tasmania. It is hilarious, utterly horrifying, insightful, ambitious and amazingly well written. I highly recommend it.

The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald. “I am on a reread the classics romp and this seemed a perfect summer starting point.”

I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann “A good read for anyone who's taken a safari in Africa, who wants to go on safari or who just loves animals. It's a story of a family who relocates from Europe to Kenya and the ensuing love, adventure and heartbreak. It's disturbingly sad at times.” FYI, I know several people who LOVED this book. I am not one of them. The Amazon reviews are very polarized .. it’s one of those “love it or hate it” books, I think.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. “Fun to reread from an adult perspective.”

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan "Quick, funny, heart wrenching read - very enjoyable. I am looking forward to her next novel."

Midwives by Chris Bojalian “…I read it at the beach, actually, and was completely absorbed. It’s hard to know where you come out on the characters – you are entirely sympathetic, but it just isn’t that simple. It reads like a murder mystery/court room drama and it is captivating.”

Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air and Into the Wild) “…A fascinating discussion about the Mormon religion. (I think it may be one side of the argument and I am dying to read the other side of the argument.) Talks about the founder of the religion, the subsequent leaders of the church, the fundamentalist groups which have spun out, and some gruesome murders which were the doings of some fundamentalist -- God told them to do it.”

Out Stealing Horses by Per Patterson.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. "Never read the original before – FABULOUS, and the illustrations, to die for."

Walden by Henry David Thoreau "I picked this up for the first time because I read that it had no real readership until the Depression--when people were forced to think of the virtues of the simple life--and it seemed like something that would speak to our own time. I wasn't disappointed. So much of our American identity comes straight from Thoreau's sensibility--it was enlightening to that end and inspiring in these materialistic times. And it's beautifully written, quite thought provoking."

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