The Great American Read!

“The Great American Read” is a new series premiering on PBS on May 22nd at 8pm ET focusing on the 100 best-loved novels in America.  Below is the booklist.  I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts.  Which have you read?  Which do you recommend?  Which might you now read?
1984George Orwell
A Confederacy of DuncesJohn Kennedy Toole
A Prayer for Owen MeanyJohn Irving
A Separate PeaceJohn Knowles
A Tree Grows in BrooklynBetty Smith
The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain
The AlchemistPaulo Coelho
Alex Cross Mysteries (Series)James Patterson
Alice in WonderlandLewis Carroll
AmericanahChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
And Then There Were NoneAgatha Christie
Anne of Green GablesLucy Maud Montgomery
Another CountryJames Baldwin
Atlas ShruggedAyn Rand
BelovedToni Morrison
Bless Me UltimaRudolfo Anaya
The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoJunot Diaz
The Call of the WildJack London
Catch 22Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the RyeJ.D. Salinger
Charlotte’s WebE B White
The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)C.S. Lewis
The Clan of the Cave BearJean M. Auel
The Coldest Winter EverSister Souljah
The Color PurpleAlice Walker
The Count of Monte CristoAlexandre Dumas
Crime and PunishmentFyodor Dostoyevsky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeMark Haddon
The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown
Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes
Doña BarbaraRomulo Gallegos
DuneFrank Herbert
Fifty Shades of Grey (Series)E.L. James
Flowers in the AtticV.C. Andrews
Foundation (Series)Isaac Asimov
FrankensteinMary Shelley
Game of Thrones (Series)George R R Martin
GhostJason Reynolds
GileadMarilynne Robinson
The GiverLois Lowry
The GodfatherMario Puzo
Gone GirlGillian Flynn
Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell
The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck
Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan Swift
The Handmaid’s TaleMargaret Atwood
Harry Potter (Series)J.K. Rowling
Hatchet (Series)Gary Paulsen
Heart of DarknessJoseph Conrad
The HelpKathryn Stockett
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The GalaxyDouglas Adams
The Hunger Games (Series)Suzanne Collins
The Hunt for Red OctoberTom Clancy
The IntuitionistColson Whitehead
Invisible ManRalph Ellison
Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë
The Joy Luck ClubAmy Tan
Jurassic ParkMichael Crichton
Left Behind (Series)Tim LaHaye / Jerry B. Jenkins
The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little WomenLouisa May Alcott
Lonesome DoveLarry McMurtry
Looking for AlaskaJohn Green
The Lord of the Rings (Series)J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lovely BonesAlice Sebold
The MartianAndy Weir
Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden
Mind InvadersDave Hunt
Moby DickHerman Melville
The NotebookNicholas Sparks
One Hundred Years of SolitudeGabriel Garcia Marquez
Outlander (Series)Diana Gabaldon
The OutsidersS. E. Hinton
The Picture of Dorian GrayOscar Wilde
The Pilgrim’s ProgressJohn Bunyan
The Pillars of the EarthKen Follett
Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
Ready Player OneErnest Cline
RebeccaDaphne du Maurier
The ShackWilliam P. Young
SiddharthaHermann Hesse
The Sirens of TitanKurt Vonnegut
The StandStephen King
The Sun Also RisesErnest Hemingway
Swan SongRobert R. McCammon
Tales of the City (Series)Armistead Maupin
Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston
Things Fall ApartChinua Achebe
This Present DarknessFrank E. Peretti
To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee
The Twilight Saga (Series)Stephenie Meyer
War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy
The WatchersDean Koontz
The Wheel of Time (Series)Robert Jordan
Where the Red Fern GrowsWilson Rawls
White TeethZadie Smith
Wuthering HeightsEmily Bronte


E-book bargains

A Kopp Sisters Collection: Books 1–3 (A Kopp Sisters Novel)It has been a slow week for book bargains that appealed to me but there are now three.  Barbara Kingsolver is an author that readers should know and The Bean Trees is one of her best.  Edward Rutherford writes LONG, historical novels which are in the vein of writers like James Michener.  If you want to sink in, follow loads of characters and learn some history, try this or any of his other books.  A few are about cities including London and Paris. I have not read, but just purchased, the Miss Kopp books which I have heard are good.  At $3.99 for three books, this does not feel like much of a risk.  Happy weekend reading one and all!

Publication repost (Willan)

The Shadow of Death: A Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery by [Jane Willan]The Shadow of Death is a cozy mystery by an author who is new to me. The novel’s protagonist, Sister Agatha, is a Jessica Fletcher like amateur detective. In the book the reader finds murder, financial shenanigans and characters who have troubled pasts. The delights in the novel are the setting, the insights into modern (un-stuffy) religious life and the warmth of the characters. My guess is that we will be reading a sequel this time next year!

A different kind of book…Coloring (Bashford)

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring BookRemember what it was like to be a child and to be handed a shiny new box of crayons and a coloring book?  Did you ever color with your young children only to find that you enjoyed it more than they did?  If you answer yes or might even consider answering yes, take a look at Joanna Bashford’s books.  Time waster or zen time?  You decide.  The drawings are intricate and the completed pictures can be gorgeous.pexels-photo-967382.jpeg

Paperback out next week-a repost (Wiggs)

If you enjoyed books like The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See, you might enjoy this book as well.  Map of the Heart is women’s fiction but good women’s fiction.  It is about loss and love and the ways that loss impacts future relationships and risk taking.  The protagonist, Camille, is a photographer who restores old photos.  In the novel, through her photography, she uncovers the history of her father and grandparents who lived in France during WW II.  Tragedy has made Camille cautious; the reader watches as she slowly learns to again take chances and live fully.  The book takes place in both the present and in a French town that was occupied by the Nazis.   I recommend it.

A repost for pub day (Grimes)

Welcome back Richard Jury and Co!
After reading The Man with a Load of Mischief, I always looked for books in this series. Then, I moved away from them…not sure why, the books or me. But, I will tell you that I very much enjoyed The Knowledge. All of the trademarks are here; characters including Wiggins, Melrose Plant, Diane, etc. and of course the preternaturally smart, cunning and ingenious child(ren). On top of this there is Africa, Art, Astrophysics, the Stars and murder, all of which line up as perfectly as an eclipse. If you enjoy traditional British style (author is American) mysteries with a twist, read this novel!

Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

Anna Karenina (Oprah's Book Club) (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)Today we spent three hours talking about Anna Karenina in my class on Adultery in Nineteenth Century Fiction.  Three hours was not nearly enough and yet the class has to move on to Jude the Obscure.  I could talk about this book for several more classes.

I learned more about Tolstoy.  As many of you may know, he was a Count and very well educated.  He became religious in later life.  Tolstoy despised the society of St. Petersburg.  He had something like thirteen children with his wife and many other children through his liaisons.  It took him many years to complete this novel and Tolstoy was most like the character Levin.

This is a novel of such incredible scope.  There are of course the relationships-the marriages and the liaisons.  Dolly and Stefan, Anna and Karenin, Anna and Vronsky, Levin and Kitty, Dolly and Kitty’s parents, who have one of only two happy marriages in the book.  (The other happier relationship is a peasant couple.)  There are themes of city versus country, accepting or not accepting the boundaries of marriage, doing what is expected/not expected of one in society, motherhood, aristocrats as compared to laborers, religion and, I am sure many more.

I have loved reading this novel.  The scenes are beautifully rendered whether it is Anna and Vronsky’s first meeting, a ball, a wedding, hunting in the country, etc.  The characters have depth and generally, like real human beings, have complex emotions and are not always consistent.

It is a big commitment to read AK.  It has taken me the better part of a month.  It has been time incredibly well spent.  I remember that, as a child, for the longest time I thought the word Classic translated to boring.  That changed when I read Little Women.  If you think that classics are not for you, think again.  This is a wonderful novel.  I liked it much more than Madame Bovary which I previously blogged.  Pick it up and see what you think!


A Florence Nightingale Mystery (Trent)

No Cure for the Dead: A Florence Nightingale Mystery by [Christine Trent]I enjoyed this mystery novel which seems to be the start of a new  series with Florence Nightingale as the sleuth.

Florence has just been placed in charge of the Establishment, a prototype hospital for gentle women (those who would not be at a workhouse hospital but could not afford to be cared for at home). A nurse is murdered  and the story builds from there.

The author does an excellent job of setting the scene and of bringing 1850s London to vivid life. Many historical personages appear in the book and seem to fit right in. The mystery is solved in a very Agatha Christie like manner with all of the main characters in a room together. Like Hercule Poirot, Florence deduces all. A thoroughly enjoyable read for fans of Anne Perry. Of additional note, I learned a lot about Florence herself.

Thanks NetGalley!

#NoCureForTheDead #NetGalley

Find this teashop (Ashley)

The Little Teashop of Lost and FoundThe following quote sums this novel up nicely:  “Glorious escapism . . . A foundling turned star baker, a tough childhood, the Yorkshire moors and a dashing neighbour are a winning mix in this bittersweet novel with nods to the Brontes.” —The Lady

I notice that I am doing a lot of comfort reading recently…hmmm.  Well, I do still have Anna Karenina with its vast panorama, complex relationships and depiction of the Russian social classes to finish.  Meanwhile…this novel was a soothing read.  We watch as Alice rebuilds her life following a tragedy, is helped by many along the way and finds herself.  There is adoption, romance, baking, antiques, friends…great ingredients indeed!  Try it.

Now in paperback (Steiner)…a repost

Product DetailsI loved Missing Presumed, Susie Steiner’s first book in this series, and was very eager to read Persons Unknown. What I most enjoyed in reading both books was the author’s ability to create a quirky, interesting protagonist in Manon. I related to Manon’s observations on the bonds of parenting and her experience of pregnancy. Early on, I was glued to this book because I was so worried for Fly, Manon’s adoptive son. I found the mystery itself a bit less strong but that did not lessen my enjoyment of this book. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.  I hope that there will be more in the series in future!