Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Another Top 100 Books Update

I noticed that my last update in my blog for the Top 100 books reading progress was in August 2010, which was, well, a long time ago. I haven't stopped altogether, but I have slowed considerably. It's also interested to see that I've been doing this for 7 years now, from when I finished The Hobbit in September 2006 till now. For reference, my previous update was here.

Since 2010 though, I have a Kindle, and I try to get everything in an Ebook format for this rather than buying the paper versions. A lot of the stuff left in the Top 100 is available at Project Gutenberg, but the unfortunate (or otherwise, since I really enjoy reading) side-effect is that I now have hundreds of books waiting to read in my "To Read" folder on the Kindle. I tell you, it is far easier to read just one more Philip K Dick than another Tolstoy.

I still read by DailyLit, though I still find I use it to jump-start reading of a particular book, and then switch to Kindle to finish it off.

The finish dates are interesting on these. The Assistant was finished on the same day it was started. The Hobbit I re-read, yet again. While there appears no books between January and July 2013, my "completed" spreadsheet shows that I actually read 15 books during this time, including the huge Song of Ice & Fire series by George R. R. Martin.

These are the books I have read from the list in that last period in order of finishing:

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 28-Sep-10
  • Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson 24-Dec-10
  • The Assistant - Bernard Malamud 7-Jan-11
  • Bridehead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh 7-Jan-11
  • Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy 14-Apr-11
  • Dog Soldiers - Robert Stone 21-Jul-11
  • Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert 28-Sep-11
  • A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute 7-Oct-11
  • The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 23-Nov-11
  • Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë 20-Dec-11
  • Ulysses - James Joyce 9-Mar-12
  • The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 12-Apr-12
  • Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 26-Apr-12
  • All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren 21-May-12
  • The Brother Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky 29-May-12
  • Herzog - Saul Bellow 22-Jun-12
  • The Periodic Table - Primo Levi 6-Jul-12
  • The Confessions of Nat Turner - Willian Styron 2-Aug-12
  • Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky 8-Aug-12
  • Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes 11-Dec-12
  • (The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien 3-Jan-13)
  • The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass 10-Jul-13
  • Naked Lunch - William Burroughs 20-Jul-13
  • American Pastoral - Philip Roth 2-Oct-13

In terms of the actual books themselves, I don't think there are any that I have read and thought, "I've wasted part of my life." There are some which I have gotten to the last page and thought, "finally that's over," but even these I have gotten something out of them, whether it has been insight into people and their motivations or a different perspective. Ulysses (for instance) was hard, very hard. I had three attempts at it. But even reading it, it fascinated me on a couple of fronts at least. Firstly I have been to Dublin briefly and could recognise some of the places he refers to, and secondly the banal similarity between people's lives then and now, their attitudes, thoughts, motivations and actions. Superficially, Dublin in early 1900 is a vastly different place to now, but the people still strive for the same things. Fascinating reading, but very tiring.

This is what is left to read. War and Peace I am partially through on DailyLit. Six-hundred and sixty-three parts to this novel. So almost two-years of reading!
  • Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  • Oscar and Lucinda - Peter Carey
  • A Passage to India - E. M. Foster
  • The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
  • The Thorn Birds - Collen McCollough
  • War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
I think my original estimate was that I would finish in about 2011. Even though there's only six left, I perhaps want to adjust that estimate a little.

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