Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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More on classic novels

I've been thinking about this since writing my post - er, I mean highlighting, bolding, etc. the post I got from Kelly. Before I express my thoughts, remember that I have a degree in English, so I've studied LOTS of literature from many genres. That said, there are many books I think should be on that list, and all of these I have read. (There is no particular order - just the order in which I think of them.)

1 Chaucer's complete works, especially The Canterbury Tales
2 Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare
3 Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
4 Macbeth - Shakespeare
5 Beowulf
6 Beloved - Toni Morrison
7 Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
8 Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum
9 White Noise - Don DeLillo
10 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

I also think it shouldn't be called a list of "classic" novels, as many of those aren't what I'd call classics - at least not yet. They're too new! ;-) And that includes some of those listed above, too! ;-) I think I'd prefer to call it "must-read" works. After all, not all are novels - Shakespeare and Chaucer come to mind ... That said, I feel better now! The first one to pop into my mind the first time I looked at the long list was Frankenstein. How that one didn't make it I'll never know. But, that's all right. It's on MY list! ;-)

ETA (edited to add): I didn't mention my degree to sound like a know-it-all. Upon reading this after submitting it, I realized that it kinda comes across that way. What I meant was that my degree should reflect my love for literature, and help explain why I can't leave well-enough alone when it comes to the book list. I hope that makes sense. I am so NOT a book snob - and I so don't have a superiority complex when it comes to this particular subject! ;-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

100 Classic Novels

I got this from my friend Kelly. She says,

I found this on a friend's blog. It's supposedly a list of 100 of the greatest novels of all time. And as Erin says... "Notice I didn't say THE greatest I said 100 OF the greatest."

The purple ones are the ones that I've read. The green ones are the ones on my to-read list. Supposedly the average American has read 6 of the 100. I've got 28 - not too bad, unless I consider the fact that I have a degree in English. Although, I have read most of the actual classics on that list, just less of the more recently written stuff. There are a few on there that I'm surprised I haven't read. And, honestly, there are plenty that I can't remember for sure whether I have read them - I've read countless books! It's definitely time to update my Goodreads to-read shelf, though!

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
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 nineteen eighty four- george orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
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 Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
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
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38Captain 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 Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
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
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 Hugo

Friday, October 24, 2008


I'm not sure if you could tell, but the picture of Natalie that I posted on her birthday is old. It was from June. I couldn't find any others on my computer. Well, I found one tonight that is from September. So, I thought I'd share. Here's my baby!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Review: The Conservative's Handbook

I got another freebie from GoodReads. This one is The Conservative's Handbook:Defining the Right Positions from A to Z by Phil Valentine. And here's my review:

I received this book as a First Reads giveaway book. I thought it would be interesting to see what all it said, and I expected it to bore me to death!

I was quite pleasantly surprised that it was interesting to see what it said, AND it was actually an enjoyable read. Valentine has a conversational writing style that I found to be very engaging. And, he shows facts to back up each point. Yes, I'm conservative, and I always have been. But I think now I'm even more so, as there were issues I wasn't as informed about that this helped me understand better.

That said, I'd love for someone on the liberal side of the spectrum to write a book like this with their takes on everything so I can fully understand their point of view. I doubt it'd make me turn liberal, but I'd like to better understand where they're coming from.

Anyway, I thought this was a wonderful book. Well-written, and very informative. I was amazed to find myself enjoying the book and reading more because I was curious about what his points were on the next issue in the book.
My rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

GoodReads and a Book Review: Sarah's Key

As you can guess from my sidebar widget, I am a member of GoodReads. As a lapsed avid reader, I love that site very much! It has helped me get back into the swing of reading after years of missing it. I can't believe how much I've missed reading. That said, I've won a couple of books through their First Reads program. Their blurb on what First Reads is:
Win free copies of pre-release books. Publishers can list their upcoming books, and you can apply to receive one. Winners are picked randomly at the end of the giveaway.
I've won two so far. And LOVED it. I make sure to make the books I read a priority on my to-read list, then I write a review. Since that's really why these books are given out in the first place, I figure the least I can do is comply. After all, I'm being given a free book! ;-)

That said, I'll stop with the chit-chat and get on with my real purpose of writing today. To share my review (also posted on GoodReads) of Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.

Wow. What a powerful book. I had no idea about the French involvement in the Holocaust prior to reading this book. I was horrified, and saddened to learn of the events of July 16, 1942. This book was amazing. Julia is a very believable character, and her experience is amazing. I hated her husband - a rude, selfish jerk. I loved her daughter, Zoe.

I felt the book started kinda slowly, but about a quarter of the way into it, I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. I read most of it in a matter of 36 hours! I'm not satisfied with the end - I have questions. What became of Julia and her daughters? What became of William? What about Julia's ex-father-in-law? What about her ex?

All that said, I would highly recommend this book. It's a very good, and thought-provoking read. Anyone who read and enjoyed "Those Who Save Us" likely will find this book worth reading, too.
My rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wow, that was fast!

At this point exactly 12 months ago I was getting to know my sweet new baby girl, Natalie. She was born at 1:20 a.m. on October 14, 2007. Most of my reflecting actually occurred last night, as October 13 of last year was quite the day. It was mid- to late afternoon when it occurred to me that I was contracting. After dinner I finally decided to time the contractions. We were at the hospital about 9 or so, and walking the halls about 10-10:30. At about 12:35 a.m. I was told I was 5 cm. At 12:50, I involuntarily began pushing. I was complete and Natalie was ready to make her entrance into this world. Half an hour later, my sweet Natalie was here.

I cannot believe it's been a year! Where has the time gone? How is my tiny, quite little baby now a smiley, squealing toddler? It's just amazing. I wanted to write her a letter like I did Abby, but I'm not having any success. Perhaps it's her age, or perhaps I'm just not in the right mindset. I don't know. But, it doesn't mean she's any less loved or less cherished than her big sister.

In every way she is a wonderful answer to prayer. And Dan and I both are enjoying her so much. She's got the most delightful personality, and she's just the cutest thing. It's so neat watching her and the other two as they develop a relationship. She and Grant are quickly becoming buddies. It's so heartwarming to watch. And she just ADORES Abby, who returns the feelings. I pray God help us to cultivate good, strong bonds between all three of our wonderful children.

So, where is Natalie now? She's napping! LOL No, seriously, I thought I'd try to write a quick rundown of what she's up to. She's walking all over the place - and climbing, too. She's been doing this for a few weeks now. The funniest thing is when she grabs something she knows she should have. She makes eye contact with me, then turns and "runs" - toddles as fast as her little legs will go! LOL It is so cute, and the whole time she's grinning ear to ear! After waiting as long as seemingly possible, Natalie has at least six teeth now. (I say "at least" because she doesn't like to let us look inside to see if she has more.) She's all about table food, and doesn't want the baby food anymore. It's a little bit of a problem, though, as she doesn't seem to like the texture of fruit and veggies. But she LOVES meat and cheese. So we've got to be extra careful to make sure she's getting enough fiber. Gotta love transitions! ;-) I'm anxious to see what she weighs - her appointment is on Monday. I'm hoping she's at least 20 lbs. so we can turn her around in her car seat, but I wouldn't be surprised if she's not. She's a tiny little thing - 25th percentile for everything. She "dances" when she hears music, and can say some words.

Natalie just amazes me. She's such a wonderful blessing - God is so good!

Happy birthday, my baby girl, Natalie!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Updating the house situation

We had the furnace looked at today. No repair was needed. Somehow the repair manual got sucked into the fan! :doh: :giggle: Still had to pay the service fee, so the guy went ahead and looked over the whole thing. Bad news: he says we've got about a year left out of that thing. There's a crack between the heating element (put simply: the fire) and the blower, which is the beginning of the end. So, now DH and I are trying to decide if we want to just bite the bullet and do it this year (to take advantage of rebates from our gas/electric company as well as tax rebates) or next year. We definitely want to go high-efficiency. It's not that much more $$$ than the regular ones, and it'll save on heating bills. :good: So, that's the news regarding the house. On a good note, the heat is functional again! :woohoo: Oh, and praise God that this happened this year so we weren't surprised by a broken furnace, or had problems with carbon monoxide!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

In a Bad Mood

I guess. Or something. A ton of things are bothering the hell outta me right now.

Firstly, and most importantly, it's freezing. It's currently 45 degrees outside - the high is supposed to be about 64. As of about 30 minutes ago, it was 61 degrees here in the house. And, no, I cannot run the heat. I WANT to, but can't. We need to have it looked at. About a week ago, we noticed the house fan (at that point we were running the a/c - gotta love the Midwest) was making a weird noise. And DH wants it kept off to be safe. OK, I understand that - and I agree. But, the SOB FORGOT to call someone until TUESDAY morning - when I reminded him. (Nevermind he was off work last Friday and could've called no problem!) So, no one can come until TOMORROW morning! Poor kids and I are freezing. Oh, and DH is gone - he had to go for an overnight trip last night. Must be nice to NOT have to deal with this. Jackass! My poor babies! :-(

Secondly, with DH being gone today I had to drop Abby off at school. That's cool. No problem. We're running a tiny bit later than usual, but she was on time no problem. What pissed me off? On one side of the school is an alley. People drop off and pick up the kids over there all the time. I decided to go over there, b/c I could park quickly and I could watch her walk to her class. Or so I thought. But, apparently when dropping off one's kids all courtesy goes out the window. DO NOT BLOCK THE ALLEY SO NO ONE CAN GET BY! Seriously. It didn't happen just once - several people did it. I finally squeezed by some assholes to pull over and get Abby out and to the playground. And guess what, no one was stuck waiting behind my van while I did that! I just wanted to shout "Get the fuck out of my way people! In case you weren't aware, your child isn't the only child attending school today!" Idiots.

OK. I feel a little better! LOL Maybe having frozen toes feeds the foul mood?
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