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29 September 2010

501 must-read books

I really love this list! I think it is because it is so much broader than a lot of these types of lists. It covers a multitude of genres, reading levels and age gaps. It isn't a list for snobs or best sellers, but ones I know I would recommend. I found this on JoV's blog, Bibliojunkie and had fun going through it and reliving the memories attached to reading the books I had marked off. A lot of them stem back to my days when I couldn't afford to buy books, and spent most of my spare time at the libray choosing which books to max out both mine and my dad's card with. We had a deal. I get him a few Westerns and I could use the rest of his book allowance LOL I miss those days... Of course, that is also where I get my background reading Westerns from. When I had finished my stack of books, I started on his, and Mum's and my brother's stack of books ;-p I may be a book whore... But shhh! I don't think anyone has noticed *snickers*

Read and Own 

  1. “Little Women,” Louisa May Alcott
  2. “Fairy Tales,” Hans Christian Andersen
  3. “Peter Pan,” J.M. Barrie
  4. “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” L. Frank Baum
  5. “The Last Unicorn,” Peter S. Beagle
  6. “The Secret Garden,” Frances Hodgson Burnett
  7. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Lewis Carroll
  8. “Pinocchio,” Carlo Collodi
  9. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Roald Dahl
  10. “Sophie’s World,” Jostein Gaarder
  11. “The Wierdstone of Brisingamen,” Alan Garner
  12. “The Wind in the Willows,” Kenneth Grahame
  13. “Children’s and Household Tales,” Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm
  14. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” Mark Haddon
  15. “Emil and the Detectives,” Erich Kastner
  16. “Just So Stories,” Rudyard Kipling
  17. “The Complete Nonsense Books,” Edward Lear
  18. “A Wrinkle in Time,” Madeleine L’Engle
  19. “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” C.S. Lewis
  20. “Pippi Longstocking,” Astrid Lindgren
  21. “Dr. Dolittle,” Hugh Lofting
  22. “At the Back of the North Wind,” George MacDonald
  23. “Nobody’s Boy,” Hector Malot
  24. “Winnie-the-Pooh,” A.A. Milne
  25. “Anne of Green Gables,” L.M. Montgomery
  26. “Five Children and It,” E. Nesbit
  27. “Tom’s Midnight Garden,” Philippa Pearce
  28. “The War of the Buttons,” Louis Pergaud
  29. “Fairy Tales,” Charles Perrault
  30. “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” Beatrix Potter
  31. “The Colour of Magic,” Terry Pratchett
  32. “Northern Lights,” Philip Pullman
  33. “Swallows and Amazons,” Arthur Ransome
  34. “Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang,” Mordecai Richler
  35. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” J.K. Rowling
  36. “The King of the Golden River,” John Ruskin
  37. “The Little Prince,” Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  38. “The Human Comedy,” William Saroyan
  39. “The Misfortunes of Sophie,” Comtesse de Segur
  40. “Where the Wild Things Are,” Maurice Sendak
  41. “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” Dr. Seuss
  42. Black Beauty,” Anna Sewell
  43. “The Golem,” Isaac Bashevis Singer
  44. “Heidi,” Johana Spyri
  45. “Treasure Island,” Robert Louis Stevenson
  46. ”The Fellowship of the Ring,” J.R.R. Tolkien
  47. ”Mary Poppins,” P.L. Travers
  48. ”Charlotte’s Web,” E.B. White
  49. “The Sword in the Stone,” T.H. White
  50. “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” Kate Douglas Wiggin
  51. “The Happy Prince and Other Tales,” Oscar Wilde
  52. “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” Anonymous
  53. ”The Thousand and One Nights,” Anonymous
  54. “Sense and Sensibility,” Jane Austen
  55. “Old Goriot,” Honore De Balzac
  56. “Vathek: an Arabian Tale,” William Beckford
  57. “Lady Audley’s Secret,” Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  58. “Jane Eyre,” Charlotte Bronte
  59. ”Wuthering Heights,” Emily Bronte (currently reading)
  60. “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” John Bunyan
  61. “The Cantebury Tales,” Geoffrey Chaucer
  62. “The Collected Stories,” Anton Chekhov
  63. “The Man Who Was Thursday,” G.K. Chesterton
  64. “Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure,” John Cleland
  65. “The Moonstone: a Romance,” Wilkie Collins
  66. “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  67. “Heart of Darkness,” Joseph Conrad
  68. “Robinson Crusoe,” Daniel Defoe
  69. “The Christmas Books,” Charles Dickens
  70. “Our Mutual Friend,” Charles Dickens
  71. “Crime and Punishment,” Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  72. Middlemarch: A Study in Provincial Life,” George Eliot
  73. “Tom Jones,” Henry Fielding
  74. The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald (currently reading)
  75. “Madame Bovary,” Gustave Flaubert
  76. “Howards End,” E.M. Forster
  77. “North and South,” Elizabeth Gaskell
  78. “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  79. “The Vicar of Wakefield,” Oliver Goldsmith
  80. “The Power and the Glory,” Graham Greene
  81. “King Soloman’s Mines,” H. Rider Haggard
  82. “Jude the Obscure,” Thomas Hardy
  83. The Scarlet Letter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne
  84. “Moby Dick,” Herman Melville
  85. “The Portrait of a Lady,” Henry James
  86. ”The Iliad,” Homer
  87. “Les Miserables,” Victor Hugo
  88. “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of The Dog),” Jerome K. Jerome
  89. “Kim,” Rudyard Kipling
  90. “Bliss and Other Stories,” Katherine Mansfield
  91. “Utopia,” Sir Thomas More
  92. “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque,” Edgar Alan Poe
  93. “In Search of Lost Time,” Marcel Proust
  94. “A Sicilian Romance,” Ann Radcliffe
  95. ”Clarissa,” Samuel Richardson
  96. “Waverley,” Walter Scott
  97. “Frankenstein,” Mary Shelley
  98. “The Red and the Black,” Stendhal
  99. “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” Robert Louis Stevenson
  100. “Dracula,” Bram Stoker
  101. “Gulliver’s Travels,” Jonathan Swift
  102. “Vanity Fair,” William Makepeace Thackeray
  103. “War and Peace,” Leo Tolstoy
  104. “Barchester Towers,” Anthony Trollope
  105. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Mark Twain
  106. “Candide,” Voltaire
  107. “The Castle of Otranto,” Horace Walpole
  108. “The House of Mirth,” Edith Wharton
  109. “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Oscar Wilde (Eaten by the mutant dust bunnies before I could read it.)
  110. “To the Lighthouse,” Virginia Woolf
  111. “La Bete Humaine,” Emile Zola
  112. “London, the Biography,” Peter Ackroyd
  113. “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life,” John Lee Anderson
  114. “The Hour of Our Death,” Phillipe Aries
  115. “Berlin – the Downfall,” Antony Beevor
  116. “The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II,” Fernand Braudel
  117. “The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century,” John Brewer
  118. “Frozen Desire: An Enquiry into the Meaning of Money,” James Buchan
  119. “Hitler and Stalin – Parallel Lives,” Alan Bullock
  120. “The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy,” Jacob Burckhardt
  121. “Daily Life in Ancient Rome,” Jerome Carcopino
  122. “The Accursed Kings,” Maurice Druon
  123. “The Age of the Cathedrals,” Georges Duby
  124. “The Stripping of the Altars,” Eamon Duffy
  125. “Rites of Spring,” Modris Eksteins
  126. “The Wretched of the Earth,” Franz Fanon
  127. “Colossus: THe Rise and Fall of the American Empire,” Niall Ferguson
  128. “Millennium,” Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
  129. “Pagans and Christians,” Robin Lane Fox
  130. “The End of History and the Last Man,” Francis Fukuyama
  131. “The Naked Heart,” Peter Gay
  132. “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” Edward Gibbon
  133. “The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy,” Martin Gilbert
  134. “The Cheese and the Worms,” Carlo Ginzburg
  135. “God’s First Love,” Friedrich Heer
  136. “Histories,” Herodotus
  137. “Hiroshima,” John Hersey
  138. “The Fatal Shore,” Robert Hughes
  139. “Pandaemonium,” Humphrey Jennings
  140. “A History of Warfare,” John Keegan
  141. “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies,” Bartolome de las Casas
  142. “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” Thomas Edward Lawrence
  143. “Islam in History,” Bernard Lewis
  144. “Chinese Shadows,” Simon Leys
  145. “The Crusades through Arab Eyes,” Amin Maalouf
  146. “The Defeat of the Spanish Armada,” Farrett Mattingly
  147. “The Story of English,” Robert McCrum
  148. “The Ornament of the World,” Maria Rosa Menocal
  149. “The Women’s History of the World,” Rosalind Miles
  150. “Pax Britannica: The Climax of an Empire,” James Morris
  151. “Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade,” Henri Pirenne
  152. “Parallel Lives,” Plutarch
  153. “Flesh in the Age of Reason,” Roy Porter
  154. “Citizens – A Chronicle of the French Revolution,” Simon Schama
  155. “Leviathan and the Air-Pump,” Steven Shapin
  156. “The Decline of the West,” Oswald Spengler
  157. “The Trial of Socrates,” Isador Stone
  158. “Annals of Imperial Rome,” Tacitus
  159. “The Origins of the Second World War,” A.J.P. Taylor
  160. “A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century,” Barbara M. Tuchman
  161. “A People’s History of the United States,” Howard Zinn
  162. “Paula,” Isabel Allende
  163. “Journal Intime,” (“Amiel’s Journal”) Henri-Frederic Amiel
  164. “Aubrey’s Brief Lives,” John Aubrey
  165. “Confessions,” Augustine
  166. “Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter,” Simone De Beauvior
  167. “My Left Foot,” Christy Brown
  168. “The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini,” Benvenuto Cellini
  169. “The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinrurus,” Cyril Connolly
  170. “Boy: Tales of Childhood,” Roald Dahl
  171. “My Family and Other Animals,” Gerald Durrell
  172. “An Angel at My Table,” Janet Frame
  173. “The Diary of a Young Girl,” Anne Frank
  174. “Journals, 1889-1949,” Andre Paul Guillaume Gide
  175. “Poetry and Truth: From My Own Life,” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  176. “Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments,” Edmund Gosse
  177. “Ways of Escape,” Graham Greene
  178. “Black Like Me,” John Howard Griffin
  179. “84, Charing Cross Road,” Helene Hanff
  180. “Pentimento,” Lillian Hellman
  181. “Childhood, Youth and Exile,” Alexander Herzen
  182. “The Diary of Alice James,” Alice James
  183. “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” Carl Gustav Jung
  184. “Diaries 1919-23,” Franz Kafka
  185. “The Story of My Life,” Helen Keller
  186. “The Book of Margery Kempe,” Margery Kempe
  187. “I Will Bear Witness,” Victor Klemperer
  188. “In the Castle of My Skin,” George Lamming
  189. “A Grief Observed,” C.S. Lewis
  190. “The Towers of Trebizond,” Rose Macaulay
  191. “Journal of Katherine Mansfield,” Katherine Mansfield
  192. “The Seven Storey Mountain,” Thomas Merton
  193. “The Pursuit of Love,” Nancy Mitford
  194. “Borrowed Time,” Paul Monette
  195. “My Place,” Sally Morgan
  196. “Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited,” Vladimir Nabokov
  197. “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books,” Azar Nafisi
  198. “Memoirs,” Pablo Neruda
  199. “Portrait of a Marriage,” Nigel Nicolson
  200. “Running in the Family,” Michael Ondaatje
  201. “Down and Out in Paris and London,” George Orwell
  202. “Autobiography of a Yogi,” Paramahansa Yogananda
  203. “Diary,” Samuel Pepys
  204. “Letters,” Pliny the Younger
  205. “Confessions,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  206. “Words,” Jean-Paul Sartre
  207. “Journal of a Solitude,” May Sarton
  208. “Walden,” Henry David Thoreau
  209. “De Profundis,” Oscar Wilde
  210. “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit,” Jeanette Winterson
  211. “Autobiographies,” William Butler Yeats
  212. “Things Fall Apart,” Chinua Achebe
  213. “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands,” Jorge Amado
  214. “Le Grand Meaulnes,” Alain-Fournier (Henri Alban Fournier)
  215. “Take a Girl Like You,” Kingsley Amis
  216. “Winesburg, Ohio,” Sherwood Anderson
  217. “Surfacing,” Margaret Atwood
  218. “The New York Trilogy,” Paul Auster
  219. “Tales of Odessa,” Isaak Babel
  220. “Giovanni’s Room,” James Baldwin
  221. “The Sweet Hereafter,” Russel Banks
  222. “The Regeneration Trilogy,” Pat Barker
  223. “Herzog,” Saul Bellow
  224. “Ficciones,” Jorge Luis Borges
  225. “Nadja,” Andre Breton
  226. “The Master and the Margarita,” Mikhail Bulgakov
  227. “The Naked Lunch,” William Burroughs
  228. “Possession,” A.S. Byatt
  229. “If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller,” Italo Calvino
  230. “The Outsider,” Albert Camus
  231. “Auto da Fe,” Elias Canetti
  232. “Oscar and Lucinda,” Peter Carey
  233. “The Kingdom of This World,” Alejo Carpentier
  234. “The Bloody Chamber,” Angela Carter
  235. “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love,” Raymond Carver
  236. “The Horse’s Mouth,” Joyce Carey
  237. “Journey to the End of Night,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine
  238. “Soldiers of Salamis,” Javier Cercas
  239. “The Stories of John Cheever,” John Cheever
  240. “Disgrace,” J.M. Coetzee
  241. “Cheri,” Colette
  242. “Victory,” Joseph Conrad
  243. “A House and Its Head,” Ivy Compton-Burnett
  244. “Fifth Business,” Roberson Davies
  245. “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,” Louis De Bernieres
  246. “Underworld,” Don Delillo
  247. “Seven Gothic Tales,” Isak Dinesen
  248. “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” Alfred Doblin
  249. “Once Were Warriors,” Alan Duff
  250. “Rebecca,” Daphne Du Maurier
  251. “The Lover,” Marguerite Duras
  252. “The Alexandria Quartet,” Lawrence Durrell
  253. “The Name of the Rose,” Umberto Eco
  254. “The Neverending Story,” Michael Ende
  255. “The Sound and the Fury,” William Faulkner
  256. “The Wars,” Timothy Findley
  257. “The Good Soldier,” Ford Maddox Ford
  258. “Wildlife,” Richard Ford
  259. “A Passage to India,” E.M. Forster
  260. “The Corrections,” Jonathan Franzen
  261. “Birdsong,” Sebastian Faulks
  262. “The Blue Flower,” Penelope Fitzgerald
  263. “From the Fifteenth District,” Mavis Gallant
  264. “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  265. “Our Lady of the Flowers,” Jean Genet
  266. “Lord of the Flies,” William Golding
  267. “July’s People,” Nadine Gordimer
  268. “FerdyDurke,” Witold Gombrowicz
  269. “The Tin Drum,” Gunther Grass
  270. “Hunger,” Knut Hamsun
  271. “The Blind Owl,” Sadegh Hedayat
  272. “The Old Man and the Sea,” Ernest Hemingway
  273. “The Glass Bead Game,” Herman Hesse
  274. “Lost Horizon,” James Hilton
  275. “A High Wind in Jamaica,” Richard Hughes
  276. “The World According to Garp,” John Irving
  277. “Berlin Stories,” Christopher Isherwood
  278. “The Remains of the Day,” Kazuo Ishiguro
  279. “Ulysses,” James Joyce
  280. “The File on H,” Ismail Kadare
  281. “The Trial,” Franz Kafka
  282. “It,” Stephen King
  283. “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera
  284. “The Leopard,” Giuseppe Di Lampedusa
  285. “The Diviners,” Margaret Laurence
  286. “Women in Love,” D.H. Lawrence
  287. “The Golden Notebook,” Doris Lessing
  288. “The Periodic Table,” Primo Levi
  289. “Changing Places,” David Lodge
  290. “The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas” J.M. Machado De Assis
  291. “The Cairo Trilogy,” Naguib Mahfouz
  292. “The Executioner’s Song,” Norman Mailer
  293. “God’s Grace,” Bernard Malamud
  294. “An Imaginary Life,” David Malouf
  295. “The Magic Mountain,” Thomas Mann
  296. “Embers,” Sandor Marai
  297. “Life of Pi,” Yann Martel
  298. “Cakes and Ale,” Somorset Maugham
  299. “The Group,” Mary McCarthy
  300. “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” Carson McCullers
  301. “Enduring Love,” Ian McEwan
  302. “The Sea of Fertility,” Yukio Mishima
  303. “A Fine Balance,” Rohinton Mistry
  304. “Cold Heaven,” Brian Moore
  305. “Beloved,” Toni Morrison
  306. “The Progress of Love,” Alice Munro
  307. “The Sea, the Sea,” Iris Murdoch
  308. “Lolita,” Vladimir Nabokov
  309. “A House for Mr Biswas,” V.S. Naipaul
  310. “The Third Policeman,” Flann O’Brian
  311. “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor
  312. “The English Patient,” Michael Ondaatje
  313. “Where the Jackals Howl,” Amos Oz
  314. “The Messiah of Stockholm,” Cynthia Ozick
  315. “Gormenghast,” Mervyn Peake
  316. “Mr. Weston’s Good Wine,” T.F. Powys
  317. “The Nephew,” James Purdy
  318. “Interview with the Vampire,” Anne Rice
  319. “Barney’s Version,” Mordecai Richler
  320. “Hadrian the Seventh,” Frederick Rolfe (Baron Colvo)
  321. “The Radetzky March,” Joseph Roth
  322. “The Human Stain,” Philip Roth
  323. “The Satanic Verses,” Salman Rushdie
  324. “Pedro Paramo,” Juan Rulfo
  325. “Bonjour Tristesse,” Francoise Sagan
  326. “Short Stories,” Saki (Hector Hugh Munro)
  327. “Catcher in the Rye,” J.D. Salinger
  328. “Staying On,” Paul Scott
  329. “Austerlitz,” W.G. Sebald
  330. “Last Exit to Brooklyn,” Hubert Selby Jr.
  331. “Unless,” Carol Shields
  332. “The Magician of Lubin,” Isaac Bashevis Singer
  333. “The Engineer of Human Souls,” Josef Skvorecky
  334. “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” Muriel Spark
  335. “The Man Who Loved Children,” Christina Stead
  336. “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck
  337. “Sophie’s Choice,” William Styron
  338. “Perfume,” Patrick Suskind
  339. “The Confessions of Zeno,” Italo Svevo
  340. “Declares Pereira,” Antonio Tabucchi
  341. “The White Hotel,” D.M. Thomas
  342. “The Master,” Colm Toibin
  343. “Felicia’s Journey,” William Trevor
  344. “The Palm-Wine Drinkard,” Amos Tutuola
  345. “The Accidental Tourist,” Anne Tyler
  346. “Couples,” John Updike
  347. “The Time of the Hero,” Mario Vargas Llosa
  348. “In Praise of Older Women,” Stephen Vizinczey
  349. “Brideshead Revisited,” Evelyn Waugh
  350. “Voss,” Patrick White
  351. “Memoirs of Hadrian,” Marguerite Yourcenar
  352. “The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Douglas Adams
  353. “Hothouse,” Brian Aldiss
  354. “Brain Wave,” Poul Anderson
  355. “I, Robot,” Isaac Asimov
  356. “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood
  357. “The Crystal World,” J.G. Ballard
  358. “The Demolished Man,” Alfred Bester
  359. “Who Goes There,” John W. Campbell
  360. “The Invention of Morel,” Adolfo Bioy Casares
  361. “Planet of the Apes,” Pierre Boulle
  362. “The Martian Chronicles,” Ray Bradbury
  363. “The Sheep Look Up,” John Brunner
  364. “A Clockwork Orange,” Anthony Burgess
  365. “Erewhon,” Samuel Butler
  366. “Cosmicomics,” Italo Calvino
  367. “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Arthur C. Clarke
  368. “A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder,” James De Mille
  369. “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch,” Philip K. Dick
  370. “To Your Scattered Bodies Go,” Philip Jose Farmer
  371. “Neuromancer,” William Gibson
  372. “Stranger in a Strange Land,” Robert A. Heinlein
  373. “Dune,” Frank Herbert
  374. “Brave New World,” Aldous Huxley
  375. “Two Planets,” Kurd Lasswitz
  376. “Left Hand of Darkness,” Ursula K. LeGuin
  377. “Solaris,” Stanislaw Lem
  378. “Shikasta,” Doris Lessing
  379. “Stepford Wives,” Ira Levin
  380. “Out of the Silent Planet,” C.S. Lewis
  381. “I Am Legend,” Richard Matheson
  382. “Dwellers in the Mirage,” Abraham Merritt
  383. “A Canticle for Leibowitz,” Walter Miller
  384. “Ringworld,” Larry Niven
  385. “Time Traders,” Andre Norton
  386. “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” George Orwell
  387. “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket,” Edgar Allan Poe
  388. “The Inverted World,” Christopher Priest
  389. “The Green Child,” Herbert Read
  390. “The Laxian Key,” Robert Sheckley
  391. “City,” Clifford D. Simak
  392. “Donovan’s Brain,” Curt Siodmak
  393. “Lest Darkness Fall,” L. Sprague De Camp
  394. “Last and First Men,” Olaf Stapledon
  395. “More than Human,” Theodore Sturgeon
  396. “Slan,” A.E. Van Vogt
  397. “A Journey to the Centre of the Earth,” Jules Verne
  398. “Slaughterhouse-Five,” Kurt Vonnegut
  399. “The Island of Dr Moreau,” H.G. Wells
  400. “Islandia,” Austin Tappan Wright
  401. “The Day of the Triffids,” John Wyndham
  402. “More Work for the Undertaker,” Margery Allingham
  403. “Devil Take the Blue-Tail Fly,” John Franklin Bardin
  404. “Trent’s Last Case,” E.C. Bentley
  405. “Trial and Error,” Anthony Berkeley
  406. “The Poisoned Chocolates Case,” Anthony Berkeley
  407. “The Beast Must Die,” Nicholas Blake
  408. “Psycho,” Robert Bloch
  409. “Double Indemnity,” James Cain
  410. “Thus was Adonis Murdered,” Sarah Caudwell
  411. “Farewell, My Lovely,” Raymond Chandler
  412. “No Orchids for Miss Blandish,” James Hadley Chase
  413. “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” Agatha Christie
  414. “The Woman in White,” Wilkie Collins
  415. “Unnatural Exposure,” Patricia Cornwell
  416. “The Moving Toyshop,” Edmund Crispin
  417. “In the Last Analysis,” Amanda Cross (Carolyn Gold Heilbrun)
  418. “Rose at Ten,” Marco Denevi
  419. “Vendetta,” Michael Dibdin
  420. “The Glass-sided Ants’ Nest,” Peter Dickinson
  421. “He Who Whispers,” John Dickson Carr
  422. “The Big Clock,” Kenneth Fearing
  423. “Blood Sport,” Dick Francis
  424. “Quiet as a Nun,” Lady Antonia Fraser
  425. “The Sunday Woman,” Carlo Fruttero
  426. “Death in the Wrong Room,” Anthony Gilbert
  427. “Red Harvest,” Dashiel Hammett
  428. “Suicide Excepted,” Cyril Hare
  429. “Bones and Silence,” Reginald Hill
  430. “A Rage in Harlem,” Chester Himes
  431. “Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow,” Peter Hoeg
  432. “Malice Aforethought,” Francis Iles
  433. “Hamlet, Revenge!” Michael Innes
  434. “The Murder Room,” P.D. James
  435. “The Sleeping-Car Murders,” Sebastien Japrisot
  436. “Death of My Aunt,” C.H.B. Kitchin
  437. “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold,” John Le Carre
  438. “The Mystery of the Yellow Room,” Gaston Leroux
  439. “The Last Detective,” Peter Lovesey
  440. “Final Curtain,” Ngaio Marsh
  441. “An Oxford Tragedy,” J.C. Masterman
  442. “The Steam Pig,” James McClure
  443. “The Seven Per Cent Solution,” Nicholas Meyer
  444. “How Like an Angel,” Margaret Millar
  445. “The Red House Mystery,” A.A. Milne
  446. “A Red Death,” Walter Mosley
  447. “Deadlock,” Sara Paretsky
  448. “Dover One,” Joyce Porter
  449. “The Chinese Orange Mystery,” Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee)
  450. “The Man in the Net,” Patrick Quentin
  451. “A Judgement in Stone,” Ruth Rendell
  452. “Gaudy Night,” Dorothy L. Sayers
  453. “Mr. Hire’s Engagement,” Georges Simenon
  454. “The Laughing Policeman,” Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
  455. “The Red Box,” Rex Stout
  456. “The Man Who Killed Himself,” Julian Symons
  457. “A Pin to See the Peep-Show,” F. Tennyson Jesse
  458. “The Daughter of Time,” Josephine Tey
  459. “Above the Dark Circus,” Sir Hugh Walpole
  460. “Born Victim,” Hillary Waugh
  461. “The Bride Wore Black,” Cornell Woolrich
  462. “Travels,” Ibn Battuta
  463. “The Scorpion-Fish,” Nocholas Bouvier
  464. “The Road to Oxiana,” Robert Byron
  465. “In Patagonia,” Bruce Charles Chatwin
  466. “The Voyage of the HMS Beagle,” Charles Darwin
  467. “My Journey to Lhasa,” Alexandra David-Neel
  468. “On the Narrow Road to the Deep North,” Lesley Downer
  469. “The Traveller’s Tree,” Patrick Leigh Fermor
  470. “Seven Years in Tibet,” Heinrich Harrer
  471. “Kon Tiki,” Thor Heyerdahl
  472. “The Purple Land,” W.H. Hudson
  473. “The Last Place on Earth,” Roland Huntford
  474. “Video Night in Kathmandu,” Pico Iyer
  475. “Journey to the Hebrides,” Samuel Johnson and James Boswell
  476. “Eothen,” A.W. Kinglake
  477. “The Seasick Whale,” Emphraim Kishon
  478. “A Rose for Winter,” Laurie Lee
  479. “Golden Earth,” Norman Lewis
  480. “The Cruise of the Snark,” Jack London
  481. “Arctic Dreams,” Barry Lopez
  482. “The Danube,” Claudio Magris
  483. “The Snow Leopard,” Peter Matthiessen
  484. “Destinations,” Jan Morris
  485. “Never Cry Wolf,” Farley Mowat
  486. Among the Believers: an Islamic Journey,” V.S. Naipaul
  487. “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush,” Eric Newby
  488. “Roads to Santiago,” Cees Nooteboom
  489. “La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West,” Francis Parkman
  490. “Into the Heart of Borneo,” Raymond
  491. “The Travels,” Marco Polo
  492. “Dead Man’s Chest: Travels after Robert Louis Stevenson,” Nicholas Rankin
  493. “Sailing Alone Around the World,” Joshua Slocum
  494. “Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile,” J.H. Speke
  495. “Travels with Charley: In Search of America,” John Steinbeck
  496. “Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes,” Robert Louis Stevenson
  497. “The Valley of the Assassins and Other Persian Travels,” Freya Stark
  498. “The Great Railway Bazaar,” Paul Theroux
  499. “Southern Cross to Pole Star,” A.F. Tschiffely
  500. “A Tramp Abroad,” Mark Twain
  501. “On Fiji Islands,” Ronald Wright

28 September 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Amageddon's Children by Terry Brooks

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers: 

She stood deep in the shadows of a building alcove and looked past the blackened storefronts lining both sides of the street toward the fighting. The Anaheim compound was under attack by demons and once-men, an army of such size and ferocity that is seems a miracle the defenders had not succumbed months ago when first placed under siege.
Page 109 of Amageddon's Children by Terry Brooks

On holiday, out of books and getting an eReader

I am intermittently on holiday this fortnight. I was on the Central Coast for the last three days, and as of Thursday night I am in Queensland for a week. For this reason, my blogging will be practically non-existent for this period. I may be able to get near a computer, but I am not making any promises. I had to skip yesterday’s Manic Monday, and Booking Through Thursday doesn’t get released until late on Thursday so I am unlikely to be able to complete that before I board my flight. Next week’s Manic Monday and Teaser Tuesday will depend if I can borrow a friend’s computer in my home town as my parents don’t have the internet on. I will be updating my twitter from my phone, so if you want updates, you can follow me on

I am still on a book ban because of limited finances, but I may splash out and get a book for the flight home. I hate having nothing to read!!! :( I am rereading all my novels, and have been for over a month. It is driving me crazy. I visited my (Great) Auntie June yesterday and she gave us (my Mum and I) a big bag of “sloppies” as my dad calls them. Yes that is right, I have been reduced to reading old Mills and Boons to keep myself entertained! I have reread my books SOOOOO many times that I can’t stomach much more of it. I also found out the Gutenberg Project has a mobile website and that they have a java app for books you can download called QIOO! So I downloaded a few. It is hard though, because my screen is so small, and my phone battery gets chewed up. But I have been reading Around The World in 80 Days and have decided that I am either buying the book, or the eBook when I get my Sony Reader. I've also been reading HP Lovecraft, Wilke Collins, Dante, Kafka, PG Wodenhouse and Oscar Wilde. Yes, I downloaded a lot of books, but the only one I have read a lot of is the Jules Verne one. I will probably get the rest in hard copy or EPUB later. I keep meaning to join the Campsie library, but I am busy on weekends. My car has been fixed, so I may be able to go after work and join. I need to find a copy of Storm Front by Jim Butcher to have read by the 11th of October for book club. I bought it last year, read half, hated it, gave it away. I refuse to buy it again. Especially because it is part of a series I choose not to read. I can’t remember exactly why I hated it, but I remember thinking it was very dry and that it was a bit sexist. It felt like a noir film, in which I overlook sexism, because it was part of the times. Modern books tend to turn me off when they are sexist. I need to reread it to back up this statement, but I remember that feeling of sexism was one of the reasons I stopped reading it. That and I just wasn’t interested. Book club should be fun! I wonder if I still have this feeling when I read it again.

My other news is I have decided I want to get a Sony Reader. I give myself one present from my tax return every year, and it is that time again! I can buy cheaper books, download free classics and not lug around a million books with me. I normally take two books with me everywhere, more when I am travelling, and have six books stashed around my office. Instead I can have one slimline device and one book with me and not need to lug around a book bag with me everywhere! No, I am not forsaking the printed word! I love books with a passion! If I gave one a squishy hug, I would squish all the ink out of the pages, that is how hard I would hug it. I can’t see my life without books. My earliest memories are of books, and I am never not reading something! The smell, the texture, the tactile nature, the concept… I just don’t think I will every solely read eBooks. But I still can’t buy certain books in paperback, and I can’t afford them in hardcover. So this is my answer:
It comes in black and red, it has expandable storage, can read EPUB, PDF, Text, RTF, Word and BBeB, plays audio files, has 12 inbuilt dictionaries (English, plus German, Spanish, French, Dutch and Italian), it has a touch screen, but it isn’t built into the screen, so it is readable in the sun! It also has 2 weeks battery life :D I am gonna love that baby! I am getting the red one, of course. I thought about getting the black one, but my twitter friends talked me out of being sensible.

Would you ever get an eReader? And if so, would that be instead of books, or as a supplement?

24 September 2010

BTT: Current

Booking Through Thursday asks:
What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it?

I am a poly-reader, I read more than one book at a time, at all times. I don't understand how people can read just one book LOL I just finished reading Rachel Vincent's My Soul To Take and am currently reading Christine Warren's The Demon You Know and Terry Brook's Amageddon's Children, amongst others. I was given Amageddon's Children by a friend's housemate and started reading it because I liked the blurb and the cover. I wouldn't have bought it, but I am really enjoying it's dystopian story. I am only recently remembering how much I love dystopian fiction, so I think I will be getting back into that in the future. I would definately recommend it, from what I have read so far. My Soul To Take was quite enjoyable and I will be looking for the sequal. It is YA fiction, and rather than copying everyone else's love of vampires and werewolves (has anyone else noticed how UF and PNR for teens rarely has other shifter species?) Rachel Vincent has used celtic mythology for the basis of her story. I won't go into the details, because I think my cluelessness as to the species added to the suspense, but it was really refreshing! I had read of those supernatural creatures in celtic mythology and fairy tales, but I can honestly say I have never read of them in fiction as a main character, or even more than a passing reference! I will be reading the sequal, and it has also reminded me why I like Rachel Vincent, so I may go back to her UF series soon. I do recommend this book to others who enjoy YA fiction. I can't really comment on Chrisitne Warren's The Demon You Know, because I only started it last night, and I, it is embarrising to say, fell asleep whilst reading it. I woke up to realise there was a book on my pillow, my radio was still on, and I had eyeshadow smeared over my face. So I really can't comment on the merit of The Demon You Know ;-p

21 September 2010

Orbit Quest, vote for me! (Task 1 & 4)

Thanks to the Galaxy team for sharing this on their blog! Orbit are running a competition, and I am entering!

Task 1: I, Zja Zja, also known as Obsidiantears83, do humbly accept and so charge to undertake this quest! I go forth into conquest for glory of Orbit and to champion Speculative Fiction as Princess of Nerds and Knight of Nerdonia! I accept your maidenly token lace kerchief and know it will bring me luck on the challenges ahead!

Task 4: My favourite old word is Cwellan, used in "Rhapsody" by Elizabeth Haydon. She used it as the name of an assassin's weapon and originally I thought it was a nice name to wrap my tongue around. But when I studied Anglo Saxon at university, I looked it up in the glossary and realised it is Cwellan is Old English for "To Kill". I now know the word for killing when even my friend, who is doing her PhD and was in that class, does not. Whenever I see an author of speculative fiction using Anglo Saxon or using words with an Anglo Saxon root word I get very excited because I can read original. I love Anglo Saxon, and I love it when my favourite authors use the words or the word structure. (Please comment or fave on that comment (click through this link!) to earn me points!)
My responses to comments:
  • I totally agree! I always get a great buzz when I see an author has done their research as well. It is awesome when they make up their own words and names for things, but I love it more when they are turned on by etymology like I am! :D
  • Haha I am fascinated by etymology! I love how ancient and mostly forgotten languages still saturate our own language, and with speculative fiction, their reach stretches even further and takes on new meanings. I do keep coming up with these... random little facts LOL Glad you appreciate it Bonnie! And yes, authors who have done their research or used their real world professions/studies to flesh out their stories are pretty impressive.
  • Yes, you pronounce the "cw" the same as you would "qu". So you would pronounce "cwellan" as quellan - the "cw" sound makes a similar shape in your mouth as if you were saying "quill" and the "a" is a short a, so the word rhymes with fellon :)
  • *snickers* she [Stephanie Meyer] didn't do much research into vampires either. Or the relationship between lions and lambs! She is also the perfect example of when an author should recycle a name, not create their own! Renesmee = Renee & Esme? ORLY?
    I shouldn't be a hater...
  • I totally agree about your gateway comment! It gets teens reading and when get into the swing of reading, they go searching for more books, and eventually they become like all other nerds and obsessed with speculative fiction LOL
    I have to admit that I had a Twilight fascination for a little while *blushes*. That was when I was getting into YA Paranormal thought. I always preferred The Host, which is Meyer’s take on science fiction. I've been reading spec for years (I was a fantasy fanatic!) though and I was reading a lot of paranormal romance and urban fantasy before I read Twilight. I think I was swept up by the fervour. I did meet one of my best online friends that way though – she was on a Twilight forum I had joined and forgotten about. I had a link in my sig, and she found my forum and we became friends there. So while I blush over admitting I was part of the craze for a few months, it did gain me a close friend! 
 Task 11: Fan Photoof me dressed as Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter. Please comment "like" so I can win. Do you like my outfit?

I will update you as I finish the tasks :) Don't forget to vote for me by commenting and liking my comment and photo on the Orbit wall here: & because I want to win all those books! Then I can start saving for my trip to Mexico and America instead of spending all my money on books! :D

Teaser Tuesday: Amageddon's Children by Terry Brooks

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers: 

A tisket, a tasket,
The world is in a casket.
Broken stones and dead men's bones,
All gathered in a basket.
Page 69 of Amageddon's Children by Terry Brooks

20 September 2010

Manic Monday: Amageddon's Children by Terry Brooks

Each Monday (or the closest I can get to Monday) I will be posting a Past/Present/Future Reading Post called Manic Monday. Don't hate me if I post it on a Tuesday - it just indicates how "manic" my Monday really was! If you want to see more of what I have been reading, I try and update my Goodreads account with each book I am reading.

What I just finished reading
Blameless by Gail Carriger
Stars: 4/5

Blurb from Goodreads:
Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

Why I picked it up: Because I liked the first two books in the series.
Why I finished it: Because I liked the first two books in the series. I didn't find Blameless as engaging as the first two books. It wasn't as tight or witty, and I only finished it to see what happens next, not for the pleasure of reading it. Truth be told, I got bored with it. I think the infant inconvenience will be an intersting feautre of the book, and I liked how Carringer meshed it into Etruscan mythology.
I'd give it to: Anyone who read the first two books and liked them.

What I am reading now
Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks

Blurb from Goodreads:
Logan Tom is doomed to remember the past and determined to rescue the future. Far behind him lies a boyhood cut violently short by his family's slaughter, when the forces of madness and hate swept our world after decadent excesses led to civilization's downfall. Somewhere ahead of him rests the only chance to beat back the minions of evil that are systematically killing and enslaving the last remnants of humanity. Navigating the scarred and poisoned landscape that once was America and guided by a powerful talisman, Logan has sworn an oath to seek out a remarkable being born of magic, possessed of untold abilities, and destined to lead the final fight against darkness." "Across the country, Angel Perez, herself a survivor of the malevolent death-dealing forces combing the land, has also been chosen for an uncanny mission in the name of her ruined world's salvation. From the devastated streets of Los Angeles, she will journey to find a place - and a people - shrouded in mystery, celebrated in legend, and vital to the cause of humankind...even as a relentless foe follows close behind, bent on her extermination. Meanwhile, in the nearly forsaken city of Seattle, a makeshift family of refugees has carved out a tenuous existence among the street gangs, mutants, and marauders fighting to stay alive against mounting odds - and something unspeakable that has come from the shadows in search of prey." In time, all their paths will cross. Their common purpose will draw them together. Their courage and convictions will be tested and their fates will be decided, as their singular crusade begins: to take back, or lose forever, the only world they have.

On a side note, I have been reading this as a back up book for a while, but only have been concentrating on it for a few days (in between other books LOL). I am really enjoying it's dystopian take on the future of America, and can't wait to see how the story unfolds! At the moment I am following street kids in the ruins of Seattle and finding it facinating!

What I am reading next
I am not sure. I am too broke to buy books, so I have just been digging around in my shelves for whatever takes my fancy next.

17 September 2010

BTT: Day and Night?

Booking Through Thursday asks:

“I couldn’t sleep a wink, so I just read and read, day and night … it was there I began to divide books into day books and night books,” she went on. “Really, there are books meant for daytime reading and books that can be read only at night.”
- ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera, p. 103.
Do you divide your books into day and night reads? How do you decide?

I go through periods of dividing my reading. I am definitely a poly-reader. I am always reading more than one book, and dividing my time - night, lunch, train, after work - it is the best way for me to cope with all the books I am reading. For a while I can convince myself to limit my reading before bed and designate books as night reading, but then I break my promise and start reading a fast paced book for the pure joy of it. My night books tend to be classics or more serious books, because those tend to be slow reads that I can stop at any time. I spend more time mulling over the words rather than being caught up in them. I have insomnia, so I have a lot of “quiet time” to fill, but if I am really into a book, I tend to read past the time that I get tired enough to sleep. I really don’t have a lot of discipline over my reading (I am an addict after all) and the only way I can control this is if I get books I can put aside when I get tired. As well as non-fiction, classics and “slow books” I also add autographed or expensive books to this list, because I don’t take those out of my room. At the moment my night reading is a Gail Carriger’s Changeless because I found a signed copy at Galaxy and I don’t want to ruin the cover by reading it on the train. If I do decided to split up my day vs night reading, I normally try to finish Wuthering Heights, but then I get a new book and I am too excited to put it down.  When I was trying to finish On The Road I did so by designating it as my lunch time read. I had all these other books I would have preferred to read, but it has always been one on my "must read in my lifetime" list. I had only 100 pages to go, so I banned all other books at lunch time until I had finished it.

15 September 2010

Review: The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

Warning: Contains spoilers

The Chrysalids is a dystopian science fiction published in 1955 by English author John Wyndham. I had previously enjoyed reading The Day of the Triffids, so I had some idea as to John Wyndham’s writing style and subject matter, and I wasn’t disappointed with this novel. This is less of a review, and more of a discussion on themes I found in this novel. I found it made me think a lot, and I needed to put it in words.

Although it was never stated in so many words, The Chrysalids appears to be set a dystopian future, many years after a nuclear apocalypse, where the remaining population is mutating and evolving. The foreword in the edition I read compared it to the Cambrian age. I find that quite an interesting comparison, and, I think, a credible one. During that period, everything was in flux. Organisms became more complex, and there was a lot of diversifications occurring within species. I am an archaeologist, not a palaeontologist, so I am not very good a describing this era of evolution (ask me about hominins!), but it is described as the Cambrian Explosion, because life was exploding, changing, evolving. And this is what is happening in The Chrysalids. A small population of humans still have a traditional human form. They hold onto this purity as the basis of their religion (a modified form of fundamentalist Christianity), and abhor all deviations of that “God-like” form. I guess the novel is about what makes us human. Not what makes us Homo sapiens sapiens, but what makes us inherently human. In The Chrysalids, any small imperfection is marked as a deviation from God and destroyed, and each occurrence of deviation in a household (crops, stock, children) requires penance. The objects are then ritually destroyed, or in the case of people, either exposed as babies or sterilised as adults and exiled to the Fringes. The catastrophe in the distant past that ended the time of the near-mythic Old Ones is named as The Tribulation, and while they appear to base their religion on parts of Christianity’s current Bible, they also have additional texts called the Repentances. They have a very puritan lifestyle and faith, and their government, in the far off capital city of Rigo, regulates what is seen as natural and pure. The government has officials which check newborns for mutations before they are classified as human, and pronounce if animals or plants are deviant or not. Mentioned in the book is a pair of large horses said to be 22 hands high, pronounced to have been specially bred that tall, although the locals are suspicious that they are mutants and the government allows for their existence because they are more efficient. The long arm of the government, and its control over what is seen as deviant and what is seen as natural is pervasive yet quite subtle. I've always found subtlety controlling governments more sinister than ones who are openly antagonistic to its civilians, because these tend to be the ones you trust instinctively if you haven't a questioning mind. These are the ones that uses their civilians to do their dirty work (informing on neighbours etc), and whose motives aren’t always apparent. This observation isn't really relevant to this review, but it does make me wish that this book had a sequel - especially when the supposed idyllic nation of Sealand is introduced to the story.
David Strom, the main character grows up in the most prominent family of the area, in a swathe of land slowly being reclaimed from the Fringes of the Badlands. His father is a preacher and a very pious man, who rules his family as he runs his farm – with strong devout faith and control. David is like any other ten year old boy. He runs wild, trying to get out of chores by hiding or playing in the scrub. There aren’t many children for him to play with, so he mostly entertains himself. He grows up learning the tenements of his faith by rote, never truly understanding what they mean. He has seen mutants from the Fringes before, but they were “monstrous” in their form. One day he makes friends with a girl he meets on one of his rambles, and they become friends. Only Sophie has six toes, not the mandatory five that would classify her as human. He keeps her secret when asked, not fully understanding from the outset why that should be so important. When he does start to realise, he continues to defend her. He doesn’t see her as a mutant, just his friend who happens to have extra toes. I believe that is the start of his eventual schism from society. He starts to ask questions, mostly to himself, sometimes to his worldly, sympathetic uncle. It is here that he starts to grow into himself and away from his father’s faith and convictions.

We find out that David has his own secret. He can talk to other children in the community telepathically. They all passed the test of physical purity as babies, but have evolved in a different sense. They live nestled within the bosom of their society, physically the same as other humans– but with an extra form of communication. David tells his uncle this when he is a boy, and his uncle urges him to keep it a secret, less he be marked a deviation. So they are a dark secret in a society that would hate them on principal of their differentness. When he is found out, David and his lover/half-cousin Rosalind take his younger sister Petra, and run for the Fringes hoping to escape their once-compatriots. As I read this, I kept drawing comparisons to the world and recent history from when John Wyndham lived in post-WWII Europe. Of non-Aryans changing their identities to hide from their neighbours and the authorities, being found out then either being captured and tortured, or running for their lives and trying to find new ways to exist. I don’t know if this is just part of the plot, or if I am over-analysing the novel, but I really found the book to be entrenched with that feeling of fear at discovery, yet a child’s bewilderment at people’s hatred for their differences. I think the fact that the narrator was a child nurtured that sense of bewilderment in ways that just wouldn’t hold true for an adult narrator. Forgive me if you feel I read too much into that theme of the novel.

Mark Salwowski's vision of The Crysalids

David dreams of a large city, of the sea, and of a land of flying ships – all things he has never seen, nor would be likely to know of. When he mentions those dreams he is advised not to talk about it because drawing attention to being different is a bad idea and because it isn’t a “real” place. I've always wondered – is he dreaming of the civilisation of the Old Ones? Or is he dreaming of Sealand? Sealand is far off island on the other side of the world (possibly a future New Zealand?) which has a society that is more developed than his own. His sister Petra is revered by the Selanders for her telepathic broadcasting, but I feel like David is just as far reaching with his talents that he is just as special. If you had read The Chrysalids as a child, you may see the Sealanders as rescuing them from their bigoted society and lawlessness and violence of the mutants, however I find the Sealanders as the most abhorrent and sinister society of all. They seem idyllic, peaceful and “civilised”, but there are currents under those still waters. I can see the agrarian society as scared religious fundamentalists, the mutants as trying to survive a harsh existence. The Sealanders have no excuse for their attitudes of bigotry and the innate feeling that they are more deserving of life, more worthy, more “human”. They have all this learning, this technology, are a peaceful people, but at the same time they look down on the mutants and agrarian society as beasts, as sub-human because they haven't evolved telepathically. It all comes back to the concept of “image of God” and what makes someone human that resounds in this novel. David, Rosalind and the other chrysalids have a different type of telepathy from Petra and the Selanders, and it is implied that they too aren’t truly worthy of saving. They are only taken to Sealand because of Petra, the girl, the talent that the Sealanders want. It is for these reasons I find that culture more sinister than the other two. It also makes me wish The Chrysalids had a sequel, because the book didn’t leave me with a happy ending, but one that was unfinished.

I am in two minds about The Chrysalids. On one hand, I loved reading it; on the other, I disliked the final direction the novel took. I am fascinated by what people see to be the future of Western Society, whether we will kill the earth through bombs (nuclear, electromagnetic, hydrogen etc), neglect, development and over population, or if humans go feral or become diseased/mutate. I guess the other options are that we continue the way we are, struggling with nature and each other, and without any climatic finale, or we learn to live at one with nature and each other. It is also quite interesting how these endings trend in fiction throughout the decades. I found that post-WII and the 80s/90s seem to have more post-nuclear stories than other decades. That is a gross generalisation, and I haven’t made a study of these trends, it is just what I've noticed from what I have read and seen on film. I gave The Chrysalids a rating of 4/5. It wasn’t the best science fiction I have ever read, but I really enjoyed the writing style, the story, and the way it made me think.

14 September 2010

Teaser Tuesday: On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers: 

Behind him charred ruins smoked. He rushed westward over the groaning and awful continent again, and soon he would arrive.
Page 244 of On The Road by Jack Kerouac

13 September 2010

Manic Monday: On The Road by Jack Kerouac -- Also thanks to my fairy godmother - I love you, whoever you are!

Each Monday (or the closest I can get to Monday) I will be posting a Past/Present/Future Reading Post called Manic Monday. Don't hate me if I post it on a Tuesday - it just indicates how "manic" my Monday really was! If you want to see more of what I have been reading, I try and update my Goodreads account with each book I am reading.

What I just finished reading
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
Stars: 4/5

Blurb from Goodreads:
The Chrysalids is set in the future after a devastating global nuclear war. David, the young hero of the novel, lives in a tight-knit community of religious and genetic fundamentalists, who exist in a state of constant alert for any deviation from what they perceive as the norm of God's creation, deviations broadly classified as 'offenses' and 'blasphemies.' Offenses consist of plants and animals that are in any way unusual, and these are publicly burned to the accompaniment of the singing of hymns. Blasphemies are human beings; ones who show any sign of abnormality, however trivial. They are banished from human society, cast out to live in the wild country where, as the authorities say, nothing is reliable and the devil does his work. David grows up surrounded by admonitions: KEEP PURE THE STOCK OF THE LORD; WATCH THOU FOR THE MUTANT. At first he hardly questions them, though he is shocked when his sternly pious father and rigidly compliant mother force his aunt to forsake her baby. It is a while before he realizes that he too is out of the ordinary, in possession of a power that could doom him to death or introduce him to a new, hitherto-unimagined world of freedom. The Chrysalids is a perfectly conceived and constructed work from the classic era of science fiction. It is a Voltairean philosophical tale that has as much resonance in our own day, when genetic and religious fundamentalism are both on the march, as when it was written during the Cold War.

Why I picked it up: It was part of my book club reading.
Why I finished it: As above. I also found it a very interesting take on a post-apocalyptic world.
I'd give it to: People who like science fiction of dystopian stories.

What I am reading now
On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Yes, still! It is my in between read these days. I'm nearly finished it, but I have no motivation to read it in one sitting.
Blurb from Goodreads:
On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac's writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture.

What I am reading next
I am not sure. My fairy godmother sent me a $30 gift voucher to Galaxy on Friday. It wasn't signed, so I have no idea who it was. Who ever it was, I hope you read this, because I want to say a big thank you! Now I just have to decide what to buy... I am thinking Kate Elliot's Cold Magic, or another book that is $30 - I normally don't buy a book that is more than $20 :) So thank you fairy godmother! I hope you are having a wonderful day!

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