Facebook 100 Books

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I’m sure you’ve seen the Facebook viral status that asks users to list the top ten books that influenced them. Facebook analyzed the data to compile 100 books that have stayed with us. And there has been a lot of media coverage since then. I thought this one about whether people compiled their lists honestly was interesting. But I loved Jenni Elyse’s idea to post the list and note which ones she has read. So, I’m jumping on her meme bandwagon and doing the same. (Formatting from this Entertainment Weekly article.)

I have read the books and series in red. I have read part of the books or series in blue. Enjoy!

  1. The Harry Potter series—J.K. Rowling (21.08%)
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee (14.48%)
  3. The Lord of the Rings—JRR Tolkien (13.86%)
  4. The Hobbit—JRR Tolkien (7.48%)
  5. Pride and Prejudice—Jane Austen (7.28%)
  6. The Holy Bible (7.21%)
  7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—Douglas Adams (5.97%)
  8. The Hunger Games trilogy—Suzanne Collins (5.82%)
  9. The Catcher in the Rye—J.D. Salinger (5.70%)
  10. The Chronicles of Narnia—C.S. Lewis (5.63%)
  11. The Great Gatsby—F. Scott Fitzgerald (5.61%)
  12. 1984—George Orwell (5.37%)
  13. Little Women—Louisa May Alcott (5.26%)
  14. Jane Eyre—Charlotte Bronte (5.23%)
  15. The Stand—Stephen King (5.11%)
  16. Gone with the Wind—Margaret Mitchell (4.95%)
  17. A Wrinkle in Time—Madeleine L’Engle (4.38%)
  18. The Handmaid’s Tale—Margaret Atwood (4.27%)
  19. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—C.S. Lewis (4.05%)
  20. The Alchemist—Paulo Coelho (4.01%)
  21. Anne of Green Gables—L.M. Montgomery (3.95%)
  22. The Giver—Lois Lowry (3.53%)
  23. The Kite Runner—Khaled Hosseini (3.67%)
  24. Ender’s Game—Orson Scott Card (3.53%)
  25. The Poisonwood Bible—Barbara Kingsolver (3.39%)
  26. Lord of the Flies—William Golding (3.38%)
  27. The Eye of the World—Robert Jordan (3.38%)
  28. The Book Thief—Markus Zusak (3.32%)
  29. Wuthering Heights—Emily Bronte (3.26%)
  30. Hamlet—William Shakespeare (3.22%)
  31. The Little Prince—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (3.21%)
  32. Sherlock Holmes—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (3.15%)
  33. Fahrenheit 451—Ray Bradbury (3.15%)
  34. Animal Farm—George Orwell (3.12%)
  35. The Book of Mormon (3.08%)
  36. The Diary of Anne Frank—Anne Frank (3.05%)
  37. Dune—Frank Herbert (3.02%)
  38. One Hundred Years of Solitude—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (2.98%)
  39. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (2.83%)
  40. Of Mice and Men—John Steinbeck (2.78%)
  41. The Giving Tree—Shel Silverstein (2.72%)
  42. The Fault in Our Stars—John Green (2.68%)
  43. On the Road—Jack Kerouac (2.68%)
  44. Lamb—Christopher Moore (2.58%)
  45. Slaughterhouse-Five—Kurt Vonnegut (2.54%)
  46. A Prayer for Owen Meany—John Irving (2.53%)
  47. Good Omens—Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (2.52%)
  48. The Help—Kathryn Stockett (2.45%)
  49. The Outsiders—S.E. Hinton (2.44%)
  50. American Gods—Neil Gaiman (2.42%)
  51. Where the Red Fern Grows—Wilson Rawls (2.41%)
  52. Stranger in a Strange Land—Robert Heinlein (2.39%)
  53. The Secret Garden—Frances Hodgson Burnett (2.38%)
  54. Little House on the Prairie—Laura Ingalls Wilder (2.35%)
  55. The Count of Monte Cristo—Alexandre Dumas (2.31%)
  56. The Pillars of the Earth—Ken Follett (2.31%)
  57. The Da Vinci Code—Dan Brown (2.29%)
  58. Brave New World—Aldous Huxley (2.24%)
  59. A Tale of Two Cities—Charles Dickens (2.21%)
  60. Les Miserables—Victor Hugo (2.21%)
  61. Great Expectations—Charles Dickens (2.16%)
  62. Night—Elie Wiesel (2.12%)
  63. The Dark Tower series—Stephen King (2.12%)
  64. Outlander—Diana Gabaldon (2.07%)
  65. The Color Purple—Alice Walker (1.92%)
  66. A Thousand Splendid Suns—Khaled Hosseini (1.89%)
  67. The Art of War—Sun Tzu (1.88%)
  68. Catch-22—Joseph Heller (1.85%)
  69. The Bell Jar—Sylvia Plath (1.85%)
  70. The Perks of Being a Wallflower—Stephen Chbosky (1.83%)
  71. The Old Man and the Sea—Ernest Hemingway (1.78%)
  72. Memoirs of a Geisha—Arthur Golden (1.76%)
  73. Tuesdays with Morrie—Mitch Albom (1.75%)
  74. The Road—Cormac McCarthy (1.73%)
  75. Watership Down—Richard Adams (1.72%)
  76. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn—Betty Smith (1.72%)
  77. Where the Sidewalk Ends—Shel Silverstein (1.68%)
  78. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—Stieg Larsson (1.65%)
  79. A Song of Ice and Fire—George R. R. Martin (1.65%)
  80. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret—Judy Blume (1.65%)
  81. Charlotte’s Web—E.B. White (1.64%)
  82. The Time Traveler’s Wife—Audrey Niffenegger (1.63%)
  83. Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy (1.62%)
  84. Crime and Punishment—Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1.62%)
  85. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—Mark Twain (1.61%)
  86. The Shack—William P. Young (1.58%)
  87. Watchmen—Alan Moore (1.56%)
  88. Interview with the Vampire—Anne Rice (1.55%)
  89. The Odyssey—Homer (1.54%)
  90. The House of the Spirits—Isabel Allende (1.54%)
  91. The Stranger—Albert Camus (1.63%)
  92. The Call of the Wild—Jack London (1.63%)
  93. The Five People You Meet in Heaven—Mitch Albom (1.63%)
  94. Siddhartha—Herman Hesse (1.63%)
  95. East of Eden—John Steinbeck (1.50%)
  96. Matilda—Roald Dahl (1.50%)
  97. The Picture of Dorian Gray—Oscar Wilde (1.49%)
  98. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—Robert Pirsig (1.47%)
  99. Love in the Time of Cholera—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1.45%)
  100. Where the Wild Things Are—Maurice Sendak (1.45%)

Total (red) = 55

What do you think about this list?

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2014 Booker Shortlist

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Today, the Man Booker Prize announced the 2014 shortlist, culled from the original longlist of 13 novels.

The Shortlist
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris (Viking)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent’s Tail)
J, Howard Jacobson (Jonathan Cape)
The Lives of Others, Neel Mukherjee (Chatto & Windus)
How to be Both, Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)

The Rest of the Longlist
The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt (Sceptre)
The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound)
The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Sceptre)
Us, David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Dog, Joseph O’Neill (Fourth Estate)
Orfeo, Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
History of the Rain, Niall Williams (Bloomsbury)

Two of the three women on the longlist moved forward, and I’m a little surprised that The Bone Clocks did not. Whoever wins will be a new-to-me author.

As I mentioned in the longlist post, this is the first year that novelists from countries other than those in the British Commonwealth have been eligible for the Man Booker Prize. Now to qualify a work must simply be written in English. The winner will be chosen from among the shortlisted titles and announced on October 14.

Have you read any of these? What do you think about the shortlist?


Review: The Children Act, by Ian McEwan

The Children Act

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. All content and opinions are my own.

I love Ian McEwan. Well, more accurately, I love his writing. He could write about almost anything, and I’d read it. But his newest book, The Children Act, seems to have been written for me. It’s about Fiona Maye, a judge. (I’m a lawyer.) She works in the family division. (I used to practice family law.) She plays the piano. (I play the piano.) Okay, you get the idea. Plus, the similarities end there.

When a court determines any question with respect to . . . the upbringing of a child . . . the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration.
–Section 1(a), The Children Act, 1989

Fiona and her husband Jack are nearing sixty and are at a turning point in their marriage. Fiona is forced to reevaluate everything, it seems, especially the decision not to have children and to focus instead on her (very successful) career. In the midst of this, she is called on to adjudicate the case of a seventeen year old boy who is refusing blood transfusions that might cure his leukemia on religious grounds. (In Britain, apparently, medical professionals can bring such a situation before the courts and argue that treatment should be ordered despite a child’s or his parent’s wishes.) Not a stranger to difficult and nuanced cases like these, Fiona would typically hear both sides and make a clear, calculated, and legally sound judgment. In the midst of the new fog surrounding her life, she makes an impulsive decision to visit the boy in the hospital prior to making her ruling.

I was fascinated by the accounts of Fiona’s previous cases and her judgments in those cases. The little legal dramas are told in such interesting and tightly woven ways that they cannot help but to fascinate. McEwan describes family law perfectly: “The Family Division teemed with strange differences, special pleading, intimate half-truths, exotic accusation.” I felt I was there, in the family division, in Fiona’s apartment, in her head.

Woven on top of the legal layer is the marital layer, the aging layer. Fiona and her husband are getting older: “[n]ot the full withering, not just yet, but its early promise was shining through.” This aging, both personally and maritally, is a hefty if background piece of this story. It is Fiona’s personal life that makes her professional life – and her choices throughout the book – all the more compelling.

[N]ow came another old theme: self-blame. She was selfish, crabbed, drily ambitious. Pursuing her own ends, pretending to herself that her career was not in essence self-gratification, denying an existence to two or three warm and talented individuals.

McEwan is a masterful storyteller and writer. The characters intrigue me every time. And here, again, I found that the descriptions, like this one, made me tingle with recognition and relish: “a silent young woman with heavy amber beads and a taste for the kind of stilettos that could wreck an old oak floor.” I thoroughly enjoyed this novella (it clocks in at around 55,000 pages). While others of McEwan’s works remain my favorites, The Children Act is a lovely addition to his oeuvre.

Blind luck, to arrive in the world with your properly formed parts in the right place, to be born to parents who were loving, not cruel, or to escape by geographical or social accident war or poverty. And therefore to find it so much easier to be virtuous.

The Children Act is available today. I know I’ll be snatching up a copy to add to my Ian McEwan shrine shelf.

My reviews of other books by Ian McEwan:

Amsterdam
First Love, Last Rites
On Chesil Beach

* I haven’t reviewed Atonement or Sweet Tooth, but I loved them both.


Coloring for Grownups

CAM

I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

I haven’t colored in years. That is until lately. I’ve been coloring up a storm thanks to a number of “grownup” coloring books. Apparently, adult coloring is all the rage in France – often as a form of therapy. The new coloring craze is even being honed for humor. Just Google “adult coloring” or “grownup coloring” and you’ll get a slew of fun results. Remembering childhood coloring fondly, I was eager to pull out my markers and colored pencils and give this craze a try.

Coloring Animal Mandalas, by Wendy Piersall, is one of the grownup coloring books I’ve checked out lately. It features amazingly detailed animal mandalas for coloring, as you might expect from the name. According to the infallible source, Wikipedia, “mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.” As you’ll see from the examples below, these illustrations are beautiful on their own and when colored in.

This lion is perhaps my favorite drawing in the book.

CAM Lion

This turtle is the first one I colored.

CAM Turtle 1

CAM Turtle 2

And this seahorse is the one I am currently working on.

CAM Seahorse

For me, at least, there is something very relaxing and enjoyable about the process of coloring in general and of coloring these animal pictures in particular. I love picking a color pallet, working on my shading skills, and knowing that I am creating something beautiful. There is no way to fail at these. If you’d like to try it out, you can download a few animal mandalas from Wendy Piersall’s children’s website as a test. I think you’ll like it.


R.I.P. IX

RIP IX

September 1, 2014 – October 31, 2014

Can it possibly be that time of year again? It is upon us: fall leaves, pumpkin patches, and the annual R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril challenge hosted (for the ninth time!) by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings.

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.

This is my sixth year participating in R.I.P. And I am excited to visit or revisit some of the following books:

  • The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
  • Dracula, by Bram Stoker
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
  • Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
  • Hansel & Gretel, by Neil Gaiman
  • The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern (reread)
  • And hopefully a little Edgar Allen Poe

Here are my previous R.I.P. lists: III, IV, V, VI, VII

I’ll hoping to get to two books this year, so I’m joining Peril the Second, with the possibility of joining the Peril of the Group Read for The Haunting of Hill House hosted by the Estella Society.

RIP IX Peril the Second

Are you R.I.P.ing this year? What books are you thinking about reading?

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