what misscurly read in 2010...

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Tags: 
  1. January

  2. Possession by A.S. Byatt
  3. Finished: Jan 5
  4. Opening Line: The book was thick and black and covered with dust.
  5. Rating: 2/5
  6. Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
  7. Finished: Jan 15
  8. Opening Line: Peter Gregory kicked the door of the dispersal hut closed behind him with the heel of his boot.
  9. Rating: 5/5
  10. February

  11. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  12. Finished: Feb 15
  13. Opening Line:Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow loveable.
  14. Rating: 3/5
  15. Dead Air by Iain Banks
  16. Rating: 1/5
  17. April

  18. Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
  19. Finsihed" April 11
  20. Opening Line:My name is Howard W Campbell, Jr.
  21. Rating: 2/5
  22. The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre
  23. Finished: April 26
  24. Opening Line:Halfway down the rue Vercingetorix a tall guy seized Mathieu by the arm; a policeman was patrolling the opposite pavement.
  25. Rating: 3/5
  26. May

  27. A Widow for One Year
  28. Finished: May 4
  29. Opening Line: One night when she was four and sleeping in the bottom bunk of her bunk bed, Ruth Cole woke to the sound of lovemaking-- it was coming from her parents' bedroom.
  30. Rating: 4/5
  31. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
  32. Finished: May 10
  33. Opening Line: You better not never tell nobody but God.
  34. Rating: 5/5
  35. Meridian by Alice Walker
  36. Finished: May 13
  37. Opening Line: Truman Held drove slowly into the small town of Chickokema as the two black men who worked at the station where he stopped for gas were breaking for lunch.
  38. Rating: 3/5
  39. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  40. Finished: May 24
  41. Rating: 3/5
  42. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  43. Finished: May 26
  44. Rating: 3/5
  45. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  46. Finished: May 31
  47. Rating: 2/5
  48. June

  49. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
  50. Finished: June 17
  51. Rating: 2/5
  52. July

  53. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  54. Finished: July 3
  55. Opening Line: The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry.
  56. Rating: 2/5
  57. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  58. Opening Line:Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.
  59. Finished: July 4
  60. Rating: 4/5
  61. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
  62. Opening Line:: Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse.
  63. Finished: July 24
  64. Rating: 5/5
  65. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  66. Opening Line: I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one.
  67. Finished: July 25
  68. Rating: 2/5
  69. The Mousewife by Rumer Godden
  70. Opening Line: Wherever there is an old house with wooden floors and beams and rafters and wooden stairs and wainscots and skirting boards and larders, there are mice.
  71. Finished: July 25
  72. Rating: 2/5
  73. Breakfast of Champiions by Kurt Vonnegut
  74. Opening Line:This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.
  75. Finished: July 26
  76. Rating: 2/5
  77. August

  78. Police and Thieves by Peter Plate
  79. Finsihed: August 1
  80. Rating: 1/5
  81. Such is My Beloved by Morley Callaghan
  82. Finished: August 1
  83. Rating: 1/5
  84. Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
  85. Finished: August 10
  86. Rating: 2/5
  87. War of the Worlds by H G Wells
  88. Finished: August 12
  89. Rating: 3/5
  90. Dancing Girls and other stories by Margaret Atwood
  91. Finished: August 19
  92. Rating: 2/5
  93. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  94. Finished: August 24
  95. Rating: 5/5
  96. Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach
  97. Opening Line: Here we go again, dear diary.
  98. Finished: August 31
  99. Rating: 2/5
  100. Winter

  101. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
  102. Rating: 1/5
  103. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
  104. Rating: 5/5
  105. Life Sucks by Jessica Abel & Gabriel Sora
  106. Rating: 1/5
  107. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  108. Rating: 2/5
  109. The Helmet of Horror by Victor Pelevin
  110. Rating: 4/5
  111. Hater by David Moody
  112. Rating: 2/5
  113. The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall
  114. Rating: 3/5
  115. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  116. Opening Line: I address these lines--written in India-- to my relatives in England.
  117. Finished: Dec 21
  118. Rating: 3/5
  119. The Invisible Man by HG Wells
  120. Opening Line:The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking from Bramblehurst railway station and carring a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.
  121. Finished: Dec 23
  122. Rating:3/5
  123. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  124. Finished: Dec 30
  125. Opening Line:I am living at the Villa Borghese.
  126. Rating: 1/5
Author Comments: 

Apologies for not keeping detailed records of my reading through the fall and winter. I've had very little time even for reading.
* I hate it, don't even bother looking at it
** I don't like it, but I might reccomend it to the right person
*** It was OK, but I won't ever read it again
**** I liked it, I would read it again
***** I loved it, I will buy it for sure

Every time I read something, I ask myself, "is this a good book?" and then "is this the best of this type of book I've read?". If it is a good book, and one of the best of its type, then I buy it to reread. If it's a poorly written book, but one of the best I've read, then I've found a gap to fill in my reading.

Jekyl and Hyde wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be longer. This seems almost incomplete, as if there are details missing. Why such a long description of Mr. Utterson, who seems like a character in the sidelines, and almost nothing about Dr. Jekyl? Although Mr. Utterson is the person who is narrating the story, he doesn't really seem to matter. He was friends with the doctor at school, and that is the only reason he is involved at all. What were these strange tendencies of the Dr. that were evident as a child? What were the bad things that Mr. Hyde did? I don't mind the questions, but it seems like key points might have been left out, that could enrich the story. I see this as a poor substitute for the Portait of Dorian Grey.

All I got out of Dead Air was a lot of blatant drug abuse and adultery. And he's full of pretentious "scholarly" opinions. Who wants to read about such a jerk?

A Widow for one year

Some fairly explicit parts. I thought it made the story sound more real (real people have sex) and wasn't offended, but I could understand why some people might be. I also thought that poor Eddie's character was really being pushed beyond when he continued to lust after elderly women. I understand lusting after his first love, but not all these other women. The explanation was poor for that.

Meridian

Worst opening line ever. Most of the interest for me was trying to decide which disease was afflicting the title character. MS? CF? Exhaustion & dehydration? I didn't think much of the rest of the story, possibly because I just finished reading The Colour Purple, which is basically a better version of the same story.

Snow Falling on Cedars

Either I've read it before, or it has that haunting sense of deja vu, which is sort of irritating. Poor Ishmael was less intriguing than his namesake, and I didn't really care whether he would or wouldn't come forward with his evidence. I just wanted him to make up his mind, already.

Jude

Certainly obscure. Victorian novels are much harder to follow, with all their flowerly language and nuances, and social customs. I find it difficult to keep reminding myself that the characters are in a much more stringent time period than the present. It takes away from the story. I did like how this was a sort of star-cross'd lovers gone bad story; as if Shakespeare was a fantasy and this is what really happened to Romeo and his Juliet.
Tom really railed against marriage! Not something a newlywed would enjoy reading. And I know that it's foolish for a reader to see a novel as autobiographical, but I couldn't help wondering if the old widow was Mr. Hardy, or perhaps someone he knew. She seemed to act outside of the social morays, and often had poignant and almost omniscient insight.

Police and Thieves

Not really a story that can stand on its own. A part of a series, but having read this part I can't say I'm interested in the rest.

Such is my Beloved

Too Catholic, too ridden with guilt. Too 1930s so it was hard to understand what was actually happen. Such as, what was wrong with Midge? Some sort of mysterious "woman trouble" that was killing her. Somehow. And somehow related to her streetwalking. Maybe she was dying of guilt for her sins (insert eye rolling).

Black and Blue

Very much an "Oprah" book.

Ecotopia

I found the "articles" to be too long and technical. No paper would publish something like that, not even a scholastic journal. The diary entries were interesting, and halfway through reading I found myself rushing the articles so I could read what was actually happening. If it was well-written, I would have savoured each part.

The layout of the eco society was too fantastical to be believeable, taking the green movement to the ridiculous end of the spectrum. Many of the points were belaboured to the point of becoming ridiculous. A group of people does not secede from their country, and then alter the very way that people react with one another. It's just too much to fathom, especially in the short time span. I think a utopia does not appear ridiculous, but simply takes current ideas and takes them one step farther. The practices described here are taken too many steps farther. And everything hinges on the mysterious scientific advances, which were never properly explained. It's like magic; you start living a purely green life, and all these scientific breakthroughs suddenly fall into your lap.

A good idea, poorly executed, without the real-world basis to create the eerily surrealism that is necessary for an impactful utopian story.

Master and Margarita

The devil doesn't really seem so bad. All he did was cause a little mischeif, make a few people go crazy (evidently, reversible), and then leave. Is this somehow based on Faust?

Ecotopia
Relatively terrible. The author was so focused on conveying the peace, love and recycle vibe, that he forgot about the plot.

Otranto
Part of my course work, used as a baseline for the gothic tradition of literature. Very short, so it's worth reading if only because it's short and it gives a good starting place to understand the development of gothic conventions. Otherwise, fairly predictable and certainly not creepy.

Wasp Factory
Part of some course work readings. Very enjoyable! I feel I know the book intimately, having written two papers on its themes, and yet I still have things to think about. Unique, deep, thought-provoking, creepy.

Life Sucks
Part of my course work. My first graphic novel. It was cute, and reminds the reader how horror is really commentary on the social condition. In this story, the reader is encouraged to empathize with the monster, and the monster seems like a normal person with weaknesses like us. A modern commentary to the gothic tradition.

Hound of the Baskervilles
Loved it! The language was irritating at times, but well written to draw the reader in and keep them involved in the story without giving away too many hints.

Helmet of Horror
A quick and easy read, with a touch of social commentary on isolation and internet use. I liked the interweaving and allusions between an ancient myth (the minotaur and the labyrinth) with modern technology. Gets a little existential (or some sort of philosophical term) at the end.

hater
A quick read. Sort of like the current zombie movie trend, putting the protagonist and reader right at ground zero of a weird disease pandemic. I would have appreciated more medical/science stuff to support the plot. And I did not appreciate the cliche allusions to the holocaust, which was thrown in for shock value and seemed disrespectful. Apparently there is a sequel, which I won't be reading.

Electric Michelangelo
Not bad. Quite long, and a very complicated story with many layers and elements.

Moonstone
A less high-brow version of Sherlock. Fun to read, with unexpected plot twists.

Invisible Man

First of all, WORST opening line I've ever read! But the story was pretty good. Mr Wells was an undeniably creative writer, and his ideas are always fantastic and thought provoking. He used some rich description of made-up scientific processes, and made them sound entirely plausible. The execution of those ideas is a little lacking. My biggest complaint was the quick wrap-up after the climax. I don't appreciate loose ends being tidied up, either. I did like the way he unfolded the story, starting in the middle, and then having the villain re-tell his tale from the start. And the language is very subtle, so if you don't read very carefully you miss something implied or alluded to. I find that's true of most novels from this era. I found myself wavering between lukewarm annoyance and slight empathy for the villain. I think that if it were written to inspire more passionate feelings one way or the other, it would be more appreciated today.

I also read The Invisible Man this year, while I like the ideas, I didn't enter in the story and especially didn't connect to the main character.

I mean, the guy is suppose to be a genius, he makes himself invisible, why is not so smart? Why he's so dependant to other people? Why didn't take the first boat to a warmer country in the FIRST place (so he didn't have to wear clothes)? Argggg! God this guy was stupid!

So true! He should have thought it through before just going ahead and making himself invisible. One of the common fears of society at the time was a distrust of science. The stupid genius in the story reads like a reinforcement of that fear, in that the process he underwent has changed him into a monster who uses his logic to hurt people. Or possible that the process dehumanized him and took away his common sense.
But I still wonder why he didn't make himself some invisible clothing and shoes.

Tropic of Cancer

Stream of consciousness writing about how beautiful Paris is for a poor artist, who really likes to have sex and get drunk. I didn't find it especially interesting. And what is up with the entire lack of medical treatment for their various STIs? Douches don't treat chlamidya, silly!