Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I'm going to take care of two pieces of business at one time in this entry. I was going to say "kill 2 birds with one stone", but it's such a hackneyed expression and I didn't want Bookfool traveling 6000 miles to beat the crap out of me for saying such a thing about birds.

(BTW, Bookfool, I found out what those huge black-and-white-with-blue-wings birds are all over campus. They're magpies, the national bird of Korea. Legend has it that if you hear them chattering, good news is on the way. Five or six magpies were making a racket right under my window yesterday morning, so my forthcoming news must be pretty damn good.)

I digress, big-time. As I was saying, I'm going to bake 2 cakes with one oven. Sycorax Pine is hosting an "Unread Authors" challenge, and I've decided to enter. By listing the books I intend to read for 6 months, beginning in September, you'll also have my confession about books/authors I haven't read yet. How's that for multi-tasking? Usually, I'm not this organized, so when it happens, I kind of scare myself. Anyway, enough of the chitchat; let me drive on into my confession:

1. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe FINISHED

2. Heart Of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

3. Catch-22 -Joseph Heller

4. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

5. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies

6. Atonement - Ian McEwan FINISHED
Lord Of The Flies - William Golding
Cousin Bette - Honore de Balzac

Don't let this list deceive you. There is so much more to confess to. It's a wonder Cameron University doesn't take back my B.A. in English.


BookClover said...

I love Robinson Crusoe but more than that I love Moll Flanders and Lady Roxana. I was amazed on how good Defoe could write and 'feel' like a woman...but I guess 9 children help learning psychology;-)


How did you escape Cameron University with your English degree and not read Heart of Darkness? The Shanahan's would be moritified to learn of their lapse.

You'll definitely enjoy Catch-22. Haven't read it in decades but I'm sure the absudity of war message will still resonate today like an earthquake.

Bybee said...

It sounds like he was a good observer. Nine kids!? Yikes. Breeder.

I knew you'd pick up on my Heart Of Darkness gap. If the English faculty only knew, they'd come and get my degree. Can't remember how I missed HOD -- had to read House Of Seven Gables twice, though -- once for Dr. Swope and once for Larry Shanahan. I've stalled twice on Catch-22, but I'll get 'er done!

jenclair said...

When I was about 10, my father gave me Robinson Crusoe for Christmas and gave my brother Black Beauty. I was furious and thought there must be some mistake--I was the one who should have received Black Beauty. He was right, however, Robinson Crusoe held me enthralled, and I've loved survivor stories ever since.

Love Heart of Darkness, not so much for an enjoyable read, but for a book that makes you think. Connections with Apocalpse Now, Dante's Inferno, and Eliot's The Hollow Men make H of D one of my favorites.

Great list!

Anonymous said...

Great list! I loved Heart of Darkness, but I confess that I, too, haven't read Catch-22. It's going on my list of alternates for the unread book challenge right now!

Dewey said...

We have magpies everywhere here!

And while I was a vegetarian (10 years but no longer) I learned that the no-killing-animals expression to replace that one is unofficially "feeding two birds with one thistle."

My university didn't let me escape with an English degree without reading Catch-22 FIVE TIMES. Somehow, every professor there needed to spend a couple weeks on the same book. It drove me nuts, even though I do love the book.

kookie said...

As for the McEwan, I'd say try 'Saturday'. I read it and it was okay. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

You would not want to hear my confessions. Yours don't seem so bad.

John Mutford said...

I was going to write a "confessional" list soon as well. Incidentally, two of yours are on my list (Heart of Darkness and Catch-22). Though my list will be crowned by To Kill A Mockingbird.

Sycorax Pine said...

I love your list, bybee, especially the inclusion of Robertson Davies, who should really go on my list too (this challenge may extend rather beyond the official six months for me :) ). I am ashamed to say that I have never read "Robinson Crusoe" either.

I have to say, I sort of love the confessional element of this challenge! Everyone has gaps in their reading, and (for me at least) there is something wonderfully cathartic about admitting publically to my most shamefully neglected books. Especially if I then go on to read them (fingers crossed).

Bookfool said...

If I travel 6000 miles, it'll be to get the hell out of here for a while. I am going stir crazy. I want out of Dodge!! Someone book me a flight, anywhere, before I lose it.

Warning . . . complete change of tone forthcoming . . .

Magpies are pretty, aren't they? I chased them around all week in Alaska, just trying to get close enough for one good photo (yep, I did finally get some - and that was last year, when I got to go on a nice vacation instead of sitting at home while my husband pranced all over the world without me).

Hey, where's Larry Brown on that list? You know I'm a Larry fan. I should tell you I haven't yet read Joe or, actually, any of his fiction. It's his nonfiction that I adore.

Bybee said...

I probably would've given BB to the daughter and RC to the son. Heart Of Darkness is short, but I guess it packs quite a punch.

Happy to be influential!

Hmm...Catch-22 came out in 1961 -- like so many great things -- so this must've been THE NOVEL when your profs were college-aged. That's about when my profs were undergrads. Five times, dang.

OK, I'll look for Saturday.
Of course I want to hear your confessions!

Your confessional list: Serve it up! We had to read To Kill A Mockingbird in 9th grade. The teacher told us at the beginning of the year that we would read it together as a class after Christmas, and not to read it beforehand. So what did I do? Right after school before catching the bus, I checked it out from the library.

Pour of Tor,
I'm glad I included Davies, as well. The only thing I hate about my list is that it's all guys, but I didn't realize it until later. Here's a shameful secret: I would love to read the Classics Illustrated version of RC.

It's pretty humid and hot here now as well, but you're welcome. Pablo's mother-in-law's kimchi is at newly intoxicating heights of fermentation, and ready to be sampled. Thanks for reminding me about Larry Brown. I wish I'd bought Joe when I saw it at What The Book?! Please recommend some nonfiction for me.

Anonymous said...

It seems a little silly to be making recommendations when I haven't read anything by McEwan, but from what I've gathered from others and looking at lists, Atonement is the one to read. Hence why it's near the top of my TBR.

Kathy said...

The Ian McEwan book I read was Atonement and I liked it. It's the only thing I've read by him though. I loved Heart of Darkness but when I taught it many years later all my students hated it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the horror! OTOH, I believe Heart of Darkness is impossible to read. At least I can't. I like Conrad too, but not HoD. I think it was the constant Apocalypse Now references that really did me in.

Bookfool said...

Nonfiction that Bookfool has read and loved by Larry Brown:

On Fire - stories from his time working as a volunteer firefighter

Billy Ray's Farm: Essays From a Place Called Tula - kind of a hodge-podge that really gives you a glimpse into the life of a genuine Mississippi huntin', fishin', goat-raisin', barn-buildin' redneck dude.

Honestly, his writing perfectly portrayed the typical Mississippi Guy, to me. I love what he kept saying when he tried to raise goats but the local foxes (I think that's right) kept picking them off. "They were just so damn cute."

I swear I can hear his voice when I read that.

Gentle Reader said...

This is a great list, and I'd have to recommend Atonement if you're going to read anything by Ian McEwan. I liked Saturday and On Chesil Beach, but Atonement is a much richer novel.

Anonymous said...

I have read many Ian McEwan novels but the best is undoubtedly Atonement.

I have read Catch 22 and Slaughterhouse 5 but not all of the others.

I am trying to read the top 100 English language books of the 20th century (see I adapted the list from others I found online. When I started I had read 25 of them, now I've read 35. that's still 65 to go!

lazy cow said...

My vote for the McEwan novel is either Atonement or Enduring Love. Heard Saturday isn't one of his best, but I'd like to read it anyway. Your gaps are nowhere near as large as mine (so to speak).

Bobby D. said...

Of these I have read Cousin Bette, Robinsone Crusoe, and Slaughterhouse Five. I really enjoyed them.

BookGal said...

I vote for Atonement was well. I tried reading Saturday and just couldn't get into it.

Eva said...

I loved Atonement, but I loved A Child in Time a smidgen more. :) I've also read The Innocent, which was set during WWII in a kind of spy environment; it was quite good as well. All depends on what kind of story you're in the mood for!

Jennifer said...

I have Catch 22 on my TBR shelf as well. I can't wait to read it..just need more hours in the day!