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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
frankie

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die - challenge

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Welcome to the forum EmmaWhite! :)  I hope you will have fun with the challenge! Have you counted how many books you've read so far off the list? 

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I've got '1001 books...' and I tend to see what frame of mind I'm in and read accordingly.  I order them from the library or buy them secondhand but I know for a fact that age will catch up with me.  I've read a very small fraction of them which is a very small consolation but, as someone who lines the walls with books, I know I'll never read half of what I've already got let alone titles that I don't own.  A glorious reading mess and I love it.

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Looking forward to reading some of these books. I can see I’ve got a lot of catching up to do as I’ve only read about 100 on the list.

 

Surprised not to see Homer’s The Odyssey, Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso or Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin on the list.

 

 

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According to my notes I am now up to 64. Still a long way off completing this before I die :D

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I've read 23, as follows:

 

797. The Time Machine – H.G. Wells

790. The War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells

650. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

610. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

599. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

547. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

539. I, Robot – Isaac Asimov

526. Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

521. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

494. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

481. The Midwich Cuckoos – John Wyndham

467. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

451. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

430. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John Le Carré

396. Chocky – John Wyndham

390. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

389. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke

375. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

301. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

227. Watchmen – Alan Moore & David Gibbons

207. The Player of Games – Iain M. Banks

78. Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami

64. After the Quake – Haruki Murakami

 

Got a lot more of them on the shelf!

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My list from early 2011. I've only managed to add 6 since then (the ones in blue)

* are ones I particularly enjoyed.

61 in total.

 

1800s

940. Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen *

938. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen *

937. Mansfield Park Jane Austen *

936. Emma Jane Austen *

922. The Hunchback of Notre Dame Victor Hugo *

906. The Count of Monte-Cristo Alexandre Dumas

905. Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray *

904. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë

902. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë

892. Cranford Elizabeth Gaskell *

887. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell

879. The Mill on the Floss George Eliot

873. Les Misérables Victor Hugo

872. The Water-Babies Charles Kingsley

863. Little Women Louisa May Alcott

859. Phineas Finn Anthony Trollope

846. Far from the Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy

794. Dracula Bram Stoker

1900s

772. Where Angels Fear to Tread E.M. Forster

769. The Forsyte Sage John Galsworthy *

761. A Room With a View E.M. Forster *

754. Howards End E.M. Forster *

708. A Passage to India E.M. Forster *

699. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald *

695. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Agatha Christie *

650. Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons *

649. Brave New World Aldous Huxley

642. Murder Must Advertise Dorothy L. Sayers *

639. Thank You, Jeeves P.G. Wodehouse *

632. The Nine Tailors Dorothy L. Sayers *

619. Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell *

614. Out of Africa Isak Dineson (Karen Blixen) *

610. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien *

608. Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck *

603. Rebecca Daphne du Maurier *

601. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Winifred Watson

592. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck *

566. The Pursuit Of Love - Nancy Mitford *

564. Animal Farm George Orwell

563. Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh *

552. Cry, the Beloved Country Alan Paton *

547. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell

542. Love in a Cold Climate Nancy Mitford *

526. Day of the Triffids John Wyndham *

510. The Go-Between L.P. Hartley *

508. Lord of the Flies William Golding

486. Doctor Zhivago Boris Pasternak *

477. The Once and Future King T.H. White

470. A Town Like Alice Nevil Shute *

467. Breakfast at Tiffany’s Truman Capote

459. Cider With Rosie Laurie Lee *

456. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee *

436. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey *

408. In Cold Blood Truman Capote *

303. The World According to Garp John Irving *

272. The Color Purple Alice Walker *

190. Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro

156. The English Patient Michael Ondaatje *

116. The Reader Bernhard Schlink *

2000s

42. Atonement Ian McEwan

19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon *

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The publishers have brought out a new edition.  It's really just an update, adding 10 books published since the last edition, and commensurately removing 10 earlier ones.

 

It's a bit of an odd list to me, not least because one of the books isn't fiction, being Helen Macdonald's memoir, H is for Hawk.  I can't imagine why they've included it, much as it's a decent book, and think they've simply made a mistake, although they have previously included Jung Chan's Wild Swans, a family history. To a lesser extent, as this is just a matter of judgement, I'm also flummoxed by the selection of The Circle, which was on my short list for Duffer of the Year last year, and I found pretty awful both as a book and as a piece of writing.  Winter looks to be a straight swap for the author's earlier book, There But For The.

 

However, I'm probably not the best person to comment, as few of the books listed for the last 30-40 years hold much attraction for me, although I've got both the Adichie and the Tartt on my to read list. The editors obviously think very differently about to the judging panels of the major literary prizes: from the six-year period since the last edition, not a single Man-Booker winner, just one Bailey's Women's Prize winner (McBride), and just one Pulitzer winner (Tartt), although, of course, Macdonald won the Samuel Johnson for Non-Fiction!  

 

The full ten new books are:

H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.

Winter by Ali Smith

10:04 by Ben Lerner

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

 

The books removed from the list are:

There But For The by Ali Smith

The Children's Book by AS Byatt

Kieran Smith, boy by James Kelman

The Blind Side of the Heart by Julia Franck

Your Face Tomorrow by Javier Marias

The Successor by Ismail Kadare

Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas

Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutierrez

The Life of Insects by Victor Pelevin

Forever a Stranger by Helle Haase

 

Edited by willoyd

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On ‎15‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 10:55 PM, willoyd said:

The publishers have brought out a new edition.  It's really just an update, adding 10 books published since the last edition, and commensurately removing 10 earlier ones.

 

It's a bit of an odd list to me, not least because one of the books isn't fiction, being Helen Macdonald's memoir, H is for Hawk.  I can't imagine why they've included it, much as it's a decent book, and think they've simply made a mistake, although they have previously included Jung Chan's Wild Swans, a family history...

 

To my mind, this is just a big list of books, and nothing more.

 

The Murakami books listed - for example - are good, but they are not his best (in my opinion) and as much as I like John Wyndham, Chocky shouldn't be anywhere near the list (The Chrysalids is a much better, more thought provoking story, should another Wyndham book be required after Triffids and Midwich - and given he already has two books on the list how about featuring someone else?).

 

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14 hours ago, Raven said:

 

To my mind, this is just a big list of books, and nothing more.

 

It is, of course, meant to be more focused than that, but I do think the editor(s) have lost sight of that focus. It's effectively promoted as a list of novels, but it isn't, with too many non-fiction books included, whilst there are not enough to make it a genuine attempt at a list covering both fiction and non-fiction.  There's a whole fistful of books that simply shouldn't be on the list, by definition.

 

Quote

The Murakami books listed - for example - are good, but they are not his best (in my opinion) and as much as I like John Wyndham, Chocky shouldn't be anywhere near the list...

 

 

I agree that they often don't list an author's best book(s).  It's interesting to compare this list with Robert McCrum's tighter list of 100 Best Novels in English (which in itself is, as they all are, controversial), where he limits himself to one book per author, and where one will often find that the book he rates isn't in the Boxall list, whilst others from the same author are. 

 

On the specifics, though, Chocky isn't actually on the current list, it only appearing in the first, 2006, edition.  I do agree, though, that Chrysalids would have been a better choice then.

 

I have to say that I'm a complete sucker for book lists, but this one has started to irritate me of late as I've gone into it a bit more.  The latest additions haven't helped: I've read two of them, one of which isn't a novel, and the other is one of the worst I've read in recent years (The Circle).  Not an inspiring start!

 

 

Edited by willoyd

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On 11/16/2018 at 11:09 PM, Raven said:

 

To my mind, this is just a big list of books, and nothing more.

 

I agree with this.

 

After a certain number, a list (for me) just loses its' significance. I'd rather have a list of 'Top Five Books' (with the writers' reasons why) rather than a ream of bullet points that go on and on and on. 

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I don`t think that its the great examples. The best books I have ever read are :

  1. A Short history of nearly everything - Bill Brayson :- One of my absolute favourite books by Bill Brayson. This book is what every textbook wants to be when it grows up. Jam packed with facts and stories written with his typical dry humour , the illustrated hard cover version of this book is a must read for everyone.
  2. Reality is broken - Jane McGonial : Why play computer games ? How playing games is not a waste of time as many see it to be but can be therapeutic and enhance productivity and creativity in all of us.If you are a gamer ,read this one. If you are not , read it to see what turns us gamers on and what you are missing out on.;)
  3. Freakonomics - Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner : Can economics be interesting?? Really??! Here is a book exploring the sex appeal,if you will of economics. Below is an excerpt from their web page, talking more about the book. “ Which is more dangerous , a gun or a swimming pool? What do school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?’ These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven Levitt is not a typical economists. He studies the riddle of everyday life.. from cheating and crime to sports and childrearing …and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.
  4. Indian super foods - Rujuta Divekar : Forget all that Firang food you find difficult to even pronounce, let alone eat! Our grandmothers were right all along. Rujuta writes with a sarcasm that I totally enjoy.She gets her point across brilliantly. Ghee is REALLY good for you by the way.Read and find out why.

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No E.T.A. Hoffmann on the list? He's one of my favorite classic authors of all time. I read everything I could find by him, he's a perfect example of Romanticism and Magic Realism. Stories from "The Serapion Brothers" are amazing. "Der goldne Topf", "Klein Zaches, genannt Zinnober", "Meister Floh" are genuine XIX-century psychedelia. Hoffmann embodies phantasmagoria in its core. I think his books can be easily found in English.

Another name that may sound rare is Gustav Meyrink (my devotion is seen in my name). He was more than just a writer, he was a magician able to dive into the deepest secrets beyond the usual reality. His books are full of mystic horror, esoteric visions, ancient philosophies; his fantasies are tightly connected with Prague where he lived and created most of his best works. For the beginning, I recommend that you discover his short stories. If you like reading something like that, the next level will be his novels. The Angel of the West Window, The Green Face, The Golem, The White Dominican... 

 

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On 17/01/2019 at 2:13 PM, Talya said:

I don`t think that its the great examples. The best books I have ever read are .....

 

 

All of these are non-fiction books, and therefore, at least theoretically, not eligible for this list.  Freakonomics does appear in James Mustich's 1000 Books To Read Before You Die, whilst Bryson is cited for his book A Walk in the Woods, but that book includes non-fiction (and, for me, as I've said, is a more interesting list).

 

On 17/01/2019 at 2:13 PM, Talya said:

If you are not , read it to see what turns us gamers on and what you are missing out on.;)

 

Each to their own!  Personally, having tried computer gaming, I found it thoroughly addictive and distinctly the opposite of life enhancing.  I now prefer engaging with aspects of the real world, but then others think I'm geeky about reading, wildlife, birding, and the outdoors too!  Of course, one could say that reading fiction is anything but engaging with the real world!

Edited by willoyd

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