Murder on the Orient Express Review

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie was fabulous and fun. I must say it was a quick read but well written and thought out book. I am proud to say that I had a good idea of how the murder happened, but I wish I was more bold in my guessing. As always Christie's characters were full of secrets but were visible to the trained eye.

War of the Worlds Review

War of the Worlds by HG Wells was not as exciting as I had hoped. The whole story was written to show that aliens would die on our planet if not prepared for our bacteria and environment. It irritated me that HG Wells made the aliens so stupid. They only land in one tiny spot in England and are randomly killing humans. I wish that Wells placed the reader in the minds of the aliens so we would know their point of view. The main character was quite boring as well. Granted, I am sure I would end up doing the same things as he did, but it was irksome to follow a useless character. I simply did not enjoy this book at all.

Suggested Reading from Reading Lolita in Tehran

At the end of Reading Lolita in Tehran, there is a list (yea!) of suggested reading. As always, I read the italicized books.

    Baghdad Diaries by Nuha al-Radi
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
    Emma, Mansfield Park, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    The Dean's December and More Die of Heartbreak by Saul Bellow
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad
    Shamela and Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
    The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
    The Ambassadors, Daisy Miller, and Washington Square by Henry James
    In the Penal Colony and The Trial by Franz Kafka
    The Confidence Man by Herman Melville
    Lolita, Invitation to a Beheading, and Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
    The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
    My Uncle Napoleon by Iraj Pezeshkzad
    The Language Police by Diane Ravitch
    The Net of Dreams by Julie Salamon
    Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
    A Thousand and One Nights by Scheherazade
    The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald
    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
    The Engineer of Human Souls by Josef Skvorecky
    Loitering with Intent and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
    Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo
    Address Unknown by Katherine Kressman Taylor
    A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Back When We Were Grownups and St. Maybe by Anne Tyler
    Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa


He is a hero because he refuses to become like all the rest.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


A novel is not an allegory, I said as the period was about to come to an end. It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don't enter the world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won't be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience. So start breathing.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


"Whoever fights monsters," Nietzsche had said, "should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


Upsilamba become part of our increasing repository of coded words and expressions, a repository that grew over time until gradually we had created a secret language of our own. That word became a symbol, a sign of that vague sense of joy, the tingle in the spine Nabokov expected his reader to feel in the art of reading fiction; it was a sensation that separated the good readers, as he called them, from the ordinary ones. It also became the code word that opened the secret cave of remembrance.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


I wrote on the board one of my favorite lines from the German thinker Theodor Adorno: "The highest form of morality is not to feel at home in one's own home." I explained that most great works of the imagination were meant to make you feel like a stranger in your own home. The best fiction always forced us to question what we took for granted. It questioned traditions and expectations when they seemed too immutable.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


A good novel is one that shows the complexity of individuals, and creates enough space for all these characters to have a voice; in this way a novel is called democratic -- not that it advocates democracy but that by nature it is so. Empathy lies at the heart of Gatsby, like so many other great novels -- the biggest sin is to be blind to others' problems and pains. Not seeing them means denying their existence.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


Reality has become so intolerable, she said, so bleak, that all I can paint now are the colors of my dreams.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Fairy Tale

Every fairytale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense the fairytale offers you freedoms that reality denies. In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present there is an affirmation of the life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance. This affirmation lies in the way the author takes control of reality by retelling it in his own way, thus creating a new world. Every great work of art, I would declare pompously, is a celebration, an act of insubordination against the betrayals, horrors and infidelities of life. The perfection and beauty of form rebels against the ugliness and shabbiness of the subject matter. This is why we love Madame Bovary and cry for Emma, why we greedily read Lolita as our heart breaks for its small, vulgar, poetic and defiant orphaned heroine.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi

Reading Lolita in Tehran Review

I loved Reading Lolita in Tehran. It was beautifully written. I could really imagine the characters and land. I loved the way she mixed her history, Tehran's history, and literary analysis together. I felt I learned so much about Tehran and various authors all at the same time.

Girl with the Pearl Earring Interpretations

The reviews of Tracy Chevalier's Girl with the Pearl Earring were very interesting. Most wrote that they enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the town and the ongoings of the house. I wholeheartedly agree; I really enjoyed the descriptions I could really see what was happening at almost every moment. The one thing with which I did disagree was in regards to the ending. Many reviewers like the "twist" ending; I feel this wasn't a twist in any sort of way. I feel it did not really add anything to the story and did not seem to be in the character of the painter. It seemed all rather sentimental hogwash for no real reason. In fact, I cannot believe the reviewers seemed to ignore the fact that this is a story about a woman who has the possibility to do great things but settles completely and full.

Girl with the Pearl Earring Review

I just finished Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. I can understand why the movie based on this book was so bad. The story is interesting enough but would not translate well to the big screen. The majority of the story happens in the mind of the heroine Griet. The plot was interesting enough but on the whole it was bland and used stereotypical plot devices. Girl and mother detest Griet (a maid) and make life difficult for her with very little explanation as to why. The fighting causes the story/plot to move forward but there is no way a resolution can truly occur because there is no reason for a conversation about why the two women hate Griet. The ending seemed forced.(Next is a bunch of spoilers.) The ending like the entire book was Griet settling. She never opened up and felt happy. She didn't even like being painted. She lived her entire life being unhappy in a bland written book.

Dry Interpretations

The reviews of Dry by Augusten Burroughs are a mixed bag. Half enjoy the book and the other half feel uncomfortable reading it. They felt Burroughs should have read a funnier book about alcoholism. Honestly, I feel the tone and story were fitting considering the subject matter of Running with Scissors. Did these reviewers honestly think that Burroughs was going to have a funny early adulthood? Did they think Burroughs was honestly happy as a child? I will admit that the book tied up too nicely but I still enjoyed it.


"I'm sweet and weird and handsome. And I don't see you banging down my door."

"I know. But you don't have enough psychological problems for me. I need somebody with more damage."

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Ford Pintos

What I really want is to sit next to someone under an LL Bean blanket on the beach in the fall and drink coffee from the same mug. I don't want some rusty '73 Ford Pinto with a factory-defective gas tank that causes it to explode when it's rear-ended in the parking lot of the supermarket. So why do I keep looking for Pintos?

Dry by Augusten Burroughs


I don't think I have ever had such a close friend in my life, made instantly like Tang.

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Dry Review

In under 24 hours I finished reading Dry by Augusten Burroughs. I enjoyed this book a lot more than Running with Scissors. I felt it had much more of an arc and a satisfying ending. However, I felt that Burroughs hid a lot of his feelings from his readers. He made the sobriety seem so easy. He made dealing with his past so easy. I simply do not believe it. Every once and a while he would express his true feelings but most of the time he just talked about having a crush on Foster. I feel like I missed out on finding out who Burroughs really is.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Interpretations

All the reviews of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time are in consensus. They all love the book. They found it a fascinating tale especially since it was told through the eyes of a body with Asperger's Syndrome. Apparently, Haddon used to work with people with Asperger's and that is where his knowledge comes from. This made me feel better about the portrayal of Christopher. There really isn't much to say since everyone loved the book. Oh, Haddon primarily write children's book, so it was weird for the publisher to market it for both kids and adults, but it worked out well for the publisher.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Review

I just read a delightful short read entitled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It was a mystery novel of sorts told through the eyes of an autistic teenage. I loved the fact that the chapters were not sequential in the normal way (1, 2, 3) but sequential prime numbers. I also enjoyed the random math exercises he would insert in between his investigative talks with the neighbors. The one big disappointment is how neatly the story wraps up. (The next part in my journal is full of spoilers so I am leaving some stuff out.) Also, I do not know much about autism, but I must wonder how accurate Haddon's portrayal of Christopher is. There were times that I just did not feel comfortable with how Christopher was acting and how a real autistic teen would act. The book was a nice break from the other books I have been reading, so I was thankful for the quick read. I guess I just want a quick read with some substance.

The Country of the Pointed Firs Interpretations

Not much seems to be written on Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs. All the reviewers praise the pretty and relaxing language. One reviewer mentioned that the stories used to be read over the radio. It would be nice to listen to the stories aloud.

Beautiful Dreams

Don't it show that for folks that have any fancy in 'em, such beautiful dreams is the real part o'life? But to most folks the common things that happens outside 'em is all in all.

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett

The Country of the Pointed Firs Review

It seemed perfect to finish Sarah Orne Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs at the same time as Dreaming in Cuban, because very little happens in either book, especially in this book. Nothing happens, Jewett spends the entire book talking about what happens in a small Maine seaport. It was a very relaxing book to read before bed, but it was very dissatisfying to finish, because there was no real conclusion. I felt the book could have kept going on forever, there was no real climax. Also, Williams' wedding at the end seemed very tacked on. It was very frustrating to meet all these interesting characters but have them go nowhere; we just met them for one conversation.

Dreaming in Cuban Interpretations

Most reviews of Dreaming in Cuban agree with my own ideas. The book was neat in that Cristina Garcia mixes letters and narration together and goes back and forth in time. One reviewer particularly disliked this format but everyone else thought it was fabulous and innovative.


Solitude, Celia realizes now, exists for us not to remember but to forget.

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia


Lourdes rides her new Sears exercise bicycle until sparks fly from the wheels. She tacks up a full color road map of the United States in her bedroom and charts her mileage daily with a green felt marker.

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia


"Imagination, like memory, can transform lies to truths," Felicia whispers in her son's ear. Nobody else teaches him that.

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia


Luz says that families are essentially political and that he'll have to choose sides.

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia


May 11, 1945


The familiar is insistent and deadly. I study the waves and keep time on my wicker swing. If I was born to live on an island, then I'm grateful for one thing that the tides rearrange the borders. At least I have the illusion of change, of possibility. To be locked within boundaries plotted by priests and politicians would be the only thing more intolerable.

Don't you see how they're carving up the world, Gustavo? How they're stealing our geography? Our fates? The arbitrary is no longer in our hands. To survive is an act of hope.


Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

Dreaming in Cuban Review

I finished reading Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia yesterday. The first thing I thought of when I read it was that it was exactly the same as Monkey Hunting for my college class. It was the same story format with the intergenerational narratives. It saddens me to know this is a "form" for her writing. I did enjoy reading the book and hearing the characters' distinct voices. It was a nice short story and I am glad that I can say I read it, since it is Christina Garcia's more famous books. I think she painted a beautiful portrait of a family but I wish she would have gone into more details like if Celia's husband felt guilty about being cruel to her during their early days of marriage and how their relationship developed after that. I also want to know more about Felicia's husbands and her children, especially her twins. I wonder if this writing format was novel when she first used it in Dreaming in Cuban.

Running with Scissors Interpretations

The reviews of Burrough's Running with Scissors are very interesting for two reasons. First, many of them make comments about points in the book but are completely inaccurate. They refer to one man having an incestual relationship, but he was just having sex with a girl for whom he was her guardian, he was not her blood relative (not that this is an ethical thing to do). Second, like me, most reviewers did not know really what to say about the book. Some wrote it got slow at points, but most just said the book is really funny and sad all at the same time. A few wrote that this book gets at the heart of the 1970s for the middle class but I feel a lot of what happens could happen today still. I think I left the book the same way the reviewers left it: shocked and sad but laughing the whole way.

Cursing with Freud

In addition to calling each other standard names like bitch and whore, the Finches incorporated Freud's stages of psychosexual development into their arsenal of invectives.

"You are so oral. You'll never make it to genital! The most you can ever hope for is to reach anal, you immature, frigid old maid," Natalie yelled.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs


My mother only wears fancy shoes when she's going out, so I've come to associate them with a feeling of abandonment and dread.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Running with Scissors Review

I just finished Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. The book was fabulous in a rubber neck sort of way. Everything was so crazy, so I can completely believe it was true. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have my mom sign over legal guardianship to her shrink. I wonder if Augusten is going to therapy or something now. I guess Levitt was right in Freakonomics as long as who the parents are is good, the kid will end up okay. I believe that both of his parents were college-educated and his dad was a college professor. It did not matter that they (and the Finches) stunk at parenting, Augusten had "good genes" so to speak. Wow, it was really interesting in a way to read these books back to back. I would also like to note that I really liked the writing style. I could see all of his adventures taking place. There was just enough description to get a full picture of the Finch house and its colorful cast of characters.

Barrel Fever Interpretations

All the critics loved Barrel Fever except for one. I guess she didn't like his humor. Since this was one of his first pieces of published work, everyone said they have high hopes for him. They were right to think so. Many remarked that his later full length novels had problems and after reading this group of short stories, I agree. Sedaris is a short story writer.


I was on Oprah a while ago, talking about how I used to love too much. Did you see it? The other guests were men who continue to love too much. Those men were in a place I used to be, and I felt sorry for them. I was the guest who went from loving too much to being loved too much. Everybody loves me. I'm the most important person in the lives of almost everyone I know and a good number of people I've never even met. I don't say this casually; I'm just pointing out my qualification.

"Parade" in Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

Barrel Fever Review

I enjoyed Barrel Fever by David Sedaris. I love his humor and wit, but I must say that Me Talk Pretty One Day is my favorite. It is much lighter than these short stories and essays. I have heard some of the stories on NPR, and I think I prefer them spoken out loud, especially Season's Greetings to our Friends and Family!!! Overall, it was a good and enjoyable 200 pages of Sedaris and I am glad I had the chance to read it.

Lost List

Sorry for the slightly late post. I am having technical difficulties with my image hosting site. You will have to google "Sawyer reading" for your self!

Fan of Lost the television show? Well, I have a list for you! Here is a list of books seen or mentioned on the show! Enjoy!

1.1 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
1.2 After All These Years
1.3 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
1.4 Animal Farm
1.5 Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret
1.6 Bad Twin
1.7 Bluebeard
1.8 Book of Laws
1.9 Holy Bible, The
1.10 A Brief History of Time
1.11 The Brothers Karamazov
1.12 Caravan of Dreams
1.13 Carrie
1.14 Catch-22
1.15 A Christmas Carol
1.16 The Chosen
1.17 The Chronicles of Narnia
1.18 The Coalwood Way
1.19 Dark Horse
1.20 The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
1.21 The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three
1.22 The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands
1.23 The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah
1.24 Dirty Work
1.25 The Epic of Gilgamesh
1.26 Everything That Rises Must Converge
1.27 Evil Under the Sun
1.28 Fahrenheit 451
1.29 Fear and Trembling
1.30 Flowers For Algernon
1.31 The Fountainhead
1.32 Grimm's Fairy Tales
1.33 Harry Potter
1.34 Haroun and the Sea of Stories
1.35 Heart of Darkness
1.36 High Hand
1.37 Holy Qur'an, The
1.38 Hotel
1.39 I Ching
1.40 The Invention of Morel
1.41 Ishmael
1.42 Island
1.43 Julius Caesar
1.44 Jurassic Park
1.45 Kings of Love
1.46 Lancelot
1.47 Langoliers
1.48 Laughter in the Dark
1.49 Left Behind
1.50 The Little Prince
1.51 Lord of the Flies
1.52 Memoirs of a Geisha
1.53 Moby Dick
1.54 The Moon Pool
1.55 Mysteries of the Ancient Americas: The New World before Columbus
1.56 The Mysterious Island
1.57 Notes from Underground
1.58 Oath, The
1.59 Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
1.60 The Odyssey
1.61 Of Mice and Men
1.62 On the Road
1.63 On Writing
1.64 Our Mutual Friend
1.65 O Pioneers!
1.66 The Outsiders
1.67 Pearl, The
1.68 Rainbow Six
1.69 Rick Romer's Vision Of Astrology
1.70 Roots
1.71 A Separate Reality
1.72 The Shape of Things to Come
1.73 The Sheltering Sky
1.74 The Shining
1.75 Slaughterhouse-Five
1.76 Stand, The
1.77 Stone Leopard, The
1.78 Stranger in a Strange Land
1.79 The Survivors of the Chancellor
1.80 A Tale of Two Cities
1.81 The Third Policeman
1.82 Through the Looking-Glass
1.83 To Kill a Mockingbird
1.84 The Turn of the Screw
1.85 Ulysses
1.86 Uncle Tom's Cabin
1.87 Valhalla Rising
1.88 VALIS
1.89 Watership Down
1.90 What Katy Did
1.91 The Wizard of Oz
1.92 A Wrinkle in Time

Freakonomics Interpretations

It appears that reviewers feel the same way I do about Levitt and Dubner's Freakonomics. There is a lot of interesting information but no real substance. It is fun but gives no suggestion to the audience about what should be done with the information.


Today is not the longest day of the year, but it may feel that way, due to very boring or otherwise painful circumstances.

Lemony Snicket 2005 Wall Calendar

I didn't write down any quotations from the book of the week, so I am posting this one to tide you over. :)

Freakonomics Review

I just finished reading Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the way the book played with stats to show all these interesting points like abortion can explain a drop in crime overall. It was very clever, but I do not know what to do with all of this information now. I feel like I left a very amusing lecture but now I have nothing to do with the information I found amusing. On a random note, I found it very pompous that he opened up each chapter with a congratulatory remark from the New York Times Magazine.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

In honor of Banned Book Week, here are the top banned/challenged books from 2000 to 2009.

Italicized have been read by me.

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

On the Road Interpretations

After reading reviews of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, I have come to a better appreciation of the book. Everyone praises his new way of writing. The book was filled with these long, rambling sentences that created these beautiful scenes in my head. Apparently, he wrote the book in three weeks. This book is Kerouac's most famous and the pillar of the Beat Generation. The positive reviews add in all of this spiritual meaning and discovery in the book, because Kerouac kept going back and forth between physical adventure and spiritual discovery. I do appreciate the book a bit more since reading the reviews but I can't say it was my favorite book ever.


It was always mañana. For the next week that was all I heard -- mañana, a lovely word and one that probably means heaven.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac


I suddenly realized that Dean, by virtue of his enormous series of sins, was becoming the Idiot, the Imbecile, the Saint of the Lot.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac


A western kinsman of the sun, Dean. Although my aunt warned me that he would get me in trouble, I could hear a new call and see a new horizon, and believe it at my young age; and a little bit of trouble or even Dean's eventual rejection of me as a buddy, putting me down, as he would later, on starving sidewalks and sick beds -- what did it matter? I was a young writer and I wanted to take off.

Somewhere along the line I knew there'd be girls, liasons, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Digging Life

"What are you going to do with yourself, Ed?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said. "I just go along. I dig life."

On the Road by Jack Kerouac


It was embarrassing. Every single one of us was blushing. This is the story of America. Everybody's doing what they think they're supposed to do.

One the Road by Jack Kerouac


And then we'll go off to sweet life, 'cause now is the time and we all know time!

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Review

I am so glad I finished this book! I have always wanted to know what all the fuss was about, but it was really boring. Sal went from NY to LA then back to NY and then back to LA and then back to NY and then to Mexico and then back to NY. It was a nice drifter type story, but it wasn't as shocking or thought-provoking as I hoped. Maybe it takes more to shock people nowadays. It would be cool to travel across the US, but I would like health insurance and a little money in my pocket. I do envy the characters' ability to simply go with the flow all the time. It was nice to read about people so free. I guess I am a person who desires something to climax in a book whether it is plot or character driven and nothing of the sort really happens here. I guess that is the point but I would like more. I am glad I read it though because it is one of those defining books. It is the book to read of the Beat Generation. Now I know not to read any other Beat works. I felt the book was a diary and I could not emotionally connect with the characters. I was just reading a list of events in theirs lives and nothing more.

Modern Library's 100 Best Novels

This wouldn't be a book blog without posting the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels list. Is this be all end all book list? No. I can think of other authors that should be on the best book list. I immediately cast doubt on book lists that are pretty much filled with white male authors. Don't get me wrong. There are several books that I like that were written by white men, but I don't feel that they have the market cornered in writing ability. Don't read my frustration with the lack of diversity as suggesting that this list of books isn't good. There are lots of great books here. :) Go read some (and by the limited italics on the list, I should go read some too).

Italicized books are ones that I read.

1 ULYSSES James Joyce
2 THE GREAT GATSBY F. Scott Fitzgerald
4 LOLITA Vladimir Nabokov
5 BRAVE NEW WORLD Aldous Huxley
6 THE SOUND AND THE FURY William Faulkner
7 CATCH-22 Joseph Heller
8 DARKNESS AT NOON Arthur Koestler
10 THE GRAPES OF WRATH John Steinbeck
11 UNDER THE VOLCANO Malcolm Lowry
12 THE WAY OF ALL FLESH Samuel Butler
13 1984 George Orwell
14 I CLAUDIUS Robert Graves
15 TO THE LIGHTHOUSE Virginia Woolf
16 AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY Theodore Dreiser
19 INVISIBLE MAN Ralph Ellison
20 NATIVE SON Richard Wright
23 U.S.A. John Dos Passos
24 WINESBURG, OHIO Sherwood Anderson
28 TENDER IS THE NIGHT F. Scott Fitzgerald
30 THE GOOD SOLDIER Ford Madox Ford
31 ANIMAL FARM George Orwell
32 THE GOLDEN BOWL Henry James
33 SISTER CARRIE Theodore Dreiser
34 A HANDFUL OF DUST Evelyn Waugh
35 AS I LAY DYING William Faulkner
36 ALL THE KING'S MEN Robert Penn Warren
38 HOWARDS END E.M. Forster
41 LORD OF THE FLIES William Golding
42 DELIVERANCE James Dickey
45 THE SUN ALSO RISES Ernest Hemingway
46 THE SECRET AGENT Joseph Conrad
47 NOSTROMO Joseph Conrad
48 THE RAINBOW D.H. Lawrence
49 WOMEN IN LOVE D.H. Lawrence
50 TROPIC OF CANCER Henry Miller
53 PALE FIRE Vladimir Nabokov
54 LIGHT IN AUGUST William Faulkner
55 ON THE ROAD Jack Kerouac
56 THE MALTESE FALCON Dashiell Hammett
57 PARADE'S END Ford Madox Ford
59 ZULEIKA DOBSON Max Beerbohm
60 THE MOVIEGOER Walker Percy
65 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE Anthony Burgess
66 OF HUMAN BONDAGE W. Somerset Maugham
67 HEART OF DARKNESS Joseph Conrad
68 MAIN STREET Sinclair Lewis
69 THE HOUSE OF MIRTH Edith Wharton
71 A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA Richard Hughes
73 THE DAY OF THE LOCUST Nathanael West
74 A FAREWELL TO ARMS Ernest Hemingway
75 SCOOP Evelyn Waugh
78 KIM Rudyard Kipling
79 A ROOM WITH A VIEW E.M. Forster
82 ANGLE OF REPOSE Wallace Stegner
84 THE DEATH OF THE HEART Elizabeth Bowen
85 LORD JIM Joseph Conrad
86 RAGTIME E.L. Doctorow
87 THE OLD WIVES' TALE Arnold Bennett
89 LOVING Henry Green
91 TOBACCO ROAD Erskine Caldwell
92 IRONWEED William Kennedy
93 THE MAGUS John Fowles
95 UNDER THE NET Iris Murdoch
96 SOPHIE'S CHOICE William Styron
99 THE GINGER MAN J.P. Donleavy

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