Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reading list

Awhile ago a friend mentioned that she was going to embark on the task of reading NPR's 100 Best Beach Books. I thought it was a great idea! Since moving down here I knew I would have a bit more free time on my hands, especially during basketball season when Chris would be working late and on the road at times. I decided to start in on the list myself. Fortunately I had a fairly comprehensive public school education and have read a handful of these books already in middle and high school.

I think NPR and I disagree on what constitutes a "beach read", though. Some of these books are certainly fun and easy reads (Harry Potter!), but Steinbeck, Hemingway, and Irving? I don't think so. There are a lot of books on this list that I've been meaning to read though, so while it still seems pretty daunting I'm going to try to get it done.

Just to be clear though - this is not a resolution or anything. I'm not trying to do this in a year. Plus, I've read several books over the past couple months that make no appearance on this list...but I've had a few friends ask whether I have read any good books lately, so I thought it was time I posted about some of these.

1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. This isn't the first one I read, but it's by far my absolute favorite! I had never read the book or seen the movie and I LOVED it! As soon as I finished the book I started googling for sequels because I didn't want it to end. Unfortunately the sequels that exist aren't written by Margaret Mitchell and I don't want to ruin the book for myself so I'll save those for another day. I also rented the movie from the library immediately afterward and watched it. I definitely recommend this one if you haven't read it.

2. Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson. This was one of the first I read because I couldn't believe I hadn't read this book as a kid. It was pretty good. I think I would have enjoyed the adventure more when I was younger!

3. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. I'm not sure whether there was any sort of definite plot to this book, which I actually think was the author's intention. I enjoyed reading it but never felt quite satisfied with the ending. I moved on pretty quickly after this one.

4. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. I think this actually might have been the first one I read. When I was younger, we used to live in Monterey, CA right near Cannery Row so this one appealed to me. It's definitely a book true to Steinbeck though, so if you don't like him, don't read it. I got a little bored more than once :)

5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This one had a great plot to it, but also pretty apparent political themes. I feel like it was written for two very different audiences. I enjoyed reading it while the story was progressing but some parts (mainly the communist/socialist dialogues) dragged on a bit. The only real complaint I have is that each character was referred to with at least 3 different - and sometimes unrelated - names, so I had a really hard time keeping track of who was who.

There you go - five recent books I've read from the list in no particular order!


Anonymous said...

Katie, kudos to you for sticking with the list. It's daunting at times, isn't it? I've completed 14 reads now, which felt like a really big deal until I realized I have 86 to go! NPR does have some seriously high-brow reads on there (I second your comment on Steinbeck), but I keep reminding myself that they are supposed to be "beach reads," and thus read leisurely. Makes the whole experience a little less formidable. :)

Erika said...

looooooooved Gone with the Wind! I read it this summer. And I think, when we were at the beach, you were were reading a Steinbeck book, because I remember talking about his books with you.

Oh, and I've read the sequel to the book - Scarlett. It's not too bad, but it's not the same as the original.

Dorothy said...

I've read many on that list and am going to continue so I appreciate your updates on if you enjoyed them or not. Keep it up!