1% Well-Read Challenge Wrap-Up

March 1, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Posted in Challenges | 3 Comments

1% Well Read Challenge – due Feb. 28, 2009:

1% Well-Read Challenge

I finished!  Granted, I finished at the last possible minute, but I did read my 1% of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die in 10 months.  In fact, I did an extra one, because I realized too late that God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater didn’t make the cut for the second edition, and I felt like my list should be indisputable.  Also, I already had American Psycho checked out, but I wanted to read Saturday, too.

I didn’t review all of these books when I read them, largely because I didn’t feel like I had anything to add.  Sometimes I also skip reviewing books I’ve read because I only blog 5 days a week, but I read as many as 10 or 11 books a week, and there just isn’t time or space to do them all.  Anyway, I’ve included brief opinions below.

White Teeth – Zadie Smith 2008

I really liked it, but I also took a long time to read it.  I seem to remember having to renew it twice, which means it sat next to my bed for 12 weeks.

Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer 2008

Frankly, I’m not sure what the fuss was about, here.  I kinda figure the subject matter would make almost any book that touched on it at least a little moving.  A couple of people have told me they thought it was ‘amazing’ or ‘so good’ or ‘the best book ever.’  Eh.

Diary of a Nobody – George and Weedon Grossmith 2008

I adored this book.  It made me laugh out loud.

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut 2008

I loved this book, although I didn’t think it was Vonnegut’s best, and I think I can see why it didn’t make the cut for the new 1,001 list.

Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen 1/2/2009

Probably my second-favorite Austen.  Tilney is definitely my favorite male lead.

Saturday – Ian McEwan 2/28/2009

I was so tired I was going to give up and go to bed without finishing this last night.  Then I turned the page and got to the major plot crisis.  Pity me, because I had to stay up until 2 AM to find out what happened!  I loved On Chesil Beach, the first McEwan I read, and I thought Saturday was even better.  Now I’m on fire to read Atonement.

Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates 1/14/2009

This novella really got under my skin.  I always enjoy Oates, although I feel like it would take me longer to read all her books than it took her to write them.  Black Water was really scary.

Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys 1/31/2009

This famous book is a retelling of Jane Eyre from the perspective of the first Mrs. Rochester.  If you didn’t know that going in, you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on it until almost the very end.  It’s beautiful, strange, and compelling.  It revolutionized literature, and it may have been the first book to borrow someone else’s story and tell it from the eyes of another character.

The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon 1/18/2009

For some reason, I had the impression that The Crying of Lot 49 would be hard to follow.  I was pleasantly surprised that it was funny and approachable.

Ulysses – James Joyce 1/19/2009

Yes, it’s true, this book is just as hard to read as its reputation would lead you to believe.  It’s full of all these words and phrases from multiple foreign languages, and my edition didn’t come with a glossary.  I would be amazed to my core if there is anyone living who is such a polyglot that she could just sit down and read Ulysses without help.  The changing voices and long run-on sentences also mean that I read this 700+ page book at a rate of about 5 minutes per page.

Other than that, I loved it.  I really did think it was brilliant.  Maybe I’ll even read it again, but if I do, I’m going to wait until I’m retired and at least 70 years old.

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis 1/17/2009

Ugggghhhhh!  Nightmare-inducing.  Yeah, I get why it’s on the list – I think – and I’m pretty sure I understood it.  But I’ll never get the shrapnel of American Psycho out of my brain!


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  1. I, too, was always under the impression that Thomas Pynchon’s book was difficult, even forbidding. Thanks for the reassurance.

    I want to read Black Water.

  2. People raved about Everything is Illuminated to me so much that I checked it out from the library a few months ago. I tried the first few chapters and hated it so much that it quickly went back to the library.

  3. […] tanabata (In Spring it is the Dawn)14. Lisa L15. Jessica (Both Eyes)16. 3m (1morechapter)17. […]

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