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101 Books At The Halfway Point

Celebrate!

I’m halfway finished with 101 Books. This little hair-brained idea that started on August 30, 2010 is now going on two-and-a-half years strong.

I’ve somehow managed to keep my wife, my job, learn how to parent, run a marathon and several half marathons during the course of this blog. Those people that tell you they don’t have time for reading? They’re full of crap.

You might have noticed that my pace slowed down a little in 2012, compared to 2011. That was mainly because of A Dance To The Music Of Time, a dreadful 3,500+ page book that I’ve been reading from the list, in addition to the regulars.

Thankfully, I’m almost finished with “The Year of the Dance”–which I will gladly put behind me in 2013.

With that book out of the way, I hope to pick up the pace a little. That said, I expect the blog has about two more years or so.

As I’ve done after every ten books, I thought I’d recap some of my highlights and lowlights from the list to this point.

Let’s take a look!

Total pages read: 18,204

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby is the newly-crowned top book after surpassing To Kill A Mockingbird, which held the top spot for more than two years. (Complete rankings.)

Least favorite book:  Mrs. Dalloway takes this craptastic spot, but I’ve got a feeling that A Dance To The Music Of Time is going to give her a run for her money. My scathing review of this horrible book will come after the New Year.

Favorite character: Yossarian (Catch 22).

Least favorite characters: Humbert Humbert (Lolita) edges Clyde Griffiths (An American Tragedy) and Briony (Atonement).

Favorite writer:  F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) over George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm) and Philip Roth (American Pastoral).

Least favorite writer: William Gibson (Neuromancer) tops Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway) and Malcolm Lowry (Under The Volcano).

Most pleasant surprise: I, Claudius over An American Tragedy

Most difficult book: The Sound and The Fury tops Infinite Jest and Under The Volcano.

Most depressing book: So, so many depressing books. Here’s my top 5. 1) Never Let Me Go 2) Rabbit, Run 3) The Grapes of Wrath 4) Revolutionary Road 5) An American Tragedy

Most graphic/violent book: 1) Blood Meridian 2) A Clockwork Orange 3) Falconer

Most inspirational book: Inspiration has been hard to find on this list. That said, I’ll give To Kill A Mockingbird a slight edge over The Bridge of San Luis Rey. 

Funniest book: Catch 22. Nothing else is even close.

Longest read:  A Dance To The Music of Time was nearly the death of me in 2012. 3,500+ pages.

Shortest read: The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Best opening line: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.” (The Blind Assassin)

Most memorable line: Three favorites from the first 50:

  1. “Soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” –Brother Juniper (The Bridge of San Luis Rey)
  2. Soon you’ll regret all that sun-tanning. Your face will look like a testicle.” – Iris Chase
    (Iris Chase, The Blind Assassin)
  3. “Hate is a lack of imagination.” (The Unnamed Priest, The Power And The Glory)

Stay tuned to the blog during the upcoming holidays, as I’ll repost the top 5 posts from 2012.

* Also, if you missed yesterday’s post, you have until midnight tonight (U.S. Central Time) to get your submission in for my book giveaway. Three blog readers will win a copy of any one of the first 50 books I’ve read from the Time list!

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. I was so worried you weren’t going to mention Atwood! I knew you loved her one liners 😀

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    December 20, 2012
    • That Iris Chase line is the funniest thing ever.

      Like

      December 20, 2012
  2. Atwoods are often known for their one-liners.

    Like

    December 20, 2012
  3. On a more serious note, you’re making me want to read Catch-22 again — one of my all time faves as well.

    Like

    December 20, 2012
  4. craft fear #

    Great job–love how your 101 books aren’t just any 101 books. Keep it up and keep telling us about it!

    Like

    December 20, 2012
  5. Have you thought about reading Time Magazine’s 100 best non-fiction books after you get through this list? I was just curious. There are a lot of good books on that list too. A Walk in the Woods; Speak, Memory; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; Nickel and Dimed. I prefer novels and would never make it through most of the non-fiction books, but I was just curious about whether you’d be up for 100 Books Part II. Enjoy the holidays. I just started reading your blog so I’m looking forward to reading some of the best posts of 2012.

    Like

    December 20, 2012
    • Yes, I’ve saw that list and I’ve thought about it, but there are some really dry books on there. Economic books and such. I don’t know if I have it in me! We’ll see. Not sure if I want to tackle another list or just take a break, but still got a while.

      Like

      December 20, 2012
  6. Congrats! Hopefully it is all downhill after A Dance To the Music of Time.

    Like

    December 20, 2012
  7. I might have mentioned that I’m in school at Northwestern getting an MFA in creative writing so I haven’t had as much time as I would like to read your blog, but I’m certainly glad I came across it. I tend to scan your reviews, but I always get something out of them. If you could repost your list of the 101 books you’re reading, that would be great. Where did you get the list from? I like the idea that blogger posted about reading the 101 best nonfiction books after you’re done with this. I’m just sayin’

    Like

    December 20, 2012
    • Click on the list link at the top of the page. The list is from Time Magazine.

      Like

      December 20, 2012
  8. The great news is that you still have some fantastic books to go in the other half of the list! From what you’ve said so far I think you are going to enjoy Saul Bellow, since you liked Roth, but I don’t imagine you’ll think much of Snow Crash, since you didn’t care for Gibson. Money should give you a new contender for funniest book. You’ve kind of inspired me to read the ten on the list I haven’t read – but, since one of them is A Dance to the Music of Time, maybe not!

    Like

    December 21, 2012
  9. I almost forgot to tell you, so thank you for mentioning Catch-22: one of my friends has a cat who just had kittens, and the friend named one of the kittens Yossarian. How cool is that? I love it.

    Like

    December 21, 2012
  10. Would have thought “Watchmen” would be a cinch for “Most Graphic Book” … #buhdumbumching

    Like

    December 21, 2012

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