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The First 60: A Look Back

Sixty books down. I’m nearly two-thirds finished with 101 Books.

After every ten books, I take a look back on the project as a whole and re-evaluate some of my favorite and least favorite aspects of the books. So that’s what today’s about.

Let’s take a look back at the first 60 novels. I’ll explain my rankings more in-depth in a post next week.

Total pages read: 25,032

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby is still tops. Does any novel really have a chance to take the top spot from Gatsby? We’ll see. (Complete rankings.)

Least favorite book:  That would be A Dance To The Music Of Time, a novel that took a year to read and made my eyes bleed from boredom. Do yourself a favor and never read this novel, unless you’re an insomniac.

Favorite character: It’s still Yossarian from Catch 22. Who wouldn’t love to have a beer with that guy?

Least favorite characters: Humbert Humbert (Lolita) edges Clyde Griffiths (An American Tragedy) and every character in A Dance To The Music Of Time.

Favorite writer:  F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) over George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm) and James Agee (A Death In The Family).

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

Most pleasant surprise: I, Claudius over A Death In The Family

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) A Death In The Family 2) Never Let Me Go 3) Rabbit, Run 4The Grapes of Wrath 5) An American Tragedy

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

Most perverted book: Portnoy’s Complaint

Most inspirational book: Can you call To Kill A Mockingbird inspirational? I’ll give it the edge over The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Funniest book: It’s still 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 60:

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)

Here’s to 10 more great novels! I’ll recap again after book 70.

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21 Comments Post a comment
  1. Congrats! You’re so close to the 2/3rds mark! I love to see Atwood on here still. I’m going to see her talk about her new book in September.

    Like

    August 15, 2013
  2. Great recap. I love this project!

    Like

    August 15, 2013
  3. That’s quite an achievement! What are you going to do when you finish reading all 101 books? I hope you will continue blogging.

    Like

    August 15, 2013
    • I will more than likely continue book blogging after a short break. Maybe a new challenge, different types of books. Not sure. I have a lot of fun with this so unless life has changes in store for me, I plan to keep at it after 101 Books. Not sure what that looks like but I’ll be brainstorming it over the next year or so.

      Like

      August 15, 2013
  4. wow, 2/3.
    Keep running!

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    August 15, 2013
  5. You are fantastic. And inspiring. And funny. I’m tempted to use that testicle quote. I know a few people…

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    August 15, 2013
  6. Congrats on getting down the list! We love Great Gatsby too! What books are you excited about that are yet to come?

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    August 15, 2013
  7. Very impressive! Weakling that I am, I throw in a “tough read” every 20 books or so!

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    August 15, 2013
  8. Great summary. It was kind of fun to read over your stats and opinion.

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    August 15, 2013
  9. This is really interesting! Now I have some ideas on what to read next, and what not to read next for that matter (A Dance to the Music of Time…? No thanks!)

    Like

    August 15, 2013
  10. Pauline #

    I’m so impressed that you finished A Dance To The Music Of Time even though you hated it (and it’s so long!). If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is!
    I really enjoyed reading your summary, too.

    Like

    August 15, 2013
  11. Just found this blog recently, and look forward to going back to read old posts. Gatsby is a personal favorite of mine as well, and I love rereading it every few years. I also love Catch-22 – it was one of the books I most liked in my sophomore English lit class in college. I’m glad to see your recommendations on books I can ignore and not feel bad about it!

    Like

    August 15, 2013
  12. LOVE the quote from Blind Assassin, one of my favorite books. 🙂 Looking forward to picking up Catch-22 again after trying to read it in high school. I liked it then, but probably just wasn’t old enough to power through it. Your journey is admirable and entertaining; thanks for sharing it with us.

    Like

    August 15, 2013
  13. I have just finished reading the Great Gatsby myself and fully enjoyed it; Fitzgerald is one of my favourite authors and for me Tender is the Night still stands out as one of his best. I have recently starting blogging myself and have a section on books that I have reviewed, the Great Gatsby is one of them. It would be great to hear any thoughts you have on my post if you get the opportunity to read it.

    Like

    August 16, 2013
  14. I refuse to read a bad boring book, so I won’t read a Dance, lol, thanks for the info 🙂

    Like

    August 16, 2013
  15. Will you be reading The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway? I feel that will crack the top ten

    Like

    August 16, 2013
  16. The post is nice put. The shelves got some books from before to read, my luck.

    Like

    August 18, 2013
  17. I’m still wondering what’s so good with The Great Gatsby…?

    Like

    August 18, 2013
  18. Reblogged this on Adithya Entertainment.

    Like

    August 19, 2013
  19. Awesome project. Hope your imagination is going wild. A great man is a cultured man.

    Like

    August 22, 2013
  20. (iwishiwas) hrc #

    I’m reading this post way late, but I wanted to throw out my thought on the slang. A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite books, so I’m biased in that, but I think the slang does amazing things for this novel. To me, it draws the reader into this dystopian world where things are so different, but also tantalizingly similar at the same time. It kind of reminded me of the use of slang in Trainspotting–it in your face forces you to get invested in this world/book. Because if you don’t get invested, then you’re not going to fully understand it.

    Like

    September 5, 2014

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