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The First 70: A Look Back

I usually conduct this little exercise after every 10 books, but I completely forgot after book 70. So I’m a little late this time around.

It’s been nearly 4 years, 70+ books, and 30,000 pages since I started this project. So let’s take a look back. Here are some of the best and the worst from the first 70 books I’ve read this time around.

Total pages read: 28,719

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby is still numero uno. I’m not sure any novel has a chance of topping Gatsby, but maybe The Lord of the Rings? (Complete rankings.)

Least favorite book:  This “award” still goes to A Dance To The Music Of Time. The length, the boredom, the lack of plot—to this day, this novel gives me the shivers when I think about it.

Favorite character: It’s still Yossarian from Catch 22. But I also am a huge fan of Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God. Two very different characters, but I love them both.

Least favorite characters:  Every character in A Dance To The Music Of Time.

Favorite writer:  F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) over Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and James Agee (A Death In The Family).

Least favorite writer:  Malcolm Lowry (Under The Volcano).

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

Most difficult book: The Sound and The Fury is still tops.

Most depressing book: Here’s the top 5. Same order as last time. 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

Most perverted book: Money edges out Portnoy’s Complaint

Most inspirational book: I still think To Kill A Mockingbird and The Bridge of San Luis Rey are the best in this category.

Funniest book: It’s still Catch 22. The Sot-Weed Factor comes in a close second.

Longest read:  A Dance To The Music of Time will not be surpassed in this category. 3,500+ pages. Nothing else is even close.

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 so far:

1.    “If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk. It’s so many people never seen de light at all.” – Janie (Their Eyes Were Watching God)

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 80.

So what do you think?

Agree or disagree with my opinions on these first 70 novels?

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21 Comments Post a comment
  1. I must agree with your assessment of Gatsby; it’s one of my all-time favorites. Fitzgerald was an absolute master of words.

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    July 30, 2014
  2. The Blind Assassin is one of my favorites, though not my favorite by Ms. Atwood. Somehow I’ve finally stumbled upon your mightily ambitious blog. Looking forward to reading more.

    Like

    July 30, 2014
  3. I find it funny that my favorite book on the list is Mrs. Dalloway and my least favorite author to date is F. Scott Fitzgerald. We are opposites in that way I guess. I could never like the characters in Fitzgerald’s novels. They are the sort of people I avoid at all costs. And the most recent film adaptation of The Great Gatsby just infuriated me.

    I, Claudius is a book and television show I’ve wanted to try for quite some time. A Dance to the Music of Time sounds like torture.

    Like

    July 30, 2014
    • Oh no! Well, reading truly is subjective, isn’t it?

      Like

      July 30, 2014
      • Yes it is. But the world would probably be a boring place if everyone loved the same books.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 30, 2014
  4. I’m absolutely loving reading about your journey to 101 books. Well done on getting to 70 and I’ll look forward to your reviews of the next 10.

    I too loved the Blind Assassin or anything by Atwood really. I’ve just started reading the Sun Also Rises (your number 10 so far?) in part because I’ll be heading to Madrid in a week and plan on doing a ‘literary travels’ blog post when I get back.

    I’m really enjoying the book so far, which is surprising to me because I hated the Old Man and the Sea and was very dubious about reading any more Hemingway. You live and learn I guess.

    Like

    July 30, 2014
  5. don’t get me started about the Great Gatsby. It’s one of my all time top ten favourite books. One long lyrical poem of a book.
    Very much enjoying your blog.

    Like

    July 30, 2014
  6. A couple of years ago I read Gatsby five times and it got better each time. The movies never touch it. So I hope they will leave it alone from now on. Very good post. I was just thinking I should do this at the end of the year when I finish my Short Story list.

    Like

    July 30, 2014
  7. This amazing list reminds me of college and makes me laugh because the books you praised were ones I remember actually reading. The others, I chose cliff notes, kudos to you for fighting through them.

    Like

    July 30, 2014
  8. priyanka #

    Great , great list of books , and seriously , this is such an amazing achievement

    Like

    July 30, 2014
  9. Gatsby us somewhat tainted for me, because I had to write about it in a complete disaster of an English exam. It’s a shame really, because it really is a great book! My favourite has to be ‘A Clockwork Orange’ because I’m slightly twisted. 🙂

    Like

    July 30, 2014
    • And by the sounds of it ‘A dance to the music of time’ was a difficult read! I might leave that off my reading list.

      Like

      July 30, 2014
  10. No one wants a testicle face.

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    July 30, 2014
  11. It’s hard to get more difficult than “The Sound and the Fury”

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    July 30, 2014
  12. I too loved Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Recalling the scene when she realizes that her husband has been bitten by a rabid dog can still make me gasp.

    Like

    July 30, 2014
  13. lunacha91 #

    Hello! It is a pleasure to have come across this blog!
    Is there a certain book on that list that you would recommend? I am more into Romance, Drama novel.

    Like

    July 30, 2014
  14. I didn’t see anything great in The Great Gatsby. I read the book. I found it just O.K. I wonder why it is so much talked about. I don’t remember a single sentence from the book that deserves to be quoted. George Orwell and Salman Rushdie’s works are far more preferable

    Like

    July 31, 2014
  15. NIneteen Eighty Four by George Orwell is my all time favourite.

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    July 31, 2014
  16. I would rather read A Dance to the Music of Time annually for the rest of my life than read Lord of the Rings1… 🙂

    Like

    August 1, 2014
  17. The Sound and the Fury – completely agree about how difficult this was. Although I’m not sure difficult even captures it – torturous more like!

    Like

    August 2, 2014
  18. I’m reading The Sound and the Fury right now. First two chapters are incredibly difficult to understand, but for some reason Faulkner just hooks you and tricks you into reading more. Most difficult book for me to read was Moby Dick, and I didn’t even finish it.

    Like

    August 3, 2014

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