Category Archives: Book Reviews

Where I Went Wrong With the Booklist

When I started this blog I was making my way through Rory’s booklist and quite successfully. I’d easily burn through one book a week. This meant that I should have been finished in 2007. However, I haven’t really read or finished a book in a year or maybe even two from the list. It’s low on my priority list right now so I doubt I will ever finish it. Here is where I went wrong:

1. I started reading other books. When I was really marking these off the list I limited myself to only booklist books. Over time I started getting distracted by other people’s recommendations or best sellers.

2.  I left all of the difficult books for last. For me the front page of the new releases was easy and enjoyable to get through. I went through this almost in its entirety. Then I just had all of the weighty classics left. That was a big mistake.

I know that a lot of fans and bloggers try to document progress through the booklist. Has anyone actually ever made it? If you are trying this how are you accomplishing it and do you actually enjoy it?

Vanity Fair

I was having trouble getting into the book Vanity Fair. I liked it a little more when I found out the real title was Vanity Fair: Novel without a Hero. The subtitle caught my attention because I always think sarcastic thoughts when Dr. Phil says “This family needs a hero” Yes, these people are on national TV yelling at each other, they are totally hero quality. I usually wait until I finish a book to review it but I read this passage about this bowl of wine that had been the undoing of Alexander the Great. I will always think of William Makepeace Thackeray as the first person to write about Founder’s Day Punch.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

I had heard of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair before. It always seemed to appear in trivia questions as “Which book helped form the Food & Drug Administration?” I chose not to read this book just because I didn’t think I could stomach anything about the meat industry in the early 1900’s. My thinking went like this “Meat industry in early 1900’s=grossness now let’s read a book about butterflies.”

However, it was on Rory’s book list so I had to read it. Yes, the meat industry in the early 1900’s=grossness times ten. However, the book is so beautifully written. Just the use of words is incredible. Usually I start yelling “just say what you mean” if words are too flowery & then people look at me. This book just captivated me & I’m glad that I bought it in hard cover because it’s going to have a place on my bookshelf for a long time to come.

Here are a few facts about The Jungle by Upton Sinclair from Wikipedia:

He went to Chicago intending to write the book. When he arrived at a hotel near the stockyards he supposedly said “Hello! I’m Upton Sinclair, and I’m here to write the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of the Labor Movement!”

The Jungle received five rejections before it was published.

The book was intended to reform living conditions of the working class but instead led to meat packing regulations. Sinclair is quoted as saying “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”