The Country of Pointed Firs
--my first reading of her masterpiece. Why did I take so long to get to it?
--this is on my must reread list.
--this one is a bit weaker than the first, but still an excellent read. and better
than 90% of the other works I've read this year.
Joseph Conrad: Suspense
--an unfinished novel set in the Napoleonic era.
--a traveler gets involved with a plot of Napoleon's escape from Elba.
Graham Greene: The Human Factor
--a spy novel. The unmasking of a mole in the British secret service, told from the mole's point of view.
Nathaniel Hawthorne:: The Celestial Railroad and Other Stories
--a collection of some of Hawthorne's most well-known short works.
--decided to leave this in the First Reads grouping as there were several short stories that I hadn't read before.
Kazuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day
Lady Susan/The Watsons/Sanditon
Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
--as always, great reading. This was my fifth? sixth? who knows how many readings I've had of her works over the years. They are just as good, if not better, the fifth? time around as the first.
A. Solzhenitsyn: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
--the title says it all--one day in a Soviet Union era gulag in Siberia, based loosely on his time there. I like to pair this one with Dostoyevsky's The House of the Dead, his experiences in a Siberian prison camp during the reign of the Tsars. Forced to make a choice, I would choose life there under the Tsars. The treatment was cruel but much more humane than under the commissars.
Dostoyevsky: "The Gambler"
--Dostoyevsky's great novella depicting the downfall of an gambling addict.
--great character study of numerous Russians traveling abroad. sometimes just for travel and sometimes to avoid debt collectors back home. Comic figures trapped within a tragic story.
Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited
--Flashback: an English army officer finds his unit stationed on one of the grand
estates and recognizes it as the one that had a great influence on him, beginning with
his stay at Oxford.
--there's a great BBC TV adaptation of the book. After watching it, I went out and
Herman Melville: “Benito Cereno”
Nikos Kazantzakis: Freedom or Death
--his powerful novel set in Greece during the time of the Greek war for independence.
--as usual his characters come off the page at you.
Oscar Wilde: The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray
--This is the first and censored version of Gray's novel. To be honest, I can not see anything that
would be more offensive than anything in the published version. A classic example of changing
tastes, I will includ this among the rereads for I have read this several times.
There were a number of enjoyable works that I read during the past year, but these are the ones that stand out. While there appears to be a large number of first reads, equal to the rereads, one should note that Bradbury, Greene, Hawthorne, and Conrad are all favorites of mine from way back when. These are works by them that I've never read before.
Only two of the authors in the First Reads Section are new to me: Kazuo Ishiguro and Sarah Orne Jewett and are now on my reread list. Coincidentally, I read two books by both. The other book by by Ishiguro will appear on my Favorite SF novels of 2016 list.
Forgot to mention, but if you have questions about any of the authors or books, please ask. I may not know the answer, but it's worth trying anyway.