Monday, April 09, 2007

Book Plans

In my previous post, I said that I needed some lighter reading for the time being, but then I listed the books I bought at the used bookstore, which are not necessarily all light novels. What I forgot to say was that I'm thinking of once again returning to my plan of reading all the Oprah books. (I'm a sucker for reading lists and I have a whole folder filled with different lists, like the Modern Library's Best 100, the Hungry Mind's Best 100, the Pulitzers, the Nobels for Literature, etc. At some time or other I've had plans to finish all the lists. Once I even made up a schedule where I was to read one from each list and then a book of choice and keep going around until all the lists were done. That didn't quite work out.) So anyway, years ago, I was a book snob about the Oprah books. Then I read a few here and there, some I liked, some I didn't. But now I'm not a book snob--I'm of the school that advocates reading no matter what. If you read, read what you like, as long as you're reading. So anyway, most of the Oprah's are fun, dramatic, character-driven stories. Of course, I'm still going to include the more classic selections of her re-started book club, like Anna Karenina and The Road (hey, post-apocalyptic!).

Now here is a matter of logistics. How to read them. In what order. The last time I planned to do this, I decided to read them in the order in which they appeared on her show. So I printed out the list and wrote the date introduced next to each title. I'm so not doing that this time. They are listed in alphabetical (isn't it more fun to say abecedarian?) order by title so I might just do it that way and go straight through. Or maybe in reverse alphabetical. Especially since I already read the last two on the list and I'll feel like I've already accomplished something.

So to make this post even longer and more boring, here's the list, with the ones I've read in italics.

The Oprah Books

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell
The Best Way To Play by Bill Cosby
Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou
Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Jewel by Bret Lott
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
Light in August by William Faulkner
A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
The Meanest Thing To Say by Bill Cosby
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes
Night by Elie Wiesel
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Open House by Elizabeth Berg
Paradise by Toni Morrison
The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Songs In Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
Sula by Toni Morrison
Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
The Treasure Hunt by Bill Cosby
Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay
A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons
We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
While I Was Gone by Sue Miller
White Oleander by Janet Fitch

But now I'm reading A Canticle for Leibowitz so I can't start quite yet.


Blogger Kailana said...

Oh, books I have read that you haven't read. I can offer comments. Hope you don't mind!

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen, I thought, is an excellent look at domestic violence. After I read it, I gave it to my friends to read. It was my gift book for that period.

Cane River by Lalita Tademy, I read this book so long ago, but it was a great book about slavery and family... I really don't remember the details, might need to reread, but I really liked it at the time.

Cry, the Beloved Country. This was good, but for me, not memorable.

Daughter of Fortune. I LOVE Isabel Allende. I read this book before it was an Oprah book. I actually have read almost all of her books (It also has a sequel, Portrait in Sepia).

Fall on Your Knees. The author is Canadian, so her being on Oprah was a big deal. Especially since she is from my end of the planet. The book is a very worthwhile read, though.

Gap Creek: The story of a marriage. Quite interesting to see how they survived in the period that this book takes place in.

Here on Earth: Actually, not really my favourite Hoffman... it's a good book, but I like other books by her better.

I Know this Much is True. I read this preOprah, and actually, I only recently learned that both of his books were Oprah books. I really liked this book. (I liked it better than She's Come Undone)

Icy Sparks: I learned a lot from this book.

Jewel: Another informative, yet worthwhile read.

Midwives: I really liked this book, I thought that the subject matter was very interesting and I learned a lot.

A Million Little Pieces: This one, I will leave alone.

Night: Scary, scary, book, but so worthwhile and well-written.

The Reader: As a reader, this book really interested me. It is one of my favourite "Oprah" books.

River, Cross my Heart: I find this book, if I am thinking of the right one, sort of like "Lovely Bones"

Sula: Sorry, not a big Toni Morrison fan.

Vinegar Hill: excellent book.

Where the Heart is: Better than the movie.

Oh, I missed The Pilot's Wife. My favourite read by Shreve is Fortune's Rocks, but this one was probably my second favourite. It is the same house in both, just different years.

I think the most interesting thing about Oprah books is that they are not usually something that I will buy on my own since I am more into fantasy and historical fiction. Anyways, there are some of my thoughts. :)

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Camille said...

Wow, Kailana! Thanks so much! That is very helpful and interesting and may just make me read out of order since now I'll probably go to the ones that look the most interesting, based on your synopses. Thanks again!

7:15 PM  
Blogger Funky Smith said...

Okay, I'm just glancing here, but I would personally like to read The Good Earth, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter . . .
I don't know enough about the others to judge. I read East of Eden; it was good. Also, I can highly recommend Cry, the Beloved Country. A wonderfully written, sad and poetic novel. Beautiful.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous iliana said...

I've read 20 off her list. I used to be a bit of a book snob about the Oprah books too (long ago) but I'm with you, read whatever makes you happy. And, for what it's worth there are actually some titles on that list that I still would like to read even if they are Oprah approved :)

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Lesley said...

Decisions, decisions!

I absolutely loved 'Fall on Your Knees' - very dark, but wonderful storytelling. I have an extra copy if you'd like me to send it to you!

12:29 AM  
Anonymous danielle said...

I know people tend to knock Oprah--but she actually chooses some really good books sometimes! Thanks for sharing the list!

9:58 PM  

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