Thursday, March 29, 2007

Let's talk books, hmmm?

I'm wide the fuck awake at an unholy hour of the morning (okay, nine-thirty isn't that unholy, but it feels like it since The Baby had me up every three hours last night) with a migraine, and for some reason I'm thinking about books. So you're getting subjected to it, too. First a question, then I'm going to hit a couple book memes that are going around. At the bottom will be that list of a hundred books, with the stuff I've read in bold, etc, that's going around. For those who aren't interested, of course, skip it. But read the question part, please.

THE QUESTION: There's a book I can't remember the title or author for. I read it when I was a kid, and it would now be classified as "Young Adult", no idea what it was called back then. 'Back then' would have been around 1975, 1980, so it's a book that has been published for a while. Anyway. It's the adventures of a group of boys living somewhere in the US countryside, on summer break. They're too smart for their own good - to use a phrase from my own childhood - and get up to a lot of hilarious mischief. Among their adventures, they create a sea monster in the local lake and don't know what to do when the press shows up. The adventure I remember most clearly is, the town legend says there's something hidden in the breech of the Civil-War cannon in the town park and the town decides to drill out the cement to see. So the kids go out the night before, use blow torches to expand the metal of the cannon, pull the plug out with a pully, and check it out for themselves. As I recall they don't find anything, so they put in a bunch of campaign buttons for the current mayor's election, and PUT THE PLUG BACK IN. Then they go to the town square the next day with everyone else and laugh their asses off when the plug is drilled out and the campaign buttons are found.

Anybody know who wrote that, or what the title is, or anything? It's been driving me crazy. I'd like to get a copy for The Baby for when she's older (using science and smarts for fun - oh yeah, do that, kid), and I wouldn't mind reading it again myself. If you know, or even think you know, please leave a comment.

Okay, the memes. First, people have been snapping a photo of one of their book shelves and then talking about it. No idea where this originated, but it's been around the 'net lately, so here you go, a shot of one of my knitting book shelves:

That is, indeed, a copy of "The Principles of Knitting" on the far right. It's a bit battered, but in fairly good shape for a well-used book that's fifteen years old. There's also a copy of "Knitting Lace" in there - it's beat-up too, and I didn't know when I bought it that the resale value would come close to $300 later, so I underlined it and wrote in the margins, thereby destroying it. If you're thinking of sneaking in my office window some dark and stormy night, be aware I have an attack cat who has already foiled one break-in attempt (when we lived in Hawaii). This shelf is the easiest to reach of my knitting book shelves, so I've got the quick refrence stuff over on the right. Otherwise it's mostly ethnic stuff, patterns, and dye books. The history section, such as it is, is there too. I started calculating the value of this shelf of books and got nauseated. Suffice it to say, it's taken me twenty years to accumulate all these books.

And last, the book list meme thingie. I've done something different - the books I've read I made larger (since bold and regular are kind of hard to discern in this font), the books in italics I READ IN COLLEGE. For a while I was an English major reading three or four novels a week for various classes, and so I sound very well-read when I start listing titles, but in reality I sit here going "Did I read that? I'm pretty sure I read that..." so don't ask me any detailed questions about Crime and Punishment or any other 'classics' in italics. Don't be impressed, either. Haha.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)

10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
portions of it, not the whole thing
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Good grief, no wonder I hated College Part One so much.

The rant on literature vs. entertainment reading, we can save for another day, I suppose. Suffice it to say I hate secret messages hid in lame symbolism in novels.


Amy Lane said...

Oh gees...I almost just wrote an entire blog entry on "entertainment vs. literature" as a comment... I'm pretty sure we're on the same page on this, but, do you mind if I rant about the same thing? (I was wondering what to blog about today, and now I'm all on fire...)

Anonymous said...

Is this the book or series you are trying to find?

Anonymous said...

no it isn't publication date is too late but still looks like fun.

Ellen said...

Are those the 1st hundred books that you could think of that you've read? or your top 100? I've read a lot of those, that's a good list.

debsnm said...

"Brave New World" affected me in ways I still don't completely understand, but I think of it often - every time they come out with a new drug for something, for example. Kinda scary, actually.

Janelle said...

That sounded familiar, and these are the ones I remember: The Mad Scientist Club books. It was a whole series:

Is that them?

barb outside boston said...

My goodness Julie--I log on and you have THREE new posts?!
I have read that book you describe, but can't remember the name at all.
My list of those books would be eerily similar to yours--including which ones I read for school--maybe only 3 or 4 differences--scary!
Are you having allergies again? Poor Julie.

Julie said...

AH! Yes! That's the book, the first of the Mad Scientist's Club books. AND THERE ARE MORE! How exciting. Off to order books.


Catie said...

What book (or two) would you recommend on the history of knitting?

NeedleTart said...

Yes, yes, yes! It was the Mad Scientist Club. I just spent the morning reading it to Learning Support students. They were fascinated and retained so much of it!! If only the administration could be weaned away from Basel Readers, but I digress....

Bells said...

I've never heard of that series but there's a book from my childhood I've been trying to find/remember for years and all I can recall are vague scenes from it. I might try this method!

Anonymous said...

Watership Down only made #86??? You're absolutely nuts. It's my all-time favorite book.


amy said...

ooh, I liked the Mad Scientists, too! I checked the comments hoping someone had the title for you. I love blog land.

The book shelf thing started with Laura Florand ( but REALLY started at Joshilyn Jackson's blog ( when she posted a pic of a lamp but most of her readers complained because we couldn't read the titles on her bookshelves. :-) Good blogs both.

Bells said...

i can't believe you read A Woman of Substance. Isn't that shlocky? Lame? OTT? I have no idea what i'm talking about. I just always thought it was probably REALLY bad.

Should I want to read The Outsiders?

And what about gone with the wind? Is it a good read?