Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The Rules are as follows:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you really love (and strikethrough the ones you hate!).
4) Reprint this list in your own blog.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings- JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
6. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
7. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
8. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
9. Harry Potter series- JK Rowling
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye- JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code- Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnights Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web- EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables- Victor Hugo
I wish M M Kaye's books had been listed- or James A. Michener-- I love both of those authors and have read almost all their books!
Anyone who reads this entry!!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
A trip with children can be interesting. In a hotel in Jerusalem, my children went out on the balcony and started yelling ,"mom, Michael is climbing over to our side!" I rushed out to see my 7 year old nephew teetering on the outside of his balcony. He inched his way along with the intent of climbing over to ours. I looked straight down at the street far below. What was I to do? He was too far to tell him to go back and yet he wasn't far enough for me to reach him! I held my breath. If I startled him with any noise he might fall! So all I could do was speak calmly and reach out to grab his hand. It was an eternity before I grabbed his arm and pulled him over. How can a person be filled with so much relief and anger at the same time?
"What were you thinking????!!!!" Tears and hugs abounded.
The entire trip was not filled with crisis moments. The sea of Galilee proved to be a restful place. Petra was spectacular. A horse ride through the pass brought us into a marvelous place with structures carved into the rocks. If not for the heat, I would have liked to stay there all day long. There are only a handful of places which I consider phenomenal and Petra is definitely one of them.
Our final boat ride on the Red Sea in Jordan was another memorable experience. The tour guide told us we would go out on a glass boat. Well, the boat was not glass but there was a glass panel in the bottom of the boat. As the boat glided along you could look down through the panel and see the fishes below. The weather was kind to us and the company was lovely. Afterall, what better way is there to spend a day in Jordan on the Red Sea than with your family?
Saturday, August 2, 2008
A Train Journey in China, 2007
Getting around China is very easy these days. The Chinese have always had an excellent railway service and Western countries could improve their services by taking a look at how the Chinese run their national railway system. Buses, taxis and now new, modern aeroplanes are all readily available and relatively cheap.
But my tale is about my first rail trip from Jinhua to Yantai, - a journey time-tabled to take a mere 26 hours. I asked my Chinese companion what types of tickets were available and the corresponding prices.
“Standing, a seat or a bed”.
In an instant and without hesitation I said, “a bed, please!” But being a 52 year old, overweight traveller I was curious to know a little about the other types. Apparently, one can ‘stand’ in the seated carriages for the entire journey if one chooses to do so. Who would be crazy enough to stand for 26 hours? Is it possible? Well, no it isn’t. The standing passengers usually sit, or lay, anywhere they can on the floor where there is a space.
The ‘seats’ were not able to be reserved so they would be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. That means there would be a stampede to get on the train…hmm…I didn’t really fancy being part of that especially as I was towing all my worldly possessions in my suitcase and backpack. I inquired about the bed option next.
“You want bottom, middle or top bed?”, came the reply.
“Are the prices all the same?”, I inquired.
“No. Top ones cheap - bottom ones more money”, my Chinese friend uttered.
There was no way this lad was scaling the inside of any railway carriage! So, we bought two bottom bed tickets.
Trains depart at any hour of day. Ours left at 4pm – a civilised hour and would arrive at 6pm the next day – if they ran on time. Inside our compartment were: six beds, a small (dirty) table, a very large thermos flask containing hot water, and attached to the ceiling, a small fan. We hadn’t rushed to board so when we found our beds the compartment already had four occupants, two of which had made themselves at home on our beds! I was not impressed. I checked our tickets then looked at my companion.
“Ask them to move, please,” I said somewhat tersely.
The look on my face made them move a little quicker than I think than they would have for my companion. The floors were unclean, but after rearranging the other passengers’ items already under our beds, I reluctantly slid our luggage underneath with some difficulty.
The train left on time (not a common occurrence) and we settled down on a rather narrow, uncomfortable bed about 6 feet long by 2 feet wide. I am 6 foot tall and big but I coped.
The lights were due to go out at 10pm so I considered it to be prudent to pay a visit to the facilities. I wish I hadn’t but I knew I needed to. Smelly, unclean, cramped and no toilet paper. Lovely - not! Enough said. When the lights went out the compartment was very dark. The only lighting came from a few small lights on the floor running the length of the corridor.
I was awake before 6am after a restless sleep, but at the hour the train burst into life with several purveyors of food pushing noisy metal trolleys down the corridor. The trolley paused near me. I scanned the items on plastic trays and knew there was nothing there that I could stomach. I shook my head somewhat disappointed.
All was going well until we passed the half-way point then the train stopped in the middle of the countryside. After 15 minutes it recommenced the journey but for the next few hours it repeated this delay several times.
During the day I was entertained by a steady stream of peddlers visiting me. Their wares included: children’s novelties, torches (a little late I thought), socks and books. I flicked through the books, all written in Mandarin, and handed them back. But the seller was most persistent so I bought an A5 sized atlas of China for a modest amount. My purchases also included torches and rather small socks!
Eventually we arrived in Yantai, tired and sticky, at 10pm; some four hours late and thirty hours after we had left Jinhua.
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