My Life in Books Tag

Thanks to Eva at Brilliantly Bookish Site for this – it’s a fun tag to do!

Book for Each Initial

My full name is Thaddaeus, but if we’re doing a book for each letter we’ll be here all day. Luckily, everyone calls me Thad, so we’ll stick with that:

Review: The Trial by Franz Kafka - Today's Throwback Thursday is Kafka's 1925 classic about a world where no one is safe from the machinery of a totalitarian regime. Scary stuff in today's world...
Review: Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow - Today's Throwback Thursday is a Pulitzer Prize winner, about a writer who receives a helping hand from his long dead mentor when all else is lost.
Review: American Pastoral by Philip Roth - Easily one of the top 5 books I’ve ever read – Philip Roth’s writing is electric. Anyway, it’s an intense look at the American Dream through the story of Swede Levov – an all American hero whose daughter bombs a post office. Read this book – it’s worth it. Nothing else I’ve read in years […]
Review: Dodgers by Bill Beverly - Bill Beverly's debut novel might be a crime novel about a murder, but this is just an excuse so we get to see the American Dream up close - Dodgers is well worth your time.

 

 

Looking at these, it seems pretty obvious that modern American Literature is my favoured genre – I guess it is why I loved my Top 5 Best American post so much!

Age – Count Along Your Bookshelf

The 35th book along is John Dies at the End by David Wong. This was a really fun sci-fi horror thing (and I think it’s since been made into a cult film!). If you’re into your sci-fi, then this is a decent alternative:

Review: John Dies at the End by David Wong - This is brilliant fun - it's a page turner with a lot of original thinking crammed in. It's not going to inspire you or anything, but you'll enjoy it all the same. It even had a film made from it starring Paul Giammatti (is a cult film apparently).

Book that Represents A Destination You Would Love to Travel to

Pretty much anything to do with New York – I’ve been once (proposed to my wife, got behind the Mets, drank Brooklyn lager), and always day dream about going back. There’s a few books that remind me of this place:

Review: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - This week's Throwback Thursday is that classic tale of teenage angst and rebellion: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - OK, this one ain't a comic, but there's not a better book on this whole site. Trust me...
Review: A Magic Summer by Stanley Cohen - A look at the 1969 New York Mets – a team that lost everything until it won the lot. It’s one for fans of underdogs everywhere. Ripping fun – if you’re interested in this, you’ll be interested in Can’t Anybody Here Play this Game? by Jimmy Breslin.
Review: Can’t Anybody Here Play this Game? by Jimmy Breslin - This thing is brilliant. It’s about the ’62 Mets – the worst team in baseball history. It’s written in the straight talking kind of way that only a newspaper writer can do, had me smiling from start to finish, laughing out loud every ten minutes, and nostalgic for a team I’ve never even seen. If […]

 

If I’m allowed a little leeway on this one, then my number one destination would be the moon. I’m fascinated by the Race for Space, and I’d like nothing more than to climb aboard a Saturn V rocket to see what it is like out there:

Review: Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins - Michael Collins is responsible for this week’s Throwback Thursday classic – the story of how he made it to the moon without actually going to the moon. It’s superb. Collins is perhaps the most famous man you’ve never heard of – circling the moon on Apollo 11, whilst Armstrong and Aldrin took all the glory […]
Review: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly - Margot Lee Shetterly's account of the black women who helped the US to land on the moon is heartbreaking, heartwarming and a bit boring.
Review: Return to Earth by Buzz Aldrin - Buzz Aldrin's adventures weren't even nearly over when he set foot on the moon...
Review: Moonshot by Dan Parry - A bonus Monday morning review for you, with the inside story on the first moon landing that ignores the darker origins of the Space Race almost completely
Review: Moonglow by Michael Chabon - The Pulitzer Prize winning author, Michael Chabon, returns with a family saga that examines an uncomfortable truth about the morally ambiguous times we live in.
Review: James Bond in Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz - James Bond. No, no, no, give this one a chance -you’ll like it I promise. It’s the start of a new Bond. Or I think it’s the start of a new Bond, anyway. Well, maybe not that new. For a start, he still doesn’t care about your scientifically proven link between smoking and cancer: But he does […]
Hello, is This Planet Earth? By Tim Peake Review: Hello, is this Planet Earth? by Tim Peake - Page after page of some of the most beautiful photographs I've ever seen, taken from 220 miles up in the International Space Station. Every page looks like it has had a cool million pounds spent on it.
Review: Two Sides of the Moon by David Scott and Alexei Leonov - A bonus Monday Morning Moonshot review for you, from two of the best spacemen out there. In all, its heavy going – certainly not for everyone. It follows the space race from the point of view of two of the guys at the sharp end of it – Russian Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and US Astronaut David […]
Review: Red Moon Rising by Matthew Brzezinski - Fascinated by the space race? Then this is a good place to find out how it all started. Its a behind-the-scenes (or maybe behind-the-iron-curtain?) look at the intense competition that spurred on the race for space: the great rivalries between the US and USSR, the US Army and Air Force, Khrushchev and Eisenhower, even the […]
Review: The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe - Where astronaut Pete Conrad ties a poo in a little ribbon and bow for a medical test.

Favorite Color

Green or blue I guess. That only leaves In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell  by the looks of things. I remember thinking this book was a tougher read than it needed to be:

Review: In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell - Matt Bell’s first book is a grisly fairy tale that explores what it means to be a man, husband, and son. It is about as strange and unfamiliar a book as I’ve ever read – a dark fairy tale that has blood and guts through every page, challenging the reader at almost every step. A newly wed couple move […]

Most Difficulty Reading

There’s only one real contender for this: War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy – the second worst book I’ve ever read. The writing is OK, but it is crammed with too much stuff that tells you too little. You can read more about it here:

Review: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - Mostly pointless. I thought this would be great, but it turned out to be a bunch of posh people waiting to get married. I can only assume Tolstoy was getting paid by the word here too. He doesn’t half drag it on. And then, just when all the posh people are married or dead and […]

 

There’s an honourable mention to the Alchemist by Paolo Coelho in this category. Not because the writing style is hard or anything, but because it is full of nonsense. This is the worst book I’ve ever read.

Which Book in the TBR Pile Will You Get the Biggest Sense of Accomplishment From?

I’ve had Godel Escher Bach by Douglas Hofstadter on my TBR list for absolutely ages. If I ever get near finishing this one I’ll be super happy!

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If you’re wondering why I’m struggling with it, then just check out this description from wikipedia:

“By exploring common themes in the lives and works of logician Kurt Gödel, artist M. C. Escher and composer Johann Sebastian Bach, the book expounds concepts fundamental to mathematics, symmetry, and intelligence. Through illustration and analysis, the book discusses how self-reference and formal rules allow systems to acquire meaning despite being made of “meaningless” elements. It also discusses what it means to communicate, how knowledge can be represented and stored, the methods and limitations of symbolic representation, and even the fundamental notion of “meaning” itself.”

See? It’s a toughie.


Thanks again to Eva@brilliantlybookish – I really enjoyed this one!

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