The Rory Gilmore reading challenge: February books:

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. How’s the reading coming along? I finished all January books in time and actually added a fourth book. Yeah I know, I’m crazy. I read:

151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain


And it was magnificent! But I will post an update about that book later on.

reading fort

For now, the next member in our little group choose the next books to read this month:

121.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski.

335.) Wicked: The life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I already started reading Wicked, but I must say I got distracted because I went to a book fair last Sunday and bought a nice stack of books and already started reading one of them. I read multiple books at the same time, as well as some fanfiction mixed in it as well.

For me it’s all about different times a day which I enjoy reading different books. Let’s say travelling to work I’m not fully awake yet so I want some light reading. Before bed I enjoy fanfiction and sometimes there is a book I just need to read asap, like I’m doing with the Roald Dahl biography at the moment.

If you want to join in the reading group. Make sure you’re on Facebook and drop me a line to add you. You can only be added as a person, so no pages.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

The Rory Gilmore reading challenge, January books.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. I made a Facebook group, added some people and the Rory Gilmore reading challenge started for me on Monday morning.

Charlotte's Web

I am so excited, the list with books is amazing (well, not all the books, but the majority is). And I can’t wait to read them all, plus it will help me with my normal reading slump and not knowing what to read although my to read list is endless.

Speaking of endless, I added all the books I could find to my Goodreads account and made a separate shelf for it as well.

Let me explain a bit why I am this excited. I live in the Netherlands. I grew up with Dutch books and Dutch classics. I even read some of them for my mandatory reading list, which I didn’t enjoyed. I mean, I can even remember getting into an argument with our school librarian because I wanted to borrow a book, which was recommended to me by one of my French teachers, and it wasn’t on the mandatory reading list. He didn’t believe me I read books for fun.

A lot of the books on the reading challenge list are American and British classics. Books kids in the US and the UK grow up with, which I didn’t grow up Dorian Graywith. A lot of the stories I know about, but I haven’t actually read the books. And it always seems something else comes along I want to read as well and I need to make a choice. By doing this reading challenge, it gives me the opportunity the finally start reading them. And I already finished Charlotte’s Webb the first day.

But enough of that know. I picked three books for January. Not to read all of them (although I probably will), but more so the group can read two books and have a spare. January books are:

  • Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White
  • The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

As you can see the books I picked are really different in genre. This to give all of the group a bit of change during the month and so there is something for everyone.

If you don’t want to read the books with us on Facebook, but just for yourself, you’re more than welcome to follow the blog for all the updates.

time traveller's wifeAlthough comments such as “if someone picks pride and prejudice, can I read pride and prejudice and zombies instead” are things that are epic and geeky and you don’t want to miss.

Happy reading everyone and good luck with whatever challenge you pick to read this year.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek Mendy.

The Rory Gilmore 2015 reading challenge.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Welcome to the first post of 2015. I hope you had an excited New Year’s Eve and everybody still has all their fingers and toes left after playing with fireworks.

First of all. Yesterday brought the sad news that Edward Hermann passed away at the age of 71 after battling cancer. Edward was for us Gilmore Girls knows as Richard Gilmore, Lorelai’s dad and Rory’s grandfather. Rest in peace Edward.


Now 2015 has begun it’s also time to start new reading challenges. I mentioned in an earlier post I wanted to do the Rory Gilmore reading challenge. It isn’t possible to read all the books in one year, but I want to try to read 2 books a month from that list and start an online reading group on Facebook.naamloos1

The original post about the Rory Gilmore reading challenge can be found here. It contains the list with all the books. My goal is to imagesTLU03SA5start on January fifth and see who’s with me.

If you want to participate in this reading challenge just leave a comment or a Facebook link and I will set up a private group on Facebook so we can start reading. I will be doing monthly updates on how it goes and what our thought about the books are.

imagesJ9BOXJM7It doesn’t matter if you join on January fifth or later this year. It is just a way to read some epic classic books you normally wouldn’t pick up that soon to read. And remember, there is a Goodreads list of the books as well.images10XZG7SW

We all get turns into picking 2 books for that month and you are able to skip books if you read them already or you can reread them as well, up to you.

Oh and I’m also in the process of watching all the Gilmore Girls episodes again, thanks to Netflix and my new TV. It will get you imagesNCX6PWCKimagesJF5ML1H1right in the mood to pick up those books.

I hope to see loads of you participating! And let this epic reading challenge begin!

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy


2014 – The Year of The Epic Fail?

So, as inevitable as the turning of the wheel another year has come round again and soon it’ll be goodbye to another year.

Why the slightly pessimistic tone of the title for this post?  Well, like a lot of other people, I decided on some New Year’s resolutions.  Read 40 books… child’s play!!!  Read all of the Sherlock Holmes adventures in a year alongside them… a doddle!!!  And it was when I started the year.  But then, “real life” creeps up and things happen.  As John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”.  (Also, I had big problems with Goodreads which prevented from me logging my books on).

Both challenges went by the wayside by the middle of the year and, as I imagine what happens to a lot of people, I didn’t feel the inspiration to catch up – partly due to falling behind and partly due to things that we’re going on behind the scenes.


That said, it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

On the television front:

  • “Sherlock” came back with three fantastic stories and a great addition to the cast in Amanda Abbington as Mary Morstan/Watson.
  • Peter Capaldi took the controls of the TARDIS in the latest series of “Doctor Who”.  Admittedly, this series has been a bit of a mixed bag but I’m really hoping that Series 9 will get the show back on track especially as Capaldi is looking to inject some of the fun back into the role again.
  • I got addicted to the latest show in the DC television universe in “The Flash”.  I have to admit that I’ve only watched one episode of “Arrow” (the cross over episode with “The Flash”) and it wasn’t to my particular taste, but I do love the fantastical elements of “The Flash” and Grant Gustin is making for a likeable lead in Barry Allen.
  • And right up to a couple of weeks before Christmas we get the wonderful BBC three part series “Remember Me”.  I mean, who would have thought of former Monty Python star Michael Palin tackling such a brilliant supernatural drama.

At the cinema, it was a bit of a mixed bag this year with some truly brilliant films such as “The Imitation Game”, “Chef”, “Paddington”, “The Fault In Our Stars” and “Guardians Of The Galaxy”; some films that promised to be great and didn’t really deliver such as “X-Men: Days Of Future Past”; and some which were pretty awful – yes, “Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?”, I mean you.

On the personal front, although my reading challenges were a bit of a fail, I did take up the challenge of running my first 10K run in over twenty years.  Okay, a time of nearly one and a half hours could be seen as slow, and it was to me considering that I had trained for eleven weeks beforehand, but I was proud that I’d made it round at all given that I had turned 42 a week earlier.

My breaks away this year have been a little less epic than previous with a couple of athletics related trips to Sheffield and Birmingham, a trip to the historical city of York (which I would recommend to any history buffs – if anybody who hasn’t been to York before says that they can’t fill a week there, then there’s something wrong with you) and a break in the Cotswolds where I visited places like Warwick Castle, the Black Country Museum in Dudley and the Severn Valley Railway.  Not only did I manage to do all that cool stuff, but, just to top it all off, I also managed to bump into Mendy for breakfast and a catch up whilst I was on an overnighter in London.  I really hope that we get a chance to catch up again sooner rather than later for a bit longer than breakfast at the renowned Speedy’s Cafe (who do a great coffee and toast… plug plug).


Speaking of Mendy, I’d like to say how great a friend she’s been this year… and not because she’ll be reading this blog post.  There are some friends who you go to in times of trouble and you just want to have a laugh and a joke… and then there are friends like Mendy who will do that, but also give you the metaphorical arm around the shoulder whilst giving you help and advice without sugar coating it.  (For want of a better phrase, kicking my arse).  I have needed that this year and I’m glad that she’s been there for me when I have needed it.  Thank you, Mendy.


So, on to 2015.

  • Yes, yet again, I’ll sign up to do a Reading Challenge next year but I’m not going to beat myself up if I succeed or not.  I’ve already managed to snag myself plenty of books over the Christmas period which I’m looking forward to reading, including some of a geeky disposition.  (Yes… finally, I’ve bought the “Doctor Who” book “Engines of War” after everyone has been raving about it plus “Good Omens” after Mendy told me how good it is).
  • There are already a few films on the horizon for 2015 that have me in eager anticipation – “The Theory of Everything”, “The Woman In Black 2: The Angel of Death”, “Avengers 2: Age of Ultron”, “Terminator Genesys” (featuring some bloke called Matt Smith – he was big in television last year), the latest 007 offering “Spectre”, “Insurgent”, “Paper Towns”, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2″… Oh and a little film called “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.
  • Despite my concerns about Series 8, I’m looking forward to the return of Doctor Who later in the year with the enigmatically titled “The Magician’s Apprentice”.

On a personal note, I already have some breaks away planned, both athletics and non-athletics related including an epic trip to Ireland followed shortly after by a trip to London, both of which I’m really looking forward to.  I’m also looking to get back into running after the festive break, not only to get myself to get fitter but with the intention of tackling another 10K later in the year.


Finally, I just want to wish you all a happy, healthy and geeky 2015 and thank you, dear readers, for continuing to support the blog.

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Today I want to talk to you about reading challenges and one in particular.


For the last two years, I’ve been participating in the Goodreads reading challenge, where you can set your own set of goals towards how many books you want to read in a year.

The first year I set my challenge at 50 books and this year 52. I mean I read quite a lot and my reading speed is high. I almost read as fast in English as I do in Dutch. A book a week is very doable for me.

I tried to keep my own challenge this year about books and movies / series. However, I noticed it’s hard to keep track about everything you watch. Thus me giving up on that challenge.

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon something epic. I am a huge Gilmore girls fan. I wish I had Netflix (hopefully by the end of the year when I buy a new TV) and I love Rory. She reads, loads. Never without a book and she reads just about everything she can get her hands on.

I usually only read books I’m interested in. Which turns out to be mostly fantasy and sometimes a work related book. I have a lack of classics in my reading.

Much to my surprise I stumbled upon a post about someone who has taken the effort to make a list of all the books Rory Gilmore reads throughout the entire series. How epic is that. This is a reading challenge worth taking but not something you can establish within one year.

Not that I mind having a challenge taking up multiple years. I still want to read other books as well in between.

I want to start a Rory Gilmore reading challenge book club online thingy. Starting the first of January and we’ll take it as it goes. I want to try to read two books a month from the epic list, because otherwise it would indeed take years (at this rate as well). I’m actually looking for participants in this reading challenge. To give you the idea which books there are:

This link gives you the books with covers:

If you do have a Goodreads account, you can even keep track of the books here:

Leave a comment if you want in!

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

For those to lazy to click the links:

1.) 1984 by George Orwell
2.) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3.) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
4.) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
5.) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
6.) Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
7.) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8.) Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
9.) Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
10.) The Art of Fiction by Henry James
11.) The Art of War by Sun Tzu
12.) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
13.) Atonement by Ian McEwan
14.) Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
15.) The Awakening by Kate Chopin
16.) Babe by Dick King-Smith
17.) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
18.) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
19.) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
20.) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
21.) Beloved by Toni Morrison
22.) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
23.) The Bhagava Gita
24.) The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
25.) Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
26.) A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
27.) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
28.) Brick Lane by Monica Ali
29.) Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
30.) Candide by Voltaire
31.) The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
32.) Carrie by Stephen King
33.) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
34.) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
35.) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
36.) The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
37.) Christine by Stephen King
38.) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
39.) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
40.) The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
41.) The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
42.) A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
43.) Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
44.) The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
45.) Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
46.) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
47.) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
48.) Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
49.) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
50.) The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
51.) The Crucible by Arthur Miller
52.) Cujo by Stephen King
53.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
54.) Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
55.) David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
56.) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
57.) The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
58.) Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
59.) Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
60.) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
61.) Deenie by Judy Blume
62.) The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
63.) The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
64.) The Divine Comedy by Dante
65.) The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
66.) Don Quixote by Cervantes
67.) Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
68.) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
69.) Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
70.) Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
71.) The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
72.) Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
73.) Eloise by Kay Thompson
74.) Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
75.) Emma by Jane Austen
76.) Empire Falls by Richard Russo
77.) Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
78.) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
79.) Ethics by Spinoza
80.) Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
81.) Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
82.) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
83.) Extravagance by Gary Krist
84.) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
85.) Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
86.) The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
87.) Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
88.) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
89.) The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
90.) Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
91.) The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
92.) Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
93.) Fletch by Gregory McDonald
94.) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
95.) The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
96.) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
97.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
98.) Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
99.) Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
100.) Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
101.) Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
102.) George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
103.) Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
104.) Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
105.) The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
106.) The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
107.) The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
108.) Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
109.) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
110.) The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
111.) The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
112.) The Graduate by Charles Webb
113.) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
114.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
115.) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
116.) The Group by Mary McCarthy
117.) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
118.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
119.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
120.) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
121.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
122.) Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
123.) Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
124.) Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
125.) Henry V by William Shakespeare
126.) High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
127.) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
128.) Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
129.) The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
130.) House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
131.) The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
132.) How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
133.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
134.) How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
135.) Howl by Allen Ginsberg
136.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
137.) The Iliad by Homer
138.) I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
139.) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
140.) Inferno by Dante
141.) Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
142.) Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
143.) It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
144.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
145.) The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
146.) Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
147.) The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
148.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
149.) Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
150.) The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
152.) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
153.) Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
154.) The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
155.) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
156.) The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
157.) Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
158.) Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
159.) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
160.) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
161.) Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
162.) The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
163.) The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
164.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
165.) Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
166.) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
167.) The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
168.) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
169.) The Love Story by Erich Segal
170.) Macbeth by William Shakespeare
171.) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
172.) The Manticore by Robertson Davies
173.) Marathon Man by William Goldman
174.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
175.) Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
176.) Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
177.) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
178.) The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
179.) Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
180.) The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
181.) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
182.) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
183.) The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
184.) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
185.) The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
186.) Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
187.) A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
188.) Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
189.) A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
190.) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
191.) Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
192.) Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
193.) My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
194.) My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
195.) My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
196.) Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
197.) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
198.) The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
199.) The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
200.) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
201.) The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
202.) Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
203.) New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
204.) The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
205.) Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
206.) Night by Elie Wiesel
207.) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
208.) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
209.) Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on  Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
211.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
212.) Old School by Tobias Wolff
213.) On the Road by Jack Kerouac
214.) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
215.) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
216.) The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
217.) Oracle Night by Paul Auster
218.) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
219.) Othello by Shakespeare
220.) Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
221.) The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
222.) Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
223.) The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
224.) A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
225.) The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
226.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
227.) Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
228.) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
229.) Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
230.) Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
231.) Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
232.) The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
233.) The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
234.) The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
235.) The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
236.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
237.) Property by Valerie Martin
238.) Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
239.) Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
240.) Quattrocento by James Mckean
241.) A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
242.) Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
243.) The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
244.) The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
245.) Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
246.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
247.) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
248.) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
249.) Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
250.) The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
251.) R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
252.) Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
253.) Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
254.) Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
255.) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
256.) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
257.) A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
258.) Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
259.) The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
260.) Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
261.) Sanctuary by William Faulkner
262.) Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
263.) Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
264.) The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
265.) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
266.) Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
267.) The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
268.) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
269.) Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
270.) Selected Hotels of Europe
271.) Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
272.) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
273.) A Separate Peace by John Knowles
274.) Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
275.) Sexus by Henry Miller
276.) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
277.) Shane by Jack Shaefer
278.) The Shining by Stephen King
279.) Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
280.) S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
281.) Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
282.) Small Island by Andrea Levy
283.) Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
284.) Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
285.) Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
286.) The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
287.) Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
288.) The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
289.) Songbook by Nick Hornby
290.) The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
291.) Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
292.) Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
293.) The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
294.) Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
295.) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
296.) The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
297.) A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
298.) Stuart Little by E. B. White
299.) Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
300.) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
301.) Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
302.) Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
303.) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
304.) Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
305.) Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
306.) Time and Again by Jack Finney
307.) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
308.) To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
309.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
310.) The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
311.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
312.) The Trial by Franz Kafka
313.) The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
314.) Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
315.) Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
316.) Ulysses by James Joyce
317.) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
318.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
319.) Unless by Carol Shields
320.) Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
321.) The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
322.) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
323.) Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
324.) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
325.) Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
326.) Walden by Henry David Thoreau
327.) Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
328.) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
329.) We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
330.) What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
331.) What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
332.) When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
333.) Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
334.) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
335.) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
336.) The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
337.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
338.) The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
339.) The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

The Great British Sherlock Read Off – A Scandal In Bohemia and The Red Headed League

Sherlock Challenge


As I’m heading into the Holmes short stories, I thought that it would be better to combine posts rather than doing an update for each story.  So, for this update I am focussing on the first two stories from “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” collection, “A Scandal In Bohemia” and “The Red-Headed League”.



People who are viewers of “Sherlock” will know that the contemporary parallel to this particular story is “A Scandal In Belgravia” and Sherlock’s opponent is, of course, the only woman to best him in “The Woman”, Irene Adler.

Unlike the “Sherlock” version of the story, Watson is happily married to Mary by the time the time Holmes encounters Irene Adler and has been living away from Sherlock, as in the television story “His Last Vow”.  In fact, fans of “Sherlock” will recognise some of the dialogue from “Vow” in this story, specifically the dialogue regarding the fact that Watson has settled into married life from the evidence of him putting on weight.

You can sense that this is still early days for the Holmes mythos because, yet again, Holmes gives Watson another lesson in observation and deduction with John as the example – the third time in three stories – as though Conan Doyle was still trying to drive home Sherlock’s powers of detection.

Given that this is a shorter story than “A Study In Scarlet” or “The Sign Of Four”, this story is particularly Sherlock heavy.  It starts with Watson relaying the fact that Sherlock doesn’t see women in the romantic sense, which given the fact that Irene bests Holmes in this story lends the story a tinge of the romantic.

As in “Belgravia”, this story hinges around the fact that Irene is seeking to blackmail a notable royal, in this case the King of Bohemia, due to an indiscretion when he was the Crown Prince.  Holmes is entrusted to be the agent to recover the evidence.

The narrative is very pacey, in comparison to the first two stories (it took me a couple of hours to read), which is fitting as Holmes’s adventures were being chronicled in newspapers and the character of Holmes and Watson are consistent with how they are portrayed in “Scarlet” and “Sign” – Holmes as the cold, calculating investigator and Watson as his chronicler – as intelligent and ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrade in arms, but always half a step behind due to his view of the world in comparison to Sherlock.

The King of Bohemia is very much seen as just a client in this case, as opposed to Mary Morstan, who is very much somebody who accompanies Holmes and Watson in their previous adventure.

The character of Irene Adler is an interesting one as she seems to have been retconned through the passage of time.  If you’ve seen the Downey Jr. “Sherlock Holmes” films, Adler has become a career criminal, of sorts, whilst the “Sherlock” version is a dominatrix who deals with obtaining classified information and working as an agent of Jim Moriarty.

In the book, Irene is a totally different kettle of fish – she’s an opera singer, actor and “adventuress”.  Her driving motivation a sense of injustice, as in the cases of Holmes’s two previous adversaries, and is described at the end of the story.

Another interesting thing is that, unlike the adversaries from the first two stories, you hardly see a great deal of “The Woman” herself.  A lot of what is described of her is through conversation, observation and by a significant letter.  In fact, we only see her interact with Holmes twice in the story and briefly so.

The fact that her appearances are so fleeting, the fact that she beats Holmes, plus the fact that there is no case of murder in this story, are really what gives “Scandal” it’s romantic touchstone, even though Holmes himself would not see it so.

Unlike the previous two stories, it’s not essential to have seen the “Sherlock”, in fact, it may be helpful to try to put aside Lara Pulver’s fantastic portrayal as the modern day Adler when reading this story as the two versions motives are poles apart, even though her actions aren’t.



For fans of “Sherlock” and who haven’t read the books before, this is a story that you may not be familiar with.

Basically, the story involves a pawnbroker by the name of Jabez Wilson who consults Holmes on a case where he has felt that he has been on the receiving end of a practical joke.  Wilson, a man with red hair, answered an advertisement for a job with a beneficiary trust called “The League of Red-Headed Men”.  His job, to copy all of the entries in the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

There are conditions to his job, however. He must work there between 10 am and 2 pm, he must not leave his place of employment and he cannot take a day’s absence or he will forfeit his role with the League.

However, after two months service with the League, Wilson finds on attending work that the League has been dissolved and that nobody has heard of the League’s administrator, Mr Duncan Ross.

I do have a familiarity with this story through the first series of the Sherlock Holmes stories as transmitted by Granada Television.

The story, like “A Scandal In Bohemia” is a short one and therefore means that the narrative is fast-paced, but manages to be full of detail, partly down to the exposition that the character of Jabez Wilson provides at the start of the story and partly because, unlike the previous three Holmes stories that I’ve read, there are no establishing demonstrations of Holmes’s powers of detection, apart from his ascertaining and linking up clues as to Wilson’s past.

With readers now becoming more familiar with the partnership of Holmes and Watson, there is also less need to describe specifics about Holmes’s methods of detection in this story, with the clues coming in a “blink and you’ll miss them fashion”, something that to this day appears in many a detective or procedural television programme, book or film.

One area of interest in this particular story is Watson’s observations of Holmes himself – in particular, the two sides to Holmes’s character.  On the one hand, he is a man who is in his chosen vocation for the thrill of the hunt, whilst on the other, he is an admirer of the calm atmosphere of the musical arts – whilst dispelling the popular myth that Holmes was poor at playing the violin as he describes Holmes as being both a competent violinist and a composer.  (A trait that “Sherlock” fans will certainly recognise from the episode “The Sign Of Three”).

The story itself is a straight-forward procedural story with a beginning – Jabez’s story flowing swiftly into Holmes and Watson’s investigation and the final act of their apprehending the suspects.  It’s also a less emotionally led story than what I have read before, certainly less so than “A Scandal In Bohemia” or “The Sign Of Four” which attempts to shine some light on the emotional character of Sherlock and John.  In fact, this is a much lighter, in fact slightly comedic, story in comparison to the previous three.

For fans of the televised “Sherlock Holmes” version of this story, there is a major change between the original work and the TV version in the fact of who actually masterminds this plot.  No doubt due to the fact that even in the 1980′s we were being treated to a minimal story arc which culminated at the end of the first series of Granada’s adventures for the Brett incarnation of the role.

In summing up, a pleasant read and a story that can be read with ease in a couple of hours.



For those of you following this challenge, the next story that I’ll be reading will be the short story “A Case Of Identity”.

The Great British Sherlock Read Off – 2. The Sign Of Four

Sherlock Challenge

(As originally published on my own blog, The Wandering Bookworm)

So, on to story number two in my (hopefully) year long challenge to read all of the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories and I can already see refinements in the formula from what I saw in “A Study In Scarlet” within the second story published, “The Sign Of Four”.

As with “Scarlet”, the story is written from Watson’s point of view and from the start of the case, there is a degree of romance to this adventure.  Partly, this is down to the character’s habit of embellishing their investigations with a dash of adventure, something Holmes berates him upon his fictional publication of “A Study In Scarlet”, and partly down to the fact that this story opens up his character as a man who admires women and who has a degree of chivalry within his behaviour.  This comes to the fore thanks to an important character in Watson’s ongoing story in the form of Mary Morstan – the client in the main investigation of this story which starts with her receiving pearls on a regular basis following the disappearance of her father and leads to the inexplicable murder of a man in a locked room.

In addition to the above character development, the reader is treated the unearthing of one of Watson’s secrets thanks to a test of observation and deduction which fans of “Sherlock” will recognise through a similar test in “A Study In Pink”.

The story also adds some of Holmes’s better known quirks and eccentricities from the outset, namely his self-prescribed usage of cocaine and morphine along with his talent for disguise.  In addition to these traits, you also get hints to Holmes’s past – namely his talent as a boxer.  (Fans of the Robert Downey Jr. incarnation of Holmes will know of this).

New and refined versions of supporting characters join this story with Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade being replaced with the blustering Inspector Athelney Jones, whilst 221B Baker Street’s housekeeper receives the famous name of Mrs Hudson and Holmes’s army of child observers, informants and detectives being christened as the “Irregulars”.

Conan Doyle’s narrative style also shows signs of change between the structure of “Scarlet” and that of “Sign”.  Rather than the two part structure which describes the investigation followed by the backstory, “Sign” is more linear in approach with the story having a clear beginning, middle and end with the backstory being recounted by one of the perpetrators of the crimes within this story.

I have to admit that I am a little of an advantage with this story as I have seen the Granada Television adaptation transmitted in 1987 which starred Jeremy Brett as Holmes, Edward Hardwicke as Watson and John Thaw.  When matched up against the book, this film is extremely faithful to the original story and well worth a watch.

People may be more familiar with this story nowadays through the “Sherlock” episode “The Sign Of Three”.  Although there is no wedding of John and Mary, hamfisted best man speech by Sherlock or drunken escapades of their stag night, the core themes of the “Sherlock” version, namely revenge and a man’s interpretation of justice, stacks up well between “The Sign of Three” and the original book, albeit that the motives behind the perpretator’s acts are very different.

If you’re a “Sherlock” fan, I would make the same recommendation as in my review of “A Study In Scarlet” of re-watching “The Sign Of Three” before reading “The Sign Of Four”, not only to gain familiarity with the story, but in spotting the various “Easter Eggs” which tie in with the plot of the book (specifically through the stories that Sherlock recounts as part of his best man speech).

Two down, fifty-eight to go and the next story is Sherlock’s one and only encounter with “The Woman”.