June 26, 2008

The Big Read

I stole this from Chrys.

The Big Read thinks the average adult has only read six of the top 100 books they've printed below.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE. (Apparently you can't underline on Blogger so, like Chrys, I'm going to star the ones I LOVE).
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
* 4. Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
* 5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6. The Bible (I had parts of it read to me as a child)
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
* 11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
* 14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (I haven't read the complete works yet, but I've made it through a hefty percentage of them, hence the star)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (Does having seen the movie about a dozen times count?)
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 (the first one)
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 (Maybe, one day)
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 (the first one)
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' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's 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 (Started it in Lit class, didn't finish...)
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 (Another one I started but didn't finish)

Interesting list. I'm surprised at how many of those I've read, and by how many of them I've never even heard of. Of course, though, like any "top 100" list, it's at least partially subjective, no matter what group of people compiled it.

So, who's next?

June 20, 2008

Update: Finished Route 50 Road Trip entries

For anyone who's interested, I finally posted the last few days of journal & photos about my 2005 road trip from Maryland to California. Enjoy!

June 7, 2008

A day at the museum: The BMA, 6/7/08

It was stinking hot in the mid-Atlantic region yesterday, so I decided a visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art would be a great way to beat the heat. And the timing turned out to be right, as this was the last weekend of their Looking Through the Lens exhibit on photography of 1900-1960. The museum's an interesting mix of historical/cultural items, classical art, and modern, abstract works. Picked up a few cool quotes and some decent photos while wandering the sculpture garden and the exhibits.

This small building is located at the corner of the museum grounds along St. Paul Street. Interestingly, the interiors of the windows are covered with newspaper pages.

"The experiment lies with the spectator in his willingness to accept what his eye conveys to him.... The success of the experiment is in proportion to the desire to discover and enjoy."
Man Ray

Click to view full size

There was an entire room dedicated to Jim Dine, with the striking skull piece, A Side View in Florida, as the focal point upon entering the room. From a museum pamphlet--

"It is tempting to codify Dine's various symbols, and occasionally the artist has identified specific meanings: ...the raven as a friend and alter ego that first appeared in a dream, the skull as the artist's voice crying to come out..."

Click to view full size

The piece below was mesmerizing. It was almost like a giant, self-automated spirograph, scratching its eternal pattern on the white-washed wall. What's so unusual about it, though, is that there's a microphone attached somewhere on the thing, and the sound of its scratching is played through speakers mounted to the ceiling above it. Hearing as well as seeing the movement of it gives the thing a strange sort of inanimate life.

And from artificial life to organic death... For the untitled work below, Zoe Leonard ate 3 bananas, 3 oranges, and 1 grapefruit, then stitched the skins back together. The placard next to the piece explains that a museum's purpose is generally to preserve works of art for perpetuity, but Leonard specifically requested that the skins be left alone, exposed to the degrading effects of the air. Her intention is, apparently, to cause the observer to "reflect upon the desire for timelessness and to contemplate the processes of decay and disappearance".

Click to view full size

This painting was a surprise to me. I've been familiar for a long time with some of the works of Gustav Klimt, but this is very atypical to the pieces he's known for. It makes me think of so many of the forests I've hiked, serene and peaceful, yet darkly moody when the sun hits a certain position in the sky and only small glimpses of light penetrate the density of the trees.

"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its one sure defense."
Mark Twain