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Books I Read in 2015

Here are the books I read or reread in 2015:

  • The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, Third Edition (Bobby Owsinski)
  • Tune In–The Beatles: All These Years #1 (Mark Lewisohn)
  • The Dhammapada (translated by Irving Babbitt)
  • The Dhammapada (translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita)
  • The Science of Marketing: When to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog, and Other Proven Strategies (Dan Zarrella)
  • My Struggle: Book 1 (Karl Ove Knausgaard)
  • Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha’s Path (Bhante Henepola Gunaratana)
  • The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses (Kevin Birmingham)
  • The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook, Third Edition (Bobby Owsinski)
  • A Confession (Leo Tolstoy)
  • Buzzing Communities (Richard Millington)
  • Don’t All Thank Me At Once: The Lost Pop Genius of Scott Miller (Brett Milano)

Greatest British Novels I’ve Read

British Flag

When BBC Culture asked book critics to name the top 100 British novels and then published the results earlier this month, I couldn’t resist going through the list to see how many I’d read. As it turns out, I’ve only read 15 of them:

  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Laurence Sterne)
  • Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
  • Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift)
  • The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy)
  • Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell)
  • A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)
  • David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
  • The Forsyte Saga (John Galsworthy)
  • Animal Farm (George Orwell)
  • A Room with a View (E.M. Forster)
  • Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro)
  • Sons and Lovers (D.H. Lawrence)

I do have Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf) on my Kindle, so sometime next year I’ll make it 16. Until then, however, I’ve got some nonfiction to catch up on.

For more from the BBC, see “What makes a ‘Great British Novel’?”

Chekhov’s Gun

Anton Chekhov

According to Wikipedia, Chekhov’s gun is a dramatic principle that every element in a narrative be irreplaceable and that anything else be removed. From Chekhov:

“Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

Nice.

Ulysses Playing Cards

Ulysses Playing Cards

These Ulysses playing cards were published by Presage International in 1989. Here’s the description given on one of the spare cards:

The Vau-de-ville of James Joyce’s Ulysses encircles and condenses into a pictorial form the adventures of a single day, June 16, 1904. Each image is part of a puzzle in which past, present, future, naturalism, symbolism, reality, [and] hallucination are superimposed and interwoven.

Mock heroic exaggeration and pomposity explode into laughter through visions, fantasies, and internal monologues.

Hearts are emotional.

Clubs are physical.

Diamonds are spiritual.

Spades are symbolical.

R. Fanto created the drawings and divised the scheme based on many useful hints given by Richard Ellman, Joyce’s biographer.

I have a number of favorites, including Martello Tower, INRI-IHS, Pen, Crossed Mirror and Razor, and Joyce and Nora as the Jokers.

Half Price Books

Half Price Books

One of my favorite places to shop is Half Price Books, so for my birthday last month, among other things, I received a Half Price gift card. I finally got the chance to drop in yesterday, and I found some treasures:

Book

  • The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses (Kevin Birmingham)

CDs

  • The Legend Begins (Tony Sheridan and The Beatles)
  • Gene Vincent (Gene Vincent; 2 CDs)
  • The Chess Blues-Rock Songbook: The Classic Originals (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Various artists; 2 CDs)

Hey, isn’t Father’s Day next Sunday? 😉

Books That Have Sold More Than 100 Million Copies

Don Quixote

With the caveat that it is “an incomplete list that may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness,” Wikipedia lists nine books (one sold as a series) as having sold more than 100 million copies. For reasons listed on the site, books of a religious, ideological, or political nature (eg, the Bible, the Qur’an, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung) are excluded from the list:

  • Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes)
  • A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
  • The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien)
  • Le Petit Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J. K. Rowling)
  • And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
  • Dream of the Red Chamber (Cao Xueqin)
  • The Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien)
  • She: A History of Adventure (H. Rider Haggard)

Literary Lapses

William Shakespeare

Sometimes even the best writers make mistakes. Here are a few.

Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe comes out of the water naked to board a ship, then fills his pockets with biscuits.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
According to the author, Dr. Watson suffered a war injury. In A Study in Scarlet the injury was to Watson’s shoulder, but in The Sign of Four, it has moved to his leg.

Carl Sandburg
In Abraham Lincoln–The Prairie Years, Sandburg has Lincoln’s mother singing a song that was not written until twenty-two years after her son’s death.

William Shakespeare
The bard wrote of a cannon in the reign of King John (cannons were unknown until about 150 years later); of clocks striking the hour in the days of Julius Caesar; and of printing in the days of King Henry II.

From Strouf, Judie LH: Literature Lover’s Book of Lists: Serious Trivia for the Bibliophile; Prentice Hall; 1998.