So You Think You’re a Reader?

by Lin Kristensen

by Lin Kristensen

The BBC believes most people will have read only six of the 100 books listed below. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy the note below and paste it into Word (or whatever). Look at the list and put an ‘x’ next to those you have read. Post on FB or your blog and brag about it. The x’s in the list below are for the ones I have read.

[x ] Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
[x ] The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
[x ] Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
[x] Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
[x ] To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
[x] The Bible
[x] Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
[x ] Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
[x] His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
[x ]Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
[x ] Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
[x ] Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
[x ] Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
[x ] Complete Works of Shakespeare
[x ] Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
[x ] The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
[ ] Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
[x ] Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
[x] The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
[ ] Middlemarch – George Eliot
[x ] Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
[x ] The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
[x] Bleak House – Charles Dickens
[x] War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
[x] The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
[x] Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
[x] Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
[x] Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
[x] The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
[x] Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
[x] David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
[x] Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
[x] Emma – Jane Austen
[x] Persuasion – Jane Austen
[x] The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
[x] The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
[x] Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
[x] Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
[x ] Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
[x ] Animal Farm – George Orwell
[x] The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
[x] One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
[x] A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
[x] The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
[x] Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
[x] Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
[x] The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
[x] Lord of the Flies – William Golding
[ ] Atonement – Ian McEwan
[x ] Life of Pi – Yann Martel
[x ]Dune – Frank Herbert
[x] Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
[x] Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
[x] A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
[ ] The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
[x] A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
[x ] Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
[x] The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
[x] Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
[x] Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
[x] Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
[ ] The Secret History – Donna Tartt
[Couldn’t finish] The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
[x] Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
[x] On The Road – Jack Kerouac
[ ] Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
[x] Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
[ ] Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
[x] Moby Dick – Herman Melville
[x] Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
[x] Dracula – Bram Stoker
[x] The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
[ ]Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
[ ] Ulysses – James Joyce
[ ] The Inferno – Dante
[ ] Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
[ ] Germinal – Emile Zola
[x] Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
[ ] Possession – AS Byatt
[x] A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
[reading now] Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
[x] The Color Purple – Alice Walker
[ ] The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
[x] Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
[ ] A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
[x] Charlotte’s Web – EB White
[x] The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
[x] Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
[ ] The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
[x] Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
[x] The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
[ ] The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
[x] Watership Down – Richard Adams
[x] A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
[x] A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
[x] The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
[x] Hamlet – William Shakespeare
[x ] Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
[x] Les Miserables – Victor Hugo


It’s Time To Talk About LOVE! (And Sex.)

heart fractalAfter all, this is the month of lacy hearts, cupids, flowers, chocolates, etc. etc. Now, I’m as romantic as the next woman, which is to say, lots more romantic than any guy. I suspect that is the basis for much of what irritates me about most romance novels. The typical scenario involves (usually) two people who are attracted to each other but suffer untold complications and misunderstandings based on one party wrongly perceiving the other party’s intentions, or personal insecurities, untold secrets, ridiculous upholding of honor, and so forth.

The scenario that REALLY annoys me is the one where the heroine keeps rejecting the hero because she thinks she’s not good enough for him—not pretty enough, too poor, class differences, whatever. GRRRR.

A lot of today’s romance novels seem determined to prove that women are just as horny as men, and include descriptions of sexual scenes that rival the “Esquire Letters.” (Do they still publish those letters, by the way? I haven’t read “Esquire” in quite a while.) “She groaned as he thrust his turgid, throbbing member into her sweet recesses,” and the like is a turn-off—for me, at any rate. If the principals are going to tango, I prefer a decorous fade to black on the proceedings. If I want graphic descriptions of sex, I’ll read the  “Esquire Letters.”

On the other hand, I enjoy a romantic subplot, as long as it neither takes over the story nor involves turgid members. When I began writing “The Obsidian Mirror,” I was thinking that the Avatar Coyote (“Chaco” to his friends) would be the source of the sexual tension. After all, he was gorgeous, considerate, brave and a good cook. As long as my protagonist, Sierra, could deal with him morphing into a small wolf from time to time, he seemed like a perfect love interest.

But then I reconsidered. Coyote was supposed to be The Trickster, not entirely reliable, and based on Native American stories, quite the lad with the ladies. Sierra isn’t a prude or a stick-in-the-mud, but she wants a stable relationship with a future. (I didn’t decide this. Sierra just came out that way. I couldn’t have made her into a bed-hopping free spirit if I had tried.) So I created sexual tension by having Chaco come on to Sierra in a nice sort of way. Sierra is tempted (he IS good-looking and a nice guy), but passes. Chaco moves on to Sierra’s friend Kaylee—and gets way more than he expects. Sierra finds a more solid-citizen-type in Clancy Forrester. Okay, they do have one or two misunderstandings, but when you’re trying to get a practical, down-to-earth chief of security to believe that the guy he thinks is your boyfriend is actually a sort of shape-shifting minor deity—well, there are bound to be some difficulties, right?

So in this month of hearts and flowers, let’s celebrate romance—the heightened awareness, the exchange of tender mementos, the thrill of loving and being loved. Does all this have to lead to sex? Well, sure, why not? But the ecstasy of good sex is only enhanced by the dance of courtship.