The 100 Books Tag

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FictionFan has created this tag, in honor of her 100th TBR Thursday post. I am taking the liberty to answer her questions. Here we go…

What is the 100th book on your TBR list?

I don’t have a designated TBR list per se. I have a notebook where I jot down books I want to read, but I periodically forget to write in it. If I ignore the post-it notes that are stuck to the pages, the book in the 100th spot is Ice by Ulla-Lena Lundberg, which I read about on Lady Fancifull’s blog. (Curiously, in the 102nd spot is the book Ice by Anna Kavan. I wonder if I found that while looking further into Lundberg’s novel.)

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On the TBR list I have on Goodreads (which contains 716 books), the 100th spot is taken by Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke. The title meant nothing to me when I looked at it, which goes to show that I rather randomly add books to this list. Upon reading the synopsis of When She Woke, I was happy to discover that I still want to read it. Maybe next time I am in the mood for some apocalyptic, dystopian fiction.

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Take your current book, open it to page 100, and quote a few sentences that you like.

Since I was reading a German book when I first considered this tag, I got the English translation from the library. Not surprisingly, the text flow doesn’t line up, but I really like this paragraph from the English edition, which incidentally includes the title of the book:

“Outside it was very bright when she looked up, so bright that the light hurt. The birch trees glowed yellow, a warm fall this year, thought Nadyeshda Ivanovna. In Slava they’d be harvesting potatoes now, smoke would be rising from the first fires as the potato stems and leaves burned, and when you began burning the potato stems and leaves that time, inexorably, had come: the time of fading light.”

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Look for my full review of this wonderful book during German Literature Month.

When you are 100, what author(s) do you know you will still be re-reading regularly?

Impossible to answer! I am always scared that a book or author I have loved in the past won’t live up to my expectations during a re-read. The one exception is Jane Austen, and I suspect that I will still love Persuasion when I am 100. (I sure hope so!) I am curious to find out if I will still find Mark Twain funny and Erik Larson’s non-fiction gush-worthy. I hope that I will still be able to find and enjoy forgotten classics, but I am mostly looking forward to discovering new voices over the next decades—voices that I can’t anticipate now.

Link to your 100th post. Do you still agree with it?

I know there must be a feature somewhere that puts one’s posts into a numbered list. But I can’t find it, so if I counted correctly, then my 100th post was The Undertaking by Audrey Magee, which was nominated for both the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize. I still agree with everything I said about the book, and it saddens me a little bit to see that it doesn’t have a higher rating on Goodreads. Why don’t you read the book and tell me whether you agree with my review or not.

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Name a book that you love that has less than 100 pages. Why do you love it?

The five smallest books on my shelves all have 104 pages. I don’t seem to have one with fewer pages than that. I looked up a list with the Most Influential Books With Less Than 100 Pages, but of the ones I have read that are listed, I can’t say that I completely love them. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was a wonderful surprise because, a bit unexpectedly, it did put me into the Christmas spirit. And Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea was good because I felt that I understood it—unlike some of his other books. But Dickens was a little verbose, and Hemingway was, well, Hemingway.

If someone gave you £100, which would be the five books you would rush to buy?

As usual, I would be torn between buying a few new books, or just buy used and get more for the money. I am also a very fickle book buyer, so I might go into the bookstore with a set list of books to buy and come out with an entirely different stack. So again, this question is impossible for me to answer. However, since £100 would give me $122 at the current conversion rate, I would be able to purchase the Folio editions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility as a special treat.

Aren’t they so pretty? I wish I liked the illustrations in Persuasion a little better, but Anne looks like an unflattering caricature to me, so I don’t want that one.

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What book do you expect to be reading 100 days from now?

I have no idea! I don’t generally plan that far in advance. However, I want to participate in the read-along of György Spiró’s Captivity, which is hosted by Dolce Bellezza in January. It’s a big book, so I suspect it will be one of the books in progress 100 days from now.

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Looking at The Guardian’s list of “The 100 greatest novels of all time”, how many have you read? Of the ones you haven’t, which ones would you most like to read? And which will you never read?

Oh dear, I have read only 29 books on this list (and only 32 that are on the 2015 version of the list). The others are mostly on my TBR list, and I’ve been saying that I will read Frankenstein “soon” for so long now that I should probably start with that one. I don’t think I’ll ever read In Search of Lost Time, and I know for a fact that I will never, ever pick up another book by Samuel Beckett again. Discussing Waiting for Godot, in French, with the Worst Teacher Ever will do that to you.

Create your own 100-themed question to answer.

I’ve been woefully uncreative this week, so I ended up just counting the books on my shelves to see which one was in the 100th spot.

Shelf #1:  The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna, shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2011.

Shelf #2: The Collected Poems by HD. (A quick glance showed that I neither understand the poems nor the notes I scribbled into the margins at the time I studied this in college. It might be time to move this book and make room for one I like better.)

Shelf #3: The Journals of Lewis and Clark, waiting to be read.

Shelf #4: Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides, also waiting to be read.

Shelf #5: The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett, unread and out of alphabetical order (gasp)

Kindle shelf: Alles Umsonst (All for Nothing) by Walter Kempowski, which is the read-along book for German Literature Month. Join us!

Thanks, FictionFan, for letting me use your tag. Now it’s YOUR turn…

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15 comments

  1. This is such a great book tag!! I’ll write it down so I can do it in the future and will look to you. 🙂
    Loved your answers.
    When I’m 100, I’m pretty sure I’ll be rereading all of Sander Sanderson’s books. His bibliography will be so massive when he is done that it will last a lifetime.

  2. Those folio editions are beautiful. I too intend (hope) to still be reading Austen when I’m a hundred. AND YES. A CHRISTMAS CAROL is the best under a hundred book of all time. Ahem, I perhaps exaggerate. But it is excellent! Probably my favorite book ever, behind Gone with the Wind. I would have listed it as my under a hundred book, but I saw you already did, so I listed another excellent title. 🙂

    (I should have just listed Gone with the Wind Part One, Two, Three, etc. Ha ha.)

  3. I enjoyed your post, TJ. Anna Kavan’s Ice is an amazing book. I read it a few years ago but it still cuts through to this day – would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  4. I like your made-up “question” at the end. I might like to borrow it if I do my own 100 Books Tag!
    I also loved Mudbound, but didn’t even think to look and see if she had written anything else.
    Captivity looks like a heavy book – I’ll be curious to see how it goes!
    I went to look up All For Nothing to see what it was about, and saw that I have it on my to-read list – I must have heard about it at some point. Maybe from you?

  5. Great answers! I wasn’t overwhelmed by When She Woke, but thoroughly enjoyed Jordan’s earlier book Mudbound. She’s an author I think has the potential to become really great when she finds the right story for her. I must look up that list of books under 100 pages – I’m becoming quite fond of novella length books that can be read in one or two sittings, but I don’t come across them often. I do love Folio books – I inherited quite a few a few years back, and my lovely brother gave me one of the Wodehouse sets, which is fabulous. But sometimes the illustrations are strange – their Anne of Green Gables one didn’t work for me at all! Haha! Yes, Proust and Beckett are unlikely to trouble my own TBR any time soon… 😉

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