300 books so far…

Updated 25 November 2018

As I read books, I stop every few chapters and write about them before I forget too much. Most of the books I read, but not all, are novels. As I finish each one either I archive it according to when it was first published (fiction) or not (non-fiction). The full list is in the right-hand panel, or under Menu in the phone app.

The name is taken from Philip K Dick’s short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, later adapted for the cinema in Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall. At the centre of the story is the unreliability of memory. And, in the case of Verhoven’s movie, graphic violence.

What I’m reading now:
In Search of Lost Time 1: Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust (on hold)
Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari (on hold)
The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes
Don Quixote—Miguel de Cervantes
Lincoln in the Bardo—George Saunders

Recently finished:
The Penelopiad—Margaret Atwood
The Return of the Native—Thomas Hardy
Cousins—Salley Vickers
Love is Blind—William Boyd
Fight Club—Chuck Palahniuk
The Book of Dust 1: La Belle Sauvage—Philip Pullman

Best recent read:
Wide Sargasso Sea—Jean Rhys

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16 Responses to 300 books so far…

  1. Great idea. I have just used it to look at Ulverton.

  2. Do you need any help with this idea? I read and summarise many books.

    • wecanreadit says:

      Thanks for the comment, and your offer! But no. It’s a labour of love, and it has to be all my own work. However… I’d be interested in joining another project if it looks interesting.

  3. Sali says:

    A HIDDEN TREASURE OF BLOGDOM. As a forty-something mum and having never been an avid reader, I’ve just taken up the gauntlet to encourage (by example) my daughter to read more in preparation for secondary school exams. Having just finished ‘The Miniaturist’ and in the absence of keen readers to chat with I’ve been trawling the web reading reviews to gauge reactions to the book. Your review was like a breath of fresh air; beautifully written with humour and wit. Not too brief – thorough, but not overly drawn out or convoluted. You’ve summarised the book and expressed frank opinions without being opinionated. Whilst I enjoyed the book you have captured points that I was dissatisfied with in a way that I couldn’t express. Is this blog really just a labour of love – a hidden treasure – or are you writing for other media? Either way, great work.

    • wecanreadit says:

      Yes, it really is. Just a labour of love. Thank you for your generous comments, which make the project seem worthwhile! Try some of the other books I’ve written about, maybe one you read a long time ago and only vaguely remember. My hope is that any post of mine will bring back the experience of what it felt like to read it. It works for me – but then, that’s why I write them. (I just re–read what I wrote about The Miniaturist and it brings back everything I did and didn’t like about it!)

  4. Sali says:

    You’re very welcome. Sadly I’m embarrassed to reveal just how little fiction I’ve read in my lifetime so its difficult for me to compare work or even know what I like. Additionally, as I have taken up reading fiction partly through necessity there’s a risk that starting books I dislike and leave unfinished will make the whole experience a chore and less likely to become long-lasting. Your posts encourage me to experiment reading work of different authors and be a little more persevering; not all books are fast-paced and as an avid film buff I lack patience! I’m also grateful for the chronological order as we were advised to read fiction from different periods and alphabetically arranged posts mean little to me when I know nothing of the authors. (as for The Miniaturist, you absolutely nailed it for me!). Thank you again, I look forward to reading more posts.

  5. HILARY DUNK says:

    Hello,
    I have just signed up to follow…..I was actually searching for French literature and was thinking it would take me to an Amazon link…….then came upon this, Guy de Maupassants ‘Bel Amis’….which I saw not long ago on You Tube, the marvellous black & white 1940;s film featuring George Sanders, who always plays the villain so well……

    I had been lamenting the fact that there isn’t, to my knowledge, a French literature group nearby, because it would be nice to share the experience and discuss with other book enthusiasts……..but perhaps this will do – and there is the advantage of being reminded of the raft of titles that I know, but haven’t yet got down to read…..good idea…

  6. Brian Stack says:

    Thank you for this. What a wonderful project!

  7. M BT says:

    Hey. Just leaving a general message on your board. Your impressions of Infinite Jest articulated my frustrations pretty clearly. In fact I found your blog (?) while trying to see if someone could explain the “timeless appeal”. Thanks for saving me the re-read.

    As another side note, I see you’ve read through quite a few of the “must reads” of graphic novels. The way you approached Watchmen implies to me you might enjoy Transmetropolitan (Warren Elis).

    • wecanreadit says:

      Yes, I’ve read Transmetropolitan, some time ago. Enjoyed it – time for a re-read, perhaps.

      Thanks for the approval. It’s why I write these notes! (Let your friends know….)

  8. sbellbois says:

    Just read your review regarding the Essex Serpent and while you do have some good points I think you should listen to Sarah Perry. It may make you a bit less harsh. http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1052876355787

  9. paddocky says:

    I read The Essex Serpent last year and for the life of me could not understand what all the fuss was about. I read your review last week (as a way of re-reading, or not re-reading before a book group meeting) and laughed out loud. I found the review very funny and agree the novel is flawed in so many ways. The major problem is indeed the transplantation of a contemporary heroine into Victorian culture. Listening to Sarah Perry on the suggested link does not resolve the problem. Of course women were intelligent and could read works by Darwin but the day to day difficulties this dissonance would have brought about are not explored in this novel. This is a loss and makes the reading of such a long text bit of a time waster. Perhaps this is what the novel is for really? A page turner for the summer holidays? Not really worth it.

  10. Christopher Sykes says:

    I’ve just come across your site and read your pieces on Ford Maddox Ford’s ‘The Good Soldier’ and Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’. I enjoyed them tremendously! Now for some more – Proust, perhaps….

  11. Mark Thibodeau says:

    I just read your Zero K summary and have to say, I thought it was spot-on. You felt the same way I felt about it, in terms of sometimes having to force myself to continue because Jeff and Ross (and their relationship) weren’t all that compelling or remarkable. However, the novel as a whole ended up fully occupying my brain by the end, and left me troubled, a little terrified, and with a great deal of food for thought. Now, a few days after finishing my second, more careful read, I think it’s probably Delillo’s best post-Underworld novel (or at least tied with Point Omega) and one of his best overall. My favorites remain Ratner’s Star, Point Omega, and White Noise. I think Zero K might end up in there somewhere eventually, after enough chewing over. Why don’t you allow comments on individual posts (like your Zero K post)? I would have preferred to leave this comment there!

  12. wecanreadit says:

    Thanks for these really interesting comments.It’s in the nature of ths site that I read a book, decide on my opinions, and move on. Your re-readings of Zero K demonstrate how that might not always be the best way. As for not being able to leave a comment on individual pages… that’s something I need to repair. There is supposed to be a reply field on each book, but this seems to have been broken. I’ll see if I can put it right.

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