279 books so far…

As I read books, I stop every few chapters and write about them before the memory inevitably fades. 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 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 the movie, graphic violence.

What I’m reading now:
In Search of Lost Time 1: Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust (on hold)
2666 – Roberto Bolaño (on hold)
The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes
Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
Shirley – Charlotte Bronte

Recently finished:
Days Without End – Sebastian Barry
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens
The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry
Closely Observed Trains (or Closely Watched Trains) – Bohumil Hrabal
Memento Mori – Muriel Spark

Best recent read:
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce

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10 Responses to 279 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….)

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