January 30, 2018

I Can't Believe I Read That!!

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is books I can't believe I read. Since I recently did a post about books I didn't like, I'm not going to interpret this as "Ew! I can't believe I read that!". I'm going to interpret it as "Wow! I can't believe I read that!"

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - About 10 years ago, I decided to spend a year reading one giant, behemoth book a month. This was one of those books. At the time, I enjoyed the peace parts, but the war parts were much less engrossing. Now, I think about how much brain power that book took, and I think, "Wow! that was a big deal!" (Edited to add: According to my book journals that was 15 years ago.)

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - In that same year, I read Anna Karenina. I really enjoyed this book. Well, as much as you can enjoy a Russian Classic. They are pretty depressing. Anyway, I tried to read it again a few years ago, and I couldn't do it. It was too dense. I just couldn't stay focused.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville - Also, from that year of reading ginormously. It also falls into the category of "Ew! I can't believe I read that!" The whale processing parts were gross. The analysis of the whaling industry was boring. I really struggled to find the story in all the other asides.

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin - Oy! I read this about 18 years ago. I'm using the word "read" lightly. I have no idea what happened in this book. Firstly, I'm bad with poetry. This whole book is in verse. Secondly, this is a Russian poet. I really had no chance.

The Palliser Novels by Anthony Trollope - The thing that makes this so awe inspiring is that these are the political novels. It's all about one man's rise through the English political system and the people around him. I would never get through an entire 6-volume series about American politics in the Victorian era. But I read this whole thing!

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas - This one was over 1200 pages. It's almost as long as War and Peace. It's an excellent book, but it's super long.

The D'Artagnan Romances - There are, like, 5 of these things. I read them all. The later ones aren't as fast-paced as the other ones, but The Man in the Iron Mask is pretty good. It's the last one.

The Republic of Plato by Plato - All I remember from this book is the beginning part about the shadows on the wall of the cave. I don't even remember what that was supposed to mean. But I got through it. Man! That was boring. This was back when I refused to quit a book I thought I "should" read. It's good for me, so I'm going to get through it, even if I retain nothing. I'm over that, now.

And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer - I don't even know how I found out about this book. It is about a book club and it's members through a century or so of it's life. It is almost like a family epic, but it's not a family, it's a book club. I'm glad I didn't read this before I started my book club because I might have thought a book club had to follow Robert's Rules of Order. Whew! Dodged that bullet. With almost 1200 pages, this one definitely belongs on this list.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond - This book was really out of my comfort zone. It was very manly. This was my introduction to the ways civilizations have been wiped out over many eras, and not just here in America. Took forever to get through this. It's very dense.

Ok. There are 10 books I'm so proud of getting through! What are yours?