Fifth Decade Roundup!

Here we are at the end of the fifth set of books I’ve read for this project.

This was an interesting group. I had several really long books, so it took me a lot longer to get through this set than others.

It wasn’t a great decade for my mental wellbeing. There were a lot of books that made me feel pretty nervous: a creepy stalker novel that made me never want to look a stranger in the eye again, an excellent nonfiction account of a cold-blooded killing. and a sci-fi book that made me feel like I was going insane. And then, of course, there was the confusing, intriguing, and wonderful book about a hermaphrodite, which completely rocked my world.

With The Pilgrim’s Progress and The Enormous Room were very philosophical and religion-based. They were good for making me think about the world in a pretty cool spiritual way. Virgin Soil also painted a frighteningly prophetic picture of pre-revolution Russia and the revolution to come.

Then, of course, there were the behemoths: Parade’s End, the monster four-books-in-one tome about the social upheaval caused by World War I and the death of the Victorian Age; and Les Miserables, Victor Hugo’s monster of a book. Of course, neither of them were actually tomes because I read them on my Kindle. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to physically see the progress I made with these 800-and-900-page monsters.

Howards End also dealt wonderfully with social changes in turn-of-the-century England, though pre-war, if I recall correctly.

This was, to say the least, a great set of books. There were very few that I didn’t totally enjoy. In fact, I absolutely loved most of them. It’s going to be very hard to pick a favorite (though I think I have).

The biggest surprise was Howards End. I’m not usually a fan of novels like this, but I really liked it. The quotes and the reflections were good and, against all odds, I found myself caring about the two main characters and actually being interested in their lives. For some reason, when the main characters are Victorian-ish women, I just never care that much about them. Usually they bore me. But not so with Howards End.

The book I liked the least was The Pilgrim’s Progress. I was excited to read it because of its religious importance over the years, but it really didn’t do much for me. I think the “metaphors” were just way too strong and I didn’t get the joy of drawing the parallels and conclusions myself. I need that in a book.

I’m adding a category this time, in honor of Les Miserables. This book has the honor of being voted least likely to be turned into a musical.

The book that, I think, I would most enjoy seeing in musical form was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It could, of course, turn very silly, but I think that with the right songs and the right writer, it could be interesting to see on stage. Can someone get on this, please?

And now, I suppose, I have to choose a favorite. It really was quite close. It hasn’t been this close since I couldn’t choose between A Home at the End of the World and The Shining (which, by the way, after like six months I finally settled on The Shining). This decision was even harder. I love, love, loved In Cold Blood. It was fantastic. But I also really liked MiddlesexSo I’m going back and forth between these two.

But I think I’ve decided on MiddlesexEugenides is a great writer and the story was so unique. Not only was the subject interesting and the narrator totally different than anything I’ve read before, but the way Eugenides told the story was also different and unique. It was a new, exciting read and I enjoyed it very much. You all need to go read it. Right now. Please.


One response to this post.

  1. Musical adaptation of Do Androids Dream? Coming. Right. Up. Me and Soap have got this.


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