Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pages From the Past: My 2003 Reading Journal


Over the past several months I've been sharing highlights from my old reading journal. I hope these posts have been as enjoyable for you as the memories are for me. Opening my journal to 2003, I found...

My Favorite Books Read in 2003

Independent People by Haldor Laxness
Read with an online book group. This Icelandic saga surely helped the author win a Nobel Prize.


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This is the edition which opened my eyes to the importance of translation.


The Hours by Michael Cunningham
I've reread this least once since 2003 and still love it.


The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
Has it really been 12 years since I read this book? Keep meaning to read more Murdoch...


East of Eden by John Steinbeck
I'm pretty sure Oprah prompted me to reread this all-time favorite.


I must have started sharing books with my oldest daughter around this time. She loved it, too.


The Secret History by Donna Tart
Another book I shared with my oldest daughter, although she read it several years later.  The Goldfinch is still waiting on my kindle...


Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Who knew Jane had a sense of humor?


Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Not my favorite Wharton, but still enjoyable.


One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
A  hit with the book club, too.


Favorite Audiobook

Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
narrated by Anne Twomey and Joanna P. Adler
Possibly my first experience with multi-narrator productions. I loved everything about this book!


Notable Noniction

Eye-opening


This lead to a very good book club discussion.

Have you read any of these books? What were you reading in 2003?


More Pages from the Past :


36 comments:

  1. To answer your question, though I have a list of all fiction and philosophy that I have read as an adult, I wish that I could remember precisely what I was reading in 2003. Your keeping a reading journal is a great thing to do.

    Out of your list I have read Nickel and Dimed as well as East of Eden. I think that I read Nickel and Dimed around the same time.

    Nickel and Dimed was really a eye opening book.

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    1. Brian Joseph - I'm so glad I have this reading journal, but wish I'd started keeping track of my reading years earlier. We had an excellent book club meeting with Nickel and Dimed, complete with a guest speaker from a local charitable organization.

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  2. Oooh - some great ones on here! The Secret History, Under the Banner of Heaven, Curious Incident. As I've said before, love this feature!

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    1. Sarah - I'm glad the response to this feature has been positive because I just love revisiting my old journal! 2003 was a great reading year for me:)

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  3. I've read most of these -- GREAT list. I remember trying to get everyone to read Independent People. I loved that book.

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    1. Beth F - I was totally unfamiliar with Independent People and its author. So glad that group decided to read it!

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  4. I love these looks back too! I have a signed copy of The Hours from a reading at our local bookstore (this is reminding me that I don;t check their calendar often enough anymore...who am I missing?) and I think Northanger Abbey was my own last unread Austen until I read it.

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    1. Audrey - Reading The Hours and Mrs. Dalloway back to back is a great reading experience! I did that during a Woolf in Winter event several years ago.

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  5. This is a great list of books. I loved Under the Banner of Heaven and East of Eden though I need to do a reread of that. I want to read Anna Karenina but I'm still a bit traumatized from reading Russians in high school. One day though!

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    1. Katherine - Reading this particular translation of Anna Karenina helped me overcome my fear of the Russians. I still have not read very much, but always reach for the Pevear & Volokhonsky translations.

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  6. Love these posts, JoAnn! I've read several of these titles too albeit not all in 2003, and seen the movies as well. Yes, the need for translation, in both books and films.

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    1. Arti - Before I bought that edition of AK, I sat in B&N and read two different translations side by side. The difference in readability was remarkable... a real eye-opening experience for me!

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  7. Read the Mark Haddon and Jon Krakauer books. My fav 2003 reads were: Bel Canto--Ann Patchett; Atonement--Ian McEwan; Middlesex--Jeffrey Eugenides; Tepper Isn't Going Out--Calvin Trillin; Empire Falls--Richard Russo; The Death of the Heart--Elizabeth Bowen; and Flush, the biography of a dog by Virginia Woolf. Enjoy your turkey day!

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    1. JudyMac - I love all of Ann Patchett, Atonement, and Empire Falls (must have read them in different years). For some reason, I just can't get through Middlesex... have started it at least twice :(

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    2. Looks like once again I overlooked a very important book on your list .... East of Eden, but I'm sure I read it long before 2003. A case where the movie was as good as the book--thanks to James Dean. John Steinbeck is one of my all-time favorites, even more so than Faulkner. I read Grapes of Wrath as a very young teen, and when re-reading it maybe 25 years later, I found it so depressing I could barely finish it. I try not to read depressing books. :-)

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    3. JudyMac - I loved the James Dean East of Eden movie! Probably read the book for the first time in the late 70's, Steinbeck is always a favorite. Keep thinking I should reread The Grapes of Wrath (again first read in the 70s), but never seem to have the motivation. Will probably reread The Winter of Our Discontent first.

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  8. that's so cool you still have your reading journals!

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    1. Stacy - I wish I'd started one even earlier!

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  9. What a great list! I've read several on your list, including Independent People which I really liked, and East of Eden, which I've read twice and absolutely love.

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    1. Sharon - I'm in the mood to reread East of Eden... again, but will probably reread either The Winter of Our Discontent or The Grapes of Wrath first. Steinbeck is a definite for 2016!

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  10. Forgot to add that I see you are reading The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman - will look forward to your thoughts on it.

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    1. Sharon - The Red Garden is the December selection for my book club. I'm only on the third story, but enjoying it so far. The concept of examining the history of a town in this was is very appealing.

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  11. I just read East of Eden for the first time this month - I loved it! I listened to Curious Incident on audio a number of years ago, and it was really good. I've also read and enjoyed The Secret History and Northanger Abbey (Mr. Tilney is great!). It's been forever - that is, highschool - since I've read Ethan Frome. I remember trying One Thousand White Women but abandoned it, just wasn't getting into it. Nickel and Dimed was definitely an eye-opening book for me at the time.

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    1. Christy - I'll bet Curious Incident was great on audio! I first read Ethan Frome in high school and definitely appreciated it much more in 2003. A few years later I read Wharton's Summer, which she described as her 'hot Ethan'... it was wonderful!

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  12. I don't think I have read any of those other than East Of Eden and The Secret History but I am a reading lightweight...but...in my defense I was an English major and read tons of those classics in college! Heeheehee...now I have an unrefined reading palate!

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    1. Patty - I had so much math and science (especially chemistry) in college, but all I really wanted to do was read great books. I'm finally getting the chance to do that now!

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  13. What a wonderful idea. I'm suddenly feeling very nostalgic for my old bookclub. I have the old lists somewhere....ohh I can feel a new post coming on - thanks :-)

    East of Eden is my favourite Steinbeck (so far) And I'm delighted to hear about that particularly edition of AK. I read one (probably around 2003 as well that felt flat and lifeless). A few yrs ago I picked up a copy of your edition (loved the cover and the rough cut, deckled pages) so I'm glad the reread will be better.

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    1. Brona - I'd love to read posts about your old book club... wish I'd kept lists of all our selections. Could probably piece them together from my reading journals, but that would require quite a bit of effort ;-)

      I always reach for the P&V translations of the Russians whenever possible. They are SO much more readable!

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  14. I like this feature, it's great looking back at what we have read and it's given me a few suggestions here too.

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    1. Tina - SO glad you like this feature. They are among my favorite posts to write!

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  15. I've read most of these (Anna Karenina twice). I'm so glad you like Independent People - it's not as well known as I wish it was. Other favorites from your list: Under the Banner of Heaven, which I just read a couple of years ago, and The Secret History, which I read ages ago and really want to read again.

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    1. 3goodrats - I'm surprised more people haven't read Independent People... it was so good! The Secret History is high on my reread list, too.

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  16. Fun feature. I've thought of doing something similar, but haven't had the time :( I've read 3! My favorite probably being Nickel & Dimed, but can't go wrong with Austen either :)

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    1. 3goodrats - I'm surprised more people haven't read Independent People... it was so good! The Secret History is high on my reread list, too.

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  17. Your 2003 in books is wonderful! I either love or have wishlisted every title in this page. Under the Banner of Heaven is top of my list right now because I love Krakauer and will read anything by him. One Thousand White Women also is one that I want to read.

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    1. Athira - 2003 was definitely a great year of reading for me. I'd like to reread several of the books listed!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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