Sunday, June 12, 2022

A Quick and Easy Way to Take Metamucil Fiber Powder


There are commercials out there that make fun of Metamucil as being "thick and gritty" and urge you to take a pill instead, but frankly, I stand by the effectiveness of Metamucil, or as I affectionately refer to it, "poo powder". However, since the directions do indicate that you should drink eight ounces of water with your heaping teaspoon of Metamucil, and yes, you do need to drink it fast before that powder starts to thicken up (it doesn't really get "gritty", but it sure does get thick!), what's a loyal Metamucil fan like myself to do? Just grin and chug it?


Nah, you don't have to do that. I figured out a very quick and easy way to take Metamucil powder without the agony of chugging down a large glass of rapidly-thickening glop. Now, don't smack yourself in the forehead TOO hard, because the "secret" is pretty simple: instead of using an eight-ounce glass and filling it with water, simply use a four-ounce glass. Put the teaspoonful of powder in the smaller glass, then fill it with four ounces of water and stir well. The mixture might be a little stronger to taste, but you can drink it down in a flash before it gets thick at all. Once you've downed the initial mixture, simply refill the glass with your other four ounces of water, and drink at a normal pace--no chugging required!

Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/orange-juice-juice-vitamins-drink-67556/

Monday, May 30, 2022

Review of Your Head is a Houseboat by Campbell Walker, aka Struthless

 


I found Campbell “Cam” Walker, known online as Struthless, on YouTube a couple of years ago. I can't remember whether his channel was recommended by a friend or by YouTube's algorithm, which no doubt noticed that I was enjoying the channels of my fellow artists (whichever/whoever it was, thank you!!). I initially followed him because he had a lot of great art videos, but I noticed that besides having really good advice about producing art, he also just had really good advice, period, about life in general. I look forward to his videos about how to handle life as much as his videos about how to get past creative blocks or how to commercialize your art. I also enjoy the window that he allows us into his own life, and I have followed his successes with his art ventures and his personal growth, as well as his sweet and supportive relationship with his partner, Felicity.

And then, along with all his other projects, came the book, Your Head is a Houseboat. Feeling like I had derived so much value from watching his YouTube channel, I bought the book to offer my support. And just like his channel, the book has all the personality, the quirky flair, and the honest, down-to-earth helpfulness I've come to know and love from the Struthless channel. So now, here is my review, for those of you who would like to know more about the experience of reading Your Head is a Houseboat.

As with his videos, Cam starts out with a bit of a disclaimer in the foreword, which essentially says, “I'm not an expert, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but these are things that have worked for me and might work for you, too.” We then venture into the table of contents, which starts off with a bang, as Chapter One is called YOU'RE GOING TO DIE. I find this hilarious, because I know it's going to be a shot of philosophy and common sense in a let's-just-get-this-established-right-up-front kind of way. The contents are arranged in a very appealing way, with colorful graphic blocks.

This book is a very easy read. The pages are not dense with text, owing both to the delightful illustrations and also to the light, open font (it's not identified that I could see, but it looks like Century Gothic). So it's physically easy to read, but it's also easy to absorb and understand; there is plenty of information, but it's parcelled out in easy chunks in a conversational tone that is very much the way Cam presents in his Struthless channel videos. Things are explained with clarity but not a trace of self-importance; this is less like a lecture and more like advice from a friend who is really excited to share what he has learned with you so that you can enjoy the benefit, as well.

Your Head is a Houseboat is not just funny and entertaining, it is enlightening and helpful, as well. There are useful exercises in each section that you should absolutely do (not just initially, but any time you might need them), but even simply reading the book will provide you with very valuable insight into the inner workings of your very own houseboat and how to tidy it up so you can navigate that ocean out there. Oh, look at me, all caught up in the metaphor – well, it's catchy!


Link to the Struthless YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/struthless

Reviews of other books you might like:

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2016/04/review-of-almost-green-how-i-saved-16th.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/01/review-of-dexter-in-dark-by-jeff-lindsay.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-of-duma-key-by-stephen-king.html



Saturday, May 21, 2022

A Review of Boston Darkens by Michael Kravitz

 


Boston Darkens is a semi-post-apocalyptic story of practical survival after the detonation (by whom, it is never said) of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) nuclear weapon. The protagonist is Ben Randal, a middle-aged man who lives in a comfortable suburban neighborhood. When the EMP strike occurs, everyone is rendered helpless, and he goes full alpha-male and takes it upon himself to organize everyone. Someone has to do it, right?

The EMP has taken anything that contains electronics offline, which includes most cars. Handily enough, he has access to a classic car that his son has been restoring, a 1956 Buick Riviera. This car's systems aren't controlled by electronics, and so it has been unaffected by the pulse. Faced with a dwindling supply of water, Ben decides to make a run to a water source in Connecticut, taking along his teenage daughter and her best friend, a harrowing trip that will only be the first of the book.

This is a quest story, perhaps modeled after a book like The Stand, but that is where the comparison stops. Kravitz's writing is not in itself bad, but his characterizations are extraordinarily off-putting. There is a disturbing passage in which Ben “jokingly” indulges in some grade-A xenophobia, including thinly-veiled Islamophobia. Many female characters aren't even named, just reduced to judgmental nicknames like “the divorcee” and “the angry bitch”. His own wife is portrayed as irrational and difficult, even though the disrespectful way that he treats her isn't acknowledged as such; we just hear his internal whining about her behavior, as though he had naught to do with it. And at one point, he contemplates “giving” his son a woman, as though women were utilitarian objects for use in sexual training.

This rather barbaric outlook isn't terribly surprising and is consistent with his ultra-conservative, he-man character. Unfortunately, we're supposed to like the main character of a story enough to care what happens to them, and I can't tamp down my annoyance with this dude enough. The two girls are pretty cool, but in Kravitz's hands, they aren't fully-realized characters so much as props; the Black best friend, for example, is given a storyline in which she is the child of a single mom who wants her daughter to, and I quote, “get out of the ghetto life”, so it's pretty clear that she exists so that Ben can play White savior. If the friend, Vivian, had simply been a classmate of equal socioeconomic status and hadn't been cast as such a stereotype, it would have been nice to see the representation. As it is, it seems her presence is simply there to beatify the main character.

The idea of an EMP nuke and how people would be challenged to deal with the aftermath of not being able to rely on computers and other electronics is interesting, though, and it could really launch an entire series of books dealing with how society would have to be reformed and reinvented. However, I would prefer that series not feature such judgmental, self-righteous, and misogynistic characters, unless they are the villains, not the heroes, of the story.

I found this concept intriguing enough to do a little research on EMP nukes, because I wondered exactly what is an EMP nuke—is that a thing that is possible? What would actually happen? I found a very informative entry on Wikipedia, here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_electromagnetic_pulse

Electromagnetic pulses have been associated with nuclear explosions since the beginning. The first nuclear tests shielded the electronics because Enrico Fermi predicted that they could be damaged by the EMP. Indeed, after the war, as testing continued, the power of a nuclear EMP was demonstrated in the Starfish Prime test. From Wikipedia:

In July 1962, the US carried out the Starfish Prime test, exploding a 1.44 Mt (6.0 PJ) bomb 400 kilometres (250 mi; 1,300,000 ft) above the mid-Pacific Ocean. This demonstrated that the effects of a high-altitude nuclear explosion were much larger than had been previously calculated. Starfish Prime made those effects known to the public by causing electrical damage in Hawaii, about 1,445 kilometres (898 mi) away from the detonation point, knocking out about 300 streetlights, setting off numerous burglar alarms and damaging a microwave link.[8]

Weapons designers sought to exploit and enhance the EMP, which had really just been incidental to the explosion itself, originally. But now that missile guidance systems, communications, and warfare in general is so dependent upon electronics, the ability of an EMP to disable an opponent's weapons systems would make for a short war, indeed:

Also known as an "Enhanced-EMP", a super-electromagnetic pulse is a relatively new type of warfare in which a nuclear weapon is equipped with a far greater electromagnetic pulse in comparison to standard nuclear weapons of mass destruction.[40] These weapons capitalize on the E1 pulse component of a detonation involving gamma rays, creating an EMP yield of up to 200,000 volts per meter.[41] For decades, numerous countries have experimented with the creation of such weapons, most notably China and Russia.

According to a statement made in writing by the Chinese military, the country has super-EMPs and has discussed their use in attacking Taiwan. Such an attack would debilitate information systems in the nation, allowing China to move in and attack it directly using soldiers. The Taiwanese military has subsequently confirmed Chinese possession of super-EMPs and their possible destruction to power grids.[42]

In addition to Taiwan, the possible implications of attacking the United States with these weapons was examined by China. While the United States also possess nuclear weapons, the country has not experimented with super-EMPs and is highly vulnerable to any future attacks by nations. This is due to the countries reliance on computers to control much of the government and economy.[41] Abroad, U.S. aircraft carriers stationed within a reasonable range of an exploding bomb are subject to complete destruction of missiles on-board, as well as telecommunication systems that would allow them to communicate with nearby vessels and controllers on land.[42]

Now that we know more about what an EMP is, let's look at whether it is capable of actually doing what it did in the book:

An energetic EMP can temporarily upset or permanently damage electronic equipment by generating high voltage and high current surges; semiconductor components are particularly at risk. The effects of damage can range from imperceptible to the eye, to devices literally blowing apart. Cables, even if short, can act as antennas to transmit pulse energy to equipment.

An EMP would probably not affect most cars, despite modern cars' heavy use of electronics, because cars' electronic circuits and cabling are likely too short to be affected. In addition, cars' metallic frames provide some protection. However, even a small percentage of cars breaking down due to an electronic malfunction would cause temporary traffic jams.[44]

An EMP has a smaller effect the shorter the length of an electrical conductor; though other factors affect the vulnerability of electronics as well, so no cutoff length determines whether some piece of equipment will survive. However, small electronic devices, such as wristwatches and cell phones, would most likely withstand an EMP.[44]

So in actuality, most cars probably wouldn't be affected, and cellphones, as well, are likely to make it. However, since it's still somewhat within the realm of possibility, and since in science fiction, we can certainly expect to have a suspension of disbelief for the sake of a good story, I'd be willing to roll with it.

Now, all we need is a good story.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Books List, Part 10



20 Books I Would Recommend Reading, 5 Books I Wouldn't, and 50 from my Reading List

Hello, friends! We are well into spring, now (in the northern hemisphere, anyway), and the weather is still pretty changeable. Nights are still a bit chilly, so curl up and get cozy with a nice book! 

My likes/loves: These are books that entertained me, moved me, taught me things, made me think, inspired me, and that I would heartily recommend. They are not ranked – they are merely in the order in which I read them.

  1. The Known World – Edward P. Jones

  2. Book of the Dead – Patricia Cornwell

  3. Honeymoon – James Patterson

  4. Gone – Jonathan Kellerman

  5. A Case of Need – Michael Crichton

  6. 4th of July – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  7. 5th Horseman - James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  8. Timeline – Michael Crichton

  9. 1st to Die – James Patterson

  10. The 6th Target - James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  11. 7th Heaven - James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  12. Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words – Bill Bryson

  13. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer

  14. Joplin's Ghost – Tananarive Due

  15. Um...Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean – Michael Erard

  16. Glamour's Big Book of Dos and Don'ts

  17. Handling Sin – Michael Malone

  18. The King of Torts – John Grisham

  19. Hints and Tips to Make Life Easier – Reader's Digest

  20. Life Expectancy – Dean Koontz


My meh/yuck list: Did not find these appealing for any number of reasons – some were boring; some had an interesting subject but did not do it justice; some were flat-out terrible. All simply left me cold in some way. Although I am likely to read multiple books by authors I like (you will see a lot of Dean Koontz, Jonathan Kellerman, Margaret Atwood, Charles deLint and Toni Morrison), I do not excuse those authors when they write a book I didn't like, so they might just show up here, as well.


  1. 2nd Chance – James Patterson and Andrew Gross

  2. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Oliver Sacks

    I wrote a review of this one that explains my issues with it: https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/04/review-of-man-who-mistook-his-wife-for.html

  3. An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser

  4. The Darkest Evening of the Year – Dean Koontz

  5. Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul


My Reading List: these are books I haven't read yet, so I don't have a reaction for you. However, I could semi-recommend them, based on the reasons they made it onto my list:

  1. They were on one of those “100 Greatest Books” lists;

  2. They are other books written by authors I really enjoy; or

  3. I read a review, and it sounded like something I'd like.

#1 can be a bit hit-or-miss; #2 is almost (but not always) foolproof for me (but maybe not for you), and #3 usually works out pretty well, as it's a combination of the first two. As always, your results may vary, but consider them suggestions. These may tend to come in chunks of stuff by author (apologies).


  1. Between the Acts – Virginia Woolf

  2. Billiards at Half-Past Nine – Heinrich Boll

  3. Billy Bathgate – E.L. Doctorow

  4. Billy Budd – Herman Melville

  5. Billy Liar – Keith Waterhouse

  6. Birds of America – Lorrie Moore

  7. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

  8. Black Dogs – Ian McEwan

  9. Black Like Me – John G. Howard

  10. Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates

  11. Blind Man with a Pistol – Chester Himes

  12. Blindness – Henry Green

  13. Blonde – Joyce Carol Oates

  14. Blood and Guts in High School – Kathy Acker

  15. Blue of Noon – Georges Bataille

  16. Bonjour Tristesse – Francoise Sagan

  17. Boomsday – Christopher Buckley

  18. Born in Exile – George Gissing

  19. Born to Rebel – Frank Sullaway

  20. Borstal Boy – Brendan Behan

  21. Bouvard and Pecuchet – Gustave Flaubert

  22. Boy Still Missing – John Searles

  23. Breakfast at Tiffany's – Truman Capote

  24. Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut

  25. Brighton Rock – Graham Greene

  26. Broken April – Ismail Kadare

  27. Bunner Sisters – Edith Wharton

  28. Burger's Daughter – Nadine Gordimer

  29. Burmese Days – George Orwell

  30. By the Open Sea – August Strindberg

  31. Cakes and Ale – W. Somerset Maugham

  32. Camilla – Fanny Burney

  33. Camille – Alexandre Dumas

  34. Cancer Ward – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  35. Cane – Jean Toomer

  36. Cannery Row – John Steinbeck

  37. Captain Corelli's Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres

  38. Casino Royale – Ian Fleming

  39. Castle Rackrent – Maria Edgeworth

  40. Castle Richmond – Anthony Trollope

  41. Cat and Mouse – Gunter Grass

  42. Cat's Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

  43. Caught – Henry Green

  44. Cause for Alarm – Eric Ambler

  45. Cecilia – Fanny Burney

  46. Celestial Harmonies – Peter Esterhazy

  47. Chaireas and Kallirhoe – Chariton

  48. Chocky – John Wyndham

  49. Choke – Chuck Palahniuk

  50. Christ Stopped at Eboli – Carlo Levi


That's all for now; hope you find these lists useful as you think about things you might like to read. Here is a link to The Books List, part 9: https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/the-books-list-part-nine.html

and here are links to the other lists! 

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-books-list-part-one.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-books-list-part-two.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-books-list-part-three.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-books-list-part-four.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/09/the-books-list-part-five.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/11/the-books-list-part-six.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-books-list-part-seven.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2021/12/the-books-list-part-eight.html

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Review of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks



A Neurologist Laughs at Autistic Children and Impaired Adults—Nice, Huh?

A few years ago, I started doing research on psychiatric disorders for a novel I was writing, and I developed a fascination for the way the human mind works, so it was with great anticipation that I picked up The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, a former Professor of Clinical Neurology at Albert Einstein University. As the book is a recounting of a variety of rather extreme neurological case histories, I was looking forward to a fascinating look into the varied and interesting ways the brain copes with damage or genetic disorder, as well as some insight into how and why this happens. The book is fascinating, in abundance; but it is enlightening to a far lesser degree, and tiresome to a fault.

First of all, this book is clearly not written with the unprepared reader in mind. Sacks makes constant reference to his own prior works, as well as those of others (Luria, Borges, and Zazetsky, in particular, are cited in just about every chapter), presuming, I guess, that the reader is already thoroughly conversant with those works. The abundance of citations makes me guess this offering may well have started as an academic paper, in which the assumption of familiarity with other published works would certainly be reasonable. But it was then repackaged as a bestseller and offered to the general public, who is asked to wrangle Sacks’s meandering hypotheses, which are frequently filled with jargon and tend to be unnecessarily oblique. To illustrate, here is one sentence from the book:

What we see, if nothing else, is the universality of inhibition, even at the most elemental perceptual level: the need to inhibit what Head regarded as primordial and full of feeling-tone, and called ‘protopathic’, in order to allow the emergence of the sophisticated, categorizing, affectless ‘epicritic’.

While not completely impenetrable, this kind of textbookese can slow the reader down considerably. Even odder than the 50-dollar words are the improvised ones: feeling-tone, anybody?

More disturbing is the book’s tone toward its subjects, which range from ‘normal’ ('neurotypical' is a much more kind--and accurate--word to describe) people who have sustained brain damage from injury, stroke, or an undiagnosed cause, to people who were born with a condition, such as developmental delay ('retardation' here) or autism. In all of these cases, Sacks, possibly in an effort to make these conditions more accessible or less scary (his motives really are unclear), takes the tack that he finds all these cases highly amusing—he chortles over the shortcomings of the mentally challenged and the autistic, here lumped together as “mentally defective”.  He also uses words like “idiot” and “moron”, which, although they are--or were--actual technical terms, are extremely off-putting to the general reader. There are also some decidedly non-technical terms like “clumsy” and “freak”. He praises the achievements of developmentally challenged adults as though they were toddlers, and in general is highly patronizing.

Sacks is also the worst kind of know-it-all: the one that firmly believes what he assumes must be right, just because he’s so gosh-darn smart. There are quite a few examples of this; one can be found in a passage in which he is describing a drawing of a fish made by a young man with autism (in keeping with Sacks’s continual sense of personal amusement with the mentally challenged, the chapter is labeled “The Autist Artist”—hilarious, no?) wherein he remarks:

It was still a trout…with egregiously human features, an odd nostril (what fish has nostrils?)”

The answer is: all of them. All fish have nostrils. And if you hadn’t assumed the artist was a silly fool just because he is autistic, Dr. Sacks, you might have realized how extremely observant he was, instead of just laughing at his ‘inventions’. Perhaps Sacks fancied himself an ichthyologist as well as a neurologist?

Sacks almost constantly makes assumptions about things he couldn’t possibly know, such as the thoughts and feelings, or lack of same, of these so-called “defectives”, and makes pronouncements upon their natures and even their very paths in life. One wonders how he can speak with such surety of the workings of the minds of his subjects, even after he acknowledges his failure to understand their motivations?

Now, this book isn’t totally useless: it gives good definitions for such disorders as agnosia, aphasia, amnesia, and so on, and the case histories are fascinating. You could always just read the case histories and not bother with Sacks’s analyses, which is where he gets particularly annoying. Also, be aware that the book was first written in 1970 (I read the 1987 edition), and may not have undergone extensive rewriting. Sacks’s patronizing and presumptive attitude may be a reflection of the times; so much more is now known about neurological disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorders, so if you really want to read this book, try to get the most recent edition possible. Oliver Sacks died in 2015, but perhaps prior to that, he became enlightened as to the existence of fish nostrils, as well as to the innate humanity of neurodivergent people. 


cover: Carin Goldberg, Harper and Row 1987


Here are some books I did like: 

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-of-duma-key-by-stephen-king.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-of-historian-by-elizabeth-kostova.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-of-unless-novel-by-carol-shields.html


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

March 8 is International Women's Day

March 8th is the holiday known as International Women's Day. International Women's Day was created way back in the early 20th century (1908 is one of the earliest dates of celebration) to advocate for women's rights around the world. Many women were denied the right to vote at the time, so women's suffrage was one of the causes at the forefront at the time. Women held rallies and demonstrations to protest restrictions and advocate for the right to vote and to hold public office. Happily, women have made great strides in this area, and currently there are only a handful of countries in which women are not allowed to vote.

Another concern of women organizing at the time was for rights in the workplace to fair treatment, fair wages and humane working conditions. Unfortunately, this concern is still ongoing and has not met with the same amount of success as has suffrage. International Women's Day is still relevant to raise awareness of the women who are not yet receiving fair or equal treatment in the workplace, as compared to their male peers, and girls who are still being denied the right to an education, in some parts of the world.

International Women's Day can also be seen as a celebration, however; it's a good time to become aware not only of the challenges and suffering faced by women, but also of the wonderful contributions that women have made to society, culture, and history. There are many intelligent, talented women who have made great contributions to the fields of art and literature, math and science, and government and politics, and many young women continue to thrive and grow with new educational opportunities that will benefit society as a whole. 


Image from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/girl-hijab-smile-women-islam-247302/

Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Books List, Part Nine



20 Books I Would Recommend Reading, 5 Books I Wouldn't, and 50 from my Reading List

As we start to come out of winter, days are getting longer and warmer. Your results may vary, but whether you're reading curled up under a blanket or sitting in the park, it's always time for another Books List post!

My likes/loves: These are books that entertained me, moved me, taught me things, made me think, inspired me, and that I would heartily recommend. They are not ranked – they are merely in the order in which I read them.

I have written reviews for several of these, for which I will include links within the list, if you are interested in getting more of an in-depth (but spoiler-free) look at the books and my impression of them.

  1. The Last Days of Dogtown – Anita Diamant

  2. 3rd Degree – James Patterson and Andrew Gross

  3. Step on a Crack – James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

  4. Rape: A Love Story – Joyce Carol Oates

  5. Uncollected Stories – Kate Chopin

  6. You've Been Warned – James Patterson and Howard Roughan

  7. Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather

  8. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Living – Trish Riley

  9. The Worst Thing I've Done – Ursula Hegi

  10. The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene

  11. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

  12. Duma Key – Stephen King

    Here's my review of Duma Key: https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-of-duma-key-by-stephen-king.html

  13. The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

    Here's my review of The Historian: https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-of-historian-by-elizabeth-kostova.html

  14. Dali – Paul Moorhouse

  15. Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver

    Here's my review of Prodigal Summer: https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-of-prodigal-summer-by-barbara.html

  16. Dexter in the Dark – Jeff Lindsay

    Here's my review of Dexter in the Dark: https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/01/review-of-dexter-in-dark-by-jeff-lindsay.html

  17. Almost Green: How I Saved 1/6th of a Biliionth of the Planet – James Glave

    Here's my review of Almost Green: https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2016/04/review-of-almost-green-how-i-saved-16th.html

  18. Unless – Carol Shields

    Here's my review of Unless: https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-of-unless-novel-by-carol-shields.html

  19. Seven Wild Sisters – Charles de Lint

  20. Promises to Keep – Charles de Lint


My meh/yuck list: Did not find these appealing for any number of reasons – some were boring; some had an interesting subject but did not do it justice; some were flat-out terrible. All simply left me cold in some way. Although I am likely to read multiple books by authors I like (you will see a lot of Dean Koontz, Jonathan Kellerman, Margaret Atwood, Charles de Lint and Toni Morrison), I do not excuse those authors when they write a book I didn't like, so they might just show up here, as well.

  1. A Night in Acadie – Kate Chopin

  2. A Lost Lady – Willa Cather

  3. The Awakening – Kate Chopin

  4. The Professor's House – Willa Cather

  5. Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad


My Reading List: these are books I haven't read yet, so I don't have a reaction for you. However, I could semi-recommend them, based on the reasons they made it onto my list:

  1. They were on one of those “100 Greatest Books” lists;

  2. They are other books written by authors I really enjoy; or

  3. I read a review, and it sounded like something I'd like.

#1 can be a bit hit-or-miss; #2 is almost (but not always) foolproof for me (but maybe not for you), and #3 usually works out pretty well, as it's a combination of the first two. As always, your results may vary, but consider them suggestions. These may tend to come in chunks of stuff by author (apologies).

  1. Absolute Beginners – Colin MacInnes

  2. Ada – Vladimir Nabokov

  3. Adam Bede – George Eliot

  4. Adjunct: An Undigest – Peter Manson

  5. Aesop's Fables – Aesopus

  6. After the Death of Don Juan – Sylvia T. Warner

  7. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5000 BC - Steven Mithen

  8. After the Quake – Haruki Murakami

  9. Against the Grain – Joris-Karl Huysmans

  10. Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte

  11. Aithiopika – Heliodorus

  12. Albert Angelo – B.S. Johnson

  13. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

  14. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

  15. All About H. Hatterr – G.V. Desani

  16. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Remarque

  17. All Souls Day – Cees Nooteboom

  18. Amateurs – Donald Barthelme

  19. Amelia – Henry Fielding

  20. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

  21. Amerika – Franz Kafka

  22. Amok – Stefan Zweig

  23. Amongst Women – John McGahern

  24. Amsterdam – Ian McEwan

  25. An Anthropologist on Mars – Oliver Sacks

  26. An Artist of the Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro

  27. An Obedient Father – Akhil Sharma

  28. Anagrams – Lorrie Moore

  29. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

  30. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City – Nick Flynn

  31. Another World – Pat Barker

  32. Anthem – Ayn Rand

  33. Antic Hay – Aldous Huxley

  34. Arcadia – Jim Crace

  35. Arcanum 17 – Andre Breton

  36. Ariel – Lawrence Block

  37. Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne

  38. Arrow of God – Chinua Achebe

  39. As If I Am Not There – Slavenka Drakulic

  40. Asphodel – H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)

  41. At Swim, Two Boys – Jamie O'Neill

  42. August is a Wicked Month – Edna O'Brien

  43. Austerlitz – W.G. Sebald

  44. Auto-Da-Fe – Elias Canett

  45. Autumn of the Patriarch – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  46. Back – Henry Green

  47. Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard

  48. Bel-Ami – Guy de Maupassant

  49. Belle de Seigneur – Albert Cohen

  50. Ben-Hur – Lew Wallace

That's all for now; hope you find these lists useful as you think about things you might like to read. 

In case you missed any, here are the other books lists:

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-books-list-part-one.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-books-list-part-two.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-books-list-part-three.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-books-list-part-four.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/09/the-books-list-part-five.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2020/11/the-books-list-part-six.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-books-list-part-seven.html

https://bucketofuseful.blogspot.com/2021/12/the-books-list-part-eight.html


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