Thursday, July 2, 2009

Newsweek, You're On! The Fifty Books For Our Times Reading Project

50 Books for our Times
Every once in awhile a print publication comes up with lists of books. Best books ever. (Although they call it something more official like "Greatest Novels Ever Written") Greatest romance books (always with titles like Wuthering Heights). Best thrillers. (you'll undoubtedly find Poe on a list like that!) Usually these lists have the usual suspects and then a few books normal people have never heard
of before.

Well Newsweek came up with 50 Books for our Times. I jokingly asked on Twitter when a book blogger would come up with a challenge for the list not realizing that an hour later it would be me!

This list is...strange. And some of these books seem really overwhelming. So I suggested on Twitter that we get 50 book bloggers to read one each and report back if it's a book of our times.

And wow did the tweets fly fast as people claimed the books they actually wanted to read!

So....here's the deal. If you want in, to cast your authoritative opinion as a book blogger whether or not one of these 50 books is a Book for our Times, pick a book off the list that hasn't already been chosen and leave a comment with your pick. If you're using Internet Explorer and having a hard time with comments, shoot me an email at mypalamyATgmailDOTcom And then I'll add your name to this list. By the end of this year,read the book, review it, and add some commentary on whether or not you think this is an important book for our times. At the end of the year, I'll write a post recapping everyone's reviews!

If all 50 books get spoken for, we can start having two reviewers per book. Until then, you must pick a book that hasn't been chosen (that you also haven't read) so we can get a perspective on all of the books! EDITED TO ADD: All 50 Books have been spoken for so I am now doubling up...speak up fast! :) Maybe if you have two people for your book, you can do a discussion with your review.


Here's the list
1) The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope -- Becky's Book Reviews
2) The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright -- Reader Buzz and Books 'n' Border Collies
3) Prisoner of the State by Zhao Ziyang -- Wordlily
4) The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr -- Medieval Bookworm and Books'n'Border Collies Guest
5) The Bear by William Faulkner -- This Too...
6) Winchell by Neal Gabler -- The Betty and Boo Chronicles
7) Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc -- Sophisticated Dorkiness
8) Night Draws Near by Anthony Shadid -- The Things We Read
9)Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely -- Library Queue
10) God: A Biography by Jack Miles -- Biblio Freak Blog
11)The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry -- Rebelling Against Indifference
12) A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor -- My Friend Amy
13) Underground by Haruki Murakami -- Things Mean a Lot
14) Disrupting Class by Clayton Christenson -- Bedtime Booktalks
15) Air Guitar by Dave Hickey -- Fizzy Thoughts
16) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman -- Literate Housewife
17) The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin -- A Striped Armchair
18) City: Rediscovering the Center by William H. White -- Book Store People and A Sea of Books
19) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K. Dick -- Whimpulsive and Rhiannon Hart
20) Benjamin Franklin by Edmund S. Morgan -- Chele's Treasures
21) The Mississippi Books by Mark Twain -- Book Journey
22) Among the Thugs by Bill Buford -- Linus's Blanket
23) Brooklyn by Colm Tumlin -- The Brain Lair
24) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley -- Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
25) Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman -- Devourer of Books
26) Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden -- Musings of a Bookish Kitty
27) Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus -- Alison's Book Marks
28) Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie -- The Book Girl
29) American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin -- Just A (Reading) Fool
30) The Lost by Daniel Mendlehson -- Maw Books Blog
31) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson -- Lit and Life and Reading at the Beach
32) Pictures at a Revolution by Mark Harris -- 3rs Blog
33) Kim by Rudyard Kipling -- She is Too Fond of Books
34) Walking with the Wind by John Lewis -- Leafing Through Life and Should Be Reading
35) The Line of Beauty of Alan Hollinghurst -- Books I Done Read
36) The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper -- Vasilly/1330v
37) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi -- Bermuda Onion
38) Underworld by Don DeLillo -- Trish's Reading Nook
39) Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne -- Stuff As Dreams are Made On
40) American Pastoral by Philip Roth -- Book Magic
41) The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan -- Passion for the Page
42) The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker -- Just Add Books
43) Senator Joe McCarthy by Richard H. Rovere -- Biblio File
44) Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks -- Beth Fish Reads
45) The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery -- Booking Mama
46) Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child -- Jenn's Bookshelf
47) Things Fall Apart by Chinue Achebe -- Worducopia
48) American Journeys by Don Watson -- Thumb Drives and Oven Clocks
49) Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes -- Rhapsody in Books
50) The New Biographical Dictionary of Film by David Thomson -- Heidenkind's Hideaway

Whew! So, if you want to join us, just leave a comment and tell us which book you'll read! For more information on any of the books, please visit the Newsweek article.







Amy

87 comments:

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I'm gonna take #7 - Random Family. I've wanted to read that book for a long time!

Carrie (the book girl) said...

I want to play, lol. I pick #28 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.

Chris said...

I'm excited about this Amy :) Glad you decided to put it together! There are actually a lot of topics on this list that I've always wanted to read, but would never have read were it not for this!

bookmagic said...

I'll take # 40, American Pastoral.I'm debbook on twitter

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Thanks for doing all this work! It should be fun!

Melissa Sarno said...

Hi Amy, I'm intrigued by this challenge. Seems like all the fiction is taken, but I'll take #7 Random Family if it's still available. Curious to see everyone's assessment!

Melissa Sarno said...

Oh now that I can see your comments, I see that #7 is taken. I'll try and stomach some William Faulkner #5.

Becky said...

I want to grab "the way we live now" if it's available. I've been introduced to Trollope this year and I'm loving him so far!

Kristi said...

I came in late to the Twitter party, but it looks like the one I'm most interested in - The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan - is still available. Wahooo! I've been wanting to read this one for a long time.

justareadingfool said...

Amy: I'll take American Prometheus since some of the ones I wanted were taken already. :( However, this one looks pretty interesting.

Literate Housewife said...

I'll take Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. It will tie in nicely to the audio book I'm listening to right now. This should be fun!

Lit and Life said...

I'll take #31-Gilead. I've started it but never gotten around to finishing it because other books kept coming round that had to be read first. I'm mamashep on twitter.

heidenkind said...

Gargh, Nymeth got the book I wanted! *shakes fist* ;)

Can I please have #50, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film by David Thomson?

Eva said...

I'll take The Trouble With Physics! :)

Meghan said...

I'll go with #4, The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr. I don't have it but it definitely looks like one I can get for both my fiance and me.

Nymeth said...

This is going to be fun :D

(And sorry heidenkind! :P )

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

Hey, I'd like to read #25 "Bad Mother"

Bree said...

This sounds like a great project. I'll read #8 Night Draws Near.

Julie P. said...

What a great idea and terrific community builder!

bermudaonion said...

You're a genius, Amy! This is going to be so much fun.

debnance said...

I'll take The Looming Tower.

Beth F said...

This is such a super idea! Can you put up a Mr. Linky so we can link up when we post our review? I'd love to follow along over the next few months.

Florinda said...

I missed all this on Twitter yesterday. I was going to make it easy on myself and claim #25 because I've already read and reviewed it :-), but I see it's gone now.

For the record, I read #7 a few years ago, and I think it IS a "Book for our Times." (So is #25 :-).) I'll be interested in the reviews!

Can you please put me down for #32, Pictures at a Revolution? Thanks, Amy!

Beth F said...

Someone should snatch up the Bill Buford. I haven't read that book, but I like his writing!

Sheila DeChantal said...

If #21 The Mississippi Books by Mark Twain is still available count me in for that one.

Kristi said...

I'd take #25 Bad Mother if it isn't taken yet.

Kristi
Books and Needlepoint

Tricia said...

I'll take #9--Preditably Irrational.
This is fun!
Thanks!

wordlily said...

I'm excited, this sounds like great fun.

Nicole said...

How fun! You have the best ideas. I will take #22. It looks available and interesting.

violetcrush said...

I want to join too but I don't think I'll be able to find any of the books left :(

Can I pick one that is already picked? I'm sure the rest will be picked with soon.

violetcrush said...

Or maybe I'll wait till all books are claimed and then suggest this again :)

Lorin said...

Great idea, Amy! When I read these lists, I always like to chec off which ones I've read. I was amazed when I'd only read 2 of the books on this list. So much for being a well-read person!

It looks like all the books are taken, but keep me posted if you decide to double up.

Memory said...

I love this idea! Unfortunately, none of the books fit in with my 2009 TBR Rules, but I'll be looking forward to everyone else's reviews.

Holly said...

Interesting list. I always find it fascinating to see what books "they" think we should be reading!

Jerry Coyne said...

Oh dear, go easy on me--I never claimed to belong up there with Faulkner, Twain, and the like!

Jerry Coyne :-)

Suzanne said...

Wow! What a list and what a gathering of bloggers! I'd join in but I'm READLY (ok really) late to the party! So, I look forward to seeing all the reviews and it has inspired me to read the books on the list that I haven't already! Thanks for the great challenge!

Lori L said...

I just thought I'd note that since I've had a blog I've read and reviewed the following:
American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Chris said...

Jerry Coyne, I'm reading your book! It looks fantastic! Going to pick it up today :)

Gwendolyn B. said...

If no one has "claimed" #18 CITY, I'll take that on. It's not available yet from Amazon, but I'm check libraries, etc.

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Jennie said...

Oh, it looks like #43, Senator Joe McCarthy is open. We share a hometown, so I would love to do that one! Jennie from Biblio File

Sandy Nawrot said...

What a cool idea...I'm bummed I got in on this so late. Just for the record, The Looming Tower is incredible, so the person that got that one was lucky! I've also read Line of Beauty and Gone Tomorrow. I loved them too, but I'm not sure about them being in this class. We'll see what the reviewer says!

Kim said...

Yahoo! The one book that I was for sure going to buy and read is available - I'll take #18 City: Rediscovering the Center, it's even coming out in paperback soon. I have a post about the article coming out Sunday and I'll link over here for anyone else who wants to participate, I can't wait to hear the discussion!

Rhiannon Hart said...

If we can double up I wouldn't mind doing Electric Sheep too. It's on my reading list anyway!

Elizabeth said...

What a fun idea! I'd love to participate, but none of the books that are left are available at my library. =( And good luck with American Journeys - I couldn't even find a copy online for less than $55, which I am, unfortunately, not willing to pay for an unknown. If you start to double up, I might try to snag something then. =)

Alison said...

I'm in. I'll take on #48 - American Journeys by Don Watson - if it's not already taken.

Alison said...

Is it too late to change my mind? (Feel free to send me "poor form" e-mails all you want...I'm fickle.) I'm thinking that #27, Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus is more my speed. So, wherever you want to put me, go for it.

Megan said...

If nobody's chosen it yet, I'd love to go in for #34 Walking With the Wind. :)

Vicki said...

If you decide to double up, I'd love to read
# 31: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Teddy Rose said...

Amy, I just posted this project on A Novel Challenge.

Laurie said...

I would love to double up on Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

Thanks!

Alipet813 said...

Amy,

If it hasn't already doubled up I will take #43 The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Suzanne said...

Hi Amy! I see a few doubled up! If you are going to let us late comers in on the fun challenge I'd love to read #45 for the Challenge! The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.... I'll look on the list to see if my name pops up.

And would have liked to have helped out with American Journeys, but like someone said it is almost impossible to find at a reasonable price....

Thanks!
Suzanne
Chick with Books

Heather said...

If it's okay, I'd love to reread Frankenstein. I've been meaning to anyway and I saw a fabulous graphic novel (not exactly, but that's where they had it shelved) version at the bookstore Friday. It was gorgeous. Would that be all right?

Elizabeth said...

Can I be the second reader on either #13 - Underground, or #36 - Dark is Rising? Whichever hasn't been doubled up yet - I'll check back later to see which I get. Thanks! =)

Violet said...

Can I double up for Year of Wonders?

Michelle (galleysmith) said...

I'll happily do Dark is Rising for the second round.

wisteria said...

Hi Amy...Since all are taken. I'd like to read and review Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus .
Should I just assume that that is ok?
I think this is an awesome idea. Thanks for being the host.
Wisteria
http://www.bookwormsdinner.blogspot.com
tekeygirl (at) gmail (dot) com

infiniteshelf said...

Hi! If you haven't a second reader for "Underground" or "The Elegance of the Hedgehog", I'd really like to be it! :) Second choices would be "The Botany of Desire", and "Midnight's children". I'll look back later!

imbookingit said...

Thanks for coordinating this!

Put me down as a second reader for
THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG
if that isn't still available, go down the list:
PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL
DISRUPTING CLASS
THE TROUBLE WITH PHYSICS

I'll check back, and see where my name pops up!

Emily said...

I'd love to be the second reader for A Good Man is Hard to Find. I've been meaning to read more O'Connor.

bookmagic said...

I'll do a second read for Year of Wonders or Elegance of the Hedgehog or Midnight's Children if they aren't taken.

Rebecca :) said...

I would like to do Leaves of Grass with Literate Housewife is someone else hasn't claimed the 2nd spot. If so, I will read A Good Man is Hard to Find with you or if that is taken The Dark is Rising with Vasilly.

TJ said...

I'll double up for #46 "Gone Tomorrow" by Lee Child, since I was going to read it very soon here anyway. :D

Jenners said...

I feel sheepish as I have read NONE of these books! I don't want to commit to reading one at this time because I feel overwhelmed with other obligations but I'm interested in seeing what everyone has to say about them!

shananaginsbooks said...

I would love to take seconds on The Botany of Desire! Thank you. =)

Trish said...

Too awesome! Thanks for including me, Amy--can't wait to see what everyone thinks of their picks.

Jeanne said...

I'd be a second reader on almost anything. Maybe Faulkner? I didn't see a request for a second on that yet.

Also should we list previous reviews of these books, aside from their value as "for our time"? Gilead, for example, has already been widely reviewed, and I reviewed Bad Mother this spring (loved it) at Necromancy Never Pays.

J.T. Oldfield said...

I'll be a second on Things Fall Apart.

And re: Jeanne's comment, I've reviewed Persepolis and I'm reading Midnight's Children for the Summer Reading Challenge, so I'll let you know when I do that review if we want to include other regular reviews.

Chris said...

Hi Amy. I'd like to read Why Evolution is True. That would make 2 Chris's reading it. A male and female perspective?

What do you think?

Lenore said...

Can I do Year of Wonders with Beth?

Lenore said...

Oh...I see tons of people asked for that one now. Well, I'll read it anyway, because I have it, and WANT to read it. So...

Stephanie said...

Sheesh. A downed computer and I'm missing all the fun :( Can I second with someone?? Perhaps, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Line of Beauty or Underworld??

monnibo said...

I'll double up on Kim by Rudyard Kipling. When's the deadline?!

Michelle said...

I would love to double up with somoene. Just let me know what's available!!

Veens said...

God! Everything is taken innit?!

Is there a deadline?! God! I have been thinking of getting to "Things Fall Apart by Chinue Achebe ". If the deadline is reasonable I would love to join in the Fun :)

This sounds fun!

Thank You!

Sherrie said...

Hi Amy,
Would love to join in on this. I would like to read A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor, #12. Thanks lots.

Kristen said...

Looks like you're doubling up already. I have The Elegance of the Hedgehog on my to be read stacks already for this year. If that's already been double claimed, I'd be happy to commit to the first book in the Regeneration trilogy but I don't want to commit to all three in case I don't like #1! I've read a surprising number of these already. Interesting list for sure.

Book Dragon said...

I would like to read Frankenstein.

My 2nd choice is Year of Wonders and my 3rd choice in Gone Tomorrow

Book Dragon said...

all my choices have been asked for (that's what I get for not reading ALL the comments) so I'll just sit back and wait for the reviews to come in, then pick up some new books for next year!

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Amy,

Do we have any time frame on this challenge? Just curious... I have the book just not sure when I will get to it. :)

3m.michelle said...

I'll go with Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Turtle Mom said...

Sign me up as #2 reader for #5. The Bear

Turtle Mom said...

Also, a question...is anyone trying to read them all?

Andrea [Buried In Books] said...

I'd like to sign up for #25. Bad Mother
Thanks ;]

Paul L. said...

Hey there. I am also doing the project, but by myself...http://newsweeks50now.blogspot.com

I look forward reading all the reviews!

Becky said...

I've finished The Way We Live Now. Here is my review.

http://blbooks.blogspot.com/2009/12/way-we-live-now.html

BookJunkieMom said...

I would add my name to the list but there isn't an available book! Wow!

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