50. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
About Saleem Sinai, a boy born at midnight of the day of India's independence. This endows him with powers of telepathy, especially with other children born during that hour. Along with Saleem's story, this book is about India's birth and life as a modern country.
I was mightily excited to read this book, but found it kind of irritating. I'm not sure if I like Rushdie's style. I think I might have liked it more if I knew more about India's history and culture.
51. The Death of Ivan Ilych - Leo Tolstoy, translated by Aylmer Maude
About Ivan Ilych's life and death. His life is pointless until he gets sick and realizes he's dying. Pretty short and I enjoyed it till the end.
52. The Bell - Iris Murdoch
A religious community attached to a convent prepare to receive a new bell to replace one lost hundreds of years ago. There is a variety of people living in the community, some with true religious feeling and many dealing with or hiding from their problems and secrets.
My first Murdoch book, it started off slow, but gradually I grew to like it. I'll definitely be reading the rest of her work.
53. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream - Hunter S. Thompson
I guess pretty much everyone knows about this. The only thought I had was: How can two people do that much drugs? I'm impressed.
54. The Reader - Bernhard Schlink, translated by Carol Brown Janeway
I'm excited to see the movie, so I read the book instead. It's about a teenager who becomes the lover of a much older woman (twice his age) until she disappears one day. He meets her again years later in different circumstances and their relationship changes.
This was an ok book. I kept waiting for something amazing or heart-wrenching or thought-provoking to happen. Nope.
55. The Accident - Elie Wiesel, translated by Anne Borchardt
The third book in the Night trilogy, this short book is about a man, a Holocaust survivor, and his inability to forget his past and his sorrow. Deals with what is means to be a survivor of such all-encompassing trauma, and whether or not a person can move forward after an experience that destroys everything.
56. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy, translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude
Two and a half months reading this book. Oy vey. So glad to be done! About a quarter of the way through, I got very interested in the characters, and felt that I liked this book more than other Russian novels that I've read, but I still got frustrated and bored. I didn't care at all for the sections on war and history that didn't have anything directly to do with the characters.
Whenever I read Russian literature, and Tolstoy in particular, I find the style to be really stilted and that it's difficult to understand what the characters motivations are. I feel too removed from what's going on and don't care.
57. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
Saw the movie. Meh. The book on the other hand was fantastic. I know that it's terribly cliched with the suburban hell and discontent with society and the "crazy" guy who's the only one telling the truth. But this was good. Perhaps what really made it great, in an uncomfortable way, was the fact that the main characters, the Wheelers, keep talking about how they want to break the chains of a conventional life, how disdainful they are of the people around them, while not doing anything to change their lives. They're too scared, and deep down, too conventional to ever do something truly interesting.
58. Dexter in the Dark - Jeff Lindsay, narrated by Nick Landrum for Recorded Books
The third in the Dexter series. This was a lot more supernatural, involving the historical origins of "dark passengers," and having scenes not narrated by Dexter. Which makes sense, given that Dexter is in the dark during this book. As the reader, you know more than Dexter does for the first time in the series.