Greetings, I am Fran and I am joining you in your struggle to tackle 50 books this year.
Do plays count? My #1 was Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand which I found very lively with a poignant ending. It's not very long but long enough that you get to feel slightly attached to Cyrano by the end.
Amazon: Poet and soldier, brawler and charmer, Cyrano de Bergerac is desperately in love with Roxane, the most beautiful woman in Paris. But there is one very large problem - he has a nose of stupendous size and believes she will never see past it to return his feelings. So when he discovers that the handsome but tongue-tied Christian is also pining for Roxane, generous Cyrano offers to help by writing exquisite declarations of love for the young man to woo her with.
I'm just finishing #2 at the moment - Pérez-Reverte's novel The Club Dumas. I was recommended this because I am a huge fan of Dumas' The Three Muskateers series (with Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere). I don't usually read Sherlock Holmes-type mystery novels but this one has turned out to be entertaining - a mixture of what-happens-next and many literary references that make you want to go and read everything it connects to. I, for instance, am going to tackle Cervantes' Don Quixote as my #3.
Can't quite find a blurb - Amazon has failed me and I am lazy - but according to an obscure review:
"If you've never thought of the world of antiquarian books as being something that could inspire passion, betrayal, and even murder, The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte will open the casket lid on a hither-to unknown world of skullduggery, academia, bibliophiles, and mystery. You will be drawn into a world full of arcane knowledge relating to authorship, bindings, publications, engravings, and forgery that is the backdrop for one of the finest literary mysteries ever written."
Read more: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-the-club-dumas-by/#ixzz1jCeTZn5A
Next: Cervante’s Don Quixote! I’ve been told it’s boring, difficult, long, arduous, but I shall try it anyway. Has anyone read it?