SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #25-26

Book #25 was "Tartuffe," a play by the 17th century French author Moliere, translated and with introduction by Richard Wilbur. I've been adding a few "classics to catch up on" to my reading list (cribbed from "The New Lifetime Reading Plan" - you can see the reading list here), and this comedic play in rhymed verse from 1669 was on the list. In it, Orgon, the head of a household, has been taken in by the conman Tartuffe, who plays on Orgon's religious leanings by pretending to be a poor but pious mystic. Tartuffe gets installed in Orgon's household and is even set to be married to Orgon's daughter, and Orgon won't listen to any criticism of his pet holy man until he witnesses with his own eyes Tartuffe flirting with Orgon's wife. I read the play in one day and found it enjoyable. I'd like to see it performed or done as radio play or something similar.

Book #26 was "Bicycle Diaries" by David Byrne, yes, that David Byrne, the one from Talking Heads. He has been a bicycle enthusiast for many years and brings his bike with him around the world so he can tour cities from that vantage point. The book was formed from his blog entries, though re-shaped for the book. The first chapter is a compilation of his thoughts about various American Cities, and then each chapter after that is a big world city, from Buenos Aires to London to Istanbul. He obviously talks about the bikeability of each city, but largely, the book is about thoughtful urban planning. Along the way, you get his thoughts on world music, art and industrial design, the psychology of personal narrative, and more. I read a NY Times book review, and the reviewer was surprised that Byrne comes off as a "normal guy" since much of his musical career and persona is so kooky. But his "everyman" observations were just what I liked best about this book. Additionally, with books like this, I find that the parts about the past or present are strong but projections for the future are sometimes weak, but the last few pages about the future of public transport were pretty insightful and interesting. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone interested in Byrne and his music, touring by bicycle, or urban planning & design.

1. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time" [nonfiction]- David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson (unabridged audiobook)
2. The Detroit Electric Scheme [fiction]- D.E. Johnson
3. Classic Philip Jose Farmer 1964-1973 (Volume 5  in the Classics of Modern Science Fiction series) [fiction/short stories]- PJ Farmer
4. "The Aspern Papers" and "The Turn of the Screw" (omnibus volume with notes and commentary) [fiction]- Henry James
5. Ever After (11th in "The Hollows" series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
6. On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family [nonfiction]- Lisa See
7. Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama [nonfiction/ graphic memoir]- written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel
8. My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir [nonfiction/memoir]- Noelle Hancock
9. House of Leaves [fiction]- Mark Z. Danielewski
10. Ready Player One [fiction]- Ernest Cline (unabridged audiobook)
11. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America [nonfiction]- Barbara Ehrenreich
12. Too Late to Die Young: Nearly True Tales from a Life [nonfiction/memoir]- Harriet McBryde Johnson
13. The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
14. Ivanhoe [fiction]- Sir Walter Scott
15. Ancillary Justice [fiction]- Ann Leckie
16. Beauty Queens [fiction]- Libba Bray (unabridged audiobook)
17. Burnt Mountain [fiction]- Anne Rivers Siddons
18. Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia [nonfiction]- David Greene
19. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex [nonfiction]- Mary Roach (unabridged audiobook)
20. The Likeness [fiction]- Tana French
21. Atonement [fiction]- Ian McEwan
22. The Westing Game [fiction]- Ellen Raskin(unabridged audiobook)
23. Nappy Edges [poetry]- Ntozake Shange
24. Childhood's End [fiction]- Arthur C. Clarke

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