Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

  • THE BOOK
    • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
    • Published May 20, 2014
    • Other works by author include: River of Shadows: Eadweard Myubridge and the Technological Wild West, Hope in the Dark, Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, and many more.

  • THE PREMISE
    • A collection of essays on the topic of how women are silenced by men. Women are silenced when men don't hear their thoughts and opinions on one end of the spectrum and murdered on the other end.
    • Her opening anecdote centers on a man who, when he heard she had written a book on Eadweard Muybridge (a pioneering photographer of the 19th Century), started telling her about "a very important" book on the same topic coming out later that year.
      • A friend said, "It's HER book," and it took several repetitions before he actually HEARD her.
      • He hadn't even read the book having only read about it in a magazine.
    • The essays delve into the ways women are silenced today, with echoes of history proving difficult to get past.
      • Here's a passage quoted from Sir William Blackstone, an English judge who lived in the 1700s:
        • "By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband; under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs everything...For this reason, a man cannot grant anything to his wife, or enter into covenant with her: for the grant would be to suppose her separate existence.
      • American and British laws, as well as other countries, have changed this over the last century. Mostly.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I did some research on women's rights and found some fun facts:
      • The Expatriation Act of 1907 had a provision whereby an American woman who married an alien man lost her American citizenship while American men who married aliens did not lose theirs.
        • This provision was repealed by the Cable Act of 1922. Unless your husband was Asian, of course. Then you still lost citizenship.
        • Apparently dual citizenship was not a thing in those days?
      • I think I found the best court case name ever! Ready? United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries! (A pessary is a type of diaphragm, a form of birth control.)
        • The Comstock Act of 1873 was a law forbidding the usage of the U.S. Post Office from mailing contraceptives, abortifacients, sex toys, erotica or even personal letters! Did they randomly open letters to see if they had naughty words in them?!
        • A doctor had ordered the devices from Japan --- with Margaret Sanger's help --- and they were held up by U.S. Customs.
        • Oh, and the pessaries won! Go pessaries!
    • None of that has anything to do with this book, sorry for the tangent! It's just that women seem to be the target of so much legislation over the centuries and up until the present day and beyond. A form of control by men? Um, yes. And that IS to do with this book.
    • Okay. My definition of feminism is that women and men are equal in all ways. My definition of feminism does not mean that I want females to be superior to males, just equal.
      • Some opponents argue that women ALREADY have the same rights as men. (For simplicity of writing I am leaving out words and pronouns specific to LGBT persons but people of all gender identities are part of the story too.)
        • Do we?
        • The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution says: (paraphrased and abridged) All persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens of the United States. No state shall deny privileges or due process of law, nor deny equal protection of the laws.
        •  The Fifteenth Amendment says: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude."
        • Just reading these two amendments, issued as the Civil War ended and mainly for the benefit of the former slaves, it seems to me that they give women the right to vote too.
          • Because most states had laws preventing a woman from voting a Supreme Court case in 1875 called Minor v. Happersett --- it was unanimous, by the way --- decided the plaintiff (Virginia Minor) was a citizen but that her privileges did not include voting rights (because voting was a restricted privilege even for white men at the time of the country's founding).
          • This is why a separate amendment for a woman's right to vote was needed: to overturn most of Minor v. Happersett.
        • Who knew Kelly's Book Channel would turn into a recounting of Constitutional law?! Fun, fun, fun!
          • Except for the sometimes incomprehensible legalese I think studying this branch of law could be very interesting.
      • When I worked at a credit union in the 1980s I took the accounting clerk position six months after I started working there. It was the original job I wanted but they gave it to a man and offered me a position in the ATM Department instead. Once I was in the accounting department I knew everyone's salaries because I did payroll processing. Mine was not as high as the male employee before me. I was too new to the work force to complain though. 
      • The author also talks about how women, generally from our teen years on, need to learn to deal with the threat of rape by changing our behavior (don't walk alone in dark places, don't dress like a slut, etc...) while on the other side of the coin, men don't share this burden of constant vigilance. Nor are they taught to, oh, I don't know, NOT RAPE.
        • I'm in my 50s and even now I am mindful of my surroundings, even in my own home. 
          • My (rarely attempted) dressing slutty years are far behind me. Now I did have a gray leather miniskirt in college though and I loved wearing it to occasional parties at San Francisco State. (I was NOT a party girl.) It was a fun item, possibly pleather rather than leather, but also not a signal that said "rape me". 
            • I really wish I had a picture of me in that skirt!
      • I liked some of the essays very much but not all of them
      • Anyway, the book is recommended for those who want to read an interesting take on women. It leans heavily feminist but I don't think that's a bad thing when you remember that "feminism = equality for all", not "feminism = superiority over men".
      • ★ ★ ★

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

  • THE BOOK
    • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
    • Published June 28, 2016
    • First work by author

  • THE PREMISE
    • Here is part of the blurb:
      • "...a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white working class. Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, [the book] is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream."
    • This book has been on The New York Times non-fiction bestsellers list for 28 weeks at this writing.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • The blurb says "part memoir, part historical and social analysis". I say it's probably about 95% memoir and 5% the rest.
      • It really is his and his family's story with a few generalizations about other folk who also live in the Appalachian areas of Kentucky and Ohio.
      • He is a lawyer with no background in sociology or psychology so he is not really the right person to analyze the overall situation for a large section of poor middle America.
    • His family's story is quite fascinating however. His mother had issues with drug abuse and he was raised in large part by the efforts of his sister and his grandparents, called Mamaw and Papaw.
      • I called my Louisiana grandparents Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw, pronounced just like they're spelled (the syllables rhyme with "law"). The author specifies that Mamaw is pronounced like Ma'am-Maw. I assume Papaw is the same? Papp-paw? The author doesn't say.
      • His grandmother is probably the most fascinating character in the book. She swears like crazy, uses tough love in all areas of life and supports her family members with fierce love.
      • This is a family steeped in yelling, violence, feuding and community. Outsiders are to be kept out of the loop, one of the things that makes it hard for people to ask for help when they need it.
    • He discusses the handful of people who get jobs but then don't work hard at them (lateness, absenteeism, poor performance, etc...) and end up fired. Then they rage about how the system keeps them down even while they draw entitlement benefits.
      • The difficulties of the poor seem to mainly stem from the fact that all the good blue collar jobs have disappeared from the area. You didn't need a college education to work in the factories and make a decent salary. As we know, most of those jobs are long gone.
      • Someone who's lost their job in the manufacturing sector, a place where their father, grandfather and uncles all worked, have no other options if they choose to stay in their towns. 
        • And even if they moved elsewhere, they don't have the skills to get a job in a different field. So poverty takes hold and is almost impossible to shake.
        • Local businesses can't be sustained by the poverty-stricken and towns get poorer too.
        • It's difficult to know how "bringing back jobs" will cure the ills of these areas of the country. The jobs won't be the same type as so many factories are automated and worked by robotics.
        • The author doesn't have many solutions to offer but he shows how the culture of the area hinders advancement for many.
    • He makes some interesting points though. As an example, if their parents never went to college, they don't always know how to help their kids fill out college applications.
    • Some people, based on comments on Good Reads, have looked to this book to explain the rise of Trump. 
      • This book does not do that. It is solely concerned with a specific sub-culture of the United States, the hillbilly of the title and even more specifically his own family.
    • The story of the family is interesting but the section on his life in the U.S. Marines and Yale Law School bogs the book down. The family narrative is fascinating; training and school not so much. 
    • Recommended for those who want to learn about how another section of America lives.
    • ★ ★ ★

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Great Movies by Roger Ebert

  • THE BOOK
    • The Great Movies by Roger Ebert
    • Published November 11, 2003
    • Film critic for The Chicago Sun-Times

  • THE PREMISE
    • Roger Ebert wrote an additional column for the Sun-Times called "The Great Movies" and this book is a collection of 100 of them.
    • This is not his list of the best 100 movies ever, just a list of classic movies he happened to choose to write about. There are three more books in the series: The Great Movies II, The Great Movies III, and The Great Movies IV.
    • The list:
      • 2001: A Space Odyssey
      • The 400 Blows
      • Aguirre, The Wrath of God
      • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
      • All About Eve
      • The Apartment
      • Apocalypse Now
      • The Apu Trilogy
      • Battleship Potemkin
      • Beauty and the Beast (1946)
      • Belle de Jour
      • The Bicycle Thief
      • The Big Sleep
      • Blowup
      • Body Heat
      • Bonnie & Clyde
      • Bride of Frankenstein
      • Broken Blossoms
      • Casablanca
      • Chinatown
      • Citizen Kane
      • City Lights
      • Days of Heaven
      • The Decalogue
      • Detour
      • Do the Right Thing
      • Double Indemnity
      • Dracula
      • Dr. Strangelove
      • Duck Soup
      • E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
      • The Exterminating Angel
      • Fargo
      • Floating Weeds
      • Gates of Heaven
      • The General
      • The Godfather
      • Gone with the Wind
      • Grand Illusion
      • Greed
      • A Hard Day's Night
      • Hoop Dreams
      • Ikiru
      • It's a Wonderful Life
      • JFK
      • La Dolce Vita
      • The Lady Eve
      • Last Year at Marienbad
      • L'Atalante
      • L'Avventura
      • Lawrence of Arabia
      • Le Samourai
      • M
      • The Maltese Falcon
      • Manhattan
      • McCabe & Mrs. Miller
      • Metropolis
      • Mr. Hulot's Holiday
      • My Darling Clementine
      • My Life to Live
      • Nashville
      • Network
      • The Night of the Hunter
      • Nosferatu
      • Notorious
      • On the Waterfront
      • Pandora's Box
      • The Passion of Joan of Arc
      • Peeping Tom
      • Persona
      • Pickpocket
      • Pinocchio
      • Psycho
      • Pulp Fiction
      • Raging Bull
      • Red River
      • Schindler's List
      • The Seven Samurai
      • The Seventh Seal
      • The Shawshank Redemption
      • The Silence of the Lambs
      • Singin' in the Rain
      • Some Like It Hot
      • Star Wars
      • Sunset Boulevard
      • Sweet Smell of Success
      • Swing Time
      • Taxi Driver
      • The Third Man
      • Trouble in Paradise
      • Un Chien Andalou
      • The Up documentaries
      • Vertigo
      • The Wild Bunch
      • Wings of Desire
      • The Wizard of Oz
      • Woman in the Dunes
      • A Woman Under the Influence
      • Written on the Wind

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I have seen 35 of them.
    • It was fun to read about some favorite movies and further my education about some I haven't seen yet. (In my family this means "I haven't seen it but I've read a lot about it.")
    • Because this is basically a compilation of weekly newspaper columns there are a couple of repetitive things and an occasional contradiction.
      • Any time Charles Chaplin is mentioned Roger repeats the same story. He watch an outdoor screening of "City Lights" in Venice in 1972 and afterwards Chaplin appeared on a balcony to thunderous applause. (Chaplin died shortly after this.)
      • In the essay for "Some Like It Hot" he says he won't spoil the last line of the movie for anyone who hasn't yet seen it. Then, a few essays later he lists some great last lines and tells exactly what ends "Some Like It Hot"!
      • Neither of these examples are a problem or a criticism --- who wouldn't want to often share an account of an emotional appearance of Charles Chaplin?! --- but you notice them reading the book all the way through in a couple of days. 
    • Recommended for film fans and Roger Ebert fans.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Great Movies III by Roger Ebert

  • THE BOOK
    • The Great Movies III by Roger Ebert
    • Published
    • Other works by author: film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, co-host with Gene Siskel of "At the Movies" and author of several books of film criticism.

  • THE PREMISE
    • Another 100 movie essays that didn't make The Great Movies or The Great Movies II.
    • The essays are in alphabetical order and the author tells us in his introduction that these aren't a list of the third hundred best movies, just "a" list.
    • Here's the list:
      • 3 Women
      • Ace in the Hole
      • Adaptation
      • After Dark, My Sweet
      • After Hours
      • The Age of Innocence
      • Army of Shadows
      • Atlantic City
      • Au Revoir les Enfants
      • Babel
      • The Band Wagon
      • Baraka
      • The Battle of Algiers
      • Bergman’s trilogy Through a Glass Darkly
      • Bergman’s trilogy : Winter Light
      • Bergman’s trilogy The Silence
      • The Best Years of Our Lives
      • The Big Red One
      • Blade Runner: The Final Cut
      • Cabiria
      • Cat People (1942)
      • Chimes at Midnight
      • Chop Shop
      • Chuck Jones: 3 cartoons
      • Cool Hand Luke
      • Crimes and Misdemeanors
      • Crumb
      • Dark City
      • The Dead
      • Diva
      • Dog Day Afternoon
      • The Double Life of Veronique
      • Easy Rider
      • El Norte
      • El Topo
      • The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
      • Exotica
      • Fanny and Alexander
      • Faust
      • Fitzcarraldo
      • Forbidden Games
      • The Godfather, Part II
      • The Great Dictator
      • Groundhog Day
      • Howards End
      • Inherit the Wind
      • Johnny Guitar
      • Juliet of the Spirits
      • Killer of Sheep
      • La Belle Noiseuse
      • L.A. Confidential
      • The Last Picture Show
      • Last Tango in Paris
      • The Last Temptation of Christ
      • Late Spring
      • Leolo
      • The Long Goodbye
      • Magnolia
      • The Marriage of Maria Braun
      • Mephisto
      • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
      • Mon Oncle Antoine
      • Moolaade
      • My Fair Lady
      • My Man Godfrey
      • Nanook of the North
      • Ordet
      • Out of the Past (1947)
      • Pan’s Labyrinth
      • Paths of Glory
      • The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
      • Pixote
      • Playtime
      • A Prairie Home Companion
      • Rebel Without a Cause
      • The Red Shoes
      • Ripley’s Game
      • The River (1951)
      • Rocco and His Brothers
      • Safety Last
      • Samurai Rebellion
      • Sansho the Bailiff
      • Santa Sangre
      • The Scarlet Empress
      • Secrets & Lies
      • The Shining
      • The Terrorist
      • The Thief of Baghdad (1940)
      • Top Hat
      • Triumph of the Will
      • Vengeance is Mine
      • Waking Life
      • Werkmeister Harmonies
      • Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
      • Withnail & I
      • A Woman’s Tale
      • Woodstock
      • WR – Mysteries of the Organism
      • A Year of the Quiet Sun
      • Yojimbo

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I have seen a total of 21. And I could have lived happily without watching "Last Tango in Paris". Blurgh.
      • I saw 30 of the films in The Great Movies II.
    • And I read a lot about film history and I have never heard of a bunch of these, mainly the foreign films. 
      • I hadn't heard of just over 30 of these movies! This lessened my enthusiasm while reading and is the reason why this book has a lower star rating.
      • I am reasonably knowledgeable about American film and some British film but a total ignoramus on foreign film apparently. If I was in my 20s I might feel the need to rectify this but now, in my 50s, I am at peace with all the movies I'll never get around to watching! 
    • Recommended for film buffs, foreign film fans and Roger Ebert fans.
    • ★ ★ 

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Great Movies II by Roger Ebert

  •  THE BOOK
    • The Great Movies II by Roger Ebert
    • Published February 14, 2006
    • Other works by author: film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, co-host with Gene Siskel of "At the Movies" and author of several books of film criticism.

  • THE PREMISE
    • A collection of 100 essays on movies that didn't make his first book The Great Movies.
    • The essays are in alphabetical order and the author tells us in his introduction that these aren't a list of the second hundred best movies, just "a" list.
    • These aren't reprints of original reviews; they are original works based on recent viewings of the films.
    • There's a photo included for each entry "curated" by Mary Corliss.
    • The list:
      • 12 Angry Men
      • The Adventures of Robin Hood
      • Alien
      • Amadeus
      • Amarcord
      • Annie Hall
      • Au Hazard, Balthazar
      • The Bank Dick
      • Beat the Devil
      • Being There
      • The Big Heat
      • The Birth of a Nation
      • The Blue Kite
      • Bob le Flambeur
      • Breathless
      • The Bridge on the River Kwai
      • Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
      • Buster Keaton
      • Children of Paradise
      • A Christmas Story
      • The Color Purple
      • The Conversation
      • Cries and Whispers
      • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
      • Don’t Look Now
      • The Earrings of Madame de...
      • The Fall of the House of Usher
      • The Fireman’s Ball
      • Five Easy Pieces
      • Goldfinger
      • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
      • Goodfellas
      • The Gospel According to Mathew
      • The Grapes of Wrath
      • Grave of the Fireflies
      • Great Expectations
      • House of Games
      • The Hustler
      • In Cold Blood
      • Jaws
      • Jules and Jim
      • Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy
      • Kind Hearts and Coronets
      • King Kong
      • The Last Laugh
      • Laura
      • Leaving Las Vegas
      • Le Boucher
      • The Leopard
      • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
      • The Manchurian Candidate
      • The Man Who Laughs
      • Mean Streets
      • Mon Oncle
      • Moonstruck
      • The Music Room
      • My Dinner with Andre
      • My Neighbor Totoro
      • Nights of Cabiria
      • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
      • Orpheus
      • Paris, Texas
      • Patton
      • Picnic at Hanging Rock
      • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
      • The Producers
      • Raiders of the Lost Ark
      • Raise the Red Lantern
      • Ran
      • Rashoman
      • Rear Window
      • Rififi
      • The Right Stuff
      • Romeo and Juliet
      • The Rules of the Game
      • Saturday Night Fever
      • Say Anything
      • Scarface
      • The Searchers
      • Shane
      • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
      • Solaris (1972)
      • Strangers on a Train
      • Stroszek
      • A Sunday in the Country
      • Sunrise
      • A Tale of Winter
      • The Thin Man
      • This Is Spinal Tap
      • Tokyo Story
      • Touchez pas Grisbi
      • Touch of Evil
      • The Treasure of Sierra Madre
      • Ugetsu
      • Umberto D
      • Unforgiven
      • Victim
      • Walkabout
      • West Side Story
      • Yankee Doodle Dandy

    • MY THOUGHTS
      • I have seen a total of 30.
      • I recently read that The Great Movies IV came out last September and checked my library for them. Books 2 and 3 were immediately available and book 1 is waiting for me to pick up. I will need to put in a purchase request for book 4. Hence my beginning with book 2.
      • I didn't read every single essay, skipping a handful of films I know I will never watch. I know watching a Fellini film is worthwhile but at this point it's just not gonna happen!
      • I do realize that I haven't seen certain movies that are part of the national consciousness but I am totally fine with that. 
        • Of the ones I haven't seen I would like to see "The Thin Man", "Sunrise", "The Man Who Laughs", "The Grapes of Wrath", "Children of Paradise" and maybe "The Christmas Story".
          • The problem with "The Christmas Story" is that everyone who has seen it adores it and I think I will be let down after all the hype. We'll see.
      • The essay on "The Birth of a Nation" is probably the best one, tackling the technological feats of the film while delving into its ugly racism.
        • Example: In that movie the actors who played African Americans were white actors in blackface and the makeup is very obvious. To modern eyes it seems like a terrible makeup artist worked on the film. Roger Ebert explains that it had to look fake because audiences of the era would never have accepted an actual black actor shown threatening an actual white actress.  
      • The photos aren't captioned so you don't always know who the actors are unless you recognize them yourself.
      • Recommended for movie buffs and fans of the late Roger Ebert. 
      • ★ ★ ★ ★

    Wednesday, February 1, 2017

    Literary Wonderlands by Laura Miller (Editor)

    • THE BOOK
      • Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created edited by Laura Miller
      • Published November 1, 2016
      • Other works by editor include co-founding Salon.com, writing about books and culture for Slate.com and the book The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia

    • THE PREMISE
      • It's right there in the title!
      • There's a list of 98 ("nearly 100" says the book jacket!) stories:
        • The Epic of Gilgamesh (Anonymous)
        • The Odyssey (Homer)
        • Metamorphoses (Ovid)
        • Beowulf (Anonymous)
        • The Thousand and One Nights (Anonymous)
        • The Mabinogion (Anonymous)
        • The Prose Edda (Snorri Sturluson)
        • The Divine Comedy (Dante Aligheri)
        • Le Morte d'Arthur (Thomas Malory)
        • Orlando Furioso (Ludovico Ariosto)
        • Utopia (Thomas More)
        • The Faerie Queen (Edmund Spenser)
        • Journey to the West (Wu Cheng En)
        • The City of the Sun (Tommaso Campanella)
        • Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes)
        • The Tempest (William Shakespeare)
        • A Voyage to the Moon (Cyrano de Bergerac)
        • The Description of a New World, called The Blazing World (Margaret Cavendish)
        • Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)
        • The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground (Ludvig Holberg)
        • The Water Babies (Charles Kingsley)
        • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
        • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne)
        • Erewhon (Samuel Butler)
        • The Ring of the Nibelung (Richard Wagner)
        • Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson)
        • Flatland (Edwin Abbott)
        • Looking Backward (Edward Bellamy)
        • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Mark Twain)
        • The Time Machine (H.G. Wells)
        • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum)
        • Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (J.M. Barrie)
        • The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)
        • At the Earth's Core (Edgar Rice Burroughs)
        • Herland (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
        • Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (Cecilia May Gibbs)
        • We (Yevgeny Zamyatin)
        • The Castle (Franz Kafka)
        • The Cthulhu Mythos (H.P. Lovecraft)
        • Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
        • Conan the Barbarian (Robert E. Howard)
        • Alamut (Vladimir Bartol)
        • Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (Jorge Luis Borges)
        • Islandia (Austin Tappan Wright)
        • The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint Exupery
        • The Moomins and the Great Flood (Tove Jansson)
        • Gormenghast (Mervyn Peake)
        • Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell)
        • The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
        • I, Robot (Isaac Asimov)
        • Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
        • The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
        • Pedro Paramo (Juan Rulfo)
        • Solaris (Stanislaw Lem)
        • A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)
        • Pale Fire (Vladimir Nabokov)
        • Planet of the Apes (Pierre Boulle)
        • One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
        • A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin)
        • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K. Dick)
        • The Last Unicorn (Peter S. Beagle)
        • Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
        • Ringworld (Larry Niven)
        • Invisible Cities (Italo Calvino)
        • The Princess Bride (William Goldman)
        • Dhalgren (Samuel R. Delany)
        • W or the Memory of Childhood (Georges Perec)
        • Egalia's Daughters (Gerd Mjoen Brantenberg)
        • The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (Angela Carter)
        • Kindred (Octavia E. Butler)
        • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
        • The Dark Tower series (Stephen King)
        • The Discworld series (Terry Pratchett)
        • Neuromancer (William Gibson)
        • The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
        • The Culture series (Iain M. Banks)
        • Obabkoak (Bernardo Atxaga)
        • The Sandman (Neil Gaiman)
        • Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson)
        • The Giver (Lois Lowry)
        • His Dark Materials series (Philip Pullman)
        • A Song of Ice and Fire series (George R.R. Martin)
        • Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)
        • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone (J.K. Rowling)
        • The Bas-Lag cycle (China Mieville)
        • The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde)
        • Inkheart (Cornelia Funke)
        • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clark)
        • Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell)
        • Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
        • Wizard of the Crow (Ngugi Wa Thiong'O)
        • The Yiddish Policemen's Union (Michael Chabon)
        • The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
        • 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
        • The Man with the Compound Eyes (Wu Ming-Yi)
        • The Imperial Radch trilogy (Ann Leckie)
        • Lagoon (Nnedi Okorafor)
        • Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (Salman Rushdie)
      • Each book features a picture of the author, a painting or drawing for earlier authors and a photograph for the modern group, and a picture of the work's book cover (or a photo of the early sources: a piece of papyrus or a stone tablet).
      • There's generally a 2 to 4 page essay on the title along with several illustrations from various artwork or movie stills.

    • MY THOUGHTS
      • I marked the ones I read with blue. A mere 34. There are a few more I hope to tackle eventually: The Giver, Cloud Atlas and the Discworld books. 
      • The essays, written by various contributors, were interesting. The influences on the work and the works they influenced are briefly discussed too.
      • When I think of "literary wonderlands" I generally think of places that aren't Earth but this book has several Earth-bound tales:
        • They might be an imagined future Earth such as Nineteen Eighty-Four or Infinite Jest or an alternate history Earth such as The Eyre Affair (set in the 1980s, it assumes the Crimean War of the 1850s hasn't yet ended) or Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (takes place during the Napoleonic Wars but with magicians). But they are still familiarly Earth.
        • It comes back to the concept of worldbuilding. Narnia, Alice's Wonderland, Lilliput, and Westeros are examples of worlds that need to be created from the ground up. But in Never Let Me Go, for instance, students attend an (albeit odd) English boarding school and the story unfolds from there (clones!). There's no worldbuilding, really, to make it a literary wonderland!
        • Here are some examples taken from the reviews on Good Reads that people thought the book should include:
          • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle)
          • Darkover series (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
          • Dune (Frank Herbert)
          • Landover series (Terry Brooks)
          • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (N.K. Jemison)
          • A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M. Miller Jr)
          • Foundation (Isaac Asimov)
          • The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander)
          • Arabat (Clive Barker)
          • The Inheritance Cycle (Christopher Paolini)
          • The Neverending Story (Michael Ende)
          • The Magicians series (Lev Grossman)
        • Perhaps there will be a follow up book: More Literary Wonderlands!
      • One reviewer was livid over the fact that there were so few women included overall but I think that is a product of civilization, not sexism by the editor and contributors of the book.
        • There are 14 women on a list of 100 titles covering history, the majority coming in the second half of the list.
      • I grew up when education was mainly Eurocentric and American --- no Asian, African or South American books for us --- so some of the titles were unknown to me with the exception of The Thousand and One Nights (Aladdin, Sinbad, genies, etc...).
      • Recommended for those who would like a general overview of the history of fantasy and speculative fiction. More of a coffee table book than an in-depth study.
      • ★ ★ ★