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The Rule of Fifty

潇洒小姐Molly
No one should ever finish a book that they're not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed the book is.
I live by what I call "the rule of fifty", which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you're fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you're over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100 - the result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.


CHINA VOICES

The Good Earth_Pearl Buck

A Dream of Red Mansions_Cao Xueqin

Soul Mountain_Gao Xingjian

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress_Dai Sijie

Stones of the Wall_Dai Houying

Waiting_Ha Jin

The Bridegroom_Ha Jin

Wild Ginger_Anchee Min

Red Azalea_Anchee Min

Spider Eaters_Rae Yang

Son of the Revolution_Lian...






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No one should ever finish a book that they're not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed the book is.
I live by what I call "the rule of fifty", which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you're fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you're over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100 - the result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.


CHINA VOICES

The Good Earth_Pearl Buck

A Dream of Red Mansions_Cao Xueqin

Soul Mountain_Gao Xingjian

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress_Dai Sijie

Stones of the Wall_Dai Houying

Waiting_Ha Jin

The Bridegroom_Ha Jin

Wild Ginger_Anchee Min

Red Azalea_Anchee Min

Spider Eaters_Rae Yang

Son of the Revolution_Liang Heng & Judith Shapiro

Wild Swans_Jung Chang

Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now_Jan Wong

Life and Death in Shanghai_Nien Cheng


GIRLS GROWING UP

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn_Betty Smith

To Kill a Mockingbird_Harper Lee

The Member of the Wedding_Carson McCullers

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana_Haven Kimmel

The Road from Coorain_Jill Ker Conway

My Brilliant Career_Miles Franklin

Martha Quest_Doris Lessing

Daddy Was a Numbers Runner_Louise Meriwether

The Cheerleader_Ruth Doan MacDougall

The Bell Jar_Sylvia Plath

The Little Friend_Donna Tartt


SEX AND THE SINGLE READER

Shanna_Kathleen Woodiwiss

Endless Love_Scott Spencer

Candy_Terry Southern

Vox_Nicholson Baker

A Sport and A Pastime_James Salter

The Unbearable Lightness of Being_Milan Kundera

A Spy in the Family: An Erotic Comedy_Alec Waugh

Lady Chatterley's Lover_D.H.Lawrence

The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto_Mario Vargas Llosa

The Man Who Wrote the Book_Erik Tarloff

The Literary Companion to Sex: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry_Fiona Pitt-Kethley


GAY AND LESBIAN FICTION: OUT OF THE CLOSET

Nothing Is Terrible_Matthew Sharpe

What Happened_Merle Miller

A Boy's Own Story_Edmund White

The Beautiful Room Is Empty_Edmund White

The Farewell Symphony_Edmund White

The Well of Loneliness_Radclyffe Hall(*)

Patience and Sarah_Isabel Miller

>>>>> Notable Coming-out Novel:

Comfort and Joy_Jim Grimsely

The Short History of a Prince_Jane Hamilton

Funny Boy_Shyam Selvadurai

Mister Sandman_Barbara Gowdy

The Promise of Rest_Reynold Price

Two Halves of New Haven_Martin Schecter

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit_Jeanette Winterson

Terminal Velocity_Blanche McCrary Boyd

The Lost Language of Cranes_David Leavitt

>>>>> Books with characters who are gay or lesbian:

The Girls: A Story of Village Life_John Bowen

Getting Over Homer_Mark O'Donnell

The Easy Way Out_Stephen McCauley

The Object of My Affection_Stephen McCauley

The Man of the House_Stephen McCauley

Lucky in the Corner_Carol Anshaw

Afterlife_Paul Monette

Old Soldier_Vance Bourjaily

A Home at the End of the World_Michael Cunningham

Plays Well with Others_Allan Gurganus

Martin and John_Dale Peck

The World in the Evening_Christopher Isherwood


MAGICAL REALISM

One Hundred Years of Solitude_Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Cloudstreet_Tim Winton

Illumination Night_Alice Hoffman

Imagining Argentina_Lawrence Thornton

Reservation Blues_Sherman Alexie

So Far From God_Ana Castillo

Texaco_Patrick Chamoiseau

Nights at the Circus_Angela Carter

Immortality_Milan Kundera

Midnight's Children_Salman Rushdie

Waterland_Graham Swift

The House of the Spirits_Isabel Allende

Loon Lake_E.L.Doctorow

The Child In Time_Ian McEwan

Bailey's Cafe_Gloria Naylor

A Blessing on the Moon_Joseph Skibell

At the Sign of the Naked Waiter_Amy Herrick


100 GOOD READS, DECADE BY DECADE

1900s:

Henry James’s: The Golden Bowl

Mark Twain’s: The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

G. K. Chesterton’s: The Man Who Was Thursday

Joseph Conrad’s: Heart of Darkness

Miles Franklin’s: My Brilliant Career

E. M. Forster’s: A Room with a View

Rudyard Kipling’s: Kim

Edith Wharton’s: The House of Mirth

Thomas Mann’s: Buddenbrooks

Upton Sinclair’s: The Jungle

1910s:

James Joyce’s: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Willa Cather’s: My Antonia

Sherwood Anderson's: Winesburg, Ohio

D. H. Lawrence’s: Sons and Lovers

Franz Kafka's: The Metamorphosis

P. G. Wodehouse's: Psmith in the City

Somerset Maugham's: Of Human Bondage

John Buchan's: The Thirty-Nine Steps

E. O. Somerville’s: The Irish R.M.

E. C. Bentley's: Trent's Last Case

1920s:

Erich Maria Remarque’s: All Quiet on the Western Front

F. Scott Fitzgerald's: The Great Gatsby

E. M. Forster's: A Passage to India

Theodore Dreiser's: An American Tragedy

Anita Loos’s: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

A. A. Milne's: Winnie-the-Pooh

Virginia Woolf’s: Mrs. Dalloway

Margaret Mead's: Coming of Age in Samoa

Carl Sandburg's: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Thomas Mann's: The Magic Mountain

1930s:

Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth

John Dos Passos’s 1919

Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath

James Hilton's Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts

A.J. Cronin's The Citadel

C. S. Forester’s Captain Horatio Hornblower

William Faulkner's Light in August

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind

1940s:

John Hersey's Hiroshima

Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited

Edmund Crispin’s The Moving Toyshop

Laura Hobson's Gentleman’s Agreement

Jack Schaefer’s Shane

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's Cross Creek

Albert Camus's The Plague

Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories

Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls

Richard Wright's Native Son

1950s:

Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea

J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

James Agee's A Death in the Family

William Golding's Lord of the Flies

Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

J. R. R.Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring

Simone de Beauvoir’s The Mandarins

1960s:

John le Carrés The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire

Paul Scott's The Jewel in the Crown

Roy Lewis's The Evolution Man, Or, How I Ate My Father

Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook

Chaim Potok's The Chosen

Thornton Wilder's The Eighth Day

Olivia Manning's The Balkan Trilogy

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner

1970s:

Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon

Elizabeth Taylor's Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter

J. G. Farrell's The Siege of Krishnapur

Clair Huffaker's The Cowboy and the Cossack

Judith Guest's Ordinary People

Steven Millhauser's Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer, 1943-1954

Stephen King's The Shining

Jack Finney's Time and Again

Ella Leffland's Rumors of Peace

1980s:

Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

Dom DeLillo’s Libra

Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day

Anne Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities

Ellen Gilchrist's Victory Over Japan

Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides

Graham Swift's Waterland

Muriel Sparks A Far Cry from Kensington

Martin Crue Smiths Gorky Park

1990s:

Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow

Beryl Bainbridge’s The Birthday Boys

Jeffrey Eugenides's The Virgin Suicides

Leah Hager Cohen's Train Go Sorry

Jacquelyn Mitchard's The Deep End of the Ocean

Chang-rae Lee's Native Speaker

Howard Norman's The Bird Artist

Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance

Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses

Mark Helprin’s Memoir from Antproof Case

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