Books I Have Read Which Are Not Included on the List “1,001 Books to Read Before You Die.”

The Red Tent

Jacob demands an outrageous dowry – that all of the men of Shechem shall bear the mark of the tribe of Jacob, and be circumcised. Seeing how in love with Dinah his son is, the King agrees and the bargain is struck. The night after the mass circumcision, Dinah’s brothers sneak into the city. They are furious about the kidnapping and rape of their sister, and slaughter every man they can find while he sleeps.

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The Glass Castle

After years of a nomadic life in the southwest, the family is finally desperate enough to move back in with Rex’s parents in Welch, West Virginia. It is here that the story takes a dark(er) turn, as the children meet their abusive grandparents for the first time and begin to understand why their father left. The story follows Jeanette and her brother and sisters through their tumultuous childhood, culminating in their escape to New York City at the end of their teen years. But are they finally free of their parents?

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Lullaby

Carl’s research reveals that the poem in question is actually a “culling song”, which has the magical power to kill anyone it is spoken aloud to. Half mad with grief over recognizing that he killed his family, Carl accidentally memorizes the culling song and becomes an unintentional serial killer.

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Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Memoria de Mis Putas Tristes)

You come to understand that he has never traded love for any of the things he could have had for it – a wife, children, family, companionship, partnership. He has been offered everything, and has never taken anything if there was not love. Despite all of his faults and ridiculous shortcomings, he has a queer sort of integrity.

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Mermaids in the Basement

Renata DeChavannes is a slightly overweight screenwriter who has just seen her superstar long-term boyfriend splashed on the cover of a tabloid with a hot young starlet wrapped around him. Furious, unable to reach him, and in the wake of her mother and stepfather’s untimely deaths in a plane crash, Renata storms through her house, ultimately coming upon a note written by her mother. “If you’re reading this, I’m dead,” the note begins…

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The Help

One thing that is pointed out is how susceptible children are to their parents’ attitudes – the white children in the novel grow up adoring their nannies, and yet, as soon as they are old enough to understand their parents’ ridiculous notions about race, start treating these women exactly the way their parents do.

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The Year of Living Biblically

One passage which stuck with me was when he questions why God would need to be praised all of the time – if he is the greatest being in the universe, surely he doesn’t have a self-esteem problem which would require constant reassurance.

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Water for Elephants

This story begins in the mind of ninety (or ninety-three, he can’t remember which) year-old Jacob Jankowski. Not-quite-forgotten in a nursing home, he contents himself with harassing his nurses and complaining about the food. That is, until the circus comes to town.

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Atlas Shrugged

The book is based on the not-too-farfetched premise that all of the producers of the world – producers in the sense that these are the hardworking, brilliant, movers and shakers and people of ideas in the world – get fed up with carrying the metaphorical burden of society. “What if Atlas shrugged?”

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I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead.

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