Bookish in the Mitten

Book reviews, book recommendations, book talk, and a little knitting

Cover page for my grandmother’s reading list

My grandmother, Genevieve O’Connor Driscoll, was a reader’s reader. As the end of her life drew closer, working around significant vision loss due to macular degeneration, she read with laser focus for as long as she could.

Genevieve was an eclectic reader, enthusiastic discusser of books – both with readers and with the authors of those books – freethinker, and lifelong learner. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees while raising my mother and her two siblings on her own (the Master’s may have been after the kids were grown), and taught English and French. Some of my earliest memories are of Grandma reading to me.

If she were alive now she would have her own book blog; as it stands, she did put together this lengthy reading list. Because this is my grandmother’s list and she might be watching, I feel compelled to add that I am, by choice, not italicizing titles; that’s much too cumbersome in WordPress land. The original list did not include publication dates but I added them here. I’m experimenting with hashtags too, so #pleasebearwithme.

I am not deleting any titles; she saw fit to include these titles in a list she distributed to other so I will do the same. I do see publication dates of early-1980s or earlier, which leads me to believe she put this list together around 1983 or so. Anything she read after that time would not show up on the list, even if published earlier.

Fiction

  • Clan of the Cave Bear – Auel, Jean 1980
  • The Valley of Horses – Auel, Jean 1982
  • Another Country – Baldwin, James 1962
  • Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone – Baldwin, James 1968
  • Mr. Sammler’s Planet – Bellow, Saul 1970
  • Arthur Rex – Berger, Thomas 1978
  • O Pioneers! – Cather, Willa 1913
  • Slouching Towards Kalamazoo – De Vries, Peter 1983 (this date surprised me; not sure it’s correct)
  • Mackerel Plaza – De Vries, Peter 1958
  • Blood of the Lamb – De Vries, Peter 1961
  • Consenting Adults, or The Duchess Will be Furious – De Vries, Peter 1980
  • The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 1880
  • South Wind – Douglas, Norman 1917
  • An American Tragedy – Drieser, Theodore 1925
  • Studs Lonigan – Farrell, James T 1932
  • As I Lay Dying – Faulkner, William 1930
  • Madame Bovary – Flaubert, Gustave 1856
  • Maurice – Forster, E.M. – written in 1913-14, revised in 1932 and 1959-1960, published in 1971
  • I, Claudius – Graves, Robert 1934
  • The Dogs of March – Herbert, Ernest 1979
  • A Little More Than Kin – Herbert, Ernest 1982
  • Catch-22 – Heller, Joseph 1961
  • The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway, Ernest 1926
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Hemingway, Ernest 1940
  • A Farewell to Arms – Hemingway, Ernest 1929
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Joyce, James 1916
  • Book of Laughter and Forgetting – Kundera, Milan 1979
  • Dance of the Tiger – Kurten, Bjorn – 1978 (Swedish) and 1980 (English)
  • Hard Laughter – Lamott, Ann 1979
  • Look to the Mountain – LeGrand, Cannon (really) – 1942
  • Elmer Gantry – Lewis, Sinclair 1927
  • Babbitt – Lewis, Sinclair 1922
  • Main Street – Lewis, Sinclair 1920
  • A Wayside Tavern – Lofts, Norah 1980
  • Gabriel’s Search – Lutes, Della 1940 (?) – #Michiganfiction
  • Of Human Bondage – Maugham, W Somerset 1915
  • If Birds Are Free – Mayerson, Evelyn – I could find no information about this book online except on thriftbooks.com which is selling a hardcover for $3.99 but has no synopsis or pub date.
  • Surviving the Flood – Minot, Stephen 1981
  • Destiny of Fire – Oldenbourg, Zoe 1960
  • Three Soldiers – Passos, John 1921
  • Hold Autumn in Your Hand – Perry, George S. – 1941
  • The Family – Plante, David 1978
  • Household Saints – Prose, Francine 1981
  • Fortunate Pilgrim – Puzo, Mario 1965
  • Popo – Reevers, Rosser 1980
  • All Quiet on the Western Front – Remarque, Erich 1929
  • The Persian Boy – Renault, Mary 1972
  • The Trees, The Fields, The Town – Richter, Conrad – This is the Awakening Land Trilogy. 1966
  • Giants in the Earth – Rolvaag, Ole 1924 & 25 (Norwegian) and 1927 (English)
  • The Winthrop Woman – Seton, Anya 1958
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Smith, Betty 1943
  • The Grapes of Wrath- Steinbeck, John 1939
  • Also by Steinbeck: Wayward Bus, Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row – various pub dates.
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant – Tyler, Anne 1982
  • Creation – Vidal, Gore 1981, 2002 with parts restored by the author
  • Julian – Vidal, Gore 1964
  • Palm Sunday – Vonnegut, Kurt – 1981
  • The Color Purple – Walker, Alice 1982
  • Delta Wedding – Welty, Eudora 1946
  • Look Homeward, Angel – Wolfe, Thomas 1929
  • Of Time and the River – Wolfe, Thomas 1935
  • The Abyss – Yourcenar, Margeurite 1968
  • Germinal – Zola, Emile 1885, 13th in a 20-novel series

Non-Fiction – I (Catherine) added additional descriptors as needed

  • Science and the Paranormal – Abell, George O 1981 – #Essays
  • Child of the Dark: Diary of Carolina Maria DeJesus – DeJesus, Carolina M 1960 – #Memoir
  • End of the World (Friedrich, Otto) 1982 – History
  • The Roman Way – Hamilton, Edith – History, Social History
  • Country Kitchen – Della Lutes 1936 – #michiganmemoir
  • Memories of a Catholic Girlhood – McCarthy, Mary 1957 #Memoir
  • Treatise on the Gods – Mencken, H.L.- 1930- History and philosophy of religion
  • The Snow Walker – Mowat, Farley 1975 Essay Nature Survival
  • This Stubborn Soil: A Frontier Boyhood – Owens, William A. #TexasMemoir
  • Family Installments: Memories of Growing Up Hispanic – Edward Rivera – 1982 Memoir
  • Cosmos – Sagan, Carl 1980 – Science – developed as a companion to the TV series of the same name
  • Always the Young Strangers – Sandburg, Carl 1953 Memoir
  • Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party – Stewart, George 1936 – History
  • Food in History and Sex in History (2 titles) – Tannahill, Ray – History
  • Walden – Thoreau, Henry David – 1854 – Essay, Memoir, Philosophy, Nature
  • Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People – Irving Wallace et. al. – 1981 – #Sex, I guess. #Celebrities.
  • Letters from the Earth – Twain, Mark – Published posthumously in 1962 – Memoir
  • Almost Too Late – Wortman, Elmo – 1979 – Memoir, Sailing, #Survival

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