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Book 32

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
  9. Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
  10. Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
  11. Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
  13. Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
  14. Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
  15. Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
  16. Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
  17. Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)
  18. Rawicz, Slavomir — The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (278 pages)
  19. Junger, Sebastian — The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (309 pages)
  20. Seth, Vikram — An Equal Music (486 pages)
  21. Dubus III, Andre — House of Sand and Fog (351 pages)
  22. Kurkov, Andrey — Penguin Lost (251 pages)
  23. Bradbury, Ray — Dandelion Wine (247 pages)
  24. Bradbury, Ray — Farewell Summer (209 pages)
  25. Doran, Jamie and Piers Bizony — Starman: The Truth behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (241 pages)
  26. Makine, Andreï — A Life's Music (106 pages)
  27. Barnes, Julian — A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (307 pages)
  28. Chaucer, Geoffrey — The Canterbury Tales (623 pages)
  29. Pushkin, Aleksandr — Eugene Onegin (Vladimir Nabokov, transl.) (351 pages)
  30. Lowry, Malcolm — Under the Volcano (387 pages)
  31. Fadiman, Anne — Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader (132 pages)
  32. Grimwood, Ken — Replay (266 pages)

Page count: 8466.

I suppose in a way I can thank cthulhia for this selection. I was two-thirds of the way through Under the Volcano, a novel that takes place entirely on the Day of the Dead in México, when I stumbled upon Replay, which allegedly inspired the movie Groundhog Day. Those of you who know cthulhia now understand how she, unbeknownst to herself, influenced my choice.

Replay tells the story of a man who dies suddenly of a heart attack in 1988 and then wakes up in his freshman-year college dorm room. And every October 18, 1988, he goes through the same ordeal of dying and reliving his life.

I approached the story with a little trepidation. After all, Groundhog Day worked in part because the main character kept reliving one, and only one, day. I was afraid Replay, repeating a much longer span than a day, might get tedious. I need not have feared: Grimwood does a skillful job of guiding the plot, allowing enough change to keep repetitions fresh, avoiding clichés except to turn them on their heads, and weaving a pretty good tale.

After some of the heavy stuff I've been reading lately, Replay was a welcome relief. Grimwood's style is easy and accessible. The story is plot-driven, told with humor and the occasional philosophical musing. I've gotten so that I hardly read anymore except on my commute, but I had trouble putting Replay down when the commute ended: I was having too much fun! And it got me to thinking on more than one occasion how I might respond in similar situations. A book that makes you think and is fun to read — an unbeatable combination!

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