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Book 28

  1. Amis, Martin — London Fields (471 pages)
  2. Morpurgo, Michael — War Horse (182 pages)
  3. Winterson, Jeanette — Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (177 pages)
  4. Robinson, Bruce — Paranoia in the Launderette (43 pages)
  5. Carter, Angela — Heroes and Villains (152 pages)
  6. Burroughs, Edgar Rice — A Princess of Mars (209 pages)
  7. Hill, Susan — The Woman in Black (152 pages)
  8. Fowler, Karen Joy — Sarah Canary (293 pages)
  9. Rennison, Nick — 100 Must-Read Prize Winning Novels (174 pages)
  10. Beresford, David — Ten Men Dead (426 pages)
  11. Freedland, Jonathan — Bring Home the Revolution: The Case for a British Republic (245 pages)
  12. Kierkegaard, Søren — Fear and Trembling (150 pages)
  13. Nothomb, Amélie — Fear and Trembling (132 pages)
  14. Delany, Samuel R. — Babel-17 (194 pages)
  15. Raine, Craig — History: The Home Movie (335 pages)
  16. du Maurier, Daphne — Jamaica Inn (312 pages)
  17. Kurlansky, Mark — The Basque History of the World (361 pages)
  18. Allin, Michael — Zarafa (204 pages)
  19. Cain, James M. — The Postman Always Rings Twice (116 pages)
  20. Brin, David — The Postman (324 pages)
  21. Skármeta, Antonio — El cartero de Neruda (130 pages)
  22. Moers, Walter — The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (698 pages)
  23. Shostakovich, Dmitri — Testimony (312 pages)
  24. Souders, Steve — High Performance Web Sites (145 pages)
  25. Skinner, Dave and Henry Paker — Don't Arm Wrestle a Pirate: 101 Really Bad Ideas (101 pages)
  26. Gaskell, Elizabeth — Lois the Witch and Other Stories (250 pages)
  27. Barber, Antonia and Nicola Bayley — The Mousehole Cat (17 pages)
  28. Strickland, Carol — The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern (195 pages)
Page count
6500

I have always wanted to learn more about art, but I rarely have done anything about it. My eleventh grade English teacher highly recommended The Annotated Mona Lisa as a good introduction. I went out and bought it, and while I had dipped into it occasionally over the years it had sat largely unread since the early 1990s. Last year I was determined to get off my ass and do something about my desire to learn more about art and so placed my copy of The Annotated Mona Lisa in the one place I knew it would get read, the toilet.

There are better art books out there, no doubt, but The Annotated Mona Lisa does a good job of surveying the landscape, touching on all the visual arts and providing relevant insight on historical and other factors that would have influenced the art. I have a few quibbles — more photographs would have been nice, and the choice, doubtless budget-driven, occasionally to print a black-and-white photo when the important thing about the work being discussed is colour, for example, is a bit maddening — but overall feel the author did a solid job of covering the basics in an interesting and informative fashion.

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