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Links + posts + other stuff

20 Oct

Oy vey, people. OY. VEY.

What a week I’ve had. I wanted to write a real post for you, maybe a review or a well-thought out response to the National Book Award hubbub. But work and school and family have wrung my neck this week. And it’s only Thursday. So I’m going to just do a quick thing and let you get back to whatever it is you all do when you’re not hanging out with me here.

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I can’t NOT comment on the Lauren Myracle NBA fiasco though, because in my last post I mentioned that I was going to try to read that book BECAUSE it was nominated. I’m still going to read it, but I wanted to say something about it first. I know a few things:

  1. If you’re announcing a major award, it’s probably a good idea to confirm both title and author if you’re keeping your finalist list confirmations only to conference calls. I know that “Shine” and “Chime” sound a lot alike, but “Lauren Myracle” sounds nothing like “Franny Billingsley.”
  2. Lauren Myracle is the classiest person ever.
  3. The NBF probably could’ve handled the snafu better – like not wait several days to fix the mistake and then not ask Myracle to withdraw “to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges’ work.” Using that kind of language implies that Myracle’s book isn’t worthy of the prize, which is just plain untrue (and mean). Also, by making the mistake, waiting to fix the issue and then using that language in their request, they shot their own integrity in the foot. Don’t use that as your excuse.
  4. NBF’s saving grace? Donating $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation to raise awareness of issues raised in Shine. Props for that.
  5. Upshot? Shine has been getting the kind of publicity you can’t buy and I’m sure her book’s sales have skyrocketed. Talk about a silver lining.

So suffice it say, I’m not sure what side I come down on – if there is even a side to be taken. But I will say I think it’s a shame that none of the major media outlets gave a crap about the awards until they messed up. That’s a sad commentary, unto itself.

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I posted a few times over at BookRiot.com.

(Non)Spooky Reads: Books For the Wimp in Us All

Beyond Awards Fodder: Literature for YA Snobs

Go check me out.

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WHO ELSE IS DOING THE READ-A-THON ON SATURDAY?!?

I’m more than a little excited. Can you tell? I’ve decided, thanks to a brilliant suggestion by Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves, that I’ll be tracking my progress over the 24-hours on Tumblr instead of here on the blog. I know that many of you use a Reader, and read-a-thon spam is never fun when you wake up in the morning. I will have a sticky post here though.

Also, one more shout-out to Kerry for matching my donations this year. If anyone else would like to donate to First Book or Reach Out and Read’s Military Initiative, please drop me an email (there’s an envelope up there on the right you can click). You don’t have to match me page-for-page, but any little bit helps! Or I encourage you to donate to any good reading charity if you can’t participate in the read-a-thon. OR if you are reading, are you contributing? Doesn’t have to be by page, it can be by book, by chapter, by number of hours, anything.

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And finally, I do have a ton of school-related reading to do Saturday, along with a boatload of other work to catch up on, on Sunday. I should be making a to-do list and mapping out my time for the weekend since it’s going to be crunch time from Friday night through Monday morning. But what am I doing? I’m making a list of snacks to buy and looking up meals to make for read-a-thon. #ProductivityFail.

I’m going to try to be somewhat healthy this weekend, and I’m planning on getting hummus, veggies and pitas; apples (I’m loving Cortlands right now) and peanut butter; whole wheat pasta and vodka sauce with sausage for dinner; zucchini and squash; and popcorn. I’m also on the lookout for good hot apple cider. I will probably also get either pistachios or sunflower seeds because I find that if I keep my hands busy cracking shells in the wee hours of the morning, I don’t get quite so sleepy.

What’s on your snack list? Any go-to suggestions?

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If I don’t make it back here tomorrow, have a great weekend and stop by this weekend for read-a-thon.

Anna Karenina + Friday Wrap-Up

15 Oct

Holy moly, people! I’ve never been as busy as I was this week – and I posted here four times. Aren’t you impressed?? There’s been a boatload of stuff going on this week, clearly, and I don’t want you to miss a moment.

But first, I gotta talk about Anna Karenina – specifically the read-along I’m participating in over at Wallace’s blog, Unputdownables. And surprise, surprise, I’m already behind. We’re reading about 63 pages a week (~9 pages a day), which isn’t too terrible to manage, but this week I also wanted to read the introductory essay in my copy of the book to get myself in the right frame of mind and to also have a sense of what to expect. So I’m glad I read it – I got this whole theme of duality right off the bat, especially in the famous opening line, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” – but I’ll have to do some catch-up this weekend.

I’ll be check in with Wallace’s blog every Friday, and hopefully I’ll be posting at least a little something here on Fridays as well to go along with my reading, but no guarantees.

What’s also exciting about this read-along is that, by participating, I’m checking off one of my 30-for-30 goals! And as I look ahead to the next two years or so, I’m already making plans for a few of my other ventures. I’ve got sky-diving on the calendar, and I’m signing up for the New York City Triathlon on Nov. 1st (or at least signing up for the lottery in hopes of getting in). If I can’t get into NYC, I’m going to sign up for Nation’s Tri right here in DC which falls on my birthday next year. I may just do both ;).

And looking way ahead, I’m hoping to get into the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013, which technically will fall after my 30th birthday, but what a great way to celebrate, huh?

In terms of what’s been going on here, in case you missed it, I posted a review of The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon, announced my intention to read-a-thon for charity again this year, and then amended that announcement with my reading list, a second charity and matched donations. If you missed me over on BookRiot.com this week, I celebrated the library book sale and posted a plea to publishers: Don’t Be Like Netflix.

That was my week, how was yours??

Fists in the Air – Let’s RIOT!

7 Oct

If you haven’t seen it yet, let me introduce you:

I’ve been tweeting about it, Tumbling about it, Facebooking it, but I’m excited to announce that I’m one of the 12 founding contributors to Book Riot! Formatted kind of like HuffPost but with better writing and less pretentiousness, Book Riot will be the place to go for commentary on books, the publishing industry, and all the things you didn’t think you needed to know but absolutely do about all things literary. The diversity of contributors is awesome, and it’s like someone took my favorite bloggers and shook them up and put them all together (and then let me add my two cents as well). The brainchild of The Reading Ape, Riot is all about connecting books to readers, plain and simple.

I’m PSYCHED to be a part of it. Have no fear, A Home Between Pages won’t go anywhere, but I will most likely be posting less frequently here. But I’ll be linking to my Book Riot posts here on Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as posting original content here when I can. So far I’ve got a couple of posts up:

Beyond Sparkly Vampires: YA for Lit Snobs

Magic For Grown-Ups

And I got to flex my old recommendation muscles by taking on Amazon’s algorithm where I suggested a follow-up based on Game of Thrones, and the reader’s pick? Mine!

There are lots of great things to explore on the site, and I fully encourage you to make them a regular stop on your blog reading journey. Also find Book Riot on Facebook and on Twitter.

Banned Books Week 2011

26 Sep

Saturday marked the beginning of Banned Books Weeks, celebrating books banned or challenged. It still astounds me to learn about books being challenged on school reading lists and in libraries, but it happens with surprising frequency. Thankfully, books are rarely removed (or banned) any more, though in some places that’s not the case. Books are still taken from shelves, librarians are forced to get rid of books that contain “offensive” content. Though most of us are familiar with the challenges of classic literature, like Catcher in the Rye, new books are still challenged. Take a look at the list of the most frequently challenged books in 2010:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  3. Brave New World , by Aldous Huxley
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
  8. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
  9. Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology, edited by Amy Sonnie
  10. Twilight , by Stephenie Meyer

And according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts. See the list of Banned Classics here.

You can participate this week in a variety of ways. Like Banned Books Week on Facebook, use the hashtag #bannedbooksweek on Twitter, follow on Flickr, and watch videos of people reading from their favorite banned book as part of the Virtual Read Out on YouTube. I’ll be posting my own video later this week.

So tell me, what are you reading this week?

Events: National Book Festival and Baltimore Book Festival

23 Sep

Living in the mid-Atlantic region is awesome. One big reason: so many awesome book-related events (plus the huge number of fellow bloggers, obviously).

This weekend there are two very big events. In its 11th year, the National Book Festival takes place on the Mall in DC and is hosted by the Library of Congress. If you’re going to stage a book event what better group to do it, right?

I went every year for the first five or six years, but recently I haven’t been able to attend because of other commitments, usually weddings. But this year, I will actually be in town. And lucky for me, this year, they’ve expanded the Festival to two days, instead of the uber-packed one day event and I’ll be able to see more of the authors I’d like to. This is also the first time I’ll be attending since becoming a book blogger, so my focus is going to be completely different. I used to go to the Mall, intent on the signings, getting the signature of as many of my favorite authors as possible. This year, I’m a little less interested in standing in lines, and more intrigued by the panels and talks that will be happening under the tents. You can download the complete program with schedule and special events here.

Here’s my tentative Saturday plan:

10:55 – 11:40 Jennifer Egan in the Fiction & Mystery Pavilion

1:30 – 2:30 Laura Lippman signing, then 3:30 – 4:15 in the Fiction & Mystery Pavilion

1:40 – 2:25 Sarah Vowell in the Contemporary Life Pavilion (if I get done with Laura Lippman’s signing in time, I’ll sneak in the back of this)

3:30 – 4:15 Joshua Foer in the Contemporary Life Pavilion

4:25 – 5:10 Dave Eggers in the Poetry & Prose Pavilion

 

Then Sunday:

1:00 – 1:45 Poetry Out Loud in the Poetry & Prose Pavilion

2:30 – 3:30 Gary D. Schmidt signing

3:45 – 4:30 Siddhartha Mukherjee in the Contemporary Life Pavilion

4:40 – 5:25 David McCullough in the History & Biography Pavilion

 

Also happening this weekend is the Baltimore Book Festival.

Since I am now car-less, I can’t make it up to Charm City for this event, but I hear it’s wonderful! Take a look at the featured authors that will be there: Sherman Alexie, Pseudonymous Bosch, Libba Bray, Common, Kate and Jules Feiffer, Myla Goldberg, Gordon Korman, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Laura Lippman, Roland S. Martin, Daisy Martinez, Sam McBratney, Chef Aaron “Big Daddy” McCargo, Jr., Patrick McDonnell, Terry McMillan, Jacquelyn Mitchard,  Erin Morgenstern, Kadir Nelson, Fr. Leo Patalinghug, Rachel Renee Russell, Tavis Smiley, Shirley Strawberry, Lisa Unger, Marcela Valladolid and David Wiesner. (Matthew Norman, author of Domestic Violets, is also going to be there!!)

The schedule is extensive, and I highly recommend some of the panels that are going on, everything from Baltimore as a literary setting to a panel to help you decide which e-Reader is right for you. There are also walking tours of literary Baltimore, music, readings, food tastings and a lot more. I’m very disappointed that I can’t make it this year (as far as I know – I may just Amtrak my way there).

Do you plan on attending either of these events this weekend?

Just My Type by Simon Garfield

22 Aug

I’m super excited to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for Simon Garfield’s Just My Type: A Book about Fonts. It’s also my first ever TLC Book Tour and what a great way to start! I’m such a font nerd and when I heard about this book, I could hardly contain my excitement. I’m by no means a design professional – my font love is purely amateur but well-honed. I know what I like and what I don’t like, and I suspect that most people are like me, even if they don’t realize it. Garfield is the perfect guide for us amateur font geeks, providing an informed but not too advanced line through the history of typography and the beauty of type design. He explains the construction of font and the basics of type, like the difference between serif and sans serif, though quickly goes beyond the “what” and delves into the “why” and “how.” He takes the reader through Gutenberg all the way through modern typography in the age of the Internet.

I thought I knew a lot about typography but I hadn’t even scratched the surface of what goes into creating type. I found myself saying, fairly often and to the annoyance of whoever was nearby, “Did you know that…”

For example, did you know that despite Benjamin Franklin’s support of John Baskerville’s font, the first mass-printed Declaration of Independence was printed in Caslon?

And did you know that, according to most type foundries, the best display phrase (a phrase the shows off the style and beauty and uniqueness of a new font without listing out the alphabet, one letter at time) is Hamburgers or Hamburgerfont?

Did you also know that the (at) symbol, @, which is such a part of our digital lives now, has its origin in trade, and is called an amphora or jar, a unit of measurement? And that in other languages, it’s often linked to food or cute animals? My favorite is French – it’s called escargot.

Simon Garfield breaks down our society’s fonts in such a way that, by the end of the book, I was examining the font on the Washington Metro System and trying to determine what it is (a combination of Helvetica Neue and Frutiger, depending on what signage you’re looking at). I’d never really taken into account typography as something that is created for a specific purpose, but I discovered that many of the fonts we use on a daily basis were designed for a specific intention, usually government or corporate use. My unawareness of the exact type in everyday life is exactly what some type designers would call a success: for the font to be nothing more than a container for the meaning of the writing and that, if you notice the font, it hasn’t done it’s job. Which is to disappear.

One of the great things about this book is that at the first mention, the font name is printed in that font – and usually when a chapter is about one font in particular, the first paragraph is printed so you can examine the font and it’s readability in more detail. In that way, the book is incredibly user-friendly even if your knowledge of typography is limited.

I could go on and on about the intricacies of typography that I learned from Garfield’s book, but the book itself is a much better teacher than I am. Fonts surround us in ways we don’t even take into consideration, and design and spell out our lives (usually in Helvetica).

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Gotham Books for the review copy – I highly enjoyed the chance to nerd out and relish in my dorkiness. Check out the rest of the tour schedule below:

The book goes on sale September 1st, and is available for pre-order here.

An Independence Day Book List

4 Jul

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I hope your day is filled with hot dogs, fireworks, and lots of reading time. I unfortunately have to work – working in the news business sometimes has it’s downsides – but to celebrate I’m giving you a list of my favorite America-themed books. They’re separated into Fiction, Nonfiction, and History/Biography. They run the gamut from being blatantly about America, having “America” in the title, or being relatively American in theme. Enjoy, and please add any you think I’m missing to the comments. Have a great holiday!

Fiction:

America America by Ethan Canin

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Independence Day by Richard Ford

Forever by Pete Hamill

In America by Susan Sontag

American Pastoral by Phillip Roth

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

On the Road by Jack Keroac

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

Nonfiction:

What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank

I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America after Twenty Years Away by Bill Bryson

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey

How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein

In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time by Peter Lovenheim

The Intellectual Devotional: American History by David Kidder

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson

America (the Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction by John Stewart

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell

History:

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J Ellis

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

1776 by David Mccullough

The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America by Russell Shorto

A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn

American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J Ellis

The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S Wood

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin

American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic by Joseph J. Ellis

The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster’s Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture by Joshua Kendall

A Memorial Day Book List

30 May

I am finally back on the blog after a whirlwind week at BEA (and a few days of recovery), and I’ve got some recap posts coming soon. But as it’s Memorial Day (even though it’s very late on Memorial Day), I wanted to post in honor of the holiday. I spent the afternoon with my parents, and in case I haven’t said it before, my dad is recently retired from the military. He spent quite a lot of time in war zones over the years and, while this holiday is not as much about him – he’s not dead after all – I think it’s important to keep in mind that I easily could’ve been thinking of him on this day, rather than on Veteran’s Day in November, had a bullet or a bomb gotten him instead of someone else. (He’s got a good sense of humor about today though – as I said goodnight to him today, I said, Happy Memorial Day! Glad you’re not dead! and he replied, Glad I’m not dead too!).

That being said, my parents and I were discussing books about war in honor of my trip to BEA and the holiday and I thought I’d list a few of my favorites here. (My mom was horrified to discover that I’ve not read one of her favorite books, Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo, about WWI, a gap I’ll need to rectify). Obviously there are a lot of books about war in the world, but I’m including here my favorite books involving American soldiers and both nonfiction and fiction appear here.

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Mari Remarque. I count this World War I novel, written from the point of view of a young German soldier, among my top five favorites of all time; the thing that most captured me about it was that, even though it was told from the side of the “enemy,” the experiences of individual soldiers were the same no matter what side they fought for. At once graphic and emotionally powerful, I read this for the first time early in my high school career and it’s never left me.
  2. Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes. I’ve reviewed this book on my blog, and I picked up a copy of Marlantes’ new nonfiction book, What It’s Like to Go to War, at BEA. Despite the weight of this Vietnam tome, it was a fast read and an honest and true account of the ironies of war.
  3. War by Sebastian Junger. This is one of those that I read last year and didn’t review (because I suck ;)). But it’s all the more poignant to include it on this list because Junger’s partner in writing this and filming the accompanying documentary, Restrepo, Tim Hetherington was killed in April covering the clashes in Libya. The book and film were strictly about documenting what life was like in Afghanistan’s deadliest war zone. They didn’t take sides and, in that way, created a microphone for the soldiers without inserting political commentary.
  4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Again I reviewed this book earlier this year, and while it may not seem like it fits in with the rest of the books on this list, I included it because the events of the novel are structured completely and entirely on the events of the Civil War. One of those classics I’m happy to have read and enjoyed so thoroughly.
  5. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. One of O’Brien’s many books about the Vietnam war, this is the one that seems to be most well-known. It was originally published in bits and pieces, the chapters serving as standalone stories. The structure of the book is what I enjoy most about it: each chapter can be read as an individual story, or the collection can be taken as a novel with each narrative tying together with the rest of them to create a larger story and message.

Even though this is only a list of five, a few things strike me as I’m finishing this list. One: while there are two Vietnam books on the list, every other book is from a completely different conflict. Two: each of these books is not about the larger scale of the wars they depict; they are each about the individual people and soldiers that the war touches. No sprawling histories or breakdowns of the larger political decisions here. In my mind, the thing we should focus on most on Memorial Day is the soldiers, not the countries or the presidents or the dictators.

What books would you add to my list? Any World War II books I’m missing? How about Revolutionary War or even the Korean War? Are there even any novels about the Korean War?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Recommended Books

3 May

Okay before we get into the nitty gritty of today’s Top Ten Tuesday (which is about books that have been recommended to me, not vice versa), I just have to marvel about the fact that it’s already May. MAY! 2011 is going oh so quickly! Also, I need to just share a squee-worthy moment – I tweeted my review of DISMANTLED by Jennifer McMahon, and she tweeted me back to say thank you!! Love her!

Also, I did have a great trip and managed to finish three books (!), reviews of which are coming soon. One fantastic, one not so fantastic, and one right in the middle. A mixed bag, but that’s okay. It actually is a good segway into today’s Top Ten Tuesday. I’ve seen some great lists (you can see the bloggers that have participated on The Broke and the Bookish) and it’s a great insight into the kind of readers people are. I thought I’d put together my own list and challenge myself to remember where I got some of my favorite books.

  1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – This book has been on a lot of people’s lists/TBR shelves because of the HBO series, but I first read this about four and half years ago off a recommendation from my manager at Barnes & Noble. At the time, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with fantasy – high fantasy like this was certainly nowhere on my list of favorites. But my manager, Jacob, said to me, “Rachel, read the first 150 pages, and if you can put it down after that point, you don’t have to read any more. But I think you’ll be hooked by then.” And he was right. I got completely obsessed with the series, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Not only that, but this book way my gateway into other types of fantasy that I normally would’ve been very hesitant or skeptical of. Now I count certain types of fantasy among my favorites and am much more willing to give something a chance. I also think this was the first book that I read purely because of the person making the recommendation. I trusted his opinion and I wasn’t disappointed.
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – What a recommendation this turned out to be. I got this one the summer before my freshman year of college, 2001, from my future roommate, Caroline. I’d poo-poo’d Harry Potter to that point (I think only #4 had been published so far), but when I talked to Caroline on the phone the summer before we became roommates (our college had sent each of us the names and numbers for all the roommates), she insisted that I read it. I did, and the rest is history. However, I didn’t get all the way through Book #4 before school started and I’d gotten so busy that I hadn’t been able to finish the last 50 pages or so. When all my roommates and friends found out I hadn’t finished it yet, they locked me in the bedroom until I finished it.
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I get a lot of recommendations from my mom. We have similar but not quite the same tastes, so if she really likes something, she’ll recommend it and vice versa. We tend to trade books a lot. I chose The Help for this list because it’s a good example of the ways that sometimes, even if something doesn’t sound like it would appeal to you but the recommendation is so adamant, sometimes you should just shut up and read it. You’ll probably love it. That’s what happened in this case. I’d been reading lots of different things when my mom read this, and she practically threw it at me to get me to read it. When I finally did, holy moly. One of my favorite books of 2010.
  4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyers – I’m including this one because it’s a great example of how wildfire-like books recommendations can get. This came out while I was the manager of the Children’s department at B&N and I thought it was completely dumb and inappropriate and all of that. I also did not read vampire books – phew! But a few years after the first book was released, a coworker read it and completely raved about what a guilty pleasure it was. She agreed that it was completely dumb and not at all a good thing for teenagers to read (in the opinion of those of us that don’t believe in that whole “waiting ’till marriage” thing). But that omg it was addictive. From there, it spread through my office so quickly and soon I think almost every woman in my department had read it. Then the movies came out and we all went back to not caring.
  5. Just Kids by Patti Smith – I sort of knew who Patti Smith was when this came out. And I’d seen a ton of reviews on other blogs which encouraged me to read it. But the nail in the coffin? My mom. Once again. So happy I stepped out of my comfort zone.
  6. A Widow for One Year by John Irving – I’m almost positive this recommendation also came from my mom (can you sense a pattern?) but I have to include it because it led to me discovering my favorite author in Irving. They always say that you never forget your first, and while this is not my favorite of his books, it holds a special place.
  7. The Quiet Game by Greg Iles – This recommendation came from a coworker at Barnes & Noble who loved, loved, loved crime fiction. But we would challenge each other with recommendations and I would push his limits with lit fiction and he gave me some of my favorite guilty pleasure reading. His recommendation for The Quiet Game was simple: “It’s like John Grisham, but Greg Iles can actually write.” That was good enough for me and I’ve read almost everything else he’s written as a result.
  8. Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes – I got this one from Rebecca @ The Book Lady’s Blog. She RAVED about this book – on her blog, on Twitter, everywhere – and when she said that she didn’t even LIKE “war” books, I knew I had to pick it up. Well worth it, and her recommendations rarely disappoint.
  9. The Last Werewolf  by Glen Duncan – A recent recommendation, I’d seen a review from Lori @ TNBBC and decided that I was dying to read this! I saw that she’d gotten a review copy from the publisher and I tweeted her asking her how she pulled that off. Not only did she give me an answer, she mailed me a copy of the book. How’s that for a recommendation? I’m going to post my review shortly, but this is definitely one of my faves for the year.
  10. The Song Is You by Arthur Phillips – This is kind of a cheat, because I didn’t really like this book at all. But it was recommended to me by Greg @ The New Dork Review of Books and because we have very similar tastes in books, I read it. I did not like it. Greg loved it. Something was off kilter here. But it led to a really great discussion about how we read books and if gender plays a significant role into how we perceive character intentions. I didn’t like the book, but I loved the result which is why it made my list.

So! There’s my list. What are some of the best books that have been recommended to you?

From A To Z

27 Apr

We all know how much I love my lists, right? I saw this meme on What Red Read, who got it from The Book Stop, who got it from Weekly Geeks. (I love how memes like this make the rounds, don’t you?) The point of this one is to come up with a favorite author for each letter of the alphabet, because if you’re anything like me, it’s impossible to come up with just ONE favorite author. List one or more than one for each letter. Skip any you struggle with.

A: Jane Austen
B:
Chris Bohjalian
C:
Dan Chaon
D:
Roald Dahl
E:
Nicholas Evans
F:
Tana French
G:
John Green
H:
Pete Hamill
I:
John Irving, Greg Iles
J:
Sebastian Junger
K:
Nicole Krauss
L:
Jonathan Lethem, Lois Lowry
M:
Jennifer McMahon
N:
David Nicolls
O:
Lauren Oliver
P:
Ann Patchett, Elliot Perlman, Jodi Picoult
Q:
Anna Quindlen
R:
Salman Rushdie, JK Rowling
S:
Kamila Shamsie
T:
U:
V:
W:
Jennifer Weiner, Scott Westerfeld
X:
Y:
Z:

What became abundantly clear in trying to put together this list is in who I’m lacking. So I’m doing a second list: authors I’m convinced would be my favorite if I actually took the time to read their books.

A: Paul Auster
B:
Bill Bryson, T.C. Boyle, Kevin Baker
C:
Paulo Coelho, Kate Christensen
D:
Andre Dubus III, Jennifer Donnelly, Joan Didion, Charles Dickens
E:
Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers
F:
Thomas Friedman, Richard Ford
G:
Lisa Genova, Neil Gaiman
H:
Adam Haslett, Sophie Hannah, Jennifer Haigh
I:
J:
Ha Jin, Erica Jong, Henry James
K:
Milan Kundera, Elizabeth Kostova, Katrina Kittle, Jack Kerouac
L:
Wally Lamb, Adam Langer
M:
Larry McMurtry, Ian McEwan, Jay McInerney, Cormac McCarthy, Emily St. John Mandel
N:
O:
Stewart O’Nan, Joyce Carol Oates,
P:
Per Petterson, George Pelecanos
Q:
R:
Marilynne Robinson
S:
Lisa Tucker, Leo Tolstoy
U: John Updike
V: Gore Vidal, Rachel Vail, Kurt Vonnegut
W: Tom Wolfe, Deborah Willis, Sarah Waters

Clearly, I’ve got a long way to go :-\