Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I need books!

Image courtesy of Sanja Gjenero
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My vacation departure date is looming, and as I went over my many packing lists this morning, I realized that I'd forgotten to include something crucial: books!  I'll have quite a bit of downtime during this trip, including a two-day drive there and back, and what better way to fill the time than to read? Luckily, I still have a few days to get to the library and bookstore—and that's where you come in.

Friends, I need your help. What books do you suggest I take? I like a good story and am open to just about any genre. I posted a list of some of my favorites here. Most of them are classics, but I'm interested in more contemporary books as well; I often head to the New Fiction shelves at the library and bookstore.

So what are your must-read books? Tell me what you've enjoyed recently.

42 comments:

  1. Oh crap. I just typed a huge note and then lost it! Okay, if you haven't read the Hunger Games trilogy, you really have to. They really are so good. And Mark Twain had a bio come out last year that he said couldn't be published for however many years. I have it but haven't opened it yet. Collected works by Edgar Allen Poe are great because there is a little bit of everything. And what about true classics? Are there any you haven't read like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights? Finally, if you haven't read Jenny Lawson's (the Bloggess) memoir Let's Pretend This Never Happened, you absolutely must go get it right now because you will laugh yourself silly, and possibly wet your pants! Then you can go back and read her blog from start to finish if you don't read her already.

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    1. Thanks so much! These are great. Let's see: I haven't read the Hunger Games trilogy, despite the fact that so many people have told me I should. I wasn't aware of Mark Twain's bio, but that's something I'd like to get my hands on. I agree: Poe is great; I've read a lot of his stuff. Ditto Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (love it!). And I will definitely check out Jenny Lawson's book. I love funny! I'm adding her to my blog list, too. :)

      Thanks again!

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    2. I read Hunger Games before they got popular. If I had waited I probably wouldn't have read them either because I hate reading something that the world is talking about, but they really are very good. They have a great mix of suspense, drama, politics, futuristic stuff, etc. Really well written. The movie was okay, but nothing like the book. I wish you lived close to me and we could exchange books! As far as Jenny Lawson, I wish I had time to pull the best blogs out for you to get a start on. If I have time I will email you a couple of my favorites that will give you a good taste for her. Her book was on bestseller lists as soon as it came out and it is so crazy funny. She is a nut!

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    3. Okay, because of its importance, you have to start off with these three. They may well be my 3 favorite blogs of all time. Now, make sure that you are one of those people who makes voices for characters in your head as you read, because that is going to be very important when reading Bloggess. Now, you can thank me later because you need to be ready to laugh yourself stupid!

      http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/

      http://thebloggess.com/2011/08/its-a-good-kind-of-weird/

      http://thebloggess.com/2011/07/would-you-like-to-buy-a-monkey/

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    4. I plan on picking up Lawson's book on Friday. Funny is important—especially on a long car trip!

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    5. Thanks for the links! Can't wait to get started. :)

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    6. I should probably brief you on a couple of points. She loves taxidermied animals and buys a lot of them. Her father did that for a living and he was as nuts as she is. She grew up in a tiny town in TX and it shows. Her husband is Victor and they have a hilarious relationship.

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    7. Thanks! I'll have to wait until the kids are in bed, but I'll read them tonight.

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  2. If you like straight fiction, read The Poisonwood Bible. It's increeeedible!

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  3. robyn says "the last song"---i can only repeat haha the book i just finished--joseph prince's "destined to reign"--:)

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    1. I loved The Last Song!

      I've already added your pick to the list. :)

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  4. Have you tried looking at Goodreads? Every time I go there, I end up adding several books to my shelves.

    For light/fun reading, you could try Bubbles Unbound (Sarah Strohmeyer), Enslaved by Ducks (Bob Tarte), or Home to Harmony (Philip Gulley).

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    1. I've read some of Strohmeyer's books but hadn't seen that one. I'll check out your other suggestions, too. Thanks!

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  5. I'm on a David Baldacci kick right now - in particular the Camel Club series (it's old but new to me). He has a lake house near our lake house, so I need to know what my neighbor is up to! Political watchdogs and government conspiracies but not as heavy as it sounds.

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    1. Sounds like something I might like. Adding him to my list. :)

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  6. I really loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle a few years ago. I read Hamlet before picking it up, just to make sure I could catch everything, and was really impressed with how well it was written.

    I just read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and I've been waiting for The Marriage Plot by him to become available at the library. I've almost never been dissapointed by Richard Russo, and especially liked Straight Man.

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    1. I tried reading The Marriage Plot but couldn't get into it. It's quite possible I didn't give it enough of a chance; I have to be "in the mood" to read certain books. Maybe I'll go back to it one day. In the meantime, I'll check out the others you mentioned. Thanks!

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    2. Definitely try Middlesex! The storytelling is incredible - much different to The Marriage Plot (which I found kind of dry). And The Virgin Suicides too! My favourite book.

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    3. Rebecca: Oh, I loved The Virgin Suicides! I forgot he also wrote that one. I'll give Middlesex a try. :)

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  7. Hi Dana, I agree about the David Baldacci books. My favourite authors (apart from Jean M. Auel who I mentioned before) would be: Louise Penny and the Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries, there is a series but you can also read them as stand-alone books. I think the first one is called Still Life. Jodi Picoult is also a favourite. Anything by Philippa Gregory - The Other Boleyn Girl is probably the most famous but try some of her others - she writes so well. You'll have to stay away for at least a year to be able to read all of these recommendations. Also the classics as mentioned before and Black Beauty (I can remember crying) - Stephen R. Donaldson The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - The Time Traveller's Wife (takes a while to get into but worth it if you stick with it). I'm sure there are many, many more. You'll need a huge lorry to transport all these books to your destination. Can you use your library ticket in the local library at your vacation place.

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    1. Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions! I've read several of Picoult's books and liked them. I don't think I've read anything by Philippa Gregory, so I'm putting her on my list. I loved The Time Traveler's Wife; it was one of the few books both my husband and I enjoyed.

      You're right: I can't bring too many; there's not much room in the van with all the kids' toys! I can't use my library card back home, but I could use my mom's. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  8. Barbara Kingsolver - Poisonwood Bible was mentioned above - Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven are two of my all time favorite books..Perfect for vacation --Sue Miller's While You Were Gone is another thoughtful read. You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon was a discovery from last winter - short story collection - poignant and real.

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    1. I really enjoyed The Bean Trees and While You Were Gone, but I haven't read the others. I'm especially interested in the short stories you mentioned. Thanks!

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  9. The Book Thief. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. The Hunger Games. I know you are not an athlete but the Lance Armstrong, "It's Not About the Bike" books are very interesting and not just for athletes or cyclists. Opal is a great book about a child in early California and is one of my favorites...if you have little kids who are learning to write, (4-5 year olds) this book hits home. Have a great trip and tell us what you read :)

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    1. I've read The Book Thief (wonderful!), and I've heard lots of good things about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Thanks for the other suggestions, too; I like that they're out of my comfort zone. :)

      I'll let you know what I end up reading!

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  10. You like classics, but I'm afraid I can't suggest any in that field. You might like Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. It's YA paranormal, and one of the most original stories I've come across recently. If you haven't read any of Richelle Mead's books, pick up one of her series. She has both YA and adult series. She's fabulous.

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    1. I'm definitely interested in the Taylor book. I haven't read any of Richelle Mead's; thanks for the recommendations. :)

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  11. Sarah's Key is pretty good. I also enjoyed reading Atlas Shrugged. It a long one!

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    1. I've had Sarah's Key in my TBR pile for years but had compltely forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me!

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  12. Hope you have a wonderful vacation!

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  13. Every Last One by Anne Quindlen. Sad story but I couldn't put that book down when I read it a few years ago. Wow that's a lot of driving too with little ones! How do they do in the car?

    betty

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    1. My five-year-old assured me that he won't be saying "How much longer?" over and over again this year. My two-year-old, however, is not making the same promise. ;)

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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  14. Must read for me is Harry Potter, but you've probably read those. I love Dan Brown's books; they always make for a fast-paced, entertaining read. More on the contemporary, classic side, I loved Atlas Shrugged (which I saw mentioned above), but it's a heavy book to travel with. Thank God for ebooks when they get that long. :)

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    1. I'm probably the only person who hasn't read Harry Potter! I've read a few of Dan Brown's books and enjoyed them. I think I'll save Atlas Shrugged for when I get back—I still don't have an e-reader. :)

      Thanks, Michael!

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  15. Dana, one of the best books I've read in a long time is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlo Ruiz Zafon. I had never heard of it until I found it at Goodwill. It was terrific. I keep looking for the sequal, may have to pay real money for it.

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    1. I'll add it to my list. Thanks, Fran!

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  16. STILTSVILLE by Susanna Daniel is a perfect vacation book!

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  17. Anything by Joshilyn Jackson, epsecially hew newest one, "A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty". Sarah Addison Allen is another great authour. The Flavia De Luce (the first one is called "The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie") by Alan Bradley is excellent. Give it a chance, even if doesn't look like you'd normally read. One of my co-workers pretty much fored me to borrow the book, and then kept bugging me about. I finally started it late one Sunday night, planning to give it back to her Moonday morning, and ended up loving it.

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    1. Jackson is great, but I think I've read them all. :) I've never heard of the others. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

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