Book Recommendations and Reading

edited February 2015 in Books & Music
Ok so what are you reading? Who wrote it? Is it any good?  What should we be reading?  Do we need a fiction and non fiction thread? 

So many questions...


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  • Inside Scientology, by Janet Reitman. I'm fascinated by scientology (in a "how do people believe in this kind of way?") but I also understand people may feel the same about my own beliefs. Still - L. Ron Hubbard seemed like a wackadoo to me. My favorite books that I read last year were Life (the autobiography of Keith Richards), and Just Kids, by Patti Smith. Both were amazing. Also loved The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

    Et vous? What are you reading?
  • I'm currently reading nothing. I just finished "Death of a King" by Tavis Smiley about the last year of MLK's life.  It was good!
  • I love Khaled Hsseini. I wish he would write more often. I don't have time to read as much now because I'm in school and only read during my breaks.

    Just Kids was a fabulous book and Life is on my to-do list, @merciblahblah!
  • I'm almost done with Mo Meta Blues, a memoir by Questlove of The Roots. Even if you're not a superfan, it's a great history of music with bonus stories about roller-skating with Prince.
  • I'm reading This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz in digital form, but I'm really coveting the deluxe version with illustrations by Jaime Hernandez who is probably one of my favorite comic book creators. SOON. 

    I am also reading a bunch of comic book series (in various forms) but I think I might make that its own thread. 
  • @mom2ajs5 - I remember being on the subway and actively sobbing while reading The Kite Runner.

    I'd recommend Dark Places and also Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I prefer them both to Gone Girl, actually.
  • I'm reading "As You Wish" by Cary Elwes.  You can definitely tell he loves the movie as much as we all do.  I just smile idly while reading it.  I'm also reading the new English translation of the 1st Edition of Grimm's fairy tales.  Nice short bits that I can read before passing out at night.  And at times gory and hilarious.
  • I read As You Wish not long ago, I really enjoyed it. I went through a celebrity tell-all phase recently including both of Rob Lowe's books (Stories I Only Tell My Friends and Love Life.) The first one is interesting if only for some insight into what the Sheen/Estevez and Penn boys were like as kids.
  • I'm reading a mystery series by Catriona Mcperson, set in 1920s Scotland. The protagonist is Dandy Gilver, an upper class housewife who solves a problem for a friend, gets recommended to solve another and becomes a professional detective. I liked the Phryne Fisher series by the Australian author Kerry Greenwood, but I am all caught up, so I was happy to find this series. When I like an author, I tend to read the catalogue. I seem to like period settings, loved all the Falco books in ancient Rome , that series was by British author Lindsay Davis. I know there are all kind of interesting and diverse people in the world, hell I live in New Jersey, but I seem to enjoy being transported to other times and places when I read these mysteries.

    I'll be grateful for any book series recommendations, as long as they are mysteries and do not contain graphic descriptions of torture or other horrible behavior. The murder description is OK, just not too much emphasis on gory details. I get bad dreams.

  • My current read is Yael Kohen's We Killed: The Rise of Women In American Comedy. It's an incredibly fascinating oral history of women in comedy spanning from Phyllis Diller and Elaine May to modern day gals like Kristen Wiig. I'm so in love with it.
  • Great thread idea! I love book recs and am already adding a bunch of the books mentioned to my "to read" list.

    I recently started Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Really enjoying it so far, it's funny, sweet, and whip-smart. It's the story of a Nigerian woman who moved to America for grad school and ended up living there, becoming a writer and blogger. She decides to return to Nigeria and reconnect with her ex-boyfriend and family. Kind of like a traditional bildungsroman but from a refreshing perspective.
  • I would love some sci-fi/fantasy recommendations that don't involve rape/death/maiming of the main female character. Small things like that. 
  • I know this isn't the thread I made for it, but fatwhitecat, you should totally read some Saga! It's a comic book series but it's soooo good. I don't think the main female character has been maimed yet and if it happens it'd be about how it affects her, not just about how it affects the men in her life (the main characters are awol soldiers from opposite sides of an intergalactic war who fall in love). Brian K Vaughan writes and Fiona Staples draws some REALLY pretty people. It's just delicious to read, a real triumph of the medium. 

    COMIC NERD OUT.
  • fatwhitecat, I agree with gabyripples---Saga is awesome. If you're looking for a non-comic sci-fi book, you might like Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice (weird, cool, plays with gender). The Martian (by Andy Weir) is great too, though the main character is a man. 

    Last year I gave The Martian to my mom, my grandma (she's hip), and two friends, and my uncles and brother read it and loved it too. 

    (I'm a book blogger, by the way.)
  • FatWhiteCat -- if you have never read him before, you should try the works of Terry Pratchett, especially the forty books of the Discworld series.  There are several different series within the series, featuring the wizards of Unseen University, the city watch of the city of Ankh-Morpork, Death (he's a really interesting character!), and the witches.  I'm in the process of rereading the series throughout 2015.

    If you're in more of a SF mode, try Pratchett's Long Earth trilogy, about an infinite set of alternate Earths, and what happens when most people can travel from one to another.  Enjoy!
  • [Fantasy/Sci-Fi person pretty much all the way]

    I'm currently reading
    The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson... which I am not enjoying nearly as much as I did its predecessor, Mistborn, but it's entertaining enough to keep going.

    If I could only recommend one book to 90% of the people I've met, that book would be The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, and you should all go find it and devour it posthaste.  It's not fast-paced, nor action-y, as some people seem to prefer... but it is an absolute poem of a fantasy novel, layered like a fluttery chiffon skirt with themes and imagery and just... some really fascinating ideas.  It seems particularly appropriate for a crowd of people who banded together over a fashion blog, as well.  
  • Daenyx - The Night Circus is my most common recommendation too! But I know people who really haven't enjoyed it, which breaks my heart.
  • Yay, I love hearing book recommendations. Right now I'm reading This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. So far, highly entertaining. I'm also reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed for my book club. It is NOT as entertaining. It reminds me of Eat Pray Love which I was also not a huge fan of. Maybe because I have very hard time relating to and understanding this woman.
    I just recently finished Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand which was very very good. Long but only because the guy (it's a biography) had such a full, amazing life. What Alice Forgot is another one that I really enjoyed.
  • PS, I also loved The Night Circus! But I can also see how some people will find it too slow.
  • Due to a long commute, I've been reading a ton of books these days. I have a few recommendations:

    The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - If you liked Gone Girl, or just thrillers in general, this is the book for you. Told from the perspective of three unreliable narrators, this is the story of a murder and how a woman gets involved in the investigation because of something she saw while riding the train. 

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - To oversimplify, this is the story of post-apocolyptic traveling group of Shakespeare performers. 

    On Immunity by Eula Biss - A non-fiction meditation on the importance of vaccinations and the history and ethics impacting public health today. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. 
  • I just read all the Sookie Stackhouse novels because I think I'm about to start watching True Blood.  I was one of those people who didn't watch it when it came out.  I was disappointed with the ending though and would love a new series to read.  I did like the first 9 or so books though - they were an entertaining, light read.

    I couldn't get through the second book of the Outlander series.  I thought they were very long and drawn out and just didn't hold my interest - found myself skimming through parts.  

     I'm thinking of picking up This is Where I Leave You since that one has gotten some good reviews.
  • I am reading (among other things) Anne Lamott, "Bird by Bird". Excellent life advice. For anyone trying to get past the voices in their heads telling them they are crazy to think they could create something of value, this book should be required reading. I was laughing while realizing I am not the only person who struggles with this.
  • @Sher - try to enjoy True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse novels separately. I thought they were both done well (until the fairy thing in the books) but they have dramatically different tones.
  • I agree about enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse books and the tv show separately. I thought that the tv show missed a lot of the humor that was in the books, but I did enjoy watching True Blood.

    Two recommendations I have are The Sparrow by Mary Doris Russell and Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. I enjoyed both immensely!
  • I just finished "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest J. Gaines - bit of a hard read, but really good, and am staring on "Mary Coin" by Marisa Silver. Both of these books were for my local library's book club. I have read a lot of really great books through book clubs...found authors I would never have known about otherwise. I find book clubs a great way to be introduced to authors and genres. I do websites for two book clubs and there are tons of titles with synopses listed on them if you want ideas for what to read (Chadron Reading Group and Alpine Reading Group).

    I also read a lot of light romance and love Janet Evanovich books - sort of like having a piece of cake inbetween the sometimes massive substance of the books club books.
  • Has anyone read "I'll Drink to That" by Betty Halbreich? It's a new memoir about the 30+ years that this New York socialite has spent as a personal shopper at Burgdorf Goodman in NYC. I loved when she dissed some of the current designer wear. Though she didn't name names, I'm sure she was thinking of the recent Chanel lines! She also had things to say about how clothes make a woman feel and about individualizing a woman's wardrobe. The stuff about her personal life was less interesting.
  • @fatwhitecat There's the Honor Harrington series by David Weber.
  • I'm currently reading nothing. However, I'm watching this thread because I'm going to Mexico in about 5 weeks so I want to be able to load up the Kindle for the flight and pool time. 

    I did add As You Wish to my wish list, it sounds awesome. I also love The Princess Bride. :)
  • jackie4g - I also LOVE mysteries and I have recently discovered the Maggie Hope series by Susan MacNeal. They are set in Britain during World War 2, which adds to the fun in my opinion.

    AnneSurley - if you haven't had your fill of vaccine related books, "Vaccinated" by Dr. Paul Offit is the story of Maurice Hilleman who developed several of the vaccines we use today, including one developed from his own daughter's mumps infection. Lots of science, but easy to read and enjoy.
  • Oooh, love this thread! My Kindle Paperwhite has nearly 700 books, many of which were freebies or cheapies on Amazon. Every so often I find a decent or even good book in that bunch, but I am always looking for quality fiction recommendations. Paying for a good book is much more satisfying than getting a mediocre one for free.

    I recently read The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman, one of her magic realism novels. I'm not sure that I loved it - too dark and drear - but I've read quite a few of her novels over the years and have been charmed. I was a tad taken aback to learn that she's 62 years old!

    If anyone is into good historical fiction (not romance), then I'd highly recommend the work of the late Scotswoman, Dorothy Dunnett. Her six book series, The Lymond Chronicles, is widely considered one, if not THE, best works in that genre. The series starts with The Game of Kings, is set in the mid 1500s, and can be a challenging read. The series has the most intriguing hero/antihero I've ever come across. Seriously, BKs... check out the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to get a feel for the scope and sheer brilliance of this series. If you decide to read the first book, be patient. Read the first hundred or so pages, go back and read them again to make things clearer , and see if you aren't hooked for life.
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