Book Recommendations and Reading



  • I just finished Indivisible By Four, a memoir by the first violinist of the (sadly now disbanded) Guarneri String Quartet. It's an early candidate for my favorite book read in 2015. If you have any love for classical music, please read it! The author has so much wit and humor, and his story is both about the wonderful idiosyncrasies of being in a string quartet and also how chamber music has come to have an audience in America. I loved every page.

    kktt -- yes, I read I'll Drink to That. I was hoping for more advice on how to style yourself, but now I see she wrote another book earlier that seems to be more about that. I wholeheartedly agree with you that the part about her personal life is less interesting than the part about her Bergdorf life.
  • Louise Penny a Canadian author has written a series of "village" mysteries. They are wonderful! Inspector Gamache is the detective. These books have just enough of an edge to make them totally enjoyable.
  • Currently reading "Tara Road" by Maeve Binchy and enjoying every page.
  • Just finished reading As You Wish, as an audiobook, read by Cary Elwes, which was - of course - wonderful.  One of my favorite books (Princess Bride) and natch, the movie as well.  Back to my usual mysteries, today I started In the Dark by Brian Freeman, #4 in the Jonathan Stride (Duluth detective) series - also on audio.  Good stuff!  Also reading A Nail Through the Heart by Timothy Hallinan, in hard cover.
  • I found Night Circus to be amazingly beautiful and melancholy. 

    Will check out Saga! Thanks y'all!
  • I'm currently reading The Count Of Monte Cristo. I've always been intimidated by the length but once I jumped in, I'm so glad I did. It's amazing. 
  • @kktt. I loved "I'll Drink to That"! If you enjoyed that, you might two books by Teri Agins: The End of Fashion and Hijacking the Runway. Both are dishy goodness.
  • @Cosmo The Sparrow!! Came to mind as a sci fi book where the female character doesn't get maimed. Though, it's only sort of sci fi, in my mind. Good one.
  • I'm reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler, and of course it is wonderful. Bossypants is another fave. And as far as fiction, one of my all-time favorites is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. If you like historical, time travel-y, mysteries, I can't recommend it highly enough. And it's being developed as a miniseries by JJ Abrams, which I can't wait for!
  • I am reading 'Below Stairs' by Margaret Powell. I'm languishing in Anglophilia this winter.

    I have also started reading the Her Royal Spyness books by Rhys Bowen. Found the first book delightful, so I checked out a few more from the library.

    I want to second the recommendations for the Maggie Hope books. They were great fun.
  • Re Alice Hoffman: did you think she was older, or younger?

    I'd like to recommend a mystery series by Elly Griffiths. The protagonist, Ruth, is a forensic archaeologist in the Norwich area of England. She's very prickly and unusual (and to me very relatable). The setting and plots are atmospheric. The latest book verged into soap opera territory a bit too much for me, but I still enjoyed it.
  • I just finished Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple which was funny and, as a Seattleite, pretty darn spot-on. Now I'm reading Volume 1 of Richard Matheson's Collected Stories and when that's done I'm going to read The Unpublished David Ogilvy to get me ready for when Mad Men returns.

    If someone wants a magic/fantasy recommendation: Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan. It's a multi-generational story blending magic and realism. It's Setiawan's one and only book, I'm looking forward to more from him.
  • Dorothy Dunnett!!!! Definitely hooked for life (it might take a lifetime to get all the literary/philosophical/political allusions and untangle all the plot twists). Her other series, The House of Niccolo, is also amazing and just as (if not more) intricately plotted. 
  • I'm re-reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Gaiman is one of my favorite authors (Sandman and Neverwhere were incredible) and the book is an easy read with a lot of really funny parts. I'm a big fan of dystopian fiction (or anything bleak and pessimistic), and Good Omens is a really good palate cleanser. I think I'm going to start Gone Girl next. I want to watch the movie, but I have a strict "read the book first" policy when it comes to adaptations of novels.
  • I'm on a total history kick. I'm reading the Narratives of Empire series by Gore Vidal. I'm almost done with Lincoln and 1886 is waiting for me, taunting.

    I tend to have several books going, so I'm also reading Gorgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman. It's the source material for the Keira Knightly movie.

    I just finished rereading Push by Sapphire. It destroys me every time, but it's so inspirational!

    After I finish with Gorgiana, I'm going to see if I can shift gears enough to read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It's one of the Very Important Books that I've not read yet, but I'm afraid I might sprain something if I try to go from 18th century aristocracy to 20th century race struggle.
  • I just finished The First Bad Man by Miranda July.  Very weird and quirky--but very good. 
  • fatwhitecat - read Guy Gavriel Key - I read "Tigana" and the "Fionavar Tapestry" trilogy probably once a year. I do love me some Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere is a good starter and Good Omens (coauthored with Terry Pratchett) is a desert island book."Ocean at the End of the Lane is a very good read.  I adored the Night Circus, and I have recently enjoyed Deborah Harkness's "Discovery of Witches" series.

    I also like some select non-fiction. I'm fascinated with the ocean so there is a theme here: 
    Shadow Divers
    The Devils Teeth - Susan Casey
    Wave - Susan Casey

  • Also, I second the Elly Griffiths recommendation. LOVE this thread.
  • @carolynmo thanks for the suggestion!
  • @ChrisP. Finally, I found someone else who loves Dorothy! Are you reading the Lymond Chronicles? Which one? I don't know if you're aware that there's a two volume companion series that explains the historical and literary references.
  • This is my kind of thread!  Like I really need more recommendations :)  I'm currently reading the Narrative of Empire series by Gore Vidal.  I mainly read history and historical fiction.  I really enjoy mystery series, as well, especially those set in historical times.  My favorite is the Amelia Peabody series.  
  • @hstrylvr Where are you in the series? I have about a hundred pages left in Lincoln and it's taking all of my willpower to not start 1876 before I finish!

    I also have an Alison Weir waiting for me on my Nook, but I'm so far behind on my reading that it might have to wait a month.
  • @kittyhateface I'm in the middle of 1876 as we speak.  Lincoln did take a while to get through!  I enjoyed it though.  It has made me want to read more about Lincoln and that era.  I've never really been interested in American history, but this series has made me want to learn more.
  • edited February 2015
    So, hey guys, first post here. Great community! Anyway, I just finished Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and now I'm seriously thinking it might be at least in the top 5 of books ever written (in English?). I don't know if anyone here has read it (it's big, it's sooo big), but I think it is worth the time you spend with it. While it may have not changed the way I see the world, it definitely has changed how I view addiction, depression and suicide. Also, it does exactly what it sets out to do. It's one of those perfect cases of the ending is conceit. Regardless if you like it or not, you gotta appreciate the guts to end a book like that.
    And but so (one of the many grammar gags in the books) it's just wildly entertaining, even in its most disturbing places. And the characters, oh the characters. So many of them, and all of them so memorable. I won't even try to talk about the themes of the book, because I struggle with that all the time when I try to convince friends to read it. Let's just say it is set in a tennis academy and a halfway house in a kind of fictive America which is subsidized by companies which (if they have the money for it) can have a year named after them. That America is called O.N.A.N. (Organization of North American Nations), so there are O.N.A.N.ites and anti-O.N.A.N.ites. There are also wheelchair assassins without legs from separatist-Québec and the search for the master copy of a film so entertaining that you lose interest in anything else than watching it and, in consequence, die.

    ETA - Oh, and I realize how pretentious all of this sounds. It tries to be not (and in my mind it isn't).
  • I loved The Thirteenth Tale - I can't remember who wrote it, but it's about a girl who was supposed to have been a twin (her twin died) who goes to work for an old author who's trying to write her last story. Might be on the dark side for some people, but there are parts of it that I haven't been able to get out of my head since.

    I've ready everything by Maeve Binchy, and have been in mourning for her since she passed. I love her books. Rested on her laurels (understandable since she was dead) for Chestnut Cross or whatever the last one was, but you can't beat Scarlet Feather, Firefly Summer, Light a Penny Candle, or Night of Rain and Stars.
  • @noneedtoknowmyname, what else have you read by Maeve Binchy? Scarlet Feather was my absolute favorite, closely followed by Night of Rain and Stars.
  • @Hstrylvr The Amelia Peabody series is wonderful! The early books are good, but I really like the later ones with the kids grown up.
  • Finally got Still Alice  by Lisa Genova from the library last week.  She seems to write as well as one could about experiencing Alzheimer's.  I'm very impressed so far, and tend to linger longer than I should reading it during the day. 

    I also read Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole. Its a book written by a flight attendant, about being a flight attendant.  It was a fun, quick read. 

    I got Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister from a friend for Christmas, and have liked it.  I'm about half way through, and it keeps getting sidelined because of work and books from the library. It's written by Gregory McGuire, same person who wrote Wicked.  I was really apprehensive because I barely followed Wicked, but Stepsister has proven to be a lot better.  
  • I will recommend The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay until the day I die. That book is so, so, so good.
  • I have never cried so hard at the end of a book than I did after reading The Book Thief.  Beautiful book, love the original narrative. 
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