Book Recommendations and Reading

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  • Wow,  thank you:  @Anna, @Anniebets, @Anonylind , @PastryGoddess, @Fishertrain, @Wontons.

    I've written everything down, and I am looking forward to lots of new reading. Headed out of town for the weekend, and am well armed with high and lowbrow reading matter.

    You all have provided me with lots to research for late winter and Spring. Thanks again!


  • Attachments and Landline by Rainbow Rowell. She's become one of my favorite authors since I was introduced to her books last year. She also wrote Eleanor and Park which is technically YA and a phenomenal read. 
  • I received The Book Thief as a Christmas gift in 2012.  I loved the book..

    I vowed in 2014 to read more and did indeed read at least 40 books last year

    this year I am off to a record start and am currently reading "Gandhi, The True Man Behind Modern India",  Jad Adams

    I just started it and am fining it a nice read.  I know little on Hindu philosophy and even less about the culture history of the Empire vs India.  The author is doing a good job at keeping the story clear.  If I wish to know more in depth about Jainism ( or any other ism) I can use my computer.  This book focuses on the private man and it is a pretty remarkable story so far.
  • Can someone recommend something light and fun to read? I've been reading so much angsty drama and I'm sick of it.  

    Think Beautiful Ruins or The Rosie Project or Where'd You Go Bernadette, etc.
  • edited February 2015
    Have any kittens read The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards (The Memory Keeper's Daughter)?

    I've just now finished the first chapter, and think I'm going to love it. Her writing is so fluid and has already touched me emotionally. I haven't read any critiques of the book, and don't really want to know too much.


  • @Qitkat  Not I, but it sounds really good.  Keep us posted

    Any Elizabeth George fans in the house?  About to start reading her most recent Lynley book "Just One Evil Act"  It's been sitting for a while.  
  • @PastryGoddess ; Loved Elizabeth George for a long while but gave up on the later books.  I didn't like when she killed off his wife and baby, but kept reading.  Then there was one book, I forget the title, that hardly had Barbara Havers in it at all.  To me the interaction between Lynley and Havers was what I liked most.  So I just stopped reading any more of the series.  Let me know if you think I should start up again...
  • @Qitkat, I've read Lake of Dreams.  That first chapter is lovely and evocative.
  • jenjenjen said:
    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.
         I felt exactly the same way about: Wild,  Eat Pray Love,  and Unbroken.   I also really love "Seabiscuit" by Unbroken's author: Lauren Hillenbrand.  Yes, I am a horse nut, but she is a great author who paints a wonderful picture of the depression and also of human spirit.  Interesting details that make you admire jockeys way more than you would have thought possible.
  • hoopoe said:
    I received The Book Thief as a Christmas gift in 2012.  I loved the book..

    I vowed in 2014 to read more and did indeed read at least 40 books last year

    this year I am off to a record start and am currently reading "Gandhi, The True Man Behind Modern India",  Jad Adams

    I just started it and am fining it a nice read.  I know little on Hindu philosophy and even less about the culture history of the Empire vs India.  The author is doing a good job at keeping the story clear.  If I wish to know more in depth about Jainism ( or any other ism) I can use my computer.  This book focuses on the private man and it is a pretty remarkable story so far.
        I lOVED the book thief also.  And was bummed by the movie.  Its hard for a movie to measure up when I really love a book.  However, Gandhi was a great movie and I just rewatched it this week.  The book sounds fascinating.  I think his character is similar to 2-3 of the characters in The Book Thief, although that was fiction, and Gandhi was a real, and remarkable, man.   An old book some may scoff at, but which I recently reread in a book club and was amazed at, is The Hiding Place, about Corrie Ten Boom, also a real person who suffered for others and had a noble soul.
  • 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. 

      Loved Still Alice and pretty much everything by Lisa Genova.  My fave was "Left Neglected" about a fascinating condition where you become totally unaware of one side of your body.  She writes excellent characters that make illnesses & conditions (like stroke or Alzheimer's) somehow less frightening to me.
  • Zoeg said:
    @PastryGoddess ; Loved Elizabeth George for a long while but gave up on the later books.  I didn't like when she killed off his wife and baby, but kept reading.  Then there was one book, I forget the title, that hardly had Barbara Havers in it at all.  To me the interaction between Lynley and Havers was what I liked most.  So I just stopped reading any more of the series.  Let me know if you think I should start up again...
    Yeah, I was pretty upset about that as well.  But I read an interview with her where she said that she didn't see Helen's character going anywhere else, so she chose to kill her off to focus on the rest of the characters.  I can appreciate the courage it takes to kill of a major character. Especially if that character has been in most of your books from the beginning.  

    The last two books have had quite a bit of Havers and Lynley interaction.  I think it was just that one book where he was doing his walkabout that didn't have much of Havers.  This last book is mostly Havers, which is nice.  I would just start again with this one.  
  • @PastryGoddess ; Thanks for the update.  I'm going to put it on my reading list.
  • Does anyone else read the Bryant & May series by Christopher Fowler?

    If you like quirky English mysteries give these a try.  I've read the first 4 and I'm really enjoying them.  It's about 2 "odd couple" police detectives who work for the Peculiar Crimes Unit.  The books go from when they first start as a team during WWII and go up to more modern times.  These are not your standard crime stories and are very entertaining.
  • Anybody have any recommendations for happy fiction?  I tend towards the dark and depressing so I'm looking to read something lighter.  

    I just finished reading The Mermaid's Sister, which I got for free from Amazon Prime.  It's a first novel so the writing is kinda forced, the dialogue is rough, and there's a thick streak of Twilight running through it, but the overall story is lovely.
  • @Zoeg - I really like the Bryant & May series, although ( & it may just be me) there seems this weird disconnect where one book will let you into one of the supporting characters & you (if you're me) will get all caught up in them, and then they fade into the background for a couple of books and/or just get killed. It's disconcerting.

    @alloyjane - how happy is happy and how tolerant are you of genre fiction? I tend to read very happy-ending upbeat fiction, and a lot of genre fiction (and yes fan fiction) because I find real life plenty frustrating and depressing.  But some people have standards, which I tend to ignore. ;-)


  • @Zoeg - I really like the Bryant & May series, although ( & it may just be me) there seems this weird disconnect where one book will let you into one of the supporting characters & you (if you're me) will get all caught up in them, and then they fade into the background for a couple of books and/or just get killed. It's disconcerting.

    I know what you're saying, but so far I it hasn't bothered me too much. I guess no one I was really invested in has disappeared yet. I just find the plots so interesting compared to the usual mysteries, and Bryant amuses no end.
  • alloyjane said:
    Anybody have any recommendations for happy fiction?  I tend towards the dark and depressing so I'm looking to read something lighter.  

    I just finished reading The Mermaid's Sister, which I got for free from Amazon Prime.  It's a first novel so the writing is kinda forced, the dialogue is rough, and there's a thick streak of Twilight running through it, but the overall story is lovely.
    Jane, your request sounds like mine:

    "Can someone recommend something light and fun to read? I've been reading so much angsty drama and I'm sick of it.  

    Think Beautiful Ruins or The Rosie Project or Where'd You Go Bernadette, etc."

    So far I haven't heard any recommendations, but you can take my examples as recommendations to you?
  • Can someone recommend something light and fun to read? I've been reading so much angsty drama and I'm sick of it.  

    Think Beautiful Ruins or The Rosie Project or Where'd You Go Bernadette, etc.
    I recommend Liane Moriarty who writes really fun, soapy stories generally set in suburban Australia. I read Little Big Lies after learning it will be adapted for television as a miniseries potentially starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've since breezed through What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, and The Husband's Secret which were all fun, engaging and easy reads.

  • With Christopher Fowler, should I start from the beginning or is it fine to start with the newest book?
  • edited March 2015
    With Christopher Fowler, should I start from the beginning or is it fine to start with the newest book?
    Good question. I'm only through the 4th of the 10 books in the series. My preference (actually compulsion) is to always start from the beginning if possible so I'm probably not the best person to advise you.

    ETA: Based on the first 4 books, while the characters do mention previous cases or events I don't think it's in such a way as to cause a problem. I just don't know if that changes in later books.

    @formerlyAnon ; Any opinion on this?
  • edited March 2015
    @alloyjane: If you're willing to read some books in the mystery genre I highly recommend Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series (starting with The Eyre Affair) or his Nursery Crimes series (staring with The Big Over Easy). They are really fun to read and fairly lighthearted. My favorite Jasper Fforde book is Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron (the themes are a bit heavier, but still filled with wonderful British humor).
  • Yaysita said:
    Can someone recommend something light and fun to read? I've been reading so much angsty drama and I'm sick of it.  

    Think Beautiful Ruins or The Rosie Project or Where'd You Go Bernadette, etc.
    I recommend Liane Moriarty who writes really fun, soapy stories generally set in suburban Australia. I read Little Big Lies after learning it will be adapted for television as a miniseries potentially starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've since breezed through What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, and The Husband's Secret which were all fun, engaging and easy reads.

    Thanks!  I've already read What Alice Forgot and The Husband's Secret.  I have Little Big Lies on hold for me at the library.
  • alloyjane said:
    Anybody have any recommendations for happy fiction?  I tend towards the dark and depressing so I'm looking to read something lighter.  
    Oh, honey.  P.G. Wodehouse and/or E. F. Benson's Lucia series.  Can't get happier (or funnier) than those!
  • Lilithcat said:
    alloyjane said:
    Anybody have any recommendations for happy fiction?  I tend towards the dark and depressing so I'm looking to read something lighter.  
    Oh, honey.  P.G. Wodehouse and/or E. F. Benson's Lucia series.  Can't get happier (or funnier) than those!
    Wodehouse is so much fun!  I haven't heard of Benson's Lucia series but if you're listing it with Wodehouse then I have to check it out.  Thanks.
  • Zoeg said:
    Wodehouse is so much fun!  I haven't heard of Benson's Lucia series but if you're listing it with Wodehouse then I have to check it out.  Thanks.
    Oh, you're in for a treat! While I first discovered E. F. Benson via his ghost stories (which are wonderful), his "Lucia" books are a delight, funny and snarky and vastly entertaining. [There's also a very good 1980s BBC TV adaptation, starring Geraldine McEwan and Prunella Scales. I haven't seen the 2014 adaptation yet so I can't compare it to either books or previous screen version, but it has a good cast.]
  • Zoeg said:
    With Christopher Fowler, should I start from the beginning or is it fine to start with the newest book?
    Good question. I'm only through the 4th of the 10 books in the series. My preference (actually compulsion) is to always start from the beginning if possible so I'm probably not the best person to advise you.
    .

    @formerlyAnon ; Any opinion on this?
    I don't think you have to read them in order, each book is stand alone, but I prefer them in order.  For me, there has been a very definite unfolding of the main characters' personalities and backgrounds as the books progress, so that now, if I re-read  earlier books they sometimes seem to be simplified, cartoonish versions of themselves. 
  • edited March 2015


    @alloyjane - Yes, Mapp & Lucia, especially. If you enjoy a dryer humor, & a sedate pace, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons is good. For a gentle narrative with a sense of humor I'd describe as a slightly rowdier version of Austen, there are the earlier Barsetshire-based works of Angela Thirkell. (Anything from the mid-40s is hit-or-miss, to me. Mrs. Thirkell was not a fan of post-war British society & sometimes she whines.). I remember finding The Demon in the House, Summer Half, Cheerfulness Breaks In, & Northbridge Rectory amusing, but there are a number of others.

    For more straightforwardly funny there's David Sedaris, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (I prefer the audiobook, strongly) and Good Omens byTerry Pratchett & Neal Gaiman.  Lots of people LOVE Pratchett's work but (gasp!) I haven't read it, so I'm not sure where to start.

    For mildly soap-opera stories, there's mid-late career Maeve Binchy. While hers are all rather Horatio-Algerish wherein good hearted kindness & work ethic is rewarded, they mostly are not as quickly boringly formulaic to me as Nora Roberts' novels are. Her earlier works are more ambitious and heavily "mid-century Irish girl growing up and coming of age," I find the novels published in the 1990s up through 2006 are my favorite for likeability of characters.  

    For soothing reading, both gentler and more realistic than Binchy, I read Jan Karon's Mitford novels. They're best in order, and focus on a late middle aged Episcopal priest, his parish & family. To my tastes, they don't beat you over the head with religion, but it's there as a significant part of the characters' lives.

    I LOVE the books by Pip Granger, starting with Not All Tarts are Apple which are not memoir but based on the author's upbringing in a "bohemian" part of post-war London by loving extended family.  

    I confess that while I read more recent, light novels, I don't remember too many of them for very long. There are an awful lot of "woman rebuilds a fabulous life after divorce" and "underemployed young woman in the big city finds career change/a decent boyfriend/a good therapist/the right puppy while drinking more than her rent in cafe espresso drinks and cocktails" plots out there. The best that can be said of a lot of them is that they do not feature angsty hipster men finding their way, except as minor characters.

    I am a big fan of urban fantasy and mystery/detective novels if you want my slightly dated favorites there.
  • Zoeg said:
    @PastryGoddess ; Loved Elizabeth George for a long while but gave up on the later books.  I didn't like when she killed off his wife and baby, but kept reading.  Then there was one book, I forget the title, that hardly had Barbara Havers in it at all.  To me the interaction between Lynley and Havers was what I liked most.  So I just stopped reading any more of the series.  Let me know if you think I should start up again...
    Zoeg, I agree completely. 
  • @Zoeg

    Thanks awfully for the Bryant and May series recommendation  #idontneedtosleep
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