Thursday, February 7, 2008


Okay, I need book recommendations. I've started and stopped reading 4 books in the last month because they just weren't grabbing my attention and now I'm feeling like I'm out of options. Which is ridiculous because I probably have at least 15 books on my shelves that I have not read. But whatever. My problem with stopping books mid-way is that I feel like a failure. Like I just couldn't stick it out. Which is also ridiculous because I'm usually the type of reader who will read a really lousy book all the way to the end with the hopes that it will get better and it never does. I always end up throwing it across the room. (Fact: I really do throw them. It hurts me to do it but sometimes a bad book needs some tough love. On the flip side, I hug the books I love). And I can't bring myself to giving it away because I don't want anyone else to have to go through the same thing that I went through and I certainly can't throw it away because...well...because it's a BOOK. You can't throw books away just like you can't throw children away, even when they use cringe-worthy cliches like, "Outside the wind howl through the trees." (I'm looking at you Da Vinci Code.)(I did not throw the Da Vinci Code across the room. Admit it, it was a page turner. But near the end I was turning the pages more to be done with it than to find out what happened. I was getting a headache from rolling my eyes so much.)

This is a bit of an emergency because you see, I'm kind of grouchy when I don't have a book to read. I don't feel like myself. I'm all out of sorts without one. And I'm tired of doing the crossword puzzle at lunch. Please, someone save me!

So, I need to know
1.) What's your favorite book ever
2.) What was your favorite book you read last year
3.) Any other book recommendations you think I might like.

I want to hear from everyone and I want multiple suggestions. They can be from any genre. Generally I'm a novel girl but I'm kind of desperate for anything right now. I will even venture into the popular fiction section if you tell me to. So if you think that the Unauthorized Biography of Lassie was the best book ever written, I want to hear about it. I want my year to be filled entirely with books recommended to me.



Ms. Liz said...

Fav book ever = Pride and Prejudice & The Brother's Karamazov

Fav book from 07 = my reread of all 5 of the Hitchhiker's Trilogy

Other book rec = Jeanne gave me the Count of Monte Cristo last year for Christmas and she LOVED it and I've been meaning to get to it for forever now.

I still haven't cracked North and South yet either. Have you read that one? I'll lend it to you if you'd like.

Anonymous said...

hi Rachel!
I'm sorry I am not a big reader, but I did read a fabulous book on vacation it's by Barbara Delinsky called Coast Road.
The Kite Runner was also great and maybe the sequel is too, but I haven't read that yet. (You probably read those books already.)
I will ask my grandma too because she reads about 1 book a day!

Amanda said...

Due to my need to one day live in the country and have some sheep and chicken, I am currently reading and in love with:
A Very Small Farm by William Paul Winchester.
It is about a man who goes and buys a piece of land and builds his own little farm. I just love it. Hmm... I actually imagine myself homesteading at least 30 minutes each day.
Other favs that you might not have read are: Coming of Age in Mississippi, Wild Swans and Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village.
Okay, all of these are non-fiction personal narratives with historical backgrounds. So you are in luck if you're feeling a new genre.
1st one is about Civil Rights Movement. I read this book for a project in high school and went out and bought the book because I liked it so much. Disclaimer: I haven't read it since then.
2nd book: INCREDIBLE book about China and communism through the lives of the women in a family. SOOOOO interesting and good story too. Disclaimer: Super long that I've only gotten 1/2 way.
3rd book: Read in college for a Middle Eastern Lit class and it was really fantastic. American women who goes and lives in Irag while her husband does research. VERY interesting.
So, there you go. Sorry about the length, but I thought they'd need a little explaining since they are not novels.
Good luck!

Valerie said...

The Chosen - It sounds like a classic and maybe not one you're dying to pick up. Pick it up. I started crying on the train with this one (confession - Also cried while reading Harry Potter 7. On the subway)

Bel Canto - It'll change your life. This book changed how I thought a narrative should work.

Best American Short Stories 2007 - Edited by Steven King, some okay stories, and some AMAZING stories (Sans Farine and Eleanor's Music)

P.S. On your recommendation I bought Rebecca, but the copy I ordered looks, for all intents and purposes, like the cover of a (Danielle Steele-esque) romance novel. I can't bring myself to read it in public. It'll have to sit by the side of my bed, just waiting for someone to walk into my room and label me a pervert. Thanks a lot.

Laura said...

As you know, I'm not a "fancy" reader like you, but I do enjoy some completely non-intellectual books. If you're in the mood for a totally cheesy, predictable yet fun and lighthearted romance novel...I've been very in to Debbie Macomber lately. She's got the cheese factor down, but it's fun and there's no smut (which is good unless you like that sort of thing). Plus, you can read one of those books in a couple of days.

I also enjoyed (not sure if that's the right word) Kite Runner and have heard good things about A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author.

Marley and Me by John Grogan was great. I would recommend it if you're in the mood for hysterical laughter and some tears in this story about a man and his dog.

Another thing I started doing last year was reading all the books I was supposed to read in high school but either don't remember much about, or didn't actually read. It was good to revisit some of the classics like Of Mice and Men, Grapes of Wrath, Catcher in the Rye, Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, etc. I also tried Watership Down again after a really bad experience in 6th grade that STILL haunts me. I got a little further this time, but still couldn't make it. Maybe you'd enjoy going back and visiting some old favorites?

And to top it off, I have a very fresh, hardly used copy of Persuasion if you need another one!

Bronwyn James said...

Rachel, books are my thing. Here is my list. I'll start with -

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. I'm actually the one who recommended it to Amanda. It was seriously one of the most interesting, compelling books I've ever read, and it's all true. Completely captivating.

Gone With the Wind. Probably my favorite novel of all time. 100,000,000 times better than the movie, which I liked. Scarlett O'Hara is such a complex heroine. Engrossing.

Three Cups of Tea. I just read this one about a man who spent his life building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan and it's, all true. Inspiring.

Les Miserables. You may have read this, but it was one of the very very few books that have made me cry. Stunning and brilliant.

Crime and Punishment. A bit gritty, but Dostoevsky somehow weaves this man's life into your brain and you almost feel like you have committed the murder. Gripping.

If you've read all these, you've read my favorites. I wonder if you wouldn't do a post about your favorite books? I'd like some recommendations of my own.

Anonymous said...

My favorite books ever are well-read by you already, fellow Harry Potter fan. But as I've filled your ear several times, I am now a 100% Stephenie Meyer fan. I read all 3 for the first time last year, and read all a total of 4 times last year. That's unheard of for me. But I love them. I lent them to Hannah and already miss them. That's my recommendation. Nicole blogged about a book that she gave her mum, I forget the title but I want to check it out. If it's decent I'll let you know.

Liz the Poet said...

Rach, I have SO many suggestions that I don't know where to begin. I should just forward you my entire list (Note to self: email Rachel your list of books).

But, here's a suggestion that was just given to me. It's by a Mormon author. Yes, Mormon. And despite my usual avoidance of all books written by my own tribe(I'm a terrible book snob), this one looks pretty interesting and has garnered some great reveiws.

It's called Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom. You can read some reviews (and an excerpt) at this link

I haven't purchased it yet, but I'm thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

I know you've read pretty much anything I have, but I'll tell you what I like anyway:

My favorite book ever: Pride and Prejudice. I read it about once a year.

Favorite of last year...The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down--It's about a Hmong girl in California that is epilieptic. It's basically a study of the Hmong culture. I thought it was fascinating.

Other recommendations:
I know you're not really into the whole sci-fi genre, but I love the Ender's Shadow series. It helps if you've read Ender's Game (I also love that book), but I think the Shadow series is much better than the original series. The last two made me cry like a baby (not hard).
Also, I read a book I think was called "A Curious Incident in the Nighttime with a Dog" (or something like that). I thought it was excellent and very creative.
I also just finished "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons, which I've guessed you've read, but it is fun anyway!

What do you recommend for me?

Chris said...

OK, so I have to give a short disclaimer first...I'm a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy geek. Usually it happens when a movie is being released, so I decide to read the book first. For example, I LOVED "Lord of the Rings" which I read before the first movie came out, then reread before the second and third movies were released. My latest project is to reread all of the Chronicles of Narnia which I read as a child. I thought that with the new "Prince Caspian" movie coming out this summer, that I would read them all again.

Karina & John Calderwood said...

Favorite book of all time would either be Gatsby or Marley and Me. Two totally different books, but get some tissues if you love dogs. John and I read Marley and me out loud with each other and I read some of it through tears.

Fav from 07 is Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. You have probably read this and thought it was ridiculous, but it was a guilty pleasure of mine and I had SO much fun reading it and got a crush on one of the main characters.

Anonymous said...

While I find it hard to make the commitment to one book forever, Atlas Shrugged is THE book I turn to every third summer or so, when I want to read something I know will grab me and not let go. And, it does. Every time.

Some of my favs from the past year would include: The Way West (A.B. Guthrie, Jr.) This is a fantastic book about the fur trading period of 1820-1850. Highly recommend this one if you're into this sort of thing. Period novels, not fur.
Also Partly Cloudy Patriot (Sarah Vowell) is a very fun read. This past year I read Three Cups of Tea, which I also enjoyed very much.

Recommended would be all of the above, as well as Memory Keepers Daughter (I'd guess you've knocked this one out already), Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer was pretty darn fun, too. I'm just finishing Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier of Cold Mountain fame, and if you liked Cold Mountain, you'll like this, as well.

The list goes on, and on...

Gina said...

Green Eggs and Ham

Anonymous said...

I liked World without end by Ken Follett.
My favorite horror is IT or The Stand By King.
I liked everything by Dr. Suess.
I like Cards Sci fi.
I am reading the Wisdom of crowds which is preety good as well

themayerfamily said...

Favorite book of all time: Of course--P&P, with a close second of persuasion. I know you just finished that one.
I loved the princess bride. We're reading an interesting book about food--a novel called A year in provence, in our Book club. I also found 1776 an interesting read.