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Let's not burn The DaVinci Code: Book Recommendations
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Aug 31st 2006 edited

I know people here read. I'm not buying the over-hyped notion that Americans don't read, that Barnes & Noble is losing money, or that more people do illegal drugs than read books to their children. So, recommend (or bash) your recent reads here. I am a reader and I'm always looking for new suggestions (and I still haven't found a good online book club - e-mail me if you know of one).

If you're one of those people who has some piece of historical fiction or a biography of a former President on your bedside table...well, fine (but I'm skeptical when I hear people say they're reading this type of stuff; celebrity "reading" lists in People magazine are hysterical and, I'm sure, totally made up. I just don't believe Pamela Anderson when she tells us that she's currently reading a biography of Susan B. Anthony. I mean, I read a lot, and I've never read one). You don't need to put on false airs here, though. Just be honest!

I am finishing up Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld right now (good book, not a very likable protagonist..she's just blah). Next up, I think, is Naked by David Sedaris. I read Dress Your Family in Corduroy in Denim last year, and I literally laugh out loud when I read his essays, so he's a keeper. I'm sure I'll have more to say later, but in the meantime, share!

PS - I have read The DaVinci Code, by the way, and I did like it. Not nearly as horrible as some of the things I've read about it. Plus, Dan Brown is obviously one savvy businessman if he can create a work of fiction and, through coy interviews, have people debating the book as if it's historical fiction.

PS #2 - I have also read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and I loved it. Still love it. Top 10 of all time, I think. I used to want to run away from home, and at the time I first read it I had never even been to NYC, much less the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so there was a lot of intrigue there for me.

Aug 31st 2006

I have a stack of books waiting for me! But I haven't gotten too far. I wonder why... Here is what's in the stack:

The Divinci Code

The Golden Compass (Phillip Pullman)

Christ The Lord (Anne Rice)

Saving Fish From Drowning (Amy Tan)

The last book I read was The Nanny Diaries. I really enjoyed it and I knocked it out in under 2 days (considering I only have "naptime" and "bedtime" to actually read). I just started Saving Fish... I love all things Amy Tan. I highly recommend any of her books. Only 3 1/2 to go!

Aug 31st 2006 edited

One of the books I've recently read that was really good was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Here are some others that I've liked in the last year or so:

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke (a quick read, and really funny)
  • You Shall Know our Velocity! by Dave Eggers (I am a fan of anything this man does)
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac

books I would NOT recommend:
* The King of Torts by John Grisham (usually I like Grisham; it's entertaining fluff, but this one was just bad)
* A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks
* Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman (there were a couple funny essays, including one about Saved by the Bell, but for the most part it was just pompous rambling)

Aug 31st 2006

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore (Amazon). Flat out, one of the funniest books that I have ever read; I laughed out loud several times while I was reading it. The fact that it takes place in San Francisco was an added bonus for me, but non-Bay-Area folks should still get a big kick out of it.

Sep 1st 2006 edited

Oh, I read alright. I read about two books per week (thanks to the extremely lengthy car pool line at my son's school - I show up an hour before school's over, just to secure a decent spot).

Anywho...

I recommend ANYTHING David Sedaris writes, especially Me Talk Pretty One Day and Holidays on Ice. If you are a fan, you won't be able to put the latter down before finishing the 100 or so pages.

I also enjoy Laurie Notaro's books - I think there's only one left that I have not read yet.

I tend to stick with humorous or uplifting books. I also enjoy books like Angel Dogs and Bark If You Love Me, etc.... one of my own dogs is featured in the Living With A Boxer Book!

I think this thread is a great idea and look forward to snagging a bunch of suggestions. I'll use them to plan out my Personal Car Pool Reading Program for the remainder of the school year!

Sep 1st 2006

I am always reading but lately it seems to be magazines and newspapers or else scientific or historical books...I rarely get to read a good novel anymore. I did read the Da Vinci code last year while my premature daughter was in the hospital and it was very good...it helped to pass the time while I would wait for her to wake up.

Now I read a lot of Dr. Suess and Curious George! The good news is that my daughter appears to have picked up my reading habit...she will spend hours looking at books and loves to be read to.

Sep 1st 2006 edited

I just finished a few books:

-- Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld -- it was a good summer beach book

-- Holidays on Ice by David Sederis -- quick, easy, fun read

-- Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman -- someone above mentioned that his writing is pompous rambling, which it totally is, but if you can ignore his hipster trendy, I'm so cool I'm not cool references, his books can be good reads. That being said, he once blew me off at a party so the fact that I still read his stuff is saying something [although I was acting like a total idiot fangirl]

My To Be Read pile includes Life of Pi, Middlesex, All the President's Men, and Catch 22 among others.

Dump Roy -- Can't believe there's another Laurie Notaro fan out there. She's a great writer.

And for anyone interested, I have a friend who runs an online magazine that I recently wrote an essay for. I was not a big reader until I moved to NYC and read in the subway so I went back and read all the books I was supposed to read as a kid. It was quite an adventure. Link here

Sep 1st 2006

sharky: Very nice, entertaining essay. Cute pics too!

Sep 1st 2006

garbagethrower: Thanks! It's all about the pipe cleaner tiara. :)

Sep 1st 2006

I really read mostly science books, so I can't provide anything with much mass appeal. But, I do have a few things to contribute.

It is my opinion that Angels and Demons is the better of the two Robert Langdon books by Dan Brown (and will also make the better movie, which has been greenlighted). A short but hilarious read is Naked Pictures of Famous People by Jon Stewart. If you are in any way interested in math: The Golden Ratio by Mario Livio.

Again, other than that it is mostly science. In that respect I can recommend anything by Richard Dawkins (particularly the Ancestor's Tale), Carl Sagan, Michael Shermer, Ken Brown, E.O. Wilson, Brian Greene, or Stephen Jay Gould.

Sep 1st 2006

Carpenter Ants, I too read a lot of science books, though mainly textbooks. I would second the recommendation for Carl Sagan, and I have The Elegant Universe on my shelf of books to read.

We should totally start a book club. With the amount of analyzing that we do for a tv show, I can't even imagine what it would be like if we all picked apart a book.

Sep 1st 2006

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

I first bought for the only because John Krasinski is said to adapt the book to a film. I read it and it was FANTASTIC. David Foster Wallace sure can write. It's a hate it or love it book, but I can tell you that I love it!

Sep 1st 2006

Yeah for all the David Sedaris love. I've read all his books, but I still prefer to listen to him read them. (NPR.org has a bunch of his readings, as does This American Life)

I just finished up Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. I'd been meaning to read her books since I started listening to her on NPR and laughing and learning a lot, and so I read her three most recent books during the past two months. (She has another one that my library doesn't have.) I loved them all, they're really funny, and educational, and I love the way she writes. like. this. sometimes.

I've also been reading a lot of philosophy (i'm a first year philosophy major), most recently Descartes' Meditations and Russell's Problems of Philosophy.

I also just went through this weeks New Yorker about an hour ago. Good stuff.

One book that I'd reccomend to anyone is "Einstein's Dreams." Really well written, very quick read.

Sep 2nd 2006

Pont -- I love the New Yorker. Such a great publication. When I lived in NYC, I would be reading a book and saving two or three weeks of those up and then spend a week catching up on the subway. Unfortuantely, I live in Indiana now so no subway to read and with my New Yorkers piling up, I switched to the Atlantic Monthly, which I would also recommend.

Sep 2nd 2006

We should totally start a book club. With the amount of analyzing that we do for a tv show, I can't even imagine what it would be like if we all picked apart a book.

What a great idea, CZJ. Maybe I'll do that this weekend. "Be the change you want to see..." I can't find a book club, so I'll make one. And you're right - we'd have a lot to say, I bet :-) I'll post a link later.

The good news is that my daughter appears to have picked up my reading habit...she will spend hours looking at books and loves to be read to.

That's great, Jinx. My daughter is the same way. She wants to read all the time, which I love. And even my son, who rarely sits down, loves books, so that's one sure-fire way to get him to sit for at least a few minutes. It's one activity I can do for myself that doesn't make me feel guilty, too. I know it's good for them to see me reading, so we can all do it together - they "read" their books and I read mine. Better than the playground for sure (I am not a willing playground mom - hot, boring, mind-numbing...TWSS).

Has anyone read any Augusten Burroughs? I have Running with Scissors in my stack, and I'm thinking about getting to it sooner rather than later. He's coming to speak here in late October (our library system is absolutely amazing, and their Novello festival every fall is unsurpassed) and I want to go, so I'd like to read his books first. I've heard him compared favorably to David Sedaris, so I have good feelings about it.

Sep 2nd 2006

Great topic. My dad is a retired high school English teacher and reviews books for the local paper and I inherited a love of reading from him.

I am currently reading All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren, a fictionalized account of Huey Long that won the 1947 Pulitzer Price. A good read but kind of slow. I don't always read such serious fare, I mix in a lot of fun and easy books.

James, great call on Christopher Moore. If you haven't already you should read more of his stuff. I especially recommend Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.

Other authors I like include Michael Connelly, E.L. Doctorow, James Ellroy, Carl Hiaasen, John Irving, Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, David Morrell, Tom Perrotta, Richard Price, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, Michael Chabon, Graham Joyce, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Robbins, Albert Camus, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bernard Malamud, and J.D. Salinger.

Sep 2nd 2006

My guilty pleasure books are Sue Grafton's "A is for..." letter series novels. The last one I read was "Q is for Quarry," which was a fictionized account based on actual events involving a woman's body found in a quarry.

Also, I adore anything written by Caleb Carr, especially "The Alienist." I wish he would write more.

Sep 3rd 2006

I'm taking five English courses this semester, so I can't really do any more reading for fun :-(

But of what I have read for pleasure, I can recommend the following:

The Beatles, Bob Spitz: probably the best single-volume book on the band and their career arc, the best description of just what "Beatlemania" was like even if it's at disservice to their later years (seems to skim through 1965-1966). I'm re-reading it now, when I don't have to have something from class taking up my time.

All The President's Pets, Mo Rocca: just plain silly. And funny.

Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby: You don't have to know soccor to appreciate and like this one.

Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis: read this for class over the summer, not too bad.

Sep 3rd 2006 edited

Has anyone read any Augusten Burroughs? I have Running with Scissors in my stack...

I like him. His novel Dry is a tad depressing, but I found Magical Thinking to be absolutely fantastic. I can't think of the title of his newest release (yellow cover), but it's definitely on my list of books to read.

I don't quite know how I feel about the movie version of Running With Scissors. I thought the book was very amusing and honestly don't think I'll see it when it comes out - I have a hard time picturing this on the big screen.

As far as a comparison to David Sedaris, I prefer the latter, but only slightly. I find them both to be very enjoyable.

P.S. Laurie Notaro is considered by some, to be the "female" David Sedaris, if that means anything to you. I've read her stuff too and she's fantastic.

Sep 3rd 2006

Oh, forgot to add another one of my faves: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman.

Sep 3rd 2006

Sarah Vowell is great if you're into David Sedaris, she's the master of the odd historical essay. Her latest book, Assasination Vacation, is pretty good, if you don't mind the morbid topic of political murders (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley)

Sep 11th 2006

I'm about a hundred pages into Here They Come by Yannick Murphy. It's a novel about growing up in New York, I guess in the seventies; it's very impressionistic and vingette-y, but it's also pretty great.

David Foster Wallace sure can write.

Wallace is one of my favorite authors. His essay collections, Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, are definitely worth checking out.

Pont -- I love the New Yorker. Such a great publication.

This is parenthetical, but I was an intern there this summer and I couldn't imagine a better place to work.

Sep 11th 2006

Wow! I knew this was a literary bunch, and I've picked up some great recommendations here. I'm excited to get started on my "new" books. Keep 'em coming, and thanks!

Sep 11th 2006 edited

This is parenthetical, but I was an intern there this summer and I couldn't imagine a better place to work.

I'd imagine that must have been completely awesome. (Just as long as you stayed away from the humbuggery of Anthony Lane and David Denby)

Sep 11th 2006

I'd imagine that must have been completely awesome. (Just as long as you stayed away from the humbuggery of Anthony Lane and David Denby)

Haha, actually, Denby's office was not far from mine. Sometimes I'd overhear him talking to an editor, and every time I'd think, "Holy shit! It's Jeff Goldblum!" because that's exactly who he sounds like.

Sep 12th 2006

I've always been a big Vonnegut fan, but I'd imagine most of you have read his stuff.

Sep 12th 2006

So...Catch-22. It's a great book, hilarious and cynical and gut-wrenching as they come. Don't worry if you get disoriented early on; you're supposed to be, and the whole book is like that. Reminds me a little of the quirky Office environment.

Oct 10th 2006 edited

Good thing I used the search feature, as I almost started a new topic looking for book recommends. I knew this place is crawling with readers. Some books I've read and enjoyed recently (and not so recently, I'll just throw out other titles and see what kind of recommendations I get back):

*The Kite Runner
*His Dark Materials trilogy
*anything by Nick Hornby
*almost anything by Dave Eggers
*the entire Ender series by Orson Scott Card
*Y: The Last Man (graphic novel series)
*Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (non-fiction)
*Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (non-fiction; author also wrote Into Thin Air, which I'd also recommend)

I've thrown a few disparate titles onto the list because I have a pretty eclectic reading taste, so if you can give any suggestions based on the above, my library card is quivering with anticipation.

Oct 10th 2006

Don't bash Historical Fiction--Shogun is one of my all time faves. It's got sex, intrigue, culture clash, and violence, and the Anjin-san is the alphaest of all alpha males. Plus beautiful ladies.

I do belong to a book club, and we recently loved Shadow of the Wind.

This sounds dorky, but I recently read The French Lieutenant's Woman (that had its hipness come and gone already) totally dug it.

I also recommend Catch-22--it's a doozy of a start but it's the only book I've ever read where you finish the last page and turn immediately back to the first.

I also love Harry Potter, and wish I could find an intelligible discussion forum out there. Too many fans are too tuned in to the very lastest interview and movie stills... I can't keep up and don't want to talk about anything that's not in the books.

I really liked Possession (the book, not the Gwyneth movie), too. Sort of romance meets historical fiction meets detective tale and not in the least contrived.

Oct 10th 2006 edited

I just finished rereading Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, a novel about two kids, one black and one white, growing up in 1970s Brooklyn, pushing their friendship through mistake after painful mistake. It's a meteor of a book -- I really can't say enough good things about it.

And Dr. Krentist, I gotta give props on the Jon Krakauer recommendations, especially Under the Banner of Heaven. Didn't Pam/Jenna list that on her MySpace awhile back?

Oh -- and Catch 22 is sweet as hell. As others have mentioned, it does a great job of jerking your emotions around, from laugh-out-loud humor to scenes of incredible power and solemnity.

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