Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommended Books

I am finally participating in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Also, just today, someone mentioned I needed to blog more. He's right; I do. Ahem. This is me blogging more (while my dinner gets cold). So, without further adieu, here are the best books I might not have read without a recommendation (or 20).
  1. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins): recommended originally by my friend J, and then C, I finally gave in and read it, and the other two immediately after. They were very engaging. 
  2. The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy): a girl I worked with at the library in college insisted I read this, as it was one of her favorite books. I was not disappointed; it's now one of my favorites and I'd recommend it to almost anyone who hasn't read it. 
  3. Blindness (Jose Saramago): My good friend K & his wife K, both of whom I haven't talked to in way too long, recommended this back in 2003 or 04. I probably wouldn't have found it for ages afterward, and might not have persevered through Saragamo's odd style or the dark subject matter w/o their insistence on it being a necessary read. They were right. You should read it too.
  4. Room (Emma Donoghue): I believe Beth at Bookworm Meets Bookworm finally convinced me I should give this book a shot, or at least, her comments that I should read it were in my head when I saw it on sale at the local bookstore as a 'book club pick' and impulsively bought it. Also dark subject matter. Also excellent. 
  5. Possession (A. S. Byatt): The now husband of one of my best friends in college, a fellow book nerd, absolutely loved this book and insisted we should read it. I was not at all disappointed. 
  6. The Razor's Edge (Somerset Maugham): This was assigned reading my senior year of high school, so I suppose I have Professor S to thank for this one. I remember absolutely adoring this book, and have been meaning to reread it for quite some time. Hoping to happen upon a good used copy soon. 
  7. Mother Night (Kurt Vonnegut): My friend B in high school discovered Vonnegut about the time in high school that bookish sorts discover Vonnegut, and so, by proxy, I did as well. He raved about it, and I'm glad I read it on his recommendation, as it spawned a short spree of devouring Vonnegut novels. Writing this list makes me realize how many books I need to revisit soon... 
  8. Born to Run (Christopher McDougall): lots of strangers I've come across in the running world had recommended this book, especially after I would mention a NYMag article "You Walk Wrong" that I liked and they noted my weird willingness to wear Vibram Five Fingers in public. It's a great read, especially if you're a runner. If you don't wanna go out and run a marathon after it's over, you probably read it wrong. Disclaimer: I have yet to even complete a 5K. I blame bad weather (along with an unwillingness to run on treadmills, which terrify me) and tendinitis.
  9. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy): I don't know if I would have picked this up without some strong urging from a friend or two about a decade ago. It sounded dated and stuff and, well, Russian. But I devoured it, mostly underground, during my commute on the the subway. I highly recommend it; it's well worth the 1000ish pages (depending on edition). 
  10. Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson): My friend E recommended this to me 5 or 6 years ago, and I only got around to reading it a few months ago - after the coconspirator had read and loved it as well. It took me a little bit to get into for some reason, but I loved it in the end. It's a nice mix of futuristic sci-fi and ancient Babylonian religion. 
To take things a step further, here are a few books that have been recommended that I look forward to (or am currently) reading:
  1. American Gods (Neil Gaiman): I've been meaning to read this for ages and am finally diving in, especially after Brenna at Lit Musings mentioned it was well worth reading (I think?). Not sure why it took so long, I loved Neverwhere
  2. Mystic River (Dennis Lehane): This just arrived today! Picked up a used copy after Ben at Dead End Follies raved about it as the book that made him want to write. Also, whatbooktoday and Fatbooks.org have also recommended Lehane. 
  3. Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace): At this point, it might be easier to list who hasn't recommended this. It's the coconspirator's absolute favorite book ever in the world, so, really, I have to read it. Also, I like what I know and of read of Wallace so far. I wish he were still around and we could have him over for dinner. 
  4. The Intuitionist (Colson Whitehead): K, who also recommended blindness, said I had to read this. Finally got a used copy, that arrived today with Mystic River
  5. The Uncoupling (Meg Wolitzer): Carrie at Nomad Reader seemed to really like this book, that I didn't know much about until I read her review. It sounds like something I'd find interesting, at the very least. 
  6. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See): I ordered a nice used copy of this after seeing Beth's review. I haven't read any Chinese lit in a while and this sounds like a good novel to pick up. 
I could go on and on, but you really don't need me to write out my entire TBR list do you? Because I'm not going to. That would take all night. 


  1. I've never read any Gaiman but I keep seeing people rave about him. I should finally check him out. Also I'm off to see how I'm walking wrong...

  2. I saw McDougall speak at a book fair in NC, and my bf's company sells copies of the title alongside the five fingers that I just recently purchased. He's finished half, so I'm thinking I'll need to pick it up once he's done.

    This is quite the list. I can thank you for raving about The Razor's Edge, which persuaded me to read it, even if I despised many part of it. I now realize that I have bump my copy of Possession up on the TBR list. I always trust your reviews, so I'll let you know when I do.

    Great list!

  3. Can't wait to read what you have to say about Mystic River

  4. Room IS good. I listened to the audio version, and loved it. I also loved The God of Small Things, and it was also recommended to me. I look forward to reading Infinite Jest as well, as (sadly) I'm just discovering his writing as his new book is getting a ton of publicity. Happy reading!

  5. Red - Hope you liked the article & Gaiman! I'm not entirely sure how I like American Gods yet.

    Beth - Ooh, what did you despise in the Razor's Edge? It's been 15 years since I read it; I might feel differently about it now than in high school.

    Ben - I will let you know! Lots of Lehane fans out there, so I'm intrigued.

    Emily - Yes it is! I wonder how different it is experiencing the book as spoken. I'm late to the DFW train as well, although I've known about him since the mid 90s.

  6. I just finished The Hunger Games last weekend and really enjoyed it! All the hype kept me from picking it up for so long...I just hate being disappointed by a book that so many people rave about. However, after so many readers/bloggers whose opinion I respect recommended it, I decided to give it a go. I just bought Catching Fire at Strand, and I'm hoping it lives up to the first!

  7. That's great! I was the same way, actually, for the same reasons. I'm also glad I read the trilogy. I'm pretty sure you'll like the next two, although I guess some people really hated Mockingjay for some reason, but I might have liked that one most of all.

  8. Thanks for the link love, Zeteticat! Also, I just added The God of Small Things to my TBR - I searched it on Amazon and it sounds quite interesting.


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