Post Your Favourites

Recommendations, discussions, and odes to your favorites
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russetpomme
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Post Your Favourites

Post by russetpomme » December 6th, 2009, 4:43 pm

I thought I'd list the three books closest to my elbow at the moment, and what I like about them:

1) Plainwater, by Anne Carson - I discovered Anne Carson through a friend of mine and now I read her works for the same reason I read Italo Calvino (translated) - sometimes I like to swim around in the language and let it paint pictures in my head and Anne Carson is amazing for that. Check out this snippet from Plainwater:
On Homo Sapiens

With small cuts Cro-Magnon man recorded the moon's phases on the handles of his tools, thinking about her as he worked. Animals. Horizon. Face in a pan of water. In every story I tell comes a point where I can see no further. I hate that point. It is why they call storytellers blind - a taunt.
2) Break by Hannah Moskowitz - Hannah is the reason I am comfy reading YA written in first person present tense (being mostly a reader of arcane Victoriana and non-fiction, I found this really difficult at first until I started reading her work). She is the queen of voice, and I know if I am reading passages of a book through my fingers because the action is so intense that it'll be a book I read again and again. Break's definitely my fave 2009 debut.

3) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - I don't actually like this book, and that's why I'm listing it. I think Atwood is a master (mistress?) but when I read this I got the distinct impression that it was written by someone much older and out of touch with modern tech. Like, it would have been an amazing dystopian if it had come out in 1996, but being released in 2005 it seemed a little too...dated? I'm having trouble articulating my actual beef with this book. It's masterfully written of course, who would expect less? But it reads like it was written by someone translating a story they heard from someone else without understanding some of the nuances behind it. Like Atwood was told about this internet thing and knew it had porn, so that went in there, and then some stuff about urban gardeners because of course THAT was a hot topic so that went in there too. I don't know. Anyone else want to chime in?

jurat
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by jurat » December 7th, 2009, 12:47 pm

I'm going to have to go with the book that I'm currently reading.

John Irving - Last Night in Twisted River

A lot of fun to read.

And also A Shadow in The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

My favorites change every month though. In my opinion you can never have too many favorites.

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Susan Quinn
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by Susan Quinn » December 7th, 2009, 1:48 pm

I just recently posted a list, gathered from blog readers of the awesome Natalie Whipple, about books to Keep Boys Reading. It's a selection of MG and YA books that readers found their boys enjoying, and about the importance of getting good books into kids hands, so their reading doesn't fall off a cliff as they get older.
Susan Kaye Quinn (young adult and middle grade author)
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casnow
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by casnow » December 7th, 2009, 2:05 pm

Lamb by Chris Moore
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Man the Machine, and essay by Mark Twain

Three of the best I have ever read for completely different reasons.

lmartone
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by lmartone » December 7th, 2009, 2:42 pm

Oh, Casnow, I loved Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Haven't read it in years, though - must refresh my memory.

wilhem spihntingle
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by wilhem spihntingle » December 7th, 2009, 2:53 pm

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. An epic (900 page) novel. Could not put it down.

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Scott
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by Scott » December 7th, 2009, 3:47 pm

The Secret History –– I feel very much like the male Ms. Tartt sometimes.

Tropic of Cancer –– Miller loved to break the rules, and he did so with infectious zeal.

Donald Ray Pollock –– lit fic for guys' guys.

Michael Crichton –– Page turners with beaucoup brains.

Philip K. Dick –– long on ideas.

ink spills
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by ink spills » December 7th, 2009, 4:32 pm

Atlas Shurgged, by Ayn Rand - I think I highlighted half of the (1100 page) book. I was hooked from this scene, where a character recalls an oak tree from his childhood.
It had stood there for hundreds of years, and he thought it would always stand there. Its roots clutched the hill like a fist with fingers sunk into the soil, and he thought that if a giant were to seize it by the top, he would not be able to uproot it, but would swing the hill and the whole of the earth with it, like a ball at the end of a string. He felt safe in the oak tree's presence; it was a thing that nothing could change or threaten; it was his greatest symbol of strength.
"One night, lightning struck the oak tree. Eddie saw it the next morning. It lay broken in half, and he looked into its trunk as into the mouth of a black tunnel. The trunk was only an empty shell; its heart had rotted away long ago; there was nothing inside - just a thin gray dust that was being dispersed by the whim of the faintest wind.
To me, that is story-telling magic.

ThinkBlue
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by ThinkBlue » December 7th, 2009, 6:46 pm

Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union is fantastic.

Chazz
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by Chazz » December 7th, 2009, 7:24 pm

russetpomme: I liked Oryx and Crake. She's a fiction writer, not a futurist. I don't care for much of her work but that was a good story of one possible future. I didn't get the sense that she was trying to keep up with the latest on urban gardening. As for porn, that's timeless and forever.

My most favorite book is by William Goldman. It's called The Color of Light. It's about a young writer, so there's that obvious pull. Goldman is better known as a screenwriter (Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, Marathon Man, The Princess Bride and many others) which may explain why he's the most underrated American author there is.

He has the knack of taking you by surprise, just when you think you know what comes next. If you have a chance, read anything he's written. (And every screenwriter knows his non-fiction work Adventures in the Screen Trade. Hilarious and enlightening, too.)

atpf14
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by atpf14 » December 7th, 2009, 7:31 pm

Don't miss Peter Cameron's Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You. One of the most interesting male protagonists I've met in a long time, and the voice! It's a pleasure to read. I was even motivated to write a fan letter -- a rare occurrence -- and I got this really sweet reply.

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marilyn peake
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by marilyn peake » December 7th, 2009, 9:13 pm

I started reading Oryx and Crake, but haven't finished it yet. I think it's excellent so far. I think most fiction projects are just one story about what could happen or might never happen but is an exploration of another possible world, not necessarily a prediction of what the author thinks will definitely come to pass. For example, Cormac McCarthy got the idea for The Road by looking out the window while on a trip with his young son and wondering what it might be like if they were alone in a barren world.
Last edited by marilyn peake on December 7th, 2009, 10:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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marilyn peake
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by marilyn peake » December 7th, 2009, 10:08 pm

Right now, I'm reading the steampunk novel, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, and am really enjoying it. Some of my favorite novels: The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Encounter with Tiber by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, many more.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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pabrown
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by pabrown » December 7th, 2009, 10:21 pm

Anything by Michael Connelly, but especially The Poet, Scarecrow and City of Bones
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series
Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series
L.A. Rex by Will Beall
Hollywood Station series by Joseph Wambaugh

As you can see, I like cop stories
GK Parker
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Harper Karcz
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Re: Post Your Favourites

Post by Harper Karcz » December 7th, 2009, 10:55 pm

atpf14 wrote:Don't miss Peter Cameron's Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You. One of the most interesting male protagonists I've met in a long time, and the voice! It's a pleasure to read. I was even motivated to write a fan letter -- a rare occurrence -- and I got this really sweet reply.
That's one of my favorites, too! I read it in the summer of '08 -- I remember it well because as soon as I finished it, I went right back to page 1 and started reading again. Also, when I was in LA a couple months ago, I made a James Sveck-inspired walk to the Getty Museum. ;)
Having just the vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution.

-- Stephen Sondheim

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