Oh, Literature. How I've Missed You!

For some reason, it didn’t quite register when my husband pointed the camera at me as I opened my birthday gift a week and a half ago, that there was something truly special secreted under the purple flowered wrapping paper I’d bought during a school fundraising drive several years ago. It turns out that he wanted to capture the look on my face as I opened the package to find my biggest (current) materialistic dream had been fulfilled.

He bought me a Kindle. And I am in love. Um, with him. Yeah, that’s what I meant.

Here’s the not-so-flattering picture he got, by the way:

That's what we call "genuine surprise"

As someone who gave up the love of reading as life got more and more hectic and then a baby was thrown into the equation, I fondled my new electronic device with mixed emotions. Of course, I was elated by the gadget…and the fact that my darling husband had actually heard something I’d said in the past six months. But, there was the fear that I wouldn’t use it enough. That it would be a waste of money.

Fortunately, I’m already about 90% done with my first novel (Alice Sebold’s Almost Moon) and already have a wish list in mind. Next will be The Timetraveler’s Wife, and then is Wicked. (I’m telling you, I am really far behind in pop culture reading.)

But, I’m not content with my piddly little list of “must reads.” I am insatiable at the moment. That’s why I’m asking you to offer suggestions for my wish list. What should I read, and why? Tell me about your favorite fiction. What classics make the world a better place by their mere existence? Fill me in on industry books I should be reading. What authors will blow my mind? What’s the best nonfiction book I’ve been missing out on for these last several years?

Go crazy, people. I’m hoping to have a list of 100 “must-read” books that lets me know my husband will get his money’s worth out of this purchase.

Comments

  1. Okay, I’m gonna jump here. I read a lot and I read everything I can get my hands on. It’s how I go to sleep at night. One of the best, most recent books I’ve read, actually 2 books in a trilogy was the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know, these were written for the young adult crowd, (I’m still young) but like the Harry Potter series, lots of adults are reading this. There are many reasons I suggest this trilogy, 3rd book to be out next year, but let me just tell you the down side. I couldn’t put them down. The descriptions were so easily envisioned and my heart thumped right along with the characters. I read until I couldn’t see and then found myself anxious to get to bed the next night to continue. I don’t know if I can wait for the 3rd book. Also supposed to be a movie in 2011. Read it and let me know how you feel.
    P.S. How do you like the Kindle?

  2. Hello Lorna,

    May I first belatedly wish you Many Happy Returns.

    Secondly, I heartily recommend Joseph Hellers’ Catch 22 and Closing Time (the sometimes missed sequel) as all that is good in Literature that you may have been missing!

    Also perhaps The Liar by Stephen Fry, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, anything by David Sedaris or Matt Taibbi (not fiction), Tomas by James Palumbo, Choke by Chuck Palahnuik and my favourite Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.

    Plenty there to keep you entertained for a quite a while and a few that may blow your mind too.

    Simon

  3. while i’m not quite sure exactly what a kindle is…i will google it when i get done writing this..haha…my top four authors would be Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb, this series is addicting! Anything by Mary Higgins Clark or James Patterson and you can’t go wrong :) And if you are looking for a good laugh, Janet Evonovich will keep you in stitches with her Stephanie Plum series….now off to google…haha…happy reading :)

  4. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, by J. Rnady Taraborrelli

    He is an amazing biographer who thoroughly does his research. I’m not much of a Marilyn fan (at least I wasn’t before this book!), but I love his writing, and he has certainly opened my mind up to the troubled, yet glamourous, life that Marilyn Monroe lived. Highly recommended!

  5. The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. You’ll know when you read the electronic jackets if they are your bag. They are dark mysteries, possibly supernatural, maybe not, set in 1940s Barcelona. Fiction.

    Better and Complications by Atul Gawande. (Those are two titles.) He’s a doctor speaking about the downfalls of modern medicine, and he’s also a very good writer. Nonfiction.

    Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. You may not agree with everything he has to say, but wow, is this a great book to make you think about punishment and rewards in parenting. Nonfiction.

    Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson. Extremely underrated, but a fascinating look at family dynamics and the nature of truth in the retelling. Does the reality of events matter as much as the reality they became? Fiction.

    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood is a must-read in my world. Fiction.

    I read a heck of a lot of YA, so these are the recent “grownup” books I can heartily recommend. If you like YA, I can hook you up.

    I’m glad Wicked is on your list. Be aware, it is nothing like the musical, thank Jello. It actually has substance. What, my bias is showing? *carefully tucks it back in*

    There are so many more; we all have these lists, I suppose, but here’s a good start!

  6. Dusti asked me to respond with some book suggestions:
    Ann Rice The Witching Hour
    Marion Zimmer Bradley The Mists of Avalon
    Any mysteries by Tony Hillerman
    Jody Picoult- any of her books
    Ivan Doig- This HOuse of Sky, English Creek
    HOpe this gives yousome ideas
    Theresa

  7. Rebecca by Daphne Dumaurier comes to mind. I keep going back to it and re-reading and I get more out of it each time.

    The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks) – so beautifully written.

    The Other Boleyn Girl (Phillipa Gregory) – the period is really brought to life and you feel like a fly on the wall as the story unfolds.

    The Chamber (John Grisham) – I could feel the heat and humidity of the Deep South as I read this one.

  8. Absolutely, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Just finished it for a book club- PHENOMENAL!

  9. Wodehouse, Wodehouse and more Wodehouse…

    On a serious note.. there is The Japanese Wife by Kunal Basu.

  10. You should read the real classics

    Robert stevenson- treasure island
    Jules verne- journey to the center of the earth
    The bourne trilogy
    And one of my favorite the witching hour- anne rice

  11. I should really check if some small presses have books for Kindle. I’d certainly take a look at the Coffeehouse Press titles if they’re available.

  12. Lorna Doone Brewer says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. I’m compiling a list to share on the blog soon!

    @Laney – The first one I got broke about 1/3 of the way through Wicked, so I had to wait for a replacement, but I am really liking the device, especially the facts that I can use it one-handed and I don’t have to flip through to try and find where I left off last time.

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