Thursday, November 4, 2010


This picture is blurry on purpose. I don't want you to judge me for my bottom-shelf trashy titles: bodice rippers and wizards.
I love to read. I don't have a ton of time to read anymore what with kids and work and a boyfriend and a house that's falling down around me, but there have been times in my life when I have consumed books like food and lost touch with reality, wrapped up in stories.

I still read, when I have a lunch break at work where I don't need to do my grocery shopping, or at home when Eric is studying. Or, you know, in the bathroom.

But it has been so long since I've read the kind of book that keeps me up all night, unable to sleep till I know how the story ends, or cried at the beauty of the words, or felt that a book was telling the story of my inner... um... junk.

Since my teens I have devoured everything by Sommerset Maugham, E.M. Forster, the Brontes, Jane Austen and Shirley Jackson. And Mary Webb. Oh! Mary Webb. Precious Bane is the most beautiful book I have ever read.

And science fiction, too. William Gibson and Iain M. Banks. And fantasy, John Crowley and Neil Gaiman. I keep these books segregated on the shelves. Separate but equal.

Eric disapproves of the way I've organized my book shelves. I group my books by genre, and then by era, and then by mood. He uses a strict alphabetical fiction/non fiction method on his shelves.

Funny story. Eric's dad was visiting us from England over the summer and I came upstairs to change my clothes. I'm halfway up the steps with my shirt half off and I find Peter IN MY BEDROOM perusing my bookshelves. He said he liked the way I had my books organized. That it made perfect sense to him.  I put my shirt back on.

Anyhoo. What I'm getting at here is that I'm at a loss. I'm looking for suggestions. Have you read anything amazing that you can recommend? No downers - I've read my fair share of Hardy and Eliot. Nothing too modern-day-real-life. I like a little escapism. If it makes me laugh or cry I'm sold.


  1. The two funniest books I can think of off the top of my head are Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher and Southern Fried Divorce by Judy Conner. You'd probably also enjoy Terry Pratchett's Discworld books if you haven't read them already (you probably have). Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was pretty good.

    Also, I recommend this blog: It's pretty awesome.

  2. First, may I applaud your fantastic organization strategy. I'm a strict alphabetic guy myself, but it's more about a compulsion than the belief that it's the best way to do things.

    Second, if you haven't yet read Yann Martel's "Life of Pi" then get on it. It was published in 2003, so it's modern fiction without being "new" fiction. Martel manages to be playful with image and language in a way that disarms you, and you don't realize you've been disarmed until the final few pages when everything you think you know completely changes.

    One more recommendation: "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger. It's the closest thing to "To Kill A Mockingbird" I've ever read, in the sense that the story is narrated by a child who loves his father, and Enger, like Harper Lee with Scout, is able to give him voice without being condescending or overly sentimental. It's a fantastic story.

    Happy reading!

  3. Amanda, I have read some of the Discworld books and Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrel (in fact I think you can just make that one out in the picture.) I will check out the other ones - thanks. And thanks for the blog link.
    Riley, I read The Life of Pi a few years ago. I loved it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. I'm a huge Sedaris fan (both David & Amy)and we like Martin Amis except I feel inadequate after I read anything he writes.
    John Irving for the beach or vacation, Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy or Mondo Desperado.
    Like you I keep running out of time to read when life gets in the way but I'm still trying:)

  5. Oooh. I am adding all this stuff to my list.

  6. Damnit Duf beat me. Again. With a tennis racket. The Sedaris clan makes me clap with joy. On the memoir tip, I suggest A Girl Named Zippy. It made me tremendously happy.

  7. Ooh, I can't believe I forgot to mention The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood! It is my very favorite novel and it will make you laugh AND cry. Skip the movie, though. That is the very worst book-to-film adaptation I have ever seen.

  8. I'm so excited to go to the bookstore with this list in my sweaty little hand.


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