Dec 19, 2010

The Sunday Salon – In Which You Pick Books For Me (Again)

The Sunday Salon.com

Good morning, Sunday Saloners. So, I’m finally home for the holidays, which means that I’ve been reunited with my main TBR pile after several months away. The reunion is only temporary, though – grad school resumes in early January, and after that I probably won’t get to come home again at all until the late spring at the very earliest, and even then just for a week or so.

I’ve mostly given up the idea of taking books back with me in January (with very few exceptions – I won’t forget Tigana, Memory, or Skulduggery Pleasant, Kelly). Not only do I have enough books to eventually bring back as it is, but Christmas presents will most likely take over a great percentage of my luggage weight allowance. I’m actually really hoping I don’t get any hardcover books for Christmas, because I’d hate to have to leave them behind.

All of this means that I’m determined to make the most of the next three weeks and read as much as I can from my TBR pile. Of course, the holiday season is never great for reading; this year, in addition to wanting to enjoy the holidays and spend time with my family (four-legged members included, of course), I have a lot of school work to do. Still, I should easily manage to get through some three or four books. But with over a hundred to pick from, the remaining question is which. I’m sure there are some real gems hiding away in my TBR pile, but how can I discover them without your help?

Before moving away last summer, I asked you to pick five books from my TBR for me to read, and the result were some of my very favourite reads of the year. So I’m going to do it again: if you have a few minutes to spare, could you go through my TBR on LibraryThing and tell me what I should read right now? I’d give you some of the Lebkuchen Spice cookies I’m baking later on if I could, but as I can’t, I know that a thank you will be enough. I trust you all to pick some excellent books for me.

I’ll leave you with a gratuitous cat picture, as per Cass’ request. It’s so good to see him and his siblings again.

Kittehs are awesome

57 comments:

  1. Kitty!!!!!! And ... Her Fearful Symmetry :D :D :D

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  2. You beat me to it. :)

    Since I can't say what you knew I'd say: V FOR VENDETTA.

    Also: yay, cat!

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  3. Once, which should only take an hour or so to read, or Black Swan Green

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  4. Choices... Choices... Either Grl2Grl or The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine

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  5. Pretty kitty :D

    As for the books: read Luna. You're going to love it, I promise. If not, I can eat my laptop (don't own any hats), but I know it won't be the case (lol).

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  6. well there are 2 on your long list (I beat you by 4! lol) that I have read and both I so totally enjoyed that I know I will read them again!... those are:
    1.Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story
    and..
    2.Drood: A Novel
    One is short the other very long but both are excellent reads. (at least to me they are)
    Good luch choosing!

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  7. Gah - I want to read each and every one of the books you've suggested so far (and Alessandra, lol - I won't make you eat your laptop :P). That's two points for Black Swan Green then... keep them coming :D *passes virtual cookies around*

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  8. Well, since you'll be pressed for time between the holidays and grad school, I recommend some great short stories: Sherlock Holmes and Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones (Conrad's Fate was OK but not my favorite, so you can put that one off). I also really liked Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.

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  9. Lost in a Good Book or Luna!! Those are my suggestions. :)

    I'm not sure I want to do grad school anymore, after hearing all about the work from you and Aarti...

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  10. Oh man, I would be very keen to see what you think of The Cure for Death by Lightning. It is one of my favourite books, but it's pretty dark and disturbing for a holiday read in some ways (yet also somehow uplifting?). Just a fascinating book with a great main character.

    I'll always throw in a vote for Does My Head Look Big in This? which might be a better holiday read -- light and funny, but still thought-provoking.

    For completely light and entertaining and readable between busy holiday activities, you can't go wrong with Sherlock Holmes.

    Enjoy your break, and happy holidays!

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  11. I really liked Case Histories, as well as Her Fearful Symmetry. I wouldn't call them 5 stars, but very strong 4s. Decisions decisions!

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  12. The Three Musketeers is what I would recommend, but it is long.

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  13. I'll vote for Black Swan Green too. also, I absolutely loved the Lian Hearn Otori series; you should start that!

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  14. I love picking books! I would like to vote for the James Shapiro, but I haven't actually read 1599 (only Contested Will) so I don't know. I think Elizabeth Peters's subsequent Amelia Peabody books are worth a read because they are so fun and Ramses grows up and I just love them. And I'd be curious to see what you think of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's been untold years since I read that...

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  15. Hope you are having a wonderful time at home, Ana! My own suggestions : Astonishing Splashes of Colour, V for Vendetta, The Tale of Murasaki, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Three Musketeers. If you can get hold of Murasaki Shikibu's book 'The Tale of Genji' do try reading it sometime (it is regarded as the first ever novel). It is not holiday reading though - it is quite thick. If you get to read 'The Three Musketeers' do try watching the movie version starring Gene Kelly after that. It is wonderful.

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  16. So, um, I'm going to be pretty selfish and only suggest books that I also have on MY TBR pile in the hopes that we can read tone together, perhaps, over the next few weeks :-)

    The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
    Drood
    The Firebrand

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  17. I personally was lukewarm about Black Swan Green, but I think it has the potential to be one you might love - Mitchell is a tight, craftsmanly writer and does a solid job with the coming-of-age theme; it's just that I was a bit tired of that genre at the time. (I was expecting it to be more experimental, based on other books of his like Cloud Atlas.)

    Loved, loved, loved Gilead. And I'd be super-curious about your thoughts on V for Vendetta; I thought it was gripping, but there's one aspect of the plot that struck me as pretty questionable... (are you intrigued? haha)

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  18. Black Swan Green. Wonderful book. My book club all loved it. I loved it so much I downloaded all of the 80's hits mentioned in the novel and burned a CD of them for everyone in the group.

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  19. I echo the recommendations for The Three Musketeers and Sherlock Holmes--I think of those as cosy winter reading. And thanks for the cat picture--she's gorgeous!

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  20. oops, I meant HE'S gorgeous.

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  21. I haven't read many of the books on your list but if I were choosing for myself, I'd choose Geek Love. I really want to read that book and have only heard the most amazing things about it.

    I would, however, love to hear your thoughts on Gilead--a book I have yet to read.

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  22. The best on your tbr list are Gilead, The Secret Scripture, and The Mountain Lion, in that order.

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  23. THE BONE PEOPLE. Yes, yelling again. ;)

    Come on Chris--back me up...

    Hope you have a lovely holiday back home, Ana!

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  24. I haven't really read anything off of your TBR pile except for Dylan Fontane and a few short stories. I'm going to suggest the first two short stories in We Never Talk about My Brother. They are the most perfect short stories ever.

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  25. Thank you for the suggestions, everyone! Black Swan Green is a clear winner so far. Also quite a lot of votes for Drood and The Tree Musketeers, but both are long enough that I worry that if I read them I won't read anything else... decisions, decisions. (And yes, Emily, I AM intrigued about V for Vendetta :P)

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  26. Three Musketeers! Dumas is fantastic and one of my favorite authors.

    I really loved Francesca Lia Block's books when I was in high school, so I'd have to say those as well.

    !!!!

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  27. KITTYCAT! NYMETH!

    My coherently...
    I echo the recommendations for "V
    for Vendetta" and "Luna". Also, "Moonheart". It's so, so beautiful. de Lint manages to capture that feeling of 'fey' so wonderfully... (Also, the trees. So pretty! *hearts*)

    I'd add "Tigana" but since you're adding that already anyway...

    I hope you'll end up with a fantastic list, hun!

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  28. Moon Called for shizzle. Nightingale Floor is supposed to be really good, and I vote for The Prestige just because I liked the movie.

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  29. Well I haven't read many on your LibraryThing, but I am going to recommend Her Fearful Symmetry. It's not too heavy but is very intriguing. Thomas at My Porch named it in his top 10 of 2010 - if that helps sway you :)

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  30. 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Fairest were both books I really liked.

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  31. I second Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Her Fearful Symmetry, and Case Histories. I really loved Case Histories. It does what all the great mysteries do: use the mystery as a way to talk about issues, in this case women and violence. (Of course, the plot itself is very gripping too)

    And I'd like to add a vote for The Devil You Know. It's a lot more noir than what I usually read but it was very good. Felix Castor is great: he's smart, self-deprecating, and inclined to make literary references while still playing the role of "tough guy."

    I also have to give a recommendation for Mister Monday just because Keys to the Kingdom is one of those fantasy series I just want to live in and hang out with the characters and the world. It reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones in that way.

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  32. You should read Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Oh, and the fifth Ratha book is really good, I liked it so much better than books three and four. Those are the only ones on your TBR I've read, but I liked all three!

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  33. Glad you're back home, Ana! :)
    Well I've only read one book from your pile so "Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story" by Carolyn Turgeon is it! ;)

    Happy Holidays!!

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  34. Aww, kitty! It must be nice to be home, with your cats and your books :-) The only book on your TBR I've read is Her Fearful Symmetry, with which I was unimpressed, so I can't recommend it. I have, however, enjoyed Cory Doctorow and Douglas Coupland in the past, and the two on your TBR are on mine as well, so I'll go with those! Can't wait to see what you choose. Have a wonderful holiday!

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  35. Ooh! I love picking books for you!! I am going to vote for Gilead, as I loved Home to pieces and think you would really enjoy that one. I will also choose Across The Nightengale Floor, as I have heard good things about that one. And I am so excited you will be reading Tigana! I just bought that one and am really looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it! Have a wonderful holiday season, Ana, and give your kitties a hug for me!

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  36. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest! For sure!!! And Tigana, only because I have it out from the library and will be reading it soon as well :)

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  37. I really liked the movie - V for Vendetta!
    And I have Geek Love, so I will be waiting for your review, if you get to it :)

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  38. Oh I love that we get to help you pick! :)

    You have a lot of books on your list that I want to read. I'm going to recommend Case Histories. But I'd love it if you read The Bone People. I keep hearing amazing things about that book but also that it's sad. I'm embarrassed to admit that's why I keep putting it off.

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  39. Yay, okay my pick is Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Great urban fantasy series.

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  40. V for Vendetta! Surely :)

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  41. Thank you so much, everyone! Black Swan Green, V for Vendetta and Case Histories seem to be winners, with Her Fearful Symmetry coming close... we'll see what I have time for! I also need to try hard to resist staring my Christmas books right after Christmas, since I'm planning on taking those back with me :P

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  42. You’ve made it! I've just heard that the Brussels airport will clode until Wednesday morning because of lack of anti-freeze liquid (!!!), so again: wish me luck!

    I would go with Generation A (haven’t read it, but will sometime this year as it’s part of the Bees Theme for the One, Two Theme Challenge. Have heard great things about it.) and Tigana (one of my favorite Guy Gavriel Kay, but it seems you’ve already decided to read it…).

    I've had Living to Tell the Tale on my TBR ever since it came out, but somehow never got around to it.

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  43. Oh no, strike that! Read Slammerkin. For the purely selfish reason of I just want to hear what you think of it. I'm 100% certain you will love it. Well...maybe 85%. Okay, 75%. LOL

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  44. Alexandra, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you! I hope you make it home in time.

    Claire, I feel like I ought to read Geek Love just because you've been telling me to for so long :P

    Heather: I will read Slammerskin eventually! But it's not on the list because it's not part of my TBR here.

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  45. I'm too predictable, so I'll refrain. :P

    But I'm glad you wrote this post because I've been struggling, trying to decide what to do about part of your birthday present. There something I really want to send you from Book Depo, but I know it's sort of heavy and you probably wouldn't be able to take it with you. But on the other hand, I know the other part of your gift will be late :( (because both Max and I have projects in the works that probably won't be ready in time) so I'll be sending it to Manchester. I just hate the thought that nothing from me will get to you by your birthday...but I also hate the idea of giving you something that you then just have to leave behind. *sigh* If everything is late, will you promise to remember (and of course, I'll remind you!) how very much I am thinking of you *on* your birthday?

    Btw--Max will be one very happy boy when he gets up. :D

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  46. Yep--you just officially made Maxidoodle's day. :D

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  47. I stopped when I saw Across the Nightengale Floor. I am surprised that it is listed as a children's or YA fantasy. I would classify more as Lord of the Rings level. Or does all fantasy get automatically tagged as YA or kids by Library Thing? Much there in terms of the traditional myth tales (a la Joseph Campbell). I loved the entire series. But that's just me.

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  48. Gorgeous kitty :) I'm glad you shared a picture. As to what to read... I'm interested to see that you have The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it :)

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  49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest!

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  50. Amelia Peabody series (but it's better to read it in sequence), Ellis Peters' A Morbid Taste for Bones and Elizabeth Hand's Winterlong (I loved Waking the Moon). It's exciting choosing a book from your TBR, isn't it? Enjoy your holidays!

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  51. I would suggest One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest since it seems a different sort of book from your usual fare and I'll be very interested to know what you think about it. Enjoy your holiday from school and time with your family and friends!

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  52. Sorry but I have three picks:
    V for Vendetta
    Three Musketeers
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

    Haven't read any of these myself but would love to :) Cute kitty!

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  53. Your cat is so cute! I just want to eat his little face off! Or, um, cuddle him. Glad you shared! And a very merry Christmas to you!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.