144 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Books

  1. I’m reading “Dating Jesus”, which I think is about how one woman overcomes her fundamentalist background and ends up a feminist, though right now, she doesn’t seem to be overcoming, so much as….smack dab in the mix of things.

    Hopefully, it’ll be interesting when she actually starts to talk about how her faith changed/escaped/disappeared? and how her feminism began to flower.

  2. I just finished Sunshine by Robin McKinley, which, in spite of my dislike for vampire books, rocked my face off.

    This is going to make re-reading it a bit problematic, though.

  3. dareva, I love Robin McKinley’s books!

    Right now I’m working my way through the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. I highly recommend them to anyone who likes mysteries and literature.

  4. D’oh, I meant to do the fluff we talked about last week but I forgot it was Friday. I’m reading Stanislaw Lem’s Peace on Earth, which I’ve read several times but I grabbed it for the trip to New York because it fits in my purse, so now it’s in my purse so I’m reading it. Just finished Life of Pi which I didn’t like much at all.

  5. “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson, which I realize everyone else read years ago. But by waiting to read it until now, I got to savor the part where it’s a sign of Things Gone Wrong that when a guy gives up mountain climbing to build schools for poor kids in Pakistan, he gains weight.

  6. I’m almost done with Zadie Smith’s The Autograph Man. It’s not quite as delightfully sprawling as her other books–for one thing, there’s only one protagonist. And he’s kind of a douche. But of course the writing is still gorgeous and witty and poignant and insightful and so forth. I really love Zadie Smith.

  7. Actually my school related reading is pretty cool right now. I’m taking an Environmental Literature class this term

    currently:
    “A Sand County Almanac” Aldo Leopold
    “My First Summer in the Sierra” John Muir (I have a super time machine crush on John Muir)

    on deck:
    “Refuge” Terry Tempest Williams

  8. I’m reading a really good book called “The Girls” by Lori Lansens. It’s the fictional autobiography of conjoined twins. If I didn’t have to work and do homework, I’d never put it down.

    I just got More Information Than You Require for Christmas and got to the table about the presidents before picking The Girls, which had distracted me from all other reading.

  9. I just read those too, JR. I bought seven books with gift cards so I caught up on the Thursday Next ones as well…till I discovered there’s a fifth I don’t have yet.

    I’ve been a McKinley fan for a while. I avoided Sunshine because of the vampire thing, but apparently McKinley > vampires.

  10. I’m currently reading “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s a pretty good read, even if it is a bit long-winded for my taste. Next on my reading list is Susan Sonntag’s “In America”. I was browsing through the shelves in my library and it sort of leaped out at me. Has anybody read it yet?

  11. I just finished “Foreskin’s Lament” by Shalom Auslander. Brilliant! I laughed the whole way through it. Especially for Jews and New Yorkers, highly recommended.

    I just started reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Larssen) and Stolen Tomorrows (Levenkron) non-fiction on women who were sexually abused as children.

  12. I am currently reading “the Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. I somehow missed this one when I read most of his books the first time years ago. I am really enjoying it.

  13. I somehow missed this one when I read most of his books the first time years ago

    That’d be because it came out in September. :)

  14. I am reading two books, one called Free Lunch, all about how government, through the use of subsidies and tax breaks, is promoting bad for America companies like Walmart, McDonalds, and companies that move manufacturing and customer service overseas. It’s very discouraging-our tax dollars at work to screw us over!

  15. I have 4 textbooks I’m in various stages of reading, plus “The Feminine Mystique,” “The Beauty Myth” and “Where the Girls Are” I need to reread for this semester before they come up in class.

    *sigh* This semester is going to kill me.

    DRST

  16. I’m currently still working my way through Brisinger by Christopher Paolini. I’m in love with the Inheritance series. I also have a ton of Joid Piccoult books waiting in the wings and of course as usual, even though I know it will be quite some time, I am waiting with baited breath for the next Dresden Files book.

  17. Recently I read “The Plot Against American” (Philip Roth) and after reading that I really wanted to read a Lindbergh biography so I picked up “Lindbergh” by A. Scott Berg which was FASCINATING. I knew probably 20-30% of the Lindbergh story (Spirit of St Louis, Kidnapping, America First – roughly) but that man lived one heck of a life.

  18. I somehow missed this one when I read most of his books the first time years ago

    That’d be because it came out in September. :)

    Ahhhh! that makes sense! I was wondering why I had missed it…I need to pay more attention.

  19. Oh, I almost forgot, I’m also reading “Feuchtgebiete” (Wetlands) by Charlotte Roche, which is a VERY sexually and anatomically graphic novel. It’s nothing for the faint of heart and some parts are so crass that I’m not sure if I want to continue reading it.

  20. I just finished More Information Than You Require!

    Right now I’m too busy with school to read for fun. I’ve been attempting to get through The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross for about a year–it’s very good, but I just don’t have the time to commit to it.

  21. Reading “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art” by Don Thompson. It’s good–I’ve studied art history and taught for years, and very few academics ever talk about economics beyond Warhol and Koons being brilliant marketing manipulators. It’s good to get a sense of how auctions and dealers actually operate, even if it is clear that Thompson is totally crochety and hates/fears some of the artists I adore. Highly recommended.

  22. I just finished Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, and was really pleased to find Stephenson “back on form” since I hadn’t really enjoyed his Baroque Cycle trilogy.

    Noticed mention of Jasper Fforde in comments — I cant’ think Christopher Moore enough for including The Eyre Affair on his “recommended reads” page. Waiting with barely concealed excitement for the new series to start in August 2009 and the 6th Thursday Next book in 2010 (by which time ideally I’ll be done school and thus able to feel less guilty about reading for pleasure!)

  23. I’m reading “The Audacity of Hope,” or trying to, but I keep looking at the front cover because the grin cheers me up. I’m also reading whitehouse.gov a lot. And I look forward to the next Michael Moore docurantary – I have no idea whether there is one, but I think it will be harder to write than previous ones. *snigger*.

  24. Currently reading “The Enchantress of Florence” by Salman Rushdie and “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” by Michael Chabon. I’m kinda pushing myself to get back into reading since I quit smoking. (Reading was the only thing that continued to trigger me to want to smoke and I’m gradually getting past it now.)

  25. I just finished Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, and was really pleased to find Stephenson “back on form” since I hadn’t really enjoyed his Baroque Cycle trilogy.

    Glad to hear it, Feisty_Jenn; I didn’t get into the Baroque Cycle either, but had been pondering Anathem.

    I’m reading A Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson, which takes places in like 3329 or something and involves a musician making a grand tour of the solar system and trying to come up with a musical representation of the physics of the day. I’m enjoying it, though it has kind of gone into Da Vinci Code territory in some plot points. The grand tour of the solar system is awesome, however.

  26. Am I the only one here who reads complete brain candy to relax?

    Right now, I’m going through Robert Parker’s Spencer series again. Similar plot lines, but good dialogue.

    I have also been known to read paperback romances by the truckful—but there had better be a plot and a female main character with a brain and a spine.

  27. I’m reading a book called “The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-hunting in the Western World.”

    It’s pretty awesome. I’m just winding down the Salem Witch Trials now and honestly, this book has added to my feelings of hope about what’s going on in the US these days.

    Looking back at this time…it was super easy to convince the populace that a small group of people were the enemies of society and needed to be exterminated. Compared to the size of the population, the number of people executed for witchcraft in Salem was astronomical and all the evidence against them was rumor and hearsay.

    You could say that we were encouraged to look for enemies among us now in the form of terrorists though, as opposed to witches, and while there have definitely been examples of people being falsely accused, it does not seem to be happening on the level it did back then, or even during the Communist witch-hunt 50 some-odd years ago. So maybe we are a little smarter and a little more trusting these days.

  28. I have various books scattered about:

    1. The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold, a fantasy novel which, like most of her work, has splendid everyday type characters.

    2. Afterglow by Jayne Castle, a romance/paranormal novel which isn’t grabbing my interest at all so I’ll probably just return it to the library.

    3. Princep’s Fury by Jim Butcher which seems good, but just not as interesting as the Bujold so it’s getting a bit lost. I’ll finish it sometime.

    4. A book with a hellacious long title about gifted kids and diagnosing ADHD, Depression, Bipolar, Autism and so forth. Essentially how you can differentiate these problems from what’s normal for gifted kids. My kids are on the lower end of intellectually gifted and my girl is ADHD and I’m worried about depression in my eldest so I’m hoping for insights.

    I’m a book addict and will neglect household chores to read….

  29. Fforde-I’ve tried to read The Eyre Affair about six times and I just can’t get into it. I think it’s partly my own resistance to reading as voraciously as I once did.

  30. I read Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind on Wednesday waiting for class to start, and I’ve been reading an anthology on existentialism compiled by Walter Kaufman since my dad gave it to me for Christmas (the irony being that my father and I are both atheistic). I (am) enjoy(ed)(ing) both, though Spring Awakening is far more troubling from a feminist standpoint than most things I read.

  31. Over Xmas read “When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago about her life as a young girl growing up in Puerto Rico and then moving to NYC, very good and now reading her other book “The Turkish Lover”.

    Also got “Dear Fatty” by actress/comedian/writer Dawn French which is a very good and funny read written in letter form to various people. Nancy

  32. Paige said:
    Gilead by Marilynn Robinson. Awesomely brutal

    I read Gilead when it first came out and then re-read Housekeeping, and that was totally the way to go! The two juxtapose each other in ar eally beautiful way.

  33. I’m always in the middle of multiple things. Right now, “The Beauty Myth” (finally), Joan Didion’s “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” (I LOVE this), and “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” (just in case I was too optimistic about our new administration).

  34. Just finished Kindred by Octavia Butler and Greywalker by Kat Richardson. I’m actually doing a 100-book challenge for 2009, and am posting reviews of everything I read.

    Right now, I’m just starting Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher. I’m totally in love with his Dresden files books and decided I needed to read his other stuff too, even though I’m not finished with the Dresden files.

    Oh, and let’s not forget David Weber’s Honor Harrington books. I’m in the middle of In Enemy Hands right now.

  35. Currently reading “The Enchantress of Florence” by Salman Rushdie

    Oh hey, how is it? Huge Rushdie fan (SM is too) but I’ve been disappointed with his recent efforts (after Ground Beneath Her Feet, which I thought was spectacular).

  36. Well, I’m in the middle of Novelties & Souvenirs, the collected short fiction of John Crowley . . . one of the rare f/sf authors who gets a significant amount of attention from the lit-fic world. It’s pretty awesome, and makes me want to read the novels of his that I have in various places.

    If anyone’s really curious about the last, say, two hundred fifty books I’ve read, one could click on my name to visit my review site. It’s mostly speculative fiction, both for YAs and adults.

  37. I’m reading “At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past” by A. Roger Ekirch. It’s a history of night-time in the preindustrial age. It endlessly reminds me of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld — or rather, all the descriptions of city life make me think that the city is Ahnk-Morpork. The book was written in 2005, so Terry Pratchett had well and truly described Ahnk-Morpork before Ekirch wrote “At Day’s Close”.

    I remember my mom reading The Feminine Mystique when it was still new enough to be controversial, and I remember hearing people making comments about it, as if she shouldn’t have been reading such a book. (She was reading it at the swimming pool, right out in public. This was in the early 1960’s, or possibly late 1950’s.)

  38. I’m rereading English Passengers by Matthew Kneale. It takes place in Victorian era England and Tasmania, and deals with the stuff you would expect–racism, imperialism, genocide–from the points of view of a variety of characters. It’s very well-written (it was a finalist for the Booker Prize). The author does a great job of capturing the voices of all the individuals in the book, and believe or not, amidst the tragedy, there’s a great deal of humor.

    I cannot recommend it highly enough. Everyone I have suggested it to has enjoyed it.

    (No, I’m not related to the author. I just used to work in a bookstore and I love recommending good novels.)

  39. Sweet Machine, I love the Lord Peter Wimsey books. Have you read them before? Don’t miss “Busman’s Honeymoon.” It’s incredibly sweet and, in a way, very hot in an oblique 1920s kind of way.

    I’m reading Capote, “Answered Prayers.” What a troll through the sleazy underbelly of high and low society. All the sex talk is turning my stomach, and I usually like that sort of thing.

  40. Well, I just got a beautiful illustrated copy of the Tao de Ching on impulse and am looking forward to pouring over it.

    I also am waiting impatiently for the arrival of a used book I ordered (out of print). It’s called Sewing Tiny Toys. I’m slightly addicted to LJ Spotlight, and just joined Cute Plush, which has rekindled my olden passion for making adorable stuffed animals. I’m actually heading to Hobby Lobby today for supplies, ha! :)

    Most of my books are in storage right now, though, or I’d probably be re-reading a lot of stuff as usual. ^_^ Not as odd as it sounds, my library is vast enough that it’s not like I remember them all or even have read every one yet.

    YAY for books! :D

  41. The Mammoth Book of Best Horror Comics. Which contrary to its title doesn’t have any from EC, but it does include an interesting story by Matt Fox, whom I’d previously only been aware of as an illustrator for the original Weird Tales. Unfortunately, though, the stories are reproduced not only in B&W but also at about — I’m guessing — a bit less than half-size, which in some cases makes them very hard to read.

  42. Sweet Machine, have you read the Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman? Mrs. Pollifax is an older woman who starts spying for the CIA as a way to bring some excitement into her life.

  43. Thursday Next! Dresden! Whee! Sadly, I’ve run clean out of both those series.

    I’m reading “Made From Scratch” by Jenna Woginrich, which is about urban homesteading, and is (thus far) a really quick and edutaining read. It makes me really excited about getting backyard chickens this spring!!

    Also, “The Bell at Sealey Head,” by Patricia McKillip, who remains my favorite author ever. I’m trying not to burn through it in one day.

  44. SM, about the only mysteries I like are dog mysteries. :) The series with Holly Winter as the MC are pretty awesome (if a bit old) and I highly recommended, but you better love dogs or you’re going to be like “um wha? THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL INSANE.”

    There’s another one with a lady who shows poodles but I stopped reading them after the one where her ex comes back because I was disgusted beyond all reason. (Cue character rant!) The lady has been raising the kid by herself after he just up and leaves with no explanation one day, and suddenly there he is at the door and demanding to be in the kid’s life. Not only that, he judges her and is angry that she has a man in her life who sleeps over though she’s not married to him, even though he himself already has another wife at that point. He says he’s not sure it’s good for HIS son to be exposed to that!!!

    And what does she do? Does she get angry? Does she tell him to fuck off? Does she explain anything, or point out the hypocrisy, or at least say “what, Bill, did ya expect me to never have a man again after you?” No, she feels guilty! She knuckles under and takes every ounce of his crap all while beating herself up! I think she even APOLOGIZED to the ass. Up until that point, I had been in love with the series because I saw her as a strong role model, but that episode just left a bad taste in my mouth and I couldn’t pick it up since. I understand that probably does happen and it’s cruel of me to judge, but it felt so out of character for her to me, and I was so upset that his character was allowed to get away with all his bullshit and even made out to seem like a nice guy (he buys her a new car because he sees she’s been struggling… wow, way to make up for years of not being there and not paying child support what?).

    ANYWAY, side rant over, but yeah, leave that series alone. It wasn’t written with feminists in mind. ;)

  45. @SugarLeigh, it’s not much to be jealous about, seriously :-). The reproduction quality is much, much better in DC’s Showcase Presents series, for instance, and I noticed a bit ago that they’ve put out ones for Eerie and House of Mystery.

  46. I just finished all the Twilight books, which drove me crazy, and were not good AT ALL, but I couldn’t stop reading them.

    *hides in shame*

    Also, I just recently read House of Leaves which was super weird, and Crime and Punishment, which made me feel accomplished.

  47. I am reading:

    “Getting to Yes: The Art of Principled Negotiation”
    “Boards that Matter”

    and the fantastically awful “Twilight” series.

  48. I just finished re-reading Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I like vampire books anyway, but this one is really better than just about anything else in the genre. I had to read it to get Twilight out of my head.

    I’m in the middle of Watchmen at the moment. I’m not a big reader of graphic novels, but I’m enjoying this immensely.

    I’ve also been reading productivity books. If you ever feel overwhelmed by all the stuff in your head, I cannot recommend Getting Things Done by David Allen enough. Not fluff for certain, but really useful in making time for more fluff later.

    I recently read Disquiet by Julia Leigh which is indeed weird and creepy, but felt like the first half of a story, not the whole thing.

  49. I’m reading The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar. I do not recommend it – it’s size-negative, I don’t think it’s nearly as funny as it tries to be, and the style annoys me. I’ve started to skim just to get through it and see how it ends, and then it will go into the donation box.

    I love urban fantasy/elfpunk (early Emma Bull, Borderlands series), but this….meh at best.

    Suzanne Brockmann’s next book is due out Tuesday, so I am looking forward to having something fun and good to read soon!

  50. House of Leaves is a hoot: I really really think the author wrote it to mess with critics, especially post-modernists. Especially when he puts in all this self-contradictory information and then you get forums and forums of people going, “But how can she know about… but isn’t he dead when… what?”

    Gaudy Night is one of my favorite books ever, and it makes me want to go to grad school. XD

    I need to go to the library: being unemployed is hard on the book budget. Lately I’ve been rereading the Silmarillion and the Odyssey. I also want to reread the Iliad and the Orestia, but I can’t find them in my boxes. :(

  51. @Spoonfork: I re-read Robert Parker the way some people re-read the Bible. In fact, it is possible that my ethical system is mainly based on What Would Spencer Do.

  52. Karen, me too on Dresden’s next adventure; I can’t wait! Although this last one was pretty fantastic too. I’ve started reading Jim Butcher’s other series starting with the Furies of Calderon just like Kelly K but haven’t gotten far.

    I’m also reading “Grandmother’s Secrets: The ancient rituals and healing power of belly dancing” and it is very interesting so far.

    SM have you read anything by Mary Higgins Clark yet? Her mysteries are what got me INTO mysteries. They can be wicked creepy and mysterious and with some good cliff-hanger page-flipping. Also I recommend Sidney Sheldon, if nothing else read “If tomorrow never comes” because it has a kick-ass bunch of strong characters!

    Buttercup I couldn’t get into the Eyre Affair either but I hear the rest of the series is great; I just haven’t had the will to want to go back and try again.

    And being a librarian I have to say that everyone should totally be checking out their public libraries for books if they aren’t already! New stuff comes in all the time AND there are amazing advances in InterLibrary Loan systems now that can get you books your library might not have. So yeah, little plug for libraries there! :D

  53. My reading for uni is a bit crazy at the moment – I currently have 27 books out of 4 different libraries.

    Other than that, I’m reading ‘Weight’ by Jeanette Winterson, a retelling of the myth of Atlas, which is so far very good.

  54. I’m about halfway through “Wolves of the Calla” the fifth book of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

    I’m completely engrossed, though oddly, I’m not usually a fan of King’s books. Usually if I’m going to read something of the supernatural/creepy book genre I gravitate toward Dean Koontz.

    Before that, it was Gregory Maguire’s “A Lion Among Men” because ever since “Wicked” I’ve really dug his twisted Oz, and “When You Are Engulfed in Flames,” because I have to drop everything and read any new book from David Sedaris immediately.

    Next up after the Dark Tower, I’d like to catch up on more Christopher Moore, unless there’s a new Carl Hiaasen novel. I think he’s about due for another one.

  55. I’m mostly a mystery reader too for fluffy recreational purposes; I’m definitely a sucker for the ones with kittehs in them, like many of Rita Mae Brown, Lillian Jackson Braun, and Carole Nelson Douglas’s (wow, three names much?) books. I’m currently reading one of Rita Mae Brown’s non-kitteh series, though.

    I also heart Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels’ (same person, slightly different genres) mysteries because they are full of archaeology info as well as being well-written.

    I currently have a few rereads in mind: Persuasion, Good Omens, and Maskerade. I think Jane Austen and Terry Pratchett are an excellent combination. :)

    Buttercup, I made it through the Eyre Affair, but was really just meh about it. I think my expectations were too high due to my fondness for Jane Eyre.

  56. I’m going to recommend Denise Mina for mysteries. I’m not sure if they count as completely fat-positive, because the heroine diets a lot, but it feels realistic to me, not glamorizing. She never gets any thinner and she’s still pretty cool.

  57. Maya, I’m reading The Graveyard Book, too! In addition to my school reading–this weekend, that means a mix of Romantic poetry, the Canterbury Tales, and Feminist Research Methods.
    Linz, I love Zadie Smith, too, but I have been putting off reading The Autograph Man because it sounded so different from her other books. Not that a departure is necessarily a bad thing, but it hasn’t been calling to me.
    My bff read Sunshine last year and is now apparently a McKinley addict. I remember reading Beauty (I think? It was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast) years and years and years ago and really liking it. Sunshine is definitely on my “read-sooner-rather-than-later” list.

  58. I think that the rest of the Thursday Next books are much better than The Eyre Affair. To me, it’s a series that took a couple of books to really get going. The Well of Lost Plots, the third book, is the best in my opinion, but Something Rotten is really good as well.

    If it wasn’t Beauty, sarah, it may have been Rose Daughter that your bff read. That’s McKinley’s other “Beauty and the Beast” retelling, and it’s completely different from Beauty, though just as good.

  59. TropicalChrome– I started reading Good Fairies awhile back, and I had to put it down because of the fatphobia. It was one my first experiences of reading something like that through newly fat-accepting eyes, and it was really appalling. I have kept it around, wondering if it ends up better than it starts, but from what you say, it’s not worth it. Have you read Millar’s Lonely Werewolf Girl? I have not, but have been drawn to it by the title alone. I wonder if the negativity is a theme with him?

  60. I am finally reading Possession by A.S. Byatt. How I have not read this already I do not know.

    SM – I love mysteries. They are my favorite escapism and mostly they fit in a purse, diaper bag, backpack, or my laptop carrier with no troubles so I have been toting around paperback mysteries most of my life.

    Laura Lippman’s series set in Baltimore featuring Tess Moneghan is excellent. The first in the series in Baltimore Blues.

    Carolyn Hart has two series one is the Death on Demand mysteries which are fun because Hart constantly references other mysteries. The series is set in a mystery book store. But I am not all that enamored with the main character. Hart’s second series features a 70 something retired journalist who solves crime during her travels. I am a sucker for spunky, intelligent older women.

    On the darker side Kathy Reichs Bones series is readable, intelligent and keeps my interest. It is much darker and completely different than the television series based on the books. Plus Reichs fascinates me she actually is a forensic anthropologist, professor etc and the books are based on some of her actual cases.

    Veronica Black (a pseudonym for Maureen Peters) wrote a series about a nun, Sister Joan that I enjoyed. The glimpse into Convent life was intriguing.

    Thanks for the motivation Gaudy Night has been on my to read list for years. Now I know what to read next.

  61. Sweet Machine, I recommend “The Number One Ladies Detective Agency” books by Alexander McCall Smith (is that right?) Fantastic reading. A different kind of mystery.

    Fillyjonk, I love it so far. But I am a total Rushdie fangirl. I was so emotionally wrecked by Shalimar the Clown that I had to start another one of his books right away. Haroun and the Sea of Stories is my favorite book of all time, but Shalimar is running a very close second right now and may be due for a re-read.

    “Enchantress” is similar to “Haroun” but way more adult, in that the Magical bit of the Magical Realism he writes tends to be more dominant.

  62. fillyjonk, I LOVED The Enchantress of Florence. If you enjoyed The Ground Beneath Her Feet, I think you will love this one, too. Rushdie is IMHO one of the most beautiful writers ever. I did not, however, care much for Shalimar the Clown. “Enchantress” was one I really did not want to end. Enjoy!

  63. I’m re-reading The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (my fave). Fj, did you say you didn’t like Life of Pi? I loved that book…

  64. Squeeee! I found another Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels fan! I think I have everything the woman has ever written. I especially love books involving Dr. Vicky Bliss: the doctor in.. fine arts?… with the rocking bod and the even more rocking brain. Truly some of the wittiest things ever… “The Murders of Richard III” is great.

    My husband got me into Carl Hiaasen, whose stuff is pretty loopy, especially when you know that it often has a basis in stuff he gets from the newspaper in Miami. I also am working my way through all the Thursday Next books, and the related Nursery Crimes ones. Plus I have a Patterson (James? Michael?) called “The Midnight Club” in play, but I’ve read a lot of his involving Detective Alex Cross. (“Roses Are Red”, “Violets Are Blue”, etc.)

    Mysteries are what I love to read best. My mother raised me on Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers (yay, SM!) & Mary Roberts Reinhardt. I also like Marcia Muller, Martha Grimes (whose books are names of British pubs), Rex Stout (the Nero Wolfe stuff), Catherine Coulter (who has a bunch that are inter-related) & I love, love, love Kay Hooper – who writes mysteries with a supernatural bent.

    I also just finished the Twilight books. I read them in one long weekend, and I’m not sorry! LOL! They were a fun read, even if they weren’t deep and meaningful. I am just starting “Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett on a recommendation, but since I’m only on page 12, it’s too soon to know. :)

    (Sorry… didn’t mean to go bananas here… but I read voraciously, so it’s easy to get carried away!)

  65. I’m currently not reading anything, but lately I’ve had an itch to do some more reading on women in the church and evangelical feminism. Maybe I’ll check a couple of books out before I leave campus today.

  66. I’m reading an excessively boring book for class, but I just finished Ruth Reichl’s “Tender At the Bone” which is making me crave fancy food, and I just started an awesome book about pirates called “Empire of Blue Water”. I also grabbed the second volume of Arthur Waskow’s “Torah of the Earth”, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to start that one.

    I definitely agree about the Fforde books — I liked the later ones much better than Eyre Affair. (I’m waiting for one of the characters to need to be put on a morpheme drip…)

  67. I’m reading Confessor by Terry Goodkind. Its the last book in his “Sword of Truth” series. I adore the series, and I’m devouring the book, but I’m gonna be so sad when its done! 12 books is not enough! They started making a tv show from the series called “Legend of the Seeker” but I didn’t like the 10 minutes I saw of it. Fucked the story up completely afaic. The author did work on it though, so I may give it another chance. Watch it like I watch anything based on Anne Rice, as something completely different and unrelated.

  68. kristin, I haven’t gotten to Sick Puppy yet, because my husband hasn’t finished it and he hid it somewhere. I’m really bad about picking up whatever comes to hand when I’m done reading my current book, and it sometimes results in our reading the same thing, which makes him crazy. If it was that good, I may have to go on a treasure hunt….. :)

  69. I’m reading some chick lit because I didn’t know what else to read. (“getting over it” by Anna Maxted, actually not the worst I’ve ever read, dealing with grief, but I do find the main character frustrating which is perhaps the point.)

    I just finished “The HIstorian” which was surprisingly good especially for a book my Mom gave me. (Our taste does not often coincide.)

    And next I will be reading a statistics textbook. Oy.

  70. lapidary,
    I’m a dealer, and Art History did not in any way prepare me for the filthy reality of trading a commodity.
    Theory, a little.

  71. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich. Total mind candy — no literary merit or deep thinking whatsoever.

    For some silly reason I’ve decided to read all the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction so will be following Evanovich with Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificant Ambersons, the book that won back in 1919.

    Am also doing a lot of reading about typhoid and epidemics in the 19th century, but that stuff doesn’t count — it’s research for a history of medicine paper.

  72. Squeee! Shoutz, I am currently working on owning everything she has every written, but have definitely read it all! I don’t think the woman has ever written a bad book.

    Shinobi, I read The Historian last year on a whim, and it was indeed pretty damn good.

    Ah, chick lit…I have a serious Meg Cabot problem. I wouldn’t call her exactly fat-positive, but she writes a lot of in-betweenies whose weight is only a minor issue.

  73. Since I finished my Master’s program in December and am finally able to read for fun again, I’ve become obsessed with David Sedaris. I just finished When You Are Engulfed in Flames, am halfway through Me Talk Pretty One Day, and just started Naked. He kills me!

  74. House of Leaves is a hoot: I really really think the author wrote it to mess with critics, especially post-modernists. Especially when he puts in all this self-contradictory information and then you get forums and forums of people going, “But how can she know about… but isn’t he dead when… what?”

    Yeah, after spending a semester doing an independent study on HoL in grad school, I’m convinced the entire thing is just one giant joke. Which makes me love it all the more. I’m actually bringing my boyfriend one of my copies (yes, I have 3, and yes I am obsesed with this book) for him to read. I hope he gets the joke.

    Right now, I’m dividing my tine between:
    Long Life by Mary Oliver
    Yes Means Yes!
    My Little Red Book, which I’ll be reviewing for Feminocracy sometime in the near future.

  75. I’m reading something that’s categorized as young adult, although I’m sure many parents would be aghast at their children reading some of the stuff in this book.

    It’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson.

    I’m not even halfway through, but I highly recommend it based on what I’ve read so far. It’s weird yet so true to life as it was in the 1700s, and sadly even now.

  76. Sweet Machine, I love mysteries, spy novels, and police procedurals. Lately I’ve been loving the Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri. Old favorites are those by Josephine Tey, especially “The Daughter of Time” (it’s what happens when a contemporary [1930s] detective gets bedridden and has to investigate a crime–and a historical mystery–from his hospital bed). And never underestimate the pure fun of Agatha Christie! :D

  77. awesome to see so many mystery suggestions here!

    I’d add :

    Wendy Hornsby’s Maggie McGowan novels (i think 77th St. Requiem is still one of my fave books of the genre)

    Amanda Cross: the Kate Fansler books are wonderful reading…Cross was actually Carolyn Heilbrun, and the novels are filled w/ academic critique, quotations, fantastic dialogue…

    Gillian Roberts: fluffier than the other two, but I enjoy the Amanda Pepper series — i like how the main character (a teacher) manages to map issues from books/teaching onto larger stories

    Finally, definitely recommend Laurie R. King’s stuff. I didn’t enjoy the Mary Russell books so much (but if you’re into Holmes at all you might) but the Kate Martinelli mysteries are fantastic.

  78. Right now I’m reading (for the second time through) Sheila Weller’s Girls Like Us, a triple biography of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon. (Only Simon agreed to be interviewed, but Weller’s got some great stuff about the others, anyway.) After that, I’m getting back, finally, to Crazy ’08, about the 1908 Chicago Cubs. Just in time for pitchers and catchers.

  79. I hope it’s not too obvious to recommend a recent best-seller, but “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” is really good, especially if you’re a fan of old-fashioned epistolary novels like “Daddy Long-Legs.”

    Also, my book club just read “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathan Philbrick, which was excellent. You know all that stuff you learned about the Pilgrims in elementary school? It turns out that most of it was true. It’s just that, naturally, there’s a lot more to the story. Really fascinating stuff.

  80. Whee! I just found out that the next Dresden book should be out in April, and the for several April’s after there will be new books. Hey a year between books is pretty damn awesome, I just hope he stays with his writing style and doesn’t let it slide because of some self-imposed date.

  81. Currently reading Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, and a play called Sappho, a German play — I’m reading the translation — from the early 19th century that has nothing to do with teh gay, but is actually a stupid love triangle tragedy play. I bought it cause it was a pretty 19th century book for a couple dollars. I’m a sucker for those.

    Also, anyone have fantasy recommendations? Preferably of the HUGE EPIC SERIES type, so that I’ll be at it for a while.

  82. rowmyboat: Dresden Dresden Dresden….oh and did I mention Dresden? LOL. Sorry love Jim Butcher’s writing, it’s fantasy/mystery/crime fighting all rolled into one. There are currently 12 books out starting with Storm Front, and 13 comes out in April. From what I know from my favorite bookseller (my best friend Ian) there are supposed to be at least 24 in the series.

  83. Current reading books:
    Hammered – Elizabeth Bear, hard SF with a kick-ass, middle-aged, female protagonist, what could be better?

    The Parable of the Talents – Octavia Butler – loved Parable of the Sower, so had to move onwards.

    King’s Peace – Jo Walton – still making up my mind, but it’s certainly not bad.

    The Laughter of Dead Kings – Elizabeth Peters – this is the first of the Vicky Bliss novels I’ve read, but it’s quite as good as her other work.

    The Way of Kata – blanking on authors – non-fiction on kata interpretation and use. Gearing up for my black belt test in just over two months. I’ll be reading the other books by these authors.

    The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West – Mary Stanton. Silly name, quite decent book.

    Housework, what’s housework? Do you mean that silly repetitive stuff that people keep thinking I should put down my books to do?

  84. rowmyboat: Go for Terry Goodkind. There are some very triggering events in his series, but he has such good analysis of the mindset of someone who would act that way without ever breaking plot, its just amazing.

  85. I thumb through Health at Every Size everyday, and the rest of the time I am deep in martial arts, meditation, and fitness books.

  86. Port Eternity by CJ Cherryh. Just finished Forty Thousand in Gahenna yesterday, and have Cuckoo’s Nest on order.

    I tend to go in streaks, I’ll read all I can by one author then switch to something totally different.

  87. After Dark by Haruki Murakami. Feels kind of weird to follow Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with a surrealist Japanese novel :P

  88. Karen, my God, so happy, you’re my new favorite person. I’m on book 7 or 8 and have been afraid lest Butcher had abandoned Dresden for this Furies business, which just doesn’t sound as good to me. LOVE Dresden. Currently reading the last Kushiel book. On the somewhat more litty but still good fun real-fiction side I recently reread “Adam Bede” (la la la, not news that this is good) and, more contemporarily — is that an adverb? — Nick Harkaway’s “The Gone-Away World” which I can seriously recommend, it’s fantastic. The last book I enjoyed as much was Scarlett Thomas’s “The End of Mr. Y.”

    Need more like all these.

  89. BTW, have people seeking fantasy read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell?

    Yes. Six times. In fact, it’s become one of those books I read at least once a year. The alternative world is extremely well thought out without the author getting carried away with minutiae.

  90. In fact, it’s become one of those books I read at least once a year.

    Me too!

    Other things I read every year: The Once and Future King, The Code of the Woosters, Good Omens, at least one Hitchhiker’s book, Watchmen, all of Transmet. Intellectual, huh?

    SM got me into Raymond Chandler when I’d previously not been a mystery fan, so I’m definitely going to seek out Lord Peter Wimsey novels next.

  91. Jonathan Strange has been sitting on my bookshelf for at least a year. Sounds like I need to fig it out. (My new years resolution, such as it is, is to read the books I have accumulated instead of buying new ones; it’s kind of exciting to finally be dusting them all off.)

  92. I just started Brave New World. Apparently I’m into dystopias because I recently read (and loved) 1984, plus A Clockwork Orange has been my favorite book since high school (love the book – hate the movie with the fire of a thousand suns).

    Maybe I’ll feel a little less apocalyptic once Obama’s had some more time in office.

  93. @TropicalChrome, I had to put down the Good Fairies books also, and I had such hope for it too. I adored War of the Oaks by Bull, I was so happy to see it republished recently. You should try Charles de Lint too if you like urban fantasy, some of his is quite dark, urban horror really; others are simply fairy tales for the modern world. On a light fluffy note I also liked Elf Defense by Esther Freisner. Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s books are also excellent urban fantasy. If you can find it I liked Wizard of Pigeons also.

    Epic fantasy recommendations:

    1. The Sun Sword series by Michelle West. Beware the revenge of a wronged woman.

    2. P.C. Hodgell’s books, starting with Godstalk. They’re being reissued as twofers; but I don’t know the twofer titles. Very odd books, but I want a Rathorn.

    3.Name of the Wind, it’s the first, very promising book in a series by a new author whose name I don’t remember.

    4. The Kushiel books by Jaqueline Carey, if and only if you are comfortable with a holy prostitute who enjoys receiving pain and is also a spy. Gorgeous prose and splendid world building.

    5. If you have a source for out-of-print books, Elizabeth Boyer’s books based on Norse mythology are very funny and what I’d call everyday fantasy. Not truely epic in that there’s no McGuffin, but a nice long series in a consistent world.

    6. The Misenchanted Sword and the older Esthshar books, funny and the heroes/heroines specialize in making a little go a long way. Again, not epic because there’s no world saving involved. Lawrence Watt-Evens.

    7. Another vote for Pratchett, a great writer. He’ll be a classic that English doctorates write theses about.

    Um.

    I like to read…

  94. Oh, and anyone who likes P.G. Wodehouse and fantasy needs to seek out Elisa DeCarlos’ books, Strong Spirits and The Devil You Say. Think of the adventures Bertie could have as a psychic detective. Yes, you got the picture? Good.

  95. Oh, and for fluff I like Simon R. Green, particularly Hawk & Fisher, though the Nightside books are fun too. Not so fond of his Drood books though.

    His books are like fireworks all flash and bang and dei ex machini; full of marvelous monsters.

  96. Intellectual, huh?</i.

    Heh. I real a lot of textbooks becuase of graduate school, so a lot of my annual must-reads are things that take me away, like A.S. Byatt’s Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, The Sandman series, all of Jane Austen, the Sherlock Holmes stories. I never get tired of them.

  97. Dear me, how could I have forgotten another epic fantasy recommendation?

    Sarah Monette’s series that begins with Melusine. Supurb characterization and written in the true first person perspective, from two viewpoints. One of the characters I just want to huggle and take home and feed warm bread to.

    And Steven Brust’s Jhereg series too, plus the Phoenix Guards for fans of The Three Musketeers.

  98. I’m so glad I’m not the only one having trouble with Good Fairies. I probably will finish skimming it, but it’s definitely not a keeper. I LOVED Emma Bull’s War For The Oaks – I have the original paperback signed :). I have Charles DeLint on my list of authors to check out, and will add the other recommendations….like I need more for my “to be read” pile :).

  99. fantasy recommendations: Matt Ruff!!! I love Fool on the Hill, i think Gas Sewer Electric is ridiculously futuristic fun (and the cybernetic head of Ayn Rand makes it all the better) and Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls is a wonderfully imaginative tale of DID.

    Plus, Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels (especially Tigana, Song for Arbonne, and Lions of Al-Rassan) are gorgeous and intricate and well worth reading.

    @Godless Heathen: new Christopher Moore?! HUZZAH!!!

  100. OK, clearly have not been checking back to this thread often enough…

    Enchantress of Florence is good, in my opinion, but does not hold a candle to Ground Beneath Her Feet and Midnight’s Children.

    Mystery series I love (and I’m a total junkie): Robert Crais (The Monkey’s Raincoat is the first, I think); Lauren Henderson (her protagonist, Sam Jones, is who I imagine I am when I need a lift); Katy Munger (a heavy female private detective lead who takes no prisoners); Laurie King (anything she writes) are my top picks, though I’ll devour just about anything.

    Finally: Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite authors EVAR. I got a bit bogged down in the Baroque Cycle but still liked it, Cryptonomicon is one of my read-every-year books, and I’ve now read Anathem twice. I was supposed to let the boyfriend read it, but grabbed it back and went through it a second time.

    I’m also re-reading David Foster Wallace’s collections of essays and still feeling really, really sad. They are so vibrant and full of life, and I’ve been sniffling over them.

    One would not think I have a full-time teaching gig–now that I see in print how much I’ve been reading, I’m feeling guilty. But, no TV for us, so there’s more free time on the couch with a book.

  101. I have now placed a hold at my library (love online access!) for The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye; it looks lovely!

    I now need to recommend also Barry Hughart’s books, with Bridge of Birds to start. Wonderful, hilarious romp though a China that never was. The Kai Lung books by Ernst Bramah are also good, at least the ones I’ve gotten hold of.

    A signed copy, TropicalChrome? I’m jealous. :)

  102. I’m reading Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, which Kate contibuted to. :)
    And yep, I bought it because Kate contributed to it. And her essay is fabulous. As is the rest of the book that I have read so far.

  103. This is my first comment, so I feel I should do the gushing thing about how this blog has changed my life. Because it really has. I’m not actually fat, so I understand that a lot of what is discussed here isn’t something I can really understand, but I am also not of a body type that society at large deems attractive (small breasts, large arse, “too much” body hair), and I’ve basically been torturing myself about it my whole life. This blog has just opened my eyes, and helped me realise that it doesn’t *matter* what society says, that I am beautiful just as I am. It’s helped me give myself permission to eat what I want, when I want, and stop giving food moral values. I think that, more than anything else, it’s helped me examine some of my own prejudices toward fat people. Not that it matters, because of course your moral worth doesn’t depend on my approval, but I’m getting rid of my fatphobic points of view, and it’s pretty much entirely because of you guys. I’ve now got a whole bunch of body acceptance blogs that I read regularly, and I actually feel that I’m growing as a person simply by reading them. (I really hope this isn’t coming across as condescending, sorry if it is.)

    Anyway, on topic, I’m currently reading “The Child in Time” by Ian McEwen, which is fairly brilliant, but also completely harrowing.

  104. rowmyboat:

    If Goodkind bores you (which can happen in the middle of the series. either you get hooked at the beginning and can’t put it down, or you just can’t get through it) then you may want to try Ursula K. LeGuin. Her EarthSea series is kinda hard to get into at first, but her short stories are phenomenal. Start with Birthday of The World

  105. I just finished The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves, the sequel to The Pox Party that Stupendousness mentioned way up there. I cannot recommend these books strongly enough. You may have to go to the children’s or young adult section of your local library (or, um, bookstore, I guess) to find them, but READ THEM. They will break your heart and they are incredibly fucking awesome.

    Anyway, right now I’m in the middle of The Wordy Shipmates, the new book from Sarah Vowell. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I’ll keep reading.

  106. SM got me into Raymond Chandler when I’d previously not been a mystery fan, so I’m definitely going to seek out Lord Peter Wimsey novels next.

    FJ, you will be into Lord Peter — it’s a bit like if Bertie Wooster were a) secretly smart, and b) a detective. There’s even kind of a Jeeves equivalent (who doesn’t get nearly enough play IMHO).

  107. I just finished “Carter Beats the Devil” by Glen David Gold. OMG what a great book. I had to pace myself so it wouldn’t end so fast; it was one of those books that you want to sit down and not stop reading til it’s over. It’s about a stage magician in San Francisco in the 1920’s: fascinating storyline set against a really interesting background.

    Now I’m looking for something else to read and haven’t settled on yet. I am hearing good things about Jonathan Carroll.

  108. I’m currently reading “Rogue Angel: Gabriel’s Horn” by Alex Archer – which is a series that I’m rather addicted to and whenever a new book shows up in the library, I have to take it out. The main character, Annja Creed, is sorta a female Indiana Jones, an archaeologist who roams the globe to find new subjects for her historical-based television show, and keeps ending up getting involved with some crazy stuff. She also has a magically appearing sword that may have belonged to Joan of Arc. Yes, really. XD

    After this one… I don’t know what I’m going to read next. I’ve got three books of Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series, the second (well, actually third and forth) book in the Wicked series by Nancy Holder, a couple of books on the Knights Templar (“The Last Templar” by Raymond Khoury, and “Brethren” by Robyn Young), “Gallows Thief” by Bernard Cornwell, “Swallowing Darkness” by Laurell K. Hamilton, and “Ysabel” by Guy Gavriel Kay. And they’re all due back at the library next week. XDD At least I read fast. (Stupid classes getting in my way…)

  109. I got Essential Dykes To Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel for Christmas, and have been reading it obsessively ever since. I’m now on the 21th rotation, just about. She’s amazing. The last actual book I read was a collection of short stories by a Finnish author Johanna Sinisalo. Anybody interested in speculative biology, I recommend her Not Before Sundown.

    Faith: Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is completely fiction, and ohmyfuckinggods I’m glad it is! It’s the most horrifying book I’ve read in years! I lost a couple of nights’ sleep over it.

  110. I’m currently reading “An Ice Cold Grave” by Charlaine Harris. I like this series even though I can’t stand her vampire books. I’m also in the middle of “Eclipse” from the Twilight series, and I’m re-reading “Blue Moon” from the Anita Blake series. I just finished “I’m Not The New Me” by Wendy from Pound, and ‘A Is For Alibi” by Sue Grafton.

    I use Booksfree.com (it’s like Netflix for books) because I can’t afford to go the bookstore every day but I’m also terrible at remembering to return things to the library! It’s a good resource for anyone in a similar predicament.

  111. I am currently reading Tales from a Traveling Couch by Robert U. Akeret. He is a psychotherapist that talks about his most memorable clients and then finds them years later to see if he actually helped them.

  112. No school related reading right now, so I’m reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. It’s one of those things I’ve been wanting to read for a long time and I’m finally forcing myself, even if I only have time for like 5 pages a day.

  113. I’m reading “Indemnity Only” by Sara Paretsky – the first in her series of V.I. Warshawski detective novels. Warshawski is a woman and it’s pretty awesome! Except…not so much with the body acceptance. It’s really bugging me but so far I’m getting past it. This was written in 1979 – I wonder if the heroine/author get past this later on? If not, I think I may have to drop it. (Quick context: Warshawski is the narrator, a 30-something able-bodied hetero white woman in Chicago, and she first-person worries about eating low-fat, late-70s “healthy” food and exercising to maintain her weight. It’s definitely a sub-plot at best.)

  114. You should write the author and suggest that the heroine become FA; wouldn’t it be cool to see the same evolution that so many of us go through in a novel? I mean I know I used to diet, and others of us used to as well; but we learned.

  115. Lately I’ve started reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels (One of the Money, Two for the Dough, etc). Total screwball comedy set in a New Jersey / bounty hunter world. Reminds me of the screwball romances Evanovich wrote for the Loveswept line in the 80s….

    I read all of Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, then did a complete re-read of the series :)

    I also recently finished Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing Of The Dog and The Time-Traveler’s Wife, both recommended by the Lord Peter Yahoo group. (Btw, the Lord Peter yahoo group is on another read-thru. :)

    On the nonfiction front, I’ve been re-reading Apartment Therapy and Women & The Blues. On the blog front, I’ve been meaning to re-read and REVIEW more fat acceptance books….

  116. LOL, wow I feel silly….

    I just started reading the first three books of The Horus Heresy series of Warhammer 40K novels. *g* A guy in my gaming group recommended them to me. (I usually don’t go for gaming-spinoff novels, but the subject of these intrigued me.)

    ((Yes I am an uber-geek. *g*))

  117. Just finished “The Believers” by Zoe Heller – so many unpleasant people, but also some sharp humour!

    My current book is one that is out of print, but if you can find “Skallagrigg” by William Horwood I think most of you will find in it something to hook you in – whether that something is mythology, fantasy gaming, disability rights, mystery or romance! – but I warn you that I am finding it hard to read because it is just so beautifully written and very moving. The first paragraph that made me cry was on the 7th page, and I have been sniffing and weeping regularly ever since. This may say more about me than about the book, I admit, YMMV!

    And yes, I also commend Terry Pratchett, “The Enchantress of Florence” and Haruki Murakami to the house.

  118. I’m currently having an on-again, off-again relationship with Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. Seriously, it took me about 6 months or so to get to page 150.

    It makes House of Leaves look like The Pokey Little Puppy by comparison.

  119. LilahMorgan, and everyone else who is thinking of reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel:

    It’s wonderful! I loved it! I read it in the winter, and I recommend reading it in the winter, because in the winter you can look out the window and it feels like her alternative world really is just out there, just peeking in.

  120. It looks like I have some new reading to do. I have not read alot of the titles everyone has posted and some of them sound rather good.

    I just re-read two classic favorites of mine.

    What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

    Both authors are among my favorites and provide great escape from my day-to-day issues.

  121. Sweet Machine, on January 23rd, 2009 at 6:24 pm Said:
    If anyone out there reads mysteries, please recommend some good ones! I’ve been on a real mystery kick lately when I need to wind down from academia.

    Edmund Crispin’s Gervase Fen novels. Dated and hopelessly non-PC, but hilarious. Fen often rants about classic novels – I generally agree with him except when he gets nasty about Jane Austen – and the books are litered with hilariously annoying characters (including Fen himself). Not what you want if you’re into watching relationships grow, as with the Sayers’ books; Fen doesn’t grow or change much and we barely see him in his daily homelife or anything like that.

    Crispin is the Friday fluff author (often witty, occasional great prose mixed with funny bits, but little depth) – in another category entirely is Josephine Tey, whose mystery novels can be absolutely brilliant, IMHO. She does not “play by the rules” – you can’t always “match wits with the detective” and she may give you a kick in the gut twist at the end (“Miss Pym Disposes”) – but she explores human reality and makes you think while entertaining along the way.

    Some of Tey’s books follow “Inspector Grant” and some are stand alone, but I would say they’re all worth reading. Although again, some might find them dated (she was born in the 1890’s and died in 1952).

    My old roomie adored Tony Hillerman, who writes the Navajo mysteries starring Jim Chee or Joe Leaphorn – I finally read his first last year and quite liked it, although I found it more formulaic than either Crispen or Tey. I don’t mind formulaic but I tend to prefer the quirky I guess. Hillerman is as able to conjur imagery for me as the other two, though, although very different imagery, obviously. :D

  122. Oh, and seconding the Mrs. Pollifax rec, although IIRC I liked some of Dorothy Gilman’s one-shots even more.

    Also, anyone have fantasy recommendations? Preferably of the HUGE EPIC SERIES type, so that I’ll be at it for a while.

    Patricia A. McKillip’s Riddlemaster Trilogy – first one is The Riddle-master of Hed. Not a huge epic, but OTOH, much as I like the trilogy, some of her other stuff is even better, so potentially a chunk of fiction to plow through.

    I haven’t found her as consistently pleasing as McKillip, but I love Barbara Hambly’s Sun Wolf and Starhawk series: The Ladies of Mandrigyn, The Witches of Wenshar and The Dark Hand of Magic, which follow a male mercenary and his female second in command; in the first book he discovers unwanted magical abilities. It’s a series in that it’s chronological but each book can stand alone.

    Also adore the first two books of Hambly’s Windrose Chronicles, namely The Silent Tower and The Silicon Mage, although I’ve never read the third one, Dog Wizard. I have read and enjoyed the related story (same universe, but not same characters), Stranger at the Wedding. I’m not sure why I haven’t read the third book – the first two are tightly connected but feel finished, maybe. Plus her sequels are not always nifty… Her Bride of the Rat God, a one-shot that takes place in 1920’s Hollywood, is good fun, and her Those Who Hunt the Night one of my favorite vampire novels, but on the advice of a friend whose taste I trust I’ve never read the sequel (and it is a sequel in that the first book has a satisfying finish, as opposed to the first two Windrose books where the end of the first book is very much a cliff hanger).

    Definitely not an EPIC SERIES, but how about the Chicks in Chainmail books? Some of those are brilliant and most are at least amusing (although I always regret reading the stuff by one of the regular male contributors – Harry Turtledove, maybe? – and need to get over my tendency to read the books cover-to-cover).

  123. for epic series you can’t go wrong with George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series- First book is A Game of Thrones. So frantic and intriguing that you have to ‘chug’ each of the 4, ohh 800-1000 page book and they might last you til the highly anticipated April release of the fifth novel (of an eventual seven books). So many twists and turns- the right amounts of fantasy and historical realism

    And I second the poster who said Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series– wizardry and science combined! Lucky young adults. always get the good fiction!

    has anyone read Ursula LeGuin’s lastest series for young adults- the first book is called Gifts? Are the next books in the series any good? I felt conflicted about the first book since it was so sparse; it seemed to be just world building and backstory for what wondrous events come later rather than a complete story on it its own.

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