book suggestions....

vacuumfreakApril 10, 2011

I've never been much of a reader, but a couple months ago, my grandmother who always reads romance novels gave me a book that she said she thought I might like. I told her I wasn't much of a reader, but I'd give it a shot. The book was called The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King. She gave it to me because it had 2 gay characters in it so she thought I'd "get a kick out of it".... her hillbilly words, not mine!

Now that I have a new couch and recliner, I have no excuse for not having a comfortable space to read in... I've hated trying to read in my bed, it just isn't comfortable. I've been reading it every night for a week and a half... it's taken a while because it was almost a 400 page book. Well, I just finished it and all I can say is WOW. It was truly an awesome read.... I enjoyed every second of it and totally engrossed myself in the book. I couldn't believe how fast time flew by as I read it. I felt like I actually knew the characters and now I'm kind of sad that I've finished it... I really looked forward to coming home from work and sitting down, (cat on my chest all the while trying to block the pages and divert my attention) and finding out what happened... it was easy to pick up right where I left off... and I found myself.... ME... the guy who has an attention span shorter than the warranty on a 20 dollar hand mixer from Walgreens reading for 6 hours at a time, only getting up to change position or go to the bathroom and get water.... even postponing those things as long as I possibly could and taking the book with me so I could keep going. There was a point toward the end where things got exciting that I would not have moved from my spot even if the apartment had been on fire, I was that engrossed! I want to read more now, and I wonder what some good books are for someone like me who is just getting into it. If you have read The Sunday Wife, what did you think, and do you know of any similar books that I might also enjoy? I'm going to get a library card (there's a public library right in my apartment complex, so no excuse not to) and really get into this thing. I'm so excited about this new love I have found!

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Hi Bobby, how lovely you're getting into reading! I love to read and can't imagine not reading, have ever since I was little.
Have a look at the Amazon page on "The Sunday Wife" as it has links to other books by Cassandra King and other authors who may pique your interest. From reading the synopsis of the book you might try a Jodi Picoult book as well.
What about the book so captured you? The subject matter? The setting? The characters? The relationships? Knowing that would help others to recommend more books to you.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 9:04AM
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Bobby, it's hard to imagine you're not much of a reader, as you're a good writer. You had me chuckling reading your post. I'm not familiar with the book you read, so I don't know what to suggest. I'm glad you liked it, though.

I'm a painfully slow reader, and have always had a hard time sitting still long enough to read much. But, I always have a book to read. I read during my lunch break at work, and in the evening when I'm going to bed, although, that doesn't always work well, as I tend to fall asleep reading then. Anyway, it takes me a very long time to finish a book, but I do enjoy reading just the same - even if it's just for 20 minutes or so.

I just finished reading two books about chefs and cheffing. (Is that a word?) The first one was Anthony Bourdaine's Kitchen Confidential, which I know lots of people on this forum have read and enjoyed. I enjoyed it too, but grew tired of it towards the end. I followed that with a little book I found at the library at the same time I found Kitchen Confidential. This book was a biography of Georges Auguste Escoffier by Eugene Herbodeau and Paul Thalamas. I was very surprised to see it at the library, as it looks like a very old book. It doesn't even have a publishing date or copywrite date. It does say it was published in Great Britain. I looked it up on Amazon, and I think it was published in 1955. Anyway, I actually really enjoyed that book. I learned a lot about Escoffier, who was considered the greatest chef of the 20th century, and about Cesar Ritz, who hired Escoffier to be the Chef for his hotels. What a fascinating time and place that was, France and England at the turn of the 20th century.

Anyway, all that babbling is to say that you never know what you might find at the library that will interest you. Make use of the Librarians. They will be of great help in finding books you might like. I love libraries.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 10:26AM
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Might I suggest The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mcullough, Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, and Son of the Circus by John Irving....and perhaps A Prayer for Owen Meaney...same author.
Sounds like you enjoy novels about people in strange circumstances and their relationship to others...
You might alos try Cider House Rules,....same author.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 1:36PM
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Thanks :o) The book was about a preacher's wife who discovered herself through the help of a friend... her husband was selfish and egocentric and only married her to "look good" for the church. It had a sad part and I actually cried while reading it. I've often wondered what it would be like to be a preacher's wife... this book was a great insight to the not so pretty side of that life that is probably more true than people will admit, even though it's fiction. It also took place in Florida, so being a Florida native, I really had no trouble picturing the settings and scenery. It was so great to finally see the downtrodden protagonist find herself and grow a spine... and it had a relatively happy ending that didn't leave me "hanging" too badly.

I read amazon reviews (so fun to see what other people thought about a book I've actually read).... some people, like me, loved it, others hated it. This experience makes me want to join a book club where we can discuss the book after everyone reads it.... I'm so grateful to dear old granny for turning me on to this!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 4:10PM
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I'm also a huge John Irving fan. Some of his books are ..uh..unusual to say the least but he never fails to entertain. Books are such a personal thing and what I might like might not be your cup of tea and vice versa. If you want to really dive into a fantastic book though I would highly recommend Swan Song by Robert McCammon which is about 1000 pages and will keep you engrossed the entire time. I also loved 'A Boys Life' by hime as well.

A person who doesn't read lives one life - A person who reads lives 1,000 lives. True, very true.

Books are a wonderful and almost magical trip to so many places with the comfort of your own home and couch as the portal.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 4:59PM
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I'm a voracious reader, Grandma used to say if they'd print it on a page, I'd read it, no matter what.

I like mysteries, so right now I'm enjoying Sherlock Holmes again, rather a different type of book than the one you liked so well, LOL.

Welcome to the wonderful world of reading, Bobby. A book opens doors for me, to other worlds and other people and other cultures and other times. It's a trip, travel without ever leaving home.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 6:05PM
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I read mostly nonfiction now (paleo-anthropology, archaeology, etc), but I took 27 literature courses when I was at Rice getting a degree in German/English. I like a lot of 19th Century (and earlier) literature, but I do read modern authors as well.

Here are a few of my favorite authors:
Thomas Hardy - as a teenager I identified with his tragic heroines, partly because I was living on a farm, and he set his stories in rural SW England or Devon.
D.H. Lawrence - especially his short stories
Flannery O'Connor - also for short stories, which are frighteningly realistic portrayals of rural Georgia
Daphne DuMaurier - novels and short stories, including The Scapegoat, Rebecca, The Birds, etc.
William Burroughs - "The Nova Trilogy" (The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded, Nova Express), and The Wild Boys, which was a major inspiration to David Bowie
Margaret Mitchell - GWTW - I first read this when I was ten and then read it two more times afterwards
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury and others for a good dose of Southern literature

Most of these I read when I was in my teens and early 20s, and I was able to meet Wm Burroughs in San Francisco in the 1970s, but that's another whole story. I also loved Dostoevsky, but he's not recommended for someone with a short attention span, and it is difficult to keep all of his characters straight without taking notes. All of the other authors I listed I found to be fascinating enough to make it difficult to put down their books, and their characters are extremely well developed and engaging. I read mostly as an escape, and reading authors from earlier periods allowed me to enter their world. Wm Burroughs books took me into the future. I mentioned three great authors from the South (and there are many more), as I thought you might relate to them. You might also like reading some of Tennessee Williams' plays.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 6:16PM
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I love to read! Can't really help with suggestions as I'll read pretty much anything (up to and including the phone book...LOL).
I have one particular author that I just love, Jane Kirkpatrick.
She writes western novels, usually about Christian women of faith in difficult circumstances. They're set in real places and mostly factual. She inserts a ficticious character or details, but she really does her research.
She lives in the northwest and many of her books are based here, so it's "local" for me. I actually made a short trip to visit a town she'd written about.

The library is wonderful! If you don't like a book, at least you don't feel that you wasted money buying it. Books really are a passport to anywhere you want to go!

Enjoy, Bobby!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 10:20PM
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Gosh, Bobby, I LOVE reading so much I got a degree in it!

My recent faves are I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak, and a darn good read was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (has nothing to do with England--the title refers to a street name). I do enjoy the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child.

Another vote for The Thorn Birds that Linda C mentioned. I enjoyed The Eight by Katherine Neville, and I also enjoyed a sweet little novel called Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman.

If you like a bit of fantasy (not sci fi), I enjoyed The Last Herold-Mage series by Mercedes Lackey. Book 1 is Magic's Pawn. Years ago, one of my young male friends read it during a time when he was just coming to recognize his orientation and it helped that he could identify with one of the main characters.

I recently read and enjoyed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I haven't read it yet, but heard The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein is good.

The Harry Potter series kept me entertained, too.

I really DISLIKED this one: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. I disliked it so much that I returned it and gave my scathing review to the poor B&N clerk (just in case anyone asked her how people liked it)!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 3:55AM
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Bobby, if you can find some Jimmy Buffit books I think you would like them, I did.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 6:45AM
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My brother read "The Berlin Stories" by Christopher Isherwood and liked it. Those two stories are what the movie "Cabaret" was based on, but the stories are totally different and are known for their vivid character portrayals. The stories are a portrayal of the scene in pre WWII Berlin, right before the Nazis came into power, so you may or may not be interested in the setting. Since my brother lives in Berlin, he was. It is supposed to be a great book. I read mostly non-fiction so I can't speak from direct experience.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 8:53AM
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I also like literature map to help suggest similar authors. Mostly I like the graphics, LOL.

Lars, I'm not sure I'd recommend 'The Sound and the Fury' to too many people. The first chapter alone, Benjy's, is hard to get through - thank goodness for the internet, we found a hypertexted edition for a play we were going to see. I loved 'Rebecca' though, and my mom read 'The Birds' late at night, all alone on our chicken farm. She loved telling how she put the book down and the end and then looked up, realizing how many 'birds' were just outside the back door. Scary story.

Sooz, my son and I enjoyed 'The Book Thief', also by Zusak. I'm glad you are a fan of underrated Neville's 'The Eight', I call her the original Dan Brown. Robert Langdon can't touch Catherine Velis! Did you read 'The Fire'? I only picked up (and put down) Sawtelle because of the Hamlet connection. I didn't buy it, I use my library. And paperbackswap is another good source for books (thanks dedtired, you have me hooked)

Bobby, you have a lot of suggestions here, good luck!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:30AM
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Jessy, you may be right about The Sound and the Fury. I recommended it because it is about dysfunctional Southerners, and I thought that might appeal to Bobby. However, it's been a long time since I read it (high school), and I do remember now that it requires a very long attention span, partly because some of the sentences last two or three pages. I could really relate to Faulkner's stream of consciousness style, but that might be difficult for others. I used your link to check out Faulkner, and a lot of my favorite authors showed up surrounding his name, including Henry Miller, whom I almost recommended.

The Berlin Stories is another good recommendation, but I have to say that I am not familiar with most of the other recommendations here, although I do like Sherlock Holmes. I haven't kept up with contemporary fiction, as I prefer other periods of literature and like to go back in time.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 12:13PM
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Jessy, I did read The Book Thief and while it was well-written and held my attention, it was a downer on a bunch of different levels. Glad to find another fan of The Eight--haven't read The Fire yet.

So Bobby, tell us what you're reading! :O)


    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 3:10PM
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Bobby, I am so happy for you!! At one time I got so hung up on reading that I was unproductive so I had to limit reading to when I was traveling for work (airplane, restaurant, hotel room).

I don't recommend books to anyone because I gravitate to techno thrillers, WWII, and political genre. So my friends and family never want to borrow any of my books.

I do love!!! audio books; I think that is one reason I enjoy road trips. A good audio book also helps me with dreaded yard work.

Good for you!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 11:39AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys.... I haven't gone to the library yet, but I did get a book about how to speak spanish.... not as fun as the non-fiction one I finished, but useful nonetheless and I can still enjoy the act of reading...

I will look up some of these titles and see what I think.... thanks again everyone :O)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 3:11PM
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