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Favorite Books to Recommend May 14, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Audiobooks, Books, Fiction, Literature, readers, Reading, Reading lists.
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Recommending books is my business, or at least part of my business, and it can be a wonderful thing.  The right book at the right time is a real gift.  My friend Tim told me that Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole changed his life.  That book, like Tim, is one of a kind, and on that occasion I got it exactly right. 

Sometimes it doesn’t go so well.  Another favorite book of mine is Raney by Clyde Edgerton, which I think is funny and charming and very well-written.  I was delighted to recommend it to my friend Peggie, but it left her cold.  Oh, well. 

Anyway, I was recently asked for book recommendations by two friends.  I’ve decided to give both of them, and you, pretty much the same list.  I happen to think these are wonderful choices that would appeal to most book lovers. 

So – here are my choices, starting with some fine American novels:

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (especially good in audio)

If you like humorous fiction (and I realize this can be very subjective, even more so than literary merit), these are some terrific titles: 

How to Be Good by Nick Hornby

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (audio version is excellent)

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

And, some excellent nonfiction: 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls 

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi 

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson 

I would love to have your recommendations, too!

Happy Reading, 

The Book Goddess

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Reading with the Queen January 10, 2008

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, Great Reads, Reading.
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I’m a huge fan of books about books.  You know, books where reading, or books, or bookstores, or book clubs, or even librarians, play an important role.  There are books that range from the deeply moving (Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi) to the really funny (The Librarian by Larry Beinhart).  Yes, I have a list of them for you, and I’m sure you’ll find something fabulous to read.  There are some on the list I haven’t read, and really, I would like to stop typing and start reading.

But before I do that, I want to recommend The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.  One day, the Queen (yes, that one, or actually a fictionalized version of the Queen) loses control of the Corgis.  She runs them down near the kitchen door of the Palace, where a bookmobile is parked.  Out of royal politeness, she checks out a book.  As is often the case, one thing leads to another, and she becomes an avid reader, aided in her selections by one of the Palace servants.  We’re always saying that reading changes lives, and indeed it seems to change the Queen.  She’s not nearly as motivated by the public events and official state appearances as she once was.  Her advisors are appalled, and make vigorous efforts to deter her from this new and dangerous course.

I’m not going to reveal the ending, and I don’t know if I’ve conveyed that this is a very witty book indeed, but I really think you will enjoy it.  And – it’s a novella, so you actually could read it in an evening and credit yourself with having read a whole book!

Happy Reading!

The Book Goddess

P.S. – Oh, yes, here’s a link to the “Books About Books” reading list.