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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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Group Suicide Averted August 8, 2008

Posted by bookgoddess in Authors, Book Clubs, Books, Fiction, Literature, Public libraries, readers, Reading, Second Saturday Book Club.
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Have you read anything by Nick Hornby?  If not, I think you should rush out and do so.  I recommended A Long Way Down to my supervisor recently and she is listening to it on CD.  Coincidentally, my book club pal Kathleen and her husband also listened to it on their recent road trip.  Rave reviews on all sides, so I thought I would share it with you, too.

I read the book in print format, but reportedly the audiobook is even more of a treat.  Here’s the basic plotline:  A diverse group of Londoners encounter each other on the roof of a tall building on New Year’s Eve.  Each one has plans of throwing themselves off the roof and ending it all.  As these strangers become acquainted in this odd setting, they decide not to commit suicide then and there, and before you know it, they have become involved with each other. 

Hornby’s writing style is a pleasure to read.  The book is not only very funny, but has something important to say about human connection. 

Happy Reading! 

The Book Goddess