Sunday, November 10, 2013

My recommended books

This is a list of my recommended books. It is growing more complicated all the time, so I will try to give as brief as possible an introduction. I'll do it in list form!

 1. Important! I am trying to give a lot more depth to this list, and am also trying to make it a good way to explore my blog by linking titles, authors, and even genre names to relevant or (hopefully) illuminating blog posts I have written in the past. Click freely on colorful things! Short essays will explain choices sometimes directly, though mostly in complicated, idiosyncratic ways. But ultimately you will be so entertained you will hardly believe it.

2. Every one of these are books I love, but, yes, in some cases the love is a bit rusty. I may not have read some books for a long, long time, and I would maybe feel differently about them now. Still, I'll try to keep all books to ones I suspect I'd still at least kind of love if I read them now.

3. I'm listing things into Genres of all kinds. Many books may be mentioned more than once if they fit in multiple genres.





Mysteries:


The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde.

Coyote Waits and Sacred Clowns by Hillerman (I liked his mystery series very much, but it peaked here for me and qualified for my list).


 Straight, Proof, Whip hand by Dick Francis (and actually most of his mid career mysteries, some of the early ones, none of the late late ones)

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Haddon 


The Doorbell Rang, well, and all Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout. Yep, the whole lot of them. I suppose I could nitpick away half a dozen out of the "Love" list, but I won't.


The Big Sleep by Chandler (the whole series, though it's been awhile)


Young Adult/Children's:

 Catcher in the Rye by Salinger


 Wee Free Men by Pratchett (and all the Tiffany Aching saga, the second one Hat Full of Sky I just reread and it not only holds up, but made me delirious with awe, and it is only my great self control that holds me back from saying immoderate things like "Greatest Book Ever" and begging you to read it immediately. I don't know about the 4th book in the series. I think I need to reread to know. As to his other books I am only sure about including Witches Abroad here)

Fishwhistle and The Snarkout boys and the Avocado of Death by Daniel Pinkwater

Dragonsong and Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey 


Blue Sword by Mckinley

The Golden Compass by Pullman (and The Subtle Knife, but sadly, not the third one)

 The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (and really, all its sequels, and, actually all book by him except Shades of Grey, though I still liked it). So The Last Dragonslayer and sequels, The Big Over Easy and sequels.


The Adrian Mole Diaries by Townsend (I can only commit to the first two volumes, when he is still a teenager).

Sabriel and Lirael by Garth Nix

Pippi Longstocking by Lindgren

The Left Hand of Darkness by LeGuin (and large amounts of her other books, including some of the story collections, and Disposessed, Wizard of Earthsea first three)

Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother. Also Context. by Cory Doctorow (great political revolution, fight for freedom, technology based near future sci fi rooted in his great knowledge of contemporary internet issues that he writes very interestingly about in Context, which is Non Fiction. All better than it sounds. Great stories.) 

There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom by Sachar (really! Check it out. Also his Wayside School books)

 Danny Champion of the World by Dahl (my very favorite of his, but yes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too)

The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

Tomorrow When the war Began by John Marsden (and the whole "Tomorrow" series. It's about a bunch of older teens off camping in Australia when their country is invaded by Indonesia or something. They become Guerilla fighters. A more real world feel Hunger Games

The Chosen by Potok 

The Last Dragonslayer and The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie (the appearance of this book on this list is largely inspired by the piece here that the title links to. Let's just say for now that I like this book very much).


 

Romance:

Blue Sword by Mckinley

Pride and Prejudice by Austen (nothing else of hers quite does it though)

Bridget Jones Diary by Fielding (am a bit scared of latest sequel) 


Sci Fi:

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin (and large amounts of her other books, including some of the story collections, and Disposessed, Wizard of Earthsea first three)

Cats Cradle by Vonnegut (and I think Sirens of Titan, which I might want to reread)

The Eyre Affair and all its sequels by Jasper Fforde

Gateway by Frederik Pohl

The Long Walk by Stephen King

Fantasy:  

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (and really, all its sequels, and, actually all book by him except Shades of Grey, though I still liked it). So The Last Dragonslayer and sequels, The Big Over Easy and sequels.

 The Last Dragonslayer and The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde



Wee Free Men by Pratchett (and all the Tiffany Aching saga, the second one Hat Full of Sky I just reread and it not only holds up, but made me delirious with awe, and it is only my great self control that holds me back from saying immoderate things like "Greatest Book Ever" and begging you to read it immediately. I don't know about the 4th book in the series. I think I need to reread to know. As to his other books I am only sure about including Witches Abroad here)

Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss


Wise Mens' Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (sequel to above)


Blue Sword by Mckinley

Lord of the Rings by Tolkien (I don't even want to talk about the movies, feh)

The Golden Compass by Pullman (and The Subtle Knife, but sadly, not the third one)

 Sabriel and Lirael by Garth Nix

The Left Hand of Darkness by LeGuin (and large amounts of her other books, including some of the story collections, and Disposessed, Wizard of Earthsea first three)

The Eyre Affair and all its sequels by Jasper Fforde

Nightwatch by Lukyanenko (and most sequels)


Memoir:


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Surely you're Joking Mr. Feynman by Feynman and some other guy (this actually is the exception to my rule that no good book is written by two authors, one vastly more famous that the other).

 Fishwhistle by Pinkwater (and The Snarkout boys and the Avocado of Death)

 The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston


My Family and other Animals by Gerald Durrell (the post this links to importantly qualifies this entry)


Non Fiction:


In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan 

Summerhill by A. S. Neill

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe 

Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

The Tracker by Tom Brown Jr. (honestly it probably doesn't so much belong in non fiction, but...)

 Never Cry Wolf, The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, and People of the Deer by Farley Mowat (come to think of it let's add The Boat Who Wouldn't Float which is awfully nice to spend a bit of time with)

 The Man Who Ate Everything by Steingarten 

Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin


Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother. Also Context. by Cory Doctorow (great political revolution, fight for freedom, technology based near future sci fi rooted in his great knowledge of contemporary internet issues that he writes very interestingly about in Context, which is Non Fiction. All better than it sounds. Great stories. Nice dystopian/utopian mashups) 

Adventure:


Ship of the Line by Forester (and the whole Horatio Hornblower saga)


Undefined Genre (Fiction):




In Watermelon Sugar by Brautigan (and a healthy bit of the poetry and Trout Fishing)

The Magic Christian by Terry Southern

 Don Quixote by Cervantes (revered literature!)

Bartleby the Scrivener by Melville (look at me with the revered literature stuff!)

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (based on about four pages, but, still, there's something about it. Search my posts for my encounter, no, wait, go here, and here) This choice elevates the tone of my list like crazy!

Dead Souls by Gogol (you know, I like Comedy)


King of the Schnorrers by Zangwill



Unsorted Titles:









Huckleberry Finn by Twain (Tom Sawyer too, though that kid is a psychopath! Oh, and Connecticut Yankee)







The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss (also Horton, The Lorax, maybe a couple others)

Resurrection by Tolstoy (more literature! Not for the faint of heart!)








Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway






Romantic Comedy Movies:

I am in the process of adding a new section for Romantic Comedy Movies explained in this blog post (not live yet) 

This is your starter pack:

The Romantic Comedies I love and recommend include:

Moonstruck
Notting Hill
Love Actually
Music and Lyrics
French Kiss
The Holiday
Tin Cup
Wimbledon
Two Weeks Notice
50 First Dates
Management
New in Town
About Time
I.Q.
The American President




Hmm, I am not even close to finished. So, more later...

16 comments:

  1. I put a list like this in my library's catalog, where my patrons may refer to it. It even contains some of the same books! (Le Guin and Pratchett, at least) It makes it much easier to direct them to the list when I'm busy, and I refer to it myself when I have brain farts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So... if you feverishly await comments, you might consider commenting on the comments left, in order to give the commenters some added incentive to comment more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Before we start, I am irked to find my response will not all fit here. So, it will have to come in multiple parts:

      Part one:


      Hmmmm.....
      Let's see.....
      I think I have 10 responses to this. They may contradict and vary wildly. They will also get way too emotional. Will 10 responses like this be okay even if they're inconsistent?

      I hope so.

      1. Thank you for your comment.

      2. I meant to say "I feverishly await comments about how much people love clerk manifesto and how they're going to do everything in their power to tirelessly share this bit of Internet heaven with everyone they can, and how, since they have the power to put a list of books in their library catalog, they are also going to link to their favorite library blog ever (this one) prominently, in their library catalog, all just because they feel so enthusiastic, and because they feel everyone should read it!" But I was too shy to say all that and was hoping everyone would assume that's what I meant.

      3. I went through a period where I found responding to comments emotionally traumatic and so stopped. For some reason that ended, and I resumed, but it's a delicate line. Peoples' comments based on misinterpretation, or a desire to make some point that doesn't really seem to take in what I might have carefully said in the post above their comment can be sort of unsettling for me. My contrary and passionate nature makes me want to fight them, correct them, or, probably most often, satirize them. My occasional desire to be wise and have a more friendly sort of blog makes me think it would be better to be more quiet and let my blog speak for me.

      4. I sometimes fancy, in one of the many dreamworlds I inch towards, that commentators would talk among themselves entertainingly and I could dip in to that conversation on occasion. People who enthusiastically share my blog in prominent places (see point two, above) would bring throngs of new readers who could then join in this exciting commentating!

      Delete
    2. The response above continues,

      Part two:


      5. I am loquacious! When I respond to my, even somewhat infrequent, comments, there is a danger that my desire to tell the whole story will lead me to writing a ten point explanation that is considerably longer and more challenging to write that one of my blog posts. I post daily and find it can be difficult enough as is to write as well as I want with the limited time I have. Spending more that two hours on one comment can really cut into this available time.

      6. I can suddenly be seized with a shyness towards strangers and sometimes by a fear of saying the wrong thing.

      7. As per your suggestion that I "might consider commenting on the comments left, in order to give the commenters some added incentive to comment more!" I think it is a good idea. I have taken it up with a passion!

      8. It may be a kind of catch 22, but when there are so few commenters, and I am very responsive, it can feel more like a discussion between me and one other person. This is a little okay, but I feel the blog is the thing, and sometimes it seems like the blog itself gets lost in that kind of back and forth that takes place in the comments.

      Delete
    3. And my response concludes below with,

      Part 3:

      9. A theme I find emerging steadily here is something I talk about a lot around the edges of in my blog and will try to address more directly here, in this safe, sort of hidden corner of my blog. I love writing this blog and writing it is kind of enough. But it's murky. Because the one other thing that doesn't go away is a sustained desire for a regular, medium sized, readership. I have a small, fairly dedicated readership, maybe 25 to 60 people. Ten times this is what I think I would feel comfortable with and would ease the pain of my ambitions. The amount I have currently seems to leave me feeling compelled to throw links onto reddit, google plus (a lot!), stumble upon, etc. and I don't really love that. I scare up a modest bit of temporary, non self sustaining readership, the growth rate is geologic at best. I find it hard to just let it all alone. And yet really I just wish my blog inspired enough enthusiasm among its readers (my readers) that some people, who were willing, who were friends to this blog, would champion it a little (not that some don't, but results indicate very little of that sort of thing here). This all gives me some big Eeyore feelings (which I am expressing!). It also puts me on edge, perhaps unfortunately, when I respond to comments with suggestions or even sometimes compliments. You see, part of me is delighted to hear from you, booklady9, and I am delighted we share a taste in books. I totally know what you mean about the brain farts. When I'm out in the stacks and someone asks for a suggestion, or I want to put something on an end cap it's like my list of beloved books drops from 200 to two! I wish my list could be on our library catalog! I am happy you read my post. I am happy you commented. Twice! But another part of me, Eeyore like, lurks in the back, wondering: Do you read this blog? How often? Was this just a random interesting list of books you stumbled on or a part of all your reading on this site. Have you signed up to follow by email so you won't miss a single post, or have you been here a few times cause sometimes it's mildly interesting? And here is one of those sort of secret truths I am sometimes keen to utter on this blog, but know are usually secret because they can be strange, impolite, and way too close to the bone:
      A. If you just liked my list of books and have read pretty much nothing else on my blog, or maybe have taken a look at a couple of other things here without enthusiasm, I don't even want you here! Seriously. Get off of my blog! Don't comment! Most of the Internet is dead. This little bit breathes and bites.
      B. If you have casually read many of my blog posts and liked some of them okay, and liked my list of books, okay. Sure. I can respond to your comments. I am doing so. My enthusiasm for you is tepid, but, fine. It's okay. Actually it is a challenge for me to understand you and your bland response to my Internet Opus, but okay, I can be vaguely polite.
      C. If you read my blog regularly and really enjoy it, then, though I cannot call you my friend on a true personal level, which is a more serious business, in as much as I am the blog, and, really, after all, I am the blog, you, you are my friend. You are a friend of this blog. Yes, you are a friend of this blog and we delight to see your comment! We respond with joy and interest to what you have to say. We delight in your presence here. We labor tirelessly here, yes, for ourselves mostly, but also for our friends, like you!

      We hope you will take the responsibilities of friendship as seriously as we do.

      10. I do always think about responding to the comments here on my blog, but can be hesitant because sometimes my responding comments can be a little intense.

      Thank you again for your comments. I hope it's okay that I responded to both of yours in just this one comment. Maybe since it had to be divided into three it's okay.

      Delete
  3. Hmm, I don't see the comment that I just posted. Is it perhaps waiting for review?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, because of spam, on posts that are older than, I think, about a week, I have to approve them. They are all approved now!

      Delete
  4. OK, I guess it is. Here goes trying to remember what I wrote a few minutes ago.

    10. Your responses are not too intense. Carry on!

    9. I am an avid reader of your blog posts, and any other writing of yours that I can find. They're highly entertaining, thoughtful, and often funny.

    8. That's OK.

    7. Yes, I see that you have!

    6. Aren't we all?

    5. I appreciate the time, thought, and energy that you put into your response(s). I feel awful that I only just now noticed that you had replied. I was looking through your book list to see if anything had been added, when, Oh look! There's a reply to my comments here!!

    4. Yes, that would be nice.

    3. If you reply in a way that hurts my feelings, I will be sure to let you know.

    2. Since my catalog is in a middle school, and your blog appears to be written for adults, I won't be putting a link in there. There's nothing objectionable so far, but it would be just my luck that you'd someday write about some violent, bloody book, and then I'd be sunk! I will, however, repost your blog entries on Google+, and also on Twitter if you use that for updates.

    1. You're most welcome.

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    Replies
    1. I think it might be for the best if I can manage to refrain from a ten point response to your ten point response (though it's ever so tempting). But I will at least say that it is really a delight to see your thoughtful and thorough response, not least because my own walked dangerously close to the, er, edge of things. So, thank you for you calm and kind deliberation and consideration.

      I cannot resist commenting on a couple points:

      Curiously I think my bloodiest recommended books all tend to be YA books! Sabriel and Tomorrow When the War Began are plenty more gory than Bartelby, for instance, but then, secretly, I suspect that all novels are YA books, which is maybe a blog post for another time.

      It is very nice of you to speak of posting my entries on Google+ etc., though, having made a fuss, I feel slightly mortified that I did so. Still, a dream is a dream so I'm sure I'd be mortifiedly delighted to see it.

      Look at all the incentive I'm giving now! Thanks for writing and for your nice comments.

      Delete
  5. How do you make the cut, per se, between the Early, Mid and Late career of Dick Francis' writing? I see that they are all late now, as he has died. Or is He the late one? Hmmm. It's a moot point I suppose, because I read all of them, so it is too late to avoid the less enjoyable bits.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, so glad you have picked Mr. Francis out of this sprawling collection. I feel easily most strongly about mid career Dick Francis, although as it's 1982 to 1995 it is possible that it is mid late career Dick Francis I love best: Banker to Come to Grief. There are, to me, several excellent ones before that and none among the few after. I looked over a list and found 15 novels of his I was sure I enjoyed immensely!

      Alas, he is the late one indeed then.

      I can't say I found the less enjoyable ones so bad as I have regrets, except maybe that one where his character is pretty much held in a series of mysterious captivities for most of the book.

      Delete
  6. Wow, not many remember Brautigan. Thanks! You made my hour.
    You might start a new category: Hippy Esoterica.
    That is, if you can come up with a couple of other worthy tomes to add. Otherwise it's a very short list.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure it's that bad re Brautigan. We still have a few of his books on the shelves of my library which is not a bad sign. No, I think people thought he belonged to something like a Hippy Esoterica category, but I firmly believe he was for the ages in every way, a writer of timeless classics. I see though that I put him in a category called "undefined genre" with Magic Christian, Don Quixote, Bartleby, and Finnegans Wake, which, reasonably, could all be labelled Hippy Esoterica just as you like.

      Delete
  7. Oh, have you ever read any C. J. Cherryh? I liked "Angel with the Sword" especially, which could be cross-categorized as Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Romance. I also liked the Cyteen Trilogy.There's also the Anne McCaffrey series about Crystal Singers (Crystal Singer and Killashandra) and the ones about disabled people who have careers as living interfaces with space craft (Can't remember any names here oooppps). The latter were kind of weird but still compelling in their own ways.

    Do you ever wonder about booklovers being allowed to work in libraries are akin to drug addicts working in the pharmacy or seriously obese people working in a candy store or as bakery? As one who is both obese and a proud bearer of a MMMA card, I should not receive a chiding for how mean I am to the so afflicted, please? I love books but would be afraid my career in a bookish profession would be cut short by my inability to keep mu hands off the merchandise.

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    1. Thank you for all your comments. So, here we go on this:

      I have tried C.J. Cherryh and not gotten anywhere with it, but will keep her in mind to try again in the future.

      I am glad you mention Anne McCaffrey because I really need to add the totally splendid Dragonsinger and, possibly, Dragonsong to this list. I have read several others of her books with mixed feelings, but not the Crystal Singers ones.

      Yes, it has probably peeped its head up a few times on this voluminous blog, an analogy or two of being an alcoholic bartender vis a vis working at a library. But the environment I work in is surprisingly uncongenial to a lot of reading and only my piercing obsessiveness and eclecticism keeps me reading as much as I do- an amount that probably makes me better at my job rather than worse.

      Delete
    2. Oh, and let me add, what I find so strange are all the many non-readers I work with. You are somewhat new to this blog, but one of my thousand themes is a firm belief in working half the time. So, one should probably be in an environment where they can enjoy themselves the other half.

      Delete

If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.