Monday, January 24, 2011

A Few Book Recommendations

oct1

I've gotten a few questions lately about books and book recommendations. Here are some of my all-time favorite books that I recommend to everyone. I hope fellow bibliophiles can find one or two new reads to stash next to the bed:

If you like non-fiction: Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris is a collection of non-fiction short essays about being a book lover. It's uproariously funny; chock-full of weird, obscure words you want to look up; and it inspired my mother to buy me 17 pounds of books for my 17th birthday (awesome).

If English was your favorite subject in school: Ian McEwan's Atonement is a beautiful, complicated novel that is difficult to describe without reducing its gorgeousness. Like most McEwan, the plot keeps you rushing forward even while the structure of his sentences ask you to pause, slow down, and pay attention to language.

If you like J.D. Salinger or Lolita: Martin Amis's Money is a book I often recommend to guy friends looking for a good read (needless to say, lots of girls love it, too; it's just my current #1 book-for-a-boy rec). It is deviant, irreverent and darkly humorous.

If you're looking for a good classic, a well-plotted read for a long trip, or a genuinely scary book: Bram Stoker's Dracula literally gave me some kind of sublime shivers, I was so frightened and delighted reading it. It is the original vampire novel (and if you ask me, one of the only worth reading).

If you like long, rambly, funny, encyclopedic novels: Zadie Smith's White Teeth is among my favorite contemporary novels. It is a novel about London (which makes it difficult to contain neatly) and it is big and sympathetic and at times, incredibly funny.

Obviously, I have lots (and lots and lots) more books I love, but these five are among the most-popular Tania recommendations. Do you like to read? Or have you read anything great lately that you'd recommend? Would you mind a post like this once in a while?

97 comments:

Sarah said...

I would love a post like this as often as you'd like to post them! It's nice to see more of the bloggers I enjoy.. obviously you have more interests than style! My current favorites:

-David Sedaris, Squirrel Meets Chipmunk: it's by David Sedaris. Enough said.

-William Buckley Jr., No Way to Treat a First Lady: a political satire/non-fiction by the guy who wrote Thank You for Smoking. The first lady is accused of killing her husband, the president, and must enlist the help of the best lawyer in town (her ex) for her defense. Absurd and hysterical.

-Stephen King, The Dark Tower series: went out on a limb on this one because sci fi isn't my thing but a friend strongly recommended it. The characters are fantastically written and it's like a modern day sci fi version of Lord of the Rings almost.

Not sure if those would appeal to you at all, but since you're a bibliophile like me, a good book suggestion is always nice!

monster cakes said...

I'm a nerd. So I would love to hear book recommendations every now and then! And oh let's see... I just finished Same Kind of Different As Me, and it was unbelievable! I want to read it again. It was an amazing true story, moving yet humorous all at once. I think anyone would enjoy it.

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

@sarah--ahh, i love david sedaris! he is my favorite vacation pleasure-read. i can't get enough! got to get ahold of his new book, thank you for the reminder :)

La Historiadora de Moda said...

I don't mind posts like these one bit!

I very much enjoyed Zadie Smith's White Teeth and another of her novels, On Beauty. Most recently, I finished Umberto Eco's Baudolino, which was epic, fun, beautiful, and challenging.

Martina said...

As an English PhD student, I have very little read-for-fun time (as I think you probably know all too well), so I have to make the most of my reading for fun. Therefore, I recommend Room, by Emma Donoghue, which took me less than two days to read because I quite literally couldn't stop. If you like a bit of speculative fiction, I really enjoyed the collection Wastelands, which is all post-apocalyptic short fiction, some of which was middling but some absolutely superb.

aly said...

I love having suggested reading material. Thank you for sharing.

Ashley said...

oh, thanks for your recommendations! I love reading, but after a particularly rough final semester in college (three upper level American Lit classes, a capstone over the Federalist papers (all of them), a class about Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (which involved reading the whole book), and a class on contemporary readings in Sociology, I was a little tired of reading. Over the past two years since I've graduated I've been slowly reading more and more, but it's hard for me to find interesting books that aren't super popular - I want some off the beaten path recommendations, and you've provided!

Right now I'm reading Stiff by Mary Roach - it's a nonfiction book about different experiments and things that are done to human cadavers. It's really interesting, but I don't care for the author's writing style - it's almost a bit too colloquial for me.

I love David Sedaris, too. Naked is my go-to boy book recommendation - SO funny!

amberfelix said...

I never comment but would have to second the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. AMAZING!!

I would love to see more of your book rec's! I'm always looking for more good reads.

From Suns To Moons said...

This is your best post yet. "Money" is now gonna cut in line ahead of other planned reads. Thanks a bunch!

Violet said...

@Martina
Love Emma Donoghue! Her novel "Stir Fry" was one of my favorites in high school and college! I have been meaning to get to her newer stuff!

http://calendars-and-pens.blogspot.com/

Becca said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm reading 52 books this year and looking for non-NYT Best Sellers or Vamprie novels to the list. You're recommendations are wonderful! Thank you :)

eclectic-flair said...

This is a great post! I would love to see more book recommendations in the future. Currently, I'm reading Audrey Hepburn's biography. :-)

Bex said...

Thanks for sharing - I will definitely be checking out a few of these titles! My nightstand was feeling a little lonely...
Recently, I've been reading Sherlock Holmes (I bought the complete set and read them a few at a time), and Blackout / All Clear by Connie Willis.

Lindsay said...

I'd love some more suggestions! I also haven't commented before but have been a follower for awhile (love your blog & style!)... I'm studying 19th-century literature in England & France and, after a college drought, am slowly rediscovering the world of books... so new titles are always welcome :)

dot said...

Love the book suggestions! I've been meaning to get my hands on some Zadie Smith.

Favorite things I've read lately:
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones
Swimming by Nicola Keegan
A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

Diana said...

I always love to get good book recommendations!

Do you have a Good Reads account?

Bethany said...

At the risk of sounding super, suuuper lame - I love YA fiction, so I am throwing out "Matched" by Ally Condie. :D

sarah said...

i would love posts like this more often. you're more than just your clothes, so why not mix things up every now and then?

i have a bumper sticker on my laptop that says, "reading is sexy," so i might be biased :)

Kathryn from Schoolmarm Style said...

I love reading book recommendations. You should do them more often. I read mostly young adult fiction- as a 7th grade English teacher it's a job necessity, but recently did take a few days with The Help which was amazing.

Kaitlyn said...

I loved this post! I'm a definite bookworm so I love to hear what other people are reading. My favourites general include anything YA or historical.

Debbie said...

I'd love to see more posts like this! I added your recommendations to my "to read" list on Goodreads.com. I'm an American Lit PhD student so obviously I love to read and in the last two years I've been expanding my horizons beyond my research field (19th century lit) and reading some contemporary fiction for fun. I too loved Atonement. I also loved Kate Morton's two novels:
The House at Riverton
The Forgotten Garden
She also has a new one out that I haven't gotten to read yet. I highly recommend them! Also, since you like Dracula I was wondering if you've read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova? I'm in the middle of reading it right now on my Kindle.

Lauren said...

Hoorah for books! This English PhD student LOVES book recommendations. Especially ones that are vaguely contemporary.

Kathy said...

I love these kinds of posts! Even though my to-read list is long enough already, I love adding to it.

I started Atonement in December, but I've yet to pick it up again. It's a book I want to savor, but I haven't made time for that yet. What I've read so far, I love.

I just finished rereading Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's hard for me to pinpoint what exactly I love about it.

Lauren said...

p.s. props on the Derrida and Benjamin

Viktoria with a K said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I love reading and this year one of my goals is to read 50 books for pleasure. I am currently reading Little Women. I will add these to my list!

Pam S said...

I adore books, I've been reading obsessively since I was 6 years old. I'd love to see more recommendations.

I recently started a Sunday review on my blog and reviewed Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. I highly recommend both books for enjoyable and light reads.

JmeRees said...

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE that you created a book-post! I love hearing other people's recommendations/opinions on books, so when it comes from bloggers who I already like and respect, then I feel I can relate to the books they recommend as well. Please post more!

One book I have recently read is called 'World War Z'. It completely deviates from my normal genre of reading (nonfiction), in that it is about zombies but it is SO incredibly good (and yes, I know I sound crazy). My boyfriend read it then forced me to read it and it was such a perfect escapist book. It tells what would happen if an epidemic truly spread across the world, which isn't all that unreal. Give it a try, it's fun to open our minds once in a while! Sincerely, JR.

Courtney Erin said...

I'd love to see a book recommendation post from time to time! And to the list I'd like to Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood on the fiction side and The Gentleman's Daughter by Amanda Vickery on the non-fiction side - both are fascinating and beautiful in their very different ways.

xoxo ~ Courtney
http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

Miss Undergrad said...

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - yes, everyone I know hated it in high school, but I've read it every spring since 9th grade. Definitely my favorite book of all time.

Deep River by Shusaku Endo - if you're looking for a book that totally relies on a bunch of strangers who all take a vacation for very different reasons, I'd definitely recommend it. Each character, no matter how different, is very likable and gives a very realistic view of modern-day India.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - again, another character-driven book that's decked out in astounding imagery and plot.

thatdamngreendress said...

Oh, I loved Atonement! Similar reads: The Sea, John Banville; Never let me go, Kazuo Ishiguro...

My favourite reads are anything from New York Review Classics- they reprint a lot of interesting mid-century fiction that's always fascinating! Right now I'm reading J.G Farrell's Troubles, about a decaying one-time luxury hotel in 1920's northern Ireland. Incredible.

gina said...

I would LOVE a post like this once in a while. Babies, food/cooking, and diy/crafting posts are frequent off-topic posts on style blogers blogs. I would love, LOvE, LOOOOVE if more off-topics posts were about books. (I say, as a bit of a bibliophile myself).

gina said...

omg, as a reader above brought up, I'm wearing a buy olimpia Reading is Sexy cap-sleeve tee right now (which I tracked down after seeing Rory wear it on Gilmore Girls - no surprise I loved that show; I am Rory and Lorelei is pretty much everything I want to be)

Libby said...

Thank you for the recommendations! I am a librarian and fellow bibliophile, and I don't think there's anything wrong with recommending books on a style blog :)

vintageaplomb.blogspot.com

mrmella said...

I love learning about people through the books they recommend; this is great!

Gaby said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I love Zadie Smith, I especially loved White Teeth. Right now I'm reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, and I'm really enjoying it. I highly recommend it!

BiblioMOMia said...

Such a lovely, varied list--many of my favs, too!

My favorite recent read was definitely _Let the Great World Spin_ by Colum McCann. Like you, I'm an English PhD student, so my time for "my own" reading is very tight. This is a gorgeous, sweeping, and accessible piece of storytelling...that can be finished in a couple of days!

heysuz said...

ooooh yay! i am vowing to read a new book every month and i'm taking your recommendations and adding them to my book list.

this month, i'm reading just kids by patti smith. i'm really loving it so far. it's her memoir and it chronicles her early life moving to new york, meeting john maplethrope, and their intense relationship both as lovers and as artists. it's also really interesting to read about these snippets from her life surrounded by artists and poets and musicians in 70s new york.

the other emily said...

Yessss I will always take more book recommendations!

I had a super-long train commute at my last job, so last summer was sort of the Season of the Big Novel for me. I read Infinite Jest and Gravity's Rainbow (in tandem with Zak Smith's Pictures of What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow, which was incredible), and then IJ again because it was more fun to just read it than watch boyfriend's eyes glaze over when I start talking about it for the fifth time at every single meal... He was, however, sweet enough to get me a kindle for my birthday, so now I can keep all my 1000+ pagers on me at all times without spinal injury.

I'm on a little food-book (Pollan and Safran Foer) vacation from Big Books right now, but I think my next climb is Ulysses. Atonement and White Teeth sound like they would definitely be up my ally as well :)
the other emily

Elizabeth said...

Thank you SO much for this post! I'm always looking for book recommendations.

Right now I'm reading The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood, having just finished The Remains of the Day (Ishiguro) and Midnight's Children (Rushdie). I went on a bit of a classics kick earlier this winter and read A Movable Feast, In Our Time (Hemingway), Tender is the Night, This Side of Paradise (Fitzgerald), Old Goriot (Balzac) and A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens).

Please make this a regular feature!

Izabela said...

This is a fantastic kind of post -- new book recommendations are always welcome in my world!

I'm reading Atonement for a class and it is amazing thus far. Also, Room is on our list and it looks like a great book!

I look forward to more posts like this :) Thanks!

Marisa said...

I recommend "In the Woods" and "The Likeness"; both by Tana French. They are contemporary murder mysteries set in Ireland, and both are beautifully written.

aaez said...

I adore this kind of post! And as for a good book recommendation, I would have to say The Great Gatsby. Each time I read it I fall more in love with it. You can never go wrong with a classic novel.

melissamolasses said...

I actually prefer books to clothes, so I would love to see this as a regular feature on your blog.
I (coincidentally) downloaded Dracula yesterday and I already love Ian McEwan, but Ex Libris is now on my reading list. Thanks for the recommendations!

stephanie said...

I'm so glad you did this post! Please please please do more of these every once in a while. Thanks for recommending those; I've never read White Teeth or Ex Libris, so I'll definitely check those out. Currently I'm in a Faulkner phase - if you've never read Light in August, I would definitely recommend it. xo

Anonymous said...

BookSeer.com is a lifesaver; it recommends books to you based on books you've previously read. I use it whenever I need to find a new read!

Vanessa said...

Awesome post! I love to hear what other people are reading, especially after I get a feel for their personal taste.

lindsay fisher-collie said...

yes, please do more posts like this! i love love love getting new recommendations. i have a whole page on my blog dedicated to good reads (books not blogs, although i do love both). :)

ilene @ muchloveilly said...

i normally hate anything horror or scary but i read dracula just a couple of years ago and loved it! and thanks for this recommendation list - it came at a good time. im in need of a new book!

Vivian said...

i would love more posts like this! its nice to read about another side of you besides just what you wear :)

Scotty said...

I love reading and I am always looking for new things to read! As far as recommendations I am throwing this out there to cover the SciFi/Fantasy world The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. He has a great writing style and I was captivated after reading the first book. Also very funny and made me jump was World War Z. It's about zombies and what would theoretically happen if there was a zombie plague.

Deirdre said...

Thank you for this post. I absolutely love books. I have read Atonement, White Teeth and Dracula. So glad to now find Money and Ex Libris. Just finished The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman and Waiting For Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire. Currently reading Morality Play by Barry Unsworth, To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis and Devices and Desires by P.D. James. Please make book recommendations a regular part of your blog.

dee said...

I like this post!

'middlesex' by Jeffrey Eugenides is a current favourite of mine.

I always have a few books on the go....currently they are (in no particular order) 'Nicholas and Alexandra', 'The brain that changes itself', 'The robber bride', and 'Darkly dreaming Dexter'. I've just started the Dexter book as I'm a fan of the show, I hope it doesn't disappoint.


I loved 'White teeth' and also recommend 'on beauty' by zadie smith. I thought it was a great read too.

CessOviedo said...

I'm a huge fan of Lolita and have read it about 5 times, so I guess Money will do for me! ... I've heard wonders about it, so I'll be looking for it tomorrow at the library and let you know my opinion! ... I'm adding White Teeth to the list as well, haven't read anything contemporary lately.

http://blog.cessoviedo.com

Sugar Magnolia said...

As everyone else has said, this post is fantastic and I would love more like it.
I just finished my first Tom Robbins - Still Life With Woodpecker - and it has become a kind of Bible for me. There are so many lines that you just want to copy down and remember forever.
Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres is another recent read that slayed me - it's got absolutely everything a good book needs, and more.
Atonement is one of my top favorites ever ever ever, I'm so happy to see so many people loving it too!

Angela said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I would definitely like more posts like this. I have Atonement on my books to read list. I broke my fairly strict rule of reading the book before watching the movie. Did you watch it? Is the book better? Of course it is. The book is ALWAYS better. :) But seriously, do they compare?

Better Than A Milk Mustache

academichic said...

Great post! Keep the book recommendations coming! :)

And I love that you mentioned Stoker's Dracula. I love that book, it's amazing.

Also, not the same but in the gothic genre - I loved Anne Rice's The Witching Hour although I never quite got as into any of her other books. But this family saga about a family of witches and warlocks is amazing, a must read.

S.

Carolyn said...

I love this idea! I'm a huge bookworm! One of my mom's favorite stories about me is that even before I was in kindergarten I would stay awake until midnight reading, and then fall asleep with all my books around me on my bed..... wait did I just share that publicly? Oh, I also read the entire Hardy Boys series in first grade but declined to read any Nancy Drew because my first grade-self thought she was a sissy.

My favorite genre is suspense, specifically contemporary legal or psychological thrillers (love me some John Grisham and Dean Koontz). I got a Kindle for Christmas and have become OBSESSED with it. Literally, I take it everywhere with me, and will pull it out if I have 5 minutes of downtime. I recently downloaded Dracula, and based on your recommendation it sounds great! I'm not much of a Twi-hard, but I'm excited to read it!

Miss Sara said...

It's awesome to hear about what other people have been reading and I would love to hear more. I recently read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls it was an easy read but has a strong message. I'm currently reading Out of Africa and I'm impressed so far!

meg said...

I loved this post! I am a total bookworm (my blog is actually all about books), and I love fashion, too. Needless to say, my Google Reader is flooding with both kinds of blogs and I've rarely ever seen crossover in content, which makes me sad. I've often considered posting an OOTD on my blog, but thought I'd alienate readers.

I like seeing what my favorite bloggers are into, even if it's not 100% on topic.

And, who knows - maybe I'll actually post about fashion over on my blog!

Jameil said...

Indeed! For people looking for non-fiction, I suggest "The Color of Water," "In An Instant" & "Dreams of My Father." For classics, I love "Pride & Prejudice." I also love "Love in the Time of Cholera." I enjoyed "The Help" too.

Kathryn said...

Thank you for the list! I'm excited to try Ex Libris! When I graduated from college, my mom got me two shopping bags full of used books since I would now have time to read for fun again!

Right now I'm reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society... it's very cozy and British; I highly recommend it.

Ms. Ten said...

I would love more posts like this. I plan to keep track on my blog of books I read once a month for the prior month. So at the beginning of Feb. I will post my list of Jan. books. Right now I am working on "Lost Moon" which is the original edition of the book by James Lovell and some other guy that got re-titled "Apollo 13" after the movie came out. I am such a NASA nut but I'd never read this book before - so I recognize almost all the peoples' names. It's almost like reading a news article about people I knew from high school.

Even if you're not that into NASA, it's a pretty fascinating view of the Apollo program.

Maybe I will read Gene Krantz's book next.

summertime dreams said...

I would love a post like this once in a while!! :) Currently reading the series Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind. As well as various Germany travel books and UK Glamour mag.... well hey it counts too!!

hurricanekerrie said...

Great recommendations! I love books too but at the moment my schedule gives me only enough time on Kids picture books and short YAs.

Although, I am finding a few minutes a day reading through every ten pages or so of "I, Claudius" by Robert Graves. Tantalizing read.

Claudine said...

Love fashion and books. Fun to share once in a while... my two favorites are The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. Read them both years ago and still recoil a bit when I see either of them on the shelf. In a good way of course.

Pineapple said...

I think this is absolutely great. I feel that it is silly the way blogs get classified - they're not books. And while that's part of what is great about books (this one's historical fiction, that's poetry, that's a dictionary, etc.) that's part of what is great about blogs. They can be as diverse and far-reaching as the personalities of their writers. They can be all that we imagine for them. : P
More renaissance blogs, I say! (Also, thanks for the book recommendations! I'll surely be checking a few out soon.)

KP said...

Nice post! I may look into Ex Libris sometime after I finish this semester. I'm pretty full from my regular readings for classes between Rhetorical Theory and Malory's 15th century King Arthur tales.

Lexie, Little Boat said...

i would love more book posts! i like to see what people are reading.

my senior seminar is on the literary vampire -- we just finished dracula!

mk said...

i would love love love more posts like this! i did my undergrad in english lit, so this is right up my alley. thanks for the recommendations!!

www.yogaandpencilskirts.blogspot.com

Huzzah! Vintage said...

I think every book in your comps pile in that picture ought to be recommended reading. Except, of course, the Jameson.

J said...

Oh, I just love White teeth- good to see that the book taste amongst lecturing, researching grad students doesn't differ so much overseas!

Bettina said...

Yay for book recommendations - do keep them coming! I actually just started a book blog (http://liburuak.wordpress.com - unfortunately it's still a little short on content, but I'm working on it!), and I'm always on the lookout for new recommendations. Even though the pile just keeps growing and growing.

One of my recent favourite reads was "Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates, which I found both captivating and thought provoking (I also now have a special relationship with that book because it was the first ever review to go on my blog).
And my go-to recommendation for boys is "The unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera, incidentally also my favourite book ever.

Thanks for the recommendations, I will definitely give Dracula a shot now!

Alessandra said...

YES posts like this, please!

We have similar tastes in books so curious to read some of the ones I haven't read yet that you mention.

Funnily enough, just picked up Atonement this weekend as it's been on my To Read list forever.

Looks & Books said...

Yeah books! Atonement is one of my favorites as well. I, of course, would love to see more posts like this. Books and fashion can go together, more so than people think. ;)

Jessica said...

I'm getting my MA in children's lit and it has been awhile since I've read an adult book, so thanks for the recs! Let me know if you ever need recs for good children's and young adult books!

laughingonafastcamel17@gmail.com

Saya said...

More posts like this, please.

Melanie's Randomness said...

I loved Dracula! Wuthering Heights is a great book too!!

Melanie's Randomness

portlandize.com said...

I'd love a post like this from time to time - I've been needing some new reading material. My most recent readings have been old Russian novels (primarily Dostoyevsky), The Master and Margarita (Bulgakov) and 1984 and Animal Farm (Orwell, of course). Yeah, kind of a theme there, I know. I'll definitely check out McEwan, and maybe Martin Amis as well - we just discovered Salinger a few years ago and loved his writing.

Cheers!

amanda james said...

thanks for sharing. it's great to see that there are others who love to read as much as i do-although i don't have the time at the moment. atonement is one of my favs not only for the book but also for the film which was very well shot.
besides: i am a nerd too and i like to see a post like this once in a while :D

Christi @ Rumination Avenue said...

I love this post, yes, do more!

I recently read An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. Wonderful! And....

it
has
pictures!

http://ruminationavenue.com/?p=1980

Laurelann said...

I love these kinds of posts. I'll add some of these to my list. My current recommendations have included:

Fallen {Lauren Kate, for the thousands of Twilight fans}
Garden Spells {romance with some magical twists}
*& my favorite:
The Crux {Charlotte Gilman Perkins, author of "The Yellow Wallpaper"}

I haven't read much that's new because I'm busy trying to catch up on reading Classics!

http://one-girl-vs-world.blogspot.com

Hilary said...

I would love more posts like this! Keep them coming!

Cassie said...

love this post more so than any others! i have a ton of books i love, but a classic i will never hesitate to recommend has to be Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.

Rosiecat said...

Wow, this is fantastic! And look at all these comments! I'm a nonfiction fan, and it's funny that I was just reading a review of Anne Fadiman's book on my friend's goodreads page and thinking that maybe this one should be my next read.

Your plug for _Dracula_ makes me want to check that one out of the library too :-)

Shanna said...

Yes please x infinity to book recommendation posts!

neigeblanche said...

Thank you for sharing! I love recommendation by others.

My last good read was Freedom by Jonathan Frantzen, I did really enjoy it, he's a genius at building believable characters with many layers of depth. His observation of middle class America is brilliant and his description of marriage and family life with flaws and all is superb.

I'd recommend reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, the story of a thoroughly modern and independent woman for her time. It was gripping and the descriptions are brilliant.

I also really enjoyed The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe (a British author)- the story follows four characters, one of whom is narcoleptic. Very well written.

Vanessa said...

"Truth and Beauty" by Ann Patchett
"The Undertaking" by Thomas Lynch for essays I wish I had written.
And, yes, keep up with the book recommends! Afterall, your blog is called "What Would a NERD Wear" Not that reading is nerdy. It's completely stylish in my book!

Sidewalk Chic said...

I really think we could be good friends in real life, because I have read half these books (and love them to pieces).

A couple that I cherish:

If you like being nosy and reading other people's diaries: "A Book of One's Own" by Thomas Mallon. A great compendium of different diarists out there, and the types of diaries kept (during war, revolutions, travel, etc.) Awesome excerpts.

If you thought Gone with the Wind was the Greatest Novel Ever About a Geographical Region: "Rhett Butler's People." All told from Rhett's perspective (with bonus early years biographical information!).

If you liked Dante's Inferno and Have a Weird Sense of Humor: "Good Omens," by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It's the end of the world, and it involves a misplaced spawn of Satan, and an angel and a demon who have gotten too used to loving Earth life. Probably my favorite ever, and not at all sci-fiction.

helloprettyhoney said...

I would love more posts like this! I am always looking for a great book to ready. I just finished "Water for Elephants" and loved it!

Lori said...

I'm always looking for new things to read. I vote for more posts like this :)

Maggie said...

I'd love a monthly book-suggestions post!

Some of my favorites include:

The Alienist, by Caleb Carr (a team of colleagues attempts to use William James-style psychology to catch a serial killer in turn of the century NYC)

Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl (a brilliant girl attempts to make sense of her rather strange senior year of high school- it has a very particular narration style that I loved)

World War Z, by Max Brooks (really excellent! and my new top book-for-a-boy rec)

The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver (the story of an American family in the Congo in the 60's, told alternately from the perspectives of each of the women)

The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje (such a beautiful, lyric style- perfect for savoring with a cup of tea. And as much as I like Ralph Fiennes, I definitely prefer the book to the movie)

Newspaper Cut Outs said...

OH! I love to read! But i never have much time due to school and all. I remember one of my favorite modern fiction books was actually, Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. It was such a gripping novel and I completely enjoyed flipping through it!


its so funny that Maggie also mentioned that one!

~Newscutouts from newscutouts.blogspot.com

Jenny said...

I love these posts. I would like to see them every once and while. I love to read, but I can't during a semester so I save up my recs for my breaks.

I will definitely add a few of these to my list.

Melissa said...

I haven't read any of those books yet, but I'm always looking for recommendations. I'll put them on my list.

I just started a challenge for myself to read my way through the 501 Must-Read Books book. There are a lot of great books on the list from classics, to childrens books to more modern novels. The list is my blog.

Want to join the challenge? www.seemelissaread.blogspot.com

Col said...

Love book posts! I will check out your suggestions. A few people already mentioned but I have to second their recommendations for:
The historian. - best vampire novel I've ever read. everyone I recommend ot too loves it. Read white teeth and am reading On beauty now both by Zadie smith. Last but not least, anything by Tom Robbins is excellent. He is my absolute favorite author. I liked Half asleep in frog pajamas best though!

Katie said...

Do you read any book blogs? And if so can you do a post on them?

yearofthirty said...

Hey there,

I found your blog via Kendi's and I really love what you wear. I intend to definitely steal - I mean, be inspired by - your ideas as we approach winter here in Australia (well, what I guess would be the equivalent of autumn/late summer where you are).

Thanks for the book ideas. I'm currently completing a bunch of challenges that I set myself for this year (as this is the year I turn 30) and one of them is to read three classic novels that I should have read by now. So far I have 'Foucault's Pendulum' by Umberto Eco, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and now, thanks to you, I think I'll include 'Dracula' in that list. I was looking for a third, so thanks for the recommendation.

- Kellee.

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