FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Please recommend a book!

   
Author Topic: Please recommend a book!
Liz B
Member
Member # 8238

 - posted      Profile for Liz B   Email Liz B         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some background:

One of my book clubs has been struggling for the last year or so with choosing books to read. Our system has been for each of us to bring in reviews and titles of books we'd like to read, then the group chooses one. Well. Lately this has not been working. We have too many possibilities to choose from, and we're too likely to shoot down each other's ideas, and the "next book" discussion ends up taking longer than the actual book discussion (and social chat, even!). So now we have a new plan: each month, a different person brings a few books (maybe 3-5) for consideration, and we choose one of those no matter how crabby the choices make us.

I'm up first, and I'd like to get some Hatrack suggestions.

In the past, this club has really enjoyed books like The Kite Runner, Never Let Me Go, and Water for Elephants. They're pretty willing to try new things--last summer, we read The Stolen Child, which was a fantasy novel (though not marketed as such), and I've gotten them to read some sports nonfiction.

I think I'm definitely going to propose either Kitchen Confidential or Garlic and Sapphires, because I really like books about food. I'd like to propose a classic, too; it's been a while since we read one, so I'd love to hear ideas.

Recent books we hated: Lessons in Becoming Myself (I was the only one who finished it) and For One More Day, the new book by the Tuesdays with Morrie guy. (OK, I was the one who hated that one. [Smile] )

So...suggestions?

Posts: 833 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Stephan
Member
Member # 7549

 - posted      Profile for Stephan   Email Stephan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Have you all read Time Traveller's Wife?
Posts: 3134 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Kindred by Octavia Butler is a really good book.
Posts: 4226 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Javert
Member
Member # 3076

 - posted      Profile for Javert   Email Javert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just finished "Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman. Very good.
Posts: 3852 | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Euripides
Member
Member # 9315

 - posted      Profile for Euripides   Email Euripides         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Have you tried What Should I Read Next? or LibraryThing?

There's also this list if you're still stumped for a book title.

Happy sailing.

Posts: 1762 | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elmer's Glue
Member
Member # 9313

 - posted      Profile for Elmer's Glue   Email Elmer's Glue         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Shantaram is a great book. Not sure it would be good for a book club because it is over 900 pages..
Posts: 1287 | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Joldo
Member
Member # 6991

 - posted      Profile for Joldo   Email Joldo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is excellent and infinitely readable, but also long.

I really did enjoy The Secret Life of Bees, which is such a Wal-Mart book but well-written and interesting. Still, the whole thing gives you a sense of foreboding.

Posts: 1735 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
porcelain girl
Member
Member # 1080

 - posted      Profile for porcelain girl   Email porcelain girl         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Behold the Ellis Movie Elimination System. This isn't a book, it's our system as a large family to agree on what movie to watch at home.

Everyone chooses three movies they would like to watch that night, and lays them with the other choices on the floor. Then we go around in a circle and everyone takes turns vetoing the movie they have the least interest in. It is actually a really fun process in my house, and while only one or a few people end up watching the movie they most wanted to watch, no one has to watch a movie they absolutely did *not* want to watch.

Maybe you should try it with the books! Everyone ends up getting at least a few of their choices vetoed, so no one has to feel individually shot down.

As for books, Jane Austen is always a comfortable choice?
I think Pastwatch is a good OSC book for diverse groups. It's really smart, and stirring.

Posts: 3936 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sterling
Member
Member # 8096

 - posted      Profile for Sterling   Email Sterling         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Life Of Pi?
Posts: 3825 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elizabeth
Member
Member # 5218

 - posted      Profile for Elizabeth   Email Elizabeth         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I second The Time Traveler's Wife.

Also, for fun, The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Lowell, and JT Fields look for a serial killer.

(It is really good, and tongue-in-cheek funny)

"Lowell, as your publisher, I command you to put down the gun!"

Posts: 10890 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Liz B
Member
Member # 8238

 - posted      Profile for Liz B   Email Liz B         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the recommendations so far! (By the way, I have until Thursday, so keep 'em coming...) As you may have gathered, part of the complication is that I'm picking a book I haven't read, so it's an unknown quantity. In one of my other clubs, the woman who started it is in charge, and she reads the books before picking them, so the quality tends to be more consistent. I like both systems...it's kind of fun to take a chance, and while it's no fun to read a bad book, it's always fun to complain about it later. [Smile]

I'm thinking I will definitely include something by Octavia Butler in the choices. Her books seem like science fiction that doesn't look too science-fictiony. That's important for this group.

Thanks for the links, Euripides...I just spent about an hour on What Should I Read Next. That is a dangerous site in the way Netflix is dangerous for me...I end up glued to the computer, rating movies.

And I really like the Ellis Movie Elimination System. I also like how it puts less pressure on *me* to offer the perfect book choice...if the group doesn't like it, then it's the group's fault. [Razz]

Has anyone read The Remains of the Day?

Posts: 833 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elizabeth
Member
Member # 5218

 - posted      Profile for Elizabeth   Email Elizabeth         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Another choice that would be interesting would be "Dangerous Liaisons," by Chaderlos de Laclos.

It is a novel written in the late 1700's.

If you think our generation on earth is decadent, woowee, this makes us look like creampuffs.

It is written all through letters, is translated from the French, and is very hard to put down.

Posts: 10890 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Qaz
Member
Member # 10298

 - posted      Profile for Qaz           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Curious Incident of the Upside-Down Dog, about a boy with Aspberger's or autism.
Posts: 544 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JumboWumbo
Member
Member # 10047

 - posted      Profile for JumboWumbo   Email JumboWumbo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Born On A blue" day is about that autistic guy who, unlike others diagnosed with autism, is able to communicate efficently. And if everyone hasn't read it already, I'm currently reading "Farewell to Arms", by Hemingway. A classic, and a quick read and easy read.
Posts: 213 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SteveRogers
Member
Member # 7130

 - posted      Profile for SteveRogers           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Qaz:
The Curious Incident of the Upside-Down Dog, about a boy with Aspberger's or autism.

Do you mean The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ?
Posts: 6026 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
akhockey
Member
Member # 8394

 - posted      Profile for akhockey           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"The Power of One" by Bryce Courtenay is an unbelievable read, as is it's sequel Tandia. I really, really loved those two. Other than that, maybe "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. That one, too, I really enjoyed.
Posts: 193 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nathan2006
Member
Member # 9387

 - posted      Profile for Nathan2006   Email Nathan2006         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"The Thirteenth Tale" By Diane Setterfield might be a good choice. It's a personal favorite.
Posts: 438 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nathan2006
Member
Member # 9387

 - posted      Profile for Nathan2006   Email Nathan2006         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
PS: Thanks for that 'What should I read next?' Site. I can't believe I've never heard of it.
Posts: 438 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sweetbaboo
Member
Member # 8845

 - posted      Profile for sweetbaboo   Email sweetbaboo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just read "Standing in the Rainbow" by Fannie Flagg which was a no brainer fun read but great with getting you to care about the characters and what happens to them.

"Miss Julia Speaks her MInd" was another fun read (I can't remember the author's name though, sorry). This is a story about a woman whose husband just died with "skeletons in his closet", one of which was in the form of a son that landed on her doorstep one day and what she does about it. Very entertaining.

Jodi Picoult writes interesting/somewhat controversial books that would lend to great discussions. I've read "My Sister's Keeper" and "Plain Truth". Both very interesting, quick to read and I would recommend either.

My sister's book group takes turns with one person choosing a book per month. Doing that might alleviate the whole decision making process in group form and lend itself to everyone reading something that is personally interesting at least once a year (depending how many you have in your book group I suppose). Have fun.

Posts: 697 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jhai
Member
Member # 5633

 - posted      Profile for Jhai   Email Jhai         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you're considering Octavia Butler, I'd suggest Kindred, Parable of the Sower, or maybe Wild Seed as the least "science fiction-y."

I haven't read a lot of fiction lately, but I think looking at the Booker Prize winners is a great way to find good books. Some on the list that I know are awesome:
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Midnight's Children by Rushdie
God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Posts: 2409 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Belle
Member
Member # 2314

 - posted      Profile for Belle   Email Belle         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Life of Pi is outstanding, I just finished it today.
Posts: 14428 | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Architraz Warden
Member
Member # 4285

 - posted      Profile for Architraz Warden   Email Architraz Warden         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

Even if it isn't completely factual, just the fact that the premise and the events are true is good enough for me. And it reads quite easily as well.

Posts: 1368 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ketchupqueen
Member
Member # 6877

 - posted      Profile for ketchupqueen   Email ketchupqueen         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mistress of Spices by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni.
Posts: 21181 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlueWizard
Member
Member # 9389

 - posted      Profile for BlueWizard   Email BlueWizard         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have a suggestion for a book I really loved, but I confess it is an unusual book. The book is -

"The Book of Lost Things" By John Connolly

John Connolly is most noted for writing Mystery books, however this book is more in the line of Fanstasy/Adventure, and to some extent, more in line with Harry Potter books.

I personally found the book very moving, despite the fact that, as always, the Hero triumphs, it is a sad and tragic story.

From Publisher's Weekly via Amazon.com -

"Thriller writer Connolly ('Every Dead Thing') turns from criminal fears to primal fears in this enchanting novel about a 12-year-old English boy, David, who is thrust into a realm where eternal stories and fairy tales assume an often gruesome reality. Books are the magic that speak to David, whose mother has died at the start of WWII after a long debilitating illness. ... Connolly echoes many great fairy tales and legends (Little Red Riding Hood, Roland, Hansel and Gretel), but cleverly twists them to his own purposes. Despite horrific elements, this tale is never truly frightening, but is consistently entertaining as David learns lessons of bravery, loyalty and honor that all of us should learn."

I know, it seems like a odd story, Fairytales and such, but despite the fairytale nature, this is not a book for young kids, and indeed is not a book marketed to young people at all (Teens, YA, and Adults).

All John Connolly's books have consistently FOUR to FOUR-and-HALF STAR ratings at Amazon.com. That should give you some idea of the general quality of his writing. If this book doesn't appeal to you, then perhaps some of his other Mystery/Thrillers might.

Still, to anyone who loves books and fantasy, this is an excellent choice.

Here is a quote from the book that resonated very strongly with me. It made me want to pass my love of books along to others, and made me regret that I found my love of books so late.

"Before she became ill, David's mother would often tell him that stories were alive. They weren't alive in the way that people were alive, or even dogs and cats. People were alive whether you chose to notice them or not ...

"Stories were different, though: they came alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath the blankets, they had no real existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for the chance to
emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change. They could take root in the imagination, and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read,..."

Hope it's OK to include this quote; if not I will gladly remove it.

Steve/BlueWizard

Posts: 803 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Adam_S
Member
Member # 9695

 - posted      Profile for Adam_S   Email Adam_S         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
All Creatures Great and Small - James Herriot
WildSeed - Octavia Butler
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Heat - Bill Buford
Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
Eifelheim - Michael Flynn
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Anne Fadiman

Posts: 128 | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Alethea
Member
Member # 10457

 - posted      Profile for Alethea   Email Alethea         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oooh, please allow me to second Life of Pi and The Thirteenth Tale, both beautifully written and good for some thought-provoking discussion (especially Pi).

If you're willing to try something a little more colourful, there's House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende... and just today I finished White Teeth by Zadie Smith, which was poignant and insightful and deliciously funny.

Posts: 5 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Belle
Member
Member # 2314

 - posted      Profile for Belle   Email Belle         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think Life of Pi is almost the perfect book club book.

I'm recommending it to all my friends, hoping to get more people to read it so I can talk about it with them. [Smile]

I love what it has to say about truth, about subjectivity, about courage and personal strength and growth. It's just fabulous.

Posts: 14428 | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Seatarsprayan
Member
Member # 7634

 - posted      Profile for Seatarsprayan   Email Seatarsprayan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Ascent of Rum Doodle is the funniest book I have ever read.
Posts: 454 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Eaquae Legit
Member
Member # 3063

 - posted      Profile for Eaquae Legit   Email Eaquae Legit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"The Necessary Beggar" by Susan Palwick. It made me cry, twice. Once I was sad, and once I was happy.
Posts: 2849 | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bluenessuno
Member
Member # 5535

 - posted      Profile for bluenessuno   Email bluenessuno         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
by Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin,

Posts: 61 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Liz B
Member
Member # 8238

 - posted      Profile for Liz B   Email Liz B         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you, Hatrack!!!!

Update and results:

I proposed the following--
Garlic and Sapphires
Midnight's Children
Kindred
The Thirteenth Tale
The Book of Lost Things
The Maltese Falcon
The Hound of the Baskervilles

They narrowed it down to three--Midnight's Children, Kindred, and The Book of Lost Things, then we drew from a hat and got Midnight's Children. This is very, very different from anything we've read before, and not something I'd've selected without this forum...so thanks [Smile] . When my turn rolls around again in a year or so, I'll probably put the other 2 up again if I haven't read them yet.

(Life of Pi, The Time Traveller's Wife, and other highly recommended books didn't make the original list because I'd already read them. And I know it's total heresy...but I really, really, really did NOT like Life of Pi. *shrug* But I can certainly see how it would make a great discussion book.)

Posts: 833 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jlt
Member
Member # 10088

 - posted      Profile for jlt   Email jlt         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My sister's keeper
Posts: 130 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Epictetus
Member
Member # 6235

 - posted      Profile for Epictetus   Email Epictetus         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Anything by P.G Wodehouse
Posts: 681 | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
martha
Member
Member # 141

 - posted      Profile for martha           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Was by Geoff Ryman makes for great discussions. So does Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban.
China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh is marvelous but I don't think there's as much to talk about.

Hey, Liz, when I read Midnight's Children, I thought it had an unusual number of similarities with A Prayer for Owen Meany. Would there be any chance of encouraging your book club to read both books, perhaps one after another, so you can talk about the connections? Or I suppose it could all have been my imagination.

Posts: 1785 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
martha
Member
Member # 141

 - posted      Profile for martha           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Was by Geoff Ryman makes for great discussions. So does Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban. And Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer -- but I've met people who say there's no excuse for fiction built around September 11th.
China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh is marvelous but I don't think there's as much to talk about.

Hey, Liz, when I read Midnight's Children, I thought it had an unusual number of similarities with A Prayer for Owen Meany. Would there be any chance of encouraging your book club to read both books, perhaps one after another, so you can talk about the connections? Or I suppose it could all have been my imagination.

Posts: 1785 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Liz B
Member
Member # 8238

 - posted      Profile for Liz B   Email Liz B         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
My sister's keeper
Oh, agreed. I really like Jodi Picoult, and that's a great one to talk about. In fact, if it weren't for the sex scenes, I'd make it a club book for my students. Same with The Pact. Buuuuut both are a little too controversial for me to make readily available (i.e., I won't buy them & keep them in the classroom). However, if a group of mature, smart kids wanted to check out/ buy, read & discuss them, I'd let it happen. It's a fine, fine line.

martha, I can't propose a new book for a while, but I'll mention your suggestion at our next meeting. I went through an Irving phase in college, and I think I've read that one, but it's been long enough that I wouldn't mind reading it again.

Posts: 833 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2