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So, what have you been reading bookwise lately?

Do you have a book you can recommend? A trip to the library/local book store is somewhat imminent in my very near future and I'm looking for some ideas.

I like fiction, non fiction, history, biography. No bodice rippers please.

Or do you have a favourite author and you'd read ANYTHING that person put out no matter what?

Let me know, I'm looking forward to your suggestions! Big Grin
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What I'm Currently Reading: I read five books at once and have a wonderful ability to keep up with all of them without getting the plotlines or characters confused. My current hand consists of: Something So Strong by Chris Bourke, Perfect Skin by Nick Earls, The F*ck-Up by Arthur Nersesian, Holding The Man by Timothy Conigrave and Nip N' Tuck by Kathy Lette.

Books/Authors I recommend: I plug Kathy Lette and Nick Earls to whoever I can, particularly Kathy - she has razor sharp wit that should be illegal. I recommend Holding The Man by Timothy Conigrave, which is a true story. If you want some intelligent yet side-splitting journalism I suggest The Forgetting Of Wisdom by Paul McDermott.
Hi Martine,
I just finished Jane Austen's 'Persuasion' last night (about the fourth time I've read it). I have similar taste to Jane in that respect (as she well knows Wink ) and would recommend in addition to her list:
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens) - persevere past the first couple of chapters
Jane Eyre (Emily? Bronte)

In total contrast to these classics, I can also recommend anything from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (extremely funny IMO, and you don't have to read them in order). Also, Inconceivable, and Dead Famous by Ben Elton; Bridget Jones Diary and The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding and of course ALL the Harry Potter books - JK Rowling Smiler
I like a lot of the classics - I can read Jane Austen's books again and again. Thackeray's Vanity Fair, George Elliot's Middlemarch. Some Thomas Hardy, but not too much. The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the D'Urbervilles I liked better than Jude the Obscure.
I like The Mayor of Casterbridge too, but it's so depressing!!
I just read "Clockers," don't remember who it's by, but it was excellent. I couldn't put it down. I think it was written around "92, at the height of the inner-city crack epidemic. Highly recommended.
I just finished reading a book my mom borrowed to me called: "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory. It was a fantastic book and I couldn't put it down. It is a fictionalized story (with some facts) about Ann Boleyn's sister and their relationships with King Henry in Tudor England. I would highly recommend it.

And I know that you said you don't like romance novels (I don't either, except for Jane Austin) but the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon you should consider making an exception for. There are I think 5 books in the series now. The first book is called "Outlander" and it is about an English nurse just back from World War II who is reunited with her husband and they take a second Honeymoon trip to Scotland.
She stumbles accross a mini-stonehenge and goes back in time to the Scotland of the 1700's right before Culloden.
It's romance, fantasy, historical fiction on some levels. Each book is over 800 pages though so the romance theme runs through it but it is not everything.
The plot sounds far-fetched but believe me, these books are good!

And I'm also a huge fan of James Elroy but I know his books are not for everyone. His most best known book is probably "L.A. Confidential".

Happy reading!!
Does the TV guide count as a book? Big Grin
I've been reading Chasing Down The Dawn by Jewel which is a really beautiful book about growing up and about loving people then losing them and the struggles with crowded life and life alone. Jewel is an amazing singer and her book is something i cant put down, must get her book of poetry. Before that had just finished Freddie Mercury by Peter Freestone. I dont like this book much as it feels like im sitting in a bar and Peter Freestone is just going on and on about this and that and im trying to get away. Mercury And Me is another book i've recently read about Freddie Mercury but this one is done by his partner Jim Hutton and i love this book a lot as you feel like you're in the room with both of them and you're experiancing their ups and downs, it's a really wonderful book about their first meeting right up until Freddies death in 1991. Next book im going to read is R.E.M In their own words, looks like a wonderful book and as a huge R.E.M fan i think this is going to be great read.
I usually dig satire, biographies, fantasy books. Lately, I've been into essay collections:

"Diversity Dialogues," edited by Dr. Lee Gutkind, is essays written by people who have experienced different types of prejudice. The reason this is an important book, is the essays aren't just about racism, or even about things you'd typically think about. [I'm also lucky enough to have since developed a professional relationship with the editor/author, a VERY COOL GUY who heads the Creative Nonfiction department at the University of Pittsburgh's graduate program in writing.] Truly important book, for those of you who care about diversity and social issues, it raises important questions and really makes you think.

"The Bitch is in The House," another collection of essays from popular American female writers about the drawbacks of being a woman in modern society. These essays, also, are pretty varied. SEVERAL of them, I read and was nodding my head. Others, I was like, "shut up and quit whining, you've caused your own problem here." But anyway, it was a book I found myself totally able to relate to, as a former single mom, as a current married mom who works full time, as someone who used to contemplate having children or not, as someone who used to wonder about the institution of marriage, as someone who wonders how I will deal with growing old. Gotta say, regardless of whether I sympathized with each writer or not, the book as a whole left me with that whole "Grrrrl Power" vibe, and that was damn cool.

Writers I recommend: Joe Queenan, Ted Rall, Steve Martin, PJ O'Rourke. Columnists Tony Norman and Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and of course, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times (very important, pertinent to the "Oscar Buffs" thread). I also have been known to like Anne Rice's early work, like before she had any plastic surgery, and Stephen King's earlier stuff, before "IT." I also have a guilty pleasure...JK Rowling...I bought "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" to read to my kids, thinking I'd read it first to see if it was appropriate...and enjoyed it immensely (though thik it's still a bit scary for kids their age). Madeleine L'Engle books are also great reading even as an adult.

[EDIT: missed a prime opportunity to plug a friend's book...Jayne Hitchcock, president of a national organization called Working to Halt Online Abuse, or WHOA, is a front-line expert on internet abuse, cyberstalking, identity theft, etc. She has a new book out called "Net Crimes and Misdemeanors" which every internet user should read. One of the stories she tells in the book, is MINE, though my name was changed. Had I known what I know now in 1998, I could have saved a lot of problems...Jayne was a huge help, and by reading this book you can learn how to protect yourself on the web.]

Writers I avoid like the plague include Tom Clancy (too scary these days), John Grisham (got a D in his college creative writing course), Danielle Steele (utter garbage), VC Andrews (and her obsession with incest), and any book that has to do with men being from Mars and women being from Venus.

[And of course, nodding toward sarcednavel and boardrgirl, I aspire to be a writer also.] Wink
Anne Rice and Tom Clancy.... gawd, geddy, I thought I was the only one who had such diverse tastes! (You have named two of my own favorite authors, there!)

Humour and taste (both in music and books)! Coolness. I have to buy you a beer (or drink of your choice) sometime...

Hmmm, back on topic - like Paul G, I recommend anything by PJ O'Rourke. "Holidays In Hell" and "The Bachelors Home Companion" are two I'd particularly point out... perhaps not for reading on public transport, however, as they do inspire laughing out loud... Smiler Big Grin
I usually have 3 or 4 books going @ a time, too...luv 2 read!! Last one finished was Anne Rice's BLACKWOOD FARM...good schtuff...

Also luv Stephen King...all of his works...not just the horror goodies... SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION... STAND BY ME... HEARTS IN ATLANTIS...not the sort of tale he's best known for, yet these flix were adapted from his stories...'s when the tomatoes usually start to fly towards me...I luv, luv, luv Ayn Rand, too... Razzer
Originally posted by kia kaha:
[qb]Coolness. I have to buy you a beer (or drink of your choice) sometime... Smiler Big Grin [/qb]

Originally posted by Sue Diego:
[qb] Last one finished was Anne Rice's BLACKWOOD FARM...good schtuff... Razzer [/qb]
Bue, I'm only a few chapters in to that one so DON'T tell me anything bout it!
(The emoticon at the top of my post resembles me-the-bookworm before I had LASIK surgery... Big Grin )

Where to start? I have rather diverse tastes, so be prepared for a mixed bag...

I love any and all Jane Austen (especially "P&P," although the satire of "Northanger Abbey" amuses me too).

Along the lines of modern classic novels, I really liked "The Hours" (an easy read) and "Memoirs of a Geisha."

Historical novels are another fave ("Gone With The Wind," "Cold Mountain," "Forever Amber," etc etc)

I also have recently enjoyed "Speaking With An Angel," edited by Nick Hornby (who wrote "High Fidelity" and "About A Boy") -- "SWAA" is a collection of short stories, with authors including Nick Hornby, Colin Firth (mmmm!! Definitely one for the laminated list!!) and Helen Fielding. Laugh out loud funny!

I totally agree with Siren about the Harry Potter books. Another childhood favourite series that I still revisit occasionally is the Laura Ingalls Wilder set.

Lots of guilty pleasures!!
I think most of these have already been mentioned but I'll say them again anyway Razzer

Nick Hornby's High Fidelity & Fever Pitch are both fantastic.

The Bridget Jones books by Helen Fielding are well worth a read.

Mort by Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite books. It's part of the Discworld series.

Being the big kid in adults clothing that I am I LOVE the Harry Potter & Artemis Fowl books.
Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban is quite possibly the greatest thing ever written.

Currently, I'm reading The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Of The Apocalypse by Robert Rankin. Big Grin
Phillip Pullman- Dark Materials Trilogy

Harry Potter for grown ups.... though it was written for children...? Confused

Excellent- set in several different worlds, though not sci-fi....I don't want to give anything away, just read these books!

A lot of talk of Dust...which reminds me that I want to write to the author, suggesting considering using (my favorite CH song) Distant Sun as the title song if the trilogy is made into a movie Smiler
Thanks everyone for your very interesting and welcome suggestions, but holy mackeral people, this list of stuff is going to take me 3 years to read and I usually do two books a week!!!

Many authors and books you've mentioned I've already had the pleasure of and many authors and books you've mentioned I look forward to getting into!!

thanks everyone. Big Grin
Alright, spooky story to tell yas! Well i guess more freaky. (and trust me it does get back to what my latest readnig effort was)

I was in perth, on tour, and i hate it there, i always feel sick and sad when i go there. ANYWAY

I had a weird arse dream about ghosts and everything, which is strange because i never think about that kind of stuff, nor do i believe it.

So i woke up and thought nothing of it, although it scared the crap outta me.

After i woke up i went to a second hand music shop and was looking at some old guitars and stuff, and i looked down next to a guitar i was looking at and saw 2 "true story" ghost books. Freaked me out! So i brought them, took them home and read them, they were awesome books, although not being a believer, i doubt the claim of "true story". One was called "dancing in the dark" or maybe "with the dark" cant remember, it had all short stories written by writers that had ghostly experiences. And the second one i can't remember, it was more "non fiction" though, well, claimed to be, it was the fact side of the whole "ghost" thing.

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver -
i've bought at least 10 copies of this book for gifts over the years

Highly Recommend Straight Man by Richard Russo. I read it several years ago and invited the author to a university reading series, and it was one of the best nights students and faculty have ever had. He's an exceptional writer and delightful man.
He just won the Pulitzer for Empire Falls, but Straight Man is by far my favorite. It will have you laughing out loud again and again, stunned by the lyricism of his writing, and in love with the characters.
He also wrote Nobody's Fool , which is also beautiful.

Want some hope for humanity? Pick up Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
At least two or three Vonneguts should be required of all human beings, in my humble opinion.

Want a good website for reading fanatics?
Readers Refuge
I can heartily recommend ANYTHING by the french author Colette. Her biography "Secrets of the Flesh" is wonderful too, and this is by Judith Thurman.
An old love is LM Montgomery.
I had to laugh about the Outlander books. My mom loaned me her copies to read and I remember being rather shocked at some of the love scenes - especially when mom told me she'd hunted down audio copies and was listening in the car on her way to work. I was certain she'd drive off the road in an overheated moment. Wink Seriously, these Outlander books are a good series all jokes aside.

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