15 May 2007

pass it on

I was reading over the list the other day, taking a bit of personal inventory. I've read a couple of books since december-- none of which could really be considered classic, none by any sort of new authors. in no way do I regret these reads, but that was one thing on the list: read three classics and three new authors. so I'm asking for recommendations: your favorite classics, your favorite new authors. I want to be armed and ready next time I take on the big downtown library.

thank you. that is all for today.


  1. i recommend:

    the fountainhead or atlas shrugged

    anna karenina

    or dracula!

    :) let us know what you decide, :)

  2. hi andrea!

    i read extremely loud & incredibly close by jonathon safran foer last week and it was extremely and incredibly good.

    for classics, my book group (re)read a bunch of classics last year. some of our favorites that come to mind are jane eyre, wuthering heights, to kill a mockingbird, and the optimist's daughter (eudora welty).

    i love, love the library hold system at http://www.multcolib.org/
    it's definitely the way to go if you want a more current title as they are rarely on the shelves.

    i will call/email to catch up soon! enjoy the sunshine.

  3. i second the vote for the amazing multnomah county library holds system. it's so awesome.

    as for books, i recommend:

    anna karenina (the new translation)
    anything by wallace stegner or a.s. byatt
    winter of our discontent (steinbeck)
    pride and prejudice
    e.m. forster novels

    um, i guess my taste runs to the classic.

  4. Persuasion by Jane Austen - not as well known as P&P but also has a fab movie you can rent after you've read it.

    Idylls of the King - Tennyson - my new classic favorite.

    The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton - fav book of all time.

    Have you read Time Traveler's Wife by Niffennegger? Totally worth it, totally cool new author.

    For escapist lit I recommend Phillipa Gregory - The Other Bolyen Girl or The Virgin's Lover or The queen's fool.

  5. I might have to second all the Anna K recommendations, it really is an amazing book - once you get caught up in it, the pages just glide by and you are sorry when it's over. I listened to it on CD one summer and can't stop telling people what a great experience that was.

    Have you read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own? Very thought provoking and even sometimes funny. I love her so I would recommend anything by her, but Orlando is another one I like to point people too.

    Another really beautiful book, not by a new author, but who knows, maybe new to you, is Wendell Berry's Hannah Coulter. That was the one book that my whole (now-defunct) book club read and loved.

    A newer author who I recommend all the time is Nick Flynn. His memoir (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City) is fantastic. He's a poet and it really shows in the language and structure, I think.

    Ok, here's the summary of this too long comment

    - Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
    - A Room of One's Own (Woolf)
    - Orlando (Woolf)
    - Hannah Coulter (Berry)
    - Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (Flynn)

    And if you haven't read Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God... that's a classic not to be missed.

    Now I need to get back to my own list of things to do before my next birthday!

  6. i just got up from the sofa, finishing 'the great gatsby' before bookclub tomorrow.

    and one we read a few months ago that i can't stop telling people to read is 'ursula, under' by ingrid hill - exceptional, inventive and just so very good.

    and i second stegner - 'angle of repose' specifically.

    and then another of my all time favorites, 'a soldier of the great war' by mark helprin. ohhhh, loved that with all my heart.

    and, multnomah county library is excellent for genealogical research as well.... should you be so inclined.

  7. oooh, i love the classics. any jane austin is good, have you tried mansfield park or persuasion?

    my all time favorite book is east of eden by steinbeck. so good. i just reread it a few weeks ago, still blows my mind.

    and you cant go wrong with franny & zooey or nine stories by salinger.

    oh and one last author, gabriel garcia marquez, either 100 years of solitude or love in the time of cholera.

  8. Hey Andrea :)
    I just finished Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson-it was such a beautiful book. I second the Time Traveler's Wife and although not a classic, or a new author, or a novel, I recommend The Cinnamon Peeler a book of poetry by Michael Ondaatje.

  9. there are a million trillion books to recommend but i enjoyed ahab's wife by sena jeter naslund. small wonder by barbara kingsolver. in watermelon sugar by richard brautigan. hannah coulter by wendell berry. the brothers k by david james duncan. classically speaking i have always loved the great gatsby. happy reading acj!!!

  10. Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises [you may recognize the plot from Madonna's "Take a Bow" video, but the book's better]
    Oscar Wilde, Dorian Gray or his letters or anything else [though every time I read him, it makes me self-conscious about my conversational skills].
    Toni Morrison's Jazz a/o Song of Solomon.
    I've read a lot of Faulkner and Cather and don't have a particular favorite but it's all been good.

    second on Steinbeck [my daughter's reading Grapes of Wrath in school right now and says it's the first thing she's had to read that she's really enjoyed], To Kill a Mockingbird [I think I would choose this above anything else here. Maybe not Jazz.], Woolf's Orlando, Hurston, Austen, Salinger

  11. here's a strange request. or i find it to be more... thinking outside of the box. i stumbled onto your page about a week or so ago. and i've added it to my links - see right column. now, all my friends are reading your blog and feel as inspired as i do. so, seeing that you love little experiments, here's one -- and this is also for my edification because i'm a sucker for when someone comments to my blog. please click on natty and leave me a comment. introduce yourself to me in one or two sentences and tell me what is your special place in Portland :)

  12. i got two words for ya: "watership down" by richard adams. it'll change yer life!


  13. Reading some modern classics has been my reading goal lately. Flannery O'Conner, William Faulkner and Gunter Grass haven't disappointed.

  14. it's hard to pick but i have to say i could read 'pride and predjudice' by jane austen over and over again

  15. Hi Andrea, I'm a fellow Andrea, and an admirer of your site. Never commented before, but it's high time I did! It seems you have a bevy of fabulous suggestions. Because I'm a total geek and a Reference Librarian by profession, I'd thought I'd share 3 classics that haven't shown up yet. All belong in the "life-altering" category:

    Middlemarch--by George Eliot
    Tender is the Night--by F.Scott Fitzgerald
    The Sound and the Fury--by William Faulkner

    (Also, a new one--Zoli, by Column McCann is marvelous! I think Gracia over at HighUpintheTrees suggested already.)

    Lastly, thanks for sharing such incredible writing and insight. Your blog is beautiful!

  16. The Autobiography of Malcolm X was excellent. It altered my views on several things, least of which was racism.

  17. i gotta vote for jane austin. just gotta.

  18. have you read anything from Tom Robbins or Christopher Moore? funny silly and wonderful.
    I just finished The Red Tent, Eat Love Pray and both were fantastic.

    I am yerning to read dandilion wine again, and maybe Trumpet of the Swan (classics me thinks)

    happy reading andrea!

  19. Second on 'Watership Down'

    also: I *get* something new everytime I read:

    Mere Christianity and
    The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and they are classics in their own sense.

  20. Theodore Dreiser (maybe Sister Carrie, or An American Tragedy).

    Pearl S. Buck (The Good Earth)

    Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged is my favorite)

    Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose)

    and something newer: Michael Chabon (The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay)

  21. oooh, lists...(squeal!)

    Anna K, of couse
    Dandelion Wine - Bradbury
    Surfacing - Atwood
    This Side of Paradise - Fitzgerald
    Henderson the Rain King - Bellow
    The Living - Dillard

  22. Hi Andrea...Jen Schiavone here. I used to work with Ward at Click 3x. I've been blurking for ages! ;)

    Anyway...ditto on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. A truly fabulous book.

    Other favorites of mine:
    A Spot of Bother (Mark Haddon)
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Mark Haddon)
    A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
    Bluebeard (Kurt Vonnegut)

    happy reading!

  23. I second The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Like you, I grew up in Illinois, and this book, which takes place in the midwest, was like going home to my childhood.

    I highly, highly recommend Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (classic) and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.

  24. East of Eden. end of sentence. it changed my life. John Steinbeck is a literary genius.

  25. classic...catcher in the rye for sure. newbie...elizabeth mccracken (the giant's house is one of my all time favorites!).

  26. I'm not much of a classics reader -we're reading The Great Gatsby as a comparison novel to a modern one, The Double Bind (really good) for bookclub this month.

    Anything by John Irving - can't go wrong there although my personal all-time favorite is The Cider House Rules. I love The Hours by Michael Cunningham, that book kills me it is so beautifully written and bittersweet.

    I adored Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon and another fanastic book is Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

  27. I usually don't make comments, but you've suckered me in with the postcard swap and now with books...

    The Classics-

    Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. This is one of the books that has really changed who I want to be- Melly is absolutely amazing.

    The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank. I read this as a teenager, but was amazed how touching it still was years later.

    The Little Prince, by Antione de Saint-Exupery. You have to read this to your kids. They would love it.

    I also have to add to the long list of Anna Karenina fans.

    New Stuff-

    Fried Green Tomatoes at Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg. Hilarious and inspiring and extremely touching. Way better than the movie.

    I've been reading a lot of books about different cultures lately. These are my favorites so far:

    The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri. Very interesting. About an Indian boy (from India, not Native American!) living in the U.S.

    Falling Leaves, by Adeline Yen Mah. It's called the memoir of an unwanted Chinese daughter.

    Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi. It is about a book club reading the banned classics in Iran.

  28. thank you, everyone! such great recommendations! I have loved reading every single response and am furiously scribbling them down in my Big Book Of Lists. because I am a girl who needs a list and now I am set for life with great books to read.

    I did have an individual response to each person here who commented here... some books I have read and loved (hello, gwen? song of solomon-- amazing)... so intrigued by so many of the recommendations. anyway, I accidentally deleted my own comment. and it was so long, too. I just don't have the energy to rewrite it. but I love you all for taking the time to post such thoughtful recommendations. thank you. I'll keep you posted! xo

  29. hey andrea, sorry to be late on the comment...that flower is just so adorable i keep staring at it. its as if it is saying "hello?? anyone??" i just love it.

    anyway, there were so many great suggestions, mine would have to include
    ~Pride and Prejudice...so engaging
    ~My Name is Asher Lev....is it a classic? not sure, but so very interesting.
    ~The Age of Innocence...wow, still a top 5 favorite after many years.
    ~The Great Divorce...CSLewis has so many amazing books, but this has always been my very favorite. You might also check out Til We Have Faces.

  30. I loved The Fountainhead also.
    One of my favorite books is The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason (I have a book review on my book blog).
    The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic.
    So so many good ones (that's why I started a book blog in the first place!).

  31. Classics:
    The Sound and the Fury - Wm. Faulkner
    The Moviegoer - Walker Percy
    A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway

    New Classics:
    -One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    -Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
    -Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood

    Brand Spankin' New Classics:
    -Jonathan Lethem - The Fortress of Solitude; Motherless Brooklyn
    -A Wild Sheep Chase - Haruki Murakami
    -The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon

  32. Ah, to be mentioned amongst this veey distinguished group! Thanks@
    Linda Olsson