I read every night before I go to bed. If I don’t, I feel weird. Bed and reading go together. Like peanut butter and jam. Salt and pepper. Wigs and kittens.
I used to read every book I picked up from beginning to end regardless of whether I thought it was great or not. I don’t do that anymore. If I get 1/4 of the way through a book and the only reason I want to open it is on the off chance the pages burst into flame like in a magic trick , I know it’s time to take that magic course I always wanted to. Plus it’s time to get rid of the book.
There are too many good books out there to read, to suffer through something boring, stupid, pretentious, bland or difficult. The odd time you get these things ALL ROLLED INTO ONE BOOK! For me that book is often written by Jonathan Franzen.
The stack of 5 books below are ones that I’ve read. It’s a list that includes both the books I loved and one I gave up on by page 58.
The Rosie Project is a really fun little book about a professor who may or may not have Aspergers Syndrome. It’s funny, thoughtful and an easy enjoyable read.
The Book Thief is one of the many books I’ve read that focus on the time during the holocaust. You need to read this book. Now.
Secret Daughter is also an easy read and engaging. The story revolves around a baby who is given up for adoption in India and the lives of her birth parents and adoptive parents.
The Casual Vacancy, by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was about something. I have no idea what. I couldn’t force myself past page 58. J.K. Rowling is an incredibly talented writer whose book I was hoping would burst into flames.
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy sat on my desk for a year before I read it. I was a huge Maeve Binchy fan years ago because she is a true storyteller. But her more recent books seemed to be missing something. When she died I vowed to read her last story. And I did. It was a cute, story about a multitude of flawed but likeable characters. In true Maeve Binchy style.
These, on the other hand, are the books I’m going to read. And I’m looking forward to each and every one of them. Except one.
Don’t Get too Comfortable by David Rakoff is a book I tried to read a year and a half ago but just couldn’t get into. I didn’t wish flames upon it, I just wasn’t in the right state of mind to read it I think. Apparently if you like David Sedaris you’ll like David Rakoff. I happen to love David Sedaris.
N-W by Zadie Smith will be the second novel I’ve read by this British author. The first was On Beauty which I really liked, but sadly can’t remember a single thing about. I’m gonna be honest with you. Of the list of 5 books this one kind of worries me. Poof!
The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby is another bit of a risk. When a novel only has 6 reviews on Amazon despite being published 3 years ago … you’ve gotta worry a bit. But an Art of Doing Stuff reader recommended it so I’m givin’ it a shot!
We are Water by Wally Lamb will be the 3rd novel I’ve read by this American author. The other two, I Know this Much is True and She’s Come Undone were both pretty darn good. Besides as a general rule any book with the word “water” in the title can’t burst into flames. It’s just common sense.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini is the book I’m most looking forward to. Hosseini has authored two of the most remarkable novels I’ve read over the past several years; The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns . Like his previous two works, this story takes place in Afghanistan.
Books like any other form of artistic endeavour is very subjective. You may love it, I may hate it. But the odd time there are books that are almost universally loved. If I had to recommend 3 books from these lists they would be A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Book Thief and The Rosie Project.
I really can’t imagine anyone not liking them.
Feel free to leave your comments now telling me all about how you got 1/4 of the way through one of them before it burst into flames.
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