Read Between the Lines

I think I know why I haven't been writing so much. Yes, I have been very busy lately with a new location, closing down the old location, kids acclimating to school, husband at tail end of huge time-sensitive project, Grandma coming to visit in a few days, Halloween, Mom and Stepdad coming to visit Thanksgiving.........................

But usually these things don't get in the way of pumping out some prose here and there.

I think my problem is I haven't read a book for months. Even my short story anthologies have gone uncracked in the bathroom. Reading fuels my writing. I need to read. Books. No more magazines scanned for some new dinner ideas, or PTA requests to sell this junk or that crap. I need to read fewer School Bulletins and more weighty, inky stinky books. I have culled a few from fellow bloggers mentions and I have perused the NYT Bestseller list only to sigh a resounding meh.

Here's my current list, already on it's way via Amazon:
Under the Dome- Stephen King

Outliers:The Story of Success

Just After Sunset(short stories)- Stephen King(I bought it bundled with his new one)
The Best American Short Stories of 2009- Alice Sebold

I need more fiction. I like Stephen King but it's been awhile. I am feeling nostalgic and figured I would give him a try again. Still, I need more fiction. I don't like "chicklit" if it's fluffy but I have happily devoured some of the Oprah list and other more female centric novels. I want you, my readers and fellow bloggers to recommend some good reads, and it doesn't have to be fiction. It can be anything, even if you aren't sure if I'll like it, I'll check it out.

Here's what I don't want:

~anything with vampires featured prominently in the storyline.

~books about shopping or shoes or purses(I like these things but I don't want to read about them) or anything that might use the non word words fashionista, shopinista, bargainista, maxxanista, barrista, sandanista, you get my drift.

~books either symbolically or literally about an Apocalypse. I read The Road and it gave me the creepies for like three days. Even seeing the previews for the new movie is fueling my stress nightmares. There are at least seven apocalyptic movies out, must be in response to war and economic depression but frankly, I'm over it. It doesn't have to be all Mary Sunshine but no more death and devastation.

~book that are overly maudlin, please don't recommend anything from Mitch Albom or Nicolas Sparks. I don't want to read about dogs dying, or dying teenagers last wishes, or a tree that's dying or a family coming together just in time for Christmas. No life lessons please, not now.

Other than that, throw some recommendations at me because I am finally coming into some time to read.

A long time ago, I read Lovely Bones(Alice Sebold), did anyone else know it's a movie coming out in December?? Looks like it could be good.

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sarahbobeara said... October 20, 2009 at 12:01 PM  

i hadn't realized king was coming out with a new book! thanks for the headsup :)

as far as what i've been reading, they probably fall into your off-limits category...jodi picoult, "shelter me" by juliette fay, "alas babylon" and when i get desperate i hit the juvenile section at the library (i finished "the tale of despereaux" and was entertained).

hope you find the perfect read :)

Leanna said... October 20, 2009 at 12:10 PM  

Middlesex. It is a must read.

formerly fun said... October 20, 2009 at 1:39 PM  

I know, I'm excited about it too, the new one releases in a few weeks. I haven't read any Jodi Picoult yet but I think that might be ok, I don't hate sad stories or angsty dramas, they just have to be well written.

I LOVED that book, loved the Virgin Suicides. Along those lines, I also really like Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone.

Chamuca said... October 20, 2009 at 3:14 PM  

1. I'm excited for the Lovely Bones movie coming out too.

2. Middlesex was awesome.

What I normally do is, go to the Goodwill and look at their shelves. You can get books for 3-4 bucks.

Sometimes they totally suck, but it's not a big deal - I've only wasted a couple bucks.

Other times, I find totally awesome authors, then get more of their books on Amazon.

My favorite Goodwill find is Kate Atkinson. And given your taste in books, I think you'd like her.

I suggest 'Case Histories' and 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum'. She has about 5 other books as well, but I'd start with those 2. They're my favorites.

Other ones you might like: 'Flesh and Blood', by Michael Cunningham and 'The Monsters of Templeton', by Lauren Groff.

hastama├▒anabanana said... October 20, 2009 at 3:37 PM  

Here are a few of my recent and all time favourite books. Sorry to hear you have readers block. I get that sometimes too. I find starting back with simpler type books to bridge the gap between magazines and real prose helps! Good Luck! I hope you lose your writers block too, I really enjoy your posts!

The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingfisher

A million little pieces
James Frey

The Time travelers Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

Eat Pray Love
Elizabeth Gilbert

Anything by David Sedaris (Dress your family in corduroy & denim is probably my fave & and an easy read)

Gregory David Roberts

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larsson (and the other 3 in the series)

The Secret River
Kate Grenville

Emergency Sex(and Other Desperate Measures)
Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait & Andrew Thomson

Anonymous said... October 20, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

I was going to recommend one of the best books I read this summer . . . Columbine . . . but in light of your don't-wants, maybe not.

I am, however, in the midst of All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. My son is reading it for his honors English class, so I'm reading it with him. Great writing.

Have you ever heard of "When We Were Romans"? Search for it on Amazon, and then get your hands on it.

And then, there's my all time favorite novel: Life of Pi.

Dig in!

sarahbobeara said... October 20, 2009 at 5:15 PM  

ooh yeah, "the poisonwood bible" is a good one! starts slow but i couldn't put it down after about 30ish pages. i just gave it away for a school fundraiser book sale, otherwise i'd ship it to you!

i'm going to have to write some of these down and check what the library offers.

Laura said... October 20, 2009 at 6:05 PM  

I Know This Much is True, and also She's Come Undone-- both by Wally Lamb.


Eat. Love. Pray.

White Oleander

Illusions, The Bridge Across Forever, and One-- both by Richard Bach (you've probably already read these-- but maybe not)

Laura said... October 20, 2009 at 6:07 PM  

Oops, see you already read the Wally Lamb books.

ThatGirlRuns said... October 20, 2009 at 7:42 PM  

The Time Traveler's Wife
The Rosetti Letter
Shadow of the Wind
The Secret Life of Bees

ThatGirlRuns said... October 20, 2009 at 7:43 PM  


Heather said... October 20, 2009 at 8:19 PM  

Outliers:The Story of Success - I am reading that too.

The Omnivores Dilemma

Guns, Germs, and Steel

alice said... October 20, 2009 at 9:15 PM  

The Secret Life of Bees -- not very recent, but I only just got around to it and I LOVED it. Beautiful story, beautiful setting, beautiful language.

Arizaphale said... October 21, 2009 at 3:39 AM  

Not that I get to read much lately but 'The Idea of Perfection' by Kate Grenville, definitely 'The Time Traveler's Wife', the Jasper Fforde books 'The Eyre Affair', 'The Well of Lost Plots','Lost In A Good Book','Something Rotten' and 'First Amongst Sequels'. Wish I had time to read lately. I have been nibbling away at 'The Year of Living Biblically' given to me by my atheist Bestie. Quite amusing.

Sandi said... October 21, 2009 at 6:46 AM  

The Help is a fantastic book. I just read it based on someone else's recommendation. It's fiction and set in Mississippi in the early 60s.

The Outliers is absolutely fascinating and interesting. I think you'll really enjoy it.

Manda said... October 21, 2009 at 7:16 AM  

The Time Traveler's Wife is really good but really sad, I cried through the last quarter of it or so.

I'm currently re-reading Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series, which starts with Kushiel's Dart. Very very good books about a courtesan/spy in Terre d'Ange. Lots of sex, political intrigue, gods and kings, invading barbarians, everything you could want. They're fantastic, I highly recommend them!

~Mountain Lover~ said... October 21, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

I'm currently reading, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which is really interesting. Has a Pulitzer.

I couldn't put down The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Water for Elephants was REALLY good and so is The Secret Life of Bees.

Middlesex and The Life of Pi are among my all time favorites.

ThatGirlRuns said... October 21, 2009 at 1:07 PM  

Trans-Sister Radio
Before You Know Kindness

GreenBean said... October 21, 2009 at 9:12 PM  

You rock! I thought only guys read stuff while they're dropping the kids off the pool. Yippy!

SSG said... October 22, 2009 at 3:49 AM  

I've got a couple of books I am trying to read in the next month- "Dawn of the Dumb" by Charlie Brooker, "Portnoy's Complaint"by Philip Roth. I just finished east of eden and loved it. You've probably already read "the kite runner" or "a thousand splendid suns"- both are awesome. Finished recently The End of Mr Y, which started off uite promising, but then went a bit crap at the end, or so I thought, but good for passing the time. Shadow of the wind, another good one, set in Barcelona.

Ah, so many books, so little time. Now I cycle to work and don't take the bus I don't get to read so much. boo :(

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said... October 22, 2009 at 8:35 AM  

I just finished "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and I really liked it. I almost didn't pick it up because it seemed like it was being hyped to the same crowd that goes for all the Hallmark-sappy novels, but I'm glad I did.

formerly fun said... October 22, 2009 at 8:50 AM  

Yes, I loved Middlesex, it's been awhile so I may pick that one up again. Thank you for the reminder to goodwill it for the books. I used to find so many good ones and we have one right by our house.Thanks for the other recommendations, I have not heard of them and will check them out.

I read the first four on your list already and loved them so I trust your recommendations for the last four. Thanks.

Loved Life of Pi, really like All the Kings Men but it's been awhile, I will check out When We Were Romans.

C and H Romenesko said... October 22, 2009 at 12:24 PM  

Love your blog! And, your references to the gold old midwest.

I'm a big fan of picoult; however her books are more of the moral dilemma type. Not sure if that fits your off-limits list.

Some of my other faves...
Angry Housewives eating bonbons by Landvik
Great mysterious by Landvik
Ana's story by Jenna Bush
Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
Slave: my true story by Nazer
Three cups of tea by Mortenson

Happy reading! Thank you to the other posters for some recommended books.

well read hostess said... October 22, 2009 at 1:36 PM  

Juliet, Naked! Virtually Well Read! People have said they loved it!

A Free Man said... October 22, 2009 at 4:10 PM  

"The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet" by Reif Larsen is a must for any parent of a boy child. Don't worry, it's fiction.

What else have I read lately that was great. I'm reading a lot of non-fiction. Let me know if you want any tips in that direction.

Rassles said... October 23, 2009 at 9:07 AM  

Haroun and the Sea of Stories. I love, love, love it.

Gore Vidal's historical fiction is brilliant.

And if you want some good non-fiction, I would recommend David McCullough - you know, the guy who wrote the John Adams biography that got made into a bad ass miniseries - (read 1776. It's a history book about the American Revolution that is based off a collection of letters written by soldiers during the Revolution - loved it.)

Whenever I get in a reading rut, I just re-read The Westing Game and I automatically get all inspired to pick up other stuff.

Angie said... October 24, 2009 at 7:58 PM  

I'm not political, but I found Eleanor Roosevelt's autobiography fascinating. She was such a strong woman!

Shelley said... October 27, 2009 at 9:05 PM  

The Birth House by Ami McKay

The Elegant Gathering of White Snows
by Kris Radish

Anything by Adriana Trigiani

Pastries by Bharti Kirschner

Taylor Mumbles said... October 29, 2009 at 7:49 AM  

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is the best book I have ever read in my whole bibliophilic life.

Gwen said... October 29, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

Have you read The Crimsom Petal and The White? Because I think you would like that one. Other books I love: Fall on Your Knees, The Poisonwood Bible.

I think my writing is also fueled by reading and I haven't been doing enough of it either.

Gypsy said... November 2, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

I haven't read the other suggestions, so maybe I'm being repetitive, but here are some suggestions:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Lost Nation (gritty)
Sharp Objects
The Wilde Women
The Glass Castle

Leah said... November 5, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

Just found you and I love this blog. You're a fantastic and hilarious writer.

I'm reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel right now. I want to stay home from work every day to keep reading, so there's that.


Blues said... November 6, 2009 at 3:53 AM  

I'm in this same rut and I'm sure it's because I'm not reading. I'm even slow reading other people's blogs now.

I don't remember the last book I read. It's been way too long. Instead of recommending anything myself, I'm going back through your comments here to see what others say.

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