Saturday, February 8, 2014

30 (or more) Books You Might Like

Cover of "Team of Rivals: The Political G...
My next book!

Recently a Facebook contact asked me to share what I was reading and my thoughts on books in general. I was very flattered that she was interested. 

What we read is one thing but why we read what we do is entirely another. Amazon has a list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. Have you seen it? When I looked it over, I was surprised at how many books I had simply chosen not to read. I suppose it is something we all do. Our tolerance for certain reading material can keep us away from an author or subject matter. For example, I have chosen not to read The Hunger Games, anything by Truman Capote, Ann Rule or Stephen King. There are lots of others I could add to that list. I cannot make myself read some things. 

Note: All books available at Books on Amazon

I just finished reading a book called The Power of the Dog: A Novel written by Thomas Savage. The book is a reprint originally released in 1967. It only sold about 1000 copies when it first was published. It was absolutely incredible. In the afterword by Annie Proulx she said that it was the best of Savage's 13 novels and compared it to works by Wallace Stegner (The Big Rock Candy Mountain (Contemporary American Fiction). I actually thought it carried the same theme as John Steinbeck's East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics). 

This is a "hard-eyed" western story about a sharp tongued cowboy, his much nicer brother, a beautiful woman and a fragile boy named Peter. On the surface it felt so innocent...even old fashioned...even though the character that reflected the Cain in Steinbeck's book was as evil and angry as any human to could become. The fact that Savage actually made you hate him beyond all reason speaks for the quality of his unique writing. But what was running under the water is what caught me off guard. I am not going to tell you. I am sure another critic will do that for me. I am glad I didn't pass over this one because I would have missed a very good book. Amazon gave it 5 stars and I agree.

Within the last 18 months I have read 4 biographies. Each took me many months to read. I loved them all because the authors managed to get inside the heads of the subjects and the narrative reflected the attitude and lifestyle of each of the men featured in the biographies. I did not speed read these books. The three books about the founding fathers helped me understand what their life was and how they saw each other. It was a wonderful learning experience for me. When you read the John Adams book I suggest you watch John Adams mini-series from HBO as you go alone. I did that and it was so much fun.
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (I loved this book.)
  • John Adams by David McCullough (perfect)
  • Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson (written with a newmans eye and style)
  • Thomas Jefferson Art of Power by Jon Meacham (perfect I was glad I had read Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose when I read this book. History has a way of tying itself together.)
On the lighter side, I read one of my favorite author's, Anne Tyler. She put out a new book not so long ago called The Beginner's Goodbye. I admire Anne Tyler because she always manages to get inside the tragedy and put it in perspective. I love these "strength of the human spirit" books so I eat all of her books up like candy. I liked that Wally Lamb did much the same thing in I Know This Much is True.

I have a lot of books on my kindle...some I have loved and others not so much. In fact I carry a whole library around with me on it. The following list is only the kindle books I have read.  I cannot begin to list all the others I devoured in recent years.

  1. The Power of the Dog: A Novel by Thomas Savage (one of the best western books I have read in ages.)
  2. The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffith (beach read...very British)
  3. The Keeper of the House by Shirley Ann Grau (excellent)
  4. Scafell by Mathew Pink (new author-good story)
  5. The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow (beach read)
  6. The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin (couldn't read it...sad)
  7. The Fiddler on Pantico Run by Joe Mozingo (true, very interesting)
  8. The Best Seller by Arunabha Sengupta (could not follow the story)
  9. Gone Girls by Gillian Glynn (excellent)
  10. Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith (true, hilarious and personal)
  11. Up Country by Nelson Demille (loved this because I had just visited Vietnam)
  12. The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain (free, fun and true after all these years)
  13. The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler (I love Anne Tyler books)
  14. The Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook (beach read)
  15. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (wonderful)
  16. The Girls Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (wonderful)
  17. The Girls with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson (wonderful)
  18. Tinkers by Paul Harding (good but felt like a copy of Gillead by Marilynne Robinson. I loved that book)
  19. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (disjointed...I have not finished it.)
  20. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (fascinating true story)
  21. Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead (Sort of O.K....maybe I wasn't in the mood for a Civil War novel)
  22. The Lincoln Lawer by Michael Connelly (beach read)
  23. Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (excellent...reminiscent of Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson)
  24. The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell (I am a big fan of The Beekman Boys TV show)
  25. Building a Satisfying Retirement by Bob Lowry (Interesting story of a retirement plan by a blogger)
  26. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (unique approach to a story told through letters.)

What is next? I have the Lincoln book that the movie about Lincoln was based on added to my wish list. It was written by Doris Kearns Goodwin and is called Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. I may watch the video again as I read it. I would also like to read another book by William Least Heat-Moon. The Road to Quoz: An American Mosey looks very good.

Any books to suggest?  Let me know.


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1 comment:

  1. I just happened upon your blog, and saw your recommendation for The Power of the Dog. I read it in two days - it really was amazing! Thank you.


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