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Let's play a made-up game! About BOOKS!
dean works
I adore this icon. Not that that's the point of this post.

I thought I'd make up a game to play. Partly because everyone seems unhappy with fandom, partly because I don't really enjoy the memes that exist and are going around, partly because I never send out cards but I want to try for a personal connection anyway, and partly because I am insatiably curious about what people read and love to tell people what else they should read.

So! Let's see if we can get this going! Comment here with something - an author you already like, a genre, a mood, a storyline you want to see more of, something like that - and I'll tell you what book that I've read I think would suit you right now. This is not a "what are your desert island books?" kind of question. It has to do with what you feel like reading right now.

Anyone want to play?
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Yay, this is a GOOD idea. :D :D :D
*cracks knuckles*

To begin:
Kazuo Ishiguro "Remains of the Day"
Elizabeth Knox "The Vintner's Luck"
Annie Proulx "Brokeback Mountain"

These are three in the mood of nostalgic, unrealised, sad love stories (also with historical detail and lots of description). I cried reading all three, but they all have that sense of "if only"... and of course, if only never happens and we end up with "impossibility". And I think, largely, they're character focused.

I don't mind happy endings, but I love yearning, and tragedy sticks with me.

What else should I read?

Kazuo "Remains of the Day" is so amazing. I can't get through the film because it just does NOT speak to me the way the book did. Wow. I must re read it. Thanks for reminding me of it.

I totally agree about the movie, it just didn't capture the yearning for me. And I mean, Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, how could that be a miss? And yet... it was. In my mind.

And I second "Possession", below, if you haven't already read it, it's just brilliant.
oooh, and for novels that far, far, far exceed the film version, Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient" (which skips around timelines and narratives and is oh, so beautiful)...

And the great thing about the Unreliable Narrator of the novel is the discovery of it and thinking around it, and ... it just didn't do it for me in the movie. Not at all. Will definitely read Possession.

For me nearly all novels exceed the film version (and I LOVE my movies). Esp if you have read the novel first. I haven't actually read The English Patient (I didn't love the movie so I guess it put me off). But if you tell me the novel is better, I shall believe and go hunt! :)

Persuasion by Jane Austen - because it's the only Austen in which it's plausible that it might not have gone the expected route
Summer by Edith Wharton - because it's messy
At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill - because it's gorgeous if you can get past the opening narration
White Palace by Glenn Savan - because they're oddballs who refuse to be sentimentalized
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson - because it's so specific and pointed
Sophie's Choice by William Styron - because I remember it hit me hard

Aha awesome.
Persuasion is far and away my favourite Austen for that very reason.
And I haven't read ANY of the others... (rubs hands together)

(nice icon choice there, btw :D)

Hee! It is my very saddest icon. Though this one is called "dean grieves," so.

Eeee! I'm so pleased most of these are new to you! The Paterson is a YA book, just so you know. And my disclaimer about ASTB only has to do with the fact that the first narrator is a pretty unlikeable character and his narration is chock-full of Irish slang that I found difficult to understand.

Also, I requested the books you mentioned from the library. Whoot!

Ahaha that's also very sad. Poor boy.

I've bookmarked this entire thread, because I'm reading through it basically flailing, going "Dark Materials"!! Oooh "Daughter of Time" ooh "Gone with the Wind" oooh "Mirror of Her Dreams" ooh "God of Small Things" and reminding myself that I can't REREAD all those when there's so many awesome new recs there as well. But I have to say there's nothing you've recced anywhere that I've read and haven't adored. And there's enough here to keep me going for a coupla years, probably. *sighs happily*


No, wait, this is my saddest icon!

And yay, wallowing in books! (No one else I know has read the Donaldson series! And the Tey is an all-time favorite.)

David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas. It starts with the letters, I think, of someone on board a ship, on one of the discovery ships of history, then ends abruptly and suddenly it is a different POV, forward in time, and within that POV the letters are referenced...and we move to another POV and then it all unravels and connects together. I can't really explain it but it is excellently done, each section feels different and is so well written. It is a must read if you haven't.

So: rec for me please anything that plays with structure, or links together different POVs or approaches the novel format in, well, a novel way!

The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles - because there are storylines that merge in interesting and unexpected ways
Melusine and The Virtu by Sarah Monette - because they switch between two first-person narrations that are strong and clear and amazing
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot - because it's an interesting attempt to bring together two storylines with only the thinnest of threads (I don't think she really succeeds, but)
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - because it's my favorite epistolary story
Les Liaisons Dangereux by Choderlos de Laclos - because it's still the most gripping epistolary story I know
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich - because the different POVs never quite add up to a single truth
Possession by A. S. Byatt - because there are so many levels of texts and truths at play here
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg - because you should have something fun on this list, damn

Thank you so much for this list. Esp. Love Medicine - I haven't heard of that so I will definitely look that up! Fun!

Oooh, LM is a treat! I've read it several times and taught it once and it's so very rich.

Also, I requested CA from my library, so thank you!

Oh gosh I hope you like it. Please let me know what you think! :)

Yes of course. Am going to take a bookshop trip tomorrow ;)

I finished Cloud Atlas last night - thank you! What a strange treat!

(I'd read seven wretchedly unsatisfying books in a row just before, so this was doubly nice.)

I am so glad you enjoyed it. It is unusual but well executed I think! :)

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The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon - because it's got an undercurrent of sorrow throughout
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon - because it's one of my very favorite books, and is lovely without being sentimental
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers - because it explores one of the most interesting male/female relationships I've ever read
Burn This by Lanford Wilson - because it's short and sharp
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich - because there's always a new way to strip you raw
What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges - because they are such beautiful losers
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri - because it's so beautiful and so lonely
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley - because it takes a while to figure out how bad it's going to get
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy - because it's just devastating

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Yay! I hope you have a good time with them!

I like pretty much in books what I like in TV and games - stuff about groups of people who protect us from the nasties out there, be they real or occult and the effect this has on them.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker - because it's devastating in its depiction of heroism
"Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti - because it's unspeakably beautiful
The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman - because there are unlikely heroes too
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston - because there are all different ways to fight
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi - because he made it somehow
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris - because no matter what else happens, the good person brings justice

Already read the first one and wanted to slap her. Why didn't she fuck him up with a frying pan while Mister slept?

I'm not keen on books that weren't wriiten in the last 20 years.

Read them. Loved the first book, tolerated the second, hated the third

Not available here

I deal with horror at work, I don't want to deal with it at home. And I'm sick of hearing about the Holocaust. I don't dispute it was terrible, but there are other horrors happening and we have to deal with those. One of my clients is a Serbian Muslim with PST.

Read it. It sucked and was boring.

Thanks for the suggestions:)

Well, you exhausted what's on my shelves. You could try a couple of books that I read recently but haven't bought: Nightlife by Rob Thurman and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

I've heard good things about those books. I'll get them from the library and we can have a tandem read.

This is an AWESOME game.

Not sure what I feel like, except something light. Not so fluffy it's annoying, but clever. With a good solid story that carries you along, characters I care about. Genre wide-open.

Except when you tell me I'll want it NOW, and...I'm not leaving the house. ::innnnnnnnnnnncredibly tired::


French Leave by P. G. Wodehouse - because for pure hilarity, it's hard to beat Plum
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - because everyone should
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - because you'd be hard-pressed to find another assortment of oddballs this rich
Janice Gentle Gets Sexy by Mavis Cheek - because it's about as light as you can get
After All These Years by Susan Isaacs - because this one has super-momentum and is a blast
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - because it's snarkily clever
Good Night, Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas - because the narrator is adorable
The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters - because it's got a parasol used as a weapon
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh - because I adore it so very much
Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey - because the personalities are so very vivid
the Soup books by Robert Newton Peck - because the boys are such boys and so much fun
the Anastasia books by Lois Lowry - because there are a lot of moments in these books that will sound so familiar
Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers - because it's jaunty and fun and about murders
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey - because it's brilliant and just lovely
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder - because it's wondrous what we can do with our imaginations
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - because it's so very twisty and turny

Edited at 2007-11-30 01:52 am (UTC)

I like ensemble casts—e.g., The Feast of Love, Charles Baxter. I also really like big, sprawling, set-down-a-spell-and-lemme-tell-you-a-story epics à la Cider House Rules (John Irving) and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Michael Chabon). I also like it when these things are combined! (Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin)

Fun game!

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse - because this is one kooky ensemble
the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman - because it's pretty damn sprawling
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - because it's just not read enough
Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning - because it tackles so much
The Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through by Stephen R. Donaldson - because they're an epic with a huge and hugely satisfying cast of characters
American Gods by Neil Gaiman - because it's such a grand idea
Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding - because it's hilarious

Rosemary Sutcliff is the absolute queen of young adult historical fiction. Who even comes close to her?

Edited at 2007-11-30 03:22 am (UTC)

I adore the four related books Philip Pullman wrote for a YA audience (set in Victorian times): The Ruby in the Smoke, Shadow in the North, Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess. I'm also very fond of David Wiseman's Jeremy Visick. Though she wasn't writing them as historical novels, I really like some of Louisa May Alcott's stuff - especially the two-book series Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom. Same for L. M. Montgomery - the Anne and Emily books, of course, but I am particularly fond of Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat. It's not historical so much as fantastical, but the "Song of the Lioness" quartet by Tamora Pierce (Alanna, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant) is also quite fun. Most of the other YA stuff I love isn't historical.

I second the recommendation for the Tamora Pierce series! I have fond memories of reading the whole series in one week when I was about 16. I loved her strong female characters!

I went through my headlong rush into L.M. Montgomery back in middle school but I haven't heard of Tamora Pierce and I've only read Pullman's HDM. Thank you!

Seraphs and Bloodring by Faith Hunter (pseudonym!) - both take place in an interesting and original 'verse where the characters are mysterious and kickass
Covenants by Lorna Freeman - a lot of actualized destiny going around
sexing the cherry by Jeanette Winterson - hurts you by being real when all you expected was fantasy
God bless you, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut - dissipation and despair, at its very best
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman - intriguing interpretation of myth
Warchild by Karin Lowachee - disjointed narrative style and so much implied but never quite acknowledged

Sorry, are you recommending these to me (in which case, thanks!) or saying you want recommendations based on these (in which case, I'll do my best)?

SORRY about the confusion! I just read this over and realized how unclear it was. In retrospect, I guess it's a bit of both.

Ooof! I somehow missed that you'd responded here, but if you're still game, let me know what you'd like to read *now*. Sorry about that!

I'm hoping for some time soon to read an actual book. Not a play. Not something required for Uni... a real book!

I always had this odd love for books that featured a loveable young thief character. I often would read random fantasy books hoping for a clever, cocky thief sidekick. (Is it any wonder I adore characters like Dean Winchester?) Any recommendations?

Hee, I wish you luck!

Hmm, proto-Deans? I'm going to recycle some of the recs I made above for you, because all the books I love with thieving characters have already been mentioned. And you already know about George Cooper (mmmmmmm!).

Melusine and The Virtu by Sarah Monette - because one of the two main characters *is* a thief and is so very, very Dean

The Ruby in the Smoke, Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Pricess by Philip Pullman - because there's a thief/conman/petty criminal in these stories who's just trying to survive

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon - because writers steal their best ideas

the Soup books by Robert Newton Peck - because being a precocious boy with not much to occupy him but school and chores kind of makes Soup a conman

After All These Years by Susan Isaacs - because it's fun and fast-paced and features one sexy thief in a pivotal scene

You might also like Rob Thurman's Nightlife (can you say Winchester AU?) and Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora (about bands of kept thieves!), but since I liked them but didn't love them, I've separated them from my main list.

I kept eyeing the Ruby in the Smoke series at the library and never actually checked it out. I might have to give it a try.

Thanks for the recomendations! Hopefully after these next crazy two weeks I might have time to read a bona fide novel!

... and after reading a review of "Melusine" online, that's definitely going to be the first book I check out! Dark fantasy with characters who aren't good or bad guys, but instead shades of grey? Yes please!

Melusine starts off kind of slow - the first hundred pages or so are kind of iffy - but then it starts to crackle.

The Ruby series is much grittier than other YA books I'd read - some of the good guys die, and some of the bad guys win, and eeeeeeee, it's just awesome.

Have fun!

I'll try to hang on to Melusine. I've been so busy lately that if a book doesn't immediately capture me, it gets put away. Unfortunately I still haven't gotten past chapter 7 of the newest Harry Potter for that very reason. The first 7 chapters weren't engaging enough to tempt me away from reading I ACTUALLY have to do. (Hopefully this winter break I'll read Harry Potter.)

I'll add Ruby to my "books to eventually read" list as well. I love gritty novels where bad guys sometimes win. I really respect Rowlings for allowing evil to sometimes triumph in Harry Potter.

So I'll try to be as clear as I can (since I failed so miserably last time!). I'm looking for some fantasy, sci-fi or fiction (maybe some kind of detective story) that has really interesting (preferably) male protagonists. Explicit or implied slash would be great but good camraderie between male main characters is fine.
I really like unique 'verses or slightly skewed versions of reality as settings.
If you think of anything, please let me know!!

Okay! I can do this!

The first thing that popped into my mind is Sarah Monette's Melusine series - Melusine and The Virtu are the first two - because there are two protagonists, both male, both incredibly fascinating characters. One is a straight thief and one is a gay wizard and they just spark things in each other.

I really love Stephen R. Donaldson's The Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through for pure fantasy - the world created in these two books is so complete and so sharp. Very large sprawling cast, one male and one female main character.

You might also like Snow Crash, which is sci-fi with lots of other things thrown into the pot as well. Again, one male and one female main character.

And Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley, might be right for you too - straight-up detective story, but interesting characters.

And Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys is all about the male bonding, except that it's fun to watch. Slashiness too!

Thanks! I've actually read Melusine but none of the, YAY for something to read during "reading week"

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