Saturday, May 07, 2011

Books Recommended to Me

Top Ten Tuesday 

This is a bit late but I here submit the list for Top Ten Tuesday, May 3, 2011  on Saturday the 7th.  I apologize to the good readers at The Broke and the Bookish and hope they and others enjoy the list.

This week is  about all those books I probably wouldn't have read had it not been for the recommendation of some other bookish people. 

1. Auto da Fe -- Elisa Canetti's novel is amazing for its magic, its dialogue, and its incredible characters with Peter Kien, a scholarly recluse who lives among and for his great library at its center.  Once again I have the former Lincoln Park Bookshop to thank for recommending this incredible novel.  It was just one of several great dead authors that I discovered through their recommendations. 

2. Memoirs of Hadrian -- One more book recommended by the people at my local independent bookstore.  This time introducing me to yet another author who became one of my favorites, starting with this magnificent tome -- perhaps her best work. 

3. The Man Who Folded Himself -- David Gerrold's novel is not recent - it was published more than thirty years ago - but a friend recommended it to me (it is one of his favorites) and I finally read it. Like Wells' more famous novel it is slight, less than 150 pages, but in that thin novel Gerrold packs a striking picture of the nature of time travel. 

4. The Immoralist -- I would like to think that I would have discovered Andre Gide on my own, eventually; but while I was a senior in high school the school's girls' gym teacher recommended this book to me.  My reading life has never been the same and Andre Gide is one reason.  

5. Hunger -- The same book store that brought me to Lagerkvist had a well-read clerk  (the kind you only find in small independent bookstores) who introduced me to Knut Hamsun and this wonderful short novel that is an early version of existential man.  Similar to Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground and just as dark.

6. The Dwarf -- This was my introduction to Par Lagerkvist and it was a great book that brought together my interest in the Renaissance and Machiavelli among other things.  Recommended by the owner of a local independent book store (since closed) by the owner, a self-styled aficionado of Lagerkvistiana.

7. The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy  -- My sister went through a period of reading "disaster" books and she recommended I read this one by Stewart O'Nan.  I did and found it a riveting story well told about an event, the Hartford Circus fire of 1944, that I knew nothing about prior to reading O'Nan's book.  I returned to O'Nan to read his short novel, Snow Angels, which was also a good read. 

8. The Secret History -- I found this a well told story, but a bit melodramatic for my taste.  It is a book that was recommended by a friend - a voracious, but indiscriminate reader. I was surprised when I found it was a page-turner that I could not put down.

9. The Closers -- I had never read Michael Connelly's crime stories until I read a review in the Sunday Chicago Tribune by Julia Keller.  Her positive review of this author persuaded me to pick up this novel from his Harry Bosch series and I found a new author that I plan to read again.

10. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood -- I do not normally read or even consider books that appear to be so obviously aimed at a female audience. This book appeared to the epitome of the genre, but the Sunday afternoon book group which I joined several years ago voted this onto our list so I picked it up and, surprise, I found it was a good read with fascinating characters and a complex believable plot line.

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