Saturday, July 09, 2011

Yeas and Nays January through June 2011

Every six months, I try to give you my six favorite reads and my six least favorite reads, for a total of twelve books you may want to read (or avoid) yourself. Inevitably, I have many more favorites than I do least favorites, and so I steal slots from least favorites and add them to most favorites, to keep the total at twelve. This time is no exception. I have nine favorites and only three least favorites. Here you go:

Couching at the Door by D.K. Broster. One of the best little collections of ghost/horror stories I've read in ages.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Probably the most original mystery I've ever read.

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. A go-to comfort read, as enchanting as an adult (maybe even more so, since I marvel at Nesbit's talent) as it was as a child.

Faithful Place by Tana French. French can do no wrong in my book. This one was more Irish family saga than mystery, but still a masterful page-turner. Can't wait for her next.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Oh. My. God. My hope is that one day I will write a blog post on this one, but I want to wait until it will be more than just gushing "great book, great book" over and over.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. This book proves that there are contemporary novelists who can put a fresh spin on English village life and succeed beyond my hopes.

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. A perfect fairy tale.

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy. I've loved Conroy for over 25 years now. This book was like getting to sit on his front porch with him and listen to him tell stories. Great fun.

Transformations by Anne Sexton. Fairy tales made more perfect.

Jane Austen's Guide to Dating by Lauren Henderson. Not that I needed a guide to dating, but I like Jane Austen. I like Henderson's "tart noir" mysteries featuring Sam Jones, so I thought this might be a fun read. Wrong. Do not combine Henderson and Austen. I couldn't get through it.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Just read Hamlet and be done with it.

University Ghost Story by Nick Dimartino. Chock full of all the clich├ęs I'm terrified haunt my own efforts at writing ghost stories.


Rebecca H. said...

There are lots of books I'd like to read here -- the French, of course, and also the Clarke. The Conroy sounds intriguing as well. I liked Edgar Sawtelle, but ... we'll just have to disagree on that one!

Stefanie said...

I am glad I have already put several of those books on my TBR list! I haven't read French's The Likeness yet. I've been wanting to but I'm delaying that gratification for as long as I can stand it because I know I will zoom right through it.

Anne Camille said...

I've been wanting to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for a long time. I gave it to my son as a present several years ago, but I'm not sure that he ever read it. Perhaps I need to see if it is still lying on a bookself somewhere around the house. In May he moved his bookcases and most of his books, which made me sad because it was one of those tangible reminders that he is now an adult -- but glad that they meant that much to him.

Carrie#K said...

Daughter of Time is one of my all time favorites, along with E Nesbitt's books. Love Tana French! I'm still not convinced to read Susanna Clarke's book though, but the other two look interesting.

Hmm. I've had Sawtelle on my shelves for awhile. I like Hamlet.

Emily Barton said...

Dorr, if you've never read any Conroy, I'd recommend starting with this one. It will tell you a lot about him.

Stef, The Likeness is best saved for some rainy day when you have absolutely no other obligations, because once you sit down with it, you won't want to stop reading until you're done.

Carrie, I know people who hated the Clarke, so if you're shying away from it, maybe you're better off listening to your own instincts than to me.

Care said...

Just the push I needed to finally get to the Clarke book. and I agree with you on Sawtelle - I thought it plodding.

Emily Barton said...

Care, oh wow! Someone else who didn't love Sawtelle. I'm glad to find you.