This topic was continued by QUESTIONS FOR THE AVID READER - 2022, PART 2.

TalkClub Read 2022

Join LibraryThing to post.


Edited: Jan 1, 9:18am

WELCOME to Questions for the Avid Reader 2022! I have volunteered to be your inquisitor for this coming year. Most of you know me, but if you don’t, by way of intro I will just say that I’m a lifelong persistent questioner and have been in this seat before!

Much thanks to SassyLassy for her many years of questioning us; she will be a hard act to follow.

The Plan: I aim to post questions every two weeks to allow as many members as possible to post an answer before moving on to another question. I hope to post at the beginning of the month and again around the 3rd week, with the possibility of extra questions on those longer 5-week months OR if a question is a flop, I may post the next question early. I also plan to broaden the questions to encompass more of our reading than just what is in cover-to-cover book form.

I also note here that I like answering the questions, too; and will do so, but after several others have posted so as not to direct the responses. And finally, a nod goes to my silent partner in this, dukedom_enough (Michael).

Edited: Dec 31, 2021, 2:10pm

Well, it's New Year's Day morning in Sydney & Melbourne, so I'm posting!

Edited: Dec 31, 2021, 2:21pm


As we look ahead at another year of great reading in 2022, let’s discuss how you organize and direct your reading… or do you….?

—Have you created a reading PLAN for the year? Is it all-encompassing or minimal? Strict or loose? Is it written down? Care to share briefly what your plan is here?

—Or perhaps instead, you have established a reading GOAL of some kind…quantitative or qualitative? Simple or complex? Or maybe it’s a very minimal goal (i.e. By golly, this year I’m going to finally read X) Care to share your goal/s here?

—Not quite a PLAN or a GOAL? Perhaps you are moving into your 2022 reading as you did last year with only VAGUE INTENT? Or, perhaps, you are stuck in the land of SHOULD — How has that been going?

—BUT, perhaps you have eschewed PLANS, GOALS, refused to contemplate even VAGUE INTENT and ignored all those SHOULDs because you are going the SERENDIPITOUS route— following the shiny things that catch your reading eye?

Which of these are you? Or are you some mix of all of the above? Have you always approached, or organized your reading the same way?

Edited: Dec 31, 2021, 4:59pm

I plan to read a bunch of True Crime to start the year. Not sure I can stand a whole year of it. I have plans to translate some of the Old English Psalter just for fun. Not making hard and fast plans or goals, tho.

Dec 31, 2021, 3:21pm

Q1: I have forgone any kind of formal plan to read this year. I’m just not any good at sticking to them. It’s almost like I become allergic to the list as soon as its written down. So, I’ll stick to my admittedly oddball incentive program, which does apply a kind of informal structure, or at least a generalized pull to influence reading in certain directions. And also a vague horror reading year long challenge from a podcast I listen too, just see if it might impart a little structure to that portion of my reading. Otherwise it’s a free for all.

Edited: Dec 31, 2021, 4:31pm

Pretty much the same way I answered the question last year- I have no plan, just go where my interests lay and down the rabbit holes many readers here dig for me. I am participating in the Asian Read Challenge,and in Rebeccas challenge, and will continue to take part in the Reading Thro Time reads and the Reading Globally themes. and would like to read more books in translation, otherwise......whatever strikes my fancy

Dec 31, 2021, 4:07pm


For the first time in forever, I am going to try participating in some themed reads and see how that goes. I've always enjoyed reading about other cultures/places and translated literature, so the Asian Book Challenge seemed a no-brainer. Same with Reading Globally themed reads. I definitely wanted to read something for the Hope to Read Soon tribute to Rebeccanyc. And finally I want to learn more about graphic novels so I joined that thread. None of them lock me into reading a particular book, only from a particular country or on a certain topic. I'm hoping that's loosey goosey enough to prevent the heebie-jeebies. We'll see! I definitely don't want to derail my newly found reading mojo, so I'll bail on any and all of these plans, if need be. The important thing for me is that I'm reading and enjoying it.

Dec 31, 2021, 4:56pm

Q1: I don't make detailed plans, but I am interested in some themed reads this year, so that will influence what I pick. Err, until I have more things than I can read.

Edited: Jan 1, 7:40pm

Q1: I plan to read within the 2022 Category Challenge categories I established for myself and those voted on by the group. I did not do well with some of my own categories last year (Nancy Drew, Jar of Fate) so I plan to try again on those for 2022.

Dec 31, 2021, 8:33pm

If I try to make a plan, I can almost tell you with certainty what I will NOT read :) So I don’t

I have a few long term interests that get shifted and occasionally go on the back burner now and then but other from that - I am really bad with planning my reading.

Dec 31, 2021, 9:40pm

My only plan is to read as much of my TBR as possible. I have more than a few series I'm focusing on, otherwise, I'm reading with strikes my fancy.

Dec 31, 2021, 10:13pm

My only goal is to try and reduce Mt TBR. Having said that, I like to have a look at the various challenges and such around LT to help me choose which books to read. But I am often a mood reader and will choose something on the basis of how I'm feeling.

Jan 1, 2:01am


I have a somewhat uneasy relationship with planning my reading. Like many others here, I have found for years that making a list of books I plan to read is a good way to actually make a list of books I'm not going to read any time soon. So while I greatly admire those individuals with detailed lists of what they are going to read and when, that's not how I like to structure my reading life. I am primarily a mood reader, and prefer the organic flow from one book to the next that comes with that.

But I'm also a mood reader that likes having some structure or framework to operate on (yes, I know, this probably sounds like something of a paradox). Enter book groups and buddy reads. Since I'm picking things that sound interesting to me, largely in the moment, it's still a manifestation of my mood reading, but the buddy reads give me enough structure to lean on if I find myself wondering what I'm going to read next.

I also set numerical reading goals every year. Again, this works well with my mood reader tendencies because I can read whatever I feel like reading to get to the "at least 100 books" goal. And saying I want at least ten percent of my reading to be non-fiction helps give me direction without dictating which non-fiction titles I "should" read. My goal of having at least a quarter of my reading being borrowed books will hopefully help me to limit impulse book purchases (but really, I am not going to hold my breath on that count).

Jan 1, 4:56am

>3 avaland: Q1
Like many here, I'm allergic to required reading, even if it's me doing the requiring. So no specific plans. I'm still trying to reduce my BOMBs - books I've owned for a year or more but have never read - and increase my discards, books I'm not going to read again. I succeeded one year! And failed...four, or is it five times now? Well...failed at achieving the numeric goal I set. But I did read some BOMBs and discard some books, each year. So not a complete failure. We'll see how I do this year.

Jan 1, 5:24am

I have no reading plans at all. Over the past year I've found some new writers to write series. So I started with Book 1 and haven't finished yet. Furthermore, I have a fantastic local library that always leads me to authors I don't know.

Jan 1, 7:59am

Q1 These days I operate as a mood reader, one prone to serendipitous choice, but also motivated by a persistent curiosity and a kind of feral instinct towards what I need.

However, in the past, I often read by topic and allowed myself freedom within the subject matter (African lit, International women writers, dystopias, fairy tales, the Gothic, by name a few) to choose the reading.

Jan 1, 9:06am

I plan my reading well in advance and usually stick to it. Sometimes last years plans become this years plans - time passes too quickly.

Edited: Jan 1, 9:33am


I have a sort of cloud of vague intentions about what I'm going to read, and always read less than I'd hoped. I do want to read the next volume in The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon this year - Microcosmic God.

Jan 1, 4:40pm

Q1.. I don’t set up plans. I get distracted by suggestions on everyone’s threads, and my plans get thrown by the wayside. I do have a couple of books that I’d like to get to this year. I’d like to finish The Empire trilogy by J. G. Farrell. I’ve only read the first, Troubles. I’d also like to read The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning. Both of these have been languishing on my shelves for far too long. And maybe loosely, I’d like to read ten books that are on my shelves. But that’s it. I managed 75 books last year. Many were parts of series that I will be continuing.

Jan 1, 6:46pm


"Vague intentions" is it for me. The vaguest being that I ought to read everything I can by my fave authors, only I'm getting to feel a bit superstitious about that. :)

Edited: Jan 1, 7:16pm

I have a few bugs in the back of my brain that need to be thrown a bone every now and then. One of them doesn't like that I haven't read all the classic authors, and the other doesn't like looking at the 700 books I have here to read and not reading them- year after year. So, how to calm these little cartoon-impy beasts?

So, I made pretty elaborate plans. Last year I over-planned...and it worked out fairly well. So, this year I've over-planned even more - Boccaccio, Robert Musil, Shakespeare, Edith Wharton... and now a Dickens and the 1700-pages of Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries all scratch the first imp. And a double-TBR goal works on the second one. The TBR goal idea to actually read some books from the TBR and also...not add to pile. I'm not trying to reduce the _number_ of books i have on the TBR (700), as that seems too much, just to keep it at 700.

I do have a method, actually two. One is to read on theme, and thereby build curiosity and let that sort of shaped and directed curiosity carry me through (it got me through Nabokov). (That's Boccaccio). The other, which is far more effective, is to join a structured group. That can be the best drive, if it's easy to keep up (and the worst if I have to start forcing it). Anyway, that's what will get me through Shakespeare, Wharton, Dickens (and more Victorians), and Anniversaries...I mean I hope.

So, I don't yet have a method for reading TBR books or for Robert Musil's 1700-page book, The Man Without Qualities, or the unfinished 450-page manuscript that was to be his volume 3. So these are iffy plans.


oh, that doesn't cover it. I also have been following the Booker longlist. The goal is to get a sampling of what are supposed to be the better recent publications. I know, it's a bad process (The Tournament of books has a better idea, but much lower standards). Anyway my method for the Booker is audiobooks - because I can get through almost anything on audio if the reader is ok. So, I begin with the longest book and work towards the shorter ones. I have five left, and lots of momentum. And they're short (too short for audio. I will read them), so I should finish them before I get sick of them.


One thing about my plans. They are looser than they sound. The plan is guideline so that I always have a direction when I get unsure what to read next. And, I'm ok diverging for a good reason. But I try not to be too impulsive. Reading like I do is slow and not conducive to the impulses (I can be very impulsive).


eek, long answer. sorry.

Jan 1, 7:43pm

In testing answer though. I think the theme read is a great idea. I have an inner rebel that gets agitated with to many commitments, so I struggled to balance groups and my impulse reading.

Jan 1, 8:20pm

>21 dchaikin: Dan, sounds like you've already answered this question for me, too. I make elaborate plans. And this year I went WAY overboard. I read based on themes that I have created. I've joined two book clubs to get me reading more outside of my comfort zone. Yes, it's true that I pick the books for one of them, but they aren't necessarily books I WANT to read. And in the case of the church group I just joined, I think it will get me to read books that deal especially with social justice issues, and looking at things from a different point of view. I can get through many books on audio (like Moby Dick?) that I would have abandoned in print. I also have a couple of award lists that I follow, like the Walter Scott Prize nominees, and the Wainwright Prize. And, finally, my plans are also looser than they sound.

The only real goal I have is to set a number of books that I'd like to meet. That can be a real push, especially in December. Oh, and I do try to commit to reading all of the book club reads, which is 12 for Daytimer's and 9 for Perspectives. Other than that, my lists are just a way to focus my attention for a year on a small portion of my TBR - otherwise I'm floundering looking at a huge number of books. I should be more selective in putting books on that TBR.

I really like doing themes, and I've even started a library book club that chooses books this way (A Good Yarn). For myself, it started years ago as a way to read a classic - Moby Dick - by creating a list of related books, like Ahab's Wife, or Railsea (still haven't read those...), or even Moby-Duck. This year my "literature" theme is going to be The Odyssey including The Iliad and Ulysses. I've been proposing this one for about three years now, and hopefully this will be the year I finally start it. These themes sort of never end, which is why I still have lists of books leftover.

Jan 1, 8:33pm

>23 WelshBookworm: the best book club I was ever in choose themes, and each person picked their own book (like we do in Reading Through Time) It was fun because the group of us was made up of a wide range of ages and interests, and we had some great discussions (plus it made me put more on my TBR list that I really didn't need.....) so I do like themes, I use them to expand my reading and jump into topics I normally never would.

Jan 2, 1:01am

>23 WelshBookworm: I read about the themes you create (I think it was on your thread) and was pretty impressed. The Odyssey is a great literary theme (and one I've been following, in a way, for several years now)

Jan 2, 1:15am

>25 dchaikin: Catching up with the 2021 threads, and I noted Troilus and Cressida by several authors (Chaucer and Shakespeare for two), and the Boccaccio - but no - nooooooooo I musn't add any more....

Jan 2, 1:30am

>26 WelshBookworm: gets a little obscure with Filostrato :) But, if you read the Iliad, and then read Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, the Bard's dry humor (on the page) becomes really really entertaining. And Chaucer's...I will get there! really.

Jan 2, 1:55am


>12 rhian_of_oz: I have found for years that making a list of books I plan to read is a good way to actually make a list of books I'm not going to read any time soon.

I can empathise with that! I’m pretty hopeless at sticking to plans, and I have a lot of books on my TBR that are overspill from earlier projects. The trouble is, new interests keep coming up and getting in the way of tying up the old ones. But it is still fun to make plans of the “somewhat vague” kind, always provided no-one expects me to stick to them.

Current short-term goals include reading at least a few books for the RG theme read (which I volunteered to lead…) on the Indian Ocean: that includes one I’ve had on the TBR pile for a while, two more that just arrived before New Year, and a third still in the post somewhere. I’ve also (foolishly?) embarked on David Copperfield for the Victorian read, and hope to add Lady Audley as well. But before I get to any of those I need to finish with Brahms. And there’s another Henry Havard book clamouring for my attention, and The Books of Jacob that was one of my Christmas books. Sometimes it feels as though I’m juggling so many balls that I might just as well be back at work…

Longer term, I need to finish the Toni Morrison read-through I started last year, and I want to read some more of Het Bureau, where I got to the end of Part Four (out of seven) last year.

And I’ve still got a lot of bits and pieces of maintenance work on my library to do, following on from the reorganisation I did over the last couple of months. Books to repair, journals to bind, labels to make…

Jan 2, 6:10am

>20 LolaWalser: The problem with trying to read everything by favorite authors, is that one tends to keep adding to the list of "favorite" authors!

>21 dchaikin: You see why I called you the "poster boy" for the first question, right? But I see you have company....

Edited: Jan 2, 10:37am

>25 dchaikin: where is this thread?

>28 thorold: oh and if you are reading David Copperfield, dont miss the most excellent movie 'the personal history of David Copperfield' Dev Patel plays copperfield and he is magnificent. The whole movie is really about dickens life, and how he wrote the book.

Jan 2, 10:32am

I don't do 'em. I already work really hard and reading, for me, is all about pleasure and not obligation (sometimes I do read for work, though they're usually books that are in my general wheelhouse to begin with).

That said, this year I'm going to see how far I get reading daily entries in New York Diaries: 1609 to 2009. It's a fun collection in which I haven't read further than the first couple of weeks of January. And my general goal is to read down some of what I own, as opposed to library books... but I love the ability to give in to sudden reading impulses that my library's vast ebook collection gives me, so I'm not exactly about to deprive myself of that.

Jan 2, 12:55pm


I read what I want, when I want (except for the 4 or 5 book club books I read each year, which follow the schedule -- but I don't read everything the group picks).

That said, I love lists, and I know my areas of interest, so I record and chart everything 16 different ways in my book journal, and to some extent here at LT. I also like to set myself little challenges, but if I don't fulfill them, I don't care. The little challenges are more fun than not. If they become homework I'll drop them.

I only have a limited number of books I will be able to read in my life, so I want to make the best of my reading time.

Edited: Jan 2, 4:26pm

Q1 - mostly not. I am going to try that focus on a gender balance again this year, the first six months of last year went well with it. Overall I think what is happening is I am reading several books at once, and out of that one or two assume priority at some point to get finished and the others can be left behind, a short trough follows and then I pick back up again with interests of the moment, which may have moved on from some of those I had started and be new (and those previously started I may feel I need to go back a way in, i just feel off the boil with them). This may be my best hypothesis on the part reads I have yet, maybe mixed at times with some of my others.

Naming current reads usually ends to me stopping still with them.

Follow my heart, as i say endlessly and vaguely and in a way no doubt open to criticism.

Jan 2, 4:34pm

>30 cindydavid4: WelshBookworm's thread is named "Laurel's 2022 Book List By the Dozen!". Direct link:

>29 avaland: : )

Edited: Jan 2, 4:45pm

Here are the stats, thus far:

No plans: 11

Vague intent: 2

Definite plans: 4

Mostly not planning/some planning: 5

(It's only been a few days, we'll see what happens ....)

Jan 2, 6:46pm

>34 dchaikin: omg!amazing lists, thanks!

Jan 4, 3:30pm

>35 avaland: Thanks for the update! I like lists.

Jan 4, 3:35pm

I don't exactly do reading plans, although it can be said that I have a reading pattern, as I like to alternate fiction and non-fiction. Well, I generally do two fictions for every non-fiction, that being the approximate proportion of the two on my TBR shelves. Sometimes between the two fictions I'll slip in some humor or poetry, too. But as far as reading specific books goes, it's mostly all vague intent of the "maybe I'll finally get to that novel this year!" or "I should really read those books I got as gifts sooner rather than later!" kind.

I do sort of have a goal, since I always do the ROOT challenge to encourage myself to read things already sitting on my shelves and not just shiny new stuff. Although I may be doing that more out of habit than anything at this point. My goal for this year is to read 75 books that were already on the TBR as of Jan. 1. Which should not be at all difficult, really.

Edited: Jan 4, 6:01pm

>38 bragan: "My goal for this year is to read 75 books that were already on the TBR as of Jan. 1. Which should not be at all difficult, really."

I need to get a LOT better at that. Out of 213 books last year, 185 came from the library (or got borrowed from somewhere else) and from the rest only 18 were on my shelves before the year started...

Jan 4, 6:33pm

>39 AnnieMod: I wouldn't dare to count up my stats!

Jan 4, 6:37pm

>40 wandering_star: I use tags and collections for reading and owning things so that kind of stats are very easy to pull out. :) Doing something about them on the other hand… :)

Jan 6, 5:34pm

>39 AnnieMod: I stopped using the library because I had so many unread books I already owned. And now, because I'm not using the library, when I want to read a book I buy it, giving me more unread books. Probably there's a flaw in my logic in there somewhere. :)

Jan 6, 5:40pm

>42 bragan: Yeah... you can never escape new books. So I just don't pretend I can and use the library for the ones I do not have and do not plan to keep (well, that's the theory - does not always work that neatly...).

Plus I lived without a library for 15 years (geography and so on) so having access to one made me very very happy. :) I just need to get better at remembering to read my own books somewhere in between the library ones ;)

Jan 6, 5:52pm

>42 bragan: Yes! I stopped going to the library for quite some months because of you-know-what; when I resumed in the second half of last year, I read so many library books that my TBR went into suspended animation. So now I’m back on the other side of that curve again, still not reading much from the pile, but adding to it daily...

Jan 6, 6:04pm

I'm still recalibrating my borrowed versus owned/TBR reading from when everything shut down in 2020. That year, a mere 2% of my reading was borrowed books. Here's hoping I can achieve the balance I want in 2022 (namely, a quarter to a third of my reading should be borrowed books, and the rest should be ones I own). I'm also reinstituting my book beans system to hopefully rein in my book purchasing for the year (and encourage the reading of already owned books).

Jan 6, 7:01pm

>42 bragan: I stopped using the library because I had so many unread books I already owned. And now, because I'm not using the library, when I want to read a book I buy it, giving me more unread books. Probably there's a flaw in my logic in there somewhere.

Ha! that sounds like me.

Id like to get more library books, But books have gotten so much cheaper that it doesn't make much sense, especially if I am keeping the book. And I like supporting my indie, with sales and reward card discounts, I can by new without cringing too much.

Jan 6, 7:30pm

>46 cindydavid4: It comes down to how much I read from the library for me. Since I discovered the library in early 2015, I've read 982 books from there across ILL, regular library and digital library. While I can buy them, then I will need to figure out how to discard most of those (or they will be just on my kindle).

These days my thinking process is kinda simplified: if I want to keep it, I buy it. If I don't plan to keep it (because space more often than not), I first check the library and then if not possible, check prices on kindle and paper. Not that I always remember that of course so I end up buying more than I should but it had curbed me a bit from buying as many books (except that now I buy other books instead so it does not seem to work but I keep convincing myself that it does)...

Jan 6, 9:51pm

>42 bragan: I stopped using the library because I had so many unread books I already owned. And now, because I'm not using the library, when I want to read a book I buy it, giving me more unread books. Probably there's a flaw in my logic in there somewhere. :)

I resemble that comment!!

Jan 7, 2:51pm

I always have a theme, but maybe half to two-thirds of the books I read actually fit the theme because ... HEY, LOOK, a new dystopian or nun novel!

A pitfall of readers ADHD.

Still, without a theme, I feel like I'm just reading in a waiting room instead of giving the books any careful thought or study.

Jan 7, 3:27pm

>48 Nickelini: I believe our name is legion in that regard! So many of us resemble this picture.

Jan 8, 3:01pm

>3 avaland: Yikes - plans!

Over the years now that there is no assigned reading in my life, I've moved from plans to strong intentions. Like all good intentions, sometimes with the best will in the world they don't get carried out. Weather plays a big part in that - if I can be doing something outdoors, I am. Regarding the outdoors, one of the things I would like to do this year is read a book a month about the natural world. Serendipity will probably enter into that arc.

I moved here almost five years ago, and still have boxes of unpacked books in the basement. The problem is an old house smaller by 1/3 that my previous house, with sloping ceilings, so trade off between art work and books. One wall of built in bookshelves has been added, and there are plans for another this year. - Does that count as a reading plan, getting the TBR out of storage?

This year I'm definitely hanging out in the Victorian Tavern, and for a start will be rereading both David Copperfield and Lady Audley's Secret. I'll be following the Viragos Group Monthly Themed Year, which they've gone back to this year. January is 'Nuns, Teachers, and Governesses', so another reread, this time Villette, which luckily ties into the Victorian theme.

I've been part of Reading Globally, so this year will be following along there too. I haven't found an Indian Ocean book yet for Q1, but know there's one somewhere in those boxes.

On the HOPE TO READ SOON list of rebeccanyc's, I found a book by a favourite author that I didn't know about (the book, not the author), so that is a definite read. Next month is my Thingaversary, so it's on that list. I also have some TBR books from rebecca's list to go through.

I also hope to be more active in CR, which comes with a price: finding out about all kinds of books I 'need'.

Another thought is that I would like to start reading in French again.

I know lots more will occur to me as the year progresses, but that's it for now.

Jan 8, 3:27pm

>51 SassyLassy: I like that...strong intentions....

Oh, so many possibilities with the Indian Ocean, Mia Coutu is Mozambique. and Gurnah is from Zanzibar.... It does sound like a busy literary schedule, any way you do it :-)

Jan 8, 3:31pm

>52 avaland: Thanks for that - I think I actually know where a Mia Couto is, and thanks for it too

Jan 8, 5:32pm

>52 avaland: I didn’t mention Mia Couto in the intro to the thread as he’s been in the spotlight of our theme reads twice recently, but it’s always worth reading him! I really got a lot out of Terra sonânbula.

Jan 9, 6:29am

>54 thorold: I That's fine by me as I am not doing any of the theme reads. Just realized I never wrote a review of the Sleepwalking Lane (another one slips through the cracks!) I do have two fairly recent short story collections of his in the TBR pile.

Edited: Jan 12, 9:44am

A few days early....

QUESTION TWO: Obsessions, Explorations and Collections, Oh My!

We all seem to have within our reading various subjects of interest, whether they be nonfiction subjects, themes in fiction or something else. Perhaps it’s a targeted exploration? something serendipitous? a loose collection? or… possibly a serious obsession.

Whether it’s a collection of books on the Battle of Midway or biographies of jazz musicians… or your have a thing for novels set in Italy, or books published by a particular publisher. Whether your collection is formal and hardcopy, OR informal and “in your head”, please share with us 3 to 5 books titles from a few of your collections/reading obsessions …. and perhaps give us a sense of the degree of your affliction, and whether these are these lifelong interests or something that perhaps only lasted a few months.

Jan 12, 10:48am

>56 avaland: What a great question! I'll kick off with lighthouses - which I became fascinated with after reading Stargazing by Peter Hill, a memoir of his time working as a lighthousekeeper in the 1970s (a job which does not exist any more, as lighthouses are now automated.

The most memorable thing from this book was about the dreams Hill had when he was at the lighthouse: "And then there were the dreams. Dreams that I still enjoy. Dreams of islands rising out of blue seas that reflected the golden setting sun. Dreams of gliding across those waters in a rowing boat with William Blake at the helm and Samuel Taylor Coleridge pulling up a lobster creel..."

Another must-read for anyone interested in the subject is Tony Parker's book Lighthouse, based on conversations he had with lighthousekeepers, their family, and other people whose life connected to lighthouses. An interesting history/travelogue of lighthouses in the UK is Seashaken Houses by Tom Nancollas.

There are also a surprising number of fiction books with a lighthouse setting, although the quality varies - the best I have read so far is Jeanette Winterson's Lighthousekeeping.

This has been an interest for me since reading Stargazing in 2008. I wouldn't say it's a serious affiction... although despite the fact that I have been disappointed by several lighthouse-related fictions and non-fictions (looking at On Lighthouses and The Lamplighters, for example), I think that I will always be attracted to lighthouse books.

Jan 12, 11:50am

>Q2: Oh my!

I’ll have to be careful on this one, as I’ve bored you all on numerous occasions with some of my favourite topics…

Everyone knows that I have an unreasonable amount of time for the literature of the former German Democratic Republic, for instance. And that I serendipitously acquired a small collection of English language paperbacks published in East Berlin a while back. Those are maybe the most recent large-scale red herrings in my library.

Otherwise, there is the ever-fascinating theme of bicycles in fiction or non-obvious non-fiction contexts: From The third policeman and Tim Krabbé’s The rider to Barthes on the Tour de France as an epic, or Petite philosophie du vélo by Bernard Chambaz. Or the Mexican Tour de France murder mystery Muerte contrarreloj that I read last year, or that highly-technical monograph on the physics of The bicycle wheel by Jobst Brandt. And much else.

Or the baby elephant in the closet, my three shelves of P G Wodehouse (plus about 2/3 of a shelf of biographies and other secondary works). But that’s not an obsession, Wodehouse doesn’t count as excessive in any context…

Edited: Jan 12, 12:13pm

My collection of nun books is totally imaginary now, but Black Narcissus, The Corner That Held Them, and Lying Awake are must reads. Interesting stories of women trying to come to terms with challenges to their faith and the flaws in themselves.

Also Peony and The Diary of Lady Murasaki, about the Buddhist nun experience.

I am not interested in recent nun stories that push anachronistic notions of feminism onto medieval women (tho most of the great medieval nun saints of England were certainly proto-feminists) or that are thinly veiled anti-Catholic hatchet jobs exposing various types of sexual abuse and repression. As a Catholic, I already know that the hierarchy is completely screwed up and deeply separated from the faith.

Jan 12, 12:16pm

>56 avaland: *Looks at the Tudors bookcase behind her* Nope, I am skipping this question. :) Maybe. Let me think on it. May decide to post a few examples from other collections...

Edited: Jan 12, 12:23pm

I don't have a particular topic that I collect books on, but I have several publishers I love. In a nod to the picture you attached to your questions, I collect books published by Virago. I also love Persephone, NYRB, and Folio Society. Virago and Persephone I got into because they publish lesser known books by women. NYRB is similar but without a woman focus. I feel like they do more books in translation, but also under-published American authors. And Folio Society I buy my favorites so I'll have a gorgeous edition. I own Middlemarch, The Sound and the Fury (in the special colored edition!!), Barchester Towers, Anna Karenina, The Name of the Rose, Orlando, Jane Eyre, Crime and Punishment, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Handmaid's Tale, and Beloved. Some of my very favorite books, there!

I try very hard not collect more than I will read, though. I have 5 unread Viragos, no unread Persephones, and 11 unread NYRBs.

Jan 12, 1:28pm

Finally dropping in on this thread . . .

Q1: I mostly have systems for how to choose my books rather than plans for what I'm going to read. Usually its 1) a book I've purchased recently, then 2) something chosen more or less at random from my home shelves, then 3) something from my "short" TBR stack, mostly series I'm in the middle of, books I've been given as gifts, and a few books I've purchased with the express desire to read sooner rather than later.

Last year, though, the "purchased recently" books were supplanted by the books on the list I'd received of important works about African American history and racism in America which I'm now about 3/4 of the way through, though I keep adding more entries to the list on my own.

I did have my Conrad read-through, whereby I started each calendar year with a Conrad novel, but I finished that up last year, so this year I started on Isaac Singer.

Q2: I have a whole (smallish) bookshelf of Conrad novels. Pre-pandemic, when my wife and I were traveling each year, I developed a tradition of buying a Conrad novel translated into the language of the country we were visiting. So my Conrad shelf includes translations in Czech, French (more than one), Spanish (more than one), Finnish, Croatian and Hebrew. There's also a Czech Catch 22 and a Hungarian Portnoy's Complaint that I bought in Prague.

What else?

* I love Modern Library editions and have several shelves of them, but they must have their dust jackets to be part of the "collection." I don't remember when, exactly, I became enchanted with this series of publications. I'm basically out of room for them, though, so I have to be very selective now about adding to the set.
* I have four shelves of books about baseball, mostly histories and biographies. That's a lifelong obsession, for sure.
* For a while I very actively collected short story anthologies. My "short story" tag now lists 350 books, of which I'd guess about 225 are anthologies of different vintages (as opposed to single author collections). This mania came on me particularly during my grad school days in the late 1980s, when I was enjoying writing short stories myself.
* Military history, and World War 2 history in particular, is the last topic I'll add here. I particularly like books written during or shortly after the war.

Jan 12, 2:18pm

I get a lot of books so there are many more or less deliberate or even wholly accidental subcollections. But wondering if there's anything in particular I hadn't mentioned before, I thought of my tiny but more or less intentional collection of abecedaria, which I tag "alphabet":

Jan 12, 2:58pm

I read a lot of fiction and non-fiction books about Amish people. This particular interest has been with me for years, since I grew up in northern Indiana and lived near and visited several Amish communities. When I was a graduate education student, we visited an Amish school and met with some of the teachers there. Reading the novels over time shows how the Amish cultures have changed along with technology use and modernization. The current novels also connect readers with the Amish people in showing that not everything is simple and perfect, as earlier novels seemed to show. The books present quite a study of the Amish culture.

Some of my fave authors are Cindy Woodsmall, Amy Clipston, Linda Byler (who is Amish), Shelley Shepard Gray, Beth Wiseman, Charlotte Hubbard, and Wanda Brunstetter. (Beverly Lewis is the past queen of Amish fiction, and I read most of her work years ago.)

Some Fave Amish fiction titles:
The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club series by Wanda Brunstetter
Linda Byler's Amish Christmas Collection
The Berlin Bookmobile series by Shelley Shepard Gray
Kauffman Amish Bakery series by Amy Clipstom
Morningstar series and Promise Lodge series by Charlotte Hubbard

Other series I collect and read:
Bertie Wooster and Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Non-fiction nature writing by Gladys Taber
Murder She Wrote series
Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries
Tales from Grace Chapel Inn series
Home to Heather Creek series

Edited: Jan 12, 3:50pm

Q2: I don’t think I have any true obsessions, but I have had (and still have) fascination for some authors. Joyce Carol Oates is the worst of them (97 - 100 books—either authored by her, written about her, or critical writing about her work). Margaret Atwood is #2 on this list with 50+ books, and Angela Carter with 15-18 books. I do generally tend to follow authors, so these three authors just represent that tendency on steroids.

If I had to pick a nonfiction "interest"…. it might be my general interest in early New England history, with specific interest in the lives of women. Here are a few books from this topic which I would highly recommend (some of my favorites):
In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton
Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society, also by Mary Beth Norton.
And The Times and Trials of Anne Hutchinson: Puritans Divided by Michael P. Winship
Good Wives and The Diary of Martha Ballad both by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I was going to say that I’ve not followed a publisher at all, but then I thought of the four books I read from Oxford University’s “ A Very Short Introduction” series (100s of small books on various topics). And while thinking of these books today, I went to their website, and the next thing I knew, I had added 6 titles to my wishlist and 2 titles to my cart (and to think I only stayed in the "literature" category!).

Edited: Jan 12, 5:25pm

>56 avaland: Oh, I love that shelf of green VMC editions! I have a similar shelf, but only 3 titles in common (Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, Rumour of Heaven, The Crowded Street).

Just looking at those titles makes me want to grab them off the shelf and covet them! I've got about 45 of the green ones and another handful of the modern covers. But it's the green ones that I love. I've gotten rid of a few, but looking back I sort of regret having parted with them. It's the only type of book that I collect--I scan used bookstores and library sales just looking for the green covers.

I have multiple sets of Jane Austen's novels. Also I collect Anthony Trollope; I think I have all of his 47 novels except 1 or 2 more obscure titles. But I don't need multiple editions of these; I generally have 1 of each.

Jan 12, 9:30pm

>63 LolaWalser: there was a great bookstore called AlphaBet, that specialized in children's rare illustrated books. I used to drool over their catalogues knowing i could never afford them. But i remember they had a wonderful selection of alphabet books. Biblio has some available as well

Edited: Jan 13, 10:37am

I collect childrens illustrated books from 1880-1929 (considered the golden age of children's illustrators) My favorites illustrators of that time are Maxwell Parris, Jessie Wilcox Smith, Arthur Rachman, Edmund Dulac, Kay Neilsen, Kate Greenway, W.Heath Robinson

I also have other collections: Jewish literature and history, Medieval History, favorite cartoonists, , and oversized coffee table books on photography, architecture, and art including complete costume history and The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: The William Morris Kelmscott Chaucer

How do I send photos of my shelves from my phone to here?

Jan 13, 2:32am

>60 AnnieMod: Tudors? Oh, please do! Then I might post some of my Plantagenets/War of the Roses collection...

Jan 13, 6:18am


I don't collect books, but as for topics that I keep coming back to, probably the two biggest are mountaineering and polar exploration. I have no idea why, but there you go. I think it probably started with reading Into Thin Air, and then I read things like Touching the Void, etc. Most recently I read The Next Everest.

Polar exploration reads include the classic Endurance and The Man Who Ate His Boots and Ice Ship, among others.

Jan 13, 6:20am

>66 kac522: I got that photo from the web but I knew you all are out there :-)

>68 cindydavid4: I've never tried to post a photo to LT via my phone. I usually airdrop the photo to my laptop and do it from there. Perhaps someone more tech-savvy than I can send you a message with directions (if such a thing can be done)

Edited: Jan 13, 6:34am

>68 cindydavid4: Two ways: host it outside of LT (if you have a space) and link from there. Or use your junk drawer to upload them in LT and link from there. Direct link to your junk drawer: :) replace MEMBERNAME with your name - that’s one of the places the placeholder does not work apparently. Once there,you use html to post a link to it in Talk - or just post a link and we can click and see it. You get there via Profile-> Your gallery (top right menu) if you do not want to use direct links from here.

One warning - modern phones do weird stuff with images rotation. LT ignores the new formats rules - which means that a phone can show the image as normal but when uploaded here it can be rotated. If that happens, it needs to be edited with an editor which resets these instructions and saves properly. Or we can just tilt our heads to look at the pictures :)

Jan 13, 8:12am

>65 avaland: I only discovered VSI last year and now 60 of them in various subjects ad topics. They are all so differnet from one naother you never know what expect. Sometimes a long encyclopeida entry to the philospohical merits of the topic itself. Always enlightening in some way.

Jan 13, 8:29am

>73 stretch: Glad to meet another addict (well, I thought I was reformed, but seems not)

Jan 13, 9:12am

>70 ursula: Love me some polar exploration stories, too, since reading Last Cruise of the Jeanette as a kid. Read Scott's diary last year. If you put tog a longer list, would you pm me with it?

Jan 13, 10:36am

Q2: I collect all things Tolkien - I currently have more than 200 books on Tolkien and my wish list is even longer. If I am in a secondhand shop and see a secondary lit book from the 70s, I'll buy it. I have stopped buying different editions, though, because I run out of space (I already have 23 editions of The Hobbit), but there are still a few special ones I would like to purchase.

Apart from that, I have a huge collection of souvenir books/guide books from my travels, such as books about castles or booklets/leaflets from churches and cathedrals and museums I have visited. I buy them all the time when traveling in the UK or Ireland. At least in other places I have stopped to buy them continuously, but now only do so in places I really loved or that are connected to writers.

Jan 13, 10:42am

>76 MissBrangwen: I used to have them till I realized we needed more book space, and we had our own photos of the same, so they were given away. I do have a very healthy collection of travel narratives however, that keeps growing. Finally decided to get rid of my old eyewitness books to give me more room!

Jan 13, 10:44am

Q2 Let's see. There are a few publishers whose books I keep an eye out for and that I shelve together: NYRB, Europa Editions, and Archipelago. I like these publishers because they have a lot of translated literature. For a while I was intrigued by the Armed Service Editions published and distributed to WWII military personnel. For example,

As for topics, my largest collections are of WWII histories and memoirs, many relating to the Holocaust. I also have a large children's collection. Then there are all the Girl Scout handbooks, etc. that have accumulated over three generations of scouting.

Jan 13, 10:46am

>62 rocketjk: Do you read in all of those languages, Jerry?

Edited: Jan 13, 10:49am

>77 cindydavid4: "Finally decided to get rid of my old eyewitness books to give me more room!" Oh yes, we have lots of those guidebooks, too (eyewitness, Lonely Planet and Rough Guide), but we have decided to go through these and give most of them away. My husband takes his iPad on travels so we can download all the info (and guidebooks) we need. Moreover, I guess many will be outdated after the pandemic because so many businesses close. And guidebooks take up so much space!

Jan 13, 11:00am

>78 labfs39: Is your children's collection of WWII or just general. We'll talk about the scouting next time we meet up:-)

Edited: Jan 13, 12:13pm

>79 labfs39: Ha! No, none of them, other than a tiny bit of French left over from high school days and a tiny bit of Spanish from my recent adult school efforts. Those books are essentially momentos. Also, the search for them while we're traveling is fun for me, too. One bookseller in Helsinki told me that I should also buy a Conrad in Swedish, as Swedish is also technically an official language of Finland. Finland was part of Sweden for 500 years until being taken over by Russia in the early 1800s. At the time of Finnish indepedance after the Russian Revolution, the Finns had a major controversy over which language to adopt. Swedish was the language spoken by the upper classes, who looked down on Finnish as a peasant language. The proponents of Finnish won out, though Swedish remained an official language of the country, I guess as some sort of compromise. Anyway, I told the bookseller it was a good try, but that, as I hadn't yet heard anyone actually speaking Swedish, I would hold off until I made a visit to Stockholm someday. The best reaction I ever got was in Tel Aviv, where the woman in line next to me thought that buying a book in a language I couldn't read was the craziest thing she ever heard of.

Jan 13, 1:52pm

>82 rocketjk: Great anecdotes!
I knew that Swedish is an official language in Finland, but not the history behind it, especially the part of Swedish being the language of the upper classes.

Jan 13, 4:29pm

>81 avaland: No, just a general children's collection, although I do have a fair number of YA Holocaust books.

307 Children's fiction
82 Children's nonfiction
187 Picture books
55 Board books
177 Young adult
808 Total

Jan 13, 5:13pm

>68 cindydavid4:

I love old illustrated children's books too. That reminds me of an unusual idea for collecting someone else used to do--books for children by authors who are not primarily known (or known at all) as children's authors. People like Donald Barthelme, Daniil Kharms, Thomas Disch etc.

Jan 13, 5:38pm

oh yes, I remember Jamie Lee Curtis did lots of them! Jamie Lee Curtis

here are more 10 little known children's books by famous writers

Jan 13, 5:38pm


I've been knocking my head against this question, and all I seem to be able to come up with are a series of almost non-answers. See, I don't know that I've really set out to create specific collections at all; any that I do have in my library built up slowly over time. So I've got a decent number of cookbooks because I like to cook, and I've got a decent number of knitting and other fiber craft books because I find them useful and inspiring with regards to those hobbies. I have a sizable collection of graphic novels/comics/manga, largely because for quite a while there the library didn't carry much that I was interested in, and even now they don't have most of the series I'm reading (and rereading). Fairy/folk tales and retellings thereof, because I've been consuming those sorts of stories since before I could read.

Really, when I look at my personal library it feels more like a hodge-podge than anything else. Largely because it's so many books crammed into so little space, Tetris-style, where the driving "organization" is not topic or genre or theme, but rather the physical size and shape of the books, and how many I can get, double stacked, onto a given shelf before resorting to tottering piles on the floor.

Jan 13, 7:14pm

>77 cindydavid4: a huge collection of souvenir books/guide books from my travels, such as books about castles or booklets/leaflets from churches and cathedrals and museums I have visited

I just helped my mum get rid of her entire collection of these from the several decades she and my father were visiting sites in the UK. It was tough to think of what to do with all those memories which were, on the other hand, a load of out-of-date tourist material. In the end I discovered that a local bookshop does a lot with paper crafts (for example the first time I went there they popped a rolled-up poem into the shopping bag) and I donated the boxes to them - I hope to see some of the pages turning up in alternate forms on a future visit.

>82 rocketjk: This reminded me that one thing I love to look for in flea markets and the like is very old phrase books or language learning guides, because of the wonderfully archaic scenarios they prep the user for. The jewel in my (small) collection is an English-language textbook designed for Chinese customs officials in the late 1970s as China was opening up again after the Cultural Revolution. In one sample dialogue the customs official thinks he has found some opium, only to be told that yes, this is opium but only for my own use, I'm not smuggling it in.

Jan 13, 9:48pm

>88 wandering_star: " . . . but only for my own use."

Oh. That's all right, then.

Edited: Jan 15, 5:48pm

Q1: I don't plan out my reading. I just pick whatever strikes my fancy when I finish a book. Only exception would be books borrowed from the library that I prioritize before I have to return them.

Q2: Oh, those greenbacks look familiar! At one time I had about 350 VMCs. I finally realized that I hadn't cared for most of the ones I'd read and started giving them away to friends. I still have a few, as well as a stack of about 12 Persephone classics with dove grey covers. I was collecting both series just to be a collector, and what I learned is that I'm really not one at heart.

I read a lot of historical fiction, much of it set in Early Modern England, but I'm very particular. Hillary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy would be a big YES for me, especially Wolf Hall, which I think is brilliantly conceived and written. Phillipa Gregory: Nope, don't even get me started on why not. But I'm not a collector, really, and I rarely reread books, so I generally give them away when I finish. I'm also reading more and more on my Kindle--something I resisted for years, but I am trying to downsize and love that I can adjust the font size as my eyesight gets worse.

Edited: Jan 13, 10:45pm

Gregory's books are horrid. Think I read two and couldnt take the writing or the poor excuse for historic. BTW have you read sharon kay pemnan? she was one of my fav writers in HF

Jan 14, 5:54pm

I read a lot of SF&F (I don't separate the two), but I wouldn't call it a collection - it's just books I like to read. Ditto cookbooks and craft books.

I do have a collection of different versions of Robin Hood - they're all fun, and very different.

28 books, of which 17 or so are actual Robin in Sherwood stories, and the rest are either expansions (Robin or his children after the classic stories) or referents (Ethan Allen: The Robin Hood of Vermont).

I also have a dozen or so Robin Hood movies and TV shows; again, some of them are classic Robin (the most amusing of those is the one where the classic stories are set during the Wars of the Roses, instead of Henry II and Richard Lionheart) and some are very different - the one where Robin is a space raccoon (animated), for instance.

I also have most of the Lone Ranger stories from the late 40s, by Fran Striker. I've come across mentions of some I don't have, but haven't seen the physical books. I have some of those in hardback and some in paperback - don't care, it's the stories I want.

Jan 14, 8:00pm

>56 avaland: Q2 - Obsessions, Explorations and Collections

A fun question! Here are mine:

Fairy Tales: picture books, academic books, novelizations, retellings, anthologies, everything. My favourite fairy tales are Red Riding Hood and Hansel & Gretel.

Jane Austen: I think I have 3 sets of the novels (2 annotated), plus academic texts, books about Austen, and lots of retellings, and all of her juvenilia and unfinished work

Virginia Woolf: similar variety as my Jane Austen collection. I have multiple copies of all her novels.

Publishers: I collect Viragos (not just the green spine ones -- those are super hard to find here in Vancouver); Europa Editions; NYRB; and beautiful or unique editions of classic novels as I find them

Italy: my husband is Italian and I'm trying to learn Italian, so I gravitate to books set in Italy, of which there are zillions, so I don't buy or keep everything I come across. Likewise, my daughter moved to Switzerland four years ago, so I snap up books by Swiss authors and books set in Switzerland too. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of Swiss authors translated into English (I guess since the population is only about 8 million?), and what has been translated is mostly old white men.

Note: if after adding a book to one of my "collections" I later decide it isn't special enough to keep, I'm happy to pass it on to other reader.

Jan 15, 6:13am

>92 jjmcgaffey: Why Robin Hood? (just curious)

Jan 15, 10:49am

I love particularly space pirates and archaeology in space. Think Indy in a space ship.

Jan 16, 4:41am

Q2: I have never been able to resist an astronaut biography or (especially) memoir, and can almost never resist a book about the Apollo space program. (Although there were so many of the latter released around the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 that even I have managed to neglect some of them.)

By far the best history of Apollo I've read is A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin, and Michael Collins' own first-hand account of Apollo, Carrying the Fire is an excellent and essential read for anyone wanting to delve into the subject.

Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth is a very readable memoir by a very fun and likeable shuttle-era astronaut, so that's probably a nice one for people who are less obsessed than I am to start with.

Jan 16, 4:51am

This user has been removed as spam.

Jan 16, 5:03am

>87 shadrach_anki: all I seem to be able to come up with are a series of almost non-answers. See, I don't know that I've really set out to create specific collections at all; any that I do have in my library built up slowly over time.

I think thats the same for me; with the exception of my childrens illustrated, they just all were created off of my own interests and never thought they were collections, but I guess they are of a sort. This is why I love exploring someone elses bookshelves when Im visiting; you find out a lot of things about a person that way!

Edited: Jan 16, 2:54pm

I've tended to fall into collections just by way of my interests, rather than setting out to put something cohesive together. I have a lot of off-the-beaten track New York books—mostly New York City and the Hudson River, and most of them acquired from street sellers or library sales. Here's part of my odd shelf, with a few favorites stacked elsewhere (Brendan Behan's New York, As You Pass By, Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas).

I also love maps, so have a lot of books on maps and mapping—nice coffee-table format themed collections (a number of which are still stuck in my office and I haven't seen for 22 months, and I need to get down there and rescue them) and also books on the process of cartography and countermapping—You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association, An Atlas of Radical Cartography, The Power of Maps, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (I did a lot of writing on countermapping in grad school), The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps, Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks, Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography, etc.

I also have a lot of narrative gardening books, the kinds designed to get you through the winter until you can put your hands in the dirt again. Most of these were gifts, and very appreciated ones.

And, like many here, I have an overflowing shelf of New York Review Books.

Jan 16, 6:14pm

>99 lisapeet: Very nice!!!

Jan 17, 3:03am

Love Q2

I have 119 books that have something to do with Ireland - poetry, mythology, history and more. In fact I have 2 copies of The Sacred Isle: Pre-Christian Religions in Ireland if any one would like a copy - free to a good home.

140 books of poetry - that surprised me. I am counting kindle and my physical books. Oh, that also includes a bunch of books on poetry workshops, prompts, etc

I am obsessed with the Amazon rain forest and the people that live it. I don’t have a ton of books on this subject but I buy one when I find one.

Jan 17, 8:43am

>99 lisapeet: love your shelf


Obsessions - well, planning and keeping track of my reading. Topic-wise I’m not sure I have obsessions but more like:

Explorations - i have been vaguely follow a book called Beowulf on the Beach…which covers 50 classics. I’ve been reading them in chronological order, from both directions. Others that have come and gone include a certain kind of not-exactly-contemporary poetry that is maybe 1980-2000 time period, history in general and the occult history of science, and The Wheel of Time series.

Collections - i try to avoid coherent collecting, but stuff accumulates. My main collection is, of course, my 700 book tbr.

Edited: Jan 17, 9:03am

Jan 17, 10:18am

Jan 17, 12:33pm

>100 avaland: >102 dchaikin: Thank you! I have a late Christmas present arriving hopefully sometime in February, a new bookcase, and hope to get some of my double-shelved stuff spread out so I can arrange my collections a bit better. I have a sneaking feeling it'll take more than one more low bookshelf to do that, but it's a start.

>103 ELiz_M: The Power Broker has been on my wishlist for ages, tempered by the fact that a 1,300-page paperback will probably have teeny tiny print, and a 1,300-page hardcover can only be read in the house... it's either my eyes or my back, since it looks like it's not out in e. I'll probably end up biting on the paperback, though, and just bite the bullet on reading glasses finally.

The Great Bridge hasn't been on my radar, but maybe it should be—the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Roebling empire, is a good story. Have you read it?

Jan 17, 1:32pm

Q2 I have environmental books along the line of how to be a more environmentally friendly human being. I rarely list them as being read in LT as I tend to dip into them rather than read them from cover to cover.

Examples include the following:
How Bad are Bananas Mike Berners-Lee
Turning the Tide on Plastic Lucy Siegle
Waste Not Erin Rhoads
12 Ways to Save Our World
How We’re F***ing Up our Planet Tony Juniper
There is No Planet B Mike Berners-Lee

Here’s my shelf - but there’s several more in kindle.

Jan 17, 3:32pm

>105 lisapeet: I also have power broker courtesy of Janet. Didn't realize it was so huge and has small print. I could probably try to read it but thinking I can try a audio of it. I didn't realize he was the guy who gutted the puerto rican and poor neighborhood to build the lincoln center. Id like to know more about how that came about.

Jan 17, 8:56pm

I joined the 75 book challenge so that is my reading plan for the year. Hope to read a good variety of books and rediscover old favorites

Jan 18, 8:12am

>82 rocketjk: when I was in Paris with my family several years back, I bought a copy of the first issue of Wolverine: First Class in French from a comic shop, even though I didn't (and still don't) speak or read French. I completely understand the impulse.

>90 Cariola: I'm with you on prioritizing library books. It doesn't ever seem to keep them from going overdue, but at least I try! :)

>99 lisapeet: I hope that you don't mind me asking, but do you know who carved those pipes on the shelf in your photo?

Jan 18, 4:41pm

Q2 - Obsessions, Explorations and Collections

I like to own books that I read and loved as a child and young teen. Some are the original copies I had, but most I have picked up through my adult years. Science fiction and nonfiction about space, mainly.

The public libraries had many books published by Avalon Books. These were mostly not at all good, but young me wasn't discriminating, and I'm still fond of their distinctive look. In the photo above, the first three in the rear, left to right, are Avalons. These copies happen to be in good condition, but I'm fine with ex-library copies too. Star Man's Son is a postapocalyptic YA novel (before the term YA came into general use) and New Tales of Space and Time an anthology. In front are two children's nonfiction books about space.

Not shown in the photo, I also have several hundred SFF paperbacks acquired later. Many of these were Ace Doubles, each of which presents two short novels, printed back-to-back and sharing one spine, upside-down relative to each other, in a dos-à-dos binding. These also have a distinctive appearance.

Edited: Jan 18, 5:37pm

>110 dukedom_enough: Love those ACE doubles. I only own one or two, but I had a whole shelf of them in the used bookstore I owned for 8 years. Do you have any of the old DAW paperbacks? When I owned the bookstore, I bought a complete set of them from a fellow who's brother had left them to him. I doubt if I sold enough of them to make back the money I paid for them, but I still don't regret the purchase. The store is still up and running, but I am happily retired.

Jan 18, 5:17pm

>111 rocketjk: Not many DAWs - I was in college by the time Wollheim started DAW, and had less time to buy and read SFF.

Jan 18, 5:43pm

>110 dukedom_enough: I know someone else on the collector thread who collects old illustrated fantasy and sci fi. I'd like to show those to him. Is there a way to link your post and photo?

Edited: Jan 18, 5:50pm

>113 cindydavid4: If you scroll over the post number (i.e. the 114 to the left of my user name in this post) you'll see that it's a URL. You can copy that, and it will link directly to the post.

For example, the address of dukedom's post you're asking about is:

Jan 18, 5:56pm

>114 rocketjk: perfect, thanks. >112 dukedom_enough: is that ok with you?

Jan 18, 7:00pm


For a while I bought every book I could find on snake-handling churches and though I no longer seek them, I'd snap a new one up if I came across it. Books about Manson and 'the girls' the same - the more obscure the better.

I have a tiny collection of first-edition lesbian pulps that I bought when they were not such a big thing and were affordable.

Finally, there was a time when I was younger that The Women's Room by Marilyn French was so life-changing for me that I couldn't bear to see it at a yard sale, library sale or thrift store. I probably had 25 copies at one point. If I'm being honest, I still feel the urge when I see it, but the thought of the look my partner would give me if I started that again reigns me in. :-)

Jan 18, 7:20pm

>107 cindydavid4: Yeah, Robert Moses did some seriously inequitable surgery on New York. It's fascinating from this vantage point, of someone who only knew the city from the late '70s on, after he had done his worst. Probably less fascinating if you or your families were among the dispossessed. I guess I'm just going to have to live with the tiny type if I want to read it (I can't do audiobooks, unfortunately—this would be a good candidate otherwise).

>109 Julie_in_the_Library: I don't mind at all! The wooden cow pipe on the right was my dad's—he left me a rack of pipes, which I know nothing about, but this one was a little more fanciful than the plain ones so I put it on display. I have a vague memory that he got it in Amsterdam when we were there in the late '60s, but there's no one to back that up and I could very well have invented that fact. The smaller black one on the left is an Afghan hash pipe, according to the flea market guy who sold it to me (in the '90s, I think). Again, who knows? I've never smoked anything out of it, so I don't know how well it works, but it's pretty. Here's a closeup:

>110 dukedom_enough: Nice! I have a set of Winston Science Fiction books that were my older brother's. They're in terrible shape but still fun—my son liked them and I'm hoping I get an sf-loving grandchild to pass them along to.

I really like reading about people's collections.

Jan 18, 9:54pm

Although I didn't have much access to sci-fi as a kid, I did love reading about space. One of my favorites was Black Holes and Warped Spacetime. I also read all of Robert Jastrow's books. I still remember the first time I read about the fourth dimension. My little tween brain was on fire trying to visual that one.

Jan 18, 10:36pm

Q1 - I don't really have a plan, just a general idea of what I'd like to read this year. I've discovered audiobooks, and have been listening to books and authors that I've found difficult to read on paper/e-reader. I've listened to two novels by Henry James, and have really enjoyed them. I've listened to Edith Wharton and Sun Tzu, Viktor E. Frankl, Sheridan Le Fanu, Nella Larsen, Flannery O'Connor, and George Eliot. I'm love that I have found a means to access these authors.

Q2 - I love books about hominid anthropology, own a bunch, and as a side interest to that, have started buying and reading books on the evolution of language. Books about Africa in almost any genre are of interest to me, animals, politics, travel writing, biographies/memoirs, journalism, language. I have been reading a lot of African fiction, and am learning to speak Swahili because I've carried a dream of going to Africa since I was a child, and am actually going to do so for two months late in 2023. I'm fascinated with nuns, and have books about them, both fiction and non-fiction, and my interest in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints means I read anything I can find about the subject.

Jan 18, 11:39pm

>119 ahef1963: Ive always been interested in linguistics and word/language origins. I have one book I really like, Mother Tongue but would love to know what books you have on the subject.

Jan 19, 7:17am

>115 cindydavid4: That's fine.
>117 lisapeet: I have a few Winstons, also in bad shape.
>118 labfs39: Never ceases to be interesting.

Edited: Jan 19, 8:37am

>119 ahef1963: learning to speak Swahili

How interesting! And how exciting to get to fulfill your dream of visiting Africa.

Edited to fix post number.

Jan 19, 2:30pm

QUESTION 3: Brief Recommendations in 12 Categories

I know I said I'd post questions every two weeks, and that is the general "plan," but I have a list of "recommendation" questions, and CR is so active in these early days, I thought I might throw them in between the other, more involved, questions.
Please recommend to your fellow readers, a book in each category which you have enjoyed and would generally recommend. If there are caveats to your recommendation feel free to include them.

Please copy and paste this numbered list with subject into a new message and then include your answers. If you find some subjects not in your realm of reading you can just leave it black or delete the line.

(One book for each numerical line)
1. General Fiction:
2. Mystery or Crime:
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal :
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930):
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read:
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology:
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh):
8. History of any kind:
9. Biography/Memoir:
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences *
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences **
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories:

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

(next question will be the beginning of February)

Jan 19, 6:46pm

1. General Fiction: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
2. Mystery or Crime: Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Night Shift by Stephen King
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (I am from PEI)
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: March by John Lewis
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz
8. History of any kind: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson (could also be social science and physical science)
9. Biography/Memoir: Causeway by Linden MacIntyre
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Quiet by Susan Cain
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** E=mc2 by David Bodanis
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

ask me tomorrow and I'll have all different answers!

Edited: Jan 20, 10:57am

1. General Fiction:to calais in ordinary time
2. Mystery or Crime:Make Death Love Me
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal :the girl who drank the moon
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930):alls quiet on the western front
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: the complete Far Side
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology:
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh):The Short Reign of Pipin IV
8. History of any kind: Bill Bryson: America Summer 1927
9. Biography/Memoir: Becoming Dr Seuss or Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences *1913 The Year Before the Storm
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** Galileo's Daughter
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Historic Fiction: wolf hall

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

Edited: Jan 19, 7:36pm

Brief Recommendations in 12 Categories

1. General Fiction: Machine by Peter Adolphsen
2. Mystery or Crime: Confessions by Kanae Minato
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Becoming Unbecoming by Una
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Helium by Rudy Francisco
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
8. History of any kind: The Ball is Round by David Goldblatt
9. Biography/Memoir: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences *: Economix by Micheal Goodwin
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences **: Annals of the former World by John McPhee
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

Jan 19, 8:53pm

1. General Fiction: Katherine by Anya Seton
2. Mystery or Crime: I read mostly Scandinavian crime; my favourite among them is The Dying Detective by Leif G.W. Persson. It's actually the last book in a series, but unaware of that, I read it and adored it.
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : The Stand by Stephen King
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): I recently read The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and was impressed (and depressed) by the book.
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The Oxford Book of War Poetry
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): anything by David Sedaris. I particularly liked Me Talk Pretty One Day.

9. Biography/Memoir: Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** Lucy by Donald Johanson
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Jan 19, 9:11pm

>127 ahef1963: I debated between The Stand and Night Shift for the horror category, there's just so many good King books. I'm glad to see you put I Am the Messenger on your list - I love that book too! I just looked up Persson, and my library has the first two books. Thanks for the suggestion, Allie

Edited: Jan 20, 1:00am

This is going to get interesting! I'm still thinking, and I had a partial list, but I'm already changing my mind seeing what others have posted. These questions are just so unfair! It's like Sophie's Choice: which of your best loved children do you love the most? (Oh! I forgot that book -- an old favourite).

>124 raidergirl3: A Fine Balance? Aghh! That book made scars on my soul. One good friend told me I had to read it "Best book ever! I've always wanted to go to India!" and at the same time, another good friend said, "Best book ever! Maybe because I traveled India!". So I trusted them. What a read, and for years after, I couldn't decide if it was a one star read or a five star. It's stuck with me and changed the way I see the world, so I'd say five stars. But I hated it so much. Mostly I just hate the world it showed me.

Jan 20, 1:52am

>94 avaland: I have no idea. I got hooked on him...probably from the Pyle book, but I'm not sure - before I was 10. Then I discovered _other_ authors had written the same stories, very differently - I think Gilbert was my second - and I had to see how it came out. I mean, I like stories set in England, I like history, I like archery...and I don't know if I like them because of Robin or I like Robin because of them.

Jan 20, 1:59am


1. General Fiction: The luck of the Bodkins
2. Mystery or Crime: The Ice in the bedroom
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Laughing gas
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Psmith in the City
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: n/a
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The parrot and other poems
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Uncle Fred in the springtime
8. History of any kind: William Tell told again
9. Biography/Memoir: Wodehouse on Wodehouse
10.Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Money in the bank
11.Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** Doctor Sally
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Who’s who in Wodehouse

Jan 20, 2:32am

1. General Fiction: The Man Who Was Magic by Paul Gallico. It's...not fantasy, exactly. Religious metaphor? Lots of stuff. Which is why I've got it labeled FicGen. Magnificent story, anyway.
2. Mystery or Crime: Any of the Lord Peter Wimsey stories...for some reason I've never been able to figure out, I love Murder Must Advertise the best.
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : One book? I have to pick _one_ SF/F book? OK, The Eye of Night by Pauline Alama. Her only book as far as I know and _wonderful_.
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Eight Cousins - I've loved and reread this for years.
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The two Castle Waiting books by Linda Medley - gorgeous story.
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Well, I'm addicted, so Rudyard Kipling's Verse: Definitive Edition. This is the book I'd take to a desert island - there's _thousands_ of stories in here to think about.
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther. Wonderful views on life, and I find myself laughing every time I read it.
8. History of any kind: Consider the Fork - fascinating look at cooking utensils through history (starting with, we had knives before fire...) and how the utensils affected and were affected by what people ate.
9. Biography/Memoir: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch - it's a kid's book about ships and trading in the early US and it's also a true story, the biography of Nathaniel Bowditch who was a math and language genius. Great story, made only better by being true.
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, about what's taboo in various cultures and _why_ (ok, why he thinks they are - some of his conclusions are arguable. Still fascinating).
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** Um. OK, it's a textbook, but it's fascinating - Prehistoric America by Anne Terry White. Half about, well, prehistoric America; and half about how this stuff was discovered, the history of paleontology.
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea - my favorite of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons stories.

Tough job!

Edited: Jan 20, 4:32am

1. General Fiction: Cutting for Stone
2. Mystery or Crime: Edwin of the Iron Shoes Marcia Muller
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : To Say Nothing of the Dog
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930):Kristin Lavransdatter
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read:The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology:America, a prophecy;: A new reading of American poetry from pre-Columbian times to the present 1973
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh):Any Terry Pratchett Discworld book
8. History of any kind:God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism
9. Biography/Memoir:A Giacometti Portrait
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Serial Murderers and their Victims
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory Brian Greene
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories:Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote SCUM (and Shot Andy Warhol)

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

Jan 20, 5:17am

This user has been removed as spam.

Edited: Jan 20, 6:49am

>127 ahef1963: That War anthology looks tempting, but I'm not sure I want that much "war")

>129 Nickelini: I feel your pain:-)
I have other more clever lists for future "recommendations" questions, if it helps to know.

>130 jjmcgaffey: Interesting....

>132 jjmcgaffey: Textbooks count, too!

Edited: Jan 20, 8:37am

1. General Fiction: The Bloodsmoor Romance by Joyce Carol Oates (1982)
2. Mystery or Crime: Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher (standalone, 2017)
3. SF/F : Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)
4. Classic : Middlemarch by George Elliot (1871)
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton (2011)
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Collected Poems Carol Ann Duffy, 583 pages! (2015)
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh):The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (2008)
8. History of any kind: The Times and Trials of Anne Hutchinson by Michael Winship (somewhat scholarly, but brief)(2005)
9. Biography/Memoir: A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (1991, won the Pulitzer)
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw (2019)
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** All that Remains: A Renowned Forensic Scientist on Death, Mortality, and Solving Crimes by Sue Black (2019)
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: My life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead (2014)

*I was curious about publication dates so included them.

Edited: Jan 20, 9:59am

1. General Fiction: Mezzanine

2. Mystery or Crime: Alias Grace

3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Joe Pitt vampire noir

4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Portrait of a Lady

5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology:

7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh):

8. History of any kind: The Edge of the World: A cultural history of the North Sea

9. Biography/Memoir:

10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences:

11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences:

12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Civil War Land in Bad Decline short story collection

Jan 20, 10:36am

1. General Fiction: The Spire William Golding

2. Mystery or Crime: Talking to the Dead Harry Bingham

3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : The City and the City China Mieville

4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Barchester Towers Anthony Trollope

5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The Arrival Shaun Tan

6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The World's Wife Carol Ann Duffy

7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Just William Richmal Crompton

8. History of any kind: Byzantium: the Early Centuries John Julius Norwich

9. Biography/Memoir: The Outrun Amy Liptrot

10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Through the Language Glass Guy Deutscher

11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm Isabella Tree

12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: How Bad are Bananas Mike Berners-Lee

Jan 20, 10:47am

>131 thorold: ha! I honestly have never read Wodehouse except from some stories here and abouts. But looks like I should start with this list. Like I need more books....(now thats a challenge - pick one authors books that could complete this quiz!)

Jan 20, 10:57am

>139 cindydavid4: I had to cheat a bit, because he didn’t really write any non-fiction apart from the three more-or-less autobiographical works collected in Wodehouse on Wodehouse.

I’ll post a more serious answer to the question in due course…

Jan 20, 11:02am

>140 thorold: suggested starter book on Wodehouse?

Edited: Jan 20, 11:08am

Hmmmm, let's see . . .

1. General Fiction: Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
2. Mystery or Crime: The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal: Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Tell Me by Kim Addonizio
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Emma by Jane Austen
8. History of any kind: Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow by Leon F. Litwack
9. Biography/Memoir: Satchel: the Life and Times of an American Legend by Larry Tye
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences: Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein (A study of what happened in a midwest city when the GM plant closed)
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences: Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security by Todd Miller
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, selected works of Lester Bangs (edited by Greil Marcus)

Jan 20, 12:54pm

>137 nohrt4me2: I haven't heard someone mention Nicholson Baker in ages!

>138 SandDune: I considered choosing a Mieville for the SF/F spot but I'm a bit miffed at him these days (how dare he addict us to his stuff and then walk away to do something else) And I love that Duffy collection, also.

>142 rocketjk: re your SF pick: Now there is a blast from past. I had to look at the older covers to be sure I had read it. I let go of a lot of SF books well before the advent of LT, and I didn't keep a log "way back" then. I remember I liked it but did not go much further with the cyberpunk stuff.

Jan 20, 1:57pm

>143 avaland: I'm a bit miffed at him these days (how dare he addict us to his stuff and then walk away to do something else) What is he doing these days, anyway?

Edited: Jan 20, 2:22pm

This time spreading my net a bit wider:

1. General Fiction: Traveler of the century by Andrés Neuman
2. Mystery or Crime: Marseille trilogy by Jean-Claude Izzo
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Earth by Emile Zola
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Asterix in Britain by Goscinny & Uderzo, translated by Anthea Bell
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The Waste Land and other poems by T S Eliot
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): The first Rumpole omnibus by John Mortimer
8. History of any kind: The world turned upside-down by Christopher Hill
9. Biography/Memoir: My father and myself by J R Ackerley
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * : The Oxford English Dictionary
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences **: The art of electronics by Horowitz and Hill
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: The young Rebecca: selected essays by Rebecca West 1911-17

1. Just a brilliant novel not many people know about. And it’s full of Schubert.
2. Scenery, multi-culti food and music, and unlimited pessimism. What more could you want from crime fiction?
3., 5. — I don’t claim to be well-read in either of these fields. But I did enjoy those. Anthea Bell’s Asterix is often funnier than the French original, especially in this one.
4. I could have named many other books here, but this is probably Zola’s most outrageous book, and the most unlike what you expect from the 19th century.
6. I normally say the Oxford Book of English Verse, which has been my bedside anthology for decades. Just for a change, a collection everyone has looked at, but no-one could ever get tired of. If you want something more recent, I would probably point you to George Szirtes or Mimi Khalvati. But Kipling and Carol Ann Duffy (as recommended by others above) would be great too.
7. Hundreds of possibilities here, including all of Wodehouse except The coming of Bill. Rumpole should be read, though, before his conception of what the law and justice are for gets completely forgotten.
8. Hill and Hobsbawm between them shaped a lot of my ideas about history. It probably shows, but you can’t get much better than Hill on the 17th century.
9. An LGBT classic, and a fascinating examination of what we keep hidden in our lives.
10. OK, a cop-out, but it is the most endlessly fascinating book on language ever written…
11. Another cop-out, and an out-of-date one too, but in its day this book rescued me from many kinds of potential disaster.
12. If you don’t know why you should read this book, read it to find out…

Jan 20, 2:36pm

>144 SandDune: He's writing history - we have a copy on his 2017 nonfiction book October which is about the Russian Revolution. I think he is teaching, and is very active politically. That may be old news now, though.

Jan 20, 5:08pm

1. General Fiction: The Disoriented by Amin Maalouf
2. Mystery or Crime: The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal: The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Berlin by Jason Lutes
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The 20th Century in Poetry
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek
8. History of any kind: After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000–5000 BC by Steven Mithen
9. Biography/Memoir: The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences: The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences: The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet by Robert M. Hazen
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas

Some of these are a bit off the beaten path - selecting just one SF/F novel? Hm... really? So I went with one of my favorite books which is not an obvious choice.

Jan 20, 5:49pm

>147 AnnieMod: yeah I wondered about that, also why historic fiction was not listed but perhaps these will be in a different round

Edited: Jan 20, 5:54pm

1. General Fiction: paralysed by choice, let's say Hild by Nicola Griffith
2. Mystery or Crime: Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): War and Peace, since The Waves was published in 1931
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Alice in Sunderland
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Us by Zaffar Kunial
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Cooking With Fernet Branca
8. History of any kind: Leviathan (a cultural history of whales - if that counts?)
9. Biography/Memoir: On Trying to Keep Still
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (putting this in social sciences even though it is about a medical issue, because it's about cultural responses to that issue)
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: The Flavour Thesaurus

Jan 21, 2:21am

1. General Fiction: Here Be Dragons because it is Welsh, but my favorite author is Dorothy Dunnett.
2. Mystery or Crime: Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : The Once and Future King
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Little Women
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Strange Planet
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Carmina Gadelica
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Breaking Cat News
8. History of any kind: A Distant Mirror
9. Biography/Memoir: Carl Sandburg's Lincoln
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Hamlet's Mill
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** The Crossley ID Guide
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Watership Down

Jan 21, 6:24am

>147 AnnieMod: Guy Gavriel Kay. Now that's a name I haven't heard in a while (and he has something new this year, FYI)

>147 AnnieMod:, >148 cindydavid4: This one 12 line list is, as you note, cannot cover all.

Jan 21, 8:37am

1. General Fiction: Ducks, Newburyport
2. Mystery or Crime: All She Was Worth
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal: The Satanic Verses or The Road
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): The Brothers Karamazov
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Break, Blow, Burn
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Motherless Brooklyn
8. History of any kind: Maus
9. Biography/Memoir: In the Dream House
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences: The End of Poverty
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences: Why Buildings Fall Down
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: 'night, Mother

Jan 21, 1:33pm

>151 avaland: Kay: Yep, I saw. But I am a few books behind (as usual) and I am considering going through all of his anyway so... we shall see. I also think that he is criminally underrated but that is a side effect of the kind of fantasy he writes... :)

Jan 21, 2:18pm

This is tricky... I'm going for sheer enjoyment:

1. General Fiction: The Children's Book
2. Mystery or Crime: We Need to Talk About Kevin
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal: Beyond Black
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): The Mayor of Casterbridge, Great Expectations or To the Lighthouse
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read:
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The Nation's Favourite: Love Poems
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Updike's Rabbit series
8. History of any kind: The Past is Myself
9. Biography/Memoir: Wild, Open by Andre Agassi (even though I'm not a tennis fan), Childhood, Youth, Dependency, Touching the Void
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences: Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences: Mountains of the Mind
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Knausgaard's My Struggle series

Edited: Jan 21, 3:47pm

>153 AnnieMod:...hmmm..."underrated..."(off to put that with my notes for future questions....)

>154 AlisonY: The poetry book looks...interesting (I just read all the reviews of it, although I see it came out in '97)

Jan 21, 4:17pm

>151 avaland: Guy Gabriel Kay was my fav fantasy writer for years but at some point, every plot sounded the same, characters were just similar to those in the last book, and his world doesnt have the same exotic feel. Last one i read was Under Heaven and loved it. Anything else I tried since kinda bored me. Is there another of his that would get him back on my list?

Edited: Jan 21, 4:28pm

>150 WelshBookworm: two interesting things from your list. When I was in grade school my mother got me a subscription to kid’s Reader’s Digest. I’d get a book in the mail with stories and condensed books. One of them had Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandberg. When I had to write a book report in school, I wrote it about that. Actually used it 2 tears in a row in school. I was questioned as to whether I actually read it. I was sure I did but I really had no idea it was just part of a much larger tome - may have even been a children’s version. I knew Sandberg was a poet which is why I chose it.

>150 WelshBookworm: I took some birding classes from Richard Crossley here in Cape May, NJ. He’s very funny and very knowledgeable and tends to rub some people the wrong way. I don’t think he had fully developed his theory when I knew him and he hadn’t written any books yet. I thought he was great. Just realized it was 20 years ago. He still had a different career at that time.

Edited: Jan 21, 4:43pm

>156 cindydavid4: I'm the wrong person to ask, but you could check out the reviews of his books here on LT. His forthcoming book is on the Canadian publisher's website here: (that's the Canadian price, not the US)

Jan 21, 4:45pm

>156 cindydavid4: River of Stars maybe? Same setting as Under Heaven, just different period. Or Ysabel if you had not read that.

Some of them can sound the same sometimes but I still like his writing enough to not be too bothered by that). Al-Rassan was my introduction to him and one of the books that convinced me that I may like fantasy (I still prefer SF more often than not but I've read enough fantasy and read it a lot more often these days than in my teens). I liked Ysabel and the linked Fionavar Tapestry. I liked Sarantine and its connected stories (Al-Rassan including).

Part of it is that inside of these kinda connected novels which are not series, he tries to connect via the people's actions I think and that's part of what makes some of them sound similar. It kinda works if you are in the right frame of mind I think.

>155 avaland: :) Well, he is :) and a question on the topic will be interesting indeed... :)

Jan 21, 4:58pm

>157 dianeham: Re: Sandburg - yes, it is a trilogy. I read it more than once as a teen. So I have no doubt you read it, even if it was just the first book, which I remember being the most interesting to me, since that one would have been about his childhood and younger career.

Jan 21, 5:01pm

>151 avaland: This one 12 line list is, as you note, cannot cover all.

It'd be kind of interesting to establish a Club Read cannons around genres and themes. We probably all have enough spare recommendations to create quite the interesting lists!

Jan 21, 5:54pm

>161 stretch: sounds great

Jan 21, 6:31pm

One of the many things I'm finding interesting about these lists is how few of the books on them I've read. I read a lot, but evidently not enough. :)

Edited: Jan 21, 9:03pm

>163 rocketjk: Well, mine contains books I had read 25 years ago and some I've read in the last year or 3. The latter, I had talked about. The first group? There had not been a reason to. So I'm not that surprised that books that had not been mentioned start showing up... Maybe we need more of this kind of questions :)

Jan 21, 8:21pm

>164 AnnieMod: mmmmm - use the same classifications for books you read 20 years ago (that might be difficult for our younger members, but we can be flexible :)

Jan 21, 9:03pm

>165 cindydavid4: Well, as long as it is 20. You make it 30 and I am mostly out :)

Jan 21, 9:13pm

>166 AnnieMod: ha! true that.

Jan 21, 9:59pm

QUESTION 3: Brief Recommendations in 12 Categories

1. General Fiction: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (also hard)
2. Mystery or Crime: The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R King (this was hard!)
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold (as a proxy for the whole series)
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (would've been Brave New World but it just misses the cut off)
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C J Dennis
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): A Man's Got To Have a Hobby by William McInnes
8. History of any kind: A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead
9. Biography/Memoir: The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences *: Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences **: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

Edited: Jan 22, 3:31pm

1. General Fiction: So many to choose from! Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. I chose it because I think it is the epitome of what a historical novel should be.
2. Mystery or Crime: Don't usually read these, but Gillespie and I by Jane Harris is a fascinating historical mystery.
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Going way, way back in time: Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Little by Edward Carey, fictional bio of Mme Tussoud accompanied by pen and ink sketches
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Field Work by Seamus Heaney
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton, which also qualifies as Comic.
8. History of any kind: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
9. Biography/Memoir: Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming--or Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Girl, Interrupted by Susannah Kaysen--also a memoir.
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** The Doctors Blackwell by Janice P. Nimura--also a biography.
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare by Lisa Jardine

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

Jan 21, 11:07pm

>123 avaland:

Ask tomorrow and at least half these answers will change

1. General Fiction: Like Water For Chocolate, Laura Esquivel

2. Mystery or Crime: Case Histories, Kate Atkinson

3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Starve Acre, Michael Hurley

4. Classic: Pride and Prejudice (of course), Jane Austen

5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Hippolyte's Island, Barbara Hodgson

6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Canterbury Tales, Chaucer

7. Humorous Read of any kind : Book of Lies, Mary Horlock

8. History of any kind: Girl With the Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier

9. Biography/Memoir: Born a Crime, Trevor Noah

10.Nonfiction Book read related (the Social Sciences): Means of Reproduction, Michelle Goldberg

11.Nonfiction Book read related (Physical Sciences): Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollen

12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories:Your House is On Fire, Your Children All Gone, Stefan Kiesbye

13. Honourable Mentions: Kiss of the Fur Queen, Tomson Highway; The Hours, Michael Cunningham; Lullabies For Little Criminals, Heather O'Neill

Edited: Jan 22, 1:00am

>169 Cariola: thrilled to see someone else reads Edward Carey; Loved Little recommended this to my book group and they didn't like it. Sigh. Have you rea d his other books? Alva and Irva and Observatory Mansions Little was his first book in 13 years! His wife is Elisabeth McCracken, another fav.

ETA just saw this in a review of Observatory Mansions At the heart of it is Francis. Francis wears white gloves, steals various objects for a personal collection and is an ex-employee of a wax figure museum, priding himself on the art of inner and outer stillness. The writer has drawn on his experiences and the fascinating story of Madame Tussauds.even back then he was interested in her life

Jan 22, 6:17am

>168 rhian_of_oz: The Wasp Factory, one of three Iain Banks' books I've read (late 90s, I think). Fairly disturbing. I liked The Player of Games better. Hubby is really the Banks fan (I think Barry is one also).

Jan 22, 11:04am

Since these are supposed to be recommendations, they may not be my favorite, since I am supposing everyone has read some of them (like Lord of the Rings and Maus).

1. General Fiction: Ok, my brain is exploding on this one, but Translation is a Love Affair by Jacques Poulin
2. Mystery or Crime: The Good German by Joseph Kanon
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Quo vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: When stars are scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The collected poems, 1931-1987 by Czeslaw Milosz
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
8. History of any kind: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder
9. Biography/Memoir: The lost: a search for six of six million by Daniel Adam Mendelsohn
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences: The man who mistook his wife for a hat and other clinical tales by Oliver Sacks
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences: The teenage brain : a neuroscientist's survival guide to raising adolescents and young adults by Frances E. Jensen (Also an important read if you are interested in why minors should not be tried as adults).
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Amos and Boris by William Steig

Jan 22, 12:28pm

>173 labfs39: I agree with you that The Good German is excellent.

Edited: Jan 22, 12:39pm

I cannot follow the rules, sorry. I was reading all these lists and looking up titles and just got overwhelmed with decisions, and I decided to make less of them.

(One book for each numerical line) -- no. :)

1. General Fiction:
choose one:
Moontiger by Penelope Lively
Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
the Neapolitan Quartet – Elana Ferrante
When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant
The Prospector by J. M. G. Le Clézio

2. Mystery or Crime:
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal :
LOTR, discworld (Small Gods), Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson, Wheel of Time

4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930):
Inferno by Dante
But also – The Odyssey, Metamorphoses, Hamlet/Richard III/Tempest/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Faerie Queene, Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, Swan’s Way..

And, also:
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
and also, breaking the 1930 rule:
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
We have Always Lived in the Castle/The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read:
Maus by Art Spiegelman

6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology:
Poetry : October-November 1987 (75th Anniversary) - a single issue

7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh):
Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov ??


8. History of any kind:
Stonehenge (Wonders of the World) by Rosemary Hill - personal favorite because of what it opened up to me

But also:
Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas
The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein & Neil Silberman
The Trophies of Time : English Antiquarians of the Seventeenth Century by Graham Parry
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
The Year 1000 : What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium, An Englishman's World by Robert Lacey & Danny Danzinger
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David G. McCullough
The City of Florence : Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings by R.W.B. Lewis

9. Biography/Memoir:
The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin (fictionalized... I mean more fictionalized than the others in this category)

But also:
A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean (fictionalized memoir)
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabella Wilkerson
A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
Just Kids by Patti Smith
The Deer Pasture by Rick Bass
Goodbye to a River by John Graves
Running After Antelope by Scott Carrier
A Little Boy in Search of God by Isaac Bashevis Singer (the first part of Love and Exile)
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences *
Being Wrong by Kathryn Shultz

11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences **
The Clockwork Universe : Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick (Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz too! Should be in the subtitle)
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories:

Island Fire : An Anthology of Literature from Hawai'i by Cheryl A. & James R. Harstad
Our Parents' Lives: The Americanization of Eastern European Jews by Neil M. & Ruth Schwartz Cowan (an oddly wonderful oral history)

13. literary analysis stuff - I'm adding this one in
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible by Karel van der Toorn
The New New Journalism : Conversations with America's Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft by Robert Boynton (2005)
The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

Jan 22, 1:12pm

>175 dchaikin: Dan, Dan, Dan...this isn't a "best of" question nor a Sophie's Choice sort of choice; it's much more akin to having 3 children all of whom want to go grocery shopping with you NOW but you can only take one at a time. So, you choose one, and the others will get their turns. Don't worry kids, daddy loves you, too. I have other lists to use as the year progresses, and if you do this all the time then everyone will want to do it (and believe me, everyone else had trouble picking just one also) and, well, we'll all be overwhelmed.:-)

Edited: Jan 22, 1:20pm

>176 avaland: I know, I’m terrible. I left the three kids to fight it out, and walked away to get fresh coffee. Stubbornly leaving as is.

Edited: Jan 22, 2:22pm

>176 avaland: Dan takes the kids to the store in his Bookmobile.

Edited: Jan 22, 2:24pm

Edited: Jan 22, 4:02pm

I read through all of your answers with interest and will do so again in the future to add some titles to my ever-growing WL!

As everyone else said: It's hard, but I'll try!

1. General Fiction: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
2. Mystery or Crime: Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): The Rider on the White Horse by Theodor Storm
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Bilbo's Last Song by J.R.R. Tolkien, illustrated by Pauline Baynes
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Mein 24. Dezember by Achim Bröger
8. History of any kind: This Sceptred Isle by Christopher Lee
9. Biography/Memoir: Blauwasserleben by Heike Dorsch
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * The Crossing: My journey to the shattered heart of Syria by Samar Yazbek
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** On A Rising Tide by Charlie Phillips
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Fortune's Wheel by Rebecca Gablé

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

7 and 9 are not available in English as far as I know.

7 is a delightful book that, in grade 5, my maths teacher used to read to us in the lessons leading up to Christmas. It is about a puppy experiencing his first Christmas and getting all excited about the crazy things his humans are suddenly doing. It is so cute and funny.

9 is a travel book written by a woman who sailed around the world with her partner who was then murdered on the Marquesas Islands. The book includes the murder and how the author dealt with it, but the focus is on the sailing trip and the life decisions that led to it.

Ed. to fix touchstones

Jan 22, 4:54pm

>180 MissBrangwen: Your No.4 would do for “civil engineering” as well, of course. All that stuff about the ideal profile of dykes… No.9 sounds interesting, I haven’t come across that.

Jan 22, 6:45pm

1. General Fiction: L'Etranger - Albert Camus
2. Mystery or Crime: Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930):The Magic Mountain -Thomas Mann
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The seven crystal balls - Hergé
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Collected Poems D H Lawrence
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Wilt Tom Sharpe
8. History of any kind:The story of Art - E H Gombrich
9. Biography/Memoir: Desert Marsh and Mountain - Wilfred Thesiger
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences *
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences **
The Beginnings of Western Science - David C Lindberg
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Play - Doctor Faustus - Christopher Marlowe

Edited: Jan 22, 6:59pm

>176 avaland: I'm going to agree with Dan, however, that there should be a category for Nonfiction Book related to the Arts (literature, music, art, architecture, dance, etc.).

Jan 22, 7:23pm

>183 kac522: That’s why there is a “book that does not for anywhere” category - we all miss a category or 6. :)

Edited: Jan 22, 7:28pm

I tried to choose books that would appeal to a general reader:

1. General Fiction: I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
2. Mystery or Crime: And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Searoad, Ursula K. LeGuin (not normally my genre, but did enjoy this collection)
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: March, John Lewis
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: none, but see Biography/Memoir
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
8. History of any kind: Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin
9. Biography/Memoir: The Light of the World: a Memoir, Elizabeth Alexander
10. Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl; psychology
11. Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** Young Men and Fire, Norman Maclean; fighting the 1949 Montana fires
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: What Matters in Jane Austen, John Mullan; literary criticism

Added: Lucky 13. Nonfiction Book read related to the Arts: Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa, Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa

Edited: Jan 22, 7:37pm

>184 AnnieMod: Depends on the reader, methinks. I have dozens of books on literature, music and the arts and I think about 2 on the physical sciences. Even the one I listed I picked up because of the author, not the topic. I just feel not having a category for the arts is like removing/ignoring rows and rows of books at the library.

Jan 22, 8:02pm

>186 kac522: We don’t have a category for drama either. Or romance novels. Or children books. These are also removing rows and rows at a library :) There is just as much that you can do with 12 categories and having the wildcard is there to accommodate the missing ones.

Of course it depends on the reader - it will be boring if we have the same libraries. But none of the missing categories is more important than the others I’d think. :)

Jan 22, 8:58pm

>172 avaland: Yes The Wasp Factory is very disturbing. We read it for bookclub years ago and I still remember the affect it had on me.

Jan 22, 9:04pm

>175 dchaikin: I love it! excellent idea!

Edited: Jan 22, 9:18pm

Um, I have a request. I often see a poster defining a choice being as bad as Sophies Choice. Saw two today. That story was based on a horrifying true event. Asking if we can find another way to compare? If not thats ok, but just think about it

Ok now returning you to your program already in progress.....

I do agree "I have other lists to use as the year progresses, and if you do this all the time then everyone will want to do it (and believe me, everyone else had trouble picking just one also) and, well, we'll all be overwhelmed.:-)" But I always enjoy people solving problems using creativity and imagination. So kudos to Dan, but yeah I can handle the task:) Ill be interested to see what other lists come up!

Jan 23, 2:27am

>180 MissBrangwen: I also thought An American Marriage was very good.

Jan 23, 2:35am

>190 cindydavid4: Isn't it supposed to be Hobsen's choice for can't-pick-between-alternatives? I think that's the usual idiom.

Jan 23, 6:37am

>180 MissBrangwen: I do miss Henning Mankell...

>183 kac522: I do have an arts category on another list for future use (it also has historical fiction on it). And I have probably half a dozen other lists (some "recommendations" some "favorites", some done in other clever ways), and they keep popping up in my brain, so there will be more, I just don't want it to take over "Questions".

>190 cindydavid4: Yes, agreed.

Jan 23, 9:34am

>192 jjmcgaffey: Oh yes, id forgotten that. Thx

Jan 23, 9:46am

>190 cindydavid4: >192 jjmcgaffey: Sophie’s Choice is perhaps the most famous popular culture example of a Hobson’s choice, but it is a highly loaded example of a Jewish woman having to choose which of her two children she will save during the Holocaust. As much as I love books, it hardly compares, so I can see how casual use of the term could seem demeaning. “Hobson’s choice” is a philosophical term which is much less fraught, but of course much less well known.

Jan 23, 9:56am

>176 avaland: Don't worry kids, daddy loves you, too.

Haha, I enjoyed the idea of patting the books on their heads and saying this to them.

>180 MissBrangwen: 9 is a travel book written by a woman who sailed around the world with her partner who was then murdered on the Marquesas Islands. The book includes the murder and how the author dealt with it, but the focus is on the sailing trip and the life decisions that led to it.

That sounds fascinating! A shame I don't read German.

Jan 23, 11:04am

>195 labfs39: Technically, a Hobson’s choice isn't quite the same thing: it usually means a supposed choice where one of the options is so bad that you are forced to take the other.

Jan 23, 2:16pm

This is much harder than I thought it would be..

1. General Fiction: The Long Ships (New York Review Books Classics) by Frans G. Bengtsson,
2. Mystery or Crime: so many.. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : don’t hate me..(despite J K Rowling) the Harry Potter series
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read:
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): The Thursday Murder Club Richard Osman
8. History of any kind: The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
9. Biography/Memoir: Becoming by Michelle Obama
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * Assassination vacation by Sarah Vowell
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories:

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

Edited: Jan 23, 3:11pm

>198 NanaCC: SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : don’t hate me..(despite J K Rowling) the Harry Potter series

My husband is currently rereading those and having a lot of fun. He's also enjoying the break from the academic and grimmer material he has been reading the last while. Anyone who would hate on you for enjoying HP is someone not worth paying attention to, in my opinion

Jan 23, 3:21pm

>199 Nickelini: They are enjoyable. I’ve thought about rereading maybe later in the year.

Jan 23, 5:24pm

>197 thorold: a supposed choice where one of the options is so bad that you are forced to take the other

I see, thanks, Mark. I guess in Sophie's Choice it was a form of that, in that the choice was "choose one, or both die." Only then does the question become which one.

Jan 23, 6:54pm

>201 labfs39: but in the end they all die no matter what the choice

Jan 23, 7:14pm

>195 labfs39: Sophie wasn’t Jewish.

Edited: Jan 23, 7:54pm

>203 dianeham: does that make it different? Im sorry I started this here. I don't want to hijack this thread there is a Holocaust Literature group . woulld it be ok if we discussed this there?

Pls continue with your libraries; I need to find more books for my wishlist! :)

Jan 23, 8:43pm

>204 cindydavid4: just stating a fact. Jeez.

Jan 23, 11:09pm

Re Harry Potter: I understand that Rowling sets some people off. She's been accused of everything from promoting the occult to being a TERF.

Some years ago, I heard some survivors of the Beslan school siege on the radio. They described how the kids would talk at night about how Harry Potter would come with his invisibility cloak to get them out of there.

If Rowling's books gave any kind of comfort to the children involved in that horror, good on her.

Edited: Jan 24, 3:22pm

You all are rockin' this month! Moving right along....


This question comes from new member RaiderGirl/Elizabeth. It was used to introduce each reader in a online group to each other.

Please select and post FIVE books you have read which in some way represent, or say something about, YOU as a person. If you are comfortable doing so, please tell us very briefly why or how the books represent you.

NOTE: There are different ways to approach this question. For example, these could suggest your interests, attributes (good or bad), history...etc. Any connection you can draw between yourselves and the book

Edited: Jan 24, 2:30pm

1. General Fiction: The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson
2. Mystery or Crime: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930):
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Silver Surfer 2014-2017 by Dan Slott and Mike Allred
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology:
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
8. History of any kind: When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning
9. Biography/Memoir: If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences *: Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences **: I don't really read physical science, so instead, another Social Science: Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right by Anne Nelson
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present by Dara Horn

I will be coming back and filling in the empty categories, hopefully, but at least this way I get some down. I f I waited until I was ready to do all of the categories, I'd just never post it at all.

>205 dianeham: The Holocaust is a hot-button issue for some people, myself included, in a way that can take non-Romani gentiles by surprise. And of course we're also especially on edge right now after what happened in Texas. It's important to both be sensitive of that, and to not take personal offense when someone takes a comment related to the Holocaust or Holocaust literature more seriously or personally than you intended. These topics aren't academic or abstract, for us. They're personal, emotional, and part of a much larger and longer tradition of hate that is still on-going to this day.

>206 nohrt4me2: I mean, she hasn't just been accused of being a TERF - she openly uses her influence and money to push for legislation that restricts the rights of trans people in the UK, and openly states that she thinks trans women are predators. (Obviously the occult promotion stuff was always nonsense.) But your point about the impact that HP has had on children in need of stories and hope is well made and well taken.

Jan 24, 11:31am

>208 Julie_in_the_Library: I though When Books Went to War was really interesting. I've collected 8 or 10 of the Armed Services Editions as examples.

Edited: Jan 24, 11:49am

>209 labfs39: It was absolutely fascinating. The image of "gravely wounded" American GIs on Omaha Beach "propped up against the bases of cliffs, reading," during the D-Day invasion is one that I still think about two years after reading it.

Where did you find the ASEs that you've collected? They're pretty difficult to find these days, if I remember right.

(edited to add to comment and correct a typo)

Jan 24, 11:47am

Question 4:

1. Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal (to represent both my love of books and my time in Prague)
2. Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum (the type of book I read in grad school, although this particular one hadn't been published yet)
3. Translation is a Love Affair by Jacques Poulin (because I love reading literature in translation)
4. The sound of a wild snail eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey (a book by a Maine author that I thought about while sick with Covid for three months)
5. Snow still by Holly Surplice (a board book that I've read a million times with my niece)

Jan 24, 11:49am

>210 Julie_in_the_Library: Ebay and a used book store that was going out of business.

Jan 24, 12:42pm

>212 labfs39: Wow, what lucky finds!

Jan 24, 1:17pm

>123 avaland:, Q3

I feel a little disoriented without a specific standard of selection, let's say this is a mix of "more recent faves" and "should be better known"...

1. General Fiction: The time of the doves, Mercè Rodoreda
2. Mystery or Crime: The prone gunman, Jean-Patrick Manchette
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Demon lover, Dion Fortune
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Chaka, Thomas Mofolo
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The Principles of uncertainty, Maira Kalman
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: There's always another windmill, Ogden Nash
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): A house and its head, Ivy Compton-Burnett
8. History of any kind: The Women Incendiaries, Edith Thomas
9. Biography/Memoir: The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg, Klaus Gietinger
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * : A People's Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics, Hadas Thier
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** : Ecosocialism: A Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe, Michael Löwy
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Roissy Express : a journey through the Paris suburbs, François Maspero & Anaïk Frantz

Jan 24, 2:52pm

>181 thorold: Haha, yes! But I personally love the story and I like the atmosphere and the setting so much that I just read past all these technical details.

>181 thorold: >196 ursula: It was a very big news story around here (and maybe somewhat internationally, too). Unfortunately, some news outlets painted a racist picture, drawing on colonial clichés. But the book is not like that and is more about the author's personal story. I loved the descriptions of the sailing trip.

Edited: Jan 24, 3:23pm

Question 4:
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Restoration by Olaf Olafsson
Middlemarch by George Elliot
Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead by Clare Dudman

Because I am a creative, romantic, generous and empathetic person, who loves to laugh, and likes to explore …in so many ways (and far more complex than five books can contain :-)

Jan 24, 3:25pm

FIVE books you have read which in some way represent ...

1. The Cat in the Hat I am a Fish who says, "No no" who wishes she were a Cat who says, "Have no fear."

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Francie Nolan would have been about the same age as my grandmothers. This book helped me connect with who they were as young women.

3. Abel Sanchez My favorite book to re-read. It has been several different books over the past decades that probably reflect my own changing view of life.

4. Beowulf Endless source of fun and speculation for someone who studied Old English and Anglo-Saxon history and never stopped.

5. Jane Eyre My mother's favorite book. It keeps me connected to the best parts of her.

Edited: Jan 24, 3:38pm


In chronological order:

Madame Curie, L.. du Garde Peach, a Ladybird book first published in my first year of life... I can legitimately wonder whether I'd have become a scientist without it, because this little book not only focussed that desire for me (not sure when, but my copy has my three-year-old's scrawl in it), but represented it so strongly I would for the next fifteen years see myself as a future physicist, and steer myself toward that goal.

Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren -- first (chapter) book I read, at age six; I was thrilled to the core by Pippi's independence and strength. She was my goddess. In retrospect, it was a desperately needed antidote to the omnipresent message that women were inferior, chattel class.

The three fat men, Yuri Olesha -- Olesha's lively expressionist prose and something like a zany Zen in viewpoint indelibly marked my eye, ear, and language.

Cosmos, Carl Sagan -- important for the philosophy which saw science as a beautiful, romantic part of harmony of human knowledge.

The fifth choice, being the last, would represent a betrayal of too many other things. So I'll avoid it. :)

Jan 24, 3:40pm

>218 LolaWalser: I should have thought of Pippi! Loved that book.

Jan 24, 3:50pm

>219 avaland:


>217 nohrt4me2:

Unamuno's a great writer.

Jan 24, 4:31pm

>220 LolaWalser: Do you have a CR topic this year? Missed you.

Jan 24, 5:13pm

E.E.Cummings: A Selection of Poems I read a giant volume of Cummings when I was in high school. Big influence.

A Coney Island of the Mind: Poems Ferlinghetti was the first poet I heard read. I got a book from the library while in hs and there was a record in the back of him reading. He read in a monotone and I loved it.

Kenneth Patchen Collected Poems Kenneth Patchen was my favorite.

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. While in my early 20s I read everything Stein wrote. She was a huge influence on me.

The Big Windows by Peadar O'Donnell. i read this while I was in Ireland in 2000. It explained a lot about Donegal to me.

I didn't go to college until I was 30. So the reading wasn’t academic related.

Jan 24, 6:32pm

Q4: FIVE books you have read which in some way represent, or say something about, YOU as a person.

1. Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser - because I'm someone who will sometimes take months lost in this stuff.

2. Disaster on the Horizon: High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout by Bob Cavnar - because I work on this stuff, although distally. And I appreciate that he got the technical aspects, even as it was published in a sort of immature stage of what we knew. Also it's nice to see a non-conservative expert.

3. Eye of the World by Robert Jordan - because this is where I started

4. The Chosen by Chaim Potok - because this was key to defining my perception of the Jewish world I grew up in...well, if recreated idealistically.

5. Annals of a Former World by John McPhee - because it has a non-expert view on the geology of the central US, mostly the non-oil and mostly non-finically significant parts. Instead, it covers the parts that make people like me want to become geologists.

Jan 24, 6:42pm

>223 dchaikin: you’re a geologist? Pretty cool.

Jan 24, 6:48pm

>225 dchaikin: Kevin too (stretch), although I think he actually touches rocks, or comes closer. I deal with screens and seismic.

Jan 24, 7:20pm

1. Star Teacher by Jack Sheffield--Teacher is not what I do, it is who I am.
2. At Home with Books by Estelle Ellis--I love my books, I surround myself and my life with them.
3. Cat's Cradle by Julia Golding--My house serves as a "cats' cradle" for my four furries. Also, I would like to be as daring as Cat Royal in the books, but I am a "fraidy cat."
4. Growing Up Catholic by Mary Jane Frances--The Roman Catholic Church has been a part of my life since infancy. I wanted to become a nun, but my parents talked me out of it.
5. A Peaceful Retirement by Miss Read--I love the Miss Read books, and have read them all numerous times. I have not yet achieved the "peaceful retirement" she writes about though.

Jan 24, 8:07pm

Q4: FIVE books you have read which in some way represent, or say something about, YOU as a person.

1. A Brief History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson - all the science, along with some history and humour. The wonder of science in nature has always entranced me.
2. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B Gilbreth - I love the family and chaos and funny, but also the study of efficiency! I love getting one more item in the dishwasher.
3. Evening Class by Maeve Binchy - a great novel, set in Ireland and Italy both places that fascinate me, and also, Binchy always gives a happy ending, which I like.
4. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - math teacher, aging, married, a little cranky but not always, small town. I like the theme of perspective and how we never know what is going on inside people's houses, marriages, heads.
5. Anne of Windy Poplars by LM Montgomery - This PEI girl had to pick one of Montgomery's book, so I picked the one where Anne and Gilbert are together (happy endings), and she is living in Summerside, teaching.

Edited: Jan 25, 11:13am

Decided to use books from jr hi, hs. I may come up with better ones as an adult later:

1. a tie between up the down staircase and to sir with love read in HS, as I was forming a decision to become a teacher. (did not realize until relatively recently that Kaufman was the granddaughter of Sholem Alechaim)

2. The Good Earth read this first at about 11 and read it many times since. Started me on a long adventure of learning and traveling the world (granted sometimes that travel is armchair kind) have two bookshelves filled with travel narratives

3.Grapes of Wrath the first adult book that opened my eyes to the wrongs of the world. Matched the lessons we had in synagogue about charity and activism "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” from our Talmud

4 Dune my boyfriend in HS gave it to me when i was 14. Read that copy till the covers tore off. Its the book that started me thinking of the enviorment and the book that started a love of fantasy and sci fi.

5 The Completely Mad Don Martin reading this magazine was the gateway drug to my warped sense of humor; followed by Gary 'Trudeau, Gary Larson, and Monty Python, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett and on and on....there is no cure for this, and Im very happy about it

Jan 24, 8:23pm

>223 dchaikin: How did I miss Eye of the World! Need to correct that. And yes of course The Chosen with sequels.

Jan 24, 8:30pm

>226 LadyoftheLodge: teaching is not what I do,it is who I am

amen sister. Its why it took me two years of retirement to settle into it. Even then I find ways to teach without a classroom. Will always be.

I love Mrs Read too tho never read that one; I was gifted with Mrs. Spitzers garden when I retired, which was perfect because i started the school garden.

Jan 25, 10:08am

>228 cindydavid4: Yay, Don Martin and MAD magazine!

Jan 25, 11:32am

Wow, I loved reading everyone's answers! This question really makes you think and reflect.

My books:

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - I first read this in 2001 aged fifteen, it gave me so much solace and Middle-earth is my refuge to this day.

2. The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang Goethe - It represents me as a teacher because it is the book I have taught the most until now. Apart from that, German literature, especially the classics, is one of the few things about Germany that I really like or am able to identify with.

3. Das verborgene Wort by Ulla Hahn - My mom's favorite book and a story that is similar to the story of the women in my family (I was the first to go to university, my mom grew up under similar circumstances as the main character of the novel).

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - I read this when studying abroad in Australia and it influenced me a lot, both in the way I saw myself and because it really sparked my love for the classics.

5. The Black House by Peter May - It represents my love for my husband because one of our first private conversations was about Scotland (we met at work), because Scotland was one of our first travel destinations, and because this was kind of our first buddy read as it was a book he recommended to me.

Jan 25, 11:52am

>232 MissBrangwen: #5 awwww, that's sweet.

Jan 25, 1:18pm

Q4: Well... that's interesting.. I don't know if I can pick books that tell things about me really but I have books which made me a reader (and who I am - reading is a big part of my life) in different ways. So here it is.

1. "Five Fairy Tales" by Valeri Petrov - the first kinda grown-up book I ever read in my life. Not the first book - I've read some semi-picture books before that from the library and I had read a fairy tale or 3 from other books. But that was the one I got as a New Year's gift in the first grade (when I learned to read) and the first I really read.

2. Foundation by Isaac Asimov - the book that showed me what SF can do and made me a fan for life. I love adventure stories - in space or not - but Foundation was the first book that went a lot more serious.

3. Mother by Maxim Gorky - the first book I read in Russian. I am not sure it was the best book for a 11 years old but I was stuck at my grandparents, having read everything in there in Bulgarian (which was not too grown up) and it was the thinnest one from the ones available in Russian (my Dad went to a language high school with Russian and English so he had most of the classics - which are usually pretty hefty volumes). Took me most of the summer (partially because I had no dictionaries - but I had access to adults who spoke Russian on weekends).

4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - the first book I read in English - the summer after prep class (a special year between the 7th and 8th grade when they teach you mostly just a language). It took me more than a month - with less and less need of a dictionary as the pages progressed - even if I was not looking up every word I did not know, I did need a lot help understanding things - I was not exactly ready for a complete book (in current terms, I was somewhere in the low B2 range and I was 14 - so not enough common knowledge on a lot of topics either). But it worked out. These days I can read it in an evening. The second book I read in that summer went a lot faster.

5. Wheel of Time - when my father died, I needed something to keep my mind away from that and from reality for a few days. That was the series (the first 8 were out at the time) which helped - it was just long and complex enough to keep my mind occupied without being too complicated to frustrate me. I never read the rest of the series - it is just in my mind to that event but I had been planning to try again, probably starting from the beginning - 21 years later, it feels almost possible.

Not sure that's what the question meant but... :)

Jan 25, 2:01pm

Question 4:

I'm going with books that I keep coming back to, that highlight facets of my life.

1. The Book of Mormon
2. The Golden Book of Fairy Tales
3. Eat At Home Tonight
4. Pride and Prejudice
5. ElfQuest

Jan 25, 2:34pm

Darn, I had most of my response all written out and somehow lost the post, so I shall start from scratch:

1) The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth. This is the first of the Nathan Zuckerman books and the book that made me fall in love with Roth's writing. This checks off a lot of boxes for me, as I lived in the Jewish neighborhood of Weequahic in Newark, NJ, where Roth/Zuckerman are also from, for the first 11 years of my life and my father was born and raised there. I also identify in some respects with the writing life (though not with the celebrity life, goodness knows) at the heart of Roth's novels. Love Roth, hate him, or somewhere in the middle, he certainly wrote without fear.

2) Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad. My favorite book by my favorite author. Conrad's insights into human nature have always resonated with me very strongly.

3) Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen's recent autobiography. Did I mention that I am from New Jersey? Springsteen's music has been inspirational to me, to put it mildly, since I first saw him at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, in 1974.

4) The History of Jazz by Ted Gioia. A fine book to represent my love for this musical form. I've worked (and played) at it on and off in my life, not as a musician but as a radio host/producer and as a writer since the day my turn for an on-air shift came up at my college station with the caveat that it was an opening for a jazz show. I knew very little about jazz, but figured I could read liner notes as well as the next person. A lifelong love was born!

5) Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow by Leon F. Litwack. A powerful book, included to represent my love of reading history and my interest in learning about this particular aspect of American history.

Sorry, one more:
6) Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend by Larry Tye. Included to represent my lifelong love of baseball.

Jan 25, 3:29pm

>232 MissBrangwen: Jane Eyre was one of my first adult books,and another I read to death. took be a while to get the whole romance thing; seeing the movie helped!

Jan 25, 4:05pm

>236 rocketjk: although it doesn’t have the same resonance with me, I loved Born to Run. I used a library audiobook and then bought a paper copy when my two week lend was up. Of course, he reads it.

Jan 25, 4:23pm

>123 avaland: Question 3
1. General Fiction: Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
2. Mystery or Crime: Ausma Zehanat Khan’s series featuring Esa Khattak and his partner Rachel Getty; the first title is The unquiet dead.
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : The best thing I’ve read recently is The broken earth trilogy by N. K. Jemisin.
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): The wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Castle waiting, Vol. I, by Linda Medley .
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: Penguin anthology of 20th century poetry, edited by Rita Dove.
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): Hyperbole and a half by Allie Brosh
8. History of any kind: A fistful of shells by Toby Green
9. Biography/Memoir: Black in Selma by J.L. Chestnut
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * The color of law by Richard Rothstein
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** How to survive a plague by David France
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: The secret lives of church ladies by Deesha Philyaw

Edited: Jan 25, 4:30pm

>230 cindydavid4: LOL here, my husband tells me I still use my "teacher voice" and sometimes I talk too much. Always the teacher, I fear. That was my career of choice since childhood, never wanted to do something else (at least, not for more than a few minutes).

Jan 25, 5:28pm

>239 markon: Im eagerly waiting for a time inbetween LT reads to read The City We Became shes been my top fantasy reader for a couple of years. Have you read her short stories?

Jan 25, 5:30pm

>240 LadyoftheLodge: hee ny husband was also a teacher, so he has the same bad habit, so he cant talk much about mine!

Jan 25, 7:48pm

>239 markon: I just finished reading Hyperbole and a Half this afternoon. Parts were extremely funny, and her posts on depression were affecting. Now I want to read her second book.

Jan 26, 5:56am

>239 markon: You remind me that I must to get back to the Ausma Zehanat Khan series. I read the first ages ago, and more recently read the 2nd & 3rd and have 2 or 3 more in the pile. They are excellent and not one's average crime novel.

Jan 26, 8:48am

QUESTION TWO: Obsessions, Explorations and Collections, Oh My!

I'm really late with this one, but I hope that's okay.

I have a few themed collections in my library, though they're all pretty small:

The biggest is a Judaica collection, which includes books on Jewish history, folklore, religion, and other Jewish topics, as well as two sub-collections, one of Jewish scripture and liturgy, including siddurim, and the other of Holocaust memoir and diary (not pictured).

I also have a small collection of folklore and mythology books, which includes two works crossover from the Judaica collection, as well as a small collection of writing reference books, and a mini collection on the impressionists with a focus on Pissaro (not pictured).

Jan 26, 9:36am

>245 Julie_in_the_Library: love you shelf. I really enjoyed How to Understand Israel in 60 days or less and used to follow Sarah Glidden on fb.

Jan 26, 9:52am

>246 dchaikin: Thanks!

There are a few books from various collections that I have shelved elsewhere - my copy of Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin is in my living room, as are my Jewish Cookery Book by Esther Levy and my A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People by Eli Barnavi for instance - so they didn't appear in the photos.

I also forgot to mention that I have a small collection of Autism memoir and diary as well, also in the living room. I also have a mini collection of D&D 5th ed sourcebooks, a collection of comic books in trade and floppy (mostly Batman, Wonder Woman, and X-Men/X-Men adjacent), and a collection of cookbooks in the kitchen, though those are for practical use, mostly.

Jan 26, 11:06am

Have you read Not Even Wrong? The author earlier wrote a great memoir of his time in wales esp Hay on Wye the city of books. Anyway in that book they discover their son is autistic. In this book its his journey towards understanding and getting the help he needs. Lovely book

Edited: Jan 26, 11:15am

I also have a large Jewish Lit collection, several of yours, plus lots of geneology books as well the ryland haggadah, how we lived, children of a vanished world,a living lens, world of our fathers,
there once was a world, The Avengers:a Jewish war story (also an excellent movie)

Jan 26, 11:33am

>245 Julie_in_the_Library: I enjoyed the bindings on your Judaica collection.

Jan 26, 12:26pm

Great photos, thanks! We have a modest Judaica collection, as well. I noted a couple of books in Yiddish. Can you read/speak the language?

Jan 26, 4:27pm

>248 cindydavid4: I hadn't heard of that one. I'll have to look it up.

>250 LadyoftheLodge: Thanks! They're mostly inherited, but a few of them - the New Union High Holy Days siddur, the New Union regular siddur (hidden by a cover my mom made for me), - are mine from growing up, and the study bible I bought for a college course. The French and Hebrew Psalms was a gift from my sister when she was studying abroad at the Sorbonne.

>251 rocketjk: I can't, no. I can read both modern and scriptural/liturgical Hebrew with the vowels, and since it's the same aleph-bet, I could probably sound out Yiddish, but though I know a few words and phrases, I don't speak or understand it. My (modern) Hebrew is better - I took an Ulpan course in Israel, which is what the Hebrew textbook is from - but I'm nowhere near fluent in that, either. And I know some bases, words, and even phrases in scriptural/liturgical Hebrew, but no more than that. I do my Talmud studying in English translation. Language learning is not one of my natural skill sets, much to my annoyance.

I hadn't realized any of the books I have were even in Yiddish - the script looks like Hebrew, so I assumed that that's what it all was. My grandparents all spoke Yiddish, of course - my only living grandparent, my grandmother, still does, a little, but she's 94.

Jan 26, 7:39pm

>252 Julie_in_the_Library: Im in the same boat; the only yiddish I know is what I heard my parents use....and was also in Israel and cannot speak hebrew, but i know how to read it.....guess that counts for something

Edited: Jan 27, 7:49am

Q4: FIVE books you have read which in some way represent, or say something about, YOU as a person.
5 Books that say something important for you

This is difficult to answer because at various stages of my life it would be a different set of five books and so I am going to concentrate on my teenage years for inspiration:

D H Lawrence - The Plumed Serpent.
In my school library there were several novels by D H Lawrence, however Lady Chatterley's Lover was not one of them. I read all the rest and got hooked on Lawrences feverish mysticism in his writing about love and sex. The Plumed Serpent was one of his later novels where the mysticism took the upper hand over the more down to earth reality that featured in his early novels. It includes some poetry, some brilliant travelogue and all that is good and not so good in Lawrence's writing. I have re-read it several times and have come to the conclusion it is a bit of a mess, but the power of the writing still takes me to another place. I hope to make the time to read it again soon.

Penguin Modern Poets 5 and 10
This series of paperbacks featured three poets and so usually you got 10-20 poems by each poet. There was nothing in the way of an introduction and in those days (1966) there was no internet and so as a teenager it was a voyage of discovery and certainly the two most approachable of the series were these two. Number five featured three of the American beat poets: Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Allen Ginsberg. Corso was the first poet featured and the pages of my book are stained when I upset a bottle of sun tan lotion whilst reading on the beach. For ages after I could still smell that lotion, however when I checked today the smell had completely gone, but the stains were still there and so I could still smell that lotion in my memory.
Number 5 were the Liverpool poets, Adrien Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Pattern. They were subtitled as The Mersey Sound as the Beatles and all the groups that followed them were in vogue. Adrien Henri became something of a pop star as lead singer with a group called The Liverpool Scene, whom I saw regularly when they performed in London.

Othello - William Shakespeare
I studied this play for a literature exam in school and after visiting the theatre to see a performance I fell in love with Shakespeare. I remember how challenging it was to read one of the plays for the first time and even more challenging to see a performance of one of his plays that I had not read before going to the theatre. As soon as I could afford to, me and my first wife took out a subscription to the Old Vic and the Young Vic - Oh happy days.

Earthman Come Home - James Blish
I gobbled up science fiction books as a teenager and this was just one of many, certainly not the best but one that has stayed in the memory. I re-read it a few years ago and was a bit disappointed.

L'étranger - Albert Camus.
This was an example of a complete misinterpretation as a young reader of a great book. I knew nothing of existentialism and read it as a simple revolt against authority, which it is in a way but only part of the story. I was in my own quiet way a bit of a rebellious youth - I got myself chucked out of University partly by my challenges to the authorities. For many years I never regretted my choice of path through life, but now in my third age I wonder if I could have managed things differently. I came from a poor working class background and at the time received a full government grant for my education and living expenses, how times have changed. I cannot however blame all this on L'étranger. (I read the English translation in the penguin classics edition and so perhaps I can blame that)

So thats my five, but there was a whole lot of other reading that profoundly influenced my early life; I know I am being self indulgent here:

The Melody Maker
This started out life as a jazz music focused weekly paper, but with the arrival of the Beatles and the early beat groups it became half jazz and half pop/rock. I was a fervent reader as it was the best publication for adverts for live music in and around London. I spent most of my weekends around the clubs and pubs.

The International Times and Oz
The underground press, continually flirting with being shut down by the government on grounds of obscenity, slander and political activism. There were some excellent writers expressing alternative views and there was nothing else quite like them. Goodness knows what the young people of today get to read that challenges the political climate and presents an alternative culture in politics, arts, music and theatre.

Jan 27, 2:11pm

I've been ignoring this thread because.....time, sigh. But such good questions!! I feel compelled to chime in. Will answer number 3 first then come back for number 4 after I've contemplated a bit. I answered 3 with the first books that popped into my mind, so if I answered the same question tomorrow, there would be different answers I'm sure.


General Fiction--The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott
Mystery/Crime--The Red Riding Quartet by David Peace
Science Fiction--Seveneves by Neal Stepenson
Classic--Cousin Bette by Balzac or Germinal by Zola
Graphic--Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Don't read many of these)
Poetry--Any collection by Billie Collins (Again, don't read poetry extensively)
Humorous--The Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore
History--The Whisperers by Orlando Figes
Biography--The LBJ biography by Robert Caro
Nonfiction/Social Sciences--Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon
Nonfiction/Physical Sciences--The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
None of the Above--The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman

Jan 27, 4:33pm

>255 arubabookwoman: I too liked The Whisperers very much. If I wasn't so peeved at Figes' personal behavior, it would be a favorite. Sometimes I have a hard time separating the author from the work. I've also read his Just Send Me Word, which was also good. I got halfway through The Crimean War and lost steam.

Jan 27, 4:45pm

>254 baswood: by Gregory Corso

Last Night I Drove A Car

Last night I drove a car

not knowing how to drive
not owning a car

I drove and knocked down

people I loved
…went 120 through one town.

I stopped at Hedgeville

and slept in the back seat

…excited about my new life.

Jan 27, 5:16pm

>257 dianeham: LOL
Is that the right reaction? I’m an English lit major who doesn’t know what to make about poetry

Jan 27, 8:07pm

>255 arubabookwoman: wow someone else read far from the tree! Excellent look at parents whose child is different, as he was being gay. the book covers many special needs tho I thought adding murders was going too far but I get what he was doing. I loved how respectful he was of the families, they were going through hell but I thought his conversations very apt. What were your thoughts

Jan 27, 10:59pm

>257 dianeham: thanks. Loved that
>258 Nickelini: I would say, yes, definitely.

Jan 28, 5:43am

I'm a little late to join, but here are answers to all the questions so far.

No plans for me this year as they are the best way for me to get into a reading slump. Although in the meantime it appears that "no plans" can also be counterproductive because the choice is now too large :-). But I do have some guidelines: classics, world literature, Dutch fiction, a little more non-fiction. We'll see.

QUESTION 2: Obsessions, Explorations and Collections, Oh My!
Strange as it may sound to my own ears, I don't seem to have any book obsessions and no need to build up collections. Early in my career, I worked in a heritage library processing book collections from deceased people, and that may have convinced me that I never want to do that to others.

QUESTION 3: Brief Recommendations in 12 Categories
1. General Fiction: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
2. Mystery or Crime: The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : Animal Farm by George Orwell
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930): Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: Asterix in Belgium by René Goscinny
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology: The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): The Melting of Molly by Maria Thompson Daviess
8. History of any kind: HHhH by Laurent Binet
9. Biography/Memoir: Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Found the Hidden Gospels by Janet Soskice
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences: Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences: Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence by Stefano Mancuso
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories: Brodeck's Report by Philippe Claudel

1. Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer
2. The Unburied by Charles Palliser
3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
4. Stoner by John Williams
5. The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono

Jan 28, 6:08am

This user has been removed as spam.

Jan 28, 7:32am

>261 Trifolia: I love Brodeck’s Report, and Claudel is one of my favorite authors. I should look to see if there are any new English translations.

Lol. You are the Best Kept Secret!

Jan 28, 7:47am

>263 labfs39: - I'm glad you noticed the little joke. I'm not always as serious as I probably often sound, but let me blame that on language skills (or lack of it) :-).

Edited: Jan 28, 11:12am

Q4: Five Books that Represent or Say Something About Me

This one was tricky, but here's what I've come up with:

1. No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty: Despite my issues with parts (well, a part) of this book*, this definitely represents me. I've been doing NaNoWriMo every year since 2019, and I absolutely love it, both as an idea and the act of doing it. Also, my lifelong goal from early childhood was to be a novelist. I found an undergrad program specifically for that, though health issues got in the way. These days, writing is more a hobby than a serious career goal, but it's still a huge part of who I am.

2. Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress by Shelly Mazzanoble: I first read this when I was first getting into Dungeons and Dragons back in college, and it's still in my personal library today. I also still play D&D once a week, albeit virtually now, despite having sat down to my first game ever having been given the character sheet and attached three-page spell list for a 12th level wizard, in 3.5, because it apparently never occurred to the guys in the RPG club that that was not an ideal character for a first-timer.

3. You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?! by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo: I have ADHD. Reading this book, which I bought on recommendation from others with ADHD and read during the pandemic, has been both very helpful and a lot like looking in the mirror. It is, in some respects, pretty outdated, though, so for anyone looking for a reference themselves, supplement your reading with more recent work.

4. If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan: Not only do I identify strongly with Kurshan in many respects, reading her memoir is also a large part of what inspired me to start doing Daf Yomi when the new cycle started in January of 2020. Daf Yomi has become an important part of my daily routine, and has provided comfort, connection, and stability through what has been a difficult three years on many fronts. So much of my life today might not be what it is if not for this book and the proverbial dominoes that fell because I read it, that it definitely belongs on this list.

5. A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries by Thomas Mallon: Mallon's insight into what motivates diarists, as well as his discussion of why people like to read the published ones, both spoke to me a lot. I have tried many times throughout my life, starting in early childhood, to keep a daily diary, to varying degrees of success. Even when I haven't been keeping a diary, I have always had an active notebook. I will never be this era's Samuel Pepys, or any of the other regular diarists discussed in this book, much to my own disappointment. That's just not a level of regularity, sustained habit, and executive functioning of which I am capable. But between my various diaries and attempted diaries and my notebooks, I think this book still represents an aspect of myself all the same.

*see my review in my 2021 Club Read thread for more on that

Edited: Jan 29, 5:27pm

>265 Julie_in_the_Library: ive read two of his fiction books bandbox and Henry and Clara and really liked them, should try this as well.

Jan 28, 4:34pm

>265 Julie_in_the_Library: NaNoWriMo. LOL! I honestly cannot figure out by reading the Web site what this is. You pledge to write words and set goals, the madcap people in funny hats pictured promise to nag you? And also be like your FB friends? Like a virtual 12-step program for writers? How do they make money? I'm still trying to figure out how LT makes its money, despite its windy explanations.


The world is SO passing me by ...

Jan 28, 5:23pm

>267 nohrt4me2: It is for writers - the idea is to actually do your writing instead of procrastinating and finally finish (or make enough progress) in that novel you had been writing since 1998 :) Relying on public shame, competition and all that ;)

They don't make much money from all that - they get some advertising and I am pretty sure you can donate some money but it's not really a money-maker for anyone (unless a lot of people chose to give them money).

LT is easier - they make money from their products for libraries (a part we never see on the site because it uses the data but does not interact with the site otherwise), not from the end-users ones (not anymore anyway) :)

Jan 29, 9:13am


I've really enjoyed reading what everyone has put down in their list. Nothing highbrow on my list - I'm taking the question literally in terms of the books which tell you a bit about who I am:

1. Now Discover Your Strengths - I've worked in business operations for 30 years now, and for the last 10 years within the tech industry focused on the life sciences sector. This book was given to me as part of a leadership course I did 20 years ago, and although it's a bit dated now I do agree with its maxim of focusing on really doing well the things you are naturally talented at as opposed to other management approaches of forcing people not very good at certain tasks to keep slugging away at their weaknesses. That feels pretty wearying and demoralising.

2. Bowie's Books: The Hundred Books That Changed David Bowie's Life - the music of David Bowie has been incredibly important to me since I was a teenager. His voice and his arrangements spoke to me (and still do) in a way that no other artist has come close to, and I've been a super fan for so long that his music almost feels part of the fabric of who I am. And knowing that he was a huge reader is just the icing on the cake.

3. Mad About the House - I have loved interior design since I was a kid. I can lose weeks and months sourcing the perfect item for a room, which is hugely tedious for everyone else in the house and means that room overhauls take years rather than weeks as I go OTT on the detail.

4. Design Outdoors - I really enjoy gardening and am lucky to have plenty of space around my home. In the summer months books definitely have to compete with my gardening time, as there are always hundreds of plants to grow, plant out and the never ending thankless task of weeding. But I get a lot of pleasure out of growing plants and then watching them take off in the summer months.

5. To the Lighthouse - my most important job in life is being a mother, and this book spoke to me so deeply about what it is to be a mother. Mrs Ramsay's hopes and fears for her children really grabbed my heart strings in a way that I'd not been expecting from this book.

Jan 29, 10:46am

>269 AlisonY: Have you heard David Bowie's narration of Peter and the Wolf? He is very good.

Jan 29, 11:15am

>266 cindydavid4: I didn't know that he wrote fiction. I'd actually never even heard of him until I read A Book of One's Own - I picked it up on impulse while browsing. I'll have to check those out. Just a note, though, one of your touchstones goes to a Rex Stout book, which I assume is not what you intended.

>267 nohrt4me2: >268 AnnieMod: So NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is not a business. It's a not-for-profit 503c organization. They don't actually make profits, nor are they trying to. Any money they do make from their merchandise and from donations - which I am given to understand is not much, as you both assumed - goes back into the running of the organization, paying the employees, and outreach.

The whole idea originally started as a thing Chris Baty and some friends of his came up with and did as a lark back in 1995 or so, and grew from there by word of mouth spread until it got big enough that the organization was formed. Nowadays they have outreach programs in schools to get kids into writing, among other endeavors.

Tons of people think and say things like "I'd love to write a novel if I could only find the time" or "I'm going to write a novel someday...when I get around to it" To quote No Plot? No Problem!, "There's barely enough time in a day to cover all our mandatory obligations, so optional activities like novel writing, journaling, painting, or playing music - things that feel great but that no one will ever take us to task for shirking - are invariably left for another day. Which is how most of us become "one day" novelists. (34)

The idea of NaNo is that if you give yourself boundaries - a specific time limit, a specific word count, etc - you are much more likely to actually write that someday novel. And it turns out that for a lot of people, that's true.

Some NaNo novels are published, but most are not. Most are not written with the intention/hope of being published, even, though obviously a lot are. People write NaNo novels for the love of writing, and the joy of writing together with a community*. Lots of people write fanfiction. Some people write original fiction and self pub. Lots of people write just for themselves, or for their friends and family. Some people, "rogues," as they're called on in NaNo parlance, write not novels, but poetry, or short stories, or dissertations, or memoirs, or nonfiction.

The whole thing is a bit silly, and a bit weird, especially when viewed from the outside. Especially because there is no profit involved for anyone at any stage**, which makes it stand out in this culture of 'turn all of your hobbies into side hustles.' But I love it.

That was all a bit more salesman/evangelist than intended, but I'm enthusiastic. Anyway, I hope that clarifies for anyone unfamiliar.

*before the pandemic, there were regional in-person writing events as well as the forums. Nowadays, it's all virtual, on the forums, and also on discord and even zoom sometimes
**except maybe those few authors whose NaNo novels end up being published, but honestly, given publishing today, even that's not much profit for the writer

Jan 29, 1:32pm

>271 Julie_in_the_Library: Thanks for the explanation! I think tech and covid are changing social structures drastically and faster than some of us can absorb it. I saw the movie Frank and Robot, where an AI robot takes care of an elder played by Frank Langella. I was initially appalled. But as live interactions dwindle and families see old people as burdens, I think having a robot would be preferable to assisted living.

Jan 29, 2:11pm

>271 Julie_in_the_Library: Love the idea of NaNoWriMo (but somehow I still don't feel I've time).

Jan 29, 2:35pm

QUESTION 4. 5 Books That Represent Me

1. Six Islands In The Sun by Richard Gielen
A photography book of the scenery and landscapes and people of the Dutch West Indies, including Aruba. The photos are from the late 1950's/early 1960's, so Aruba was relatively unspoiled, no hotels/tourist stuff, and it looks like I remember it. My childhood and growing up years.

2. Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell. Novel about a fictional British band arising to fame in the 1960's. This represents my time in London 1967-8 when London was the center of the universe ( at least for a teenager), and the Beatles and the Stones, and the Kinks, and Donovan, etc. etc. ruled.

3. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. This novel, set in New Orleans, about a young man finding his way, which I read shortly after moving to New Orleans, represents my 18 years in New Orleans. The setting and many of the places in the novel are very familiar to me. Coincidentally, the author is a distant cousin of some sort on my mother's side. (When the original "Percy" came to Louisiana from Great Britain, he left behind a wife and children. That didn't stop him from starting another family in the new world. My family was descended from one of these Percy branches i.e. the one that stayed behind and came later, or the "bigamist" branch that came first, and Walker Percy is descended from the other. I can't remember which was which.)

4. Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple This represents my time in Seattle. We moved there just as Microsoft was taking off, and this book presents a good, if sometimes exaggerated portrait of Seattle and the plethora of "Microsoft Millionaires." We had many a neighbor in our middle class neighborhood where one day the Porsche would appear, and then the huge boat, and then they would move away to the mansion on the lake. I also related to the book because Bernadette had been a successful professional, who as the book opens is no longer working, but is a stay at home mom. When we moved to Seattle, I had been practicing law in New Orleans for 12 years, and decided to take off a year after moving. It ended up being 10 years, but it was a huge adjustment, going from a respected professional whose clients listened to me to sometimes feeling invisible, and with kids who never listened to me. I really empathized with Bernadette.

5. I don't know--maybe something by Carl Hiassen to represent this next phase of life down here in Florida.

Jan 29, 3:00pm

>270 LadyoftheLodge: Bowie's narration of Peter and the Wolf is just lovely. Sigh.

Jan 29, 3:13pm

>274 arubabookwoman: I thought the first half of Where'd You Go Bernadette was a riot and spot on: from waiting in line for the ferry to battling blackberries to the social dynamics at a private school. The second half with the whole Antarctica thing didn't interest me as much.

Jan 29, 3:20pm

>276 labfs39: My feeling, too! It really fell apart at the end, which was too bad because I really liked the characters.

Jan 29, 4:07pm

>276 labfs39: >277 nohrt4me2: I definitely agree. I didn't like the second part of the book where she runs away to Antarctica.

Jan 29, 4:13pm

>274 arubabookwoman: I, too, have fond regards for The Moviegoer, and for some of the same reasons you do. My memory is that sometime in the early part of that novel, the protagonist is in the Army (in a war?) and says to his army buddy something like, "When I get out of the Army, I'm going to go back to New Orleans and I'm going to live in Gentilly." When I read that line, I was sitting in my living room in Gentilly.

(General point of information for those not familiar with New Orleans: Gentilly is a residential neighborhood in the city. It got hit really hard by Katrina. I'm not sure the degree to which it's rebounded.)

Jan 29, 4:56pm

>274 arubabookwoman:, >279 rocketjk: - Noting The Moviegoer.

>274 arubabookwoman: - Hiaasen on Florida - his humor is, depressingly, on point with the mentality of south Florida.

Jan 29, 5:28pm

>271 Julie_in_the_Library: thanks for the heads up, fixed it!

Jan 29, 5:40pm

>274 arubabookwoman: really loved bernadette, the image of her creation sounded so marvelous I could see it in my mind. If you were thinking of seeing the movie, dont. It cuts out most of the meat and just so poorly done.

Jan 29, 7:54pm

Still mulling over Question 4.

Jan 29, 9:20pm

>283 Cariola: Still mulling over Question 4.

Me too. I'm stumped

Jan 30, 10:15am

Q4: five books

I’m going to cheat by trying to find a logic in the first five books that come up in “Random books from thorold's library” on my profile page:

Hydro-electric power stations (1917) by David Rushmore & Eric A. Lof — this is a perfect illustration of my tendency to accumulate random technical books of no obvious use (especially old ones). It also reflects that I used to live on the doorstep of the British Library depot at Boston Spa; this came from one of their duplicates sales in the early 1980s

Gun Before Butter by Nicolas Freeling — I always had a soft spot for Eurocrime, and of course I identify a bit with Freeling as a British expat in the Netherlands (although unlike him I haven’t yet been deported as an undesirable…)

Signale 2. Signalbegriffe, Anordnung und Bauformen, Haupt- und Vorsignale, Signalverbindungen by Stefan Carstens — railway signalling is something that’s been a long-standing interest of mine, probably reinforced by the knowledge that my defective colour vision would never have allowed me to work in that field…

Holzfällen : eine Erregung by Thomas Bernhard — I came to Thomas Bernhard rather late in life, but that’s possibly not a bad thing, I can’t see his particular brand of sarcastic grumpiness appealing to many young people. But it does appeal to me, in odd ways, and of course he writes beautiful and original German.

"Farthest North" by Fridtjof Nansen — more non-fiction. Boats, exploration and the North are all themes I identify with, even if I can’t imagine myself wintering in an igloo with nothing to eat except dead polar bears and my travelling companions…

Jan 30, 10:58am

>283 Cariola: >284 Nickelini: This was definitely one of the harder ones. I felt like I was stretching with more than one of my five.

Jan 30, 10:42pm

>285 thorold: Hi! We have 85 books in common. If you are in an igloo with a dead polar bear, don’t eat the liver. There is so much vitamin A in a polar bear liver - it will kill you.

Jan 30, 11:33pm

>287 dianeham: We have 85 books in common. If you are in an igloo with a dead polar bear, don’t eat the liver. There is so much vitamin A in a polar bear liver - it will kill you.

LOL - I thought exactly that when I read the comment in >285 thorold:. I have no idea what book it was where I read that, but I know I know exactly where I was when I read it: my dad was working out of town (from Vancouver) on Vancouver Island, and he was living in a basement suite and I was SO BORED because it was summer and I was away from my friends and the only thing on TV was the WATERGATE hearings. OMG - the voices were saying it was so important, but I tried to understand what was going on and it was just the adult voices from Charlie Brown (Waan Wank waan wan waaak). I think there might have been soap operas on other stations, so I either read a book about polar bears and not to eat the liver, or went out on my bike.

Jan 30, 11:56pm

>288 Nickelini: That’s funny. I picked it up somewhere in the 1970s.

Jan 31, 9:10am

>285 thorold: Very clever!

Feb 1, 12:54am

I love that so many of us know not to eat polar bear livers.

Feb 1, 1:42am

Feb 1, 2:02am

>291 ursula: I love that so many of us know not to eat polar bear livers.

LOL. Yes. But now I'm wondering if I were in a situation that I needed to carve up and eat a polar bear . . . Yeah, I'd know what the liver looked like. Wouldn't I? What a thought. I'm fairly sure no one on this thread will ever need to know how to recognize the liver from all the other polar bear parts they've just carved up. But good on us for knowing not to eat too much of it!

Feb 1, 2:14am

>293 Nickelini: It should not be that hard to recognize if you have ever seen an animal slaughtered before (or cooked a whole liver just cut from an animal). :)

Feb 1, 2:17am

>293 Nickelini: It'll be the gigantic, dark reddish brown part. Now if I had to recognize the spleen, or the gall bladder or something, well....

Feb 1, 3:10am

>294 AnnieMod:, >295 ursula: . . . LOL - clearly I only know animal bits that are in packages at the supermarket. I guess I'll be helping elsewhere when my Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Vancouver crashes into Greenland and lands on a polar bear.

Feb 1, 9:43am

>296 Nickelini: when my Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Vancouver crashes into Greenland and lands on a polar bear LOL. It would save you from having to kill it...

Edited: Feb 1, 8:42pm

Q4: I'll take a shot at this:

Annals of the Former: I'm a geologist, and this is a book not about rocks but the people who study the rocks. As Dan put it's the book that inspires future geologists.

The Jungle: Taught me the effectiveness of good writing and what it can do to shape beliefs.

Hiroshima: afain powerful writing that shapes the way I think about conflict and strife. While, Black Rain has supplanted it, Hiroshima came first so I'd have to say it did the shaping that the other filled in.

The Pencil: sums up my feelings on well designed tools. I also just love pencils.

Fires on the Plain: A horrific story of tradegy. Cemented my love of Japanese fiction. It was the gateway to that world.

My first itteration of this list was all nonfiction, the second was all Japanese. I hope this balanced it out. Surprised really that Poe or horror never really came to mind.

Feb 3, 9:41am

Yikes - as usual the world has moved on, but for my own reference, I am answering a Part I question in Part 1

>123 avaland: Recommendations

1. General Fiction: The Long Ships also mentioned above - this book has everything
2. Mystery or Crime: Harlot's Ghost because the murder of the president is crime
3. SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal : The Mists of Avalon the closest I get in this category
4. Classic (for this, let’s say, published before 1930):Wuthering Heights or The Count of Monte Cristo depending on who I am that day
5. Graphic Novel, Comic, or any other illustrated read: The Sailor Dog the ultimate in Marie Kondo technique
6. Poetry, Single author or Anthology:A Child's Garden of Verses and A Nonsense Alphabet
7. Humorous Read of any kind (something that made you laugh): The Seventh Function of Language not only made me laugh, but laugh out loud
8. History of any kind: Religion and the Decline of Magic
9. Biography/Memoir: Zhou Enlai: The Last Perfect Revolutionary
10.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) the Social Sciences * The Pentagon Papers a book like this should come out every decade or so to keep us all awake
11.Nonfiction Book read related (however loosely) to the Physical Sciences ** Sightlines: A Conversation with the Natural World Kathleen Jamie is an amazing author
12. A book read that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories:Kidnapped

*Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politic Science, Psychology, Sociology…
**Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences …

This topic was continued by QUESTIONS FOR THE AVID READER - 2022, PART 2.