Monday, April 06, 2009

Herding Cats II: Attack of the Hairballs

I love this challenge, if you can even call it that since this year you don't even have to read any books if you don't want to. It's a great idea though and I love looking over the list of books that the other participants have recommended. This year, we are to list 5 books that we love, that we read between 2007 and 2009. Then from April 1st to December 31st, we can read as many or as few of the other recommended books as we like. Click on the button for all the details on how to join.

Here are my recommendations:
A couple of these were on my list last year as well, but that just goes to prove that they were memorable reads.
(click on the titles to read my reviews, click on the book covers below to read more at Amazon)

The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Bleak, harsh and depressing but also compelling, vivid and very moving.

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
What can I say, it's Murakami! Never predictable, and a very fun ride.

The Makioka Sisters - Junichiro Tanizaki
It's a little slow at times but I was completely engrossed in the story of this family in the years just before WWII, and I really enjoyed reading about the various Japanese traditions and culture as they were mentioned in terms of the story.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
A real chunkster of a book, but what a clever, imaginative story. Do you believe in magic?

Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow (US title: Smilla's Sense of Snow) - Peter Høeg
For the cold, slightly unsettled mood that permeated this book, and that lingered long after I finished reading it.

From the Master Booklist, of all the titles that have been recommended so far by the other participants, these are the books that I'd like to read and that are already in my TBR stacks.

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
Embroideries - Marjane Satrapi
Broken for You - Stephanie Kallos
Silent in the Grave - Deanna Raybourn
The End of the Alphabet - C.S. Richardson
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
The Rights of the Reader - Daniel Pennac
This Blinding Absence of Light - Tahar Ben Jalloun

Plus I don't actually own the following two yet but plan to add them to a book order soon.
Looking for Alaska - John Green
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (once it's out in paperback next month)

Realistically I'm not sure how many I'll get to, but I'm looking forward to reading all of them, and then some.

What books would you recommend that you've read in the last couple of years?


  1. I'm so glad you are joining in, Nat! I am really looking forward to reading The Road this year. That's one I am sure I will get to before the end of the year so maybe I will be able to say I completed the challenge portion of this exercise successfully after all. :-)

    Jonaathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a wonderful book, isn't it? I do want to read some of the others you mention as well--I'm just not sure it will be within the time frame.

  2. I love the sound of The Makioka Sisters!

  3. Enjoy this challenge tanabata! So many great book recommendations. I loved Jonathan Strange too.

    p.s. ooh looking for it buy it!!!

  4. Two that stand out in my mind simply because before reading them I had no idea I would end up loving them so much (thinking their subject matters were not 'me') were "The Black Flower" by Howard Bahr and "Angle of Repose" by Wallace Stegner. Both are so beautifully written and are about so much more than a synopsis can give.

  5. Wendy - It's such a fun 'challenge' and I do love the button! :P
    I hope you enjoy (that's not really the right word for it but you know what I mean) The Road when you get to it.
    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell really is a wonderful book. One of these days I'll have to get around to reading the short stories in The Ladies of Grace Adieu.

    Nymeth - In some ways it's quite a quiet story but since you're interested in Japanese culture I think you might like it.

    mariel - I ordered a few books today and Looking for Alaska was one of them. Happy? :P

    Teresa - It's wonderful to end up loving a book you didn't think you'd like all that much. I've heard of Angle of Repose, but not The Black Flower. I'm not really drawn to Civil War stories although I have enjoyed the couple that I've read.


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