Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Book You Recommend Most

For years I have been trying to get people to read TIME WILL DARKEN IT by William Maxwell and today in the NYT book review, Daniel Handler picked it as a favorite too. So I am not its only fan!

What book have you been trying to get people to read for years?


Deb said...

During each year, I usually recommend my favorite book(s) of the past 12 months--like right now, I'm urging people to read Amy Bloom's Lucky Us. But over the years, the books I've recommended most are the three books that comprise Robertson Davies's Salterton Trilogy: Tempest Toss'd, A Leaven of Malice, and A Mixture of Frailties. Wonderful books both comedic and profound, set (mostly) in mid-century Canada.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I am a fan of his Deptford Trilogy. A great writer, sorely missed for combining humor with his great stories.

Richard said...

The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. Though it is now seldom read and increasingly historical, the characters, language, imagery and the fascinating story told from different viewpoints make it fascinating and beautiful. I've read it twice and am thinking about reading it again.

Richard said...

I should have said the four novels are Justine, Mountolive, Balthazarand Clea.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I read them back in the sixties--they were very well read then. Someone should do at least JUSTINE for FFB.

new improved gorman said...

Books: The short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Irwin Shaw, Katharine Anne Porter, Graham Greene, John Steinbeck and of course Ernest Hemingway.

R. T. said...

My inevitable Rx is Flannery O'Connor's Collected Works -- the Library of America edition. No other book comes even close to moving that one out of my #1 spot.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Depends on the person but several books I recommend a lot are:
A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

pattinase (abbott) said...

Porter is almost a forgotten author and so unjustly. The short story I recommend most is "A Good Man Is Hard to Find."
A PRAYER FOR THE DYING is my second favorite O'Nan book after LAST NIGHT A THE LOBSTER.
I get to see him speak here on Thursday on his new book. WEST OF SUNSET. LAND OF LAUGHS is new to me. I have read many of Greene's books but don't think I have read his ss collection.

seana graham said...

Some that I've recommended a lot in my day:
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West. It's long, so a commitment, but brilliant. (This randomly came up twice just the other day which is why I thought of it first)

A Story Like the Wind and its sequel A Far Off Place, by Laurens Van der Post.

The Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street, by David Payne

Handling Sin by Michael Malone

English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale.

And thanks for all the recs, everyone!

Cap'n Bob said...


R. T. said...

Postscript: As notable second-place finishers behind Flannery O'Connor, I would include (in no particular order) the novels and plays that I have read most often --
Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro)
Death Comes for the Archbishop (Cather)
Morte d'Urban (Powers)
The Power and the Glory (Greene)
Love in the Time of Cholera (Garcia-Marquez)
Midnight's Children (Rushdie)
Brave New World (Huxley)
Hamlet (Shakespeare -- as if you didn't know that already)
Waiting for Godot (Beckett)
The Master Builder (Ibsen)
Oedipus the King (Sophocles)

Whew! That's (more than) enough. I have probably overstayed my welcome and taken up too much comment-space. Now, I need to get back to reading something someone just recommended to me: Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. Will it make my Rx list? Time will tell.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I like Ed Gorman's list and would echo a lot of it.


Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere
James Clavell, Shogun
Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove
Owen Parry, Faded Coat of Blue
John O'Hara's short stories
Shirley Jackson, Life Among the Savages
Stephen King, The Stand
Frederick Exley, A Fan's Notes
Stanley Elkin, The Dick Gibson Show

So far I haven't been able to get through Robertson Davies or Lawrence Durrell. (I like his brother.) My loss, I know.

Jeff M.

Ron Scheer said...

Just happen to have a copy of Justine thats been waiting to be read.

Margot Kinberg said...

Catherine O'Flynn's What Was Lost. It's remarkable.

George said...

I'm a big Anthony Trollope fan. I usually recommend Trollope's Barchester Towers (1857).

Charles Gramlich said...

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

John said...

Thanks for making a reference to that Q&A with Mr Lemony Snicket. I enjoyed every word of it, but especially this portion with which I whole-heartedly agree:

"...for the life of me I am mystified by the appeal of novels showing us the Way We Live Now. I am interested in the Way We Lived Then. I am interested in How Some Other People Live, and I am interested in the Way We Might Live Some Other Time. But most of all I am interested in the Way We Don’t Live Now, a book with the essential strangeness of great literature. The strange illuminates the ordinary. But somebody tell me, please, what the ordinary is supposed to illuminate."

Like Handler I find the strange to be illuminating. If I'm going to recommend a title I figure I'll point someone to a book they'd probably never discover on their own. You'll find me pushing books like Miss Hargreaves, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, Boxer Beetle and the gender-bending supernatural novels of Edwardian author Richard Marsh.

Todd Mason said...

I will add to my FB recs of Avram Davidson and Joanna Russ (any of their short fiction collections, certainly, and THE FEMALE MAN and MASTERS OF THE MAZE) the likes of
THE ALEPH AND OTHER STORIES: 1933-69 by Jorge Luis Borges
THE EXILE by William Kotzwinkle
THE SIRENS OF TITAN and BLUEBEARD (depending on whether one wants sf or contemporary mimetic/recent historical) by Kurt Vonnegut
CONJURE WIFE and THE SECRET SONGS (collection) by Fritz Leiber
LADY ORACLE by Margaret Atwood
FLOWERING JUDAS (collection) by K. A. Porter (the incautious reader might take you to be crediting "A Good Man" to Porter above!)
WOMEN SHOULD BE ALLOWED by Wilma Shore (collection)
any collection of Damon Knight's
Lee Hoffman's THE VALDEZ HORSES among many others
ROGUE MOON, MICHAELMAS and HARD LANDING by Algis Budrys, along with his collections
and all this barely scratches crime, while I can barely be remotely objective about them, the ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: anthologies of Robert Arthur and Harold Q. Masur, and the various anthologies of Ed Gorman, not to mention Karl Edward Wagner, Gerald W. Page, Ellen Datlow, Jerome Charyn, Barry Malzberg (and his novel UNDERLAY) and Bill Pronzini (and his collection GRAVEYARD PLOTS), and so many others...

Todd Mason said...

and Robert Bloch...and Shirley Jackson...and...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Have read some of these but not enough. Ain't it wonderful how varied we are in our likes (and dislikes).

Anonymous said...

Max Perkins, by A. Scott Berg. It carries me into the heart of American literature, where few people want to go.

pattinase (abbott) said...

One of the great bios and also his on F. Scott Fitzgerald.