Saturday, March 24, 2012

Books books books!

I feel as if my last few blog posts have been questionable in terms of their relevance to science, sewing, or sautéing, so in the interest of “crafting” (sewing’s cousin, right?) here are two things I made in pottery class this year. I call them “bird mug” and “flower bowl.”

Ah, I feel like a legitimate part of the group now. Legit enough to get to my real post: books books books! I begin with a sad fact: I lost my list of books to read some time ago. It’s hard enough trying to recreate a list of books that you came up with yourself, but it’s a whole new ballgame when you’re attempting to recall titles and authors that other people had suggested. Unfortunately, at least 83% of my list was made up of other people’s suggestions. Needless to say I gave up and started over, hence the book email I sent to you all a few months back.

Keeping in line with my first book list, I did not want to be confined by my own literary experiences—it’s more fun incorporating other people’s recommendations into the mix. I also realized that in addition to discovering what others have read and enjoyed, I was interested in knowing what folks intended to read. So here’s a little compilation of titles and authors, courtesy of you all:

The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
Bossypants Tina Fey
In the Garden of Beasts Erik Larson
A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin
Medium Raw Anthony Bourdain
Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain
The Sisters Brothers Patrick deWitt
The Paris Wife Paula McLain
The Help Kathryn Stockett
Modoc Ralph Helfer
Polar Dream Helen Thayer
A Complicated Kindness Miriam Toews
Anna Pigeon series Nevada Barr
Something Fierce Carmen Aguirre
The Big Year Mark Obmascik
Pink Boots and a Machete Mireya Mayor
The Corrections Jonathan Franzen
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective's Agency Alexander McCall Smith
Sometimes a Great Notion Ken Kesey
Merlin trilogy Mary Stewart
The Power of One Bryce Courtenay
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
Best Laid Plans Terry Fallis
1Q84 Haruki Murakami
The Orphan Master's Son Adam Johnson
A Study in Sherlock Laurie R. King (editor)
The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern
Still Alice Lisa Genova
The Glass Castle Jeannette Walls
Josephine B trilogy Sandra Gulland
Trinity Leon Uris
Song of the Dodo David Quammen
A Primate's Memoir Robert Sapolsky
Why Zebra's Don't Get Ulcers Robert Sapolsky
South Ernest Shackleton
Sand County Almanac Aldo Leopold
Foutainhead Ayn Rand
Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson
Three Day Road Joseph Boyden
The Hakawati Rabih Alameddine
the Arthurian saga Jack Whyte
The Lacuna                                       Barbara Kingsolver
And this is the result of those far...

Almost all of these books, authors, or genres are on people’s “to read” list, and helped guide my wandering eyes while in the bookshops. Libraries are great, but there is something to be said about adding a couple new titles to the ol’ bookshelf, know what I mean? If you’ve forgotten, I suspect you’ll remember sooner rather than later. ;-)

Happy Reading!


  1. Thanks for making a list, Mara! I'm working my way through it too!! Can I borrow 'The Sisters Brothers"?

    Unfortunately, we're probably going to have to start giving away a number of our books as we don't want to lug them across the country. I'll keep you ladies updated on that situation! It's going to be a sad day.

  2. Oh dear. I fear I may have added to your problem, Kim. As far as The Sisters Brothers, you'll have to ask Alana for that one (although I'm not sure she knows that yet). :-) I think Linnea has a copy, though.

  3. Ha - she knows...and has been trying to come up with a cute way of saying thank you since I got the book on Friday!! Mara - you should add book fairy and most wonderful friend to your CV if you haven't already:) I don't think there's anything better than receiving a little something in the mail that a friend just thought to send you. Actually, I wanted to thank Kim D. too - another random mail sender...No birthdays, no christmas...just a little something something arriving by post. I love it, and am now determined to pass it forward!


    ps - Kim O - I can definitely pass it on to you once I'm done

  4. Also - Mara, I love the pottery. That mug looks like the perfect size for cuddling in your hand on a cold winters night.

    nice crafting.

    1. To start, Mara you are amazing. Your spirit of giving is truly inspiring. Thanks for both the great discussion topic and the book!

      Secondly, totally beat me to the Tom Robbins shout-out. I was surprised that he hadn't been mentioned yet. I never did give my 2 cents in the e-mail thread so here goes (in no particular order) - a list of some of my favourite reads:

      Still LIfe With Woodpecker - Tom Robbins
      Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
      Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
      The In-Between World of Vikram Lall - M.G. Vassanji
      Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
      Isaac's Storm - Erik Larson
      Anything by David Sedaris (most notably Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and When We Are Engulfed In Flames)...and most things by Augusten Burroughs (note: Running with Scissors was my least favourite), and more recently I've started enjoying Bill Bryson.

      I also loved the Glass Castle, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Three Day Road, and countless other recommendations.

      And here are some from my to read pile:

      The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
      Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
      The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill
      The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay
      A Complicated Kindness - Miriam Toews
      The Sisters Brothers - Patrick deWitt
      Havana Real:One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth About Cuba Today - Yoani Sanchez
      The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
      Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese
      The Devil in The White City - Erik Larson

      and of course...Walden.


  5. I just read The Corrections, It was fantastic. I'd also add The Confederacy of the Dunces by John Toole and Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins to the list. Those are 2 of my all time favs.

  6. Yes! Tom Robbins = love.

    Mara - books are never a problem! It was so sweet of you to pass on those books, thank you! :)

  7. also...I'm not sure why my response jumped in under Alanna...Oops.

  8. I've been totally out of the loop! But have to agree... this list, the pottery and the book fairy are all amazing! Miss our in person science sewing!!