A Well-Rounded Book List

April 23, 2012 § 6 Comments

When someone asked me recently what I’d been reading, I realized the last four books included nonfiction, a volume of poetry, a fantasy epic, and some “high-falutin award-winning” literary type of literature. I felt so unusually well-rounded in my reading habits, I had to share with you, readers. Do take me down a peg and tell me what I’m missing.

1. Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Occasionally I suffer myself to read nonfiction, books like Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, Lies My Teacher Told Me, or anything by Malcolm Gladwell. These books make me feel smart and snooty.

But they take me months to get through, and that’s with lots of skimming. Not so with Mindy Kaling, whose memoir is only slightly less funnier than Tina Fey’s Bossypants but includes far more references to BFFs and irrational bawling.

Read an excerpt of “Best Friend’s Rights and Responsibilities.”

2. Jagged with Love by Susanna Childress. I fell in love with Susanna’s word-smithing in the first three pages. Her poems are breathtaking, tightly-crafted pieces. I got to meet Susanna this weekend, and her reading of poetry kept captive a roomful of listeners until she ended, when they scurried away to buy her latest book.

Listen to her read “This Day is in Love with Me.

3. This was the second time I read the light-hearted and comic fantasy Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. In this book, there’s a young girl who imagines herself an old woman, a magician who gets into foul tempers due to his vanity, and a lot of heart, as the reader discovers.

4. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is a beautifully told story of an elderly man and a teenage, list-making girl who spend the whole novel trying to discover the other. When they finally do meet, they are not what the other thought. The meeting is a sad letting go of expectations and a sweet sense of arriving.

What other genre would round out this book list? What are you reading this month?


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§ 6 Responses to A Well-Rounded Book List

  • Jill P says:

    I love this list. Well rounded reading is what I aim for as a librarian and apparently I finally hit the right month for that based on my children’s lit class reading list. This month I’ve read classic fantasy, recent fantasy, historical fiction, sports fiction, a novel in verse that was semi-autobiographical, and two very different approaches to the graphic novel format along with some formula series fiction (Magic Tree House really is kind of fun).
    That said, I looked at what I have on deck for next month and it’s pretty strictly young adult sci-fi series books that I’m trying to catch up on since I’ll be out of class and will have a lot of time on my hands. Apparently when I read for fun I get a little stuck in a genre…

    • ah! graphic novels – Jill, I’m curious as to which one you read. There’s one about marie curie I’ve been meaning to find. As well as what novel in verse you’ve read. There are so many books to go on my list!

      • Jill P says:

        The Novel in Verse was Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai.
        This is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I keep wondering how I didn’t read it last year when it came out. Equally heartbreaking and heartwarming.
        The graphic novels were: Lost and Found: Three by Shaun Tan and Around the World by Matt Phelan.
        Phelan and Tan are two of my favorite graphic novel writers but with very different approaches to the format.
        There’s a Marie Curie graphic novel called Radioactive that’s on my to-read list.
        Apparently I’m full of good book suggestions should you ever need. But then, as a librarian, I suppose that’s kind of my job.

  • drewpunk007 says:

    Wow, that is well-rounded! There’s a Howl’s Moving Castle book as well? All I saw was the movie. I want to check out the Mindy Kaling thing too- I’m a sucker for all comedy books.

    I’m supposed to be starting The Brothers K by David James Duncan here shortly, as well as the Wendell Berry essay collection I have coming in the mail. Also just finished The Kite Runner, which makes me the very last person alive to do so, and the entry level Dickens of Oliver Twist.

  • I thought the book was much more enjoyable than the movie – I’d recommend it. And I’ve heard a lot about The Brothers K. I haven’t picked it up yet because I’ve never read The Brothers Karamazov and I wonder if you have to….

  • Laura says:

    I have been reading children’s fiction almost exclusively since January. My choices for book club this month: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by you know who, and The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, written and illustrated by Howard Pyle, the father of American illustration.

    Two genre-birds with one stone suggestion: Eugene Onegin, Russian novel-in-verse.

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