What to Read Next? The Eternal Question

BOOKS!!!
Poorly taken photo of a couple of my bookshelves.

I knew that eventually this day would come but it was always over the horizon and never a real worry, yet now that the day has finally arrived and I’ve reached total paralysis on choosing a book.  Now to delegate the hard work to you thoughtful and knowledgable people, your suggestions from this fine mass of literature for my next read will be much appreciated.  To make it more interesting, I will select an entry at random and the writer of said comment will get the grand old prize of a pleased nod from moi AND a sense of enormous well-being for your efforts.

  • Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell
  • Darkness at Noon – Arthur Koestler
  • The Bridge over the Drina – Ivo Andrić
  • 11.22.63 – Stephen King
  • The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut
  • Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  • Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages – R.W. Southern
  • Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
  • Poor Folk – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Fortunes of the Rougons – Émile Zola
  • The Crystal World – J. G. Ballard
  • The Luzhin Defence – Vladimir Nabakov
  •  How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup – J. L. Carr
  • The Gravedigger – Peter Grandbois
  • The Jewel in the Crown – Paul Scott
  • The Coup – John Updike
  • Maps for Lost Lovers – Nadeem Aslam
  • Literature and Evil – George Bataille

 

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66 Replies to “What to Read Next? The Eternal Question”

    1. I wasn’t keen on 11.22.63 when I read the blurb but it gets a lot of love and Bataille’s title does sound extremely enticing. My problem is a big one, I just want to get on and actually read something but my choices are complicated due to the obsession of buying great books. Sigh, it’s a hard life.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Greetings my friend! It’s the first of six books and I added this to the list instead of A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch due that books epic size and my need to try and catch up on things. Thanks for your input as ever!

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    1. It has some nods to a couple of earlier books or so I heard which is always good, so far Nabokov hasn’t crossed my path but the choice is a very tough one this time. King seems to be getting the love so far, which is never a bad thing.

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      1. I look forward to finding out which one you choose. I always like to know what you are reading. I just finished reading a Japanese book called Strange Weather in Tokyo which was good. I’m now reading Gloria Vanderbilt’s memoir which is surprisingly interesting.

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        1. Two more I will be looking at for the wish list. I’m reading a graphic novel about democracy at the moment and my last book was Howards End on the Landing but I am way behind on posts. I will hopefully be posting tomorrow (my late morning/early afternoon on what I have chosen. Your chooses always intrigue as you find so many other funky books I’ve never heard of.

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  1. The first sentence of the Amazon.com synopsis for Maps for Lost Lovers has me hooked! “If Gabriel García Márquez had chosen to write about Pakistani immigrants in England, he might have produced a novel as beautiful and devastating as Maps for Lost Lovers.” If you don’t read this next, please mail to me so I can read it 😉

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    1. Interestingly a lot of people are also linking The Gravedigger to Marquez’s style. MfLL was brought to my attention through Hitchens and the nod to Marquez puts it high in the list…I’d rather buy you the book, I hardly ever part with my own, that makes me too emotional.

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      1. I wonder just how much either of these books are like Marquez’s style. Maybe the copywriters just know exactly what to say to make people like us interested in these books! I’ll have to read more about The Gravedigger as well. I’ve never read anything on this list, so I am curious to see what you will read next. I am, in the meantime, furiously adding some of these to my to-read list as well.

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        1. Yes there is a wariness to too many mentions to Marquez, I mean he is unique and he is a good name to trade off. I can’t remember where I came across the Gravedigger, just that it has been on my list for a few years before I picked up a copy. I’m always happy to be passing on titles, it’s great to have a big list to explore and I will be posting on which I picked tomorrow and will hopefully have read a bit of whatever it is by then so I can give some decent opinions.

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  2. I’m “working” on 11.22.63…not quite sure what bogged me down. I will finish it, in time (for what I’m not sure) 😀 I’ve never been a reader of Mr. King, not sure what prompted me to pick up this tome (as a paperback it’s quite gigantic). Of course I’ve read some of the other authors but not these particular works by them. No Dickens, after I discovered how he treat his wife and children I’ve developed rather an antipathy toward him personally…still happy I’ve read all of his work that I have though. Some of the others perhaps before my eyes grow dim 🙂 What fantastic bookcases you have and filled with books, you are a wonder 🙂

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    1. I’m saving the massive Peter Ackroyd biography of Dickens until after I’ve finished all of Dickens’ novels, he really is a great author and very flawed but still brilliant. Even when King writes massive books he has a way of making the pages fly when we have the time to indulge that is. King does some good stuff, Different Seasons is a good read as well should you hanker for four short stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Of books I have read, I would recommend Dickens’s “Our Mutual Friend.” It’s a very good read, and more than that, has an interesting bit of grammatical trivia connected to it: why, if you are saying someone is your friend, and someone else’s friend, do you need to call him or her “our MUTUAL friend,” unless you are being deliberately redundant, for some reason? Explore the themes of the book, and you may find a reason, perhaps. If not that book, I would opt for “Maps for Lost Lovers,” not because I have read it, but because I haven’t, and the title intrigues me. (You can see I’m trying to corner the market by giving two choices!).

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    1. I like your style, I hadn’t really thought about Our Mutual Friend like that…there is mutual Facebook friends but this being literature well that’s something else. Map for Lost Lovers is a serious read and is garnering a lot of votes, the decision will be a tough one!

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    1. Well guaranteed next time, most of those books won’t be on my list due to my fickle nature and a wealth of other fine books waiting in the wings. MfLL is garnering a lot of love, maybe I should always seek the wisdom of my blogging friends in such complex matter as picking a book.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Like Jill, I have enough trouble deciding what to read myself! Long book, short; fiction, non-fiction; ‘difficult’ subject or ‘easy’ read. Sometimes I put them all into alphabetical order (authors) and start at the beginning …. or the end. The permutations are endless and the time-wasting goes on and on.
    I enjoyed Carr’s ‘A Month in the Country’ so would recommend him as an author. I enjoyed ‘Our Mutual Friend’ and ‘Brideshead Revisited’ and would recommend them. ‘Homage to Catalonia’ is on my bookshelf waiting to be read. The rest sound intriguing and so I sympathise with your dilemma. I don’t believe I have been at all helpful.

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  5. I’d want you to read The Mutual Friend or 11.22.63. or literature and evil because these are quite popular ones and would want to read your reviews on them. But I leave t upto you. J💕 your bookshelf is such a feast for the eyes. 💓

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    1. I do like to compile a list of magical reads to review and generally make you a bit jealous of. It’s a tougher choice than usual but I will sort it after a morning coffee.

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          1. That’d be perfect! How goes the day? I just received a copy of Marquez’s The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor. Can’t wait to begin. Have you read it, J?

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            1. I haven’t read that one, I have read a lot of Marque and am after The General in his labyrinth at the moment. It’s always good to swap book thoughts. My day is going alright, just wish I had more time to fit everything in and you?

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    1. I don’t know enough about the chap, alas I saw this comment too late and had already made my choice. It will remain high up on the TBR pile though.

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        1. I tend not to bother with the actual authors until I have read a few books, I find it may colour my view of a book and I like the words to be pure..at least for me.

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  6. I was reading your list giving equal weight to each tome until I encountered a title which sent balance and judgement out of the window. If you are already in possession of a copy of ‘How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup’ by J. L. Carr, how is it possible that you have resisted it thus far? I have never before encountered it but now feel compelled to seek out a copy of my own. So, for me, this is the ‘goal’den choice (see what I did there) 😉

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    1. Ah well, I thought I would save it for third round day, then I link to Kidderminster, Barrow or any other team that causes an upset, well that’s my justification for not yet reading it. That pun was Fabregas-tingly good.

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  7. Well now you’ve told me about a Charles Dickens novel that I didn’t even know existed… I curse you!! Hehe 😉 I have so many books on my to-read list and now there will be one more.. I love reading though!

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      1. Ok but prepare for me to give you some book reviews too – haha we are both loving books! Yesterday I got a package for a new book of poetry I ordered the week before and already have so many on the to-read list. I guess there are worse addictions than reading!!

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        1. Exactly, I mean if we coveted alcohol or drugs, they would be used up and that would be it but with books, well we get to metaphorically snort them every day…well I do like to sniff my books most days. Speaking of books, I need to add your delightfully coloured book cover to my shelves soon. I am in a book buying mood, unsurprisingly.

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          1. Haha, sniff sniff 🙂 I like the scent of old paper book pages! Woohoo that’s really nice of you to offer to purchase either of my books – I hope you like the read

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            1. I ordered your latest book earlier today coincidentally…I do like the splashes of colour and it should arrive in my sticky mitts by the end of the week at the latest. If I could bottle the book smell, I would make a fortune…as aftershave it would work wonders with the ladies, you know smelling like a musty old book, I’ll bet the ladies love it.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Ohhh I’m honoured you ordered my book ((this Canadian gal is smiling)). As for the musty book smell, it’s an acquired taste, perhaps? I am going to bottle the ability to write a bestseller… only I need to come up with the formula first 😉 hehe

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                1. It should be arriving today, it has been dispatched from up the road in Sheffield and I have been refreshing the tracker because I don’t get out much and like to do such things. I look forward to getting my actual hands on your work and also seeing you improve through the years…because I think long term! I’ll put in a pre order for the your bottled bestseller formula, for when you find it.

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      1. You might need to add a visit to a brothel and maybe a ritual sacrifice in the woods. Looking forward to hearing about how it all went!

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  8. I’m humbled by your followers knowledge of books. I know 7 of the authors, but not the books you’ve listed. I’d take a chance on “Our Mutual Friend” You’ll read them all, eventually. Big help I am!

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    1. Yes indeed I will get there with all of them, such good works I have to get through. Puts a big smile on my face and I aim to impress you more with my reading as well.

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  9. The book on the Church and Western Society in the middle ages could be good. That was the golden age of human thought in the Church, I think.

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    1. I have Aquinas, Anselm and Augustus to read, as well as some theologians beginning with other letters, it is a six part series though, so may go for Diarmaid Maculluch’s A History of Christianity first.

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