Read anything good lately?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009 | Tags: , , , , , ,

There is nothing I love more than a good book. On the beach, a plane, the couch, and best of all, right before bed, you'll catch me reading. In fact, I've been declared downright anti-social when I'm 200 pages deep into a work of fiction. I actually tell people not to talk to me: "It's reading time." (This may be why I have more books than friends.)

My own library is a decent size, about 400-500 volumes strong. My taste is varied, though I read mainly fiction. I try to put myself on a literary diet as thrillers and detective novels are my crack. One literary book, one thriller, one literary, one thriller…

Yes, I colour co-ordinate my library

I come by my addiction honestly, through my librarian father, who always has a book or three on the go. He’s often my supplier. I also buy titles that I want to add to my collection. I stalk Chapters – virtually and online – waiting for those hardcover gems to appear in paperback. (I do like the free shipping on orders over $39 at chapters.ca and amazon.ca. Plus you’ll find the online prices are often better than in store.)

 Here are a few that I’ve read in the past few months and can recommend.

In the mood for serious?

People Of The Book 

by Geraldine Brooks

This is one I was saving for my trip to Croatia since some of it occurs in post war Bosnia. Hanna Heath, a rare book expert, is called to Sarajevo to examine the authenticity of a rare Haggadah, a Jewish prayer book. As Hanna tries to uncover the book’s mysteries, we’re taken on a five century journey from the book’s creation to present day. A book about a mysterious book. What could be better?


In the mood for warm and fuzzy?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows

A post World War Two tale, told only through letters. Writer and journalist Juliet Ashton begins a correspondence with the residents of the British island of Guernsey. As she begins to learn about their then little known occupation by the Germans during World War II, she decides to write a book about it. Her research eventually takes her to Guernsey during which time she continues corresponding with her publisher and friends back home. I’m usually not a war buff, but this is a somewhat uplifting war story, a feel-good read.


In the mood to be freaked out?

Tropic Of Night

by Michael Gruber

This literary thriller (my words) weaves the stories of two characters – a Miami detective on the hunt for a grisly serial killer, and a former anthropologist, specializing in African witchcraft and voodoo, who’s trying to hide from her former life. You see where this is going? Think Hearts of Darkness meets CSI Miami. You may not be able to sleep at night.



In the mood for a fun page-turner?

Gone Tomorrow

by Lee Child

Lee Child’s tough guy character Jack Reacher is one of my favourites in popular crime fiction. I have a serious crush on Reacher – tough, smart, answers to no one. He’s a man with no address and no ties, with a real penchant for trouble. I barely remember what this latest instalment is about, I tear through Child’s stories so quickly.


Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at audible.com!


In the mood for a good chuckle?

Curse of the Spellmans: A Novel

by Lisa Lutz

A comedic detective tale, about Izzy Spellman, the 20-something misfit private eye in a family of mildly dysfunctional detectives. Izzy can’t sustain a normal relationship because she keeps investigating her dates and the entire family can’t help themselves from spying on each other. I recommend “The Spellman Files,” Lutz’s first instalment in the series as an introduction to who’s who.



In the mood for an old fashioned, all around good read

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I just started this one and I’m so excited to read it, I actually bucked up and bought hardcover. Zafon’s last book, “The Shadow of the Wind” was excellent and only a few chapters in, this one could be even better. Obsession, love, literature, Barcelona?? You know where to find me this weekend. On the couch!



Going through a book every week or two means I’m always on the lookout for my next read. Any fellow bibliophiles out there? I’d love to hear some recommendations from you. Post below please!


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Join the conversation 

On 09 29, 2009 at 07:47:59 PM, Robin T. said:

If you like Canadian historical fiction, then I definitely recommend Ami McKay’s “The Birth House”. It is the story of a young midwife during the early 20th century in rural Nova Scotia. It is beautifully written and incredibly interesting! Definitely worth checking out!

On 09 29, 2009 at 07:51:47 PM, Bruce M. said:

I share your addiction to the Reacher novels of Lee Child. I just finished the latest Dan Brown – The Lost Symbol which I quite liked. Stephen Hunter writes books featuring Bob Lee Swagger. One of them, Point Of Impact, was made (not as good as the book) into the move “Shooter”. How is that for a start? As for places to buy books, Costco is good for books at about half the cover price. The Calgary Costco’s currently have all the Lee Child Reacher series in stock for some reason… I could go on and on with book recommendations!

On 09 29, 2009 at 08:11:58 PM, Jodi V. said:

I really enjoyed Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. It took some perseverence at times, but well worth it. I too am totally anti-social when I am elbows deep in a book! Good luck!!

On 09 29, 2009 at 08:43:35 PM, Maureen P. said:

I am also an avid reader-I spend hours in libraries, obookstores and online. Have you read Mary Lawson’s books- “Crow Lake” and “The Ohter side of the Bridge”. Wonderful. One of my very favs of the past year is “The Girls” by Lori Lansen. I was hooked from the first page. “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver is one of my all time favs. I also loved ” Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett. “Behind the Scenes at the Museum” is a quirky, funny book which I adored by Kate Atkinson. J.M. Coetzee’s “Disgrace” is a tough, very compelling read-beautifully written. One last one (I could go on and on) “The Way the Crow Flies” by Anne Marie MacDonald. Incredible writng and she captures a time in Canada beautifully. Oh and my number one book for this year is “The Book Thief”. Oh how I love that book. It takes a few chapetrs to get into but after that….it is classified as a youth book which I feel is so wrong. I could not have read that book as a 12 year old and understood its powerful message. Read it read it! And let us all know what you think ! http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/thebookthief/ Hope some of my suggestions provide with hours of reading pleasure.

On 09 29, 2009 at 09:48:12 PM, Heather . said:

Loved loved loved The Angel’s Game, perhaps just a bit more than Shadow of the Wind. Just finished a Danish crime novel by Jo Nesbo called The Devil’s Star. Really original and appreciated a setting (Oslo) that’s a bit different.

On 09 30, 2009 at 04:57:43 PM, Eugen B. said:

I, too, have an affliction for books. I used to escape into books when I was young and I’ve kept the joy of reading ever since. My kids enjoy my love, which is wonderful. My taste has grown varied but in terms of detective novels I continue to enjoy the Nero Wolfe series by Rex Stout. They are just a pleasure to read. I similarly enjoy the Inspector Banks novels of Peter Robinson, a Canadian author. His tales are quite well done. I tend to enjoy detective books where the characters are fairly interesting or quirky, and both Wolfe, Goodwin (Wolfe’s Man Friday) and Banks easily fit that bill. I also enjoy Larry Niven. Although he’s much less prolific now than a couple of decades ago, Ringworld remains one of the best SF books ever. I could go on a long while about all the books I’ve bought or want to buy or want to read. But I’ll just say that my love of books is varied. And, like you, when I’m into a good book I prefer to be left alone. My only problem is, I don’t have enough time to read everything I’ve bought. Sigh.

On 10 1, 2009 at 07:58:42 AM, Kristina Matisic. said:

Wow, lots of great recommendations from everyone. I’m going to busy for a while! People who read are so passionate about it, aren’t they? I have not read Birth House but have looked at it many times in the store. I’ll add it to my list. I have read Stephen Hunter and yes, I agree, great stuff. Maureen, you and I have similar tastes in the more “literary” genre. I have read most of your suggestions, including Crow Lake, The Girls, Behind the Scenes at the Museum (have you tried Atkinson’s mysteries? Great!), Disgrace, and yes, The Way the Crow Flies. But we have to mention Fall on Your Knees. Definitely on my top 10 list of all time. (And A Suitable Boy.) You see, I could go on and on! I will add Book Thief to my list. I have read the Pillars of the Earth but not the sequel yet. Devil’s Star sounds interesting. Have you heard of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Swedish, by Stieg Larsson. And thanks for all the detective novels Eugen!

On 10 5, 2009 at 08:26:54 PM, Sandra M. said:

Oh Kristina! Look at ALL those books in your library! Sorry, I was having heart palpitations there for a moment. As you can seel, I am another avid (is that rabid?) book reader. My tastes are definitely eclectic – from literary fiction to horror and everything in between. My trick to saving money with my reading addiction is to search the best sellers list on Amazon.ca and then head to my local library. This way, if I fall in love with the book, I can always buy it and add to my library (I read my best loved books multiple times). If it’s a clunker, then I just drop it back in the return bin, instead of grumbling about spending $35 on a waste of a tree. As any book lover out there, I could give you lists and lists of recommendations, (we are a passionate bunch!). But I will practice restraint, and just give you a short list of books that kept me up at night reading “just one more chapter”: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein, A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, My Life in France by Julia Child, City Of Thieves by David Benioff, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and my guilty pleasure, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Happy reading!

On 11 3, 2009 at 10:01:13 AM, Roberta B. said:

Book of Negroes – Lawrence Hill Any known Blood – Lawrence Hill The Book Thief – Markus Zusak The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo – Steig Larsson The Girl who Played with Fire – Steig Larsson… …I can’t wait for the third Steig Larsson book! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith The Virgin Blue – Tracy Chevalier The Girl with The Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier These books are my top picks so far for 2009 that I have read.

On 11 3, 2009 at 10:02:46 AM, Roberta B. said:

AND…I absolutely loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer . The title itself won me over.

On 01 4, 2010 at 06:22:42 PM, Emma C. said:

The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan. It’s a delightful read yet touches upon the dark side of life, too. It reminded me of when I was a little girl. I would close my eyes at night and wish I could fly. And oh what power I could have!

On 01 15, 2010 at 09:19:51 PM, Elizabeth P. said:

Wow, my book list has expanded so much just because of this one entry! I am new to this site but I picked up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and read it in just a couple days! Before that I read the Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and although I was skeptical at first I thought the book was thrilling, and extremely captivating. I happen to love The Hours by Michael Cunningham too, I thought it was brilliant how he tied together the lives of three seemingly different women and with many references to Virginia Woolf’s life and literary works. This is one book I enjoy reading over and over which I rarely do.

On 12 27, 2011 at 06:25:17 PM, Gail T. said:

Anything by Dan Brown, Stephen King or Dean Kontz. I especially loved Angels and Demons, The DaVinci code and Digital Fortress. All of Catherine Cookson’s novels give a real slice of life in the poor areas of rural England, and for a light read and a good laugh, Erma Bombeck. 🙂


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  • bluegrass69

    I’ve recently finished “Shatner Rules” by William Shatner and found it a witty and fun read. I’m not a huge reader, however I enjoyed this book very much and now feel that I know “Bill” Shatner a lot better.

    • annaandkristina

      Thanks for the tip! -KM