If I Wanted Your Opinion I Would Ask For It

May I please have your opinions?

I have this ongoing list that I keep on my Palm Pilot of all the books I want to read. Right now I have about 80 books on my list (not even including all four of the ones I’m reading right now).

Anyway, I am supposed to be reading “Life of Pi” for one of my bookclubs, but nobody I’ve talked to has actually admitted to reading and liking this book. For a book that was so insanely popular, did anyone enjoy it? I have the same question in regards to “Reading Lolita in Tehran“. Did anybody like that book either?

If you don’t approve of any of these books, then what should I be reading? (And for the love of God, please don’t say anything by Dan Brown, Danielle Steel or James Patterson. No offense if you like these authors, but I am looking for something that either has substance or makes me laugh, but preferably both of these things.)

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  1. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse – AWESOME. seriously, fabulous.

    Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler – also awesome

    have you read The Birth House by Ami McKay? another must read

    I, um, read a lot. there are a ton of book links on my site from my fall & winter reading lists. currently reading Rocket Boys – the story behind the movie “October Sky”

    I was listening to Life of Pi as an audiobook and it wasn’t interesting. I need to give it another chance as a regular book.

  2. Would you think I was an ass for saying you should read my book? Oh, okay then.

  3. i am delurking for the first time. i’m an avid reader and i’m always on the lookout for good books (and reviews are so useful!)

    i’ve recently finished THE BOOK THIEF by Marcus Zusack. it’s absolutely amazing. i can’t recommend it highly enough.

  4. Devra – You’re welcome in the guest room library anytime. It’s much, much, much neater than my office.

  5. I didn’t read the other comments so I don’t know if any one said this. I tried reading Life of Pi, but could not finish. I got most of the way through Lolita in Tehran but found it boring. You MUST read The Red Tent. Tell me what you think when you are done.

  6. I think many people didn’t like the book because it left you questioning at the end. I loved the book and have highly recommended it to several people….that said, I only know one other person that liked it as much as I did.

  7. I could not get past the first 2 chapters of Lolita either. I love books (both fiction and non) written by Arabic women, and for that reason was keen to read it, but eh. I think if you really really love Nabokov as much as the writer then that would help. I, unfortunately, do not. And, I had a hard time keeping all the women straight.

    I am reading the Swallows of Kabul right now which I am LOVING for far. It’s written by a man with a female nom de plume (Yasmina Khadra). He explains why…

    For some reason I am completely turned off by Pi. Like Mir above I love Lehane and Hiassen (read everything by both), and Philippa Gregory’s sexxxy historical fiction is such a guilty pleasure.

  8. How on earth do you have twins, blog on a near-daily basis, and READ BOOKS?

    I think I’ve read exactly three books in the nearly three years since my twins were born. Being an activist/lefty kind of gal with a long pre-kiddo arrest record, I really enjoyed my most recent read: EAT THE DOCUMENT, by Dana Spiotta.

  9. I posted this list on my blog just a couple of days ago. Give it a try.

    It’s what you SHOULD read.

    Oh, you should also read my current 100-Day Novel project.


  10. So many opinions already! I just wanted to say that I read “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” and it was okay, but I didn’t LOVE it — it’s not something I would necessarily run out to recommend to anyone else. (I didn’t give it any “stars” on my Books Read in 2006 list.)

  11. 60 responses?! No wait! Now it’s 61! And no asterik (a thinly veiled baseball movie reference). You are A-mazing.

  12. Life of Pi is the only book I ever outright refused to read in my book group — I’ve got too much other stuff going on in my life — I can’t do allegories right now. As for Lolita, I wanted to read it, but was disappointed. It really didn’t live up to its billing. Right now I’m reading Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marissa Peshl and Pride and Prejudice (well, I HAVE to have more than one book going at any given time!)

  13. Recent books that I’ve enjoyed:

    – Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
    – What is the what, by Dave Eggers
    – Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marissa Peshl
    – Saturday, by Ian McEwan

  14. Yay! I’m delurking to talk about books!

    I haven’t read Life of Pi, everytime I’ve picked it up it just didn’t speak to me. But I love all the covers I’ve seen!

    I did read Reading Lolita, and I didn’t like it, which is odd, because I adore memoirs. It probably didn’t help that I haven’t read Lolita. But sometimes I am just not in the right “place” for a certain book and when I try it again later, everything falls into place.

  15. I didn’t enjoy Reading Lolita (and didn’t end up finishing it). I didn’t read Life of Pi. I think my bookclub read it one month when I wasn’t available.

  16. i looked at your current readings and it looks like we are kinda on the same page bookwise.

    i loved Heartburn but maybe because i read it when i was getting a divorce. I just listened to the new Nora Ephron book on CD and she is funny but it was such a guilty pleasure. I don’t think she and i would have much to talk about…one of her stories is about her and a friend going to Paris and her friend’s goal is to be a vintage Hermes Kelley bag for about $3,000.

    I liked Namesake a lot. Going on an Indian tangent i see that someone already recommended The God of Small Things but i just could not finish it. It was a bit much for me.

    Someone recommended going out and reading Richard Russo. Yes, Yes. I just finished Straight Man and I have read Empire Falls. He is so good at nailing characters and the feel of small town, academe, etc. Now I get to read Nobody’s Fool!

    I really liked Meg Wolitzer’s books. The Wife is really good and also The Position.

    I also like Paul Auster but he can be really hit or miss. Brooklyn Follies was one of my favorite books of last year. I just read Oracle Night and not so good.

    I am the mother of three year boy twins and it seems like i cannot read anything over 300 pages if i want to finish it anytime this year. I have a whole pile of books set for when they start school just waiting for me!

  17. I loved Life of Pi. Most people who don’t finish the book didn’t get through the first section, which is really just a building block for the rest of the book. After that it gets pretty page-turney. Everyone in our book club liked it.

    I read Lolita and thought it was dull, dull, dull. I really tried to like it. Appreciated the message, but thought it was dull as dirt.

    I hate Phillipa Gregory books – to me, it feels like harlequin stuff, but just a bit more dressed up and respectable.

    Books I loved recently – The Dogs of Babel (a great read), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Saturday.

  18. Oh man, I just added about 10 books to my Amazon wishlist. :-)

    I agree with Katie above on Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. One of my favorites. (I have it if you want to borrow it.)

    I also highly recommend The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr.

    And some people don’t like this one, but I laughed hysterically: I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. (I have this one too.)

    I also found a couple of good “book tools” recently:

    http://www.bookbrowse.com/ (reviews and excerpts)
    http://whatshouldireadnext.com/ (suggests books based on your favorites)

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