Friday, March 31, 2006

Photoshop Friday Favorites

It's Friday, and I don't know about y'all, but it's been a long week for me. For most of you this is your last day of work before your weekend (lucky bastards), so instead of discussing the world of bookselling, let's discuss books.

Our favorite books.

Now don't get all scrambly-panicked because "Oh Dear GAWD! How can I pick just one!" because this isn't a test, nor is it a one time deal. This is just to get some titles out there for others to read and enjoy this weekend (if they have the time), or to keep in mind the next time they are at their local bookstore. They don't have to be "intellectual" or "literature." We don't judge. They just have to be books you enjoyed for some reason and that you would like others to enjoy too. If enough of you participate and if I have time, I'll compile the list on Sunday when I plan to do some updating on this site anyway.


Here we go:

Diary of a Wombat is one of my all-time favorite books. Yes, it's a children's book. Yes, it is about a wombat and written in incomplete sentences. Yes, I give it to children and adults alike, from newborns to cancer patients. The sweet, cuddly illustrations by Bruce Whatley and the simple, yet cheeky statements by Jackie French's wombat get me every time (and fast becomes a favorite of anyone I had this to).

The Tales of the Otori, of which Across the Nightingale Floor is the first book, is one of those series that my store stumbled on by accident. We saw the cover in the magazine and ordered it in because all things Asian were proving to be popular with our readers. When we got it in we put it on the table and promptly forgot about it...until we realized we'd sold out.

In less than two weeks (which is fast for us, especially when we aren't actively handselling).

So we ordered more in. And sold out. Suddenly we had people asking for the next book, rabid to know what was happening next, so of course we had to read this book everyone was so crazy about.

I finished it in four hours, and rushed to work the next day so I could have someone to talk with about it. Lian Hearn has created a lyrical world based upon the Warlord/feudal (please ignore my spelling mistakes) world of Japan, and added an otherworldly element to his fighters. Never is the fantasy so heavy-handed that you see it as that, fantasy, but instead you just accept. Of course these people can magically split themselves while fighting, or throw their image. Duh. They're ninjas!

If you're looking for a book that combines battle, honor, love, and a boy just trying to discover who he is and what he believes in, this is the series for you. Written for adults, it was awarded the "Best Adult Novel for Teens" title by the American Library Association (I believe).

I read The Eight when I was eighteen and in England for the first (but hopefully not last) time. I don't remember where I picked it up, some bookstore in London probably, in between seeing the sights, but I do remember that I became so immersed in Neville's world that I don't remember anything between London and York. Neville wrote her twin stories (one taking place in the present and the other during the Napoleonic War if I remember correctly) in the early seventies, but the action and the adventure remained relevant. Based around the search for Charlemagne's chess set (I know, it sounds mundane, but it's not), this fast-paced story makes its predecessors like the Da Vinci Code look like drabble. Not to mention that kick-ass female characters abound and the fate of the world is to be decided.

Chess is war, after all, people.

I would continue to babble on about all three of these books, but I must go to work (where I do not have an internet connection, but I do have a lot of returns to box up), so let's hear yours.

(I'll come back and fill in all the links for these books later, but they are quite easy to find on Amazon)


Bethany K. Warner said...

All right.
I will limit myself to one.
Watership Down by Richard Adams.
I have read this book many times and sometimes picked it up just for the El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle stories.
In college, we were assigned a wonderful essay about this book and my roommates kept calling it the "rabbit book" and I was so distraught because it's about so much more than rabbits.

lady t said...

I just recently finished Your Big Break by Johanna Edwards(she also wrote The Next Big Thing)and it was great. The plot revolves around Dani Myers,who works for a relationship break-up service and one of her clients requests her help in breaking up with a married man who turns out to be Dani's father!

I know,this sounds very chick flick but it's a fun and funny story with loads of great side characters like Dani's brother who plays amateur detective(too much CSI watching) and an obnoxious repeat client who actually insists that Dani become his friend to broaden his understanding of women. Edwards is becoming one of my favorite female-friendly authors:)

Vicki said...

These are some random favourites.

Children: Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. A less well-known, but very funny retelling of traditional fairy tales. It was re-released in 2003 so it should be fairly easy to find nowadays.

Teens: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. This is the perfect fantasy book for the horse-loving tomboy in your life. McKinley once, I believe, described this as the fairy tale SHE would have wanted to read as a girl.. what more do I need to say?

Adult: The Sea Road by Margaret Elphinstone. A beautifully written, immersive tale of the life of Gudrid of Iceland, mother of the first European born on North American soil, and sister-in-law of Leif Eriksson.

Marianne McA said...

We have three of the Lian Hearn books (your cover is nicer, though) but I didn't read them, even though my dh recommended them, as he'd bought them because of some BBC Radio One stunt - it was something like they were trying to get everyone in some English town to read the book. On reflection, if it had been a Radio 4 stunt, I'd probably have made the effort. I'll try them now.

A random book I'd recommend - I've just reread Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaign, and was thinking afterwards what a satisfying book it is. It's effectively a Sci-Fi/Fantasy version of a Regency Romance, and it's light and fluffy and funny. It is part of a long series, but isn't written in such a way that you need to have read the other books to enjoy this one.

NJ Dave said...

Holy asked the question...and on a Friday no less....

Favorite Book Of All Time...A Prayer For Owen Meany. Might be the Great American Novel Of The 20th Century.

Favorite Book Read In Last Year...tie between Middlesex (yes, it's kinda mainsteam, but it's a great book) and Villa Incognito (Tom Robbins).

mapletree7 said...

OK, I play!

I pick:
In The Garden of Iden by Kage Baker.

It's just about perfect, and it kicks off the best science fiction series currently being written.

On other days my favorite books are Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers and Spring Moon by Bette Bao Lord.

Milady Insanity said...

I adored Tales of the Otori too.

china said...

I'm going to recommend all of the books in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

Storm Front is the first. It's good and the series just gets better and better.

Kate said...

I bounced in here via two other blogs and promptly found a post about two of my favourite books in the world! I haven't read the Lian Hearn yet, but it's in my to-read pile, I'll have to move it up.