by Marinka on November 4, 2010

I’m in between books.

I belong to two book groups– a real life one, with some moms from my kids’ school (including a few who no longer have kids there but we haven’t gotten around to kicking them out) and an online one, From Left to Write.

I’m waiting for the new selections to arrive from Left to Write and I finished the mammoth Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom a few weeks ago for my book group, way ahead of schedule, which is unusual for me. I’ve already had a few pre-fights about the book, but the sad fact is that I am now without a book. (My mini review of Freedom: Better than anything that Jodi Picoult has ever written! Probably. I’ve only read about two paragraphs of hers. It was enough.)

There are many books that I want to read, but none is jumping out at me at the moment. Probably because they’re books and not Mexican Jumping Beans. My friend and First Ever BlogHer Roommate, Stacey, recently had a post, inspired by another blogger, asking for book suggestions and got tons of responses and great ideas.

Because I’m not the type to be happy for someone without wanting some of what they have, I decided to steal the idea.

Except I’m not just asking for the books that you want to read.

I’m asking for the books that you want to read because you feel like they’re missing from your educational cannon and youcannot go on as a productive member of society not having read them.

It doesn’t have to be something Important, although it can be. It could be Middlemarch, or it could be Judy Blume. I’m looking for that “I’ve been meaning to get to that!” book, whatever it is for you. Did you Cliff Notes The Tale of Two Cities in high school and always meant to get back to it? (Are you old enough to know what Cliff Notes are?!)

I’ll go first.

I want to read Gilgamesh: A New English Version, the oldest novel ever. I know some people who’ve read it and loved it. How come I’ve never heard about it? Have you heard about it? Why have you not told me?

The other book that I have on deck is Flowers in the Attic . I’m pretty sure that I’m the last person to read that one. It’s a classic, right?

So. Join me? Or tell me what’s on your “should read” list.

Maybe we can do the reading together. You know, in betweens viewings of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

One year ago ...

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn @ Juggling Life November 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm

The 12-year old me considered Flowers in the Attic the best thing every written. The 46-year old me cringes at the fact that I once thought that.


Loukia November 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Yup. Pretty sure you’re the last person on earth who hasn’t read Flowers in the Attic! 😉

I read that book when I was in grade 7 or 8… so, what, 13 or 14 years old? Man, that was messed up. Great book, though. Not in the classic book way but in the Twilight good way, only better. I read Wuthering Heights when I was 15 to make up for Flowers in the Attic, so we’re still friends, right?


Sheryl November 4, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens


November 4, 2010 at 11:53 pm

The Hobbit. (I know.) My sister probably won’t come to my funeral if I die without having read it.


November 5, 2010 at 12:24 am

I would have mentioned Gilgamesh to you, but I hardly thought it worthwhile since I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t be reading it in its original Cuneiform. And this latest English translation is just so… prosaic.

Actually, I’m reading The Sea of Monsters – #2 in the Percy Jackson series. And I thought of you because I believe you mentioned that your son wasn’t reading so much lately. I thought it might possibly catch his interest.

What’s next on my list is a trio of James M. Cain novels: Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. All written in modern English.


Marinka November 5, 2010 at 11:45 am

He did read the Percy Jackson series and loved it.

His plan seems to be to rest on those literary laurels until reform school. I mean, high school.

that’s great that you’re reading those movie books! I’m looking into The Blue Lagoon myself.


Hally November 5, 2010 at 3:03 am

I have a few books that I’d like to read;
Commitment – Elizabeth Gilbert (gotten to chapter three, can’t seem to find the motivation to pick it up again)
Unbearable lightness – Portia de Rossi (because weight is something we all struggle with at some point in our lives)
Priceless – Nicole Richie (it seems like a possible good read)
Happy Ever After – Nora Roberts (book 4 about 4 best friends who makes weddings perfect – love her strong female characters and amazing plots. AND the gushy knot in my stomach when the couples declare their love for each other <3)

That's just me though. I know my taste is weird, but at least I almost always read them in English (as opposed to Norwegian, which translated doesn't do the book justice. Aspecially Harry Potter..)


Marinka November 6, 2010 at 9:13 am

Yes, I can see how those are real gaps in your literary cannon!



neena November 5, 2010 at 6:07 am

Eventually I want to get around to reading Stranger in a Strange Land.


Deborah November 5, 2010 at 6:07 am

Don’t read Flowers in the Attic! Umm, please. Well OK if you have to.
It is honestly the one book I always say I am sorry that I read. I was an impressionable and naive 18 year old when I read it in 1980.
It just turned my stomach….but you may be made of stronger stuff.
No Virginia Andrews ever again, which is fine because since she died in 1986 someone else has been writing the books.

Now for one I fought reading – The Da Vinci Code. You know how the more people rave about it and talk about it, the less you want to read it? Or is that just me? I finally read it recently and really liked it. Just don’t tell anyone.

Here’s my bête noire book. Les Misérable, by Victor Hugo. I have it, I love it, I start it, I join read-a -longs….but I NEVER finish it. *sigh*


Marinka November 6, 2010 at 9:13 am

I tried to read The Da Vinci Code, I did. But I couldn’t do it. Because I hate shitty writing.


November 5, 2010 at 7:51 am

I’m actually hosting a book club on my blog and our first selection was Franzen’s Freedom. We had a great discussion. Next up is one of those books I should have read already but didn’t–Madame Bovary. As an English teacher, the books I should be reading are endless, but I have this problem with buying stacks of books and then letting them get stale before I actually get to them.


D November 5, 2010 at 8:24 am

The Bible (I know. I miss a lot of literary allusions)
Catch 22 (started it like 4 times)
The Fountainhead (gotten half way through twice – why is this so popular?)
1984 (cliff notes – really will read this)
Grapes of Wrath (cliff notes – actually I don’t want to read this at all)

So yeah, kind of embarrassing. Surprisingly, I was a pretty good student.


Jodi F. November 5, 2010 at 11:24 am

Had to read the Grapes of Wrath in college. Expected to drag myself through it but was fascinated. Loved it. A great portrait of a unique period in American history.


Marinka November 6, 2010 at 9:15 am

Grapes of Wrath is definitely on my list. And I know Catch-22 should be, but it isn’t. Mystery.


November 5, 2010 at 8:57 am

I’d like to read more Eudora Welty, but I keep getting distracted by “Letters from a Nut.”


November 5, 2010 at 9:27 am

Don’t know if you’ve read the whole Hunger Games trilogy but it’s so worth the time! I picked up Hunger Games to make sure it was appropriate for my 12 year old and literally couldn’t put it down! Currently I’m supposed to be reading I’m With The Band for my book club, we were looking for light and easy…and she’s easy – ha!, see what I did there! Big Stone Gap is good one, in fact, I might need to go back and read it again…think I will!


Jodi F. November 5, 2010 at 11:26 am

Hey, I’m a NC mom too! Loved the Hunger Games triology but was a little let down at the ending of Mockingjay. Felt like a forced wrap-up. Loved Big Stone Gap as well.


Jodi F. November 5, 2010 at 11:27 am

AN NC mom. Not “a NC mom.” Argh. (and an English major)


Rita November 5, 2010 at 9:58 am

I’m delurking to talk about one of my favorite topics–books! A few months ago I read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. It was one I felt I “should” read for a while and after the biting the bullet, I couldn’t put it down. It was fascinating, brilliant, thrilling, and sad.


Marinka November 6, 2010 at 9:16 am

In Cold Blood is one of my favorites! A great re-read, too!


deborah l quinn
November 5, 2010 at 10:17 am

Dracula. The original, by Bram Stoker. Crazy-ass good. About everything: disease, sex (homo & hetero), immigration, racism…Queen Victoria…and it’s creepy creepy. This is NOT an Edward Cullen vampire…
Three novels about World War I, by Pat Barker–made me cry, they’re so beautiful and eloquent: Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, Ghost Road (which won the Booker Prize, if you care about that sort of thing) – they’re about soldiers being treated for shell-shock –the first time there’d been a diagnosis about this – and about love, and violence, and … they’re just great. David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas blew me away, and even though I don’t much read non-fiction (who needs to read about real life? real life is sucky enough; that’s why god invented fiction) — The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, about the African American woman whose cells were harvested without her knowledge, in the 1950s when she was being treated for cervical cancer–and then these cells became, literally, the foundation for modern science… REALLY GOOD BOOK. Total page-turning, what-is-going-to-happen-next good.


Ester Jean December 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I just finished “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks!” I heard the author interviewed on an NPR show and finally read it several months later. I thought there would be massive parts I didn’t understand because I only got as far as biology in high school and college, and passed them by the skin of my teeth, but the book helped me understand so many things that Biology books just cannot possibly explain in a way for my brain to understand. I couldn’t put the book down. The HUMAN elements in the history of science is what pulled me in. Great read, and a very very important part of our history.


anna see November 5, 2010 at 10:38 am

Flowers in the Attic? Oh yes, I read the whole series. I still feel dirty and that was nearly 30 yrs ago. I remember being really glad my mom didn’t read them first.

I think I’m the only person who hasn’t read “Life of Pi.” I’d also like to read “Madame Bovary.”


Marinka November 6, 2010 at 9:17 am

Another secret confession: I couldn’t get through Life of Pi. I know I should be ashamed, but I wear it as a badge of honor. And possibly stupidity.


P.K. November 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

You know where I stand on this issue, of course.


Slow Panic
November 5, 2010 at 10:43 am

Confession — tried to read Charles Dickens, couldn’t do it. Didn’t like him!

Have you read The Three Muskateers? It’s excellent.

OK, I’m going back to my Sookie Stackhouse book now.


Rev D November 5, 2010 at 11:05 am

I’ve been reading Madame Bovary off and on for YEARS now. I’m still not done. One of these days I’ll finish. I have no trouble putting this one down.

I’ve also been working on Anna Karenina for about 10 years now. Maybe I should just give up on both the Madame and Anna and buy the Cliff Notes. Do they still sell those?

If you want books you can’t put down try the Stieg Larsson trilogy, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked a Hornets Nest and The Girl Who Played With Fire. I loved them!


Marinka November 6, 2010 at 9:17 am

I’m still not convinced that Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary and not the same book.


Allyson November 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

I would like to read Atlas Shrugged, Ulysses, and Don Quixote, but I think the reasons I haven’t gotten to those are fairly obvious.

On the realistic list…Silas Marner, Slaughterhouse-Five, Invisible Man.


Roxanne November 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I’m actually working my way through the Top Banned Books list from the ALA. I also want to get to all of those books in college that I read the Cliff Notes for, even though I was an English major and should have read every single piece but I just didn’t have the time between writing all those papers and attending all those parties.

Also? I want to read War and Peace. Just to say I did.


November 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm

To Kill A Mockingbird. Somehow, I seem to be the only person who never had to read it in high school, and I want to read it to stop the horrified looks I get from people when I tell them I haven’t read it. It seems to especially offend people because I am an English major and a professional editor/writer 🙂


November 6, 2010 at 7:30 am

I never read To Kill a Mockingbird either. Probably because it’s the favorite book for someone in my life and I don’t want to be a follower.

Huh. How weak is that? When I admitted this in my own “call for books” post, I was literally pounded to death with commenters who felt that it was a MUST READ.

I still haven’t done it.

I highly recommend the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series, but it’s (so far) 7 books of more than 1000 pages. Can’t put them down, read at stop lights kind of books. I also enjoyed the Dragon Tattoo series, except that the first one took 200 (!!!) pages to get into. The Hunger Games was excellent.


rebecca November 5, 2010 at 12:18 pm

omgosh! u must read Flowers in the Attic! LoL and then read the 4 books that follow. It’s definately worth it. Most of VC Andrews stuff now is b.o.r.i.n.g. but these are very good


joeinvegas November 5, 2010 at 12:27 pm

We go for the older ‘classics’ – Sommerset Maugham, Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster books, Mortimer’s Rumpole, Sayer’s Lord Peter – that period of English writers.


November 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Fabu Idea! I’m on attempt Number 5 at Catch 22. Maybe it’s called Catch 22 because it takes you 22 times to get into it before you figure out that the catch is that it’s unreadable.

Also on my list: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Animal Farm, and finishing Master and Margarita in Russian.


Christy @ cat fur to make kitten britches November 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

If you haven’t read Flowers in the Attic, well, you must (and yes, you may quite possibly be the last person on the planet to have not read it!). It’s not great literature in the same way that the classics are considered great, but still, it’s a compelling read. I think someone above likened it to being good in the way that the Twilight series was good, and that’s probably a good analogy.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, which is the third book in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. It’s sitting on my nightstand, and the only reason I haven’t picked it up yet is because if it’s anything like the first two books, my life will have to come to a screeching halt so that I can finish reading it. I don’t have time for that right now (but I do have time to read and comment on blogs. ahem.).

Anyway, another fantastic read is the Diana Gabaldon ‘Outlander’ books, and I’ve also been meaning to pick up the next book in that series. Time travel romance (with some mighty steamy love scenes, I might add) with a plot that gets you completely hooked. The books are long, though (usually close to 1,000 pages), so again, I’m deterred by the time element. I need to get over that I guess.


Awesome dude November 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

“Brothers Karamazov” in the original language is always a treat. I am rereading it yearly for last 20-30 years.

A lot of fun, the ideas are getting antiquated more and more, but still. It gets you into mid XIX century Russia in about 10 seconds.


November 5, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I’ve never read *Anna Karenina* and always felt I should. I also couldn’t bear to finish *Bleak House* when I was reading it for prelims (because it was book #20-odd in my 30-books-in-30-days studying regimen, and that is simply no way to consume that novel), so I really ought to give it another chance — given that I’m supposedly a prof of 19th c. British lit and all…

On my books worth reading list are *Song of Solomon* (Morrison), *Middlemarch* (Eliot) and *The Professor and the Madman* (can’t remember). All three of these will be less vodka-inducing than *Bleak House* or *Anna Karenina*, I think.


November 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Oh friend. Don’t. Seriously. I read it when I was 14. I’m still not over that crazy shit. Bleh.

On my list is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Also the Diary of Anne Frank. Because I only read the uh…highlights? Wrong word, but you get my drift.


November 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I will echo whoever recommended the Hunger Games trilogy. It’s book crack and you’ll like that sort of thing, books I mean, I won’t presume to guess your drug of choice…


Meaghan November 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I’m de-lurking today too, just because of my love of books!
I’m 22, not a mom, live in Nova Scotia Canada and I check your blog everyday for new posts!

Please, Please, Please read every book by Mitch Albom (Tuesday’s with Morrie author) I think the best was “Have a Little Faith”

Catch-22 legit took me an entire summer to get into, but now I sling the fact that I’ve read it around ALL THE TIME! (including today at work)
Once you start it it’s really not that bad and gets interesting.

I also really enjoyed The Alchemist, a high school jem

Life of Pi was incredible!

Fall on your Knees- Anne Marie MacDonald – Great, and by a eastern Canadian writer!

Prisoner of Theran is another one I highly reccomend.

I hope you have fun with all of the great suggestions you’ve been getting!


Finn November 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I LOVED “Flowers in the Attic” and all the sequels. But that was ages ago and they just didn’t hold up. I would say a library pick if at all.

On Buy-Her I recommended Adriana Trigiani (as Megan in case you don’t know my real name) and I stand by that.

Also, if you like police procedurals, try Kathy Reichs and Linda Fairstein. Excellent. Also Faye Kellerman.


marathonmom November 5, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Oh Gawd…. Flowers in the Attic? Right after the Judy Blume’s….maybe you should delete this post???? Yeah. I should read them again maybe. They’d prob be cheap on my Kindle.


sdl November 6, 2010 at 9:54 am

The book I am most ashamed of never having read is To Kill a Mockingbird, but I’m sure you’ve read that. I’m reading Moby Dick online, and was surprised by how readable and intriguing it is, but I estimate at my current rate I will be in my 90s before I finish it.

I hate it when great YA or children’s books become pop culture phenomena.


foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) November 6, 2010 at 11:19 am

Is it worse that I read Flowers in the Attic as a young girl (and many, many of the books that followed) or that I still OWN my original copy of it (and the many, many books that followed)? In my defense, they’re at my mom’s house. Want to borrow them?


Karen November 6, 2010 at 11:33 am

Marinka I can’t wait for your review of Flowers. There is no doubt you will find the comedy in it somewhere!


Kelly Savelkoul November 6, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I thought “Jurassic Park” was a fascinating read. And I have enjoyed everything I have read so far by Barbara Kingsolver.


reiven November 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm

One of my favorite books ever is A Brave New World. It’s like Aldous Huxley was psychic. I read some Ayn Rand and her writing is miserable. When people ask me if I’ve read Fountainhead, I have to confess that yes, I forced myself to read it and I must be the only person honest enough to say that Rand was a terrible writer. What I’ve always wanted to read and never have is Dante’s Inferno. How can I talk about circles of hell if I’ve never read it? “Taken” by Dean Koontz was scary all the way through. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is an oldie but a goodie if you’re in the mood to laugh. Rumi’s Hush, Don’t Say Anything to God is beautiful poetry.


anymommy November 6, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Everything I can do you can do better. And more intellectually. Damn you.

Flowers in the Attic – skip it. Actually, read it, I’d love to know what you think.

Catch-22 is fabulous, you and D don’t know what you’re missing.

Pour moi? Anna K. Never read it, feel like I should. Reread 100 years of Solitude. Too literary for me although I finished, feel like I should reread with a guide of some kind.

Have you read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? That’s a fun one and quick & I loved the humor.


chantal November 7, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Jhumpa Lahiri: The Namesake. Loved it. Try it.


Jonathan November 8, 2010 at 1:55 am

I found Flowers in the Attic riveting and I hope it holds up for adults because I too, would love to see your post on it! There’s that new David Sedaris book about animal tales although I confess that doesn’t intrigue me.


the mama bird diaries
November 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

I’ve never read Flowers in the Attic so I may be the last person. I only really read magazines and newspapers so I can’t help you with the books.


Phoenix Rising
November 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch. If you’ve ever wondered about those old dilapidated farms you drive by when you’re not Mothering in NYC, read this book. Also, it will make you feel like your children are fricking geniouses and you will never worry about them ever again for the rest of your life. You will be able to go to Parent-Teacher conferences and say, “Ah, not so bad. At least they’re not like those guys in Kings of the Earth.” And you will feel very good.


Sophie@Fabrications November 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I have a few books in waiting, all saved for long breastfeeding nights etc., but they’re all in Hebrew, so it’s useless telling about them here. I did finish reading Kathryn Stockett’s “the Help”, about the lives of black maids in Jackson, Miss. during the civil rights movement. Fantastic novel, very well written, and very not-depressing, albeit the serious subject.


Becky Mochaface November 9, 2010 at 6:14 pm

War and Peace. I don’t know if I’m just crazy or what but I feel like it’s just something I should read. It’s slowly coming up to the top of my to read list; I won’t be able to put it off much longer.


Princess Schmamy November 10, 2010 at 5:28 am

I was an English major so have read a lot of what one “should” read, some I loved, some I didn’t. But I have never managed to make it through any of Paulo Coelho’s books and want to. Maybe that’ll be a New Year’s Resolution since I can’t see me trying to pick one up in the lead up to the holidays.


Ester Jean December 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I’m over a year late to the party, but in the event that you haven’t anything to read t the moment, I’ll recommend “The Giver” if you like a good cry.

John Irving’s “The World According to Garp” or “A Prayer for Owen Meany.”

Kurt Vonnegut’s “God Bless You. Mr. Rosewater” or …really, I am a little obsessed with KV and have read almost everything he has ever published, so of course I wish everyone loved his books as much as I do. Basically I recommend all his books.

Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.”

…I just realized I seem like a misogynistic reader 🙁

I’ve always wanted to Read “The Great Gatsby” but… well, I have no good excuse.


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