Friday, July 16, 2010

An impossible choice

Later this month, a friend of mine is hosting a "Literary Ladies Night," a sort of show and tell where we bring our most favorite books and do the two-thumbs up deal. I am most excited about this.

Usually the extent of my evenings is rushing food from the fridge to the stove to the table, and then rushing The Husband and The Kiddo to the table to meet up with the food. Then comes the rushing of the dishes to the dishwasher (thank GOD for dishwashers), and the rushing of The Kiddo from the tub to the bed and convincing her that yes, three yawns in a row mean she really is sleepy. If we go out for entertainment, it's usually a kid's movie (The Husband suggested, for about 90 seconds, that we take The Kiddo to see Toy Story 3 for our anniversary. I think he got the picture. I'm not picky about anniversaries usually, but this IS our 20th one.)

So the idea of sitting around for a couple of hours, munching on food I didn't cook on dishes I won't have to wash and talking about books ... ah, bliss.

For all of about a nano-second. Then reality sets in. The price of admission to this Literary Ladies Night is one book -- one favorite book. I shall have to pluck, out of all the ones I have loved and sighed over, a single volume, preferably one that hasn't been discovered already by the other Literary Ladies.

I don't think I can do it. Books, for me anyway, speak different things on different days. Some days I'm in the mood for a fast-paced thriller. Other days, I want to dive into the thrill of romance in an epic love story. And others I want to laugh. So if you ask me, "What's your favorite book?" seven days running, you're likely to get seven different answers.

I'm not sure what book I'm going to recommend. The good thing is, even if all the also-rans go pouty and silent on me, whichever volume I choose, it's guaranteed to be a good one, because after four decades on this earth, I no longer force myself to finish truly bad books. (And yes, even though I am an author and I know how hard it is to craft those words, there are truly bad books out there.)

What about you? If you were going to a Literary Ladies Night, what book would you recommend?


Donna Hosie said...

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

I been recommending this to friends all year and not one has been disappointed.

Karla Nellenbach said...

IF I STAY by Gayle Foreman
WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson
THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher they're considered YA (my chosen writing field) but they are beautiful tales that stick with you longer after the last page

Stephanie McGee said...

Depends on the audience. If they're not easily offended by language, Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair. If they're more into fantasy, either LOTR or a Tamora Pierce book, if YA, or a David Eddings book, if seeking adult. Looking for mystery? I'll hit up Tony Hillerman.

Good luck picking.

Sharon Axline said...

Dang now that's a hard one! Gurnsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society is great! How about To Kill a Mockingbird - it is it's 50th birthday. For a laugh... Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,

Anonymous said...

The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen, To Die For by Linda Howard, and Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Oh gosh but then there is Black Hills by Nora, The Guild Hunter Series and Psy/Changeling Series by Nalini Singh....

Um, yeah, I think I'm in the same boat with you. To decide I'd have to know what the majority of the people there like. So many good books out there.

Elizabeth Ryann said...

I'm with Stephanie, I think the group you're recommending to is even more important than which one you love the most. For instance, I've recommended the following books:

Nalini Singh (any and everything), Susan Elizabeth Phillips - most likely Lady Be Good or Heaven, Texas for a good intro (though I did recommend Kiss an Angel to one friend who loves sexy Russian guys who are kinda jerky but secretly nice, animals, and the circus. Because duh.), Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (this one you're better off not describing, I've found, and just telling the person to read it), The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey, and the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop. But I recommended all of these to different people at different times because they're all extremely different, and I only recommend books under duress. I kind of hate unsolicited recommendations personally (which this is not, obviously, because this party does sound super fun), so I try not to inflict my recs on other people too often. That said? All of those books rock my socks off, and most of them made me cry, from either laughter or heartbreak. I'll let you figure out which ones are which.

Al said...

I suspect I'd feel a bit out of place at a "Literary Ladies night". :-)

out of the wordwork said...

I also dislike that 'pick your favourite book'. Might as well ask me to pick my favourite kid. Like you, depending on the day, different ones are my favourites (and yes, that applies to children too). So what I usually do (and what I did on my blog) is to list which books I have gone back to, over the years, and re-read. They are all in different genres and appeal to different personalities within me:

Flipped (middle grade; authentic, beautiful characterization)

In Cold Blood (literary non-fiction that reads like the best thriller)

Eat, Pray, Love (memoir, that appeals to the questioning woman)

On Writing (Best book on how to write. EVER)

To Kill a Mockingbird (who doesn't love TKAM? Still relevent and still impactful years later)

The Truth About Forever (Again, a YA book that is character driven and touching and wonderful and ... oh just go read it)

Mystic River (One of the best literary crime novels written. You think the movie was good? Read the book. You'll be blown away)

Jane Eyre (No one can write Victorian Gothic like the master, Charlotte Bronte. Epic. Romantic. Awesome)

Pride and Predjudice (This book gives me everything I love in a romance: a heroine I wish I was half as witty as and a hero to swoon over.)

Yeesh. Are you sorry you asked? :)
P.S. It's my 20th anniversary this year too! And don't discount Toy Story 3 - heart-rending!

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Kelly Breakey said...

I would suggest

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

or Three Fates by Nora Roberts or

Strike Zone by Kate Angell.

But like you next week these could change. I have just finished re-reading these three this past week while I was on vacation.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Hmm. For sure Francine River's Mark of the Lion trilogy. Those stay right up there for me. But I'm always reading, always looking. Good luck on picking yours. :)

Dr. Goose said...


I'm with Al on this one. However, once I was accepted into the group I would be better able to express myself.

Cynthia Reese said...

Oh, man! I'm itching to get over to Good Reads and mark all the ones y'all have suggested that I haven't read!

I have The Guernsey LIterary & Potato Peel Pie Society, and it's on my TBR list -- and pile, along with DAY ONE and BACKSEAT SAINTS.

And Al & Dr. Goose, if I were hosting a Literary Night, I'd definitely invite y'all -- and make sure you felt comfy!

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