Friday, February 20, 2009

Thirty Books I Dig

I was reading Samurai Knitter's blog as I do daily and yesterday she put on a list of Thirty Books She Digs and invited her readers to do the same. I love books and I love lists; it's a perfect fit. Mine's annotated too, Samurai, because I can't shut up either. Here goes:

--the Harry Potter books, by JK Rowling. Because every kid that age is convinced that the dorks they live with can't be their real parents.

--The Dark Is Rising series, by Susan Cooper. My kids read them in middle school, told me about them, and now I read them every year. A lovely quest.

--Griffin and Sabine, by Nick Bantock. All of Nick Bantock's books really, I just love what he does with stamps and loose feathers and other "junk."

--A Brief History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson. Lots of info in Bryson's conversational style.

--Amelia Peabody series, by Elizabeth Peters. I love Egyptian things and intrepid women, what could be better than Amelia's adventures written by an Egyptologist?

--The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, by Christopher Moore. This is the title that launched me into my love affair (from afar) with Christopher Moore. He writes with a degree of wackiness in a way that makes it seem oh so normal. I love every one of his books, but think The Island of the Sequined Love Nun is just so-so. Excellent title, though.

--Carl Hiiasen's books. I love his character, Skink, and Hiiasen's rabid love of keeping at least some of Florida undeveloped.

---Eyewitness Travel Guides. The best, most complete, most colorful travel guides I've found. Pricey, but worth it.

--Reef Set, by Paul Humann. A set of 3 books covering Reef Fish, Reef Creatures, and Corals that are excellent for identifying salt water fish and the reef structure. I'm geeky enough that I want to know the "pretty fish" I see on the reef by their proper names.

--Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck. I fell in love with Steinbeck while reading this and have never fallen out.

--The Settlement Cookbook. All the cookbook you need for baking and cooking and canning and preserving. My go-to book for almost all my cooking needs.

--A Writer's Book of Days, by Judy Reeves. A realistic how-to writers' book that espouses the idea that a writer shouldn't expect to be able to just sit down and write a masterpiece, that you have to build up your writing muscles through daily practice, just like an athlete, a musician, or an artist. The prompts are short, leaving plenty of room for creativity. I've been though the book's prompts at least 5 times and still find different things to write each time.

--Reader's Digest Great World Atlas. Has excellent political maps with maps of the ocean floor and the moon, lots of specialty maps and timelines. I look at maps and imagine the people who life there. I'm a map freak, I love 'em all.

--Secret Sea, by Burt Jones & Maureen Shimlock. Pretty pictures of tiny ocean critters. Almost like being there, but not quite.

--Audubon Field Guides, especially Birds, Fish, Insects, and The Night Sky. I can never have too many ID books so I can find the proper name of what I'm looking at.

--My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell. The true story of an English family living in Corfu in the 20s and 30s. Zany.

--The Oregon Files novels, by Clive Cussler et al. I'm a sucker for men's adventure novels and a longtime fan of Cussler because of the scuba diving his characters do. These books center on a group of mercanaries whose base is a rust-bucket cargo ship that sails the world righting wrongs. And they're not all he-men either, there are plenty of she-women too!

--Doc Ford series, by Randy Wayne White. More adventure novels, this time starring an ex-CIA spook who has retired to a sleepy Florida bay and opened a marine specimen supply business and his brilliant stoner friend. Smart and thoughtful books with some excitement thrown in.

--The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, by Kris Radish. One of the few "girly" books I've liked. It's a story of a group of women who go on a walk one night and don't stop. They silently walk the backroads of their county searching for answers in themselves and each other. Lovely writing.

--the Serge Storms novels, by Tim Dorsey. Oh, man, Serge is nuts. He's manic and a maniac about Florida history. He and his perpetually drunk and stoned pal, Coleman, drive around the state getting into mischief and murder. It doesn't make sense falling for the guy with the gun but I can't help myself. Everybody needs a bad boy in their life.

--Jimmy Buffet's books. They're not very literary but they sure are good to read in the dead of a Wisconsin winter when all I can see out the window is naked trees and snow drifts.

--Step Ball Change, by Jeanne Ray. Written in such a conversational style that the first time I read it I thought it was all in dialogue. I read and reread this when I was writing my latest novel manuscript (and the first one I think is about ready for publication) to try and replicate that familiarity with the reader. (I'll let you know if any agents or editors think I've succeeded.)

--Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening. Now that Grandma and Dad have passed away, I needed a good, basic gardening book with pictures and lots of info. This fills the bill.

--Peace Like A River, by Leif Enger. I found this book on a shelf in the bungalow we rent in Bonaire and picked it up because it was one of the few in English and not Dutch. I like the story and love the rhyming cowboy poetry by Swede, the 9-year-old sister of the main character. A tour de force of the genre. Reminded me of Saturday mornings watching Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, and Roy Rogers. Hi-oh, Silver! Away!

--The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico. My Aunt Barbara gave me this slender book when I turned 13 and the sad romantic story made me cry with its beauty. My first "grown-up" book.

--Sophie's World, by Josteen Gaarder. Translated from the author's native Norweigan, this book helped me understand a bit about philosophy and philosophers, which was especially helpful when my son was in college majoring in it.

--Chinese Astrology, by Suzanne White. Because I love to celebrate Chinese New Year which falls in the middle of the long and boring Wisconsin winter. Any excuse for a colorful party is tops in my book.

--Ocean, by Boyce Thorne-Miller. More gorgeous pictures of underwater scenes.

--the Spenser novels, by Robert B. Parker. I love Spenser's vocabulary and his attitude, and his relationship with Hawk and Susan.

--a good Dictionary. I have so many strewn about the house in all sorts of formats, straight dictionary, thesaurii, homonym/antonym, rhyming; you can never have enough reference books.

And that's it. If you make a list and put it on your blog, leave me a comment so I can come read it. I'm always looking for recommendations of things to read.

1 comment:

Julie said...

I love Harry Potter too. Not sure why I left him off my list. And Steinbeck! Why did I forget Steinbeck? His short stories are my favorite. Funny and thought-provoking all at once. Good list!