Friday, August 10, 2007

FANTASTIC BOOKS and EVEN MORE FANTASTIC READERS

I'm compiling a list of books to take with me to Maine at the end of the month. Rich and I plan on doing lots of reading en route to Bar Harbor and in between lobstering, bicycling, hiking, sightseeing and eating. Reading fantastic works of literature by the likes of Junot Diaz and Ron Currie, Jr. has destroyed me so that now, books that aren't close to that level of fantastic, disappoint me terribly.

I don't want to be a disappointed reader, dear reader. So, I, great recommender of books that I am (I'm pretty terrific at recommending books; it's one of the things for which I'm known..."Oh, you're flying to Australia and will have tons of time to read on the plane? Call that Sabila, she's GREAT at recommending just the right book for every occasion!"), now ask you to help me put together this vacation reading list. I'll read anything just as long as it's nothing short of FANTASTIC.

Bring on the recommendations!
Thanks!

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Considering you haven't already read this one ofcourse, I put forth my recommendation: The glass lake, by Maeve Binchy. Its a fairly quick read.

Madlibbin' Parasailer said...

Here is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of my favorite books over the past few years:

1. Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Murakami
2. Master and Margarita, Bulgakov
3. Dom Casmurro, Machado de Assis
4. Immortality, Kundera
5. Flaubert's Parrot, Barnes

SabilaK said...

Madlibbin' Parasailer:

I love you.

SabilaK said...

Seriously. I love you. That list of books sends me into transports of delight.

Madlibbin' Parasailer said...

Clearly, my dear, I should send you lists of fantastic books more often.

(I suspect your love for me is merely a placeholder for the love you will eventually feel for Murakami, Bulgakov, Machado de Assis, Kundera and Barnes, whose prose will transport you beyond mere delight. I hope you enjoy!)

SabilaK said...

I've read a couple of essays and short stories by Barnes in the New Yorker (I remember enjoying what I read immensely) and I love me some Murakami (who doesn't is my question...someone I hate, being the answer to the question).

That being said, I do believe I'm crushing on you, which happens to be a curious first for this blog.

marguerite gautier said...

Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow. Jesuits in space.

Cyberfish said...

Im curious Haruki or Ryu?

SabilaK said...

Haruki.

Cyberfish said...

I thought so. Didn't sound like something Ryu would write. I had the chance to meet Murakami Ryu when I was in Japan. Let's just say, sometimes it's better to know someone through their writing...

Madlibbin' Parasailer said...

Most humbling ... perhaps we're destined to randomly meet on a train after I recognize you reading through the New Yorker, minding your own business. If that happens, I promise to start creatively madlibbin' while giving you more book recommendations. In the meanwhile, God is Dead is now on my top 5 "to read" list.

Cyberfish said...

1.) The Uncanny Xmen Graphic Novel #1 (1986):Stan Lee and Walt Simonson

2.)Voice of the Whirlwind
by Walter John Williams
3.)Operation Manual For Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller

4)Fudochishinmyoroku (Unfettered Mind)
by Takuan Soho

5.)Transit Lounge (anthology of essays....incredible)

No. 3 and 4 are not fiction but are really short (65 pages I think).

SabilaK said...

Cyberfish, MG, Anonymous: thanks for your recommendations! I wonder if I have enough time to order the titles that strike my fancy on Amazon...or call in favors w/ colleagues @ other houses. Thank you. You're all lovely.

SabilaK said...

Cyberfish: you've met Ryu? We publish him in English but I blush to admit that I haven't read him yet. I can believe him being less than normal...

SabilaK said...

MP:
But how will I know it's you and not an imposter? Who's to say that, after saying hello and smiling briefly, I won't return to reading my New Yorker? Is this doomed?
Sigh.

SabilaK said...

SIGH.

Cyberfish said...

SabilaK, when I was in japan in the spring I went to a place that he frequently dj's at. Got my copy of Almost transparent blue autographed (when it comes to books and ONLY books I am an autograph whore). I am not entirely convinced you would like Ryu's stuff, judging by the volumes you have referred to in the past on this blog. Almost transparent left even me with a hollowed out feeling in my gut. In my estimation it was (stylistically) on of the best things he's written (won the Kubota award at age 19 for it). But his depictions of excessive drug use, bisexual orgies, and violence against women was a bit heavyhanded. In his defense he didn't glorify ANY of it. Coinlocker Babies, I felt, didn't establish enough of a tempo early on and therefore the book in its entirety ended up being obvious and clumsy.

p.s. before anyone calls me a homophobe or a bisexualaphobe, (well I might be by someones standard but I dont consider myself one.) please note that I did not indicate that I was offended by the depiction. It was intended to simply critique the overuse of certain imagery (sex, violence, and drugs) in the conveyance of a story.

Cyberfish said...

Sorry, that was the Akutagawa award...

shirley said...

(squeak) I don't think I'm smart enough for this comment section! Here are some oldies but greaties:

Yellow by Don Lee
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
The Remains of the Day
All the Pretty Horses
The Talented Mr. Ripley

I swear, I'm not picking books based on a Matt Damon movie tie-in fetish... now I'm off to see the Bourne Ultimatum!

Anonymous said...

If you like the scenery in Potterland, then try Philip Pullman's Dark Materials series, or Le Guin's Wizard of Earthsea. And continuing on the Japanese theme: Spring Snow by Mishima, or a book that reminds me of it somewhat, This Earth of Mankind (by Pramoedya Ananta Toer). Of course, you may have already read everything on my list...

SabilaK said...

Anonymous: I'm hoping to get my hands on the His Dark Materials series! Sounds fantastic!

SabilaK said...

Shirley, baby!: How's the other bird treating you, anyway...the GERMAN BIRD. And, for real, I'm thinking of jumping right into McCarthy's Border Trilogy in Maine.

Is it too soon to request books? :P

SabilaK said...

Cyberfish: I may just like Ryu's stuff, actually. I'm not squeamish at all. Now I'm intrigued. I have In the Miso Soup somwhere in this library I call my bedroom. Must find it and read it now.

SabilaK said...

I've just finished reading New Bedlam by Bill Flanagan, which was immensely enjoyable. It's a movie waiting to happen, folks. I'm now diving right into Carole Cadwalladr's The Family Tree.

Cyberfish said...

Which book is adrift in the "miso" of your room? I just re-read Almost transparent blue in Japanese. It was a means of testing my own ability to comprehend complex adult situations, and the use of advanced literary concepts. Previously I was relying heavily on Hayakawa SF and a stack of Manga. Please let me know how you found it, I am very interested in knowing.

Aunty Helpful Dictator said...

Don't get much time to read fiction anymore, so like you I only want to read the really excellent stuff... but I'm also several years behind on it.

May I thoroughly and unreservedly recommend American Gods by Neil Gaiman, although perhaps you've already read it.