Reviews so good….. I bought the book!

The BookDepository

I have been looking through my stacks, trying to decide which books to read in June. I noticed that I have built up quite a large number of books recommended by fellow bloggers. In order to get through these, and gain an insight into the tastes of my favorite bloggers, I am going to make an effort to read as many of these books as I can in June and July (before the Booker long list is announced on 29th July).

Here are the books I was persuaded to get hold of:

Brothers by Yu Hua 

The moment I finished reading this review by Nonsuch Book I bought a copy online. It sounded so different to the other Chinese books I’d read that I had to have a copy.

Sugar Cage by Connie May Fowler

Sandy’s continual repetition of how good this author is finally wore me down, and I tracked down a copy of this book on Bookmooch. I’m looking forward to reading about the real Florida!

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

Beth voted this one of her favourite books of 2008. I hadn’t heard of it at the time, but have since seen lots of good reviews. Beth’s review persuaded me to part with my cash straight away!

Margery Sharp

Jane has mentioned Margery Sharp several times. I recently found three of her books, The Nutmeg Tree, Britannia Mews and Harlequin House. I’m going to read one of them – Jane – Which should I try first?






The Master and Margarita

Matthew’s raving about The Master and Margarita persuaded me to buy a copy. It arrived in the post this morning, so will probably be the first one I read.

The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak

Nymeth’s review was so powerful, that I ordered a copy straight away. I have since seen some average reviews of it, so am hoping that Nymeth was right in persuading me to buy this one!

Firmin by Sam Savage

A couple of weeks after reading a great review of this book I saw it in a charity shop, so picked it up straight away. I was convinced I saw it on Diane’s blog, but can’t find it there. Have you reviewed this book recently? I’d love to correctly identify you here!

There are a few other books which I’m hoping to get my hands on in the next couple of months. Most notably De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage recommended by Claire and The Room of Lost Things by Stella Duffy, recommended by Simon. Hopefully I’ll be able to get these books and read them too!



Some of your probably weren’t even aware that I bought the book on the strength of your recommendation alone. Are you surprised by the book I bought? Approximately how high in your list of favourite books is the one I have chosen? Number 1? Top 10?, Top 50?

If you could make me read one book – which would it be?

I hope to repeat this excerices frequently, so please nominate the book you’d most like me to read, and if your pitch is good enough I will get hold of a copy!

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  1. Sandy says:

    I’m pretty excited you are going to read Sugar Cage…I sure hope you like it! As far as pitching more books to you, I just don’t have it in me today! (It has been POURING here for the last four straight days and it is just sucking the energy out of me.) I would probably tell you to see my recent review on The Help…that book was just fabulous and one that I can’t imagine anyone NOT liking. Same goes for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The School of Essential Ingredients. These books just leave you with a warm feeling of contentment and happiness.

  2. Jackie says:

    Sandy – I’m sorry to hear it is raining where you are – it is nice and sunny here!

    I’ve got The Help and School of Essential Ingredients on my wish list, as I’ve seen so many good reviews of them recently. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up copies from my library soon. I’m looking forward to reading Sugar Cage – it would be great to find a new author to love.

  3. Steph says:

    If I could recommend one book to you, it would be “All the Kings Men” by Robert Penn Warren. He’s a Southern writer, and has an incredibly strong voice, even though his writing can feel quiet at times. After reading it, ATKM immediately vaulted onto my “All-Time Favourite Books” list. The book is primarily pitched as a political novel, which I think is somewhat of inaccurate, because while much of the action revolves around a politician and is climb to pwer, to limit ATKM to the political realm does it a disservice. This book is truly about so much more than politics: it is also about ideas, the ties that bind, the search for self, the human condition at its best and at its worst, the driving force of passion, and the intricacies of morality. It has romance, mystery, scandal, suicide, murder, and some fairly awesome speeches.

    Sound dense? It is. At nearly 700 pages, ATKM is a true epic, but not one word of it is superfluous. Warren deftly spins multiple storylines into an intricately tangled web. His prose is deceptively simple, the strong Southern voice of the narrator belying some of the stark truths. He selects and arranges his words so that you feel the full force of their meaning as it resonates within you. After reading this book, you will understand with fierce clarity how this book won the Pulitzer prize

    This book is a testament to what fiction should strive to be, for there is more truth in its lines than fantasy. I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for the ultimate reading experience, and I daresay that this is one of those books that only improves upon re-reading. This book rocked my world, and I can only hope it does the same for you as well.

    How’s that as a pitch? ;)

  4. Beth F says:

    So glad I could help you part with your money! What fun. And what a great idea for a post. I’m adding to that wish (I could live long enough) list

  5. Jackie says:

    Steph – Great pitch!! I’m a bit worried about the political aspects of the book, as I’m not a big fan of politics in books, but the rest of it really appeals. I’ve ordered a copy from bookmooch – hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze it in before the end of July, so I can see who wins the best recommender badge!!

    Beth – That wish list gets longer every day – I’ve bought another two books today!

  6. Karen says:

    Hi Jackie – you have read so many books that I also enjoy that I’m finding it hard to think of one to recommend to you that you won’t have already read! I always tell people they must read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – have you read this one?

  7. megan says:

    Hmmm…one book! Ok, here’s one – if you’re at all interested in Australian literature, you must read something by Tim Winton – Cloudstreet is a good place to start :)

  8. JoAnn says:

    Matt has me very close to purchasing The Master and Margarita, too! I know I won’t get to it until fall at the earliest, so I’ve resisted. This was a great idea for a post….book bloggers have really caused my tbr pile to grow.

  9. cbjames says:

    I’ve not read it yet, but All The Kings Men is in the stack I’ve set aside for Summer Reading. So’ll I’ll second Steph’s vote.

  10. Karen – Great choice, but I’ve read The Book Thief already! I do recommend it to everyone who hasn’t yet.

    Megan – I have Dirt Music by Tim Winton here – is that any good?

    JoAnn – My TBR pile has grown so much thanks to book bloggers. There are loads of books I have added to the pile after seeeing them mentioned by lots of different people, but I thought it would be nice to call out those people who have single handedly contributed to me getting a book.

    cbjames – I look forward to comparing notes on All The Kings Men with you!

  11. Melody says:

    Most of the books I buy comes from fellow bookbloggers’ recommendations, and I love it!!

    I’m glad you had mooched a copy of Out! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!!

  12. Kim says:

    From the list in your post today I have read only Stella Duffy’s The Room of Lost Things – It is a wonderful book and I wholeheartedly endorse Simon’s recommendation.
    It is hard to imagine this now, but, without fellow bloggers recommendations, over the past six weeks, I would not have read The Room of Lost Things, Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (and currently reading My Cousin Rachel) and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Travelers Wife. How glad I am I listened to their recommendations.
    Trouble is my TBR pile and Books To Look Out For pile are now both massive, but, that’s such a small problem to have, right?

  13. I also bought the Love We Share Without Knowing based on Nymeth’s review but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Here’s hoping we both enjoy it!

  14. Violet says:

    I’ve heard only about one book The Love We Share Without Knowing on Nymeth’s blog. I don’t think you could go wrong with that.

    I have bought a huge number of books on blogger friends recommendations too.

  15. Jackie says:

    Melody – Unfortuantely I didn’t notice that the book on bookmooch is written in French, so there wasn’t much point me getting it! The good news is that I have just checked my local library, and it has a copy! (very rare for this to happen – it hasn’t had the last 20 books I’ve looked for!!) I happen to be passing it this afternoon, so maybe Out will creep to the vvery top of the reading list!

  16. Jackie says:

    Kim – I don’t think it is a problem at all! I love it! I hope you find many more great books through blogging. I’ve just discovered that the library has a copy of The Room of Lost Things too (it must be my lucky day!) so I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Amy/Violet I’m hoping TLWSWK is good, although I am a bit worried about the mixed reviews I’ve seen for it. I look forward to comparing notes with you.

  17. Nymeth says:

    I think I missed the negative reviews of the Barzak book. I do know that Kailana, Meghan and Becky really enjoyed it too, though. I hope you do enjoy it, but please don’t hate me if you don’t :P

  18. Jackie says:

    Nymeth – I won’t think any less of you if I don’t like TLWSWK. I love your reviews, and am really looking forward to reading it. Thank you for recommending it so highly!

  19. claire says:

    Jackie, I do hope you’ll find something good in De Niro’s Game.

    As for a recommendation, this is another war book, but very different. It’s heavy and yet light-hearted, and I’m really surprised that not many people are reading it. It’s What is the What by Dave Eggers. A fictionalized autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. (You might have read it already though, as you have read so many books that are on my radar.) :D

  20. Claire – I haven’t read anything by Eggers, although I have heard of him – I’ll add it to the list.

  21. I love that you did this! What a great idea to compile some of the books bloggers have raved about? I’m always bookmarking the great reviews I need to go back to but I tend to forget. I think I’ll have to copy you for my summer reading!

  22. ohhh! i didn’t even realize you created this challenge! i hope you don’t think i poached!! good luck with this one.

  23. Jackie says:

    Nat – Great minds think alike!! I wouldn’t have minded if you had poached my idea! I hope you find some great books to read too!

  24. FleurFisher says:

    The Margery Sharps are a great find given that all three are out of print. I’ve only read The Nutmeg Tree and I enjoyed it but I don’t think it’s her best work, so maybe not the one to start with. Britannia Mews is the book I’ve heard most praise about so maybe that’s the way to go first. I hope you enjoy your trio!

  25. Jackie says:

    Jane – I’ll give Britannia Mews a try then. Fingers crossed it will be great!

  26. Matthew says:

    You have a handsome list of books Jackie! Yu Hua is one of my contemporary Chinese writers who have written books that invite censorship—but he’s not backing off. I read To Live, which is probably his best-known work to date, made into a film. The Chronicle of Blood Merchant is also good. I’m looking forward to Brothers. To Say Nothing of the Dog is very tempted, thanks to Sandy’s push. :)

  27. Jackie says:

    Matthew – I had never heard of Yu Hua before, so I’m pleased to know you enjoyed his previous books. I’ll let you know what I think of Brothers very soon!

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