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« Elizabeth Strout, "Olive Kitteridge" | Main | Miscellany »

April 01, 2008


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I laughed out loud at your comment about The Secret. No hyperlink for you! Anyway.. I have some dealbreakers. Anything by Danielle Steel or Sophie Kinsella. Basically, I steer clear of any book with a shoe or purse on it. That to me, screams "bubblegum" lit.



I fall somewhere in the middle. I'm not scared off by the Oprah sticker. Although my book group almost turned into a screaming match over the Jonathan Frazen debacle. I've never read the Harlequin stuff, or Danielle Steel...but have enjoyed other low brow chick lit on occasion. The Secret, ugh. To be honest, I have completely blocked it out. Not much for the self-help stuff. I also thought the article was interesting, and made me a little sad that my husband basically only reads medical journals with gross pictures. I do wish we could lay in bed and discuss the newest fiction that we were both reading. Maybe in retirement?


Man.. I'm such a book snob. But I will read crap. Sometimes I have to read crap. That way I'm able to truly appreciate the good stuff. It's like dating... sort of. :)

I'm frustrated if a guy only reads one author, and that author happens to be solely mass produced trade paperback, or if his idea of a great book is The DaVinci Code.

As far as Oprah goes, you're really (truly) missing out on some good stuff. Keep in mind too, that she's not picking the books - her editors and educated literary snobs are. If you don't believe me, you must check out The Reader by Bernard Schlink. It's just a beautiful novel and I read it way before it ended up on her list. It's in my top 10 of all time.

Interestingly though, I find I'm more judgemental of female book collections than I am of male ones. Wonder why that is?


Also, how do you like Melissa Bank? Her book "A Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing" is one of my favorites in the semi-chick lit but much better than chick lit category.

I haven't read the Wonder Spot yet.


Thanks for the comments. Ti, I hear you on the books with shoes and purses! Mandy - I know, Oprah has picked some decent books. I just try to get to them before she does, before that big "O" shows up on the covers. As for Melissa Bank - I am enjoying "Wonder Spot". It's written in the same spare style as "Girl's Guide" - it's oddly compelling. I can't really explain why, but I am having trouble putting it down.


What I avoid at all costs? Mary Higgens Clark. Need I say more? :)

As you know, Gayle, my husband and I like completely different kinds of books. In the 12 years I've known him, I don't think he has read more than 10 pages of fiction. But he reads thousands of pages a year of psychology books/journals, history, and legal scholarship. The only non-fiction books I've read since meeting him in 1996 are the handful of non-fiction books he has given me (always light, pleasant reads such as accounts of the colonization of the Congo or the Armenian Genocide -- you get the idea). I think it used to bother both of us that we don't share more similar taste in books -- and I do envy couples who can pass their books from one side of the bed to the other -- but I think we've both come to terms with it. For the past two Christmases, he has made wonderful (if dark) fiction selections for me from our local bookstore, "Politics and Prose." We view reading differently -- I see it as my major source of entertainment; his professional life revolves around reading academic scholarship. We both love to read, even if it's for different reasons, and I think we bond over the fact that we're both book lovers.


Ok. I've been thinking about this. This is bitchy of me on so many levels, but my deal breaker is the Left Behind series. Couldn't do it. Not even for a second.

You must give Jodi Picoult her due. She is my go to fluff!


I loved this essay in the NYT Book Review. I am definitely a book snob but have come around with the Oprah picks. In fact I realized I am reading an Oprah book now, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

Jodi Picoult: Can't do it. But I do love a good British murder mystery/police procedural. I will devour anything by Elizabeth George.


Oh, I am so a book snob--I have come to despise Jodi Picoult. Any kind of formulaic, contract writing tends to turn me way off!

Oprah--well, she has chosen some books I already loved. I hate her emblem on any books, but at least she has gotten people reading that may never have picked up any book otherwise. I would never read anything she chose because of her "endorsement", however!

I work in one of those bookstores, but there is some good stuff on the shelves as well--where I live is whitebread suburbia, so I expect little of people around here friends are in my reading groups, that's what counts. In fact, about half of the people that work in the bookstore where I work hardly read at all!

Who would I avoid?--well, I have a just lovely friend who keeps suggesting Catherine Coulter, Dorothea Benton Frank and (oh, no) Jodi Picoult for our book group (which she hardly ever comes to anyway!). I have read some Jodi Picoult, but once you've read one, especially her recent ones, you've read them all...this same very dear friend once convinced us to read The Shell Seekers! I plowed through the book, muttering and cursing at the garbage the whole time (I have such a big TBR pile!)--and guess what? She showed up at the meeting and haven't even read it herself! After that she was banned from choosing any books! So her requests for CC, DBF and Picoult just fall on deaf ears anyway!


Sarah - yes, I know your dislike of Mary Higgins Clark... and I can guarantee you that I would never pick up one of hers.

Amy - what is the Left Behind series? Send me a link.

Kiki - I don't know Coulter or Frank. But now I will avoid them. :) As for The Shell Seekers - I read that, ages ago. Here is the snob in me: I would NEVER suggest it for a book club! Ugh!!!!


Hey Gayle--Basically, they (Coulter and Frank) are popular romance writers on the level of Danielle Steele--not Harlequin, with a large fan base. How do you spell BORING!

The Left Behind series is written by two evangelical Christians, and is about what is going to happen to all the people "left behind" after the 'Rapture' occurs. They've sure made a killing on those books! I have never read any of them (and wouldn't since the Rapture is a made up concept not even mentioned in any Christian version of the Bible!) I'm sure they mean well. and they have a large following as well. I have never read them, but they are pretty popular--there are even teen versions of it now. I work in a book store, in the South, so I see this stuff everyday!


I couldn't agree more about jodi Piccoult. My book club read Harvesting the heart a few years ago and I gagged my way thru it. Ditto The Secret, although we do joke about it all the time in our house.


Stones from the River, House of Sand and Fog, and The Reader are on my all time favorites list, and they were all Oprah picks, so I don't automatically write of all things Oprah. Another favorite from last year was my first Picoult book, My Sister's Keeper. It was incredible-I'm serious. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it! (although I have to add that I HATED the other Picoult book I read- Harvesting the Heart- blech!)

I wish my husband read books (any kind would be fine). He reads the sports page of the newspaper on Sunday and that's about it.

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