And from the http://booksonthenightstand.com/ podcasts. Although I'm liking their recommendations only about half the time right now. I'll have to try out a few more recommendations to see if I'm really on the same page with what they like.
I also turn to award lists - Pulitzer, Man Booker, National Book Award, and yeah, I've been known to dip into an Oprah pick every now and again.
I haven't read "real" books as much this year as I usually do (Jason always tells me audible books don't count). I guess the move, getting the house together, getting adjusted to work, etc. But this summer I've been devouring books. Especially now that the pool is operational. I love to float and read.
So as of the halfway mark of 2011, here's what I've gotten through so far (I included audible books - because I think they DO count).
I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT - ALL Terry Pratchett is required reading in my universe.
THE BLIND ASSASSIN - Margaret Atwood (non-apocalyptic). Book within a book within a book...awesome.
OLIVE KITTERIDGE -
THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER - I needed to see what all the hype is about. It was ok, but I've read better coming-of-age novels.
HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG - I've heard of this one so long, and I thought it was about China or Vietnam for some reason. But ooooh was it ever NOT. This was amazing and sad. It got mixed reviews, but I loved it. It was one of the rare books where I was actually surprised at the events and found myself saying OH NO out loud.
BEAT THE REAPER - This one was fun! Jason and I listened to it together. Someone on Amazon described it as "House" meets "The Sopranos". I get that.
KAFKA ON THE SHORE - Liked this, but yeah, it was weird. I had to let it sink in awhile. But it has stuck with me more than some other things I've read. I keep thinking about parts of it, trying to figure it all out.
SKIPPY DIES - On the long-list for several awards. I think in another year without Freedom (which I think was way over-hyped), and A Visit From the Goon Squad, it would have won more. However, it's described as a "comic" novel, and I don't get that. Maybe there were a few funny lines, but I disagree that makes is a comic novel.
THE HUNGER GAMES/ CATCHING FIRE/ MOCKING JAY - never ending. It could have been 1/2 the length. Other than that, great. I seriously thought I would grow old and die before Mocking Jay ever ended.
QUICKSILVER - Yeah I've already read it, but um...it's NEAL STEPHENSON and this was the UNABRIDGED audible version, so I had to listen now didn't I?
PRACTICAL DEMONKEEPING - Christopher Moore cracks me up. This book made me NOT want to find a Genie in a bottle....
FREEDOM - Runner up in the Morning News Tournament of Books and won a lot of other junk. It's a good story depicting a typical 2000ish American family and blah blah blah. Nothing all that inventive, but well-written.
A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD - Won the Morning News Tournament of Books. Oh yeah and the Pulitzer too (although I put way more faith in the Tournament of Books) and some other prizes. I get it (unlike many Pulitzer winners). It's a little different. Sort of short stories, but interwoven, and just kind of different. There's a kid in it (autistic but brilliant) who is obsesses with the pauses in rock songs and how important they are. Have I mentioned I seem to be drawn to books involving brilliant kids?
GREEN RIVER, RUNNING RED - Non-fiction about the Green River Killer. Y'all knew I used to want to be a psychiatrist who worked with serial killers, right?
THE LONELY POLYGAMIST - ok this was surprisingly funny. I loved it. I recommended it to friends, and I recommend it to you. Also involves a difficult kid. I laughed out loud during parts, and other parts were really hard to read (emotional).
THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DEZOET - Think Pillars of the Earth, only more action. And set in Japan. But with dutch people.
THE LITTLE STRANGER - I felt like reading something scary, and this book was mentioned on one of the Books on the Nightstand podcasts. I wanted more madness than ghosts, and this was an ok compromise. However, I'm still looking for something more madnessy-scary.
THE FINKLER QUESTION - Oy Vey. Too long. But there were some clever parts and some funny lines that made me chuckle. And it made me think about how wrong we can get our stereotypes sometimes.
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN -Another one about which I wanted to understand the hype. And I get it. Really good for the first half, really dumb the last. If you fall in love in 1 day with a person who is not at all who they portray themselves to be, and then mourn that lost lost the rest of your life, that is not a good thing. Duh.
THE PALE KING - Oh David Foster Wallace, why did you leave us so soon? Only you could make me want to read three pages of nothing but a second by second description of what happens in a silent room full of 100 IRS auditors.
99% of these I've listened to (I use audible.com), but I've got a couple of "real" books going right now. Jason is using the Kindle to read all the Game of Thrones books and I also FINALLY got him to read GONE AWAY WORLD. Which he liked but complained about throughout. And REALLY complained at the end and said he wasn't going to finish because he was mad, but then he totally snuck and finished it.
Gotta go float in the pool and read now.....later.