Friday, February 26, 2010

a distinct lack of blogging

well, whoopsie daisies, it's been... (counts the months on my fingers)... a long time since my last (and only) post. 
i said i would write about whatever i found stuck to the inside of my head, ambles, rambles and so on. 
this is not a good representation... 
shoddy, really. 
oops. i pressed all sorts of buttons and can't seem to uncross, unbold and unitalicize that whole paragraph. 
there really is stuff going on in my head! lots, actually! 
(oh dear... not convincing) 
the fact is, i've been ambling and rambling quite a bit, but haven't actually remembered to write it down. 


i'm about to go on a little trip- going out to the mountains to breathe clean air, talk to trees and do a lot of writing.  
and reading.
this post is actually going to be an interactive one. i hope.
here's the deal: 
i'd like to put together a reading list. not only for this trip, but just in general. i did a little tweet on the twitter, asking what books i ought to bring, and the response was a little overwhelming. in a GREAT way! i can't tell you how depressing it would be, to ask for reading recommendations and be met with radio silence (or whatever the text equivalent of that is- i suppose just... nothing... visual crickets...)
that would be terrible. 
so... yes! anyhow! 
the list is a little long. also, everyone's taste in reading is different. however, a great book is a great book. 
i thought maybe you could help me out. . . . . ?

i'm going to write down the recommendations i received in the tweetarium- you tell me what you think. comment! please. 

this will be fun. perhaps say what you like about your particular choice and why. 

ok. here goes:

Into the Wild
Of Mice and Men
the hunger games
It's Kind of a Funny Story 
blue like jazz
The Dharma Bums 
Desolation Angels 
The Book Thief
Soul Craving
await your reply
Yours Ever
A Walk in The Woods
the gargoyle
going bovine
the weetzie bat books
a great and terrible beauty 
the tea rose
Power of attraction
The Great Shark Hunt
Lovely Bones
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
The Good Good Pig
the girl w/ the dragon tattoo
Last Lecture
Stories of God
Dearest Creature
Years of Solitude
Mark of the Lion Series
The Great Divorce
Angels and Demons (read it already, fun!)
the Twilight Saga 
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
The Poisonwood Bible
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Don Winslow (is an author...)
This Present Darkness

The Life of Pi
The lovely bones
The road
he Art of Racing in the Rain
jasper fforde (also an author...)
Women in Love
The Shadow of the Wind
breakfast at tiffany's 
Three Cups of Tea
Try Think and Grow Rich
Sharp Objects
Half Broke Horses
Into Thin Air
Prodigal Summer
 Let the Right One In
The Dead Travel Fast
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
the history of love
The Museum of Mary Child
My Side of the Mountain
eggy sue contra los invisibles
The Secret History
 Jitterbug Perfume
The Diary of Max Tivoli
 Beautiful Creatures 
City of Bones
Catcher in the Rye (read it, loved it)
umm...a survival guide?? ( i love this tweet. very practical. thank you, bangtailcalico! )
Carolina Moon
earth abides 
Designer's Don't Read
The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Alchemist (have it, bringing it!)
Wuthering Heights (tried to read this, got too sad, couldn't...)
Hangover Square
Tree of Angels
the help 
Book of love
The historian
the hunger games books
the power of one
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto 
1984 (oh yes, read this at 15, it changed my life... and scared the beeeeeep out of me)
Winter Girls 
Mountains Beyond Mountains
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
Undaunted Courage
For One more Day
The Host 
The Shack 
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook (this used to be in the bathroom at my parents' house.. ha)
the kite runner
the last patriot
Crossing to Safety
By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
The Pillars of the Earth
How to survive a bear attack 101 (haha... let's hope this won't be necessary)
3 Cups of Tea
Hunger Games
Catching Fire

aaah! i just pushed a button on twitter and... oh, well... i don't really have any more steam to tackle the next however many pages of tweets, i'll try to do it on the next post. 
a lot of books, eh?? holy mackerel! and not even nearly the end of them!
this is a good start! let's discuss! 

and here's a picture for you, because pictures are nice:

bye for now. 


  1. The Hunger Games, The Book Thief, The Twilight Saga <<< definite must-reads!

  2. If I may add: To Kill a Mockingbird (by Harper Lee)... my all-time favourite. Altough there is a ton of good books in your list up there ;)

  3. Johnny Cash's autobiography "Cash" is a great read. Johnny Cash was a very well-read, worldly man and his memoir is a great reflection of the past 60 years in America.

  4. Oh and all the cool kids read Dave Egger's "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius".

  5. definitely read "blue like jazz"...don miller is an awesome communicator and story teller.

  6. Nice list, if long! What about a couple of plays or scrips? Waiting for Godot, which reads better than it plays perchance. The History Boys by Bennett? Anywho: my choice from above is Secret History for sure! Donna is so sweet and funny... ah...

    What I Loved by Hustvedt
    Any other Donna Tartt or Brett Easton Whassnims or Vonnegut or Douglas Adams. Also Zadie Smith, yes, especially (for you) On Beauty which is like Forster, so that is two birds etc. Oh lord I am supposed to be writing my OWN books...

  7. Hey Ali!

    I hope you have fun on your trip, it sounds wonderful! Good luck choosing a book from this massive selection!

    I personally recommend "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer. It's *very* different to the Twilight Saga, so don't worry if your not a vamp-fan ;)

    It is a very original and creative book and you will definitely become immersed in this world!

  8. Being a fan of your amazing metaphorical lyrical talent, might I recommend something a bit more esoteric:

    Twin Flames: A True Story of Soul Reunion

    It's most likely only found online. Add it to your massive list and read it someday. ;)

    Wishing you luck, Ali.


  9. A video advice from Sara from "Tegan and Sara." She's a musician just like you! N she loves books.

  10. If you'd like a good soap-opera type British read, run -- don't walk -- and get Lesley Glaister's "Limestone and Clay". Blew. My. Mind.

  11. The Book Thief and Water for Elephants are WONDERFUL books. Highly recommend. I personally couldn't get in to The Kite Runner, but absolutely loved A Thousand Splendid Suns.

  12. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
    Into the Wild
    Of Mice and Men
    The Road

    these are all books I've read and loved! highly recommended. Good luck with your reading list. I have my own and it just keeps getting longer!

  13. Hi Alison!
    Wow, is a lot of books. But Twilight Saga and The Host are "delicious" books, and Rebecca is amazing, i love it.

  14. The hunger games, since it appear twice in your list :D

  15. Oh Ali, what a great idea. I went through the list and only know a few of those. I'm going to comment on the ones I've read and liked:

    The Gargoyle - OH MY GOD what a book! It's kind of a mix between historical novel, fantasy and romance. It sounds a little silly to say but my heart was beating so fast while reading this book. Totally loved it!

    The Life of Pi - Also an amazing book with an unforeseen twist. It definitely blew my mind.

    The Shadows of the Wind - I read the German translation (original is Spanish I believe) and really really liked it. It's a story about a boy who tries to find out more about the author of his favorite book and gets sucked into a mystery of conspiracy etc.

    The Kite Runner - it's a heartbreaking story and you learn a lot about life in Afghanistan before and after the Taliban started to take over

    Into The Wild - I'm kind of cheating here because I only saw the movie but it made me want to read the books because of quotes like "Happiness only real when shared." and "Some people feel like they don't deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past."

    Then I recommend Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Or anything else by him, especially his short story collections "Smoke and Mirrors" and "Fragile Things".

  16. Into the Forest - Jean Hegland
    The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber
    Middlesex and the Virgin Suicides - jeffrey Eugenides
    Maus - Art Spiegelman (yes, it's a "graphic novel" but don't let that scare you)
    anything by Bill Bryson
    anything by A.J. Jacobs
    anything by Anne Lamott

    Just a few more of my faves since you clearly don't have enough yet ;)

  17. The Shadow of the Wind and The Book Theif are fantastic, also Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.

  18. I would say Wuthering Heights, perfect for the mountains, but as you said you already tried...

    Anyway, it´s perfect for the mountains.

    You also know everything about Jane Austen, right? She´s great for the mountains either.

    I would tell you to read
    "Family Ties - by Clarice Lispector"
    One of my favorites writers, she originally write in portuguese, but at amazon, you can find english versions. Perfect for womam!
    a review:

    I was thinking about The Chronicles of Narnia, but you read too I think.

    have a great trip! And don´t forget about writing new amazing pieces of songs for us!

  19. GOING BOVINE by Libba Bray just won the Printz Prize for Young Adult Literature from the American Library Association. (It's like the Newbery.) It is an ambitious story about a boy who develops Mad Cow Disease and is then told (by a Punk Rock Angel, of course) to go on a quest with the dwarf in the next hospital bed. They just happen to pick up a garden gnome along the way who believes that he is a Norse god. Yes, it's absurd. Of course it's funny. True, it'll make you cry like a baby. But, most importantly, it is insanely well done.

    For lighter, slightly more addictive stuff from the YA section, go for CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare. "Mundy" Clary is pulled into a world of Shadowhunters, demons, fairies, etc. when her mom goes missing. The dialog is sharp, the action is fast-paced, and the boys are HOT. Be sure to grab the rest of the series, cause you're gonna want them.

  20. Oh, and of course, THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. In a not-so-distant future Katniss is sent to the 74th annual Hunger Games where she must kill or be killed. The problem? She may be falling in love with fellow Tribute Peeta. Very fast read, insanely well-written, and emotionally draining.

  21. Walden's a great read, it totally ties in with all the nature that you'll want to experience. But, its dense and needs a lot of analysis. So, that may not be your forte if you're looking for an entertaining read. "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" seems like something you may like, and there's no grander alternative to "Of Mice and Men", for you'll never go wrong with a classic.

    However, I'd personally read "It's Kind of a Funny Story" myself. :)

  22. I'm going to recommend against the Twilight Saga. Having read it, I sort of thought that its representation of women and their role in life was absolutely disgusting, not to mention the other million and one things that just made this series plain awful.

    I do however recommend The Road and The Lovely Bones, which have already been suggested, as well as My Sister's Keeper, and In a Glass Darkly, by Le Fanu (a wee book of Gothic Irish short stories). :)

  23. I recommended Sharp Objects but I see you read 1984 (classic!), if that changed your life then read A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It came before 1984 but is soo much more groundbreaking and mind-altering.

  24. I was going to recommend the same thing as Shaun with A Brave New World.
    I read A Brave New World first, and could not put it down, and then tried 1984 directly after that and just couldn't get into it. I just felt like ABNW did it better.

  25. I feel Into the Wild would be one of the best choices, especially if you are going into the mountains. Like the movie adaptation, it is about the life of Christopher McCandless and his self-exploration post college graduation. It is a wonderful but sad story. However, their are quotations that are nothing short of profound, and the book/movie really impacted my life. The book also includes more aspects of travelling in the mountains, something that the movie narraration leaves out. Those parts are more of the author's life rather than Chris's.

  26. You would love Perk of Being a Wallflower. I also recommend The Bell Jar and Love is a Mix Tape :)

  27. The hunger games is my favourite book. You should definetely read that. An interesting vision about future. There's everything a good book needs - love, action, adventures, everything! Read it. I can't wait for Catching fire to come out in Latvia. Lets hope it's soon.

  28. I stand by my original choice: The Dharma Bums. Based on the books you've mentioned reading, and based on allusions I've picked up on in your music (especially Blake), as well as your favorite books list, I think The Dharma Bums will fit nicely into your tastes and is especially good for a mountain sojourn.

    I promise wouldn't waste your time with a random selection for you to read.

  29. Oh, and forgot to ask. Have you read Harry Potter? Ok, this maybe sounds childish, but you know, that's a very interesting serie of books. Maybe not in the beginning, but at the end I simply love it. So, read it, if you haven't done that already.

    Good luck with reading all theese books in the list,

  30. "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pessl

    "Reading this story was like running a reverse marathon that started out as a meandering stroll and ended in a sprint. And when I say marathon, I mean marathon."

  31. Books that changed me: The Shack and Robin Hood. Both would have been so much better if I could have read them in the mountains

  32. it appears you have enough suggestions to require several large wheelbarrows to accompany your glorious adventure to the mountains, so what i can offer is something very short, and since the topic is books, here's a poem i wrote on my blog yesterday with that exact title. it seems perfect timing. :)


    sometimes silence restrains love
    and other times it makes it grow
    but i want you to know
    that i offer my heart as your open book
    please read it with gentle hands
    in perfect anticipation
    and you'll find love waiting for you
    on every page

    looking carefully
    i see rain in your eyes
    do you mind getting caught for a moment with me
    we'll silence the world's questions
    and listen to the rain sing
    just a few short steps and outside, we're breathing
    rainclouds thundering
    but we couldn't be safer, here together
    our faces glowing, wet tangled hair dripping
    we'll jump high enough to reach the clouds
    to pull every last drop of rain out
    do all that we know to get caught in a stare
    and never let go

    donroseonaski 2-25-10

  33. i had to laugh about "whoopsie daises" haha, good memories. my grandama is american (she moved to brazil, from where i am) and she used to say that all time haha ♥

    anyway, my favorite book is "the orange girl", by jostein gaarder. it tells the history of a boy who receives a letter from his dad, ten(?) years after he died. the letter tells about a girl he felt in love with, and the saga to discover more about her after some silent minutes togheter in a train. its at the same time filosophycal, smart and so cute!

    i hope you have a nice trip! :)

  34. I really enjoyed Water For Elephants. I read it while I was on vacation in Hawaii.

    I loved Perks of being a Wallflower. I have never cried so much while reading a book. It is very much like Catcher in the Rye.

    Everyone keeps raving about The Book Thief and it has been on my shelf for months but I haven't gotten around to it yet. It was published for adults overseas but in the US it is marketed as a young adult book.

  35. This review made me run to Borders and immediately pick up "The Book Thief." It was like hearing a song on the radio and feeling compelled to run to the record shop at midnight just to buy the record.

    But because you are going to the mountain..."Into the Wild" and "Walden" would also be very appropriate choices.

    I might also recommend "Watership Down." It's about bad ass rabbits.

  36. Fine, there's many books I've not read yet, but if I have to choice I say
    Into The Wild and The Book Thief

    I really loved them The Book Thief is one of my favourites books that i've ever read until now haha but the thing is you should read it is really amazing


  37. Read The War On Art by Steven Pressfield.
    It's an short, inspiring self-development book, very quick to get through, and it paints a beautiful picture about where creativity comes from and how you can overcome writing blocks and win those inner creative battles.

    It's a great read. I think you'll like it.

  38. I'm the one who wrote you just to bring along white paper and pen. Now i see you mean it seriously and hopefully you have a big van to carry all those literary, you eventually could add "Illusions. The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" by Richard Bach to your long list. As English is not my mothers language, i haven't read many books in this language. I'm sure you will like it, and it's only about 120 pages.

  39. Me being a bibliophile, haha, here is what I would recommend from the list above!

    Of Mice and Men
    blue like jazz
    Soul Craving
    Mark of the Lion Series
    The Great Divorce
    the Twilight Saga
    A Prayer for Owen Meany
    The Poisonwood Bible
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    This Present Darkness
    The lovely bones
    breakfast at tiffany's
    Jitterbug Perfume
    The Alchemist
    the power of one
    The Host
    The Shack
    the kite runner

    Here are a few I would add:

    East of Eden: Steinbeck
    Searching for God Knows What (same author as Blue Like Jazz)
    Redeeming Love (same author as Mark of the Lion Series)
    Till We Have Faces: C S Lewis
    The Circle Series by Ted Dekker (ANYTHING by Ted Dekker actually!)

    There are just a few... let us know what you decide on!

  40. For getting away and relaxing---anything Jane Austen. But my favorite book in the whole wide world is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I re-read it every year.

  41. I wasn't even going to comment, until I saw Perks of Being a Wallflower. I couldn't not proclaim my praises for the book.

    One of the best coming of age stories ever written, it follows the young, naive Charlie through his freshman year of high school. His experiences of friendship, love, and loss are such that everyone can relate to. It is truly an amazing read.

  42. omg I can't believe I am recommending a book to you, your music is perfect and an inspiration for me as a pianist.
    on with the books
    you REALLY should read "The last Song" by Nicholas Sparks, it's a perfect combination of romance, grief and music!
    have a nice and safe trip :)

  43. I would recommend reading Into The Wild. I personally haven't read the book but I have seen the screen adaptation with Emile Hirsch and it was amazing.

    I would imagine it would be great for where your going and easier to imagine his position in the book. He abandons the laws of life and money and goes into the wild to be free.

  44. So many good options. Kind of depends what your in the mood for. Here's my input!

    Sybil - very interesting.You get caught up in her world.
    The Shack - agree with it or not it makes you think.
    The Historian - Entertaining.She really blends fact and fiction flawlessly.

    My additions.
    The Thirteenth Tale - Intruiging supernatural mystery. I've read it once and want to again even though I know what happens.
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan- if you are interested in Chinese culture this is great. While it is a fiction book she used interviews with real people to write it.
    Looking for Cassandra Jane- Fabulous, my favorite modern book.
    Jane Eyre- best classic! Favorite book of all time.

  45. "Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver would be a great book to read on a trip to the mountains. To quote, "There is an emphasis on the natural world, described in sensuous language and precise detail......focusing on the ecological damage caused by herbicides, ethical questions about raising tobacco, and the endangered condition of subsistence farming"

    It's both educational, and sensuous, all in one. Quite the read.

  46. Anything by Chuck Palahniuk is fantastic. My personal favorites are Lullaby and Diary.
    100 Years of Solitude from Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is incredible as well.

  47. Mostly a good list although, as a UCLA english major I am forced to tell you that if you want good literature I wouldn't suggest the twilight series or the host. The Great Divorce is simply genius so I would have to say that would be my first choice :)

  48. If you like fantasy/magical stuff at all, definitely read The Wheel Of Time series!! They're really, really long, and great stories. Good character development over like the 12 books.. Unfortunately Robert Jordan died before he finished the last one. But someone else is completing it I hear. Anyway, you should check it out! :)

  49. blue like jazz changed my life!! love his writing style.

  50. 100 Years of Solitude is just fantastically beautiful, Jasper Fforde's books are so innovative and funny, and since you liked 1984, have you read Brave New World? It's similar, but I actually liked it better.

    And, oh, To the Lighthouse or The Waves are always good for some deep thinking.

  51. Actually, if you're looking for a book that's a good read and very informative, "A Brief History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson is pretty awesome. I'm a big fan of urban fantasy as well, and so recommend both "The Dresden Files" books by Jim Butcher and "The Mercy Thompson" books by Patricia Briggs. Lastly, if you haven't read it, I highly recommend "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. Good reading!

  52. I highly second/third/fourth/whatever The Book Thief by Markus Zusak! I can't even begin to describe how much I love that book.

    I also recommend A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. Bizarre yet hilarious.

    Then there's Boneshaker by Cherie Priest for steampunk goodness.

    And The Hunger Games series for a wild dystopian adventure. (You'll be hooked.)

    And lastly, Fat Cat by Robin Brande and The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg for all your YA contemporary fiction needs. Very fun books!

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Nikki @ Bookizzle said...

    I highly second/third/fourth/whatever The Book Thief by Markus Zusak! I can't even begin to describe how much I love that book.

    I think the same, that book has put little things, little feelings inside me, the story might be a little repetitive because it's about jews and stuff but it's not like the other books, this is really special.

    I also think in the book Into the Wild (I know I've posted that before but I was a little sleep haha), Into The Wild is amazing, I've seen the movie, with Emile Hirsch and that makes me like the book more. A great film with a great cast for a great book.

    Kisses from Uruguay :D (haha)

  55. The Book Thief is incredible. Breakfast at Tiffany's is beautiful. I also love Wuthering Heights but you said you already tried that, so...

  56. It depends on what you want out of your reading. If you want to be consumed I'd recommend Tolstoy, either "War and Peace" or "Anna Karenina."

    If you want something philosophical that will help you reflect on nature and life then Thoreau (and "Walden") is your man.

    However, if you'd prefer to spend more time in your own thought than someone else's short stories or novellas are perfect. I'd suggest Capote, or Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love."

    The art of the novella is a wonderful series and I'd strongly recommend "Bartelby the Scribner" by Melville, "The Man Who Would Be King" by Kipling, and naturally, Proust.

  57. SO many books! I hope I'm not repeating anyone above in this list: Jane Austen, Emma especially if you want a giggle. If you want a really fast-paced science fiction adventure story, look for Alastair Reynolds' House of Suns and Century Rain. The Secret Garden and A Little Princess make me cry. But top of the list of suggestions is the Georgia Nicholson books by Louise Rennison. The first is Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging. They are hilarious!!

  58. "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez is one of the greatest works of fiction ever written. I wrote a book review about a year ago on it (I'm in USC's grad writing program):

    "Stories of God" is a book of short stories by the German poet Rilke, an amazing, amazing writer:

    "Dearest Creature" by Amy Gerstler is just a great book of poetry that just came out recently (it was just named a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize):

    I hope this helps! The reviews are much more in depth than I could be in a comment box. Good luck choosing!

  59. A Great and Terrible Beauty (and the other two in the series) is a great read. Not terribly complicated, but an entertaining story. The Lovely Bones was fantastic. I started it when I was 14, but I couldn't really appreciate it. But then I started it up again because I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. It's a really beautiful book--beautiful story, beautifully written. Breakfast at Tiffany's is great. If you can get your hands on A Capote Reader, just read all of his stuff. I like his portraits in particular.

    If I may be so bold as to add another title to this growing list... if you haven't read Daniel Quinn's Ishmael, do so immediately. It's about a gorilla. Except not really at all. It's about life. But a billion other things, too. It's best not to ask questions. Just read it. It goes onto the lists of "books that changed my life."

  60. The Lovely Bones was a decent read but I feel it may have been a bit overrated (a movie really?). I don't know what type of genre you enjoy reading in, but I would have to say that the Eragon series is great for any fantasy/sci-fi lover. Thr3e is a wonderful mystery/thriller/thinker by Ted Dekker. All Quiet on the Western Front is a marvelous read if you want something to chew on for a while. If you have any interest for Russian literature try The Death of Ivan Ilych (that's an i and an L) a short story by Leo Tolstoy. If you have ever enjoyed the perfect children's fairytale then grab the full collection of Brothers Grimm...some rather dark tales but full enthralling. Hope you can find exactly what you are looking for in your venture for the perfect books :). Enjoy your time in the mountains...hope you are able to find the inspiration and relaxation you seek!

  61. I second Keeley up there with "Ishmael".


    In fact I read every post waiting for someone else to mention this book and when I got to the end - thank you Keeley! This book has sparked so much discussion and I just love talking about it with others.

  62. PREP, Lovely Bones, For One More Day, and Perks of Being a Wallflower are all excellent choices. They're all relateable, true life stories that are enjoyable for every audience.

    You can leave the Twilight Saga in the dust. Not worth the hype, in my opinion, I think you may have a litttle better taste.

  63. I highly suggest you read Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Only this New York Times Bestselling author could have a teenage boy dying of mad cow disease be an entertaining comedy, while simultaneously touching on the deepest questions of life. It would be impossible to summarize this book and would only be a injustice to it. I guess its awesome-ness just can't be contained. This is the book I recommend to anyone that will listen, so now I am recommending it to you.

    Hope you pick it.

    P.S. I became a fan of yours when I accidentally put two of your songs on repeat while listening to Wuthering Heights. You have been my favorite singer ever since. Ironic, since you are such a fan of books.

  64. wow that's a lot of reading you gotta do ;)
    i personally would add "Perfume (The Story of a Murderer)" to the list. it had such an incredible impact on me and definitely is a "must read"

  65. well i dont pretend to be a bookfile- but one of the best books i ever read was by william wharton- its called BIRDY- its amazing FUNNY and v sad too- the BIBLE has lots in it- if you get over the PRO or ANTI religious bias- the last temptaion by NIKOS KASANTZAKIS is great too- i am reading about the wars at the mo- not much fun- but its so important that we dont forget the past- in case we make a mistake in the future- FINALLY- off books- I CANT WAIT TO THE GLASGOW GIG ali- thanks for adding it- even a support will make my year!!

  66. out of your list only read a couple- the catcher in the rye had a big effect on me when i was 21- not so much now- but a classic nevertheless x

  67. A lot of these books are on my To Read list as well! After going through your list and all the comments I'd like to double-recommend the following:

    "A Great and Terrible Beauty" (the first book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy) by Libba Bray, and also her latest release "Going Bovine." Young adult books, yes, but Libba is fantastic!

    "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky - not many books can be heartbreaking and hilarious all at the same time.

    "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova wins for being the book most recommended to me. I have it, but haven't read it yet.

    "Into the Forest" by Jean Hegland would be perfect to read in the mountains! A sort of post-apocalyptic setting in which a pair of sisters must fend for themselves after being left alone in their home in the woods. Absolutely beautiful prose.

    "Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time" by Rob Sheffield is a lovely memoir, and as a musician I think you would enjoy it on an entirely different level.

    Lovely picture, by the way! I do hope you come to use this blog more often - at least come back and tell us what you thought of the books you ended up reading. :)

  68. A Walk in the Woods is no literary classic, but it is a fantastic book to take on a trip! Bill Bryson, the author, attempts to hike the 2100-mile Appalachian Trail which runs from Maine to Georgia, and along the way, meets the most interesting people and has run-ins with bears and crazy mountain men! But Bryson also offers genuine insight on the true beauty of nature and Americans' changing perceptions of spending a day in the woods. It's an interesting twist on travel literature, it's hilarious, heart-warming, and makes you really think about what you're willing to sacrifice to spend time in nature. It is easily one of my most favorite books of all time.

    However, if you are interested in something more classic, I agree with the recommendations of Anna Karenina, the Kite Runner, 100 Years of Solitude, and would add Love in the Time of Cholera (by the same author). I am sure whatever you pick to bring will be fantastic (with the exception of the Twilight Saga!). Happy Reading!

  69. Definitely read The Book Thief. It is absolutely breathtaking!

  70. Ok, there is one book, only one more book that i have to ask you to read:

    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
    he has a really particular kind of writting, but it's easy to read and interesting, even if the end of his books is a little bit strange, is amazing.


  71. Alison!

    you've got your hands full it seems...

    When someone shares something with you, its only fair to return the favour. Your sharing of yourself in AFF's music warrants some kind of HUGE payback, so the very least i can do is give you the titles of 2 of my favourite books.

    1.) "Grab Onto Me Tightly As If I Knew The Way"
    - by Bryan Charles

    This book is full of music and emotion, and deals with trying to find one's place in the world that seems to be changing quickly with age. It's pretty funny sometimes, too, and the almost-lyrical flow of the writing is stunningly, undeniably beautiful.

    2.) Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
    -by Vincent Lam

    I don't know if you're into anything medical, but this is a GREAT Canadian (!!!- Giller Prize Winner) collection of short stories about a group of doctors as they make their way from med students to seasoned physicians, dealing non-stop with their past problems, loves, failures.

    Anyways, if you have time, check them out - it looks like you'll be reading till you turn 86.

  72. Ali! Enjoy your trip and. I reckon you'll like Three Cups of Tea, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

    My latest blog is for you:

  73. Twilight is a waste of time; the writing style is the worst thing I have ever laid eyes on. However, Life of Pi, Of Mice and Men and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are all fantastic!

  74. Twilight isn`t a really good book. A friend of mine advised it.... I`ve read it- but don`t like it at all. For those who love vampires it`s good to read, but it`s not moving...
    If I had to choose one of your list, I would prefer "Breakfast at tiffany's".
    Books of mitch albom (I don`t know if they are available in the US) and Nicci Gerrard are also fantastic.
    The past months the only english book I`ve read was "Extremely Loud & Incredible close" by Jonathan Safran Foer. Beautiful ... ;)

  75. They are not nice but fair or shean. And a book is great as in not small; you'd want a fine one. But I'm a'guessing you'll bring a Kindle? and size and weiht wouldn't matter.

    The lifestopper at 15 for me was A Clockwork Orange, but it's "ultraviolent" and you may not be into such. After then I fell out of fiction. But I still find interactive fiction to always be a fun diversion: and You'll love Curses, Jigsaw, Primrose Path, So Far, Perdition's Flames, and Tapestry.

    For nonfiction, The Medea Hypothesis is newish.

    Also in my wish list are The Household Cyclopedia of General Information, The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, Bulfinch's Mythology, The 10,000 Year Explosion, The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England, Clan of the Cave Bear, Milestones of Civilization, and many others.

    Ancient Genealogical Allegations/FabPedigree is a wonderful site. And here's some fun reading: ̈Ötzi.


  76. I did suggest Slaughterhouse 5 on twitter, which I’ve just finished and was a very thought provoking book. But I might change my mind and suggest you try ‘The Book Thief’, I read this last year and thought it was amazing, definitely my favourite read for last year. And if you didn’t see this, then try a book of Josie Long’s recommendations, I’ve read three of these and they are all excellent.


  77. Anything by Donald Miller is absolute magic, Ali! I know that someone already recommended Blue Like Jazz...but it is a must-read. Something for your warm soul. [:


  78. Hi Ali,
    when I stumbled over the reading list in your blog I immediately had to think of "Silent Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pessl. The chapter titles are borrowed from literature, the table of contents thus making up a reading list. On the surface Pessl tells the story of a highly intelligent student trying to solve the murder of her teacher, but the novel goes much deeper. It is a rollercoaster ride between witty, funny, strange and downright weird which I believe you'll find enjoyable reading, although the middle part is somewhat boring. The book is spiked with tons of literary references, some of them faked, some real, that a bookworm will find huge fun to decode. And maybe you'll find some parallels between Blue, the heroine, and yourself...
    Having a good trip? Steppenwolf barking by your side?
    Love, Kai

  79. sorry, the title of the book is SPECIAL Topics in Calamity Physics..

  80. PREP by Curtis Sittenfeld is magnificent. Its been compared to Salinger and Plath's writing. It puts you right back into that awkward high school phase.
    Hunger Games & Catching Fire are amazing. You will read both of them in one sitting because it is necessary to know how it ends! Have fun, happy reading! Can't wait to see you at Lilith!

  81. The Alchemist is my fav book!

  82. I definitely recommend The Hunger Games and it's sequel Catching Fire. Also, The Lovely Bones is a great book. The Great Gatsby is perfect for travel. However, I do NOT recommend the Twilight Saga as it's terribly written, however entertaining it may appear to be.

  83. I don't want to recommend anymore books however there are 5 that I would say read:

    Perks of Being a Wallflower.
    Wuthering Heights (come on finish it!!)
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    The Kite Runner
    and A Thousand Splendid Suns. (I had to recommend an extra hehe - couldn't resist)

  84. OH I just thought of something (as I was reading this book for my class). I am taking a Holocaust class right now at my college (ucla what what) and it is possibly the most thinking I have EVER DONE morally and intellectually. SOOO saying that: if you want to think...alot and hard and come to some realizations about yourself and decide whether or not you want to think positively about humanity or...well not (I happen to be the positive type)
    ANYWAYS all that build up for two memoirs written by survivors.

    Night by elie wiesel
    The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (Personal fav)

  85. OH AND you have to write another blog in which you tell us which ones you have read and liked and didn't like etc! I mean you don't have to lol but it would be really chill if you did :)

  86. I definitely recommend This Present Darkness! Great read, as is its sequel. The Shack is very good, very though provoking, and very sad. I'd recommend it, but it is a very sad book. I haven't heard of most of the books, but ever since watching the movie I'd like to read The Lovely Bones, again it's a very sad and somewhat gruesome book from what I hear though. I also would recommend against Twilight, as popular as it is. There's much better writing out there!

    Some personal recommendations that aren't on the list are The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. It is an amazing book. The writing is fantastic and the descriptions and wording are like nothing else I've ever read. Some of your songs remind me of the writing in that book.

    I would also recommend The Authorian Saga by Mary Stewart, The Ender Series by Orson Scott Card, and The Last Herald-Mage Series or other early Valdemar series books by Mercedes Lackey if you are into fantasy or science fiction.

    When in doubt Classics are always good as well! Jane Austin books, Grimm's fairy tales or other fairy tales, Beatrix Potter (kids books are still great!), and others.

    Have a wonderful time on your trip!

  87. I just finished Candide by Voltaire, and it's just hilarious! He's constantly making fun of historical figures and well... just about anything you can make fun of! Love love loved it, and definitely recommend!!

  88. Into the Wild

    Hi Alison!
    Into the wild is beautifull but a little sad. I think you will love, cry and think a lot about your life and choices.

    Have a great time!

  89. "The Secret Life of Bees" and "Bastard Out of Carolina" are two excellent books. Both offer a different picture of growing up in the south in the 1960s. Very compelling!

    Also, "The Sirens of Titan," "Galapagos," and "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut.

    "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" -- a staple!

    "Brave New World" and "Anthem" -- if you want to think a bit.

    The Southern Vampire series (aka Sookie Stackhouse novels) -- LOTS of fun, kind of a guilty pleasure.

    The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix -- Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen. Absolutely enchanting.

    As you can tell, I like both intellectual reads and pure fun reads. I'm a kid at heart; I don't believe in reading all stodgy stuff! You gotta enjoy the little things.

    Best of luck!

  90. Blue Like Jazz is incredible. It will change your life. It's a thinking book, not so much a storyline.

    The Twilight Saga...just, no. The writing style is childish and the storyline is bogus. I'm sure Stephenie Meyer is a fantastic author, but she doesn't portray it well in those books.

    I've heard The Hunger Games is a wonderful book, so go for it! :)

    My suggestion? Take any Sarah Dessen book. That woman can write chick flicks like nobody's business :) It's fantastic.

  91. A Wild Sheep Chase - Haruki Murakami. You'll love it.

  92. If no one has suggested it, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is AMAZING! Other favorites include Zorro by Isabel Allende, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda (her book of short stories, I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, is also amazing).

    Out of the books already suggested, The Confessions of Max Tivoli (which is based on the original F. Scott Fitzgerald short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is great. And The Historian is also really good, but I suggest reading Dracula first if you haven't already.

    My sister owns a used bookstore, so I'm a junkie. Happy reading :)

  93. My most recent favourite book is The Weight of Silence

  94. looks like you'll be reading for a while!

    here are some good ones from my shelves:

    - The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
    - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver)
    - In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan)
    - The Omnivore's Dilemma (Michael Pollan)
    - The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)
    - The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
    - White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
    - The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)

  95. I'd skip over anything Twilight if you're looking for something more...enriching? No offense to fans, but I don't feel it was all that well written, but if you're into the vampire thing.... It was entertaining enough that I read all four books. That is to say I got through them out of sheer curiosity. I needed to know if some lucky vamp got to Bella in the end...alas I was disappointed.

    The Road was incredible. It was raw, it was shocking, and it was true to life. You see a side to humanity that I think we all know is there, but we're scared to acknowledge what it means. What a person will do for the ones they love. Probably one of my favorite books of all time.

    If I may also suggest a few:

    A Girl Named Zippy - A hilarious, lighthearted memoir that leaves you laughing and feeling light. It makes you appreciate the little things. I would suggest reading it right after The Road. :)

    Mutant Message Down Under - Will change/improve your outlook on life. It's about a woman that goes on a walk-about with an Aboriginal tribe in Australia. Probably my second favorite book. You will look at the world though new eyes when you're done.

    Anything written by Amy Tan. My particular favorite was The Bonesetter's Daughter, though everything I've read of her so far as been great. Anyone who is a mother or daughter should read her books. Very well written and from the heart.

    Good luck and by the looks of this list, see you next year!


  96. I totally agree with most of the comments people made about The Twilight Saga. Yes, it's kinda good for those who are into vampires and romance whatever, but really, the writing's not all that. I just read a couple of chapters and had to put it down. It's not worth the time (except for when you're really THAT bored).

    Paulo Coelho's books are good if you're looking for spiritual and inspirational themes. Though, few of his books could get slightly repetitive.

    "A Brief History of Nearly Everything" - I do like this book. It mostly contains of general things you may never need, but still interesting stuff enough to know about.

    Right now though, I'm going back to the classics (well, mostly well-loved children's books like Alice in Wonderland).

    And thank you btw for the list (and all those who left comments). I was actually trying to find a good read myself. :]

  97. One of my favorites is "To Kill a Mockingbird'', by Harper Lee. It's a beautiful story, that fills you with all sorts of nice feelings about family, home, struggle, hope... I might add that this is one of the greatest books of all time!

    Ps.: Ali, come to Brazil sometime, would you? You have such loyal fans here, who are wainting quite a while for this :)


  98. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez is like drinking a glass of wine, you sip, you don't gulp.

  99. PS... since you are in the wilderness it might be a good idea to stay away from Survivor or anything about the Donner Party. ;)

  100. Well I've never actually read the book myself, but since you will be in the wilderness, how about Walden by Henry David Thoreau?

    I think it's very appropriate for the setting and being in an environment so similar to the book might make it speak to you more. I've heard that it's very thought provoking.

    Have a good trip!

  101. I've just read the INTRODUCTION to Memoirs of a Geisha, and already I'm immersed in it, I definitely reccomend it, and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

  102. a happy marriage by rafael yglesias

    you have to read a happy marriage!! i cried multiple times - love, love, love!!

  103. Married to the Sea webcomic:

    How do you like Colbie Caillat's copycat "I Never Told You"? which frankly took after your "Almost Lover".

  104. One commenter suggested "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami, modern Japan's arguably most influential novelist. I support this suggestion, but the key to a better understanding of much he has written is his early work, "Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World".

    It is seemingly split in two halves, one of them playing in modern Tokyo and the other half in a calm, timeless dreamscape. And how they fit together to form one story is sure to make you say "wow". The book has elements of cyberpunk as well as fantasy, Neuromancer meeting Alice in Wonderland.

    Not the easiest reading, but enough to start a Murakami addiction...

  105. I have actually read most of the books on that HUGE list...I think I need to get out more...but I can highly recommend the following

    The Help (now on my top 10 list)
    The Guernsy Potato Peel Pie Society (good but light)
    The Forgotten Garden (also on my top 10)
    Water for Elephants (hard, especially if you like animals)
    The girl with the dragon tattoo and the girl who plays with fire (both excellent)
    Twilight and City of bones series (good, read them with my niece, but light and fluffy)
    The Historian (great, dark, about Vlad the Impaler, weird ending, but recommend it)
    Lovely Bones (wonderful, very sad to start, but very deep)

    Okay...I dont want to make my list as long as the there is my 2 cents worth...

  106. Hi Ali!!! well i must to say its a wonderfull idea to talk about books here in your little virtual space xD, i was seeing the list of books and i think if you are going to a trip to the mountains the better options are:

    .- Into the Wild
    .- Relatos de un Peregrino Ruso (tales of a Russian pilgrim)
    .- Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    .- The Seed and the Sower, by Laurens Van der Post
    .- Cien años de soledad by Gabriel García Márquez

    With nothing else to say at the moment i take this opportunity to let you know how much I like your music, in your lyrics you know mix the soul of a singer with the soul of a poet. Go ahead, follow giving us a smile and still satisfy your goals and dreams, in this world nobody forbids us to! greetings from Guayaquil, Ecuador xD

  107. the trick is to keep breathing- by janice galloway- thats a good one x

  108. You should read its kind of a funny story, definitely. It is a very insightful book on a boy who is depressed but it takes a very lighthearted look at it, and shows you how to make a good situation out of a bad one. Its also fairly humorous and is very easy to get through. Another book I would suggest (or a collection of books) would be the published works of j.d. Salinger. The catcher in the rye is one of my favorite books of all time, franny and zooey is very. Interesting, and nine stories is fantastic. He is one of my favorite writers, and since his recent death I have reread all of his works over again.

  109. Understanding Reality - By Stefan Hlatky and Philip Booth