Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Journal

What Am I Reading (Next?)

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Some of my favourite books that I read in the last few years were out of left field. They came from outside my normal sphere of reading, and impressed me all the more for it. I love finding those books.

The problem is, they can be hard to come by. My shelves and Kindle are absolutely heaving with books I think I want to read, but it’s mostly stuff that I think I want to read. There might be some surprises in there, but too few. I want to be surprised. I want you to surprise me.

I’ve just finished a book. Normally, I’d pull something else off my shelf and fire straight in. Instead, I’m going to hold off. I’d like you, if you can take a moment, to tell me what to read instead. A few criteria:

  • I don’t care what it is. Fiction of any sort, political biography, science, history, short stories, hobby reading… anything. BUT:
  • You must have read it and loved it. Really. Maybe not recently, but I’d like the best you can come up with. Don’t worry about trying to match something to my tastes, I’ve got forests of books ready to read that I’ve already matched to my own tastes. That said, if your favourite book is exactly the sort of thing you think I like reading, don’t be put off – you might be about to suggest the book that makes me look at my pet genres in a new light. Just give me the book that fired you up more than anything else that comes to mind, and a quick note about why would be nice.
  • If you recommend your own book, you’re an idiot, and I’ll mock you. So will everybody else, because I’ll make sure their attention is drawn to it.
  • No graphic novels, or anything with lots of images – I’ll be grabbing whatever it is on my Kindle, most likely.
  • If you end up suggesting something I already have waiting to read, then I’ll disqualify it, but only because it’s already going to happen. I’m looking for things that might not have, otherwise.

Whatever you suggest will go straight to the top of my reading list, and will be the next thing I pick up. If there are too many good suggestions, I’ll probably take one from a hat or something. If there are just enough, I might get them all.

Surprise me, with something I might never find myself. Suggestions in the comments either here on the site or over at FB please. Feel free to pop back and see if anyone else throws down with something that might catch your eye.

If I read it and hate it, that doesn’t mean I’ll hate you. I promise.

I am in your hands. Tell me what to do.

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30 Comments

  1. poǝןɔɐɯ uǝʞɔɐɹqFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    If you haven’t read John Mantooth’s collection, “Shoebox Train Wreck,” I’d recommend that. It is one of my favorite books, period.

    • Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:32 pmAuthor

      A collection, I like it. New to me too – thank you!

  2. Linda GillardFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    A brilliantly provocative blog, Richard, which I’ve shared on FB.

    My choices aren’t recent books but they certainly ticked my boxes and I hate to think you might have missed either of them.

    THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO by Steven Galloway and ELEANOR RIGBY by Douglas Coupland. I imagine both of those titles could have put off/misled a lot of readers over the years.

  3. Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:38 pmAuthor

    Thank you Linda – if I really pushed you though, which of the two would you put in my hands?

    • Linda GillardFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Ooh, that’s a tough one because they’re so different, but as you’re a writer and will appreciate genius (but not flashy) writing, I’ll say ELEANOR RIGBY.

      • Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:05 pmAuthor

        Lovely! Well sold 😉

  4. notjustlauraFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    I loved The Cellist of Sarajevo when I read it a few years ago, Linda. I’d like to suggest Tolstoy and the Purple Chair which I’m currently re-reading for the umpteenth time. Forgive me if it’s terribly not you, Richard – I’ve no idea who you are beyond this blog post!

    • Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:49 pmAuthor

      Noted and in the hat – thanks for popping in with it Laura. The whole point is to get a pool of stuff that isn’t really me, so it scores high!

  5. Peggy Hollingsworth LinhorstFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    “The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World” by A.J. Jacobs.

    “Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe” by Bill Bryson.

    “Replay” by Ken Grimwood.

    • Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:50 pmAuthor

      Peggy – none of those were even on my radar (though I do like what little I’ve read of Bryson – his history of science, and the small Shakespeare book he did a while back). Thanks!

  6. Dawn Marie Torres-ReyesFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov

    • Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:07 pmAuthor

      Oh – I had to look that up. That looks very tempting indeed – thank you.

  7. Lawrence BurtonFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    T.J. Knab – A War of Witches (Westview Press) autobiography rather than fiction: anthropologist goes deep cover in rural Mexico, ends up sacrificing chickens in caves, and comes fairly close to losing his marbles. Like nothing else I’ve read.

    • Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:20 pmAuthor

      Even the thumbnail description’s extreme! Thank you, sir.

  8. jilljmarshFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Second Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. I also loved Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle.

    • Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:22 pmAuthor

      Another that wasn’t even on my radar. This has become quite a pool of stuff – I’m grinning happily!

  9. Cathy PowellFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Death in the Mountains : The True Story of a Tuscan Murder by Lisa Clifford.

    • Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:28 pmAuthor

      Another that would never have crossed my path – how did it hook you, Cathy?

      • Cathy PowellFebruary 11, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        Although set in the past, I felt like I was there in rural Tuscany. I just had to know what happened. The story ended up being really, really moving.

  10. Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:23 pmAuthor

    Note to self. Most grins ARE happy…

  11. Richard WrightFebruary 11, 2013 at 7:34 pmAuthor

    Right, I’m off to bed – thank you all! If anybody new drops by, hello, and please chip in. If you’ve never posted here before, the site will likely hold your comment until morning, when I can pop by and approve it – please do post though, while it’s on your mind!

  12. Amanda FaircloughFebruary 12, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Rather topical at the moment, considering it covers events nearly 600 years ago, but Sharon Kay Penman’ s THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR is a really gripping novelization of the life of Richard III. A long book but we’ll worth the commitment.

    • Richard WrightFebruary 12, 2013 at 11:14 amAuthor

      Oh – good! I’ve just finished writing a story featuring no less than two Richard IIIs (fictional and historical), so immersing myself in somebody else’s stroll around that block could be entertaining. Thanks Amanda.

  13. Vikki ThompsonFebruary 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Richard 🙂

    I’d like to suggest Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. Not my usual sort of thing, but the best thing I’ve read in the last couple of years.

    Xx

    • Richard WrightFebruary 13, 2013 at 2:38 amAuthor

      I’ll sneak it onto the list – thank you Vikki!

  14. Stephanie GravesFebruary 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    If you’ve not read Special Topics in Calamity Physics, I highly recommend it, as well as the Flavia de Luce series (begins with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie) and Mike Carey’s brilliant Felix Castor series. Those three suggestions cover a lot of literary bases.

  15. Richard WrightFebruary 13, 2013 at 6:14 pmAuthor

    You’re right about the Felix books – brilliant, and long overdue a new installment. Special Physics is such a brilliant title that I would have added it, but it self-disqualifies by not being available for the Kindle right now. Your recommendation defaults to Sweetness – added, thank you!

    • Stephanie GravesFebruary 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Heh. Yes, new Felix book, stat!

      Ah. Makes sense that Special Topics wouldn’t be on the kindle–it would be like reading Infinite Jest on the kindle. Lots of footnotes and whatnot. Still, if you feel like picking up a physical book, I always recommend it.

      If you really want an e-book, try Schrodinger’s Ball by Adam Felber. It’s one of my all-time favorites, but it’s a weird little esoteric book that not everyone appreciates.

  16. Darel RobinsonFebruary 13, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard, I would normally have passed this by as Romance (which genre I mostly avoid) but having talked with many friends that had read it I was willing to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. The author makes her characters so real and multi-dimensional, they’re like people you really know.

    • Richard WrightFebruary 15, 2013 at 4:04 amAuthor

      Done – and with that, I’m going to have to draw a line before the new reading list morphs from ‘exciting’ to ‘terrifyingly vast’. Thanks everyone for adding to it!

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