Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Calling All Bookworms

For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading books. The transformation from "mommy, read me a story" to "I can read them myself!" in first grade was nothing less than thrilling.

Both of my parents were voracious readers. My father's love was newspapers - politics and current events - and my mother's love was fiction. I remember going to the public library once every two weeks. I would pick out two books - and my mother would carry out a stack of ten.

My love has not diminished with the years. Even though I read newspapers and the internet for news political commentary and personal stories - I find that I need a daily dose of fiction to wind down at the end of the day. Life in Israel can be intense - so a shot of escapism on a regular basis is very important to me.

Living in my little village has a lot of advantages - but English books in the tiny library we have is not one of them. The English speakers on my yishuv regularly trade books, which we purchase in the used bookstore in the nearest city. Depending on others for books has one advantage - I read things that I would probably not pick up on my own. My first love is mysteries, but lately I've read both historical fiction and fantasy (Eye of the World).

Lately I've come across a used bookstore with a web site where you can order books online and have them delivered by mail (local postage!).

Sounds great, right? It would be, if I knew what to look for! I usually choose books by reading the first page. I ignore all of the blurbs on the cover, which are written by marketing people who only want to SELL. It is sort of like ignoring the used car salesman's pitch and just taking the car for a test drive. The problem with this method is that I can't do it virtually.

So this is where you come in, my dear blog readers. What books and authors do you recommend? I love good mysteries - my favorite authors are P.D. James and Elizabeth George, but I am also up for any good fiction, including historical fiction and fantasy.

Thank you in advance.


Blogger Unknown said...

If it's specifically mysteries... what about Agatha Christie? Sometimes old school is the way to go...

2:26 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Susan Higginbotham said...

Take a look at Sharon Penman for historical fiction (set in medieval times). Candace Robb, P. C. Doherty, and Michael Jecks have all written medieval mysteries.

For modern fiction, I'd recommend anything by Anne Tyler.

3:38 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

OK, I would recommend John Fowles... I don't know what category to fit him in, because EVERY SINGLE BOOK he wrote was completely different from the rest, both in style and in contact. If you're looking to start off with a mystery, I'd try "The Collector". For good historical fiction, I'd try Umberto Eco... his books are not only gripping, but very informative. And again, all his books are excellent, so you could try just about anything. If y ou're looking for something to do with the Middle East, try Lawrence Durrell. I just finished "The Alexandria Quartet", and it's a bit of everything - historical fiction, politics, mystery, romance, mixed in. Very unusual writing.

6:32 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Oh, and as far as fantasy goes, try Pierce Anthony's Xanth series (though he has other good books as well). They are both fantasy and great satire as well, so you'll be laughing if you like that sort of thing. The first book in the series is being made into a movie right now. You might also want to try Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials". I have my own criticisms of the books, but they are very thought-provoking.

6:33 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Best historical series ever: The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnet--set in Tudor Scotland, mainland Europe and Ottoman Turkey--densely, lushly written and a terrific story through all six volumes. First of the series is The Game of Kings, last (and best) is Checkmate. I, too, read voraciously yet I keep coming back and re-reading this series, always finding something new.

8:34 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

Thank you all for your recommendations!

10:38 AM, March 24, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

Can you put the link up?

And I think you'll enjoy Margaret Atwood, if you haven't delved before.

10:02 AM, March 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Coulter
Saul from Tel-Aviv

7:06 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Moze said...

We Shomron mamas ought to organize our own book exchange. I have half a machsan full of book waiting to go to a used book store when I get to a city, but I'd be willing to hand some off to other Anglos.

3:04 PM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

moze - I've thought about that too, but I can't figure out the logistics

11:26 AM, May 11, 2006  
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