Saturday, July 12, 2008

book suggestions for my writing retreat?

Whenever I go away to write, I like to take a new, knock-my-socks off novel to read while I'm away. I know some writers steer clear of reading while they work, but I never stop reading novels. And when I'm off in a special space to write, I love having something amazing to read when I need a break.

So... I'm just finishing up Leif Enger's newest novel So Brave, Young, and Handsome. I like it as much as I did his first novel, Peace Like A River.

Next in my pile is Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove. I'm looking forward to reading it but am not sure it's the right book to take along.

Another possibility is a re-read of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

There's a wonderful indie bookstore where I'm going, so there will also be the opportunity to browse and just happen onto a good novel.

Any suggestions? Best reads of 2008 you want to share? Old favorites I might not have read? I'd love to have a list to choose from!


the7msn said...

You've not read Lonesome Dove before???? It's at the very top of my favorite book list. It's the perfect novel to take to a writing retreat if you want to totally escape from the time and place where you're reading it. Have fun at the retreat no matter which books you take along.

billie said...

Oddly, I've read every other book by Larry McMurtry but NOT Lonesome Dove!

My only concern is that it might entice me to work on the newest book idea I had recently, which keeps tugging at the corner of my mind. I flat out REFUSE to start another one until this novel is out of my hands and I get the nonfiction ms on its way too.

Is there a saying - too many eggs in a basket? That's me. Too many books in my head.

Victoria Cummings said...

I'll have to read Leif Enger's book. I loved his first one. I'm a big fan of Barbara Kingslover and I loved "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. Also, Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants". I don't read that much fiction as I used to since I'm writing it myself. A writer's retreat would be my dream vacation right now - how lucky you are!

mamie said...

Billie, My computer battery died when I was trying to post my list, so if my original post came through skip reading this one, but if not, here are my knock your socks off recommendations (all short story collections): You Are Not A Stranger Here by Eric Haslett, Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, Perfect Stranger by Roxanna Robinson, and of course Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. You may need more than a week....

Janet Roper said...

Oh dear, too many eggs in a basket? Too many books on a bookshelf? Is there a connection?

I'm a biblioholic. Here's the extremely short list of some fiction books I adore. Includes historical fiction, sci-fi & mystery. They're in no particular order.

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - one of the most intriguing books I've read
Forever Amber - Kathleen Winsor
5th Sacred Thing - Starhawk
Mary, Mrs. A. Lincoln - Janis Cooke Newman
The Eagle and the Raven - Pauline Gedge
His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman
Snowcrash - Neal Stephenson
The Magic Circle - Katherine Neville
The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher
Rhiana - Michele Hauf
The Bookman's Promise - John Dunning
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood

Let me know what you decide on - and if you have any books I simply have to read, please let me know!

Have a good retreat.

billie said...

Victoria, all those you listed are favorites and on my shelves. :)

We are very lucky in this state to have the writing residency resource. I normally go 4x/year and it has been such a gift of time, beautiful space, and inspiration.

billie said...

Mamie, I haven't read short stories since my twenties - at that time I was obsessed with them - but maybe it's a good time to revisit the form.

I do have Olive Kitteridge in my pile so that one is a good possibility.

Another friend has recommended Jhumpa Lahiri many times, and I keep "almost" buying her books.

Thanks for the list - I am thrilled to get recs.

billie said...

Okay, Janet, I have read NONE of your selections, so I can explore those titles further and see what demands to be read. :)

Thanks for the list - sometime I will do another book post listing some of my recommendations.

I just looked up at my shelf by my writing chair (which has the most favored novels shelved on it now) and glimpsed Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, which is right beside Sena Jeter-Naslund's Ahab's Wife.

Both are quite amazing books.

And if you have not read Marianne wiggins' Evidence of Things Unseen, I would HIGHLY recommend it. Her Almost Heaven is lovely too.

Actually... that reminds me. She has a new one out plus many older ones I haven't yet read. More possibilities!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I used to read quite a bit, but lately have been too busy to have a good read.So it's hard to recommend a book right now. My suggestion would be to take a book you want to read, but also check out the book stores when you get where you're going, you might just find the perfect one.

billie said...

Arlene, I think you're onto something - bring one, buy one. :)