Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

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What I’m Reading Now and the first Eclectic Closet contest


Taking a page from Danielle and Cam, I thought I’d do a run-down on what I’m in the midst of read and/or on my “must start in the next week” pile.

1. Some of the books longlisted for the Man Booker Prize: Sitting on my pile are The Secret River by Kate Grenville, The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson, and Get a Life by Nadine Gordimer.

2. Books for a feature article reviewing the new/upcoming books on Hurricane Katrina: The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley, Path of Destruction by John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein and The Ravaging Tide by Mike Tidwell.

3. Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante. I haven’t read any of Elena Ferrante’s work yet but this slender volume from Europa Editions looks fantastic.

4. Two novels to fulfill my role as a juror for ELLE Reader’s Jury, so I can vote on the Grand Prix winner for 2006 (I was part of the January 2006 jury).

5. The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist. This is getting so much good press, and I promised a review on it. Top pick for long weekend reading.

6. The Gardens of the Dead by William Brodrick. Review copy – from the author of The Sixth Lamentation.

7. Drina Bridge by Jim Bartley. This is one of the advance reading copies I received at BookExpo Canada and I’ve been eagerly anticipating a chance to read it. It’s finally neared the top of the “must read” pile, and I think I’m going to slip it in over the long weekend.

8. Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema. Another BookExpo Canada treasure.

9. Famous Writer’s School by Steven Carter. The last chapter is sealed in an envelope at the end…I love a puzzle.

10. A Thousand Barrels a Second: The Coming Oil Break Point and the Challenges Facing an Energy Dependent World by Peter Tertzakian. This has been on my review pile for a while, as I slowly work my way through it. I’m still processing my response to this challenging book and hope to finish the book, and review, this weekend.

11. This is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers by Elizabeth Merrick.

CONTEST ALERT: I received two review copies of This is Not Chick Lit and decided it was time to hold my first contest. Here are the details – leave a comment here (including a link to your blog/website/profile so I have a way to contact you if you win) telling me your top pick out of what you’re currently reading and why. I’ll put all the entries in a hat on September 15 and pick the winner.

posted under contest
14 Comments to

“What I’m Reading Now and the first Eclectic Closet contest”

  1. On August 28th, 2006 at 2:50 pm Chris Says:

    Hopefully you don’t mind if I link to your contest in my blog tomorrow…

    I’m looking forward to reading Charmed and Dangerous (witch chick lit), Bicycle Touring by Barbara Savage, and the new JD Robb if my name ever hits the top of the library list!

  2. On August 29th, 2006 at 9:05 am trek Says:

    The Sarah Graves Home Repair series ’cause of Chris!

    trek casts on

  3. On August 29th, 2006 at 9:44 am Danielle Says:

    My top pick being the book I’m most excited about, or the book I feel guiltiest about, or the book I most want to finish but am not trying to do that much about?

    – Most excited: Louise Dickinson Rich, We Took to the Woods. Because I just started it last night and it’s quick and absorbing. I think I may have read it ten years ago, though.

    – Most guilty: Mark Helprin, Freddy and Fredericka. Because it’s a big hardcover and I have it from the library and I don’t think I’ll even open the cover. It’s just too big to take anyplace.

    – Most want to finish but not doing much to finish: Tie between Boswell’s Life of Johnson and David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (rereading). I need to start reading shorter books. Also I need to learn how to knit and read simultaneously.

  4. On August 29th, 2006 at 12:00 pm Kristi aka Fiber Fool Says:

    I’ve been really enjoying the Orchid series by Stuart Woods recently. I just finished the second book late last week, early this weekend.

    My fav book from the past year though is from a little-known guy name Nathan Jorgensen. He wrote “Waiting for White Horses” which I call a coming of age for the middle aged. It was phenomenal!

  5. On August 29th, 2006 at 12:26 pm ikkinlala Says:

    Out of what I’m currently reading? I only have a few books on the go right now. The best of them, I think, is “Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History” by Stephen Jay Gould, but I’m not far enough along in it yet to give a synopsis. I’m choosing it because the other stuff I’m reading is not nearly so interesting – I haven’t gotten any library books lately because I’m leaving for university again within the week.

  6. On August 29th, 2006 at 1:43 pm Danielle Says:

    I am hoping to start the Grenville book soon, too. I have a few Booker nominees checked out from the library at the moment…not sure when I will get to all of them! It would be hard to choose a favorite out of my reading pile–so many of them are really good. I am enjoying Robinson Crusoe and The Sea by Banville are two I keep picking up!

  7. On August 29th, 2006 at 4:45 pm Kelly Says:

    Yarns from Ards. A book written by a local of ards, NI. Its all about him growing up in the community and the things they get up to. Love these kind of books!

  8. On August 29th, 2006 at 11:50 pm chittavrtti Says:

    I’m looking forward to continuing Vera by Stacy Schiff. It’s the biography of Vera Nabokov (Vladimir Nabokov’s wife).

    I’m really getting some insight into VN’s work as well as a powerful impression of how bonded the two of them were.

    Plus they met in 1920’s Berlin: what’s not to like :)***CV

  9. On August 30th, 2006 at 7:30 am Jenn Says:

    I’m hoping to finish Case Histories and to read “Size 12 is Not Fat” this weekend. You have quite a list!

  10. On August 30th, 2006 at 11:08 am Victoria Says:

    It just so happens that I’m reading one of the Booker/Guardian first book award nominees right now: “In the Country of Men” by Hisham Matar. Not a book for the faint hearted and almost certainly guarenteed to make me squirm with the inevitable horror to come. But also incredibly brave and beautifully written.

  11. On August 30th, 2006 at 12:32 pm Jodi Says:

    I’m about halfway through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (by Susanna Clarke) right now, and all my other books have fallen by the wayside as a result. The style is very engaging. I could best describe it as tongue-in-cheek, mock scholarly. While it is a book about magic and a work of historical fiction and fantasy, it is really a comedy of English manners.

  12. On August 30th, 2006 at 3:26 pm karen! Says:

    Great idea, Janelle!

    Books I’ve already started:
    The Egyptian by Mika Waltari
    Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
    The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo

    Next up in the queue:
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
    Thirty-three Swoons by Martha Cooley
    Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

    Other things in the (review) queue are listed on the sidebar of my blog

    I think I’m most looking forward to Thirty-three Swoons. I loved The Archivist (b/c of or despite the fact that I am an archivist) so I’m curious to read Cooley’s 2nd effort.

  13. On August 30th, 2006 at 3:49 pm Kirsten Says:

    I’d have to pick two as my top picks out of what I am currently reading. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole because it is laugh out loud funny and is just what I need after a frustrating day at work.

    Second would be The Eight by Katherine Neville. I’m reading this one for the second time now- the search for the Montglane chess service is like no other. Sort of like the Da Vinci Code on steroids.

  14. On August 30th, 2006 at 3:56 pm Bookish Wendy Says:

    A contest…a contest. Weeeee.

    I am reading two novels: The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggars. I just finished Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich.

    My top pick of those three? Oy. I am plodding through AHWSG, it lost it’s charm around page 50. The Dante Club took awhile to grow on me. I’m hooked now. The sense of place is great – Boston – and the characters are well developed. Twelve Sharp? Well that’s just a guilty pleasure. 😉

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