Sep 30, 2010

Favorite Reads

Of Montreal-Wrath Pinned to the and Other Things

My friend Steph over at femmena mala and I decided to do another collaboration together because our last one worked out so well! This week we have decided to do a "favorite reads" collaboration. Her being an English teacher and me being, well, just a book enthusiast, we thought it would be a fun little collaboration. So without further ado...

Favorite reads...

1.) Shantaram- by Gregory David Roberts

In this somewhat autobiographical novel, Roberts tells the story of his escape from anAustralian prison, the dissolution of his family and his escape to Bombay India. There he attempts to disappear form his previous life. He ends of living in a true Indian slum, grows to know many interesting people, gets involved in the Indian mafia and falls back into his heroin addiction. Once captured again, he writes this whole story from his jail cell, serving out his second term.
(This book is incredibly long but absolutely worth every page. It is such an amazing book that engulfed a whole summer of my time in which I was completely enthralled and could not wait to read the next page. It is a difficult read because Roberts likes to include a lot of reflection and theories on life within the pages. It is a must read!)

2.) The Hungry Ghosts- by Anne Berry

Raped then murdered in Japanese occupied Hong Kong, 1942, Lin Shui's 'Hungry Ghost' clings tenaciously to life. Holing up in a hospital morgue, destined to become a school, just in time she finds a host off whom to feed. It is 12-year-old Alice Safford, the deeply-troubled daughter of a leading figure in government. The parasitic ghost follows her to her home on the Peak. There, the lethal mix of the two, embroiled in the family's web of dark secrets and desperate lies, unleashes chaos. All this unfolds against a background of colonial unrest, riots, extremes of weather and the countdown to the return of the colony to China. As successive tragedies engulf Alice, her ghostly entourage swells alarmingly. She flees to England, then France, in a bid to escape the past, only to find her portable 'Hungry Ghosts' have accompanied her. It seems the peace she longs for is to prove far more elusive that she could ever have imagined. The Hungry Ghosts is a remarkable tour-de-force of the imagination, full of instantly memorable characters whose lives intermesh and boil over in a cauldron of domestic mayhem, unleashing unworldly spirits into the troubled air.

(I just read this book this summer and it was such an amazing read. It is so hard to believe that this is Berry's first novel because it is so beautifully and poetically written. It is a slow read, again, because each page is packed full with so much emotion and symbolism.)

3.)Harry Potter series- by J.K. Rowling

I don't think I really need to explain this series. It is amazing. The End.
(This book defines my youth. I loved reading these books at night before I went to bed)

4.)Eat, Pray, Love- by Elizabeth Gilbert

A memoir about one woman's journey across Italy, India and Bali where she learns to love herself and to find love.

(I read this book when it first came out and was in love with her style of writing. She is so witty and intelligent and makes such a fun read!)

5.) Commited-by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is Ms. Gilbert's follow up book to Eat, Pray Love where she learns to make peace with the idea of Marrige. She travels around southeast Asia, researching marriage in different cultures in order to come to terms and at the same time, create her own terms of what marriage means.

(I myself struggle with the concept of marriage and if it can really work and bring people together in the long run, so this book was really helpful to me to help me see things a bit differently.)

6.) The Bohemian Manifesto- by Laren Stover

This is a fun little read, not meant to be taken too seriously, about the bohemian way of life, state of mind and atmosphere. It gives readers a glimpse into the world of different types of bohemians. It is illustrated and has some fun quotes and ideas.

(This is a light read and so much fun as well! On the back of the book it is quoted as being "akin to a triple espresso.")

7.) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- by Mark Twain

An American classic about a young boy named Huckleberry Finn and his adventures along the Mississippi.

(I read this novel in high school and I attribute it to greatly peaking my interest in both mark Twain and the nostalgia of rivers.)

Top Want-To-Reads...

1.) Jonathan Livingston Seagull-Richard Bach

Is a fable about a seagull named Jonathan, learning about life and flight. Jonathan is bored with the habits of other seagulls around him because all they obsess over is food. Jonathan is seized by a passion for flight but none of the other seagulls understand him. The fable continues as Jonathan attempts to find what truly makes him happy.

(My grandpa gave me this book and I cannot wait to read it. It is from the 70's and It is a really short read but I have a feeling it is packed full with deeper meanings. And, I love seagulls!)

2.) The Complete Novels of Mark Twain- obviously by Mark Twain

(I bought this book at Half Price Books over the summer. It is definitely a long-term goal but definitely something I want to accomplish. It is such a huge book. It will feel like such an accomplishment when I have finished it. So far I have only read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.)

3.) Stern Men- by Elizabeth Gilbert

One of Elizabeth Gilbert's first books. This novel is set off of the coast of Maine with the main character Ruth Thomas who is born into a feud fought for generations between two lobster fishing families over fishing rights between the two islands where the families live. After returning from boarding school, she is determined to joint he ranks of the local lobster fishermen. As the feud escalates, she proves to be an unforgettable American heroine who is destined for greatness and love-despite herself. (from the back of the book)

(I love stories about the northeast or northwest, I love feisty characters and I love Elizabeth Gilbert. I own this book, and I can't wait to read it.)

4.) April and Oliver- by Tess Callahan

To deal with the death of her immediate family, as well as the scars of childhood abuse, April assumes the role of the jaded wild child; Oliver, her once-inseparable childhood companion, has become her polar opposite, an engaged law student poised for success. Estranged during Oliver's college years, the two reconnect with troubling results. (From Amazon)

(I read the back of this book at a Barnes & Noble and wrote it down and cannot wait to read it.)

5.) The Wish Maker- by Ali Sethi

"A debut novel about a fatherless boy growing up in a family of outspoken women in contemporary Pakistan, The Wish Maker is also a tale of sacrifice, betrayal, and indestructible friendship. Zaki Shirazi and his female cousin Samar Api were raised to consider themselves "part of the same litter." Together they watched American television and memorized dialogue from Bollywood movies, attended dangerous protests and formed secret friendships. In a household run by Zaki's crusading political journalist mother and iron-willed grandmother, it was impossible to imagine a future that could hold anything different for each of them." But adolescence approaches and the cousins' fates merge. Samar's unconventional behavior - in which Zaki has played the role of devoted helper - brings severe consequences for her, while Zaki is sent out to discover the world for himself. It is only after years of separation from Samar that he is forced to confront the true nature of happiness, selfhood, and commitment to those he loves most.

(Another Barnes and Noble Find!)

6.) 2045 A Story of Our Future- by Peter Seidel

By projecting what is happening today 35 years into the future and by turning this into a good story, 2045 brings to life the world we are now making for ourselves. Fiction can give us a better picture of this world than straight facts can, by putting us in it. 2045 depicts where environmental degradation, globalization, the concentration of power and wealth, corporate control of the press, and the ascent of ignorance and superstition are taking us. It shows us what it will be like to live in an overcrowded, overheated, polluted world controlled by a few, that is all too possible.

(I found this book in a local cafe and wrote it down. I defintely think it would be an eye-opening read)

7.) Half Broke Horses- by Jeannette Walls

"Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeannette Walls's no-nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town—riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car and fly a plane. And, with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.

Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds—against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa or Beryl Markham's West with the Night. Destined to become a classic, it will transfix readers everywhere. (From Simin and Shuster)

(Another Barnes & Noble find.)

So those are my top reads and want-to-reads. I have many more but I think these are definitely at the top. Thanks for stopping by and reading. I would love to know if you lovelies have any recommendations for great reads you have read or have heard of. Also, make sure you stop by my friend's Steph's page over at femmena mala and check out her favorite reads list!

Finally, I love seeing your comments on this little space of mine. Also, don't be afraid to click the little follow button to the right of this post of you like what you read. It is the support from readers out there that encourages me to spend time on posts like these!


  1. so i have to admit -i'm NOT a big reader - i usually like reading self-improvment books - or heart renching stories that make me cry my eyes out ..

    *kiss kiss*
    Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~
    Enter Give-Away Here: ~TiptoeButterfly Give-Away~

  2. What a great list! I have read some of them but will definitely try and get to the others. I can't wait for the eat,pray,love movie just to see if it is as good as the book which I loved x

  3. @Erika- I am also a softy for heart wrenching stories!
    @Katy-it came out a while ago here and I thought it was really good! Of course, as most movies are, it is difficult to compare to the book but I thought they did a great job.

    Thanks ladies for stopping by and commenting!