Monday, 12 October 2009

What Are You Reading?

I’ve borrowed this idea from my friend Alastair, who in turn borrowed it from another blogger. I love books and always find it fascinating to hear what other people are reading. Therefore, the idea of this post is to get as many people as possible to share:

1. What they have just read
2. What they are reading now
3. What they are planning to read next.

What to read next is always one of my favourite decisions. I spend ages pondering it, staring at spines on my shelf wondering where to go next.

Alastair has a huge community of followers, many reading adventuring books about marathons and adventures on ice. I felt slightly conspicuous with my contribution, the only person to include a parenting book! I would love to build up a similar community of readers to respond to mine and each other’s thoughts. (I’m anxious this is a little presumptuous for a blogging nobody like me but I feel inspired to try!)

Therefore, I’m making this post in the hope of tempting you to comment and become involved. Please let me know what you enjoy – or don’t – about my blog so that I know what is most entertaining or interesting.

My book list is as follows:
  1. Love My Rifle More Than You – Kayla Williams (reviewed below)
  2. Superpowers for Parents – Dr Stephen Briers (I need all the help I can get! Have nearly finished and will review it here when I have).
  3. Am still enjoying pondering what’s next. Might be The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because I’m hosting a book club on that in November. Or it might be Feminista by Erica Kennedy, mentioned to me by a fellow blogger.

I look forward to hearing what you are reading...


Iain said...

Hello Saffia,

I'm embarrassed that this will probably be your first "Book Blog" comment considering the amount of time I set aside to reading.

However as I'm such a regular reader of your blog I felt compelled to support you !

1. The Last Continent - Terry Pratchett
2. Revolution Baby - Saffia Farr !
3. The 100 Minute Bible - The 100Minute Press

Keep up the interesting and stimulating posts !

Anonymous said...

I could lie and put some works of literary genius - but you would know that Nelson Demille /Clive Cussler should be on the list

1. Pieces of Justice - Margaret Yorke
2. Crying Wolf - Peter Abrahams
3. On her Majesty's Secret Service - Ian Fleming.


Lucy Shrimpton said...

Hola! 1. Funnily enough, as part of the aforementioned book club I have just finished The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak - very, very clever and original. Shall I tell you what happens at the end ... just kidding.
2. Have just started a novel called 'How to Paint a Dead Man' by Sarah Hall. Feel slightly obsessed with art themes currently. Flits between characters and decades (a la notes from an exhibition) - enjoying so far.
3. Hmmm ... don't know what's next. Maybe The Great Lover (Jill Dawson) or The Other Side of the Bridge (Mary Lawson)
Lucy Shrimps

Olivia Cox said...


My reading is limited to what I can sensibly read whilst nursing Diggory!

Currently reading Dark Fire by C.J.Sansom and loving it, a Tudor whodunnit!

Last read Driving over Lemons - An Optimist in Andalucia - recommended ages agao and I just got around to it

Next reading? I am like you and need to ponder which of the unread titles I will tackle next and it also depends entirely on my mood.

I am also reading loads of baby books but usually only turn to them in times of desperation (so about 5 times a day!!!)

I;d love to here about any books people can recommend - I usually just buy stuff that looks fun in Daunt or Waterstones or sometimes things that other people in the shop are looking for just in case it is any good.

If you haven't read any of the Sansom Shardlake series and fancy an easy read then I'd reccommend them, also another one I'd recommend which is quick but a bit more high brow is Irene Nemirovsky and fire in the Blood - totally different to suite Francaise if you have read that.


Motherhood and Anarchy... said...

Thanks everyone, this is great, really interesting. I will have a look at titles I've not heard of on Amazon - always dangerous as it's too easy to buy.

Olivia, a recommendation which immediately springs to mind is Notes From an Exhibition by Patrick Gale. We read it for our book club meeting. It's reviewed on the blog. I - and a few others including Lucy - loved it, others were less enamoured. But I was totally absorbed, and think it's a book you could read whilst nursing!

I used to love reading while breastfeeding, sometimes wanted baby to just keep going so I had an excuse to keep reading!


Anonymous said...

How exciting! I love hearing about other people's reads ...

Olivia - I have read all CJ Sansom's books (including 'Winter in Madrid' which isn't in the Shardlake series and loved them - he's apparently a historian by training and it shows in his descriptions etc. I, too, would highly recommend him

Have just finished reading 'Day After Night' by Anita Diamant (author of 'The Red Tent' one of my favourite ever books) but before that it was 'Three Ways to Capsize A Boat' by Chris Stewart (who also wrote 'Driving Over Lemons' - c/f Olivia and 'A Parrot In The Pepper Tree' and 'The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society')

At the moment - 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel - the only time ever I have been reading a Booker prize winner before it became one!!

Next? Oh dear - I have a big pile of books beside my bed, all calling 'me! me! me!' - delicious anticipation - could it be 'The Secret Scripture' by Sebastian Barry or Jodi Picoult's latest or 'The Piano Teacher' by Janice YK Lee or even 'The Piano Tuner' by Daniel Mason ?!?

I LOVE books - as you can tell by the length of this ... I'll stop now but thanks Saffia for giving me a place to go on and on about one of my favourite things ...


Motherhood and Anarchy... said...

It's wonderful, my very tired and therefore tearful children are finally asleep and so in blissful silence I have just spent a happy half hour looking up all these books on Amazon.

My husband will be pleased to hear that I was very restrained and put nothing in my shopping basket - but there are now lots of books on my Christmas list!

Iain, thank you for the support, I do appreciate you as one of my regular readers.

H, I'm so glad you like talking about and sharing book ideas as much as I do.

Olivia, I could give you loads more recommendations but H has reminded me of Jodi Picoult. I really enjoyed My Sister's Keeper. You'll look at the blurb and think as a mum you can't bear to read it but I braved the emotions and did actually enjoy it.

Recently I've been reading a lot of "mummy lit" for research, much of it mentioned on this blog. Away from that I very much enjoyed The Ghost by Robert Harris, a good political thriller. Matthew and I also LOVE Sue Grafton's Alphabet Series about Kinsey Milhone, private detective. She is a great character.

Is it best to read the Sansom Shardlake series in any order or are they stand alone?

Olivia Cox said...

Thanks for the recommendations I will get them. I have so far read Sansom in order and I think it is probably best. The first book, dissoultion is a cracker so you can get that to try or I can lend it to you if you like in a couple of weeks.

I have also read Winter in Madrid which is also v good but quite depressing I thought, it is set in the Spanish civil war so that is probably why. I have got the other Chris Stewart Andalucia books to read and am looking forward to reading them.

I am now trying to think of other books I have read and enjoyed but that would mean thinking pre-Diggory which is hard work, oh Alex reminded me a brilliant book I loved and my Mum loved is "The Great Fire" by Shirley Hazzard, she also wrote "The Transit of Venus" but I would read The Great Fire first. Also have you read "A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry - it is like an in depth White Tiger - I think loads better than the White Tiger. My favourite book is "The House of the Spirits" by Isabel Allende - I;ve read it about 5 times and I still love it.

Anyway, tomorrow I'll look at the books I have read and see if I can think of any other good ones. I love get recommendations for good books from other people! Brilliant.

rosemary said...

I too could lie and say I read lots of books of literary merit but I don't.I really only read trillers and murders!!
books i have read recently are
1.The Shack by Wm Paul Young,I thought it was just a murder but it is about God and having faith"Where Tragedy confronts eternity" as the cover says.(Not my cup of tea but had to finish it anyway)
2.Past Imperfect by Julian Fellows(he wrote gosford park)Not a murder but about the the antics of the upper class in the 60's-how our thoughts and manners have changed!!
3.The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale.A true British murder from 1860-it inspired both Dickens and Wilkie Collins by exposing the dark secrets of victorian middle classes.The murder was solved by one of he first Scotland yard detectives.
A non-fiction thriller.
$.The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig larsson ,translated from Swedish and the first in the Millenium Trilogy.A gripping thriller with an outrageous heroine-I read the 537 pages in 3 days.
I'm reading the 2nd in the Millenium trilogy
the Girl who played with Fire,even better than the first.
Hoping to read the final part.The Girl who kicked the Hornet's nest.
I too have a whole selection of books to read-not all murders but i have to be in the right mood for some of them-like the Chris Stewart-all sitting on the shelf for the right time!BUT,do have 6 murders by Peter James calling me!

Alastair said...

The last book I read: Heights of Madness - Jonny Muir. A guy who climbs the highest point in every county in Britain, cycling between them all in just 92 days. Cool story, bad book!

Currently reading: The Way of the World: Nicolas Bouvier. One of the travel books I wish that I had written...

Next on the pile: Paddy Ashdown's new autobiography.

Liz S said...

Hi Saffia, I like the idea of sharing reading tips online.
I am currently reading 'Watching the English' by Kate Fox, which is half academic anthropological analysis, and half observational comedy (class distinctions as derived from the naming of the serviette/napkin/tissue/sleeve one wipes one's mouth with when eating). I have just read 'Of Pies and Prejudice' by Stuart Maconie. From the north west, he clearly has a real loving warmth for the place. Next I need to look outward a little more - any suggestions??

Amina said...

Hello, Saffia,

I like to see what others are reading. I am getting enthusiastic about audio books because I can listen and do something else at the same time. There are plenty of free downloads available.

1. I just finished listening to Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. It's not at all as I thought it would be. Of course, we all think of the horror movie versions or cartoon spoofs, but the book itself is beautifully written. The reader I listened to has an adequately creepy voice.

2. I am just starting Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater

3. Next on the pile is The Enormous Room by e.e.cummings.

Someone suggested to me to keep a journal of ALL the books I have read, making notes about them. I doubt I can remember them all, but some stand out as particularly good or bad.

Does anyone have any favorite books that they feel are a "must read?" I loved The Remains of the Day (also liked the film) and The Life of Pi.

Amina in Oman

Motherhood and Anarchy... said...

Liz, when you say outward do you mean geographically, around the world, or just a different kind of book?

If travel, I could recommend so many...Alastair Humphreys' books (from whose blog I borrowed this post idea) are great, the thoughts and anecdotes of cycling around the world. I also really enjoy William Dalrymple's books. He's scholarly but entertaining. I saw him talk at a literary festival at the weekend which is why he's on my mind. In Xanadu is my favourite of his books, recently he's been writing a lot about India.

Tomorrow I'm seeing Audrey Niffeneger at the same festival. Now there's a very clever book that I loved - The Time Traveller's Wife.

Amina, I would definitely put The Time Traveller's Wife as one of my favourite books. In my post about Notes from an Exhibition I talked about what makes a favourite book, by what criteria do you choose? The response to this post has been so great I think I will be asking you all soon what your Top Ten Books are - as an excuse for us to keep talking about books!

I have been keeping a journal of books I've read since 1989 which is fascinating. I think I will start keeping notes as you suggest though Amina as sometimes I look at a title I've read and can't remember anything about it, even though I thought I enjoyed it, which makes me feel sad that the pleasure of the book has been lost, and there really isn't time to read them all again!

Anonymous said...


i just wanted to add a comment to Rosemary's about the Steig Larsson books - I was chatting to you, Saffia, about this only the other day - I read 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' when I was on holiday and found it compulsive HOWEVER I felt very uncomfortable and a bit grubby after I'd finished it. I am far from being prudish but the subject matter in the book was disturbing and as I was reading I found myself thinking "do I really want to read any more of this?" It doesn't often happen to me but I decided I wasn't going to read the others. Be interested to know what others feel about this sort of thing ...

rosemary said...

yes I know what you mean about The girl with the Dragon Tattoo but reading the 2nd book gives you more of an insight into the character of Lisbeth and WHY she is the way she is!It too is compulsive reading.
I also loved The time traveller's wife(I expect the film will be a pale imitation of the book) and the Life of Pi(despite them not being murders!)
Some of my other favourites :
Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach(set in the 17th century when Amsterdam was in the grip of tulip fever)
The girl with the pearl earring(I also saw the film which was terrible and nothing like the book which is magical)

Alison said...

Hi Saffia

What a great blog. I'll definitely be checking in to see what everyone's reading. Thanks for visiting my little blog. It's new! I'm actually a freelance journalist, had a book published on interior design of all things,ghost wrote another, write about education...anything really. But it's hard at the moment getting commissions. I'd like to read your book - is it on Amazon? My 'quiet mornings' I'm trying to write a novel (trying being the operative word) and blogging!! Will enjoy hearing about the progress of your next book. Fascinating.

Katherine said...

Hi Saffia,
Great idea for a blog post. I have stacks of books around the house - many of them half-read as I tend to read several at a time (mainly because I have a hard time choosing only one).

I've just finished What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver (so '70s but I admire how much story he can pack into a few pages).

I'm currently reading The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster, which I read about 15 years ago and decided, for obscure reasons, to pick up again.

And next... probably a gigantic collection of short stories by Mavis Gallant.

I'm on a bit of a short story binge!

Motherhood and Anarchy... said...

Katherine, I would be interested to hear what you think of the Paul Auster. I've had it on my shelf for ages, keep saving it thinking it would be nice to read it when in New York. It's been there a while!

Claire said...

Hi Saff

I read every day on my commute into London. I love reading thrillers, often resentfully having to put the book away to start work.

1. Bleeding Hearts - Ian Rankin.
2. The Wire in the Blood - Val McDermid
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson. I've been lent this book by someone at work as they loved it so this will definitely be my next read.

Happy reading!

Victoria said...

Hi Saffia,
As promised, here are my recent and new reading material titles.
1.Dog days by Mavis Cheek
2.Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
3.The Secret River by Kate Grenville

All books that I read are borrowed and recommended by friends, my mother or MIL. I only read at night when the boys are alseep and I have 'me time!'

I really enjoyed Dog Days as was funny, earthy/believable and not predictable. As I also have a dog, her descriptions of dog owners and their habbits I had to read aloud to my husband as they had to be shared and laughted about together! It was also an insight into family breakdowns and a womens thoughts of past and new relationships with men.

Really enjoying Jodi Picoult, but then I loved her llast book!