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I should read...what?

At 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, I will be joining an illustrious panel at Books & Books in the Gables to discuss Castle book recommendations. Of way more interest than me are the other panelists: writers Edwidge Danticat and Diana Abu-Jaber, columnist Ana Menendez (who deserves special mention because she is a veteran of the Herald's Neighbors sections, as am I, which is kind of like being a veteran of foreign wars, only more bloody) and Chauncey Mabe, the book editor from That Paper That Shall Not Be Named to the north.

I'm not sure how successful this will be, since people tend to yell at me about my recommendations and tell me I'm an idiot and there's a good chance Mr. Mabe and I will sit around discussing The Wire, with which we are both obsessed. But I'm hoping some fun will be had.

In the spirit of recommending good books, I will pass along two that readers keep recommending to me: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (yes, I know I'm the only person who hasn't read it yet) and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Should I read them? Should I skip them? Should I tell the people recommending them to me to leave me alone, that I have more than enough to read?


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Brett Bayne

The only thing I strongly urge you to read is this post. You have now officially fulfilled your obligation.


Your post has the advantage of being short and to the point...unlike far too many books...

Jill Cassidy

The Road is the heebiest, jeebiest book I have read in a long time. I highly recommend it. However, discuss: How is it that Cormac McCarthy creates these incredibly nuanced worlds for his books (I've only read The Road and No Country for Old Men) and then writes endings that are completely inscrutable?


I've only read the All the Pretty Horses books, which apparently are more scrutable (is that a word?) If the ending of NCFOM is like the movie, though, it's not all that inscrutable, is it?

Jill Cassidy

OK, wise guy, what does it mean?


Ms Ogle, i hope you finally will have the courage to correct your usual lack of enthusiasm and recommend that great, underappreciated Southern classic, Donna Tartt's The Little Friend. I'll be there in a audience, waiting.

Thank you


I do recommend The Little Friend - but only to people I dislike.


Oops - and as for the meaning of No Country for Old Men, I can only speak for the movie...it didn't "mean" anything, just that Tommy Lee Jones was washing his hands of all the badness and just ... walking away!

Now if you could explain Javier Bardem's haircut and why directors insist on trying to make that man unattractive, I'd appreciate it.

Jill Cassidy

Are you saying there was absolutely no significance to Ed Tom's lengthy description of his odd dream about his father? (That's exactly how the book ends, too, btw.)


I'd have to see a transcript, but it wasn't a big mystery to me when I saw the movie...but...this is very spoilery for anyone who hasn't seen the movie/read the book!


I definitely recommend "The Glass Castle." Great book. I started reading "The Road" and I couldn't get through it.


Steph hits on the real problem with recommendations: I'm really good at it if I know the person I'm making the recommendation to...or even if I know a little bit about what the person likes. But one size definitely does not fit all readers.

How do you know who to trust when it comes to recommendations?

Jill Cassidy

I must apologize for the spoilery nature of my comment about No Country for Old Men. If the esteemed moderater of this thread would like to delete it and backhand me one of these days, I would understand.


Listen, spoil away, I'm just glad there are comments...

So the thing is, I can't really give you an interpretation of every line of the final scene of NCFOM because I haven't read the book and I saw the movie awhile ago. My intepretation was the dad/fire dream was just a way of the sheriff explaining that it was futile to fight evil because evil's always been with us and always will be. I mean, that was what I thought, anyway!


trust ME. read the glass castle. honest to god, if you get through the intro and chapter one and you are not hooked, you can put it down. you won't like it. but i'm fairly certain you'll like it. i wouldn't recommend a book like this to anyone i am not 99% sure will enjoy it. it's not for everyone. but YOU will like it :)


Chiming in on the value of recommendations, you definitely have to know your audience. I don't think I can name any book that I would recommend universally. I think more along the lines of, "If you like this, then you'll like...".

But even that doesn't always work. I know that from my amazon.com and TiVo recommendations, based on what I've rated. That will lead you down some strange paths...

Even our fearless blogger Connie has made some bad recommendations. Like "White Teeth."


Oh no she didn't!

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