Author George RR Martin — he of Game of Thrones fame, and author of the just released A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a GoT prequel — maintains a very lively blog (ironically titled “Not A Blog”) on which he often makes book recommendations. So, what does the creator of today’s biggest fantasy franchise read? It turns out he reads a lot of non-fantasy. Here are a few examples:
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – “A mystery/ thriller/ novel of character about three women who live near the train tracks of a London commuter lines, and how their lives and loves get entwined when one of them disappears under mysterious circumstances. Fans of Gillian Flynn’s books will probably like this one too.”
Author, journalist, and recently-named MacArthur Fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates has been on The New York Times bestseller list since the publication of his latest book, Between the World and Me, a work that weighs some of the biggest issues of the American story through the lens of a father’s love for his son. A passionate reader himself, Coates was asked by the Times about the books that have left the biggest mark on him. Here’s part of what he said:
The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin: “Basically the finest essay I’ve ever read. It’s technically two essays but it feels like one. Baldwin refused to hold anyone’s hand. He was both direct and beautiful all at once. He did not seem to write to convince you. He wrote beyond you.”
Postwar, by Tony Judt: “A book that deeply informs my journalist sense. Writers — particularly American writers — constantly feel the pull of solutionism, the desire to assure their readers that there is a way out, even when there isn’t. Judt refused this. History, he understood, does not exist to comfort us.”
Sweet Soul Music, by Peter Guralnick: “History of soul music, told in profiles. I read this is as young man really trying to understand what journalism and history meant. Spent a lot of time meditating on Sam and Dave after this one.”
The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton: “Again, I like this book for its willingness to embrace the tragic. No happy endings. The book is a defense of elitism, something I guess I oppose. But I found it credible, here.”
Erica Jong, perhaps best known for her debut novel Fear of Flying, has just written a new book: Fear of Dying. Her latest both follows up on and expands the world ofIsadora Wing, focusing instead on Isadora’s best friend, Vanessa Wonderman. The New York Times recently asked Jong (who has also published several collections of poetry, meditations on the writing process, and novels that take place outside of Isadora’s world) for her top ten favorite books; the list ranges from classics of women’s literature, to political memoir. Here’s a glimpse of what Erica Jong would read (for the rest, click through to the New York Times.)
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: “A young woman suffers a breakdown while pursuing her dream of being a magazine editor. Plath made it possible for women to confront our anger and make literature out of it. She made it acceptable to declare our rage.”
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: “A younger woman comes to serve as governess in an English country manor — and falls for the mysterious owner of the house. There is so much about this book that was revolutionary. You have a heroine who is plain, but she’s clever. Also, Jane is a woman who speaks her mind — she doesn’t lie to please the establishment, or to please men.”
Author Stephen King is, as most prolific authors are, a voracious reader — and he likes to talk about his favorite books on Twitter. (Want to follow him? Click here. And while you’re there, you should follow our Twitter account, too! Click here.)
Here are a few of the books that King has recommended lately:
The staff here at River Forest Public Library loves to help patrons discover their next book: fiction or non-, YA or SciFi, cookbooks or travelogues — we love it all and we love helping you find it.
But we’re not the only ones with opinions about books!
And so we introduce the first in an occasional series: What Would [Fill In The Blank] Read?
We’re starting with business titan and philanthropist Warren Buffett (himself an author of many books), but future posts will look at reading recommendations from the worlds of writing, entertainment, public commentary — familiar faces who have something interesting to say about the books they love.