What would George RR Martin read?

George-RR-MartinAuthor 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:

  1. 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.”
  2. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Eric Larson – “Larson is a journalist who writes non-fiction books that read like novels, real page-turners. This one is no exception. I had known a lot about the Titanic but little about the Lusitania. This filled in those gaps. Larson’s masterpiece remains The Devil in the White City, but this one is pretty damned good too. Thoroughly engrossing.”
  3. Angles of Attack, by Marko Kloos – “Military Science Fiction, third book in his series, and the immediate sequel to Lines of Departure…. These are very entertaining books…. Kloos is a writer to watch.”

To read more of Martin’s thoughts on this titles, click here — and to read some of this thoughts on other fantasy authors? Click here.


What would Ta-Nehisi Coates read?

ta-nehisi-coatesAuthor, 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.”
  • Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson: “The definitive history of the Civil War. One of the greatest works of history I’ve ever read and arguably the best one-volume history in existence.”
  • 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.”

To read the rest of Coates’s list, click here.

What would Erica Jong read?

Erica Jong, perhaps best known for her debut novel Fear of Flying, has just written a new book: Fear of DyingHer latest both follows up on and expands the world of Isadora 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.)

  1. A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz: “A marvelous autobiography of a writer.”
  2. To the End of the Land by David Grossman: “A novel that explores the Israeli-Arab problem better than any I have read.”
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.”
  5. Home Before Dark by Susan Cheever: “A wonderful biography of a father by a daughter who is just discovering who her father was.”

What would Stephen King read?

Stephen_King,_ComiconAuthor 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:

  1. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay – King says: “Scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare.”
  2. Last Words by Michael Koryta – King says: “You can’t put this baby down.”
  3. Bad Country by CB McKenzie – King says: “Terrific crime/suspense/mystery novel, but the real revelation is his fresh and original voice.”
  4. World Gone By by Dennis Lehane – King says: “The best gangster novel since The Godfather. Terrific story, shattering conclusion.”
  5. The Border by Robert McCammon – King says: “Rip-roaring, old-school SF. Mean aliens, heroic earthlings…. I dug it.”

And by the way, if you’re not a horror fan, King has also written a number of nonfiction books — and he’s a truly terrific writer. You could try On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft or Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season.

If you’d like to learn more about what Stephen King has been reading lately, click through to BookRiot.


What would President Obama read?

obamaThe other day, the President spoke with the press about what he’s planning to read on his summer vacation this year. Here’s this list! Click through on the links to get to our catalog listings.

  1. All That Is – James Salter
  2. All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  3. The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert
  4. The Lowland – by Jhumpa Lahiri
  5. Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  6. Washington: A Life – Ron Chernow


What Would Warren Buffett Read?

warren buffettsource

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.

What Would Warren Buffett Read?

  1. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham – a classic text that Buffett has called “the best book on investing ever written.”
  2. 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World – by Howard G. Buffett – Even if we assume that Buffett may be a little biased about a book written by his own son… 40 Chances was also a New York Times bestseller, and Booklist called it “both an informative guidebook and a catalyst for igniting real changes in the world.”
  3. Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charles T. Munger – a collection of the wit and wisdom of business magnate and philanthropist Charles T. Munger, better known as Buffett’s right-hand man.
  4. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success – by William Thorndike – Buffett says this is “an outstanding book about CEOs who have excelled at capital allocation.”
  5. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle – Buffett has said that “rather than listen to the siren songs [of investment advisers], investors should read The Little Book of Common Sense.”

(To discover more books that Warren Buffett would recommend, click here to read “Warren Buffett’s reading list, from Benjamin Graham to football.”)