What Are You Reading At the Moment?

by | Mar 26, 2008 | Books | 168 comments

From time to time I like to hear what everyone is reading. How about it? Any good recommendations?

When I’m not reading manuscripts, I’m reading Ian McEwan’s ENDURING LOVE, which, of course, is amazing.


  1. Anonymous

    ICE STATION, by Matt Reilly.

  2. Ulysses

    I decided to read some Blaylock because my wife loves his work, and I’m a fan of Tim Powers. I picked up Winter Tides, but it’s been slow going. I’m not a horror reader and it’s taken me all of March to get about 1/3 in.

  3. Mary Paddock

    At the moment I’m really into the Repairman Jack novels by F. Paul Wilson (there are ten of them). He tells an exciting on- the-edge-of-your-seat story that only gets better as it goes along.

    I’m also reading Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (Includes Author’s Book of Shadows) for research for my next book. What strange places we writers go for the sake of the story.

  4. RedDuck

    TWISTED by Laurie Halse Anderson and ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS by Brandon Sanderson and SKIN HUNGER by uh, I can’t remember right now.

  5. Miss Viola Bookworm

    Oh, Enduring Love. Another great one by Ian McEwan.

    I’m busy reading the newest translation of War and Peace for the first time. It’s definitely LONG but incredible.

  6. Steve Axelrod

    Enduring Love is great. Have you read Black Dogs? Even better — and short. I’m reading the whole Len Deighton Bernard Samson chronicle now —
    Berlin Game, Mexico Set, London Match, Winter, Spy Hook, Spy Line, Spy Sinker; Faith, Hope & Charity

    ten books that take you from the end of world war one to the fall of the Berlin Wall, packed with fascinating characters, sharp description, gritty tradecraft and complex plot twists. A drastically underrated writer. These books are the equal of LeCarre’s best.

  7. Adaora A.

    SLAM by Nick Horby.

    Everyone has to read it. It’s like Sammy, the main character, is talking to you. It’s so painfully honest. It’s very wonderful insight into the boy’s mind. Before that it was THE ALMANAC obviously. Hense why I swept the Jepoardy board.

    Nathan you’re always reading Iam McEwan! The last one of his that I read was ON CHESIL BEACH. It was brilliant. Thank you for the head up on that by the way.

  8. Heidi the Hick

    MUSICOPHILIA by Oliver Sacks.

    Amazing. He manages to be a great storyteller within all the highly scientific stuff that I might not be intelligent enough to understand… So it’s been a slow read.

    And yeah. Getting story ideas.

  9. Kate H

    Short Trip to the Edge: Where Heaven Meets Earth–A Pilgrimage by Scott Cairns. A memoir of a man who went to Mount Athos (a completely monastic peninsula in Greece) in search of prayer, and found it. A beautiful book.

    The last fiction I read that I really enjoyed was Elizabeth Berg’s Katie trilogy (Durable Goods, Joy School, True to Form). Also her Pull of the Moon.

  10. Will Entrekin

    Exposure, by Kurt Wenzel, after which I’m going to read Gotham Tragic. Also, a bunch of werewolf/vampire books for my next few projects.

  11. Lauren

    I’m reading RATS SAW GOD, by Rob Thomas (he who created the TV series Veronica Mars). RATS was his debut YA novel, published in 1996. It’s fantastic.

    For work I’m reading a book on Persian linguistics. Yay for fricatives.

    Adaora A., I really enjoyed SLAM, too. Even my non-YA-reading husband enjoyed it. I told him it was a Nick Hornby book, but skipped the YA designation until he was about halfway through.

  12. r.c.

    I read Skin Hunger, by Kathleen Duey, a while back and found it riveting. Very original and dark.

    I just finished Airman, by Eoin Colfer and really enjoyed it. I’m ready for some grown-up reading, so this list will come in handy!

  13. Bernita

    Yeats: Selected Poetry.
    Also, Imagining Anne: the Island Scrapbook of L.M.Montgomery by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly
    (a suprise Spring present)

  14. Natalie

    Just finished Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. Pretty good, fun read.

  15. Adaora A.

    @natalie – INK EXCHANGE is coming out soon…next month actually. Just a heads up.

  16. lauramanivong

    by Elizabeth C. Bunce

    …just finished it and because I loved this creepy but beautiful and romantic retelling of Rumpelstiltskin so, so much, I’m now reading JANE EYRE(yes, for the first time evah!!).

  17. MK

    The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

  18. Lily

    I just started Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard. The beginning was slow, but now I can’t stop reading.

  19. Erik

    Ha! Caught me at a funny time.

    Reading “The Once and Future Celt”, due out in a month at Scarletta Press (and I highly recommend it as a memoir).

    Also reading through the “Warriors” series by Erin Hunter so that I know what my daughter is reading. 🙂

  20. Wilfred the Author

    IN FOR THE KILL – John Lutz with CONSENT TO KILL – Vince Flynn on top of the stack.

  21. Maya Reynolds

    Two currently: Kim Harrison’s “The Outlaw Demon Wails,” an urban fantasy; and
    Denise Shiffman’s “The Age of Engage: Reinventing Marketing.”

  22. Anonymous

    Young Goodman Brown and other short stories- – Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Then on to Edgar Allen Poe 🙂

  23. Flem

    SMONK by Tom Franklin. Fun fun fun…

  24. E.B.

    Fanny Kemble A Passionate Victorian

    By Margaret Armstrong

  25. Jenn

    The Uses of Enchantment, by Heidi Julavits

  26. Jodi

    Ines of My Soul, by Isabel Allende–historical fiction account of the conquest of Chile through the eyes of a Ines Suarez, a conquistador in her own right as well as the mistress of Pedro de Valdivia.

    It took a little slogging for me to get involved in the story (lazy American reader that I am), but once engaged it held me spellbound.

  27. Chicklit

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I’m about eight years late to the party and if I don’t read it, they’re going to take away my reader’s card. But I’m loving it.

    @kate h — The Pull of the Moon was one of my favorites for a long time. I need to reread it.

  28. Jackie

    I am laughing because I am reading…should I be paying you Royalties??? I am printing out some of your info and I stopped to read *How To Write A Synopsis*. Like you, I have wondered what a Synopsis actually is because I have seen the word used for a bunch of dif Agents, and they have dif definitions. Next week (actually the end of this week) I am going to redo a Query and send them out. Is this where you get on your knees and beg me for a Query Nathan? ha ha…I am half way through writing my book for the last time. God help anyone that suggests they find an error (my streets are gold, honest)

  29. Rachel

    I just finished TREASURE ISLAND, which I loved! Just starting ARTHUR AND GEORGE, by Julian Barnes.

  30. Anonymous


    He is clearly one of the most underappreciated writers of our time.

  31. Anonymous

    The Ruins, by Scott Smith.

    LOVE it.

  32. sparta5

    I just started reading ENCHANTER by Sara Douglass after finishing SEEKER by Jack McDevitt.

    Next it’s on to several works of the Hugo nominees that I haven’t read yet, so I can make an informed vote and all that. 🙂

  33. Conduit

    I’m reading CLANDESTINE, an early James Ellroy. It’s interesting to see his style in its early development. There are many things that have changed, yet many things remain consistent with his later work.

    I recently enjoyed the first two books of a trilogy, BUST and SLIDE, co-written by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr, as recommended to me by Chris F Holm. Great, trashy, nasty, funny neo-noir from the Hard Case Crime imprint. Well worth checking out if you like hard-boiled fiction.

  34. Adaora A.

    This “what are you reading” question, reminds me of the book CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET by Sophie Kinsella (my personal favorite of hers). Emma pretends she’s reading one by Jane Austen and a vile co-worker says she’s reading an original work in French. It’s funny how they were trying to use books to make themselves look bigger then they are. Here are most of us, actually writing them. Funny.

  35. maniacscribbler

    I’m working on two or three at the moment (yes, I lose track of them all).
    Counting my Humanities reading, I’m doing Symposium by Plato, and “Goblin Market” by Christina Rosetti in English…I’ll be reading The Left Hand of Darkness soon, which I’m looking forward to.
    In non-school related reading, I’m on The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson, and I’m loving that one! I’ll read Jinx by Meg Cabot next, which I’m really looking forward to.
    Hitching Rides With Buddha by Will Ferguson (go, Canadian authors, go!) is awesome, if you haven’t read it. I met him in September and he’s really nice, too. Hehe

  36. Jackie

    @ Adaora, *sucking in breath* you mean you don’t take we writers seriously??? lol, well, I never…

  37. Scott

    Nice to see somebody mention Scott Cairns. His “The Theology Of Doubt” is one of my favorite poetry books.

    As for my own reading, last year I tracked my reading and made a game of it, and that made me a little more disciplined about reducing the number of books I read at once. I’m not doing that this year, so my pile of current reads is getting big.

    My main reads at the moment are The Grapes of Wrath (a great example of how to do omniscient POV right to get the big picture while still remaining close to the main character), The Canterbury Tales (original language edition, of course–the language is at least half the fun), Make A Scene, Emotional Structure (for screen writers, but very useful for fiction writers as well), and The Everything Guide To Magazine Writing. There’s other stuff mixed in as well, but the last few days, I’ve usually reached for one of these.

  38. beth

    THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, by Phillipa Gregory; FAIREST by Gail Carson Levine, THE DOOR IN THE HEDGE by Robin McKinley, and somewhere in there I’m going to start THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy soon. I like to read a lot of books at once (I keep one or two in each room of the house to read whenever I go into that room) and read sporadically, sometimes only a page or two, sometimes several chapters at a time. As you can see, I like variety!

  39. R.J. Keller

    ONCE UPON A TIME ON THE BANKS – Cathie Pelletier.

    Wicked funny book. These characters will stay with you forever.

  40. Josephine Damian

    Nathan, have you gotten to the scene in the restaurant yet? Harrowing! Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it. That opener with the balloon was quite the unique set-piece.

    I always thought ENDURING should be required reading in my forensic psychology classes.

    You might enjoy CEMENT GARDEN as well. I thought it was a terrific first novel.

    I just stopped reading THE COMMONER (sorry, Ello) about halfway through it. Just picked up Orange Prize nominee, THE KEEP by Jennifer Egan. Interesting so far (I’m on page 4). I’m also waiting on the Washington Irving bio, penned by Jonathan Lyon’s client.

    These are, of course, all library books.

  41. Jackie

    step back a notch Scott, I am still scratching my head at Old English and am totally accepting that, yup, these are the people I descended from

  42. Jennifer Hendren

    GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson.

    BLUE NOON (3rd book in the Midnighter’s series) by Scott Westerfeld.

    THE FALL by Albert Camus.

    Wow, what a weird group of novels. LOL. One’s for class, another for a reading group, and the YA’s for fun.

  43. Jenny

    A Guinea Pig’s History of Biology by Jim Endersby.

    The too cute title was a mistake and because of it I almost missed a really interesting history of how geneticists (and protogeneticists) have used various organisms, from evening primroses to phages to reveal bits and pieces of the process by which genes work.

    Excellent read for those of you who enjoy well-written history of science.

  44. Mark Terry

    “Black Widow” by Randy Wayne White.

    So far so good. Very engaging.

    Also, on the nonfiction front:

    “House of Rain” by Craig Childs. It’s a little dense, but beautifully written, albeit a bit odd. Childs basically wandered around the southwest for a few years visiting Anasazi ruins and interviewing archaeologists to get a grip on what happened to them. Fascinating, but it covers a lot of ground.

  45. Christi

    I’m reading two novels at the moment:

    My mother sent me Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Interesting take on the Circus biz/life. She’s done a lot of research.

    My book group is reading Talk Talk by T.C. Boyle. So far I am enjoying it!

  46. Jackie

    Beowulf and The Hounds of Baskerville might prove interesting

  47. Nadine

    Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky and Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo.

  48. Anonymous

    Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks–quite entertaining so far: nice, dark-humored MG book

  49. melissalobianco

    Safekeeping, Abigail Thomas – a strange, beautiful bird that one.

    I just lost a friend a few days ago. The form distracts me, and the content keeps me company.

    Anyone else a fan?

  50. Amos Magliocco

    REFRESH, REFRESH by Ben Percy. Just finished TREE OF SMOKE a few days ago and COLTRANE weeks before that.

  51. Jackie

    @ Mellissalo…I lost my nearest and closest friend 28 years ago. I stepped out of my person not even realizing it until this past year. Face the pain and always cherish the memory of that friend first and foremost…don’t lose yourself, allow diversions but stay grounded

  52. Jason R. Clark

    A short-story collection, Harrowing the Dragon, by Patricia McKillip. If you like fantasy at all and haven’t read her you’re missing out. Her prose is so gorgeously crafted.

  53. Kelly

    Enduring Love is my favorite McEwan. (BTW: If you love McEwan, you’d probably also like Kate Atkinson if you haven’t read her yet.)

    I just finished “The Monsters of Templeton,” by Lauren Groff, which was a completely fun first novel. And I just started Laura Lippman’s newest novel. Also re-reading Nabokov’s “Pale Fire” for the class I’m teaching this semester. Good times all around.

  54. Anonymous

    THE LULLABY by Sarah Dessen

    As market research for the YA novel I am writing.

  55. Janet

    Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. She breaks all the rules – omniscient narrator, head-hopping, lots of telling – and does so absolutely magnificently. It’s a keeper.

    In my to-read pile, among others: The Longevity Thesis by Jennifer Rahn, Liar’s Diary by Patry Francis, Stones of my Accusers by Tracy Groot.

  56. Anonymous

    How often do you read books in your target genre for market research while writing/editing your own book? Do you find that it helps you in writing to get into that frame of mind (i.e. other YA books helping you think like a teen)? Or does it distract you away from your own voice?

    Would you recommend it to your authors? Or to unpublished authors? Does it help to mention to a potential agent that you are well-read in your target genre?

  57. Suzan Harden

    DEAD OVER HEELS by MaryJanice Davidson

    Had to know how Betsy and Eric’s New York honeymoon/shoe shopping trip got fubar’d.

  58. Anonymous

    Recently, I read:
    “Saving Fish From Drowning” -Amy Tan
    I thought the characters and story undeveloped and the book longish too much like a tour that could have been tightened. It bored me.

    “Oh My Stars” by Lorna Landvik
    It knocked my socks off. Wow.

    Thirteen Moons” by Charles Frazier
    He also wows me!! This book made me grow with his protagonist! What a full on characterization! I only wished he would have done the same for the female, who he keeps cloaked.

    Usually I read 3-20 books at a time.

    Currently I am reading:

    “The Truth” – Terry Pratchett
    I am SUCH a fan!

    “Living Your Unlived Life”-Robert Johnson and Jerry Ruhl
    “Ecstasy” – Robert Johnson
    (above two are Jungian nonfiction)

    “In the Night Garden” by Catherynne Valente
    (because a friend recommended it, but have to say,it is tense, requires a LOT from the reader to keep up with the constantly changing story, and this book could serve as example of the constant overuse of simile, that I now understand, can, even when well suited to a read, exhaust the reader.)

    BTW, Nathan, I always gleam a new reading list from these blogposts!

  59. nancorbett

    To Anonymous,
    Yes. When writing a YA novel, I read a whole bunch of YA. Not exclusively, though. Reading popular YA is research. Reading great authors in general is inspiring. I have certain authors I pull off the shelf whenever I need to hear a strong, well-defined voice. Ian McEwan is one such writer. So is Sherwood Anderson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. They get my mind turning on a more creative level.

    As for what I’m reading right now, Away by Amy Bloom. I took a personal writer’s trip to Orcas Island last week, and Away jumped off the bookshelf, wrapped its legs around me and wouldn’t let go. I have to finish it because I feel silly walking around this way.

  60. Anonymous

    I recently read The Old Man and The Sea by Earnest Hemingway.

    It was long overdue.

  61. Anonymous

    The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont

  62. B.E. Sanderson

    I’m in the middle of Spillane’s I, The Jury, and I’ve got Roxanne St. Claire’s First You Run on deck.

  63. Cheryl Mills

    The Road.

    Just finished The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer, during which I found myself LOL-ing a lot. My poor husband got to hear a lot of passages until he finally relented to read it himself.

  64. Adaora A.

    @Jacky – LOL! No…what I meant, was that people who aren’t big readers – as most writers/agents/publishers/random people – tend to be, have to join the ‘office writing pool’ of sorts at work, they fib. It’s a COLES NOTES sort of thing. I adore Sophie Kinsella.

  65. Anonymous

    I don’t usually read more than one book at a time, but currently I am reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Weird combination, huh? I guess I’m in a yin and yang mood.

  66. Shannon Yarbrough

    I’m about 12 pages from the end of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Amazing book! The kind I’d love to write.

  67. Adaora A.

    On the note of Sophie Kinsella,

    My next book to be read will be REMEMBER ME? Has anyone picked it up yet? It’s her latest, and it looks amazing – as per usual.

    Chock full of fuzzy memory, cocktails, a hottie husband, 10 millions + dollars, and Louis Vuitton. Therefore, it has to be good.

    Admittedly, that famously dodgy $20,000 or so patchwork bag by Louis Vuitton was so ugly it couldn’t have been dreamed up; Louis Vuitton is Louis Vuitton.

  68. Jordan Lapp

    The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. It’s probably the most beautifully written book I’ve ever read, and I’ve gone through most of the Booker Prize winners and half the pultizers

  69. L.C.McCabe

    Last night I finished reading Hades’ Daughter by Sara Douglass. Today as I visited my local library I saw a copy of volume 2 of the series God’s Concubine for sale in hard cover. I snapped it up and plan on reading it soon.

    It is epic fantasy with loads of Greek Mythology entwined in the story.

    I loved it.


  70. Jackie

    🙂 glad to make you laugh Adaora…
    we are all aspiring to create an environment that people will want to escape in, I hope I get the honor to achieve that

  71. Anonymous

    Recently read –
    DUMA KEY by Stephen King (loved it!)
    CHANGE OF HEART by Jodi Picoult (excellent!)
    THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON by Lauren Groff (enjoyed it)
    OBEDIENCE by Will Lavender (Could not put it down!)
    PEOPLE OF THE BOOK by Geraldine Brooks (just started but like so far)

  72. Jackie

    glad to make you laugh Adaora…
    we are all aspiring to create an environment that people will want to escape in, I hope I get the honor to achieve that 😉

  73. Vivi Anna

    I just finished GRIMSPACE by Ann Aguirre, a fabulous scifi, that is going on my top reads of 2008, and am now reading MADHOUSE by Rob Thurman, the third in the series about two brothers in NY that fight against creepie crawlies that nightmares are made of. Love Rob’s writing!!

  74. Bija Andrew Wright

    I’m reading Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, because I finally hit a point where I’d read enough stuff that quoted Nietzsche, paraphrased Nietzsche, referenced Nietzsche or mocked Nietzsche that I figured it was about time I got some primary source knowledge.

    I recently finished Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky, which is about the impact of new networks on the way we communicate. It might be of particular interest to anyone in the publishing industry, because it faces the changing definition of “publish.”

  75. qugrainne

    I just finished ‘Slip of the Knife’ by Denise Mina – the 3rd in a series about Paddy Meehan. Mina also writes about character Maureen O’Donnell, three in this series too. Talk about character driven novels – these are incredible, set in Scotland, a definite must read if you like mystery/ suspense type stuff.
    strong 5*

  76. wonderer

    I’m finally getting around to reading Robert Jordan’s THE EYE OF THE WORLD. Fantasy is the genre I write, and I thought it was high time I checked out Jordan’s work. I have to say I’m underwhelmed, though; I’ll finish this one, but I won’t be reading the rest in the series.

    I’m also reading a book on deserts for novel research, THE RIGHT TO WRITE by Julia Cameron (recommended if you like that sort of writing book), and THE ART OF WAR by Sun Tzu.

    Next up is SOLITAIRE by Kelley Eskridge.

  77. Steph Leite

    I was reading the second Squad book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (KILLER SPIRIT) for this site I’m a reviewer for. Interesting promise, albeit a little … familiar?, but the writing didn’t match up. Too matter-of-fact when it should’ve been flamboyant.

    I’m doing a big book order soon, and amongst those are:

    – THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher (It sounds amazing!)
    – STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr (Again, sounds amazing!)
    – LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green (I’ve heard so many great things about him and this book, so…!)
    – DEVILISH by Maureen Johnson (Because she’s awesome. It’ll be my first book by her; it was the one that appealed most to me.)
    – SECOND HELPINGS and CHARMED THIRDS by Megan McCafferty (LOVED the first book. Mustgetmore.)

    (I’m almost an exclusive YA reader, it seems. :D)

    And I wish I could get CHANGE OF HEART by Jodi Picoult, but I’ll have to wait for the paperback–the hardback is too expensive here in Brazil. 🙁 I love Jodi, though. I own almost all of her books.

    – Steph

  78. Morgan Dempsey

    The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes.

    I italicize instead of all-caps. I’m MLA that way.

  79. Anonymous

    Wow. I went to Amazon.com and read the excerpt of Enduring Love and am hooked. Language and Story.

  80. Jessica

    Just like Beth, and a lot of others it seems, I like to read many books at once. And I do keep a few in each room for ease.

    I am currently reading A YEAR IN PROVENCE by Peter Mayle, SIR THURSDAY by Garth Nix (book 4 in his Keys to the Kingdom series), CHRIST THE LORD: ROAD TO CANA by Anne Rice (book 2 in the series), LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding (because I’ve never read it!), THE AMBER SPYGLASS by Philip Pullman, and THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster (because I love it and will never tire of it). I’m enjoying them all so far, though I’m not entirely sure about the Anne Rice book. I do admire her courage for writing Jesus in the first person, however.

  81. Elissa M

    DUST by Elizabeth Bear

  82. Norma Desmond

    Nonfiction: Confessions of a Political Hitman, by Stephen Marks. Fascinating and somewhat terrifying account of the daily work of a Republican “opposition researcher” (read: negative campaign dirt-digger).

    Fiction: Dashiell Hammett, The Dain Curse. Hammett never gets old. Also just finished Red Cat by Peter Spiegelman. Pretty good.

  83. Jana Lubina


    For the 50th time : )

  84. Anonymous

    ALL THE KING’S MEN by Robert Penn Warren. Modernism with a capital ‘M’. Moral Ambiguity and Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all! Muahahaha!

  85. Cam

    MOMMIES WHO DRINK, by Brett Paesel,and PUTTING YOUR PASSION INTO PRINT by Arielle Eckstut & David Henry Sterry (rereading chaps 2 & 3).

  86. Anonymous

    501 Minutes to Christ, by Poe Ballantine—endorsed by Thomas Aquinas *and* Barabbas!

    If you read only one essay, read “Blessed Meadows for Minor Poets.”


  87. jellybean

    I am all about Jasper Fforde. Brilliant.

  88. Other Lisa

    “Regeneration” by Pat Barker. The first in her WWI trilogy. One of them won the Booker.

    I’m still too early in to offer an opinion.

  89. Sam Hranac

    I just put down A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb and picked up The Brightonomicon by Robert Rankin. The first was a well done love story from the perspective of a ghost. The latter is a silly romp pretending to be… uh… science fiction?

  90. Joel Derfner

    TITUS GROAN (first in the GORMENGHAST trilogy), Mervyn Peake.

  91. Furious D

    I’ve been on a bit of a history kick lately. I just finished Claudius The God by Robert Graves, and now I’m reading the nonfiction book Ike & Monty by Norman Gelb.

  92. susan d

    Kathryn Harrison’s SEEKING RAPTURE. I have read several of her books and although they often explore very disturbing issues, her writing is first rate.

    Anybody who can get me completely engrossed in the execution of a tick is an amazing writer. After I read that, I was like I can’t believe she sucked me into the scene like that!!

  93. Anonymous

    love robert jordan and jasper fforde too

  94. Kathleen

    SIR THURSDAY by Garth Nix
    HELLBOY Seeds of Destruction
    BLINK Malcolm Gladwell

  95. Christine

    CHARMED AND DEADLY by Candace Havens, lots of fun =)

  96. Anne-Marie

    THE UNCOMMON READER by Alan Bennett. Queen Elizabeth II meets the local bookmobile.

  97. garrett

    hey nathan! i’m reading a graphic novel and some military nonfiction:

    Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen
    The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit’s Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad by Sean Michael Flynn

  98. benwah

    Fic: Plowed through Harlan Coben’s “The Innocent.” His pacing’s almost a bit too fast, but it kept me from pondering the thin spots.

    Just picked up Pete Hammill’s “Forever.”

    Nonfic: “The Stuff of Thought” by Stephen Pinker. (Glad to see somebody’s reading the Guinea Pig’s History of Biology; I’m waiting for it to come into the library)

  99. Scott

    >Jackie said…
    > step back a notch Scott, I am
    >still scratching my head at Old
    >English and am totally accepting
    >that, yup, these are the people I
    >descended from

    Old English is fun to try to sort out. I’ve read Beowulf at least once a year (skipping a year here and there) for a long, long time. I read it in modern translations, but i also like to play around with the original. I used to be better at it, but I can still work my way through sections for the fun of it.

    Speaking German helps, and so does understanding the sound shifts that have taken place over the centuries.

    But it’s work. Chaucer’s Middle English is pretty easy for me (again, German helps). Other ME authors, especially earlier ones, are tougher, but enjoyable. The thing about Chaucer in the original, is that the guy was often very ironic and funny, and modernizations don’t always pick that up because they have to miss double meanings.

    OK, I guess I sound like a boring English nerd right about now. But I love language, and I have fun with it.

  100. laurasmagicday

    “King Dork” by Frank Portman, just finished reading “Feed” by M.T. Anderson, also reading anything and everything having to do with extraterrestrials.

  101. Mary

    LOVING SABOTAGE by Amélie Nothomb. And THE BOOK OF BOSWELL: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A GYPSY by Silvester Gordon Boswell, which I bought second hand, and can only read in short stints because it reeks of cigarette smoke. Otherwise, it’s amazing!!

  102. Aimless Writer

    Making Fiends by Maureen Child-light and funny.
    The Chase by Clive Cussler- pretty good so far.
    Judgment by Peter and Paul Lalonde Strange.
    The Curious Incident of the dog int he night-time by Mark Haddon-given to me by my daughter, barely started.
    Thats all for this week. There’s just not enough time for all the books in this world.

  103. Ann Regentin

    I am not reading anything at the moment. I’m YouTubing the Metal Gear Solid series and watching Foyle’s War. Metal Gear Solid is a little loopy, in more than one way, but Foyle’s War is outstanding.

    I know this doesn’t exactly answer the question, but I thought I’d post it anyway. I’m not reading, but I’m still getting a regular dose of story, which is what I think counts.

  104. madison

    this is sort of random. sorry. although i am going to read Eva Schloss’s ‘The Promise’ tomorrow on the plane.

    but the plane – that’s just it. i’m one of the query crit master’s willing victims 🙂 and i won’t get to read what he’s going to say for several days – maybe a week or so – since I’m out of the country. so thanks a BUNCH – a huge bunch – Nathan, for doing this! it will not only help me, but other people, too. I know I’ve learned a lot from your previous query critiques. thanks in advance 🙂

  105. melissalobianco

    (attn: Jackie)
    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate that.

    Sophie Kinsella makes me speak in British English for weeks (ie: my glasses have got all wonky, and I can’t find my bloody little screwdriver! Great fun!)

    Dave Barry makes me laugh, as does Stephen King’s non-fiction – he’s actually my dad, only with poorer eyesight and a slightly better record collection – though I don’t care for his fiction. History of the Millenium (So Far) was a had-to-put-it-down-so-people-don’t-look-at-me-funny-for-laughing-out-loud funny.

  106. Jordyn

    Um rereading Lynne Rae Perkins’ book CRISS CROSS. It won the Newberry a few years ago… 2007 I think maybe? Anyways, it’s amazing.

  107. r.c.

    I just read that Spencer is writing an advice column. Among the reasons this depresses me is that it means he has a better writing resume than I.


  108. T L Thomas

    Try “The Human Stain” by Philip Roth. The movie with Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman just did not do it justice, the book is SO much better! But, if that’s not your forte, try The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. She’s good!

  109. Maya Reynolds

    Anonymous 12:34 PM

    Before I write, I read a lot of the genre to get me in the mood. However, when I’m actually writing, I can’t read in the genre I’m writing. It’s too distracting

  110. Alison

    I am reading Forever by Pete Hammil, which is wonderful so far.

    I am very hesitant to read anything else by Ian McEwan, because I just don’t see how I could love it as much as I love Atonement.

  111. Amie Stuart

    I’m reading GRIMSPACE too and loving it …and KITTY GOES TO WASHINGTON by Carrie Vaughn

    Anonymous I don’t read in my genre (erotica/erotic romance) more to save my sanity than anything (all that comparison is so unhealthy). Maybe wrong of me but it keeps me writing LOL

  112. Adaora A.

    Thanks Jackie!

    I agree. It’s what we all want isn’t it? Our books in print so that people will fall in love with the characters and the stories.

    I would love for people to love my books, as much as I love my MARC JACOBS – red frame and grey lensed – sunglasses…and er, my family and friends of course!

  113. Diana

    I just finished reading The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison, which I enjoyed.

    I am currently reading Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz, which is making me snicker a lot. I think I like it even more than her first book, The Spellman Files.

  114. Deborah B

    I just finished The Outlaw Demon Wails as well–I think it is the best book in the series so far. Read The Sword-Edged Blonde by newcomer Alex Blesdoe. This is one of the most original, well-written books I have ever read; a combination of “classic” sword and sorcery and “noir” detective novels. No, I’m not kidding. It is great! And catching up on Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels.
    And, of course, the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents, which I mar with yellow highlighter, bend the pages down on and tag with little sticky notes. Sigh.

  115. JaxPop

    Agent Janet Reid has mentioned Author Lee Child and his primary character over & over in her blog posts. 2 weeks ago I decided to give the guy a try. Pretty Awesome – to the point, almost terse – lots of twists. Jack Reacher is one big time BadAss, even if he is imaginary. So I bought 6 more – now have 1 left (after tonight) & plan to buy the last 3, since I’ll be on vacation next week. Also – can’t go wrong with Vince Flynn or Ted Bell – but I’ve already bought & read all of their books. Get busy guys!

  116. Linda

    I am in the thick of ATONEMENT, also wonderful (and no, I haven’t seen the flick). Just finished BODY SURFING by Anita Shreve, which uses an interesting mini-scene/vignette approach. Rereading THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Niffenberger for first person voice in two protags. And the latest THE SUN. (Books, they’re like Lays’ potato chips – you can’t read just one). Peace…

  117. Michelle

    Just finished Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison (which has redeemed my faith in her), and currently reading Peter F Hamilton’s A Second Chance at Eden (I LOVED Night’s Dawn Trilogy!).

  118. Jackie

    @ Mellisalo, yw

    @ Scott, English humor is dry humor and there are not a lot of people that catch it, German has a bit more colorful humor but still can be dry

    @ Adaora, 🙂 it takes family and friends to truly understand and accept our intravert ways, and we are always game for a thought provoking convo!

    Nite all, I am on the East Coast, have had my dishes screaming at me all day and then me and my faithful fuzzy friends (as long as I keep feeding them) are off to bed

  119. Jackie

    oh yeah, most importantly, I have to Final Edit chapter 6 before I cash it in

  120. AstonWest

    I just finished AT RISK by Patricia Cornwell…and have to say I thought it royally sucked.

  121. benwah

    @ maya reynolds: i do the same thing, read heavily in the genre i’m going to be writing about, then avoid it while i’m actually writing the early drafts. i particularly like going back to the classics, ie Dashel Hammett, Raymond Chandler, GK Chesterton before this current mystery I’m working on.

  122. C.R. Evers

    I’m reading mostly YA and MG stuff right now because of a MS I’m working on.

    My current list:

    Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (almost done and I love it)

    The Prophesy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor (listening to CD in the car. It’s OK. A bit heavy on the adverbs)

    The Light Princess by George MacDonald (just started it. Very clever.)

  123. Kimber An

    I just finished ASK AGAIN LATER by Jill A. Davis. It’s an ARC sent to me via Authors On The Web. It’s also Women’s Fiction. Although it’s very good, I’m a Science Fiction kind of girl. I decided I needed something really out of this world for my next read.

    I’m starting NETHERWOOD by Michele Lang in the morning after I post the ASK AGAIN LATER review at Enduring Romance.

  124. Cam

    @ “Anon” at 12:35 – We have similar lit tastes… I concur on Amy Tan’s SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING. Last year, I fell asleep after three tries and finally decided life’s too short and re-racked the book. Then I read THIRTEEN MOONS and absolutely LOVED it! Given our similar tastes, I’m going to check out “The Truth.”

  125. A Paperback Writer

    Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott
    1001 Places To See Before YOu Die by someone whose name I can’t recall offhand and I’m too lazy to go get the book and find out.

  126. Moth

    I just finishes Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer and I have Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr waiting in the wings.

  127. Regan Taylor

    Immortal by Traci L. Slatton and Helen of Troy by Martha George.

    Both are first person — not my choice, but the first is for review and the second is for research. Ms. George paints a spell binding story.

  128. Moose

    1) Windows Vista The Missing Manual

    2) Windows Vista Annoyances

    3) The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies This one is very good. If you’ve got some aches and pains, maybe from sitting too long, there are self-applied techniques that can help you. Moose sez check it out.

    4) Bullseyes Don’t Shoot Back by Col Rex Applegate. Another very good book, this one on point shooting as taught to the OSS and others.

  129. Anonymous

    I read several chapters of Northanger Abbey to two girls I tutor. Reading aloud seems almost extravagant in a busy day. Perhaps that’s why I love it.

    I’ve started reading this blog- just discovered it.

    Recently finished Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. Enjoyed it almost as much as The Goose Girl.

    Someone loaned me Garden Spells. It won’t be a favorite, but…

    I love anything by Terry Pratchett. Going Postal and The Truth are favorites.

  130. Anonymous

    urvlI’m re-reading my MS, for the umpty-umpth time.


  131. Jan

    Just beginning Playing for Pizza by John Grisham … a friend said it had wonderful descriptions of Italian cafe’s and the food. I wanted to relish my Italian experience as long as possible!

  132. Filamena

    Rereading Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays
    by Camille Paglia. If you want to get in a fight with a feminest (and who doesn’t?) its the place to start.

  133. Tammie

    Kings Durma Keys and Matrimony by Joshua Henkinhas.

    Wow how’d I miss Nick Hornby’s Slam???? I love him. Love these run downs as it adds to my must reads list!

  134. Jan

    Nathan –

    I was just checking out Enduring Love … can’t wait to read it!

    I love hotair ballooning … got my husband to go up with me once!

    And Keats museum in Rome is amazing

  135. P.G

    OBEDIENCE by Will Lavender, I too just loved this book. For once it kept me wanting to read it until the end. Nice twist and plot idea, something different then the normal mystery.

    Also just finished The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde. Laughed so hard in parts and loved the ending, bought the next book in that series and am chomping at the bit to read it.

  136. Just_Me

    Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon

    Princess at Sea by Dawn Cook- well, finished that actually and really want Dawn to get the third book out *now*. That was a terribly wicked way to end a book, lots of promise and no third book on the shelves!

  137. Nettie Hartsock

    Hi Nathan,

    I’m reading all the old Erma Bombeck books which are crazy good. And I’m reading Cynthia Kaplan’s “Leave the Building Quickly” – also brilliant.

    Nettie Hartsock

  138. DVshooter

    Getting caught up on some Sci-Fi lately, have stacks of classics picked up over the years I’ve never gotten to: Gordon R. Dicksons, Encyclopedia Series, been reading non-fiction before that. “Inside the Wire” was eye opening and “Sole Survivor” was riveting.

    Since so many people here are well read maybe one of you can help. I read about a soon-to-be-published true story whose film rights were bought; a hitman for the Jewish Mob goes to Germany to rescue people on their way to a concentration camp. I never saw it or heard the title again…anyone?

  139. auria cortes

    I’m rereading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

  140. Anonymous

    Plague of the Dead by Zach Recht.

    A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

    The Templars by Jack M. Driver

    Battlefield Of The Mind by Joyce Meyers.

  141. DeborahBrent

    The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley. Wonderful.

  142. Wanda B. Ontheshelves

    Rereading War and Peace.

    Jane Addam’s Twenty Years at Hull House

    Marianne Moore’s Collected Poems (not a very big book, compared to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s)

    Theodore Rothke’s Collected Poems

    Robinson Jeffer’s Collected Poems

    Hmm, I seem to be a bit heavy on the poetry…

    Just started The Great Man – although I loved the excerpt of Enduring Love on Amazon, wow! I will justify buying a cheap used copy this time, by the eventuality of buying some of his books new.

    Short stories by Gogol (Russian writer) – he wrote “The Nose.”

    Robert Lowell “For the Union Dead” & “Life Studies” (more poetry)

    I wish someone would show up on my doorstep with a basketful of Michael Crieghton (post-midnight spelling of last name, sorry) paperbacks – ditto John Steinbeck.

  143. Alex Fayle

    I just finished the Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and loved it up to the last page, which felt more like a chapter ending than the end of the book.

  144. Polenth

    ‘Zahrah the Windseeker’ by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu. It’s children’s speculative fiction, set in an African-like place. Zahrah has funky hair with vines growing in it. That’s about all I can say so far, as I’m not too deep in. So far I like it.

  145. Other Lisa

    Okay, finished Pat Barker’s REGENERATION. The first part, with all of the WWI horrors recounted, I kind of didn’t buy. The atrocities just seemed sort of recited from history accounts, not something that I viscerally believed. And there’s something a little didactic about it, and some of the historical characters (as opposed to the made-up ones), their place in the book feels sort of forced.

    The last third of the book though I found really powerful, enough so that I think I will have to read the next book in the trilogy.

  146. Anonymous

    Right now I’m reading:

    Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
    It’s excellent. Not my favorite, those being Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, but still good.

    Death of an Old Girl by Elizabeth Lemarchand
    It’s slow going, I’ve been plugging along on this one reading a page here and there for a couple months.

    The Gentle Axe by R. N. Morris
    It’s just a magnificent book. I’m in awe of how Morris managed to bring to life nineteenth century St. Petersburg and Dostoevsky. I actually picked it up because the reviews for A Vengeful Longing were so good, but I didn’t want to start with the second book.

  147. Anonymous

    Well I read several at a time so:

    Lord of the Isles, David Drake. Ummm not getting very far. 150 pages in, not much has really happened. The completely irrelevant details are bogging it all down. I can’t see me getting much further unless something big happens.

    A Lions Tale, Chris Jericho. Yeah I like the wrestling, and this has had me snorting tea out of my nose a couple of times.

    The Rites of Odin – need to brush up.

    Working my way through The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher. I love these!

  148. Sean McLachlan

    I’m always reading half a dozen books, mostly as research for my own books. For pleasure, right now I’m rereading THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X, which is affecting me very differently than it did when I read it almost twenty years ago. Then I was amazed by how often he changed his life, from hick to hustler, from anti-white to anti-racism. This time around I’m struck by how little of the book I can actually disagree with.

    The other book I’m reading for pleasure is GHOSTS OF SPAIN. I live in Madrid, and picked it up in a local used book store. This sort of expat expose is trendy of late, and this is one of the best of the lot. It mainly deals with the unhealed scars of the Civil War, something I see in my own in-laws.

  149. Kathryn Harris

    I’m re-reading “Watching the Tree Limbs” by Mary DeMuth.
    I just finished “Julia’s Chocolates” by Cathy Lamb and Perfect Match” by Jodi Picoult.
    Up next, “My Name is Russell Fink” by Michael Snyder.

  150. cactusbeetroot

    I just finished The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy and will look to finish the Ursula Le Guin classic The Dispossessed next.

    And I think my next book will be How Fiction Works, by James Wood.

  151. Anonymous

    I’m currently reading “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher.

  152. Adaora A.

    THIRTEEN REASONS WHY is pretty amazing.

  153. Anonymous

    i just read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Started about six yesterday evening and did not stop until I was through-and then kept thinking about it!

    Excellent and this is her debut novel. A Dark, edgy, psychological thriller, but there is humor to help you bear it all. I thought because she writes for Entertainment Weekly it would be a bit of…fluff. Cushy at least. Talk about judging a book by its author’s first job-I willingly and happily loved the surprise of being completely wrong. Nothing wrong with a cushy mystery, but this was stunning.

  154. Taylor K.

    I decided to read something classical and artsy so I’m reading HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS. My wife’s been bugging me to read the books for a while, and since it had been about two years since I read the first one I decided it was time to read the second. At this rate I should read all 7 by 2020.

  155. Howard Shirley

    I’m constantly reading something, either for work or pleasure.

    For work, I just finished The Woman Who Can’t Forget by Jill Price and Bart Davis. It’s the true story of a woman who literally can’t forget the details of her life. Watch BookPage for my review (I think the May issue).

    For pleasure, I just finished, at roughly the same time, Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (“Crivens! Tha were a gud bit o’ readin’, laddie!”), Command Decision by Elizabeth Moon (sci-fi action novel, 4th in her Vatta War series), and Sword Song by the incomparable Rosemary Sutcliff. (If Sutcliff wrote it, I love it. She’s the first author to make my own blog.)

    I’m in the middle of Garth Nix’s Sabriel, which is turning out to be far better than I expected.

    Next on my shelf is a block of Father’s Day books for a review (10 books in a month. Yowza. 8-o). Somehow I’ll try to squeeze in another book for pleasure or two, but it’s gonna be tight…

    Thanks for the great blog, Nathan.

  156. Calenhíril

    I just started the second book in Gail Martin’s Chronicles of the Necromancer, The Blood King. I’m also in the middle of Robin Hobb’s Renegade’s Magic, and a few months of Newsweek back issues.

  157. JakePlummer&TheWings

    “What HO!”, a PG Wodehouse collection.

  158. Anonymous

    Thanks for the feedback on the two books we have in common.
    Terry Pratchett is VERY different from the other books I listed. I confess to needing to feed eclectic tastes. My favorite Terry Pratchett book is Soul Music. Try that one.
    It is a scream, funny!

  159. Annie

    SCHUYLER’S MONSTER by Robert Rummel-Hudson. A moving and surprisingly funny memoir about raising a mute little girl.

  160. Indu Nair

    ‘Zen in the art of writing’ by Ray Bradbury. Very, very inspiring.

  161. abc

    I can’t seem to put down The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I spent all my money from selling books at the used book store (which pays diddly) to buy it USED. Reading does not pay.

  162. hana-no-kiri

    Victory Conditions, by Elizabeth Moon. I’ve really been sucked into the whole Vatta’s War series.

  163. Zen of Writing

    Savage Detectives, by Bolano, and Love’s Executioner (nonfiction) by Yalom.

  164. jae

    Right now for pleasure it’s “Jingo” by Terry Pratchett. The man cracks me up!


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Hi, I’m Nathan. I’m the author of How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series, which was published by Penguin. I used to be a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and I’m dedicated to helping authors chase their dreams. Let me help you with your book!

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