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English Muse: What books are you reading?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What books are you reading?

And which books do you want for Christmas?

I figured it was time to update the English Muse reading list....


So please leave your answers on this post...

And I'll report back with everyone's favorites later this week!

PS: I usually read a couple books at now I'm reading Once on a Moonless Night by Dai Sijie and Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith...

Photo credits {here}

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Blogger Brandi said...

Oh I do so love photographs of books.
On my Christmas list: (1) a bunch of the new Penguin classics clothbound editions (Sense and Sensibility is my favorite binding), (2) Domino: The Book of Decorating (yes, it is a sin I don't own it already), (3) Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques (so I can learn to cook and bake like a French pro), (4) The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts (more pro dessert tips), and (5) several philosophy titles that are apparently must-reads if you're getting a Ph.D. like me.

Right now, my books are gathering dust while I finish papers.

December 8, 2009 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Such cool pictures of books! I like the one with all the stacked books and the white face painted on the side.

At the moment, I'm reading Harry Potter 4 for the millionth time and "Eat, Pray, Love", which is fantastic. I really want so many books right now, particularly the "Luxe" series by Anna Godbersen and any of Ellen Hopkins books. I've always been interested in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, but now I feel a push to read them given they're being turned into movies...and there are so many other books, but those are the main ones that come to mind.

December 8, 2009 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Daydream Lily said...

I LOVE BOOKS!!! I have since I was a little girl. I remember my dad would by me books for Christmas every year and by the end of the holidays Id read them all.

Maybe ill send him an updated book wish list..hehe.

Not sure what my current wish list would be. Ill have to check back and see what others recommend. Maybe the new Chuck Palahnuik book...I love his twisted stories! or I wouldn't mind reading the LA Candy book.

December 8, 2009 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Helena said...

reading into the wild a gift from a fellow traveller
not sure whats next though
i'm feeling something festive to go with the wine, mince pies and toasty fire

have a nice day


December 8, 2009 at 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love reading about other people's favorite books. Am currently in the middle of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Geraldine Brooks' Nine Parts of Desire -- both highly recommended. Another favorite is David Benioff's City of Thieves.

December 8, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Simply Mel said...

There is a new book out filled with incredible photographs of Libraries from around the world. I saw it once and haven't been able to take the time to locate it again. It is dreamy! Especially since I want to be a Librarian when I grow up! :)

December 8, 2009 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger WrightStuff said...

What incredible photographs. I feel inspired now to go and do something artistic with my collection! If you want a great read and something a bit different, try this: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Right now I have to log off because a certain Edward Cullen is waiting to tell me what happens next... Night night..

December 8, 2009 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

love the book pics...avid reader a few jodi picoult books i have not read, and the new alex cross...and like the other commentor the palahuik book would be amazing!

December 8, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Krissy said...

Excuse me one moment while I drool over the pretty pictures of books!

At the moment, I'm in finals for university, so reading for pleasure isn't really an option. (Woe!) But I'm so looking forward to winter holidays when I can dive into a good book again! On the top of my to read list are "I Capture the Castle", "Angela's Ashes" and "Emma" :)

December 8, 2009 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger J. Christina Huh said...

On a bit of an L.A. noir kick... I finished "White Jazz" by James Ellroy and now I'm on "The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler. In between, I read "On Gold Mountain" by Lisa See. I love books on LA!

December 8, 2009 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Hermione said...

I know it's a bit old, but Dreams From My Father, by Obama touched me so deeply. Otherwise, being really picky right now. Lydia Davies short stories, but eight out of ten are a little bit too heavy for me right now:) But good.

December 8, 2009 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger jackie said...

I recently bought two new books, I feel bad about my neck by Nora Ephron and Native speaker by Chang-rae Lee. I won't be able to read them until my finals over though.. sigh..

December 8, 2009 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger The Wanderers' Daughter said...

OOh, great collection of book photos! Like catnip to a bibliophile like me ;) My favorites lately include

- The Likeness by Tana French
- The Girl With No Shadow by Joanne Harris
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
- Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
- The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman

December 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Melissa Y. Allam said...

Awesome collections of books and bookshelves here. I'm a very visual person, so sometimes I'd rather look at books with pretty pictures than read. These are on my list this year,
Wallpaper Projects by Derek Fagerstrom, The Well Dressed Home by Annette Tatum, Easy Elegance by Atlanta Bartlett and one book for reading, Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

December 8, 2009 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

Let's see, I just finished City of Thieves, (great book, btw), I'm about a fourth of the way through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and I asked for A Short History of Nearly Everything as a Christmas present :)

What's on your reading list?

December 8, 2009 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Hannah B. said...

I just added some great ones to mine... My Life in France {Julia Child, of course} and Apples for Jam {it's a cookbook but has gorgeous photography and prose throughout... highly recommend just having it on your shelf even if you don't cook!}

December 8, 2009 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I want The English Country House by Mary Miers. And Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Robert Ingpen. And Wolf Hall .... but, um...I bought that one for myself!!

December 8, 2009 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger leilani.e said...

Books!!! Haha, I read too much. Just finished: HP lovecraft's 'The Music of Erich Zann & the Nameless City' and Robinson Crusoe. Now I'm halfway finished rereading a bit of Nietzsche, Françoise Sagan's Bonjour Tristesse and The Age of Innocence.
On my christmas list? Thoreau, Wilde, Rilke, Bette Davis' This 'N That, Valley of the Dolls, and any of Hitomi Kanehara's new stuff. God I'm a nerd. :s

December 8, 2009 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger L. said...

Reading: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, The Keep by Jennifer Egan, Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Wish list: Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

December 8, 2009 at 5:48 PM  
Blogger emilia. said...

I've made it my new year's resolution to read the all of the books that my favorite movies were based off of...

figured it was time to see the original art for myself :) at the top of my list are Peter Pan, Pride & Prejudice and The Princess Bride.

December 8, 2009 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Reginasaurus said...

Oh gosh, I love commenting on posts like these. I guess that's why I'm a Lit major, haha. Okay, my favorite books are:

Light in August - Faulkner
Bel Canto - Patchett
Frankenstein - Shelley
A Grief Observed - Lewis
Into the Wild - Krakauer
Sense and Sensibility - Austen

I can't wait to see your list!


December 8, 2009 at 6:11 PM  
Blogger Valeria said...

OMG OMG OMG this post is soooo amazing how i love books!!! :) :) :) hmmm i'm trying to finish "crimen y castigo", el diálogo de platón sobre el alma, some book about 1968, the year of the matanza de tlatelolco, and hope to read some happy novels this vacation! (since i speak spanish, i don't know the names of the books in english, and don't wnat to make a bad translation)

December 8, 2009 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Louis Duke said...

Love books. Currently addicted too:

1. Harry Potter, yet again (sadly)
2. Anything By Dan Brown (especially Angels & Demons!)
3. The Trust: A behind the scenes look at the family that has rule the NYT for generations
4. and of course: The Audacity Of Hope, and Hillary's book

December 8, 2009 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger karla_next_door said...

I'm currently reading Isabel Allende's "House of the Spirits." It's such a magical treat, especially now with the holidays in the air. But I've been into a lot of biographies/non-fiction lately and so the book on my wishlist is Caroline Moorehead's "Dancing to the Precipice: Lucie de la Tour Du Pin and the French Revolution." I read about it in Vogue earlier this year and I knew I had to get a copy and cozy up with it during Christmas.

That's such a great question to ask, I love reading what everybody else is reading. Happy Holidays!

December 8, 2009 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

I think I'm one of the only librarians that actually reads in the academic field. Everyone loves blogs more than books these days.

I'm reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I've been meaning to finish it but it's so whimsical and adorable, I'm sad to finish it.

December 8, 2009 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger heidi leon said...

I just could not live or imagine my life without without books. Rigth now I'm reading these:

The Gathering by Anne Enright
Falling Cloudberries and Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros (cookbooks)
A Cook's Guide to Asian Vegetables bby Wendy Hutton

La Mano de Fatima by Ildefonso Falcones
Gabriela, Clavo y Canela by Jorge Amado this post!

December 8, 2009 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger Ms. Jenn said...

I want Gladwell's new book. I got the Little Prince pop-up book, which EVERYONE should own. EVERYONE! I think Paulo Coelho has a new item to get my hands on, too. Right now, I'm reading the revised version of the 4 hour work week (which should be out this month.) We got it free at a conference and I never read the first one, so I said what the heck, why not?

Actually, I just want a Nook and a gift certificate to get more books. I own too many, so I figure I can store tons on there and keep hard copies of the favorites...which I'm sure will still be too many to count.

December 8, 2009 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger VictoriaArt said...

Oh, you've got me all out! This is the best post to answer today, since I love books, read, collect and go crazy about them, I love photography, now put the two of them together....GORGEOUS PICTURES!
Love the painted ones too, this is incredible, the cat...
OK, I'll stop now: What's on my list:

I just ordered a signed copy of the "Winter Woods" by Steve Augarde, from the Various trilogy, a beautiful story, fantasy, so beautifully written. And I've got them in the British edition, in which the author did the drawings on the cover...
All books by the German writer Theodore Fontane (19Th Century), one after another,
"Dreaming in French" by Megan Mc Andrew,
"Climbing the Mango Trees" by Madhur Jaffrey,
"Traveling with Pomegranates" by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor,
"Daphne" by Justine Picardie,
"Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier.
I read with my children and just discovered Mordechei Richler's "Jacob Two-two" (9-12yrs).
And I love to endulge in books by
my favorite designers...
to many to name them all, therefore not on my list today...

It is so fab to read what everybody else is reading or wants to... many of them have I have read too, or get inspired to go for! Thank you so much for this post!

December 8, 2009 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Jessica / Lola Vintage Clothing said...

what delightful pictures. I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's LACUNA right now. I'm entranced by her colorful words and lyrical sentences. Check it out if you get a chance.

December 8, 2009 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Ashley Yazzie said...

Hey woman. I am taken by your new banner!

What am I reading? A tattered hard back, second hand copy of THE BELL JAR. I'm reading it for the very first time. What an amazing piece of literature!

What book do I want for Christmas? Maya Angelou's LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER. I've been on the waiting list at the Los Angeles library for 8 months!

December 8, 2009 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger chiaroscuro said...

Beautiful pictures!

At the moment I am reading The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls for the second time and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery for the first time. Both are wonderful to dive into.

December 8, 2009 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Tonia said...

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger: that's all the husband has to get me this year. I would like many, many more but figure my chances of getting the ones I really want are better if limited to 2.

December 9, 2009 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger denise, the prime magpie said...

I went ahead and just bought myself my holiday book -- a copy of Ad Hoc, signed by Chef Thomas Keller at a Seattle visit this week! But I'd like to read Julie Powell's new book, Cleaving.

December 9, 2009 at 2:01 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Right now I'm reading "Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger, author of "The Time Traveler's Wife." And I also just finished "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenrich.

December 9, 2009 at 5:48 AM  
Blogger laydeedancer said...

I've been reading like a mad woman lately. I just went to a library sale last week and came home with oodles of books.

I just finished "Listening is an Act of Love" by Dave Isay and Storycorp. I am now reading "The Jane Austen Book club" but it's only making me realize that I need to re-read some Austen. Next on my list is "Loving Frank." And for Christmas I asked for some Lynda Barry books.

Two of my favorite books this year was "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb and "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Wells.

Also, do you all know about bookmooch ( I've been getting tons of books from that site, as well as cleaning out my overwhelming collection.

December 9, 2009 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger mkendall said...

I'm currently reading "Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger which I'm really enjoying. Then, I'm going to read "Holidays On Ice" by David Sedaris. I've been saving that one all year.

I just finished "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly" by Jean-Dominique Bauby which was extremely moving.

December 9, 2009 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger JadeElise said...

"Hero with a thousand faces" by campbell. It's fascinating!

December 9, 2009 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger La Belle Revue said...

Incredible photos! I particularly like the spiral staircase. I discovered your blog via Daydream Lily -- lovely!

December 9, 2009 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger lynette said...

I can't wait to start reading "The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver! (Her book, "Poisonwood Bible" is one of my faves!)

December 9, 2009 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Justė said...

i'm supposed to read f.bacon essays for my studies and actually have no time for pleasure reading.
but i'd love to get any book by roald dahl for christmas.

December 9, 2009 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger SaraLouise said...

amazing pics

December 9, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once stacked a pile of books in my NYC apt. from floor to ceiling, it looked great until one day a large truck rolled by and the vibrations caused the pile to tumble down on my head. I am giving NORMAL PEOPLE DON'T LIVE LIKE THIS by Dylan Landis as gifts this year. I am hoping to receive KITCHEN CHINESE, a novel by Ann Mah, I met her once in Paris.

December 9, 2009 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures! It's like dying and going to book heaven.

I haven't asked for many books this Christmas, I've sort of reached a proverbial brick wall on recommendations. I look forward to returning here and seeing what the results are so I can have some more literature to look into. The books I have want so far are The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie and The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who starts more than one book at once, I feel like less of a fickle human being now.

December 9, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Whimsy Being said...

I'm having a hard time committing to books right now...but one that I can re-read a dozen times over is Jack Kerouac's On the Road. =)

December 9, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just recently made myself the ultimate book wish list on Amazon. It's filled with books by Margaret Atwood, Murakami, and other authors I've never heard of before but want to give a try:

December 9, 2009 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Hilary Leister said...

i'm finishing up "The Shack" by William Paul Young. it's kind of eye-opening about relationships with God, coming from someone who isn't all that relgious. i'd definitely recommend it!

December 9, 2009 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oddly enough, I just posted about the book i'm reading (FALL TO PIECES, BY Mart Forsberg Weiland), on my blog! :)))))))))

Jen Ramos

December 9, 2009 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger I Think My Tummy Hurts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 9, 2009 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger I Think My Tummy Hurts said...

Those pics are beautiful!!! Currently reading "Wonderful Tonight" by Pattie Boyd, once married to both George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Reading it makes me wish I was alive in the 50s so I could marry a Beatle. Sighhh.

December 9, 2009 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger nicala jane said...

at the moment i am reading atonement by ian mcewan and im not sure which books i want for christmas haha xoxo

December 9, 2009 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Miss.E. said...

I like classics like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre... the old fashioned way people talked inspires me, and the Bronte sisters really pushed some literary boundries. But sometimes all that can be a bit heavy, so I rely on the Luxe books and books by Sarah Dessin, Melissa Marchetta and other books like that in my down time, with interesting stories but more modern phrasing.

Penguin books just can't go wrong, can they?

December 10, 2009 at 2:08 AM  
Blogger Raji said...

Omg these pictures are really cool.
I think the most amazing book is The Kite Runner.
Honestly, taught me everything I now know about how to grow up. Its a beautiful story with a strong message.

December 10, 2009 at 3:25 AM  
Blogger DrummerGirl said...

I'm rereading the Once and Future King. I'm also rereading A Wrinkle in Time. I thought that because its a little stressful during the holidaiys, I want something light, almost whimsical to read. :) Though, I think my next book buy will be Jane Austen. I've only recently fell in love with her with Persuasion. :)

December 10, 2009 at 5:42 AM  
Blogger Seyma said...

wish i could read right now.. haven't been to any books nearly for 7 months!!


December 10, 2009 at 6:40 AM  
Blogger Laura | The Journal of Cultural Conversation said...

i think i'm reading 4 books at once! I'm reading the latest John Irving and Anita Diamant's newly released "Day After Night" .. there is a nonfiction one in there somewhere too. Just finished "Push," which I would highly recommend.

December 10, 2009 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger hawthorne girl said...

Right now I'm reading the Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells, which I love, and Playing With the Grown-Ups by Sophie Dahl. The two novels deal with completely different economic classes yet the common theme between the two are very similar. I'm enjoying them both immensely!

December 10, 2009 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger mytwocentsworth said...

Recent favorites include:
1. A House in Fez -- Suzanna Clarke (NF)
2, Passing Strange -- Martha A. Sandweiss (F)
3. Vanessa & Virginia -- Susan Sellers (F)
4. Late Nights on Air -- Elizabeth Hay (F), a great, award-winning writer from Canada. Others also read by her, Garbo Laughs and A Student of Weather. A+++
5. Amy & Isabelle -- Elizabeth Strout (F), and
6. The Lacuna -- Barbara Kingsolver (F)
My wish lists include:
1. The Ultimate Trophy -- How Impressionist Painting Conquered the World by Philip Hook (NF)
2. Olive Kitteridge -- Elizabeth Strout (F), and
3. Museum of Innocence -- Orhan Pamuk (F)

December 10, 2009 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Cat Sitter in the City said...

I am currently reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I didn't realize a movie was being made of the book until after I started reading it. I am curious to see how it translates to film.

December 10, 2009 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger ashlee said...

Currently the top contenders on my list of books to read (or re-read) are:
Possession - Byatt
Wuthering Heights - Bronte
A Christmas Carol - Dickens
How I Live Now - Rosoff
The Far Pavillions - Kaye
The Sunne in Splendour - Penman

December 10, 2009 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Just finished Invisible by Paul Auster. Got a chapter left to go of The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga a story about poverty in India. Working through The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale, which tells the true story of one of the early detectives who the character of Sherlock Holmes was based on.

December 11, 2009 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Adriana said...

I love reading what everybody has got their noses in!! Currently I'm reading My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Piccoult, I LOVE her and I wanted to read it before I watched it! On my wish list is Mayada, Daughter of Iraq by Jean Sasson and Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody - both reccomended by a good girlfriend of mine. I find myself very interested in Middle Eastern Culture not I'm living in the UAE

December 12, 2009 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Ama Livia Reynolds said...

What lovely photos! And a lovely blog. I have so enjoyed watching it grow from amazing to even more amazing. Thank you for the work and time you put into it. It brings me great joy. Anyway...I'm currently reading Evening by Susan Minot, which is accessible combination of Virginia Woolf and Jeanette Winterson in my opinion. Also recently read Snow Falling on Cedars, which is a great literary mystery. After that I flew through Bob Dylan's Chronicles, Volume One...fascinating. Now, for Christmas I want Connie May Fowler's upcoming How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly, Laura VanDenBerg's What The World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, Mary Karr's latest memoir, Lit, the Zadie Smith essay collection you are reading, as well as Laurie Moore's newest work of fiction. Next on my list in the meantime is my library-checked-out copy of Michael Chabon's latest, Manhood for Amateurs, as well as Giulia Melucci's I Loved, I Lost, I Ate Spaghetti. Thank you so much for bringing up books, and keep up your beautiful, inspirational, comforting, and delightful blog. It's a joy. xo Ama

December 12, 2009 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger jamaica byles said...

Your blog has such erudite and well heeled readers!...reflective of the wonderful content.Thanks for stopping by today....I'm a big reader as well.In fact, I am a physician and recently reduced my hours allowing more time to indulge my passion of reading,usually several books at once.Some of the recent best:
1. Peace Like a River by Lief Enger
2. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
3. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
4. Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
5. In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
6. The Widow's War by Sally Gunning
7. The Book of Air and Shadows by Micahel Grube
8. The Great Stink by Clare Clark
9. Triomf by Marlene van Niekerk
10. Kabul in Winter by Ann Jones...very interested in anything that addresses womens issues in the Mid-East.
Thanks for this wonderful venue.

December 17, 2009 at 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been drawn to book heroines that are always in search of their destiny, the meaning of life, inner passions and desires.

I am now reading The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho and am looking forward to reading Brida, as well as Nabokov's Lolita.

I loved A Tree in Brooklyn, Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches Chronicles, a vintage of Barbara Taylor Bradford, Three weeks in Paris, Jane Austen novels, and Kostova's The Historian.

December 18, 2009 at 7:12 AM  

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