Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Random Recommendations - The Book Edition. Again.

I know we say it often but it bears repeating: this community is fan-fucking-tastic. It warms the cockles [damn does that sound dirty] of my heart when I see people forming friendships or helping each other out for various reasons. I truly love how supportive we all are of each other.

Another thing that gives me great pleasure (besides fantasizing about banging Robert Pattinson/Edward Cullen) is discovering new...well, everything from you guys, and sharing some of my own loves. It's a blast to discuss music, movies, and other non-Twilighty shizzle with you, even if we don't always agree. I've fallen in love with some fantastic fan fictions thanks to you ladies.

Therefore, I think we're a bit overdue for a few recommendations of the non-Twilighty kind. Lately, I've been really enveloped in music but I've finally managed to sit down read a few books I thought you would enjoy.

The first is actually much closer to the Twilight community than you might realize. It's a little indie fiction called lost and found, written by one of our very own readers, Lori Otto, aka Annasense.
When Nate Wilson confesses his feelings for his best friend, Emi Hennigan, she is torn between her constant– yet fruitless– search for love at first sight and the more-than-friendly feelings she actually does have for Nate. As the friends embark upon their journey toward happiness together, destiny reveals other plans for Emi. (Taken from here)
The one thing I loved about this story was just how real the main characters were. They had flaws, but not so much that it was their main personality trait. They were down to earth, though occasionally irrational. In short, they sounded actually human--sometimes funny and sarcastic, other times sober and somber. I found this intensely refreshing. 

The story itself had a nice rhythm and flow, with just enough pull to keep me constantly wanting to know what happens next, and I really enjoyed reading it. 

If you're interested,  feel free to check it out here. Even better, Lori has offered up her story to be downloaded for no charge until May 14, 2011!

To purchase, simply go here and enter the code PP65R upon checkout.  Not only will you get a great story, but you'll be helping out an indie author as well. 

Moving along...

This next book I completely stumbled upon. NJ Transit was busy being a total douche-bag as usual so I slipped into the Hudson News Stand to buy something that would hopefully deter me from strangling my fellow commuters. 

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan is one story comprised of many smaller stories. It opens with a tale about Sasha, the kleptomaniac personal assistant of Bennie Salazer, a record producer who sprinkles gold flakes into his morning coffee. Each character is somehow interwoven with another and their stories stretch over a series of decades.   

Naturally, the first thing that drew me to the novel was that most of the stories seemed to revolve around the music industry: 

(Quote from this interview)
I think, for one thing, all of us remember those teenage years and those songs that we fell in love with and the music scene that we were part of. So, in a certain way, music cuts through time like almost nothing else. You know, it makes us feel like we're back in an earlier moment.

And then I think, on the other side, the music industry is an interesting lens through which to look at change, because it has had such a difficult time adjusting to the digital age.
 Even if you're not particularly interested in music or the industry, you'll find something to love about this book. While the characters aren't necessarily likable, there is a sort of vulnerability about all of them that makes you want to like them. The characters seemed to spin in and out of each other's stories and lives, some integrally while others were more peripheral. At first it was a little confusing--as Egan flitted from character to character and seemed to move through decades at a whim--but it became completely clear what she's trying to say soon enough. Which is, to put it simply, that we all move on and change and ultimately grow old. No matter what, whether we want to or not.

Anyway, there you have it. If you get a chance to read these books, it'd be great to know what you thought. Feel free to leave your thoughts or any other recommendations in the comments! 


  1. Honolulu_Girl_SuzMay 10, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    First, I love that Lori Otto is also one of your readers. That's great!! I must check out her book. I'll come back and get the code for the free read. (Thank you Lori!)
    Second, I've heard about "A Visit From The Goon Squad", because HBO is making it into a series and I'm all over that shit!! I'm in need of a good book, just finished "Less Than Zero" by Brett Easton (remember the movie with Robert Downey Jr. and Andrew McCarthy). Well, the book is freaking retarded and completely disappointed me, other than the fact I loved hearing the music references; the ending lies with the X's song, Los Angeles. (Do you remember X? Love that band!) Ok, I'm totally digressing...

  2. Thank you so much, Jenny! And just so everyone knows, it is available in paperback on Amazon, or directly from Kindle or Nook– I just don't have a way to give those out for free (or I would, believe me). :) This is the first of a series, and the entire series is completed. The ebooks are available now... the second and third books should be available in print in about a week. I hope you all enjoy the book... I wanted to give something back to the awesome community that inspired me... so thank you!!

  3. Still looking for my vampMay 10, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    Thanks for the recs, Jenny. I have been looking for a good book to read for a while now. Have gotten a couple from Amazon for my Kindle, and feel like stabbing my eyes out after the first five pages. I have never doubted you since your Iron and Wine rec!

  4. I will have to check them out! I don't think you've ever rec'ed something where I was thinking 'wtf is going through her mind, this sucks, that h00r is delusional!'. You should be a professional reviewer. Of everything.

  5. Please please please give Anna & the French Kiss (stephanie perkins) a try!!! It's swoony adorableness. Even my vagina- I mean my husband (those of you who know me KNOW... he's a GIRL when it comes to movies & books!) LOVED it. And half the twitter world did too. Enjoy!


  6. I LOVE book reccomendations, and I cannot wait to try out "Lost and Found".
    A book I really enjoyed was "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. It was not at all the book that I thought I was buying, but I could not put it down. It was reviewed in the Washington Post, and the review matched my thoughts quite well. Here is a link for anyone interested:


  7. Just downloaded Lost and Found to read on my flight to a job interview tomorrow. Hopefully it will take my mind off stressing. Thanks for the rec's ;)

  8. Thanks @HG-Suz, I knew "A Visit From The Goon Squad" sounded familiar, even though I didn't recognize the book cover.

    Thanks for the book recommendations.

  9. Just got a kindle so I will be downloading those! Thanks for the recommendations, always willing to help out another twitard. I just read A Discovery of Witches, it's not bad, kindaTwilightish in that there is a hot protective brooding vampire who has a forbidden love.... well you get the idea.

  10. Thanks for all the book recs, folks! I'm sure you guys will enjoy both the stories above. :)

  11. Did it work? NixHaw , I hope you did well on your interview! :)

  12. Wow! I haven't commented since the great switch and using DISQUS now! I'm impressed. I'm pretty sure Egan just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I've heard only fantastic things about it.


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