Sunday, February 22, 2009

When in doubt....

and I really want to read something but I'm not feeling grabbed by one of the books on my list (my "to read" list that is currently 12 pages long) I read either a Jodi Picoult book or a Bill Bryson book. Picoult writes books delving into tricky topics of our time usually ending in a pivotal court case. Bryson writes travel novels based on his experience in a surprisingly laugh-out-loud way.
I recently read Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult, about a prosecutor who routinely prosecutes child molesters... and then her son is molested. In true Picoult style the twists are unexpected and add to the story.
I'm currently reading The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson, about Bryson's adventures as he travels across the US. Usually I find his writing witty and engaging. This is book is from the mid 80s. I'm finding his labeling of every black person he encounters (but not white); his description of every woman's behind if it's at all on the large side; and his drinking/sex immaturity frustrating. But I'm overlooking it as I love his clever assessments of the places he visits.
I've lately been panicking that I'm running out of these two authors books.
Decided to find a list of their books and see how many more I have to read.

Picoult's List
* Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992)
* Harvesting the Heart (1993)
* Picture Perfect (1995)
* Mercy (1996)
* Pact, the (1998)
* Keeping Faith (1999)
* Plain Truth (2000)
* Salem Falls (2001)
* Perfect Match (2002)
* Second Glance (2003)
* My Sister's Keeper (2005)
* Vanishing Acts (2005)
* Tenth Circle, the (2006)
* Nineteen Minutes (2007)
* Change of Heart (2008)

eek! only two more to go. Her 2009 book should be out next month too....

Let's see Bryson's List:
*The Palace Under the Alps and Over 200 Other Unusual, Unspoiled, and Infrequently Visited Spots in 16 European Countries (1985)
*The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America (1989)-- currently reading
*Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe (1991)
*Notes from a Small Island (1995)
*A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (1998)
*I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away (1998)
*In a Sunburned Country (2000)
*Bill Bryson's African Diary (2002)
The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words (1984)
The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way (1990)
Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States (1994)
Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words (2002)
Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2008)
A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003)-- tried to read and as engaging as Bryson is... couldn't do this one. It was a short history of nearly everything scientific... maybe if it had been about Neanderthals to present day people I would have been more interested?
On the Shoulders of Giants (2009)
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (2006)
Shakespeare: The World as Stage (2007)

Oooh- so Bryson has done several things that are not travel novels. I'm a little gun shy when considering reading the non-travel books because of my experience with A Short History of Nearly Everything but I'm almost out of the travel novels....

I love reading and all of the books on my "to read" list are there because someone suggested they were a "must read". Have a suggestion? Let me know!


daniharvey said...

I have Salem Falls if you want to read it. It's been passed around at school but I got it back before break.



*just* said...

ooh- sounds good. But also scary... my Picoult to-read list is so short. I didn't realize!