Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kendragarden Tells You What To Read

Recently Tim and I were out with some friends.  The guy said, "Oh, by the way, Kendra, I really enjoyed the book you told me to read," and then the gal said, "Oh, me too.  I loved the one you recommended for me as well.  Couldn't put it down." I'd recommended The Passage by Justin Cronin and A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, respectively and, granted, I know this couple really well so it was easy to figure out what they'd like but STILL.  I was thrilled.

I couldn't have felt any cooler/better/more awesome if they'd said I looked just like Halle Berry and I was the smartest person on Earth.  I couldn't have been happier if I'd been kicked me out of a bar for looking too young.  I was stoked.  I was also cocky, like, yeaaaah, dudes, I'M THE BOOK RECOMMENDING MASTER, WHO'S NEXT MOTHER FUCKERS?!

So, when I thought about writing this post where I get to tell people what to do all bossy-like, I thought, yup, gonna tell people what to read.  (Last week's post was about going to the doctor if you want to read that instead. I won't get mad.) Anyway, doing it.  Don't care if it's obnoxious.  Don't care if I don't personally know the literary taste of my blog readers.  Doing it anyway.  I DO WHAT I LIKE. So, here I go.  Don't go out tonight.  Make yourself a drink and read a book!

1) 11/22/63 by Stephen King
I love him so I'll read anything he writes but this one is really special.  It isn't your typical King novel in that it's not scary and the ending is perfect. (He usually botches the landing, in my opinion.) The main character goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination, no big deal! Also, as my friend Jenny said, "It has a lot of heart."  Read this if: you love American history, time travel or if Quantum Leap is your favorite 80s show.

2) Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I know, duh.  But, I'm not even kidding with this one.  I had to include it because my husband is finally finally reading these even though I bought him the full set years ago.  He, of course, loves them.  Yes, even though he's seen the movies.  If you haven't read them and I find out, I'll tell you to read them every time I see you. Read them if: you're alive and breathe air.

3) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Sometimes you just want to read something you can't put down.  This book is crazy good and super page-turny so you'll want to stay up late reading it.  Then you'll finish it really quickly and think about it for weeks and tell everyone you know to read it.  It's just how it goes with this one.  It's scary and kind-of a brain fuck. Lots of twists and turns and ugh! moments.  Read it if: you're not a punk ass or if you've got a long plane ride and you're not a punk ass.

4) The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell
This is one of the best books I've ever read.  I didn't even know what it was about when I started reading it but I loved every page, every sentence.  It's just amazing.  It's about zombies, by the way, but it's unlike any zombie book you've ever read.  It's stayed with me since I read it two years ago.  Not physically, dude, I mean that I haven't stopped thinking about it.  Read it if: you liked The Road or if post-apocalyptic stuff in general gives you a big ole literary boner.

5) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
I love his novels so by the time I got around to reading this, I was pretty sure I'd like it.  I wasn't prepared to love it so much, though.  He writes about his expatriate days in Europe (mainly Paris) in the twenties and you get little glimpses into what it was like to hang out with Fitzgerald or Gertrude Stein.  Hemingway uses the memoirs to toot his own rather big horn and let you know how awesome he is.  And, guess what, the book is awesome!  Read it if: Midnight In Paris is your favorite Woody Allen movie or you want to be seen at the coffee shop with something cool sticking out of your messenger bag.

6) The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
My book buddy Drew recommended this to me and I loved it soooo much.  It's beautiful and sad and poignant and evocative.  The narrator is a young girl and you get to experience a major change in the world through her eyes.  (No, I'm not gonna tell you what it's about.  Just read it.)  I couldn't put it down.  I think I read it in a day.  I've recommended this to three other people who also adored it so there you go.  Ringing endorsement.  You should probably get it.  Read it if: you're between the ages of fifteen and ninety-four.  Sorry, ninety-five-year olds but you too old, yo.  

7) Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar
I love all of Martin Millar's books but I think this one is the most palatable for the general pub.  Not that you, specifically, are the general pub (don't be offended) but, you know.  Gotta recommend the one most people will like and this is it.  It's fun and hilarious and delightful.  Millar is a Scottish writer who is a master of quirky supernatural characters and cool music references.  His books make me want to drink whiskey in a dark pub until I see fairies.  Read it if:  you inhaled.

8) Just Kids by Patti Smith
Patti Smith started out as a writer.  She wrote poetry originally (which turned into great song lyrics) but her prose is just stunning.  I feel like this memoir is a modern version of A Moveable Feast in that you really feel like you're hanging in New York City in the sixties and seventies.  You get to meet a young Mapplethorpe and an enigmatic Warhol and a cool Jimi Hendrix right before he dies.  Patti's life is fascinating and the book is perfect.  Read it if:  you like art or rock or you always wondered why Morrissey covered that Redondo Beach song.  (It's because Patti is a badass.)

Wow, that was fun to write.  I think it's because the only thing I love more than books is telling people to read books.  Let me know if you check any of these out!

*photo by me.  I call it Booze & Books.