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I joined PBS about six months ago, and since joining have bumbled around looking at individual posts, reading lists, and checking top 50's. And I found so many profound, or intense, or funny reads! What have you stumbled across on PBS that you loved and might not have looked at elsewhere?
A shortlist of happy finds for me:
Horse Heaven - Jane Smiley - just so complex and a step outside ordinary life, all her writing has this effect but I especially like her humor and sympathy towards her characters in this book. Picked it up while ordering another book from a member.
While I Was Gone - Sue Miller - exciting, like a literary thriller, without ever cheapening all the emotions she explores. She writes a fairly unsympathetic character with empathy.
Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich - many episodes of helpless giggling, recommeded on this discussion when I was reading about good funny books to read.
A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin - wow - seen the covers at bookstores and thought, eh. Then I heard a glowing review of the series on this discussion, actually, and just casually ordered A Game of Thrones. Read the entire thing in two days and wrecked my copy, which can't be posted due to the foodstains I inflicted as I read it while cooking and eating.
Devil and the White City - Erik Larson - I meant to post it but couldn't.
I freely admit that I'm also looking for more "wow, can't believe I was missing this amazing writer" moments for 2008.
Last Edited on: 12/3/07 1:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Well, what I stumbled on was PBS. After joining in Feb of '06, I completely forget about the website, busy getting married and all. I didn't check out what the website was about or even post any books. Over a year later I finally found myself back at the site and hated I'd lost so much time finding so many great books.
I've since discovered Janet Evanovich (Steph Plum), Jodi Picoult, Meg Cabot, Marian Keyes, Jennifer Crusie and other great chic lit. Also, great lit like The Kite Runner which I'm currently reading and a host of books in my TBR pile. I look am still discovering great authors thanks to the wonderful PBS memebers.
I have been a member for just 6 months and about 2 weeks ago, i stumbled upon the discussion forums, waht great ideas, and fun topics.I have talked to many wonderful poeple through the forums, and even found and received great books too!
Currently reading The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
SO much! Previously, while I read voraciously, I would read much of the same authors and reread books often. I don't remember the last time I reread a book now! SO many new authors and genres I've explored since joining PBS. Woo hoo!
This year I discovered Victoria Laurie, Rhys Bowen, Valerie Wolzien, and Nancy Atherton, who all have great cozy series.
If it hadn't been for PBS, I would have never read Me & Emma, which I loved and has stuck with me ever since.
The same goes for The Thirteenth Tale, which I was excited to find a few extra copies of at my FOL sale this spring and send out here. I love the feeling I get when I can help speed up a long wishlist!
I was a late bloomer. Previous to joining PBS, the only pleasure reading that I did was the occassional magazine. After I completed my master's degree and the planning of my wedding was done, I found myself with some spare time. Someone had posted about PBS on one of my favorite bulletin boards...I had some text books that I could post, and also some old Danielle Steel novels. So began my love of reading. Basically every book that I have loved, from The Time Traveler's Wife to the Shopaholic Series, I learned about at PBS.
This year, some books I've read and enjoyed thanks to pbs (I probably wouldn't have read them otherwise):
Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780451213631-Abby+Cooper+Psychic+Eye+Bk+1
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780451217424-The+Secret+History+of+the+Pink+Carnation
Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier (first of series) http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9781575663708-Mistletoe+Murder+A+Lucy+Stone+Mystery
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780812968064-Snow+Flower+and+the+Secret+Fan
The Butterfly House by Marcia Preston http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780778322177-The+Butterfly+House
I always read a variety, but PBS has opened my horizons in so many ways. I've read authors I never heard of and books I would have missed. I blame PBS members for making me order so many books...LOL
These are the great finds for this year. All were new authors to me when I heard about them on PBS:
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
Darjeeling by Bharti Kirchner
Under the Underpass by Mike Yankowski
The Red Hat Club by Haywood Smith
Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
Kingston by Starlight by Christopher John Farley
Mr. Darcy's Daughters by Elizabeth Ashton
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Agnes Browne by Brendan O'Carroll
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bon by Lorna Landvik
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
I love browsing through the Daily Digest ... it's better than a bookstore for me! Everything is jumbled together so I look at whatever catches my eye - an interesting cover, strange title, author I've heard of, whatever - and read the summary.
A few of my favorites have been: Don't Lets Go To the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller - with a title like that, I HAD to read it! It's the true story of a young white girl growing up in Africa, but there's a crazy twist: her parents moved there to help keep one country in Africa run by whites! Plus the mother is an alcoholic. What is amazing about this book is the author's perspective, and her use of language. This is the only life she knew, so to her it was perfectly normal. It doesn't come across as depressing - this is just the ways things are and it's "normal". As for her use of language, she finds strange and unusual ways to describe everyday sights/sounds. I highly recommend this one! [Plus, it's posted on my bookshelf!] I'm planning to read her next book, Scribbling the Cat, which is also autobiographical.
Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel - I have a thing for historical fiction, so this was a great one for me! There are tons of copies available (and in audio as well).
I just started reading Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Story of a Korean War Orphan. This book is completely depressing so far! I know from the back that the author turns out ok in the end, but man!, it is SAD.
I've also listened to several great audio books this year. The Alfred the Great Series by Bernard Cornwell was excellent in audio version. The narrator has an amazing voice. The three titles in the series are The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, and Lords of the North. I'm currently enjoying The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antartic Expedition. It's great to listen to in the winter as you drive through snowy weather.
Thanks to all you great swappers out there who find and post fascinating books!
Last Edited on: 12/5/07 9:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
I've discovered so many new authors! Several mystery authors: Nancy Atherton and the Aunt Dimity series, Victoria Laurie's Abby Cooper, Private Eye, and the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson
Thrillers like James Rollins' Amazonia and Map of Bones, such good treasure hunts!
And SciFi/Fantasy like Sara Douglass' Wayfarer Redemption Series
I've found a few wonderful and surprising authors of series': Karin Slaughter, PJ Parrish for two. I'm sure there are more but those popped right up. I've also read a couple of books in trades and because of discussions that I'm sure I wouldn't have: The Kite Runner, The Red Tent, Me and Emma, Truth and Beauty, Autobiography of a face.
And probably one of the coolest things I've found is new homes for my books!
I have read give or take 70 books this year, and some will stick with me forever:
Ann-Marie MacDonald- The Way the Crow Flies and Fall on Your Knees- I love an epic tale involving dark family secrets. This is one of my all time favorite reads. I loved Madeline's voice in Crow.
Philippa Gregory- The Other Boleyn Girl- It is amazing that a family could pit two sisters against one another in hopes of bringing in fortune and fame. But this was the Tudor Court.
Middlesex- Again an epic tale involving dark family secrets. Loved this book. Would have rated it a 6/5 stars if possible
Lori Lansens- The Girls. Simply amazing story. I felt as though I "knew" the twins. You have to at least give this on a try. I did not put the book down until I was finished, and then I was sad their story was over.
A Thousand Splendid Suns- a tear-jerker, emotional roller coaster of a book. Worth every tear! I enjoyed more than The Kite Runner but that book was good as well.
Geraldine Brooks- Year of Wonders and March- both very well-writen and interesting. I grew up loving Little Women... this was a nice other side of the story.
The only books I wished I had never opened were Running With Scissors, Light on Snow, The Mermaid Chair, and The Last Girls, but that's not bad!!
Last Edited on: 12/6/07 2:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
I've found a lot of books and authors outside my normal comfort zone and have loved that.
But what I've really found is a home - a place that is warm and inviting. A place where family and friends can gather. A place where we can share stories, share books and share ourselves. We can agree to disagree and sometimes just disagree! But it's a place where there is always someone with something to say. You can spend a little time here or a lot, and it will still feel like home.