Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Must-Reads

A Dozen Recommendations for my 2011 Must Reads

My friend, Margaret, recommends:
*Alan Paton’s Too Late the Phalarope
*D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers
*Honoré de Balzac’s Cousin Bette

Margaret Atwood recommends:
*Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White
*Lewis Hyde’s The Gift
*Robert Bringhurst’s A Story as Sharp as a Knife

Anita Silvey recommends**:
*Sheila Burnford’s Incredible Journey
*Brian Jacques’ Redwall
*Sterling North’s Rascal
(**Gold star for those who spot the “theme within the theme” here!)

Three Reading Friends*** recommend:
*Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing (Recommended by Erin Reads)
*Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country (Recommended by Laura at Musings)
*Alexandra Harris’ Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper (Recommended by Nathalie)
(*** These three friends commented most frequently on BIP throughout 2010.)

I’m trying something completely different for this year’s Must Reads. And I’m also planning to be more flexible than I usually am with myself, because in most of these categories, there is actually a long list of recommendations from which I’ve pulled these titles.

In particular, my friend, Margaret, has passed me an entire notebook with many of her favourite books listed therein. The Anita Silvey books (to which Nathalie introduced me earlier this year) contain lots of choices (although I’ve chosen these three because they do not overlap with some of the other kidlit lists that I’m working with). And I’ve been making notes of books that Margaret Atwood recommends for about twenty years now.

So when I say Must Read, I really mean that I Must Read three books from these categories, and although I plan to aim for these particular titles, I might opt for another if it seems to be a better fit as the pages of this reading year turn. Does that make them Kinda-Must-Reads?

PS Looking for my 2010 Must Reads? They’re here.

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