Relationship-based Reading

Recently a post by Book Riot contributor Rachel Manwill discussed her new way of choosing books for her To Be Read (TBR) list:  basing the choices on the books she associates with close individual friends and family members.

Taking Rachel’s cue, here are the books on my “Read Your Way to Closer Relationships” TBR:

skid1. My Mom:

Skid by Dean Young

As a poet herself, my Mom has read the work of many other poets. Dean Young is one of her favourites whose work I have yet to read myself.

short history of nearly everything2. My Dad:

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Since he retired my Dad’s begun reading more fiction, but I still associate his reading habits with mainly technical and popular science titles. Bryson’s book is one of the more widely accessible ones I remember Dad enjoying. Since I’m not a huge non-fiction reader myself, I think it’s a good place to start.

children of the night3. My partner:

Children of the Night by Dan Simmons

As my partner is a big fan of both Neal Stephenson and Dan Simmons, I’ve already read Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash (which was the best, seriously) but I’ve yet to delve into Simmons. Since I’m a big fan of vampire literature (of the non-sparkly variety) Children of the Night seems like the perfect way to introduce myself to Simmons’ work. I’ll get to Hyperion a bit later…

peter pan4. My brother:

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

When we were very young my brother had a beautiful leather-bound, gilded-edged edition of Peter Pan which I was desperate to read but was, to an older brother’s eyes, too young to be trusted with. I’m not sure if I’d be able to find the same edition, but any reading of Peter Pan would no doubt be satisfying to my inner child.

collected fictions borges5. My sister:

Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

Ever since I first saw a copy of Borges’ work on my sister’s bookshelf (it had already been recommended by another friend as well) I have really wanted to read it. This desire is enhanced by the fact that even though she has moved across the US several times, Collected Fictions has always made the journey with her.

jerusalem6.  My mother-in-law:

Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Having served multiple dishes from this cookbook to friends and family, my mother-in-law raves about its recipes. Having been one of the people lucky enough to share some of these meals, I’m completely convinced.

gardens of the moon7. My genre-reading buddy:

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

I’ve already taken quite a few recommendations from this friend, which have all proven excellent. Lately he’s been trying to convince me that Erikson’s ten book series should be the next on my list, claiming it’s the best fantasy series he’s ever read. Based on the quality of his previous recommendations, this is saying a lot.

unbearable lightness of being8. My young adult literature (YA)-reading buddy:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Ok, I know this isn’t a YA title but, having connected with this friend over a bunch of YA already, I thought it would be nice to mix things up by reading her favourite non-YA novel.

belgariad9. My oldest friend:

The Belgariad by David Eddings

Given to me as a gift by this friend several years ago, I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read it yet (mainly because I had to leave most of my library in the US when I moved to New Zealand). Given the recent resurgence in my reading of fantasy titles, however, I’m doubly eager to finally pick it up.

zombie survival guide10. My quirkiest friend:

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

This friend and I have spent many fond evenings watching Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn and Army of Darkness. Whether Deadites, Romero-style zombies, or the less traditional “fast zombies” of films such as 28 Days Later, I expect the wisdom in The Zombie Survival Guide will always apply and give us plenty of Zombie Apocalypse scenarios to muse over. As I also loved Brooks’ World War Z, this title seems like the perfect way to round out my TBR.

Liz Gillett


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