Stuttgart Library by Lieven Van Melckebeke via Creative Commons
A guest post by Maggie Libby Davis
In a class a few semesters ago, our professor asked the timeless and, in my mind, answerless question: “What is your favorite book?” I don’t want to name a favorite. My favorite book today might change tomorrow, and what if I haven’t read my favorite book yet? It’s too much pressure. My professor pushed for an answer, offering at she thought was a lifeline with, “What book do you reread, over and over, just because you must, because your mind demands to hear the story again?”
Reread? Was she crazy? Who had time to reread when there were so many still to read the first time? Don’t misunderstand: I’ve read books multiple times. Dr. Seuss books, Judy Blume books, Lucy Maud Montgomery books. But in my adult reading career? No.
Reading all 4,197 pages of the first five books in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire series would take the average reader 424 days. With this test from blinkboxbooks.com, readers can now calculate how long it would long take them to complete this reading challenge, and how much time they would need to set aside to finish other bestsellers including the entire Harry Potter series, Donna Tartt’s Putlizer-Prize winning The Goldfinch and Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84.
Take the Test
Very few authors, especially the unpublished, can resist an invitation to read aloud. I made us both a drink and, settling in a chair opposite, began to read to her, my voice a little shaky with a combination of stage fright and enthusiasm: it was a new story, I’d finished it the day before, and that inevitable sense of shortcoming had not had time to develop.”
– Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A Short Novel and Three Stories
This reading from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote was recorded in New York City at the 92nd Street Y on 7 April 1963. Before the reading, the Y’s Poetry Center Director John Malcolm Brinnin introduced the author saying:
In the very curious sociology of these times, the name of Truman Capote has become a household word . . . He no longer has to write a book to make news, but simply to be Truman Capote. No one is surprised anymore to learn that this young American writer has been quietly dining with Princess Margaret, or that he has been spirited off on the yachts of Greeks richer than Mycenaes, or that he has recently flown to Amsterdam to have a tooth filled.
But let us be wary of the disguises of genius. Anyone who knows Truman Capote knows that the columnists capture the details but miss the point. Beyond the public image of Truman Capote there stands a very private man, who owns one of the toughest, most resourceful and surgically adept minds in modern letters. And if we now must note that the boy wonder has become the prodigal son, that is all the more reason why I am happy to invite you to join me in welcoming him.
In the afterword of Stephen King’s highly regarded memoir/writing guide book On Writing, the bestselling writer shared a list of 96 books that he’d read while writing the book that he’d enjoyed and had influenced him. When a 10th anniversary of On Writing was released, an updated reading list of 82 books was included.
More recently, King has taken to Twitter to share with his fans and followers some of his favourite recent reads. Since joining the social media site in December 2013, he’s recommended the following 22 books.
1. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
2. The Marauders by Tom Cooper
As we explained in last year’s F. Scott Fitzgerald eBooks Collection post, Australian copyright law means that the works of many 20th century authors are freely available in the public domain, despite being still under copyright in the United States and elsewhere. This is because until 2005 Australia had a ‘life of the author plus 50 years’ copyright rule, making the writing of any author who died before 1955 freely available.
Thanks to the University of Adelaide, readers in Australia now have access to free and legal eBooks archive of works by George Orwell. The books are available to be read online, downloaded as ePub files (suitable for most eReaders), and in a format accessible on Kindles.