Monday, May 5, 2008

1001 MORE Books

April goes out like a lion! Bestseller list from Mystery Lovers Bookshop:
  • #4 Paperback: Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • #5 Trade: 1001 Books for Every Mood by Hallie Ephron
  • #7 Hardcover: Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris

HALLIE: Last week I was in Ohio and Pennsylvania talking about my new book, "1001 Books for Every Mood." I had such a blast writing this thing--a nice break from fiction. It's even more fun chatting with readers and booksellers and librarians about favorite books. They're tickled to find a favorite has been included--even more tickled when they can recommend a book I left out.

I'm starting a list for "1001 MORE books..." -- here are some of the book people recommended that I wish I'd put in:
- "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan (by the way is #1 on MLB's bestseller list for hardcover)
- "Olive Kitteridge" (Elizabeth Strout)
- "Funny in Farci" (Firsoozeh Dumas)
- "Peace Like a River" ( Leif Enger)

At Books & Co in Dayton, Sharon Roth asked what's the oldest book I have in there. Turns out it's "Gulliver's Travels," in print since 1726. Read it when you're in the mood "For grand adventure." Did you know that the word "Yahoos" comes from GT? In Gulliver's fourth voyage, a mutinous crew abandons him on Houyhnhnms where finds a race of intelligent horses who rule over Yahoos: “abominable animals” with perfect human faces. Turns out they are humans.

So what favorite books would you have included if you'd been putting together a list of 1001 books for every mood?

JAN: One of my absolutely favorite books ever -- that I rarely hear anything about -- is Lisa Grunwald's "New Year's Eve." It's about two sisters who have young toddlers. One of them dies, and the other toddler, a little girl, starts to see visions of the little boy who died. It's all about the different ways we cope with tragedy, and how our belief systems can bring us together or tear us apart. It's beautifully written, and inspirational.

I would add "Ava's Man" by Rick Bragg, which was Amazon's top pick for 2001 and a fabulous read -- although I suspect not too different from the other Bragg memoir you did include: ("All Over But the Shoutin'").

And although you included "Blink" from Malcolm Gladwell, I'd also add "The Tipping Point" -- parts of which I still think about even though its been years since I read the book.

And Hallie, I brought your book to my book group, and we used it to pick our June read. We were looking for either a good mystery or good classic. We scanned your book and came up with Josephine Tey's "The Daughter of Time." It's a terrific resource!

(Pardon the fuzzy copy--it's the best I could do.)

HALLIE: That's great, Jan - I've added those titled to my "More" list... and I hope someone in your reading will write a "Readers Guide" and win a free copy of the book. (Jan wrote reader's guides for "Rebecca" and "Presumed Innocent." Check them out.

HANK: Oh, what a great idea. And irresistible. I have two ideas, maybe three, but let me ask you something first.

How on earth did you put this book together? Can you tell us--maybe Wednesday? Or whenever. All the icons, the categories, the quizzes, the memorable characters--it's overwhelming to think about the level of organzation that certainly went into this. Did you use note cards? Or how could you possibly keep it straight? And how did you make all the decisions? Cboose the icons? Figure it all out?

It's the most "complicated on the inside and simple on the outside" book I've ever seen. I keep it by my computer now, and can't resist comparing it to what I think, and finding new books, and agreeing and remembering. I love that you put two of my very faves, "Day of the Jackal" and "The Faithful Spy" together. Stuff like that. Genius.

Okay--quickly then. For Grand Adventure: "Winter's Tale," by Mark Helprin. Best book I've ever read, maybe. It's about, um, well, it's complicated. And it takes place during the, well, it's complicated. In New York, though. Mostly. It's fantastic.

And "Custom of the Country." Or "Age of Innocence." Or "House of Mirth." Your call. But we have to have Edith Wharton. But where would we put her?

And then to Slide Down the Rabbit Hole (another of your terrific categories)--"Diamond in the Window," by Jane Langton. Where else can you find magic and transcendentalism in a YA book? If I had an eleven year old son or daughter, I'd sit them right down with it.

RO: Some years back I did a similar book on videos. That was so much fun to put together, but a heckuva lot easier than your book! Oh no particular order...."The Razor's Edge," The "Golden Bowl," "Age of Innocence," "Fall of a Sparrow," used to love John Galsworthy, John O'Hara and Richard Yates but not sure they still hold up,...for pure fun anything by Carl Hiassen.
They'd all be included but I don't know where!

Love that you had the Hug Your Dog section...went on a driving trip with my dog a few years ago and brought "Travels with Charley." It was perfect! Of course we wound up at Gettysburg, so I had to reread "Killer Angels." This is a little like choosing the right wine with dinner isn't it??

ROBERTA: I'm at a disadvantage because I don't have this fabulous book with me on the road...However, the books that come to my overtraveled mind seem to be kids' books this morning: "Charlotte's Web," "Winnie the Pooh," "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase," "The Pink Motel." Can't wait to hold your book in my hands Hallie. congratulations on a wonderful new addition to the book addicts of the world!

HALLIE: Great suggestions, Roberta. Got the first two, not the last two. And ACK! I was so chagrined to see I'd left out Edith Wharton. It was a synaptic lapse...I saw I had Evelyn Waugh and checked off Edith Wharton. Not even the same gender. Do you do that, mix up names? Sinclair Lewis/Upton Sinclair? Wallace Stegner/Wallace Stevens? Tom Wolfe/Thomas Wolfe/Tobias Wolff...

Please share your favorites -- We're keeping a list!


  1. I am picking up another copy of your book, Hallie - my Mother filched my copy immediately for her book clubs. I'm hoping we still have some signed copies at Mystery Lovers when I go there for my Book Group tomorrow night.

    Thanks for mentioning the best-seller list - this years' two Festivals were fantastic - new sales records!

    Since I don't have your book in front of me, I can't make any suggestions for ones you've missed - but I'll pop back later in the week.

    Kathy Sweeney

  2. Oh jeez, I really should be writing but I'm looking at that damn book again! How can you not love a book that includes An Exhaltation of Larks, The Monkey Wrench Gang, and The Stupids Die? Three of my personal faves.

  3. set sail (or ...historical)

    Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander and the complete 19-novel canon that follows it.

    ... historical
    Barry Unsworth's marvelous Losing Nelson slide down the rabbit hole
    Kate Atkinson's Human Croquet

    ... to reinvent yourself or to blame your genes
    Jeffrey Eugenedes Middlesex laugh and cry at the same time
    Jonathan Safran Foer's
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

    How blessed are we to be able to read.

  4. Hey, Kathy! Thanks for getting another copy. The Mystery Festival in Oakmont was third, and every time I go I am awestruck by the community that Richard and May Alice have built there.

    Rosemary--those are three of my favorites, too. Especially The Stupids Die.

    Susannah - THANKS for the additions. In a sec they'll be on my list.

  5. Okay, Hallie, you asked for it and now you have to deal with the consequences. Here's my 10-minute brainstorm list. Sorry if some are already in the book. (I mean, it's great if they're in the book. Sorry I didn't know that already.)

    -The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart: First in her Merlin trilogy
    -My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart: Beautiful romantic suspense in post WWII Greece
    -Middlemarch by George Eliot: microcosm of human foibles
    -Sharpe's Rifles by Bernard Cornwell: Best place to start in the series on Richard Sharpe and the Napoleonic Wars
    -The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer: Mystery and romance by the Agathie Cristie of Regency romance
    -The Foundling by Georgette Heyer: Farcical romance set in the Regency
    with nontraditional hero
    -Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer: Mystery and romance in post-WWI England
    -Silent Joe by T. Jefferson Parker: One of the most memorable and appealing characters in mystery
    -Judas Child by Carol O'Connell: A stand-alone mystery with fabulous characters, real poignance.
    -The Widow's Club by Dorothy Cannell: Mystery, satire and farce.
    -Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: Gripping tale of civil war and the building of a cathedral in 12th-century England
    -On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett: True adventure of ex-military rescue team sent by their employer Ross Perot to free executives imprisoned in revolutionary Iran.
    -Strange Fits of Passion by Anita Shreve: How an investigative reporter's choices in writing her article affect the 1960s case of a woman charged with murdering the husband she says abused her.
    -Merlin's Keep by Madeleine Brent: Classic female adventure story of the mystery surrounding a half-Indian/British girl raised in Tibet
    and sent to Victorian England.
    -Shadow of the Moon by M.M. Kaye: The romance set against the backdrop of the 1857 Indian Mutiny is as much a love affair between author and adopted country as between compelling protagonists. Warning: graphic war violence.
    -Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl: Brings all the abstracts of political and social conflicts down to the most basic human level.

    With all the suggestions here, looks like you only need another 957 or so.


  6. Great, GREAT list, Mo! I've saved 'em all! And you even blurbed them!

  7. Those the below would fit in several of your categories, I call these 'potato chip' books -- books you read, and once you have one, you just keep going ...

    Gideon Defoe's terrific, truly warped The Pirates! series(think Christopher Moore with a black flag and dreadlocked beard).
    These are short novels: a great half-day beach read, including titles like:
    The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists!
    The Pirates! in an Adventure with Ahab!
    The Pirates! in an Adventure with Communists! and
    coming this month: The Pirates! in an Adventure with Napoleon.

    Great for a twisted little pick-me-up and great for a guest room, afterward.

    Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City -- terrific narrative following a group of characters coming-of-age and coming-of-identity in 70s / 80s San Francisco, in the strange nether between Free Love and the spectre of AIDS.