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Vote for My Books on the Bus

by Kim on March 17, 2010 · 21 comments

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This weekend I’m heading home to celebrate my dad’s birthday. I don’t have a car in Madison right now, so I’ll be making the five-ish hour trip on the MegaBus. While I always intend to do work on the trip, I inevitably end up reading instead — who wouldn’t use an excuse for hours of uninterrupted time when you can’t be expected to do anything else?

I used to let people vote for one book I’d read each month, but had to stop at some point when reading obligations (book club, school, review copies) got to be too much. But since this is a special occasion, I get to bring the voting back!

Here’s a list of some books on my shelf that I’ve been wanting to read. Leave a comment with your vote and, if you want, a reason I should pick that book for my busy journeys this weekend. Included for each is a link, summary, and note about why I have it on my shelf.

Honeymoon in Tehran by Azadeh Moaveni: “Both a love story and a reporter’s first draft of history, Honeymoon in Tehran is a stirring, trenchant, and deeply personal chronicle of two years in the maelstrom of Iranian life.”

Why I Have It: I got this book because I loved Lipstick Jihad, the first memoir by this author. It’s also on my Women Unbound Challenge list.

In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnenfeld:In Hovering Flight is, in brief, the story of the struggles and triumphs of bird artist and activist Addie Sturmer Kavanagh, ornithologist and musician Tom Kavanagh, and their daughter, poet Scarlet Kavanagh. It’s a novel about mothers, daughters, and art; about illness, death, and burial; about fragile eco-systems and tenacious human relationships—all explored through characters who are inspired by the lives, and particularly the songs, of birds.”

Why I Have It: I got this book in a giveaway, I think, because the premise sounded awesome. I wish I knew who I got it from.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl: “…is a buoyant combination of comedy, tragedy, mystery, and romance, a story of disturbing secrets and the eccentric high school student who uncovers them. In vivid prose sprinkled with literary and cultural references, Pessl weaves a complicated tale of self-awakening in a postmodern world.”

Why I Have It: l love the title of this book and got even more excited when I saw that each chapter is based around a great work of literature — an English nerd’s dream! Plus, the first chapter was too dark and funny to not get.

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox: “A cold October night, 1854. In a dark passageway, an innocent man is stabbed to death. So begins the extraordinary story of Edward Glyver, book lover, scholar and murderer. As a young boy, Glyver always believed he was destined for greatness. This seems the stuff of dreams, until a chance discovery convinces Glyver that he was right: greatness does await him, along with immense wealth and influence. And he will stop at nothing to win back a prize that he now knows is rightfully his.”

Why I Have It: I found this book at a library sale for a couple dollars and was drawn in by the first few paragraphs. I don’t know much more about it than that.

The Book of Illusions by Paul Aster: “Vermont professor David Zimmer is a broken man. … After his wife and sons are killed in an airplane crash, Zimmer becomes an alcoholic recluse, fond of emptying his bottle of sleeping pills into his palm, contemplating his next move. But one night, while watching a television documentary, Zimmer’s attention is caught by the silent-film comedian Hector Mann, who had disappeared without a trace in 1929 and who was considered long-dead. Soon, Zimmer begins work on a book about Mann’s newly discovered films (copies of which had been sent, anonymously, to film archives around the world).”

Why I Have It: I few friends (and bloggers) mentioned loving Paul Aster, so I got this book on clearance one time promising to read him. That was like two years ago and it’s still sitting on my shelf.

So that’s that. What book(s) should I bring to read on my bus odyssey this weekend?

Photo Credit: karlfrankowski via Flickr Creative Commons

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila (Bookjourney) March 17, 2010 at 9:03 am

Good choices! The Meaning Of Night sounds fantastic and so does Honeymoon in Tehran…..

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Lu March 17, 2010 at 9:05 am

Love The Book of Illusions. I didn’t think I was going to like it at all, but it’s totally stuck with me all these years later!

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Jeanne March 17, 2010 at 9:21 am

I vote for Honeymoon in Tehran because I need other people to read books like that before I do. I want to see if I can bear the sadness/violence/breakdown of an ancient society.

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bermudaonion (Kathy) March 17, 2010 at 9:52 am

I vote for Honeymoon in Tehran too – I want to see what you think of it.

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Mike March 17, 2010 at 9:54 am

The only one of these I’ve read is Special Topics, but I can promise you that it’s one of those rare page-turners that doesn’t feel hollow at the end. It’s also the only book I’ve read that begins as a Künstlerroman, becomes a murder mystery, and then ends as a fairly sophisticated critique of the theory of fiction… a gripping critique of the theory of fiction. Seriously.

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Colleen (Books in the City) March 17, 2010 at 10:19 am

Honeymoon in Tehran is on my TBR so I would love to see you read that and post the review!

have a great trip!

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Aarti March 17, 2010 at 10:46 am

I read and loved The Meaning of Night (still have the sequel to read), but it’s not really a “bus” book. It’s one of those you really are in the mood to read and would struggle through if you’re not, if that makes any sense!

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Jackie (Farm Lane Books) March 17, 2010 at 11:20 am

The only one of your choices which I’ve read is Meaning of Night, which I enjoyed but didn’t love. I love the opening too. I recently won a twitter competition for best first line in a book by submitting the Meaning of Night!

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Jen Miller March 17, 2010 at 11:46 am

The Book of Illusions sounds very interesting to me. I’d love to know what you think when you are done with it.

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Jenny March 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I vote for Special Topics! It’s a really good read, and it takes a while to get through (good for bus trip), and if you have a sustained period in which to read it, you’ll pick up on a lot of things I missed the first time through. :)

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Sarah March 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I vote Special Topics in Calamity Physics. I’ve checked it out at the library several times and never got around to it. I’ve hear do many times how good it is and feel guilty every time I return it!

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Florinda March 17, 2010 at 3:31 pm

HONEYMOON IN TEHRAN, definitely – it was one of my favorite books of 2009. I need to get to LIPSTICK JIHAD, which is on MY Women Unbound list!

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Vasilly March 17, 2010 at 7:22 pm

In Hovering Flight! I have it on my shelves but haven’t read it yet!

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Teresa March 17, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I loved, loved, loved The Meaning of Night. It’s the kind of book I could easily read on a bus (if I didn’t get motion sickness) because it’s one that I found utterly absorbing.

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Care March 17, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I was going to say the Meaning of Night based on what little you posted about it but I think I’m switching my vote to Special Topics based on Mike and Jenny’s comments! :)

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Maphead March 17, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I vote for Honeymoon in Tehran as well. Both that and Lipstick Jihad are on my TBR. Besides that, I’ve been reading a lot of Iran-related stuff of late. Therefore, I would like to read your review of Honeymoon in Tehran.

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Andi March 18, 2010 at 7:35 am

As much as I adore Auster, I would recommend you take Special Topics in Calamity Physics. It’s smart without being pretentious. The main character is full of gumption and delight. It was a really fun mash of a book: intellectualism, intertextuality, whimsy, and a twist of mystery.

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Jodie March 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I vote for The Meaning of Night and I see it might be a close thing between that and Honeymoon. How nice is public transport when you can read a book (and no odd people sit near you – use that book as a shield!)

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Valerie March 19, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I read both Lipstick Jihad and Honeymoon in Tehran, and liked both very much. So I vote for Honeymoon in Tehran. I also vote for Calamity Physics because I have this one in my TBR and would like to know whether I should get to it sooner or later!

Have a good trip!

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Julia Smith March 21, 2010 at 8:53 am

Special Topics in Calamity Physics – if you’re going to read, why not revel in ‘an English nerd’s dream’?

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