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November Book Recommendations & Reading


My love affair with books began pretty early. I was the type that saved pennies for books instead of toys and could crack through 4 or 5 a week. Travelling pre-internet meant I always had a book for long haul flights or bus rides. There was nothing I loved more than a rainy day and a book or reading something so good just before bed that you have the best dreams.

There’s a lot of reasons why I fell off the reading bandwagon; part of it started in 2005 when I suffered huge memory issues before being diagnosed with Celiac and resolving that. I couldn’t remember what I read on a previous page which made reading super frustrating. It took me about a year and a half before I got back up to speed. But by then I was out of the habit, my mobile phone became a reading tool on the daily or my computer on long flights plus the whole ‘just got too busy and tired’ poor excuse.

Over the years I’ve accumulated more books than I’ve been able to read and it finally got to the point where I just couldn’t look at that bookshelf without feeling guilt. That, plus I also saw the list of books referenced on Gilmore Girls and when I tweeted it out, my friends (whose brains I deeply envy) shared that they’d read at least double the amount that I had. So I realised I had to really up my reading game.

So I’m bumping this old 2007 post back up (and removed the initial contents) because it had a lot of great reading suggestions that I thought would be a great list for anyone who’s also in the same place as me – wanting an excuse to get back into reading and not sure where to start. Maybe this list (or Rory’s!) can help.

On my nightstand for November:



  1. Jen1nNo Gravatar
    February 4, 2007 / 4:41 AM

    Hello! I absolutely love your site. It’s so inspiring!

    I love books and reading and I hope you’ll find a couple of the following books vacation-worthy 🙂

    1. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl — wonderful characters, very literary, and great illustrations by the author. The only drawback is that it’s huge and still in hardcover, so it might not travel very well.

    2. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson — The story of a British private investigator and the different cases that he’s working on. The main character is very likeable and it’s a nice, modern literary mystery that makes for good vacation reading.

    3. Human Voices by Penelope Fitzgerald — a fictional romp through the BBC Headquarters during the Blitzkrieg in London. Fun. Kind of like a madcap Cary Grant movie. And small enough for the cutest carry-on 🙂

    Well, I thought I had more, but that’s all I can think of at the moment. Have a great trip, and thanks for the site! It’s very much appreciated.

  2. JulieNo Gravatar
    February 4, 2007 / 5:22 AM

    You may have already read this one, but “Wind, Sand, and Stars” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, much like “Le Petit Prince” but autobiographical. It’s like reading the simplest, most divine poetry and it’s a fairly quick read (although certainly a book to be slowly savored!)

  3. MarissaNo Gravatar
    February 4, 2007 / 2:52 PM

    I’ve been visiting your sites for a few years (!) now, I think, but I’ve never commented before. 🙂 But silly bookish me — faced with the opportunity to recommend books, I couldn’t resist!

    Last month I read “Everybody Was So Young” by Amanda Vaill and something about it kept reminding me of your blogs. It’s a Jazz Age love-story — the biography of Sara and Gerald Murphy. They both seek something more in life – decorate their homes, cultivate their friendships, build their lives around. . .Hmm, maybe you could call it joie de vivre. Or maybe just beauty. Anyway, by the end of the book you really feel almost as if you knew them. And, of course, you adore them – because everybody adored the Murphys.

    And, a point of added interest, they spent a number of years in France hob-nobbing with the artistic, interesting, and/or famous.

    Hope you have a pleasant time in Denmark!

  4. February 4, 2007 / 3:18 PM

    I definitely concur with Case Histories, however, I returned the Pessl book after only two chapters. I found the main character too precocious and the author a little too smart (the incessant witticisms are grating) and showy (constant name-dropping) in her prose for my taste. I’m not a fan of an author who fans out her tricks all over the kitchen table.

    I sent my recommends via email, Alex. Looking forward to seeing you in the city.

  5. February 4, 2007 / 9:35 PM

    Eat Pray Love.


  6. lindaNo Gravatar
    February 4, 2007 / 10:03 PM

    The “Atlas Shruged” and “Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand is my absolute favorite for long over-seas flights and I have had quite a lot of those. Both books are thick enough to keep you busy through the long hours when everyone but you seems to be asleep and in the same time the language that A.Rand uses is so peacefull and the characeters so beautiful that you will find yourself alone on the plane long after everyone has left it with an impatient stewardess by your side urging you to close the book and leave (please, miss. I beg you… 🙂 ).
    ‘Lovely’ is the word that pops in my mind when I think about the books. and ‘inspiring’ is the one that follows.

    Enjoy the trip.

  7. BeccaNo Gravatar
    February 5, 2007 / 12:21 AM

    I’m another first time commenter, and I adore what you’re doing here at Hygge House. There are so many wonderful, wonderful books I have read recently. One book, Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan is absolutely fabulous. I don’t think that you even have to like him or his music (although I do) to appreciate the beauty of the story. I think my favorite part of the book is how much of a researcher he is. He soaked up everything: he read his friends books in the daytime when he was working at nightclubs, he would search far and wide for a single folk record he thought might be good, he loved history, and listening to just one song could drastically change his life. I savored this book and it is now one of my all time favorite reads. I highly, highly reccomend this book for a creative person like yourself!

  8. February 5, 2007 / 1:00 AM

    Here are a few suggestions… both old and new titles.

    Bread Alone, Judith Ryan Hendricks
    The Man of my Dreams, Curtis Sittenfield
    Five Men Who Broke my Heart, Susan Shapiro
    Stronger than Dirt, Kimberly Schaye
    The Girls, Lori Lansens
    Little Chapel by The River, Gwendolyn Bounds
    Running to the Mountain, Jon Katz (any of his books would be a treat for a new dog owner-not too doggy)
    The Pleasing Hour, Lily King
    The $64 Tomato, William Alexander
    Leap Days, Katherine Lanpher
    Frankies Place, Jim Sterba
    Into A Paris Quartier, Diane Johnson
    Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, Linda Lear
    Words in a French Life, Kristin Espinasse
    Holy Cow, Sarah Macdonald
    The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer, Eric Hansen

    Just a few for now… I’ve got a whole pile more for your next trip.

  9. February 5, 2007 / 1:06 AM

    I vote for The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. It’s a fast read and sad and sweet. Just finished Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle. Very absorbing. I love memoirs.


  10. February 5, 2007 / 2:08 AM

    I recently finished The Fig Eater by Jody Shields. Though not a brand new book it was new to me and had a very different atmosphere. Sort of CSI:Vienna, 1910! The ending was disappointing but the descriptions throughout were interesting.


  11. February 5, 2007 / 2:52 AM

    Haven Kimmel’s The Solace of Leaving Early is a wonderful, sad, laugh out loud novel. Hilarious.

    Sarah Vowell’s Assasssination Vacation is an odd and hilarious travelogue about visiting sites of American presidential assassination sites and related locations.

    And Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman, a history about the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, is a well written _and_ scholarly account of the main contributor and the editor. Fascinating.

    Good luck with your flight!

  12. JenniferNo Gravatar
    February 5, 2007 / 7:02 AM

    I love classic Agatha Cristie mysteries!!! I think these would be fun, fast, suspense filled reads in an airplane or at the cafe.

  13. miriaNo Gravatar
    February 5, 2007 / 8:36 AM

    Two wonderful books:
    Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair
    Reading Lolita in Tehran
    by Azar Nafisi


  14. February 5, 2007 / 12:40 PM

    i loved: eat, pray, love by elizabeth gilbert. it’s a travelogue by a women who travels for a year, spending four months each in italy, india, and indonesia. she tells the story with so much grace and charm. consider the audiobook, read by the author. i enjoyed hearing it in her voice.

  15. February 5, 2007 / 3:52 PM

    I love anything by Tracy Chevalier, who thoroughly researches and writes historical fiction. Her characters have amazing life and everything flows together so well. The Lady and the Unicorn is really fantastic (my copy is autographed! woo!).

    Also just finished re-reading The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. It’s a marvel of writing, and everyone should own it, in my opinion.

    Best wishes for safe and happy travels, Alex! Take good care of yourself. Breathe, relax, unwind. Repeat. 🙂

  16. February 6, 2007 / 7:26 PM

    alex, don’t know if you’ve left yet, but i loved the just-a-tad-longer-than-a-novella “who will run the frog hospital”, by lorrie moore.

  17. February 8, 2007 / 8:45 PM

    when i am on a plane (which is often), i always bring at least a book or two that i’ve already read and love. perhaps from being stuck in the air a time or two with books i though would be good but wound up not wanting to read any further.

    my favorite for airplanes is “alice in wonderland”.

    for a recommendation, “if nobody speaks of remarkable things” is one of my favorites of all time.

  18. MonicaNo Gravatar
    February 10, 2007 / 10:24 PM

    My absolute favorite book is “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtney. If you haven’t read it yet you should.