Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Introducing my "Books for Buds" project

I was asked recently how I generate my reading lists. The answer is that I used to follow a couple of science fiction groups as a recommendation engine, and also pick up the occasional suggestion from more general discussions. I'd pulled out a few buy-on-sight authors from the ghetto (a lot of whom are underappreciated), and I'm still happy to scratch that speculative itch when it arises, but my tastes have expanded a lot in the past decade, and I've come to value the second sorts or recommendations more, where I've honed less of an instinct. (Publishers will almost always package the genre-bridging stuff idiosyncratically, which is helpful; I wish I knew the name for the disciplined-but-intriguing writing I tend to enjoy.)

So I'm looking out to my you--my online readers, acquaintances, nemeses, compatriots, heroes, friends--to help re-stock my to-read pile. Or in some cases, to elevate the priority of some of the books that have been gathering dust down there for years. The idea is that I'll read a book that calls to mind a person (or personality) that I know online, for one reason or another. It could be a common posting theme of theirs, a reminder of a specific conversation, a book that I know was important to them, a play on their name, or a book that jibes with how I measure their character.

Given the rate at which I read, it won't happen all at once. It'll be probably be an ongoing thing. I've got an incomplete list of books chosen for posters, but what they actually are will be a surprise. Maybe you've got a book that you feel represents yourself or someone we know? I'm looking for recommendations for people not yet on the list, and they all aren't set in stone yet, either. Feel free to make suggestions here, or email me at

Here's the list of posters for whom I've already chosen books to read:

  • Archaeopteryx (tentatively)
  • Artemesia
  • august
  • bacon
  • daveto
  • Ender
  • Gregor Samsa
  • hipparchia
  • IOZ
  • MsZilla (tentatively)
  • Splendid Ireny
  • switters
  • TenaciousK
  • ThyGoddess
  • twiffer
Some were obvious, but some took a while to choose. So you can see why help would be appreciated. Fortunately, I don't read particularly fast.



JohnMcG said...

I never did follow this recommendation.

Keifus said...

I'll think about it. Ghost's tastes seem a little drier than my own.


Keifus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rundeep said...

Quite a project. Start with Skeppy and read "My Pet Goat." It'll move things along quickly.

twiffer said...

wait, are you making recommendations, or soliciting them? cause i went to the book store on sunday, so i have a fresh new stack. currently, i'm reading fitzgerald's translation of "the oddessy" and john britt's "the complete guide to high fire glazes". and then i'll be trying not to run through the stack i picked up before going on vacation.

i digress. did you want recommendations from me, or do you have them for me. or both?

Keifus said...

Er, I suppose I mean one that's more about you. Recommend a book that reminds you of yourself or someone else, for whatever reason.

I already have one in mind that represents but one aspect of "twiffer", but I'm open to ideas for a better choice. In other cases, I'm thus far stumped. But you know, there's no rush or anything.

rundeep: I'll only read something for skeppy if it's got a good chance of making me laugh. (Not impossible: he's still Grandpa Simpson in my head.) A derisive cackle would be OK.

twiffer said...

hell, i'm not sure i understand "the many aspects of twiffer". this is good, however.

susan said...

I found some great fiction book reviews. You can also see those reviews in Fiction book reviews

Keifus said...

Hey twif, I was thinking of this one, but your suggestion looks a whole lot cooler to me. Thanks.

Why susan, I do believe you're being disingenuous. How did you make it past security? (Assuming you might be a real person, I'll check out your site again when you have a few more items on it!)

Thy Goddess said...

Do me first.

No, really...I insist.

Keifus said...

It wasn't the plan, but I suppose I can bring it up to management.

Thy Goddess said...

If there is anything I can do to help you bring it up (to management)...don't hesitate, etc.

Archaeopteryx said...

I just can't come up with a book that's more "about me" than this one, but I'm certainly curious to know what you came up with.

Keifus said...

Well, more what little I know about ya. Why does Forrest Gump fit? And is it worth reading having seen the movie (even expecting it to better)?

Archaeopteryx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Archaeopteryx said...

Plot synopsis: "Dumb guy who means well gets lucky, is in the right place at the right time, sees amazing things." That is the story of my life.

(Repost of deleted post directly above, without the typos.)

Keifus said...

No dice. I don't think you're dumb.

twiffer said...

arch: sheesh.

august said...


Er, I'm still a bit confused. I like to think of myself as a Rilke "Duino Elegies" sort, or an Anne Dillard Pilgrim at Tinker Creek kind of guy.

If you are asking for recommendations, I'd suggest:

graphic novels: Fun Home, The Rabbi's Cat, Persepolis

poetry -- Jack Gilbert or Hayden Carruth

movie -- The Third Man, The 400 Blows, Blades of Glory

novel (serious) Half of a Yellow Sun

If you are recommending something for me, please let it lighten my mood. Perhaps a bartending handbook?

Keifus said...

I'm pretty strong on my book for august (which happens to be queued up at #2). For what it's worth, I can't imagine you not liking it.

Hell, the project isn't really anything more than a novel way to generate a reading list.

sydbristow said...

yo, K

are you releasing your list, or do we have to wait?????

mine in another lifetime: ah, dem memories ...

Keifus said...

I'm thinking wait, but if you insist I can offer a hint.

Also thinking (apropos of little) that for some of the people not yet on the list, I could do with a recommendation source for torrid chick lit. I wonder if any of it is readable?