Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Armchair BEA: If I was in New York today/Best of 2012

Today's prompt for Armchair BEA is:

Share some of your favorite books so far this year, and/or the the books being promoted at BEA that you hope will end up among your favorites for the year!

I actually shared my favourite books of the year in yesterday's post but I will add some other favourites a bit later, but one of the things that I have done for the last couple of years during Armchair BEA is to look at the schedule at BEA and figure out what it would be that I would have been doing if I was lucky enough to actually be in New York!

Of course, the best thing about this virtual attendance at BEA is that there are no queues, the authors will be waiting just for me to turn up with my book to be signed and even though there are several signing that will clash with each other, the booths will be suitably close to each other so that there is no rushing from one side of the building to another - and no sore feet!

My day at BEA would start with the Adult Book and Author Breakfast which is hosted by Stephen Colbert and features authors Barbara Kingsolver, Junot Diaz and Jo Nesbo. Having heard Jo Nesbo give an interview last week on Australian TV where he talked about his definition of a love story I hope they don't question him too hard because we would after all be eating! Really, the person who I would want to see most would be Barbara Kingsolver. I have only ever read one book by her, The Poisonwood Bible, but I did love that one!

After powering up with a delicious breakfast it would be a leisurely stroll to the signing areas (no crowds remember!) and my first stop would be to meet contemporary romance author Jill Shalvis. In my review of her new release, Lucky Harbor, I mentioned that I had read more than a dozen of her books in the last year so I definitely consider myself a fan!

Thanks to the very convenient booth placements I would then amble my way over to see Simon van Booy. I have only read one book by him, but it was a very good one!

Next stop - Catherynne Valente. She is another author who I haven't read as much of as I really should have, but I loved the one I did read (The Orphan's Tale: In the Night Garden) and I have been wanting to read The Girl Who Circumnavigated the World ever since it came out and now the sequel to that book is just about to come out too! Must get to them!

The next author I would visit would be Ruta Sepetys. I haven't actually read her book, Between Shades of Grey, but I am 95% sure that I am going to love it when I do get to read it!

A few years ago I read Debra Dean's Madonnas of Leningrad. It was one of several books that I have read that is set during the Siege of Leningrad during World War II, a setting that I find heartbreakingly compelling to read. She has a new book coming out called The Mirrored World and I am looking forward to reading it a lot!

One of my most anticipated reads for 2012 is The Twelve by Justin Cronin, the sequel to the mega popular book from last year, The Passage! It would be a shame to be in the same building and not go and have a chat, especially seeing as he would be sitting there all by himself waiting for me to turn up!

My final two authors to visit would be Eloisa James, who is an author I have read a lot of, and then finally Adriana Trigiani who is an author I have only read a couple of books by, but who I want to read through the available backlist after reading and loving her latest book, The Shoemaker's Wife!

Looks like a busy day, right?

Yesterday I posted about the two books that I have given top marks to so far this year.  If you haven't read them yet, I highly recommend that you get hold of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (but don't read it in public because you will cry!) and Legacy by Susan Kay, a must read if you are a fan of the Tudors.

When I look at the list of books that I have given the still excellent grade of 4.5/5 I am a little bit surprised to see that there are around about 20 books that I gave that grade to. I thought I would do a picture representation of those books with a very brief comment, but I would invite you to mention in the comments if there is a particular book you would like to know more about and I will add a bit of a paragraph when I get the chance.

Here goes:


Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman - this book was highly recommended to me for anyone who likes to read historical fiction set in India. It is a drama filled and page turning read.

One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare - historical romance at it's best. Funny, passionate, engaging! Just have the third book in this trilogy to read soon.

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold - part of the iconic Miles Vorkosigan series. Need to get back to this trilogy soon.



The Black Pearl by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles - Part of the uber-long Morland Dynasty series, this one is set during the reign of King Charles II, another of my favourite periods to read about in history.

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald - a book club choice in honour of the movie coming out later this year!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley - the first Flavia de Luce mystery featuring a precocious 11 year old girl as the main character and amateur sleuth!



A Good American by Alex George - I loved this immigrant story that was filled with music and food and family.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - a blogger favourite!

Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon - I wasn't keen on the first full length Lord John Grey book but ever since then I have loved them, and this one had lots and lots of Jamie Fraser so you can't go wrong with that really!


 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - another winning book club choice. Not only is at a super quick read, but it is also funny and charming and pretty timeless considering it was published so long ago.

All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming - I don't read much contemporary set crime but I love this series which features a female priest and a married chief of police in a small town in New York State.

Shalimar by Rebecca Ryman - Another fantastic historical fiction read set in India. I think I might actually try and see if I can find it to buy as I loved it!


Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett - It's Pratchett. What more do I need to say.

Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox - Hot and spicy contemporary romance that almost had me thinking about getting my bike out of the shed and going for a ride.

The Island by Victoria Hislop - Historical fiction set on and near a leper colony just off the coast of Greece.

 The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani - another immigrant story. I had read one Trigiani before and liked it but I loved this one!

Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry - I am a huge fan of Sarah Mayberry's books and I was always going to follow her when she decided to self publish this story! Oh, so good!

Fables 1 by Bill Willingham - This series is on a lot of my favourite bloggers list of favourite reads and if the rest of this series continues as well as this one did I will definitely be joining the chorus!




Lords of the White Castle by Elizabeth Chadwick - This author is one of my favourite historical fiction authors. I love the way she bring the medieval world to life to the reader.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett - I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book!

39 comments:

  1. Wow, Marg! What a great post! It would be a fantasy to go to BEA and there be no crowds (That's what's good about Armchair BEA.) I keep meaning to read 84 Charing Cross Road.

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    1. Chris, 84 Charing Cross Road is a really, really quick read but oh, so good! I would highly recommend reading it.

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  2. That's a great schedule. I loved The Night Circus too. The Shoemaker's Wife in on reserve at the library.

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    1. Impossible in real life but altogether possible in the imagination, Heather!

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  3. Love your roundup of what you would do at BEA! And the book awesomess - I've only read The Night Circus from your list which I discussed yesterday - and loved. And I'm seeing The Shoemaker's Wife everywhere so it's one I want to read more as well.

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    1. I hope you enjoy The Shoemaker's Wife if you get to it! I thought it was a lovely read.

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  4. I cried (hard!) at Moyes' Me Before You. It was indeed a great read.

    I'm relieved to see that you liked Sweetness At the Bottom of The Pie as I co-recommended it with another member of my book club. This book club is scaring me because while I want to read 'heavier' books I'm afraid they prefer the lighter stuff. Therefore, I don't recommend Dickens...or books which are longer than 400 pages. I think it may be time for me to move on.

    I'm halfway through State of Wonder and I love it! LOVE it! I read Patchett's Bel Canto, but I think this is even better. Hopefully we can talk about it when I'm done.

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    1. Bellezza, I have been recommending Me Before You all over the place!

      I have joined a book club where they were reading more seriously, but I have had good success with a number of genre books being chosen and love. It is important though to find a group that works for you.

      I didn't really like Bel Canto all that much so I wasn't expecting to enjoy this one anywhere near as much as I ended up doing! Would be happy to discuss when you finsih.

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  5. The Shoemaker's Wife is by far my favorite book this year...I absolutely loved it.

    I haven't read any of the other books on your list, but I am going to check them out.

    Happy Day 2 of Armchair BEA!!!
    http://alwayswithabook.blogspot.com/2012/06/armchair-bea-2012-best-of-2012.html

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    1. Kristin, The Shoemaker's Wife was definitely a lovely read!

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  6. A ton of great titles, some I still need to read myself! Hope you stop by my giveaway.

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    1. I'll be sure to pop by fredamans

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  7. What a great post! So much fun to read and also daydream about wandering around BEA! I love discovering blogs whose readers have such a wide taste in books. It looks like you've read a little bit of everything and that's how I am in my reading too. I look forward to following your blog! :)

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    1. Yes, Jae, I read all over the place. I can't imagine being restricted to just one genre.

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  8. Wow, so many books listed here! I have never heard of Rebecca Ryman before- looks like her books aren't available in the US.

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    1. Rebecca Ryman is unfortunately out of print everywhere so her books are hard to find, but they are really readable books featuring English characters in Empirical India.

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  9. What a post! I forgot all about The Twelve! I've already placed it on hold at the library along with Deborah Harkness's new book. After seeing State of Wonder on your list, I'm starting to think that I really need to read it!

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    1. The Twelve hasn't even made it to my library catalogue yet, but I am checking regularly so that I can be right near the top of the hold list!


      I was surprised at how readable State of Wonder was.

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  10. This is a fantastic book post. I haven't read all of these books but so many of them I want to read and have on my wish list, especially The Good American, 84 Charing Cross Road etc.

    I also haven't read Shades of Grey yet but I think, like you do, that I will like Ruta Sepetys book.

    This is a terrific post!

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    1. I am pretty sure I am going to love the Sepetys book. You would think that I would make an effort to read it then wouldn't you!

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  11. Wonderful post, Marg! You're really thought the whole BEA visiting concept through! I haven't, but I think I'd be perfectly happy to just tag along behind you. And, if I did, you'd get to see me gush all over Simon. I enjoyed The Shoemaker's Wife, too. Not sure she's really the author for me, but I liked it. The Good American is wonderful and so is 84 Charing Cross Road. Love Fables. I think you'll enjoy Between Shades of Gray. I thought it was excellent.

    I'm also looking forward to The Twelve. Wow, so much to comment! This is really a terrific post.

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    1. Watching you gush all over Simon would be worth the entry price alone Nancy!

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  12. One of my fellow Litbrarians read and loved The Night Circus!

    I hope you have a great BEA-filled week!

    ~Christina (and the other Book Hookup Litbrarians)
    The Book Hookup's Best of 2012

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    1. THanks Christina for stopping by. The Night Circus is a very unusual book, but in a good way.

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  13. I've had a really good year reading-wise so far, too - lots of 5-star reads! I pared my list down to ten, but there could have been more like 15. The Shoemaker's Wife was on my list, as well. :) And 84, Charing Cross Road is one of my all-time favorites!

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    1. I only have a couple of 5 star reads, but these nearly, but not quite, made it!

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  14. State of Wonder is one I Really want to read!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it when you do read it Jillian!

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  15. I read the Great Gatsby in the 1970s after the movie came out. I liked the movie better but was mainly cuz Robert Redford had the starring role. The man is still gorgeous.

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    1. Violette, Robert Redford was definitely easy on the eyes. I had read this before in high school but it was lots of fun to reread it in time for the movie.

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  16. Hmm, I haven't read any of these books :/ Hope you're having fun today! Enjoy aBEA! ;)

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  17. I totally saw you at Justin Cronin when he was just sitting around on his own waiting for us to turn up so he could give us signed books. Definitely awesome! I am going to read Gatsby this year... I will, I will.

    I wonder if Jo Nesbo told the water bed mattress story at that breakfast :\

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    1. Of course you saw me, you were standing right next to me!

      That is exactly the story I was thinking about when Jo Nesbo's name came up!

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  18. I haven't heard of any of these books! I'll have to look into them :)

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  19. That is a pretty terrific list. Not that I've read many but the ones I have, I liked a lot or they are on my to read list OR I like the covers. :D

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