Eaten by the Monster of Mooch

Thanks largely to BookMooch, I have accumulated quite a massive TBR stack, which I thought I’d share with you in honor of the book I read for work today, which was a good story but just made me want to reread Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. But no re-reading for Superfast anytime soon…

If you’ve read any of these books, please tell me if it was love or hate! I really need help figuring out what to read next.

The List:


  • The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton (her unfinished novel–I’ve read everything else by her)
  • Beowulf: A Prose Translation
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • The Book of Margery Kempe (has seriously been in my TBR stack for 8 years)
  • Living, Loving, Party Going by Henry Green
  • Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
  • The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  • The Scapegoat by Daphne DuMaurier
  • Short Works by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • World of Wonders by Robertson Davies
  • The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  • Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Speculative Fiction:

  • The Fair Folk (a collection of short stories about elves that I mooched for a short story by Megan Lindholm
  • Wolf’s Brother by Megan Lindholm (I need the first book, though!)
  • Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm
  • The first two books of The Great Game) trilogy by Dave Duncan (I am holding off on Duncan for now, since I’ve recently read eight books by him)
  • All three books in Elizabeth Moon’s Deed of Paksennarion trilogy (thanks for the rec, Brad!)
  • The four books that comprise R McAvoy’s Damiano series (on loan from my cousin Terri)
  • Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Bennett (left here by my best friend)
  • The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling
  • The first two books of Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars series
  • Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
  • Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton
  • Household Gods by Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove (my dad gave this to me for Christmas a year and a half ago!)
  • Black Powder War by Naomi Novik

Contemporary Fiction:

  • The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (mooched from Sycorax Pine!)
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • My Latest Grievance by Eleanor Lippman (loaned by a friend)
  • The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
  • Felicia’s Journey by William Trevor (loved the movie)
  • Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (my mom passed this on to me
  • Almost French by Sarah Turnbull (also from my mom)
  • Down to a Soundless Sea by Thomas Steinbeck
  • My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
  • The Island by Victoria Hislop
  • The Blood Doctor by Barbara Vine
  • No Night is too Long by Barbara Vine
  • Live Flesh by Ruth Rendell
  • The Tree of Hands by Ruth Rendell
  • Vida by Marge Piercy
  • Some Hope by Edward St. Aubyn
  • The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Hunger by Elise Blackwell
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Little, Big by John Crowley
  • The Solitudes by John Crowley
  • The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble
  • There’s No Place Like Here by Cecilia Ahern
  • A Widow for One Year by John Irving

Young Adult:

  • Deadline by Chris Crutcher
  • Magic or Madness by Justine Larbestier
  • The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by EL Konigsburg

24 thoughts on “Eaten by the Monster of Mooch”

  1. Daniel Deronda is a very wonderful book, I think my favourite George Eliot. I read it during a lonely month in Berlin and just adored it.

    Beowulf should really be read in a verse translation, but good on you for having it on your list! I’ve never read Margery Kempe either (an admission from a medievalist – must be remedied soon!).

  2. “East of Eden” is a truly phenomenal book–so incredibly vibrant and rich. There are a ton of memorable characters, all of whom Steinbeck manages to make astoundingly multi-dimensional (unlike in the film, where everyone besides Cal was clearly a jerk, and my favorite character of all, Lee, was completely cut out!). It’s an amazing book, one of my all-time favorites.

    “The Remains of the Day” is fantastic, too; it’s got some of the best first-person narration I have ever read. The two books are very different, but connected in my mind by both being so strongly about *people*–people who seem very complex and very, very real to me. So, yeah: I’d recommend either or both of those! =)

  3. 100 Years is such a beautiful book, it’ll make you cry at the end. At least, it did to me.

    Megan Lindholm’s a total yes. I’d love to read more by her (have you read her other pen name at all? Oh, there is a DO NOT MISS for sure).

    You have a lot on here that I didn’t particularly like, but I’m not a big fan of literary fiction, and that’s what most of this list is. I think that makes any opinion about any of the books void.

  4. Read the Namesake! It’s one of my favorites from the past few years.

    I’ve always been interesting in how book swapping sites work. What’s your advice concerning them? My main problem is I’m not sure I have anything to swap and without something to swap it doesn’t really work right?!

  5. this is a little embarrassing, but i’ve only read two of these; beowulf and a widow for one year.

    beowulf i read in junior high and did not understand (and should probably re-read someday, but will wait till i’m assigned to read it)

    a widow for one year I read in June and hated, tremendously, but i think lots of people like it.

  6. Meli–I didn’t realize I was mooching a prose version of Beowulf. I’m not sure I’ll actually read this one–might just hold off for Seamus Heaney.

    Trin–Those are the 2 that I think I’m most excited to read. East of Eden just looks so juicy and succulent, and I loved Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

    Susan–I absolutely adore Robin Hobb. Am waiting with bated breath for the third Soldier Son book.

    Alea–I am a huge fan of Bookmooch. It’s a very friendly site. You pay postage to send books to people, and get points to use to get books from other people. The system is set up so that you always get more books than you give.

    Alissa–I have only ever hated John Irving, but several people have recommended this one to me. I’m prepared not to finish it.

  7. Wow, great stack! You’ve got a few that I want to try, like Moll Flanders and Daniel Deronda.

    East Of Eden – Love. So much love!

    The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates and The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble didn’t exactly float my boat. I thought they sagged in the middle a bit.

  8. I loved Daniel Deronda, The Waterfall and One Hundred Years of Solitude. I also loved A Widow for One Year but if you’ve only ever hated John Irving, I doubt this book will change your mind.

  9. Here’re my loves from the list:
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
    The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

    Of that list, I’d say The Remains of the Day is the one I’d take to a desert island, but they’re all good. It’s interesting that you put Marquez under classics but Pamuk under contemporary. 🙂

  10. Bybee–Obviously there is a lot of love for Daniel Deronda amongst the commenters… we should both put that near the top of the list 🙂

    Katya–Is there a John Irving that would change my mind? I thought Garp was okay, and hated Hotel New Hampshire and Cider House Rules.

    Eva–I don’t know anything about Pamuk; the book was given to me. I’m guessing he should be a classic? Or Marquez should be contemporary? My demarcations are a little soft, obviously 🙂

    I’m reading World of Wonders by Robertson Davies because I can leave no trilogy uncompleted, then it’ll be The Remains of the Day, followed by East of Eden and The Namesake. Then I’ll probably go back to some speculative fiction.

  11. Ooh! Ooh! Little, Big should go to the top of the pile! Or as close as possible, anyway. I’m very interested that it’s now classed as a Classic, because I bought it in the SF section (many moons ago).

    Makes me think I need to put a Hall of Wonder on my blog somehow… Little, Big would be right up there with Tolkien & Lewis—and maybe even AHEAD of Lewis.

  12. I loved ‘The Blue Flower’, ‘The Remains of the Day’ and ‘The Namesake’. I’ll be very interested in what you think of the Megan Lindholm. I haven’t read these and am wondering if I should given that I loved her first nine books as Robin Hobb, but am really struggling with her latest trilogy.

  13. Sensawunda–I think it was your recommendation that put Little, Big on there in the first place.

    Ann– I’ve read Megan Lindholm’s Ki & Vandien Quartet, and liked it very much–though not as much as the 9 Elderlings books. Click the “Megan Lindholm” links to see my reviews & if you end up reading her I look forward to your thoughts–

  14. A Prayer for Owen Meany might change your mind. However I had to start that book several times before I could get into it. When I finally did, I loved it.

  15. Of the classics, all I can say is do read Beowulf in some form sometime. If you can get any commentary with it, do that too. I read it in college and it really does help to get some literary and historical perspective on it. I have read Moll Flanders and it was okay. I think I ended up more interested in the few illustrations than the story. As with many classics, it moves SLOW.

    As for the speculative, I did mention before in another post that Moon’s trilogy is very good, but the third book is a complete let down. I’ve liked her science fiction better. Lynn Flewelling is a great writer. Bone Doll’s Twin is very spooky. She does spend a lot of time on gender-bending, which might reflect an agenda -you be the judge.

    Crown of Stars is one of those cycles that just gets too long. The characters are vivid, but I didn’t get past the first 3 books. Ghormagast I tossed after the first few chapters. Maybe I didn’t have the patience to wait until the plot kicked into higher gear, but it might just be more of a mood/world-building exercise.
    Black Powder War I’ve looked at several times, but never picked up. So if someone has a response, I’d love to hear.

    Ask me sometime about the weirdest science fiction book ever. It’s a Christian publisher and the set up is a space story with a Old Testament world view. So these chosen people are toolin’ around in their space stations waiting for the Messiah.

  16. I am going to add my voice to the chorus for The Namesake. Loved it.

    My best friend told me that Remains of the Day is the best book she’s ever read.

    I didn’t read Widow for One Year, but I am not an Irving fan (AT ALL) so I’d drop that one to the end of your list.

  17. I like your final choices! Can’t wait to read your reviews. 🙂

    As far as contemporary/classic, I have a big problem with dividing books up as well. On my Master Book List spreadsheet, however, Pamuk and Marquez would both just be international. Genres are so fuzzy!

    Having looked it up on wikipedia, Marquez is definitely a few decades older than Pamuk.

  18. Katya–come to think of it, Owen Meany was the one I was told to read, not A Widow for One Year. Think I’ll see if that one is available on bookmooch.

    Shari–hahaha on weirdest scifi book you ever read. I totally want to hear more about it then next time I see you. You are one of my go-to girls for fantasy/sci fi so you’ve now made me very curious about Bone Doll’s Twin. And I HIGHLY recommend Naomi Novik’s Temeraire trilogy–click the Naomi Novik link for my reviews of the first 3 books. I’ll lend them to you if I ever get them back from the person I lent them to this summer. The Andreades kids might have them, too–I got Jeremy into them 🙂

    Gayle–wonder why Irving is so divisive? Any thoughts?

    Eva–I didn’t think about doing international, but if I did I’d have to throw Dave Duncan in there because he’s a Scot who lives in Canada. One of the things I like about this blog is that I can put things in multiple categories, unlike a spreadsheet, you know?

  19. One Hundred Years of Solitude is probably one of the handful of novels written in the twentieth century that will be remembered. It is beautifully written (the translation is excellent), and the Buendia family comes to life. Magical realism is at its finest in this work.

    If you have no previous experience with Garcia Marquez I highly recommend reading his short story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” Also you should read his acceptance speech when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. Really, I cannot heap enough praise on this book that I cherish.

    As to Irving’s A Widow for One Year, I enjoyed it, I saw the movie that was loosely based on the book first (The Door in the Floor) and found it amazing. However, I think a big part of Irving’s turn-off (and the same for Updike) is his seemingly appearing sexism. His books are overtly sexual and tend to be written from a male’s perspective on sexuality. Just my thoughts on the matter. I still enjoy his work and Widow is written at Irving’s peak powers as a writer.

  20. I am reading Solitude based on your comments in our discussion of genre. I did read that story back in high school, but it’s totally conflated in my mind with REM’s “Losing My Religion” video… I am not sure that magical realism is a genre I’m going to enjoy, but I’m willing to give it a chance because a good read is a good read!

  21. I love magical realism, but if you end up not a huge fan of 100 Years, you should give Love in a Time of Cholera a chance before writing off Marquez. In Cholera, the magical realism is more toned down. 🙂

    And yes, I do put Canadians in my international section. I don’t put Brits there, though, lol (since I lived there for seven years, they don’t feel foreign). It is difficult to pick one category for spreadsheets…I’m thinking about rearranging mine so that I can have them in intl and in another genre. What I like about spreadsheets vs. blogs is the way you can categorise by everything! And colour coding. 🙂

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