Book Swap: 2014 Edition

This is the fourth year that Teresa and I have done what’s become one of our favorite traditions: each of us gives the other five book recommendations to read sometime during the coming year. Sometimes they’re books we’ve wanted the other person to read for decades (no, literally, decades — we’ve been swapping book recommendations that long.) Sometimes they’re something hot off the presses that we know the other person will love. The best thing about the swap is that we have an absolutely amazing track record: so far, we have had absolutely no failures. With no further swanning about, let’s see how we’ll do in 2014!

Jenny’s Picks for Teresa

1. The Translator by John Crowley

2. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

3. A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

4. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West

5. No Name by Wilkie Collins

Teresa’s Picks for Jenny

1. This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor

2. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

3. The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

4. Elizabeth and Hazel by David Margolick

5. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Teresa: Well. those are all books that I’ve been wanting to read, so that’s exciting. It’s always a joy to get the push to do something I want to do but haven’t managed to do yet. And I knew The Translator would be on there. But yikes! A Suitable Boy! I’ve been wanting to read that for years, but I may need to take a vacation just find time to read it. Oh, well, at least I’ll be ready for the sequel in 2016!

Jenny: I actually dithered the longest over that one, because it is such a chunkster. If you find it too daunting and you don’t really have the time or the brain space, one of my very favorite books of all time is Seth’s An Equal Music, and I can put that one on as an alternate, to give you some wiggle room!

The two that I’m looking forward to most are the Jon McGregor — I was looking for that book just before the holidays — and the Jon Krakauer. Both have been on my mental list for some time. But the others look wonderful! I’m least familiar with the Margolick, but it looks fantastic. I can’t wait.

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30 Responses to Book Swap: 2014 Edition

  1. lol wow @ A Suitable Boy! Have fun with your swap! I haven’t read any of these

  2. I always look forward to seeing what you pick for each other as well! And I usually think of my taste being closer to Teresa’s than Jenny’s, but from this list I think Jenny has picked some really exciting books (although, er, have read nothing from either list…)

  3. A Suitable Boy is definitely huge, but it’s very swift once you get reading. I read the last 800 pages over a long weekend and loved every minute. I’m going to take two books from Teresa’s list for Jenny and add them to my pile: The Homemaker and Tooth and Claw. Happy reading both!

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you! And I agree that A Suitable Boy really pulls you into its flow!

      • Teresa says:

        I do expect that I’ll like it. I just need to find a long weekend or similarly large chunk of time to do it. Perhaps if I don’t travel for vacation this year.

        And, Victoria, I think you’ll love both The Home-Maker and Tooth and Claw. They both seem right up your alley, especially Tooth and Claw.

  4. Now this is an e-mail/post that I am definitely going to print out. Most of these titles are unfamiliar to me..have read the Krakauer and of course know Wilkie Collins, Dorothy Canfield Fisherand Jessamyn West ..they are both oldies but goodies.(like me at age 76 :-) ). will enjoy new titles and authors. Thanks.

  5. Susan says:

    While I officially read A Suitable Boy over the course of two months, I really read more than half of it in a couple of weeks. You can do it, Teresa! And you’ll love it, too.

  6. I love seeing what books y’all choose for each other every year! :)

    • Jenny says:

      This is fun, isn’t it? It’s less responsibility than it looks like, because after all this time, Teresa is pretty easy to choose for.

  7. Naomi says:

    What a great idea! I’m looking forward to reading about what you think about all those books!

    • Jenny says:

      Sometimes I think we should do a roundup post at the end of the year and say what we thought in the end! Usually I think Teresa hits it out of the park. :)

  8. Karen K. says:

    I really liked The Homemakers. And someday I have to read A Suitable Boy. The length just scares me though!

    • Jenny says:

      I’m really looking forward to The Homemakers. I never feel too nervous about long novels; I just tend to save them for summertime or Christmas.

  9. The Home-Maker is lovely, and I’ve enjoyed the one Jo Walton I’ve read (Farthing). A Suitable Boy is pushing my comfort zone re length tho’ — but it is good to have comfort zones pressured!

    • Teresa says:

      Many of my favorite books are massively long, but this past year in particular, it’s been hard to commit to something that will take so long to finish. And so many people love this particular book, that I’m sure it’ll be worth the time I make for it.

  10. Eva says:

    I’m most interested in The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher and The Translator, so one from each of your lists! :) Of the 10, I’ve only read Suitable Boy, No Name, and Tooth and Claw but loved each of those to death.

  11. Christy says:

    Fermor’s A Time of Gifts is the book from these two lists that most interests me. I gave it once as a gift to someone else, blindly trusting in what I knew about it and what I knew about the gift recipient. He enjoyed it.

    • Jenny says:

      It’s such a beautiful book! I’m planning to read the second part, Between the Woods and the Water, this month. I am really looking forward to it.

  12. Lu says:

    I have only read Into the Wild, so I’m very excited to see all your reviews. I love this idea!

    • Jenny says:

      It’s really been a lot of fun to swap book recommendations a little more officially, and get the push to read some wonderful stuff!

  13. ASD is good, but wow, I can’t believe Jenny assigned that one. :)

  14. Nicola says:

    The Fountain Overflows. Fabulous choice. Rebecca West is long overdue for a huge literary revival.

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