Book Swap: 2012 Edition

At the beginning of 2011, Jenny and I tried a little experiment and swapped reading lists of five books that we each agreed to read during the year. The experiment was a great success, with every book suggestion turning out to be a winner. So of course we had to do it again. Here are our choices:

Teresa’s Picks for Jenny

  1. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor
  2. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
  3. The Glass of Time by Michael Cox
  4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  5. Small Island by Andrea Levy

Jenny’s Picks for Teresa

  1. If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
  2. Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
  3. Short fantasy stories by George Macdonald (for instance, The Wise Woman and Other Stories, The Light Princess and Other Stories, The Golden Key and Other Stories — you choose!)
  4. The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk
  5. The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

Jenny: What, no Hardy this year? No, but seriously, last year’s choices were such a hit — I at least liked and mostly loved every one. I am really looking forward to all of these. The biggest challenge is going to be Sister Carrie, because that’s a classic I read in high school, and it’s the first book I ever remember actively disliking. I’ve re-read so many books as an adult with fresh eyes — this will be great fun to try again.

Teresa: Oh no! I had no idea that you’d read Sister Carrie and definitely no idea that you didn’t like it. It seems like something you would like, but if you don’t, I’d be happy to point you in the direction of another Hardy. I’m excited to finally read some George Macdonald. He’s been on my list for years, and I’m pretty sure I have something on my e-reader already. I’ve had a copy of the Calvino sitting unread for a while now too. This is going to be fun!

Jenny: Teresa, I trust you. You gave me Hardy when I didn’t think I’d like him, didn’t you? You’re always right, I tell you. I walk into the arms of Theodore Dreiser blindfolded and happy. And as for the rest — World War II, dystopia, Victorian pastiche — I’m revving my engines. Let the turning of pages begin!

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15 Responses to Book Swap: 2012 Edition

  1. Simon T says:

    Such a wonderful idea! And I have read only one of these books – The Go-Between. ‘Tis very good indeed!

    • Teresa says:

      This project was a great success last year, and I’m really looking forward to the books Jenny picked. I’m glad to hear you liked The Go-Between. Makes me look forward to it all the more.

  2. mumble says:

    @FirstWorldPains Every time I read, my to-be-read pile burgeons. 1 day, it will topple over & kill me. #firstworldpains

  3. Jenny says:

    Wow, Teresa, you’ve picked some cheery books for Proper Jenny. That list should keep her in fits of giggles all year. :p

  4. Blue Skies says:

    “A Girl of the Limberlost” is my list for this year…..also George MacDonald fantasies. I read “Phantastes” last year for the first time and am now hooked on MacDonald. I’ve never read any Stratton-Porter so am eager to do so. Fun lists!

  5. Steph says:

    I love that the two of you are making this book swap an annual tradition. I love getting reading suggestions from others, but what’s particularly nice is that you and Jenny know each others’ tastes well enough that you can suggest previously overlooked books (or even ones outside of the other’s comfort zone) with a very high success rate. I find that many recommendations tend to be biased towards what the first reader has enjoyed without really considering what the second reader looks for or appreciates when reading, but you and Jenny rarely fall into that trap! I hope you find your lists this year are as successful as the ones from 2011!

    • Teresa says:

      Jenny is one of the only people whose suggestions I’ll accept without doing my own research. Twenty years of reading over each other’s shoulders has given us a pretty good sense of each other’s tastes, I think.

      • Jenny says:

        Ditto! Not only does Teresa know me that well, the overlap in our tastes (partly due to sharing book recommendations for so long, no doubt!) is considerable. If she likes something, I’m almost bound to like it, and if she has doubts, they’re going to be the same doubts I’d have. Pretty great to have as a friend and recommender. :)

  6. rebeccareid says:

    what a fun project! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these.

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