THE Book

I was just remembering how, last year, I went through about a month of being obsessed with John Harwood’s The Ghost Writer. I talked about it to anyone who would listen. (If I remember correctly, it was Pam who recommended it to me, here on this site, on either If You Like or Weekly Reading Round-Up– thanks, Pam!). A little bit before that, there had been Beatriz Williams’s Overseas, which I couldn’t stop talking about.

This got me thinking about the phenomenon I call “THE book”.

We all have those. It’s the book that possesses you even after you put it down. The book that you keep bringing up to friends, even in the middle of entirely unrelated conversations. (This is also related to the phenomena known as “THE play”–Peter and the Starcatcher, anyone?– and “THE TV show”–yes, Downton Abbey, Doc Martin, and Boardwalk Empire, I’m looking at you– and “THE cutest pair of shoes”.) It’s the book you can’t wait to re-read. It’s the book that you recommend, recommend, and recommend again.

I go through about three or four THE books a year. Sadly, I’m between THE books at the moment. There hasn’t been anything that’s caught me in a “run, don’t walk!” way for a couple of months.

What’s your THE book right now?


  1. Allison (Allure of Books) on October 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

    My Book is always The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – I never get tired of recommending it ruthlessly to everyone I meet.

  2. Christine on October 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I have 2: 11/22/63 by Stephen King and A Discovery of Witches. It’s been almost a year since I read them but they were so awesome that it feels like yesterday.

  3. Olivia on October 1, 2012 at 9:32 am

    “The Name of the Wind” was spectacular!

    My THE book right now is “Code Named Verity” by Elizabeth Wein. It is so amazing!

  4. Joanne M. on October 1, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I’m not usually one to go for much paranormal, but I’ve loved The Restorer by Amanda Stevens (The Graveyard Queen series) and the sequels, The Kingdom and The Prophet. I’ve been recommending them to everyone with great results! Very atmospheric setting in South Carolina with just enough thrills and chills and romance for a wonderful read on a fall night. Real keepers for me!

  5. Molly Lynn on October 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Besides the Pink Carnation series??

    Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    • Krista on October 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Oh yes – I just finished The Night Circus and absolutely adored it. Can’t get it out of my mind!

      And another vote for Deborah Harkness’s books – both A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night were great.

  6. Kiley on October 1, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Little Bee by Chris Cleave and What is the What by Dave Eggers – I’m in a bit of a Post Colonial mood right now.

  7. Leslie on October 1, 2012 at 11:44 am

    A Discovery of Witches!(Thanks Miss Eliza!). I think this is one of the most fascinating and creative books I’ve read in a long time.

    Another book I loved is Jill Mansell’s To the Moon and Back. Funny, yet bittersweet story about loss and finding love again when you least expect it.

  8. jeffrey on October 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    It would have to be the epic novel Edmund Persuader by Stuart Shotwell. I think the 1,500+ pages and half million word text would intimidate many but it is so worthy of a read and would make the most thrilling Masterpiece Theater mini-series ever, in my opinion. It doesn’t get the exposure or recognition that it deserves.

  9. Liz on October 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Right now it’s The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller…really delicious mystery set in post WWI England with a troubled hero and hints there might be some romance involved (though I’m only 70 pages in).

  10. Gina on October 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Most recently, I’ve noticed myself talking incessantly about Bossypants by Tina Fey, because I kind of fell in love with her when I read it.

    Others include East of Eden, Home by Bill Bryson, and Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde.

  11. Pam on October 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I’m so glad you liked The Ghost Writer so much, Lauren! It was pretty creepy…

    My most recent “proceed directly to the bookstore, do not pass go, do not collect $200” book was A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I made my entire department read (ditto the sequel, Shadow of Night). Some of us would literally be reading on the elliptical at the gym and squealing back and forth about it. I have been searching for a Matthew of my own in the archives here, but so far no dice. I guess England is the place to go to find brooding hero-types…

    The Pink Carnation series also qualifies here; there was a Christmas a few years ago where pretty much all my grad school friends got the first book. We all loved having a heroine who Understood. Deanna Raybourn is another one whom I talk about and gift obsessively.

    Code Name Verity is on my list, glad to hear I’m in for a treat!

    • Leslie on October 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      That is so funny! I did the same exact thing, I forced everyone in my book club to read A Discovery of Witches even though we had a list of TBR’s a mile long. Everyone loved it, but I don’t get to pick another book until 2020. Ha!

    • Olivia on October 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      YES! Seriously, put down everything you are currently doing and read “Code Named Verity”!! Like, now. 😀

  12. Amy on October 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Outlander, Overseas, discovery of witches and your books.

  13. Anne Burner on October 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I think my most recent THE books are The Little Book by Selden Edwards and FEED by Mira Grant. Both of them totally gripping in completely different ways but so lovely at the same time.

  14. Kaitlyn on October 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl

  15. Alexa J on October 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I love this topic– great ideas, all.

    While I don’t have THE book to recommend at the moment, Lauren mentioned plays, so if The Black Watch comes to town, rundon’twalk and get a ticket.

  16. AngelB on October 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    hmmmm…my all time “The Book” is Jane Eyre. First time I read it I couldn’t put it down. Actually was reading the wedding scene in the dugout during a softball game. Had to bat, purposely struck out to finish reading it. 🙂

    Recent “the Books” …Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels and Candice Hern’s Regency Series (the ones with the classic covers…Miss Lacey’s Last Fling, A Proper Companion, Desperate Measures, Garden Folly, Best Intentions, A Change of Heart, An Affair of Honor).

    “The TV Show” …WiseGuy and Friday Night Lights. I watch both shows regularly on DVD when I get bored.

  17. Andrea on October 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Another vote for “A Discovery of Witches” and its sequel, “Shadow of Night” — I couldn’t put either of them down on my first reading and then immediately read them again a little more leisurely — something I before have never done. Am NOT big on vampire stories, so was especially surprised at how much I love these books and eagerly await the last book in the trilogy.

  18. Katie on October 2, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Three books have made a major impact on me this year! I read the The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene recently and it was wonderful! I love books set during WWII. The fact that the main character was a female and worked for the French Resistance during the war made it even better!
    The second and third books I can’t stop thinking about are Wildwood by Colin Meloy and The Emerald Atlas by John K. Stephens. They are book fantasy novels and they reminded me of a mix between Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. I haven’t found that many fantasy novels that are really well done, but these books are amazing! They are the beginning of two new series and the second books are out this fall (Under Wildwood, the second book in the Wildwood chronciles, is already out). If you liked Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, or anything at all like that, you absolutely have to read these books!

  19. Lauren on October 2, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Light Boxes by Shane Jones.
    It was one of those books that called to me from the shelf in the store. I just had to have it, even knowing nothing about it. It’s part morbid fairy tale, part poem, draws a little from Kurt Vonnegut and Tim Burton and Hans Christian Andersen and Dr. Suess and something else. I adore it.

  20. Diana Staresinic-Deane on October 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    The past year-and-a-half has been filled with THE books! I think my biggest ones are Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Alder-Olsen, Doc by Mary Doria Russell, Rainwater by Sandra Brown, and My Antonia by Willa Cather.

  21. Julie on October 3, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I’ve got to read Discovery of Witches. Everyone says such great things about it!

    Does anyone ever have a THE book that they don’t necessarily like, but you can’t stop thinking about it? I have one of those right now. Roses by Leila Meacham. My friend asked if she should read it, and I said no, but then proceeded to talk her ear off about it for an hour.

  22. Veronika on October 3, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Mine is also Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. I’d been waiting anxiously for it since I found out she was writing a new book (about WWII female pilots and spies!) and was so pleased to love it. I especially liked the focus on female friendship and the brave, bravado-filled voice of the compelling protagonist. And yes, I cried.

    • Olivia on October 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Oh my goodness I was sobbing from THAT scene (you know what scene I’m talking about) all the way through the end of the book. SO amazing.

Leave a Comment