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Marion's 25

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A long time blogger and book reviewer shares his twenty five favorite books of the over 160 he has reviewed.

Synopsis

The book you need to read when you don’t know what books to read!

Even the most seasoned readers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of different novels available in bookstores and online. So what do you read when you don’t know what to read?
Popular author and book blogger Marion Hill has reviewed over 160 books since 2011. Here he shares 25 of his favorites with you, encompassing all genres from literary fiction to fantasy, science fiction and mystery. Whatever your taste in books, you will find a world of new books and authors here to expand your library and give you exciting new literary worlds to explore.

Marion’s 25 is the only book you need to read when you don’t know what to read!

It did not escape me that I was reviewing a book of book reviews by another book reviewer. The author and blogger Marion Hill has been reviewing books online since at least 2011 and has completed 160 book reviews in that time. This is the list of his top 25 books as of the writing of this edition, but as all book reviewers know, one’s list of favorites is a malleable thing and part of the joy of being a reviewer is the feeling that the next book will be better than the last and a really great book is hibernating over there in the Tsundoku waiting to be discovered.


Hill has an interest in books that have been translated from other languages, so many of these books fall into that category or the fantasy genre which appears to be one of his favorites as well. Though he mentions several books I have read, none of them are reviewed in this volume, so I have no way of comparing his feelings about a book to mine, though I did see the movie of The Book Thief, which he did review and I found his take to be well-argued and incisive.


His take on Bel Canto, a book on my list, was convincing enough for me to go dig it out of the pile. His religious views are on display in several of the reviews which may or may not put some readers off, but the comments are rather benign. As with all books I review, I sat up a schedule for reading Marion's 25 in order to finish the book in time to write the review. I ended up finishing it in two sittings. If you are looking for one or more books to read during the quarantine, this will serve as a handy guide, as well as a good read by itself.

Reviewed by

I am a writer and educator publishing fiction, essays, reviews and poetry. I write reviews for Wendy Welch's little bookstore at Big Stone gap blog. I am a writing teacher and workshop facilitator, and have published fiction, essays, reviews, poems and photographs.

Synopsis

The book you need to read when you don’t know what books to read!

Even the most seasoned readers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of different novels available in bookstores and online. So what do you read when you don’t know what to read?
Popular author and book blogger Marion Hill has reviewed over 160 books since 2011. Here he shares 25 of his favorites with you, encompassing all genres from literary fiction to fantasy, science fiction and mystery. Whatever your taste in books, you will find a world of new books and authors here to expand your library and give you exciting new literary worlds to explore.

Marion’s 25 is the only book you need to read when you don’t know what to read!

Introduction

 

I didn’t read my first novel until I was 17 years old. It was Lord’s Foul Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson. The first book of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson rocked my world. I ended up reading both original trilogies that year and was enthralled by the anti-hero Thomas Covenant who had turned The Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia fantasy archetypes on its head. I had a friend who recommended those books to me and we would have long, thoughtful discussions after I read each novel in the series.

In my early to mid-twenties, I worked at a couple of mom-and-pop bookstores as well as Borders Books. Since I attended only one year of college, the bookstores became my undergraduate and graduate courses in contemporary fiction. I discovered authors like Jorge Amado, Paul Auster, Greg Bear, Octavia Butler, Charles de Lint, Dean Koontz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, and Kim Stanley Robinson. I became fascinated when readers would come into the store to buy multiple copies of novels like The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden for their book clubs. They would have these great discussions and I felt connected to them even though I had not read those novels.

My first recommendation of a novel was The Little Country by Charles DeLint. I had recommended that book to probably every customer that came into the fiction section of Borders. I sold the most copies of that book for several months in a row and it delighted me greatly. People would come back to the store and tell me how much they enjoyed reading that novel. They would have never read a fantasy novel until my recommendation. Again, I felt that connection and a little closer to humanity as a whole.

I’ve been a book review blogger since 2011 and have reviewed over 160 novels to date on my website. I wanted to write a book and compile my most popular reviews. I’m an advocate of reading fiction across genres from science fiction and fantasy to mystery and literary fiction. I believe reading is the cheapest and easiest passport I can get to another world.

Now that I’m in my late forties, I’ve looked back on those years and recognized that reading fiction has been the saving grace in my life. It has made me compassionate, empathetic, and given me a different outlook on life.

Here are my favorite 25 reads since becoming a book review blogger. I hope you discover something to read from my favorites and it takes you down a reading path that was unexpected.

 

Home is the Sailor by Jorge Amado

 

I’ve read a lot of magical realism novels throughout my reading life. From One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez to The House of Spirits and Eva Luna by Isabel Allende to Constancia and Other Stories by Carlos Fuentes and The Notebooks of Don Rigobero by Mario Vargas Llosa. However, I particularly connected with the novels of the late Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado. From his most well-known words of Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands and Gabriela, Clove, Cinnamon to lesser known words like Tieta, Tereza Batista: Home From the Wars, and The War of the Saints, Amado became my favorite Latin American Writer. Home is the Sailor is my favorite Amado novel.

Home Is The Sailor tells the story of Captain Vasco Moscoso de Aragao who comes to retire in the Brazilian beach town of Periperi.

Once he arrives, the sea captain captures the community with tales of his great adventures at sea, romances with numerous women, and prowess as leader of one of Brazil’s great ships.

However, the town’s resident storyteller and gossiper, Chico Pacheco, believes the sailor has been lying about his status as a captain and sets out to prove his tales are nothing but a figment of his wild and hyperactive imagination.

As the story unfolds for the reader, you begin to see his colorful and interesting life reveal the truth about his status as a captain.

If you have never read a Jorge Amado novel before, I highly recommend Home is the Sailor as an introduction to his works. Even though this novel is considered a minor work in his bibliography, Amado deals with a major theme in a colorful, playful, lusty way that will put a smile on your face and make you laugh out loud as you are reading it.

I read this novel about twenty years ago (when I was in my twenties) and re-read it a few years ago. I enjoyed it the second time as much as I did reading the novel previously. Home is the Sailor has made my top five novels list and I will enthusiastically recommend it to anyone as such.

About the author

Marion Hill is the author of The Diondray's Chronicles (Diondray’s Discovery, Diondray’s Journey, and Diondray’s Roundabout), the first three books set in the world of Kammbia. Marion is working on a new novel set in the world of Kammbia, Ciscoe’s Dance, due Spring 2021. view profile

Published on October 08, 2019

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Genre: Entertainment

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