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Throw Me a Line!: Lifesavers

Sometimes you just hit a bump in the road when it comes to reaching your reading goals. So we asked your fellow FiftyFifty.Me’ers what they’d recommend to get your reading off and running again. What books kept them up at night, what books do they love recommending to other people? The discussion took place on our Goodreads page, but for those of you who missed it, here’s that list.

For shorthand, let's just say now that The Hunger Games is the ultimate definition of a lifesaver book; you're likely to go on and devour the trilogy over a span of 48 hours like every other reader out there. So if you haven't read that one, consider starting there.

Want to stay highbrow but still page-turning? Susie G. recommends Cannery Row, Camus’ The Stranger, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, or “anything by JD Salinger or F. Scott Fitzgerald”. Lauren agrees, and added Lord of the Flies to the list. If you somehow managed to skip that one in high school, maybe your time has come. Think of it as the literary LOST.

Jenne, one of our literary experts, recommends these “old school page turners”:
The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye
The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis
The Brothers K by David James Duncan
Replay by Ken Grimwood
Time and Again by Jack Finney
Shogun by James Clavell
Memoirs of an Invisible Man by HF Saint
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
anything by Peter O'Donnell (the Modesty Blaise series) or his pseudonym Madeleine Brent (incredibly addictive gothic novels)
anything by Nevil Shute or Ira Levin

My (Lilly’s) personal insta-recommendation list:
Special Topics in Calamity Physics (long but super page-turny)
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The Dirt by Neil Strauss (anything from our Celebrity Trash Book Club, really)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Meg Cabot’s “Boy” trilogy (yes, it’s chick lit, and yes, you’ll live)
Mortified (but only if you want to laugh like a maniac in public)
The Thorn Birds
East of Eden (Steinbeck, yes, but it’s juicy!)

Thank you to everyone who participated in the “Lifesavers” conversations on Goodreads, including but not limited to: Jenn, Irene, Angela, Camilla, Roopsi, Jenne, Beth Anne, Selina, and Melanie. A partial list of compiled recommendations from them follows - keep checking back on the website and at our Goodreads group for additions and more comments from your fellow bookworms!

Cannery Row 
The Book Thief 
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 
The Catcher in the Rye 
The Diamond as Big as the Ritz 
The Picture of Dorian Gray 
The Stranger 
Never Let Me Go 
The Poisonwood Bible 
Watership Down 
I Am the Messenger 
The Great Gatsby 
Lord of the Flies 
Pattern Recognition 
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd 
About a Boy 
Alias Grace 
Interpreter of Maladies 
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius 
I Capture the Castle 
The Green Mile 
The Marriage Plot 
Geek Love 
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War 
Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories 
Haroun and the Sea of Stories 
Straight Man 
Their Eyes Were Watching God 
The Buddha of Suburbia 
Anita and Me 
The Farming of Bones 
The Inheritance of Loss 
Out Stealing Horses To Siberia 
The Summer Book 
The True Deceiver 
Fair Play 
A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson 
The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell 
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
No One Thinks of Greenland by John Griesemer
Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis
Becoming Alien by Rebecca Ore
Leaps of Faith by Rachel Kranz
The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
Remainder by Tom McCarthy
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
 anything by Francesca Lia Block

Described (by Jenn) as “short but good”:
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie 
The Cement Garden Slaughterhouse-Five 
The Member of the Wedding 
Cold Comfort Farm 
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks 
The Moviegoer 
Black Water 

Some sci fi under 300 pages from Bill:
Fight Club 
Starship Troopers 
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 
Slaughterhouse Five 
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom 

Essays and short stories 
Naked Pictures of Famous People 
Who I Was Supposed to Be: Short Stories 
Slouching Towards Bethlehem 
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) 

Want some nonfiction?
A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Reexamined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease and Other Cultural Revelations by Cintra Wilson
Word Freaks by Stefan Fatsis
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
Positively 5th Street by James McManus
Role Models by John Waters (yes, that John Waters!)

Needs some pictures? Check out one of these graphic novels:
Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie 
Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton TravisLast Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies 
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic 
Castle Waiting 
Fun Home 

May the reading be swift and the enjoyment great.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and comment if you've got some go-to recommendations of your own!


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