View Full Version : Putting Together My Google Book Library

09-15-2008, 08:09 PM
I started a little project yesterday. Sort of pre-blog planning. I am using the 'build a library' function at books.google.com (http://books.google.com/)to compile my list of the fifty books that have meant the most to me. Books that have influenced my writing style, my reading tastes, even my politics and world views.

Sort of 'my desert island' list of fifty books. These are books I could pick up and open to any page and submerse myself in the story. Most have been read multiple times. The list is far from complete and some of the entries will probably get booted off as I rediscover others.

Part research - I plan on doing some book reviews and recommendations and am using the list to get a handle on what I really like and understand.

Part self-defense - I got heartily flamed on another blog for daring to challenge the supremacy of Toni Morrison [can't stand her stuff, if you want to flame me for that, please do so in another thread or by PM]. I am compiling this list to show that, yes, I can read and, yes, I read books without pictures [something suggested by one of the Morrison-ites.]

Part fun - The google library is a great way to go down memory lane and find references to long out of print books. Definitely a journey of self-discovery as I remember what books have been important to me.

Here's my first draft of a list: (http://books.google.com/books?uid=11210839669578248206&rview=1)

I'm just curious. Has anyone else tried such a project and what books turned up as your 'Top 50' [or whatever other number works for you].

09-15-2008, 08:40 PM
I'm in the pre-blog planning stages as well and also plan to include a list of my favorite books. This is the first I've heard about the Google book listing. I've seen several blogs with Amazon "stores" with authors' favorite books though. Among my favorites would have to be:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Hotel du Lac
For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Magus
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch (we have excellent taste)
The French Lieutenant's Woman
Out of Africa
The Winds of War and War and Rememberance
Anything by D.H. Lawrence or Virginia Woolfe

Ahh - too many to choose from.

I think the book list provides an interesting insight to the writer's personality. I'll definitely be checking your list as it progresses. Be sure to post your blog when you get it up and running - I'd love to check it out.

09-15-2008, 08:52 PM
Thanks Angel! I found the Google function last night and have since been fascinated by it. I am easily distracted by bright shiny objects!

09-15-2008, 08:53 PM
I have to confess, I've never read To Kill A Mockingbird, and me a lawyer! I think I'll have to check it out of the library and give it a read.

09-15-2008, 08:57 PM
A very wise professor in grad school once told me "Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad because you haven't read such and such book. There are way too many books and not near enough time." Word to live by. Case in point - I just read "The Great Gatsby" for the first time - and I have 2 degrees in literature. Can't believe it took me so long. Hope you enjoy TKAM!

09-16-2008, 01:49 AM
So far I've just used Google Books to bookmark a bunch of out-of-copyright texts on the Ojibwa Indians and Mackinac Island and dream interpretation and stuff, but, seeing as those are the subjects I love and write about, maybe my own use isn't as far removed from yours as it seems...? :o

Interesting idea though!

Bayou Bill
09-16-2008, 02:02 AM
I have to confess, I've never read To Kill A Mockingbird, and me a lawyer! I think I'll have to check it out of the library and give it a read.
There's a reader's site called SHELFAN http://www.shelfari.com/o1518095419 you might want to check out, if only to see how they're organized.

Last year, on a whim, I compiled a list of "Twenty-five Great Southern Novels" and posted it on my blog. http://billsbilge.blogspot.com/2007/11/twenty-five-great-southern-novels.html

And speaking of lawyers, I've just finished, IMPERIUM: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Robert Harris. Here's the Lib. of Cong. blurb:

“Rome, 79 B.C. The elderly Tiro, once secretary and slave to the statesman Cicero, records his late master's early years as an upstart lawyer with humble beginnings. Traces Cicero's start in Roman politics with his case against Sicily's corrupt governor, Gaius Verres, and Cicero's election to consul years later.”

IMHO, Harris does a good job of showing how the legal, political, and social systems operated in the last years of the Roman Republic while not becoming pedantic or getting bogged down in details.

As for, To Kill A Mockingbire, it's one of the very few novels I've read more than once. I envy you getting to read it for the first time.

Bayou Bill :cool:

09-16-2008, 02:40 AM
Tehuti - great use of the google book feature. It is so comprehensive, I've found everything I searched for, usually in multiple editions. Using it to search out public domain books is a great idea.

Bayou - will definitely check out the list. I've been at a reading impasse lately. Not liking a lot of newer novels and still want to expand my reading. I've just about exhausted the Michener offerings. I like 'southern' novels and I'm sure I'll find something I will like on your list.

Have you ever read 'Kinflicks' by Lisa Alther. It is definitely chick lit, but is the funniest book I have ever read and has a spectacular [at least in my yankee-ified] opinion take on the south which is satire and parody, but not your typical boring bubba junk-ola.

09-16-2008, 05:18 AM
I couldn't pick a top fifty. I do have favorites though- I love The Great Gatsby, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Pride and Prejudice, My Story as Told by Water, Ex Libris, A Walk in the Woods, The Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Thirteenth Tale, Pale Blue Dot, and many others. It would be painful to put them in order. I love them all :-/

Oh, and if you like google books, try Librarything.com (http://librarything.com). It has a neat little widget you can put on your blog (I've got one on mine, if you want to see how it looks -bookaddiction.org (http://bookaddiction.org)) that will show a random assortment of books from your library. Goodreads.com (http://goodreads.com) is also a neat resource. It's great for networking with other bibliophiles and it has a widget that will display what you're currently reading (also on my blog). I like librarything best though, it's eaten up more of my free time than I'd like to admit...

09-17-2008, 02:45 AM
I will definitely try the librarything widget, just how 2.0 cool is that??? I admit, the list has been tough, separating books I like, books I enjoy and books that had a real effect on me. Some are those I read when I was a kid, but passages or images stay with me. I've thrown in a couple of non-fic because they affected how I did something or thought about something. For example, about 12 years ago I formatted my entire vacation around the Route 66 guide titled 'The Mother Road.' It's been a fun experience and even I am curious to see what the final 50 will be.