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What’s In Yours?

Summer is over, and many readers used a part of their vacation time to kick back and enjoy a good book. But every day authors announce new releases, and the fall line up seems full of a wealth of new books. Then there are the classics — the books everyone else talks about that we’ve never picked up ourselves, though we’ve been meaning to. For writers, there are also books of friends and colleagues. So, what’s in your to-be-read pile?
| Aug 29, 2011 | No comments |

“What’s in your wallet?” the credit card commercial used to ask. I don’t recall seeing it recently — a risky thing to ask in these days of economic shakiness.

In contrast, what seems to be a risk-free question for readers at any time is “What’s in your to be read pile?” We all have books we plan to read — perhaps nothing more than a mental list of those we’ve heard about which intrigue us, perhaps a wish list we created on Amazon, perhaps a literal pile of books waiting for us to get to the bottom (except we never do because we keep adding to it).

So how about you?

Summer is over, and many readers used a part of their vacation time to kick back and enjoy a good book. But every day authors announce new releases, and the fall line up seems full of a wealth of new books. Then there are the classics — the books everyone else talks about that we’ve never picked up ourselves, though we’ve been meaning to. For writers, there are also books of friends and colleagues.

So, what’s in your walle to-be-read pile?

Mine includes a G. K. Chesterton I’ve already started. This author’s name is often mentioned right after C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and numerous people have quoted him. It’s time, I decided, for me to find out about the man’s writing first hand. So I picked up a collection of his Father Brown stories from the library.

I also just received the newest CSFF Blog Tour selection, Andrew Peterson’s The Monster in the Hollow. Earlier in the week I received Stephen Lawhead’s The Bone House, second in the Bright Empires series along with Ross Lawhead’s (yes, Stephen’s son) The Realms Thereunder. I also have George R. R. Martin’s The Game of Thrones in waiting.

To be honest, I have another ten or more in the pile, some from friends on-line, many I’ve started. It would simply take too long to list all of them. Consequently, I’ve named my top five.

How about you? Let’s start with your top five to-be-read books. If you’d like to include more, feel free. But I’d also be interested in how the book made your list — recommendation? general buzz? curiosity?

This should be fun. 😀

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

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Katie Gibson

1.) The Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (I made the mistake of reading the first book. I came across it when a friend handed it to me and apologized for taking up so much of my time by suggesting it. I don’t have television so I had no idea it was a series on TV now, after reading the book I would wager it is a pretty spectacular series.) 
2.) Water for Elephants By Sara Gruer. This book was on a list with the Kite Runner which I already read so I thought why not and I am glad I did. I am in the middle of it as we speak.
3.) The Innocent Man by John Grisham. I have never read Grisham and apparently this is the one book of his that is based on a true story. I have been trying to get through this book for months. I am getting a little bogged down in the details and I go so long between attempts I have to start over.
4.) I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real. I am a therapist and work primarily with men. This is a book about men and depression. It is  a must read.
5.) The Four Loves By C.S. Lewis. Need I say more about why this is in my must read pile.

So there is my five the list goes on it includes the Chronicles of Narnia (I have never read them. I know, I know it is shocking and horrible.)  Burned and Impulse by Ellen Hopkins (they are books about addictions and very intriguing. They run the gamut from substance abuse, to self mutilation etc and they are written in poetry form.) G.K Chesterton “The Return of Don Quixote”, “Tales of the Long Bow”, and “The Man Who Knew Too Much”. “My Sister’s Keeper”, “Jane Eyre”, “Robinson Crusoe”, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”, “The Invisible Man” Oh I could go on and on. 

E. Stephen Burnett

Seems I’m always reading at least four or five books, in different ways, and different genres, at the same time.

  1. My wife has been reading, aloud, one of her favorites: a collection of old sci-fi short stories by Eric Frank Russell. (Currently it’s on loan from her family.)
  2. I’ve been reading, aloud, C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet, which I haven’t read in a while.
  3. Recently I finished Planet Narnia by Michael Ward. That’s part of why I wanted to go back and re-read the “Space Trilogy,” which Ward argues — correctly, I think — should rather be called the Ransom Trilogy or the Cosmic Trilogy, due to Lewis’s dislike of the term “space” and its connotations of cold vacuity instead of life-giving wonder (as mentioned in the first Ransom book itself).
  4. Finally I’ve begun re-reading the Firebird trilogy by Kathy Tyers, in its most recent incarnation from Marcher Lord Press: The Annotated Firebird.
  5. Sometime soon I’ll be ordering more books to fill my nonfiction “slot.”

Stephen, I read Planet Narnia recently. I found the writing style much too academic for my liking but the actual content and argument were very interesting and convincing (with some reservations where I feel Ward was pulling straws). Interestingly, The Space Trilogy have always been known in Australia as The Cosmic Trilogy.

Ken Rolph
Ken Rolph

“Interestingly, The Space Trilogy have always been known in Australia as The Cosmic Trilogy.”

Oh rats! I was going to come back and say that. I feel gazumped.

I wanted to get Planet Narnia at Koorong, but they only had The Narnia Code, which seems to be a cut down and cheaper version. It’s now on the Bookshelf of the Unread awaiting my attention.

Kessie Carroll
Kessie Carroll

I’m currently embarking on a Sherlock Holmes bender, seeing as I’ve never read them, and I’d like to take a shot at writing a mystery one of these days.
I want to try the Hunger Games, and Hero: Second Class, and I need to pick up Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones, which will just about complete my library of her works. I’ve heard good things about Game of Thrones, but I don’t know. I don’t like to read stuff with a lot of bed scenes in it–does Game of Thrones have a lot of those?
I’d really like to just hit the library and get armloads of stuff, but due to having only one car, which my husband needs, I don’t get out much. :-p


Game of Thrones had too much sex for me but most of it doesn’t happen in bed. 😛 There aren’t any long graphic scenes, I don’t think anything is more than a paragraph. It is just the crass way most of the sex is treated that particularly bothered me. E.g. there is a tribe where the men murder each other and rape their own women on a regular basis; one character talks about feeling complete when her brother is “inside her”. *gags*
$0.02 🙂


This would have been much more interesting before school started. Now it’s reduced to two books: Two Towers and the Circle Trilogy.

Grace Bridges

Beneath, by Jeremy Robinson – an author I follow keenly, not least because of his success as an indie. But boy, does he ever work for it! (see his post here)

The Last Christian, by David Gregory – actually bought this one before it finalled in the Christy, and to be honest that lessened my desire to read it, due to my personal ambivalence towards some previously nominated titles. 

Afterlife, by Merrie Destefano – part of my ongoing education in the darker realms of fiction 😉

Steampunk Prime, edited by Mike Ashley – A collection of the earliest examples of steampunk, as an introduction to this intriguing genre. 

The Enclave, by Karen Hancock – I loved Arena, so I’m sure this one is good too.


Jill Stengl
Jill Stengl

Fun question! I’m currently reading “Bleak House” by Dickens and “The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis. My son got a stack of YA fantasy for his birthday which I’m hoping to devour when he finishes, including “The Beast of Noor,” “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness,” “The Hunger Games,” and a few others. A friend recommended Anthony Trollope, so I picked up a copy of “The Warden” at a used book store, just to give him a try.

Ask again in a year, and I might STILL be reading “Bleak House.” Not that I don’t love it–I do. But it is pretty huge, and I am easily distracted. 🙂


My current reading pile consists only of fiction, as I’m slowly working through The Big Argument: Twenty-four Scholars Explore Why Science, Archaeology and Philosophy Haven’t Disproved God – edited by Michael J. Westacott and John F. Ashton.

Here they are:
100 Cupboards – N. D. Wilson
The World House –  Guy Adams
The Unseen – T. L. Hines
Dreamhouse Kings Book 2 – Watcher in the Woods – Robert Liparulo
Angel Fall – Coleman Luck
House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
The Circle Series (graphic novels based on Ted Dekker’ books)
The Lost Books (graphic novels based on Ted Dekker’ books)
Inception: The Shooting Script – Christopher Nolan
Out of the Silent Planet – C. S. Lewis (re-read)
Perelandra – C. S. Lewis (re-read)
That Hideous Strength – C. S. Lewis (re-read)
I hope to find some Charles Willams’ novels to add to my pile but I’m having no luck, they seem to be out of print.

Bruce Hennigan

1. Review copy of Hugh Ross’ “The Hidden Treasures of Job”
2. Monsters in the Hollow by Andrew Peterson
3. Re-reading Lord of the Rings
4. The Inklings of Oxford by Harry Lee Poe
5. The Dragon’s Tooth: Ashtown Burials #1 by N. D. Wilson 

Ken Rolph
Ken Rolph

I have a place in my study I call The Bookshelf of the Unread. Technically it is 5 bookshelves plus assorted piles or related books. There are over 300 volumes there. So I’m not going to list ever one. I will give examples of categories and how they ended up there. I will also offer a hint on how to handle unread books if they begin to seem intimidating. Put the on your Kindle. Then you can’t see them! Anyway, here are the categories.

Books where I’ve contributed something and been sent a copy our of gratitude: God’s Poetry, the Identity and Destiny Encoded in your Name by Anne Hamilton.

Books where I know the author and get sent a copy: Allsorts, poetry tricks and treats by Andrew Lansdown.

Books which have lingered long enough to have outlived their usefulness: The city 2000 AD, Urban Life Throght Science Fiction.

Books as background to the Great Australian Novel I’m always writing: The Medieval Traveller by Norbert Ohler.

Novels I should read: mostly be Tim Winton.

Presents: The Numbers behind Numb3rs.

Recentlhy mentioned in dispatches: The Wolf of Tebron by Lakin.

Stacked up for retirement reading: The Complete Richard Hannay.

There are probably more categories. Otherwise how would I have generated 300 unread books. Every so often I take them off the shelves and re-sort them. I discover duplicates. I remove books which I no longer need to read. And very, very occasionally I actually read one. It doesn’t seem to reduce the total.


Top five of the twenty waiting to be read. The Kindle is not making this problem any easier. Of course this list could change at any moment, especially with Athol Dickson’s and Steven James’s new books coming out this month

1.  “Unbroken: A World War II Story of  Survival, Resilience and Redemption” by Laura Hillanbrand

2. “Day of War” by Cliff Graham

3.” Heaven and Hell” by Kenneth Zeilgler

4. “Original Sin” by Brandt Dodson

5. “The Awakened” by Jason Tesar


My top five novels to be read list: 
Jorge Amado’s Home is the Sailor:  Brazil’s most well-known novelist writes a hilarious story about a retired sailor who was Captain of a major ship.  Or was he? I read this novel about 10 years ago and loved it. Amado deals with the power of storytelling and how lying about one’s social status can affect a person’s identity and self-worth. I wanted to read it again because of those themes and see the power of storytelling at work.
Greg Bear’s Slant:  This is the sequel to Queen of Angels.  I enjoyed reading Queen of Angels and I hope this sequel will be just as good.
Travis Thrasher’s 40: I saw this book at a Christian Bookstore and read the blurb. I thought it was interesting (and I’m actually turning 40 tomorrow) and bought the book.  I’ve never heard of him before.  Hopefully it’s a good read.
Clifford Simak’s Project Pope: Clifford Simak was a sci-fi novelist who included religion and philosophy in his works.  This novel is about a robot who becomes a Pope.  That got me interested.
Mark Helprin’s Memoir from Antproof Case:  Helprin is one of my favorites (Winter’s Tale and A Solider of the Great War are must reads!!) and this novel about an American living in Brazil and writing his memoirs.  And all his life he has decided wage war against coffee. Helprin is a beautiful writer and I’m looking forward to reading this novel.
That’s my to be read list.

Sally Apokedak

Yikes, what a lot of interesting lists. 

What about When She Woke? Someone entered this review in the Carnival of Young Adult Literature. I’m dying to read it. I wonder how preachy it is. It definitely has an agenda.