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gina May 1st, 2000 09:50 AM

a really fabulous fiction book
I'm going to Europe this summer for my fourth trip. I've made all my reservations, confirmed my itinerary, I've done all I can do at this point, largely thanks to the comments on this forum. But now what I really need is a book recommendation. I mean I want a thick, fiction, cannot-put-down book that will help me ignore how afraid I am to fly. I mean I want a book that is so good I will be really sorry when it is done. Yes, I've read all the Micheners and DeMilles and Grishams and Crichtons and all that mass market stuff. You are all educated and thoughtful people. Please give me the titles of books that really took your breath away. I'm sure many people could benefit from these suggestions. Please help! I can't wait to see what you come up with. Thanks in advance. Gina

Nan May 1st, 2000 10:12 AM

A few books that you might like are: <BR>"The Ground Beneath Her Feet" by Salman Rushdie. Also read "The Cat's Eye" by Margaret Atwood and "The God of Small Thigns" by Roy Arundahati (sp?). I loved all three of them and they are all in paperback. <BR> <BR>Enjoy your trip! <BR> <BR>Nan <BR> <BR>

Brian in Atlanta May 1st, 2000 10:15 AM

The funniest book I've ever read is Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Read it 3 times and it just gets more enjoyable each time.

adina May 1st, 2000 10:17 AM

Mark Halperin (sp) A Soldier of the Great War.

carolyn May 1st, 2000 10:22 AM

For big books, try Ahab's Wife by Sena Naslund or Caesar: Let the Dice Fly High by Colleen McCullough. I know--it's history, but she is such a good story teller. They are small, but there are four of them in paperback, English-cozy mysteries by Jeanne Dams with heroine Dorothy Martin. You could read them back to back like eating airline peanuts.

dan woodlief May 1st, 2000 10:23 AM

Where in Europe are you going? I always like to read a novel or two relating to the place I am visiting. Also, do you prefer romance, historically-based fiction, mystery, or some other genre? It helps to know because I can name many of my favorites, but they may bore many people to tears.

gina May 1st, 2000 10:27 AM

Thanks for the replies so far, keep 'em coming! I am starting in Germany for the Passion Play in Oberammergau and then continuing to Tuscany and Rome, then to Paris. And yes, I do love historical fiction. I really appreciate this!

Sheila May 1st, 2000 10:41 AM

Sebasian Faulks- Birdsong and Charlotte Gray <BR> <BR>Charles Frazier- Cold Mountain <BR> <BR>Graham Greene- The Third Man <BR>

Jane May 1st, 2000 10:54 AM

Gina, <BR>If you haven't already read She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, that's the one I'd pick to forget my fear of flying. I've read and enjoyed some of the other books recommended here, but She's Come Undone is the only one that so enthralled me that I forgot my surroundings. <BR> <BR>Aside from that, I have to say that The First Man by Albert Camus is one of my all-time favorite reads: gorgeously written and emotionally compelling, it took my breath away! <BR> <BR>Look them up on Amazon for more details. <BR> <BR>Start either of these the day before your flight so you're totally involved, and you won't be sorry! <BR> <BR>Enjoy the book and your vacation!

Lisa K May 1st, 2000 10:58 AM

The previous poster mentioned Wally Lamb. I actually preferred his "This Much I Know Is True" over "She's Come Undone" and talk about thick!! (I think it is over 900 pages) I loved it and I felt like grieving when I finished it.

Anna May 1st, 2000 11:00 AM

I second the "She's Come Undone" nomination, I was reading that one while walking down the street, in the elevator, it was FABULOUS. <BR>I'd add "One True Thing" by Anna Quindlen and also "The Glass Lake" by Maeve Binchy.

Lori May 1st, 2000 11:08 AM

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy, The Charm School by Nelson DeMille. Another favorite is The Godfather by Mario Puzo.

karen May 1st, 2000 11:14 AM

I started posting before I'd even read all the replies, because I thought immediately of Sebastian Faulkes' "Birdsong" -- now I see someone else mentioned it; I agree completely! WWI setting in France. Compelling.

Beth Anderson May 1st, 2000 11:37 AM

CORELLI'S MANDOLIN. <BR> <BR>you will not be able to put this down, trust me. you will want a LONGER flight to be able to finish it. It is about 400+ pages... I found myself still absorbed in it, even as we were landing & people were milling about getting their stuff. <BR> <BR>and I love to fly - I wasn't trying to escape anything. <BR> <BR>It is set in WWII Greece, and you will want to pack your bags and go there, post haste. I have not yet made my plans (I just finished it last month) but a friend of mine who read it while traveling purposely changed some of his plans to go to Kefallonia (Cephallonia) <BR> <BR>You will laugh, you will cry. I did both on the plane while reading this (and didn't even care if anyone was looking). <BR> <BR>DO NOT HESITATE. run to the store right now and buy this book. look at if you don't believe my testimony. <BR> <BR>Beth

elvira May 1st, 2000 11:49 AM

Anything by Trevanian <BR> <BR>Brother Cadfael stories <BR> <BR>Simenon anthology <BR> <BR>Scarlet Pimpernel <BR> <BR>Three Musketeers <BR> <BR>

Phil May 1st, 2000 11:59 AM

Dear Gina, <BR> <BR>If you like history-based mystery, you will enjoy Steven Saylor's Gordianus series: The setting is ancient Rome at the end of the republic and they reflect life in the city quite truthfully. <BR> <BR>I enjoyed the novels enormously and have even tried to find the scenes when I was staying in Rome last year (at the very least, I found the domus aurea). <BR> <BR>Start with "Roman blood" and go on with "the arms of nemesis". <BR> <BR>Enjoy your trip <BR> <BR>Phil.

dan woodlief May 1st, 2000 12:01 PM

I tend to lean more toward the "classics" than any other type, so here are a few recommendations. <BR> <BR>France <BR> <BR>Germinal - Emile Zola - unless reading about claustrophobic mines hits too close to home while sitting in your plane seat <BR> <BR>The Red and the Black - Stendahl <BR> <BR>Sentimental Education - Gustave Flaubert - a socially relevant romance <BR> <BR>Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - you probably already know this one <BR> <BR>The American - Henry James (actually American of course) - story of an American businessman in Paris (1870s I think) who plans to marry a woman from a noble French family. Much of Paris, especially the Louvre, is included in the book. A lot about the clash of cultures and social classes. A touch of mystery too. This would be my pick of the list. <BR> <BR>Germany <BR> <BR>Buddenbrooks - story of an important merchant family - I think it was set in Hamburg. <BR> <BR>Hermann Hesse - Siddhartha - German author but Indian setting with a young man trying to find enlightenment - not a particularly big book though <BR> <BR> <BR>Also, how about a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories? <BR> <BR> <BR>

pam May 1st, 2000 12:12 PM

The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood--I haven't laughed and cried so much over a book in a long, long time. It's on the thin side but you might be ready to start over once you finish it. Has nothing whatsoever to do with Europe, but it's a wonderful book.

lina May 1st, 2000 12:14 PM

My favorite travel fiction has been the literate English mysteries by Elizabeth George. They are really more like novels with wonderful character development and plotting.

Cindy May 1st, 2000 12:15 PM

Gina, <BR> <BR>I can't compete with the fine recommendations already given, but I have two page-turners that I have read and given as gifts. Each time, I get a phone call shortly thereafter indicating that the recipient loved the book. Unfortunately, they are not fiction, but they are still great. <BR> <BR>The first is "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer (?). It is the true story of a Mt. Everest climb. I read it cover to cover from 9:00 p.m. to about 4:00 a.m. Fascinating! <BR> <BR>The second is Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt. Funny and sad at the same time. <BR> <BR>Thanks for a wonderful post.

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