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The Goldfinch

Have you read any good books recently? My friend Megan just emailed me with a recommendation: “If you’re looking for something great, pick up The Goldfinch. Best contemporary novel I’ve read in about a billion years. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s 800 pages. You’ll wish it were longer.”

The Goldfinch is described as a “beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph,” and the New Yorker writes, “Like the rest of us, Donna Tartt ages; but her fiction is going the other way. Her new novel, ‘The Goldfinch,’ is a virtual baby: it clutches and releases the most fantastical toys. Its tone, language, and story belong to children’s literature.”

I’m so intrigued! Sometimes I like starting books (and movies) without knowing anything, so I ordered it without looking up the plot synopsis. Have you read it? Thoughts? Any other books you’d recommend? I know you guys are big readers!

P.S. Five favorite novels, and subway reading.

(Cartoon by John O’Brien)

  1. I am reading The Goldfinch now and absolutely love it. I also loved A secret history. I hated hated hated Life after Life by Kate Atkinson, what crap! I will read The Luminaries next and Americanah too but honestly, I don’t want the Goldfinch to end!!!!

  2. I’m almost finished with this book and I love it. The only little thing that bugged me (as an English major) was the amount of typos I found! I had to resist the urge to go through it with a red pen. But It’s a great novel, a little slow at times, but it reminds me of David Copperfield or Great Expectations.

  3. The Fault in Our Stars is the best book I read all year. I liked it so much I read it twice.

    Also Me Before You, Silver Linings Playbook & This Star Won’t Go Out. xx

  4. I’m reading it now on my e-reader. I knew it was thick, but hard to tell how thick when it’s on a device. I think I like reading it on that, because I know it’s long, but I don’t want to be disappointed when I realize I only have a few pages left. It’s great!

  5. The Goldfinch has been moved to the top of my list of books to buy. Another one that was brought to my attention just today was Quiet by Susan Cain. It is a well researched book about what life is like for an introvert living in a world that is structured for extroverts. As an introvert I am very curious to learn more about myself through her thoughts, real life stories, and research. She also presented her thoughts on Ted Talks.

  6. Ooooh, just spotted in amazon (as I was investigating purchasing it!!) that it’s publishe by Little, Brown. They always publish such fabulous books! :)

    Totally agree – if u have a good recommendation, why spoil the suspense by reading the plot synopsis?! I never do!! Living life on the edge, ha!!

  7. I am incredibly intrigued and I must find this book! Thanks for the recommendation.

    chevrons & anchors

  8. I loved it too. I listened to it because I knew it would take me years to get around to reading it. The last chapter has haunted me all week.

  9. I will have to add this to the list. I don’t read a ton of fiction, but if it has this many fabulous reviews, it must be worth it!

    I’m reading My Fair Lazy at the moment, and it is too funny! My friend got me hooked on Jen Lancaster with The Tao of Martha, and I guess I’m just on a Jen Lancaster roll lately.

  10. Me says...

    I liked Goldfinch quite a bit but it was not an upper. Despite the theme of beauty, the theme that we cannot choose our own hearts made me feel really sad about a lot of events in the second half of the book. I’m glad I read fast; otherwise, I think I would have had emotional malaise for weeks. Although it did draw me in and her writing is gorgeous. The way she writes about certain feelings perfectly crystallizes some really heavy, overwhelming emotions into words. So, yes I would recommend it but the reading experience was very different than what I expected. And I agree with anonymous above- the ending was pretty hamfisted.

    Books recs I have are Suite Francaise, Middlesex and the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

    • Anna says...

      I completely agree. I writing was beautiful, and I loved the first third of the book, but after that it all got so sad and moved into such a dark disfunctional world… I finished it feeling like all I wanted to do was hunt out some goodness.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Great novel, also loved The Book Thief, The Language of Flowers, Tell The Wolves I’m Home, The Cover Of Snow (an exceptional debut novel) and Sea Creatures. Just a few of the really great books I read in 2013

  13. Where’d You Go Bernadette… Hilarious. Enjoyed every minute.

  14. Hi Jo first time poster here – I LOVE your blog – so inspiring, fun, smart, and more besides….!.
    I just wanted to say I just finished the last page of The Goldfinch and it is amazing. The voice of the main character is magnetic, and you just can’t put the book down!
    I just had a 10 hour flight with my four year old and the trusty I-pad meant I got hours of peace & quiet to read a good chunk of it. I know, not the best parenting ;-)
    Mish

  15. I read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbauch in a little over 2 days, part of which included a trans-atlantic-trans-continental flight upon which the movies weren’t working AND I was in coach, but I couldn’t have cared less. I missed the characters when I finished.

  16. I read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbauch in a little over 2 days, part of which included a trans-atlantic-trans-continental flight upon which the movies weren’t working AND I was in coach, but I couldn’t have cared less. I missed the characters when I finished.

  17. I’m so excited to read this book! I’m on the list at the library holding my breath.

    I read a lot of YA novels (vetting for my kids – which has made me love the genre) and just read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – maybe one of my favorite books ever, it’s a WW2 spy novel that’s really about friendship. I loved it SO MUCH. Also Bomb by Steve Sheinkin was amazingly interesting and informative.

  18. Adding this to my reading list now!
    v-is-for-violet.blogspot.com

  19. Today I downloaded the audio book for Goldfinch and seeing you writing a post about it gave me chills :) Millon times more curios about the book now…

  20. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. My favorite grownup book ever. First will be Matilda by Roald Dhal forever and ever.

  21. I’ve had good luck lately & have really like everything I’ve read in the past few months. Some recent faves: Me Before You, And the Mountains Echoed, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Namesake.

  22. So many great books out there! I’ve loved The Night Circus, The Memory Thief, and The Obituary Writer, among many many others…will have to check out The Goldfinch now! :)

  23. I picked up The Goldfinch because Donna Tartt’s other novel, The Secret History, is one of my all time favorite novels. It took me a little bit to get into The Goldfinch, but now it’s moving along very quickly and I can’t wait to see what happens!

  24. My husband got me this book for Christmas and it is sitting unopened on my desk. Will start it this weekend for sure!

  25. so curious about the gold finch! i’m gonna buy this week when i’ll go to the city :)
    xo, cheyenne

  26. Thanks for the recommendation! I am stuck in a Bangkok hotel for the next 4 days and just started reading it this morning :)

  27. Tell the Wolves I’m Home is my new favorite. Beautifully written and the characters linger with you.

  28. Tell the Wolves I’m Home is my new favorite. Beautifully written and the characters linger with you.

  29. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple is cheeky and smart. It’s also fairly light and sweet if you’re looking for something to get through quickly!

  30. IT”S SO GOOD! I didn’t sleep for weeks because I couldn’t put it down. I also read A Dual Inheritance, Night Film, The Secrets of Happy Families (non-fiction), The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sweet Tooth … all so good. This winter is one for good books!

  31. her book, the little friend, is one of my favourite all time books. thanks for the heads up on this one!

  32. I’m reading this at the moment (300 pages since last thursday snatched on trains!) and sometimes forget where I am! I definitely agree that it has a feel of children’s literature about it, and that makes it feel comforting somehow.

  33. i loved liz gilbert’s new novel. it’s crazy to think of all the boat travel and exploration before planes. it was a page turner. i negelected my kids all week and indulged myself!

  34. I saw the actual Goldfinch painting on the Mauritshuis loan to S.F.’s de Young Museum (I believe it’s now in Bologna, Italy, after stopping in Atlanta and NYC). Saw it on so many year-end lists in December that it’ll have to go on my to-read list.

  35. In the middle of this now! Cannot put it down. Also, as opposed to The Secret History, I am totally attached to the narrator. Enriches the story that much more. Favorites this year: The Circle by Dave Eggers, Tenth of December by George Saunders and the Orphan Master’s Son by Andrew Johnson.

  36. The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson, is easily the best contemporary fiction I’ve ever read. it’s heavy but I absolutely adore it.

  37. I love Donna Tartt, and especially loved The Secret History. But my best read of 2013 was The Golem and the Jinni. The friend who recommended it to me said, “Honestly, toward the end I was turning pages before I had finished reading them.” It was THAT good…

  38. I am really enjoying reading at the moment. I have thought about this book. I just may have to purchase and read.

  39. I finally got around to reading Fear of Flying and it is EXCELLENT! Another “been around forever and not read it” is Jane Eyre. A really good read! Such wonderful character development and so emotion filled.