Book-O Reads

THESE ARE SOME OF MY BELOVED BOOK CLUB’S RECENT TOP SELECTIONS.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson – Especially relevant during today’s immigration dilemma.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree by Tariq Ali

Euphoria by Lily King

Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – This is a perfect vacation read… or any time you want to get lost in a book. It poses some compelling questions about ourselves. My favorite line from the book: “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

The Martian by Andy Weir

First Ladies by Margaret Truman

Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote

Family Furnishing by Alice Munro

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Season of the Witch by David Talbot

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren – Pulitzer Prize winner that’s on pretty much every “Top 100 Novels” list

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles ~ I love this whip-smart story about a young working gal in New York City during the late 1930’s who finagles her way into the upper echelons of Manhattan society. With snappy dialogue and captivating characters set in an interesting time of American history, this is a thoroughly entertaining book to get caught up in. It makes us think about the twists of fate and choices we make in our twenties that affect the entire course of our lives.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Buddah in the Attic by Julie Otsuka ~ What a beautiful, lyrical telling of the Japanese women who came to San Francisco to marry unseen husbands and got caught up in the turmoils of World War II racial profiling. It is the collective, compelling story of all of these women, written almost like a poetic song. This short, simple read sweeps you in to the point where you could finish it in a matter of hours… but you’ll want to savor it far longer.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach ~ This is not just a great baseball story… it’s a coming-of-age journey through college life… with an interesting twist.

Great House by Nicole Krauss

Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn ~ If you liked The Art of Racing in the Rain, you will love this lighthearted mystery narrated by a lovable dog named Chet.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman ~ This is a wry, captivating book that weaves a series of short stories into one about a struggling international newspaper based in Rome.  It is a witty, insightful take on the world of journalism and newspaper reporting, but it’s the characters that Rachman so masterfully develops that make The Imperfectionists totally engrossing and entertaining.

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James ~ P.D. is a renown mystery writer, and she puts a murder-mystery spin on her sequel to Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.  It’s not James’ best mystery, nor is it the best continuation of P&P, but if you’re a P&P fan like me, you’ll enjoy this book.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova  ~ Read about this in my Place in the Sun blog.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer  ~ Be sure to read this whimsical story about a boy’s post-9/11 journey of coming to grips with the death of his father… before you see the movie.  It stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock and  presents a little different take on the book.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers  ~ This is a fabulous up-close and personal perspective of the Hurricane Katrina devastation in New Orleans… you won’t be able to put it down.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot  ~ HeLa takes a fascinating look at scientific discovery, racial inequality, and the development of modern medical biology and ethics.  It’s a very readable book that each and every one of us picky Book-O babes loved!

OTHER THINGS I’VE BEEN READING…

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Greyson (poetry)

The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams

The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics – Edited by Orin Starn, Carlos Ivan Degrogori, and Robin Kirk

The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie

Peru – Eye Witness Travel, Fodor’s Travel and Lonely Planet (can you tell I was planning a big trip?)

A Year With Rumi – A collection of Rumi’s poems compiled by Coleman Barks

The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg

Chasers of the Light: Poems From the Typewriter Series by Tyler Knott Gregson

The New Health Rules by Frank Lipman, M.D. and Danielle Claro

The Sacred Sisterhood of Wonderful Wacky Women by Suzy Toronto

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

can’t and won’t (stories) by Lydia Davis

Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up With Alice Munro by Sheila Munro

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

How to be Both by Ali Smith

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Trances of the Blast by Mary Ruefle

Dear Life by Alice Munroe

The Call of the Farm by Rochelle Bilow

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

The Ohlone Way by Malcolm Margolin

The Way We Lived by Malcom Margolin

Bad Indians by Deborah Miranda

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Frog Music by Emma Donoughue

Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson

How to Train a Wild Elephant (and Other Adventures in Mindfulness) by Jan Chozen Bays, M.D.

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – …again after forty years.

21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics & Practice – Essays edited by Carol Horton and Roseanne Harvey

A Real Time of It by Sally Delehant

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore

Foreign Affairs by Allison Lurie

The Son by Philipp Meyer

The Way We Lived by Malcolm Margolin

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

We Bought A Zoo  by Benjamin Mee

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said by Charles Wheelan

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay, PhD ~ This should be required reading for every twenty-something… a sort of unofficial manifesto for embarking on a fulfilling life journey.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God by A Band of Wives

The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch

The Beautiful Edible Garden by Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner

The Sunset Western Garden

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Edible Schoolyard by Alice Waters

Training Wheels by Michael Stringer

Copper Star by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer ~ J.R. visited our local bookstore to promote his latest book Sutton about a prolific, affable bank robber during the depression years and beyond, and I wound up buying his poignant memoir as well, so captivated I was with this waggishly sharp author. J.R.’s syntax is memorizing when he speaks, and his writing is equally clever – it’s no wonder he is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. The Tender Bar is not simply J.R.’s coming-of-age tale but an epic slice-of-life in a tavern. Imagine a boy being raised in Cheers, the classic tv show, and you’ll get the gist of this hilarious, insightful, utterly heartfelt saga. I was on the edge of my barstool pulling for the scrappy, vulnerable kid from Manhasset through every riveting page.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe ~ The title may be slightly put-offish, but this is actually an uplifting tribute to a remarkable woman, the mother-son bonds, and the enrichment of books in our lives.

Turning the Mind Into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham ~ I found this book at a yoga retreat in the Rocky Mountains where meditation was so natural. Thank goodness I brought it home with me where meditation is much more of a struggle. The author has a warm and wise way of simplifying the process and making it more accessible for those of us with scattered minds.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats  by Jan-Philipp Sendker ~ I’m not sure how to describe this magical story of a young blind man’s life with it’s many whimsical twists. It celebrates the power of love and the resiliency of the human spirit through it’s fanciful tale set in a Burmese village.

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson ~ The author of The Devil in the White City wrote this amazing perspective on the rise of Nazi Germany

Hana-lani by Christine Sunderland ~ This was a nice little companion on my trip to Hawaii.  It’s a modern-day story set in authentic-Hawaiian Hana on Maui written by a local author in my writing club.  Fun to support up-and-coming authors!

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott ~ This is a hopeful bible for wanna-be writers.

Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr ~ It’s fun and it’s life-changing! Read my Recalibration post for more info.

Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan Schreiber,  M.D., PhD ~ This book isn’t just for people battling cancer!  It has some great lifestyle recommendations for cancer prevention.  After dodging the melanoma bullet, I’m sure as hell going to do everything possible to stay out of the line of fire!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ~ I was hopelessly trapped in this young adult series – a futuristic, big-brother George Orwellian story that is rather depressing with all the fighting, violence, and bleak future prospects.  But the story is compelling enough and the writing simple enough to get completely sucked in, and I battled my way through the trilogy, devouring them one right after the other.  Despite the horrific gore and anguish, it does provide a glimmer of hope.  Potential Spoiler Alert: Without giving anything away, I like this dialogue: “Are you preparing for another war, X?” to which he replies, “Oh not now.  Now we’re in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated.  But collective thinking is usually short-lived.  We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.  Although who knows?  Maybe this will be it… the time it sticks.  Maybe we are witnessing the evolution of the human race.  Think about that.”

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer ~ A bright young man’s extreme idealism ultimately leads to his tragic demise.  I can see why this book is required reading in many high school senior English classes.  This true story is filled with powerful messages, especially for our youth, and I love how Krakauer integrates passages from literary giants like Tolstoy, Thoreau, and Jack London because they were such an influence in Alex “Supertramp” McCandless’ life.

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan

Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds by Scott Berkun

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom by Jennifer S. Holland

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Beautiful and Abundant by Bryan Welch

The World’s Healthiest Foods: Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating by George Mateljan

The Suitcase: Refugee Voices From Bosnia and Croatia by Mertus, Tesanovic, Metikos & Boric

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tami Schneer
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 14:57:14

    Loved reading your blog and look forward to more!

    Reply

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