Sunday, March 11, 2012

What's on my (mostly electronic) bookshelf

Almost 3 years ago, a friend of mine invited me to be in a book club that she wanted to start. I have loved to read since I was a kid, but once it became necessary for school, reading for fun went out the window for the most part and I never picked it back up consistently. So the idea of reading was fun, but socializing with people I didn't know? A little scary.

Fortunately, I accepted and it has been a lot of fun talking about books (and let's be honest - drinking wine, snacking, and mostly chatting) with people outside of my normal social circle. Plus, I have pretty good accountability to read at least 1 book a month - not that I get it read every month - I've been more inconsistent lately - but I have a date set on the calendar which motivates me... so my "read" list has grown considerably.

What amuses me is my mom is also in a book club, so we often read the same books she does (usually after they do) - but she gets a little frustrated at times when they only talk about the book for 20-30 minutes! Whoa, she would not enjoy this book club! Did I mention that it is all former or current high school English teachers? Enough said.
Any-hoo... I'm going to list 10 of my favorites that I think are worth a read, in no particular order. This list does not include The Help, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, or Hunger Games series, all of which I love but I think have gotten tons of attention lately and don't need to be highlighted. Most of them are from book club picks, but others I borrowed from my mom or friends. Unfortunately I don't have hard copies of most of these to lend - that's the downside of the Kindle. I didn't think I would like an e-reader - but I was so wrong! I love it - so portable, easy to read on the treadmill, and I can get any book I want any time!

1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - About a young man whose parents are killed while he is in veterinary school and he has to drop out and joins the circus.
2. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford - This is about a little Chinese boy growing up in America during the 1940s and his friendship with a Japenese American little girl... great love story and I learned some history, too! I actually read this on our honeymoon and R read it after me :)
3. Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - Set in Afghanistan, the story of a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant... I don't know what to say to draw you in, but great story. This is one R actually read before me - and he never reads.
4. Room by Emma Donoghue - The story of a little boy who is the son of a kidnappend woman and her kidnapper for 7 years... disturbing, but a page turner. Worth the read. 5. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay - The story of a 10 year old French Jewish girl who is arrested and sent to a concentration camp during World War II intertwined 60 years later with an American journalist living in Paris. Great story.
6. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese - The incredible story of twin brothers born of a secret union between an Indian nun and a brash Brittish surgeon. Not like anything I've read. It took a while to get into but when it got good, it was GOOD. I believe this is the book I was reading when R nicknamed my kindle my "Shhh Machine" because I couldn't put it down and didn't want to be interrupted.

7. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand - The true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner turned Air Force bomber/lieutenant who became a POW during World War II. Fascinating, brutal story. It's long and very detailed at certain times, but kept my attention easily because it was so action-packed... and war stories are not typically my thing. This is the same author who wrote Seabiscuit, which I know is supposed to be wonderful but I just couldn't get in to - too much horse talk. 8. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling - The author is the actress who plays Kelly on The Office (she is also a writer on the show). Freaking hilarious. Along the same lines as Bossy Pants by Tina Fey, but much more relatable to me. 9. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - A true story/memoir: The author's story of her life growing up with nomad parents... my details here are bad, check out the summary on Amazon. Really great story. The same author wrote Half Broke Horses about her grandmother's experiences growing up. 10. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - The love story between a woman as she grows up and a man who time travels spontaneously. Sounded a little too science fiction-ish for me, but I was totally absorbed in the book.

What else should I be reading? If you've read any of the above, do you agree? What's your favorite book of all time?

Love, B


  1. I just finished Sarah's Key, and I'm currently in the middle of Mindy Kaling's book AND The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet! I knew there was a reason we were such good friends :)

    MUCH lighter- but the Emily Giffin "Something Borrowed," "Something Blue," and "Baby Proof" were all good reads!

  2. I just finished Stephen King's 11/22/63. I am not a Stephen King fan, but this wasn't horror or too much sci-fi. I've heard that it's one of King's best. It's about a teacher who goes back in time to try to save JFK from assissination. Excellent read. Thanks for the book suggestions. I will have to hunt some of these down!