5 Books I’ve Read plus 5 Books I’m Gonna Read.
Part IV

It’s been a year since we last talked about books.  Looking back on the 5 books I had to look forward to reading at that time I can say I wish I could read 4 of them all over again.  I guess I could read them all over again but it wouldn’t be the same because, ya know, I’ve already read them.




In the past year I’ve read some good and some not so good books (as is often the case with books).  The 5 I’m going to tell you about today are at a minimum “really good”  with one that I’d say is absolutely GREAT.

The Woefield Poultry Collective isn’t a book that everyone would think is really good but if you read this blog of mine, chances are you will.  The book is well written, funny, and revolves around Prudence Burns a twenty-something New Yorker who inherits her Uncle’s derelict farm and pledges to bring it back to life without an “iota of related skills or experience”.  It’s an easy, enjoyable, fast read. Plus of course, there are chickens in it, so …..

Sous Chef I loved.  It was written by New York City Sous Chef Michael Gibney and outlines a typical 24 hours inside a restaurant kitchen in real time.   I have no idea how this would read for someone who isn’t a food or restaurant lover, but for someone who is … it’s a really good read.   Gibney takes you through his day and life working in an upscale New York restaurant kitchen, laying out what every person in the kitchen is responsible for, how they do what they do and what kind of personalities the business attracts.  What makes it exceptional is that Michael Gibney isn’t just a good writer for a chef, he’s a good writer period. Named one of the 10 best non-fiction books of the year by Time.

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby was recommended to me by someone I trade reading recommendations with all the time.  We pretty much trust each other’s judgement.  I say “pretty much” because she once made me read Swamplandia which I hated  and I once made her read Middlesex which I don’t think she ever even got through.    I had given up on Nick Hornby around 3 novels ago but my friend convinced me to give Funny Girl a try.  I like Nick Hornby again.  I don’t About a Boy or High Fidelity like him again, but I do like him again.  In Funny Girl, Hornby introduces us to Sophie Straw.  A small town girl who becomes a sitcom star in 1960’s London.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt is the absolutely great book on this list. And it’s the one I recommended to my friend in exchange for Funny Girl.   The book brings us into the life of a young girl whose uncle has died.  Here’s the Amazon description.

“1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.”

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is charming and touching and funny and sad.

City of Thieves was the book I read immediately after Tell the Wolves I’m Home, so it was doomed from the very beginning.  I have no idea how I heard of it or came across this book but I loved it.  Sometimes that’s the way isn’t it?  When you have low expectations of a movie, show, song or book and then really like it …. well the good parts seem maybe even better than they really are.  I don’t think that’s what happened with City of Thieves. I think it really is a great book that I would have loved regardless of how low my expectations of it were.  The book is a fictional account based on the real life stories of the author’s grandfather who lived through World War II in Russia.  I haven’t done the synopsis justice so read the Amazon version.   I think charming is what I’d describe this book as.  And likeable.  And thought provoking.  Had I known when I picked it up that it was written by the executive producer, writer and show runner for Game of Thrones I never would have read it.  Which would have been stupid.


With those 5 books under my belt, I can now look to the growing stack on my dresser and bedside table.  Which I LOVE having.  For someone who loves reading, having a stack of books you’re looking forward to is like a candy addict having a dresser drawer full of Snickers.




Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs is a cookbook, chicken book, garden book, story book all rolled into one.  Written by chef Signe Langford (who gave me her lemon curd recipe a couple of months ago for my mother’s birthday cake) and photographed by Donna Griffith (who has photographed my house many times for magazines).  The book also features quotes and tips from guest chefs and chicken owners including Lisa from Fresh Eggs Daily and … me!  And yes.  The lemon curd recipe is in the book.

All the Light We Cannot See is one of those books I’m so looking forward to reading that …  I don’t read it.  It’s been on my bedside table for a good 6 months now because I know I’m going to love it.  I haven’t met a Pulitzer Prize winning book yet that I haven’t loved.  For me the Pulitzer Prize is a way better indication of quality than an Oscar is for a movie.  Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan.  Really???  All the Light We Cannot See fits into one of my favourite book categories, books about WWII.  And that’s pretty much all I need to know about it to be excited to read it.  1. Pulitizer Prize winner 2. Based on WWII.

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling is the book I want to read but always choose a “book-book” instead.  But I’ve made it a point that right after the heaviness of All the Light We Cannot See, I’m going to read Mindy’s book.  Because I love Mindy.  And then I’m sure I’ll order and read her latest book.

The Illegal by Lawrence Hill is the latest from the author of one of my favourite books.  The Book of Negroes, or Someone Knows My Name as it was titled in America for some bizarre reason, is a MUST read for everyone.  The Illegal, focuses on a runner from a (fictionalized) corrupt African country that is discovered as an illegal refugee.  I’ve managed to make what I’m sure is an incredible book sound fantastically boring but I’m sure it will be anything but.

The Truth According to Us  by Annie Barrows, co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, takes place in my second favourite book setting … the small town.  I wasn’t completely in love with The Guernsey Literary book, but I liked it enough to give this other small town tale of the author’s a shot.

As always feel free to leave your own book choices in the comment section and by the end of the day we’ll have enough book recommendations to get most of us through the next year of reading and gift buying.  Speaking of gift buying, according to The Christmas Pledge today you’re supposed to make a list of everyone you have to buy for.  If you want to get even further ahead you can put the name of one of these books by their name, order it and have your gift buying underway.

Or don’t.  But remember.  You could end up like Julie.





  1. LaineyDid says:

    If you like psychological thrillers, “Memory Man” is a good one :)

  2. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Cloe is looking quite comfy there..I have a cat who like to sleep on top of me in bed…I have recently read The Lovely Bones..The Death of Bees..Station Eleven..The Returned..The Memory Keepers Daughter (finished last night)..I will start The Book Thief tonight…Thanks for all of the recommendations people!…Happy Reading Everyone!

  3. tj says:

    The Matthew Shardlake series of books by C.J. Sansom were wonderful! If you like the TV show Tudors you will likely love reading these books set in 16th century England (Henry VIII era). Excellent novels with wonderful details of historical events, fashion and a revealing look at the vicious ruthlessness of the era. Just a fantastic set of books – each one better than the last. I’m reading Chesapeake now by James Mitchner which is very good also. I don’t know why I haven’t read much from him before, but I will read Covenant next. Philipa Gregory is purported to be very good (per my Mum, from whom I get all by book suggestions).

  4. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    I love every post you write, but I’m partial to the book ones. You’re a girl after my own heart in more ways than one. Definitely putting Sous Chef on the wish list!

    You’ll enjoy ATLWCS. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

    Couple suggestions (I’ll let you read the descriptions via Amazon or some other source):

    Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

    Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler

    The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (I don’t usually read her but I loved this book)

    Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by C.W. Gortner

    Happy Reading!


    • Karen says:

      Thanks Sherry! They all look good. Agreed on Jodi Picoult. I’m not a reader of her books but might (might) *might* look into this one. ;) ~ karen!

  5. Valerie says:

    Erik Larson is a very hard working author. He digs out history and builds it into fascinating stories.
    Two I would recommend are:
    In the Garden of Beasts – circa WW II
    The Devil in the White City – how a group of men put together the world’s fair in Chicago at the turn of the century ( one finds out that that was the inauguration of the ferris wheel ) interspersed with a serial murder’s movements in Chicago during the same time period; quite the combo of subjects.

  6. Cathy Reeves says:

    One of your best posts, thanks. I want to make some bookmarks for you. Part of my Christmas Pledge 2015.
    2 birds, one rock.

  7. amy watson says:

    Oh how l love books…., l have an e reader, but there is nothing like the feel of a real book…..my house is full of books, l have a hard time letting go of the ones l really really love….on that list is Book Thief, All The Light We cannot See, Poisonwood Bible, and many others…l am reading Go Set A Watchman right now and will add a few of the suggestions here…

  8. Rachel says:

    This really makes me smile. Bear with me but reading this with all the comments lets me peep through a window of my past before life had hit the fan. The last books I’ve had time to read: The Spark, The Reason I Jump, a number of books on ABA, other biographies on Autism including everything on Temple Grandin, one on dealing with loss of a loved one from cancer and numerous homeschooling and Montessori instructionals. Oh, and my current handbook Shakespeare for Autism, (the Heartbeat method) which is a Godsend. Life changes drastically for a person with a kid on the Spectrum and believe me, no one understands or cares. I’m the Debbie Downer of the book club! But to tell you honestly, these books have led me to where I really want to be and where I should be and I love them as I love my life. But still it’s nice to know the joy of exploring the world of books is alive and well. I’m currently reading The Tempest to my son but Happy Hens and Fresh Eggs sounds like a delightful road to take with him. So Thanks!

    • Nancy S in Winnipeg says:

      I understand. Hang in there. My 33-year old son has Asperger’s. I only wish I had had the resources then, that are now available. The thing to hang onto is that they can learn to fit in, kind of. It won’t always be so difficult.

      Have you read Born on a Blue Day? It helped me to understand so many of the things that drove me mad when my son was growing up. He wasn’t actually doing those things to test my patience.

      I love my son dearly and I think we have a good relationship now.

      • Rachel says:

        To be honest I never got my hands on Born on a Blue Day, but my ex fiancé with MS mentioned Tammet to me when he first met my son and so I researched him heavily back then. I will buy it today. But my son was born with hydrocephalus so he’s a rare case and now 7 years old he has grown into a combination of Jerry Lewis and Cassanova with birthplace Twin Peaks. I have to thank you so much Karen, it’s really great to be understood and knowing you do from personal experience makes it even more so! Right now I’m just looking for books on how to keep my tail out of jail cause my kid didn’t mean what you just heard him say! But I have to say that your articles, especially on gardening, gives me great ideas for a more holistic approach to his education and I plan to use some of your lessons in the future for projects pertaining to our Blue Horse Foundation for Autism and educating others with AS kids in my country. Maybe you could lend your expertise to the AS community where you live. You’re the kind of person therapists need right now. I hope I could be as great a mom as you, as it’s only fitting you and your son now have a great relationship! Have a great night and thanks again!

        • Karen says:

          Hi Rachel! It’s actually Nancy S who has the 33 year old son with Aspergers. :) Although I, like I’m sure a lot of people, do have experience with family or friends that are dealing with an autistic child. Or children! So I’m afraid I won’t be able to be any sort of therapist for those dealing with Aspergers or Autism, but I *can* act as therapist to the nutters who come here to get a bit of balance in their lives. :) ~ karen! p.s. If I had a 33 year old son I’d had to have had him before I think I even got my period, lol!

        • Rachel says:

          Oh! That happens when emails come straight to my box with no name attached! And to tell you the truth I was bothered about that age thing but my mother taught me not to judge, but that’s a relief. Still hope you think about helping with the AS community though. I think you’d be a blast! Have a great day!

        • Rachel says:

          Oh, and I forgot to add that no one needs to be a therapist to help out in AS communities, that’s the key message all people in this field are trying to get out in the whole world, to make all people in the world be a part of this existence since eventually we will all be dealing with an AS person as the population grows and will no longer be restricted to the random household. We all need everyone to lend their expertise and interact so they can spread the word that anyone can have a relationship with an Autistic or Aspergers or any Special needs kid and they will love anything you are willing to do with them. And more so for extra talented people like yourself. I have so little people like you in my community or like all of these commenters who seem so talented as well. Sigh, forgive me, just wishing I guess. Have a great one!

      • Ann says:

        I will have to go read that book. I am part of a family that I swear they wrote the Aspberger’s description from.

  9. Debbie says:

    I loved All the light we cannot see! If you haven’t read it already, you might try The Seamstress, by Sara Tuval Bernstein. It’s a memoir of Sara’s life throughout the Holocaust. Incredible!

  10. Kristin ferguson says:

    Karen, do you have a Kindle? I see stacks of books in your pictures, so I guess you don’t use an e-reader. I got one for Christmas (from my husband) and I don’t love it, but I’m getting used to it. It has a lot of advantages. No dead trees, not cluttered bookshelves, you can read at night without waking your guy up with a light, you can start reading a book within seconds of ordering it, the battery charge lasts quite a long time, it’s lightweight but can hold an entire library of books all at once, and you can change the typeface to enlarge or…ensmall? Kindle versions of books are almost always cheaper, and you can find free ones or “borrow” them. It also has some disadvantages. You can’t flip back a few pages to reread some bit like you do with a real book. I mean, you can go back, of course, but you don’t have that tactile sense of how far back you need to flip, and you can’t keep your current place by sticking your thumb there. You can place a “bookmark”, but it’s a small pain to do so. You know that sense you have reading a book, where you can sort of remember a particular passage by where it was on the page–left or right page, high up or near the bottom, etc.? You don’t get that with the Kindle. And you probably shouldn’t read the Kindle in the bathtub–at least not if you are starting to get sleepy. That said, I’m working at a new job and have decided to remain carless (my beloved Mini Cooper was totaled last year and we’ve been experimenting with being a one-car family), so I’m getting to read much more than before on the subway, and the Kindle is very convenient. I’m warming to it. Curious as to what you think of e-readers.

    • Jennie Lee says:

      Kristin, I’ve been reading my Kindle for several years, and love it. I’m glad you mentioned it, but there are a few things you said that might give a mistaken impression to a prospective owner. There is no need to do anything to mark the place you left off reading; the Kindle automatically takes up where you left off. It’s easy to find something you remember reading: you can “search” the book for a key word or words, and it will show you every occurrence of them in the book. And not only does the charge last a good while, you don’t replace the battery, you just plug it in, and it recharges in a short time.

      • Kristin ferguson says:

        Jennie, you are right about the search feature and I do love that. But what I meant about the bookmark bit was that sometimes you have stop and go back to reread some part of the book to clarify something–especially in murder mysteries!–and with a paper book you just stick your thumb in the page you’re on and flip back to find what you need, and it’s easy and intuitive, whereas with the Kindle you have to set a bookmark to save your page so you can get back to it after you scroll back through the pages to find the part you wanted to reread. It isn’t the end of the world, but it is slower and less fluid.

        • Jennie Lee says:

          I get your meaning, Kristin, I just want to make sure you know that there is no need to set a bookmark in that situation; you just press “search” and then “synch to furthest point read” and it takes you back where you were. Even though I use a Kindle 3/ Keyboard version that’s about 6 years old, it still amazes me with how handy it is!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin! I’m not an e-reader. Although I haven’t tried a real one, just my iPad, which I have the Kindle app for. I can see the appeal of them but I don’t think it’s for me. I like books. I like how they look, I like how they feel, I like forcing them on people around me when I think they should read them, I like turning the pages down when there are things I want to remember (yes .. I really turn pages down). I like closing them at night and looking at the cover. I just like ’em. ~ karen!

      • Kristin ferguson says:

        I so totally get it. I like–love–books too. I’d prefer them in almost every situation. But I have been using my Kindle and I enjoy its advantages, though I’d honestly prefer a real book every time. But I’m currently reading the Kinsey Millhone mysteries (“A is for Alibi”, etc.), and when I finish one I simply download the next in the series in about ten seconds and continue reading without pause, which is a delight. Actually, the fact that I can download any book I want in a few seconds is kickass. But I love real books, just like you. I miss them, and not because of some esoteric soulful union I have with the smell of paper or that kind of sappy stuff (though yeah, I do feel a soulful connection to real books), but because they are so user-friendly and intuitive. We all have such an easy connection to them, and we flip around in them like an old friend we don’t have to pretend with. I compulsively try to read the title on books other nearby people are reading.

        • Nancy S in Winnipeg says:

          Love the Kinsey Milhone books by Sue Grafton. And the Sharon McCone books by Marcia Muller. And the Rosie Project.

          In autobiographical category I have just recently finished A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout – very good.

          A few months ago I read Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale: A Memoir by Rachel Lloyd. Great, thought provoking.

          I’m adding Woefield and Happy Hens to my list. Thanks.

  11. Lynn says:

    You rock Karen. Just ordered two of the books you mentioned!

    P.S. Say ‘hey’ to Edgar, and perhaps he’d enjoy Charlotte’s Web? [wink]

  12. Nancy says:

    Found Happy Hens and Fresh Eggs on Half.com (new) for $0.75 (US) plus shipping

  13. Glenda says:

    I just finished The Reckoning by Carsten Stroud and had a few late nights as it was hard to put down. It’s the third book of a trilogy – Niceville and The Homecoming are the first and second books. Supernatural story with lots of twists and turns and great characters. Stephen King calls it “an authentic work of American genius.” It is a little (okay a lot) gruesome in parts but for some reason I can read gruesome but not watch it on the screen. Two of my favourite books of all time are I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb and The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. I’m also a big fan of the Outlander series – book and TV show. I love reading all the recommendations and have just discovered audio books from my library as my eyes get a little tired in the evening.

  14. Little book, so sweet and sad and funny and touching.

    It’s “A Man Called Ove”

    • Karen says:

      That book looks GREAT! ~ karen

    • MaggieB says:

      My sister absolutely went on and on and on about how I had to read this book, so she brought it out to Germany when she came visiting this summer. Everything that awesomesauciness said. My sister even bought two copies for our parents and told them to read it at the same time (bossy she is!) so they could talk about it. Hang on – why didn’t I get a copy to keep?!!!!

  15. judy says:

    I can’t read as much as I would love to but I’ll let you in on a small secret. Men retire in old age-Woman….not so much…..I feel like a jumping jack-husband with Alzheimer’s so lots of wandering around searching for something that is gone and will never return.
    I am not complaining,after 56 years -I’ll take my husband alive and with me in any state as opposed to the alternative-but concentration on anything for more that a few minutes just isn’t possible and I find it so strange that the retirement of books and conversation slipping gently,contented into the end of Life- instead is making all decisions- from what car to buy-clean the gutters ourselves or pay $150.00 to have it done followed by a deluge of leaves back in the gutters 20 seconds after the truck departs.
    Paying the bills and scheduling Drs and Dentists —too much of that for sure. AnyHoo a book that really touched me is The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. Another post apocalyptic but very interesting and written in such a way that really drew me in.
    I f you haven’t drunk the day, every day dry for beauty and happiness (not happening in your life?) Look outward-get outside your head into the sunshine and fresh air or take a walk in the rain and splash in all the puddles ….I know every old person says “it goes by so fast” but we only know that is true looking back-living it can seem endlessly long. You are a treasure Karen..wonderful to be a smile in the lives of so many. Thanks…..

  16. kari says:

    Cannot wait to read the Woefield Poultry Collective. I might read it aloud to my 5 chickies. :-) And, therefore, I want to read Happy Hens and Fresh Eggs too, b/c I my chickies will be even happier after I read them The Woefield Poultry Collective of course, and so then I will have to do some comparative research!

  17. Jenifer says:

    Thanks for all the recommendations…I’ve queued them up on Goodreads…can’t wait get started!!

    Karen, you mentioned never having met a Pulitzer Prize winning book yet that you didn’t loved. Did you read The Hours by Michael Cunningham? Didn’t like it at all. (The movie was good though.)

    My recommendation Possession by A.S. Byatt. Initially I had a hard time getting into it so I set it aside for 6 months and went back to it. Couldn’t. Put. It. Down. LOVED it!! Definitely one of my all time favorites!

    From Goodreads:
    Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.

    • Kristin ferguson says:

      I loved Guernsey Literary Pie, and will enjoy reading this new novel. If someone buys it off my wish list. I read All the Light We Cannot See recently–I liked it but in the end didn’t LOVE it. My sister and I exchange books often, and she gave me Tell the Wolves I’m Home at the same time I gave her The Rosie Project. Two very dissimilar books, but both wonderful. The funny thing about Tell the Wolves I’m Home is that it seemed very familiar to us: My sister and I were about the same age as the sisters in the story (in the 1980s) and we had an uncle who died of AIDS. I was older, had skipped a grade, and was very involved with drama and performing arts, and we were not as close with each other as we wanted to be. The big difference was that we actually both strongly disliked our uncle. And he wasn’t an artist.

    • Kristin ferguson says:

      I read that book when it came out, and I was in the middle of it while traveling and accidentally left it in Florida. I went to a lot of trouble to have it sent to me afterwards. Loved it.

  18. Sboo says:

    Seeing many favorites here! My most treasured book recommendations come from my dad, who is a voracious reader. He and mom got me The Girl on the Train for my birthday a few months ago and it was one of those books you devour in 2 days flat.

    • Karen says:

      Eep! That’s one of those recommendations that everyone loves … but me, lol. Like Game of Thrones. I know everyone loves it, says it’s great but I just couldn’t get excited about it. But I would still recommend The Girl on the Train because I’m an anomaly and most people would really like it. ~ karen!

      • Kristin ferguson says:

        I have Girl on the Train and started to read it but couldn’t get into it. I became confused right away with the hopping around in time. I will go back to it at some point.

        • Cathy Reeves says:

          Me too!! Then I revisited it, got to the end but not without shouting at the book..” Just wrap it up FTLOG!!”

        • Jan in Waterdown says:

          Gotta say that book just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t find any of the characters particularly engaging so didn’t care what happened to them. I felt the same way about “The Goldfinch” and I know that was a biggie. I don’t think I even bothered to finish it and that’s rare for me.

  19. Ev Wilcox says:

    Thanks for the great ideas. all! Have made a list. Will try to hold off till winter, though!

  20. Paula says:

    Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, my all time favorite book. It was recommended to me by my chemo doctor in the midst of my breast cancer treatments 26 years ago. It’s a big book with lots going on but it got me through chemo so maybe that’s why I loved it so much. I reread it a couple of years ago and still loved it. Not my kind of story so I was really surprised that I even got through the first chapter. There are other really great books for me but this one stand out as the first best book I’ve ever read.

    • Karen says:

      I know I read it but can’t remember a thing about it Paula, lol! I can’t even remember if I liked it. The most inspiring thing about your comment is your breast cancer treatment from 26 YEARS AGO. Way to kick cancer’s ass. ~ karen!

      • Paula says:

        Don’t know if I kicked any ass. I did listen to my doctor and hung with the treatments no matter how much I wanted to quit. I might have had a crush on him so I didn’t want to appear weak. HA! Still do live that man.

    • ET says:

      Paula, I agree with you about Pillars of the Earth. I read it maybe 20 years ago because it was in the guest room bookshelf when I visited my sister – would have never read it otherwise. Reread it again recently and still found it fascinating.

    • Karin says:

      I agree – Pillars of the Earth is one of my all time faves. If it weren’t so long I would reread it regularly.

    • CBuffy says:

      Karen, this one links to The Bean Tree… thank you so much for doing all this work for us! You’ll likely see a return on this! (maybe a whole $1.50 from me!) LOL

    • joanne says:

      That is my all time favourite book as well. I have recommended it to so many people. What a great historical fiction book!

  21. Joslynne says:

    I just finished Etta & Otto & Russell & James, by Canadian Emma Hooper and I really enjoyed the talking coyote! A super interesting writing style and lovable characters (love 84 year old Etta – go girl!!)

  22. marilyn says:

    all the light..tried..didnt

  23. Karin says:

    So I immediately clicked on the link for Woefield and read the synopsis. Then I went to my library website and they didn’t have anything for that title BUT there was a Home to Woefield with the exact same synopsis and publish date. Two titles for one book? Am I losing my mind? Gonna read it regardless!

    • Karen says:

      No, I think it came out, maybe only in Canada, or with a smaller publisher or something and then it came out again with a different title (and presumably different publisher). Same book. ~ karen!

      • Karin says:

        Thanks! I like the Canadian title better! And also thanks for linking all the titles; you are so good to us!

        • Karen says:

          Yes, but don’t forget that I stand to make at least a dollar by the end of the day so not completely altruistic. ;) Maybe $1.50 even. ~ karen!

  24. Catherine Vosper says:

    “Unbroken” the movie was ok but the book is fantastic…a documentary, very well done…and disturbing!

    • Karen says:

      WOW! It has a complete 5 stars on Amazon! You rarely see that. And that’s after close to 26,000 reviews! Adding it. ~ karen!

      • Becky says:

        Unbroken was really good. Elin Hillebrand has a new book out but I haven’t read it.

        If you like Unbroken, you will proably like Boys in the Boat about the mens 8 rowing team who won the 1936 Olympics. It is very interesting–insight into the propoganda of Nazi Germany prior to WWII, the depression, as well as the world of rowing. Sounds like a strange combination. Fascinating book! I don’t think I know anyone who has read it, that hasn’t liked it.

        City of Thieves is a good book, as was Middlesex (the Virgin Suicides–terrible). Have you read Sun Going Down (first 65 pages are not good but the rest makes up for it)?

  25. Mary W says:

    OK, I’m going to try again – for 3 years I’ve extolled the virtues of this book. It takes about 3 hours to read if you skip all the beginning which is not really part of the book – just there to provide pages enough to get you to buy it. You. Will. Not. Be. Sorry. Recommending – Taa-Daa: WHO MOVED THE CHEESE. It won’t take you to some foreign country, won’t give you chills, or get too excited, but it will get you to think if only for a short time. Enough time to make it last in your head and recommend it to someone else. Over and over again. 3 years running.

    • Karen says:

      omg, you with the cheese book, lol. I keep not reading it because it isn’t a “book-book”. It’s a self help book, which I don’t read because well … I don’t feel like I need any help, lol. Plus I think they’d just be boring beyond belief. BUT, I will now add it to my list on Amazon. If I don’t like it, I’m comin’ after YOU Mary W. ~ karen!

      • Donna says:

        Read the cheese book for work. lIked it. And yes, it did make me think. When the HR director handed out the copies I actually laughed at loud that I had to waste time I didn’t have reading this silly book. But it takes very little time and I was actually glad I read it.

  26. Su says:

    I highly recommend any of the books by Julia Keller…. she writes about a district attorney in a small West Virginia town….. very good reading…. murder mystery….
    and Emily Griffiths…. her main character is a forensic anthropologist in England…..
    oh and Anna Quindlan – her latest I read was Still Life….loved her books!
    and Marisa De Los Santos…. her books are lovely stories…. and John Grisham novels… I had not read any of his until last summer and now I am devouring them…. and last but certainly not least Liane Moriarty….

  27. Sally says:

    I am currently reading a book called “The Nines Lives of Charlottoe Taylor” by Sally Armstrong , who was the first english (female) pioneer in the new world, where she ended up settling in Tabusintac, NB after a long and eventful life. My cottage actually looks out on her old property, and I haven’t been so inspired by a story of fortitude and perseverance in a very long time. Feld England with her black butler, only to arrive in Jamaica and have him die of yellow fever , while she is pregnant, makes her way to the baie de chaleur and is determined to make her own way. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially the homesteading/pioneer lovers out there!

  28. Anna Lee says:

    I will start this by saying I hated Swamplandia too – and I love to read and was very surprised by this. So that means my recommendations to you are good. One of the best books I read this year was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. It’s hard to explain without ruining it (twists come early on) but it made me laugh and made me cry – and was beautiful. I’m currently reading Slade House by David Mitchell which is just came out – and loving curling up with it before I go to bed even though it gives me WEIRD dreams. Spooky, scary without being gory horror – just right for a cold Oct/Nov night. I’d also recommend to you anything by Louise Erdrich or Helen Oyeyemi – I eat their books right up.

    • Penny says:

      Oh yes, Slade House is an excellent read! Check out David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, too. Same universe inhabited by Atemporals, same flawless use of many narrative voices, same feeling of utter loss when you turn the page and see just the Acknowledgements left to read!
      I’d just like to mention

      • Penny says:

        *oops, Fat Finger Syndrome strikes again, sorry*
        . . . like to mention bookcrossing.com if I may. This is a brilliant source for free books and you get to read reviews or ‘journal entries’ by real readers. Since joining the group I’ve never been without an ample supply of free reading material, my social life has improved due to the local meetups, I get more exercise by ‘hunting’ books released locally and I get emails from the books I’ve released from all over the world.

  29. Christina andrecyk says:

    Woefield was great! Did you know there is a sequel out?

  30. Kirsten says:

    Hi Karen,
    I recently had 8 weeks of recovery after surgery……I read a lot of books! A couple that I particularly enjoyed are The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant, Some Luck by Jane smiley, and of course I’ve been waiting for the new John Irving and it’s finally here!! Will be starting Avenue of Mysteries any minute now. Enjoy!!

  31. Sabina says:

    11/22/63 by Stephen King, you’ll sink your teeth in and be glued for two weeks straight.

    • Karen says:

      I just looked at it Sabina and the Kindle edition comes with a 13 minute long film written and narrated by Stephen King! I didn’t even know that was a thing, lol! Did Kindle editions often come with movies??! ~ karen!

  32. Wendy says:

    Any & all of Lousie Penny’s books. You have to read them in sequence, but if you have a tablet, you ‘ll be binge reading. I’m not a big mystery/thriller fan, but as all the action happens in Quebec, the characters continue in each book (most of them), lots of small town oddities, great foodie talk, I can get through the “body” at the centre of the story. LOVED Tell the Wolves I’m Home.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Yes, Wendy! Louise Penny is a fave of mine too. My inside-my-head voice reads her books with a French Canadian accent . . . and with all the baguettes and cheeses, they make me hungry too! For me, it’s really nice to read a great series of books with Canadian references and culture. I check her website for the next title then put it on hold on my on-line library. R

  33. Adrienne in Atlanta says:

    All The Light We Cannot See was beautifully written. You will indeed love it.

    Karen, did you ever read The Remains Of The Day? I was young when the book was written and the movie made, so just read it a few months ago not realizing it was written relatively recently. It was a gorgeously written story. Highly recommend it.

    I’m still waiting for something as sink-into-worthy as The Goldfinch to cross my path, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  34. Ann says:

    I also loved “All The Light We Can Not See”. So I am betting that it will also be a winner for you. The best book I have read in years, many years, was “The World’s Strongest Librarian” True story of a Mormon guy who grows up to be 6’8″, 300+ lbs, really is a librarian and suffers from a bad bad case of Tourette’s syndrome. It is such a touching, real, human story with every emotion you could imagine along the way. He won me over in the first few chapters as he spoke of how he learned to love reading, and learning. I think it is a must read for everyone, anywhere of any age.

    I also loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. Lots of good history and still a love story for the ages.

  35. Amykate says:

    I’m a lazy book reader. I devour books. But none of these, except the Chicken book sound good to me. Sorry. I’m just too lazy to read anything I have to think too hard about. But thanks anyway!!

  36. Sandra Lea says:

    Tell The Wolves I’m Home was one of my all time favorite books. I love to see what other people are reading, you’ve helped me to add a few new ones to my list.

  37. Donna says:

    Until my retirement recently I had given up books and reading except work related reading. since retirement I’ve bought sewing and knitting books but the only book I’ve read is an oldie, The Source, by James Michener. it reminded me how much I love reading. I too love Lord of the Rings, as noted in an earlier post. My husband loves anything WWII so I now know his Xmas present thanks to you Karen. the last recommendation I got came from my sister, The Poisonwood Bible. She loved it and told me how hysterically funny it was, but I found it rather sad, really sad actually. I’ve written down these titles so I can start reading again. I gave it up because once I start, I can NOT stop until finished. I will read all night. I hate taking breaks even to got to the bathroom because I’m just sure I’ll miss something. My husband reminds me that it’s a book, not a movie or tv show. Oh, wait, I did read another book last year and liked it in a morbid way. Can’t remember the title but it was a nonfiction account of the death of Michael Rockefeller at the hands of Cannibals. An alternate theory of his death actually. Wish I could remember the name of the book. Alas, the aging brain……

    • Karen says:

      Your sister thought The Poisonwood Bible was funny? That’s really, really weird. Like … really weird, lol. It’s a great book, I’d actually love to reread it now that you mention it. ~ karen!

      • Donna says:

        I’m so glad you think it’s weird, cuz I thought she was really weird after I read it. I cried so much getting through that book. Never heard of bean trees though. nOw I confess my sister has an odd sense of humor and has led an unusual life for her 65 years. Book wise and moviwise we have little in common. I love British comedy. She won’t watch anything with a “comedy” label on it.

        • Karen says:

          Maybe she has some kind of disease where she can’t recognize funny. Cause saying The Poisonwood Bible is funny is like saying the Old Yeller was funny. It … it just isn’t. ~ karen!

    • Kylee Baumle says:

      “The Poisonwood Bible.” YES. Funny??? No, not at all. It’s not a feel-good kind of book, but gosh I loved it. I thought it should have gotten a Pulitzer.

    • Kylee Baumle says:

      I also loved “Flight Behavior” by the same author, but I’m a monarch maniac too, so there’s that.

    • ET says:

      The Poisonwood Bible is a great read, but it is a long way from funny. I found it poignant and a great character study. I’m crazy about Barbara Kingsolver, and her Prodigal Summer is one of my favorites.

  38. LuAnn Agustin says:

    As always, I recommend “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. My absolute favorite book, series, author, cable tv show, etc.
    I’ve read the whole series up to eight times, as I MUST reread it over again each time a new book in the series is released.
    My love affair with Diana’s “Outlander” began over 25 years (and hundreds of books)ago and I hope it will continue for 25 more.

    • Jenny W says:

      I second that! My 4 sisters read the books years ago and kept recommending them to me. I don’t like to read historical fiction, or romances so I kept saying no thanks. Finally picked one up when I was desperate for a book to read and instantly fell in love! I have read the first 5 books several times over, and I never reread a book! I’m really enjoying the TV series too. Like watching the pages come to life :) Jaime, sigh….

    • Ev Wilcox says:

      I am on book four of the Outlander series. Have been reading “for half an hour” for weeks, going to sleep well after 1am. Makes me want to go to Scotland!

    • Lynn Johannson says:

      Outlander, I’m totally with you on that one. Re-read and re-read! Right now reading all of the Dresden series by Jim Butcher. Dresden is a wizard, even has an ad in the phone book, working in present day Chicago.
      Really enjoying them. Started book 9 this morning….. Falling down the rabbit hole of a good book. One of the true joys in life!

  39. Karen Too! says:

    Oh yeah, The Book Thief. Please read that one. It’ll become part of your soul.

  40. Karen Too! says:

    I would call City of Thieves absolutely devastating and a fantastic unforgettable read. Interesting connection w. Game of Thrones and not surprising now I know that. Sous Chef and All the Light I Cannot See sound really intriguing. I would suggest reading anything by neurologist Oliver Sacks who very recently passed away incl. his two autobiographies. Try out When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams for its high quality of writing and anything by Kazuo Ishiguro particularly The Remains of the Day. For reading about food, may I suggest Hungry for Paris by Alexander Lobrano. It’ll make you want to hop a plane immediately. Fabulous descriptions of restaurants, food, and France. Just starting a book The Hare With The Amber Eyes… Happy reading!

  41. Meg says:

    oh I wish for so much more time in the day. I would read so many more books.

    Although when I find a good one sometimes I read it twice. :) Last year I discovered “Dragonflight” and promptly re-read it about 6 months later. And I think I’ve read “Lonesome Dove” twice, and well actually I probably would be much more well-read by now if I stopped reading things twice…

    • Meg says:

      And the complete Lord of the Rings… yeah I am thinking about my response now and I am realizing this is a ridiculous pattern.

      • Su says:

        I would read the complete Lord of the Rings every summer when I was in High School…. I loved it that much! I couldn’t watch the movies because I had the characters so firmly in my mind and didn’t want to be disappointed….

        • Jo-Anne says:

          Oh Sue, that is how I feel about Narnia and Anne of Green Gables. I am sure I couldn’t watch Jane of Lantern Hill if it were a movie as well. I just realised that the Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander) and the Time Quintet (Madeleine L’Engle) also fall under that category as well.

    • Ann Brookens says:

      Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey? If you continue reading everything she wrote, that will keep you busy for a bit, then read her co-writers Elizabeth Moon and Mercedes Lackey. All three are among my favorite authors. I LOVE fantasy and science fiction!

    • Karen says:

      Lonesome Dove is my all time favourite book. It is at the top of the list. ~ karen!

    • ET says:

      Meg, I’m with you on Lonesome Dove – I’ve read the book at least twice and watch the series on TV whenever it pops up again. I feel I personally know every one of the characters.

  42. Muff Hackett says:

    I hope you enjoy All the Light We Cannot See as much as I did – it was one of those “I’ll just read a bit more . . . what do you mean 2 hours have passed?” sort of books.

    Lots of great suggestions coming in – I’ll have to make notes as I can never remember the suggestions when the moment comes to pick up a new book (mostly when I’m in the tub, and have just finished a book – the power one feels when one can buy a new book on one’s e-reader right there in the bubbles!)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Muff! I’m actually going through all the comments right now, highlighting the names of the books people recommend so when you’re scanning the comments they jump out. Also … I’m linking them Amazon to make it easy to buy. Plus I’m doing it through my Amazon affiliation so by buying a book you might even make me 50 cents or so! ~ karen!

    • Jo Hill says:

      All the Light We Cannot See is a must read. I actually think I learnt many things of the time.

      • Jennifer says:

        All the Light We Cannot See is the best book I’ve read all year, and I do not say that lightly. I kept it over my 3 week allotment from the library & had to pay a fine, but it was so worth it.

    • Jen says:

      Agreed! I don’t often enjoy books that are “heartfelt” but this author hit all the right notes with character development, plot, and heartfeltedness!

  43. Jodie says:

    I just finished Station 11. I love a good apocalypse book, and this one was pretty darn good. It involves a travelling symphony/ theatre group after the fall of civilization. I am looking forward to everyone’s suggestions cause prior to the book I mentioned its been a dry year for good books for me. Thanks friends!

    • Liz M says:

      I was actually going to recommend Station Eleven as well. I loved that book! I had never heard of the author (Emily St. John Mandel) before someone recommended that book to me, so after I finished Station Eleven, I requested her other books from my library. Out of those, “The Singer’s Gun” was probably my favorite, although I really enjoyed “The Lola Quartet” too.

  44. Valerie says:

    I particularly loved All the Light We Cannot See, exciting and heartfelt. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – an encouragement to us to assume or possibly resume adventures of any type as we amble through our lives. Am currently reading a translated Swedish writer by the name of Kerstin Ekman entitled Blackwater; fascinating. Translated Scany writers I admire include Hakan Nesser, Ake Edwardson and Jo Nesbo. A saddened moment for the memory of Henning Mankell who passed a few weeks ago.
    My recommendation for Karen’s Readalong is by Julie Schumacher entitled Dear Committee Members (2014.) It would be available at most libraries….a wildly amusing, occasionally laugh out loud series of recommendation letters regarding students and allied personnel from a head of an English Department at a university…….it is a pick up, put down type of book – great for 10 minute or so moments of time.

  45. Sharon B. says:

    I just read a book I enjoyed very much called Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart. Interesting historical fiction that gives an idea of how life was in the early 1900’s for women and the working poor and about a woman who overcame those obstacles. The description of the book is as follows: From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs. Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.

    • Safetydog says:

      I have that book waiting for me at home. My husband got it from the library for me. I don’t even really know what it’s about. Now I’m intrigued. Thanks!

  46. Dagmar says:

    Some of the books you mentioned sound intriguing to me. I love books where I can place myself in the character’s spot: live being them, hear inside their mind, get taken away. Having said that, if anyone knows any autobiographies or biographies, I would love some suggestions.

    Thanks everyone, especially Karen :-)

    • Kim says:

      Hi Dagmar,

      I recently read GHOST BOY, about a boy who was trapped inside his body but couldnt move or speak for approx 8 yrs until someone finally discovered he was in there the whole time and was completely mentally alert. It was great

      Also, UNBROKEN by Laura Hillenbrand, Angelina Jolie directed the movie based on the book recently. The book was way better.

      Hope you enjoy

  47. Have you read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry? That made me want to start walking across Canada. I haven’t started yet, though.

  48. Cynthia Jones says:

    So, did Betty take the photo… or some mystery man you are too scared to tell us about……or did you put the camera on timer, run to the couch clutching the cat to your belly and get into position……or is there a cord running from the camera under the table where the books are and somehow hidden in your hand…I know, you Photoshopped the cord ???

    Nah! There must have been a mystery man there or a sister. The cat doesn’t have traumatised eyes.

    Oh, life, where is the mystery ?

  49. Tina W. says:

    Check out The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker. It’s a quiet, fantastic, fantastical story of a giant woman living her life in a small town – doesn’t sound good but I loved it. http://amzn.to/1My5y9U

  50. Sera says:

    I got in bed early to read and instead I’m trolling the Internet. Funny you should say you hated Swamplandia – I’m reading Karen Russell’s book of short stories Vampires In the Lemon Grove. I lived the first two stories and was meh about the third. It took me three days to get through the 20 pages. And look. Now the baby is crying so. Reading. What’s reading?

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