The average dedicated reader in North America goes through 12 books a year.  That’s one a month for those of you who haven’t read a lot of math books.  I have you covered for the rest of the year with 5 books I’ve recently read and 5 books I’m gonna read.  That even gives you one to spare in case you’re slightly above average.

Funny story.  I’ve tried to sit down and write this post for the past 3 days and just haven’t been able to do it because my mind is on a book.  It’s not that I keep leaving my post at the computer to go and read the book,  it’s that I just can’t focus because I want to be reading the book.  I didn’t even like the book to begin with.  You know how you can read the first few paragraphs and know immediately if you’re going to enjoy a book?  I read the first few paragraphs of this book and knew immediately I was not going to enjoy it. Not.  Not, not, not.  It was a stupid book and the writing was trying way too hard and it was just not my kind of thing.  A math book would have been better.  A book about a math book would have been better.

But because I paid for the book, felt bad for the writer who had put SO much wasted effort into their ridiculous, elaborately constructed sentences, and still liked the premise of the book, I kept reading.  Because I’m a good human being like that. The sort of person who goes out of their way to help people, who sees the good in the storm clouds and who sometimes even shares her french fries.  A. Good. Human.  Also, I didn’t have anything else to read.

It took a few chapters to get past my annoyance.  By the middle of the book I was shocked to realize I really  liked the book.  And by 3/4s of the way through ( the point I’m at right now ) I can’t stop thinking about getting back to reading it.

The moral of this story? I’m not sure.  But I think it’s to never share your french fries.


There are three genres of books that I always gravitate towards:  Circus folks, WWII and slavery.  I’ve yet to hit a trifecta with a book about all three.

For me, the past year was a bit of a dud for books.  There really wasn’t a single book that I went nuts over like I have in the past with Tell The Wolves I’m Home  or  We Were Liars  (you can read about those in this post and this post.)   But I did read some solidly good books.


Click on the title of the book to read a more complete description or to buy it.

book recommendations


The Little Giant of Aberdeen County was one of my favourite reads from last year.  It follows the birth and life of Truly Plaice. A recordbreakingly giant of a girl making her way through life in the small minded,  small town of Aberdeen, New York.  Just bordering on Magical Realism (Much like The Snow Child) The Little Giant of Aberdeen County confronts themes of body image and assisted suicide.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will convince you of two things.  England has way cooler named little towns than anywhere else on Earth and … you’re never too old to do something remarkable.  Retired beer salesman Harold Fry sets off one morning to mail a letter but passes by the letterbox and just keeps going.  Suddenly determined to deliver the letter in person he travels by foot across 600 miles of England.  What’s not to love about that?

The Remains of the Day is another pilgrimage through England, this time by car.  The book follows Stevens, the quintessential English butler, as he travels across the English countryside in the last years of his fading career, reminiscing about and coming to grips with the truth of his past glory days.  Set in post WWII England, The Remains of the Day raises questions about memory, perception, social constraints and the decline of the British Aristocracy.

Who Moved My Cheese O.K., here we go.  A reader has been trying to get me to read the book Who Moved My Cheese for the past 500 years.  It’s categorized as a Self Help book which might as well be categorized as a Hey Karen You’ll Hate This with All of Your Heart book.  So I just couldn’t bring myself to read it.  Years went by.  Finally last year I bought it and when it arrived I realized it was just a little wisp of a book and I whipped through it in one sitting.  It was like reading a comic book.  And I will wholeheartedly now agree to recommend it to other people.  The message in it is so simple and easily applicable to pretty much everyone on the planet.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry  I forgot one other genre of books that I gravitate towards.  I love books about books.  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one such book.  A.J. Fikry owns an independent book shop in an out of the way seaside tourist town. He is alone and miserable until one day when a package that will change the course of his life shows up.  BAM!  You want to read it now don’t you?!  And you should.





The Kitchen House  I have a tendency to save books if I think I’m going to really love them.  I don’t want the experience to be over.  It’s like when you love a movie or television show so much you think I wish I could see that for the first time again!   Knowing (or at least being pretty sure) that I’m going to love a book results in my putting it at the bottom of the pile time and time again.  I’m doing that with The Kitchen House.  The Kitchen House is the story of a 7 year old girl from Ireland whose parents die during their passage to America.  Orphaned, she finds herself on a Tobacco plantation as an indentured servant working with the kitchen house slaves.

A Man Called Ove  This is one of those backwards cases where I was aware of the movie but not of the book.  I stumbled onto the Swedish movie A Man Called Ove over the winter and loved it with all of my heart.  I included it in my Dinner and a Movie post  where I paired unusual movie ideas with dinner ideas for your weekend enjoyment.  Because as previously proven with the whole french fry sharing thing, I’m a good human being.  It was in the comment section of that post that I learned the movie was based on a book.  I bought that book.

Dear Committee Members I have absolutely no idea how or why I bought this book.  I must have read about it on a list or heard about it somewhere but for the life of me I have on idea where or from who but from the description on Amazon I can’t wait to read it!

Eventide is the second book in a trilogy by Kent Haruf.  I loved the first one Plainsong.  Just the title of it evokes the emotion of the book and author Kent Haruf’s writing. Haruf was a bare bones writer who constructed his novels in the back shed of his house on a manual typewriter and his quiet stories of rural townspeople and their lives reflects that.

In a Dark, Dark Wood is a book I impulse bought at Costco.  One review describes it as the next “Girl on the Train”, which isn’t a big selling point for me since I didn’t like the book and couldn’t even watch the movie.  On the upside the back of the book jacket proclaims Reese Witherspoon liked it so there’s that I guess.  It’s a murder mystery I think.  Or maybe just scary.  I guess I’ll find out and let you know.

As is always the case I expect you’ll be making and leaving your own recommendations in the comment section.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have a book to read.


  1. Martina says:

    Totally on subject… have you tried Smitten Kitchen’s new french fry recipe? It’s life changing: https://smittenkitchen.com/2017/03/easiest-french-fries/
    It produced the best fries I’ve ever made, and I’ve made a few in my day.

    • Karen says:

      You start them in COLD oil!!?? That’s bizarre! I’ll absolutely give them a shot. I LOVE my french fries, but yeah, they’re the Heston Blumenthal method which is boil, fry, fry! ~ karen!

      • Martina says:

        I know, right!!? It’s magic. The cold to warm oil does the job of the pre boiling, but somehow seals them from absorbing too much oil. They tasted *just* like the fries we’d get at the shack by the beach as kids, aka, dream fries.

  2. Naomi says:

    Loved a Man Called Ove. Loved it so much that I then went and read all of Frederick Backman’s other books. I have a new favourite genre – Scandinavian without violent death.

    If you liked The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, you might like The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Catherine Bivald, which is another fantastic book about fantastic books. Plus, it contains an awesome tribute to Fried Green Tomatoes.

    If you liked the Harold Fry book, there’s a good Canadian one with more magic realism and coyotes called Etta and Otto and Russell and James, by Emma Hooper.

    Have you read the Woefied Poutry Collective by Susan Juby? You’d probably like that one, too.

  3. Tiff says:

    In my younger days I read a lot of books to edify and educate; thought provoking and so on. These days I like to enjoy, be able to read in one sitting (3-5 hours) without stressing the brain too much. Just finished ( in one week) the ten Angela Marchmont mysteries by Clara Benson. If you enjoy agatha Christie ‘s Miss Marple or Poirot, you will enjoy these cozy books set in the years between the wars.

  4. Lois M Baron says:

    Hey, I just received a list of circus book today. Hmm, I thought to myself, who told the universe that circus books might be a topic of conversation today? Have you read all these already?

  5. SusanR says:

    There will come a time in life when, after you’ve seen a TV show or movie that you absolutely loved, you just have to wait 3-6 months and you can watch it again, and it will be just like you’ve never seen it before! You can pick up a book that sounds interesting, and get halfway through it before realizing you’ve read it before!

    I don’t have any recommendations, I’m afraid. Two of my favorite books read in life were Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul, both by the late Douglas Adams. I just love the way he describes things in unique ways. I can’t recommend them, though, as they are definitely not books everyone would love. An example of how he describes things: “The ships hung in the sky, much like bricks don’t.” and “Toe Rag reacted like an iguana to whom someone had just complained about the wine.”

    Anyway, no recommendations. But on the plus side, my ancestors were the tailors and seamstresses who made the costumes for the Ringling Brother’s Circus (and later adding Barnum and Bailey) in the late 1800s through some time in the first quarter of the 1900s. I wish I knew more about that history.

  6. Nancy Eggert says:

    Nancy the reference librarian here. I’ve read all ten of your choices and agree, they are wonderful reads. Here are a few titles that I’ve read over the last few months – enjoy!

    -Setting Free the Kites by Alex George – a coming-of-age story, just released in 2/2017
    -The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker – magical realism with a historical setting
    -Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – perfect if you like something lighter or need a little “mental sorbet” if you’ve been reading heavier titles
    -Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor – pure fantasy fun, time traveling historians who are disaster magnets
    -Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance – nonfiction about a hidden American underculture
    -The Dry by Jane Harper – mystery fiction set in Australia during a severe drought
    Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam – entertaining fiction filled with history, family lore and tall tales by the author of Rocket Boys (October Sky)

  7. cbblue says:

    I just finished listening to A Man Named Ove. I really enjoyed it. Perhaps if I had seen the movie I could have read it, but the narrator did such a good job with the character’s voices that I was blown away. I think here in America the title subject should be played by Ed Asner. Really, really good. I am so happy I listened to this book.

  8. NinaMargo says:

    Am obsessed by all, and I mean all, the Western crime Walt Longmire mysteries written by Craig Johnson – and I usually hate western literature. Got hooked by watching the Longmire series on Netflix. I dare you. It really helps to read them in order as they build chronologically.

    Can’t wait to add all these great recommendations to my list of must reads. Thank you!

    • ronda says:

      i love the Longmire books as well. one of many mystery series i have had to purchse ALL the books in! however, the actors in the TV series didn’t match the characters’ appearances in my head, so i passed on watching. happens all too often lol!
      just finished three books in three days, so your list is very timely! thanks Karen!

    • Teresa says:

      I’m watching the Longmire series on Netflix now and love it! I started the first book and then read this post and got distracted and am reading another recommendation because of reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy).
      I’m from Wyoming and have been to Craig Johnson events at the Wyoming Library Association conferences (I’m a librarian) and I didn’t think it would be something I’d enjoy either but I was wrong!
      Already very sad that Season 6 that they are working on now will be the last (and though the story is in a fictional Wyoming town it is filmed in New Mexico….better weather for filming probably).

  9. Alena says:

    I normally eat books for breakfast but I go through phases. Phases when I read nonstop and phases when I don’t read at all (which is right now). I don’t know how that happens.
    Last year, somebody I follow on Instagram said her goal was to read 50 books in 2016. So I started to keep a list of books that I read (easy to do because my library keeps the list for me). By mid September, I read 37 books. Then I went on vacation and I have not read a book since. Can’t explain it – except I work a lot from home (after work, and without pay) because the corporate shit keeps piling up and I feel constantly behind. So it weren’t for that, I would have easily finished 50 books last year.

    I give a book max. 50 pages. If I am still interested after 50 pages, I give up (though this is really rare). You will laugh because one of the few unreadable books (for me) was Water for Elephants which you probably liked because it’s circus-y. I just couldn’t read it.

    Is Kazuo Ishiguro the same due that wrote Never Let Me Go (not sure if I remember the title correctly). That was one morbid book. Not sure if I want to read anything else from him. But, I am always collecting titles to put on my To Read list so thanks for the suggestions.

    • Alena says:

      Dude, not due.

    • Susan says:

      Yes, same author, but the books are SO different. Completely different era, genre, philosophy, etc. I wasn’t crazy about Never Let Me Go (just not the type of book I enjoy), but The Remains of the Day is truly exquisite.

      • Alena says:

        Hi Susan,
        Thank you very much for letting me know. I will give it a try (how could I know after reading your enthusiastic review). :-)
        Have a good summer with lots of good books.

  10. Linn Caine says:

    The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball

    “This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming—that dirty, concupiscent art—and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer.” KK

    I dream that in my next life, I will be her!

    • ellen says:

      I must agree, this is a wonderful book. So much truth in it, and so gracefully written. My recommendations: anything by Barbara Kingsolver, and for the knitter Sweater Quest, My Year of Knitting Dangerously by Adrienne Martini. Bleak House, by Charles Dickens is a cracking good read too.

      • Linn Caine says:

        I completely agree, Ellen about Barbara Kingsolver! Thanks for the other recommendations. I have read every word that Gail Tsukyama has ever written. Start with Women of the Silk.

  11. Dena says:

    If you like books about books as well as circus books, you might like The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. I remember really enjoying it. The story revolves around a research librarian whose family has a history of being involved in the circus, which is a big part of the book. It’s got some slight magical realism in there too with a possible curse.

  12. Barbie says:

    Thanks for the great ideas Karen! I am always looking for a good book to read. B

    Have you read “The Shack” …..took me a long time to do it but glad I finally did…also just saw the movie and loved it. Book of course is even better tho!

  13. TONI says:


    Sorry. I finished the list & remembered your request for lower case versus capitals.
    Next time … I promise !


  14. Mari Tovmo says:

    “Water for the elephants” by Sara Gruen, since you’re into circus. I haven’t seen the movie, but the book is good.
    My absolute favourite the last years is by Anna Gavalda. I don’t know the english title (and I read it in norwegian), but the original title is “Ensemble c’est tout”. (Also a movie, by the way, no idea if it’s as good as the book)

  15. Colleen says:

    The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood. So beautiful. Loved it.

  16. Brenda C. says:

    Karen, if you enjoy “magical realism,” you must read “Of Bees and Mist” by Erick Setiawan. I’ve read it and re-read it twice. And if you are drawn to books about the circus, you’ve probably already read “The Night Circus.”

  17. Tina W. says:

    A Man Called Ove was one of my favorite books of last year. I refuse to see the movie in case it ruins the memory of the book. Unfortunately, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry was not nearly as good. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County was a sleeper for me; a friend had it and I just picked it up for something to do while I was visiting – really enjoyed it.

    Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett is a wonderful story of true friendship.
    The Red Parts: A Memoir by Maggie Nelson was a great read.
    Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross was an awesome police procedural set in Italy.
    32 Yolks by Eric Ripert is a great memoir of learning to cook and how important food can be.
    I second the recommendation by someone else of People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

    I could go on and on and on. I make lists of the books I read and like for each year because I can never remember what I’ve read.

    • Jenifer says:

      I’m adding The Red Parts to my list. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Are you on Goodreads? Much easier to track what you’ve read (and liked) and what is in your queue than making lists. :)

  18. Jenifer says:

    3 recommendations – 1) Furiously Happy: A funny book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. She is absolutely hysterical…and a little on the dark side which I love. 2) Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. Unlikely friends, a road trip, and forbidden love. I LOVED this book! 3) Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. Hate the title but this memoir was amazing.

    The Kitchen House is also in my queue along with Cheech is not my Real Name …But don’t Call Me Chong by Cheech Marin, The Lost City of the Monkey Good: A True Story by Douglas Preston and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

    So many books, so little time…

    • Tina W. says:

      I’m reading The Lost City of the Monkey God right now. I’m about a third of the way through and so far I’m really liking it.

    • NinaMargo says:

      Jennifer, thanks for your recommendations. If you like Jennifer Lawson, I’m adding your recommendations to my list. I loved “Furiously Happy”, my bookclub hated it, thought she needed stronger meds, and wondered why her husband hadn’t left her! If you haven’t read her previous book “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”, you absolutely have to. Really.

      • Sarah McDonnell says:

        ditto. And after reading the book you must Google “Beyonce, the Giant Metal Chicken”.

        • Stephbo says:

          I have already informed my hubby that I fully expect to receive a giant metal chicken for our 15th anniversary.

  19. Billie says:

    Best book of all time for circus / fantasy lovers: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    • Karen says:

      Yup, I liked it. Not my favourite circus book of all time, but that’s because it really was more fantasy than circus. Really good though! ~ karen

  20. Catherine Vosper says:

    “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” is partnered up with “The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy” which is her side of the story and ties up a lot of things and really tells the story. I can’t recommend strongly enough that you also read “The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy”. These complement each other and complete the story.

    • Karen says:

      Okey doke. Thanks Catherine! ~ karen

      • Lauren from Winnipeg says:

        I agree. I really enjoyed Harold and when I started Queenie my expectations were not very high. I mean, honestly, when is a sequel ever as good as the first. I was proven wrong. I actually thought it was a better book. Now I couldn’t think of reading one without the other.

        • RJ says:

          Also, –and I loved H Fry and also Queenie–
          is a wonderful novel abt rural librarians, bringing books to pretty isolated folks: The Giver of Stars. Jojo Moyes.

          Only just a bit off topic.

  21. Elaine says:

    I just love it when you give us your book recommendations, Karen! I’m jotting down your suggestions right now to tuck in my wallet. I read The Kitchen House and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks again!

  22. The Unlikey Pilgrimage of Harold Fry almost made me set off to walk across Canada. Almost.

    One of those books that makes me look for another book exactly like it.

    • Naomi says:

      Etta and Otto and Russell and James is a book about a woman who sets off to walk across Canada with a coyote! It’s awesome.

  23. Sheryl says:

    a piece of the world by Christina Baker Kline

  24. Ron says:

    If you liked the movie Ove you’ll probably enjoy Toni Erdmann as well. The Scandinavians have a unique way of portraying personal traits and relationships in everyday life with great impact.

  25. Sandra Lea says:

    The Kitchen House is one of my all time favorite books. Start reading it immediately. I love these lists and seeing other people’s recommendations. My book club is meeting next week and it’s my turn to choose the book, I just might go with The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.

  26. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen has been on my shelf for years and I just kept passing it up. Last week I picked it up and read it in a few days. I know it is old and everyone has probably seen the movie with Meryl Streep but the book is so different. She has a lovely way of writing and I felt like I was there. Now I need to find another book by her. Also, after you read A Man Called Ove, read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry also by Fredrik Blackman. I loved it.

    • joanne says:

      Oh, yes – I read “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You….” before I read Ove. Loved it, and decided to read Blackman’s other books. “My Grandmothers Asked Me…” is a totaly different style – from a kid’s POV, more fantasy than reality at first (because it is from the kid’s POV) – but I absolutely loved it!

    • LOIS M BARON says:

      Dinesen’s writing is lovely.

    • Allison says:

      I also loved Ove and am now working on My Grandmother Asked Me. I love it also.

  27. “A Man Called Ove” will make you laugh, cry, and hold your breath more than once as you read through a passage.

    I listen to books on audio, and many are easily forgotten as soon as completed. But, not this one. This book was so amazing, so well-written, so tender and touching and funny. I still remember so many details about it after more than two years.

    I’m sure you will love it.

  28. Katie C. says:

    I feel like I’m the minority here, but I did not like A Man Called Ove at all.

    My aunt and uncle recommended it to me and said it was the funniest book they’d ever read and I just found it depressing. Maybe if I’d gone into it without expectations I would have enjoyed it, but I was really disappointed.

    • Karen says:

      Having watched the movie I wasn’t expecting the book to be funny. Amusing at times, yes. “Funny”, no. Well. I guess I’ll see, lol. ~ karen!

    • Susan says:

      I didn’t care for it either, Katie (which makes me sad, since so many people adore it). I thought it was really predictable, including the sassy ethnic sidekick who teaches life lessons formula.

      I also didn’t like The Kitchen House. The characters seems SO inconsistent and constantly made not just ridiculous but bizarre choices — not in an oh-we-humans-are-a-fickle-lot way, but in a huh?? way. Plus, lots of perpetuating stereotypes of the the mammy archetype and so much drama at every turn.

      The Remains of the Day is exquisite. Man, Ishiguro can write!

  29. Wendy says:

    I have read most of your list & loved them, but will look for Who Moved my cheese?
    I will add “Where Did You go Bernadette?” By Maria Semple. Funny writing style, amusing prose, unusual characters. Bernadette is an unusual diy extraordinaire.

  30. Karen says:

    I highly recommend the Exit Unicorns series by Cindy Bradner. It’s set in Ireland during ” the Troubles”. I still have not read the last book in the series because I can’t bear to be done with the experience. So, so good.

  31. Mary W says:

    I couldn’t believe my eyes – you read it! You notice I didn’t nag you last year, again. I have another one but not sure if you would like it – I won’t ever forget it: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It is a true story written by a man for his kids but one that will be read for generations to come. I’m glad you liked Who Moved the Cheese and think this one is worth the read, also. I won’t suggest again, promise. I will be getting A Man Called Ove.

    • Jenifer says:

      The Last Lecture is a great book…I’ve read it and listened to the audio. It is timeless!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I was wondering if you’d be chiming in. ;) It was a good little lesson that’s easy to remember and makes perfect sense. I know about The Last Lecture and I won’t be reading it, but I do appreciate the constant badgering over Who Moved the Cheese, lol. ~ karen!

  32. Jennifer says:

    The Kitchen House was great!
    You should try “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah if you like WWII stories.
    I actually cried in the end, I have never done that with a book in my life, it was so good.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer. The Nightingale is actually in my stack of books right now! :) ~ karen

      • Patty says:

        I second The Nightingale recommendation. You’ll want to move it to the top of the stack. Its a fast read because you won’t be able to put it down.

  33. Chris White says:

    A beautiful, historical read is People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. A book conservator is restoring an ancient Jewish manuscript and small fragments she finds in its pages reveal the stories of the many incredible characters who have cared for and protected the book throughout history.

  34. Joanna says:

    My reading goal is 42 (new-to-me) books this year; you just gave me 7 to add to my list so THANKS!

    Umm since I also just read through your Cheese Grotto post… have you read “The Telling Room”? The full title is actually: “The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese”. Enough said. I loved it.

  35. Nan Tee says:

    I loved The Kitchen House and the follow-up, Glory Over Everything. I also highly recommend The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, loved it! Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult was great, too.

  36. Robert says:

    I got three that I’m not really sure how much you would enjoy, “There once lived a girl who seduced her sister’s husband, and then he hanged himself” a collection of short stories about everyday life in Russia, a little to slow for me but with that title I simply could not resist.
    “A single man” picturing Julianne Moore as her own character in the movie before the rewrite makes it really worth it
    And finally “Call me by your name” a 16 year old Italian boy sexually confused lusting after the 25 year old American that’s spending his summer helping the former’s father at their villa and a scene involving a peach of which everyone will be talking about as soon as the movie by Luca Guadagino sees the light of day some time this year

  37. tracie berry says:

    Hey Karen, you’ll never guess…I finally found a copy of Lonesome Dove, in a thrift shop. I am in the midst of reading it, and finding it very interesting indeed. Just curious if you ever read Terms of Endearment, as you said you would…;)

    • Karen says:

      Not yet. ;) BUT I am glad you found Lonesome Dove! My copy is shredded for loaning it so many times. And by loaning I mean forcing it on people. ~ karen!

  38. Dana says:

    I could not get into the Dark, Dark Wood one. Maybe I need to try it again. The Woman In Cabin 10 is on my list already.

  39. Valerie says:

    Can’t believe I forgot The Curious Charms of Arthur Potter by Phaedra Patrick – a precious book.

    • Gwennie says:

      I loved that book. I hope they make it into a movie with John Cleese as Arthur.

    • Denise says:

      I think you mean Pepper instead of Potter. Just looked for this book and it came up. Looks good and went onto my list. (btw my last name is Potter!)

  40. Sara says:

    I really like your website, but please do something with the pop-up requests for email requests. There are two: one large and one small. They are very annoying because I have to turn my phone several times to be able to hit the x. Thank you for any suggestions.

    This is the FIRST time I have complained about your wonderful my written and informative blog. I enjoy your writing because you can write well and always have something interesting.

  41. Valerie says:

    Dear Committee Members is an perfectly composed humorous treat for anyone who has ever had to endure work mates that are pufffed and full of themselves. It is best to try to read through in one sitting – this will take about 2 – 3 hours.
    In a Dark, Dark Wood is truly creepy but good – her follow up The Woman in Cabin 10 is also excellent.
    I recommend two authors who provide fascinating plots and character development and who are seasoned wordsmiths; Robert Goddard ( mystery) and Eric Larson (historical) particularly Eric’s overview of the 1899 World’s Fair in Chicago titled The Devil and the White City.

    • Karin in NC says:

      Devil and the White City is a real favorite of mine. I LOVE it. Last year I went to a conference in Chicago and happened to mention some little known facts about the city to some of my co-workers. They were amazed at how much I knew about the city so I told them I learned it all from that book. They all immediately bought the book and every single one of them hated it. Hahahahaha!

  42. whitequeen96 says:

    A Man Called Ove is a FABULOUS book! I love the family next door, especially the woman!
    I also really liked The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Funny, I was sure you recommended these 2 books earlier, but maybe they were mentioned in the comments in one of your other posts about books.

    I’m afraid I can’t agree with you on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I found it very disappointing. But different strokes for different folks!

  43. Alex Griller says:

    Kent Haruf, Kent Haruf, Kent Haruf – anything by Kent Haruf. He was the most wonderful writer. I bought all his books in hard copy to keep and treasure, and I normally just throw stuff I’m reading onto my e reader.
    Maybe that’s the real difference between reading electronically and the printed version?? You want the books you really love sitting nobly on your shelf. The ordinary texts can hide in the e-reader.

  44. Jennie Lee says:

    Also, “Life of Pi”, by Yann Martel. I haven’t read my copy yet, but everyone I’ve mentioned it to has told me that they love it.

  45. Jennie Lee says:

    Well, considering what you said about circus folks, I hope you have read “Water for Elephants”, by Sara Gruen. As usual the book is much better than the movie; even if the movie does have Reese Witherspoon. I’d also like to repeat a suggestion I gave you previously: “A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Mooreland, Indiana”, by Haven Kimmel. You have made me laugh many times. This is the funniest book I’ve ever read, and I figure I owe you.

  46. Tina says:

    I’ve been sitting on the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for YEARS, waiting to read it until I had the time to savor it. Then I hated it so bad I had to immediately read a good book. What a disappointment!

  47. Patricia McPheeters says:

    My all time favorite book last year was “The Boys In The Boat” by Daniel James Brown. So, so sad when I finished it. I recommended it to a friend, she read it, I asked how she liked it so far, she said “I couldn’t put it down”. I said,”That’s great! I can’t believe you read all of it already! How long did it take you to read it?” She repeated,”I couldn’t put it down”. She read it in one sitting.

  48. Wendy says:

    Loved The Kitchen House and A Man Called Ove.

    • Karen says:

      Good to know Wendy! I *just* finished the book I was talking about last night so I’m now going to bed to choose which will be my next one. I’m thinking it might be Dear Committee Members. But … who knows! ~ karen!

    • Jen Top says:

      LOVED A Man Called Ove! Loved it so much I didn’t see the movie because I was afraid they’d totally ruined it.

      • merrilee says:

        I just finished it and wondered the same– I’ll wait for Karen to compare them! I’ve heard there are some key characters missing in the movie.

  49. Kath says:

    Just wanted to say how happy I am each time I see an email from you in my inbox!! Always interesting and fun. That, and that you’ve inspired me to learn how to use some power tools this spring. Kath in nyc

    • Karen says:

      Awesome! (and I normally reserve that word for things like Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon) That’s my goal. To inspire people to do stuff. :) ~ karen!

  50. Ann Brookens says:

    You didn’t say which one you are dying to get back to!!! How do we know which one to read first if you won’t tell us?

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