5 Books I’ve Read Plus 5 Books I’m Gonna Read
Part II

I have something special to tell you all.  I had, what was without a doubt, the happiest moment of my entire life yesterday. The kind of moment you don’t think will happen but when it does you think,  Yes.  Thank you.  I really do deserve this and I’m grateful for it.

I got a shipment of books from Amazon.

YESSSSSSSSS.  Today I thought realizing I could probably get away without vacuuming for another day was the happiest moment of my life.

I’m kind of like a dog that way.  BALL? BALL?  THROW THE BALL.  I LOVE PLAYING WITH THE BALL!  Oop.  TWIG??? TWIG??? THROW THE TWIG. I LOVE PLAYING WITH THE TWIG!

I really do get a tingly feeling in my toes when a big box full of books arrives.  I’m not an order one or two books kind of person.  I order them like pancakes.  By the stack.

When last we met, several of you recommended a few books for me to read. In fact if you look at the comment section of the last “5 Books I’ve read, Plus 5 Books I’m Gonna Read” post you’ll see there are hundreds of book recommendations from readers.  I read all of those comments, cross referenced them with reviews from GoodReads and Amazon and put together an Amazon order.  That was several months ago.  I’ve since read my first shipment of books recommended by you and am now moving onto my second shipment.

 

Have Read

 

The Hunger Games Trilogy  3 out of 4 stars

I’d been hearing about the Hunger Games triology for a longgg time.  I wasn’t sure I’d like it but the set was on sale so I bought it.  I absolutely loved the first book.  Could NOT put it down.  Which of course is the sign of a good book.  Or blankie.   The second and third books were good and very readable, but were a little flat compared to the first.  Still an excellent trilogy that you can read in NO time.  Probably because they were written for 12 year old girls.

 

I Still Dream About You – Fannie Flagg 3.5 of 4 stars

I keep going back to Fannie Flagg based on her phenomenal book Fried Green Tomatoes.  So far nothing has equalled that novel, but a few have come close.  This isn’t one of them.

 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver 3.5 of 4 stars

Award winning novelist Barbara Kingsolver is know for her works of fiction like The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Tree but several years ago she wrote a work of non-fiction chronicling a period in her life when she uprooted herself and her family to move to a farm to live off the land.  As in only eat what she could buy locally or grow/kill herself.  Yep.  If that sort of thing interests you, you’ll love this book with all of your heart.  If it doesn’t … it probably won’t keep your attention.

 

 

I read other books as well, these are just a select few I thought I’d bring to your attention.  The one book that came highly recommended by a lot of people was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.   I have tried and tried and I cannot get through this book.  I find the kid (from whose point of view the book is written) annoying, the writing extremely jarring, pretentious and forced.

Mind you, it took me about 6 tries to finally get through Lonesome Dove,  which I hated every time I started to read it.  The Pulitzer Prize winning western is now my favourite book of all time.

 

Will Read

 

The Book Thief –  I’ll admit it.  I have a thing about novels revolving around WWII.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m inexplicably attracted to them.  Two of the best I’ve read … Sarah’s Key and Suite Francaise.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Originally published in 1943, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  An American Classic about a girl coming of age at the turn of the century.  Of my stack, I’m most looking forward to reading this book.  I have no idea if that means I’ll read it first or last.  I’m kind of known for delaying gratification for as long as possible.  Ahem.

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (Book 18 of The #1 Ladies Detective Series) – I love these books.  I just LOVE them.  The television series was even better, but alas it’s been cancelled.   If you’re looking for a series of books that are funny, heartfelt and just make you feel good every time you read them, this is the series to go for.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – I’d heard mixed reviews about this book that’s written as a series of letters.  So I checked the reviews on Amazon and if 1,638 readers gave it an average review of 4.5 out of 5 stars … I think it’s a safe bet I’ll like  it.  Also takes place during WWII.  Which I swear, I didn’t know when I bought it.

Explosive 18 (Book 18 in the Stephanie Plum series) – These are great, no brain books.  You can read them fast, they entertain you and there’s always genuine laugh out loud moments.  You’re not tucking into it for the greatest story ever told, you’re reading it for mindless entertainment, good writing and a guilty pleasure.

 

O.K.  So let’s have it.  Let the next round of recommendations begin …


189 Comments

  1. Stefanie says:

    Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (a mostly true memoire). Hands down the funniest book I’ve ever read!

    • Brittany says:

      Seconded. Chapter 3 (the one about the racoon)had me laughing so hard I was crying. Then I tried to read it outloud to my husband, which just resulted in almost hyperventalating from laughing/trying to breathe.

    • Lauren says:

      DO IT! I’ve recommended it to five people at work, men and women, who have all loved it. It’s seriously I a great book…and I’m kind of a literary snob.

    • Ariel says:

      Must read! I almost choked on kale at work trying not to laugh too loudly while eating/reading during my lunch break. It was embarassing. And totally worth it.

    • Bethany says:

      I am so glad so many have already recommended this one, because I was totally going to. Read it. And if you’ve never read her blog…then I feel very, very sad for you. http://thebloggess.com/

  2. Gabrielle says:

    Very first ones that come to mind:

    “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff” by Christopher Moore (Hi-larious)

    “Blackout” and “All Clear” are a pair by Connie Willis about time-travelling historians from the far future in WWII England.
    (I’ve very much enjoyed everything I’ve read by Connie Willis)

    • Denise Leavens says:

      The Connie Willis books Black Out and All Clear are FABULOUS! They left me with an imprint of WWII London lingering long after I was done reading. Loved them. She has written a few others set in WWII besides these two.

      On a hilariously playful note is Connie Willis’ book “To Say Nothing of the Dog”. I keep rereading this one when I want to laugh out loud.

    • Lucy says:

      I agree with your choice of “Lamb.” I laughed a lot and learned a lot, too. It’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

    • Tara says:

      I also love Christopher Moore. Lamb is a good introduction to him if you aren’t into supernatural creatures. If you find them (vamps, etc) even slightly amusing, then I’d say You Suck is a better intro.

      In terms of WWII books, I’d recommend David Downing’s John Russell series which begins with Zoo Station. All the books are named after train stations. He’s a brit-american with a german son, ex-wife, and girlfriend who wants to stay in Germany to protect them when the war starts. I wasn’t sure about them but read all 5 this summer (I’m obsessive about series).

      • `tara says:

        And I’ll second:
        The Help (interesting historical perspective-is seen as racist by many)
        Enders Game
        The Girl with Dragon Tattoo series (couldn’t put it down but the way 99% of the men treat her made me want to hit all men first, ask questions later. Not a good time in for the hubs).

        Amusing non fiction
        Packing for Mars
        The sex lives of cannibals

        • angie says:

          A note on The Help, a few friends listened to the audio version, book on tape or whatever it’s called now-a-days, and they all agreed that it was the best audio version of a book they’d ever heard.

          A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (Non-fiction) is hysterically funny and you learn stuff too. One of those annoying books you try to read out loud to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the same room with you.

    • Stephanie says:

      ALL Christopher Moore books are hilarious! Finishing up Lamb now..

  3. AnnW says:

    Best book ever: The Power of ONe by Bryce Courtenay. Small white boy grows up in Black Africa. I just learned their is a sequel. Tandia? On the way from Amazon. All the Lee Child books with the hero Jack Reacher. May boycott them in the future because Tom Cruise, the midget is playing 6’4″ Jack. Worst casting ever. Another great book.”Lets not go to the Dogs Tonight:” About white owned farms in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Rhodesia. Eye opening. True story. Sequels abound. I loved most of the 1st Ladies Detective Agency books, but I think they are getting a little thin. I’m reading the book “overdressed” about how our profligate buying of super cheap clothes is ruining the world’s economy and wasting resources. That’s all for now. I keep saying I am going to keep a list of what I read, but I don’t. I love my kindle, but sometimes I get free or cheap books, or buy them from Amazon.

  4. Heather says:

    Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series–well researched with wonderful characters. George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire series is great too–never know what will happen. And finally James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small series–laugh out loud. Esp with your love of farming.

    • Cynthia says:

      I second the recommendation of this writer, Diana Gabaldon. Usually my preferred genre is mystery/thriller or any of the Janet Evanovich books, but Diana Gabaldon’s writing style, characters and settings is well done.

    • Chau says:

      I loved the Outlander series. Diana Gabaldon is a gifted writer. Her research for these books were as thorough as it could be.

    • marne says:

      Seconding (or thirding or whatever) Outlander and Song of Ice & Fire. Both are epic!

    • Heidi G says:

      I also highly recommend the Outlander series. Diana Gabaldon’s books are my favorite. I would also recommend George RR Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire series, although with a caveat that his books take a lot of mental energy to read.

  5. Heather says:

    Whiskey Rebels by David Liss.
    Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.
    Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore.

    • Denise Leavens says:

      Jasper Fforde’s entire Thursday Next series (of which “Eyre Affair” is the first) is wonderfully funny, and pokes a lot of fun at literature, sci-fi and time travel.

  6. Bev says:

    I loved the Guernsey book (and Sarah’s Key), really enjoyed the HungerGames trilogy and have just started the Book Thief.
    Just finished a number of YA books which I have really enjoyed as well:
    Divergent and Insurgent
    Blood Red Road
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (WWII)
    One for the Murphys
    The One and Only Ivan
    (each Monday there is a meme called It’s Monday, What are You Reading?” – lots of great books shared each week)

    • Jennifer H. says:

      The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was amazing and heartbreaking. Definitely second this recommendation. I also have the movie in my Netflix cue but haven’t watched it yet.

      • Karen says:

        Jennifer H. – I’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the book. 🙂 Movie was great. But then again … I hadn’t read the book. ~ karen

  7. karenagain says:

    While attending the hubby’s brother’s wedding in the home town of Brent Butt, I picked up a book entitled ROOM. It is a novel by Emma Donoghue.

    A boy turns five years old. He lives in a room 12′ by 12′ with his Mom. He doesn’t know that anything exists outside the windowless room. His Mom tries to make his life as normal as possible within the confines of their room.

    This was kind of a stupid book, but I couldn’t put it down and I can’t stop thinking about it and recommending it.

  8. Elise says:

    Wow, that list is AWESOME! I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Book Thief one after the other last year, and both brought me to tears, made me laugh, and made me wish they didn’t end.

    Also, Janet Evanovich is pure gold, i laugh so hard i can’t see the page, and when i’ve calmed down, i inevitably reread the same line again, so it takes me a good half an hour to get through a page…

    Email me if you ever want to talk/wax lyrical about any of those!

  9. Dawn says:

    Ooo – if you liked the Hunger Games trilogy, try the Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner, and/or the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness 🙂

  10. Barbie says:

    Do you ever read any of Nora Ephron? She is so hilarious and I love the way she writes! “I feel bad about my neck” is my favorite! You would LOVE.

  11. Court says:

    Just finished Hugh Howey’s “Wool” (the Omnibus edition). Was sad I finished it so quickly; the nearly 1400 five star reviews are on par. I loved it! Gladly, Howey is still making additions to the series (Omnibus includes books 1-5), and #6 just arrived. I’ll be thinking about Wool for a loooong time.

  12. shauna says:

    okay – I’ve read all the recommendations from your past “5 plus 5” and the ones above. I gobbled up Hunger Games and agree that book one is the best, the others ok. Janet Evanovich is fun and I’ve read all 18. And Ender’s Game is one of the best books I’ve read (and I’ve read plenty). But if you haven’t read Lee Child’s Reacher novels then you haven’t lived! These are the fastest paced, most enjoyable reads I’ve found in the past two years. There are 12 or 13 of them and they certainly have a formula – but it’s a good one. Reacher is a great anti-hero and the stories are so urgent you can’t put these books down. My husband and I are both hooked and have read them all. (He reads them on his iPhone). Violent, no holds barred but really entertaining. Not for those who love pages of flowery description or moody maunderings! Enjoy.

  13. Lucy says:

    On my way to bed (it’s almost 1 a.m., but I’ll still read for an hour or so before really calling it a night), but wanted to thank you for the new round of book recommendations and for picking up the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is one of my all-time favorite books, but my s-i-l was unable to get through it. I hope you like it. I’m a Janet Evanovich fan, too. The books are perfect for vacation trips. They aren’t prized possessions, so I often leave them somewhere along the way when I’ve finished one. Since you’re a WWII book fan, I highly recommend Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley. It’s the TRUE story of Iwo Jima — you’ll be surprised what you thought you knew but didn’t. It was triumphant and heartbreaking at the same time. Off to read….

  14. Laura says:

    All Over But the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man, both by an Alabama author named Rick Bragg. I also love historical fiction, and Phillippa Gregory has several great novels about the kings and queens of England and all their drama. They are juicy and scandalous but not x rated. Or you could just read the Little House series 50 times over, like me. I was meant to be a pioneer or Amish, I swear.

    • Karen says:

      I know the feeling. ~ karen

      • Patti says:

        Haha! My sister is totally like that, too – and, in fact, volunteers at her local Pioneer Village for fun. She churns butter and stuff. We realized that she *actually* wanted to be a pioneer when she dressed as one for like 5 years in a row at Hallowe’en. Her favourite book is the Root Cellar. It got her hooked.

  15. Tabitha says:

    If you like WWII novels, try _Code Name Verity_. It’s amazing and full of interesting surprises.

  16. Vaughn says:

    Swamplandia!

  17. Alison says:

    Totally agree with stefanie! Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a nonfiction laugh out loud book. Easy to read and kind of reminds me of your writing style and humor.

  18. Jenny says:

    Ahem – the 50 Shades of Gray trilogy!! They were NOT written for 12 year old girls 🙂

  19. Mollie says:

    Room. And Rules of Civility. My two recent favs. But Guernsey is one of my all time favorites — read that one first!

  20. Renee says:

    Gone Girl – I just finished it and read it in two days. I could not put it down!

    • Pam says:

      I loved Gone Girl until the ending and then I hated it!

    • Michelle says:

      I loved Gone Girl and it was a good, quick read. The ending was sort of a let-down at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. It made sense to me to go with the characters. Highly recommend.

  21. Lyn says:

    Loved The Book Thief so much!
    I’d recommend, if you haven’t already read:
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
    American Gods
    All of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad novels
    The Hypnotist
    Case Histories
    Practical Magic (OK, that’s a really old one, but Alice Hoffman is my favorite living author)
    The Keeper of Lost Causes

    I could go on & on…

  22. Janet says:

    The Pull of the Moon – Elizabeth Berg
    Actually anything by Elizabeth Berg – by far my favourite author

  23. Sharon says:

    I just finished reading “Gone Girl” which I had a hard time putting down. The suspense just about killed me. If I hear one more reference to the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series, I think I just might gag! I’m sinking my teeth into “Butterfly” by Kathryn Harvey. Loving it so far. “Wild” was good as well. I listen to books on my IPad through audible.com. A fun way to read by someone telling you a story.

  24. Beckie says:

    The Help..Kathryn Stockett~ it took me a bit to get into it, but it was really good by the end

    A Discovery of Witches
    Shadow of the Night …both by Deborah Harkness~ for me, you can never go wrong with vampires and witches and this is really well written vampires and witches

    Gone With the Wind…Margaret Mitchell~ *my* favorite book of all time…I’ve read it about 12 times or better…there have been times where I have read the last page, turned back to page 1 and began to read it again, right then and there. Everyone know the “love story” of GWTW but it is so much more than that.

    Summer Sisters…Judy Blume~ Judy Blume for big girls…easy read for a lazy summer day

    She’s Come Undone…Wally Lamb~ you will never believe this is written by a man…it is so…inside a woman’s head…couldn’t put this one down

    I buy books like pancakes too!

    • Kimm says:

      Thanks for sharing your book recommendations. I found so many that I want to read!

      “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett is one of my all time favorite books. I listened to it on Audible rather than reading it. I would highly recommend listening to it. There are several different narrators, which really bring the characters to life. I know this is about books, but the movie version is fabulous also. One of my faves!

      The “Mortal Instruments” series by Cassandra Clare is really good YA fantasy. Couldn’t put them down.

      Happy reading!

    • Lucy says:

      Aaaahh, “She’s Come Undone….” That one gets my vote, too. He’s a great author and, as you say, you’d never know it was a man writing this.

  25. Kari C. says:

    Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers – I am not a Christian fiction reader at all, but this is one of my very favorite book series. So good!

    Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

    Happy reading!

  26. Janet Evanovich is my favorite, I have all of them in HC and have converted a lot of friends. Sue Grafton (alphabet murders)use to be but, after Janet, not so much. Her latest books are getting better. Charlotte Vale Allen’s SOMEBODY’S BABY is excellent. Have only loaned it out once (to an ex librarian). Sdney Sheldon’s THE DOOMSDAY CONSPIRACY. John Grisham’s THE CLIENT was hooked from page one. Once you get past the first chapter books- THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (when the oldest 2 boys complained of summer boredom I handed him TCOMC and said get past the first 2 chapters. It is now one of their favorites and are arguing who gets it after I die). There are so many but, so little space. I love my kindle but, love the feel of a book in my hands.

  27. burbhappy says:

    The Age of Miracles | Karen Thompson Walker

    I found this unsettling/disturbing, but am very glad I read it.

  28. Susan says:

    Don’t bother with 50 Shades of Drivel. Not worth the paper it’s written on. But great promotional work by the editors or there are a lot of bored women out there.
    Beach Strip, on the other hand is an excellent detective, sleuthy type of book. A can’t put it down til I’m finished kind of summer read. Set on Burlington Beach Strip it about a cop’s wife who finds him dead and proceeds to find his killer after his fellow officers claim it suicide. Excellently written by a very dear friend of mine, John Reynolds. An award winning author, John has captured my imagination and I can’t wait for the sequel. I hope there is one. You are welcome to borrow my copy. ;-)!

  29. Mary Kay says:

    I just finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Triology – very good!

  30. Heather says:

    The Tent, the Bucket and Me

  31. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    I love that you are an avid reader, Karen! I’m also drawn to WWII novels and have read a mountain of them. Of the stack you are about to read, I LOVED The Book Thief and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!

    Some of my recs are:

    The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

    The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani (right now the paperback is a bargain book on Amazon)

    Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (right now the paperback is a bargain book on Amazon)

    Daughters of Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt (right now the paperback is a bargain book on Amazon)

    Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet by Stephanie Cowell

    The Long Song by Andrea Levy

    The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith H. Beer

    Perfect Peach by Daniel Black

    Enjoy!!

  32. Diane says:

    I don’t recommend reading Steve Jobs biography. It has taken me 4 months and my Kindle tells me that I’m still only at 23%. Which is disappointing since I was looking forward to reading it for so long. He was a fascinatingly brilliant man….the book, however, is not. It’s long winded and every last detail of a kilobyte seems to be explained thoroughly. Which makes it more of a technical manual, if you’re into that sort of thing.
    But I will stand behind anything that Sophie Kinsella writes. If new to her novels I would recommend starting with the Shopaholic series. I never laughed out loud so hard because of a book. It is a really funny and easy read.

  33. Bonnie says:

    The Night Circus ( fantasy love storyish) and Gone Girl( mystery thriller).

  34. Lisa says:

    Thanks Karen! I am the person who orders one or two books at a time… I just ordered Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Can’t wait to dive into it! ~ Lisa

  35. Samanatha says:

    Unbroken. by Hilldebrand I think…she wrote Seabuscuit…I think. Anyway..if you like WWII reads, this is hands down, best book I’ve ever read. True story and I’ve heard rumors it’s being made into a movie. And Life of Pi. Also a movie, this November I think. Oldie but a goodie.

    • Shannon says:

      Thanks, Unbroken looks really good! Loved Seabiscuit, and Hilldebrand is a good writer. Another good racehorse novel is Ruffian: Burning From the Start. Had me in tears.

  36. Kim says:

    I like Barbara Kingsolver, too, but was never able to get through The Poisonwood Bible. I DID love Prodigal Summer and the Bean Trees….both I found incredible! Same with Fanny Flagg…I keep reading, wanting more Fried Green Tomatoes…and as you said, they are close, but FGT is wonderful!

  37. Kelly S says:

    Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander Series…starts out at the end of WWII so i know you won’t be disappointed…I fall hard into these and the family really has to pull to get me out of them….

  38. jen says:

    I also order books by the stack. I read The Guernsey book a couple years ago and enjoyed it. I could not get through the Book Thief and I tried multiple times.

    In my latest stack ordered from Amazon:
    How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (non-fiction, collection of hilarious essays from British Moran)

    Broken Harbor by Tana French (I have her other 3 in this series and really love them)

    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith (memoir about author going through life after losing both parents by early 20’s). SO SO good.

    A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash – set in the mountains of North Carolina, follows an event centered around a snack-handler church. Fascinating read and what I think would end up a really good movie.

  39. I too have read the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. I love these books and count the main characters as 4 of my very best friends. The only problem was that I didn’t get to read another book for over a year. I loved the Guernsey book – and it does take a couple of chapters to get in to it. It is so sweet and I was sorry that it was over. My sister and I liked it better than The Help. Reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell right now and REALLY like it. It is good like Ender’s Game is good – when it is a genre you don’t generally read but it is worth it to cross the line. I’m a Kingsolver lover and am really behind on those so they are probably next on my list. I loved Lonesome Dove and stuck out the hard parts because the television series is perhaps the best thing I have ever seen on television. Wally Lamb books are always good. Read Water for Elephants recently, loved the book, then watched the sucky movie. A Girl Called Zippy by Haven Kimmel and She Got Up Off the Couch (the follow-up) are wonderful (true) books. They are memoirs written from a child’s perspective. Laugh out loud, read paragraph’s to your husband while he is driving (which I NEVER do) funny. Enjoy your reading.

  40. Karla Duell says:

    An oldie but still one of my favorites is Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat. I read it in public school and still recommend it. I also recommend Wildflower Hill by Kimberly Freeman, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Doomsday Conspiracy by Sydney Sheldon, Secret Daughter by Shilpi somaya gowda, Playing for Pizza and The Partner by John Grisham, and Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.

    I also recommend anything by Sohpie Kinsella. Hilarious!!!! She also writes under another name, Madeline Wickham, but is not as funny and much darker humor.

    Enjoy.

  41. Erika says:

    Have to re-recommend Venetian Masque by Rafael Sabatini

    Any of the Georgian romances by Georgette Heyer

    The Vampire Files, all volumes, by P.N. Elrod, who is also an extremely nice person and not at all snooty author. About a vampire private eye in 1930’s Chicago. Excellent attention to period detail.

    The Phoenix Guards by Steven Brust – my all-time favorite, hands down, first on the list of books to take to a desert island for the last 20 years, no book has bumped it off the top yet. The sequel is #2. Venetian Masque is #3.

    • Erika says:

      Oh, and At Home by Bill Bryson, which is a social history of how the house as we know it developed from mud hut to how we live today.

    • Shannon says:

      Vampires, and detectives, AND the 1930’s? How have I never heard of this series before?? Must read it!

      • Erika says:

        And his name is Jack, my favorite male name. In the first book he wakes up on the beach as a vampire, with amnesia, and has to solve his own murder.

  42. Oh yean, and Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith is one of my favorite books of all time.

  43. Amber says:

    A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is excellent, and very touching. I also recently read and enjoyed all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books, especially The Girl Who Chased the Moon. It’s a very quick read, light-hearted and indulgent.

  44. Elle says:

    I loved “The Help” (which you’ve probably read already) – I thought it was the best feel good book I’ve read in a very long time.
    If you’re also interested in WWI and its aftermath, I really like Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series (she’s a female PI in post WWI London who was a nurse in the war)
    Other than that I mainly read about murdered Scandinavians (Jo Nesbo & Henning Mankell).

  45. Keelea says:

    I am an avid reader and to date, my favorite book ever remains to be “Prince of Tides”, by Pat Conroy. The book gets so much deeper into the story than its movie counterpart, which isn’t bad either actually. Besides that Conroy novel, my favorite author of all times is Carl Hiaasen. His books are all based in FL and have an underlying theme of environmentalism, but feature the BEST characters, villians, and story lines. Very smart writing!

    • Karen says:

      Keelea – The fella reads and loves Carl Hiaasen. And the Prince of Tides was excellent. ~ karen

      • Lucy says:

        I was going to give a shout out for Carl Hiaasen, too. All his books are fun and funny. I like the fella even more now…. Tee hee!

  46. Gigi says:

    I am a lurking fan, have been for a long time. Not a post goes by that hasn’t made me chortle (I’m not a chuckler) and secretly wish we were neighbors and have you over for a cuppa Jo and plot an adventure or discuss/marvel at our fellas. But, it was the book review that forced me to write. Have read all 5 of the books In your shipment, love both Plum and Detective series for happy reads. Stay away from the Evanovich collaborative series with another author. Too much silly romance, with a total absence of absurd , goofy situations for heroine to propel herself through.

  47. Brenda says:

    If you’ve read Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”, try the “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. I love the twist on the classics. Another current summer read favorite, “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer”.

    I read Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” for the first time this summer, and I have to say I hated it. It was a story of abuse (child & spouse) and hate, and I found it to be a horrible story. I could not believe that people have been calling this one of the best love stories of all times — yes, I know, it’s a tragic love story. Doesn’t help me like it any better. One thing I learned, I do NOT want someone to love me like Heathcliff loved Catherine.

    I just started the “Song of Ice and Fire” series (i.e., “Game of Thrones”, etc.). Looking forward to enjoying a long series. I hate the depression that comes on from finishing a book/series. It’s like breaking up. I’ll have to start looking for my rebound series.

    I seconded a vote above for the “Mark of the Lion” trilogy. Excellent read.

    Thanks for the recommendations.

  48. korrine says:

    When my sis first gave me The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, I started it and stopped (I guess I wasn’t in the mood for letters), but recently my Kindle broke so I had to pick up an actual book and ….. it is one of my favorite books ever. An absolute joy to read. Sadly, I have no additional recommendations at this time. I have been reading mostly crap.

  49. gogothrift says:

    Middlemarch by George Eliot a classic
    if you love Downton Abbey you’ll love this book

    East of Eden by George Steinbeck another classic
    family saga….. love, murder jealousy the usual messiness but so good

    Mr Darcy Takes a Wife can’t remember author
    It’s a beach read, kinda silly, but I couldn’t put it down

  50. Kristen says:

    Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

  51. Tigersmom says:

    Me Talk pretty One Day by David Sedaris. It is his best, but I imagine you have already read it.

    I still love to reread The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
    I also love his space trilogy Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength

    Please Don’t Eat the Daisies by Erma Bombeck.

    • Karen says:

      Love David Sedaris. And Augusten Burroughs.

      • Tigersmom says:

        It’s funny how David Sedaris always reminds people of Augusten Burroughs.

        I read Running with Scissors and can see why Sedaris would call to mind Burroughs as they both write about their homosexuality and their very jacked-up childhoods. Personally, while both are funny, I found Burroughs to be more dark and much more disturbing. To the point where I really didn’t like the feeling I was left with at the end of the book.

        That may speak to my already depressed state of mind when I read it, though. I like to be moved by things I read and how deeply they affect me is the measuring stick by which I grade them, but his book left me in a place I didn’t want to be.

    • Susan says:

      Please don’t eat the daisies is by jean Kerr. It was made into a movie starring Doris day.

  52. Sheri says:

    I think you would love anything by Christopher Moore, he is hilarious. My favourite is A Dirty Job, but really they are all hilarious. I am waiting for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle myself, can hardly wait for it.

  53. Thanks for that Karen that info is super timely,seeing as I am not a big book reader but will be leaving on a jet plane soon and could use the time to read one!I think I am more a auto-biography girl though,peoples lives fascinate me,do you have one?
    http://www.dawnajonesdesign.com/

  54. Nan Tee says:

    I’m stuck on Jodi Piccoult books for now, with a few others sneaking in. Love Wilbur Smith, although he’s a bit bloody at times. I third the vote for the “Mark of the Lion” books, and have yet to pick up any of Evanovich’s books. I hear that Notorius Nineteen is coming out in November. Maybe I’ll start reading them when she hits 20.

  55. Valerie says:

    I recommended this book last time you sent out the call Karen and will do so again;
    THOSE WHO SAVE US by Jenna Blum. It is available at most libraries.

    The Book Thief and Potato Peel Society – both great reads that I enjoyed.
    Currently reading author Henning Mankell’s books…finished the Wallander series this spring and am on to his other work. When I get to the library and puruse various book in the stacks I end up being fascinated with Swedish mystery authors such as Mankell.
    Ian McLennan is a great British writer who has penned some interesting work; there is always a surprise at the end of each of his books.

    • Karen says:

      O.K. I’ve added it to the list. I’m trying to be diligent this time around by writing an actual LIST of books on my iPhone, as opposed to just thinking I”ll remember them, LOL. ~ k

  56. Valerie says:

    I can’t believe I left out one of the best Swedish writers I dicovered this past year.
    His name is Jo Nesbo and most libraries carry his work.All of his work is excellent, particularly enjoyed Nemesis and The Snow Man

    • Elle says:

      Jo Nesbo is Norwegian (Mankell is Swedish).
      Although both write about police detectives investigating murder cases (Mankell’s Wallander and Nesbo’s Harry Hole) Mankell also deals with social issues in the background while Nesbo is pure evil joy.
      Love both series and will be very sad when they end (have 3 more by Mankell and two more by Nesbo to read)

  57. Hilke says:

    I love the 4 books by Katherine Neville – The Eight, A Calculated Risk, The Magic Circle (my favourite of hers) and The Fire (the sequel to The Eight).
    Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth and the sequel World Without End are also fabulous!
    Follet is currently working on a new Trilogy – the first book – Fall of Giants – is set through the First World War and follows the women’s suffragette movement. I can’t wait for the next book to be out – this trilogy follows several families, American, German, English, Russian and Welsh, through the twentieth century.
    Can you tell that he is my favourite author?

    • Trish says:

      Awesome, I LOVED The Pillar’s of the Earth and I am so excited to here there is a sequel. I’ll be hitting up the library ASAP, so thank you!

      • Hilke says:

        There’s a tv mini series of the sequel – World Without End – that will be shown on Showcase or Bravo this Fall. Did you see the mini series done of Pillars of the Earth?

        • Hilke says:

          The books are always better, but they did a great job on the production.

        • Trish says:

          I did see the Pillars mini series and got my husband hooked. Maybe I’ll check out Pillars for him to read when I check out World without end. Would love to have read it by the time the miniseries comes out, super excited! Books are always better but I do love it when they do a movie based on the book.

  58. Jasmine says:

    House of Leaves

    Somehow the inside of the house is bigger than the outside and is growing.

    Read this book if you want something different and challenging and be sure to get the full color edition (this book is a formatter’s nightmare!) and that you have a mirror on hand. You probably shouldn’t read it if you have a headache.

  59. Rowan says:

    I’ve recently read the whole Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (True Blood was based on it). They were really quick, fun reads.

  60. Gina says:

    In case you’ve somehow missed them, the Spencer mysteries by Robert Parker (not the ones written since his death by someone else)are great….start at the beginning and be sad when there are no more..
    Also Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle
    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
    The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larson
    Anything written by Laura Lippman
    Thanks for all the suggestions! So many books, so litlittle time….

  61. Alison says:

    I hope you will give The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere a look-see. It’s a good book, very heart-warming.

  62. brooke says:

    i just finished an awesomely good book, GONE GIRL
    started out slow like the girls with dragon tattoo books because they gotta give you the back story but holy cow so good.

    Creepy, weird, Good!

    Also the Tara French books are easy to get into there is a new one Broken Harbour she has 3 previous and what’s fun about those is the characters are kind of linked through them.

    The Sookie Stakhouse books are good in the same way Stephanie Plum books are.

  63. Lani says:

    must, must, must read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This is the first in a series of mysteries with the protagonist a 12 yr old girl named Flavia de Luce who is a genius with a “passion for poisons”. Based in 1950’s English countryside. Alan Bradley is also Canadian and this is his first novel…written in his 70s!

    • diane says:

      Lani, I must second your recommendation. Alan Bradley’s series featuring Flavia de Luce is the book/series I most frequently recommend and I read a LOT. Flavia’s relationship with her wicked older sisters is perfect in every way!! Read these, Karen!!

  64. Trish says:

    Three well written novels by Susan Higginbotham set in England during whatever century fighting involved over the crown (yeah, that could be a lot of different centuries, just be happy I know the author and titles;)Queen of Last Hopes, Stolen Crown and The Traitor’s Wife. Not sure which order, but there is an order.

    Anything by Vince Flynn and Nelson Demille.

    Good luck going through all of those lists!

    • Trish says:

      Have you read the Steig Larson series? The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, The Girl that Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and the other one that I can’t remember? The first starts off slow but boy oh boy does it pick up and not stop.

      • kate - vl says:

        many have recommended his books. my cousins absolutely loved them so i read “The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo” but honestly had to force myself to finsh it, certainly didn’t read the other two –

        • Trish says:

          Sorry to hear that, they do get better with every book. The first one really doesn’t pick up until half way through, which can definitely be a turn off. It doesn’t stop after that though, a great series. Movies are great too.

  65. Shauna says:

    Right now I am reading, “How To Raise Your Spirited Child”. I swear, it is taking me forever. It’s not exactly the kind of book you can’t put down, but it is helpful;) I have a ton of books I want to read, but I have promised myself that I will continue reading the book that could benefit my parenting abilities at least until I go on vacation. Then, I might really read a very guilty pleasure that I’ve heard the writing is atrocious, but has been dubbed ‘Mommy Porn’, you all know the book(s)-women everywhere are reading them with book covers on (Fifty Shades of Grey series – which by the way, I’ve heard Ian Somerhalder (my secret crush) might play the lead in the movie. Even more of a reason to read the trashy novel.). I figured after reading How to Raise My Spirited Child for the last few months, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ would be the perfect book to read while in Palm Springs with my Fella;)

    • angie says:

      Shauna, I hope you don’t mind me making this recommendation, but “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know” by Margaret Meeker is an amazing parenting book. Moms get just as much out of it as Dad’s do and it’s very short and to the point. She also has one called “Boys Should Be Boys, 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons” More than any other parenting book, “Parenting with Love: Making a Difference in a Day” by Glenn Latham changed my relationship with my spirited child. Good Luck!

  66. Kay says:

    Started Gone Girl at the cabin and didn’t leave my chair (except for potty break and wine refill). Really good read.

    • Karen says:

      O.k. I’ll add it to the list. Thanks. Is it a series based on a single character or do each of her books stand alone? ~ karen!

      • Kay says:

        This book stands on it’s own, the author has two other books I’m going to check out- enjoyed the dialogue- was well written

  67. Trysha says:

    The Book Thief beats Sarah’s Key any day of the week. TBT earned a spot on our shelf, SK got passed along.

  68. Jane says:

    ‘Theft: A Love Story’ by Peter Carey – Excellent! Also ‘Oscar and Lucinda’. PC is very, very good.
    ‘The Heretics Daughter’ by Kathleen Kent – Great book!
    Everything by Conn Iggulden. I would start with the Emperor series. The Khan series is pretty darn awesome too.
    ‘Charlotte’s story, a Florida Keys Diary’. Not 100% you’d love this, but if you live in Florida – or not – you’d probably find it fascinating. My only wish was for a bit more details – like the recipe for the coconut pancakes.

  69. Ashley says:

    The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein!

  70. Andrea says:

    “The Mammy” by Brendan O’Carroll. Set in Dublin, Ireland, in the 1960’s. It’s a laugh out loud read so far – I read the first 8 chapters on the beach this morning. An easy read that will take you away, as the characters are well developed. Apparently the first in a trilogy.

  71. kate - vl says:

    Karen, i see that lovely stack of books you’ve ordered from Amazon – but can’t you get many of those titles from your library? “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” has been out since the 1930’s, I believe. maybe Canadians don’t have so many libraries as we do in the states – that is thanks to Andrew Carnegie – though i thought he endowed libraries in Canada, too

    • Karen says:

      Kate – Yes I am indeed a member of my library. However, I like to own books. I prefer to buy and keep (loan) them. I like the look of books, the feel of them and I like to be surrounded by bookshelves full of them. ~ karen

  72. Deet says:

    Books live and die by the NY Times bestseller list, but here are gems that you may not find there. So many books, so little time.

    RAPHAEL by D.B. Reynolds, Bk#1 in the Vampires in America series. A hot sexy vampire and a kick-ass Private Eye fight the bad guys and fall in love.

    SANCTUS (BK#1) and THE KEY (Bk#2) by Simon Toyne, Thrillers in the DaVinci Code style. Start with book #1.

    CHARLOTTE COLLINS by Jennifer Becton, The after story of the woman from Pride and Prejudice who marries the pompous Mr Collins.

    ARRANGED by Catherine McKenzie A woman signs up for what she believes is online dating but it turns out to be an arranged marriage site.

  73. gloria says:

    Try the delightful (and I don’t throw that word around loosely) series about Flavia DeLuce by Alan Bradley (born in Toronto, grew up in Coburg). Start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. More about the series at flaviadeluce.com Or…I challenge you to read Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban, a classic. You will think at first, I can’t read this, I’m not getting it, but then it will click in and you’re off and running with it. I’ve read it a dozen times. I think you would like Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated better than Incred. Close & Extr. Loud. I did. I even loved the movie which was panned by the critics. What do they know?

  74. April says:

    Two I just read and loved are:

    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – bonus for you it takes place during WWII 🙂

    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghes

    Loving Frank by Nancy Horan is also great.

    • Karen says:

      April – I tried but couldn’t get through Loving Frank. I’ll give it another shot. ~ karen

      • Sherry (BTLover2) says:

        I just finished Loving Frank as well and I really enjoyed it (surprisingly). Wasn’t interested in the subject matter at all but picked it up on a recommendation. Maybe it just isn’t your thing but it was quite good.

  75. Cathy says:

    Someone mentioned Robert A Parker’s Spenser books – A Must if you’ve never read them.
    Also – The Help, Night Circus, Love Walked In, Room, Gone Girl (have plenty of time open – it’s hard to put down), the Shopaholic Series and books by MJ Rose – First in series is The Reincarnationist.

  76. Heather says:

    Flavia de Luce novels — Harriet the Spy for grown ups. The first one is called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

  77. Shannon says:

    Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon. I don’t think it’s WWII, but it’s set during *a* war, in Spain, and it’s a mystery about books, and there’s a romance, and it’s just so, so beautifully written.

    Also loved The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. It was epic. And epic is such an overused word that I never call anything epic. Except that book.

    I totally feel your excitement about the Amazon box – I have a giant used bookstore near me where everything is a dollar. I’m probably single-handedly keeping them in business.

  78. Bee says:

    Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

    This is hands down the funniest book I have ever picked up. I have given this book as gifts to a few of my friends and my mom, they have all loved it too.

  79. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    Thank heavens someone else has heard of Suite Francaise. I really enjoyed that one.

    Never knew Fried Green Tomatoes was book and I will be looking tonight to see if it’s on Kindle. Loved the movie and watch every time it is on TV.

    Have you read The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje? Excellent.

    The Accidental Tourist – one of my favs

    A Fine Balance – magnificent

    Sigh. Too many books (or e-books LOL) and not nearly enough time.

  80. gloria says:

    High-jacking your comments, Karen, sorry, to ask if any “Flavia DeLuce” fans have read Bradley’s memoir The Shoebox Bible? And what did you think. Apparently, it’s extremely difficult to get a copy for many people who commented on Goodreads. And there were almost 300 comments there. Definitely going on my “to read” list right now.

  81. SamiJ says:

    I get a lot of my books from a trading site (www.paperbackswap.com) — also a great way to send unwanted books out into the world. Some of my faves: the Harry Dresden series (Jim Butcher), The Iron Seas series (Maljean Brooks), The Bird Artist (Howard Norman), I Wish I Had a Red Dress (Pearl Cleage), and for my “remember this?” classic pick, The Country of the Pointed Firs (Sarah Orne Jewett)

  82. Chau says:

    Karen, I did like “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. It brought back beauty of human spirit and the art of letter writing that our internet-driven society has forgotten. I sincerely hope you would like it too

  83. Tina W. says:

    Mountains of the Moon, Night Circus, and Extra Virginity (about olive oil).

  84. Danielle says:

    An interesting read is “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan which chronicles the years Frank Lloyd Wright lived with his mistress. It was one of my book club reads and I thought it would be a yawn fest but actually is interesting (Frank sounds like an ass but talented, ok a talented ass). The true aspects of this story will blow you away (near the end of the book). My book clubs favourite read was ‘East of Eden’ John Steinbeck. An oldie but a goodie. I personally like anything by John Irving. Quirky writing but I like quirky. The world according to Garp, A prayer for Owen Meany or A widow for one year are a few of my favourites.

  85. Brigit says:

    I loved “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” and a great book I just read is The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman (don’t confuse with the Dove Keeper)

  86. Kristin says:

    Chiming in to second (or third or fourth – I stopped reading all the comments) the recommendation of Unbroken by Lauren Hildebrand. Excellent!
    I also recommend The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview, if you are a Pride and Prejudice fan. Puts a different take on Caroline Bingley.
    I have also enjoyed the novels by Emily Giffin.

  87. Stephanie Hobson says:

    Lots of good suggestions here, including some of my favorites. A few writers that havent’ been listed:

    Kristin Cashore – Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue.

    Laurie R. King – particularly the Mary Russell series. Mary is a young woman who is married to the older Sherlock Holmes. (Can you even imagine being married to him?)

    Charles Todd – his books take place during and after WWI.

    Reavis Z. Wortham – The Rockhole and Burrows. Reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird, only in Texas.

    I’ve recently begun using Goodreads to track my reading. Now all I have to do is remember to update it!

  88. ev says:

    “The Help”, very uplifting, includes funny and sad, history, and shame of our nation. (I live in Ohio.)

  89. miriam says:

    I am currently enjoying “How to Be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran. She’s a British columnist who is just hilarious–it’s part memoir, part feminist manifesto. Really, really funny.

  90. Bobbi says:

    Harry Dresden series (Jim Butcher) so far 4 diverse family members and 2 co-workers have gotten hooked on them……

    also “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman…I listened to it on Audible…don’t know how it would have been “in hand”…the voices gave it such richness……..

    I am off to find Gone Girl and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened……

    Happy reading !!!

  91. Janice says:

    A Tree Grows in Broklyn …… one of my faves!!

  92. Tricia says:

    The Night Circus!

  93. Marilyn says:

    I heard Barbara Kingsolver read from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and talk about her year of eating local…amazing. My favorite reads this summer have been Wild, Mudbound, The Angel Makers, and The Dry Grass of August.

  94. Megan says:

    With all this book chat that little word almost went unnoticed – “Ahem.” Don’t worry, I caught it, and am still giggling.

  95. Maggie says:

    My most recent is “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. She chronicles her true story of her solo journey walking from Southern California to the Oregon/Washington border on the Pacific Crest Trail (1100 miles or so – all by herself). She also has a very personal reason to “find herself”. Many things in life don’t turn out the way you want them to – but you can and must live through them anyway.
    Funny, inspiring read. Hope you try it!

  96. Gayla T says:

    I have given Rosamunde Pilcher credit for me becoming the woman I am. I started reading her when I was a young mother in the 1970’s and read everything she wrote. I happened to come across one of the early book in a box when I moved here and got the idea to reread all her books and see how they felt after all these years.I’m loving every page and it’s like going back and visiting people I used to know and haven’t seen in years. I buy as many books as I can on Ebay because the shipping is cheaper and now the books are too. All the book sellers are running scared by the electronic readers and selling books for as low as a dollar each. I search for a book I want and then see who has others on my list. Then I go theough as many books in their listing as I need to fill up a box. When you are paying a dollar a book and they combine the postage I’m probably paying a buck and a half. I bought three boxes a couple of months ago and Rosamunde Pilcher’s books and her sons filled a box nicely. The author I read before this was Patrick Taylor who has written the Irish Country Dr series and I’m anxiously waiting for him to write another. While buying his I came across another Irish author Alice Taylor who is no relation to Patrick. I’ve now read all of her books except one and I ordered it tonight when I found it on Ebay. I also have enjoyed the Miss Julia series. They are Fanny Flagg all over the place, an absolute hoot. I’ve caught myself laughing out loud and that doesn’t happen very often. Both of the Irish authors, Alice and Patrick are writing about Ireland after WWll and I find that is an interesting era to me. I have two more boxes to tell you about but I’m tired and still fighting the infection from the cat bite. Typing makes my arm hurt so I’ll save the others for next time.

  97. Roxana says:

    Infidel – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

    Hunting and Gathering – Ana Gavalda

    Survivor – Chuck Palaniuk

  98. Jamiek says:

    I am currently reading “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson. If you like books about WWII you will like this book. It’s historical non-fiction.

  99. Sue says:

    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbury
    I read it just after Potato Peel Pie Society and though they were nothing alike, I felt like the stars must have been aligned for me to have stumbled across two such wonderful books and read them back to back.

    Something else you might enjoy is the Flavia deLuce series by Alan Bradley. I think the first one is called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I was sucked in to this 11-year old girl’s post WWII world from the first page.

    I love book lists and the recommendations of others, thanks for this post!

  100. Caroline says:

    Best books I’ve read lately are
    1 – the Flavia DeLuce series (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie)
    2 – Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (also check out her blog TheBloggess.com – hysterical!)
    3 – a series by a swedish auther called Camilla Lackberg (1st book is called The Ice Princess)
    4 – a book called 7 An Experimental Munity Against Excess (very christian based but still an interesting read)
    Happy reading!!

  101. Thanks for this post, Karen. I love reading all of the recommendations in the comments! Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer is a favourite book. Now I’ve ordered Animal, Vegetable, Miracle from the library. Thanks for the suggestion.

  102. Jennifer H. says:

    I can’t remember if I commented in the last books post, so apologies if there are duplicate recommendations.

    I’ve read two books by Sebastian Barry (“The Secret Scripture” and “On Canaan’s Side”) and they have both been just breathtaking. I don’t know what it is about his style of writing, but I love it.

    One of my all-time favorites is “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

    If you like Sci-Fi/Fantasy at all, I highly recommend “The Long Price Quartet” by Daniel Abraham. “A Shadow in Summer” is the first book.

    “The Book of Fires” by Jane Borodale

    “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant

    “The Red Garden” by Alice Hoffman

    “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett

    “Room” by Emma Donoghue

    Of course there are tons more, but you’ll never have enough time to read all the books that you get recommended, so good luck with choosing your next group!

    • Jennifer H. says:

      I do have to add one more WWII-based book: “The Paladin” by Brian Garfield, about a boy who lives next to Winston Churchill and ends up doing the deeds no one else wants to do as he becomes a man. Fascinating read.

      And if you like lighthearted reading that’s written well, I love the books by Maeve Binchy. Characters continue from book to book, but the story is written well enough that you don’t have to read previous books to follow the storyline. “Tara Road” was where I started.

  103. sherri says:

    I also loved the Hunger Games and indeed I have a 12 year old daughter who read it first and told me how great it was.
    I am a bit of a geek- I am reading the Harry Potter series. My kids have seen all the movies and now we are working our way through the books.
    A more adult recommendation is “The Drifters” by James Michner.
    great book- also the Dragon tattoo series. Makes me want to visit Stockholm again.
    A Fine Balance by Canadian Rohinton Mistry is heartbreaking but a good read as well as The Way the Crow Flies by Anne Marie Macdonald

  104. Jennifer says:

    I’d like to recommend A New Leaf: Growing with My Garden by Merilyn Simonds (2011). She’s your kind of gardener, I think (i.e. insanely ambitious, and I mean that as a compliment.)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I know. If it isn’t enough to kill me, I feel like it just isn’t worth doing. I have a problem that way. Luckily … it results in good blog content. ~ karen!

  105. Susan says:

    Any book by Alan Furst. He writes spy novels set during WWIi. They are extremely well researched and absolutely gripping. Can’t put them down.

  106. KimS says:

    Rhonda Pollero’s Finley Anderson Tanner Mystery series, starts with Knock Off. Very cute a lot like Evanovich, I think. My favorite author is Jeffery Deaver and his Lincoln Rhyme series. It starts with The Bone Collector. The thing I really like and appreciate about Deaver is how much research he does into his novel subjects–how much you can learn! I also just finished What Alice forgot by Liane Moriarty–it was very good!

  107. Kris says:

    I’m late to the “book selection” discussion, but had to say I loved the Guernsey book and The Elegance of the Hedgehog was one of my favorites. Ive read most of the ones you have just received and they are good too. If you’re into pioneering, try Sisters in the Wilderness, you’ll love it. And an oldie but a goodie is The Egg and I. Both are non-fiction. The Glass Castle is very good, also non-fiction. Good luck! You have your work cut out for you!

  108. marne says:

    I love all the books in your to-read stack, you are going to enjoy them, but The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve re-read that one a couple times.

    Have you read the Flavia de Luce books? The first one is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, I really enjoy that series about a spunky 11-year-old detective (which now that I write that down, doesn’t seem like a selling point, but it works for me). Some other books I’ve read so far this summer: Gone Girl (so creepy and good), The Language of Flowers (liked a lot), Caleb’s Crossing (I really like everything I’ve read by Geraldine Brooks). You might also like The Spellman Files series, by Lisa Lutz. They’re along the same lines as the Janet Evanovich books, lots of LOL moments, quick reads, endearing, quirky characters.

    • Karen says:

      Marne – I’ve read the Spellman Files. The fella likes them more than I do. I like them but the footnotes at the bottom of every page drives me nuts. If I just ignore them, those books and I get along fine. I’ve been hearing a lot about these Flavia de Luce books so I’ll have to put them on the list! THx. ~ karen

  109. Stacy says:

    Late as always but I had to chime in…

    The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls…true story about growing up with her insane vagabond parents.

    And I absolutely LOVE anything by Michael Lee West. Her books are based on women in the South, very quirky and funny. Crazy Ladies and Mad Girls in Love are 2 of my favorites.

    Also enjoying What on earth have I done by Robert Fulghum.

  110. Laurie says:

    A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flag is a touching story that my book club enjoyed. We also loved The Cape Ann, The Empress of One and Gardenias, all by Faith Sullivan. I don’t think anyone has mentioned this author and she is wonderful. Our media specialist always recommends her. I loved The Book Thief and did not care for Sarah’s Key,enjoyed the historical portion of the story but was annoyed by the fictional part. I am enjoying all the comments on this post-thank you!!

  111. candace says:

    I feel the same way about books, true love 🙂

    Just started this, and it’s right up your alley I think:
    Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff (an epic story about a WW2 rescue mission).

    Others I recommend:
    The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. An interesting & quick read.

    Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn. Excellent memoir, and best title ever!

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I recommend this one to everyone – such a wild story.

  112. Paula says:

    Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Would have never thought I could even get through it and I ended up loving it. I read it 23 years ago and still love it.

  113. hannita says:

    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell is one of my favorite books. It’s about the first Jesuit mission to another planet. It starts off a bit slow but is just fascinating. There’s a sequel out too that I would recommend.

    Russell has also done some historical fiction. Doc: A Novel is a fictionalized biography of Doc Holiday (of Tombstone fame) and I really enjoyed it.

    I am also enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Much better than the television show I think.

    Also, if you can get the Guernesey book on audiobook I highly recommend it. It adds a little something. =)

  114. Susan S says:

    Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

    But may I suggest the Cat Who Mystery Series by Lilian Jackson Braun– It has cats, crime and more often than not, food! Not just any food mind you, but fancy foodie food.

  115. Pat says:

    I read about 50 pages of 50 Shades of Grey and just could NOT get passed the very poor writing. I totally agree with comment of “drivel” and wouldn’t waste my precious reading time on it. It is total hype which is going to enouragement more drivel on the market. Just my personal opinion. I have a friend who loved the whole erotica aspect of it.

  116. angie says:

    Thanks for the book post! I’ve just added so many more books to my “to read” list. Here are my recommendations….
    Non-fiction:
    anything written by Malcolm Gladwell
    “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” by Christopher McDougall
    “Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise” by Ruth Reichl
    Fiction: besides what’s already been mentioned
    “The Road” Cormac McCarthy
    “Tallgrass” Sandra Dallas
    “Enchantment” Orson Scott Card

  117. Adrienne says:

    I’m a bit late to this post, as I’ve just discovered your blog (via Pinterest) and I am completely in love with your writing and sense of humor! I’ve been reading old posts for about a week and emailing them to friends because they make me actually laugh out loud.

    Some books I love to recommend:
    Bel Canto (gorgeous prose)
    Cold Mountain (you’ve probably read this since i think you mentioned Charles Frazier…I had to pick it up 5 times before it hit me the right way and now it’s in my top 5)
    The Crimson Petal and The White (compelling writing)
    A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius (some say its overrated but I must have read it at the perfect time in my life)
    This Is Water by David Foster Wallace (something I should reread regularly to keep my empathy tuned in)
    Any book by David Sedaris (especially the short story titled 6 to 8 Black Men)
    Bossypants by Tina Fey (brilliant woman)
    Under The Tuscan Sun (delicious)
    The Red Tent (a favorite despite my utter lack of Bible knowledge)
    Girl with a Pearl Earring (only Chevalier book I’ve liked so far)
    Atonement (beautifully written)
    The Reader by Bernard Schlink (beautiful story)
    Running with Scissors (makes my family look like Leave It To Beaver)
    Julie and Julia (not chick lit! And quite funny.)
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog (better on audiobook…should have won awards)
    Any book by Amy Bloom (the kinds of books that you underline sentences in because they’re so lovely)
    A Short Guide to a Happy Life (feel good stuff yes, but a good reminder of what life is about…and it’s short)

    Mostly old books because its been a while since any have struck me like most of these did. I have high hopes for 2013 as I’ve read many good reviews already. Now to find the time!

    Thank you for your blog! I’m all in.

    Adrienne in Atlanta

  118. Susan R. says:

    Cornish Trilogy
    Atlas Shrugged
    The Giver
    For One More Day

  119. nancyeileen says:

    As usual, I love your posts and foloowers 🙂

  120. Whitney says:

    I just started reading your blog, hence why I’m commenting on this post now, but I hope you had the chance to read The Book Thief! I read it in high school a few years ago and fell in love with it, such an interesting perspective to write a book from.

  121. Pattie says:

    I can’t believe that no one has recommended City of Thieves by David Benioff. Setting is World War II, the Nazi siege of Leningrad. two young men have been arrested and in order to save their lives have been given a near impossible directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. The book is funny, sad and thrilling.
    Was a NY Times bestseller, published 2008 or 2009. Everyone in my book group of 24 liked it very much and their boyfriends and/or husbands liked it too!

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