Book Club

I don’t belong to a book club. In fact I never have, now that I think about it. One more thing that’s weird about me. Anyway, I thought I’d like to start a page that lists books that I’ve read and what I thought about them. Great place for you to comment and add yours too. (Please don’t expect too much here. I hated doing book reports in school and not much has changed. There won’t be any deep or meaningful analyses here.)

So, here are the books I’ve read recently, in reverse order:

514958ss-9l-_sx318_bo1204203200_The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

Oh my! Now I know what everyone was raving about. This book packs a punch. I read it in two days. “I can’t talk right now or cook dinner or help you with your homework because I’m binge-watching this book.” I read it almost non-stop. I just had to know who done it, you know? This is the perfect book for travel because it’s such an escape. I really wanted to see the movie but insisted on reading the book first. But I don’t think I’ll watch the movie at all since I’ve heard it’s not at all good which is sad because I really like Emily Blunt.

 

 

UnknownThe Chaperone
by Laura Moriarty

This has been on my to-read list for so long I forgot who recommended it. I sort of thought I wouldn’t like it, but then I DID. It starts in 1922 and goes almost until present day. It is filled with secrets. Funny, I really liked The Secret Keeper and this has a lot in common, and soon I’m going to start The Husband’s Secret. The Chaperone proves that we can all change, be less judgmental and get second chances. I recommend it!

 

41+b8t5VrOL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Circle
by Dave Eggers

Think George Orwell’s 1984 only Big Brother is not the Government but Corporate America. If you live/lived in Silicon Valley like I have you’ll recognize and be quicky seduced by the fun, cutting edge, rule breaking Circle (Google? Facebook? A combination?) I read this on vacation and even though I wouldn’t call it a summer read, it was a page-turner.

 

41m0N7IIcsL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

I only recently became aware that I am in introvert. I never wanted to believe that because I think I’m pretty outgoing and social. I have fought against the stigma of being shy and thought I was winning. This book has changed the way I look at everything. I am quiet. I like quiet. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

513257+1FeL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Breakfast with Buddha
by Roland Merullo

This was the first book I’ve gotten through Audible. It took me longer to get through it because I had to listen to it instead of read it. It’s strange, but I think I would have rather read it. It had some real spiritual gems in it, though.

 

51I+HUwj6zL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_The Secret Keeper
by Kate Morton

This was really good. Gripping. It started off slow, although beautifully written, then an unexpected event slaps you across the face. It’s written with such artistry and the author does such good job transporting you to the time and place. Present day England and World War II England. Back and forth. So vivid. The plot pulls you in that you have no choice but to speed read it at the end.

 

The Vacationers
by Emma Straub

I read this over the summer. I felt I had to. I mean, look at that cover. Perfect lounge-lit. I recommend it. If you like to delve into the dysfunctional lives of wealthy New Yorkers and their family vaca plans gone awry. Which I guess I do.

 

Passion Blues
by Sister Ramona Cecille DailyA collection of poignant, passionate poetry, told from an African-American Christian woman’s view, beautiful and challenging, painful and powerful.

 

 

61xXwWYswrL._SX365_BO1,204,203,200_Displacement
by Lucy Knisley

I hear about books, you know, in magazines. I put them on my Amazon wish list, so I don’t forget about them. Then, sometimes, people buy them for me for my birthday. This is one of those books. I didn’t know it was a graphic novel until I opened it. I don’t really read graphic novels. But this little guy kind of won me over. I love the illustrations!

 

The Affairs of Others
by Amy Grace Loyd

This is a literary get-a-way. The writing is well-crafted and it transports you to the time and place of the events with such vividness. You need to give it your full attention, preferably lying by the pool while everyone you live with is mysteriously absent. It’s a little dirty, but who doesn’t prefer their novels a little dirty?

 

My Sister’s Keeper
by Jodi Picoult 

Remember this book, which came out about 10 years ago, about a girl who’s parents force her to be a donor for her sister who has leukemia? It didn’t appeal to me then. If I had read it then (before I had kids) I might have had a completely different opinion. Anyway, it looks at a terrible situation that has no good solution, from everyone’s point of view. It was so much more engaging than I thought it would be. I liked it a lot.

 

UnknownLove and Chaos
by Gemma Burgess

Ahhhh, summer. Time to read silly books about silly girls. This book starts out with the main character lamenting that she’s almost 23 years old and still hasn’t figured out life! It’s amazing I continued and finished it. I keep reading Young Adult and not realizing that I am. Actually, this is technically “New Adult”. I think I want to like this genre but I struggle to relate to the protagonists. Is it because I’m out of touch with my younger self? Or is it because these girls seem so girly and sweet compared to how I was?

Cooincidentally, right after I finished this book, I read this blog post, on A Cup of Jo about the author. Afterwards I decided she was a very funny and witty writer. I guess I relate to her as an adult. 🙂

 

UnknownWhen You Are Engulfed in Flames
by David Sedaris

I just finished reading this. If you’ve never read anything by David Sedaris, you should! His short memoir stories are always absurd and relatable at the same time. You’ll laugh and then feel a little bad about it. To redeem yourself, read the book below:

 

9781570628399Start Where You Are
A Guide to Compassionate Living
by Pema Chodron

I love this book and I’m just starting to re-read it. It’s a simple, approachable, easy to read book about the sometimes complex, painful practice of meditating, loving yourself and getting along with others.

 

Divergent
by Veronica Roth

Okay, yes, I read this young-adult best-seller. In my defense, it was a gift. I saw the Hunger Games and liked it and this didn’t have any vampires, so I gave it a shot. Both books I read this summer, Divergent and The God of Animals have a common theme—young girl braves the harsh realities of life and loses her innocence. Sort of the theme of every book, right?

 

unknownThe God of Animals
by Aryn Kyle

Did you grow up riding horses? I did. This a coming of age tale told from the perspective of a young girl who’s family owns a horse farm. Beautifully sad.

 

Carry On, Warrior
by Glennon Doyle Melton

Amazing. So good. So, so good. I just recently found her blog Momastery.com and really love it. I pre-ordered the book. Just finished it this past Friday. I want to recommend it to all my girl friends, mom or not. So powerful and full of Good. Get it. Read it.

 

The Goldfinch
by Donna TarttI had seen this book recommended so many times. I asked my husband, “Didn’t you get that for Christmas?”. “I think so”. “Do you mind if I read it first?” “Go ahead.”

770 friggin’ pages! I loved reading it, though. The writing was so good. Really the best book I’ve read in years. So engaging. I was looking through my Amazon history. My husband did get for Christmas. From me.

 

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

It’s tough to get into a book about nazi Germany. I’m not sure if I liked it. Painful. Thought provoking.

 

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett

A great read. I can’t even begin to synopsize it. And I don’t want to spoil any of it for you. It has a little in common with the non-fiction work Mountains Beyond Mountains, which coincidentally was also given to me by my Aunt Joan. Why am I so drawn to medical drama? I must have been a doctor in a former life.

 

The Year of the Floo
by Margaret AtwoodI found this, of all places, at the library! I’ve loved Margaret Atwood ever since I read The Handmaid’s Tale. She’s amazing. I’m not a big fan of Sci-Fi, but her writing really makes me think about our society and where we’re heading. It’s the second in a trilogy, the first being Oryx and Crake, recommended by my very literary friend Laura. I guess I’ll be reading the next one: MaddAddam.

 

The Keeper of Lost Causes
by Jussi Adler-Olsen

If you liked Stieg Larssen’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you’ll probably like this. I didn’t. I mean, it was a page-turner, like all good crime/suspense thrillers, but it was so dark. Maybe it’s more of a dude’s book.

 

Good in Bed
by Jennifer WeinerI thought I would like this more. I picked it up after reading about this writer and how she advocates for women writers getting more press and more respect. Maybe I wasn’t the right age for it.

 

Beautiful Ruins
by Jess Walter

You’ll want to read this in the summer, by the pool. Which I did. Perfection.

 

Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy

In progress. I started reading this on my iPhone. It was a free iBooks download. Then I checked it out from the library. It looked really impressive on my night stand. I read a few pages before it was due back. Now I’m reading it on my iPad. Occasionally. I should be done in a few decades. I really just wanted to see the movie and the costumes, but felt like I should read the book first. What is wrong with me?

The Right-Hand Shore
by Christopher Tilghman

A gift from my cousin, Christopher. It’s about a family who lives on a plantation on the eastern shore from the time before the emancipation of the slaves. I learned a lot about grafting peach trees.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

I thought I read this a long time ago but I guess I must have just seen the movie. Ah, Gregory Peck. But seriously, I loved this book. The rich descriptive writing from a time and place that is so unfamiliar to me, yet somewhat meaningful because it reminds me of the stories my stepmother told of her childhood in southern Virginia.

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
by Mindy Kaling

So breezy and likable. I read it at the beach. I wanna be Mindy when I grow up.

The Answer Is Yes: A Novel
by Sara Lewis

Surprisingly good. I took it on my trip to California this summer. It was gathering dust on my bookshelf. I’ve had it for years and never read it. Probably because my mother gave it to me. She always gives me books that seem to say, “I’m not the worst mother that ever lived” i.e., White Oleander and She’s Come Undone.

The Answer is Yes is a really cute little page-turner about a girl who loses her job and thinks her marriage is over and ends up stumbling upon the Institute of Affirmation where she kind of redefines herself.

A Doll’s House
by Henrik Ibsen

 

I read this in high school and remembered some of it. It was so good to reread it. It’s about a woman who goes from ignorance to experience (what protagonist doesn’t?) about her marriage, her husband, her identity as a wife and as a woman. I think every woman should read it. EveryONE, really. What’s amazing is that it seemed so modern. So relevant to today. Hard to believe this was written in 1879.

 

Sermon on the Mount
by Emmet Fox

I finally got around to reading this book that everyone says you have to read. I managed to bear through Fox’s initial bossiness until I got to the real pearls of wisdom. Pretty mind-blowing. I mean all the good stuff comes from another book, but he does present it in a way that made me think about God and spirituality in a new way.

The Happiness Project
by Gretchen Rubin

Loved this book. I not only read it, I DID it. And I am happier because of it.

 

 

A New Earth
by Eckart Tolle

A must read. It will sort of blow your mind. If you’re ready to have your mind blown.

 

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
by Tracy Kidder

This book changed my life. It shows what one man can accomplish by being really unrealistic and stubborn. If you haven’t heard of Partners in Health, check them out. Then donate money.

7 Responses to Book Club

  1. Tracy Bingaman says:

    Leigh, Thanks for sharing! It’s always great to get recommendations to add to my ever growing book list. I really enjoyed this post! -Tracy

  2. Angela says:

    Wow…you really have gotten a lot of reading done. good for you. Loved your mini reviews. I bought A New Earth and it is collecting dust…just can’t get into it. May have to try again.

    • Leigh says:

      Angela, this is over a few years. I have a new earth on audio disc. It’s the sort of thing that’s easier to listen to.

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  4. Joan Lintz-Thompson says:

    Love your list, and comments. Books I’ve read and love.
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Set is France and Germany pre WWII, and during. It is engaging, and beautifully written.
    Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – Another good book.
    Nightingale by David Farland – Another story set in WWII. I love historical fiction. Can you tell?
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – love me a story about little lads and their quirky shenanigans.
    Anything by Jane Austen.

  5. Pingback: Book Club: Go Set a Watchman » Leigh Feather

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