What are you reading?

hhirenoFebruary 4, 2014

Aren't we overdue for a reading suggestion thread?


What are you reading? What can you recommend?

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Saturday I went to the bookstore to buy "Defending Jacob", and due to a conversation with the shop owner, came out with "Regeneration" by Pat Barker, the first of a trilogy.

This is historical fiction, written by a British writer who takes us inside the mind and heart of a British officer who refuses to continue to serve a war that he deems "senseless". It has historical facts, an intricate plot and has me spending time lounging around in pj's on weekends.

One of the reasons I enjoy browsing in bookstores is that I find books that I might not otherwise consider.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:00PM
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I just finished Mrs Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini. I enjoyed the story and the depiction of a free black woman in Civil War Washington DC.
I put down The Goldfinch, which according to the best-sellers list I am supposed to like but didnt. I may pick it up again I only have a 100 pages or so left and I always feel guilty when I dont finish a book. I just found the main character so frustrating.
I think my next book is The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman. It is a recommendation from a friend.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:19PM
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I've been reading all of Helen MacInnes' books again because there hasn't been anything new published to interest me. I mostly like to read in the mystery and suspense genre with an occasional sci-fi book thrown in, but none of my favorite authors have released a new book lately. I think Jonathan Kellerman has one coming out soon so I'm looking forward to that one.

I agree with Bonnieann925 that I found more books to read when I would browse in bookstores. I think I need to find a local bookstore that I can enjoy.

In the meantime, I pre-order ebooks by my favorite authors from Amazon and have nice surprises on those Tuesdays when one of the pre-ordered ebooks shows up on my iPad.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:24PM
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I just finished Brad Thor's First Commandment (I believe it's the 5th in the Scot Harvath series) book this morning. It was very good. I read his first one a few years ago, The Lions of Luicurne and loved it, but his second book didn't grab me fast enough so I didn't read anymore until I finished the last book in bed before I was ready to turn out the lights so I grabbed First Commandment off hubby's night stand as he'd just finished reading it again.
Not sure what I'll read next. I've yet to go downstairs to our library and find something. We did just get five new books last weekend when we stopped into Half Price Books in Omaha.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:35PM
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I have recently enjoyed:

11/22/63 by Stephen King. I do not normally like Stephen King books, and the description of this book (about a guy who goes back in time to try to prevent the JFK assassination) isn't something that would normally interest me, but it was highly recommended, and I really enjoyed it.

The Girl you left Behind by Jo Jo Moyes. Very good book about a French family during the WWI German occupation of their town.

The Girl With No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys by by Lynne Barrett-Lee and Marina Chapman. Interesting book about a girl in Columbia who was kidnapped and left in the jungle on her own for several years, and her life after she was found. The story is a bit unbelievable--it is supposed to be a true story. But, even if it's fiction, it was a good read.

Moloka'i by Brennert, Alan. About a young girl who contracts leprosy and is sent to live in a leper colony

Confessions of a Prairie B8itch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated, by Arngrim, Alison. Interesting memoir about being Nellie Olsen on Little House

My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir by Hancock, Noelle. Memoir about a woman who does something that scares her each day for a year. I enjoyed this, but several of my friends felt like it was too contrived.

A PP mentioned "The Light Between Oceans." I thought that it was a good book, but it was a very heavy and somewhat depressing book--not a feel good book at all.

Defending Jacob was mentioned by the OP, and I really enjoyed that book.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 8:05PM
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My yoga instructor recommended "The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty and now just about everyone in the class has read or is reading it. It begins with a woman finding a letter from her husband, to be opened only in the event of his death.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 8:43PM
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Ohhhh, Moloka'i was one of my all time favorites. I also really liked 11/22/63.

I just finished Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. I think I'm late to the game on that book, but I liked it a lot.

Now I'm reading After Her, by Joyce Maynard. I liked it a lot at first but it's starting to drag a bit in the middle.

Next I want to read Anna Quindlen's new book. I don't even know what it's about, but I've enjoyed all her books.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 8:52PM
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Love Anna Quindlen, I want to read her new one too!

Recently finished We Are Water by Wally Lamb. I have loved all of his past books except for Wishin' and Hopin' but I found We Are Water to be just OK.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 9:58PM
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Currently reading Trinity by Leon Uris which is an old book. I'm wading thru it but it does have it's enlightening moments and I'm learning some history of Ireland I didn't know.

Recent reads in the last couple of months:

Two books by William Deverell (Kill All the Judges and I'll See You In My Dreams) - Deverell is a Canadian lawyer who writes mysteries about a Canadian lawyer. Not many other books cause me to LOL while reading.

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout - a true story of bravery in the face of cruelty, not for the faint hearted but a compelling story which I could hardly put down.

Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley - despite the many rave reviews I didn't 'love' it. Well written but a depressed God is... just depressing. Not a feel-good read and some dreadful descriptive parts I found difficult.

I've also recently read a couple of the Chief Inspector Gamache novels by Louise Penny and very much like her books. Can recommend any of them - have read most.

Read but do not recommend the Fifty Shades trilogy. Only my extreme curiosity compelled me to read all 3 but the graphic descriptions became tiresome.

Other recent novels that are pure escapism which is often a good thing:

Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

Patricia Cornwell's The Bone Bed, Red Mist, and Book of the Dead

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly - I've liked all the books I've read by this author, they're great escape books

One of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels, can't remember the title. I've read most and plan to read them all. I forget them as soon as I've read them so keep a list! Have learned a bit of geography from them and little else but I do like them and recommend if one likes mystery/suspense genre.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 10:11PM
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Many of these are on my list. The best book I've read in the last few months is "The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd. It's historical fiction, based on the lives of two women who were immensely important to the movement to abolish slavery. I heard SMK interviewed and she talked about her inkling that she was going to write her next book about a set of sisters. When she went to a museum exhibit of the "99 Most Amazing Women" (or something similar), she saw the names of two sisters, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, and was astonished to see they were from her hometown of Charleston. SMK couldn't believe the Grimke sisters were important enough to be included in this exhibit, were from Charleston, and she had never heard of them. So she started her research, and from that came this book. When I finished the book I immediately thought, "This ought to be on high school reading lists." Really loved it.

I also picked up Goldfinch, and haven't been able to get into, but will persue. I got The Tenth of December, from the library. This is George Saunder's much heralded collection of short stories, but I was left underwhelmed. I'm sure that says much more about me as a reader than about GS as a writer, but so be it. Same with Middlemarch.

Thanks for starting this thread. Can't wait to add many of these books to my Goodreads list.

This post was edited by bestyears on Wed, Feb 5, 14 at 10:30

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 10:35PM
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I run a book club and we just finished The Lowlands by Jumpha Lahiri. I liked it a lot, same author as Interpreter of Maladies.

Before that we read The Cat's Table by Ondaatje who wrote The English Patient, also very good.

Before that Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. I liked it but others found it too long (which I get but it was so unique).

Trying to remember other ones we've liked ... The Elegance of the Hedgehog. We (re)read the Great Gatsby. Evelyn Waugh Handful of Dust. Cutting for Stone, a fave.

I just finished What is the What by Dave Eggers. It's a tough read but I liked it very much.

I am now back to trying to read Eliot's Middlemarch, which is on so many Great Books lists. I have been at it for 3 years now, embarrassing.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 11:31PM
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I'm on the third book in Margaret Atwood's trilogy (Oryx and Crake, After the Flood, MaddAddam)--I was wary (I'm not keen on science fiction) but I do very much enjoy Atwood, and have been entertained.

On my TBR pile: Round House by Erdrich, When We Were Orphans by Ishiguro, Someone by McDermott, The Good Lord Bird by McBride, and The Goldfinch by Tart. I'm in two book groups, so always have heaps of assigned reading, plus I try to fit in my own. I always like to read a novel by Dickens in the winter, but so far have not managed it!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:28AM
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We can't get Kindle books from our library so I am always on the prowl for inexpensive books. I just discovered the website "Pixel on Ink" which searches out Amazon freebies and deals and links them. And some of them are actual books! Not the self published train wrecks that often show up as Amazon bargains. You can sign up for the daily emails or just check their website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pixel of Ink

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:50AM
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I loved the Husband's Secret. I also loved another book from Lianne Moriarty: What Alice Forgot.

I just finished The Glass Castle, I didn't love it, but I was captivated knowing it was a true story.

Most of the books I read are not fine literature, light and fun. I never heard of some of the books mentioned, I'll check them out on goodreads.

Last book I read was a quirky book, I just randomly grabbed from the library. It was called From the Kitchen of Half Truths, by Maria Goodin. It was slow to start, but I really enjoyed it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:45AM
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I just finished The Goldfinch. It's wonderful- a treasure.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:10AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I recently read 2 books by Michael Pollan, Second Nature and Botany of Desire. I always like how he explores philosophical topics without coming down hard or "preachy" about those topics. He always makes me think. I also now want to plant apples from seed.

I found a kindred spirit in Joan Dye Gussow's This Organic Life. She and I come from very different generations but the book spoke to me. I hope to find her book Growing Older soon.

Pavilion of Women was another book that made me think, a lot. It is by Pearl S. Buck and there is a lot there about being a woman and growing older, and different cultures, etc. Not sure how I feel about the resolution of the book but a worthy read.

The Earth Knows My Name was a look at how immigrants (mainly) kept a connection to their culture through their gardens. From a gardening perspective, I felt there was not nearly enough information on the gardens but it was an interesting book to contemplate.

I may break out my Outlander series soon as the next book will be released sometime this year, not sure if I am ready to do that yet though.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:07PM
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I love autobiographies and biographies and tend to read a lot of them, although I don't particularly care for the tell-all sleazier ones. I've just recently finished "In the Frame, Helen Mirren, My Life in Words and Pictures". Very interesting.

My all-time favorite, though, is Barbara Walter's "Audition". What an incredibly fascinating life she's had!

I'm almost finished with "To Marry an English Lord", the book which inspired the Downton Abbey television series. Very interesting and with many great photographs.

I'm a third of the way through Alan Alda's autobiography, "Things I've Overheard While Talking to Myself", but find it a bit too preachy and boring thus far.

Two books on my nightstand to start next. One is, "Walking With Garbo" by Raymond Daum. He was a friend of hers for over twenty years during the Sixties and onward. They used to take long walks together around Manhattan. and he apparently kept a daily diary of their chats and her observations on everything from Hollywood to the correct way to make coffee.

The other is "Chickasaw Removal". Not a biography but the history of the atrocities that occurred as our government stole the Chickasaw's land in the southeast US and forced them onto lands in the then Indian Territory, which later became Oklahoma. DH's great-great grandfather was the famous Chickasaw leader and judge, Overton "Sobe" Love, for whom Love County, OK, was named. It should be a fascinating read.


Edited to correct typo: should be "Love County, OK" not "Love Country"!

This post was edited by lynninnewmexico on Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 0:20

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:10PM
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Lynne, you might like Katharine Graham's book

Here is a link that might be useful: KG Bio

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:21PM
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I don't remember if I've already suggested it but I really liked The Dinner by Herman Koch. My opinion of characters changed and I ended up in a place 180 degrees from where I begin with that one. It was charming in parts and almost horrifying in parts. He covers a lot of ground in a short book.

I read The Goldfinch and really disliked almost all the characters. I did like the writing, her descriptions are so vivid, so I continued reading but it was a struggle because the characters were so unlikeable.

I'm so glad someone mentioned Louise Penny. I enjoy her books so it reminded me to check for her newest release and add it to my library list.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Until someone mentioned Margaret Atwood I had forgotten about Alias Grace which was an interesting read which kept me up late a few nights.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:50PM
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I loved The Husband's Secret too. I have to remember to look for more of her work.

I adored The Goldfinch. Loved it so much I grabbed The Little Friend by Tartt when I was done with The Goldfinch and gobbled that down too. Her writing style in My Little Friend reminded me so much of Harper Lee's. I'll be looking for her first novel next - The Secret History.

Just discovered Barbara Kingsolver and have recently read Flight Behavior and Prodigal Summer and am really looking forward to reading the rest of her books. I like that she was a biologist and blends environmental issues into her stories.

Of course I can't be happy without trying to scare the daylights out of myself when I'm home alone ... in the middle of Innocence by Koontz and finished the newest Chelsea Cain novel (female serial killers anyone?).

Oh, one more. Night Film by Marisha Pessl. A wonderful modern day mystery.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 4:34PM
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I am enjoying reading the many interesting recommendations. Thank you all.

May I mention a book that I can't recommend? It is Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James. This book did not work for me on any level. As a sequel to Pride and Prejudice it was a total dud, the characters were colorless and almost unrecognizable. As a crime novel it was poor. P.D. James has had a great career in crime writing but I feel that she used the popularity of Pride and Prejudice to sell a very inferior story.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 5:02PM
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sis3, I couldn't agree more! I thought it was dreadful. I think she wanted to try her hand at a Jane Austin "sequel" and perhaps her editor agreed, but I hope she never does it again. A real dud, all the way around!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 5:24PM
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I wasn't crazy about 'The Husband's Secret', but it was interesting and well-written. But I didn't like 'Gone Girl' either. I've picked up Adriana Trigiani's books again and reading the latest in the Big Stone Gap series. If you haven't read 'The Shoemaker's Wife', I'd recommend it as it's based partly on her Italian family's immigration. Her grandmother sewed costumer for Enrico Caruso.

I'm a big fan of escaping into John Grisham and David Baldacci fiction, so I caught up on those latest books over the holidays. Sycamore Row was very good.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 4:25PM
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Just finishing The Goldfinch and Sycamore Row is up next.
I loved Gone Girl so I will have to order the Husband's

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:08PM
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Labor Day by Joyce Maynard and This is When I Leave You by Josh Trapper. These were in an article about books to read before they hit the theaters in 2014. Both just OK.
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd - because I have been meaning to read it for a while. I did enjoy it.
While I was Gone - Sue Miller - I needed a book and this was on the shelf, I must have bought it years ago and forgot about it. It was just OK.
I am now reading and enjoying What Alice Forgot - Lianne Moriarty
Up next - The Husband's Secret - Lianne Moriarty
I was looking forward to The Goldfinch, now I don't know....

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 7:40PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Yesterday I decided to take some time off from everything and I read All the Way Home by David Giffels in which he chronicles his family deciding to take an absolutely derelict almost condemned house and restore it. His web site has some of the before pictures that I did not look at until after reading the book and they still shocked me. The house is now magnificent and the price he paid, almost makes me want to move back East. The author had a great sense of humor and it was a fun read.

I am thinking of having DH read it so he can understand that are some people crazier/more ambitious than me.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Rereading The Historian, nothing new.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:13PM
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I am reading As the Crow Flies by Jeffrey Archer.
I have been having a hard time lately keeping with a book, and this is a good one. It's still taking me a ridiculous amount of time to make progress as I have a lot going on but I am happy to know he is a prolific writer - somehow I never read him before.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 7:54AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I've not read any, but a gal I know is a fan of Jodi Picoult, though I understand her books tend to be dark. She was saying "The Storyteller" is a good one.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 8:50AM
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You should give The Goldfinch a try, like some of the others you may love it. I didn't but not everyone is bothered by the characters. The story was engaging. It makes the best book lists for some reason. I'm planning to read some of her other books so I do like her writing.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 8:56AM
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I've read a few of Jodi Picoult. Some I have liked and others not so much, and in fact stopped reading one but I don't recall which one it was.

Have any of you read 'Wild', by Cheryl Strayed? It is her true story, and a movie has been made starring Reese Witherspoon. It's on my list to read next I think.

Shelaaus, I've read a lot of Jeffrey Archer, but not in a while. I do like his books in general. Have any of you read Dorothea Benton Frank? I was reading a lot of southern writers recently, and fell in love with her books. Lots of fun and great characters, mostly set in coastal South Carolina. Good beach/pool reads for the summer. And for slightly crazy fun I'll take Carl Hiaason or Jimmy Buffett (yes, the singer) any day. Oh, and someone mentioned Patricia Cornwell (Bone Bed). I'm a little behind with her series, but love those too.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 9:27AM
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Thanks hhireno, I will probably give Goldfinch a try after I finish what I have going now. Another one, an old one, that I've been wanting to read is When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood. I did read Wild and enjoyed it very much.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 9:56AM
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Thanks, Peg. I have downloaded it.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 5:51PM
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I loved As the Crow Flies. Am now reading Wally Lamb's We are Water and enjoying it - can't wait to get back to it each day. Recently finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and really, really liked it, too, as well as Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Tried to slog thru Ubik, an old sci fi book on the (100 best books list) for my book club but hated it so much I finally quit, which I seldom do. Before that, our club read Queen of the Air by Deckle Edge which I found fascinating and never would have selected.

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams is waiting for me, as is Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, two of my all time favorite authors. Can't wait to get to them both.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 6:20PM
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The Storyteller was extremely, extremely depressing.

I used to love Jodi Picoult. I thought My Sisters Keeper, Mercy, House Rules, Handle With Care and 19 Minutes were great books. I did not like the Story Teller, Lone Wolf or Sing You Home (all the recent ones). I don't know if I'll bother with her any more.

Elizabeth Berg has some great ones but some are also really depressing. I liked Home Safe a lot.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 9:03PM
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I just finished Before I Say Goodbye by Susan Spencer Wendel. I would highly recommend it, for those who read nonfiction. It is about her life with ALS.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 3:49PM
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