Ex Libris

I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. The first books I truly loved, and read over and over again, were the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I even dressed up as Laura for Halloween in first or second grade. As if that weren't enough, this is a shirt I wore probably once a week until it didn't fit anymore (it has a second life as a block in my t-shirt quilt):

Yep, that's right. I actually wore book-themed clothes. The reading bug bit me, and I hope to never be cured. When I ran into a former co-worker several months after leaving my job to stay home with Bert, he asked me, "Do you get bored being at home all day?" I simply answered "no," but thought to myself, Do I get bored? Are there still books being published? Seriously, I sometimes have to use all my willpower to put down a good book and get things done around the house. In fact, I remember being so absorbed in a book soon after Keith and I got married that when he got home from work I told him he would have to fend for himself for dinner because I needed to finish the book. 

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Horse-and-Buggy Mennonites by Donald B. Kraybill and James P. Hurd
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now by Claire LaZebnik
Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline
Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Red House by Sarah Messer
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Promise Me by Nancy G. Brinker with Joni Rodgers
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Seriously a must read! Our book club had a great turnout for this one.)
Wish You Well by David Baldacci (Eh.)
The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer (Incredibly well written. I really liked this one.)
Songs Without Words by Ann Packer (Good, but not as good as Clausen's Pier.)
Five Things I Can't Live Without by Holly Shumas (Predictable but enjoyable.)
The Accidental by Ali Smith (Um, still not sure what was really going on in that one.)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Fascinating and troubling.)
Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos (Weaves so many interesting characters into a really compelling story. This is worth a few summer afternoons.)
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume (Good story, but I was really surprised by how sexual it was.)
The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden (Engaging because it is based on actual events, I just wish it had been written by a more gifted storyteller.)
The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty (This rounded out my 5-for-$1 at a flea market and I was surprised how much I liked it. But almost any book is worth 20 cents!)
Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian (Interesting story of how one event can unravel a family, viewed from many perspectives.)
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (Love, love, love! I was wishing the Major was my neighbor and would make me a cup of tea.)
The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman (A quick and fun read.)
Daisy Faye and the Miracle Man by Fanny Flagg (Entertaining enough.)
Not Me by Michael Lavigne (Interesting story about the son of a Holocaust survivor trying to uncover his father's past.)
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (Laugh-out-loud at some points, ho-hum at others.)
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (I've been meaning to read this since high school and finally did. Well worth it.)
Stone Garden by Molly Moynahan (Ok, I guess.)
The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil (How can you not love books about knitting set in England?)
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (An excellent read for book club.)
Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand (Quick, intriguing.)
The Book of Bright Ideas by Sandra Kring (Funny, sad, poignant. Very enjoyable.)
The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand (Perfect summer read: entertaining but weighty enough.)
One Summer by David Baldacci (Predictable but readable.)
The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini ( Much more depth than I expected. I was really drawn into the story.)
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (Very, very good and thought provoking.)
Peace Like A River by Leif Enger (Slow pace but I'm glad I stuck with it.)
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Good, but it ended abruptly.)
The Last Child by John Hart (Riveting. And sad.)
Hurricanes in Paradise by Denise Hildreth (Fluff. And God. Felt rather contrived.)
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (I was captivated.)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Probably the fourth time I've read it. If you haven't read it, please do. If you have, read it again. It was more poignant this time than any time before.)
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford (Wordy, but hits the nail on the head regarding what the world is missing by people not getting their hands dirty.)
Night Road by Kristin Hannah (Good, but I felt like it glossed over the tough parts a bit.)
All Other Nights by Dara Horn (Fascinating and original.)
Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James (Moving, humorous, and enlightening.)
Moneyball by Michael Lewis (Like Freakonomics, but baseball. Very interesting, even when I didn't have a clue what he was writing about.)
The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel (Lovely.)
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (Utterly fascinating.)
The Atlas of Love by Laurie Frankle (Wonderfully touching and funny.)
The Whole World Over by Julia Glass (Amazing how the author tied so many lives together.)
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (Reread it for book club; just as good the second time.)
The Twelve by Justin Cronin (Sequel to The Passage; such a departure from what I usually read but I was completely engrossed.)
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (Historical fiction and a modern love story all wrapped up in one book. I really enjoyed it.)
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson (Troubling and fascinating.)
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold (Bizarre. I don't even know what else to say.)
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Very strange, but I had to finish it.)
Atonement by Ian McEwan (A slower pace, but beautifully written and captivating. The movie was nicely done as well.)
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell (Very, very enjoyable. So is the movie.)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Beautifully written and touching.)
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult (Engrossing and heart-wrenching.)
Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly (So-so. Parts were very interesting while others drug on.)
The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir (Intriguing, a novel written by a historian.)
Term Limits by Vince Flynn (Entertaining, if not my usual genre.)
The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich (A multitude of love stories, and mysteries, a novel about some very interesting, heart-warming people, very loosely based on real people.)
Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos (Enchanting and touching.)
The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn (Ok, but I wouldn't put it at the top of any lists.)
The Year That Follows by Scott Lasser (A quick read but incredibly heartfelt and touching.)
The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory (Entertaining.)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (So different from things written today that sometimes it was hard to get into the language but the story was enjoyable.)
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Plenty of twists and turns to keep me reading; don't know if it was up to all the hype it got though.)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (A bombshell of a book, treading the line between science and human-interest. Fantastic non-fiction.)
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman (Moving and informative.)
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan (Completely readable with fascinating relationships.)
The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine (Eh. Kind of contrived, but mildly entertaining.)
Vanishing Act by Jodi Picoult (Pretty sure I read this before; good enough to read again!)
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Engaging read about all kinds of relationships and how they grow and change.)
The Hatbox Baby by Carrie Brown (Sweet, but it ended abruptly; I wanted to know more!)
The Breakdown Lane by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Very good and even though I wasn't expecting it, the ending made me happy.)
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (Reads like a novel, but heartbreaking because it's non-fiction.)
Sea Glass by Anita Shreve (Kept me turning pages. The character development really made the book.)
Things I've Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi (An insightful and touching memoir.)
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (I loved the way it explored all the small twists that lead to the book's primary tragedy.)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (Sweet.)
The Golden Tulip by Rosalind Laker (Captivating and satisfying.)
The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen (Reminiscent of Philippa Gregory's books, but with art mixed in.)
The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller (A bit raw, but complex and enjoyable.)
The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates (Took me awhile to get into it, but worth it.)
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (Touching, sad, uplifting at turns.)
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (Got a mixed review from my neighbor who read it first, but I was moved by the simplicity and directness of the writing, and intrigued by a period of time I knew basically nothing about.)
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (Short, but powerful. Written in a completely different style than I expected but it really captivated me.)
The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo (Readable, but nothing special.)
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani (Long, but I hardly noticed because I enjoyed the story so much.)
Trapeze by Simon Mawer (Different and slower than I expected, but surprisingly suspenseful.)
March by Geraldine Brooks (Inspired by Little Women, it is the author's take on the life of Mr. March during the Civil War. Insightful, intriguing.)
Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (Beautiful and heart-wrenching. Loved it.)
Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan (Wonderfully woven story of four women. Serious and funny at the same time.)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (As usual, it takes me a bit to get into the language but then I enjoy it.)
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (Might have to get my own copy. Inspiring and enjoyable.)
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Coming off Jane Austen, this was easy to read but it felt contrived. Murder mystery is just not my thing I guess.)
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (Beautiful and sad.)
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James (Yes, I finally read it. And mostly it just made me sad. Judging by the craze over the book, I'm guessing that wasn't the generally the reaction most readers had.)
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf (A page-turner. I love when authors can weave their characters together in unexpected ways.)
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (Charming in an off-beat way.)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Outstanding.)
The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman (Very enjoyable.)
Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat (Didn't really do anything for me.)
The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow (Excellent. WWII novels are probably my favorite genre, and this didn't disappoint.)
Life Class by Pat Barker (Good, but ended abruptly.)
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (Simply beautiful.)
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (A follow-up to The Winter Sea. Every bit as enjoyable as the first.)
Longbourn by Jo Baker (If you enjoy Jane Austen, you'll like this one.)
The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (More graphic than I expected, but a page-turner.)
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (Captivating.)
Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford (Touching and sad.)
The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin (Fantastic. I highly recommend it.)
French Kids Eat Anything by Karen Le Billon (Funny and interesting; made me think a little harder about Colter's eating habits. And my own!)
The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley (Engrossing and enjoyable; I haven't been disappointed by any of her books.)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Finally, finally read it and am very glad I did.)
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (About the move of blacks out of the South and into the cities of the North and West. It detailed a part of history I had never stopped to consider.)
The Snitch, Houdini and Me by Johnny Virgil (Hysterical and nostalgic.)
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (Insightful and touching.)
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (Funny and sad and very reflective of our times.)
The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Lewis (If you liked Seabiscuit, you'll love this.)
Sycamore Row by John Grisham (It has been years since I read any Grisham, and it was so easy to get caught up in one again.)
The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve (The end just slammed me and I'm still not sure what to think, but I was captivated by it the whole way through.)
Shangai Girls and  Dreams of Joy by Lisa See (Took me awhile to get into each of them but I did enjoy them. Dealt with eras I knew almost nothing about.)
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Love her writing and was not disappointed by this one.)
Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen (Thoroughly enjoyed it.)
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (So insightful, I'm telling everyone I know about it.)
The Apartment by Greg Baxter (Powerful in a quiet, meandering way.)
The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton (Fun and touching. Good summer read.)
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday (Read, or get the movie and watch it. Both are equally pleasing.)
The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (Wonderful.)
Flora by Gail Godwin (Funny and blunt, sad and touching, totally insightful. I loved it.)
China Dolls by Lisa See (I like this better than the others I read by her.)
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (Engrossing but strange. Now, do I want to read the sequels?)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (I was prepared to be underwhelmed because sometimes when a book gets talked up, it is a letdown when I finally read it. This one did not disappoint in any way.)
A Fatal Likeness by Lynn Shepherd (Hmmm. I kept reading but it was all very strange.)
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (Hits the nail on the head. Loved it.)
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison (Great inside into the mind.)
The House Girl by Tara Conklin (Gripping and touching. Really, really enjoyed this one.)
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian (Good, not great. I've liked his others better.)
The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan (Interesting because it was a time and place I knew nothing about – India, pre-Taj Mahal – but overall I wasn't into the story.)
Belle Cora by Philip Margulies (Fiction but read like a memoir. I loved it.)
The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman (Amazing. Might there be other ways to tell the story of Jesus than what are in the Bible?)
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro (I caught where it was going early on, but I still really enjoyed it.)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (If my family was a book club, this would be our top pick right now. The story of war is never as simple as a textbook tells it.)
Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert (I'm not skeptical about marriage, but this was fascinating, funny, and informative. And personally, I think it blows her Eat, Pray, Love out of the water.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...