Why should you care what I read? You shouldn’t. However, I know that many of you love to read and some of us have shared or asked for book recommendations. Here’s a running list as I finish books.
Push: A Novel (Paperback), Sapphire – It may take you a minute or two to get into the flow of the dialogue…once again reminding me that I tend to like the books better than the movie.
The Gospel According to Lost, Chris Seay – Easy, fast read, especially if you love LOST. It made me and Peter want to go back and start from Season 1.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott – I have had several false starts with this book. My soul wasn’t ready. Libel was never this funny in j-school.
Leaving Deep Water: Asian American Women at the Crossroads of Two Cultures, Claire S. Chow – Kept meaning to read this before helping write MTST. Glad I wrote and then read.
The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship, Jeffrey Zaslow – It made me want to see my college girlfriends Kathy, Peggy and Christine.
Strength in What Remains, Tracy Kidder – Glad I read this as part of a suggestion for Lent.
Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional, Jim Belcher – Required reading for IVCF management meetings. Helpful book when neither “Emerging/Emergent” nor “Reformed” quite fit the bill.
The Help, Kathryn Stockett – Way to set the bar high for a follow-up novel for this first time novelist.
The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others, Scot McKnight – It was a good personal read for the Lenten season.
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin – It really is amazing what one person can do with the help of many, many people.
Itchy Brown Girl Seeks Employment, Ella deCastro Baron – Poetry, prose, e-mails, observations, and stories each with a tale to tell about a woman, her disease, her faith, her secrets, her grief and her hope. I particularly enjoyed, “Heads Up, Seven Up”. It took my breath away.
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, Elizabeth Gilbert – I couldn’t bring myself to pick up this book when it first came out, but with the movie coming out late-summer and a more recent wave of criticism of the author’s self-centeredness I wanted to see for myself. It got a little long, but I appreciated her story. There are plenty of male authors who do stupid things in the process of self-discovery. Running off to Italy, India and Indonesia with a book contract doesn’t seem like such a bad move.
Water for Elephants: A Novel, Sara Gruen – I have to say that parts of this book were rather disturbing.
When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: Tie-In Edition, LeLy Hayslip & Jay Wurts – Hayslip’s voice seemed so restrained and subdued considering what she went through, but then I remembered she is from a different generation and culture.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader’s Circle), Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows – I needed something lighter.
Before You Know Kindness, Chris Bohjalian – I kept waiting for the story to pick-up. Honestly, the only reason I kept through the first 1/3 was because this was for book club. It was OK.
Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms In Prayer, Ken Wilson – The best book on prayer I’ve read yet. Seriously.
The Good Wife Strikes Back, Elizabeth Buchan – Poolside reading.
Midwives (Oprah’s Book Club), Chris Bohjalian – A better book than Before You Know Kindness. Maybe it was because I could relate more to childbirth and complications and less so to hunting and animal rights activists.
Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert – This book made me appreciate her voice more. She tackles the institution of marriage by reading everything she can get a hold of and then keeps asking questions.
The Tender Bar: A Memoir, JR Moehringer – He had an interesting life, but there were a few moments when I found myself thinking, “When will this guy grow up?”. I bet no one accused him of navel-gazing.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot – She makes science interesting and allows what some medical pioneers didn’t allow the Lacks family – a chance to tell their story and discover more of it. But I’ll ask the questions I asked myself when I read The Help: whose stories are these to tell?
Any Bitter Thing: A Novel, Monica Wood – A good read, but not as light as a typical poolside book.
Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell – Makes me want to read more…
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson – A Dewey book club read, which lead to a great discussion and a time of prayer. It’s graphic. Really graphic. But violence against women is G-rated. I will read the rest of the trilogy. Did you know the original title was “Men Who Hate Women”. Yikes. I enjoyed the movie (fast forwarded through the graphic scenes) and I am NOT looking forward to the Hollywood version.
The Power of Women: Harness Your Unique Strengths at Home, at Work, and in Your Community, Susan Nolen-Hoeksema – Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the first half as much as the second half, and much like many business-y books I’ve read there is a lot of repetition.
The Samurai’s Garden: A Novel, Gail Tsukiyama – Beautiful and elegant prose that created a picture in my mind.
UNVEILING DEPRESSION IN WOMEN: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Depression, Archibald Hart & Catherine Hart Weber – The book is a bit outdated in terms of medication options, but the basics are there. It’s a start if you are just beginning the journey.
Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box, Madeline Albright – There is nothing more beautiful than a strong woman, and this book is lovely to look at and read. It’s a coffee table kind of book, but worth going to the library to check it out. I love the stories behind her pins and how she uses them to communicate a message – indirect in a direct sort of way.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell – See, I did read more! Made me rethink the way I think through “strategy” and change. I’m not sure I’ve figured out how this works in parenting, but it’s worth a try.
The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, Dinaw Mengestu – I had to let this book sit with me for awhile, maybe because the pace of the book was much slower than I have been accustomed to. If you read it, I’d love to know what you thought.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery – Another Dewey book club read, which lead to a lively discussion about class, culture and gender. If you read French, read the original. I’m sure there was lots lost in translation.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip & Dan Heath – OK. This was required reading for two work teams I am a part of. There were avid fans of this book on both teams. Personally, I got a bit tired of the book because I felt like I was at a meeting or a bar or a coffee shop with two men talking sports at me, not with me. The ideas are good, but both teams tried to apply the Switch process and it turned out more difficult than we anticipated.
Shanghai Girls: A Novel, Lisa See – A Bedtime Stories book club read that lead to a good discussion about immigration (and what we all learned and didn’t learn from school), culture, women and sisters.
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Vintage), Stieg Larsson – Let’s just say that I am enjoying Lisbeth. I am not enjoying the covers of the books showing just a part of a woman – her back, her hair, etc. – but I get it. It goes with the whole objectifying women theme.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson – I was sad to say goodbye to Lisbeth.
Talking Sex With Your Kids: Keeping Them Safe and You Sane – By Knowing What They’re Really Thinking, Amber Madison – Maybe it’s because I’ve done so much speaking on this topic, but the book was just OK for me. If you are completely freaked out about broaching the topic with your kids, this is one place to start.
The Middle Place, Kelly Corrigan – I was not my daddy’s little girl, nor did I have big brothers who would terrorize or protect me. And I am not a Corrigan. Nevertheless, it was a good read even if I couldn’t relate to the author’s life. Again, it lead to a great conversation and discussion about families, birth order and friendship.
Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks – The end seemed to wrap things up a little too neatly, but it was worth skipping some extra sleep for. It made me wonder how we in our blogging/facebook/texting times would fare through isolation.
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr – Part history, part sociology, part irony. The whole is good, but it took me several chapters to “get into it” and by then I felt obligated to finish it since I had already invested so much time. There were a few moments where I wanted to know when the author was going to cite examples of women, since there has been research done comparing women and men in terms of multi-tasking. It does make me reconsider how best to help my children learn and retain as they have grown up in an internet world.
Triangular Road: A Memoir, Paule Marshall – What an incredible life! She wrote The Fisher King, and her mentor was Langston Hughes. Amazing.
Organizing from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life, Julie Morgenstern – OK. For those of you who actually know me, you are probably wondering why I read this book. Sometimes it’s helpful to learn about something you do intuitively in order to better help others. I love order, and my label maker is my best inanimate friend. But that isn’t the case with others in my household, so my system (follow my bliss) doesn’t work. This was helpful. It would be more helpful if those other members of my household read the book.
Imperfect Birds: A Novel, Anne Lamott – Lamott is a personal favorite, but her fiction always makes me go back to her non-fiction work because I find her more interesting than her characters. I did enjoy this work better than Blue Shoe, maybe because of my season of life – parent of a teenager.
Room: A Novel, Emma Donoghue – I’m still processing through this book about the power of evil and love, and how they co-exist right in front of us. The Dewey book club, I’m sure, will have lots to say about this.
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O’Farrell – You really need to sit down and read this, otherwise you will get confused. Think stream of consciousness. I enjoyed this despite a rising sadness and anger as I read about how a family erased one of their own.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix