Monday, January 17, 2011

I Heart Books

One benefit of laying in bed all day is that I have (more than) ample time for reading... and I love to read.

I'm going to tell you what I've read so far and what I've thought of each one. And then I would LOVE to hear what books you've loved and would recommend to me - because my pile is diminishing fast and I've still got another few weeks of hanging out in my bedroom.

Ten Circles Upon The Pond by Virginia Tranel.

I really loved this book. In it the author details various challenges, triumphs and interesting narratives relating to her life as a mother of ten children. The book has ten chapters - one for each of her children - and often reads like poetry. Her descriptions and beautiful wording were engaging. When I finished reading I felt as if the author was a close friend whom I have shared experiences with. (Did she break her ankle as the mother of a young child? Oh, yes, she did. Was she often asked, when others discovered how many children she had, "Don't you know what causes that?" Yup.) I honestly wish she and I were real-life friends who at least correspond by email on occasion. I'm sure she would have plenty more stories (and advice!) to share. Huge thanks to my friend Lisa for loaning me this one.


Goodbye, I Love You by Carol Lynn Pearson.

Let me say that I LOVE books that make me think, and this book definitely made me think. It's a true story which Publisher's Weekly describes with these words: "Although aware of Gerald's homosexual past, Carol had faith that marriage would overcome her husband's sexual preference. The shock of discovering, after eight years of apparent happiness and the birth of four children, that his inclination was still for males shook her belief in her own femaleness and the role of women. Moving to the more permissive atmosphere of San Francisco, they obtained a friendly divorce but remained very close as a family. When Gerald was stricken by AIDS, their love withstood this ultimate trial, providing support throughout his illness and the strength to face death with serenity." This book was moving and offered a point of view I had never really thought about. Thanks to Rebecca for recommending it - I don't think I would have found it or read it otherwise.


So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger.

This was a fun story to read. It is set in the west, back in the days of Pinkerton detectives and Wild West shows, train robberies and a simpler life. It's a story of two men - one an author with a family and the other a boat-maker with a mysterious past - and their adventures as they embark on an unforgettable, life changing journey together. I have never read the more famous Peace Like a River by this same author but I want to after reading this book.


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

I read enough of this book to know that I wasn't going to like it. I even tried to give it another chance by skimming some of the chapters near the end and trying to get into the story there - with no luck. If you enjoy reading about murderers and the details of their sick crimes, as well as the devastation in the lives left behind when a loved-one is brutally taken from this life then this is the book for you. I wouldn't even give it one star. (Sorry, Alice Sebold. No hard feelings.)


Before the Dawn by Dean Hughes.

This book by LDS author Dean Hughes was a great story about a small-town LDS church congregation and the calling of a tough farm widow, Leah Sorensen, as the congregation's new Relief Society president in the times of the Great Depression. Initially she alienates about half of the women from attending any longer. However, as the story unfolds she learns that, if you're willing to look, there is something to love in everyone. It also tells of the good that can come of women working together rather than working against each other. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.


Leviathan by Scott Westerfield.

I enjoyed the 'Uglies' series of books by Scott Westerfield, so when ElemenoB brought Leviathan home from her school library for me to read I figured it was worth a go. And then I finished it in a day. It explores some interesting ideas (what if Darwin had discovered DNA and began cloning creatures?) while weaving the adventurous story of a boy (heir to a throne) who is running from his enemies after the death of his parents. Throw in a girl who dresses like a boy to be able to join the army of the day, a bunch of mechanical creature/machines and some mysterious circumstances and you've got a pretty interesting tale. I was disappointed when I got to the end because it totally leaves you hanging mid-story... and then (of course!) tells you to find out more in the next book. I'd still recommend it, though. Thanks for the good read, ElemenoB.


Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon.

Okay, I know this book is (obviously) supposed to be a parody of Twilight. I get that. But it was still stupid. I read a few chapters, thinking I needed more time to get into it but it just kept getting more stupid. I can usually find the humor in a good parody but this one was completely lost on me. (And yes, I did read Twilight. And no, I didn't like it, either.) This book maybe deserves one half-glowing star for the funny names they substituted for the real book's characters. But I'm going to say that if you see this one at the library, keep walking on by.


Your turn! Tell me which books I should read over the next few weeks. What's your favorite?

Here's what I have stacked by the bed already:

The Doll People by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin
The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Recovering Charles by Jason Wright

What else should I get?


Amanda said...

Have you read the Goose Girl series by Shannon Hale? I really love her books! There is also another author I like-Jessica Day George. She wrote Dragon Slippers which is one of my very favorites. There are also these books by Sharon Shinn:
The Safe-Keeper's Secret
The Truth-Teller's Tale
The Dream-Maker's Magic
which I love. I also love the Lightning Thief books by Rick Riordan. There is also this book called Of Sound Mind by Jean Ferris. It is about a hearing boy from a deaf family that is friends with a hearing girl, also from a deaf family. It is really interesting, although it swears a bit. I also like Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris. It is goofy but fun.
...I got a little carried away, but I hope you can find some good books that you will enjoy! I'm pretty sure most of the books I suggested are available at the library that is in our city that we go to.

Linn said...

I obviously don't know if you have read these or not, but a few ones I really liked from the past few years:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

The Year My Son and I Were Born - Kathryn Soper

Left to Tell - Immaculee Ilibagiza

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer

A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

Mrs. Mike - Benedict Freedman

These Is My Words - Nancy Turner

I would highly recommend Leif Enger's other book, Peace Like a River.

And if you like historical fiction, Lauraine Snelling has a series called the Red River Series (first book is An Untamed Land). There are many in that series and I really enjoy them.

And last (I could really go on and on) have you read anything by Gwen Bristow? She wrote in the 1940s and I love her books. If I remember right, Calico Palace and Jubilee Trail are two of my favorites.

Have fun reading!

Gerb said...

Amanda! I love Shannon Hale books. I have read Goose Girl (LOVED it) but not the other 3 yet. I'll have to add those to my list. I just bought the Dragon Slippers trilogy for Thumbelina for Christmas, so those will be easy to get. Most of the other books you named I haven't read yet... I'm definitely interested in checking out Of Sound Mind. Thanks for all of the great ideas! I'm going to go to the library's website to see what's available.

I have read (and LOVED, it's one of my all-time favorites) These Is My Words. And funny you should ask - historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Thanks for a great list of books to check out! I haven't read any of the other ones yet - and I love recommendations.

Rachel said...

Oh my heck Linn! I don't know you but I like you because you just mentioned pretty much every book I was going to suggest! LOL! Too funny!

I'm reading the "Fable Haven" series right now because a few of my kids have been really into them and I want to know what they are about. I have to say, I appreciate Brandon Mull, the author. He realizes the audience he is writing for and he doesn't cross boundaries you wouldn't want him to. Not too scary, edge of your seat gorry, romance under control.

Dang it Linn! Ya stole my thunder! LOL! I'm drawing blanks.

If you go on my blog page on the right bottom section is my goodreads page. You can see what I've read as of late and what I thought......

Amanda said...

I love all of the Goose Girl books, but the last one is my absolute favorite!! I own all of them (though the second one is on loan right now) so you can borrow them if you would like.

Amy Long said...

Have you read Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet? So good. Water for Elephants, too. And I second Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. And you've probably read The Help, but if you haven't, it's awesome. You're such a trooper...10 kids, a broken ankle, and still with that positive attitude!

Ashley said...

Over Christmas break I read Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls and I really enjoyed it. It took me a day and a half, and I love that it's a true-life novel.

One of my all time favorites is Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson. It's an emotional read, but oh so good.

Anonymous said...

The only time we have met in person is when you came to my rescue to help me sign a parent form at Amelia.(forgot my glasses) My daughter Jessie has been in some of Julia's classes throughout the years. I live by Rachel and Natalie so I found your blog off of their blogs, I hope you don't mind. I was in the hospital with my daughter Jessie last year because her appendix ruptured and a good friend brought her a great book, "Homeless Bird" by Gloria Whelan. The book won National Book Award and I couldn't put it down.I know your family are readers so you may have already heard of it. I remember reading Carolyn Pearson's book many years ago and was very touched by her compassion.
Marci Carlson

Maleen said...

I recommend The Help as well. It was my favorite book from last year. My current favorite from this year (okay, that isn't saying much since it is January, but I really liked the book) is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Also read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. It is like a little mystery.

Wait, one more. Sharon Shinn also wrote the fab book Summers at Castle Auburn.

Happy Reading.

novidiac said...

I must third, Potato Peel Pie Society!! Fantastic!

I've also enjoyed,
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Small Change by Belinda Yandell

Miss Potter by Richard Maltby

Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith

As others, I could go on.. I did 6 months bed rest for 2 of my 5 pregnancies... Reading was a lifesaver!!
I lurk.. love your blog.. am a friend of Mr. Z's!

If nothing else, I love this new list of books to read from your comments!!

Cherie said...

The gal of mine born 2 days after yours, is now enjoying BEHEMOTH (Leviathan sequel).

We all loved A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY and sequel- SHE GOT UP OFF THE COUCH. Both great!

Anaise said...

I saw Alexander McCall Smith on the list--his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series (read them in order! read them in order!) is beyond description.

Each book makes me a better person than I was before I read it . . . the books are charming in and of themselves, but in the end they are about treating people with basic dignity.

And if you're willing to read Christian (read non-Mormon) fiction, try the Yada-Yada Prayer Group series by Neta Jackson. Again, you've got to read them in order! They're clean, faith-full, and quite thought-provoking in a light-hearted way. I always feel challenged and encouraged to be more prayerful and more Christlike when I read these books.

Anaise said...

Oh, and I cannot say enough good things about Potato Peel Society!

And Jasper Fforde is in my top twenty list of all time favorite authors.

Martha said...

Since you like historical fiction, Gerb, I recommend A Vision of Light, by Judith Merkle Riley. It's about a woman in the middle ages (14th century) in England who enlists the help of a monk to write her life story, which includes how she became a healer and a midwife, and the trouble that brought her (she's accused of practicing "the devil's art").

Rebecca said...

I just started reading "Same Kind of Different as Me" yesterday, and I'm HOOKED! You can borrow it when I finish--soon! I also read "Mao's Last Dancer" recently and I love "Half Broke Horses"--you can borrow both of those from me, too. Have you read "Life of Pi"? I loved reading it, and it's thought provoking. It's also a bit exasperating, in my opinion. But not til the end.

Just to offer a balanced opinion on some other recommendations: I didn't enjoy "The Help" or "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" like people said I would. Lots of people like them, but I don't. I'd like to know if you do, if you read those. But I did see "Left to Tell" in the comments, and I second that opinion. It's a valuable read.

I haven't read, but want to: "Poison Study" series by Maria V. Snyder. My library doesn't have it, but maybe yours does.

MBGITWWR said...

Well, I have a few books that I've read recently, but I don't know what type of book you're really in to. They are all Brandon Sanderson books. The first one is "Elantris" and then the other three are part of the "Mistborn" series. The final book I would recommend right now would be "The Message" by Lance Richardson. It may seem somewhat out there with his amazing after-life experience, but it helped me cope with my first husband's death. It can be a difficult book to find, so if you'd like a copy... I've got extras. :)


Gerb said...

Rachel - I haven't read any of the Fablehaven ones yet but I've heard they are awesome. I'll have to go check out your Goodreads page. I haven't been on there in a while.

Amanda- I'll let you know when I run out of books! I just may have to borrow your set...

Amy- The only one I've read that you mentioned is The Help and I thought it was good but some parts made me think, "Why did she have to put that in there?" I've added your others to my list. Thanks!

Ashley- Half Broke Horses is one I'd love to get. I already read The Glass Castle and heard this one is even better. Thanks for the ideas! Can't wait to get my hands on some of these...

Marci- Welcome! Come back and comment all you like. I love new blog friends. :) I've added that book to my list, too. And tell Jessie hi from Julia and I!

Gerb said...

Maleen- The Book Thief is on my list of all-time favorite books. I LOVE that one. I've added your other 2 suggestions to my ever-growing list of ones to get. Thanks!

novidiac- Welcome! Thanks for coming out of lurkdom. Boy, I am getting excited about this Potato Peel Society book! I'm adding your others, too... except I'm wondering if Portuguese Irregular Verbs is really just some kind of dictionary? I'll look into it. :)

Cherie- I can't wait for my girl born 2 days before yours to bring Behemoth home from the school library! And I'm not the only one. I think 5 of us read Leviathan before she took it back. Will you think it strange that I read A Girl Named Zippy and couldn't get past about the 3rd or 4th chapter? Reading that book made me think, "I guess I could write a book about my life story and people would actually buy it."

Gerb said...

Anaise- I have read the first #1 Ladies Detective Agency book and enjoyed it. Maybe I should branch out and read the rest of the series now. And I will definitely look up the other series you mentioned, too. Thanks for the ideas!

Martha- Thank you! I'll look into that one for sure.

Bec- Bring 'em over! That'll save my oldest boy a trip to the library. ;) I have read Life of Pi and I really enjoyed it. As for The Help, I read it and liked it but wouldn't buy it because there were too many parts in it that I found unnecessary. I haven't read HotCoBaS yet but I'll let you know what I think when I do. Thanks for the ideas! Let me know when you're coming to bring those books and I'll have Allen prepare us a nice brunch. (kidding! But he would do it, though.)

MBGITWWR- I'm going to look into all of them. If I can't find "The Message" I will for sure be emailing you! Thanks so much for offering to loan me a copy. You're awesome!

Cara said...

I am reading a book right now called Matched by Ally Condie, very cool. It's about a future society where the Oficials match you. It always works out and no one complains, until...Cassia. There are a lot of really interesting future ideas in it. You have to give this one a look! I enjoy all the Betsy Brannon Green and Lynn Gardner series. I have too many to think, they are all trying to come out at once and are making me draw a blank!

Gerb said...

Cara- ElemenoB just brought "Matched" home from the school library yesterday. It sounds interesting!

Well, everyone, I am on the hold list at the library for almost all of the books you've recommended. A couple are available and the kids will pick them up for me tomorrow. I can't wait to get reading! Thanks so much for all of your ideas.

mommeeof10 said...

My son read Jeanne DuPrau books, the city of ember and the other 3 and really likes them. This from a 12 yr old that does not enjoy reading. I read them too, an interesting take on the descendants of the survivors after the earth's surface is destroyed by some man made act. The people live underground and have modern technology that works for lighting, running water, etc, but they do not know why it works or how to repair things when they start to fail.

mistyc0x said...

oh you are a gem. my list was getting extremely short. now it is RIDICULOUSLY long! wahooo!

re-reading A Heart Like His by V. Pearce. love that book.

Keeper of the Bees is a treasure of a book.

To Dance with a White Dog was great.

A Train to Potevka was fun! Met the author. LDS guy. :)

A Quiet Heart by Patricia Holland is wonderful.

I am about to read The Heart of Goodness by Jo Ann Larsen. (can you tell where my thoughts are? Heart Heart Heart :)

If I think of others I will add them. Oh...I am almost done reading The Great and the Terrible series. Those are good!

I usually have 10 different books going....I was going to start Blink by...the guy who wrote Outliers...and I read Tipping Point...but I don't know if I will finish Blink. I am not getting the best feeling from it....might not be anything...but you know.

Okay. Done now! Thank you so much for doing this post!

GaeLynn said...

I have to add my favorites! My all time favorite book is "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Also anything by Fanny Flagg is very fun. I like Jan Karon and her "Mitford" series books.

Gerb said...

Mof10- I have read those and really enjoyed them. Actually, I think I have only read 3. Are there 4? I'll have to look into it.

Misty- Those are added to my list now, too. I have read the Great and Terrible series and loved them enough to buy them for our home library. Thanks for the ideas!

GaeLynn- I just got a nice copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for ElemenoB because she loves it, too. Now I'll have to check it out! Thanks, milklady. ;)

mommeeof10 said...

I was srong. The Prophet of Yonwood takes place 50 years before the People of Ember. Still an interesting read.

Girl With The Pink Gun said...

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