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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book Recommendations

I'm really excited to be in a book club again.  The one I started with a group of friends 11 years ago disbanded last year.  We were all so busy with kids, work, etc., and honestly I wasn't all that crazy about the book choices, but I loved the ladies.  Now I'm in a new group and we're finding our stride.  What I like about book clubs is the chance to hear about books I wouldn't normally pick up. 

Here are some recent books I've finished and wanted to share with you!  Let's look at them in order of how I liked them.

First up is my book club's February choice.  I really, really enjoyed this book.  It's about a literary society (a.k.a. book club) on Guernsey island off the coast of England during the German occupation in WWII.  I knew nothing about this island or that it was occupied.  I liked the way it was written as a series of letters.  It reminded me somewhat of Jan Karon's Mitford Series which I read years and years ago.  Now I want to visit Guernsey and learn more.  I highly recommend it, and can't wait to discuss it in February!

Over Christmas, I read Beneath a Marble Sky about the time period of the building of the Taj Mahal.  It was really interesting how the author weaved a love story, architecture, 17th century Indian culture, the oppression of women, religious fanatacism, and family dysfunction into a wonderfully written book.  This is definitely a work of fiction, but so many historical aspects are accurate. 

In my last couple of book reviews I completely forgot about Sh*t My Dad Says that I read earlier this year.  A lot of people recommended it and it must be popular because I waited for months for my copy to be in at the library.  Originally a Twitter account, this book is a compilation of stories by the author about his dad.  I'm not sure what I expected, but for it to be touching and heartfelt, I wasn't expecting.  If you can get past the language, I'd recommend it!

I know a number of you will really like Juliet.  If you like historical romance - this is your book.  It is the story of the real Romeo and Juliet.  According to a number of scholars, Shakespeare did not write the orignal Romeo and Juliet, and the original star-crossed lovers were real people from Siena (not Verona).  This story is about a modern-day lady who follows the clues left to her by her mother and great-aunt to learn about the original couple.  As I read it I kept feeling like it will be made into a movie one day.

I enjoy David Sedaris.  I have all of his previous books.  Some of his essays are disturbing and some are bittersweet; and they're always irreverent.  But many of them are hilarious.  When I was walking a lot a few years ago I downloaded him at Carnegie Hall reading aloud some of his essays to listen to while I walked.  During one in particular I had to stop and hold my side because I was laughing so much.  This book was not my favorite.  It was ironic and clever, but not one I feel the need to purchase.  I'd recommend Me Talk Pretty One Day instead if you're wanting a good Sedaris book.

A friend who reads probably three books a week recommended The Keep.  I had a hard time getting through it.  Just not my thing.  Rather gothic, creepy, and suspenseful, but I just had a hard time picking it up to finish it.  So I just "read through" the last half.  It never caught my interest again. 

I am so inspired by readers like Joan at Applejack Lane who are participating in 75 and 100 book reading challenges this year.  It would be awesome to read as many books this year as I did last year, but no way will I be able to get 75+.  But, go Joan!  Can't wait to hear what you read!

You can find my other book recommendations here, here, and here.


Joan said...

Wow! You have read a lot lately! Thanks for stopping by Applejack Lane. My son got the kindle book cover from Amazon. they have a ton to choose from.

Happy reading!

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Bonnie, I loved the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Juliet. We are reading Beneath a Marble Sky in my Dixie Diva Book Club this fall (I think it is our August selection). I have not heard much about it, but now I am excited about reading it because of your recommendation. Is is a book I would want in my library, or should I check it out at the library? I must admit that I like Gothic novels, so I might like The Keep. Thanks so much for the recommendations. I love, love love your blog :D

Ricki Jill