Book Recommendations

The Art of Racing in the Rain is the book I automatically recommend to everyone because the emotion is so real.  Granted, I think non-animal lovers probably wouldn't be interested as the main character is a dog with a penchant for fast cars.

I can't even take credit for this literary gem.  Big Bro read it, loved it and made everyone else read it.

You should, too.

The Time Traveler's Wife was another Bro recommendation, but it was well worth the time.  I love authors who can capture the sensory experience of actually living.  Niffenegger does it.  Beautifully.  But I cried until I couldn't cry any more.

I'll be honest.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn wasn't quite what I expected.  But any good book is capable of painting characters the reader gets attached to, and I found myself attached the the little girl in this story.  It's an easy read and apparently a classic (I was unaware).

Neverwhere was a lil bro recommendation.  I loved it and was automatically caught up in the world of London Below.  Frankly, I loved the idea that we see only the things we're used to and completely ignore the possibility of the fantastic all around us.

American Gods was a book both bros read and told me I should grab (can you see a pattern with book recommendations, here?).  It chronicles Shadow's experience with the gods of Norse mythology.  I learned a lot about that mythology while reading the book, but I'm going to have to read it several more times in order to completely understand everything I read (because I only pretend to be smart).

Bitter is the New Black is one of those books I picked up on a whim.  I had started trying to pick up more memoirs (because I'm trying to encourage my students to read).  Can I tell you honestly?  I laughed until I cried.  Seriously.  I couldn't wait for the next foonote or snarky comment and I realized that this woman was likely the Julia Sugerbaker of the 21st Century.  (Well, she would be if Julia Sugerbaker met a hardcore New Yorker, had children and raised them on bottles of wine).  Lancaster is honest and, more importantly, hilarious.

Another memoir, similar to Lancaster's, but the humor was certainly a little less overt.  Keep in mind, I laughed until I cried at Traig's OCD antics.  But it wasn't the same kind of laugh.  Sometimes I laughed because it was just hilarious.  Sometimes I laughed because I was really uncomfortable and sometimes I couldn't laugh because I just felt so sorry she had to learn to navigate a life with this horrible disease.  If you're going to read, it's going to be a lesson in walking a mile in someone else's shoes (and Judaism.  You'll learn about that, too), but Devil in the Details is definitely worth a perusal.

I have been listening to Ravi Zacharias' program "Let My People Think" for a few years (I think the new program is called something different).  I enjoy his look at Christian apologetics and really appreciate the fact that he makes me think.  I don't like simply sitting in a pew and listening to platitudes about Christian living.  I want to be challenged.

So when this book came out, I knew I wanted to read it.  Walking From East to West:  God in the Shadows chronicles Zacharias' life as he is wooed by a loving God and eventually finds himself in ministry.  Thankfully, it's not nearly as dense as some of his writings (not that I don't appreciate them) and incorporates all the great makings of the story with a strong sense of realism.

I can't say much about Never Let Me Go without ruining the book.

But you should read it.  Ishiguro is a genius.

Of course, I also think Hosseini is a genius.  The Kite Runner was his first published novel, but he set the bar high.  I don't think I've read a book that highlights the necessity of redemption nearly as well as this one does.  Read it.  It'll remind you of the necessity of gratitude.

I have a thing for King Arthur narratives, so I thought The Mists of Avalon was extremely compelling.  I realize that stories like this are not everyone's cup of tea.  I really appreciated Zimmer Bradley's look into the lives of the women who surrounded Arthur.  It was no longer a story of honor and war, but one of devotion and obligation.  I loved the depth of the characters.

Many people are probably familiar with Eugene Peterson's The Message, but I don't think as many are probably familiar with his other works.  Eat This Book is one of those books that I'll probably be reading for a while, but it's a reminder that the Bible is meant to be a part of our daily life.  It's certainly an instructional manuel, but it's also a story.  And we often forget about the preciousness of that story.  If you don't know how to read the Bible, or feel like you're missing the point, grab this book.  I think you'll find it refreshing.

G.K. Chesterton, theologian, wrote The Innocence and Wisdom of Father Brown.  If you like Sherlock Holmes, you're going to love the tales of a wiley priest who solves crime without much obvious evidence.

Mostly, I love this book because each chapter is a separate story so if I put it down to read something else for a while, I can pick it up again with little to no problem understanding what's going on.

A woman in the isle at Walmart recommended that I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Truly, I wish I would've listened to her months before I actually made this book part of my regular reading.  It was a truly great read.  And while I know this will probably insult a lot of people, I felt like it had the same message but none of the stiffness or formality of To Kill A Mockingbird (of which I am not really a fan).

Read it.  Fall in love with people who have a purpose.  Oh, and find yourself disgusted with people who have their own agendas.

The image here is only the first book in the trilogy, but The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins are books totally worth your time.

Ok, let me qualify that statement.  I like YAL.  Of course, I also teach high school so I'm constantly looking for books I think they will enjoy that I can use to teach other concepts.

But I didn't just tolerate these books (like I did Meyer's vampire romances).  They were well written.  The story was mesmerizing.  As a matter of fact, my husband picked this one up just to make fun of me...then couldn't put it down.  I think that means it warrants your attention, no?


emily said...

I'm here from Kelly's SUYL. Great recommendations! I've added several to my "to read" list! Thanks.

Lena Medina said...

I too LOVE your book recommendations. You are the third person from Kelly's SUYL that recommends Jen Lancaster's book "Bitter is the new Black." I will definitely have to pick it up! I have actually read a few on your list...I absolutely LOVED the Kite Runner. Have you read his second book "A Thousand Splendid Suns"? I actually prefer that one more although I think it broke my heart a little more...tissues are a must for that one!
Thanks again!

RaRa said...

I too teach HS English and LOVE the Hunger Games trilogy! And many of the others on your list. Look forward to following your blog.

Anonymous said...

I liked The Help. I'm currently looking for another book to add to my Kindle. Thanks for the suggestions you have here.

Aunt Diane

Mrs. Jennifer Lynn said...
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