Wish You Happy Forever: What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains

by Jenny Bowen, founder of Half the Sky Foundation

Wish You Happy Forever by Jenny Bowen

I really shouldn’t read books like this when I am pregnant. Sure, orphans get to me any time, but when I am pregnant I have no control over the tears. Whenever I find anything particularly sad, or touching, my eyes turn into sprinklers. This book was both touching, and sad, in spades. Read More »

The Butterfly Mosque

by G. Willow Wilson

The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson

This book came highly recommended, by someone whose opinion I trust. That in and of itself can be dangerous. It is hard to read a book that has been talked up so much because I want something amazing. Well, The Butterfly Mosque wasn’t amazing, but it was certainly good. Read More »

Yes Sister, No Sister: My Life as a Trainee Nurse in 1950s Yorkshire

by Jennifer Craig

Yes Sister, No Sister by Jennifer Craig

The title of this book pretty much sums up what is about. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I had not read the Call the Midwife Trilogy beforehand. This memoir seems to have a lot less heart than the Midwife books, though I did learn more about the mechanics of training to be a nurse. Read More »

The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

by Simon Winchester

The Men who United the States by Simon Winchester

I wanted to like this book. I did. I’ve been a fan of Winchester and simply LOVED The Professor and the Madman.¬†Unfortunately, The Men Who United the States suffered from a classic mistake made in nonfiction: the author was too close to the subject. Read More »

Farewell to the East End

by Jennifer Worth

Farewell to the East End

Farewell to the East End is the last book that Worth wrote concerning her time in London’s East End working as a midwife in the 1950s, but interestingly not the last book she wrote about nursing. I am planning to read those as well. Once again Worth splits up parts of the narrative telling stories about her fellow midwives, Trixie, Cynthia, and Chummy. Read More »

Shadows of the Workhouse

by Jennifer Worth

Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

This book is the second book of the Midwife Series Trilogy on which the BBC drama Call the Midwife is based. Whew, that was a mouthful. Suffice it to say that this book is every bit as sad as the title suggests, in the very best possible way. Read More »

Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s

by Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Once upon a time I stumbled upon the BBC series Call the Midwife on Netflix. I generally enjoy what the BBC has to offer and I devoured this entire series in a matter of a few weeks. I cried every single episode. Perhaps I should preface all the crying with the fact that I am pregnant, and tend to be easily touched into tears when I am pregnant. Read More »

A Mormon Mother: An Autobiography by Annie Clark Tanner

by Annie Clark Tanner

A Mormon Mother by Annie Clark Tanner

My little brother got me this book for Christmas. I suspect that it was heavily discounted from the $1.50 price tag that graced its cover. Though I love free books, AND love my little brother for providing so many, it is often hit and miss with his gifts. It was with trepidation that I started this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Read More »

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks

by Amy Stewart

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

Disclaimer: I do not drink. So why read a book about drinks? I must say, I have a fascination with the science behind the making of alcohol. I visited a Whisky distillery in Scotland and a Pisco distillery in Chile, so I am a bit of an enthusiast. Read More »

11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944

by Stanley Weintraub

11 Days in December by Stanley Weintraub

I know I promised a break on non fiction WWII books, but this has been on the shelf since I married my husband (it came with him) and it was Christmastime so I thought, why not? Mistake. Read More »

I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring

by Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring

I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring by Robert Eaton and Henry Eyring

I always hesitate when I review religious books about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). It is difficult for me to separate my own religious beliefs and examine a text as a purely impartial reader. For example, as a member of the LDS church I read church texts and the scriptural cannon (Old Testament, New Testament King James’ Version, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) weekly, but I never review them as I consider them sacred. Read More »

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and The History of the World

by Sam Kean

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

This is the second of Kean’s scientific narratives that I have read, and the first that he had published. Though I liked it less than The Violinists Thumb, it was still interesting and informative. Read More »

Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-first-century Parenthood

by Drew Magary

Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary

I’m a parent. I wasn’t always a parent. I find it hard, now, to remember what my life was like before I had all these irrational fears and before I spent my days worrying about things like potty training progress or which educational school of thought best fits my ideal of the type of people I would like to release into the world. Read More »

The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

by Sam Kean

The Violinists Thumb by Sam Kean

I first heard about this book on Radiolab, and yes, I immediately like most of what I hear about on Radiolab. Now, I am not fascinated by scientific details, generally speaking, so I probably would not have selected this book had I not heard some excerpts beforehand and that would have been a shame because this book was GREAT! Read More »

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics

by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Fun fact about me, one of my life’s goals is to go to a regatta. In my mind it would have been on the Thames, but now I have a new regatta in mind, all thanks to The Boys in the Boat. Read More »

Silent Courage: An Indian Story

by George P. Lee

Silent Courage: An Indian Story : The Autobiography of George P. Lee, a Navajo by George P. Lee

Oh, so many thoughts about this one. My uncle brought this one to me during Thanksgiving and said, “It is an interesting book. Despite what happened to him later on.” Despite what happened to him later on?! What happened to him later on? To google George P. Lee ¬†then and there, or read the book first? Read More »

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

by Kevin Mitnick with William L. Simon

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick

I slightly dislike these written with books because I am not sure how much was the not so ghost writer and how much was Kevin Mitnick? Which to criticize first, or last? And yes there is plenty to criticize, only where to begin? Read More »

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Meh. So many problems with this book, which was sad because I have been wanting to read it for some time. The largest problem is that of legitimacy. Quiet tries to pass itself of as a serious psychological work when it is really just another self help book (gag). Read More »

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

by Mark Adams

Turn Right at Machu Pichu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams

I really enjoyed this book, which came as a bit of a surprise. I know I’ve said it before, but I tend not to like when the author inserts himself into the non fiction story. There are clearly exceptions, but they are rare. When I picked up this book at the bookstore, I thought I’d give it a chance based solely on my strange obsession with Machu Picchu. Read More »

You Can’t Say You Can’t Play

by Vivian Gussin Paley

You Can't Say You Can't Play by Vivian Gussin Paley

My husband heard about this book on NPR and we’d had a spirited debate about the merits of not allowing children to exclude other children from play. He got me the book for Christmas so we could, no doubt, continue the debate. Read More »

Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands

by Michael Chabon

Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon


I suspect my husband judged this book by its cover as he bought it for me. He is a graphic designer. It does have a nice cover, but happily the inner workings are just as nice. Read More »

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

by Ishmael Beah

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Soldier Boy by Ishmael Beah

One can’t review this book, without talking about the controversy surrounding this story. Read More »

Going Rogue: An American Life

by Sarah Palin

Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin

I’ve never liked Sarah Palin, I thought she was a poor choice for Senator John McCain as a Vice Presidential nominee, but I will say, this book made me appreciate Sarah Palin a bit more. I won’t say I could envision us being bosom buddies, or anything, but I feel I understand more about her as a person than I did before reading this book. Read More »

Great Tales from English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and more

by Robert Lacey

Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey

I like history, but I am unsure about where this book falls into the historical non fiction category. Lacey covers a lot of events, in chronological order, but does not delve deeply into cause, morality, or effect, of many of the events. Read More »

America Back on Track

by Edward M. Kennedy

America Back on Track by Edward Kennedy

Oh, Ted, Ted, Ted… So many things to write about this book. First, for those of you OUT of the political know, Ted Kennedy died way back in 2009. Also, my political beliefs rarely line up with the late Mr. Kennedy, but I do like to keep informed about different ideas and the values behind them. I also got this book for free and I will read anything that comes into my hands for free. Read More »

One Child

by Torey L. Hayden

One Child by Torey Hayden

I have to ask, did they not have HIPAA when Hayden was teaching school? No, research (okay, wikipedia) informs me Bill Clinton signed this bad boy into law in 1996. Read More »

High Tide at Gettysburg

by Glenn Tucker

High Tide at Gettysburg by Glenn Tucker

I am not a Civil War buff. I find it interesting, but it isn’t the first thing I gravitate toward when looking for non fiction. I actually married into this book. When my husband was a teenager he picked it up because he enjoys military tactics, but he found it pretty unreadable and never finished it. Having read the whole thing, I can understand why he desisted. This was a long, slow slog of a read. Read More »

How Soccer Explains the World

by Franklin Foer

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

I grew up with brothers… who watched football. The kind where people wear pads and you throw the ball about. We lived in a small town without soccer leagues. Despite this, I’ve enjoyed soccer. A soccer match is significantly shorter than a football game, and I imagine that is part of the appeal. I even played on an indoor soccer league once upon a time, and ‘coached’ an intramural team. Thus, my soccer credentials are obviously impeccable. Read More »

Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile

by Sarah Wheeler

Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile by Sarah Wheeler


Have you ever gone on a trip with someone loatheable? I have… in Ireland… and the beauty of the country could not eclipse the nagging annoyance of the person I was with. That was what reading Travels in a Thin Country felt like. Read More »

Trails to Testimony: Bringing Young Men to Christ Through Scouting

by Bradley D. Harris

Trails to Testimony by Bradley D. Harris

My husband suggested I read this book, as he was required to read it since he volunteers in the good ole BSA. He works with the Varsity boys (ages 14-16) and oh the stories he could tell! Read More »