Mudbound

by Hillary Jordan

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

I honestly don’t remember how this one came into my consciousness. I don’t believe anyone recommended it and I think vaguely I read the synopsis of the movie version and thought that it sounded like an interesting book? Either way, I got it from my old friend Amazon and the rest is history. I really enjoyed this book and it isn’t the sort of fiction that I tend to like. So often I read books about race relations in the deep south pre civil rights movement and I have to roll my eyes so often (I’m looking at you, The Help). Read More »

A Long Way Home: A Boy’s Incredible Journey from India to Australia and Back Again

by Saroo Brierly

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly

By now everyone has heard this story as the movie based on this book, Lion, was nominated for all sorts of awards. My husband got this for me before the movie was a thing, and so the first time I saw the trailer for the movie I’d already read the book and therefore had a bunch of pre conceived notions about what it should be, but that is another story for another time. You all know my thoughts on movies based on books.  Read More »

Uprooted

by Naomi Novik

Uprooted by Kim Novak

Guys, this book was good. Also, let me put it out there THIS IS A STAND ALONE BOOK!!! Hallelujah! Finally! Read More »

An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-year-old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny

by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresnioski

Get ready with the tissues because this book is full of big feelings. In this day and age negative race relations is big money as it sells newspapers, has splashy headlines, and evokes strong emotions. Unfortunately the media has seized on the negativity in a way the early yellow journalists manufactured threats, wars, and published rumor as fact. Read More »

The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-map Dealer who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps

by Michael Blanding

The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps by Michael Blanding

I love maps. I do. In all my dreams of having the “perfect” room (you can go ahead and imagine a library because all my perfect rooms are library dreams) it has maps all over the place. We moved into our current home about 4 years ago (wow, time flies! I remember unpacking all those books when we got here just like it was yesterday) and I am finally getting around to decorating our bedroom. I found the most amazing map printed on glass over some translucent turquoise  painting. It is awesome. I keep waiting for it to go down in price to something remotely reasonable, and one day IT WILL BE MINE. What I’m saying is, I get a guy wanting to steal maps. I understand why people would collect them and preserve them. In short, I get this book. Read More »

This is Not a Love Story

by Judy Brown

This is Not a Love Story by Judy Brown

This goes on the record as one of the BEST books I’ve read this year. 2016 has started out with some truly great books, but this one sticks with me. It is Judy Brown’s memories of growing up in a Chassidic jewish family in New York City. She and I have a lot in common, not really, but sort of. Read More »

Build Your Running Body: A Total-body Fitness Plan for All Distance Runners, from Milers to Ultramarathoners Run Farther, Faster, and Injury-Free

by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer

Build Your Running Body: A total fitness plan for all distance runners from milers to ultramarathoners

This is the type of book I have been looking for. And it came at a very handy time in my running journey… right before I injured my IT Band this summer. Read More »

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Who doesn’t love a tragic book about men against nature? I’ve read Moby Dick and enjoyed it, but did not know the Essex’s sinking contributed as inspiration for the tale. I was completely unaware of this little thrilling bit of history until I saw a preview for the movie starring Chris Hemsworth. Thank you, Chris, I still haven’t seen your movie, but I’ve read the book. That is actually pretty accurate, when I see previews of movies based on books, it only encourages me to read the book first. Sometimes I get to the movie, sometimes I don’t. Read More »

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emporer of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

In 2005 (?) my mom had cancer. She told us that she had to go in for surgery. I visited her in the hospital. She came home. My youngest brother and I called her surgery “the incision” and would make fun of her Pre Incision and Post Incision dancing. I wasn’t living at home and the whole thing seemed to pass rather quickly and then it was over. My mom was okay… then I read The Emperor of All Maladies… so I called to hear what really happened, because if Mukherjee taught me one thing, it is that cancer is never that simple.

Read More »

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

by Alan Bradley

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

If you recall my last review of this series, I expressed concern as to where the series was going. I worried that it all might be coming off the rails. You will be happy to note that I was being unnecessarily pessimistic. Read More »

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

by Erik Larson

Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

I have never hidden my love of Erik Larson’s books. I enjoy learning more about the subjects he chooses, and usually find his style very readable and relatable. Larson is a master at recreating a time while giving the reader the ability to belong to that era. Dead Wake was no exception. 

Read More »

The Children’s Blizzard

by David Laskin

The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin

Oh, the tears that I cried while reading this one. So, spoiler alert, people die. Children, specifically. If you are squeamish about kids dying, this is probably not the book for you.
Read More »

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

by Hampton Sides

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides

This book solidifies it for me. I need to read more Hampton Sides. Read More »

Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time

by Caleb Daniloff

Running Ransom Road by Caleb Daniloff

I used to be a runner. This is true. Since I had my son almost four years ago my running has been sporadic and at times a bit disappointing. During this, my third, pregnancy I vowed to read at least one running book a month in order keep my excitement level up to fulfill my goal of eventually running a marathon. I’d had this book on my radar for quite some time, and was very happy with the book overall. Read More »

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Elizabeth McCracken

An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCraken

I was pregnant when a friend suggested I read this one. When I bought it I was horrified to find out it was about a woman who has a stillbirth. I don’t consider myself over superstitious, but my pregnancy was already high risk and would need a c-section (something I’d never endured with my previous children) so I put the book aside to read later. Read More »

A Hero For WondLa

by Tony DiTerlizzi

A Hero For WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

I almost feel like I should have re-read The Search for WondLa before reading this sequel as it takes up the action where the other book left off. Read More »

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 »

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 »

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

by Anthony Marra

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Poor Chechnya. Some countries seem to just have it bad and Chechnya is one of those. I will not delve into political theory or strategy but for those unacquainted with Chechnya’s tragic history, suffice it to say that it is a country surrounded by larger countries with dangerous ambitions, and the Chechen people have paid a hefty price. Read More »

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

 

This is the second book in Valenti’s Fairyland series. I was looking forward to it for a LONG time, but with a bit of trepidation. How does one improve or add to a story that I personally enjoyed so much? Read More »

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I often re-read books that I love, but I rarely re-read them so quickly in succession. I finished this, and promptly started reading it the next week aloud, to my husband. I appreciated the opportunity for that second read. 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 »

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 »

We, the Drowned

by Carsten Jensen

We the Drowned by Carsten Jensen

I LOVED this book! Loved it. I struggle to find non genre (lit fiction) fiction that is good. Much of it is broody, and depressing, and overly self-conscious. Most are trying to sell a message, and though they try to be subtle, I generally find it distasteful. We, the Drowned was fiction done right. Read More »

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

by James McPherson

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James McPherson

Bless you, James McPherson… I LOVED this book! Though I don’t consider myself a Civil War enthusiast, I do enjoy learning about the battles and the individuals who lived through that turbulent times. When I say individuals, I don’t necessarily mean the Lincolns or the Lees, but the lay soldiers, and those ‘ordinary people’ who witnessed what was going on and felt direct effects. Read More »

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

This book gets the highest grade possible because it was awesome. You should read it. The end… Read More »