Friday, April 20, 2012

Books | Good Reads


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A couple months ago, I read the Hunger Games trilogy.  I was completely engrossed, couldn't put them down, and couldn't explain why, because they are about the farthest thing from any sort of book I'd typically enjoy.  The first was brilliant, the second was decent, and the third was utterly horrific.  Literally. Too much horror and gore for me, but if you read the first you will read all three because you will have to know how it all ends.  Anyway, after that, I wanted something lighter, so I turned to tried and true beloved author, Elizabeth Berg.  Her collection of short stories, The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, is down right addictive.  You'll cry, laugh out loud, relate and want to make an apple pie from scratch when it is all said and done.  I highly, highly, highly recommend this book.  Of the four books I've read over the last few weeks this is my favorite.  The other Elizabeth Berg, Once Upon A Time There Was You, is also very good, but forgettable.  I adore all her books though, and I'd like to think we'd get along pretty well in real life too.  Reviews for Little Bee are vast and wide so I won't recap much other than to say I'm glad I read it.  And while fiction, it is based on real events, heart wrenching, real events.  It is a story that will stay with you for a long time, the kind that makes your heart hurt and leaves you puzzled about the cruelties that occur at the hands of mankind and the ability of hope to prevail in the most desperate of circumstances.  Next up, was a little mindless chic lit, which I found in Emily Griffin's, Heart of the Matter.  It is very typical of her other books, all of which I've read and enjoyed.  Her characters have a little depth and she captures the nuisances of everyday life well.  It was fun to see Rachel and Dex make an appearance too. But it is the sort of book that a month from now I'll forget all the details.  A perfect beach or poolside read.

I picked up this one for the weekend....
Have any of you read it?


I've also started to think about a summer reading list.  Here are some contenders...

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So, tell me, have you read any of these?
Thoughts?
Any other amazing books you've stumbled on lately?
I'd LOVE to know....  

39 comments :

  1. Sorry, I have not read any of these (been more engrossed in children's lit lately - Patricia Polacco has a new one out if that helps any :)). My mom would highly recommend The Red Tent. My daughter, who normally dislikes reading, gobbled up all of The Hunger Games books...and that says A LOT about them. I still think you would love Jan Karon's Mitford series - starting with At Home in Mitford. I am definitely going to try your Elizabeth Berg recommendation once things quiet down around here (in about 5 weeks!)

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    1. the red tent is one of the best books i've ever read! i need to try the mitford series again. i picked one up over the winter but never read it. it sounds so charming.

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  2. I've been toying with the idea of The Hunger Games, per recommendation of my English teacher sister. She also led me to read the Twilight series a couple of years ago...another set of books I didn't think were "my type" but really enjoyed nonetheless! I have Little Bee and The Paris Wife sitting on a pile waiting to be read. Now I'm interested in the Elizabeth Berg book! Have a terrific weekend!

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    1. you will love elizabeth berg!! i'm sure of it!

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  3. last books i read were the hunger games as well. loooove. cept for the last. thought it was kind of whatever...
    thank you for these suggestions! going out of town for a slightly "what am i thinking" getaway with some girl friends at the end of next week and have been trying to find some good books :)

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    1. good for you! you so deserve a little getaway!! :)

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  4. After I read (and loved) The Paris Wife I had to read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast; it was great. I really liked Steve Martin's An Object of Beauty. For poolside finish in a day books, I like Sophie Kinsella. Twenties Girl, I've Got Your Number and Can You Keep a Secret are cute and funny, better than the Shopaholic series.

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  5. Just started the Hunger Games...so much hype, I have to read it! Another I have heard lots of ramblings about is "50 shades of Gray" - sounds "interesting"...:) Happy Reading!

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    1. oh, i haven't heard of that one. 50 shades of gray. i like the title!

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  6. I am just so fascinated at how you have time to do all this reading?! Raising your boys, doing all the fabulous cooking you do, and blogging??!!! And apparently lots of reading of books too? Please tell me how you find the time!! Happy Weekend!

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    1. Ha! I rarely watch TV. Only a couple shows a week, so I guess that's when my reading happens. And as much as I love blogging, I don't read blogs every day. I've also mastered the art of multi-tasking ~ reading while on the treadmill or elliptical. It {almost} makes going to to gym enjoyable! :) Have a great weekend. And I've said it before, I'm not the world's best housekeeper, so I'd say in addition to multitasking, I might also add the art of procrastination. I read a quote on pinterest a while back that has stuck with me in regards to what we see on blogs..."we compare everyone's highlight reel to our own outtakes" it so true, so don't for a second think anyone has some secret for doing it all. :)

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  7. I love Elizabeth Berg and have read all of her books! Anne Tyler is a favorite too. I really enjoyed The Widower's Tale and can recommend that one.
    As for The Hunger Games - I wasn't ever going to read those... because like you, they are not something I would typically read. My girls really wanted me to read the first one before the movie came out, so I did and I enjoyed it so much. I will have to move on to the other two at some point I guess. I always have a reading list a mile long, so it is hard to fit them all in : )
    I just finished Beth Gutcheon's book Gossip. I really love her writing style and thought it was a good read.
    I have Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Woman Who Wasn't There by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. and The Expats by Chris Pavone all on my I can't wait to read list.
    xo
    Ashlyn

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  8. I know they say don't judge a book by its cover, but I love the cover of Little Bee! I'm sooo out of the reading habit. You've inspired me to get back to it!
    xo,
    Linsey

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  9. I had the same reaction to HG. After Mockingjay I just wanted to suck my thumb in the corner. I need to start using Goodreads more....Love int the Time of Cholera is a favorite of mine. I just read The Uncoupling and it was fine. About to start The Art of Raving in the Rain. the Paris Wife is on my list for soon, as well! I'm a bit scared of Shades of Gray, though! I've heard it's great for marriages....!

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  10. I really enjoyed The Paris Wife. If you become intrigued by Paris in that era after reading it, A Moveable Feast and Living Well Is The Best Revenge are both true accounts from people who were part of that circle.

    Faith by Jennifer Haigh is one of my recent favorites. Other ones that I love are anything by Jhumpa Lahiri (author of The Namesake), anything by Tana French (amazing psychological suspense/mysteries - can't put them down), and The Help.

    Also, I must recommend an author who I recently discovered in my Young Adult Literature class (I'm getting a masters in library science) -- John Green. Though technically his books are "YA", they are some of the best books that I've read in a very long time. His most recent, The Fault in Our Stars, has "crossed over" to adult readers & is wonderful.

    I hope that this is helpful!

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  11. I just read 'The Paris Wife' and loved it! I have tried to read 'Love in the Time of Cholera' but couldn't get past the first few chapters. A great one to add to your list is 'What Alice Forgot' by Liane Moriarty. Great summer read. Happy reading!

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  12. I love when blogger friends post what they are reading. I don't read as much as I'd like, but I enjoy any recommendations. I just started reading Hunger Games b/c my friend, who has similiar reading tastes, highly recommended. So far, I'm enjoying it. I haven't read the Twilight series. I have no interest really, but I am intrigued at what makes it such a good read......same goes for Hunger Games. I'm more intrigued by it's popularity. I've been wanting to read The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks because the movie looks so good and I enjoyed several of his books. My favorite all time book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Tessa, it is sooooooo good! You must read it. If you want some chick lit, the Emily Griffin series is great too, although I've only read Something Borrowed and Something Blue (my fave of the two). I've also heard a lot about Fifty Shades of Grey.

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  13. I re-read the Emily Giffin books after The Hunger Games, too. Needed something light to fight off the depression those books put me in, but I'm glad I read them, emotionally draining as they were. I got the first 50 Shades book and didn't even finish it. I found it too unrealistic (which I guess is what the author was going for) and just....I don't know, silly. Didn't do anything for me, but maybe I'm just at a point where I want to read to relax, not.....well, you'll see what I mean...lol.

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  14. 50 Shades of Grey is all the hype, I was told in the bookstore it's considered pornographic???? I just read "Room" by Emma Donoghue... It was brilliant! Also "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova ... Was excellent!!! For a lighter read since I know you love the Cape and Nantucket, "The Love Season" by Elin Hilderbrand all her books take place on Nantucket!! I adore your blog ... Leslie :)

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  15. I'm LOVING all your recommendations!! I need to do this more often!! My reading list is growing by the second! Thank you!!

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  16. I am currently on book 3 of the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I feel like I need to get my opinion on these books out there so I'll probably do my own blog post about them. All of the press that I've seen about them is in regards to their very "raunchy side". Yes, they do have very, very detailed sex scenes but all of those scenes could be taken out and the story you're left with is addicting. It's a relationship that we can ALL relate to in some way. Every girl, at one point in her life, wants to be the girl who "fixes him". I finished book one and immediately picked up book 2 and kept reading because I had to know what happened. Book 2 has far less raunchiness in it. I really think you should give them a try.

    I think the mark of a good book is that I find myself thinking about the characters throughout the day. I wonder what they're doing and then I have to snap myself back to reality and say, "It's a BOOK! They aren't doing anything! They aren't real!" I get very attached to the characters in some books. Diane Chamberlain is a great author in that aspect. I've read all of her books.

    Little Bee took me a very long time go get into. I picked it up & put it down several times but eventually finished it because I couldn't leave it half read.

    Same Kind of Different As Me has earned itself a place on my favorite books shelf. It made me literally BAWL my eyes out. I couldn't stop crying.

    Another easy summer read is Summer At Tiffany. It's a fun little memoir from the 1945 in New York City.

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  17. Thank you for this, read 2 of the first 4 and ironically just finsihed the Paris wife and really really liked it. Thanks for the other suggestions...back into my reading mode and am so looking forward to delving into some new books. I am going to Barnes and Nobles tomorrow (I am not a nook kind of girl..love a real book) so this list comes in handy at the right time. Thanks!

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  18. You've given me some books to read this summer!

    I'd suggest The Same Kind of Different as Me....I think you'll love it.

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  19. I'm also a fan of Elizabeth Berg. I haven't read the ones you have planned but they look good! Some that I highly suggest trying are Adriana Trigiani's Big Stone Gap series - loved! Also, Susan Wigg's Lakeshore Chronicles series and Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer. Last, but one of my favorites, is Stephanie Meyer's The Host. Absolutely out of my usual reading preference but Could. Not. Put. It. Down! I've had three friends of varying ages and prefernces read it and felt the same. I also read instead of watching TV (except for a few shows) when my boys are in bed and don't know what I would do without a good book :)

    Kate

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  20. I just finished Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. It was the kind of book that makes you want to read slow to conserve the number of remaining pages. I have several books on my night stand waiting to be read but I'm just not ready to let go of the characters in that story. It was brilliant. Eventually, I will read Sarah's Key and then The Hand That First Held Mine. I borrowed my daughter's copy of The Hunger Games- I'll give it a try, if only out of curiosity. I second the recommendation for Jhumpa Lahiri!

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  21. To me the Paris wife was kind of depressing but still worth reading! I love all of your other suggestions. Have you read unbroken? It's a wonderful, wonderful book. It's so good I've passed it around my office for people to read. An amazing true story!

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  22. Hello,

    Loved Paris wife....I finished it in a weekend. Starting to read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Can't put the book down during our vacation.

    Next one to read when we get back is Below Stairs....Margaret Powell. It's based off the series Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. Have you seen these tv series.

    Take care and have a good weekend.
    Claudia

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  23. @Claudia - I read Below Stairs a few weeks ago. It's an account of a (rather coarse!) woman's experience working in domestic service. It's not like Downton Abbey at all. It was interesting but I was disapointed. I miss Downtown :(

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  24. I think you would love Jan Karon's Mitford series. Also, One Thousand Gifts, although not a novel is a wonderful, inspiring book. Ahab's Wife, which has been out a long while now, is a book that absorbed me completely. If I wasn't actually reading it, you can be sure I was thinking about it. Engrossing.

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  25. Just finished Hunger Games; you're spot on with your assessment. Loved The Paris Wife. Like another commenter I had to follow it with A Moveable Feast. If you like the book, you might also like the Woody Allen movie "Midnight in Paris." I haven't seen it but it comes highly recommended and the characters are apparently the same as in the book. More top of mind books to check out for your summer reads list: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson, I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley (and the others in the series that follow. The eleven year old English girl who is the main character is unforgettable--fun, smart, petulent, terrific) and for a solid beach read you cannot beat any of the Marion Keyes books (Sushi for Beginners, Watermelon, Last Chance Saloon).

    Heidi B

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  26. Hi Tessa -- I've been following your blog per a recommendation from my BFF! One of these days I'll figure out how to sign in...blah blah blah...:) My mom is a librarian and because I drive so much during the day with my job, I'm COMPLETELY addicted to audio books! I highly advise for treadmills, walks etc. She had to convince me I would love, and yes, now hooked... Try: ANYTHING by Lisa See. Her one book was made into a movie -- Snowflower and the Secret Fan...didn't see it, loved the book too much to watch it hacked up on a film... Also try The Ladies Number One Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith... So thought it wasn't my type, and I couldn't love those books more. Makes you believe in good, kind people...

    Happy Reading!
    Kristine H.

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  27. I read the first five books you listed and just finished The Red Book which was kind of a disappointment.)The Paris Wife was the first book I purchased for my Kindle and I really enjoyed it. I always love books that have a base in history. I look forward to reading some of the others you mentioned.

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  28. thanks again for all the recommendations. i loved hearing for some of you for the first time too. this was so fun, i'll have to do it again. i can't wait to check out these books. my reading list now officially spans summer through next winter! love it! hope you have all have terrific weeks! xo, tessa

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  29. LOVED the Paris Wife! Really felt as if I'd been transported to 1920's Paris...and all it entailed.

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  30. The first book our book club read was Snowflower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See. That was 5 years ago and I am still talking about it and recommending. Wonderful. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is charming. And because you love to cook, A Homemade Life, stories and recipes from my kitchen table, Molly Wizenberg is so enjoyable. Molly has the blog, Orangette. She lives in Seattle and I enjoy reading about her cooking and the Washington area. I hope you enjoy :) I also enjoyed Midnight in Paris...sweet, funny and clever movie.

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  31. Definitely read the 50 Shades of Grey series. Trust me, you won't regret it! (And neither will your hubby) :-)

    Thank you for this post! I have been looking for some new books lately. Perfect timing.

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  32. Thank you for this! I'm always looking for a good read and hate to commit without a recommendation. I totally agree about the Hunger Games series. The first book pulls you in and hooks you, and by the third, I was just frustrated. But I read it, nonetheless. Little Bee was totally engrossing, though definitely not a "light" read. But the best book I've read in the last year has to be Water for Elephants. I know, I know, I'm probably the last person left on the planet to read that book, but it was worth the wait. I couldn't stop thinking about the characters. I'm definitely going to check out Elizabeth Berg... I haven't read any of her books. Thanks for the tip!

    PS~ my all-time favorite book (even though it's usually a Christmas read for me) has to be Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher. Such a nice story. I don't know how else to describe it except to say it's cozy... if a book can be called so. Just my two cents!

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  33. I've been busy writing down all the books that have been recommended by everyone, I have always loved to read! I love my Kindle but still buy the real thing...I love bookstores too! Thanks for this post it so helped me find some interesting books to read!

    Rondell

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