Book Group Favorites

One book I read recently is called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Craft Rubin. This nonfiction book made a huge impression on me, and I bookmarked the website and online tools for future use. Excellent for discussion….

Another book I loved was “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by Helen Simonson. I’m looking forward to discussing it in the Falls Church group, and Tysons if it’s voted in. It’s beautiful…

“Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature” by Linda Lear (Excellent! I never knew anything about her life, and that’s why I find the book so mesmerizing. I loved everything about it–right down to the dust jacket. It also talks about many places in England and Scotland that I would love to visit. I still remember your photos from the trip with your sister. Have you had a chance to go back?)

“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen (This was a huge crowd-pleaser. It attracted many attendees.)

“Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario (An edge-of-your seat, emotional read about a young man from Honduras who tries several times to enter the U.S. illegally in search of his mom, who had left him and his sister behind many years before to try to make a better life for the family, and eventually bring them to the U.S. I admire the journalist who took on this project.

“The Beatles” by Bob Spitz (This group biography was written in 2005, and is very good. I don’t remember their heyday, but I’ve seen the clip of their Ed Sullivan Show appearance so often over the years that I feel like I lived through it. Now I’m into the Grateful Dead, listening to their music whille I read “A Long Strange Trip” and “Jerry Garcia.”)

“Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery” by Eric Metaxas (I rented the movie and enjoyed it, and so I wanted to read the book.)

“Mockingbird” (bio of Harper Lee; I can’t remember the author)
“Portrait of an Unknown Woman” by Vanora Bennett
“Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Susan Vreeland (Read anything you can by this author; she has a new book coming out in January 2011.)
“The Johnstown Flood” by David McCullough (Read anything by him; most are extremely long, but are so worth it.)
“Across a Hundred Mountains” by Reyna Grande
Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas (Try all of her work.)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Excellent!(
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
The Passion of Artemesia by Susan Vreeland
Any title by Geraldine Brooks is good, as well as those by her husband, Tony Horowitz, a travel writer. I like Ann Patchett even more now. Ivan Doig’s books are also excellent. He writes a lot about Montana.
Read anything by Reeve Lindbergh.
Read anything by Chris Bohjalian. (Check out his column every Sunday in The Burlington Free Press.)
Anything by Tracy Kidder
The Virgin’s Knot by Holly Payne (she’s written a couple of other books as well.)
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (and any of his titles)
Math and the Mona Lisa
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (Excellent; unusual perspective–a dog is the narrator)
1491 was recently recommended to me.
Blonde Faith, by Walter Mosley
The Moon and Sixpence — W. Somerset Maugham
The Stone Cutter (getting a lot of buzz; can’t recall author)
The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, by Caroline Alexander
My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story of a Town and Its People in the Age of AIDS, by Abraham Verghese
So Big, by Edna Ferber
A Summons to Memphis, by Peter Taylor
The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places, both by Brunonia Barry (The latter is her most recent; some characters appear in both books)
The Amelia Peabody series, all by Elizabeth Peters
The Soloist, by Steve Lopez (profoundly moving; also loved the movie)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski
Playing with the Enemy (inspired the movie “Invictus”)
Love Walked In (Mari Sandoza–check on author’s name)
Nancy Atherton’s series of mystery books called “Aunt Dimity”
Anything by Tracy Chevalier

A few from Library book groups:

City of Fairfax Regional Library: River of Doubt by Candice Millard
George Mason Regional Library: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
John Marshall Library: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Kings Park Library: The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
Kingstowne Library: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Lorton Library: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Martha Washington Library: Burn Out by Marcia Muller
Oakton Library: The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
Pohick Regional Library: One of Ours by Willa Cather
Reston Regional Library: Been Here a Thousand Years by Mariolina Venezia
Sherwood Regional Library: Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls (also The Glass Castle)
Thomas Jefferson Library: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (Strength in What Remains is also excellent, and is a companion piece to “Mountains”)

Ellen Crosby’s The Merlot Murders series. She has also written another mystery series about a photographer named Sophie.

Nancy Horan —Under the Wide and Starry Sky and Loving Frank–both excellent.

Anything by Christina Baker Kline is good. Her style is very readable. Orphan Train is probably the best known, and my favorite.

Except for Ray Bradbury, I’m not a science fiction fan. But just in case I ever get curious: Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness.

James McBride wrote The Color of Water and other books. The Good Lord Bird is another suggested for book groups.

Alice Munro is known for short stories. Any of her titles ensures a thorough discussion.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki has an interesting premise, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.





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