Monday, September 10, 2012

let's talk books

Ok, so since I've been posting what I'm reading on Instagram, I've gotten a lot of questions and requests for book suggestions. While I did answer this question on Formspring, I thought I'd post this layout I did for a Digi Dare a few months ago and talk a little more in depth about some good reads.

I'll just give my honest, humble opinions about these books. I won't go into synopsis or anything like that. I personally like to know very little about the storyline when I dive into a book (just the general premise). If you're looking for synopsis, that's easy to find on Amazon or Good Reads.

{credits here}

It was nearly impossible to choose jsut a few favorites for a layout, so I just went with the first books that popped into my head when I thoght of "Book Club books I've loved".

These are in no particular order:

"The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant (read in April 2006)

General Premise: The story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph, as well as Leah and Rachel of the Bible told in first-person narative in a way that will have you seeing these biblical characters like you never even imagined.

My Layout Reads: We read this so long ago! But I still think about it from time to time. Probably one of my favorite books ever.

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein (read in Jun 2010)

General Premise: A story of love, loss, overcoming heartbreak, family, all from the perspective of . . . wait for it. . . a dog! Yes, the dog tells the story and its totally AMAZING!

My Layout Reads: I think almost anyone in our book club would name this book in their Greatest Hits. It’s so unique and moving. One of those books you just can’t ever forget.

Additional Notes: I'm not even really a dog lover, and it is one of my favorite books. EVERYONE should read this book. I highly recommend it. So good!

"Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli (read in March 2010)

General Premise: Boy meets a girl who is not afraid to be herself. It's all about what this girl teaches this boy about acceptance, confidence, and love. (<-- that does NOT do this story justice, I just can't think of a better way to explain the general premise!) Layout Reads: Life changing. Truly. I need to reread Stargirl like once a year, just to strengthen my resolve to be an indivdual, and find happiness and stop worrying so much about what other people think. It’s a MUST-READ in my opinion. Additional Notes: Make your teenagers read this book. It's a book for young readers and it's amazing. I'm sure most avid readers have read it already, but just talking about it makes me want to go read it again.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot (read in January 2012)

General Premise: A poor southern black woman "donates" a sample of her DNA cells in 1951 (which, amazingly, can somehow live forever) and changes the future of medicine forever in an unbelievably powerful way. The woman and her family aren't even aware of it, until much later and the search for the full story of the HeLa cells is such an amazing adventure!

Layout Reads: My mom said it best when she said “this book is the reason we have book club.” It is something totally differet and it was an incredible experience to read!

Additional Notes: My aunt chose this book and she heard about it on NPR. It was truly gripping. I loved every page. I recommend it to all my bookie friends. It's all based on true events and I guarantee you've never read anything like it.

"Austenland" by Shannon Hale (read in January 2010)

General Premise: New Yorker Jane is obsessed. Obsessed with Colin Firth Mr. Darcy in stretchy pants (who isnt'!?). Ok - its more than that. Jane gets to live her fantasy in a place where Austen's novels are made real for those lucky enough to be guests.

Layout Reads: Fluffy? Sure. But it was so much fun, I read it twice.

Additional Notes: This is one of my favorite "romantic" books. It's totally fun, happy, clean, and well written. I love the premise. It will TOTALLY leave you dying to go to Austenland yourself. Since I made this layout, I also read "Midnight in Austenland" which is a fabulous sequel. Every bit as fun and awesome. I highly recommend BOTH these books to anyone who wants a good clean romantic "escape" book.

Well, I hope I've given some suggestions that spark your interest. Now, I'd love to hear YOUR suggestions! What's the best book you've read in the past year?


  1. You have some of my favorites up there! If you haven't read it already, you must add The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom to your list. It's nothing short of amazing and so inspiring.

  2. Ooh thanks for this! I liked The Hiding Place too. :)

  3. I read The Hiding Place a lonnnng time ago. You're right Mary, it was amazing. These are just books I've read fairly recently.

  4. My daughter is reading The Immoral Life of Henrietta Lacks for a school challenge but is having a bit of trouble getting through it. (she is only 13)I will have to read it really quick to see if I can help her along.I also loved Stargirl...I made my older daughter read it to the younger one and now its their bedtime story.

  5. Best book I've read this year: Gone With the Wind. It's long but so very, very good. I hadn't even seen the movie so I went in to the story not knowing much -- I was just swept away by the story, the setting, the characters.

    Last summer I read Les Miserables (the B&N abridged version that's around 800 pages) and it became one of my favorite books ever.

    And for something much shorter but also a good read: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. This won the Newbery a couple of years ago. I just read this over the weekend and it was a very well-crafted story.

    For good nonfiction: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand; Quiet by Susan Cain; Man of the Family by Ralph Moody (all very different topics but loved 'em all).

    Out of the ones you mentioned, I especially liked Austenland. Did you know there is a sequel, Midnight in Austenland? (That one was a bit of a mystery, though, which I didn't like. But I can't resist Shannon Hale's writing; she's very gifted!)

    I will have to stalk this post; I have about a million books to read already, but I just can't resist some good book-talk!

    1. Hi Beth! I read Midnight in Austenland. I mentioned it in my post. You must have missed that. I really liked it. And I think we picked Unbroken for one of our book club books for this coming year. :)

  6. Britt,
    Just noticed a typo, The Immoral Life of Henrietta Lacks, should be The Immortal...
    Just in case anyone was wanting to look that up.
    Thanks for the reviews and LO, what a great idea.

  7. Oh my gosh! How emabarassing!! HAHA!! I got it fixed. And yes, that one little letter changes everything!! Henrietta Lacks was NOT immoral!! She was IMMORTAL! hahaha

  8. Love this layout, and now these are books that will go on my list to buy once I finish the gazillion books on my current to be read list :)

  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! Hubs' uncle always gets me books for my Kindle for Christmas, and he warned me he'd be looking for suggestions at Thanksgiving!

    I recently read War Brides by Helen Bryan, which I enjoyed, but I really like historical fiction, especially WWII era. Sarah's Key was another interesting one, for both modern day and historical fiction fans (it flips back and forth, chapter by chapter) For fluffy books, I enjoyed Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella - it's totally chick-lit, but for me, it's really fun brain candy. I also enjoy books by Emily Giffin. Less fluffy, but still interesting reads. More serious, but not thrillers or anything.


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