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Caroline's Reading List

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Caroline's Reading List  

05/06/05 - Puerto Vallarta, MX


Welcome to Caroline’s I-have-too-much-time-on-my-hands Reading List (well, now that most of the design decisions have been made and work has started on the condo, anyway).  As many of you know, I have always been an avid reader and now that I am “retired,” I have the wonderful luxury of spending more time reading than I have since I was a teenager!  So in the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d include a list of books I have enjoyed as we travel across (and lounge in) Mexico.  Please, e-mail me if you have any book recommendations you think I'd like!

  • Sea Glass by Anita Shreve – this is one of her historical novels, which I tend to prefer over her present day works

  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – Scott and I both read this and could barely put it down!

  • I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson – an often humorous collection of his newspaper columns written after he returned to the US with his wife and children after living in England for almost 20 years

  • Bad Girl Creek by Jo-Ann Mapson – a going away gift from my dear friend Leane; a great book celebrating female friendships

  • Where or When by Anita Shreve – I picked this up at a used book store during our recent visit to SF; not as good as Sea Glass but with a very satisfying ending

  • I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson – LeAndra, hopefully this will not be you some day!  Get out while you still can!  A very entertaining read – thanks LeAndra

  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – not one of my favorites but recommended by a trusted source and certainly an engaging read; a Pulitzer Prize winner;  interesting in its historical Detroit setting, for you natives out there.

  • Why Girls Are Weird by Pamela Ribon - inspired by a diary website that the author used to have, this is a hilarious book; a must read! Anna K is too too funny! Thanks LeAndra!

  • The Hours by Michael Cunningham - Yeah, I know, it's a Pulitzer Prize winner and was made into a great movie (so they say) and all, but I could not get into this book; to my credit, I did finish the darn thing, but I was thankful for its brevity - only 226 pages - all the way!

  • About a Boy by Nick Hornby - like reading the screenplay, almost (except the end is different); if you liked the movie you'll love the book - very, very funny!

  • Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - this is the true story of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and of the grisly murders of a serial killer operating during the same period in history; slower going than my typical reads, but reads more like a novel than a work of non-fiction; my architect pals might like this one (or maybe it will just remind them of work!); overall, not a favorite, but worth a look; I think Scott liked this one better than  I did

  • Passing for Thin by Frances Kuffel - the compelling memoir of a compulsive overeater who loses 170 pounds and of her subsequent struggles to live on the 'Planet of Thin'; I could not put this book down, with its pages of rich descriptions, honesty and humor!

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - this book about a boy's coming of age in war-torn Afghanistan is one of the best I've read in the past 5 years; if you haven't already read this book, you absolutely must...and I promise you will not be disappointed!

  • Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares - the third book in the delightful Traveling Pants series, this is the story of four friends' last summer together before they all go their separate ways as they begin college; I found this one to be as engaging and charming as the first two; a wonderful story of female friendship and growing up

  • My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - a  story about a 13-year-old girl who was conceived in order to be a perfect match organ donor for her older sister and wants to put and end to it; this thought-provoking tale of a modern-day moral and ethical dilemma is an excellent read!

  • The Anxiety of Everyday Objects by Aurelie Sheehan - the writing style of this book is a bit hard to get used to but it turned out to be a delightful little read; although you won't find this one on any bestseller lists, Scott and I both found this story of a budding artist-cum-secretary to be very engaging; definitely one to pick up if you see it

  • Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg - passed on to my by my mother-in-law, this fast-paced story chronicles the humorous misadventures of a girl in 1950s small town Mississippi

  • Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris - Sedaris' latest (I think) collection of humorous essays had me laughing out loud on several occasions...and I don't even consider myself a particular fan of his; very enjoyable!

  • Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy - for those of you who know me well, you know that Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors and this one did not disappoint; her latest (I think) story of four travelers from various locales who have left their "normal" lives behind and come to befriend one another on a small island in Greece is particularly relevant for this world traveler

  • Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi - Scott read this tale of a spirit medium who is investigated by a scientific committee in 1920s Philadelphia and recommended it to me; I was pleasantly surprised, as I did not expect to like the book; however, although I found it to be quite engaging on the whole, I did find the ending a bit anti-climactic

  • The Broker by John Grisham - what a page-turner!  Generally speaking, I don't consider myself to be a particular of fan of Grishman, but I found this story of a powerful Washington lawyer who goes to prison, is granted a presidential pardon and is relocated to Italy presumably for his own protection to be really gripping; I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Bologna and the broker's adjustment to living in a foreign country where he doesn't even speak the language (struck a cord, for some reason...)

  • The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble - another good female bonding, chick-read about the lives of five women who form a book club; there seems to be a glut of these books on the market, but I enjoy each and every one I read and this one was no exception!  Definitely one to check out if you like this genre

  • The Beach House by James Patterson - every now and then I need to take a departure from my usual high-quality reads (ha ha), hence this book; a typical James Patterson suspense thriller set in the Hamptons on Long Island, NY, great for that beach vacation or for those of you with "baby brain!"

  • Priceless by Marne Davis Kellogg - after a couple of books that I did not particularly enjoy and hence, would not personally recommend (Empire Falls by Richard Russo and Drowning Ruth by Charlotte somebody), this charming follow-up to Brilliant, which I read prior to beginning this list, was a breath of fresh air; a fast-paced, easy-read, this suspense tale continues the saga of Kick Keswick, a former jewel thief with elegance, style and a taste for the finer things who users her talents to do good; truly hard to put down!

  • The Friendship Test by Elizabeth Noble - I know it's been awhile since I've added anything, so thanks for checking back!  I have been reading but haven't read anything worth mentioning in a while (unless you count European travel guides - ha!).  This quick read by the same author as The Reading Group (see above) follows the friendships of four 30-something London women and the men (and children) in their lives.  It's an engaging story that I found easy to relate to and I enjoyed (once again) the quaint Brit-speak (since the author is English), although it is odd that her American characters tend to speak British as well - oh  well!

  • Almost French by Sarah Turnbull - this true story of the amusing mis-adventures of an Australian journalist who meets a French man and moves to Paris is a must-read for expats and Paris-ophiles, alike.  I devoured this book!

  • Le Divorce by Diane Johnson - this book was a little more 'academic' (I use that term loosely) than my usual reads, with a few too many political discussions among the characters for my taste, but it was still so engaging and with such a twist at the end!  It's the story of the adventures of a drifting California 20-something who goes to Paris to help her sister through her pregnancy and does a superb job illustrating just how strange and confusing French culture and norms can be to Americans; I realize this doesn't sound all that gripping, but trust me, if you can get through the politics, it's worth it!

  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon - wow, sorry to all my 'fans' out there; I've been away for awhile, but now I'm back; this historical novel is almost 1500 pages long and I lugged this thing all over Europe, taking me almost 3 months to read!  Although it is waaaay too long, I did finish this engaging and suspenseful tale of Claire Fraser, who, in this book, travels back in time to pre-revolutionary America; the thing that makes Gabaldon's books (this is one of a series) so interesting (but also long) is that she takes small, sometimes mundane, pieces of history and weaves her characters into them for a truly intimate and unique glimpse of the past; also, I enjoy the way she uses 20th century time traveler, Claire, as a way to compare and contrast the past with the present; I am not a history buff (to put it mildly) and Gabaldon's books make learning a little history interesting and fun for me; definitely worth a read if you can slog through the many, many pages

  • Childfree and Loving It! by Nikki Defago - as more and more of our friends are having children and 'abandoning' us childfree folks for a life of dirty diapers and play dates, this very well-written, highly readable non-fiction work by a British journalist, provides an interesting and insightful look into our reasons for having-or not having-children and offers a bit of social support for those of us who choose this less typical route in life; a great read for anyone who desires an understanding of this alternative point of view, but especially for people who are in the process of deciding whether to be parents (and of course, those of us who have already decided!)

  • Mr. Maybe by Jane Green - one of my typical light, fluffy reads that I love so, this witty, humorous book tells the story of 20-something Londoner Libby Mason in her search for the perfect man; I could really relate  - and laugh, now that I am married! - to Libby's character and I love the bit of British pop culture that this English author infuses into her entertaining stories

  • The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier - another one of Chavalier's delightful historical novels, this one is the fictional story behind the famous unicorn tapestry; the main character and narrator is a 14-year-old girl, anxious to become a woman, and the tale takes place in France and Belgium, where the weaving of the tapestry takes place

  • Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews - I found this book on our first trip to the Albuquerque library - I feel like a real resident with my new library card!  It's the story of BeBe Loudermilk, an old-money, modern, single and independent Savannah gal who gets fleeced out of everything she owns by a handsome con-man and then gets her revenge with a little help from her friends;  the story has a slight hint of mystery that really keeps those pages turning and it's one of those books that you're really sorry to see come to an end!  I'll definitely be looking for more books by this southern author