Thursday, February 02, 2012

book report

It's been a long time since I've done one of these, but I've read a few great books lately that I wanted to share.


Ahab's Wife is perhaps one of my favorite books. I recently read it for the second time, and loved it even more than I remembered. It is the fictional account of Una, a woman who marries the legendary Captain Ahab. It is so beautifully written. I don't typically write in my books, but this is the kind of book that made me want to highlight passages to re-visit later.

A Fierce Radiance was my least favorite of this bunch, but it is a very interesting story. It follows the development of penicillin during the second World War. I found the ending unsatisfactory and the bedroom scenes unnecessary, but the reality of a world without penicillin was fascinating.

Gone With the Wind is a classic, and rightly so. Oh, it was good. I hated Scarlet and loved Rhett, and I still hold out hope that they ended up happy and together.

The Book Thief has been on my to-read list for a long time. I shouldn't have waited so long to read it. It was moving and heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. It takes place in Germany, during World War II, and is narrated by Death. But don't let that deter you. It is wonderful.

I am usually not one for non-fiction, but Bill Bryson's At Home is fantastic. I flew through it. It is so full of interesting information, and so entertaining. Bill Bryson is a master.

Not pictured:

My Cousin Rachel was a fun beach read while we were in Mexico last month. I didn't enjoy it quite as well as Rebecca, but it was still very entertaining. Daphne du Maurier is good at what she does, which is dark, mysterious fiction.

What is the What took me forever to finish. That is not to say that it wasn't interesting and well-written and that I didn't enjoy it. Because it was and I did, it is just a hard subject. The fact that it is based on truth, makes it even more difficult. It follows the story of a Sudan refugee, his tragic flight to Ethiopia, and his eventual settling in America. A tough read, but very well-done.

The Blue Star is the sequel to Jim the Boy, which I have never read but would like to. The Blue Star is sweet and tender and kind of heart breaking. It has sort of the same feel as The Whistling Season, which I also loved.

I typically don't like books that take place in modern times, but I enjoyed The Hand that First Held Mine. Maybe the fact that it bounces back and forth between a modern day story and one fifty years in the past kept my interest. There were moments in this book that felt so real for me, especially as it tells of Elina and her difficulties as a first time mother.

There you have it. Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? What's the best book you've read lately?


  1. I enjoyed The Book Thief as well. My favorite Bill Bryson book is "A Walk in the Woods", he is so funny.

    The best book I've read in a while is
    "The Birth House" by Ami McKay.

    I will definitely check out Ahab's Wife.

  2. I need to get a good book to read. I'm not a huge reader, so I usually have to find one that keeps me very interested. Thanks for the suggestions. I think I need to take a trip to the library.

  3. I think I will order Ahab's Wife right away-I need a good one. One of my older kids read The Book Thief for school and it reminded me of how much I loved it. Stephanie you would love a book called The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth. It's set in England in the 1940's-50's. Really good.

  4. Loved The Book Thief. I wish I read more in the school year, seems like I only do in the summer.

  5. Re: Ahab's Wife
    I'm reading Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette and it is so beautifully written and historically interesting. Especially the descriptions of France during the revolution in the late 1700s.

  6. stephanie, i've followed your blog for over 2 years now. ack! i must say, every recipe or product you've recommended has been wonderful so i have not hesitance (sp?) getting these books.

    what is the what is wonderful and horrible all at once. i have a hard time recommending it to people but i'm like, "you HAVE to, because this is real life" gone with the wind i've been wanting to read again, i haven't read it since i was a teenager. can't imagine how different it will be after marriage and kids.

    i just read "these is my words" and fell terribly in love with it. like, i can't wait for my daughters to read it so we can talk about Captain jack Elliot. hahaha
    thanks for sharing : )

  7. I'm so glad you posted this Stephanie! I pretty much just went through and added everything to my Goodreads list so thank you! I read The Book Thief about a year ago and really loved it. I kept telling everyone I knew that they had to read it.

  8. We are reading The Book Thief this month for book club. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    Two of my recent favorites: My Name is Memory and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

  9. you've confirmed many reviews i've read previously -- the book thief was one of my sister's favorites that she read in 2011.

  10. Oooh I love book lists! I have added a bunch of these to my list. I'm not much of a fiction person, so it's good to get recommendations. As for me, I'm kind of nonfiction girl, but I really enjoyed "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. It gave me things to think about to make my daily life, well, happier.

  11. Oh, my husband and I love Bill Bryson! Haven't read "At Home" though. Thanks for this great list!


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