Monday, March 4, 2013

Recommended Books for Enjoyment

I love to read.  These days my free time to read a book is not that often but I do try and read before falling asleep in bed each night.  Its just so relaxing getting lost in a story.  My favorite kind of books to read are historical non-fiction.  I love biographies and books that take me to another time.  Fictional novels that are also set in another time and place also top my list of books I enjoy.  Most of the books below I read in the last year or two but there are some that I've read long ago that I would still recommend to anyone looking for their next good read.

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  A wonderful biography of a man mostly during his time in the Pacific Theater during WWII.  You won't want to put this down once you start this story. 

2. And the Band Played On by Christopher Ward  The amazing true story of one of the band members who famously played as the Titanic sank, written by his grandson.

3. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan  A true story of those who experienced the dust bowl.  An engaging book about the worst environmental disaster in our history.

4. The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin The stories of those who suffered through the disasterous blizzard of 1888 on the plains.  Grab a blanket because you will feel cold reading this book!

5. My Life in France by Julia Child  A great autobiography by a woman who lived an amazing life.

6. Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond  I love The Pioneer Woman's blog and her autobiograhy reads just like her blog does.  I feel like I know her much better after reading this book.  Hi, Ree!  If you follow her blog, definitely read this one.

7. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson  This is an oldie but a goodie.  Well not too old, but Erik Larson has written several books since this one.  This one takes place during the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. It intertwines the true stories of the workings of a serial killer with the building of the World's Fair.

8. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson This is Larson's most recent book. It takes place in 1933 in Hitler's Berlin.  This is the story of the American ambassador to Germany and his family living in Germany during the critical time of Hitler's rise to power.

9. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis Truly eye opening and inspirational.  Katie writes of her own journey to follow God's call in her life and as a young woman adopted and is currently raising in Uganda 13 girls.  An amazing story.

10. Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins Although these 3 books are neither historical fiction or non-fiction, I still really enjoyed this futuristic trilogy.  The first book I thought was really really good, the second book was pretty good, but the third I found to just be ok.  I got a little bored by the end.  If you read the first book though you'll understand why once you start you have to read all 3 to find out what happens.

11. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Love John Steinbeck.  The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden are 2 of my all time favorites.  Could read them over and over.

12. East of Eden by John Steinbeck See above.

13. Tracy Chevalier I haven't read her most recent novels but I have enjoyed reading all of her older novels.  The Girl with the Pearl Earring was the first of her books that I read and have since read 4 or 5 others by her.  They all have a similar feel to them.  They seem a bit dark and center around a painting.  They also seem to leave you wanting more when the book ends.

14. Lisa See This author's fictional stories take place in China from the middle of the 19th century until the first half of the 20th.  It's fascinating learning about a culture so different an my own.

15. Erma Bombeck Love, love, love Erma Bombeck.  I've read almost all of her books and the few that I haven't are on my to-read list for this year.  She is so funny and relatable even though her books were written decades ago and some of the material is a bit outdated.  If you want to read anything by her start with If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?

16. Anita Shreve  Anything by Anita Shreve is good.  All her fictional books are very different and cover a wide range of times and places.  They all do revolve around a love story, some more center focus to the story than others.

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