With the colder, wetter, darker days of autumn and winter, it seems like the perfect time to grab a good book, snuggle in with a warm beverage and a warm blanket, and lose oneself in new thoughts and adventures.
I received some great book ideas from my readers, and shared some of them in a post on Thanksgiving Day. This is a continuation of that list. As before, where I have no direct knowledge of the book or author, I am relying on descriptions given at amazon.com.
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – Publishers Weekly describes the first book of the series as a “gripping story set in a post-apocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.” Reader reviews repeatedly comment on how once you start, you can’t put the book down. One reviewer states that the books are “Brutal, but engaging!”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – the amazon.com review says, “Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus – three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman… a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.”
The Poisonwood Bible or anything by Barbara Kingsolver – amazon.com states that “The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959… a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.” Other Kingsolver novels: The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, Prodigal Summer, and The Lacuna.
Anything by John Irving including A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and The Cider House Rules.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – this story takes place in South America, and begins at a lavish birthday party being held by the country’s vice president. Roxane Coss, an American opera diva, is on hand to perform for the gathering. It’s a beautiful evening until the guests are taken hostage by a group of terrorists. As one amazon.com reviewer comments, “I thought Bel Canto might evolve into an oppressive hostage story, but instead, it is an amazing study of human beings, their universality, and idealized love - certainly a beautiful song.”
Frank McCourt’s memoir trilogy: Angela’s Ashes, Teacher Man and ‘Tis. A compelling story of the author’s life journey, told with “eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.”
Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes – amazon.com tells us that the book’s main character Don Quixote “has become so entranced reading tales of chivalry that he decides to turn knight errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, these exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways.” One version, translated by John Ormsby, is available on Kindle for $0.99 here, but you get extra points if you read the book in Spanish.
Anything by Tom Robbins including Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume, Still Life with Woodpecker, and Skinny Legs and All.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – per amazon.com, “Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books.” Reviewer Judy Rose at amazon.com warns us “… read it only if you don’t mind really sad things, you like sad things, or if you just want to read one of the greatest books of the millennium.”
Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls — While The Glass Castle is a heavier memoir of the author’s unconventional upbringing, Half Broke Horses is a bio of Walls’ grandmother Lily, slightly fictionalized and written in the first person. Publishers Weekly describes Lily as “a spirited heroine, fiercely outspoken against hypocrisy and prejudice, a rodeo rider and fearless breaker of horses, and a ruthless poker player.”
Anything by Sue Grafton, particularly her Kinsey Milhone mysteries, beginning with A is for Alibi, and so far spanning throughV is for Vengeance.
So there you have it. Plenty of good reading to get you through the winter. Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions. I appreciate your
P.S. -- Have more good reading ideas? Feel free to post them in the comments.