Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Books I Loved This Year (and I hope you will too!) by Jenny Gardiner

I am always looking for that book. The one that leaves me wanting more. The one that makes me drop everything and read. The one I mourn when I've finished it. So I'm always seeking out recommendations for books, especially in that post- fabulous-book-lull in which you revisit the book and wish it hadn't ended. Which is where I am now, so I'm scouring our Girlfriends Book Blog for suggestions myself, too! But I also want to tell you some books I've really enjoyed that I hope you'll find enchanting/interesting/fascinating/compelling/unputdownable. Tangled, by Emma Chase I'm amazed at how well this author nailed the voice of a narcissistic male. I was so certain it was written pseudonomously by a guy, so quick shocked to see the author picture and she is decidedly not a he. Funny writing, great dialogue, loved the voice. Man Alive! Mary Kay Zuravleff This is quirky, I'll warn you. But in a good way. The outwardly perfect family starts to crumble when the titular head, the wise father, is struck by lightning while inserting a coin in a parking meter. Zany behavior ensues. It's funny yet serious, and definitely a bit out there. The author is masterful with word play, which is something I love. She's a gifted writer, indeed. What Alice Forgot Liane Moriarty I love Liane Moriarty's books because they make me think. And this certainly did, about a woman who wakes up in a do-over of sorts. She's got a great voice and engaging writing style. The Husband's Secret Liane Moriarty Again, loved this book. Moriarty has such a great premise for this novel: what if you found out something so unbelievable about your wonderful husband. Then what? A compelling read. Crazy Little Thing Tracy Brogan Loved her voice, just a fun writer Beautiful Ruins Jess Walters Fabulous story set against a backdrop of the Cinque Terre in Italy, my favorite country. Imagining a huge backstory set during the filming of Cleopatra back in the 60's. Terrific read. Making Waves Tawna Fenske Fun voice, very engaging writing. The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict The Arbinger Institute I'm not much for non-fiction, but loved this book, written by two men, one Israeli, one Palestinian, who both lost fathers to their "enemy" during wars in their lands, and who joined forces to help troubled children figure out their lives. Wonderful book, shows you the power of possibility Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray Always love her books Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain I'm in the midst of this book right now. I'd read a recommendation by Maria Semple, whose writing I adore, but then it got lost in my kindle and I forgot about it. Fabulous read, terrific writing, terrific storytelling. Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple Such a talented writer and storyteller -- go read this book! You'll love it! Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo Wow, non-fic that reads like a novel. Boo went undercover in a Mumbai slum and knits the tale of several families together. Heartbreaking but unputdownable. Erasing Death by Sam Parnia I got so into this concept, by a doctor whose devoted his career to what happens when people die and are resuscitated. Amazing insights. And of course there are so many wonderful books written by my fellow Girlfriends. This is such a diverse group of talented authors, I just hate that I don't have time to read everyone's books in a timely way! And I don't want to forget anyone and I fear I'm going to. But in the past year I've read and loved books by Maggie Marr, Malena Lott, Brenda Janowitz, Leslie Lehr. And here are a few great escapist books: About That Night Julie James Susan Mallery -- any of her books Jill Shalvis -- any of her books Most overrated book, in my opinion? Wild, by: Cheryl Strayed. I'm sorry, but the woman was an idiot. Shooting up heroin just as she plans to depart for this lengthy journey, about which she did virtually no preparation? I don't buy it. (I will grant you, she's got writing chops, however).

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