Book Recommendations for 2015 (so far)

So far in 2015, I've read 56 books. To some of you that might sound paltry, to others it may sound like a ton! In every writing class or conference I've ever attended, we're told the best way to be a better writer is to READ, READ, READ. So I have. And now I want to share some thoughts with you.

Take heart! I'm not going to review everything I've read here. It would take too long and if I didn't much care for it, why would I waste your time with it? I'd love to hear what you think of some of these, if you've read them. If not, feel free to share some of your favorites.


THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP by Marie Kondo


Not sure what to say about this book except that it was life changing. For real. Marie's advice can sound a little kooky sometimes and I'll admit, I have yet to let my socks speak to me and let me know the way they want to be folded, BUT... the point of this book is that we should rid our homes of everything that doesn't bring us joy. If we don't love something and it doesn't spark joy, it's gone. (It's talking about things, not husbands who come home from work grouchy or kids that won't clean their rooms.) We were house hunting when I read this book and found the house we put an offer on shortly after I finished it. Because we were in major upheaval and transition anyway, I decided I'd try to put the book's advice to use and I GOT RID OF SOOOO MUCH. I did my best to only fill the new house with things I loved, things that made me happy. It wasn't perfect--some things spark joy in my husband and kids that I'd just as soon not have in the house, but it really was an amazing experience and I totally recommend reading this book. I think it might change the way you look at your things and it really does make tidying up easier. That right there is magic!


The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan


Not to get too political, but man, could we ever use another man like Ronald Reagan on the political landscape today. I loved this book. It's a diary with daily entries that reads just like a ... diary. I learned so much about President Reagan, his family, life in the white house, and how government works. It was fascinating. I listened to the audiobook whenever I was cleaning the kitchen or folding clothes. It was hard to put down and a couple of times I was moved to tears as he talked about his feelings at the time of the shuttle explosion or after he was shot or when he called the parents of a fallen soldier. Great book!



THE BOYS IN THE BOAT by Daniel James Brown


I'm not even sure where to start on this book, except to say that I think everyone should read it so we can talk about it. Maybe I should say everyone should LISTEN to it because Edward Herrmann does an absolutely brilliant job narrating this book.

To many people it might not sound that interesting. It's about the 1936 American olympic rowing team and their quest for the gold medal. Okay, a two second google search lets you know they won the gold that year, so (yawn) whatever. NO. NO. NO. Travis and I were taking a road trip and I wanted to find something that might be interesting to him that wouldn't (hopefully) bore me to tears and vice versa. We started listening to this and it was kinda interesting. And then it was pretty interesting. And then it was "let's sit in the car after we've parked and finish this part." And then it was "let's go for a drive and listen to another chapter." And then it was "Oh man, I don't want this to end." And then it was tears, literally, because it was over. 

So please read it so we can talk about it. I loved it and the next time I have a chance to choose a book for a bookclub, we'll be rowing our way to the olympics.



THESE IS MY WORDS by Nancy E. Turner


I had heard of this book many times and it always seemed to pop up on social media when people were recommending books, but I had no idea what it was even about. Then I went to Book Club and some of the ladies were talking about it in such glowing terms that I thought I'd better get with the program and read it. It was so good. Written in diary form, it's an historical novel with heart, humor, drama and romance. Sarah, the main character, is fantastic.