Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Report

I am always looking for a good book to read. My friend Stacy and I were talking about this the other night, and promised to share our recommendations with each other. So Stacy, this post was inspired by you. Here are some books I've really enjoyed reading:

The Good Earth by Pearl Buck

A wonderful classic that I sadly hadn't heard of until it made it on Oprah's book club. Thanks, Oprah. The tale of Wang Lung and O-lan trying to make a life in pre-industrial China was so engaging and so moving.

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Okay, is this another Oprah book? Maybe. A beautiful story of forgiveness and redemption. If you didn't have to read it in high school, read it now.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

An unusual, powerful story about a boy learning to cope after he loses his father in the 9-11 attacks.

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Non-fiction. I struggle with non-fiction, but I found this discussion about how technology is making the world smaller very interesting.

Wild Swans by Jung Chang

More non-fiction. But one of those books that proves that real life is stranger (and more horrific) than fiction. An autobiography of sorts of 3 generations of women living in China.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

A historical fiction based on the lives of the Mirabel sisters who participated in an underground plot to overthrow the Dominican Republic's dictator.

The Street by Ann Petry

A powerful, engaging but ultimately tragic story about a single black woman raising a son during the 1940s. I heard about this book on NPR, and I think it is one of the best books I have ever read. The story is compelling, heart-wrenching, powerful.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This book is a nice contrast to The Street - it is also about an impoverished family trying to survive, but is more hopeful and optimistic.

Life of Pi by Yann Matel

A story about a boy stranded on a life-boat with a tiger, and also a story about faith, God, and religion.

My Antonia by Willa Cather

The story of several immigrant families who move to rural Nebraska to start new lives for themselves. Kind of like Little House on the Prairie for grown-ups.

Okay, that's my list. What's yours?


Lizzy Jane said...

ok, here's my list:
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver,
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy,
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver,
American Gods by Neil Gaiman,
In the Mothers' Land by Elisabeth Vonarburg,
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood,
The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles,

janel said...

I just finished a biography of Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson that was excellent. Also, I wouldn't recommend "Dora's ___ [insert anything here]." Two thumbs up for Wild Swans and My Antonia. I'm working on "The Audacity of Hope" right now. And your blog, of course. And another hilarious blog called "A Year of Crockpot Cooking." And I loved the Women of Genesis series by Orson Scott Card. And the only reason I have so many books on my list is because I am a nursing mama with a newborn!!! You'll be there soon!

Stacy and Mike said...

Wow.. I need to take a vacation so I can do some serious reading. They all sound good. Give me a week to post my favorites as we just got back last night.
love love

Brooke said...

Here's another great biography on Benjamin Franklin: "The First American" by H.W. Brands. Actually, anything by Brands is a great read.

As for my favorites, here are the current top two:
Mao's Last Dancer. This book is about a young boy who is recruited to participate at Madame Mao's Ballet School, a result of the Cultural Revolution. The book is amazing, and very insightful to what the peasants in China endured during the Maoist regime. For an autobiography, it reads like a novel.

My next favorite is titled "And There Was Light", another authobiography. It's author, Jacques Lusseyran, became blind at age 9 in the year 1933. He lived in Paris, France and was a founder of one of the chapters of the French Resistance. For all the reading I've done about WWII, I've never read a book about the French Revolution. Also, I learned to OPEN all my senses to this world around me. The translation is a little frustrating to read at times, but once you are reading, the story is lovely.

chelsea said...

i feel so ashamed to say i haven't read any of the books on your list. i read things that are fluffy though, sometimes i can't hack the serious ones. i just finished a book call The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and I'm mildy obsessed with it. it's the first of a trilogy and i can't wait for the next one to come out this fall.