Tag: recommendations


Friday’s Five Books: Five Favorites From Michelle of The True Book Addict

Posted 11 November, 2011 by Heather in Blogs, Friday's Five Books / 11 Comments

A Game of Thrones

Friday's Five Books

*Friday’s Five Books is a bi-weekly post on Between the Covers that highlights book recommendations from the reading community.

Michelle & her boysThe most important thing in my life, of course, are my two sons. Running a close second are books! An avid reader, since early childhood, and book collector, my home library numbers at over 3000 books, with fiction at 2000+. A major history buff, I have a great passion for historical fiction. I’m also a huge fan of the horror and fantasy genres, but you will often find me reading just about anything, except perhaps erotica or books strong on romance. As a writer, I am working on my first novel, which may end up being a historical horror mishmash…who knows! I am a blogging addict, with 9 blogs total, two of them being book review sites: The True Book Addict and my horror blog, Castle Macabre. My writing blog is The Story Inside Me, and I also have a year-round Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit. Yes, I am a Christmas fanatic and I am a voracious reader of Christmas literature. And, of course, no serious book lover and writer could be without a cat and so I have my faithful black cat, Alice, by my side.  You can also catch me on Twitter @truebookaddict, and Facebook.

My five:

Since I am technically an eclectic reader, my five books are quite a mix. I’ll start with my favorite book of all time.

The Queen of the DamnedThe Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

Anne Rice has been my favorite author for over twenty years and will remain so forever. Yes, I’m that loyal. The Queen of the Damned, the third book in her Chronicles of the Vampires, was the book in the series I read first. At the time, I had no idea that it was part of a series until my mom pulled Interview With the Vampire from her shelf and told me that it was, in fact, the first book in the series and that Queen of the Damned was the third book. Long before Twilight appeared in Stephenie Meyer’s dreams (I’m not hating on Twilight…honestly), Anne Rice was the quintessential ‘Queen’ of the vampire genre. Her vampires were gorgeous, evil, and complex. She wasn’t afraid to tackle themes of homosexuality or religion in her books and the central character through all the books, Lestat, struggles with being a monster and rediscovering his humanity. The Queen of the Damned is my favorite book because it reveals the history of the vampires’ existence. Give me a history and I’m hooked. I’ve read it four times and I’m sure I will crack it open again in the future.

A favorite in historical fiction…

The Pillars of the EarthThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Long before it was made a selection in Oprah’s Book Club, I was recommending this book to anyone and everyone who would listen. A piece of advice, listen to your librarian when she/he recommends a book. I owe that librarian for introducing me to one of my favorite books of all time. Ken Follett, an author known for his thrillers surrounding espionage and the like, took his interest in the history and construction of cathedrals and crafted a story surrounding the construction of a cathedral in the Middle Ages and the people who lived and worked in the surrounding town. A story full of rich historical detail and characters who endear themselves early on, The Pillars of the Earth is a book that is easily enjoyed, whether you’re a history buff or not.

A new favorite in fantasy…

A Game of ThronesA Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book I) by George R.R. Martin

I have long been a fan of the fantasy genre and over the years have read many great fantasy novels/series. But the book that took me back to the delight of my first discovery of fantasy is A Game of Thrones. I cannot believe that the book has been in existence for fifteen years and I just discovered it in 2011. It has all the elements of epic fantasy with a distinct medieval feel that appeals greatly to my interest in the historical. I am looking forward to continuing with the series.

Oh, the horror….

Hell HouseYes, I like to be scared. A lot. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many books that genuinely scare me (darn it). An exception is Hell House by Richard Matheson. Yes, he wrote I Am Legend, also an excellent book, but Hell House is a horror masterpiece, in my opinion. The book is very well-written which makes the scary elements even more surprising. I found myself getting lost in the prose and then…wham! To say I was scared is an understatement. I could not sit and read this book without having all the lights on. The sheer creepiness might have had my hair standing on end. I didn’t look in the mirror. *wink*

A timeless classic…my favorite…

Little WomenLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott

Many dismiss Little Women as a book only suitable for young girls and, true, I did first read it when I was about nine or ten years old, but I have read it several times since and it has never lost its appeal. Maybe it’s because a story surrounding the importance of sisterhood speaks to the side of me that cherishes the relationship I have with my own sister. Or perhaps it’s Jo’s tenacity in bucking the conventions of the time to become a writer. Or it could be the poignancy of a sickly and selfless sister who dies way before her time. Actually, it’s all of these things and so much more. Alcott recognized the importance of family and love, and though the book is set in the Civil War era, it’s themes are as relevant today as they were yesterday. Anyone who has not read Little Women is missing out on one of the most wonderful reading experiences a person can have.

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Thank you for the recommendations, Michelle! I have The Pillars of the Earth on my TBR pile, and I really need to re-read Little Women (I haven’t read it since I was very young). Of course, you know that I share your love of Anne Rice’s vampires, too. Good stuff!

**If you choose to purchase any of these titles using the links below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale (to be used toward site maintenance and buying more books).

Amazon | Powell’s Books | IndieBound

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Friday’s Five Books: Alex Recommends Five Great Fantasy Series

Posted 30 September, 2011 by Heather in Blogs, Fantasy, Friday's Five Books / 1 Comment

Game of Thrones

Friday's Five Books*Friday’s Five Books is a bi-weekly post on Between the Covers that highlights book recommendations from the reading community.

AlexHi, I’m Alex, and I’m a bookaholic.  It started with just a few books read to me here and there when I was little, and has since spiraled into a full-blown addiction.  Suffice it to say I enjoy reading books.  A lot.  When other people have free time, they watch TV or movies; I read at night, on the way to school, on the bus, and during my study breaks.  I’m not sure what the cure is.  I’m not sure if I want to know.  Come join in my obsession on my book blog (Ristea’s Reads) and on Twitter (@ristea).

I love immersing myself in new worlds and discovering characters who feel so real it’s as if I’ve known them my whole life.  You know that emotional reaction at the end of a book where you have to leave everything behind?  That’s a chronic problem for me.  Let me show you some of my favourite fantasy series that have become so much more than just a pastime or idle distraction.  If you have any sort of stigma against the genre, I encourage you to try out one of these books and see what you’re missing.

Luck in the ShadowsThe Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling

Now, I enjoy my epic fantasy as much as the next guy, but every now and then I need a break from appendices of characters and large-scale maps.  Nightrunner provides the perfect fix.  Some have complained that the pace is too slow, but I thought that brought the characters alive.  Following Seregil and Alec almost exclusively through five books, even as they do mundane tasks such as set up camp or settle in to their mansion in Rhiminee, shows how the characters are truly organic, whose actions spring from the story and are plausible.  The author didn’t just think of a few key traits and blow through a massive plot-line, changing it to “work” with what she had in mind.  Seregil and Alec are loosed upon the world, and actively engage with the story and other characters, resulting in slightly flawed partners that anyone can relate to in some way.

Game of ThronesA Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

A gritty, realistic world where the typical ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys are replaced with characters that have their own motivations and desires, resulting in a maelstrom of intrigue and emotion.  Martin is such a master of bringing the medieval-like world of knights and castles to life that I’m pretty sure he has a time machine hidden away in his garage.  Add plots within plots and an author that isn’t pulling any punches, and you get one of the most outstandingly written fantasy series of all time.

Gardens of the MoonThe Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

Erikson is a true genius of world-building; dare I say that he approaches Tolkien-esque levels?  He drops you right into the action, without any cheesy info dumps, and you are left scrambling to figure out exactly what’s going on.  A fair warning that this is not a light read, but the rewards are well worth the effort.  I think I could devour this series over and over again and learn something new every time.  When was the last time you were in the middle of a book and immediately knew that you wanted to re-read it right away?

Assassin's ApprenticeThe Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

This novel is told entirely from the first-person perspective, but Hobb’s talent shines through here as you fall in love with Fitz, his life, and the other characters that interact with him.  By the time I finished this trilogy, I was so feverishly engrossed in the novel, that I could hardly put it down for friends, food, or fodder.  It’s simply amazing how you end up living and breathing as if you were actually Fitz, and start feeling emotions in real life to match his.  This book had me giddy with delight at Fitz’s exploits, crying at his hardships, laughing with him and his friends, and finding in him a parallel to my own life.  Honest and original, despite having many of the stereotypical traits of the fantasy genre, this is a true story of a boy’s travels through life and everything it entails.

The Name of the WindThe Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

Rothfuss doesn’t try to re-invent the fantasy genre wheel, he sticks with a classic form to tell the extraordinary tale of Kvothe.  I don’t usually fall for the fluff written on the back cover, but this one had me hooked:

My name is Kvothe.  I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings.  I burned down the town of Trebon.  I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life.  I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in.  I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day.  I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

I do not recommend The Name of the Wind if you have any deadlines coming up, plan on getting a good night’s rest, or have any friends that would get mad if you dropped off the radar for a week or so.

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Thank you for the recommendations, Alex!  I’m reading the Kingkiller Chronicle books right now and I’m really enjoying them.  I’m definitely going to look into the rest of these the next time I’m in the mood for a good fantasy series.

**If you choose to purchase any of these titles using the links below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale (to be used toward site maintenance and buying more books).

Amazon | Powell’s Books | IndieBound

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Friday’s Five Books: Recommendations From Sunset Brown of Homegrowne…

Posted 2 September, 2011 by Heather in Blogs, Friday's Five Books / 2 Comments

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

Friday's Five Books*Friday’s Five Books is a bi-weekly post on Between the Covers that highlights book recommendations from the reading community.

Meet Sunset Brown (@SunsetSoFresh).  She’s a professional singer and community activist.  By day, she runs a non-profit after school enrichment program in South Los Angeles.  By night (and some days) she is the lead singer of Homegrowne, and guest features in other ensembles.  Sunset is the ultimate lover of African-American Literature and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Spelman College.  The love of African-American literature, specifically Historical Fiction, was birthed by her mother who raised her in Pan-Africanism and had nearly every Black/African Diaspora classic piece of literature right at her fingers in their home library.  Below she shares 5 of her all-time favorite books.

As aforementioned, I am a lover of African-American literature, so excuse the lack of diversity in my selections.  Other than the Transcendentalist authors and early Philosophers, whom I adore, I am most intrigued by women authors of African descent.  With that said, I assure you that the below books are most enjoyable, and written in very compelling storytelling and/or narrative voices.

Blood ColonyBlood Colony — by Tananarive Due

Blood Colony is the last in a 3-part series which Science Fiction writer Tananarive Due calls The African Immortals, so you may want to start from book one, Living Blood.  Though a very fluid series, Blood Colony can stand on its own.  It mixes science, race, gender roles, horror, religion, health, fantasy and humor together so seamlessly that I’m surprised Tananarive is not more well-known and acclaimed.  In this book we follow Fana, a young immortal black woman from a sect called “The Mission.”  Its members use their immortal blood to help sick people all around the world.  Fana’s blood is some of the strongest they’ve seen.  They live in secrecy because they are considered a threat by the U.S.  When a friend of Fana’s becomes sick with HIV, Fana and best friend Caitlin set off on their own crusade and form an underground railroad to heal the infected with Fana’s blood.  Stories of the healing power of her blood, which is now being called GLOW on the streets, cause a series of gruesome violent acts and strange occurrences including a twist involving a religious sect.  Tananarive Due is brilliant at tying lots of themes and plots together; you’ll never know where she’s headed next or what social commentary and themes will slide in.

I, Tituba, Black Witch of SalemI, Tituba, Black Witch of Salemby Maryse Conde

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem gives a fictional voice to the real woman Tituba, a slave from Barbados who is brought to America and later tried as one of the first women in the Salem Witch Trials.  THIS BOOK IS NOT ABOUT SLAVERY!  It’s the amazing journey of a young woman born of a slave and slave master.  She sees her parents (mother and adopted father) killed, and then is exiled where she lives free in the woods with an African healer who teaches her ancient rituals, healing and the art of communicating with the ancestors and spirit realm.  This book amazingly deals with theme of love as Tituba, who is living as a free woman, VOLUNTARILY re-enters slavery to be with a man she loves and has met during her travels.  In slavery she begins to assist white women with their ailments and when animals die and a few women get sick, she is named a witch (along with two white women) and jailed as one of the first women tried in Salem for witchcraft.  She also finds love in jail with a female cellmate, and later with an older Jewish immigrant who purchases her from jail, becomes her lover, and helps her return to Barbados where she dies in a revolt as the lover of a revolutionary.  There are times of humor throughout.  One point of humor recurs as Tituba’s mother speaks from the spirit realm and shakes her head at many of her daughter’s exploits.  The book also makes fun of the hypocrisy and naivety of the Puritans.  There is even what I call a “guest appearance” by Hester Prynne.  Author Maryse Conde is an amazing story-teller and gives a beautiful voice to Tituba, whose story has been told before in other pieces of American literature as a mere side note.

The Collected Poems of Langston HughesThe Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

I’m not a fan of poetry, not even in its modern spoken word form, but what can I say…I LOVE Langston Hughes.  First, I must give credit to my professor Dr. Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper, one of the leading scholars and analysts of Hughes’ work, for bestowing her passion on me.  This compilation is one of the true gems of my library.  In it, the reader gets introduced to the true genius of Hughes.  As worldly and educated as he was, he had an ability to connect all that he’d experienced to his audiences through extremely simple words and images.  This work includes five decades of poems from Hughes.  The reader is able to lyrically experience music, politics, religion, art, the movements (Black Arts Civil Rights), the unique plight of biracial people, and most prominently, his deep admiration for Harlem.  When it comes to painting Harlem, Hughes’ choice colors are humor, realism, vernacular, and a song-like flow.  Just read the lovely lullaby–and one of my favorites–“Juke Box Love Song”:

I could take the Harlem night
and wrap around you,
Take the neon lights and make a crown,
Take the Lenox Avenue busses,
Taxis, subways,
And for your love song tone their rumble down.
Take Harlem’s heartbeat,
Make a drumbeat,
Put it on a record, let it whirl,
And while we listen to it play,
Dance with you till day–
Dance with you, my sweet brown Harlem girl.

If poetry just doesn’t move you, please pick one of his novels, autobiographies, short stories (his “Simple” stories are a hilarious sitcom-like collection of a Harlem wino’s life), poems, essays, plays, or operas.

The Mastery of LoveThe Mastery of Love — by Don Miguel Ruiz

One reviewer of this book noted, “This is not self-help…its real wisdom.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Ruiz uses ancient Toltec wisdom to guide you through relationships of all kinds.  These very simple and somewhat obvious truths are broken down through stories and examples that make the light bulb that you thought turned on a long time ago really glow.  There are many lessons on love, but the most powerful to me was his explanation that we seek love because it is not within us.  It is not something we can achieve on our own, thus sometimes creating unreal and unusual expectations.  On the other hand, though we can’t achieve it on our own, we can’t fully receive it without a loving relationship toward self.  I find the examples most useful, because like previously stated, these are simple truths and things that we already know.  Ruiz just has a great way of “Makin it plain,” as the church folks would say.

A Taste of PowerA Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story — by Elaine Brown

Many members of the Black Panther Party have written books about their experiences leading up to and in the Party.  None are as candid, scandalous, yet still informative as Elaine Brown’s tale.  Brown’s story begins with the end:  being in charge of the party while Huey is in jail, and the party’s eventual fall.  She then backtracks through humorous and painful tales about herself and her New York crew, from childhood to college.  She explains the experience of being a bad hood girl while on her block, then wanting to be white (Jewish) while at school, and the privilege of looking almost white, which was revered by her mother.  She then migrates to California and heads straight to the night life and the company of many wealthy white men, including Frank Sinatra.  It is one of those wealthy white men, an intellectual, who becomes her lover and teaches her about her deeper history.  Her thirst for more knowledge and black culture lands her in the middle of the Black Panther Party and in sexual relationships with many of its most famous members, including Huey P. Newton.  She tells all about sexism, the impressive youth leadership of the party, her sexual escapades, murders, the LAPD, the US organization and Maulana Karenga, UCLA’s relationship with the Panthers, drugs, domestic abuse, and so on.  Brown is accused of making up many of the situations.  Most believe that she has too many quotes and vivid memories and knows things that no one else seems to recall.  I met with Brown and she is adamant about it all being true and that no one had the guts to put it out the way she did…and boy did she put it ALL out there.  It reads like a historical soap opera and I loved every minute of it.

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Thank you for the recommendations, Sunset — I plan on looking into all of these.  They all sound fantastic!

**If you choose to purchase any of these titles using the links below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale (to be used toward site maintenance and buying more books).

Amazon | Powell’s Books | IndieBound

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Friday’s Five Books: Imagine new possibilities with recommendations from @Anti_Intellect…

Posted 5 August, 2011 by Heather in Blogs, Friday's Five Books / 1 Comment

The Will to Change

Friday's Five Books*Friday’s Five Books is a bi-weekly post on Between the Covers that highlights book recommendations from the reading community.

Who is @Anti_Intellect?  He’s Black.  He’s gay.  He’s an atheist.  He’s a feminist.  And he is deeply committed to educating for critical consciousness.  He is a graduate of Florida A&M University, and may be best known on Twitter as the guy who floods timelines with quotes by Toni Morrison and bell hooks.  In his real life he is a professional educator, but he also makes sure to share his love of learning with people on social media who may not otherwise come into contact with the work of visionary intellectuals.  His journey to feminism and atheism has been illuminated by the works of Black woman writers, and he intends to share their vision with as many people as possible.  @Anti_Intellect can be reached on Twitter or his blog http://antiintellect.wordpress.com.

I jumped at the opportunity to recommend books that have been integral to me developing my critical voice, and the books that I will be recommending below have all challenged me to imagine new possibilities.  It is because of these books that I am deeply committed to moving us all towards greater love and greater understanding.

Jonah's Gourd VineJonah’s Gourd Vine — Initially I wanted to put Their Eyes Were Watching God on the list, but I see that someone already recommended it, and it is the more popular of the novels written by Hurston.  Jonah’s Gourd Vine sort of leapt out to me one day when I was browsing through my university’s book store.  I really didn’t know what to expect from the book, but I trusted Hurston, and I was rewarded greatly for daring to go inside her imagination.  The novel is set in Florida, and follows the life of John Pearson.  All of Hurston’s gifts for language are present in this book, and what makes the book so rewarding is the insight that she offers on race, gender, and religion in the Black community.  The book turns many traditional narratives on the head, and challenges us to truly think about the diversity of the Black community.  What happens when voodoo meets organized religion?  What happens when hypocrisy comes home to rest in the Black community?  How can one be of faith, and of the world?  These are all questions beautifully posed by Zora Neale Hurston in this beautifully written novel.

The Bluest EyeThe Bluest Eye — I regard this book the way many people regard The Bible.  This is the most important book that I have ever read, and words cannot express how much it means to me, and how much it has shaped my critical voice.  Toni Morrison blasts through race, gender, class, and sexual violence in her first novel about a Black girl who becomes a casualty of a White Supremacist culture, one where both White and Black are complicit in its maintenance.  I truly do not know where my life would be if I had never met Pecola Breedlove, and if I had never rescued the Pecola Breedlove in myself.  Anyone can identify with this book, but it will hold a special place in the hearts and minds of those who are marginalized by society.  The characters in this novel are truly memorable, and I don’t think anyone has ever written prostitutes in a more honest light.  What does it mean to lose ourselves in the process of becoming what the dominant society considers normal?  This is the question that Toni Morrison asks readers to grapple with as they enter into the world that has driven one of the most vulnerable amongst, mad.

The Will to ChangeThe Will to Change — It is important for us to recognize oppression as not only individual acts, but as a social and political system as well.  bell hooks commands readers to name and recognize patriarchy, the social and political system of male dominance that poisons all of our lives.  This is a book that challenges us to resist sexism and sexist domination, and it makes a great case for doing just that.  Throughout the book bell hooks illustrates the way that patriarchy infects all of our lives, and spares none.  It is important that we understand the way patriarchy informs the way we look at sex, parenting, work, family, and almost everything else in our lives.  In a time when race is no longer taken for granted, many people still take gender for granted, but this book will certainly put an end to that.  I doubt that anyone will walk away from this book taking gender for granted.

Letters to a Young PoetLetters to a Young Poet — Fans of the film Sister Act II will remember this title as the book Sister Mary gives to young Rita.  The title of the book always resonated with me as a young boy, but it wouldn’t be until my 20’s that I actually gave the book a read.  The book is comprised of letters that Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to a young poet.  This is an excellent book for anyone with a creative mind, and a vivid imagination.  This book is filled with page after page of wisdom to those who create, and one can really feel the warmth of Rainer Maria Rilke emanating from the pages.  While the book is directed towards young poets, I strongly recommend it for anyone that works in a creative nature.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceHarry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceJ. K. Rowling is one of my favorite contemporary writers, and I think her work doesn’t get enough credit for being the groundbreaking project that it is.  Here is a series that extends over seven books, and gets progressively better with each title.  Half-Blood Prince is the 6th book in the series, and it remains my favorite.  This book takes us into the antagonist’s past like none of the books before it, and it is a truly beautiful journey.

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Thank you so much for contributing to Friday’s Five Books and giving us these great recommendations, @Anti-Intellect.

**If you choose to purchase any of these titles using the links below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale (to be used toward site maintenance and buying more books).

Amazon | Powell’s Books

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Friday’s Five Books: Recommendations from Cherie

Posted 22 July, 2011 by Heather in Blogs, Friday's Five Books / 1 Comment

The Book Thief

Friday's Five Books*Friday’s Five Books is a bi-weekly post on Between the Covers that highlights book recommendations from the reading community.

CherieHola, bibliophiles!  I’m Cherie, a self-proclaimed book addict.  I’ve loved the written word since I was very small.  One of my earliest memories of mother-daughter fights in my household was her unscrewing all the light bulbs in my room so that I couldn’t read all night.  Now that I’m all grown up, I’m a literacy educator living in Huntsville, AL.  Ask me about my Freedom School!

I found it nearly impossible to pick five “favorite” books, so I’m just going to pick five that I can recommend.  My tastes are colored by a pretty wide spectrum, so my selections pull from a few different genres.  Alright.  Into the fray, darlings!

The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak, The Book Thief

Although I discovered it through a Young Adult Fiction reading list for some of my students, it captured my attention in a way that many “real adult” books never could.  It’s very difficult to talk about a book like this without making terrible comparisons.  Although it does deal with the Holocaust, it is much more than a modern Diary of Anne Frank.  Zusak breathes life into Death, creating a complex narrator that drives the story with eloquence and, at times, much-needed humor.  The Book Thief is an excellent coming-of-age story, and I recommend it for young and not-so-young adults alike!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeMark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I adored this book.

Just flat-out loved it.  Mark Haddon creates a beautiful autistic boy and has him narrate a snapshot of his life.  It is written much like a student’s writing assignment.  Haddon’s character is  extremely literal and at-times heartbreakingly disconnected.  The Dog In The Night-Time is not just “a book about autism;” rather, it is a fantastic story in which the main character happens to be autistic.  There is no glossing over the sometimes frustrating reality of dealing with an autistic child, and out of this honesty comes a fresh,  poignant story.  There are not many books that I can say made me both laugh and cry, but this is one of them.

ItStephen King, It

This is probably a very odd choice after the last two.  I first read It as a curious 8-year-old in my grandmother’s den.  I didn’t understand much of it then, other than being scared out of my pants.  Upon re-reading it last year, I must confess it still terrified me.  More important than the horror, however, is the genius that is the prose of Stephen King.  It is no slasher book.  The characters are well-explored and complex, the town of Derry becomes a rich setting that only happens to be scary.  King paints the story with such lovely strokes that it takes many chapters of reading before one realizes that he is cultivating a sheer dread underneath all the storytelling.  It is a spine-tingling masterpiece, just don’t hit up any clown-filled birthday parties after reading!

Through Painted DesertsDonald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, & Beauty on the Open Road

While this is a religious book, I think any fan of descriptive writing would enjoy this memoir.  Donald Miller recounts his experience driving cross-country in a sometimes-operable Volkswagen van.  Sometimes funny, always insightful, the story in Through Painted Deserts reads like a campfire story from your Adventurous Friend.  For anyone who has ever wanted to leap out of their daily grind and just GO, I recommend this book.

Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

First published in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God chronicles the life of Janie Crawford  as she battles with issues of race, love, sexuality, and independence.  This book has an extra-special place in my heart, because I went to high school in central Florida, 20 miles from the town where the book is set.  Hurston does use colloquialisms and dialect, but it doesn’t become so distracting that you spend more time puzzling out the dialogue than actually enjoying the story.  Zora Neale Hurston was a phenomenally talented author, and I recommend any and all of her work without reservation.  After you read the book, get into the movie.  Watch the scene where Janie (Halle Berry) and Tea-Cake (Michael Ealy) make lemonade, but have a glass of ice-water handy because HONEY

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Thank you for the great recommendations, Cherie!

**If you choose to purchase any of these titles using the links below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale (to be used toward site maintenance and buying more books).

Amazon | Powell’s Books

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