"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Books I Read Because of a Recommendation

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I love getting book recommendations.  It's one of my favorite ways to find new books to read.  One person I get a lot of book recommendations from is my sister.  She is a Language Arts teacher and has always loved to read.  She devours books when she has the time.  We don't talk enough, but when we do, the first question I always ask her is if she has read any good books recently.  Here are some of the books she has recommended over the years.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Amazon:  ""My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."
So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on eath continue without her - her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling."

I really enjoyed this book.  I worried that it would be too sappy (I'm not a huge fan of sappy stories), and was surprised that I enjoyed it so much.

Room by Emma Donoghue
Amazon:  "To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. 
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer"

This book did not impress me as much.  I think I knew too much about the story before I started reading, so it was not as shocking as it could have been.  Maybe..

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Amazon:  "On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? "

I loved this book!  It surprised me over and over again.  Highly recommended.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Amazon:"Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate—a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves"

Wow!  This was a powerful read!  It has led me to many more great Jodi Picoult books.  Highly recommended.

I also love getting book recommendations from my students.  I write them on Post-its and in my bullet journal, on scraps of paper and in a list app on my phone.  Whatever I have handy.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Amazon:  "In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. 
   But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape."

I really enjoyed this book.  Great story, great concept.  Highly recommended, especially if you love the 80s or video games.

Sometimes there are books that blow up.  Everyone is reading them and recommending them.  I am usually really late to the party on these books.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Amazon:  "At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State--and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, "Wild" powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her."

What a powerful book!  This is such a beautiful story of the kindness of strangers.  I am so glad I finally jumped on board and read this one.  Highly recommended.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Amazon:  "It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. "

This one didn't really do it for me.  It did not live up to the hype; not that it was a bad book, it just wasn't as amazing as I expected.

This last one was recommended by a good friend.  I haven't actually read it yet, but it's on my fall TBR list.A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Amazon:  "Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul--they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival."

I love getting book recommendations and I am always looking for more.  
Do you have any good books to recommend?


  1. I loved Room, so I'm sad to hear you didn't enjoy it - but I love most of the books on this list! You sister is a great book recommender!