Books a Million: My Reading List, Part I

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With little Internet access and a need to be laying horizontal each night after dinner following long days in the office, I read A LOT of books on our Semester at Sea voyage. Seriously—how great is it to have a Kindle and be able to download a book in under a minute the second you’ve finished the one before? (Also, fun fact: If giving a gift to a Kindle owner, you can order the book via Amazon and have it delivered directly to their device. It’s what my in-laws all did for me last birthday, and it’s a brilliant idea, cutting back on shipping fees as well as the nuisance of wrapping yet another present.)

In case you’re looking for last minute gift ideas, here’s what was on my reading list this fall, the good and the bad.

Delirium by Laura Olivier

OK, technically I read this over the summer, but it’s too good I can’t not recommend it. If you like dystopian novels or young adult lit, you won’t be disappointed by this 1984-esque read about the government performing surgery on every citizen to remove the gene in their brain that allows them to love, thus preventing the ultimate disease that plagues all: amor deliria nervosa (love). Olivier’s first novel, Before I Fall, was pretty entertaining, too, but I have a feeling the Delirium trilogy (book two comes out in February!) is going to be the next Hunger Games.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Ape House by Sara Gruen

Otherwise known as “that girl who wrote Water for Elephants,” Sara Gruen hit another home run with the fictional follow-up to her debut novel about apes learning sign language. I’m also a sucker for a research-heavy topic, and Gruen spent two years in an ape language lab studying her subjects before penning this book. (It shows.)

Rating: 4 out of 5

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

I didn’t love this book simply because the author is from Nashville (represent!). I loved this book because the writing was excellent and, again, it was a research-heavy novel that required a whole of scientific background to write. A medical researcher in Minnesota goes to Brazil to find out what happened to her co-worker who died while on assignment down there and, in turn, winds up on the path to a cure for malaria. It also has a travel component to it, as much of the plot takes place in some unknown Amazonian village.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

I haven’t read anything by Giffin since my college years, but this was in my Kindle archives I share with my mom so I gave it a shot. Verdict: Meh. I’m not a fan of Giffin’s writing style or her propensity to write novels that center on adultery. If you saw Something Borrowed (or read the book), it’s every bit as disjointed and depressing. I say skip.

Rating: 1 out of 5

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

If you haven’t read de Rosnay’s first novel, Sarah’s Key, then head right over and do that before proceeding. A Secret Kept was nowhere near as riveting; however, it also followed a mystery swept up under the rug long ago—in this case, the circumstances surrounding protagonist Antoine Rey’s mother’s death decades before—while simultaneously giving me wanderlust for France. (All of de Rosnay’s novels are set there.)

Rating: 3 out of 5

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

I’ve read every book Jennifer Weiner has ever written and generally find her entertaining, but her last couple books have been a bit sub-par, Fly Away Home included. The cliche plot goes like this: Politican husband cheats. Politician’s wife finds out via the nighttime news and is publicly scorned. Simultaneously, Daughter #1 is cheating on her husband with one of her hospital interns, while Daughter #2 battles a drug addiction. Happy topics, right?

Rating: 2 out of 5

Somewhere Inside by Lisa and Laura Ling

I’m usually not big on memoirs but this one had come highly recommended, and due to the fact that I’m a journalist and in my early years wanted to be a foreign correspondent, this recount of Laura Ling and Euna Lee being held captive in North Korea for six months really piqued my interest. The writing was solid, the story moved along quickly and the inner peek into the flawed political system that is North Korea was very interesting. It’s even more relevant in the wake of Kim Jong-il’s death. I love how Lisa found empathy for her captors and even went as far as to call a few of them her friends by the time she was released, rather than playing the victim card.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

I’ve heard more about this book the past few months than I have any others, so when I ran low on reading material just before the end of the voyage, it was the last thing I downloaded. The first half dragged along at a snail’s pace, and I had a lot of trouble getting into it. However, I found its historical attributes—the Chinese- and Japanese-American communities on the West Coast during World War II—quite fascinating, and the second half was much better than the first. It wouldn’t be the first book I’d recommend, but it’s also an enjoyable read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper

I’m in the middle of this book at the moment, and so far, it lives up to the hype. I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to pick up something of Tropper’s when so many people whose opinions I respect adore the man, but I think after Everything Changes, I’ll be a newly converted fan. He reminds me a bit of Nick Hornby, but less annoying.

Rating: Undecided, but my mom says “LOVED IT.” (And the woman knows her literary stuff.)

And now that I’ve cleared out my Kindle list, I need some recommendations of my own for 2012. What books are you loving lately?

COMMENTS
  • December 21, 2011

    I’ve also heard so much about Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet but I just can’t get into the idea. It sounds . . . I don’t know . . . almost too formulaic. Maybe I’ll try it soon. Ape House is one of the ones that I’m definitely going to order next so glad to hear that you liked it.

    So, recent good ones:
    – The Help, Kathryn Stockett – though I’m sure you’ve already read it.
    – Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson – really funny, clever view of village life in England from the perspective of an old English major who falls in love with a Pakistani shopkeeper.
    – The Three Weismanns of Wesport, by Cathleen Schine – I won’t say that this is the best book I’ve ever read, but if you are a Jane Austen addict (as I am), then it’s a really clever take on Sense and Sensibility, set in present day, with some of the same biting satire that Jane Austen perfected.
    – Little Bee, by Chris Clive – In fact, you can forget all the rest and just read this book. It’s simply phenomenal. Basically the story of a middle-aged woman from England who’s in a rut and a Nigerian teenage refugee who flees her country and arrives in England and how their lives collide and disintegrate. The first paragraph of the book continues to haunt me.

    I’m currently on this penchant for reading super-long books. I finished Dune and am now mostly through Anna Karenina and am going to re-read Hunchback of Notre Dame next. And, I’ve got to say that I’m really getting into this style of late 19th century verbosity. Anna Karenina, in particular, offers intriguing reflections on adultery and how it impacts every part of a family and society (though, if you’re not a fan of novels centered on adultery, obviously it wouldn’t work for you.)

    And, YES, I totally love the Kindle. It’s indispensable, isn’t it?

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      I have read The Help (one of my all-time favorites) as well as Little Bee (LOVE!) but I haven’t read any of the others you mentioned, included Anna Karenina (for shame), though I own it.

      And even though I have an iPad, I can’t ever fathom it replacing my Kindle as I just love the compactness of the Kindle and the ease of holding it while laying in a sun chair catching some rays.

  • December 21, 2011
    Wendy

    Maman’s Homesick Pie is really good, I just finished that one.
    Wench by Dolores Perkins-Gilmore is excellent.

    Ok now you have convinced me to finish Delirium. It’s sitting on my shelf right now πŸ™‚

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      Awesome–I’ve never heard of either of these. Adding to the growing list! And yes, I really loved Delirium, as did my sister-in-law. I even got Scott to read it; he wasn’t quite as enthused as Lisa and I were (YA lit isn’t usually his thing), but he found it entertaining, too.

  • December 21, 2011

    I have never heard of any of these books, but I really love several of the authors. Hoping I get a BN gift card for Christmas!

    xox

  • December 21, 2011
    Chelsea Sudbury

    Hi Kristin! I just finished Room (by Emma Donoghue) and A Visit from the Goon Squad (by Jennifer Egan) which were both delightful in very different ways! On another note, my husband and I live in Nashville, and I would love to catch up with you and meet SVV some time! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! I have loved reading about your travels this year. πŸ™‚

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      I didn’t know you guys were in Nashville! Last time I checked, you were in Texas, I think? It would be great to hang out! We’re staying in good ol’ T-Town for awhile as Scott helps my dad out during tax season but should be in Nashville for good come April or May.

      I read Room last summer (awesome book), and anything with “Goon Squad” in the title is something I should put on my reading list for sure =)

  • December 21, 2011

    I feel like the only time I read while traveling is while I’m in transit (which really is not that often). I am so behind on the good books that have come out this past year.

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      That’s me exactly. Which is why I had so much time to read these past four months, as we were essentially in transit most of the time! =) But yes, usually I’m a read-on-planes-or-trains (or on the beach) kind of girl.

  • December 21, 2011

    I’m really interested in reading Paul Theroux’s The Tao of Travel. According to an interview Theroux gave, when he’s traveling he likes to read something set in an entirely different place from his surroundings, i.e. he would read Madame Bovary while trekking through Cambodia. I take his point about sometimes needing a break, but I also really enjoy reading lit that just seems to fit the environment; for instance, I have very fond memories of reading As I Lay Dying while my father and I were driving south to Florida. Something in Faulkner’s writing just seems to evoke heat and malaise.

  • December 21, 2011

    Interesting list!

    You should check out Ann Patchett’s new bookstore in Nashville. I really love her writing, and if I’m ever in Nashville that would be a must-see for me.

  • December 21, 2011

    The best book I read lately was “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. Ah-mazing. Also, a major tearjerker — I’d recommend having a box of tissues handy.

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      Ah! I’ve been meaning to put this on my Kindle list for ages. Thanks for the reminder–this might just be the next one I read when I’m done with Tropper.

  • December 21, 2011
    Pamela Monahan

    So being a scientist and an avid lover of books, I have to recommend “The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. This book is amazing if you want insight into part of the history of research and medicine and how this history is intimately intertwined with shifting societal and political ideologies. This book, although nonfiction, reads like novel and I could not put it down. It is very well written and the story really pulls you in. Definitely a read for both a scientist and nonscientist.

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, Pam! I haven’t even heard of this book, so I’ll definitely have to check it out! And I’m sure my husband, the son of a pair of scientists, would love it, as well.

      • December 22, 2011
        Nelson's Mama

        Let me second β€œThe Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks” it was amazing. If you haven’t had a chance to read “Unbroken”, it’s worth reading. If you haven’t gotten to it yet, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a must read, I also loved “One Good Dog”.

        I also thought “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” was a sweet, quick read, but was glad that it was a borrowed read… A favorite from this summer was “Three Junes” – it was something someone loaned me, I picked it up one day expecting a book about three different women named June. I was completely wrong – give it a try!

  • December 21, 2011
    Chaucee

    That’s a good idea, but I stare at computer screens all day (I’m a photographer and I have a lot of editing to do, as well as blogging) and a Kindle is the last thing I need for my eyes. I love a good olde fashioned book along with me: ) I actually still carry them when I a travel. I like to stay in hostels and often they have a shelf with books able to exchange between travellers. I love that!

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      Same with me–I spend about 14 hours a day at the computer writing copy and editing photos–so you’re right, in theory I probably shouldn’t spend even more time on the Kindle =) Actually, though, the text is quite like a real book, not computer-like like my iPad, so I guess it’s not all that different.

      I definitely love paper books when I’m home bound, but on the road for four months at a time, there’s simply no way I could fit all that I would read in my suitcase! Plus, I like not having to track down an English-language bookstore (and pay more than I normally would as the case usually is), which can often be quite the challenge.

    • December 26, 2011
      Caitlin

      @Chaucee It doesn’t sound like you’ve ever tried a Kindle. You would be surprised – it looks like print on paper.

      • December 26, 2011
        Chaucee

        @Caitlin I have actually. We own a Kindle (original) and the new Kindle fire. So I’m speaking from my own experience. But it all comes down to personal preference and opinion. If it works for you it works for you, but for me it doesn’t. To each his own!

        • December 26, 2011

          Kindle Fire is a tablet so correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t it have a backlit screen like a computer? So I’m not counting that!

          Perhaps it’s personal preference but do check out Kindle 2 and above some time – there was a huge jump in image quality and paper technology from the original to the Kindle 2.

          • December 27, 2011
            Chaucee

            I guess I’ll just never be able to equate an electronic with an actual paper book. : )

            • December 27, 2011

              Maybe, maybe not. You haven’t used Kindle 2 yet!

              • December 27, 2011
                Chaucee

                This is true! If it’s paper, I’m sure it will look just like paper.

  • December 21, 2011
    Abi

    I’m really falling in love with my kindle – as you point out, it’s so good to just download the next book within seconds. Love it.

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      It’s a traveler’s best friend in that respect. I remember when I was backpacking around Europe in 2003, and every time I finished a book, it would be such a challenge–not to mention expensive–to find an English-language bookstore and buy my next read. Kindle books are so much cheaper, too. I often buy the $.99 books simply because if they’re terrible then oh well, I spent less than I would on a candy bar.

  • December 21, 2011

    Ah, I’m going to have to add some of these to my list. Have you read The Hunger Game series? The writing itself isn’t much better than Twilight, but the stories? WOW.

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      Of course I have! I read all three books in four days over last Christmas. Am counting down the days until the movies! Twilight, on the other hand, well, I go see all the movies and read the books and can’t say I’m a fan.

  • December 21, 2011
    Lauren

    I love my Kindle. It always have a book (really, a hundred something books) on me at all times. Perfect for city life!

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – magic, mystery, a love story, totally delightful and curious

    Matched by Ally Condie – YA, dystopian, has a lot more heart than Hunger Games. The sequel was just released in November

    Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares – if you haven’t read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, do. This is the final in the series, and it’s heartbreaking and wonderful

    The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender – Story of a young girl who can tastes people’s emotions based on the food they prepare. Again, very curious story, but a good read

    Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt – Depression takes its form as an anthropomorphized black dog, invisible or unrecognizable to most, that haunts Winston Churchill and becomes a tenant of a recently widowed woman with whom he develops a platonic relationship

    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger – Honestly, I read this a few years ago but left it in the read again folder on my Kindle because I loved it so much. I can’t remember much about it though, other than it being sort of eerie in a not unpleasant, interest piquing way

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      OK, I pre-ordered Matched before it ever even came out, and I was…disappointed. I felt like it had a really great premise but wasn’t executed well. Should I still take a gamble on the sequel? I mean, I absolutely hated Twilight and still read all four of the books, as I’m a slave to finishing something I start. Plus, I am all about some YA.

      I’ve also had Her Fearful Symmetry on my reading list since it came out but never got around to it. I’ll have to bump it back up to the top, as I looooved The Time Traveler’s Wife.

      Thanks for all the other recs–I haven’t read any of those!

    • December 21, 2011

      I won a copy of The Night Circus (which started as a NaNoWriMo piece). It took me a bit to get into it, but LOVED it by the end and didn’t want the book to end. I would highly recommend it!

      • December 21, 2011
        Lauren

        First things first… I should clearly never type out detailed comments on my iPad. Holy typos, Batman.

        I haven’t read Crossed yet, but I too fall beholden to series when I start them and feel compelled to finish them no matter what. I liked Match. It was fluffy, but I found it easy to read and enjoyed the story. I may have been influenced by one of my students though – she’s a YA editorial intern and was pushing the book big time because she’d worked on it. Maybe her enthusiasm shadowed the actual content for me?

        If you love YA (or even if one didn’t love it, really), have you read Looking for Alaska by John Green? It’s probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.

        Hope you enjoy the others! I love blog posts like these – it’s where I usually get all of my book recommendations!

        Amanda – I agree! It took me just a bit to get into The Night Circus, and then I was crushed that it was over. I had no idea it was a NaNoWriMo piece. I love that!

        • December 22, 2011
          Kristin

          That’s awesome about NaNoWriMo…maybe it will inspire all of us to get our act together next November, eh? =)

          Lauren, I also haven’t ever read the Sisterhood books–how terrible is that?! But I love the first movie, and I’ve heard the final book is excellent. Not sure why I’ve never checked them out before. I’ll get on that right after I read Looking for Alaska!

          • December 22, 2011
            Briel K.

            The final Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants book is heartbreaking! I didn’t know what I was in for when I read it. That said, it was a really good book.

  • December 21, 2011

    Somewhere Inside sounds like it could be really good.

    My favoritest favoritest book will always be Welcome to the Monkey House by Vonnegut. I’ve read it a billion times, and I enjoy it every time. Right now I’m reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. So far it’s pretty good, but I think what’s really amazing is when you look at it within the context of the time period it was written in. Against that time period, the story becomes much more interesting.

    • December 21, 2011
      SVV

      Okay, Heinlein books are the best ever. Particularly the timeframe it which it was conceived. Can you believe I read these books when I was 13?

  • December 21, 2011
    ris

    I’d recommend Unbreakable by Laura Hillenbrand, Courtroom 302 by Steve Bogira (nonfiction, about the Chicago legal system), Gang Leader for a Day (nonfiction about Chicago but so interesting), The Little Stranger (so good and so strange–would love to hear your take on the end if you read it), Under the Banner of Heaven, The Geography of Bliss, The Paris Wife (probably my favorite book I’ve read this year), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (highly recommend if you like fantasy/teen fiction), The Ghost Writer (SO creepy/scary), When Corruption Was King by Robert Cooley (about the Chicago mob).

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      Ahhh The Paris Wife! Thank you for that reminder! I loooove Hemingway (as a writer and as a person) and have meant to read that since it came out. Ditto to Unbreakable and Under the Banner of Heaven. Just added them to my Amazon wishlist! Thanks for the reminders and the other recs, which I will definitely check out, too.

  • December 21, 2011
    Rachael

    I recommend The Swan House and it’s sequel The Waiting Place by Elizabeth Musser. They’re great historical fiction set in 1960s Atlanta (I’m from Atlanta so I loved that real places, like The Swan House, were referenced). The Swan House is about a girl who is following the mystery of what happened to her dead mother by researching her paintings. The sequel follows the mother daughter relationship between the girl in the first book and her daughter.

    Also, Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan is great! It really helped me when I just got out of college and had no idea what to do with my life. It’s about 4 women throughout out their 4 years of college and the 4 years afterwards and how their lives and relationship changes. Recommend!

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      Oooh I love historical fiction, and historical fiction based in the South is even better. Plus, any book with a sequel gets my vote, as I know there’s more to come once I’m finished.

      Commencement sounds a bit like a Curtis Sittenfeld book, and I love her so I need to check this one out, too. Thank you!

  • December 21, 2011
    Rebecca (Bearca)

    Kristin, have you read Divergent? It’s another first-in-a-trilogy dystopian YA novel, and I loved it! Worth a try. I’ve also heard great things about The Night Circus, but it falls into the “have downloaded but not read yet” category for me!

    • December 21, 2011
      Kristin

      NO! How is there another YA trilogy I haven’t heard of? Good think you’re here to keep me edumacated πŸ˜‰

  • December 21, 2011

    I adore my kindle. I know some people say they prefer holding a book, I used to say that. After 5 minutes with the Kindle I didn’t notice the difference and I love how I have hundreds of books at my fingertips without lugging around all the weight.

    • December 27, 2011
      Kristin

      It’s one of those devices that really changes a traveler’s life (particularly that of the literary traveler!).

  • December 21, 2011
    Beth

    I professionally read YA lit, and I LOVED Graceling and Fire by Kristen Cashore. Two really awesome female protagonists. Also, if you like dystopian lit you should try Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Very intense but good.

    • December 22, 2011
      Kristin

      I would love a job where I got to read YA lit and get paid for it! Very cool. Thanks for the recs–putting all the YA + dystopian reads at the top of my list =)

  • December 22, 2011

    I adore nothing more than falling into a good book. I’m currently reading A Visit From the Goon Squad, and at this point, I would certainly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it.

    In other news, you have no idea how glad I am to hear that I am not the only one who doesn’t care for Emily Giffin’s writing. The Ann Patchett book I’m going to have to check out, as I dig her, as well as Jonathan Tropper. (I read This Is Where I Leave You during the DC snowpacolypse a couple years ago and did not want the book to end.) And Jennifer Weiner, hmm…well, I was at the library the other day and passed on Fly Away Home, because although I have enjoyed her stuff in the past, that seemed a little dreary for the holidays.

    Thank you for sharing your reading list! I’m always glad for suggestions!

    • December 22, 2011
      Kristin

      Someone else rec’d that, and based on the title alone, I’m totally going to read it. I remember getting an advance copy of Giffin’s very first book way back when while I was still at an entertainment magazine, and I’ve just never been able to get into her writing, which is weird as I really am a sucker for (most) chick lit.

  • December 22, 2011

    I read 35 books this year and it would be a long post if I went through them all! But favorites of mine this year were One Day by David Nicholls, Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, Going Postal by Nathan Millward and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, just off the top of my head. I also read a lot of chick lit this year because I don’t mind throwing away those paperbacks.

    • December 22, 2011
      Kristin

      LOVED One Day. Haven’t read any of the others; will add them to my list. I, too, like chick lit for the mere fact that they’re quick reads and a nice mental break when I don’t want to have to think too hard about what I’m reading.

  • December 22, 2011

    We’re reading Delirium right now for my book club. (You can check out my book club blog at andnowwithbooks.blogspot.com). Best part, I got it for $3 on the Nook! My work has a Kindle and a Nook, so I’ve experimented with both. I think we have very similar taste in books. Are you on Goodreads.com?

    • December 22, 2011
      Kristin

      I saw that it’s $2.99 on the Kindle right now–crazy. I guess they’re pushing it again now that the sequel is out in February? (Related: CAN’T WAIT.)

      Thanks for the link to your book blog! I am on Goodreads, but honestly only go on there maybe once a year—I find I really have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to social media, and for me that line is at Pinterest and Goodreads =)

  • December 22, 2011
    Briel K.

    I love book posts!

    I really loved “Love Walked In” & “Belong to Me” by Marisa de los Santos.

    I read “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper earlier this year and liked it. I’ll have to check out the book that you mentioned! I want to check out “Delirium” too.

    I read “Fly Away Home” and cannot for the life of me remember what happened! I don’t think I liked it much at all. It’s too bad because I bought it hardback. πŸ˜›

    I so could have used a Kindle of Nook on my Europe trip last summer. I read A LOT and I’m not one to get rid of books if I like them so by the end I had quite a few that I was lugging around. Next time I’m definitely getting a device to take with me.

    • December 27, 2011
      Kristin

      I read both of de los Santos’ books and adored them (the first better than the second)–which makes me wonder, has she written anything since Belong to Me?

      • December 27, 2011
        Kristin

        Update: Oh look, she just had a new one come out actually!

        http://tinyurl.com/7rcgdr2

        • January 5, 2012
          Briel K.

          Yeah, I bought it when it came out. I didn’t love it like I did her first two books but it was alright. It wasn’t memorable to me like the other two. I actually just had to go to amazon right now to read the description to remember what it was about!

  • December 22, 2011

    I’ve never heard of these books!!! I need a list for my kindle. I just got it for my birthday in october (as a gift) and I am finally seeing why everybody loves it!!!

    I have a few books waiting to be read so i’m not buying to many for the kindle just yet. This year I read “the help” and loved it. I also read “little bee” and it was great too. I started “the happiness project” and got bored half way. I read a lot of spanish authors (in spanish) to practice my grammar. I dont know if the translations are good to recommend any of them.

    • December 27, 2011
      Kristin

      The Help and Little Bee are two of my favorites! Haven’t checked out The Happiness Project, but will add it to the list in my phone (which is where I keep all my book recs for every time I need to download something new).

  • December 23, 2011

    This is perfect, I’m always looking for book recs! I feel like I’m so out of the loop of what everyone in the US is reading, and whenever I go to buy books for my Kindle, I never really know what to pick. I’ll have to check these out.

  • December 23, 2011
    Emily

    If you liked The Hunger Games then you should try the Maze Runner series. I just finished the first one and will be getting the second one on my Kindle tonight because I can’t wait for the copy at the library.

    • December 27, 2011
      Kristin

      Another one I’ve never even heard of–THANKS!

  • December 26, 2011

    I definitely agree about Emily Giffin and The Corner of Bitter and Sweet so I’ll take that to mean I should trust your opinions because we read similarly. Off to see which of these I buy first!

    I recommend the Outlander series, I’m in the middle of those now and I love them!

    • December 26, 2011
      Kristin

      OH! Thank you for the reminder. I’ve been meaning to read those for years, as my MIL gave them all to me be but they’re just way too heavy to carry on a plane anywhere. Now that I’m home for a spell, I should take advantage of all the hard copies of heavy books I haven’t want to read due to them being cumbersome and just knock them out!

      • December 26, 2011
        Sarah

        I second the rec for the Outlander series! I read the first one a few weeks ago and it was so great!

  • December 26, 2011
    Caitlin

    I love Ann Patchett and I think State of Wonder is her best book yet. I was lucky enough to hear her talk when she was in Australia in August and my copy has a lovely inscription from her. She is a journalist too, though regards fiction as her real job.

    • December 27, 2011
      Kristin

      She just opened an independent bookstore in Nashville, and I plan on finding a way to become her friend now that I’m local again, one way or another =) Ann Patchett and Taylor Swift…those are my Tennessee goals!

      • December 27, 2011

        My aunt saw Taylor at the grocery store in Nashville last year in the Forest Hills area so there’s a chance!

        • December 27, 2011
          Kristin

          *makes a mental note, adds to the stalking file*

  • December 26, 2011

    I just joined the cool girl’s club and got a Kindle!!! Can’t wait to download my 1st book. πŸ™‚

    • December 27, 2011
      Kristin

      I recommend The Hunger Games or Delirium as your first read if you haven’t gotten to either of those yet!

  • December 26, 2011

    I just FINALLY finished a loooong book I’d been reading and was looking for recs. Thanks!!

  • December 27, 2011

    I just bought Delirium on your recommendation.

    • December 30, 2011
      Kristin

      I hope you like! I’ve yet to talk to anyone who didn’t, but then again, I guess it depends on if you like YA or not =)

      • December 30, 2011

        I enjoyed it a lot and I do like the genre. I actually have a YA novel half written.

  • December 30, 2011

    I’m still trying to finish a book I started months ago. How do you find time?

    • December 30, 2011
      Kristin

      Typically, I do a good majority of my reading in transit (at airports, on planes, etc.). In this case, since Internet was not abundant, I read in my cabin every night for an hour or two before bed instead of reading blogs, like I’d do back home. I want to keep up that habit now that I’m back in the States, as I really have missed reading! I was that child growing up who always had a book and a flashlight hid between her mattresses.

  • December 30, 2011

    I see Billie Letts on your shelf! I loved one of her books and would love to try more.

  • January 5, 2012
    Jen

    I haven’t read Delirium and am going to have to add it to my list. Have you read any of Cassandra Clare’s YA books? They are currently my favorite YA reads. I have A Discovery of Witches on my list next to read…it came highly recommended by several people.

    • January 6, 2012
      Kristin

      I don’t know these either! Definitely adding to my list–I have a LOT of YA reading to do in 2012 it seems =)

  • January 7, 2012
    Carolyn Kirk

    Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan.
    On many lists of best of 2011 – not always a lock, but, in this case, a winner. She has a literary but page-turning quality you’ll really like.

  • December 8, 2012

    I love reading! I’ve signed up for a literature course though, with a gazillion books, so I don’t know how much time I’ll have for other reading. That and I’ll be keeping up with my class back in South Africa too, so basically a double course load. I’ve been thinking though, maybe I should set a goal to read a book from each of our destinations – that would be pretty cool, no?
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