I've been reading a lot this year. And staying true to my informal New Year's Resolution, I have not purchased any new books! (All have come from the library or PaperBackSwap.com.)
The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain
This book tells of the love affair between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. They lived in Paris during the roaring twenties and kept company with the likes of Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald (and other great artists from that time period). Think of the recent movie "Midnight in Paris" starring Owen Wilson (which I have yet to see). I really liked this book a lot!
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
I have never seen the movie starring Nicole Kidman, but the book was excellent. The author intertwines the story of Virginia Wolf (beginning with her suicide and moving backwards) with two present day females, who are having similar struggles (not with suicide necessarily, but with the possibilities in their lives).
Great House by Nicole Krauss
This was a book club book. Only 3 people in my group read it and no one liked it. I was attached enough to see how it was finished. This story revolves around a stolen desk and the lives of people that it passes through. I had a hard time keeping up with the different story lines. Some intersect with others and some are connected merely by the desk.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
This was an excellent book that I had a hard time putting down. I really want to see the movie "Capote" now.
Here is the book description from Amazon.com:
"On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the
Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches
from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were
almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to
the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing
suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends
its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence."
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I cheated and listened to this book on tape so I could finish it in time for book club. Loved it! But highly recommend the paper copy instead. (And I was wrong before. I did purchase this book on iTunes-with a gift card leftover from Christmas-because there was a super-long waitlist at the library and I couldn't get it on Paperbackswap and I had to read it for book club.)
FYI ... for those of you living on another planet ... this book is about a 9-year-old boy living in New York City struggling with the death of his father post-9/11. I would really like to see the movie now that it is on DVD. I think the story about the boy's grandparents is equally intriguing.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
This book was really good and a quick read. It is about a Harvard Psychology professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at age 50. This book is totally told from her perspective. It is interesting to see how the disease causes her brain to deteriorate over the course of the novel.
(Genova is a Neuroscience professor at Harvard so she knows her stuff!)
The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
I read this book in 2 days and that is a record for me. (We were on a weekend trip when I read it, but I could not put it down.)
Here is the book description from Amazon.com:
"Rebecca never felt safe as a child. In 1969, her father, Robert Nichols, moved
to Sellerstown, North Carolina, to serve as a pastor. There he found a small
community eager to welcome him—with one exception. Glaring at him from pew
number seven was a man obsessed with controlling the church. Determined to get
rid of anyone who stood in his way, he unleashed a plan of terror that was more
devastating and violent than the Nichols family could have ever imagined.
Refusing to be driven away by acts of intimidation, Rebecca’s father stood his
ground until one night when an armed man walked into the family’s kitchen . . .
And Rebecca’s life was shattered. If anyone had a reason to harbor hatred and
seek personal revenge, it would be Rebecca. Yet The Devil in Pew Number
Seven tells a different story. It is the amazing true saga of relentless
persecution, one family’s faith and courage in the face of it, and a daughter
whose parents taught her the power of forgiveness."
A coming of age story during 1960's Atlanta. There is a sequel called "Dwelling Place" I have yet to read. This one was a page turner for me.
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
I love reading Andrews in the summer. This book is set on the Carolina/Georgia shore and the characters hail from Savannah, Georgia. This book was slow to start but then turned out to be quite the page turner at the end. Overall, good read.
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew
I read this book upon the recommendation of my former high school English teacher because she said if you liked The Help (which I loved) you would like this book. And I did. In fact, I think I liked it better than The Help. Read recommendation here.
Currently on the bookshelf (in progress):
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I've been reading the next two books for a while. They are both good, I just always get sidetracked with something else and never pick them back up. I am determined to finish them this summer!
Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Have you read anything good? Any books I should add to my "to read" list?