What We're Reading and the Best Books We've Read

What We're Reading and the Best Books We've Read

A group of us got together to share what we're reading and what are some of our favorites that we've read in the past year. I thought I'd share the books that were mentioned with all of you.

The Nix by Nathan Hill, it's been compared to The Goldfinch, John Irving and Jonathan Franzen. 

Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder by Peter Zeihan, interesting take on the United States and it's place in the world and how it got there.

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (as of this writing this is $1.99 on kindle) a lighthearted satirical novel.

Barkskins by Annie Proulx, many of us agreed on the recommendation of this one. an epic tale with the world's forests as the primary character. It's a big book but well worth the read.

Two books dealing with women in paintings; The Woman on the Stairs by Bernhard Schlink, the author of The Reader, and A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline, a fictional tale of the women who inspired Andrew Wyeth, and his painting Christina's World 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, another one that many of us recommended and also another big book. This sparked a discussion of whether a book is depressing or hopeful.

Catherine: Inside the Heart and Mind of a Great Monarch by Sigrid Weidenweber, historical fiction about Catherine the Great

Secrecy by Rupert Thomson, historical fiction in late seventeenth-century Florence

The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley, short stories

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, this one we read in book club and was my absolute favorite book from last year.

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck, present day travel along the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, quiet, spare novel about a japanese man (said to be reminiscent of Murakami's earlier works)

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli, another one from book club that many of us highly recommended. This lead us into a discussion of other books about Vietnam such as

The Book of Salt by Monique Truong,

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Then there was Isabel Allende's novels The House of the Spirits  and The Japanese Lover we agreed the former is the much better book of the two.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (don't be scared away by the strange format, I feel it's definitely worth sticking with. You might even consider the audiobook with several well known actors narrating.) We did agree that George Saunders is a little quirky and not necessarily everyone's cup of tea.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, a memoir, was suggested as a good idea for book club

The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe by Ann Morgan, reading a book from every country

Two of Ann Patchett's novels were mentioned Commonwealth (which had mixed reviews) and State of Wonder

Also two of Dennis Lehane's novels, Mystic River and The Given Day (which we read in book club and agreed the movie about this series was not worth your time)

These last two books have local connections, both set in Oceanside with authors from Oceanside, although a century apart. Rain of Gold by Victor Villaseñor and The Mothers by Brit Bennett, (this is one some of us had read for book club and enjoyed quite a bit.)

I hope you find some books that interest you. Next month we'll be discussing our favorite authors and I'll be sure to post here and let you know who we like.

Happy Reading!