Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Recommendations

1) The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

This was by far my favorite read of 2008. It is about a little girl who is growing up on a horse ranch and her dysfunctional family. Don't let that premise turn you away. This book is far from ordinary and the little girl character really, really spoke to me (Meaghan Howe Pugsley).

2) The Girls by Lori Larsens

This fictional book is written as an autobiography by conjoined twins. It is controversial in parts but really opened my eyes and made me think about the difference between people (Meaghan Howe Pugsley).

3) The Island by Victoria Hislop

This book is about the last leper colony off the coast of Crete. The story predominately follows the story of one woman but also those around her. I liked this book a lot because I had been to Crete two summers ago but really it is also a great story (Meaghan Howe Pugsley & Erica Sourtzis).

4) The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson
A modern day love affair gone bad and a middle class maiden who is facing an arranged marriage both have their worlds turned upside down and there is a deeper connection between these 2 women who are separated by 4 centuries. Dramatic, exotic, and passionate tale that slips seamlessly through time (Ann Lipscombe).

5) The Shack by W. Paul Young
No beating around the bush with this one. It dives right in on page 1. "Mack's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God..." This is fiction but speaks such truth (Ann Lipscombe).

6) The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffennegger
I didn't want this to end. Clare and Henry are wonderful characters. I love how they meet and how this story unfolds. Even the supporting characters are beautifully written. She is 6 a nd he is 36 the first time they meet. They are married. How is that possible? Henry is a time traveler. Can't say anymore for fear I will give something away (Ann Lipscombe & April McGrath).

7) The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Romantic and Gothic and a little haunting. Loved this novel. Magaret is invited to write the memoirs of a famous writer,Vida Winter. As Vida unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden. There are few predictable moments however they didn't take away from the story (Ann Lipscombe).

8) The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Of course, I'm sure you've heard of it...it's about the building of a cathedral in the 12th century..and SO much more!! (Hehe). Honestly I didn't think I would like this book..but I really did.. it is so gripping! It has every possible thing in it that you would want in a book....revenge, murder,violence, romance, ambition, of course the struggle between good and evil. Although it's very long...you'll be sorry it ends (Erica Sourtzis)!

9) The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III.

It's a book capturing the dark side of the immigrant experience in America. It's a tragic story. It is well written and it really draws you into the tragedy. It's one of those one's that stays with you, you never really forget about the story..well at least for me anyway. However don't read it if you've already seen the film...you won't get the same experience, films always tamper with the imagination (Erica Sourtzis).

10) A Long Way Gone (Memoirs of a Boy Soldier) by Ishmael Beah

This is a beautifully written and deeply saddening account of one boy's experiences during the civil war in Sierra Leon. Ishmael Beah is now in his late twenties, lives in New York and is involved as a children's advocate (particulary in war zones) for the UN. I was fortunate enough to meet him when he came to speak at McGill University. He's an amazing man who's written an equally amazing book (Adwoa Manu Boateng)!

11) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Another moving story about friendship, betrayal and forgivesness. This one takes place primarily in Kabul (Afghanistan) and spans the time just before the Soviet invasion to the rise of the Taliban to present day. A tragic event comes between two boys, (one from a prominent family, the other an outcast) as time passes and in the midst of the Afghan struggle the two are reconciled in an unexpected way..... (Adwoa Manu Boateng & Laurie King)

12) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This is a story about a missionary family from the state of Georgia who travel to the Congo to "spread the Gospel" (if you read the book you'll see why I've put that in quotations). The story is narrated from four or five points of view, this switching back and forth was at times frustrating. For those who know little of Congo's history, (apart from reports of war we hear on the news) "The Poisonwood Bible" is a mild commentary on the brutality of Belgium's colonial conquest and the ignorance with which the West views Africa (Adwoa Manu Boateng & Laurie King).

13) The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

This book follows a an African girl who is captured and sold as a slave. She journeys to the United States, Canada, Europe and back to Europe. It is not based on one particular person's story, but most of the accounts are historical fact and it definitely could have been true. An excellent story that completely draws you in (Laura Brennan).

14) In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

One of my favourite books right now, this is one is a non-fiction that discusses what we should eat considering environmental, health and economic issues. Anyone who eats food will find this one interesting (Laura Brennan)!

15) Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Again, another non-fiction book, but extremely interesting. Gladwell looks at the lives of very successful people and breaks down the events and circumstances that have contributed to their "success". Highly recommended!! (Laura Brennan)

16) The Story of Bobby O'Malley by Wayne Johnston

This is a coming-of-age story about a young boy in Newfoundland in the 60s and 70s. It's hilarious , touching, and surprisingly thought-provoking, and one of my favorite books of all time. (Catherine Brosha)

17) Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Jitterbug Perfume is an epic. Which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn't conclude until nine o'clock tonight [Paris time]. It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle. The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the images of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle is actually the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left (Catherine Brosha).

18) The Princess Bride by William Golding

My third favorite book, which is even better than the AMAZING movie. You will fall in love all over again :) (Catherine Brosha & Laurie King)

19) Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
This is a popular one, and you may have read it and I'm sure you've heard about it. It is about a man who revisits an old professor in his final stages of ALS and the life lessons he learns from him. Read with kleenex. It's better if I don't say anymore (Laurie King).

20) Beyond the Horizon by Colin Angus (nonfiction)

This is a guy who circumnavigated the globe on human power. An absolutely crazy read... he rowed across the atlantic and the bering sea Nutcase!) and he gets lost in siberia...and has major problems with his partner. Eventually he finishes the journey off with his fiance...all for the cause of environmental awareness...I wouldn't say he's an amazing writer, but the adventure is unbelievable (Laurie King).

21). The year of living biblically by AJ Jacobs

This is hilarious. He takes everything in the bible literally and obeys as many of the laws as possible (and drives his wife nuts in the process). While most of it is satirical, this guy has a great spiritual journey. I want to get his other book called "the know it all", where he decides to read encyclopedia brittanica from start to finish (Laurie King).

22) Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
I read this book for the first time in high school and probably about seven times since then. It's a fairly light read but certainly directed toward an adult readership (as opposed to Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing). It's the story of two mismatched best friends from middle school to adulthood, following their summers of developing sexuality, school, work, play, and much more. The narration changes frequently and makes it interesting to see through the eyes of many characters. I love this book and think every girl/woman should read it (Heather McIsaac).

23) She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Another bildungsroman of a young girl trying to find herself through food, sex, family and the trials of her own mind. Disturbing in parts and enlightening in others, I loved how real Delores became and remember vividly the pictures it painted. I hated knowing the last page was going to happen (Heather McIsaac).

24) Lamb by Christopher Moore
I haven't read this in a while but I remember loving and hating it all at once. It's the account of Christ's childhood as told by his best friend, Biff. Not totally satirical, it definitely tells the familiar story of Jesus's life in a humorous if not completely inaccurate or suppositious way. I laughed a lot but was also made a bit uncomfortable. I'm not sure what message the author was trying to get accross but I know I didn't feel like it was reading blasphemy so I wouldn't hesitate to reccomend it for an interesting and light-hearted romp of a look at the life of the most important person in our history (Heather McIsaac).

25) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
I read this book while in Rome and it was fantastic. It's a quick read and definitely a page turner. It's written from the perspective of a 15 year old boy with autism/Asperger syndrome and he is doing a sort of investigation in his neighborhood. It takes place in the UK (April McGrath).

26) The Penelopiad
This is technically a novella. This is Penelope's take on the events of The Odyssey and what she did while Odysseus was gone. If you like mythology at all, read this book (April McGrath).

Wow! That's quite a list! If anyone has any other recommendations - leave a comment! I'd love to see some books from other genres recommended (mystery, chick lit etc...) Looks like I've got to get to the library!


Catherine1004 said...

What a fabulous list! I have read quite a few of them :) Have you read any already?

Amanda said...

No, not yet. So I'm excited! Heading to the library later today to get a start on the list :)

The Girls said...

I just finished The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. A memoir and it is an amazing story.
-Ann L.

Andrea said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Just wanted to say that I too LOVE Redeeming Love. I read it about 3 times already. My copy is worn down and starting to fall apart even!!

Dominique said...

You don't know me but April can vouch for me. Just wanted to let you know I came across your blog (via hers) and thus your reading list, and judging by the one's I've read, these look amazing! I hope you don't mind me using it. I just finished "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen which I very much enjoyed. It's about a bright young vet that in a bit of a crisis and ends up joining a traveling circus. Just wanted to contribute since I'm taking all your great ideas! Glass Castle was also great.

Meredith said...

I came across your blog today, and I am LOVING this list! I need some book ideas!

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