Marriage and Other Acts of Charity: A Memoir. I won this from other bloggers and really enjoyed the story. Kate Braestrup, the author, is a minister and chaplain of the state police in Maine with a deep interest in science and nature. Her story of her two marriages was thought-provoking and comforting at the same time.
People of the Book. A fictional history of an actual artifact. I am being converted to a Geraldine Brooks fan, one book at a time, for her research abilities if nothing else.
Half the Sky. Also not an easy read emotionally; I had to stop in the middle a few times to catch my breath and be grateful to live in the US. Also inspiring as a reminder that the world is a big place, and choices matter.
Little Bee. Gah. Hard book, great writing--I loved his use of language. Two of my book groups read it and both of them hosted Bead for Life parties afterwards.
Water for Elephants. I had started this a while ago but this time it stuck. Not my favorite, as it was all too realistic in its depiction of a pretty lousy way of life, but the story was interesting and I enjoyed how Sara Gruen crafted the book.
The Help. I know, didn't everyone read this? I really enjoyed it in an another-world kind of way, though like many, I felt the ending a little unjust.
Tender at the Bone. I read this for one of my book groups, along with the companion, Not Becoming my Mother. Ruth Reichl is (duh) a great writer and these were great lived-history pieces.
American Wife. This was my favorite book club pick of the last two years. A fictional imagining of a Barbara Bush-like political wife. I loved it.
Animals in Translation. I was looking for Animals Make Us Human, but they didn't have it at the library yet. And this one caught my attention as our dog was facing surgery so the "Animals and Pain" chapter was of real interest. I love Temple Grandin and admire her gift for sharing her unique perspective with the rest of us neurotypicals. And this was fun and fascinating, to get a glimpse in to the world of unintended animal husbandry consequences.
Under the Banner of Heaven. One of the most frightening books I've ever read in my life. Truly challenging to think that this happens in the US, and that the law is either powerless to stop it or not interested.
The Ten Year Nap. Great fiction, suggested by Moxie, on moms who've mostly stayed at home for almost a decade, and the twists their families' lives take based on what they decide to do next.
The Overachievers. So fun for a recovering admissions officer to read the "inner lives" of a group of kids at a high school I worked with for a decade.
Animal Vegetable Miracle For book group, but also for interest. Of course, I don't live on arable land so I can just gawk at them.
A Walk in the Woods The second month in a row my book group picked a story I knew--yeah! Looking forward to skimming/rereading.
Excellence without a Soul A higher-ed junkie can't do any better than the former dean of Harvard bashing (surprise!) Harvard.
Waiting for Birdy Because I adored Catherine Newman's column on BabyCenter. I like the Wondertime work a lot too but find it harder to get to, so it's nice to have this collection of blog posts off the computer as well.
Water for Elephants For both my book groups. Alas, I missed both discussions. Loved the first chapters and got sidetracked.
Life of Pi I actually bought this for my husband the year it came out in paperback because all his good friends raved. He hasn't gotten to it yet, but my "other" book group read it for this month. Yet another month I didn't get to the meeting but enjoyed the book.
Simple Abundance My sister-in-law's copy. I'm not quite as committed as she was, yet, but some parts are inspirational.
Eat Pray Love. The short chapter format seemed ideal for a reading mom, but I found myself lingering over what she wrote, pondering and eager to get on to the next, so this took longer than I wanted. Overall, an enjoyable escapist read and a great book group discussion.
Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. I adored a column Ayelet Waldman wrote for the NYTimes Modern Love column, and despite the heartbreaking subject of this book, I love her writing so much I was willing to brave it. Read in one day.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I know, shouldn't this go without saying? But even though it's the first one since Azkaban I haven't stayed up all night to finish, I loved it. And I didn't realize until my wave of relief at the end how glad I'd be that Harry...oh, no spoilers here. Just in case someone hasn't gotten there yet.
Practically Perfect in Every Way Written by one of the founders of Brain/Child magazine and a friend of a friend, a fascinating look at the world of self-help and how not helpful it can be.
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