Monday, December 29, 2008


A friend recently asked me for book recommendations, and I sent her two annotated lists - one of bestsellers and "hot" books, and another of weird books I'd recently read and liked. She thanked me, and then laughed (virtually) about how many of the books from my list were about WWII. I'm not exactly sure what this says about me - nothing good, probably - but I think I like that era because there is potential for adventure, intrigue, and everyone has indoor plumbing. (Hey, I can't imagine myself living in an era where I had to put on my shoes to go to the bathroom.)

So for those of you who are curious, I'm including the aforementioned list.

Mainstream Books:
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
- totally anti-feminist, but enjoyable reading. Book 2 is okay, but 3 & 4 weren't as good
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
- super-popular, and a book club favorite
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
- loosely based on the life of Mrs. George W. Bush; I heard the author speak, and was impressed
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
- this is one I really want to read, despite the lame title
Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
- his first book, and in my opinion, his best
Atonement by Ian McEwan
- basis of the movie by the same name
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
- I read this book because the reviews were excellent, and, let's face it, the author is gorgeous. (Check out his picture on the book jacket.) It takes place in the USSR in the early 1950s, and is about a serial killer. Very suspenseful, a bit gruesome, and great if you're at all curious about Russia during that time period.

Kathy's Picks:
I've read all of the following and liked them for various reasons, but because my taste is weird I don't know if you'll necessarily enjoy any of them.
The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull
- Young adult book; vaguely Harry Potter-esque
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Young adult book; winner of a bunch of awards; WWII from a child's point of view. Narrated by Death.
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
- WWII; well done
Bonk by Mary Roach
- by one of my favorite authors...may not want to ask for it for Christmas, though, because it's a nonfiction book about sex
A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane
- a south-side Boston P.I.; grim crimes but great dialogue. First in the series, all of which are good
I am America: And So Can You! by Stephen Colbert
- if you like the Colbert Report (and I do), you'll love this book, esp. the audio version (read by the author)