lady reading

As you may have have guessed, I love to read and in this section I have listed many of the books I have read: ones that I have loved and/or hated.

I have a number of these books at my home.
When you come to ChickNite and if would like to borrow one, just ask, I am always happy to let you have access to my personal
lending library!

This year (2013) we have begun a book club.

We meet on the last third Thurday of the month. Typically we get together in my home for light refreshments and livelydiscussion. One and all are welcome!


The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir
by Domingo Martinez

Orphan Train
by Christina Baker Kline

And the Mountains Echoed
Khaled Hosseini

Sweet Tooth
by Ian McEwan

Defending Jacob
by William Landay

In the Shadow of the Banyan
by Vaddey Ratner

The Glass Castle: A Memoir
by Jeannette Walls

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir
by Lawson, Jenny

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot


Additional Books to puruse
Comments in italics are mine (Ellen).

Water for Elephants  by Sara Gruen
Now THIS was a great book READ IT!!!!

A Thousand Splendid Suns  by Khaled Hosseini
By the same author of The Kite Runner. Wonderful- read it!

A Respectable Trade  by Philippa Gregory
Discusses slave trading and social standing - what one is willing to "trade"

The Last Empress   by Anchee Min
Min's Empress Orchid tracked the concubine Orchid's path to becoming Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi; this revisionist look at her long years behind her son Tung Chih's throne (1863–-1908).Recounted through Tzu Hsi's first-person, the early chapters encompass her trials as a young "widow," as co-regent with the late emperor's wife and as a mother.

The Serpents Tale by Ariana Franklin
This is a great follow-up book after the Mistress of the Art of Death.
Set in 12th century England, our heroine, Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar is back again and using her forensic skills to figure out who murdered Rosamund Clifford, Henry II's mistress. The prime suspect is Henry's estranged wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Great cast of characters and it holds your interest to the end.

A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs
As always, Augusten is delivering a very poignant description of his dysfunctional life. But he does it with vivid imagery and a sense of humor.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
From Publishers Weekly
De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the V'lodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz.
This is a heart wrenching novel - just heartbreaking. But a wonderful read- you cannot put it down. I also enjoyed the 2 storylines that run simultaneously.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
This is an interesting study of autism and a good mystery to book.
I do hate the dog was killed, but without that, there would be no story!

Playing with Boys by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Easy summer read

Dumping Billy by Olivia Goldsmith
Perfect beach book-- has "Sex and the City" flavor

Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
Not about what you think! One of my favorites!

Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
Sad story told by little girl about her dysfunctional family life---
stick with it to the end, it is worth it.

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
The family dog (or as I would say "dawg') witnesses a tragic incident. The husband becomes obsessed with teaching the dog to speak so he can find out what "really" happened. Interesting story and premise.

River of Heaven by Lee Martin
This book had a lot of potential. It started off strong and caught your interest. If the author kept to the base story of the man, the course his life took, with a few revolving characters, it would have been a strong and enjoyable book. Instead the author veers off into a few tangents that only distract and detract from a potentially really good story line. All in all, it was an ok book.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
Philadelphia defense lawyer Ellie Hathaway retreats to her great Aunt Leda's home in Paradise, PA, to get a break from her high-pressure job. Almost at the same time that she arrives, a dead baby is discovered in the barn of an Amish farmer. A police investigation reveals that the mother is an 18-year-old unmarried Amish girl, Katie Fisher, and that the infant apparently did not die of natural causes. Even in the face of medical proof that she recently gave birth, Katie denies the murder charge. Ellie reluctantly agrees to defend her, even though she does not want to be defended. To better understand her client, Ellie moves into the farmhouse with the Fisher family where she begins to see firsthand the pressures and sacrifices of those who live "plain."
This was a pretty good book- interesting premise and I enjoyed the education into Amish life. It did drag a bit in the middle, but enjoyable all the same.

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
From Booklist: When Jack St. Bride arrives in the small town of Salem Falls, all he wants is to escape his past. He's spent the last eight months in jail, after being falsely accused of having an affair with an underage student at the school where he taught. In Salem Falls, he gets a job as a dishwasher at a local diner and tentatively begins a romance with the diner's owner, Addie, who is still mourning the death of her young daughter, born after Addie was raped in high school by three drunk boys. As she and Jack fall in love, they both see hope for the future. But their newfound love is threatened when the residents of Salem Falls learn of Jack's conviction and begin harassing him. When, predictably, a teenage girl accuses Jack of raping her, he finds himself back in jail, fighting a serious charge and the town's prejudice. Addie wrestles with her doubts and memories of her own rape, but she believes in Jack and goes on a quest of her own to find out the truth about Jack's initial conviction, even as the Salem Falls trial opens.
Predictable, but enjoyable all the same. Nice, easy read

Magda's Daughter by Evi Blaikie
From Publishers Weekly: In this heartbreaking memoir, Blaikie, an advocate and board member of the Hidden Child Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League, details her childhood years in hiding during the Holocaust and her painful struggles as a "perpetual refugee" in the years following. She explains that she began her book not "as a memoir, but as a safety valve," and as her account unfolds, five decades' worth of despair and subjugation floods out of her. She tells of a lifetime of adapting to new countries, languages, schools, religions, names and even genders, beginning when, at two years old, Blaikie was smuggled from Paris to Budapest on a male cousin's passport in 1941, and ending with her continuing search for a sense of home in New York in 1991.
I loved this book- Evi is a wonderful writer- her story is engaging and honest. She gave me a totally new view on the ever-reaching damage the Holocaust caused. Even though Evi was one of the "lucky" ones, she suffered a great loss: the loss of family, home, country and even her personal identity. The constant upheaval of her childhood resulted in her having difficulty in establishing permanent relationships as an adult. She struggled with assimilating and with who she actually was. I read this book in 3 days, hardly ever putting it down. I highly recommend it. I would be happy to loan the book out to anyone who is interested.


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In the list below the ones in BOLD I particularily liked:

Historical Fiction
I love everything by this author: