With most of the southern United States facing the coldest temperatures in a century, many of us are dusting off our bookshelves or our kindles and catching up on our never ending reading lists. Personally, I panicked as I’d just recently finished the two library books I had checked out from the Libby app and we lost wifi, cutting me off from even purchasing new kindle books. I tried not to panic, but yesterday when our 5G data kicked back on for a short time, I downloaded the first four library books I saw that were available and that looked even remotely interesting. For those of you with Wifi and some time to read, I’m going to recommend a few good books that are perfect for a rainy, or snowy day.
The criteria for this list are as follows:
Story driven – must be absorbed in the story
Page turner – I’m looking for “unputdownable”
Likely to be available at most digital libraries – nothing obscure. I’ll of course provide amazon and bookshop.org links so you can compare prices as well. If you can’t check them out from the library, I’ll get you the lowest price if you want to buy them. I include ads from bookshop.org and Amazon so you can compare prices easily. If you find it convenient and buy through these links, I earn a small commission and it’s how I pay for the expenses of this website.
The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni
Let’s begin with today’s vocabulary word: Bildungsroman. A Bildungsroman is a novel that is a coming of age book, telling the story of one’s youth through their adulthood and spiritual education. In this book, a devout Catholic woman gives birth to a healthy boy with albinism in his eyes. Basically, he is born with red eyes. The story of Sam’s life is extraordinary. This novel is sweet. It’s just pure story from the beginning to the end, and I really loved it. I read it on the recommendation of a book club and many avid readers had wonderful things to say about it.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
City of Girls is a novel set in the theater scene of New York in the 1940s. The book is written with such color and the setting is perfect for the story of a young girl getting a chance to be on her own in the big city among beautiful people with no responsibilities or worries. It’s told from the perspective of Vivian Morris, who is presently in her eighties, telling the story of her youthful exploits, starting around 1940 when she is kicked out of college. She discusses her sexual exploits openly and without shame; creating an entertaining story of a young woman who has no qualms about taking what she wants from the world. It was an entertaining novel. The material is light and is great for some escapism from the winter cold.
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Nate Pedersen, Lydia Kang
Quackery was one of those amazing history books that is written by an author, or in this case, authors, with a fantastic sense of humor. In addition to learning the history of bad medicine and false medical claims, you’ll laugh out loud several times throughout the book. My favorite bit from the book is the true story that people believed blowing tobacco smoke up one’s ass would save drowning victims. This was done without tools. If you know what I’m saying. Anyway! You really should read this one. You’ll be well informed and less likely to fall for false cures like essential oils for cancer or Vitamin C for Parkinsons (I just made both of those up) and you’ll have a good time reading it.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
A Man Called Ove stole my heart a few years back. From time to time, I still think about the characters in this book. A grumpy old widower is ready to just be done with life and be reunited with his late wife. His neighbors are constantly getting on his nerves. A family moves in nearby and he views them as menaces, but they won’t give up on him or leave him alone. The story is endearing and uplifting. I’m including it on this list because we all need a little reminder that we aren’t really ever alone in this world. Friendship may be right around the corner.
New on my To-Be-Read List:
Vibrate Higher by Talib Kweli is a memoir about political protest through hip-hop. My favorite music is protest music and right now, hip-hop is where the best protest music is coming from. For Generation X, our parents listened to Vietnam protest rock, and our kids are listening to protest rap. Artists are tackling income inequality, police brutality and government corruption. No matter the issue, using free speech to create art and change hearts and minds is one of the most powerful forms of expression. I’m looking forward to reading Kweli’s account of fighting white nationalism and furthering the Black Lives Matter movement.
I’m going to end here while I still have some power. I hope everyone stays warm!