Book Roll 2015

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – The absolute stupidity with which she set out on this adventure is truly the part of the story that makes you feel for her and realize that anything is possible. Cheryl’s journey on the Pacific Crest Trail are both inspiring and terrifying.

The Husband’s Secret – I loved that this story kept you wondering which secret was THE husband’s secret. The way that each character’s life seems to intertwine with the next made this a fun read. The conclusion also leaves you with a neatly completed story.

How to Be Good – As a Doctor, Katie thinks she knows how to be good, after all she chose a profession that had her helping others every day. Then her husband, a notoriously sarcastic person had a spiritual conversion and became too good. Katie quickly realizes that she isn’t sure being good is how she wants to live her life.

We Were Liars – Four friends, a privileged life, and summers on an island. Boredom and disappointment at the family dynamic due to wealth leads these 4 teens to incredible lies.

The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran – Born in Iran, Nazila experiences pre-revolution Iran as a child, swimming in her apartment pool, playing without a head scarf, and having a mostly normal childhood. Contrast this withthe time when she starts her career as a journalist, post-revolution Iran. She is constantly intimidated and her freedoms are chaning daily. This story tracks her life in Iran.

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales – A series of Nine short stories, each unique and some linked to each other (albeit very loosely). A very dark and twisty set of stories.

All the Light We Cannot See – This story weaves together the experience of Marie-Laure, a blind french girl, and Werner, a german boy as their life progresses through WWII. Each deals with a different struggle as they are thrust in to the middle of this conflict.

The Girl on the Train – If you liked Gone Girl you are going to love the twists and turns this story provides. With your house sitting next to the train tracks your life is often exposed to passersby in ways that you wouldn’t want.

Are you there God? It’s me Margaret – In preparation for an evening with Judy Blume, I reread this oldie but goodie. Every pre-teen should read this and adults should reread it just to remember.
Rosewater: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival  – Journalists in Iran have always lived with intense scrutiny of their portrayal of their country. This follows one man’s journey of reporting, imprisonment and months of not knowing his fate.

It’s not the end of the world  – Looking for a quick, easy vacation read? Judy Blume always delivers. Another reread because I was in the Judy zone.
Americanah – This book follows one woman’s experience of what it’s like to be black in America. As a black woman, born in Nigeria, attending college in America she starts a blog about being black and the things she observes.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – What’s not to love about Holly Golightly and her daily escapades? The book that started it all, a quick read that just makes you smile.
Heads or Tails – A woman who doesn’t want a child is called upon by her best friend to help during a time of postpartum depression. As Hilary helps her friend Margot, she questions her values and struggles to juggle the responsibilities in her life. This also gives a great tour around San Francisco through the places the characters visit.
A Spool of Blue Thread – Four generations of family tell their story as it ties in to one simple house. A seemingly straight forward family until secrets start to unfold through the stories they tell.

Most Talkative – Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture – This was a quick and fun read, but the entire time I kept thinking I would like it better if I had watched more than one of the Real Housewives franchise. If you are Housewives lover you will love all the behind the scenes of this book.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin – This was another great book by Erik Larson. The story follows the ambassador to Germany during Hitler’s rise. Whether you are hearing Ambassador Dodd’s struggles with the bureaucracy or following his daughter’s social life, you get insight in to how Berlin evolved as the Nazi regime’s hold strengthened.
Housekeeping: A Novel – Ruth and Sylvie stay in the same home, but a revolving door of caretakers arrive to watch over them. Their first and most stable caretaker is their grandmother, followed by two great aunts who don’t want to be there but are out of a sense of duty and finally an eccentric aunt. As the two girls live with each new caretaker their relationship evolves and their understanding of the world shifts.

The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year – If you love Andy Cohen, you love hearing about celebrities (and actually know who they are) and want to follow one man getting a new dog, this is the book for you. I didn’t love this book, but that’s because it was heavy on the name dropping and I didn’t know any of the names (except maybe Sarah Jessica Parker, apparently they are besties!)

Luckiest Girl Alive – This book had a very dark undercurrent that was reminiscent of some of the other books out there with girl in the title (a la Girl on the Train and Gone Girl). The book follows Ani who has carefully curated her life, meticulously presents herself and all of it is a sham.
It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War – Lynsey Addario is a photographer working in a man’s world. This book chronicles her experience as a photojournalist in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, etc. She details the times she was kidnapped and shares her struggle with settling down and juggling her career with a family and long term relationship. A great read and very inspiring.
Circling the Sun – This is a marvelous story of how Beryl pushes her personal limits. Whether it is surviving in the outback or learning to live on her own, following her adventures is a delight.

Who Do You Love – Rachel and Andy’s story epitomizes fate. From childhood to adulthood, they continuously find their paths crossing.

Not that Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” – It’s Lena Dunham, funny, witty and good insight to her life and process.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania – The Lusitania set off across the Atlantic during a war, but the passengers all felt perfectly safe. Eric Larson wrote a compelling story that shares the perspectives of the German U-Boat Captain, The passengers of the Lusitania as well a secret British intelligence unit.

Crazy Rich Asians – a total fluff read about an uber wealthy group of Chinese.

China Rich Girlfriend – An equally fluff read about an American girl dating an uber rich Chinese guy, without knowing it.

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II – A riveting true story of how a group of divers risk everything to identify a wreck through deep water diving.

Astonish Me – One ballerina has a number of secrets about her past that come to light as her son develops in to a ballet prodigy of his own.

Seating Arrangements – A wedding weekend turns from what should have been wedded bliss to complete chaos with everything from a dead whale to temptations of the heart.

The Piano Teacher – A woman moves to Hong Kong in a new marriage. To get out of the house she begins teaching piano for an elite family and meets a man and falls in love. Things are complicated and change once the Japanese invade.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest – This novel follows one girl with an exceptional palate. Her life takes many twists and turns, but ends with culinary success.

The Japanese Lover – One woman chooses to finish her life in an assisted care facility. As her assistant catalogs her life, a secret love story unfolds while a new love story blooms.

People Like Us – The New York rich are a exclusive and getting accepted in to their inner circle is near impossible. As one couple takes every measure to get introduced, the secrets of everyone else start to unfold.

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