I’m back with a book recommendation list for grown-ups. I told you last time that I am in three book clubs. We alternate book pickers each time we get together, so there are many times that I am reading something I wouldn’t normally choose to read on my own. The ladies in my book clubs have a wide range of reading interests. For example, we have one woman who loves WWII non-fiction and another who likes fluffy chick-lit and yet another who always chooses academic-type (smarty-pants) books. It broadens my reading horizons. It’s good for me.
This list will be made up of a variety of genres so you can find something for every kind of reader you know. In this time of gift-giving, consider it my gift to you!
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (non-fiction)
–This is the story of former Olympian and World War II veteran, Louie Zamporini. This book chronicles Louie’s struggle for survival while stranded at sea after his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and in numerous Japanese prison camps during the war. There are moments in this book that are difficult to read, but his life story is amazing and his resilience is inspiring. This book gave me a whole new respect for those who served our country during this horrific time in our world’s history. Fantastic read.
by Katie J. Davis & Beth Clark (non-fiction)
– Katie was a high school senior with a great family, a boyfriend, a convertible and a bright future. After going on a missions trip to Uganda, Katie felt God’s call to move there after graduation. Her parents weren’t thrilled about Katie going to Africa instead of college, but she felt God’s leading and was determined to go. By the age of 19, Katie had adopted 14 Ugandan girls as her own and started an orphan ministry. Katie’s life is an amazing example of obedience, selflessness, compassion for others, and showing God’s love to the world by serving those who are suffering. Her commitment to God and to the people of Uganda is inspiring.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (classic)
– This is my Grandma Margie’s favorite book. I originally read it because of her. The unnamed narrator of the book is the young, second wife of Maxim de Winter. She moves with her new husband to Manderley, the estate he shared with his first wife, Rebecca, who had died eight months before. There, she meets the mysterious housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who insists Rebecca’s suite be left untouched and preserved as it was when Rebecca was alive. The narrator tries to uncover the truth about the beautiful Rebecca and the dark secrets of Manderley. This book has a haunting quality to it and is very suspenseful. It is also beautifully written. Rebecca is considered a masterpiece of Gothic literature and a classic work of fiction.
by Agatha Christie (classic mystery)
– I read this book in high school English class. You know, back when you read books because you were being forced to, so you weren’t going to like the book if you could help it. I liked this book. I couldn’t help it. It’s a classic mystery who-done-it. And it’s a good one with lots of suspense and great twists along the way. There are ten people on a private island and they are all murdered one by one. Ooh, feel the suspense. Great book, Mrs. Shields. Thanks for making me read it.
by Robert Hicks (historical fiction)
– Carrie McGavock lives in a beautiful antebellum mansion in Franklin, Tennessee during the Civil War. When the Battle of Franklin begins, her home is converted into an Army hospital for wounded and dying Confederate soldiers. Her land later becomes a cemetery for over 1,500 men who perished in battle and whose graves Carrie personally attended to for the rest of her life.
by Ree Drummond (cookbook)
– I enjoy cooking as much as I enjoy reading. So I really like cookbooks. I also like the Food Network, which I miss because we got rid of cable, but that’s another story. Ree Drummond has a cooking show on the much-beloved Food Network. I really like her recipes. And just so you know, this is not low-fat cooking, but it IS super delicious!!!
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (fiction)
– When I read the description of this book I was not excited about reading it, but it was a book club pick, so I did. All of the ladies loved it and it was a great book for discussion. So don’t be put off if my description doesn’t grab you. It’s good – trust me. This is the story of Henry and Laura’s family who lives on a farm in the south right after World War II. Jaime, the brother of Henry, has just returned from the war and has befriended Ronsel, the African-American son of sharecroppers who live on the farm who has also just returned from combat. The friendship between these two men during this unstable time in the south set events into motion that will change both of these families forever. I would highly recommend this book for a book club. You are going to want to talk about it when you’ve finished reading it!
Still Alice by Lisa Genova (fiction)
– Alice Howland is a gifted professor and researcher who goes out for a run one day along a route she has been taking for years and discovers she can’t find her way back home. After extensive medical testing, Alice learns the she has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. What makes this book particularly riveting is that Alice’s struggle with her progressive memory loss is told in first person. This allows you to feel the fear and sadness that an individual coping with this disease may experience. The author of Still Alice is a neuroscientist who has extensive experience with Alzheimer’s and takes this experience to create a work of fiction that resonates with the reader. After I finished this book, I felt like I had a new understanding and compassion for those individuals and families who are dealing with the effects of this heartbreaking disease.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (fiction)
– This story is narrated by 11-year-old Reuben Land, who is crossing the Dakota Badlands with his family in search of his fugitive brother who is wanted for murder. Reuben’s father, Jeremiah, is a man of deep faith and in his presence miracles sometimes happen. This book has everything – beautiful writing, well-developed characters, a rich setting, suspense, family, faith and miracles. Curl up by a fire with a giant cup of coffee (or your warm beverage of choice) and enjoy this book. It’s a great one.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (fiction)
– This book is loosely based on the classic fairy tale by the same name. Jack and Mabel live in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1920’s. Unable to have children and now middle aged, their marriage is slowly falling apart. One night during a winter storm and a rare moment of levity, Jack and Mabel go out into the storm and build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone, but they begin seeing a young blonde-haired girl running through the wilderness. Her name is Faina and she appears to live alone. Could she be the child they built out of snow? Can this child save their unraveling marriage? I found myself thinking about this book and its characters long after I finished reading it. It’s a beautiful book.