Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper because I had someone tell me they were his favorites from childhood and I’d never heard of them.
To Provence with Love by T.A. Williams because I am all about everything France.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith because a coworker told me she thought I’d identify strongly with it.
Second Star to the Right by Mary Alice Monroe because Peter Pan.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because my friend said she loved it and I haven’t read it.
The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande because I’m all about lists.
Give and Take by Adam Grant because it’s about giving and I’m a huge fan of Grant.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue because Oprah said so.
My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul because book about books.
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore because women in science.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace because female empowerment.
The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn because Jane Austen and sci-fi.
The Liberal Redneck Manifesto by Trae Crowder because I’m curious.
The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan because I grew up a stone’s throw from Ontario and I wish we cared for these amazing ecosystems as we should.
The Rules Do No Apply by Ariel Levy
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon because movie and good press and I read The Sun Is Almost a Star and it was pretty good.
Word by Word by Kory Stamper because words.
Blockade Billy by Stephen King because it’s short and about baseball and I’ve never actually read it.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman because I like his other stuff.
Whereas by Layli Long Soldier because Native American poetry.
White Working Class by Joan C. Williams because I read White Trash and am just on a jaunt on that subject.
Picture books Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, The Banana-leaf Ball by Katie Milway, This is Edinburgh by Miroslav Sasek, and Sea Otter Heroes by Patricia Newman because they looked interesting and also ‘merica, play, otters, and Scotland.
Originally published: 2017
What it’s about: A Syrian refugee and her many tales of suffering and escape.
What made me pick it up?: It was on one list or another about refugees.
My favorite things: This book is stunning. I cannot believe how much struggle this woman has gone through. The author tells the story of Doaa and her family and their experiences masterfully. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. If you or someone you know doesn’t fully understand the crisis in Syria it will be indelibly etched in your brain after reading this. It will make you feel powerless and driven to enact change all at once.
Who it’s great for: This has horrifically violent scenes so it’s better suited for mature teens or adults. Anyone interested in learning more about the refugee crisis or the long war in Syria.
Find this book on Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.
Originally published in: 2012
What it’s about: A man escapes his nursing home on his 100th birthday and goes off on a new adventure.
What made me pick it up: It was suggested by Amazon when I was watching the film version of A Man Called Ove. Since I hadn’t read the book, I knew I should before watching the movie. I can’t seem to stay away from old men going on adventure novels, so this was right up my alley.
My favorite things: Allan Karlsson is a great character. Both hapless and lucky, he reminded me strongly of Forrest Gump. And speaking of adventures, he sure has had a lot of them – meeting world leaders, affecting key moments in history. I enjoyed tagging along on all of them, including those that took place in the present day. This jaunt was just a lot of fun.
Who it’s great for: Anyone who liked Arthur Pepper or Harold Fry. Those looking to go on an journey through history and around the world.
Pick up a copy of this book at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.
Originally premiered in: 2016
What it’s about: A curmudgeonly old man tries to move on after losing his wife and his job in quick succession.
What made me watch it: A woman in my book club mentioned it was as good as any huge fan of the book could hope (and I am one!). When the library got a copy I checked it out.
How it stacks up to the book: This was nicely done. It was missing some of the humor that comes from the ability to hear(read) a character’s inner monologue, but still had its moments. Some plot points were rearranged and timelines were condensed, which is to be expected. Overall the characters and relationships are as crisp and powerful as they are in the book and the tugs on your heartstrings just as pronounced. I could watch it over again.
Who it’s great for: Fans of the book. Lovers of foreign films (it’s in Swedish). Viewers looking for a heartfelt story and a sincere and masterful translation from page to screen.
Get the film or the book from Amazon (affiliate links) or check for them in your local library.