Posted by on September 9, 2008 in other things | 17 comments

Due to my current allergy situation (and resulting grumpiness), I’ve not felt like doing much more than reading in he evening. A good book is definitely something that can cheer me up and make me forget about my snuffly nose. In the past I’ve tried to keep a list of what I’ve read and books I’d like to read, but my record keeping has been pretty sporadic. Recently I discovered GoodReads, which makes keeping track so much easier. If you join, please do feel free to add me as a friend. I think you can invite me using my lucy at heylucy dot net address. It’s so easy to find, add, and rate books. I’ve been adding books I’ve read over the last couple years here and there.

So, I thought I’d share some recent reads, and ask for some recommendations. I am waiting for a couple books to arrive at the library, but you can never have too many book recommendations to fall back on, can you? Speaking of the library, does your local library have their catalog online? I love that I can just go to the San Diego County Library website, find a book, and have it sent to my little local branch. If you haven’t tried doing that with your local library, I would suggest trying it out.


My first, and strongest recommendation is The Book Thief. Set in Germany during WWII, and narrated by the Grim Reaper himself, it’s the story of a young girl growing up during the Holocaust. There were so many great characters, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I sobbed at the end of this one, and I’m not really one to cry when reading books or watching movies.


I also recently finished Water for Elephants, which is one of those books everyone has read and loved. I did like it, but I wouldn’t call it a five star read, but I’d give it a solid three stars. There were some quirky characters, which was a lot of fun, but the story itself was a little predictable, or at least as predictable as a story set on a circus train during the Great Depression could be.


Like most women, I love Jane Austen, and can’t get enough, but I’ve always drawn the line at cheesy fan fiction. So I was a little reluctant to give Pamela Aidan’s Darcy Trilogy a fair chance, but I have to say, I really enjoyed what she did with the character. The first book, An Assembly Such as This, covers the first few meetings between Elizabeth and Darcy during his stay at Netherfield. The second book, Duty and Desire, wasn’t nearly as good, mainly because there was so little Elizabeth. It started to veer into Gothic mystery territory, but luckily didn’t go all the way there. Then, the last book in the series, These Three Remain picked up the pace, and of course had all the really great stuff, so it was worth slogging through the second book to get there.


Finally, a quick little read that I really enjoyed was The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It’s a YA book, and I checked it out from the library on the recommendation of a friend. While not really a graphic novel, there are a lot of really lovely illustrations. This story of a boy living in the walls of a Paris train station, fixing the station clocks is a big, thick book, but only took about an hour to read.

And now, a surprise for those of you who have scrolled this far in this long, long post, since you must obviously like books as much as I do. I loved The Book Thief so much that I want to share my copy with another reader. It’s the copy that I read, so it’s not a brand new book, but if you don’t mind slightly dog-eared corners, hey, it’s free! Just leave a recommendation for one of your favorite books in the comments, and I’ll draw a name this weekend, and send it to the winner! So give me your recommendations! Do you like when I get all bossy? I can’t help it, I’m an oldest child.


  1. I enjoyed water for elephants too… but the book thief sounds sooo good… I love all books about WWII

  2. Redeeming Love is at the tip top of my very favorite book ever. I have bought so many copies through the year to give away, and I nearly always hear back gushing from the recipient! Anything by Francine Rivers is wonderful.

  3. My favorite book is the bare naked bride, written anonymously it was actually taken from a woman’s daughter’s journal after she passed away.

  4. My little sister recently sent me home with her copy of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I was expecting it to be pretty fluffy reading and it took me awhile to actually read it. But, after I finished the first one I immediately had to go to the library for the 3 sequels. The series is really good! I was very surprised. So I recommend them. They are a light, quick read but very well written and engaging.
    Thanks for your recommendation, too!

  5. Hey Marné! It’s Lindy here (Symonie’s little sister). I’ve been following your blog for a while, since Sym told me about it. I love your reading recommendations (I love goodreads! Sym recommended the Hugo Cabret book to me, which I liked)…I’ll have to look at The Book Thief since I enjoy reading WWII/Holocaust books. One book I read recently, though you may have already read it, is These is My Words by Nancy Turner. Great love story. Right now I’m reading Jim the Boy; it’s sweet.

  6. Hi Lucy…Thanks for the email you sent today…My favorite trilogy is by “Jane Roberts Wood”…”The Train to Estelline”, “A Place Called Sweet Shrub”, and “Dance a Little Longer”…(“A strong young schoolmarm in early day west Texas.”)

  7. Hi there! Thanks so much for the book recommendations! I have added them to my goodreads list since you obviously have exquisite taste (Anne of Green Gables and the Jane Austen books are my all-time favorites!).
    As for what I recommend, it is difficult to narrow to a reasonable list, but I’ll stick to one that I recommend to everyone. It’s called The Dewbreaker by Edwidge Danticat. This book was truly excellent and engaging!! I hope you read it whether I’m the lucky recipient of The Book Thief or not!!

  8. Yay! I love book recommendations!! One of my favorite books, because I have so many, is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Okay, and also The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. And I also love all of the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. OH! And if you like Women’s Lit, one of my favorites is First There is a River by Kathy Steffen…that one? That one holds a special place in my heart because I “discovered” it, and was one of the ones that helped get it published, and my husband did the cover art. Okay, I will stop now.

  9. Ok, I love good read recommendations!!! Also, I always think it’s a bit wierd, but my favorite books are about people surviving the Holocaust. The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer- great! In My Hands- Irene Gut Opdyke, another good one. On Hitler’s Mountain- Imgard A. Hunt- good too. The Devil’s Arithmetic- Jane Yolen, maybe it was a kid’s book, but I liked it. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- John Boyne, good story about 2 boys, one German, one Jewish. Night- Elie Wiesel, quick read, couldn’t put it down. Ok, then a couple that aren’t so dark… Molokai- Alan Brennert- I loved this book, one of my favorites.It is sort of dark though- lepers!!! Can you pick out the survivor theme here? This book, When Elephants Dance- Tess Uriza Holithe was another book I read in 2 days and my eyes hurt for another 3 days after! It takes place in the Philippines near the end of WWII- a lady who works at Barnes and Noble in Maui gave me a list of her favorites and I have loved every single one of them. Some of this book is hard to read, but the story is so intense, I had to go on. Forgot another Holocaust book- The Kommandant’s Girl- Pam Jenoff, also excellant. Loved The Widow of the South- Robert Hicks. I read it one weekend while we had a soccer tournament for my son in Nahsville- I read it the entire weekend and was so into it- we were in the area where the story took place, which was purely a coincidence. The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette- Carolly Erickson was another book that held me to every page. It isn’t my usual type of book, but it was one of my favorites of all time. I am sorry I got onto this tangent with good books! I swear this is the last one- Garden Spells- Sarah Addison Allen. I am reading it right now. Quick, easy read with large print. I lived in Asheville, NC for about 10 years and I kept thinking this book reminded me of the area- when I turned to the back cover it tells the author lives in Asheville! It is just a sort of magical, haunted place. I can’t really describe it, but it has a familiar feeling and it just feels like there are so many souls there. Ok, I can’t wait to check out the book you are talking about, so I am on my way to B& N right now!

  10. *sigh*
    still trying to make my way through The Pillars of the Earth. Can’t they just finish building the cathedral and learn to be a little nicer to each other, for crying out loud?

  11. Another great YA book is “The curious incident of the dog at Midnight” It’s about a young boy with autism and how he deals with the world around him. I loved it! I often read books and a week later can’t remember what they were called or what they were about. The curious incident has stayed with me.
    Also, since you seem to like historical novels, I would suggest reading “The Devil in the White City” It’s actually non-fiction but to me it read like a novel. It’s about Chicago leading up to and during the world’s fair at the end of the 19th century. It was a fascinating read. I couldn’t put it down.

  12. Hi there, I usually have a stack of ten or so books that I drift through. I keep my little library busy with online requests (our system covers three counties) and I work my account like NetFlix (but for books) and I tell everyone to do the same as it is so handy. I liked No County For Old Men (the book not the movie, although the movie was okay). I liked Into The Wild because I knew the guy when he was young. I like (so far) Quiet Please: Dispatches From A Public Librarian. And I really like getting recommendations. So thanks for the reminder about GoodReads. See ya there!

  13. Read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Read it. It’s a YA book. Read it.

  14. the kids all read Hugo Cabret and I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to Ansel. I don’t know if that’s a recommendation since it is sort of a sappy story. He sort of liked it anyway.

  15. You weren’t a bossy oldest sibling, but maybe now you are. 😉
    I don’t know that this counts because it isn’t exactly fiction but I’ve learned a lot from John Shaw’s nature photography book–Nature Photography Field Guide. Clearly out of the fiction realm, somewhat technical, but great for learning new technique or just enjoying great nature photography.

  16. Hi!
    HEYLUCY! I hope you haven’t chosen your winner yet….I’ve been so busy, and I love love love books – so much so that I’m TOTALLY cranky I haven’t had time to read one at the moment, so you know, I’m reading like 5 right now!
    A book to recommend? I have TWO. The first being London by Edward Rutherford, it’s a complete history of what is arguably the world’s greatest city told from perspectives of about 4 family lines. I first read this book when I was 16 on recommendation of my grandmother, and now, after moving to London in part because of this book, I am re-reading it and it is FANTASTIC!
    The second book I recommend is equally as fantastic as the first – The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This book was so enthralling that I actually considered continuing on my train line, past work in the mornings, and being all ‘Whoops, this book is so excellent I MISSED MY STOP’ and then hoping my boss would be all good, especially since he was the one who recommended it! It’s set at a small prestigious university in the US and concerns a group of friends who get into a bit of a pickle. Fantastic, fantastic book, I hope you’ll give it a go!
    Now about The Book Thief, I’ve pondered about getting this one, and I hope that my delayed entry into your competition will score me points (you don’t even have to send to the UK, you can send to my parents in Canada!), but if not, its okay because after reading your review, I am DEFINITELY getting this book, AND The Invention of Hugo Cabret for my niece, so thanks a million for your book reviews, they are, as usual a kick ass addition to your blog. MAYBE we should start up a book club!

  17. OH! and another brilliant book is called Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Schienmann. Absolutely fantastic, it’s his first book, and mixes an old love story with a new one.
    I’m not really into soppy tales – and this one doesn’t even go there. It follows a Polish man who’s country has been ripped apart by Russia and having been sent to Siberia’s, trek all the way back to Poland BY FOOT in order to be reunited with a girl he really fancies. The second tale in the book (mixed with the first) is of a man who was on holiday with the love of his life in South America…and that’s all I’m going to tell you! If you see this book at your library, you have to read it too!
    Perhaps you should take on my 5 books at a time idea?

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