Book ‘Em! (She Says, Cringing At The Punny-ness Of It All)

Now that Mama has figured how to “turn on the blog,” as it were, she’s told a couple of her friends about it, and now they “turn on the blog,” as well. And occasionally they ask me questions about it when I see them. And while talking to people about Ye Olde Blogge isn’t exactly comfortable for me, it’s not nearly as bad as, say, Emma Kate introducing me as BooMama to people at her church, an incident for which there are no words to adequately express my embarassment, but my embarrassment was significant enough that EK now owes me a really cute pair of shoes, or at the very least a case of diet Coke.

(I will be available for psychiatric evaluation from 5-7 pm on Thursday. Just be sure to let me know where you set up the couch. And be sure to bring lots of delicious, ice-cold diet Coke. And be sure to send Emma Kate the bill.)

Anyway, this past weekend one of Mama’s very fun friends was talking to me about my blog and asked me if I had ever posted a list of book recommendations. Which of course I haven’t. Because I’ve become a terribly lame reader.

Pre-pregnancy, I read voraciously – usually two or three books at a time – but since Alex came along I do well to read two or three books a year. I’ve tried to do better over the last three or four months by having at least one book on my nightstand at all times, but it’s difficult. I write a lot more than I used to, and it seems like between cooking and cleaning (don’t you even laugh, D. don’t you EVEN laugh), chasing Alex, working, blogging, wife-ing, etc., reading is the thing that gets pushed back farthest on the burner.

(To clarify: reading has not been pushed back as far as, you know, crafts, but those were never really on the burner for me to begin with. Come to think of it, crafts were nowhere even remotely near the burner. In fact, I think that for me, at least, crafts are currently located somewhere just southeast of Idaho.)

And here’s the thing: I miss reading. I really do. But I find that when I do want to read – when I make a special trip to the library or bookstore with the intent of finding a good book – I get completely overwhelmed. I don’t want to waste precious reading time on something that’s not any good; I don’t want to start a book that I’ll have no desire to finish. And inevitably I leave the bookstore empty-handed, usually wondering when people quit writing the kinds of books that I want to read.

Lately it seems like every other blog I happen across has a to-read list for the new year in the sidebar. I can’t even tell you how much that intimidates me because not only are you people reading, but you’re planning it, as well, and I’m pretty wide-eyed at the wonder of it all. On top of that, you’re not reading easy stuff; you’re not grabbing the #1 Walgreens bestseller off the shelf and calling yourself a bookworm. Y’all are reading challenging stuff. Some of it’s not even fiction, and ohmyword I don’t know how you do it.

So, for Mama’s friend who asked about a list – and for me, who really needs a list – here is my humble request. In the comments, give me ONE recommendation for a book that is, in your opinion, a must-read. I prefer fiction, but I’m fine with non-fiction, too.


Please remember that I have the attention span of your average four-year old, only I can’t even sit still long enough to watch cartoons. So while some of you (SHANNON!) might be intrigued by the idea of tackling Pilgrim’s Progress, I am not. In fact, the prospect of spending precious leisure time fighting my way through classic literature (aside from To Kill A Mockingbird, which is the best book in the history of all time ever) makes me want to throw things. And then chase down the stuff I threw so that I can kick it. Repeatedly. While twitching.

My former English professors must be so very proud.

So hit me with your One Essential Book in the comments. And if you happen to know the the author’s name, pass along that info, too. No need for links – mainly because the links will make my spam filter go cuckoo.

Once I wade through the list, I’m going to pick ten books to tackle this year. And I’m going to put the list in my sidebar so that y’all can point at me and laugh at the end of December when I’ve only read two and a half of them. But I really want to be a better, more intentional reader. And I know Mama’s friend will appreciate your suggestions, too.

By the way: if anyone lists anything by Henry James or James Joyce, I’m totally going to cover my eyes and sing “LA LA LA LA LA LA” and pretend like I don’t see it. Grad school nearly did me in with those two.

Thanks, internets!

I’m so glad y’all read and are smart and stuff. You have inspired me to do better.

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  1. “How To Get Published In Southern Living or Some Other Fine Southern Magazine/Piece of Literature While Simultaneously Losing 35 Pounds For the Book Jacket Photo Op Posing With Paula Deen”

    Author unknown. I’ll let you know when it comes out. I’m sure gonna make a bee line to Barnes and Noble when it does.


  2. OK if you want serious-edifying-makes-you-weep best Christian fiction book ever, I recommend Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

    If you want a hysterical-laugh-till-you-wet-your-pants book with no real point other than a good time, read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. (and the sequels, which are just as funny.)


  3. I’m currently enjoying The Starbucks Experience (it’s not fiction, easy easy quick read, and quite interesting).

    Other than that book (and February’s The Little Red Book of Marketing) my reading list comes from a used book store of romance novels (pure FLUFF).

    But on my list for this year, Harry Potter #7. OH there’s a good one to start – read the series, you’ll end up hating me because you’ll stay up until 3 AM to finish the darn books and have no energy to deal with life. ;)

  4. Rocks in my Dryer says:

    First of all, I totally GAVE UP in the middle of Pilgrim’s Progress, remember?

    If you want a page turner that happens to be a great classic as well, I recommend East of Eden by Steinbeck.

    My two current favorites are Bret Lott (GREAT Southern writer, compared to Flannery O’Connor, which is why I first checked him out) and Sandra Dallas.

    Right now I’m reading Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout, and OH it is scrumptious.

  5. A book from last year I really enjoyed was “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio – How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less” by Terry Ryan. Non-fiction. Biography. Daughter writing about her mother and their family.

    If you’re looking for Christian: “The Mark of the Lion Series” by Francine Rivers. Absolutely awesome!

  6. Rocks in my Dryer says:

    Oh, and by the way, I posted about book recommendations today, too. Frazzled minds think alike! ;)

  7. I just spent 10 minutes writing about books on my blog– I’m actually giving some away. however my favorite book in the last decade is one I am NOT parting with- “There is No Me Without You” by Melissa Fay Greene.
    Life changing.

    Mary, mom to many

  8. Beverly Lewis. Any of ’em. Although, if you start with “The Covenant,” you won’t be able to put them down very easily until you’ve reached the end of that 5-book series. Even a four yr. old wouldn’t be able to. Well, maybe that’s a stretch. But they’re attention-getting, entertaining, uplifting, intriguing, laugh and cry… they’re great when you just want to *read* for the sheer enjoyment of it. They’re about all I’ve read since I became a mama–except for one “how to be a godly wife” book, and that was just the first week he was born, when all he did was nurse and sleep.

    And, oh. my. goodness. Do you honestly mean your name is NOT BooMama?! I’m going to have a heart attack. I mean, why wouldn’t a mother look at her newborn daughter and think, “BooMama… what a perfect name!”

  9. “Marley and Me” by John Grogan — it was my pick for Best Book of 2005, and it’s the one that took my mother from a woman who hadn’t read a book in probably 35 years to a woman who can’t stay out of our local library. You’ll laugh yourself silly and might even shed a tear or two. (Okay, you might cry yourself silly, too. :-D)

  10. Any book by Fannie Flagg. She wrote the book that became the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes.”

    I recently finished “Standing in the Rainbow” by Ms. Flagg, and I’m starting “Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.” She’s Southern and funny and sweet and great and a lot of other stuff that makes me think, “BooMama.”


    PS: I also just posted about books on my blog, because I stay up into the night reading things like this blog and Shannon’s blog.

  11. I just read The Time Traveler’s Wife over a month ago, and it had me thinking and stewing off and on for weeks!

    It’s written by Audrey Niffenegger. (I just cut and pasted that name. My word that’s an odd last name, and I know a thing or two about odd names!)

    It has some explicit sections in it, so if someone were sensitive to that, it would not be a good choice. But for the most part it was really good.


  12. Anything by Jody Picoult or Francine Rivers!

  13. Well, I read a lot of children’s books – a lot of them are just as good as adult fiction, but you know.. shorter :) There’s some excellent children’s fantasy (other than Harry Potter) out there, I recommend the Old Kingdom Trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen by Garth Nix) His Dark Material trilogy (Northern Lights, Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman) and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Hope that helps!

  14. I would HIGHLY recommend “A Rift in Time” and the sequel “Hidden in Time” by Michael Phillips! Love the suggestions about Francine Rivers’ books, also. Both authors write the “can’t put it down” type of fiction. Suggestion–take the book with you to the bathroom. You have to sit anyway–might as well enjoy the solitude.

  15. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Fiction, easy-to-read but can’t put-it-down. A really good story that happens to be the author’s memoirs. I read it constantly, she sucked me into her life. I just finished it and I sad that I’m done, because now I won’t know what’s going on anymore. Also, anything by Maeve Binchy (Tara Road esp.) – excellent story-telling.

  16. ok so i don’t usually go with the crowd, BUT being a reader and writer myself and having a panic attack at trying to suggest just one book for you i reaized… no one else stuck to your rule… and while i want so badly for you to like me :) and to think i’m even remotely hip- i just can’t stick to the rule either- i mean.. no one else did (and no to the whole jumping off a bridge thing if they did too)
    I agree with your first poster Redeeming LOve – i’m not a fiction person- it HAS to be incredible… her fiction knocks all other women christian authors just straight off the shelf.
    The Red Tent (another fiction- just as awesome… incredible)
    Just read: Velvet Elvis by Rod Bell- easy read, about christian faith- powerful stuff.

    Praying i’m not excommunicated from your blog for this- i really wanted to obey….

  17. Christian Non-Fiction: “Do You Think I’m Beautiful” by Angela Thomas. A really quick read but very impactful for me!

  18. I was going to say Time traveler’s Wife too, but you already knew that, didn’t you? :-) Ditto what Addie said. All of it.

  19. I finished Moloka’i by Alan Brennert earlier this year. It is about a young girl who contracts leprosy in Hawaii and is exciled to Moloka’i to be raised in the lepor colony. It is ficion but is based on true events so you actually feel like you are using your brain and learning something while you read it:)


  20. Elizabeth says:

    Jamie Langston Turner and Lisa Samson are two of my favorite Christian fiction authors. Turner’s novels are a little more “serious” and should be savored, Samson is an edgier writer who colors outside the lines. Glad you did this–I added some “should reads” to my list from the other comments. Happy reading!

  21. I am a reader.

    The best book I’ve read since last year is: Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen. It is an excellent novel.

  22. Oh Boomama, you do know this is impossible for me – ONE book? My pick is also almost always non-fiction, not so much your cup of tea; if you pick a fiction, Redeeming Love, mentioned 99 times already is fabulous, and when you cant get enough of Francine Rivers, grab her trilogy of the Mark of the Lions series. You can eat frozen pizza for a week or so while you tear through them. Non-fiction – I’m reading Blue Like Jazz and have scribbled all over it – he is controversial, sassy, just says it, and has a writer’s heart. Gives you a little window of time to see things a bit differently. I’d rather read than eat.

  23. ONE book???? I just can’t do it.

    If you haven’t allready read The DaVinci Code, it’s a good one.

    I second anything by Sandra Dallas, particularly “The Persian Pickle Club” which I’ve read twice.

    Also- “The #1 Ladies Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith. *Love* this series- it is set in Botswana but is so thoroughly engaging-

  24. ::quote from commenter Leslie::If you want a hysterical-laugh-till-you-wet-your-pants book with no real point other than a good time, read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. (and the sequels, which are just as funny.)–I havent read those but did read one by her called hmm where is it OH yeah the Undomestic Goddess judging by the laugh factor there I will be getting the shopaholic series also :)

    Boomama, get Redemption by Karen Kingsbury, thats the title of the first one and the series. YOu will NOT PUT IT DOWN, then that spirals off to the Firstborn series, first book titled that also. Excellent Christian fiction with today issues :) Enjoy and I cant wait to see all the other commenters recommendations! xoxo melzie

  25. Janet Evanovich – The Stephanie Plum books. Start with One For The Money and work your way through the numbers. I am reading them for the second time, I had forgoten how hysterically funny they were. Very easy reads.

    And might I suggest now that you have such an extensive list of options you consider a “Book Club” Really it is just another excuse for us girls to have good food, wine, and conversation. On ocassion we actually do read the book…or just go see the movie.

  26. ANYTHING by TED DEKKER (Christian Fiction) My favorite was written by Ted Dekker & Frank Peretti, it’s called HOUSE. A MUST read!!!!!

  27. You might try something by Barbara Kingsolver – I haven’t read her in a while, but I really enjoyed The Bean Trees when I read it in college. She has others – they are not Christian, but they are well-written.

    I must go cook eggs for boys.

  28. I agree with Ashleigh about “The Covenant” by Beverly Lewis. All 5 books in the series are sooooo good. My mom read them also and loved them.

  29. Okay, I’m finally delurking to highly recommend Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. Hands-down, the best I’ve read in the past 10 years. It’s fiction, with incredibly developed characters and a plot to keep you interested. It’s a “secular” book — that is, the general public loved it — but the author is obviously a Christian, and the book has big-time Christian themes and references.

    Love your blog!

  30. I love “Home to Harmony” by Philip Gulley. It is fiction and is about a minister who gets talked into preaching for the church in the small town where he grew up. Everybody knows everybody and everybody’s business. It’s a very quick, easy read and I laughed all throughout the book. And there’s a whole series, so you can continue the fun! Enjoy!

  31. I am a voracious reader (even more so before Little came along), so it is tough to narrow it down…so many good books out there. 2 of my all-time faves are Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy (much better than the movie IMHO) and Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher. I’ve read both several times.

    I really enjoy your blog and I’m getting lots of good additions to my reading list from these comments!

  32. I also suggest Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It was the best book I read in 2006. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is entertaining too. I enjoy your blog!

  33. Favorite book EVER is “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver. SO good. Will really make you think.
    I just finished “Prep” by Curtis Sittenfield, and it was FAB! Made me so glad not to be in high school I almost wept! Funny and sad.

  34. I’m sitting here racking my brain because, like you, my reading has taken a serious downturn since the birth of the child. I try, I really do, but it just doesn’t happen. I’ve had the Mark of the Lion series sitting on my nightstand since the fall. It serves as a dustcatcher.

    That being said, this fall I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon which was a recommendation from Toni. I loved it. Of course, the other book that comes to mind is Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, but I will be SHOCKED if you haven’t read it already.

  35. How about an online book club? I don’t read much either, but having a reason to discuss it may make me get on the ball. Just a thought!

  36. I recommend the Chronicles of the King series by Lynn Austing. That would technically be five books, but they are great!

  37. Ooops! I meant Lynn Austin (not Austing)/

  38. Um, I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m a literature teacher, and based on what I’ve read of your blog I’d like to suggest two things none of the other readers have suggested:
    First, have you considered a book of short stories? They are more easily read in short “Bites” so you may find them less intimidating. I recommend Leo Tolstoy’s short stories, because even my non reading students like Tolstoy.
    Second: As far as a novel goes, I always recommend a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle. It has fantastic characters, a completely unique story line, and is an easy read, while being enjoyable. Although, I also weigh in with the many who suggested the Harry Potter series.

  39. I agree with the Francine Rivers recommendations.

    Also, The OMalley Series by Dee Henderson. Easy read and Christian.

  40. Ok, it’s not Great Literature, but I’d recommend SAHM I Am by Meredith Efken because it is all about moms on the internet and the whole thing is written in emails between them.

    How coud you resist?

  41. I really enjoyed reading the Cape Refuge (title of the first one) book series by Terri Blackstock. Also, last year, I read the Chronicles of Narnia series since I had NEVER read them before.

  42. The Wedding, by Nicholas Sparks. One of the best newish books of all time. Fast read, fiction but you wish it was true.

  43. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. Non-Fiction, but short, easy to read, can’t put it down, so incredibly fait-building, YOU WILL LOVE IT. I’m not much of a reader, but I’m recommending this to EVERYONE.

  44. ok, that’s faith-building, just so no one mistakes it for fat-building!!!

  45. Cool! The book I was going to recommend is already recommended so it MUST be good! The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Good Stuff. A real thinker but easy to read.

  46. I have to agree with The Thirteenth Tale. It kept me turning pages long after I should have been sleeping.

    Also – I’ll be hosting a Spring Reading Challenge – it has NO PRESSURE, just a fun way to make a little goal and see how far you get (with absolutely no guilt or bad feelings allowed if you don’t reach the goal, or even if you don’t finish one single book). Feel free to join in with your 10-book list. :)

  47. _Father Melancholy’s Daughter_ by Gail Godwin.
    And if you’re feeling up for it (or needing more by the end, the sequel is just as good…if not better: _Evensong_, gain, by Gail Godwin. :)

  48. I’m going with Ashleigh on the Beverly Lewis books, too. I usually read non-fiction, but I picked up The Covenant and just loved it. In fact, in three months’ time I had read all her books. I couldn’t stop!! She sets her novels in Amish families, which is fascinating. The books are fast reads, but you’ll think about them for years afterward.

  49. I really enjoyed Peter Jenkins’ “Walk Across America”, it is a true story of a guy who walked coast to coast in the 70s or early 80s. A great book.

    P.S. This is my first time commenting here ever, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoy you blog, BooMama!

  50. The Yada Yada Prayer Group – Awesome series about a group of eclectic women who meet at a Christian Womans conference and are smooshed together by a higher power with a sense of humor and a higher purpose. Seriously – by the time you’re done with the first you’ll be hooked- but don’t worry they are a pretty easy read – and a few truths seep into your heart at the same time. – if you get through one and have no time to read in between “cleaning and cooking” they are also incredibly done audiobooks.

    I have to second (or whatever number you are on) Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Francine said this work was her statement of faith – on that note she encourage another writer Catherine Palmer to write a similar book – with a totally different message but an equally profound impact “The Happy Room” is my new good read.

    One more – Ted Dekker’s Blessed Child. It deals with the issue of why God heals some people and not others. Two individuals with difficult pasts are brought together to care for a young boy that has been kept in an Ethipian monastary his whole childhood. When he is brought to the US they realize he has an unexlainable gift of healing and an intimate, unaffected relationship with His God…

    I could go on…but I’ll spare ya.

  51. The Time Traveler’s Wife. The Best Book I Have Ever Read. SO good. It’s quite long, (518 pages)ike you, I was trying to get back into the swing of reading, I finished the book in a week and a half. (which is lightning fast for me!)

    You will NEVER regret reading it. I wrote a book review on it on my blog


  52. I like Barbara Kingsolver too; my most recent read was “Prodigal Summer”. She’s an excellent writer, although some of it isn’t – shall we say – appropriate for children.

    My favorite book of all time is “Anne of Green Gables” (LM Montgomery). The Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis) are a close second. :-) As far as kids’ books go, I love “Walk Two Moons” (Sharon Creech).

    My favorite grown-up book is probably “The Moon-Spinners” (Mary Stewart) or “Count of Monte Cristo” (Alexandre Dumas). The latter might be a little overwhelming unless you get an abridged version. :-)

  53. You need to stop lying to your readers about your craft prowess. Remember those picture frames you made out of fabric?

    Hey, the literature teacher above recommended A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle. That was one of my favorite books as a kid; I just found my copy at my mom’s, and I’m going to re-read it. Read it with me, so we can discuss.

  54. Catherine says:

    The Kite Runner.

  55. Another vote for “Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver. Had a big impact on my world-view. Great writer (she’s a southern girl too).

  56. My Absolute Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World:

    Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith. Southern women’s fiction, absolutely brilliant.

    Recent good reads:

    Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
    The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
    The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan

  57. I second Shannon’s recommendation of Brett Lott. “Jewel” is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I also loved “The Wedding” by Nicholas Sparks. I read it in one day while new carpet was being installed in my whole house and there really wasn’t much else I could do! Thanks for asking this question-I’ve written down some possibilities for myself!

  58. Stephanie says:

    I would highly recommend the O’Malley series also. Love them. I don’t buy many books because I read so fast, but those were keepers! I also enjoyed the Sisterchicks series by Robin Jones Gunn. They are a funny light read. I also agree with the reading of children’s books. There is some good stuff out there and you can get through them in a reasonable amount of time. Good luck!

  59. DayspringDawning says:

    The Mitford Series…Funny, easy reads. :)

    If you’re interested in parenting book: “Shepherding Your child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp.

  60. Oooh–this will be fun to read if I can read all 56 comments one day. I’ll give you a book AND a helpful tip. This is a non-fiction memoir, but it’s fun and reads like a novel, and would be something a little different. I think you’d like it: All the Fishes Come Home to Roost–that link is to my review of it.

    For the tip: Set up an amazon wishlist for yourself, but mark it private (so that people don’t go buying you things from it). I call mine, “Library.” When you are seeing reviews of books that you’d like to read, you can save them there for yourself. I consult the list then I go to the library with names of books in hand. I don’t usually just go willy-nilly. If you decide to buy one of those books, you can just buy it from your list on amazon. I’ve tried keeping lists, but since I’m always on the computer, this works much much better.

  61. I would have to concur with Motomom.

    Janet Evanovich – The Stephanie Plum books. Start with One For The Money and work your way through the numbers. I am reading them for the second time, I had forgoten how hysterically funny they were. Very easy reads.

    These are great books!! You will be addicted after reading the first one>

  62. I’m delurking as well to recommend “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger. Such a beautiful book. Very well written but so easy to read. (I can’t read Henry James either).

    Your blog makes me laugh so hard! Thanks!

  63. My books are hurling themselves across the room from the shelves, screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!”

    I’m rushing around gathering them up, cradling first one, then another, murmuring, “Oh, I did love you so much. I’ll never forget you. And you! Everybody should read you–but then this one over here is such a treasure. Look at this other one that affected me so profoundly.”

    How could I choose? Can’t do it. Can’t play favorites.

    Besides, we’re already on the same page with _To Kill a Mockingbird_.

    I do think you’ve got a great perspective. I heard a speaker say one time, “With so many books and so little time….read the best ones first!”

  64. Ok….so it’s nearly impossible for me to leave just one recommendation, so I’m going to second a few and add only one of my own.

    Peace like a River (leif enger) is amazing. Definitely do that one.

    The Poisonwood Bible (kingsolver) is also a great recommendation and I’ll add a kudos to that one.

    Anything by brett lott (especially A song I knew by Heart) He really is a great author, and a believer, though he doesn’t really write “christian” fiction.

    And here’s my own recommendation:
    The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
    Really amazing book about faith and God, although it’s also not actually “christian” fiction, but way better than pretty much any Christian fiction out there.

  65. I, too, highly recommend The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. My children are required to read it before they move out on their own—along with The Cross and the Switchblade and Joni.
    Love reading!

  66. Um, methinks you’re going to have trouble just getting through this huge list people have left!! LOVE your blog; YOU should be writing the ‘must reads’.

    I recommend ‘Stepping Heavenward’ by Elizabeth Prentiss. It’s a fictional account of a young girl’s diary beginning at age 16. FABULOUS FABULOUS FABULOUS.

    Of course, ‘Skipping Christmas’ by John Grisham is a very fun, light read.

    ‘Gone With the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell is fabulous, too.

    However, you asked for ONE recommendation. Guess I couldn’t do that….sorry! :o)

  67. All time fastest read of my life – 24 hours- (and I’m not an extremely quick reader) is….


    It’s awesome christian fiction.

  68. How did you get so many comments already this morning? I feel like my wee little recommendation will get lost in the shuffle –
    but you HAVE to read Blue Like Jazz. A great rethinking of the Christian faith – and he writes a bit like you – quirky, edgy, a little bit like he may have had too much coffee at times, but very thought provoking.
    Have a great day! Don’t be intimidated – READ because it enhances your life – not to “accomplish” it! You go girl!

  69. The Princess Bride.


  70. You DO have a lot of readers to your blog. I just checked Bloglines this morning and there were HOW MANY comments? I am jealous. :)

    Okay…it is hard for me to pick just one so I’ll pick two “genre”.

    For an easy, fun read…The Mitford Series. You can jump in any time but it helps to start at the beginning.

    My other favorite series (where you CAN jump in at any time) is the Laura Childs’ Tea Room mysteries. You can get all but the latest in paperback (easy to tuck in a purse) and they are delightful.

  71. Read “Worms in my Tea” by Becky Freeman. You will laugh until you cry. It’s an easy read and can be put down and picked back up easily. All her books are funny, but that is my favorite! For fiction, Francine Rivers is good and so is Janette Oake – very easy reads.

  72. Okay, now I know where to come when I need ideas for good books to read. I’m bookmarking this post! Thanks. :)

    Here’s one of my favorites, Mama Day by Gloria Naylor.

  73. Just thought of another MUST READ:
    The Lovely Bones by can’t remember. Real page-turner. SOOO good!
    Also, I 2nd the recommendation of anything by Jodi Picoult.
    AND: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Wow- long, but so worth it!

    Looks like we’ve got your next 6 years planned out!

  74. I’ve already told you that Time Traveler’s Wife is the best book EVAH!, so why are you asking about others? (Yeah, I’m taking notes for future reading, so thanks for asking others…)

  75. problem solved.

    your messge board is now officially a book.
    congrats on reading again!

  76. I just finished “Get Out of That Pit” by Beth Moore… it is wonderful, as is anything that she writes. It’s deep stuff, but relevant to anyone. And funny? She makes me cry and laugh at the same time. I highly recommend any believer read this.

    Good luck; you’ve got some great recommendations. I’ll be choosing a few of these as well!

  77. The Time Traveler’s Wife

    Peace Like a River

    We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

    All very good. I love a good story and the above are all good stories. Peace Like a River really reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird, and since you said you loved that book (me too) I think you would really like it. I love, love, love to read. Anything. Even books that are not very good. So, take a chance when you are at the library or the bookstore. You never know what treasure you will find. Isn’t that part of the joy of reading? Finding those treasures?

  78. It would be hard for this bookaholic to narrow it down to just one. But the top two I would recommend to any Christian woman above everything else are By Searching by Isobel Kuhn and Climbing by Rosalind Goforth. They’re auto-biographical, but that like telling a story, right? :-)

    I’d also second some that have already been mentioned — Jan Karon’s Mitford series, Karen Kingsbury’s Redemption series, Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series, Francis Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series. I haven’t seen mentioned Terri Blackstock’s Newpointe 911 series about a group of rescue workers in Louisiana. Very real characters. Also, with your sense of humor, you’d probably like any of the Sisterchicks novels by Robin Jones Gunn. I think they can be read in any order — they refer briefly to characters from previous books, but not so much that it would confuse the storyline.

  79. I recommend Take Time for Your Life by Cheryl Richardson.

  80. Though you can never go wrong with To Kill a Mockingbird, I’d have to agree with so many of your readers about their picks. Enger’s Peace Like a River is really beautiful. Barbara Kingsolver is a great writer, I love The Bean Trees as well as Pigs in Heaven, but you really can’t go wrong with The Poisonwood Bible. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is life changing. Gail Godwin does some fabulous writing, I think I’ve read all of her stuff. And Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series keeps you home until it’s finished.
    If I were to add a non-fiction book to the list I’d have to say that Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer is a stunning retelling of a tragic Mt. Everest climb. After reading it I bought it for almost everyone I knew.

  81. I think my favorite all time good read is “Lilly White” by Susan Issaacs. She is funny, smart and a mom. Kind of like us, huh? It’s a mystery laced with life. I re-read it occassionally.

    I recently read “Julie and Julia”. Its about a girl (southern, btw) that lives in NYC and decided to cook EVERY single recipe from “Mastering the art of French cooking”. She started a blog and got a book deal. Maybe it will inspire you!

    The English major in me too cringes at the thought of hardcore lit. It is tough to find something worthy of your time.
    My suggesstion is to continue taking a break and when you have time when Alex is a little older, or after the #2 Boo Baby is older, then dive into the pool o’ books.

  82. If you like thriller/mystery type a good, shortish and easy to read one is “Fear”

  83. Please, please, please read one nonfiction book. It will make me feel less alone in this vast, fiction reading world of ours. PLEASE, I NEED A FRIEND!

    Okay, getting a little silly there…

    I have two that I would love to recommend, but in keeping with the rules, I will only recommend one. “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson is hilarious. I actually LOL when I read it.

  84. jessica T. says:

    Wow! I see a lot of books I’ve read already and some I’m going to check out for myself. Many kindred spitits out there! I saw the Jan Karon Mitford series mentioned,(wonderful books!!!!)but I’d like to suggest the Anne of Green Gables series. LOVE them! Thanks for asking us to share!

  85. Oooh, I SO was going to also recomment “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson (excellent comment, Lori!). I just couldn’t choose between that one and the Peter Jenkins book (plus I thought it would seem odd to recommend two books about walking / hiking).

    I fell off my chair in the Phoenix airport reading Bryson’s book though… it is mildly crude, but SO FUNNY. :)

  86. I see nothing wrong with reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” again-and again-and again, because nothing will ever come close to it’s amazingneness. Nev-er.

    But if you’re looking for something new (and really, why? why would you do that?)and thought provoking, try “A Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks, and the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella if you’re looking for something fun. In fact, the Shopaholic series should be required reading for a good time.

    Alternatively, just reading this post may have satisfied your desire to read a novel of any substantial length. Sorry!


  87. Hey there BooMama! I just wanna say that you are hilarious!!! I have been reading your blog for about 2 weeks now, I love it. I have had one since Dec., but just decided to make it open to the public. Everyone, come check it out. I need some traffic!

    However, I too am looking for a list of books. I read, some. I want to read more. I find it helps me sleep. haha! Here is a list I found, it might help.

  88. Dragonfly in Amber, by Diana Gabaldon. It’s the first in a series, and don’t let the thickness intimidate you. It’s a can’t put it down til it’s done pick. It’s the kind of book you keep your nose while doing EVERYTHING, even going to the- well that’s not polite, but you get the idea.

  89. Wow, like you I used to read a whole lot more than I do now. (You know, before the kids!) Hence, my own to-do book reading list for 2007. These days, most of what I read is non-fiction, christian, soul-edifying or wifely-encouraging type stuff. However, if I make time for fictional I tend to turn to Dean Koontz. Creepy. I know. My fave of his is probably “Seize the Night” (& it’s sequel) or “Lightning.” Hard to choose.

    Of course, I also like the classics (I have no set style when it come to reading) ;) and so I also pick up anything Dickens or Bronte, etc.

  90. Oops! Not that it matters much, but I got it backwards… “Seize the Night” IS the sequel, to a book called “Fear Nothing.” I always mix them up cuz I actually found and read STN first. After I posted I thought…”wait a minute…” and went and checked my bookshelf. Doesn’t matter. They’re both good!

  91. I love (and have read) everything by Anita Shreve. I especially loved Eden Close.

    Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson is a very close second. I read it cover-to-cover on a flight from Atlanta to Hawaii one year. Literally kept me in my seat the whole flight.

    Happy Reading!

  92. The Little Guide to Your Well Read Life: How to get more books in your life and more life from your books by Steve Leveen

    I second the vote for the Mitford series by Jan Karon

    The GRITS Guide to Life by Deborah Ford, which you probably already have on the shelf right next to Gone With the Wind.

  93. A huge must read is For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldhahn. It’s a mind blowing peek into the minds of men and what they are REALLY thinking. It’ll have you in stitches, make ya cry, and totally shock you. It’s a goodun!

  94. Redeeming Love (Francine Rivers).

    I get tingles just thinking about it!

  95. I’m going with recommending Beverly Lewis, too. YOU CAN’T PUT HER BOOKS DOWN. You will be able to get through her books, and it WILL keep your attention! And then you will look for an all night bookstore to get the next book in the sequel! I seriously made a trip to Walmart, in another town, 2 days in a row to get the next book! Me, mt dd, and all her friends can’t wait for sequals, and we buy them for each other for birthdays and Christmas and read them first, hehe. Its great fun! Abram’s daughter series is the best! Seriously, hands down, the best writer I have ever read, besides the Bible.

  96. AGG well I’m officially overwhelmed. Alright. I’m sort of in the same place you are for different reasons. My eyes changed. I didn’t realize how much I resent reading glasses until I realized how little I’ve been reading … like cover to cover … I’m not counting the slice and dice stuff I do which is closer to research.

    I just joined the TBR Challenge group so I’d have some accountability on the subject. But if you’re going to do that you have precious little time to sign-up, read January’s book, and upload your list for the year.

    My one book … to be told by Dan Allender. Anyone telling their story or crafting their life needs it.

    I’ll be back to browse this list. I sooo needed this.


  97. Oh wait … little known fact about the TBR … they count AudioBooks !!

  98. you’ve gotten some good suggestions here and i’m reserving some of them at my library right now.

    my one suggestion comes from the best book i read this year. not all that insightful, meaningful or wise but a funny page-turner and an easy read which is what i like sometimes in a book after a day with 3 kids.

    Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson.

    happy reading!

  99. *Shepherding a Child’s Heart* by Ted Tripp is a great biblical parenting book. My husband and I read the book and then actually got to hear him speak at our church. It is really helpful in parenting and understanding the need to train and teach your children about God and also dealing with your child’s heart,not just external behavior. And,then once you read that one…Read Ginger Plowman’s *Don’t make me count to Three*…which helps with then knowing how to actually practically deal with your child’s heart! Both have been great for me! Such wonderful wisdom! Those have really helped me!

  100. I would say My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I love her books but that one is my favorite. I was amazed at how well she presents a story from so many different points of view. You really hear each characters indiviual voice. It is an easy read but wow does it make you think at the end.

    PS- I would second the votes for Peace Like a River. Kite Runner, however, made me so sad when I finished it that I spent two hours watching the Golden Girls trying to forget what I just read. It’s very well written though so if you are into that sort of thing it would be a great read.