Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fifty-Two Books: Part 2

In case you missed it — either the reason I'm doing a ridiculous challenge or just Part 1 — check it out here.

6) "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton

I loved this novel. I couldn't put it down. Told from the perspectives of several different characters across three distant decades and two countries, it was a beautifully spun tale of long-lost family. In 1913, Nell was found alone on a ship to Australia at age 4, and a family takes her into their home as their own child. But who is her true family? And why has no one tried to find her? The father that raised her finally admits on her 18th birthday that she was not their own, and she spends the rest of her life trying to uncover the tangled truth about her origins. Nell purchases a cliff-side cottage and its walled-in "magical garden," where she is convinced she used to play as a child, but circumstances prevent her from a permanent move, and she dies before she can uncover all the cottage's secrets. Her granddaughter Cassandra is willed the house, and sets off to find out who her ancestors are once and for all.

Another one I loved. I thought this was one my book club picked this for this spring, but I got confused and accidentally read the wrong book. Oops. But I'm glad I made this mistake. Told from the perspective of Christopher, a teenaged boy with a severe social disability, this adventure leads him outside his comfort zone and everything he knows as he tries to sleuth out who murdered his neighbor's dog, Wellington. With the help of his teacher, Siobhan, he begins to write a book about his detective work, until his father discovers what Christopher is doing and commands him to keep his nose out of other people's business. Christopher never breaks a promise, but if he doesn't find out who killed Wellington, then who will? And that's not the only thing Christopher will dig up by the time he's concluded his book.

8) "God's Not Stupid" by W. E. Rice

Written by a good friend of mine, "God's Not Stupid" is a first-hand account into reconciling God's love with teachings from other world religions and attitudes, specifically Buddhism and meditation as a means of acquiring greater understanding about self and God. It was deeply personal and specific to his own journey through life, but his attitude toward each person's unique experiences — and what that means for humanity in relation to God — was quite refreshing. Although Rice identifies himself as a Christian within the pages, he also challenges the Christian mindset of a "one true" religion, accepting that one person's truth is not a universal truth, even among those in the same religion. A good book on tolerance, acceptance and bettering oneself.

9) "The Art of Racing In The Rain" by Garth Stein

This is the book I was supposed to read for book club (instead of "Curious Incident"). I'm almost hesitant to write a review because I'm afraid I won't be able to do this book justice. It is beautifully heartbreaking. It is narrated by a dog, Enzo, who is on his deathbed and hopes he is ready to be reincarnated into a human. Enzo lives with his race car-driving master, Denny; his wife, Eve; and their daughter, Zoe. But when Eve falls terminally ill, Denny finds himself facing circumstances that threaten to destroy his family, his career and his reputation. But even when Denny's spirit is broken, Enzo does not let him wallow. Despite having an almost-human countenance, Enzo cannot speak except through these pages, but his zest for life provides a comic relief that saved me from being in tears for the entire book.

10) "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

I read the entire "Hunger Games" series when it first came out, so this wasn't new territory for me. However, when the previews for the movie first came out, Matt was really interested in reading the book (and this boy doesn't usually like reading that much! I was so excited!). So he was reading it and I was reading over his shoulder whenever I had the chance, so I decided to just pick it up and re-read the whole thing. For the movie's sake, of course. And I'll probably re-read the other two, because I can't not. But I'm trying to read them slower this time, because one of the complaints I had the first time I read the series was that it all moved too quickly in the second and third books — and I'm not sure if it was just because I was so eager to devour the books that I wolfed them down too quickly or if it was the way it was written. So I'm looking forward to it.

Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?


  1. I think that's so great that your husband read the Hunger Games! Even though I only read last year, it was great when Chris was reading it to talk about it again so I can be prepared for the movie!

    1. Talking about it is almost just as much fun as reading it again! Such a good series.

  2. All of those sound really good, I'll have to add them to my list (except the sad puppy one). At this rate, I'll have books to last me a life time, b/c I read so slow. Well, I just don't read that often.

  3. I definitely going to be adding some of these to my to-read list! I re-read Hunger Games this month too and was shocked by how much I had forgotten just because I raced through it so quickly the first time around!

    1. No kidding! As Matt was reading book 2 and I was still on book 1, I kept asking him what part he was at and he would tell me, and I'd get all confused. I don't remember all that!