Posts Tagged ‘recommendations’

From time to time I’m asked about good books that I’ve read recently.  I surround myself with people who love to read so the passing and sharing of book recommendations is fairly commonplace, and cherished.  To me, recommending a good book is like giving someone a hug to tuck away in their pocket and pull out when they need it.  However, as a solid memory has never been something in my possession with any regularity, I am rarely able to pull out the recommendations when they’re required.  In an attempt to fix this, I’ve decided to make note of my favourite books that I read this past year.  If you haven’t read them, give them a try; and if you’ve read anything good, definitely share them.  Just like hugs, you can never have too many good books.

The Unfinished Child by Theresa Shea

If you have a child, or ever thought about having a child, or if you have a best friend who is so much a part of your life that you can’t imagine living without them, this book is going to tear your heart out.  It was recommended to me by my mom and her recommendations are pretty much always spot on and this was no different.  I read the first 25 pages and couldn’t put it down and I carried it with me everywhere I went until I finished it.  The author manages to write almost the exact way things sound in my head and seeing the words down on the page made me think that maybe others think the same way I do.  It was like finding a friend and then living through something horrible with her, and realizing you’re so glad you didn’t have to do it alone.  This the kind of book where I basically locked myself in the bathroom while I frantically read through the last 50 pages because I couldn’t be disturbed.  And it’s also handy that in the bathroom I was very close to the Kleenex, because I certainly needed it.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I have no idea how I found this book, or, more correctly, how it found me.  I must have read about it somewhere and put it on hold at the library.  Either that or by way of a magical book fairy it somehow ended up on the shelf with my name on it.  Either way, I’m very glad it found its way to me.  It’s a funny, quirky, loveable little book that when I got to the last page, I realized it had taught me a lot, but in a very subtle, I’m going to make you think you came to these brilliant realizations all by yourself, kind of way.

Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel

If you told me one of my favourite books of the year was going to be about a guy who creates an on-line dating program to match people up based on their on-line personas (emails, on-line shopping, video chats) and then ends up tweaking it to allow people to communicate with people who have died, I definitely would have rolled my eyes at you and questioned our friendship.  I have no clue how I ended up with this book on my hold list at the library (this seems to be a theme of my reading history for 2013), and truth be told I almost returned it without even opening it, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  The premise is just crazy enough to require you to suspend reality just a little bit, but still realistic enough that you find yourself asking “what if.”  Give this book a try, I did and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor

One of my favourite bloggers, Outlaw Mama, included this book in her 2012 book review post and when I read the blurb about this book, I knew I was going to have to read it.  I knew it was going to be horribly painful and gut-wrenching, but I knew I would have to read it all the same.  It’s a memoir from a woman who was 24 years old and five months pregnant when her husband died in a freak accident.  Enough said.  Read it.  I cried and (perhaps surprisingly) laughed my way through it and when I was done I wanted to track down Natalie Taylor and ask her to be my friend.  She made me love her and respect her and want to have her over for a cup of tea, all by the end of the third chapter.

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

If you haven’t read a Maeve Binchy book, stop what you’re doing right now and go to your nearest library and grab all of them off the shelf.  Then call in sick to work for the next week and read them, one after another after another until you come to this one, her very last.  And once you’ve finished them all, take a breath and then cry a little when you realize that Ms. Binchy is no longer with us and we will never have the pleasure of reading a new novel born from her brilliant and humble brain.  She is proof that there is exquisite beauty in a simply told story with characters you want to know and places you want to visit.  Her books, for me, are like a cozy, well worn blanket that you curl up with on a cold day: comforting, familiar and always, always warm.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

My mom told me to read this book.  She told me to read it on a Monday and asked me on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday if I’d read it yet.  I told her my library didn’t have a copy yet but I would put it on hold when I saw it.  She told me she couldn’t wait that long; couldn’t wait that long for me to read the book so we could talk about it.  That’s how much she loved this book.  I have to admit, I went in with pretty high expectations, perhaps unrealistically so, but this book still turned out to be one of the best of the year, and that definitely says something.  There’s a twist at the end that you may see coming, but it doesn’t make it any less amazing.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

If 2013 was the year that I was caught off guard by books, this one goes to the top of that list.  It’s a book written from the perspective of Budo, the imaginary friend of an interesting little boy named Max.  Normally that would have been enough to get me to put the book right back on the shelf but a strong recommendation from my bestie made me give it another chance.  She was right, I was wrong, and this book is amazing.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

There are books that touch you, and then there are books that change you.  There are books you like, and then there are books you love.  There are books that make their mark, and then there are books that draw a line in the sand that is so distinct that everything else comes either before or after.  This book turned out to be all of those things to me.  Some day when I can find the right words there will a post just about this book, and how it came to find me at just the perfect moment, but until then I will simply add it to this list and recommend that you give it a try.

Happy reading from the Polka Dot Palace!

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