Books – Recommendations

Because my list of reviewed books has grown so much, every few months I will update this page with some recommendations of my personal favorites. I will try to include a variety of book types here so there will be something for everyone!


Title Author Genre Rating Description Date Reviewed
A Hope in the Unseen Ron Suskind Non-Fiction **** The true story of an inner city DC kid from Ballou High School, one of the worst DC Public schools, who makes it to Brown University. Suskind wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning article about the same kid’s high school experience and this book covers his first two years at Brown. A very inspirational and eye-opening book. 2010 or before
Beethovan’s Hair Russell Martin Non-Fiction **** Part biography of Beethovan, part the story of a journey of a lock of his hair snipped on the day he died. The hair eventually made it into the hands of two Americans. Includes a great story of the Danes and how they helped the Jews in WWII. A short, easy read too. 2010 or Before
Citizens of London Lynne Olson Non-Fiction **** (By Bradley)This is a wonderfully interesting book for those who enjoy history or are fans of Winston Churchill.  Ms. Olsen does a thoughtful job of showing us the complexity of the relationship between the US & the UK in the lead up to WWII.  She focuses her story on three key individuals with the primary one being the US Ambassador to the UK, Winant.  While most Americans will not have heard of him, any English citizen  above the age of 10 in 1940, will know and highly respect Ambassador Winant.  He was an amazing individual and did as much as Gen. Eisenhower to help the allies win the war. 2012-06
Horse of a Different Color James D. Squires Non-Fiction **** Written by the breeder of the 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, this is a good book for anyone who wants an inside look at the racing industry. The author (who also narrates the audio book) is at times quite annoying. Though the book is about himself he writes it in the third person and refers to his wife throughout as “the dominant female”, but he does succeed in telling an intriguing story which is gripping and educational. When the big race is finally run, it is still exciting, even though you know the outcome in advance. 2011-04
Overboard Michael Togias Non-Fiction **** Well told story of a disaster at sea which occurs when a sailboat with a crew of five sets sail from NY to Bermuda and encounters a terrific storm, leaving some crew onboard a damaged vessel and others in the water. The ensuing struggle for survival and search and rescue operation is enthralling. A must read for anyone contemplating offshore sailing. 2012-01
The First Man in Rome Colleen McCullough Historical Fiction **** Historical novel set in Rome in the first century BC. A very entertaining book that brings the ancient Roman culture and politics to life. The main characters are real historical figuresand the actions described in the book are historically accurate. A long book (900 pages) with a complex set of characters, but definitely worth the effort. First book of a four part series. 2010 or before
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time Mark Haddon Fiction **** Wonderful book written from the point of view of an autistic 15-year old boy. The boy finds his neighbor’s dog murdered and after at first being suspected, is determined to find the real killer. The story line is really just a forum for allowing us to see into the life of this boy and understand how he sees the world and how the world see him. Entertaing, funny, and sometimes sad all at the same time. ANd of course, he does solve the murder! 2010 or before
The Whale Rider Witi Ihimaera Fiction *** Quick, easy story about a Maori tribe in New Zealand where only men can ascend to the chief level and there is only a girl in the last generation. Despised by her grandfather, she turns out to have a special, ancient talent. Now a movie, the book is a fun story and good insight into the Maori culture. 2010 or Before
I Don’t Know How She Does It Allison Pearson Fiction *** Humorous and well written story of a working mother with a high pressure job as a fund manager in London. International best seller by a British author, well worth the read for women and men alike! 2010 or before
Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese Fiction *** Well written story of brothers in Ethiopia who follow their biological father and adoptive parents into medicine. The author is a doctor and brings a great deal of insight into that area. The book is quite interesting and gripping and gives some glimpses into Ethiopia including events leading to the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selasse. While I wasn’t wild about the story surrounding the mysterious biological father, there were many aspects of the book that I did enjoy. 2011-11
The 19th Wife David Ebershoff Historical Fiction *** This book inter-weaves a fictional story of a murder in a polygamyst cult with the story of Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young’s 19th wife who divorced the prophet and became an outspoken opponent of polygamy. There certainly is real history of the Mormon church, including the advent and later abolishment of polygamy. What I liked about this book is that it compelled me to do additional research on my own – the book is a work of fiction but has a lot of real history and it was intriguing to try to separate which was which. 2012-01
The Dogs of Bedlam Farm Jon Katz Non-Fiction *** A book about how dogs helped the author become a better person. I didn’t care much for the author, but some of the stories about the dogs are good. He has three border collies and buys a small farm where he can have some sheep and teach the dogs to heard. 2010 or Before
  1. #1 by Grant on August 31, 2012 - 12:36 pm

    I have read the first 2 Steig Larson books in a trilogy of The girl with the dragon tattoo. I loved them both and can’t wiat to read the last book. I downloaded it on my Kindle

    • #2 by Kathy Clark on September 2, 2012 - 6:34 am

      Don’t wait too long. The third one is more of a continuation of the second than a separate story. I “saved” it, knowing it was the last one and then it took a while to remember the characters and story line. Still a good book though!

  2. #3 by Anonymous on January 26, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    I just greatly enjoyed “The Border Road” by Sarah (Susan?) Froderberg (I think). Takes place in the southwest, lyrical writing, informative of how the Colorado River was formed (just one small geographical part among other true parts of the landscape and hard life, even now, – and comparable to what a tsunami must be like), tho’ still a novel, a love story – and coined words so suitable to the southwest. Soaring and original.

    I have read all the Steig Larson books but somehow can’t bring myself to go to the movie in spite of the Salander part which has won much praise. I think I like to remember the story in my head. Can you get all the books you will want when you are at sea through the ‘net?

    • #4 by Shear Madness on January 26, 2012 - 8:17 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation Carolee. We download lots of audio books while we’re in marinas or places when we visit friends who have good internet connections. We also have big stacks of real books we’re looking forward to!

  3. #5 by Glenn on October 17, 2011 - 1:40 pm

    I read the first of Steig Larson’s books (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Although it was exciting, and I enjoyed the way the mystery was solved at the end, I didn’t think I could face another one of the books. I was left with the impression that every fourth or fifth Swede was a child abuser, and the graphic details of it were hard to get through.

  4. #6 by caterpillartracks on May 10, 2011 - 8:24 pm

    have you read Steig Larson’s books?

    • #7 by nh72 on May 11, 2011 - 10:25 am

      Yes, I have read the first two and really enjoyed them. Saving the last one! I gave them 4-stars.

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