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 Long Way Gone Ishmael Beah Non-Fiction **** An amazingly well told first-hand story of the civil war in Sierra Leone. The author, now in his 20’s, lost his family and was displaced during the war in which rebels opposing the government rampaged the countryside, killing and terrorizing innocent civilians. Young boys were often recruited by the rebels, or in the author’s case, by villages trying to defend themselves from the rebels. At age 12, the author became a soldier and relates his horrific experiences, including his rescue and subsequent rehabilitation by Unicef. This book should be required reading for anyone living a life of privilege and luxury (and that is indeed ANYONE who is reading this review).  2010 or before
Against Medical Advice James Patterson Non-fiction **** The true story of Corie Friedman, a child diagnosed with severe Tourette’s syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His family tries multiple doctors, treatments, and drugs, with no positive result. A story that is interesting, disturbing (with respect to the medical system), and inspiring, I recommend it for all.  2011-04
Dog Man Martha Sherrill Non-fiction **** The true story of Morie Sawataishi, a Japanese man who in 1944 got his first Akita, though it was illegal to own a dog during the war. The population of Akita’s had dwindled to dangerous levels and Sawataishi helped to save the breed. Good story and well told; will appeal to anyone who likes true stories and dogs.  2011-04
Escape from Camp 14 Blaine Hardin Non-Fiction **** The true story of the only known North Korean to have escaped from a labor prison camp, this book offers a rare glimpse into North Korea. It tells the tale of a man, born in prison as the result of a “reward marriage” between two inmates imprisoned for the sins of their relatives and his life as a prisoner in a “non-existent” labor camp. His ultimate escape to China then to South Korea and the US is quite a story. This book is a good dose of reality as to what North Korea and China are capable of and why China continues to support the North. The only downside for me was that I listened to the audio book, which is read by the author. He is not a professional narrator and initially I had some difficulty with his cadence – he did not pause at the end of sentences and it was a bit annoying. Mid-way through I either got used to it or he got better, but despite this, it was a very eye-opening read. 2013-08
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
The Airmen and the Headhunters Judith Heimann Non-Fiction **** Well researched and well told story of two WWII bomber crews shot down in Borneo, which was occupied by the Japanese. The men are taken in by the local tribesman, whose culture involved headhunting. A really incredible story, with far more to it than I expected! 2012-05
In the Company of the Courtesan Sarah Dunant Historical Fiction **** The hreoine, a beautiful but aging courtesan, escapes from the 1527 pillage of Rome and moves to Venice. Interesting characters in a historical setting, the book is a bit long, but quite enjoyable.  2011-04
The Source James Michener Historical Fiction **** A must read book detailing the history of Israel. Gives a wonderful understanding of the history of the region, the establishment of Israel as a nation, and the underlying causes of the tensions that continue to exist.  2010 or before
The Girl Who Played with Fire Stieg Larsson Fiction **** Second in the acclaimed Steig Larsson series. A page turning tale with interesting characters and a good plot. Danger lurks at every turn as the unlikely hero, Lisbeth Salander, suspected of several murders, uncovers the real story.  2011-04
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
  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.


  1. Test Post 2 | Not Current Site
  2. 2012-11-12 Back to Normal « Shear Madness
  3. Old Port Cove (March 2012) « Shear Madness

Send us your comment, question, or suggestion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 889 other followers

%d bloggers like this: