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
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 Bounty Trilogy Charles Nordhoff Historical Fiction **** Three books staring with Mutiny on the Bounty describe (1) the journey of the Bounty and the Mutiny; (2) the incredible voyage of Captain Bligh and his crew in an open boat across the ocean, and (3) the journey of the mutineers led by Chirstian Fletcher and their settlement and ensuing life on Pitcairn Island. 2010 or before
Walking the Bible – A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses Bruce Feiler Non-Fiction **** The author, who is Jewish but not very religious, sets of on a journey throught the middle east to visit the primary sites of biblical events in the Old Testament in a personal quest to come to grips with his own beliefs. Along the way he comes to have a better understanding of both modern and ancient cultures, how to reconcile archeology with the events in the bible, and many different views of spiritualism and God. It is a well written and thought provoking book that will be enjoyed no matter what your religious beliefs or view of the bible. 2010 or before
The Sea Shall Embrace Them David W. Shaw Non-Fiction **** True story of the shipwreck of the steamship Arctic in 1854 and the actions of the crew which ranged from heroic to despicable. A well written book, easy to read. It is based entirely on factual accounts of the incident. 2010 or before
The Tiger Ladies Sudha Koul Non-Fiction **** A memoir of the author growing up in Kashmir during the time immediately following India and Pakistan gaining their independence. A beautifully written book, it tells the tale of a typical Kashmiri family living in harmony with their neighbors and the land and how that was all ultimately changed by violence and hatred. 2010 or before
Leave No Trace Hannah Nyala Fiction *** Good fictional story of a women stranded in the Australian desert after her boyfriend is killed. Well written and entertaining. 2010 or Before
New England White Stephen L. Carter Fiction *** Well written and entertaining story of an upper class black family living in New England. There is a murder mystery which is interesting but secondary to the central theme which is about race, family, and relationships. The ending is OK but not great. A bit long in places, but an enjoyable read. 2010 or Before
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Historical Fiction *** A good story weaved around the true events of the life of William Chamberlain, an 8 year old boy who was kidnapped by the captain of a whaling ship, later taken by pirates, then saved by the English where he fought in the battle of Algiers, ultimately to return home to Australia where he became captain of his own whaling ship. Quite an incredible tale, well researched  and fun to read, though some events have by necessity been arrived at by speculation to weave the story together. 2010 or before
In the Garden of Beasts Erik Larson Non-Fiction *** In 1933, nobody wanted the job of ambassador to Germany so Roosevelt tapped William Dodd, a professor from Chicago. Dodd and his family, including his young adult daughter, moved to Germany where they experienced first-hand the rise of Hitler and the troubling changes taking place. Dodd’s daughter had an active social life, placing her at the center of many interesting situations. Dodd was concerned about things happening in Germany but lacked credibility with his superiors and those in Washington. A well-written and intriguing book by the author of Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck. Well worth a read! 2012-02
One Thousand White Women Jim Fergus Historical Fiction *** In 1875, a Cheyenne Chief asked President Grant for 1000 white women to marry their warriors. In their culture, tribal associations are passed through the women, so this would result in a generation of children who would pave the way for assimilation into the white man’s culture. Though that request was never actually granted, this book presumes that it did and is the fictional account of one of the brides, May Dodd, who is released from an insane asylum for her promise to marry and bear a child. Very well written, the book provides an excellent sense of the difference between the cultures and life in the wild west. Parts of it are a bit of a stretch, but it is engaging and gripping throughout. 2012-01



  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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