Good Reads


Now that I am retired, I am able to easily read three or four books a month.  Below I am sharing worthwhile titles (in my opinion!).


April 2023

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (published October 2022) is an amazing read.  The characters are unbelievably real... the story just jumps off the page.

March 2023

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont (published February 2022) attempts to fill in the blanks of a mystery.  In 1925, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days.  A massive search effort ensued.  The disappearance made international news. The story is fiction but a creative answer to the question.

February 2023

Elizabeth Zott is a laugh out loud feminist, an opinionated chemist turned cooking show host who challenges American women to change the status quo. "Cooking is serious science. In fact, it's chemistry." Single mother to "Mad", a precocious daughter.  Widow of a grudge holding, Nobel nominated chemist. A fervent rower. Neighbor and friend to a magazine-quoting divorcee.  Actually all the characters in Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (published April 2022) are delightful. Truly a good read! 

January 2023

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (published May 2022) is an amazing debut novel.  The unlikely friendships between a highly regarded widow, a giant Pacific octopus, and screw-up, lost young man are highly believable and intriguing. Especially when all three, each, find what they once believed unattainable now within their grasp. 

December 2022

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is another page turner from Taylor Jenkins Reid (published June 2017).  A Hollywood rise and fall story full of risks taken, loves lost and secrets kept.

November 2022

The Maid by Nita Prose (published January 2022) is a delightful cozy mystery with a highly engaging protagonist. Quirky. Delightful. Such a fun, unexpected read.

October 2022

I am not a fantasy fan but The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (published October 2020) hooked me.  Imagine France, 1714, a young woman makes a deal with the "devil" to live forever but is cursed with never being remembered by anyone she meets.  Her adventures play out for 300 years until the day she meets a man in a small New York City bookshop who remembers her name.

September 2022

I read seven books this past month; picking just one to recommend was a very hard task.  My recommendation is This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger.  First, I should say I have read every Cork O'Connor mystery that Krueger has written, 18 books to date.  I love his mysteries but I think this piece of historical fiction (his second such novel) is by far my favorite.  Krueger writes from the heart.  You love and care about his characters.  This book was a bit Wizard of Oz in a Huck Finn setting.  Four orphans escape the confines of an Indian Training School during the depression to travel the Mississippi in the hope of finding a home.  Absolutely beautifully written. (Published September 2019)

August 2022

Again a great month for books.  I am going to recommend West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge. This review on Goodreads sums it up perfectly: "Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late." A very sweet story.  (Published February 2021)

July 2022

So many books to choose from this month!  If you want a page turner with a bit of an unexpected ending, try Pretty Things by Janelle Brown.  You start with a family of grifters, add in an heiress, their history and finally the scam of a lifetime.  Great summer read. (Published April 2020)

June 2022

Watership Down is not a children's book.  I never read it as a child and I am so glad I picked it up as an adult.  The book is absolutely wonderful.  I couldn't put it down. Although Richard Adams writes “I want to emphasize that Watership Down was never intended to be some sort of allegory or parable. It is simple the story about rabbits made up and told in the car”, I have my doubts.  This is a story of community, how each of the parts creates the whole, overcoming trials and tribulations.  Yes, we are talking about bunnies, but absolutely delightful bunnies. (Published November 1972)

May 2022

The Last Thing He Told Me is a quick summer read with an ending you are not likely to see coming. You think you have heard the story.  New husband disappears. There are clues that he might not be who he said he was... from this point there are a few unexpected twists. (Published May 2021)

April 2022

Deacon King Kong is worth reading for the characters alone. Funny and engaging story set in 1969 Brooklyn. The story starts off with a literal bang when an elderly church deacon,  ‘Sportcoat’, shoots Deems Clemens, a drug dealer, in front of the Cause housing project, with plenty of witnesses.  McBride is a gifted storyteller who infuses his narrative with warmth and insight. (Published March 2020)

March 2022
“Living and scraping and fighting and dying, and for what, nothing, the cold millions with no chance in the world.” Who would have thought one would love getting entangled with struggle for fair wages in the early 1900s Spokane?  The characters in The Cold Millions are irresistible, a mix of homeless workers, tramps and union organizers. At the center are two very likeable brothers trying to get a slice of the American Dream. The book is just the right mix of history and fiction…a thoroughly enjoyable read. (Published October 2020)

February 2022

I read quite a few books in the past month, many of them good, but We Die Alone is the one that grabbed me.  This is an amazing, and riveting, true story of survival during WWII.  I was mesmerized by our hero, Jan Baalsrud's determination and will to live, and marveled at the lengths unknown Norwegians went to save him during the Nazi-occupation of their homeland.  First published in 1955; a movie based on the story, The 12th Man, was released in 2017 (all subtitles).

January 2022

The Stranger Diaries (as well as its sequel The Postscript Murders) are addictive.  Winner of the Edgar Award, it can be classified as a modern gothic mystery, that is a mystery using dark picturesque scenery, melodramatic narrative devices, and an overall feeling of fear and dread.  Like other gothic novels, this one has a story that revolves around an old horror story that conceals a terrible secret.  (Published October 2019; sequel published March 2021)

December 2021

Codebreaker is for all those people who believe the COVID vaccine was developed in less than a year.  A wonderful mystery tracking the history and evolution of gene editing including all the moral dilemmas the solution brought to light. I spent my career in pharmaceutical research at Pfizer and Regeneron, two of the leading companies in the COVID battle.  My appreciation for women like Jennifer Doudna is immense. Truly a great read. (Published March 2021)

November 2021

Great Circles is an amazing odyssey tracing the fate of twins recused from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, their life choices and the implications on those around them.   Incredibly researched, emotional and truly a mesmerizing story. (Published May 2021)

October 2021

Wolf Hall is the first of a trilogy (the first and second installments both winning the Man Booker Prizes).  Admittedly a dizzying array of characters for 1520s England.  Henry VIII wants to marry Anne Boleyn.  The story is told from the POV of Thomas Cromwell, a man presented in a new light from other literary characterizations of him.  The book is the perfect blend of fact and fiction providing a highly satisfying read.  Looking forward to the next book: Bring Up the Bodies. (Published Oct 2009)

September 2021

Big Little Lies. Great fun, couldn't put it down. Flirty, scandalous, vicious and a murder. Makes an important statement about the impact of domestic violence. Rarely does murder end happily. Now I really want to see the TV show!  (Published Jul 2014)

August 2021

The Guest List. Great mystery.  Very like Agatha Christie.  Starts with a death but you don't know who.  Lots of twists and turns with each character's turn at voice.  The smallest details come together to solve it.  (Published Jun 2020)

July 2021

American Dirt. Tough read but so worth it.  A hundred pages in, I couldn't put it down.  Meaningful insight into the terror of a migrant's journey.  (Published Jan 2020)

June 2021

Anxious People. Delightful writing,  delightful characters, delightful story.  Easy, quick read. Very satisfying. (Published Sept 2020)

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