I decided to do a sort of introduction with a Top Five Favorites from various genres.
1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Science Fiction)
The more people recommend something, the less likely I am to read it and this book was recommended to me several times. I am glad I put that aside and picked it up. I read until 3 am the first night; reluctantly went to bed, and when I got up I finished reading it and immediately started it over again. This is the first time that has ever occurred. This novel, although categorized as YA is not just meant for teens. The main character, Agnieszka, lives in a small town on the border of The Wood, where evil things live, and it is not safe for anyone to enter. There is a sorcerer who is the Lord over Agnieszka’s town and several others, and protects them and the kingdom from The Wood. Every ten years, the sorcerer chooses a girl from one of the villages to live with him as his servant and everyone knows that Kasia, Agnieszka’s best friend, will be chosen for she is the most beautiful and best at everything. Except being an untidy mess and being the best forager – those belong to Agnieszka. Kasia and Agnieszka have been preparing their whole lives for being separated. When the time came, their bond of friendship and love cannot be broken even by distance, magic and the evils of The Wood.
Another Matchmaker; Andrea has also written about Uprooted. Read her post here.
2. The Last of the Doughboys by Richard Rubin (Non-fiction)
This book, though long and full of facts, does not feel tedious or take long to get through. Rubin’s book, also has one of the best opening paragraphs I have ever read. The author, Richard Rubin, started interviewing the last surviving members of the American Expeditionary Forces from World War I in 2003. It seems hard to believe that anyone would be left who actually served, but Rubin found them, ranging in ages from 101 to 113. Their tales are both heart-breaking and heart-warming. I learned so many things while reading this book: Germany paid their last reparation payment from World War I in 2010; there was an all-black regiment – nick-named the Harlem Hellfighters – one of the fiercest teams out there. We also get to learn a little bit about the music of the era, and books that the soldiers were given. A fascinating read for history buffs.
3. Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie (Mystery)
I first read this mystery novel over a decade ago but I have read it several times since then and it remains one of my favorites by Ms. Christie. It is a Hercule Poirot story, and introduces a recurring character Ariadne Oliver, herself a mystery writer. The murder takes place at a card party, something that’s no longer around in this day and age. Despite having never been to a card party, nor knowing how Bridge is played, I was hooked from the first moment. The host of the party Mr. Shaitana claims that this card party is really a murder party: four of the guests have committed murder, and four are Detectives or Police Officers there to solve the crimes. When Mr. Shaitana is killed at his own party – in the very same room as all the guests – things really start to get interesting. A fun way to borrow this is as a book on c.d., read by Hugh Fraser who played Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s Poirot series by the BBC.
4. Feed by Mira Grant (Science-Fiction)
Yes, it’s a Zombie Apocalypse novel. However the theory of how the virus got started is so well thought out that it scares me. It all starts in 2014, in Ohio: it’s now 2039, and two internet journalists, Shaun and Georgia Mason, are invited to cover the campaign for Senator Ryman who is running for President. It seems as though all their dreams are finally coming true until someone attempts to assassinate Senator Ryman using zombies. Shaun and Georgia start investigating the attacks and find that there’s a whole lot more going on underneath the surface of this campaign and it just might cost them their lives.
5. Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Biography)
I listened to this via Playaway and, while I am sure it was funny to read, it was great to listen to because Amy Poehler reads it herself. We learn about her early life, how she got started in comedy, her marriage, being pregnant while filming SNL, and her children. It was funny and even poignant in places, Amy offers some of her best bits of advice and wisdom. Highly recommend.
Here’s how to order these titles for yourself: