"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I like big books and I cannot lie...

source: pinterest

See this bag right here? It cracks me right up.

I want this bag. In fact, I may plunge right on in to the dramatic and state

I NEED this bag.
Since I could read, I would read. Spring break road trip in 6th grade found me spending the 12 hours in the car devouring Gone with the Wind. Senior spring break found me with my bikini packed, along with my adored copy of An American Tragedy

My family knows that where ever I went, a book is surely tucked neatly inside my bag/purse. After moving my book collection 4 times in 2 years, my husband got smart and bought me a Kindle. (the great moral wrestle I had with myself to get a Kindle is another blog post entirely. I have come to be at peace with the fact that I can love both...)

Anyway, since graduating high school I have read on average 40 books a year.  And kept a list of the running titles in a little black book very similar to ones my other friends kept their dates numbers in.

This year, I felt myself slowing. Between going to school part time, work full time, raising the littles, and trying to talk to adults once and awhile, I have not read as much in 2011 as is normal for me...and you know what? I feel ok with that too.

When I saw the Nester open book listings, my heart soared, and knew I needed to throw my hat in the ring because I love recommending books to people, and matching them with titles I feel will suite them. A literary match-maker of sorts. Don't worry. I'm used to being looked at like that.

So while I don't have a mountain of books from 2011 to recommend, what I do, I believe in, and can't WAIT to hear what others recommend as well. (week long cruise coming up in less than 3 weeks? Meet happy reader with no kids to look after, and a pool chair with my name on it to curl up with some fab. new suggestions. Perfect.)

Crosswicks Journals  This consists of four books (A circle of quiet, The summer of the great-grandmother, The irrational season, and Two-part invention, the story of a marriage) by Madeleine L'Engle.  Every great while a book comes up to hit you exactly when you need it to.  A Circle of Quiet did just that.  It forced me to quiet. To reflect. To take inventory. To take myself a little more seriously, and a lot less seriously all at once.  To anyone wrestling with throwing your words out there, into the great wide world, in written form or otherwise, you should read this. The rest are good too and recommend them all.  I now just refer to her as Madeleine, because you know...we're friends.

One Thousand Gifts: a dare to live fully right where you are by Ann Voskamp. I have always been drawn to simplistic beauty. Wildflowers will always move me in a way that roses can't. Give me the lake to the ocean, a cottage in the woods to a highrise any day. This book appealed to me in this way, and kept me by the challenge and wonder of finding beauty all around me. Washing hair, making lunches.  It's there. Ann reminds us of that.

Cutting for Stone: a novel by Abraham Verghase.  This is just a full out, great, take you there novel.  Full of complex and rich characters and exotic lands, it always took me a second to realize when I looked up I was still in fact, in Wisconsin.

A Girl with a Dragon Tattoo Trilogy and The Help all good books too, although, I'm sure you've heard a little something about these before :)

Next on my list...

Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons From My Grandmothers by Adriana Trigiani.  I cannot wait to read this.  If you haven't read anything by Adriana, you should.  The only author that I buy her book immediately upon release, or preorder.  Her books are like mini-vacations with a binding.  Stories that refresh and endear you.  Others of hers: Lucia, Lucia, The Big Stone Gap series, The Queen of the Big Time to name just a few.

What are your favorites?
Please, please, please let me know of recommendations. 
I love to hear of new books for me to discover!

Oh, and Dear Family....
Feel free to gift me the before mentioned bag.


  1. When I saw your title I couldn't quit laughing. I'm still giggling. Love it!!! One Thousand Gifts by Ann is awesome. I'm working on my book post.

  2. You are the 4th person today to recommend "Cutting for Stone"- it needs to be on my list! Have you read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"? It's fantastic. I enjoy Adriana Trigiani too! Happy cruising!!! My reading will take place on a comfy couch watching the snow fall...

  3. LOVE! You know what? I seldom read fiction anymore, but I love Adriana Trigiani, too! I have several of hers sitting on my shelf unread, and you just made me want to go grab them up and dive in. :) Great list! Liking you on FB because I think we might have some literary things in common. I'm a school librarian so I totally get your literary matchmaking skills. :)

  4. These books all sound great...adding several of them to my growing list. I'm so jealous that you get to take a cruise and have some uninterrupted reading time--enjoy! I would recommend How To Be An American Housewife. I just picked it up a few days ago and have been enjoying it.

  5. Check out the Irish Country Doctor series by Patrick Taylor. Great stories of a village in Northern Ireland in the early '60's, the characters that live there and the doctors that care for them. If you ever do audiobooks, this is wonderfully narrated. Mysteries-anything by Harlan Coben. All Luanne Rice. I won the Grandmother book in one of Adriana's contests this year, so she is tops on my list as well. Maeve Binchy, Pat Conroy, Dorothea Benton Frank, I could go on and on!

  6. great post, Tara. i, too, am so jealous of your cruise! i am sure i would bring along at least 5 books if i was by myself for a week. great blog, i like your writing style. thanks for commenting on my blog too.

  7. oh yes, and definitely, definitely read The Glass Castle. the writing is wonderful.

  8. We've read lots of the same books - I enjoyed The Help & Cutting for Stone. I've also read the Big Stone Gap series, too! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Hi Visiting from Blogfrog!

    I enjoy my Nook and the hard bound books too!
    Thanks for the book recommendations.
    I am reading
    Transform Your Thinking by Bill Winston
    Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    I have a ton of other books that I am diving into while I am on Christmas vacation.

    I went on a Oasis Carribean Cruise this past March on the Oasis of Sea and loved it. I have some posts on my blog and have a couple more post to go.

    Thank you!

  10. Ok, you inspired me! The first "snow-day" we have, I will try One Thousand Gifts. Thanks

  11. These all sound so good! Gonna add the ones I haven't read yet to my "to read" list.

  12. Hi Tara,
    This was such a great post and I love your writing style. Wow, forty books per year! I want to try out all of these books. That bag is too funny, I do think you need it.
    Have a great time on your cruise and Happy New Year!

  13. Tara - Sue Monk Kidd wrote "Dance of the Dissident Daughter" - I love this memoir meets spiritual inspiration and think you would too. "Ahab's Wife" by Sena Jeter Nashund is beautiful fiction. Two of my personal favorites are both by Ayn Rand - "The Fouintainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged". I would recommend "The Fountainhead" first - they are not for everyone I know, but I love them. Oh, and if you haven't read "Eat, Pray, Love" you MUST. I'm serious! :o) Happy reading!

  14. I love the bag! It is so true! I have a Kindle. I carry it with me everywhere. That has cut down on so much "clutter" in my house. I no longer have to store books, or worry about returning them, or find a new home for them. I did not know that Adriana Trigiani had a new book out. Thank you.

  15. i love adriana trigiani. she is one of my very favorites. wish she would write more.

  16. Great list! I can't wait to read some of these. I've been needing some new books.