Since I took some time off at the end of 2012, I’m a little bit behind in sharing some of my most recently read books. This Connect Through Reading post contains so many good ones… I hope you find some books that will peak your interest!
I’m starting with a book that pushed to the top of my favorite books of 2012 list (which I’ll share soon!). Heft, by Liz Moore is a read you’ll connect with and you won’t want to let go when the book is over. Heft is about a 550 pound man, an alcoholic single mom and her son, a young house cleaner and a cast of additional characters that all weave together in a story of overcoming fear and obstacles, finding family and learning to love life. I closed the book on the final page and then immediately began scouring the internet wanting to know more about the author and not wanting to say goodbye to these characters. They had quickly become people I cared deeply about. Heft by Liz Moore is definitely a 5 star read!
Thanks to Amy and Lesley’s recommendation, I had the opportunity to end my year of reading with an incredible story. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield is a captivating, southern story with characters that will capture your heart (and a few that will terrify you). The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is a story of faith, family and unlikely heroes. I think you’ll love this book as much as I did… another definite 5 stars.
The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones is another book I found on Lesley’s top books of 2012 list, and I loved it! To be honest with you, when I found out the entire book was written in poem format, I wasn’t sure that I’d like it, but I did. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and more often than not it made me do the ugly cry. If you are a woman and / or a mother, you will love this honest portrayal of aging, marriage and parenting. I gave The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus 4 stars on Goodreads.
I read Saving Max, by Antoinette van Heugten, in November and was immediately pulled in to the story. Max has Asperger’s Syndrome and because of lashing out and increasing agitated behavior, his mother has him temporarily placed in one of the most renowned institutions in the country for evaluation. While institutionalized, Max is accused of a murder his mother is certain he didn’t commit. Saving Max is an intriguing story, with a disturbing ending. There were a few parts of the book that I found hard to believe, but other than that I definitley recommend it if you are looking for a suspenseful read. I gave Saving Max 3 stars on Goodreads (I would have given it 3.5 if that rating was available).
I will be 100% honest about this book… I didn’t like it, at all, until I was more than half way through it. The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe, is a highly acclaimed memoir about a man, his terminally ill mom, and the unofficial book club they’ve created together. It took me a long time to connect with this book, but by the end I was hooked and needed tissues to dab the tears coming down my face. I gave The End of Your Life Book Club 4 stars on Goodreads, but would have done an actual 3.5 if that option was available.
I have another really great, 5 star book to recommend – The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This is a heart wrenching, thought provoking story about a couple who makes a decision that will alter their lives, and the life of another family, forever. Without spoiling the plot, I can simply say this is a must read book… and one you’ll want to talk about with someone as soon as you are done reading it! Thank you, Kate, for the recommendation.
I rarely give chick lit books 5 stars, but I will admit to really liking Arranged by Catherine McKenzie. Ann Blythe has everything in life… a great job, a good family, wonderful friends, but failed relationship after failed relationship has her ready to find “the one”. Intending on going to a dating service, Anne finds herself at a service that does modern day arranged marriages instead. Funny, entertaining and light hearted, Arranged is definitely a very well written, fun, 5 star read.
I Kill Me: Tales of a Jilted Hypochondriac, by Tracy Tucker, was my attempt to read something light after a series of really heavy books, and it worked! This is a funny story about a hypochondriac whose marriage dissolves after a failed attempt to please her husband by participating in a menage a trois. If you are easily offended, I’d stay away from this book, however if you are looking for a book that will make you laugh out loud at parts and will keep you entertained, this is a great book to read. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.
I read The Lovely Bones many many years ago, and have been intrigued by Alice Sebold style of writing ever since. Lucky is Sebold’s memoir about her experience being brutally raped when she was in college and the story of how she goes about finding and persecuting the rapist. This book is heavy, emotionally charged, heartbreaking, raw and real… it will get through your skin and penetrate your heart with fear and sadness. There is no question that Sebold is brilliant writer… I can only imagine the depths she had to reach to recount this story so vividly. It’s hard for me to say I recommend this book, because the subject is so chilling…but I am glad I read it. I gave it 3.5 stars.