Last year around this time, I posted a quick list of my top ten favorite books that I read that Fall. This year, I’ve had a few requests for the same so here it is! All of these books I’ve read and absolutely adored (other than The Buddha in the Attic, which I’m going to start today but I anticipate being great as well).
Sometimes I get worried that I talk about books too much on this blog, which is a food blog, afterall. But then all of your encouraging comments, tweets and emails tell me to keep going….so I do! I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have. To me, there is absolutely nothing better than curling up next to the fireplace and reading for hours on end with a cup of tea in my hand. Reading really is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
If you follow me on Facebook you know that I just read this entire book on my flight back to California the other day. That’s right; I read the entire book. Once I started, I just couldn’t stop and before I knew it, I was in my cramped seat on the plane sobbing my eyes out. This book reminded me one of my other favorite books, The Joy Luck Club.
I reviewed this book a few weeks ago but wanted to share again how amazing I think it is! This and Drowning Ruth remain the two best books I’ve read in 2011, which is saying a lot! It’s such a sweet story of finding true wisdom in the old fashioned values of our grandparents. Kristine hit the nail on the head with her grandma’s relationship advice and immediately after reading it, I called both my mom and my own grandma and told them they needed to pick this one up…stat.
I had to include this because I just sat for three hours on my couch last night anxiously
flipping clicking through the pages, feeling like I was there in the Territories with Sarah back in 1885, shooting rattlesnakes and making hotcakes for dinner. It goes without saying that if you are (were?) a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, you will LOVE this book. I especially loved it because I’ve been working on my own family history lately, who also settled in Alabama and Texas around the same time.
Part historical fiction set in the 1940′s and part contemporary fiction, this book is a total gem! I’m anxiously awaiting Sarah Jio’s next novel, Bungalow, which will be out next month! I couldn’t put this down.
Like I said earlier, I haven’t actually read this one yet but it’s on my list. It’s about Japanese mail order brides in the 1920′s and looks incredibly interesting. The book is set on the boat coming over from Japan and also San Francisco, which I love reading about in that time period. If anyone has already read this, let me know how it is!
A Southern dark and lyrical novel about the tragic life of one family in the mountains of Tennessee. It was kind of depressing but I liked it all the same. I took a Southern literature class in college and this reminds me of the type of book that might have been on the roster, had it been published seven years ago.
Ah, my favorite book of 2011! And it’s not even new! Actually, it’s quite old but for some odd reason I never picked it up before now. I absolutely adored this book. I love books set in Minnesota and Wisconsin because that’s where my mom’s side of the family is from and I love reading historical novels based there. I also loved the author’s writing style and the element of dark mystery involved. If you haven’t yet picked this up, read it first!! You won’t be disappointed.
If Drowning Ruth and How to Love an American Man were my top two favorites this year, this novel set in the island of Guernsey during the second World War is easily my third. Strangely enough, I did not care for The Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Pie Society, which friends have told me is very similar. However, I relished every page of this book and felt like I was there on this tiny island in the Atlantic with war all around me. I immediately recommended it to my mom, who loved it as well!
I read this book a few weeks ago and am purchasing a copy to bring to my grandma when I go visit my grandparents next week. It’s exactly the type of story I love: a mother daughter tale of two clashing cultures and finding peace amidst their differences. You may think “another Joy Luck Club?!” but I think this book is more like Shanghai Girls than anything else, which I loved as well. It’s another one of those books that alternates between present day and the 1940′s, and was the perfect book to cozy up to at night before bed.
Whew! You probably know by now that I really love historical fiction. And within that genre, one of my favorite sub-genres is the life of immigrants in the early twentieth century. Maybe it sounds weird to some, but I think it’s just so incredibly interesting. This book is the story of a girl that comes over from Italy during that time period and the story of her trying to survive as a dressmaker in Chicago. It reminded me of Elizabeth Street, if you’ve read that (I did and loved it as well!).