What I’m Reading Now

Because of all my recent travels, which oh-my-gosh-were-so-much-fun-but-I’m-PUMPED-to-finally-be-back-home, I have been going through books like crazy.

I think I probably read about five over the past month that I was traveling, between all the cross country flights and extra long road trips with mom.  I need to get better about checking out more books from the library instead of the glorious instant gratification of Amazon on my Kindle. My bank account will thank me for that, I know.

One Breath Away was one of those books that I devoured when I was at my parent’s house earlier this month. Last summer, I read another book by Heather Gudenkauf and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to starting this — even more so when I found that it was only $6 on my Kindle!

So, hmm…my thoughts. I liked it. I really did. It was on an intense subject {a school shooting} and kept me flipping the pages until the end. Regarding the subject though, I will say that it was very similar to Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes and that I preferred the latter more. At times, I felt like One Breath Away dragged on a bit, but it still kept my attention. I also will say that I really enjoyed the ending! Like, a lot. For all the chapters that seemed to drag a bit, the ending totally redeemed it. So, I guess you could say that I really liked this book but I didn’t LOVE it. It was a good read for a long flight but didn’t really stick with me the way that Heather’s other book, The Weight of Silence did.

What are you reading now? I need some new suggestions to take with me to the library!


Also, speaking of books, this is just a reminder to all Bay Area friends that I will be signing books tomorrow night at Books Inc {Opera Plaza} in San Francisco at 7pm. If you couldn’t make it out last month — or heck, even if you did — I would LOVE to see you tomorrow!


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  • Cori
    October 18, 2012 at 4:45 am

    I finished your book recently and loved it! Thanks for sharing your experiences! I also just read Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio and couldn’t put it down. I just started The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton and stayed up too late last night reading!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    October 18, 2012 at 4:53 am

    That sounds like a pretty serious subject indeed! As for what I’m reading right now, I haven’t purchased it yet, but the answer to that question will very soon be White Jacket Required!

    • jenna
      October 18, 2012 at 8:32 am

      You’re so sweet! 🙂

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    October 18, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Going to NIU was more than enough for me. Good to know to avoid this book. :/

  • Malkire
    October 18, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Thanks so much for the post. I enjoyed recently, “The Imperfectionists” and am currently reading a memoir “A Long Way Gone” as the author and survivor was a speaker at the school I teach a few weeks ago. It is quite powerful.

  • Kristen
    October 18, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Unbroken. True story, very well written – amazing story.

    • Barbara
      October 18, 2012 at 6:42 am

      I completely second this suggestion. Amazing book.

    • Niki
      October 18, 2012 at 7:03 am

      Yes! Unbroken was amazing!

      • Sara
        October 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

        Yes! Unbroken was fantastic.

  • Rachel
    October 18, 2012 at 5:13 am

    I am currently reading Life After Death, the true story written by Damien Echols of how he was convicted of a murder he did not commit and spent 18 years on Death Row. I am only in the beginning, but he writes so well and it is just such a sad story. So horrible how our justice system could get something so wrong, but such an amazing story about how Damien has come through to the other side. Definitely worth reading!

  • Annabet
    October 18, 2012 at 5:28 am

    I just finished Love Anthony. Interesting book written in part from the point of view of an Autistic boy. Loved Lisa Genova’s other two books, Left Neglected and Still Alice, as well. Just started The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory and am really enjoying so far, but it’s long!

  • jenna
    October 18, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Still Missing – Chevy Stevens – listened to it in my car while driving, would find myself sitting in the carport because I didn’t want to shut the story off!

  • Beth
    October 18, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I am reading “Gold” the story of two best friends competing for gold in the Olympics in cycling. Written by the same author who wrote “Little Bee,” which I loved.

  • Jessica
    October 18, 2012 at 5:49 am

    I love my Nook but I reserve purchasing books now for those I really want-recent publications and those I will treasure-like yours! I bet your Bay Area library has an e-book selection, I encourage you to use it! My library has hundreds of titles and you can download them straight from your home computer. It’s a much more affordable option for those of us who read several books a week 🙂

    I heard a rave review about J.K. Rowling’s adult fiction book, Casual Vacancy. I think that may be on my list next.

  • Sari
    October 18, 2012 at 5:50 am

    I just read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was amazing!

    • Barbara
      October 18, 2012 at 6:42 am

      Also second this one. This was one of my favorite books that I read last year!

  • Abby@ Totes Delish
    October 18, 2012 at 5:51 am

    I loved “Nineteen Minutes”, even though the story was a sad one, it was a perfect insight into the tragic events.

  • Sara
    October 18, 2012 at 5:54 am

    U just read Agatha Christie’s Oriental Express. She writes the best mysteries. I also read The City of Ash. That book is about two rival actresses competing against each other in the 1920’s. One of the best drama in a while.

  • Sara
    October 18, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Nineteen Minutes is so good. I understand why you liked it better.

  • Cindy Robinson
    October 18, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Long, slow read, but engaging. Set in the early 1900’s in England about a servant girls rise to money, power, and revenge. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Not quite finished. Read for hours straight yeserday.

    • Judith
      October 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

      I agree this book is a classic, as are many of her other books.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    October 18, 2012 at 6:32 am

    I always enjoy reading your book reviews, Jenna. You make me aware of authors I’d never ever know existed, let alone think of picking out from the bookstore or searching for in the library. So, thank you!
    I just finished up Grace For The Good Girl by Emily Freeman. As a MAJOR good girl, I was shocked at how bang on her thoughts, feelings and struggles were to my own. The book made me feel “sane” in my “insanity”. Make sense?! ; )

    • Cindy Robinson
      October 18, 2012 at 8:26 am

      I have asked for this book for Christmas. Also being a MAJOR good girl, and feeling out of place a lot of times 🙂 Glad to hear another good review, thanks!

    • jenna
      October 18, 2012 at 8:33 am

      I LOVED Grace for the Good Girl and actually was lucky enough to hear Emily Freeman speak at Influence last weekend — she is amazing! Now I want to reread the book…

      • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
        October 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm

        Cindy, I truly hope this book encourages and inspires you as much as it did for me.
        Jenna, what a blessing that would have been to hear Emily speak at Influence. I just finished and I already want to re-read the book! – A.

    • Kim
      October 20, 2012 at 6:38 am

      I want to read this book so bad!

  • Sarah
    October 18, 2012 at 6:57 am

    I loved Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes and I just finished my book last night so maybe I should try this one next… thanks!

  • Ashlee
    October 18, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for my book club. It was SO good. Very suspenseful… I couldn’t put it down! I’m a book nerd at heart so I’m always searching for new stuff to read – will have to check this one out!

    • Judith
      October 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Gone Girl was a completely scary psychological thriller. I wonder what happens to the couple, maybe she’ll write a sequel

  • SueP
    October 18, 2012 at 7:02 am

    For something completely different and quirky, I just finished Matthew Dick’s “Something Missing”. If you ever read “The Pleasure of My Company” by Steve Martin, I would compare it to that in charming quirkiness. I totally loved it.

  • deva by definition
    October 18, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I’m currently reading two books, one is yours (which is great!) and the other one I am reading is Frank Herbert’s “dune.” I’ve tried to read it many times but this time i’m actually getting into it and loving it.

  • Niki
    October 18, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Have you tried looking into getting e-books through your library on your Kindle? I’ve done it quite a bit and its been a great way to keep me from buying so many books. :o)

  • Heather
    October 18, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I’m reading The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert (who wrote Eat, Pray, Love) it’s amazing! I’m addicted to memoir/biographies so it’s right up my alley. I also really enjoyed River House…which you might have recommended now that I think about it.

    Happy reading from a fellow book worm! Also, check out this book store we found on our honeymoon last week. We could have spent hours in there. The cute old man that ran it just added to the ambience 🙂

  • Gia
    October 18, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Oh yes, go to the library, it is freeeee! And quiet, and peaceful. 🙂

  • Stephanie
    October 18, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Jenna, for instant gratification on your kindle — for FREE — you should see what ebooks your public library offers. Many of them are kindle compatible! I just finished “The Violets of March” by Sarah Jio, which you may have read because you recently recommended her newest book. I read it in one sitting! “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary” by Susan MacNeal is a fun, quick read set in London at the beginning of World War II. And the sequel (Princess Elizabeth’s Spy) just came out this week.

  • joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    October 18, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I need to set more time aside to read! I feel like I never have a spare moment, but I need to carve out some time at night!

  • meagan
    October 18, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I just finished Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King. It was great! Not a horror in his typical sense, but rather a first person confessional of a woman accused of murder. Man. It was absolutely riveting.

    Right now I’m reading The Handmaid’s Apprentice by Margaret Atwood. I feel like it’s kind of weird I haven’t read it before now, but so far I’m enjoying it. Once I start reading it I can’t put it down, even though sometimes it’s really painful to read.

    • Judith
      October 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

      The Handmaid’s Apprentice was 1 of several I’ve read by Atwood. When it first came out, I was a Flight Attendant and it seemed everyone on my flights was reading it. Every once in a while a book comes out that you see everywhere, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
      Try some more Atwood, if you enjoyed this book.

  • cathy
    October 18, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Devouring the Maisie Dobbs books right now.. Love em!

  • Jean
    October 18, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I have your book to read (yay!) as soon as I finish Hunger Games (I know, I’m behind the curve). I refuse to get a Kindle because not only would I spend tons of money, but you can’t read the whole time you’re on a plane – have to turn off your PEDs during takeoff and landing. Does your library let you borrow e-books?

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    October 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I’m reading “France, A Love Story’ Women Write About the French Experience. A classic. And ‘Notre-Dame de Senanque Abbey; Life of the Monks, History, Architecture. I love that the Abbey has been completely self-sustaining for centuries. Honey production, lavender fields, their own wells, just beautiful. Also ‘The U.S. Navy Seal Survival Handbook’ just in cast get lost in the woods, or, I do live in a Tsunami area :0

    ‘Books Inc’ at Opera Plaza is terrific….but oh how I miss A Clean and Well Lighted Place that used to be there. I’d meet a friend for an author talk, to browse books, go to an art film in the plaza and to eat at Max’s which was really fun when the wait staff would sing.

    It’s impossible not to have a terrific time in San Francisco. I miss living there.

  • Elisabeth
    October 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I definitely need to get into library books for my Nook… However, until I do that, I’ve been scouring Goodreads for books with awesome reviews that are cheap…ha! I go through about 2 books per week, so I decided I needed to cut back on either my book buying or the price of the books I do buy. I’m actually reading a free one right now that is really good – Eternal Eden by Nicole Williams. Also, both Crash and Clash by her (2 book series) are awesome. It takes a little looking, but some of the ebook from ‘unknown’ authors are really good for a great price 🙂

  • kim@hungryhealthygirl
    October 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I’m reading Pictures of You right now and I’m almost finished with it. I feel the same way I really like it, but I don’t love it. I’m going to look up Nineteen Minutes.

  • Lora
    October 18, 2012 at 9:25 am

    If you haven’t read any Ken Follett then you must do so soon. I’m currently reading his newest, “Winter of the World”, which is the second book in his Century trilogy. The first book is “Fall of Giants” and I cannot recommend it enough.

  • Runner Dad
    October 18, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I typically juggle a few books at the same time…right now I’m reading:
    Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva
    Fireproof by Alex Kava
    To heaven and back : a doctor’s extraordiary account of her death, heaven, angels, and life again : a true story by Mary Neil

    October 18, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Hey Jenna, my husband and I wanted to come to your SF book signing, but we live in Sacramento & aren’t sure if we will make it in time after work.. How long does the signing usually last for?

  • Karen4Gators
    October 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    For a heartwarming story by a wonderful new writer, try Marisa De Los Santos “Love Walked In”. She’s an excellent writer and you’ll fall in love with the characters in her books.

  • Alicia Orozco
    October 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Welcome back! I know what you mean about the library. I get all my books from B & N for my Nook, which I love. But it does get expensive

  • Jill
    October 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Our book group just read the new book by Molly Ringwald – “When It Happens To You” and I was pleasantly surprised with the former Brat Packer’s ability as a writer!! You are pretty young, I know; but really, who hasn’t watched The Breakfast Club or Pretty In Pink? Right?

  • Hillary of Gras Pizza
    October 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    I just finished that one up as well! I’m sort of feeling the same… I liked it, but it DID drag on at times. For some reason I also had trouble keeping charaters straight. Was her other book any better? I’m looking for recs too!

    I’m currently reading Gone Girl, Dearie (Julia Child bio) and Yes, Chef (Marcus Samuelson autobiography).

  • Rebecca
    October 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I LOVED the Weight of Silence. Haven’t read this newest one yet! I picked up Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie at the library last year, and laughed through the whole thing. It was fantastic and a good contrast to the heavy topic of school shootings. I highly recommend it.

  • Candace
    October 19, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I’m re-reading “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.” It’s a study of how luxury goods (think: Louis Vuitton handbags) became so sought-after and cheapened. Sounds dry, but it’s really fascinating if you ever wondered how Rachel Zoe came to control Hollywood fashion or why purses get faked so often.

  • Deb
    October 19, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I read this post yesterday before I was on my way to the library, so I checked out The Weight of Silence. Well now I have to go back to library to get another book because I finished it last night in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down! Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Betsy
    October 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I just finished ‘A Walk Across the Sun’ by Corban Addison – it is beautifully written and sheds light on one of the most significant human rights issue of our generation.

  • Dynamics
    October 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Do you not like any of the free books on kindle, pixel and dining? My friend has 500 books already she has put on her kindle. She gets sent the links for the free books daily via email, twitter or facebook. Me, I finally got the 11th Hour a James Patterson Women’s Murder Club book from the Library. I love that I can put holds on books but hate that sometimes my wait is weeks/months. I am thankful my local bookstore closed. It really helps my pocketbook.

  • Jessica
    October 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Some books I think you’d enjoy:

    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – The friendship between a spy and a pilot during World War Two. Very intense, very gripping, and very worth it.

    My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa MacKay – A missions trip to Indonesia goes horribly wrong and five teens have to hike to safety through the jungle.

    Kissing Adrien by Siri Mitchell – A woman’s life changed by a trip to Paris. Awesome writer.

    Hope you check those out!

  • Lee
    October 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Please support your local public library 🙂

  • Dawn
    October 20, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I just wanted you to know that a few weekends ago, I read your book in about 2 days – I haven’t done that with a book since … well, since I had kids. 😉 I can’t do that too often, but enjoyed it … thanks for sharing all that you did. It was fun to hear more about how you got to the point you are now!

    Also, I was telling my husband that reading your book made me really want to appreciate food more … I mean, I love eating, but really appreciating the food in the manner you described? (the subtle nuances of different tastes, etc.) It was a challenge to me – thanks for that!

  • Erin
    October 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I’m reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan – it’s great so far!

  • Lara
    October 22, 2012 at 9:54 am

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is amazing if you have not read it. It is historical fiction. It took me a little bit to get into it, but once I was, I couldn’t put it down.

  • Francesca
    October 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Definitely read Heather Gudenkauf’s book “These Things Hidden”. Fantastic read!!

  • Sara @ sarasmiles
    December 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Jenna-whenever I need a new book to read, I always come to your suggestions because you have the best. I was going through old reviews and came across this one. I recently finished “These Things Hidden” by Heather Gudenkauf and absolutely loved it; read it in about 3 days. I can’t wait to check out her other books. Thanks for pointing them out!