Shelly's Must-Read List

We are a family of readers.
I would say I am the most avid, but even Josh has been known to devour a book when he has the time and content is interesting to him.  The twins are getting there, reading books during quiet time for Wyatt's nap and  growing excited for the nights we let them each pick two books instead of just one.  And Wyatt, well that kid had his favorite trio of David books memorized at 18 months.  He adores being read to.

I have loved books and reading for as long as I can remember.  It started with children's books, then chapter books, then The Baby Sitters Club (which, yes, deserves its own entire book category, and from which I named our firstborn) moving on to real grown up novels and eventually magazines and blogs.

I have promised a book list to you all for a while now, and I finally got myself together and am ready to tell you what to do. Read these books!!!

{The following are different subcategories of books, in no particular order, that I have read and loved.  Feel free to scroll around until you find a category that interests you, such as Books for Moms or Fantastic Summer Reads.}

Children's Books:
Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Oh David books by David
Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer

My personal favorites as a girl...
Tacky The Penguin by Helen Lester
Bread & Jam for Francis by Russell Hoban
The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop

The shelf of unread books in my bedroom is like opening my eyes to Christmas every morning.  I get so excited when I see that whole row of novels waiting to be held, read, underlined and jotted in my journal.

Yesterday I started reading What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. It's a short book, so I'm already halfway finished with it. It's really good, about a woman who no longer has contact with her mother going to visit said mother at the urging of her older sister.  While on the plane she reminisces her childhood.  I'm loving it.

{the best books I read last year}
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
This book... there just aren't words. I was sobbing out loud during some chapters, and holding my breath during others.  It's about a couple who live alone on an island, running the lighthouse.  A baby washes on shore in a boat and after multiple losses, the wife convinces her husband they ought to keep it.  I devoured this book.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
This is my favorite kind of writing. Full of details that, really, don't matter at all, but I love to hear about.  Her character development is rich and deep and at the end of the book, I felt sad. Very sad, and lonely.  All because I missed the characters so much.

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
For this book, I suggest picking it up and reading for a half hour straight. Just jump right in. It will grab you if you let it. It's about identical twin brothers and their upbringing.  This one, like The Light Between Oceans, had me unglued at times. Weeping and imagining if it were my boys experiencing those lives as opposed to Marion and Shiva.  Definite must-read.

My dad bought this book as a surprise for me, and when I read the back I wasn't sure what to expect on the first page. It's a really sad book, but at the end it's hopeful.  I enjoyed reading about a little boy whose dream it was to visit Alaska, and the descriptions of Alaska, the weather and the severity of its rural living is spot on.

Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor is a true story about a young woman whose husband dies unexpectedly while she is pregnant with their first child.  It is touching and honest, and reminds me of when I had to raise our three boys while Josh was in Alaska. I found myself feeling very grateful that we were reunited.

Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge is a fascinating look at the research comparing our generation and the generation before us, namely the Baby Boomers.  My sister passed it on to me after her husband read it for his college course, saying she thought it would interest me.  I underlined like crazy as I read this book, and my own behavior, as well as the behavior of those around me, made so much sense in light of this new information.

Anita Shreve
Lisa Genova
Elin Hilderbrand
Jodi Picoult

Anita Shreve is, hands down, my favorite author.  One time, about nine years ago, on a whim, my mom bought me a book.  I honestly can't remember the occasion, but I will forever remember the book.  It was Sea Glass by Anita Shreve.  I picked it up, and was instantly entranced.  I have since been working my way through her entire list of novels, which I own.
Eden Close
The Weight of Water
The Pilot's Wife, which is also a fantastic movie
Light on Snow
Body Surfing
The Last Time They Met
A Change of Altitude
Where or When
Fortune's Rocks
All He Ever Wanted
A Wedding in December
Strange Fits of Passion

If you haven't read her books before, I highly recommend this on Amazon for your e-reader. It is four of her novels, all four of which I love, and they all take place during different time periods in the same house.  Most importantly, it includes the one that started it all for me- Sea Glass.

She has a new novel, Stella Bain, out in November, that I can't wait to get my hands on.


Lisa Genova is another author I was introduced to by my mom.  She bought me Left Neglected when I was feeling down while Josh was gone in Alaska.  It was an engrossing book about a real condition called Left Neglect.  Genova herself has a PhD in neuroscience, and everything she writes is medically accurate. Her other two novels, Still Alice and Love Anthony are about alzheimers and autism, respectively. 

Love Anthony sounded so good, I asked for it for my birthday from Josh. Since he couldn't find it at Barnes & Noble in Anchorage, he bought me a Tablet and downloaded it on there for me. It was such a good book!

{by Elin Hilderbrand}
My favorite author to read in the summer is Elin Hilderbrand.  She has written some awesome books that all take place on Nantucket.  My favorites are Barefoot and The Island, but honestly, all of them are good.


I finished Vanishing Acts yesterday. I finished the whole thing in three short days.  The other two pictured here, The Tenth Circle and Keeping Faith, I have yet to read.  

Three of my favorite Jodi Picoult books are:

Handle with Care is a book that I still think about. The story is gripping.

 I am looking forward to reading these books- Room by Emma Donoghue and Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld.  I have had them both for a while, but I'm saving them. I'm not sure why. I just love that there are books on the shelf waiting for me, I guess.

 This time last year, I received Heaven is Here and Bloom as gifts from my mom.  I devoured these books, and I follow the author's blogs:
The books and blogs are incredibly inspirational, and I recommend both.

 This summer I read The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd.  I loved it. Another good book of hers is The Secret Life of Bees.

T. Greenwood is a new author I read.  Her book Breathing Water was haunting and full of the details I adore reading, so I am anxious to read more of her novels.

 The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our passion, purpose and sanity by Meg Meeker
In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

It's A Boy! Understanding your son's development from birth to age 18 by Michael Thompson is a must.

I loved this twin pregnancy book,

and this one for the first year of life.

But my all time favorite book about twins is
One and the Same by Abigail Pogrebin.
It is full of studies, facts and a first account of life as a twin, as the author herself is an identical twin.  If you have twins or are pregnant with twins and you are only going to read one book, make it this one.

There is this book I read as a junior in high school. The story line haunts me, but I can't remember the name or author of the book. It was a psychological thriller I checked out at the library.  Anyway, ever since then, I have recorded what I'm reading on the last page of my journal.  I love to look back and see how many books I read.
In the last year, I have started allowing myself to not finish a book. gasp.  I know.  I used to muscle through a bad book because I thought I just had to know what happened. I also thought I had to finish what I started.  But I've since decided life's too short to read bad books. One bad book I never finished was Julie & Julia. It was too painful to read. Just awful.
And lastly, I'm not sure if these count,
but I look forward to reading them everyday,
so I'm pretending they do.


**Beautiful pictures and a daily reminder to enjoy everything life throws at you, not just the good stuff.
**For reminders that being a mom matters and you are not failing at it.
**Enjoying homemaking, raising children and the very gift that life can be.
**Snippets of thoughts from a teacher raising a little. Love her.
**Always from the heart; she, too, is losing time too fast with her littles.
**Sometimes controversial, always thought provoking, Cjane ponders it all.

And a few questions for you readers:
What was your favorite children's book?
What are your top 3 books of all time?
And what is one book you quit reading or wish you had stopped reading?

I can't wait to hear from you.
Happy Weekend!


Ashley said...

I started recording every book I read in 2007... it's been interesting seeing how each year my numbers change. Depressing when you get into the years after my son was born!

Prep was kinda Meh for me, so I'm interested in seeing what you think of it!

Definitely bring kleenex when you read bloom! I read it in one night.

Gonna go look up some of these recommendations!

Stacey said...

I have never considered myself an avid reader but always enjoyed being in the company of books. I adore wondering book stores and getting lost in the aisles. It has to be an absolutely gripping or intriguing story in the first few pages or i'm out. And even now, when I do find a book I am totally invested in, it still takes me a month or two to finish.

There are too many books that I have quit reading to remember them. Part of that I am sure has to do with my lack of ability to finish what I started ;)

The Adelman Twins said...

Logan Bruno??? Oh my!Who knew... That is great!

I am going to use this as a reference to choose books... You've always steered me right with books so far. I think we actually became friends through books when you left me a few during my bedrest experience...

I saw your sis last week... She is so great! It made me miss you and your mom... Hope to see you when you return this summer!

My faves:
Horton Hatches the Egg
Wild, Eat Pray Love, and anything Jodi Piccoult

Stacy said...

Lovely list of books. I love reading so I will check these out!

Melissa said...

My all time favorite children's book is Strega Nona. Levi loves it too. My favorite book as an adult is The Scarlet Letter, hands down. I don't know why, but I seriously love that book and read it almost every year. Second favorite is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. If you haven't read it you should. Last, since my normal style of books is usually crime drama, I loved Where Are The Children. As for books I didn't finish, there are not many, but I remember two; Love In The Time of Cholera, and Grapes of Wrath. I just couldn't get into them.

Kristina said...

Thank you for sharing all of your books! I look forward to reading some of them, especially the summer reading one with the 3 women.

To answer your questions:
*Favorite book as a kid: Little House On The Prairie Series, but On The Banks Of Plum Creek was my absolute favorite.

*3 Books That I Love: The Awakening by Kate Chopin (which was the first book with such an independent and daring female character), In Praise of Stay At Home Moms (which totally saved my sanity), and The Hunger Games series (probably because they are just so ridiculous in plot that you have to allow yourself to somewhat believe it).

*Book I've Not Finished: I totally agree with you on not having time to finish a bad book. For me, it's more about the writing style rather than the story. My two that I put down recently: Blue Like Jazz and Anna Karenina.

Those diaper pics of Wyatt just had me giggling! And I can't believe that he knows how to spell his own name! What?!?

Marilynn Raatz said...

Where are the Children!!! So chilling!!! I still remember the feeling I got during the most revealing part of the book!! I have always loved to read. Books to movies are always a chancy thing. I love Bridges of Madison County the book, not the movie. I love Prince of Tides, both the book and the movie. And thanks to books, there are places I really want to visit, like Nantucket!!