First Quarter Books

I started 2015 with some excellent books, and while making this list I realized how much nonfiction I read and loved.  Getting nerdier every day.  

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - On the very first page we're told there was a murder at the elementary school trivia night but we don't know who died.  The rest of the book recaps the six months leading up to the murder and gives clues without sharing the identity of the victim until the very end.  I loved the mystery and the characters.  This wasn't quite as good as What Alice Forgot, but still I enjoyed the story and whizzed right through it.

2. Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage by Molly Wizenberg - This is a memoir about Molly's experiences opening a pizza restaurant with her husband.  I have zero intentions of ever having a restaurant, but she made the whole process so fascinating and entertaining.  I really need to plan a trip to Seattle so I can eat at Delancey and be best friends with Molly.

3. A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass -  I read this for book club and loved it.  Frederick Douglass has an amazing story and he tells it so well.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Another one for book club.  It was fun to discuss with a group of adults (as opposed to a class of 11th graders.)  The audiobooks is read by Sissy Spacek and is excellent.

5. Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West - West was an usher in the White House from 1941-1969.  He served with Presidents FDR through Nixon, and the book is full of anecdotes on the families (especially the first ladies, whom he worked with closely) and fascinating stories on the history of the White House itself.  I devoured this book.

6. The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley - I listened to this on the way to my parents' house which they probably regretted because I did not stop talking about it the entire weekend.  Ripley follows American exchange students in Poland, Finland, and South Korea- some of the top-performing education systems in the world.  Some things she learned were obvious, and some were really surprising.  This was especially interesting to me as my girls will start school in the next few years.

7. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan - So funny.  We listened to most of this on our road trip to FL which was perfect because it was easy to pause and come back to and not tricky to get caught up when someone had a little snooze.

8. Moonstone by Wilkie Collins - This is considered the first detective novel in the English language.  Throughout the book there are a few different narrators, some I liked much better than others.  The story kind of drags at times (mostly because of the narrator changes) but overall I really liked it, and each time I thought I had solved the mystery I was totally wrong.

9. Focused: Keeping Your Life on Track, One Choice at a Time by Noelle Pikus Pace - I read this one Sunday when we didn't have church because of bad weather.  Noelle is amazing and inspiring, and I loved reading her stories and words of advice.

10. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - I read this to Jillian and while we were reading the last chapter she said, "Wait, who's Charlotte?"  It was a bit confusing to her, and I'm not sure how much she enjoyed the actual book, but we did love our time reading together.

11. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - It took me about half the book to get into the story but once I was hooked I was looking for any opportunity to keep reading.  The story was sweet and I loved the characters- I felt like they were all my friends by the end.

Pretty Good:
12. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult - This was the opposite of Attachments; I started out really enjoying the book but about halfway through it lost its sparkle for me.  My biggest issue was the characters' infidelity.  I did, however, love the twist at the end; I never saw it coming and thought it was clever and really rounded out the story.

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Shauna said...

Yay! I've been waiting for this post, so I can pick my next book. I can always count on you for good recommendations!