Saturday, June 16, 2007

Housekeeping Part Deux

Let me just say WOW from the very fiber of my being to all of you regarding your wonderful, great, numerous book recommendations. I now have a list four pages long of books and authors I want to check out, and I'm a little tingly with anticipation for my next trip to the book store, so thank you! I hope all of you will go through the comments for inspiration and suggestion, as well, because it’s obvious we’ve got some heavy-duty readers in here!

Regarding your suggestions:

OK, ok, I hear you already on the Janet Evanovich series, and I bought One for the Money at the bookstore today ….. geez, if for some reason I don’t like it, I’ll be too scared to say so out loud, because so many of you are fans! I also bought another Jodi Piccoult, although I’m waiting for Nineteen Minutes to come out in paperback (because I’m a cheapskate who isn’t willing to pay hardcover prices very often.)

A few books ya’ll suggested I’ve already read and enjoyed and would recommend to anyone:

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. I have read and re-read this series several times and it’s one of my all-time favorites, if not THE all-time favorite. I pine away for Jamie and think Clare totally kicks ass, but Brianna is a little unbelievable and Roger is the biggest wiener on the planet. Just my humble opinion. Did I mention that Jamie is HOT and despite the 100 Things I Love About Blaine, I would toss him over in a heartbeat for a piece of that fabulous, red-headed, Scottish man candy??? I definitely think the first four were the best ….. but I’ve got them all and read them all and HIGHLY recommend them all!

Clan of the Cave Bear Series: Another series I’ve re-read several times because I enjoy it so much. Like Outlander, I enjoyed the first few books the best, but I do love them all. And I love Jondalar. But not as much as I love Jamie. Who I would TOTALLY be willing to time-travel for. Good grief he's hot.

Nobody mentioned this book, but one of my other all-time favorite books is Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. Huge book, for those of you who like to really sink your teeth into a long story; historical romance set in England during the 1600’s …. I’m still waiting anxiously for the sequel, but considering the author died in 2003, I don’t guess I should hold my breath.

I also enjoy Meg Cabot, Debbie Macomber, and Susan Wiggs. Also, Maeve Binchey and Rosamond Pilcher. I’ve read 90 Minutes in Heaven and enjoyed it, but didn’t enjoy 23 Minutes in Hell. I liked White Oleander and if you enjoy autobiographical stories like this, I highly recommend A Child Called It and the books that came after. As a parent, it was very, very hard to read at the time. On the other hand, it made me grateful to realize that even on my worst, absolute awful, terrible, worst day as a parent, I am still five bazillion times better than his mother was. The Glass Castle was much the same way.

If it’s parenting books you’re looking for, one of the best I’ve read is Protecting the Gift by Gavin DeBecker, about keeping children and teenagers safe. Another great, must-read for parents, educators, etc, is The Essential 55 by Ron Clark. An educator, he’s compiled a list of 55 rules that all children should understand and follow to be a success both in the classroom, and in life. My friend Laura turned me on to it several years ago and our family sat around the dinner table for 55 nights, discussing each rule with the kids. Now that they are older, I think we’ll do it again. Yes, we definitely will. (In case you can’t tell, I loved this book.)

If you like action-adventure, a la Tom Clancy, then Blaine’s all-time favorite author is Clive Cussler. The protagonist of his books is named Dirk Pitt, and let me just tell you that Blaine’s total and complete adoration of this series should not be questioned, once you find out that if he had his way, our son "Kellen" would be our son "Dirk". I pointed out that "Dirk" sounds too much like "Dirt" and veto'd him.

I read both the Alice Sebold books and liked them, but struggled a bit because I found the subject matter to be grim and frightening. I have to be honest, I don’t read true crime or murder mystery, because I am the biggest coward on the planet very delicate and fragile. I made the mistake of reading The General’s Daughter when Blaine was away from home in training once, and had to sleep the entire month with every light in the house on. After reading Helter Skelter and being physically unable to take a shower unless he was home, I finally admitted that genre was just not for me.

I haven’t read any Mitch Albom books because, well, I’ve mentioned this already, but I’m cheap. I read a lot, and I read fast. I can’t justify paying eight or ten or twelve dollars for a book that I will be able to finish in an hour. I do go to the library, but don’t seem to have much luck finding recent or popular books. I am definitely going to check out the half price website that was suggested ….. and if I wasn’t so lazy I would go to book sales and yard sales but that involves actual WORK and PLANNING and ACTIVITY so I don’t see it happening. My girlfriend Lisa mailed me a box of books recently and I swear, it was like Christmas when I opened that bad boy up! (Lisa, PS, I still owe you shipping for that … send me your paypal account!) I love sharing books with friends, but must confess that if it’s a book I really, truly love, I usually won’t share for fear I won’t get it back.

Let’s see, more .. more ….

I enjoyed The Midwife and The Midwife’s Advice by Gay Courter, and think you can never go wrong with classics like Gone With the Wind (which I have to say, I enjoyed much more when I re-read it after moving to Georgia) The Thorn Birds, and Little Women. Although I despised The Grapes of Wrath. The book AND the movie. So maybe I’m not as cultured as I think I am.

And I also re-read the HP series before each new book comes out although at this point, I’ve read Sorcerer’s Stone six times, Chamber of Secrets five times, etc. I think in anticipation of HP7, I’ll skip right to Goblet of Fire and start there. And Liz, I love your suggestion of making it a contest to see who’ll finish first, but I have to be honest …. Since this is the final book in the series, I plan on savoring it like my favorite box of Russell Stover chocolates and deriving slow, guilty pleasure out of each and every page. So all of you who finish it before me have to promise NOT to e-mail me or leave comments about what has happened. In fact, I might just put myself in a sensory-deprivation chamber until I’m done.

Jenny B, you bring up a good point that killing HP would kill Voldemort --- but if that happens, I will personally fly to England and leave a flaming bag of dog poop on JK Rowling's front porch. (PS. We miss you guys!!) And Becca, what’s up with your sister getting to take a HP lit class in college??? I got stuck reading Voltaire and Goethe, for heaven’s sake, and she’s getting credit for studying Hogwarts??? There is no justice in the world, that’s all I’m saying.

Well, ok, I’m going to sign off for tonight. This will be my last post for a while regarding the book suggestions, so don’t worry I’m turning this into a literary site. (Although I'm certainly open to more suggestions and appreciate them, anytime!) Lord knows I’ve got too much complaining to do about my children for that to happen. I’ve got a few more late guestbook replies to make, then I’ll move back to my normal fare of obsessing over DDP and whining because people keep asking me if I’m pregnant.

In the meantime, hope you are all enjoying your weekend …. And that you have your nose buried in a good book!


g8tor90 said...

Don't know if anyone mentioned it, but "Water for Elephants" is the best book I read all year. Didn't expect to like it one bit, but it was wonderful. Have your read Jodi P's "My Sister's Keeper"? Excruciating for a parent whose been down our road, but also so thought-provoking.
p.s. I didn't like the Memory Keeper's Daughter one bit.

- Julie (Easton's mom)

Anonymous said...

Another good parenting book is "Our Last Best Shot" (for guiding children through adolescence) by Laura Sessions Stepp...very, very helpful. Kristi, again, thank you SOOO much for bringing up the topic of books. It's the hottest topic since you wrote about TV shows!! :) :) :)

Happy Father's Day to all dads...and blessings and comfort to those without their dads with them here on earth!
Mary in Illinois

lizinsumner said...

Ah Kristi - I already thought you were great - now that you've said that you love Outlander, I KNOW that you're great. Jamie is the PERFECT man...which means that I know that I will never find him! But I can keep hoping! I know what you mean about "savoring" a book by slowing down, but I can never do it with any that I really, really, what I do, is race through it to satisfy the urge of absolutely HAVING to know what happened, and then I immediately go back and read it again at a more leisurely's weird, I know, but it works for me. Are you planning on seeing the new movie the week before the book comes out? I've enjoyed each of the movies, but of course the books are better. As for Grapes of Wrath - not Steinbeck's best - try East of Eden, it was better. Do NOT try Winter of Our Discontent. Betty Smith's books are classic - I still love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. If you like historicals (British history), any thing by Sharon Kay Penman is great, but Here Be Dragons is her best. And I'm weird enough to like Dickens - Great Expectations being my favorite. And, I know you don't like the genre (and neither do I, really) but I have to plug a great local author, Anne Rule - The Stranger Beside Me was her first and best...she actually personally knew Ted Bundy here in Seattle. Her daughter works in an antique shop near me that I like to shop in. Let me know if you change your mind about the reading contest!!!!

~*~Snappz~*~ said...

Hope you enjoy One for the Money. The newest book in the series, Lean Mean 13, is due out in 2 days! Lots of Plum fans eagerly waiting for it. In case you're interested, there is a Janet Evanovich website, which can be found out Good luck with your holiday reading! :o) Hope you enjoy yourself.

lizinsumner said...

PS - forgot to mention that Clive C. put Sea Launch in one of his books (this is the program that I presently work on at Boeing), so I read it to see if his technical information on us was correct, which it was - has Blaine read that one?? I forget it's title. Also, wanted to REALLY make you jealous and say that when Diana Gabaldon came to the yearly Scottish Games in Enumclaw (a little, po-dunk town near Sumner), I grabbed my son and spent all day, paid to get in and spent a loooong time standing in line to get her signature on one of my books and another that I sent to a friend, and then was lucky enough to find that she had stopped at a local book store and signed all of her books in stock, and bought another with another autograph. She's really tiny and shy in person, and I loved her and wanted to stow Jake and I away in her suitcase so that we could go home with her...but we didn't fit...

Jackietex said...

It's funny that you mentioned The "Grapes of Wrath." There was a thread on (scrapbooking board) about it last week. In particular the part at the end with the old man and the young woman who had recently given birth...can I say ewwwwwwwwww?

Terrie said...

You are freaking me out. I could have written this post. We obviously have the exact same taste in authors. Wierd. (I just finished re-reading the Outlander series for the 4th time last week - and you are totally on the mark with Jamie :)

Tracy'sspace said...

I am afraid that even if you did work out how to time travel, you cannot have Jamie............I will be there first, followed closely by my mom! have you read The Wheel of time series by Robert Jordan, that is my all time favourite. Another favourite author is Matthew Reilly, fast, action packed, cant put it down. Blaine may enjoy that too.

Renee' said...

Give me your list and I'll shop for them at yard sales. I see Mitch Albom books all of the time.

13 days, my friend.

Anonymous said...


Don't forget besides the children and DDP - you still have to finish the story of how your life is not quite what you planned. I think you were up to being pregnant with Kendrie....

Julie in Madison, WI

Anonymous said...

The Swan series by Celeste De Blasis is one of my all time favorites. Each one is better than the last. I also like Barbara Taylor Bradford A Woman of Substance series - I've read them all 4 or 5 times and whenever I get bored those are the first books I grab.


Ginger said...

I too love the Jodi Piccoult books, and "My Sister's Keeper" was a heartbreaker, but so good. "Tuesdays with Morrie" is a must.....and I have two copies, so if you want me to mail it to you, I'd be glad to. In fact, I have a TON of hard backs that I'd love to mail you......I am not a big re-reader, and they take up a LOT of space!

Unrelated......when do we get to hear how you decided to become a surrogate? :o)

magicfingers said...

I am a new reader here. I have skimmed through your archives and am very impressed with your writings. The humor and coverage. I also want to tell you that I admire your strength in the face of what you and your family have gone through. I believe your humor is a big part of you and it carries you well. I admire also some of the simplier things like the no TV rule you enforced. I loved it. I think it was a few months back when you talked about how important your family was and no matter what happened as long as you were together it would be fine. AMEN. You are a wise woman and you have my admiration.
I am not much of a reader. I have watched all the HP movies and loved them. The last book I read was last year"Angels and Demons". I enjoyed it a lot.