Books I Love

I might have mentioned that I love reading.  It makes me happy.  I lost my reading voice while I embraced the joys of motherhood while juggling a career and the demands of a dying marriage.  After Divorce (A.D.), I found myself alone on the first, third, and fifth weekends and every Thursday.  (Those close to me are laughing hysterically right now because my ex is not known for keeping such a rigid schedule.  But that’s not the point.)  In the early A.D. days, I wasn’t able to watch movies, watch tv, listen to music, or read any fictional books because each held the risk of something sparking a memory and invoking sudden bouts of crying.  Believe me, there were plenty of moments of spontaneous crying without anything provoking it.

I started filling the voids with self-help books on Divorce and Starting Over, and eventually emerged back into the world of fictional reading pleasure.  Now my boys get plenty of opportunities to make fun of me for laughing out loud at a book without realizing it.  Here is a list of some of my favorite reads. (You know my love of lists.)  I’ve left off the self-help books, even though my love for them is evidenced by highlights, underlines, and tear stains.

  • The Men I Didn’t Marry by Janice Kaplan & Lynn Schnurnberger.

This was the first fictional book that I read A.D.  It was during the summer month that was assigned to my ex, also known as Hell Month. (It was really more like Hell Eight Days, but once again, not the point.)  Anyway, the heroine in the book is left by her husband when their kids go off to college, and she is launched into the dating world, which petrified her.  She decides to track down old boyfriends to see if she can rekindle the sparks.  Her adventures with waxing, tanning, and all of the other beauty tortures that you ignore in a comfortable marriage are LAUGH OUT LOUD funny.  Or maybe it was just because I was going through similar torture treatments at the time.

  • One for the Money by Janet Evanovich.

I have this weird thing where I have to read the book before I can see the movie version.  This book was an easy read and very funny.  I had to get past the description of 80s outfits because its hard to take a private investigator seriously when you picture the 80s boufant and spandex pants.  I’ve continued reading on in the series, but the first one remains my favorite.

  • I Don't Know How She Does ItI Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson.

I actually read this one BEFORE it was made into a movie.  And I can tell you that as much as I love Sarah Jessica Parker, I pictured the heroine a bit more frenzied.  Renee Zellweger must have been on vacation.  The book is great, and I certainly related to all of the juggling and the constant choices and the constant feeling of not being good enough.  I also appreciate the concept that the saying “I Don’t Know How She Does It” is NOT meant as a compliment.  It’s more like pity or disdain…like when a southern girl says “Bless her heart.”  Trust me, that is NOT really what she wants to say.

  • The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Truth be told, I really liked the second book, The Girl Who Plays With Fire, but you really need to read the series in order.  I will warn you that it is pretty graphic and dark.  It was very difficult to read certain parts due to the graphic nature, and harder to watch on the big screen.  This is where I will admit to you that I am a skimmer.  Real authors are cringing right about now.  This book is based in Sweden, and there are many descriptions of places that I will never see, so I just sort of skim past them to avoid confusion.

  • First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones.

Okay, I worry that I will be judged because I fell in love with a book based on the Grim Reaper as the heroine.  It does seem a bit sacrilegious, but totally worth eternal damnation.  I kid.  I kid.  I just LOVE this author’s writing style.  The Reaper is so sarcastic and quick-witted.  I am in tears reading it.  I have also read Second Grave on the Left and Third Grave Dead Ahead has been ordered.  I lost alot of sleep on this series because I couldn’t put the books down.  And I can promise that I will be one tired girl after the third book arrives.

  • The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

My oldest son read this book and insisted that I read it.  (Man, that kid can nag.)  He was right, though.  We quickly bought the second book, Catching Fire, and pre-ordered the third book, Mocking Jay.  Spoiler Alert!  I absolutely hated the third book.  I know, I’m sorry.  It just had so much doom and gloom.  Let’s just say that when a certain someone woke up and didn’t recognize another certain person, I was D-O-N-E.  I pulled out my trusty skimming skills and got through it.  For me, it was like the movie “Legend of the Falls” with Brad Pitt.  Seriously, how many hard knocks can one person take?  (Oh the irony of ME writing those words.)  But back to The Hunger Games…I will tell you that the movie did not disappoint, even though some of the characters were not exactly how I pictured them in my mind.  I was able to fall in love with the impostors on the big screen.

  • One Moment, One MorningOne Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner.

This book is not funny or suspenseful.  It’s about a few seemingly random women traveling to work on a train when a tragedy occurs and brings them together.  I will tell you what really sold me on the book.  One of the women is living with an alcoholic, and her description of her feelings for him, both good and bad, are the most accurate depiction of reality that I have found.  I know that staying with an alcoholic doesn’t make sense to most people (and rightfully so).  This gives pretty good insight, though.  It’s not the point of the book, or even a big role in the book until later on, but I really identified with the decision that the character had to make.

  • Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle (aka Big Mama)

I love this girl, and I love this book. I’m not sure what more I can say here that I didn’t say in my post when I ordered my copy.  It is the tale of Melanie’s journey through Motherhood.  It is honest and endearing, light and funny.  I personally loved reading it because it is a part of Melanie’s life that I missed while I was going through my own adventures in marriage and motherhood just a few hundred miles away.  I could hear her voice as I read the lines and I could picture her bright smile.  She is beautiful and funny both inside and out and I think this book shows you that.  I’m looking forward to her next book on Marriage (since I have to live vicariously through other people’s successful marriages).  Melanie gives me hope that true love and marital bliss do exist.

Wow, just writing about those books makes me happy.  As time goes on, I know that I will read more than a few books that make me smile, and I will try to add to this list.  In fact, I’ll put that on my other list of things to do.  Ooh, now I am really happy.  More lists!