Books I’ve Enjoyed

I’ve put this page together to prove a friend, who believes there are no good books out there, wrong.  I can personally attest with my book-hoarding tendency, that there are good books out there.  I don’t guarantee that the listings you’ll find here will all be of current books—my to-be-read pile is too huge for that.  Because I read a little bit of everything, I don’t guarantee any kind of sense to the list, either.  The only criteria that apply are that I’ve read the book and liked it.

Wired For Story by Lisa Cron
Ten Speed Press, 2012; ISBN 978-1-60774-245-6

Even if you’re not a writer, this book on how story affects the brain is a fascinating read. Who knew that storytelling had its roots in survival!

Heartbroken by Lisa Unger
Crown Publisher, 2012; ISBN 978-0-307-46520-7

Although this is a suspense novel, it truly is a relationship story. Kate, Emily and Birdie’s complicated pasts bring them all to an island with a dark history of its own. There they must all face their ghosts.

Off The Grid by P.J. Tracy
If you’re a Monkeewrench fan, you’ll love this newest, fast-paced adventure. I liked seeing growth in Grace.

Portfolio, 2009;  ISBN:  978-1-59184-259-0
The author takes an irreverent look at what makes creativity tick.

COOL WATERS by Brian Preston-Campbell
The Harvard Common Press, 2009; ISBN:  987-1-55832-384-1
Fifty recipes to flavor water and quench thirst in a fun way.

THE PERMANENT PAIN CURE by Ming Chew with Stephanie Golden
MacGraw-Hill, 2008; ISBN:  978-07-149863-0
A new way of stretching that helps alleviate muscle and joint pain.

THE 13th HOUR by Richard Doetsch
Atria, 2009 ISBN: 978-1-4391-4791-7
When Nick Quinn is accused of murdering his wife, he’s given an unexpected chance to go back in time and save her.  This is a neat tale told backwards that serves as a reminder that every action we take affects others.

Food Matters by Mark Bittman
Simon & Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-1-4165-7564-1
You’ll never look at food in quite the same way after reading this book. Bittman offers an interesting view as to how our food supply got to where it is now and how it helped turn the U.S. into an overweight nation. He offers a rational for sane eating, then lays out seventy-five recipes. The half dozen I’ve tried so far have proved tasty. Although he claims this way of eating will lower your food bill, I found that it raised mine–probably because I don’t each much meat to start with.

Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
Bantam, 2008    ISBN: 978-0-553-80713-4
Ryan Perry, a silicon valley mogul, finds himself in need of a new heart. But once his prayers for life have been answered, a mysterious woman stalks him and turns his world into a horror movie that won’t end. In this tale, Koontz is back to his more poetic writing style which entrances until the end.

The Cure for Modern Life by Lisa Tucker
Brilliance Audio ISBN 978-1-4233-48832
Books on CDs are great for long car rides. I quite enjoyed this story about three people struggling to stay true to themselves and protect what’s important to them. Their ideals are tested, and each of them finds their truth in a place other than they expected.

How Tiger Does It by Brad Kearns
McGraw-Hill ISBN 978-0-07-154564-8 2008
I hate golf. By the ninth hole I’m bored out of my skull. But how the mind works fascinates me, and this books offers not only an insight on how the mind of a champion works, but how to apply these lessons to your own life. There’s an especially interesting chapter for anyone raising kids.

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
Penguin Books, 2000 ISBN 0-87584-770-6 (hc) ISBN 0-1420-0110-4 (pb)
I thought this page would end up being for fiction only, but I decided to include this book. This is a good read not only for those in creative pursuits, but really for anyone who’s trying to make anything out of their lives. The anecdotes make the book and get you to look at things in a different way. Rule Number 6 is now tacked on my bulletin board and I make the effort to give an A.

The Resurrectionist by Jack O’Connell
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2008 ISBN 978-1-56512-576-6
This is a strange, dark tale of a father trying to reach his comatose son. Sweeny’s quest leads him to Dr. Peck and the Peck Clinic. From there the story travels through a surrealist landscape that takes you on strange, violent, yet compelling journey. The way the mind works fascinates me, so this trip to a different level of consciousness was intriguing, but it’s definitely not a story for everyone.

Charley’s Web by Joy Fielding
Atria Books, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7432-9601-4
Charley Web writes a weekly column for a newspaper. A woman serving time for killing three kids asks her to write her story. What follows is a twisted manipulation that makes for a fascinating read. After reading the flap synopsis, I almost didn’t pick up this book. I’ve read too many serial killer books lately and just didn’t want to read another. I’m glad I read it, though, because the author did a terrific job of portraying not only family ties that twist and bind, but the utter charm and manipulation that sociopaths are capable of.

Standing Still by Kelly Simmons
Atria Books, 2008 978-0-7432-8972-6
Claire, who suffers from an anxiety disorder, catches a kidnapper stealing one of her children and offers to take her daughter’s place.  The kidnapper takes Claire, and the story that follows is Claire’s life told through a series of photographs she keeps in a secret box and her time with her kidnapper. T he writing is lyrical.  Definitely worth reading for the psychological turns of Claire’s mind.

Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
Simon & Schuster, 2008 978-1-4165-3241-5
The Spellmans are a dysfunctional family of San Francisco private investigators and their adventures are told through Isabel, the middle daughter’s, point of view.  Isabel is suspicious of her new neighbor’s behavior (as well as several family members’).  Although I figured out the neighbor’s secret quickly, the mystery isn’t what this book is about as much as the Spellmans’ take on life.  I was laughing out loud so much that my husband threatened to take the book away from me, saying it was impolite to laugh and not share the joke.  But sharing the joke out of context just doesn’t work.  I hadn’t realized that this was the second installment of the Spellman family.  Now I’m going to have to go out and find the first one.