How 'bout something different this Monday morning!? I always love hearing what books others are reading. Especially when I find someone with similar tastes in books! There are a few bloggers that who I keep up with whom I share a very similar taste in books, and am always thrilled when they do a post about what they have been reading and what they think of the books. I have gotten so many great recommendations on books I probably would have never known even existed. Or never realized how good they were!
Last last fall, I finally purchased a Kindle. I have fought the whole "e-reader" thing for a long time, swearing I see absolutely NO use in it. Why buy books when I can get them at the library for free!? Kinda like the cow and milk analogy? But, little by little, I started reconsidering my stance and warming up to the idea. And then the prices for e-readers and tablets started dropping and I happened upon an amazing "deal of the day" on Amazon! Suddenly, I am now the owner of a brand new Kindle Fire.
And you know what? I LOVE my Kindle!! I don't know what it is, but I actually find it so much easier to read on the Kindle. I have been reading and reading and reading!!! I take my Kindle everywhere and read almost any chance I get!
I often go through phases on what genre I am interested in, and lately it has been non-fiction books. Over the last couple months, I have read some VERY good ones!!!! And I thought I would share them with you!
"The Dirty Life" by Kristin Kimball was a very good book. Although it probably won't necessarily appeal to the masses. It is a story about a writer in NYC who is writing a story about a farmer. She goes to State College, PA to meet the farmer and, long story short, they fall in love, she moves out of the city and into the country and becomes a full fledged farmer's wife.
I have always loved farms. And I have always wanted to live on a farm. Although I am not sure I actually want to WORK on a farm. I just love old farmhouses and having lots and lots of land. Maybe...someday....
For me, the best parts of the book were reading about Kristin's transition from the big city to the country. I felt like I related, somewhat, since I spent quite a few years living in a bigger city until I moved to rural western PA. I used to scoff at the thought of living in a small town, now I can't imagine living anywhere else.
I also loved her descriptions of the meals her boyfriend/husband would just "whip up" from the garden. It literally made my mouth water! And definitely inspired me to become a much better gardener than I have been in last few years. Maybe even build a much bigger garden?
The book can be a bit slow at times, going into a lot of details about running the farm, but I loved it and actually learned quite a bit!
"Princess" by Jean Sasson was also a very good book. It is about a woman who grew up as a Saudia Arabian princess. I know very little about life in Saudia Arabia so this was quite interesting, and sometimes disturbing! The book was a fairly easy read and a Kindle bargain at only $4.99! There are quite a few other books my Jean Sasson that follow this one, but I am not sure I will read them.
"Fifty Acres and a Poodle" by Jeanne Marie Laskas was BY FAR my favorite book so far this year! I loved absolutely EVERYTHING about this book. The author has always had a fascination with farms and eventually moves with her boyfriend (eventually husband) from Pittsburgh, PA to a farm with, fifty acres, about an hour south of Pittsburgh. I read the book on a recommendation from another blogger, and didn't know much more about it than it was a wonderfully sweet book. Well, surprise surprise, this book had so many crazy correlations to my own life that it was almost scary! But, suffice it to say, this book was hilarious and sweet and just such a joy to read. I actually read the book fairly slowly as I just didn't want it to end! HIGHLY recommended!!!!!
I loved "Fifty Acres" SO much that, as soon as I was finished with it, I started her sequel "The Exact Same Moon". It continues the story on Jeanne's life on the farm with her now-husband and focuses on their attempts to grow their family. It was also sweet, and often hilarious. I loved it as well! Jeanne actually has another sequel - "Growing Girls" - which details her new role as a mother. I have not read this one yet, but it is on my list.
The next book I read was "Growing up Bin Laden". Now this was a book I had heard about a while back, but actually had no interest in whatsoever. I just couldn't imagine reading a story about this monster. I felt it would just dredge up those horrible images from 9-11 and make me sick about it all over again. But I looked at the book again this year, read the reviews, and decided to give it a chance. And I actually really liked it.
This is a story told from the view of his first wife and one of his sons. Now, obviously, I don't like Bin Laden anymore now than I did then. But I found it extremely interesting to read about what Bin Laden was like as a young boy, as a new husband and father. It makes you realize that [for the most part] we aren't born "monsters" but it is something that starts developing over time. Also, although I knew that Bin Laden was the head of Al Qaeda, I honestly did not have a good grasp of who Al Qaeda was, who the Taliban were, and what roles those two groups and the various Arab countries played. It was a very interesting book and, for me, an educational one. This is also a book I highly recommend!
"Escape from Camp 14" by Blaine Harden was definitely a PAGE TURNER!!!!! This is the story of young man who grew up in one of North Korea's prison camps - Camp 14. Shin Dong-hyuk was in prison because of the actions of his grandfather. This is a crazy concept, but very true. He was born in a prison camp and had absolutely no concept of life outside of the barbed wire fence. He lived in deplorable conditions and was subjected to absolutely unimaginable horrors - including being forced to watch his mother and brother being executed. He eventually meets a fellow prisoner who started filling him in on what life is like outside of the camp. He escapes to China, makes his way to South Korea, and then the United States. The author also goes into a lot of details on Shin's struggle to adapt to life outside of a prison.
This is a VERY disturbing book. It is CRAZY what has been going on that country for many many years. And it seems ludicrous that it can continue to go on almost unchecked. This is also a book that I highly recommend.
"An Ordinary Man" by Paul Rusesabagina is the book I am THIS close to finishing. The movie "Hotel Rwanda" is based upon this book. Although I haven't actually seen the movie. Paul Rusesbagina grew up in Rwanda and worked as a general manager for one of their luxury hotels. When the massacre started in 1994, he was able to house about 1200 refugees in his hotel and saved their lives using only words, powers of persuasion and some deception. It is well written and extremely interesting!
Well, I hope that I could give some of you some great ideas of new books to read. Let me know if you do read or have read any of these books and what you thought of them. And if anyone has any other recommendations for some good non-fiction books (I think I will be continuing in this genre for a while) let me know!
Until next time!!!