Light on Snow by Anita Shreve (2004)

Really enjoyed this book! Story is told by a 30-year-old woman, recounting her life-changing experience of finding an abandoned baby in the woods when she was 12 years old. Each character is well drawn and believable. The storyline is captivating and emotional.

Check out Light on Snow by Anita Shreve today.

 

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (2010)

I loved this book! Beautiful writing, delightful characters, and charming setting…what more can you ask for? The story is heartwarming and sentimental without being maudlin; with a great mix of humor, warmth, and insightful pearls of wisdom.

The setting is 1960s Savannah, Georgia, and the colorful cast of characters brings to life the essence of "southern hospitality.” It’s one of those books that I didn’t want to end. I wish I had women in my life like the women in this book.

Checkout Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
 
 

Defending Jacob by William Landay (2012)

An unforgettable page-turner with surprising plot twists and well-developed, complex characters. Anyone who enjoys reading mysteries or legal thrillers will want to read this book. It takes you on a suspenseful and emotional roller coaster ride that touches on many family and social issues, and gives you a lot to think about. This would be a great choice for book clubs as well!

Check out Defending Jacob by William Landay.
 

Faith by Jennifer Haigh (2011)

I found the premise of this book intriguing. The backdrop for this story is the horrifying, headline-making sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests. The setting is Boston in 2002, when the Boston archdiocese was in the midst of this scandal. It relates how one priest’s family is torn apart when allegations are made against him. The story is narrated by the priest’s sister.

I was pulled into this family’s tragic situation from the start. The unexpected twists and turns kept me engrossed to the end. Throughout the book, the question remains: Is he guilty or innocent? Most importantly for me, each character is well-drawn and authentic.

Pick up a copy of Jennifer's Haigh intriguing novel Faith.
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I am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert (2007)

I listened to this book that I downloaded from eMediaLibrary. It’s narrated by the author, Stephen Colbert. If you enjoy his show, The Colbert Report, you will definitely enjoy this book.

Many laugh-out-loud, hysterical moments as he makes comments and observations about many topics, including family, faith, the media, race, etc… in his right-wing, “serious,” completely tongue in cheek, biting manner.

Check the catalog for I am American (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert.
 

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern (2010)

I downloaded this audiobook from eMediaLibrary. I thought it was hilarious! Halpern is a guy in his late twenties who moved back in with his parents after his girlfriend broke up with him. He decided to start a Twitter page relating his father’s “words of wisdom,” after encouragement from friends who thought they were hysterical. The Twitter page became so popular that he turned it into this book.

He relates stories from his childhood to adulthood, always including his father’s commentary, which is often irreverent, sometimes thought-provoking, and always funny

Disclaimer: Much of this book is strewn with profanity, so may not be appropriate for everyone.

Check the catalog to see if Sh*t My Dad Says is available.

 

I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman (2010)
Interesting premise about a woman who is contacted by the man who had kidnapped her as a teen, holding her captive for weeks, and is now on death row and about to be executed for murder. What makes it more interesting is that it was inspired by a true crime.

The story alternates between present day and 1985, when Eliza was kidnapped, and provides haunting insights into the mind of the kidnapper, the effects of the kidnapping on Eliza, as well as an interesting look at the death penalty. Although some of the issues in this book are a bit disturbing, I found the characters to be intriguing and the storyline absorbing.

One Good Dog by Susan Wilson

One Good Dog by Susan Wilson (2010)
As a dog lover, I’m often drawn to books in which a dog is a featured character. I’m glad that this one caught my eye. It’s an engaging story about a wealthy businessman who “snaps” one day while at work and suddenly loses just about everything in his life. With the help of a rescue dog, he starts to turn himself around and appreciate what is really important in life. The story is told from both the main character’s point of view, as well as the dog’s perspective. Entertaining, insightful, and heartwarming.

Looking for more feel good books, check out our list of Gentle Reads.

I Beat the Odds by Michael Oher

I Beat the Odds by Michael Oher (2011)
Michael Oher, the football player made famous in the movie The Blind Side, writes about his life before, during, and after he met the Tuohy family (featured in the film). He wrote this book for two reasons: first, to separate fact from fiction (since movies often take liberties with the facts to make it more interesting); second, and more importantly, to shine a light on the plight and difficulties faced by over half a million children in foster care, as well as the countless others raised in poverty.

He repeatedly mentions his own determination and self-discipline which ultimately led to his success, in order to give hope and encouragement to other children in similar situations. He includes resources at the end of the book for people who want to help children in need. I found this book inspiring and eye-opening.

You might want to also look at the NPR article about the book "Beyond 'The Blind Side,' Michael Oher Rewrites His Own Story"

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore (2006)
An inspiring, emotional, enlightening, and unforgettable true story. It’s written and alternately narrated by two men from completely opposite walks of life. Hall is a wealthy art dealer who owns multiple homes and hobnobs with only the wealthiest people, and Denver Moore is a homeless man who grew up on a plantation as a modern-day slave. Not only does this relate each of their life stories, but, more importantly, it is a loving tribute to Hall’s wife, Debbie, whose unselfish and compassionate generosity helped to bring these two men together.

It opened my eyes to aspects of America that I've never seen: from the lowest levels of poverty and cruel racial discrimination, to the most ridiculous levels of wealth and materialism. It also teaches some great life lessons of pure charity and unselfish, non-judgmental kindness. The world would be a much better place if we all had a little bit of Debbie’s compassion and willingness to give of ourselves for others.

Visit the book's website for more about this inspiring story.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2009)
I absolutely loved this book! I thought it was enlightening, thought-provoking, and truly engaging. It is beautifully written, with richly-drawn sympathetic characters, and a storyline that spans five decades and several continents. I enjoyed learning about Ethiopia through the author’s vivid descriptions of the people, the land, the history, and the political turmoil.

From the first page, I was drawn into the absorbing life story of Marion and Shiva Stone, twins born to a nun in Ethiopia in 1954. I was so captivated by the lives of all of the characters that I didn’t want this story to end. I anxiously await another novel by this author, and plan to read his first two non-fiction books: My Own Country and The Tennis Partner

Lie to Me. Seasons 1 & 2 (2009-2010)

Lie to Me. Seasons 1 & 2 (2009-2010)
This is a really interesting show about a guy who is a “deception specialist.” That is, he reads people’s facial expressions and body language to determine if they’re lying or telling the truth. He is hired by local and federal law enforcement agencies to help solve a variety of cases.

I like the way they occasionally show clips of famous people, such as Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, etc., to compare their expressions to the suspects in the show. I also enjoy the main character’s wry sense of humor, as well as his interactions with the supporting cast of characters.
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The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore (2010)An inspiring and heartbreaking true story of two men named Wes Moore. They’re about the same age, and grew up in the same area of Baltimore, with similar backgrounds. However, they have ended up in very different places: one became a Rhodes Scholar, White House Fellow, and has a successful professional life; and the other is serving a life sentence for murder. This book explores and illustrates the struggles, temptations, and especially the influential people in each of their lives, from childhood to adulthood, in an attempt to figure out why they took such different paths.

I was really struck by the author’s summation: "The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his." At the end of the book is a “call to action” for each of us to do our part through volunteer work or donations. In that vein, he provides a Resource Guide listing many organizations that provide services and education to parents and children. Wes Moore, the author, knows he can’t save everyone, but he’s determined to do whatever he can to prevent more “other Wes Moore” situations.

Killing Floor by Lee Child

Killing Floor by Lee Child (1997)
A number of people have recommended this author to me, knowing that I enjoy reading mysteries and suspense novels. So, I read this book, the first in the series featuring Jack Reacher, an ex-military policeman who is now a drifter.

Reacher is a really intriguing character and the details provided in this book about currency and counterfeiting were also fascinating. I definitely plan to continue reading the other books in this series.

Find out more about the Reacher series at the authors website.

Night Fall by Nelson Demille

Night Fall by Nelson Demille (2004)
Although this is a novel, it‘s based on the true event of the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 off of Long Island, NY, killing all 230 people aboard. It contains many interesting facts and theories surrounding that tragedy. It asks the question: What REALLY caused this plane to explode that evening? Demille creates an intriguing plot and fascinating set of characters, while trying to determine whether the plane was shot down by a missile or exploded due to a mechanical failure in a fuel tank, as the government concluded. Despite the tragic subject, Demille’s character, John Corey, once again adds his biting humor and sarcasm to make this a truly enjoyable, "hard to put down" book to read. If you enjoy suspense with a touch of humor, you’ll love this one.

Visit the author's website and read a review.