Baxter Bark Twice

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Book List

I hated book reports in third grade, and I hate them now. Avail yourself to the links provided to read synopses. Also, if you’re new (welcome!), there’s lots more suggestions if you just keep scrolling down…

Book List (January 13, 2014 – not necessarily recent reads, but recommended ones):

-Night Film by Marisa Pessl (Mystery): a long-awaited second novel that delivers. Critics loved it, and so does the Average Joe/Jane. Check it out.

-Sycamore Row by John Grisham (Mystery): I loved A Time to Kill and this novel features our beloved Jake Brigance.

-One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson (Non-Fiction): who knew the summer of 1927  could be so interesting?

-Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz (Non-Fiction): one of the most amazing firsthand accounts from the Holocaust I have ever read.

-Dark Places and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Mysteries): these make Gone Girl seem like a snoozefest. Gillian Flynn and Darren Aronofsky should hang out.

-Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala (Memoir/Non-Fiction): this woman lost literally everything in the 2004 Tsunami – just…wow.

-Incendiary: A Novel by Chris Cleave (Literature): this is my favorite of his. He doesn’t use punctuation which is normally a total dealbreaker, but it works – especially in this format (a letter to Osama bin Laden. You really should read this book.)

-New York by Edward Rutherford (Historical Fiction): one of those multi-generational sagas about intertwining characters living in New York, starting in the 1600′s and going thru early 2000′s. Easy but still quality reading with the added bonus of some knowledge.

-The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Fiction): this reminded me of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and I’m constantly trying to find books that remind me of WYG, B. Set in Australia and narrated by a quirky scientist who’s searching for the perfect wife, it’s a fun/funny read.

Book List (April 3, 2013):

  1. The Smart One by Jennifer Close. Recent release by woman who wrote Girls in White Dresses which I LOVED and highly recommended to all other females. This one is good, too, and I feel like Ms. Close just kind of “gets it” - easy reading/chick lit
  2. Methland by Nick Reding. This nonfiction book is not for the faint of heart. I learned a whole lot about the crazy stuff people do while high on “crank” and sometimes it was a little too much information, but it was also interesting to read about the chain of events that spurned the epidemic…pretty fascinating, actually. Some parts made me queasy, and sometimes I got a little bored with the government stuff, but – and ask anyone with whom I’ve spoken in last month – I couldn’t stop talking about it – nonfiction
  3. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. I’d been meaning to read this for years, and it was not at all what I expected. It made me uncomf at some points, but the way the story unfolds between 1960′s NYC and Auschwitz during WWII keeps you hooked. There’s some drug abuse and promiscuity, as well. It is not heart warming…kind of the opposite  - literature
  4. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Another one I’d been meaning to get to. This memoir is about an Irish Catholic’s youth in New York and Ireland in the years following the Depression. As you might expect, it is depressing. But it’s GOOD and put it on your to-read list because it’s a book that should be read – memoir/nonfiction
  5. 500 Days: Secret and Lies in the Terror Wars by Kurt Eichenwald. Now this was an interesting read. Amazon says it best: In 500 Days, master chronicler Kurt Eichenwald lays bare the harrowing decisions, deceptions, and delusions of the eighteen months that changed the world forever, as leaders raced to protect their citizens in the wake of 9/11.  It’s very long but this guy’s good and makes it easy to plow thru all the facts; I learned A LOT – nonfiction

The Original List – 2012.

Noteworthy Fiction:

  1. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer*
  2. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks*
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  4. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
  5. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
  6. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  7. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  8. The Last Child by John Hart
  9. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
  10. Defending Jacob by William Landay

Beach Reads (Chick Lit):

  1. A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White
  2. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  3. The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
  4. Love or Something Like It: A Novel by Deirdre Shaw
  5. Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
  6. The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

Mysteries (all books by these authors are good): 

  1. Cold Paradise by Stuart Woods
  2. Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen
  3. Night Fall by Nelson DeMille
  4. Dark of the Moon by John Sandford
  5. I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
  6. The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva
  7. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  8. The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner


  1. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
  2. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  3. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  5. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  6. I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
  7. How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley

EMAIL ME with recommendations! Also, I’m on Goodreads if you want to check out a more thorough list.

7 Responses to “Book List”

  1. Trent said

    Why does “Mysteries” have an asterisk? Also, in the non-fiction section, might I recommend “50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God” and “A Brief History of Time”? I’m advocating for those based on the content and not necessarily the writing, so it may not be appropriate depending how you’re determining the quality of non-fiction works.

    • AllieB said

      The asterisk was meant to apply as it does to the “Beach Reads” section – I like all of the books by all of the authors I listed, but those are my preferred selections.

      I have read neither of those books – I welcome all suggestions, however, especially those of the non-fiction ilk as that is the arena with which I am least familiar..I’ll check them out. I don’t have a set scale for how I determine the quality – if I like it, I’ll recommend it.

      Thanks for reading/writing, Trent!

      • Trent said

        Just giving you a hard time. Where’s my reminiscent “how are you?” I don’t think I’ve seen you since Australia, and don’t worry – I noted your ranking of Bryson’s walkabout tale. Hope you are doing well :)

        • AllieB said

          I had a feeling, but I wasn’t sure – after all, it has been the better part of a decade since I’ve seen you. I re-read that book at least once/year to remind myself that returning to Oz is a non-option. I’m great, hope you are as well…

  2. Lucy said

    Night Film was so amazing – you may have short-changed it here without more of a description. But then again, how do you really describe it?! Hope you’re well – missed seeing you at Christmas, but got the update from Char and Jo!

    • AllieB said

      I know, there’s really nothing I can say – I even went back to add more info, and I may have made it even less appealing…but it’s SO GOOD!

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