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List #2: 10 Books

September 17, 2011

I tend to go through reading spurts.  Sometimes I chain-read novel after novel, and then I go months reading nothing.  I’m hoping I can come up with 10 I’ve read since starting my blog!  Here goes…in reverse chronological order:

[Note that all of the book links go to, a site I just found that will be really useful to me, since it’s not easy for me to remember the names of the books I’ve read!  The site makes reading social and allows you to rate books, get recommendations, and keep track of what you’ve read.]

10.  The Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale: A new way of thinking about your career and building a business using “spiritual marketing.”

9. House of Spirits by Isabel Allende: This book is so engrossing…it makes my commute into Manhattan fly by.  It’s an epic story of an extended family through generations.

8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Just re-read it for the third or fourth time.  Always a keeper.  I had a new perspective on it now that I live in NYC.  And having lived a little more since I first read it in high school, there were so many things I didn’t understand the first time around that I got this time.  Love the way that Fitzgerald shows without telling and uses visual and sensory details to convey a feeling without ever naming it.

7: Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan: I read this book last fall.  It’s about four 20-something girls who graduated from a women’s college and are trying to find their way in the working world.  I thought the author’s observations about women’s colleges and liberal arts colleges were right on and I thought her use of the term “freshman year of life” (referring to your first year out of school) was quite clever.

6: The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald: This one was kind of creepy and depressing, but just as fascinating as #7.  Based on the historical reality of “home ec” babies raised in women’s colleges by home ec classes as a learning project in the 1950’s, the book chronicles the fictional life of one such baby, and the strange emotional scars he brought with him into his adolescence and adult life.

5: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron: This is a classic 12-week course that trains you to access your creativity 24/7 and engage in your chosen art, be it writing, painting, acting, singing, or floral arranging.  Really effective and fun.

4. Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore: This was a cute tale of a Southern girl growing up and following her dreams, even as they took her far from her family and the comforts of life in her small town.  The mystery at the book’s core was conveniently resolved in a somewhat cheesy ending, but it had a good heart.

3. The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton: This one was EXCELLENT.  A long-lost family novel that was out of print for a while, I found this via Chinaberry.  It reminds me of House of Spirits in the way that it focuses different chapters on different family members, its epic scope, and high emotional and romantic drama.  Total escapism.

2. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom:  First, I have to say that I couldn’t remember the name of this novel or its auther, since I read it last fall, but I did remember its plot quite vividly.  So I googled “Irish girl raised as slave novel” and it was the first hit.  This book was an amazing mystery, a heartwarming love story, tragic historical fiction, and a coming-of-age tale all in one.  It scored on all counts.  The characters are real and the haunting opening image has stayed with me to this day…I won’t give it away, but it’s in a 2-page prelude to the novel.

1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle will always be my number one… read it and see for yourself.

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