Ten Recent Reads

The last couple of months ended up being great reading months for me, so I decided to share a few of the books that I recently read.

I read a mix of fiction and nonfiction over the last two months. Several of the books are books that will make my list of favorite books that I read this year. I enjoyed them that much.

A couple of the books that I read were misses for me, but I am still glad that I read them. If you have read any of these I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Tending Roses

Hannah Coulter– I know I have mentioned this several times, but I have to mention it again. This summer I discovered Wendell Berry. I now understand why so many people love his books. I read Hannah Coulter and loved it. It was the perfect vacation read for me. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. When I was reading it, I felt like I was reading about a real family not a fictitious one. I have heard this described as a fictional memoir, and that is exactly how I felt after reading it. There is not a lot of action or a big plot. This book is simply the story of Hannah, her family, and the ups and downs of farm life in rural Kentucky written in a beautiful nostalgic way.

Andy Catlett– After reading Hannah Coulter I knew I wanted to read more by Wendell Berry. I read Andy Catlett and really enjoyed it too. Jaber Crow is in my stack to read next. 

You Learn By Living This will make my list of favorite nonfiction books of the year. It has been in my to read pile for awhile and I finally took time to read it. This is going to go on my list of books to give as gifts. It would make a great book for a teen or college student because it is part memoir and part life tips. It was written years ago, but it is full of practical advice for today. 

Ever Faithful– This is the third book in the Vintage National Park series and I have read all three. I really enjoyed this for a fun mindless read. Yes, it is a predictable somewhat cheesy romance, but it is clean, fun, and has a decent plot. One of the things I love about these books is the description of the parks they take place in. It makes you feel like you are there visiting. There are three books in this series, but they do not have to be read in order. Each book is set in a different National Park with totally different characters and plots. 

Murder at Crossways This is the latest book in the Gilded Newport Mystery Series. I have read all the books in the series and enjoyed them. This is a fun series if you love cozy mysteries. These books have a good story line and plot. The characters are interesting. They all contain a mystery, but without the graphic details. They are also what I would consider “clean” books. They have some romance, but without the details. I think this is one of those series though that is best read in order. Start with book one and work your way through them. 

Tending Roses- This is the first book by Lisa Wingate that I have read and I can’t wait to read more by her. This will make my list of favorite fiction books for the year. I picked this up at a used bookstore that my husband and I visited. I wanted something different to read, that had a good story line, but that wasn’t too deep or depressing to read. This book was just that. It was the perfect book for me to read at the perfect time. It is the story of a women, who moves in temporarily with her grandmother. Instead of just helping her grandmother, she ends up realizing what is important in life. Life isn’t about stuff it is about family, faith, and love. Her time spend helping her grandmother ends up changing her life. 

Wild Ride– I read this book for the state of Kentucky for my nonfiction books for every state challenge. It was a good fit for the state of Kentucky. It contained a lot of Kentucky history and the history of horse racing and how much it has impacted the economy of Kentucky. This book was a little too detailed and dry for me though. I am not really a horse person and really have no interest in horse racing. I enjoyed the personal stories and details about the lives of the people and horses, but I could have done without all the extra details about horse racing. If you love horses though or are interested in Kentucky history this might be a good read for you. 

News of the World– I have heard great things about this book and finally picked it up to read. This is not the typical type of book that I read so I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was an interesting, heart warming, and at times funny read. It took a serious subject and time and drew you into the characters.

Liar’s Club– Liar’s Club was published back in 2005. I picked this book up because I have heard that it was one of the memoirs that helped change the way memoirs were written. I have seen this on several people’s book list for must read memoirs. I am glad I read this book, but it wasn’t for me. I love reading memoirs. I even love dysfunctional family stories. I would rather read a good memoir about a dysfunctional family than I would a fiction book about a messed up family. There is a lot of truth to the saying that fact is often stranger than fiction. This memoir just wasn’t for me though. The writing style was fine, but it didn’t pull me into the story like many memoirs do. I also thought the details were way too graphic and detailed. It had way too much information in several parts.You can talk about abuse and difficult things without all the extra details. I skimmed over several sections of this book simply because I couldn’t handle the in depth details. I really struggled to see why so many people love this book. If you have read it I would love to hear what you thought. 

Leaving the Witness– This is another book that I am glad I read, but really wasn’t for me. Again I love memoirs, but this one was not one of my favorites. This book has been compared to the book Educated, which I loved. I don’t really see the comparison between that two books. I found this an interesting story because I knew very little about the this group of people, but the writing didn’t draw me into the story like Educated did. And the details in this one were very graphic, and I thought contained way too many details in a few sections.  I ended up skimming over several pages. This is a book I would have trouble recommending simply because parts of it are what I would consider “R’ rated and the book could have been just as good with out all those “R” rated details.  

I would love to hear what you have been reading and what you did and didn’t like. 

6 thoughts on “Ten Recent Reads”

  1. I read Tending Roses ten or so years ago and loved it. The strange thing is that at the time I didn’t like to read much modern fiction, but I saw it at our little bookstore and loved the cover. And it was when we were going through the first time of a close relative having dementia and all the crazy things that entails. I think Lisa Wingate did an amazing job at capturing the situation.

    • I agree. Lisa Wingate did a great job capturing this topic! And am not a huge modern fiction reader either, but I am so glad I picked this one up. Have you read any of her other books?

  2. I have wanted to read a Wendell Berry for a long time but haven’t gotten around to him yet. You Learn by Living sounds good. Some of my recent reads that I enjoyed were Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden, and I’m currently reading a non-fiction book called Into the Storm by Tristram Korten. It’s about a Coast Guard rescue mission during Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 and is so far really interesting.

    • You Learn By Living was really good. It is one of those books that is also easy to pick up and down because each chapter is a totally different life lesson/tip/experience. I really enjoyed it. I just added Into the Storm to my amazon wish list. My family loves nonfiction and I had not heard of that one. It sounds really good. I have not read anything by Elizabeth Camden and will be adding her to my to read pile as well. Thanks for sharing what you have been reading!

  3. I LOVE Hannah Coulter! Jayber Crow was also a great one. I have yet to read Andy though! If you like his writing, you might also enjoy Marylynn Robinson’s Gilead books (there are three: Gilead, Lila, and Home). I LOVE these. I have not read that book by Lisa Wingate but really liked her latest, Before We Were Yours! I read (and loved) News of the World when I had recently moved to San Antonio and later on started working in Castroville, which is the main destination of the duo from what I remember so this was a fun read to learn more about Texas even though it was fiction.

    My September reads are linked in my name

    • Jaber Crow is on my to read stack. I can’t wait to read it. I also have Gilead in my to read pile, but haven’t read it yet. That is one I can’t believe that I have not read because just about everyone I know has read it. I now want to read everything Lisa Wingate has written. I think she is going to be an author that I love! My daughter loves westerns and I told her that she needs to read News of the World.


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