Friday, December 28, 2012

Top Ten Books from 2012

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

A non-fiction story gathered from the writings of the US Ambassador to Germany and his family during the 1930s. Hitler had begun his damage to Germany and no one wanted to believe it. The US Ambassador attempted to break through to the President but was constantly thwarted by the "Good Old Boys Club" of Washington, DC. This book was wonderfully written, I forgot it was non-fiction, and I loved reading about the Tiergarten and downtown Berlin, which I have visited.

Sorority Sisters by Claudia Welch

A group of women meet in college in 1975 and form a friendship bond that never ends. They grow up together, they grow old together. They have children together, weather husbands coming and going, and the tragedies that life brings. It was heartwarming to see a group of friends continue to be there for each other after 20 years.

NYPD Red by James Patterson

A new cast of characters and setting for Patterson, but he certainly did not disappoint. The RED section of the NYPD deals with high profile crimes, in this case, a string of crimes against celebrities during Hollywood on the Hudson week. I listened to this book, it was narrated by two people, alternating between the lead detective and the murderer. I truly hope this is the first of a new series by Patterson.

Jackdaws by Ken Follett

Ken Follett dives right into World War II and an elite group of English spies. An all female group created to sabotage a German stronghold, this unlikely group of women come together to change the outcome of the war. The group includes a transvestite engineer, a veteran spy, a criminal released from prison for this specific task, and a debutante. It was a fantastic read.

Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl by Susan McCorkindale

Susan McCorkindale left the magazine industry of NYC and her house in the NJ suburbs to become a farmer's wife in rural Virginia. Her compilation of blogs and hysterical stories of adjusting to "the sticks" had me laughing on almost every page. 

Calico Joe by John Grisham

The best baseball book I've ever read. A story about how one pitcher's temper changed the life of an up and coming rookie with just one pitch. The story is told by the son of the pitcher and is full of emotion. It tells a good story of forgiveness and how the love of the game can change your life.

Wine Country Murder Series by Ellen Crosby

This six book series takes place on a vineyard in Loudon County, Virginia. A family owned vineyard passed down to a daughter reluctant to run it and a string of murders that occur on or near the vineyard. With the help of her wine mixer and a reporter friend, the female lead conquers murderers and her injuries to rejuvenate the vineyard.

The Red Tent by Anita Diament

This biblical fiction was fantastic, but intense. The story of a woman growing up in the house of Jacob, experiencing the love of several mothers, and learning the traditions of the red tent. As she grows up and Jacob's household moves, she learns about love and loss and eventually finds contentment where she least expected it.

A Painted House by John Grisham

A touching story of a poor family in Arkansas and the migrant workers who picked their cotton. A young boy is in love with baseball and is forced to pick cotton on the family farmer each summer. They have hill people who come down to help them pick and Mexicans who are bused up to work, as well. As the three cultures combine, trouble brews. The young boy is saving his money to buy a baseball jacket, but instead begins buying paint to paint the exterior of their house, a frivolous luxury in that time. A great story of the mid-west and the hardships that young families endured.

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan MacNeil

I also listened to this book, an excellent start to the Maggie Hope Mystery Series. Maggie Hope is an Englishwoman who was sent to live with her Aunt Edith after her parents died in her youth. She attended college, majoring in mathematics and returned to London to sell her Grandmother's house. Instead she stayed in war-torn London and made some fantastic girlfriends. She got a typing job working for the Prime Minister and thwarts a few plots by the IRA and the Nazis. A wonderful story of a brave and educated young woman in a man's world.

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