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What I’ve Been Reading

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Shortly after Christmas, a reader wrote to me about a shopaholic relative who decided to spend $1500 on one of her children right after Christmas. This relative lives on a fixed income and the reader knew that the relative was unable to afford the purchases (she was charging everything). She and I were discussing how to talk to her child about the relative, and I thought immediately of the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. My whole family enjoyed the movie, and it has been a good point of discussion at our house about buying on credit (my husband and I have never been ones to use credit cards for shopping, and we often discuss saving up for things that we want).

As I looked up the movie on Amazon, I found a number of negative reviews about the movie. My husband, my eldest, and I were surprised; we thought the movie was great and that it had a great message about not overspending. 

The reviews mostly were negative because the movie was so different from the books that it was based on.

I looked up the author of the books, Sophie Kinsella, on my library’s website. Since everyone was saying that the movie was so different, I thought I’d try reading some of her other novels, and there were quite a few in addition to her Shopaholic series.

Ivory Musketeer The Prudent Homemaker

It was Christmas break, so while the children were playing with their new Legos, playing board games and endless rounds of dress-up, I decided to read. I had already downloaded the free Overdrive app on my phone, so I decided it was time to start using e-books (I’ve had a cell phone for less than a year now). I checked out the first book at night, when the library would have been closed. I loved that I didn’t have to drive to the library and that I could get something new to read immediately.

Octavius Pirate The Prudent Homemaker

I found the books to be funny (I was laughing out loud several times). so I read each of her books that my library had, downloading them to my phone. I read some while the children played, during our naptime/quiet time while I laid down with my toddler to get him to sleep, and at night after the children were in bed. We don’t have cable, Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, so I don’t watch a lot of tv, but I often work on the website or read other blogs during the evenings. Being Christmas break, most blogs were quiet, and it was nice to have some downtime and just read. 

It took me around 4-5 hours to finish a book. I stayed up late reading several nights, so I usually read 3 hours after the children went to bed and a couple of hours during the day (usually during naptime, while my youngest napped and the others played Legos, did genealogy, and sewed). 

When we started school again a few weeks later, I continued reading at night and during naptime. 

I decided to read the Shopaholic series last. The reviewers were right in that the movie was quite different than the books in several major aspects. At the end of the movie, you’re left with the feeling that the main character has learned to control her spending. In the book series, however, she never does. It was very different reading about someone who lives such a different way of life, constantly charging very expensive purchases that she can’t afford. 

I liked the main character’s optimism about herself, her caring and concern for others, and the fact that despite her weaknesses, she had some great strengths. It was a good reminder that everyone has good qualities, even if they have large weaknesses.

A few things about the author’s books that I didn’t like: her use of swear words was something I’m not used to reading, and a few scenes were a bit risqué. I also noticed that most of her main characters were women working in entry-level jobs who ended up with multi-millionaires who were heads of companies. While that’s a fun thing to imagine, it’s definitely not how things work out for most people. 

Despite this, I did enjoy reading her books. I also loved the ease of downloading e-books from the library to read, saving me time and gas (I checked out most books at night after library hours, which was nice, too!)

The last New York Times best-selling author that I read was John Flanagan. My husband, my four eldest children and I have enjoyed all his novels immensely!

I’m thinking that I should check out the New York Times best-seller list to see what other authors’ works I may enjoy reading. Reading library books as e-books has been simple, convenient and a great source of free entertainment. 

Have you read any great fiction recently that you can recommend?

 

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155 Comments

  1. you might enjoy Liane Moriarty’s books. She’s an Australian author, usually has an interesting perspective of life. And one of my favourite books this year was “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. It’s about the women in the french resistance during the war. It offers lots of discussion points like “what would I have done in that situation”?

  2. I like J.A. Jance – especially the Joanna Brady series (sheriff in Arizona). She also has several other series but I like the Joanna Brady series best. I also like Alexander McCall-Smith – not only the No. 1 Ladies Detective series set in Botswana, but also the several series in Edinburgh (Isabel Dalhousie and 44 Scotland Street) and also the comic German academic novels – Portuguese Irregular Verbs, etc. Another fun author is M.C. Beaton – for the Hamish McBeth books (I don’t like the Agatha Raisin books). I love all of Amy Tan’s books. And we can’t forget the best of all novelists – Jane Austen. I love the whole oeurvre and even a few of the knock off books are fun.

  3. I am not sure if you have this option with your library…but in MS we have a state wide library system where we “borrow” and check out books from other libraries and they are sent to our local branch we also have ebooks. Anyway the reason I am rambling is because I recently found out that with my library card I can access Hulu for free through the library system. So free movies and it is great when we want to have movie night with the kids and home. I also told my frugal friend and at her daughters Harry Potter bday party the girls spent the night and they had a HP movie marathon watching all the movies and they had all read the books and talked about the differences between the movies and books. You may want to check with your library and see if they offer this service in your area.

  4. Yes, I can recommend books I think you would enjoy. I have recently reread, via Overdrive, some of the Little House on the Prairie series. I did not know until this recent go round, that the series can definitely be read on a different, adult level. Ingall’s strong political views are clear; she was a Libertarian and believed strongly in self-dependence. Anyway, the books I reread were: The Long Winter (1940) Little Town on the Prairie (1935) and These Happy Golden Years (1943.) I also checked out her unfinished manuscript The First Four Years but it read very rough – it obviously was a draft. There is also a recent book on the physical environments where the series took place, “The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books.” I’m going to the library today to pick it up!

  5. Kathy, I have owned the Little House series since I was a child. A few years ago, I reread them outloud to the whole family. I found that the one I enjoyed the most as an adult was the one I enjoyed the least as a child: [i]Farmer Boy[/i]. I love how self-sufficent they were as family.

  6. I’ve read all of the Sophie Kinsella books, including her Shopaholic series. They are breezy and funny, but yes, a bit risque and the women
    usually end up with wealthy men.

    I ditto the recommendation of Alexander McCall books. I also like the Father Timothy character that comes through Jan Karon’s writing in her Mitford series.

  7. I’m using the Overdrive app to download audio books from my library! I can sew, cook, etc. and LISTEN to a book!!!! I’m in love! Maybe your library has audio books too???

  8. I read and liked Kinsella’s My Not-So-Perfect Life. Hard to believe, but oh, so funny! I read the first Shopaholic book but it stressed me out too much even as I was laughing. If you like her books, here are two other recommendations of books in the same vein:

    Hens Dancing by Raffaella Barker
    Crosstalk by Connie Willis (one of the best books I’ve read in a long time!)

  9. Alice Hoffman and Sarah Dunant are two I’ve recently enjoyed. I’m also reading “You May Also Like..” a book on the sociology and psychology of what drives an individual’s choices from dining, books, colors, and more, and includes insight into the rating systems used by Amazon, Yelp, Netflix, and other online retailers.

  10. One of my favourite series is by Leisha Kelly. It is set during the great depression time period. It tells of the struggles of a family that lost everything. The first book is titled Julia’s Hope. No foul language and nothing risque. The one very sad thing about this series is that the author died in a car wreck after her seventh book.

  11. So many books to recommend. I love The Penderwicks series as enjoyable family friendly reads. I really enjoy Sarah Sundin books (set during WW2 with each series about different characters/families). Kate Morton is great for mystery/atmospheric books. Heather Vogel Frederick has a lot of entertaining books that are meant for kids but can be enjoyed no matter your age. I am always reading books set during WW2 and the Chilbury Ladies Choir was one of my most entertaining reads last year. The War that saved my life is also excellent. I don’t tend to read chick lit fiction as much so can’t think of any to recommend. Going through my goodreads list those are all the ones that really stand out (and are relatively clean).

  12. I love Sophie Kinsella but you are spot-on with your observations about her writing–I think of it as fun, light-hearted reading, not to be taken too seriously. You have many good suggestions above–James Herriot, M. C. Beaton (Hamish MacBeth), Jan Karon (the earlier Mitford ones are better, the series drags as you go on). I enjoy the Aunt Dimity books by Nancy Atherton. After watching The Durrells in Corfu on PBS, I checked My Family and Other Animals out of the library (took forever to get it through inter-library loan!) by Gerald Durrell and found it to be laugh-out-loud funny–if you like James Herriot, you will probably enjoy this book (he has several but I haven’t had a chance to read them yet).

    For more serious reading, I enjoyed The Baker’s Secret by Stephen Kiernan (WWII in the French countryside near Normandy); Chris Bohjalian has several good books including The Sandcastle Girls and The Light in the Ruins. His books are beautifully written but can be intense so you may want to review the content before you get into it.

    I will look with interest at what others are recommending!

  13. Janet Evonovich’s Stephanie Plum series is hysterical. She’s a terrible bounty hunter and the most bizzare things happen. They can be risque at moments, but nothing too terrible (IMO). I think they are up to book 24 in that series.
    At the moment I am reading David McCullough’s 1776, which is an excellent retelling.

  14. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is a MUST read. I think you would highly enjoy it. I also enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan as well by the same author, Lisa See.

  15. I second the Alice Hoffman suggestion. I forgot to mention Louise Penny. Her Armand Gamache series of murder mysteries are set in the province of Quebec. I also like Barbara Kingsolver – but maybe a bit too depressing sometimes.

  16. I enjoy Sophie Kinsella too, but I like Hester Browne’s books better as she doesn’t resort to vulgar language. James Herriot is fantastic, Alexander McCall Smith is wonderful and wise; Ralph Moody’s autobiographical novels are terrific, especially read aloud to children. I love Jan Karon’s books and contrary to what others say, I don’t think the series drags at all. It is uplifting and shows the power of love and consistency in overcoming problems. Miss Read is another author I enjoy for her slice of life in small town England stories. In fact, she was one of Jan Karon’s influences.

  17. Brandy, I know how much you and your family enjoy the Harry Potter series, but you DO NOT want to read JK Rowling’s adult fiction _The Casual Vacancy_. The book has very adult themes, and seems to be largely focused on who is in a relationship with whom. I am very liberal (I have to “check my language” to be sure I don’t offend!) but Casual Vacancy felt so voyeuristic, I gave up less than halfway through and returned it to the library.
    Enjoying everyone’s suggestions. I second JA Jance and her Joanna Brady series, if you like mysteries.

  18. I loved the Little House books too. Some of my favorites to read as an adult are Barbara Kingsolver’s books, especially her memoir [i]Animal, Vegetable, Miracle[/i] about her year with her family trying to eat as locally as possible, growing and raising much of their own food. I also enjoy reading cookbooks as bedtime reading, though they’re not fiction. The Mennonite Central cookbooks [i]More with Less[/i], [i]Simply in Season[/i], and [i]Extending the Table[/i] are some of my favorites for this reading. I find that they’re part frugal cooking how to, part devotional. They really remind me how blessed we are as a family, and encourage me to make what I have stretch even further so that we can be good stewards.

  19. I am an avid reader, and for certain the most beautiful and interesting book is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I found myelf stopping and re-reading sentences and passages over and over, just to let them sink in. Very good story, and beautifully written. I cannot imagine anyone not loving this book.

  20. Brandy-
    We second The Nightingale! After I finished it I convinced my husband to pick it up and he loved it, too.
    Happy Reading!

  21. The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is also very good and thought provoking. It focuses on the Russian people’s struggles during the War.

  22. I read a lot of book. I like detective books a lot. Rex Stout is a favorite. His books always keep me reading till the end. Always no fould language, no sex, and just sometimes FUNNY.

  23. Love the Penderwicks….read them for myself…my boys had no interest…ha! The books are set in a gentler time, when kids could have adventures with no worries. Highly recommend!

  24. I have enjoyed Jan Karon’s Mitford Series: some are better than others. I’m currently reading Stephanie Black mysteries and enjoying them. I’m a huge fan of clean mystery books!

  25. Looking over the books I read last year, you might enjoy Ellen Herrick, The sparrow Sisters and the Forbidden Garden. The Girl from the Train, by Irma Joubert ( not to be confused with The girl on the train, which was also a recent movie), books by Elyse Larson, the Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff, anything by Sarah Addison Allen.

  26. Hm, I second “My Family and Other Animals” — I loved it, as well as James Herriot’s “All Creatures” books. “The Enchanted April” (von Arnim)was very good, and I really enjoyed “An Innkeeper’s Diary” (Fothergill). As I understand it, Fawlty Towers (a PBS series) was somewhat loosely based on “An Innkeeper’s Diary”, but of course, the book is not at all “out there” or bawdy as the series was.
    For something set in the immediate pre-WWII era, I loved “A Time of Gifts” and it’s sequel, “Between the Woods and Water” by Patrick Fermor, although there is a single suggestive scene (I believe that is all) in the latter book.
    I always return to “Innocents Abroad” (Twain) to make me laugh out loud and “At the Back of the North Wind” (MacDonald)to make me smile and get a bit tear-y eyed.
    One of my all-time favorites is “To Kill a Mockingbird”, which I’ve read so many times. Starting as a youngster, I read “Heidi” many times, as well as “Black Beauty,” “Little House” series, “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn.” So many! I’d better quit or this list will get out of hand!

  27. Wendy McClure wrote “The Wilder Life” to describe how, as an adult who loved the books, she visited all the locations the Ingalls family. One of her observations is that the family was quite often broke and hungry. She proposes that Laura wrote “Farmer Boy” about her husband’s family as she did because to Laura, it was a sort of wonderland of stability and always having enough.

  28. Although probably lighter than the series LynnDinKY mentioned, you might enjoy the Darling Dahlias series by Susan Wittig Albert. Set during the Depression in Darling, Alabama, it centers around the women of the town’s garden club, with themes of sharing and community, lots of period details, and a mystery.

    Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series centers on an English WWI nurse-turned-private-investigator in the years following the war. (I prefer the earlier ones in the series). Mystery, lots of period detail, and discussion of how war changes people forever.

  29. Yes! Love her books–haven’t read them in years. I used to be a fan of Catherine Cookson, too. I also like Maeve Binchy’s style although her characters don’t always make moral choices (well, lots of book characters don’t, I guess … ) so that may color your view on her books.

  30. I’m not a huge reader. I have spurts where I enjoy reading, then take long breaks before finding another book of interest to read. I often read the back covers of award winning books and they just sound like the same basic love story over and over again. Just not interested! However, I do have some books that I’ve read over my lifetime that stand out. First, I love a good hard knocks story, especially if they are based on a true story, which makes it all the more interesting to me. Frank McCourt’s autobiography series “Angela’s Ashes”, ” ‘Tis” and “Teacher Man” were very interesting (he grew up in extreme poverty in Ireland, never went to high school and amazingly became a high school teacher in New York City). Another amazing autobiography is “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls, which was recently made into a movie (book is better I thought, but it was nice to share the story with hubby who has dyslexia and does not enjoy reading at all).

    Second, I like to read books of movies that I’ve seen. If I liked the movie, I figure the book will be even better! However, I have found some books that were much different than the movie adaptations, which made it an even more interesting read. “Fried Green Tomatoes” by Fannie Flagg was much like the movie, story wise, but I think the book had a bit more humour in it (I loved reading the town newsletter’s in the book). I absolutely LOVED the movie “Simon Birch” (one of my all-time favourite movies, actually), which was very touching, very humourous at times, very sad at other times and made me want to be a better person after watching it. The movie was based on the book “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving, but the movie and novel were very different. I liked the movie better, but I know someone who liked the book better…I’ll let you be the judge.

    Finally, I agree with the James Herriot books. I was introduced to these books by one of my Veterinary Technician classmates/friend. They are based on his real life experiences as a Veterinarian (you meet a lot of interesting people in the veterinary field), are very clean and so funny. Easily shared with all the family. In fact I even have a child’s story book I bought for DD when she was very young that was written by James Herriot. Definitely worth reading!

  31. Hello, Brandy and all — I am slowly working my way through the series of mysteries by Canadian writer Louise Penny. The series is probably best read in order (starting with “Still Life”), as there is extensive development of continuing characters and subplots as you progress through. The books are set in present day in the province of Quebec. They are just beautifully written, nothing you wouldn’t want your teenager to read, and I have yet to be right in figuring out “who done it.” Strongly recommended.

  32. I love basically anything Maeve Binchy has written. Jenny Colgan is a new favorite author of mine. I also enjoyed Gil McNeil’s “Beach Street Knitting Society” series.

  33. Are you on Goodreads? I love Lisa Genova (Still Alice, etc.) I love Jodi Picoult (The Storyteller and Small Great Things are fabulous!) Also enjoyed Who do you love by Jennifer Weiner and The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (she wrote the Red Tent). I’ve heard good things about Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay but have not read it myself. I am currently reading The Salt House by Lisa Duffy.

  34. Interestingly enough, Louise Penny came up recently in conversation and I had no idea she was Canadian. I am going to add her to my reading list and hopefully can start at the beginning from my local library.

  35. Someone suggested All the Light We Cannot See–I thought that was a beautifully written book. One I read years ago which I would like to find again is called Tisha by Robert Specht. It’s based on a true story about a young woman who goes to the Alaska wilderness to teach–I think it was in the early 1900s. She encounters many problems including prejudice against the native Alaskans. I’m not sure if it’s in print any more but if you find it, it will be well worth your time.

  36. I really like the classics such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee (I now live an hour from Monroe Co., Alabama, and have been to the courthouse there, many times, so I guess I am a bit partial to this book)…..I also like “The Grapes of Wrath ” by John Steinbeck because I feel like it is a true portrait of poverty during the Depression. I like “some” of William Faulkner’s stuff, and Eudora Welty’s Delta Wedding (I used to see her at the Jitney Jungle in Jackson, Mississippi…she lived around the corner from me when I was in law school….lol). I also lived in the Mississippi Delta for eight months so I can relate to the book. I like the Mitford series of books also.

  37. No one has mentioned Lynn Austin’s books. She is one of my favorite authors. Most of her books are historical fiction. All of them have a lot of depth and detail. She has a very good trilogy set in the Civil War era. It exposes the evils of slavery.

  38. Brandy, if you have a cheap pair of headphones and a pocket, I highly recommend listening to audio books. I know most of the time you’re surrounded by the sounds of children, but I have found many pockets of time to enjoy books. Often times its early in the morning doing chores, or later in the evening. Nursing a baby is another time I listen frequently.

  39. Anything that has John Grisham’s name on it has always been a winner for me. I am currently reading Rooster Bar and can’t put it down.

  40. Hi

    A lot of my favourites have already been mentioned ( Durrell, Herriot, Laura Ingalls Wilder, To kill a mockingbird) but I think that The Book Thief ( Markus Zusak) also deserves a mention. It was made into a film as well but I haven’t seen the film so can’t comment on that. Loved the book.

  41. I skimmed through the replies, so hopefully I’m not repeating anyone. Although that would just prove how popular a book is, right?

    I am a huge fan of Robert McCammon. I adore his Matthew Corbett series and am rereading them in between other books. Speaks the Nightbird is the first one of that series. There are currently 6 completed books and I believe I heard or read an interview where he stated that there’d be 10 to complete the series. The setting’s colonial times, around 1700 and they take place from the Carolinas (I think) to New York. I’d say the genre is mystery with some supernatural-like tones.

    Another series that I have read and greatly enjoyed is the Cofffeehouse Mysteries. They are just light, fun reading. This is a cozy mystery series. I started reading them while working as a barista a few summers ago and loved learning things about coffee, discovering new recipes, etc.

  42. I love Miss Read!!! I follow a FB group that shares a love of her books. Some of the followers post beatufiul pictures of the English countryside, especially the Costswolds.

  43. I also love Louise Penny’s books. The setting is the area where my paternal grandfather was from. He was Engish/Irish Canadian and her books were the first thing I’ve read that helped me “see” where he was from. I wrote her an email telling her how much I enjoyed them and why and she wrote the lovliest reply! I don’t do that as a rule but her books really did impact me.

  44. Tisha is still in print, I believe. I bought a copy a couple years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Would be an excellent read-aloud choice for thr family — history, culture, and adventure all in one book.

  45. Hello Brandy,
    Thank you so much for this post! I’m so delighted by it, and can’t wait to check out so many of the recommendations, including yours.

    I’m 1/4 of the way through Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale, and I’m also very pleased with it so far. Rich detail of the war and the french countryside without vulgarity. I hope the book continues this way! It isn’t fiction, but I adore reading the Tightwad Gazette over and over. It always helps inspire me to find new frugal ways, much like your blog!

  46. Your two youngest look adorable! I laughed out loud about the mustache. Are you interested at all in using the Goodreads website? I read about 2-5 books a week and really enjoy tracking them there, along with what I want to read. Not sure if this link will come thru. Give it a look, I’d love to have you as a Goodreads friend, along with any other readers on this site. https://www.goodreads.com/TikiKrissy

  47. Any of the books by Laura Child’s. They are what I call mystery-lite books. Easy reads, not risqué at all. Able to read them in any order… fun, lighthearted.

  48. My distant cousin wrote a book about their life growing up during the depression. It was interesting to me to read about when my grandmother was a kid but also interesting to others about what happened. It is called Sharecropping in Lousiana.

  49. Hi again

    First of all- I completely forgot Georgette Heyer! I can’t believe that. I loved her books.

    Thanks to this post I’ve just checked my library for ebooks. Not too many but some available. Also searching eBay for the Little House books for my 14 year old daughter- will add them to the home library if I find a good price.

  50. Another great Christian author is Dee Henderson. Her books are a good read and no bad language or things that a young adult could not read. I also recently reread all the Left Behind books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It was a good 5 years since I had read them and it was “new” all over again. The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson is a very good read too.

    Your son’s dress up pictures are just wonderful. He is cute as can be.

  51. I love Barbara Kingsolver’s books. My favorites were “Animal Dreams” and “The Lacuna”. I think I will read “The Lacuna” again soon. It is so well-written! When I read it I remember questioning why I would want to read anyone else’s books.

  52. I recently read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. Loved it. I cried and laughed and cried again. Finished it in one evening, it was so good. He writes in a way that touches all the senses. He can write.

    I also loved Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a child.

  53. Hello Brandy,
    I love how you are raising your family with such wholesome values. I am a librarian in Massachusetts. In fact, I live in the same town as the author of the Penderwicks! If you and your children like clean historical fiction, check out the author Ann Rinaldi. Have you read Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of my Life? All of Catherine Reef’s (also a friend) biographies are excellent reading. I especially love the books she wrote about Queen Victoria, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, and the Bronte sisters. I think your children would love Wish Tree by Katherine Applegate. Happy Reading!

  54. Thanks for this suggestion. I can hardly wait to read “The Nightingale”. Although I have a library card, I have not tried its e-books yet but Brandy your comments are inspiring.

  55. So many great suggestions from everyone. Leisha Kelly’s books sound great. Struggles during the depression are the story of my family’s life. They had no money but they had a farm, food (canned their own peaches, tomatoes, blackberries), etc. and never felt poor although they were. They were independent, and felt that compared to others, they were rich. They certainly were rich in spirit. I can hardly wait to read one of her books.

  56. I absolutely loved “A Time of Gifts” and have bee looking for “Between the Woods and the Water”. Over the years I have read “A Time of Gifts” many times. One of my all-time favourite books. As a child, I loved “Sir Gibby”, the Little House series, Heidi (that I reread not long ago), James Herriott’s books were favourites too. I also loved Derek Tangye’s books set in Cornwall, including stories about their daffodil flower farm ad, of course, their cat (The Cat in the Window). I was downstairs today and found a treasure trove of oldie but goldies books.

  57. I loved Angela’s Ashes. I don’t often read anymore but when I do I like online books and then my computer reads them to me. Good for people with vision problems AND/OR dyslexia

  58. what a great suggestion. I am supposed to talk about a woman Canadian author, an artist, and a photographer so I may choose Louise Penny for the author.

  59. I’m an avid reader too & have read & enjoyed & rcommend many of the authors’ works mentioned in these posts.
    I also recommend the Collected Stories of O. Henry, the Collected Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham (which take place in the 1920s & 30s – many are heartbreaking); Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle; Bullfinch’s Mythology (which include Greek, Roman & The Age of Chivalry); The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and The Nature Notes of An Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden – one of my all time favorites as I love the author’s beautiful watercolors of nature in the English countryside. Also love Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort & Joy By Sarah Ban Breathnach. I’m currently reading Readers Digest’s Wildlife At Your Back Door: How to Create a Haven for Nature’s Friends (garden designs, what to plant, how to maintain, natural controls) by Sharon Amos.

  60. I enjoy the Will Thomas Barker and Llewelyn series, The Charles Lennox series by Charles Finch and The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan W. ALbert.

  61. Pauline, thanks! I think Tisha is a more obscure title so I’m thrilled to find someone else who has read and enjoyed it. My 14- and 12-year-old children are avid readers and I would like to find it for them. It can be hard to find good reading material for them that is also appropriate.

  62. I adore the Jane Austen “fan fiction.” Every time I find a new one I purchase it.

    Lately I have been read the eight book series set in the middle ages by Dorothy Dunnett, far and away the best historical novel writer I have come across.

  63. Miss Julia series by Ann B Ross are terrific books, if you’ve ever lived in a small southern town then you know every single one of her characters. I don’t mind swear words and risque but if I remember correctly the Miss Julia books are really clean. They are laugh out loud funny, probably should be read in order. Think I saw on Amazon where soon-to-be book will be 19th in series.

  64. Jan Karon’s books are one of my favorites. Make sure you start with the first book in the Mitford series, you’ll meet all the characters for later books.

  65. I am about 88% of the way through “When Calls the Heart” by Janet Oke, and loving it! I had to stop temporarily because a couple of books I had on hold came up so I had to read them while I had the chance – but I can’t wait to get back to it!

    Other books I’ve enjoyed recently are “Mr. Dickens and His Carol” by Samantha Silva, “A Wilder Rose” by Susan Wittig Albert, “Caroline: Little House, Revisited” by Sarah Miller (totally different view on the Little House story!), and “A Man Called Ove” by Frederik Backman. I also second whoever recommended Lisa See’s novels – she’s one of my favorite authors! Kate Morton is another favorite – “The Forgotten Garden” is my favorite.

  66. I agree with the several ladies recommending Louise Penny. I would add a recommendation to read the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd. They are in the mystery genre set in WWI England and France. The Bess Crawford character is a nurse serving in WWI. There is lots of interesting historical detail and Bess is a heroine in the best tradition of plucky independent young ladies, like Laura Ingalls Wilder or Jo in Little Women.

  67. I recently finished that new one on the plants that were in the Little House series that you mentioned. I enjoyed it very much. It had many little tidbits about the Little House stories, along with what they grew, and what grew in the areas they were in. I love plants, and I love Little House, so it was win-win for me.

  68. I am reading Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens right now. I read it aloud each morning to the 2 big girls I homeschool, and we discuss, they write response paragraphs, etc. I haven’t read it for years, and am enjoying it. I had forgotten how long-winded Dickens is at times–reading it aloud brings out some pretty long paragraphs with a lot of big words in them:) Still, I love seeing the perspective of the time period from a social reformer who was trying to make changes through his literature.

    I am reading simple chapter books aloud to my special needs nephew. Today, we were reading in “Betsy’s Little Star” by Carolyn Haywood. He is ready for a little bit longer book with a few pictures, a simple theme, and an opportunity to use his imagination a bit while he listens. That series supplies all that. We’ve recently finished Little House in the Big Woods, and started LH on the Prairie. But, I lost the book. I am baffled. I am not accustomed to losing books, so I”m just so surprised. But, it will turn up, I’m sure, and we will read this other one for now.

    I have not had time to visit the library, so just grabbed an old Grace Livingstone Hill book off my shelf–“The Enchanted Barn” to read. It’s very old fashioned, and in it, they turn a barn into a house. Very light reading-perfect for an odd moment when I don’t want to focus.

    The girls and I read “Kisses From Katie” last fall. Then, we followed up with “Daring to Hope” the sequel. It’s not fiction. The books are about a young lady, named Katie, who goes to Uganda and ends up staying there to work with poor children. She ends up adopting 14 orphan girls. It tells about her work with the people, and her girls. Very touching. There are 10 years between the 2 books, and it’s really great to see the growth that occurs in her life, as well as the organization she starts to feed and provide schooling for kids there.

  69. I too read Little House series out loud to my family. I loved Farmer Boy also. The food they described made my mouth water. I also liked The Long Winter. If there was ever a book about preparing for the future and having food storage. It was a poignant reminder what happens when the food supply is cut off.

  70. I too loved the Shopaholic series but I suggest you end with Shopaholic and Baby. It felt like a very fitting end to a series but then Kinsella got convinced to write more. The ones afterwards left me feeling very frustrated with the main character because she’s no longer young and she no longer really has real world debt problems because her husband/in laws are rich and she’s just creating problems that regular people don’t have. In other words, she never learned her lesson.

  71. Agreed, but JKR’ s Cormoran Strike books (written underline name Robert Gilbraith) are super fun mysteries. HIGHLY recommended.

  72. Isn’t it? My sister-in-law, knowing I loved the Little House books, gave me Pioneer Girl for my birthday, and I’m so grateful to her.

  73. Jackie French is a wonderful Australian author, her children’s stories and stories for young adults thoughtful and well written. I am currently reading Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies it is first book in a planned trilogy about a young wealthy Australian girl sent to London to be presented to society shortly before WW1. Jackie French has also written books on companion planting, looking after chickens and building a stone house ( she built her home).

  74. A lot of the books I enjoy are mentioned above, such as anything by Gerald Durrall, James Herriot and Gervase Phinn. I also really like books by Flora Klickmann, who wrote from 1910 onwards garden stories and people stories. Anything by John Steinbeck is good in my humble opinion. And there a heaps of fascinating fantasy/ sci fi writers like Louise McMaster Bujold, Le Guin and Gareth Nix. Finally for domestic murders (I don’t read gory stuff ); Dorothy L Sayers, Sue Grafton, and Laurie R King are all really good.
    Whoa! I nearly left off Georgette Heyer, Alison Weir and even Jean Plaidy for historical fiction.

  75. I find if I read the book first, I end up just picking apart the movie as it wasn’t like the book. It makes for a less enjoyable watch. If I read the book after I watched the movie, I get more insight into story and it fills in some of the gaps.

  76. I’ve rediscovered Agatha Christie and have had to restrain myself from reserving all that our library has at once! Ha!

    Another good series that’s sometimes hard to find is The Art History Mysteries by Iain Pears (pronounced ‘peers’ in my understanding). Just good mysteries – the main character smokes but no nudity, cussing, etc and they aren’t formulaic in any way. My extremely picky co-worker recommend them to me and we ended up passing them around the office.

    The Rangers Apprentice Series is a favorite at our house too.

    Your children in their costumes are so much fun, Brandy! Thanks for sharing!
    Lea

  77. Swashbucklers and knights! They are such sweethearts! Two recent books I’ve enjoyed are The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia S. Fenollera, and Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford. You might think from the first book’s title, and the fact that a large portion of the second one takes place in a brothel, that they’d be racy, but they’re not at all. The second book is inspired by the true story of a boy that was raffled off as a prize at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1909, but is largely a work of fiction.

  78. Thanks for posting! I have been a big reader ever since I could read! I’m in my 50s. My daughter & I love The Penderwicks. I prefer historical and non fiction usually. I just love how reading takes me away!
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like I have lots to add to my list!

  79. So many great suggestions – and I’m so pleased to see so many of my favourite authors mentioned. I am such a fan of Louise Penny that a friend and I even spent our summer vacation in the Eastern Township area of Quebec where the novels are set and to the small town where she lives!
    Since I am originally from Edinburgh my favourite Alexander McCall Smith series is the one featuring Isabel Dalhousie – so gentle and yet very thoughtful at the same time. I had the pleasure of attending a talk by McCall Smith a couple of years ago and he was so funny – just an absolute delight. If anyone ever has the chance to see him he is well worth the price of admission.
    Also, Jacqueline Winspear’s “Masie Dobbs” series- just wonderful, they examine many difficult questions that came up in society during this time period (1920’s and 1930’s) but again, in a very thoughtful way – I’m just about to start the latest in the series. I also saw the author speak at an event shortly after the first book in the series was published and it was so interesting to hear about what and who in her family prompted her to write about this time period and who she based the character on. Marie is also very prudent with her money which I think you would approve of Brandy.
    And finally, anything by Jane Austen – my favourite is “Pride & Prejudice” and I usually re-read yearly.

  80. Ellie’s Friend, I found “Between the Woods and Water” easily on Amazon, and as I recall, some are even used, saving money. I bought mine a long time ago, but bought the two books recently as a gift for a friend. I hope you find it! It was great. I don’t know the Tangye books, but now I’ll look for them.

  81. Thanks for sharing your reading practices, Brandy — I haven’t read the Shopaholic books, but I will put them on my list.
    Right now I am working my way through a bunch of Agatha Christie books, and also all of the Anne of Green Gables books. My husband and I love downloading ebooks and audiobooks from our library. We have cards for two different libraries, which gives us a bigger selection. (In Colorado, once you have a card at your local library, you can apply for cards at any other state library.)
    For Little House fans, I recommend Caroline, which is the journey from the Little House in the Big Woods, as told from the mother’s POV.

  82. I find Rosamunde Picher’s writing to be so comforting. My favorites are her collections of short stories and Coming Home set mostly around WWII. There is such kindness in her stories.

  83. I felt that JKR was cramming every adult theme that was “forbidden” to put into the Harry Potter series into Casual Vacancy. It left me feeling disgusted. So disappointing.

  84. I love to read. It is relaxing escapism for me. Reading is also a barometer of my mental health so I write down all the books I read each year. Here’s what I’ve enjoyed the most from the past few years:

    Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel – Katherine Reay grad school for an orphan is funded by an anonymous donor with the caveat that a weekly letter is written.
    Midwife of Venice – first in a triology set in 1500s – action packed historical novels – Roberta Rich
    Small Blessings – Martha Woodroof
    Royal Spyness series about Lady Georgie – Rhys Bowen – funny, clean, and fast-moving set in 1930’s England about a woman who is 11th in line to inherit the throne but whose family no longer has money.
    A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman – I really disliked the main character for the first 80 pages or so but then the tides turned and I LOVED this book
    Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaugh messages sent using Victorian flower codes. Love and loss story.
    One Thousand White Women – Jim Fergus
    Mr. Churchill’s Secretary – first in series about American/Brit woman who is a spy – Susan Elia MacNeal
    Pope Joan – Donna Woolfolk Cross historical fiction – fascinating
    Oldies but goodies Peter Mayle’s stories set in Provence – both the autobiographical and then his lighthearted fictional crime capers
    The Rosie Book series – Graham Simsion – an brilliant savant’s project to find a wife in a scientific manner. Hysterical and heartwarming
    The Forgotten Seamstress – Liz Trenow
    Sophie Kinsella is a pseudonym for Madeleine Wickham. Her stories written under her real name are also lighthearted and funny.
    The Language of Threads – Gail Tsukiyama
    The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier sometimes I find Tracy Chevalier hard going but The Lady and the Unicorn is historical fiction about the making of tapestries in medieval Belgium
    Honolulu – Alan Brennert
    Half Magic and other YA books in the magic series – Edward Eager
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
    The Little Beach Street Bakery – Jenny Coogan and other books by Jenny Coogan. Funny, lighthearted. This is my favorite about escaping a life crisis by ending up on a British island and pursuing new dreams and loves.

    Happy reading!

  85. I also listen to audio books during the day. Our library has two apps, Overdrive and RBDigital. I love listening while I’m doing chores that I otherwise don’t enjoy, such as doing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, etc. I have two noisy toddlers, so I wear headphones to listen. If I need to keep an ear out for them, I just one side of the headphones, which seems to work for me. They are often playing nearby, where I can see them, so I can listen with both sides of the headphones.

  86. Hello Brandy, Wonderful authors mentioned here I will definitely have to explore those. I like the Sue Grafton alphabet series “A is for Alibi ” and it goes through to z if course. And Ann Perry’s historical novels particularly the”Monk” series set in 1890’s London. And for a light hearted read any of the “Cat Who” books by Lillian Jackson Braun always fun! In that series you need to start at the first book The Cat Who Saw Red to set the scene for the following books…love tovread and I tend to give books as gifts because of it. Happy reading ! Gaila in the NW

  87. I like Barbara Kingsolver, too, and my fave is Prodigal Summer. The Poisonwood Bible was undoubtedly the most emotional book I have ever read.

    How come no one has mentioned Anne Tyler? She has been writing a book a year for about half a century. My fave is Saint Maybe. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons, but I thought Saint Maybe was better.

  88. The only caveat about reading Louise Penny’s boos is that there is swearing. In Quebec culture, swear words are not references to body parts usually but to religious Catholic objects, in French of course. It won’t keep me from reading these books but might put off some readers.

  89. Today I learned about my library’s ebooks. I am entitled to watch 3 movies free per month. I can read certain newspapers for free, and magazines and hundreds of e books. In addition, they have free courses. I could for example learn about Excel, Word and other programs. (I’m on a Mac, so these courses would come in handy). I can access music for free. The possibilities seem limitless and all for free.

  90. She is a wonderful writer and has quite an interesting story to her own life. She has a website and sends out a monthly newsletter to those who sign up and it is always so thoughtful and so interesting. I’ve seen her in person a few times and she is well spoken but also self-deprecating and VERY funny.

  91. Unfortunately Sue Grafton recently died and there is no “Z” for the series. She did finish “Y” which is just being published.

  92. I loved A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles It is so beautifully written I sometimes just got lost in the way the author put the words on the page.
    I also love books by Daniel Silva, Scott Turow, and John Grisham.

  93. Rosamunde Pilcher is my very favorite author. Winter Solstice is the only book bought on the day it came out in 2000. I have reread it every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. About every four or five years I read her novels in order (The Shell Seekers, September, Coming Home, and Winter Solstice).

  94. I second the Mitford Series. I also enjoy historical novels. The Hangmans Daughter Series is excellent, set in the middle ages in Bavaria. The historical details are well researched and accurate. Steve Berry has done several interesting ones- he takes a real life “history mystery” and creates an action/suspense/modern day solution (fictional). He has dealt with the Templars, the amber room, the lost library of Alexandria, confederate gold, the Romanovs. “Sliding on the Snow Stone” recounts the journey of a ukranian refugee; “The Winter Horses” is fictional, but it introduced me to the Przewalski horses. The “All Cretures Great and Small” series is one of my all time favorites, along with the Captains and Kings series.

  95. My husband thoroughly enjoys watching movies. His opinion is that if it is that good of a book, they will eventually make it into a movie.

  96. No-one has mentioned Kate Atkinson?! Her first novel, “Behind the scenes in the Museum” is set in York, England, and is SUCH a good book. There are flash-back stories intertwined with the narrative which you can read like a short story. I have read it several times. She is by far my favorite author. Her later novels, a crime series, are good too; more recently she has written 2 books about WWII, Life after Life and A God in Ruins.
    Other books I have enjoyed enough for a re-read : The Red Tent (story of Joseph’s sister in the old testament. A bit “earthy” in places but fascinating) – Anita Diamant
    Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
    Anything by Maeve Binchy. I am currently reading a collection of her short stories put together by her husband (since she died several years ago).
    I have the kindle app on my phone, but I’m not a fan of ebooks. I suppose I could try audio books while I sew or clean the kitchen!

  97. So many wonderful suggestions! My favorite book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I also think you would enjoy The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate. I believe there are three books in that particular series.

  98. I didn’t count in particular but I believe most of the authors mentioned in this discussion by mostly women are women. I didn’t realize until later in life that the authors I re-read the most are women: Georgette Heyer’s Regency and mystery books, Helen MacInnes, Elizabeth Marie Pope for young-adult books. If any “lost” books by any of those three ever turned up, I would be first in line to get them.
    Not sure what women authors do and don’t include that appeals to me? These three all write of people who are true to themselves and find others who support them for it.

  99. Exactly! But it also dragged on and on because she used the same type of character development as in HP, but the characters were so much less engaging. I seldom bail on a book before finishing, but I hated Casual Vacancy.

  100. I love Maeve Binchy’s books, you are right the characters at times make some wrong decisions, but they usually set about correcting them. I like that the message is not to let a bad decisions define you. There is grace there. I love the Copper Beech. And the Anne of Green Gables series are always great. Recently I have been listening to the history chicks pod cast and LibriVox recordings, can’t beat those classics!!

  101. I love “what are you reading” posts! I always make notes and keep them handy when I’m ready for something new. I have been using Overdrive for a while and have really enjoyed the convenience and the price. I’m going to look into the video options available through our state system.

    I am working on a CS Lewis collection. I love the Narnia books and hope to reread the series later this year.
    For lighter reading, I am revisiting one of my favorite Christian authors, Lori Wick. I also enjoy Janette Oke and Grace Livingston Hill (her books are somewhat old fashioned, but a nice light read). Someone mentioned “When Comes the Heart” by Janette Oke. This was made into a nice series by Hallmark that I have been watching through Amazon Prime but it is several years old so maybe libraries would offer it. The costumes are beautiful to see (although no one ever looks like they get dirty even after walking through dirt streets in the rain 🙂 ) and the series is very different than the books, but it is enjoyable to watch. It is a wholesome show that children can enjoy as well.

    I have reread the Little House series and Anne of Green Gables and loved them as an adult. I’d also like to recommend the Elsie Dinsmore Series by Martha Finley for girls. The complete set is available on Kindle right now for 99 cents.

    Thank you Brandy and everyone for posting your suggestions.

  102. [i]”it has been a good point of discussion at our house about buying on credit (my husband and I have never been ones to use credit cards for shopping, and we often discuss saving up for things that we want).”[/i]

    I apologize if this was already mentioned, but I like to use a credit card because I get MONEY back. Of course, it’s never good to buy things you can’t afford, but I use it for what I need and pay it all off each month. Because I have a “rewards” card issued by my credit union, I get actual MONEY (not points) paid into my account at the end of the year. I realize it wouldn’t work for people without financial discipline, but it could work for you.

  103. I too loved the shopaholic books! Light hearted fun. I too would say the Nightingale was fabulous, I like history type books, and would very much say The Orphan train, (beautiful/sad), and a truly heart wrenching book that all my friends loved was Sarah’s Key (Jewish interment). Have you ever read any of the Beverly Lewis books about Amish life? Fictional series that also talk a lot about their cooking, gardening and lifestyle. Beautifully written.

  104. If you are in Canada, you can watch “When Comes the Heart” on CBC online under tv programs. I’m not sure it would work in the States. You could always try it. cbc.ca

  105. Louise, I definitely think we are disciplined enough to use a credit card in this way. It’s not something we have chosen to do, however. I know this works for some people (my mom uses a credit card for airline miles that she pays off each month) but for most people, a credit card ends up meaning debt and paying interest.

    Years ago, my husband moved his graduate student loans to a credit card, because he was able to get a much lower interest rate (2%). He opened another card and was able to transfer some of the loans to that one at 0%. In that way, he paid off his student loans faster and at a much lower rate of interest (he and I both graduated with our undergraduate degrees without incurring debt).

    I write a check for my mortgage and two other bills (the mortgage company charges about $15 a payment to pay online) and my utility bills (water, electric, and gas) and insurance are automatically deducted from my account. My quarterly bills (trash and sewer) are paid online. I don’t purchase a lot of things; my husband purchases gas for our van. I buy groceries, clothing, schoolbooks (rarely now as we have most of what we need), paper and pencils, and things for the garden. I feel like it would be inconvenient to buy those few things with a credit card and then have to pay that card off each month. If it works for you and earns you money back, that’s great!

  106. In the UK we have a publisher called Persephone Books who publish minor forgotten classics very often by female authors. I have read lots of their books and have not come across anything smutty or violent. The books often have a domestic theme which I enjoy. I buy them second hand on Amazon etc because they are quite expensive. Favourites are Miss Buncles Book by DE Stevenson, The Fortnight in September by RC Sheriff and The Home Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. They are’ gentle books’ generally and I’m sure some of you would enjoy them.

  107. Saint Maybe is one of my favorite books!
    I am so enjoying this book discussion, and I am making a long list of books I want to read.

  108. I should also add the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke. It’s young adult fantasy, but so great. I would probably say I like the series even more than Harry Potter. I’ve read them several times and always recommend them to the voracious readers in my middle school classes.

  109. I loved the Ann Rinaldi books as a kid and have shared them with many students. I have my library science degree, though I teach middle school literature, so have come across many books that the kids love. Several of my students also love the Maximum Ride series, if you’re into fantasy.

  110. Rosamunde Pilcher is my favorite. I think I read everything she wrote including short stories and felt bereft when she published her last novel. I loved reading the Little House series to my three daughters and also all the Anne of Green Gables books. And the Anne of Green Gables television series with Megan Follows is wonderful. The Education of Little Tree is a gem of a true story about a Cherokee boy being raised by his grandparents in the North Carolina mountains. And I have to admit to still loving Gone With The Wind. I think I read it every summer from age twelve to sixteen and enjoyed it as much upon rereading several years ago. In spite of the romanticism of the old South, the character development and historical setting make an unforgettable saga. The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is always enjoyed by my entire family. Oh, and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough— both the novel and miniseries. The Winds of War and War and Remebrance by Herman Wouk are also epic novels (and great television miniseries) set just prior and during World War II. Being a horse lover I enjoyed Seabiscuit by Laura Hillebrand (both the book and movie) and the recent movie Secretariat. Loved King of the Wind and Misty of Chincoteague as a child.

  111. I love the Education of Little Tree! Found it in a charity shop here and cried at the end of the story. Not many people seem to have heard of it.

  112. I totally forgot to mention two history books I recently checked out of our library that I thought were excellent:
    The Platagenetes
    The War of the Roses
    Both by Dan Jones
    I checked the first out on CD to listen to on my way to and from work as there were many French words and names (places mostly) I would not have known.

    He’s also written a book called The Templars about the Knights Templar that I’m hoping the library acquires soon.

    Lea

  113. Try[b] Letters from Honeyhill[/b] by Cecilia Hendricks. (Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Letters++from+Honeyhill ) This is a multi-decade collection of vivid letters by a woman who homesteaded in the boonies of Wyoming, and ran a beekeeping/honey business with her husband, John Hendricks. They had 3 children; eventually, Cecilia was forced to go back to teaching college in Indiana, in order to save their farm.

    Full of practical ideas on saving money and living with what you can make do with…but also joyous, full of great details and word pictures of her friends and family. I try to reread it every year.

  114. Brandy, I am reading the series aboutThe Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. Nicholas Flamel was briefly mentioned in the Sorcerers Stone book. Since you and your family enjoyed the Harry Potter books ( my absolute favorites) I think you may enjoy these. There are six books in the series, The Alchemyst
    The Magician,The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock,The Enchantress. I found four of the books at Goodwill and picked up the other two at a half price book store with trade in credit. I can’t recommend this series enough.

  115. The Long Winter is hands down my favorite. I reread it every year starting in the late Fall. I think it helps me prepare for the long grey months ahead.

  116. We have that library service here in NY as well and my children use the Overdrive app to download both audio and print books that we use for leisure and schooling. (For how long can I call my big kids children? I mean, one is almost 21…lol!) They have so many resources it’s mindboggling. I use it for magazines, books, films, etc. and put them on my Kindle for reading or watching. I still love a bound book the best but having the convenience of this service is fantastic. We don’t have cable either and I’ve just dropped Prime and was considering dropping Netflix but we’re on the $7.99/month plan from forever ago and I DO love The Crown! (In spite of the Princess Margaret episodes of this last season – yikes!!) So, Netflix stays for now. 🙂

  117. I completely agree with this Brandy! I love [i]Farmer Boy[i] the most now too, and I could barely get through it as a young girl. We’ve read them aloud to all of the kids and I still quote from them or remind them of how Ma and Pa and the girls did things. We especially talked about them when we drove west across the prairies a few years ago. We also talked a great deal about the Mormon settlement of Utah and the fortitude that it took. We were all so shocked by that landscape the first time we saw it that we just couldn’t imagine what it was like for those folks. We northern forest people are not used to so much ROCK!! And endless vistas!! Gorgeous country out there. 🙂

  118. I recommend the “Lunar chronicles ” by Marissa Mayer.
    Any book by Melanie Dickerson (She retells fairy tales).
    Peter and the star catchers series .
    There is also a series of Little house books about Laura’s mother and Grandmother.

  119. THE EDUCATION OF LITTLE TREE has long ago been discredited as fraudulent. It is not a true story and was reclassified as YA fiction when the truth came out. If you’d like to read more authentic stories look up Sherman Alexie instead, a very well respected author.

  120. I LOVED “Sleeping the Churchyard Sleep” by Rest MacPherson. I loved the series this author wrote earlier in her career. She put out this one book and it was amazing. The characters, the setting – it was beautiful to me and very interesting writing. I wish she would write more.

  121. I’m about halfway through a novel called [i]Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic[/i], by Armand Baltazar. It’s a young adult novel but it’s illustrated by the author and oh, my. The paintings are just beautiful. It’s been well worth the small amount of time I’ve had to sit and read fiction for myself. Otherwise I’ve been reading My Little Pony chapter books with my six year old, who thinks they’re marvelous.

  122. First of all, the COSTUMES!!! I want some for my kids; I will now be on the lookout for great armor!
    Secondly, there is a podcast I thought you might like for book recommendations – What Should I Read Next? It is done by the woman who runs the blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy. She has a guest (a lover of reading, not usually a big named person) on who talks with her about 3 books he/she loves and 1 he/she hates. Then, the host gives 3 book recommendations. Sometimes there are 20 books mentioned in an episode or a specific author or series.

  123. If you enjoyed Sophie Kinsella, she also published books under her real name of Madeleine Wickham (Sophie Kinsella is her pen name). I’ve actually enjoyed the Madeleine Wickham books more.

  124. I am quite late to this party, but I came back to this post looking for reading inspiration, so maybe others will too!
    I agree with Rozy regarding Jan Karon. Perhaps some people got disinterested when she spun off with her Father Tim books (as opposed to the Mitford series), but she has written 3 more Mitford books since then and in my opinion, each one is better than the one before.
    Thanks to Brandy for this post and all you do! Thanks to all who gave ideas 🙂

  125. I have been cutting back on our spending as well, and I have had that book you mentioned a while back, “The Girl in Hyacinth Blue,” in my wishlist all this while. A few months back, I traveled to visit my aunt who is gravely ill, and she wanted to rid her library of most of it’s books, so I loaded up. One of my finds was that book!! I can’t wait to get in to it!! I have not been motivated to read in a long while, and this post makes me want to read again!!

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