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Passing along books

March 27, 2013

I find it very gratifying to pass on a good book to a friend.  And, as a bonus, you can chat about the ending together.  Here are my most-recommended books from the last year (not all published in the last year, just read-by-me in the last year).

The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

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I love-love-loved this book.  It’s a book that I wouldn’t have picked up based solely on the book cover (boring, right?) or even the jacket description. But it was included in one of those end-of-year best lists on Amazon or the New York Times or NPR — or maybe all three.  So, I bought it on my Kindle.  And I quickly fell in love.  On the surface, it’s about baseball, but it’s about so much more than baseball.  When I closed the book, I was so very sad to see the characters go.  Here’s one of many glowing reviews.

Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

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Here’s another book that I wasn’t sure about opening for some indescribable reason.  It was a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law, notoriously good book-pickers, so I should’ve been more anxious to start.  But I picked a few other Christmas books first.  When I got to this one, I couldn’t put it down.  The front of the book quotes NPR, that it’s a “literary miracle.”  And it is.  So well written, and such an intriguing, almost suspenseful story that takes you from modern day California to 1960s Italy.  Buy this book.

Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman

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A theme is emerging.  I read a lot about this book, but I wasn’t interested at first.  Many articles and reviews made it sound like a guide to parenting (and I’ve read enough of those to know that most are complete shall-I-say hogwash).  But it’s actually not a parenting guide at all; it’s more accurately a memoir. Druckerman’s stories of raising children in Paris were funny and, as a mother myself, also made me consider how cultural constructs influence parenting decisions.  A fast, easy, entertaining and makes-you-think read.


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