2016 Book ReviewBooks

Recent Reads: Books I Loved {and some I didn’t…}

By January 25, 2016 June 20th, 2019 8 Comments

A good book is an event in my life. -Stendhal

1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It won the Pulitzer for heavens sake, aren’t I supposed to love it? My overall feeling: meh. If I’m going to take two months to read a 772-page book that weighs ten pounds I’d like to feel a few things: enlightened, empowered, inspired. Sadly, I felt none of those things. There is no doubt that Tartt has an immense capacity to string words into beautiful sentences. She’s very very good. I just wish I hadn’t been left feeling so…meh.

2. In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick. Based on a true story, I read this as Cope embarked on ocean classroom. The beginning hooked me right away, though I had trouble wading through the middle. I was left feeling thankful I’ve never had to send a loved one off to sea for two-three years. Also, thankful I’ve never had to contemplate whether or not to eat a human or starve. Wonderfully researched.

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3. Missing You by Harlan Coben. I needed something light and quick after cannibalism. Coben knows how to create a page-turner. Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. Feels a bit formulaic. ho-hum.

4. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Nonfiction. I adore Gilbert’s writing. And if she’s going to write about writing? I snatched this one up quick! I underlined many many passages. A great read for anyone who wants to write. Big takeaway? You have a work to do. Only you can do it. So get it done and let the haters be darned! Oh, and Gilbert has this most remarkable theory regarding a big story idea, Ann Patchett, and a kiss…fascinating.

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5. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I have a new favorite author. I was hunting for some exciting, adrenaline-pumping fiction and found my match! Moriarty is so good – she nails the dialogue, the pacing, the inner thoughts we think and can’t articulate. There are a few “parts” but not too racy. I RAN to the library after I read this to get her next book, crossing my fingers I would like her as much the next time around.

6. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Oh, I was not disappointed! This was fantastic. It made me think about how we grow older with our spouse. Remember when it was all rose pedals and butterflies? Alice, our heroine, bumps her head and when she wakes up, she discovers she’s getting a divorce! She can’t remember the last ten years or that she has THREE CHILDREN. She only knows she adores her newlywed husband – what could possibly have driven them apart? IT’S SO GOOD. January, (okay, life in general!) feels so good knowing I have more Liane Moriarty books to read 🙂

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7. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. This was a big winner in the middle grade world. I liked it okay.


8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Yep, I went back for more. Here she dives into serious issues like domestic abuse with couples who live seemingly “perfect lives.” She also makes you laugh at all the right moments. OMGoodness, I love this author.

9. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sender. A beautifully written book about a great love story…you may weep. Reminded me of Pearl Buck and The Good Earth.

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10. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. Okay, friendlies. If there is one book you need to read this year – THIS IS IT. It has changed my life because it has changed the way I think. It is SO incredibly powerful for me as a parent, teacher, and writer. It’s readable, filled with practical examples, and has the potential to open up worlds of opportunity. I love this book. It was our faculty’s summer reading – what a gem! READ THIS. Or you can start with Dweck’s TED talk: The Power in Believing You Can Improve.


And that’s all for the latest edition of Recent Reads. What am I reading now? Another Liane Moriarty book…:)

What are you reading? As always, I love to hear!



  • Wow, I’m going to have to give Liane Moriarty a try! I’ve just started the Flavia de Luce books (MG), which are sooooo good.

  • Brenda Godwin says:

    I’ve almost finished Dan Mori’s book, “In the Company of Cowards,” about his service as defense counsel for an Australian interned at Guantanamo. So well written that I found myself sympathizing with his client, a member of a group that I’d never had a positive thought about. Simultaneously reading “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush,” recommended by my friend Artie Pratt. As presidential bios go, it’s good, though not as good as my favorite: “President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime!”

  • Nina says:

    I could not get past chapter one of Goldfinch.

  • Annie says:

    I LOVE Liane Moriarty…I read her books last summer – perfect beach reads. Have you tried Elin Hildebrand? You might like her books…I completely agree about the Goldfinch…I couldn’t get through it…and I didn’t make it through Heart of the Sea either. Lately Ive been staying up late reading Daniel Silva’s – Gabriel Allon series. Gabriel is an Israeli spy and assassin…most of the books in that series are historical fiction and the reader learns something about the history of the Holocaust….They are beach read books for sure – but I couldn’t put them down. Not sure if you’re into the action adventure genre, but if so…those are really fun. Always love your posts Amy.

  • I did a lot of reading while I was laid up on the couch with a broken foot. I binged on some adult science fiction. My brother had recommended Superposition by David Walton based on our shared interest in dimensions and theoretical physics — and also because the setting is 30 minutes from where I live. I loved it enough to read the sequel, Supersymmetry. Then my Kindle recommended I try The Fold by Peter Clines, and after I gobbled that down I read Clines’s preceding novel, 14. (14 reminds me of LOST, if the island were squashed into one apartment building.)

  • Julia Tomiak says:

    I’ve heard that Big Little Lies is good on audio – I’ll add that to my collection. I’ve had several friends rave about Liane Moriarty. Thanks for the tip on the TED talk and MINDSET. Sounds exciting!

    I just finished White Dog Fell from the Sky – well written, ultimately uplifting, a little slow in the middle, informative about South Africa, apartheid, etc. I think we have similar taste in books – so thanks for saving me from The Goldfinch.

  • Dana says:

    I’ve never read The Goldfinch, but I feel like you have let me off the hook. Thank you! I like Liane Moriarity also…read the first two, and Big Little Lies is our upcoming book club read.

    Mindset sounds intriguing, and Gilbert’s book is on my list. I’m doing a book post next week, but the book I’m reading now is Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (it’s YA) and I’m listening to Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. I’m obsessed with the musical, so listening to the book it’s based on is uncharacteristically exciting for me.

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