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Book Recommendations for May 2017

May 27th, 2017 | in Books |    2   comments
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I take recommending books very seriously. Some of you may know that I taught a critical reading class at North Island College. I read an enormous amount, and people often ask me what I'm reading. For every one book I recommend, you can be sure that there are ten that I'm NOT recommending. 

So here are my book recommendations for May 2017 including a few comments. 


I don't read a lot of fiction because so much of it is crap. In my opinion, good fiction is hard to find.


1. Anything by Tana French. Her mysteries all take place in Ireland, and there are some recurring characters if you read more than one. They're very well plotted, and the dialogue rings true.

2. A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara Henry. Surprisingly good little mystery.

3. The Dry by Jane Harper. Excellent mystery that takes place in Australia.

4. The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian. This is very good if you enjoy something a little slower paced.

5. The Whistler by John Grisham. I'm actually not a big fan of Grisham, but this one is excellent.

Other Fiction

1. News of the World: A Novel by Paulette Jiles. Excellent

2. To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel by Eowyn Ivey. Excellent

3. Duma Key by Stephen King. Speculative fiction. I'm not a Stephen King lover, but I loved this one. Riveting.

4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. The first of a trilogy. This is speculative fiction. Originally intended for a teen audience, this book far exceeds its author's target audience and has delighted millions.

Chick Lit Fiction

1. Keeper of the Light by Diane Chamberlain. Yes, even Cynthia reads some chick lit occasionally. This is a very good and original story. It's the first of a trilogy. The second two books in the trilogy are not as good, but I read them just to find out what happens.

2. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel by Beth Hoffman. Very good.


I read much more nonfiction than fiction. 


1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Far and away the best book I've ever read on writing. Anne has a very distinct, outrageous, and in-your-face style of writing. She writes down what the rest of us are thinking.

2. On Writing by Stephen King. Worth reading if you are or aspire to be a writer. It was written a while ago, but a new edition recently came out.

War Memoirs

I read tons of these, and trust me, good ones are hard to find. Every soldier and his or her brother comes back from war and writes a book. You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a prince.

1. Chickenhawk by Robert Mason. Yes, this is the classic by which most others are judged. These memoirs of helicopter pilot in Vietnam should not be missed. There's a reason why it's still in print.

2. Cheating Death: Combat Air Rescues in Vietnam and Laos by George Marrett. The best book that no one has ever heard of. Read it. Memoirs of a fixed-wing pilot during the Vietnam era.

Medical Narratives

Although they're definitely not new, medical narratives are a growing sub-genre in nonfiction. There are even courses on it in some medical schools. So there are the narratives written by physicians and narratives written by patients. Sometimes the physician is the patient.

1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. My daughter gave this to me the other day, and it's among the best I've ever read. It's the story of a young doctor who comes to grips with his cancer diagnosis.

2. My Own Country, A Doctor's Story by Abraham Verghese. Excellent.

3. A Crooked Smile: A Memoir by Terri Tate. Excellent book from the patient's point of view. Terri was a student of Anne Lamott.


Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant. Terrific book about a writer who moves to a little town in Mississippi and writes about what he finds there. Anyone who has ever been to the South will love this book.

Well, those are all the books for today. Try some, and let me know what you think. Feel free to leave a comment, and you can always find me on Twitter. By the way, if anyone is wondering, my blog is not monetized, so I don't benefit financially if you buy books from my links. I linked to them for your convenience.



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July 24th, 2017

Wonderful complilation! thank you!!

May I ask you a favor - could you help me recommending a few books for gifting to my wife? She loves simply written inspirational books. Thanks & Kind regards/

July 17th, 2017

Thank you for the recommendations

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