Long Story Short: Reading Suggestions

Reading a good book is as comforting for me as my mother’s chicken and dumplings – and that’s a statement.

Ironically, anything offering calm and stress relief would have been good additions to my life over the past few months, but I’ve been so far out of my comfort zone that sitting and reading has been a challenge. Now that I have a “real” job again and some sense of normalcy has resumed in my life, I’ve found myself gobbling up good books right and left. Right now I find myself appreciating reading as the perfect escape mechanism – and the titles I’ve been reading lately reflect that tendency.

No matter how over exposed Dan Brown and his books may be, I’ve enjoyed them. His latest book, The Lost Symbol, was released Sept. 18. Read the book to learn the significance of the date. While the nature of the story follows along with The Da Vinci Code, the Washington, D.C. setting is fun.

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has made my heart sing for years. Her latest book, An Echo in the Bone, was released last week. If you’ve enjoyed the epic, slightly bizarre tales, you’ll be happy to know that she picks up right where she left off.

The Help by Katherine Stockett is an uplifting first novel, garnering much acclaim. Set in Jackson, Miss., in the 1960’s, the novel explores the relationship between families and the people who worked for them.

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) sits on the more serious side of my bookshelf. Written by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aaronson, the tome tackles self-rationalization even the best intentioned among us use to cope with terrible behavior. The book’s message has the power to change lives.

2666 by the late, great Robert Bolano, is the grizzly telling of the hundreds of unsolved murders of women along the border of Juarez, near El Paso, Texas. I lived on that border during the time chronicled, but don’t take my word for the value of this book — Time magazine named the book the best book of 2008.

Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Political suspense, adventure, romance. How can you go wrong?

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Fantastic read and deserving of all the praise it’s garnered.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman. My friend, Drew Zeigler, manager of Lafayette’s Barnes and Noble, describes it as, “Harry Potter meets the Chronicles of Narnia in a blender of subversion.”

The Tortilla Curtain, by T.C. Boyle, is all about middle-class values, xenophobia and illegal immigration.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fir,e by Stieg Larsson, are two of my all-time favorites, but not for the faint of heart.

Sacred Hearts, by Sarah Dunant, tells the tale of the secret lives of nuns for historical fiction lovers out there.

Ravens, by George Dawes Green, is a new thriller. It’s a dark comedy set in Georgia. Brace yourself. It’s nightmarish.

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