2011 Must Read Books
Now that I own a Kindle and an iPad (yes, I finally did break down and buy myself a ME gift), I have no excuse whatsoever to not be reading. Of course, I always manage to find plenty of mini diversions that keep me from kicking back with a great novel, but now that it's 2011, it's time to get back to one of my favorite past times...books! Of course, as a busy mother of two, who has time to waste on books that are just plain boring? Instead, I consult with my close girlfriends (the mom whisperers) and my own mom who is in at least five book clubs, plus reads a few books on the side just for fun. So if you've got a trip planned or you want to relax with a great read before bed, then make sure you check out these titles:
One Day by David Nicholls
I read "One Day" this past summer at the suggestion of a friend and can't say enough good things about it. The story takes place in the 80's and fast forwards to present day - sharing the on-again, off-again relationship of a man and woman who stay connected after a one night stand in college. When the pair finally realize they belong together, something terrible happens that'll leave you in tears. I couldn't put this book down and finished it in three days! Plus, I was psyched to learn that "One Day" is being turned into a movie starring Anne Hathaway.
Rescue by Anita Shreve
A powerful read about a man who falls in love with a woman who is an alcoholic. The couple have a baby and when his wife's addiction turns violent, the husband decides to raise their child on his own. Unfortunately, as she grows up, the daughter begins to follow in her mother's footsteps.
Not Me by Michael Lavigne
A Jewish man visits his father who has been afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and is living in a nursing home. The father gives his son a box full of journals and he starts reading them and discovers that his father was a German officer in a concentration camp. The son is shocked to find out about his father's secret life and how he adopted the persona of one of the prisoners. Can this man have redeemed his life and realized that what he did during the war was wrong? According to my mom, "Not Me" was a thought provoking and excellent read. Plus, she says the author has a great sense of humor.
A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
This book was written by the same author who penned "Sarah's Key" (which is an unbelievable read if you haven't picked it up yet). "A Secret Kept" shares the story of a woman who tries to find out the real answer to her mother's untimely death. My mom admits that "A Secret Kept" wasn’t the easiest book to read and not as great as "Sarah’s Key," but still says she enjoyed it, commenting, "It was a very nice book."
Pearl of China by Anchee Min
For history buffs, you'll love this fictionalized biography of Pearl S. Buck (best known for penning "The Good Earth") and her relationship to the Asian community. The novel spans her childhood, marriage and ultimate move to the United States. And it shares the friendship (albeit fictional) between Pearl and a woman named Willow who supposedly saved her life.
If you manage to get through all those books, here's a bonus for you. I happen to personally know Pamela Dorman, a mom of two who has her own publishing imprint at Penguin. Dorman is best known as the editor of "Bridget Jones' Diary," "The Secret Life of Bees," "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" and "The Middle Place." She launched her own imprint last year and her inaugural list features three fiction debuts—Saving Ceecee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, a novel that'll make you laugh and cry (my favorite kind of book) centering on a Southern girl who loses one mother and finds many others; The Book Of Fires by Jane Borodale, which shares the story of a girl in eighteenth-century London who becomes an apprentice to a mysterious fireworks maker; and a major international bestseller, The Solitude Of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano, that has already sold more than one-million copies in his native Italy.
So there you have it. All the best books for 2011. Now all I need is to find some free time to read!