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{Book Review} Best Books of Winter

Me: coming out of hibernation.

The books I need to recommend to you: stacking up.

The blog: sitting here like a forlorn little blossom.

Let's hear it for winter! It's currently rain/snowing outside my office, winter not getting the hint that it's not welcome around here no more!

But hey, welcome! Our winter went well, but things kept popping up and I kept delaying sitting down and talking to YOU! I started a new job, and even though it's a part-time job, it still took some adjustment. (Get this! Part of my job is to read books!! I know!! Perfect. I love getting paid to write and read!) It's been a couple months since I last shared the books I would recommend. I'm ready to share some newer ones today. I read quite a bit this winter, but have picked just my favorites to recommend to you toady.


-Shane by Jack Schaefer: On my third time through this book in my life, it still held up. Look for deeper meaning (Shane = God figure?),

look for literary excellence (“Even his name remained mysterious. Just Shane. Nothing else. We never knew whether that was his first name or last name or, indeed, any name that came from his family. “Call me Shane,” he said, and that was all he ever said. But I conjured up all manner of adventures for him, not tied to any particular time or place, seeing him as a slim and dark and dashing figure coolly passing through perils that would overcome a lesser man.”)

or just enjoy a solid story.

The story is of the Starrett family who live in the west in 1889, a mother, father and a young boy. Then Shane shows up. The young boy in the family is "entranced by this stoic stranger" (Who wouldn't be, Bob, who wouldn't be) Shane ends up helping the family when a neighboring rancher tries to take over. The story is told from the perspective of the young boy and how his life was changed by meeting Shane. Aside from Louis L'Amour, this is my favorite western, and one I would highly recommend. It's known as a classic western.

Rating: 9 out of 10. Great characters. PG

-The Women by Kristin Hannah: Frankie signs up to join the Vietnam War as a nurse. The book covers her time in the war, and her struggle to find her place upon her return. Hannah is a good current writer, and I loved her books, The Great Alone and the Nightingale. The Women (her latest) is very popular right now and I can see why. I came away informed more deeply on the Vietnam War, on women and their involvement as nurses, and what they faced upon returning home. It ended up being a bit too plot-convenient for me (resolves and plot twists kept hitting and I lost a bit of attention span), I also would still recommend The Nightingale above this one. People are loving it, though... so let me put it this way: If you enjoyed the tv show, This is Us? Try this book. You may love it. Rated PG-13 for graphic descriptions of injuries, some um, recreational time, and some language.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston: I love a good suspense/thriller/mystery for a winter reading, and this one doesn't disappoint. Don't look for deep character development, just enjoy a good, twisty plot. Evie isn't even her name, but she is married to Ryan and directed by Mr Smith to infiltrate Ryan's life. Evie has to stay "one step ahead of her past" to figure out the puzzle she is meant to solve.

Rating: 8 out of 10. Fun, light, escapist reading. Will be a good beach read for you this summer. PG-13


-1776 by David McCullough: Oh, this book was great. It covers (you guessed it!) the year 1776 and focuses in on George Washington. I learned more about Washington and, even though I have read other books and summaries that cover this geographic area and the war, I found myself interested in what was happening and the logistics of the how and why. It always surprises me how people's mistakes and miscalculations and lucky guesses are often what lead to the biggest turning points in history. Fascinating. Recommend.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

-Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard: THIS one right here was my Book Of the Winter. SO good. I mean, in what other book would I have felt genuine empathy for President Garfield, who would take walks by himself in Washington DC, and having hit a dark moment in his life wrote in a letter that at this time, more than any other, he needed his friends to draw nearer to him, not to pull away. I knew little about this president - although we did visit his home in Ohio once and his library is amazing - but learned so much about the time, the assassination, the quack doctors who tried to help him, and his eventual death (due in large part to these doctors' care of him). Another really well-written book, which managed to make Garfield a human you feel empathy for, and a genuine sadness at the tragedy that befell him. Between Garfield and Washington, I learned more about leadership and about being human and the power of friendship.

Rating: 10 out of 10. Near perfection. I keep recommending this one.

-The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester: Okay, this one comes with a huge caveat: The madman? Does some mad things. It is disturbing. So, consider that. I will still recommend it because 1. It's just a weirdly, quirky story that you would never believe if it was in a movie and 2. I learned about the development of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary). Imagine trying to define every word every used in English?? "As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane."

*Takes a sip of tea *

I KNOWWWW!!! Right? Read it.

Rating: 8 out of 10. Please keep the caveat in mind: He does some madman things. They are disturbing. The author also manages to insert some humor into the story, making it an interesting read.

If you've made it this far: Always feel free to send me book suggestions - comment below!

Thank you to those of you who have kindly supported me by giving to my Buy Me a Coffee account! I appreciate it so much!

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River of Doubt is my favorite of all your recommendations. So good. Never would have read it if you had not mentioned it. Thank you.

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