It’s hard enough for us parents to find time to read, let alone to decide what to read. Head to the library and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the stacks upon stacks of interesting-sounding titles (who can blame us for judging a book by its cover?). Just keeping up with book lists can seem like a chore. That’s why we here at LiveMom are introducing you to local authors, who will be giving you the skinny on what’s on their reading lists…because who better than a writer to turn you on to new and interesting books?!
Elizabeth Crook’s Top Five Recommended Books
It’s never easy to limit recommendations to five, but the fact that some of my favorite books are now out of print helps me narrow the list. I’ll stick with titles you can easily find at the bookstore. Happy reading, y’all!
True Grit By Charles Portis
If you haven’t read this, it’s time. The Coen Brother’s movie based on the book is just drop-dead terrific. The book is even better. It’s a real classic and a must read.
Chasing Redbird By Sharon Creech
My sister turned me on to this book because her daughter loved it so much. I read it with my daughter Lizzie when she was in second grade. It is powerful and beautifully strange, both realistic and magical at the same time. Sharon Creech is a fearless writer who doesn’t shy away from the hard truths about loss and old age and the perpetual mystery of death, and yet avoids the sinister: her books are a celebration of kindness and discovery. After reading Chasing Redbird Lizzie and I read all of Creech’s others and found them equally poignant and captivating. But it was this one that Lizzie chose to read again, three years later, twice, on her own.
Bel Canto By Ann Patchett
When friends ask for a great novel they can lose themselves in, Bel Canto is one of the first titles out of my mouth. It’s an insightful, beautifully told story with characters you will care about and worry over.
A Friend of Mr. Lincoln By Stephen Harrigan
Full disclosure on this one: The author is a close friend of mine, but I feel totally
unbiased in recommending his latest novel because it’s also our Austin mayor’s selection this year for the Mayor’s Book Club. The characters are nuanced and fascinating, their relationships are riveting, and the prose just can’t be beat. If you’re a fan of realistic historical fiction you’ll love this book. You’ll feel like you’ve disappeared through a wormhole and landed in Springfield in the 1830’s. Even better, you’ll get to walk around with Mr. Lincoln.
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking By Oliver Burkeman
I’m a slow reader– so slow that I read out loud to myself. Usually that’s an aggravation, but this book was a joy to read that way. And it made me a slightly happier slow reader. There’s lots of wisdom and humor in these pages, backed up by solid research, a good foundation in psychology, and a kind of sweet tolerance for human nature.
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