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  • hrf
    hrf Member Posts: 706
    edited April 2010
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    What a great thread, Elizabeth. Thank you for starting this. Lawrence Hill has another book called Any Known Blood which is also excellent. It's the story of how African Americans, escaping slavery, came to settle in Oakville, Ontario. Again, it's fiction but based on historical reality. I also really enjoyed Barbara Walters memoir called "Audition: A Memoir" was very insightful and interesting. Made her more human in my eyes.
  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited April 2010
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    I have been in a Book Club for the last 11 years; nine ladies who meet once a month; the hostess makes a fabulous dessert and picks the next book (of equal importance!). We have read 137 books so far (one lady was smart and kept a list from the beginning). We have read quite a few books listed already, plus a whole lot more. Here are a couple of them (I will list more later, but don't think you want to read a too long post!)

    1. The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells-it's the book that started us off, a story of women's friendships

    2. A Death in the Family by James Agee, one of my all time favorites; a look at life, love, and loss set in the early 1900s

    3. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, set in the Civil War time frame, I believe it has been made into a movie

    4. Angela's Ashes and Teacher Man, both autobiographies by Frank McCourt, the first recounting his days as a poor boy in Ireland, the second his days as a teacher in NYC. Very insightful.

    5. Evening by Susan Minot, an elderly lady remembers a weekend romance long ago that changed the course of her life (also made into a movie)

    More later! And thanks to all for making my reading list very long!!! Smile Ruth

  • OG56
    OG56 Member Posts: 377
    edited April 2010
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    So, Chainsawz, I see that you and I have a penchant for books with an Asian background. Pearl is my favorite writer, my BFF gave me a rare book of hers that is poetry and was found after her death and is about her love affair with a much younger man(Words of Love).  Have you read Lisa See's books?
  • tamgam
    tamgam Member Posts: 83
    edited April 2010
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    Love the thread! Just recovering  from BMX 8 days ago so trying ti catch up a little on BCO.  I love to read when I have time.  I like all genre but not a fan of fluffly romance!.  I got in early on the vampire obsession and really liked the Twilght series. Interesting. I recommend Stephanie Meyers other book The Host?  Thought provoking.  Nothing at all like vampibut really good read.rs series

  • otter
    otter Member Posts: 757
    edited April 2010
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    Unfinished books?  There must be half a dozen lying around here ... Some because I couldn't stand to pick them up again; others because they needed to be read in one sitting and I just haven't found the time.

    Here are two I did finish:

    House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Dubus III:  "In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis.... Drawn by their competing desires to the same small house in the California hills and doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge in an explosive collision course....".  Read it, but steel yourself.

    Thirteen Moons, by Charles Frazier:  "...At the age of twelve, an orphan named Will Cooper is given a horse, a key, and a map and is sent on a journey through the wilderness to the edge of the Cherokee Nation, the uncharted white space on the map…. Thirteen Moons takes us from the uncharted wilderness of an unspoiled continent, across the South, up and down the Mississippi, and to the urban clamor of a raw Washington City. Throughout, Will is swept along as the wild beauty of the nineteenth century gives way to the telephones, automobiles, and encroaching railways of the twentieth…. Will tells of a lifelong search for home, the hunger for fortune and adventure, the rebuilding of a trampled culture, and above all an enduring pursuit of passion."  This novel is by the author who wrote "Cold Mountain," which I hated (once I got to the ending).  "Thirteen Moons" is much, much better, I think.

    I need to get back to those other ones I have lying around.

    otter

  • AnnNYC
    AnnNYC Member Posts: 236
    edited April 2010
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    Great lists, everyone!

    BTW, Lawrence Hill's "The Book of Negroes" is published in U.S., Australia and New Zealand with the title "Someone Knows My Name."

    Some of my favorite books ever are biographies -- maybe it's weird, but I do find them "escapist" when well-written!

    "A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock" by Evelyn Fox Keller ["Barbara McClintock was one of the premier investigators in cytology and classical genetics, but her work was pushed out of the mainstream by the revolution in molecular biology in the middle of this century. Thirty years later, the simple truths sought by research scientists whose training was closer to physics than biology continued to prove elusive, and the discovery of transposons in bacteria marked the beginning of a revival of interest in her work (and ultimately, a Nobel Prize!). Keller's analysis of McClintock's difficulty in finding a place to work and her relations with other investigators is insightful and thought-provoking, not only about women in science, but about the role of dissent in the scientific community."]

    "Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman" by James Gleick ["If you've read any of Richard Feynman's wonderful autobiographies you may think that a biography of Feynman would be a waste of your time. Wrong! Gleick's Genius is a masterpiece of scientific biography--and an inspiration to anyone in pursuit of their own fulfillment..."]

    "The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan" by Robert Kanigel ["This moving and astonishing biography tells the improbable story of India-born Srinavasa Ramanujan Iyengar, self-taught mathematical prodigy. In 1913 Ramanujan, a 25-year-old clerk who had flunked out of two colleges, wrote a letter filled with startlingly original theorems to eminent English mathematician G. H. Hardy. Struck by the Indian's genius, Hardy, member of the Cambridge Apostles and an obsessive cricket aficionado, brought Ramanujan to England. Over the next five years, the vegetarian Brahmin who claimed his discoveries were revealed to him by a Hindu goddess turned out influential mathematical propositions. Cut off from his young Indian wife left at home and emotionally neglected by fatherly yet aloof Hardy, Ramanujan returned to India in 1919... Kanigel gives nontechnical readers the flavor of how Ramanujan arrived at his mathematical ideas, which are used today in cosmology and computer science."]

    "Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn" by David Hajdu ["Hajdu, taking his title from one of Strayhorn's youthful works, deftly chronicles the life of the gifted composer, arranger and pianist about whom little has been known until now. Strayhorn (1915-1967), often called Duke Ellington's alter ego, collaborated with the legendary bandleader for more than 25 years, yet remained in his shadow; few outside the music world realized he composed and wrote the lyrics for "Take the 'A' Train" and many other pieces often attributed to Ellington. Drawing on interviews with Strayhorn's friends, family and fellow musicians, Hajdu, an editor at Entertainment Weekly, brings his subject out of obscurity, showing him to be a complex, shy, charming genius whose extraordinary talents were recognized mainly by other musicians and members of an elite circle of black performers, artists and writers who adored him. The extent to which Ellington deliberately kept him in the background is unclear, but Strayhorn seems to have preferred this arrangement; without the need to pursue a career on his own, he could be open about his homosexuality at a time when most gay men kept their sexual orientation secret."]

  • Karenp62
    Karenp62 Member Posts: 68
    edited April 2010
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    Elizabeth, Thanks for starting this thread, I'm going to love it...always looking for good books to read.

    Karen

  • msmpatty
    msmpatty Member Posts: 35
    edited April 2010
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    Elizabeth, great idea!   I've read so much in the nine months since my DX that I thought I was going to run out of books.   Here's three I've really liked:

    Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner.   Novel about the families of the United Fruit Company during the last days before Americans were ejected from Cuba.  Finalist for the National Book Award.

    Lark & Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips.  A beautifully written novel, the plot of which is very hard to describe (but not hard to follow!).  National Book Award Winner.

    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  Recently out in paperback.  Novel about twin brothers growing up in Ethiopia on the brink of revolution.  Great characters and story, excellently written.

    Patty

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited April 2010
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    Here's a few more:

    "The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love" by Jill Browne. A fun crazy book with advice on LOVE, LIFE and FOOD with some great RECIPES (the 'Chocolate Stuff' recipe is to kill for!!!!!).

    "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurices. A classic that is one of my all time favorites. An innocent, young working woman marries a very wealthy, upper class older man. His deceased first wife is still very much in the picture.........

    "The Crimson Petal and The White" by Michael Faber. Written from an interesting and unusual point of view, the author & you will be following one character down the street & he will say, "Wait, let's follow her instead." It's set in Victorian England. It resembles a Dicken's novel, but with SEX thrown in. Can get pretty steamy!

    "Mystic River" by Dennis Lehane. Good murder mystery. Also made into a movie with Sean Penn.

    "Times to Remember" by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. A very interesting, engaging memoir by the matriach of the Kennedy family. It's out of print but can still be found on Amazon, Ebay etc.

    "Pope Joan" by Donna Cross. Legend has it that there was a woman pope.........

    "The Blind Assassin" by Margaret Atwood. Another good murder mystery.

    More to come!!!!! Ruth

  • jeanne46
    jeanne46 Member Posts: 52
    edited April 2010
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    A few more for those who like historical fiction:

    People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.  A manuscript expert is hired to investigate the origins of a famed Sarajevo Haggadah, rescued during the Bosnian war.  It's one of the earliest illuminated manuscripts with images and the novel is a wonderful story of how it is traced back through actual history. Great reading. She also wrote March, a fictionalized account of Louisa May Alcott's absent father (think LIttle Women) who has gone off to serve as a chaplain in the Civil War.  Year of Wonder is another historical novel written by Brooks, based on a true story of the English village of EYAM - the Plague Village - which was cut off from contact for a year due to the plague which the villagers got as a result of an infected bolt of cloth carried from London to this isolated hamlet.

    Any of the Phillipa Gregory novels:  The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen's Fool, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Red Queen, etc.

    Happy Reading to all.  I've really appreciated everyone's list of favorites.  

  • chainsawz
    chainsawz Member Posts: 113
    edited April 2010
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    Wow - this thread is just getting better and better!! 

    OmahaGirl - you are so right!!  I also love movies with an Asian background (yellow earth, scent of green papaya)  I have never read Words of Love - I will definitely be on the look out for that one.  I have not read Lisa See's books, but I would love to check out her works - thanks!!!  

    My favorite recipe book is like water for chocolate :>

  • AnnNYC
    AnnNYC Member Posts: 236
    edited April 2010
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    Chainsawz, I loved Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel)!!!
  • cheryl58
    cheryl58 Member Posts: 5
    edited April 2010
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    Thank Konakat for starting this thread.  I love to read and am always looking for books that are recommended by someone who has read them already. 

    I have to agree with Deanna about "THE MIDDLE PLACE".  I am about 3/4 of the way through it.  It actually mentions "breastcancer.org" two or three times in the book (it is about breast cancer).  Like so many others, I love the TWILIGHT Series and poured through those one after the other.  I also enjoyed THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES by Anne Rice a long time ago.  Others I enjoyed (with synopsis):

    ROSEFLOWER CREEK by J.L. Miles - Humorous yet poignant, Roseflower Creek is a story of the loss of innocence and the power of forgiveness.  Above all, it is a tribute and a testament to the human heart's ability to heal.  Told with an honesty and authenticity that only a child narrator could achieve, it is a remarkable novel that will move readers long after the last paragraph has been read.

    THE BOOK OF BRIGHT IDEAS by Sandra Kring -  Family. Friendship. Sisterhood. Secrets. For two young girls, an incredible journey is about to begin ......

    SOME THINGS THAT STAY by Sarah Willis - Taking us into the heart and mind of an unforgettable young girl, and a unique corner of a rural 1950s America, Sarah Willis presents a "heartfelt first novel in which the characters are so vivid and rounded they produce a reflected happiness in the reader". 

    FIREFLY LANE by Kristin Hannah - The story of two best friends who make a promise to one another as teenagers.  I had a troubled childhood and I like to read books that are the darker side of childhood.  Firefly Lane captures a lot of memories for me from my own teenage years in the 1970s.

    Thanks!

    Cheryl

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited April 2010
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    The book Suite Francaise was mentioned in the first group of recommendations. I want to add one more note (I'm not giving anything away because it's on the flyleaf), but it takes place during WWII in occupied France. The author, Irene Nemirovsky, was a highly successful writer living in Paris, but she also was Jewish. She wrote knowing what was coming, and in 1942 was arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where she died. The manuscript was in a small suitcase that her 2 daughters carried with them from place to place as they were hidden by friends throughout the rest of the war. They were young, didn't know that the papers in the suitcase were, indeed, a novel. They thought it was their mother's private diary, and couldn't bear to read it. It wasn't until 64 years later, when her daughter finally went through the papers that she realized what had been hidden all those years.
  • Nanalinda
    Nanalinda Member Posts: 18
    edited April 2010
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    My favorite book of all time was the Prince of Tides; the author caught my attention in the first paragraph and kept it throughout the book.  It was very hard to put down.  It is the fictional story of a family living in the south who deals with child abuse and mental illness.  I believe there was a movie based on this story, but I have not seen it.

    I love to read fiction, and anything that is pretty easy to read (thanks to my chemo brain).  I like anything by:  Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Jackie Collins, James Patterson, Ann Rice, and I recently discovered Jodi Picoult.  They are all great authors who take you away and keep you on the edge of your seat.  Linda

  • binga
    binga Member Posts: 30
    edited April 2010
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    Love this thread.  I have been an avid reader since grade school.  

    I really enjoyed The Help and The Lovely Bones also.  Good book.  I just finished an old book Watership Down.  My mom had given it  to me a while back and at first I thought I wouldn't like it but it turned out to be a really good read. I recently downloaded Grapes of Wrath on my kindle.  I read it in high school and loved it and thought it might be a good time to reread it.

    If you like murder mystery type books you might like books by Jeffrey Deaver.  I have read all of Stephen King's books and enjoy most of the them.  I absolutely loved the Gunslinger series.  His new book Under the Dome was pretty good.

    This is fun!

    Becky 

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited April 2010
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    Hi ladies, I am going to list some more books so I can get them off my living room floor (I dragged a bunch I like out of the shelves & am tripping over them Smile):

    Marley and Me by John Grogan, if you are a dog lover, this is the book for you!

    A Wedding in December by Anita Shrive, former schoolmates gather to celebrate a wedding & recall a long ago night that marked each of their lives.

    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, set in the 1960's, a small town doctor delivers his own twins during a storm, one baby has Down's Syndrome. He asks his nurse to bring the child to an institution & tells all the baby died. Unknown to him, the nurse has taken the baby to another city and raises her as her own. A story of parallel lives, secrets and love.

    Joanna Trollope's books are usually very thought provoking.

    Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen, two tough little girls growing up in a dysfunctional family in 1959. There is a murderer on the loose. Sally, the main character, is sure she knows who it is, and is also sure that she is on his list......

    Restless by William Boyd, very good historical spy thriller; involves love, love affairs, spies, war, secret identities, hidden pasts......

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, a fantastic and haunting novel. Set in WWII Germany, a little German girl's experiences life during the Nazi regime. Written in a very unusual fashion; as it is narrared by DEATH (who doesn't seem too happy with humankind's love of war and slaughter).

    Manhunt by James L. Swanson, this is pure history but written like a novel. Covers the 12 day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Booth kept a diary while on the run, and others who helped him, and chased him, also kept accounts. Very, very interesting, exciting and action packed.

    Happy Reading! Ruth 

  • Neece
    Neece Member Posts: 18
    edited April 2010
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    Some of my favourites:

    Beloved by Toni Morrison

    the God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula le Guin

    Atonement by Ian McEwan

    Some Australian writers for you:

    Tim Winton (writes novels and short stories about very ordinary people in communities off the rugged coast of Western Australia - a great sense of people and place - VERY Australian)

    Geraldine Brooks (Aussie born tho' lives in New York now - a wonderful read is 'The People of the Book' - partly historical - beautiful book)

    Helen Garner - another very Australian voice

    Nicki Gemmell

    David Malouf

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 61
    edited April 2010
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    "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

  • jelson
    jelson Member Posts: 622
    edited April 2010
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    AnnNYC - you might also like Oliver Sack's Uncle Tungsten in which he describes growing up in a brilliant/eccentric family in London and how as a child he was inspired by an uncle to learn about the periodic table through chemical experiments. Dr. Sacks went on to write books inspired by his psychiatric patients - Awakening, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and many others.

    Layne157- I had to rationalize my love for Lindsey Daviss' Marcus Didius Falco in light of my wedding vows. My reasoning went like this: He is after all fictional, he would have been dead almost two thousand years ago - if he had been real and he is very happy in his own marriage to Helena Justina - for whom I have the utmost respect!!!   How Wack is that????

    Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. each book is 700 pages plus and totally engrossing. Time travel - Scotland/England/America 1750's- 1770's so far.. and present day Scotland. Battles! political intrigue! Witchcraft! Ripping Bodices!! A great love that spans the miles and centuries!  Yet written with humor.

    Alexander McCall Smith - The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, The Sunday Philosophy Series and whatever else he has written. Simple stories, thoughtful people - very enjoyable. 

    Julie E

  • Nanalinda
    Nanalinda Member Posts: 18
    edited April 2010
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    I too loved Diana Gaballdon's Outlander series.  I read every one of the books... very hard to put down.  I also loved Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell; it is much better than the movie.  I forgot about The Grapes of Wrath (mentioned above), I too read it in school and absolutely loved it.

    There was mention about books you never finished: the one I remember most was The Time Travelers Wife... I just could not get into that book.  I got half way through it before I finally gave up on it.

    This is a great thread.  My list of books to read is getting longer and longer!!  Linda

  • konakat
    konakat Member Posts: 499
    edited April 2010
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    Crapola -- I quickly wrote down 10 of the titles and went to the library -- all the books were out!  I did get a non-recommended one by recommended Christopher Moore -- You Suck: A Love Story. That kinda caught my eye. The front flap has:  "You b*tch, you killed me, you suck!"  Being dead sucks.  Make that being undead sucks.  Literally. Just ask Thomas C. Flood.  Waking up after a fantastic night unlike anything he's ever experienced, he discovers that his girlfriend, Jody -- the woman of his dreams -- is a vampire.  And surprise!  Now he's one too.

    Robert Parker's latest (and last?  He died a couple of months ago.) novel was waiting for me -- The Professional.

    I need to start requesting these recommended books at the library -- always a nice surprise to get an email saying a book's waiting for me.

  • lovemyfamilysomuch
    lovemyfamilysomuch Member Posts: 762
    edited April 2010
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    I always said the "The Grapes of Wrath" was my all time favorite book.  I tried to read it again a few years ago, and couldn't get into it.  I just ordered "The Jesuit GIude to almost everything".  I love to read and it is so fun to talk with you all about books.  BTW, Yan,100 splendid suns was a lovely book. 

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited April 2010
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    Right now I am reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and American On Purpose by Craig Ferguson (of late night TV); both very good. Yikes, how will I ever find time to read all these great suggestions? I saw a tee shirt I need to get, it says "I'm Booked" !!!!!
  • Kyta
    Kyta Member Posts: 273
    edited April 2010
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    I agree Yan, I also enjoyed "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and the author's previous book, the Kite Runner was great also. Must reads for sure.
  • jelson
    jelson Member Posts: 622
    edited April 2010
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    Konakat - I hope you enjoy Christopher Moore, he is insane and great. He has a few books that touch on the cargo cults of the south pacific, some on the vampires - like the one you picked up, there are a few about a California town that periodically has an infestation of demons and then the unrelated - like Lamb, Fluke and Fool ( why read Shakespeare's King Lear when you can read Christopher Moore's version?

    Layne157- I was going to mention about the "bereavement" in the coming book, I am afraid it might be Helena Justina. If that is the case, I simply won't read it - EVER. I stopped reading Elizabeth George's British New Scotland Yard series about Inspector Thomas Lindsey - (SPOILER ALERT) when I found out she bumped off his wife. Helene is still pregnant and alive in my universe!!!

    Suzanne Strempek Shea - has written several books that take place in western Mass in the small mainly old Polish mill towns there. She has also written about her breast cancer treatment (Songs from a Lead-lined Room), working in a book store (Shelf Life) and I believe most recently Sundays in American Churches. The first one I read was Selling the Lite of Heaven 

    Elinor Lipman oh I guess you would call them women's novels - many of which take place in and around Boston. She really gets into her characters - all very different-quirky.

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 61
    edited April 2010
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    Mich_M,

    I'm reading "The Kite Runner" now. Hosseini has this rare gift - he doesn't waste a word. Each letter in these books is in its place.

  • ktr3
    ktr3 Member Posts: 2
    edited April 2010
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    thank for the wonderful book reading suggestions.  I have been asking friends what they are reading looking for 'something new.'  Thanks again

  • konakat
    konakat Member Posts: 499
    edited April 2010
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    I LOVED the Kite Runner!

  • lovemyfamilysomuch
    lovemyfamilysomuch Member Posts: 762
    edited April 2010
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    One of my favorite t -shirts that my adult children still tease me about----"So many books, so little time"  xo  My daughter in law just got me into John Irving, who I always had a block about ever since I read GArp years ago.  Book is called "night at twisted river" and I am really liking it.  Different from what I usally read.