The Book Report.

I like books and I like lists. Here we have a list of recent reads, all with links to their pages for more information. If you have suggestions, throw them in!

Teacher’s Pets:
Strength in What Remains–Tracy Kidder
All But My Life–Gerda Weissman Klein
Zeitoun–Dave Eggers
The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance–Elna Baker
No One Belongs Here More Than You–Miranda July
The Bell Jar–Sylvia Plath
Unaccustomed Earth–Jhumpa Lahiri
The Glass Castle –Jeannette Walls
A Prayer for Owen Meaney –Jon Irving
Middlesex –Jeffrey Eugenides
Interpreter of Maladies –Jhumpa Lahiri
Once Were Warriors –Alan Duff

Straight A’s:
When You Are Engulfed in Flames–David Sedaris
Half-Broke Horses–Jeannette Walls
Snow Falling on Cedars–David Guterson
Lost in the Forest–Sue Miller 
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao–Junot Diaz
The Liars’ Club –Mary Karr
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir–Bill Bryson
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly–Jean-Dominique Bauby
Praying for Sheetrock— Melissa Fay Greene
Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It–Geoff Dyer
Shakespeare: The World as Stage–Bill Bryson
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time–Mark Haddon
The Nazi Officer’s Wife–Edith Hahn Beer
Autobiography of a Face–Lucy Grealy
Whale Rider –Witi Ihimaera
In Cold Blood –Truman Capote
Travels with Charley –John Steinbeck
The Best American Non-Required Reading 2003–ed. Zadie Smith and Dave Eggers

Solid B’s:
Olive Kitteridge–Elizabeth Strout
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim–David Sedaris
The Secret Life of Bees–Sue Monk Kidd
Sarah’s Key–Tatiana de Rosnay
Uglies–Scott Westerfeld
The Penelopiad–Margaret Atwood
The Notebook–Nicholas Sparks
Before We Were Free–Julia Alvarez
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie–Jordan Sonnenblick 
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan–Lisa See
Rumspringa–Tom Shachtman
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat–Oliver Sacks
Where the Red Fern Grows –Wilson Rawls
Cash: The Autobiography–Johnny Cash
The Time Traveler’s Wife –Audrey Niffenegger
Between, Georgia –Joshilyn Jackson
Trans-Sister Radio–Chris Bohjalian
The Year of Magical Thinking –Joan Didion
Romeo and Juliet –William Shakespeare
Breakfast of Champions –Kurt Vonegut
Catfish and Mandala –Andrew X. Pham
The Kite Runner–Khaled Hosseini
We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order Live –Joan Didion

The C Averages:
Barrel Fever–David Sedaris
Schooled–Gordon Korman
Farewell to Manzanar–Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Ashes of Roses–Mary Jane Auch
Ask Me No Questions–Marina Budhos
The Trouble With Islam Today–Irshad Manji
The Sea–John Banville
The English Patient–Michael Ondaatje
Siddhartha–Hermann Hesse
Brick Lane –Monica Ali
Bill Bryson’s African Diary–Bill Bryson
A House Somewhere –ed. Don George & Anthony Sattin
The Other Boleyn Girl–Philippa Gregory

The D List, or Books Requiring Parent-Teacher Conferences:
Pocketful of Names–Joe Coomer
A Framework for Understanding Poverty–Ruby K. Payne
Hamlet’s Dresser: A Memoir–Bob Smith
A Thousand Splendid Suns–Khaled Hosseini
The Icarus Girl–Helen Oyeyemi

F’s, or Incomplete:
The Secret River –Kate Grenville
The Abortionist’s Daughter–Elizabeth Hyde

Good Books for Middle School Students:

Schooled–Gordon Korman
Uglies–Scott Westerfeld
Hole in My Life–Jack Gantos
Farewell to Manzanar–Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Before We Were Free–Julia Alvarez
Ashes of Roses–Mary Jane Auch
When I was Puerto Rican–Esmeralda Santiago
Afternoon of the Elves–Janet Taylor Lisle
Bud, Not Buddy–Christopher Paul Curtis
Maus–Art Spiegelman
The Glass Castle –Jeannette Walls
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time–Mark Haddon
Whale Rider –Witi Ihimaera
Autobiography of a Face–Lucy Grealy
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie–Jordan Sonnenblick 
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan–Lisa See
The Kite Runner–Khaled Hosseini
Ask Me No Questions–Marina Budhos
Bill Bryson’s African Diary–Bill Bryson
A Thousand Splendid Suns–Khaled Hosseini
The Icarus Girl–Helen Oyeyemi
Hush–Jacquline Woodson


29 responses

3 04 2007

If you have read any of these books, I’d love to know what you think! Please feel free to leave a comment for me or for any other readers! (And book suggestions, please!)

8 08 2007

Couldn’t put down A Prayer for Owen Meany, either. I love that book so much. When I finish Harry Potter #7, maybe I’ll re-read it!

8 08 2007

Thank you, thank you for leaving a comment!!!! I’ve been dying for feedback on these books! Have you read any of the others?

9 08 2007

I’ve heard of a lot of them, but never read them…I will definitely read them at some point, though!

25 09 2007

I’ve read most of these books and feel a lot of the same things you do. I was forced to read “Where The Red Fern Grows” in 5th grade and immediately after suffered while watching the movie. It is disturbing.
Love the “Glass Castle”

25 09 2007

Ooo one more thing…You know I don’t think I ever really read anything that teaches me something. *Making note to do that…lol*

1 10 2007




4 10 2007

Hey Gina,

I’m obsessed with <a href=””. Here’s my profile:
<a href=”″

Recent favs are Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch (though this one is really graphic and hard to read at times), and No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. If you need any convincing to read this book, go to <a href=””. Oh, and Fall On Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald is beautiful and heartbreaking.

I could go on and on.

4 10 2007

Oh, I’ve heard of Fall On Your Knees! I can’t wait to get my hands on these suggestions! Keep ’em coming! Also, have you heard of “A Long Way Gone?”

6 10 2007

Owen Meany has to be the greatest book I have read in the past 5 years. I got too see him do a reading in NYC last summer. Kristin and I went and Saw Harry, Carrie and Garp!
It was a reading by Stephen King, Irving and JK ROWLING.
IT WAS AWESOME! And Irving was the best at reading and he read the Christmas passage from Owen Meany. THE VOICE WAS HILARIOUS! GREAT STUFF. Thanks for giving me a good reading list Gina!

10 10 2007

What am I talking about? I’ve READ Fall on Your Knees! AND I named my cat after one of the characters! I’m an idiot.
It’s a fabulous book.

21 11 2007

What about THE STONES OF SUMMER – Dow Mossman? It’s a good read, though tough to get through.

22 11 2007

I’ve never heard of that book. I’ll check it out.
I did read “The Sea,” and that was a great book though because of the language, difficult to get through. If you’re into kind of slow, pensive writing, you might enjoy.

22 11 2007

I loved The Kite Runner too!!

I would love to recommend to you one of my favorites ( this is a tough thing to do because there are so many ):

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

I’m taking you up on The Nazi Officer’s Wife… I love the WWII setting!



22 11 2007

Oh, then if you love WWII stuff, please look at Maus 1 and Maus 2. They are beautifully done comic books by Art Spiegleman. (He’s the guy who did the New Yorker magazine black cover after 9/11.) It’s a biographical and auto-biographical history of his family. Really, it’s a different kind of reading altogether, but one that will stay in your mind for quite some time.

I’ve heard of the Toole book. I’ll add it to my wishlist!

11 01 2008

I loved The Glass Castle and The Kite Runner. Travels with Charley is my favorite book ever.

16 01 2008
Some re-naming. « A Year Here / A Year There

[…] The Report Card. […]

17 01 2008

I like the new Report Card look. I haven’t read one good thing this winter. I just finished “At First Sight” by Nicholas Sparks. I tend to read his immediately when they come out but I’m not even sure why. It was a good book though and he always makes me feel like I’m home. (if that makes sense)…always warm cozy books.

17 01 2008

What else did Sparks write? I’m blanking on the titles.

17 01 2008
Tina (aka Mom)

“The Notebook” and “Message in a Bottle” are 2 of his, I believe.

18 01 2008

Oh, right. “The Notebook.” Yes. Haven’t read it but one of my students really liked it last year, I think.

9 02 2008

Hi Gina,
Thanks for the book list/suggestions. I just read “The Liars’ Club” and “Interpreter of Maladies” this past week and they were both very enriching and enjoyable. “The Glass Castle” is one of my favorites.

10 02 2008

I found “The Liars’ Club” and “The Glass Castle” to be really similar but different enough so that I wasn’t bored. I’m so glad you liked them! I have heard that someone’s making a film out of “Interpreter of Maladies,” but I’m not sure when it’s coming out. It’ll be exciting to see what the director does with it!

21 02 2008

A friend recommended ‘A prayer for Owen Meanie” a while back and now, with your recommendation, it’s next on my list (right after all the books i’ve been reading lately on corporate politics and general rat-finkery).
The last real book I read, Crime and Punishment, was recommended by the same friend who recommended Owen Meanie. May I say that I found it to be SUPER-GOOD!

6 03 2008

Don’t you just ADORE that book?! My goodness. I’d read it all over again if I didn’t have a stack of others waiting for me!

17 03 2008

Usually I avoid book lists because I feel bad about all the books that I still have to read. So many books, so little time!

Then I found “How to talk about books you haven’t read” by Pierre Bayard and everything changed!

The book is wonderful and it teaches you how to read books and enjoy them instead of just pretending to read.

After finishing it, my list of books to read increased considerably, but at least now I feel better prepared for the task.

8 04 2008
The Curious Incident of the Toddler During Naptime « That’s interesting…that’s VERY interesting…

[…] finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (recommended by Gina) and oddly enough, I experienced The Curious Incident of the Toddler During Naptime by Ella in the […]

19 04 2008
At. Sarah (aka SIS of WOW)

Gina, Gina- I have her new book in my Amazon Cart for you, ready to check out ! Along with, go ahead and guess, Snow Falling on Cedars …
Junot Diaz just won the Pulitzer.
Gi, do you still want care packages? Mine tend to come loaded with books and I don’t know whether you want the extra weight on your (final !) flight home. Let me know- I’m certainly also capable of rounding up some Hershey’ Kisses or some…..
I can’t wait to see you in the states,
With my love, Aunt Sarah

19 04 2008
At. Sarah, etc.

Yikes !
And Yikes again !
I thought that message was going to the “Contact” box…
Anyway, Shout outs for the care packages.
At. Sarah (etc.)

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