Books are Gluten-Free: Reading List, Spring 2011

After international travel and time to peruse my sister-in-law’s bookshelves, I’ve got a good reading list to pass along to you.  I’ve completed some, am in progress on others, or they are a ‘to-do.’  Thank goodness summer awaits in just a few short months!


Room, Emma Donoghue: This gripping novel takes you into the mind of a 5-year old boy named Jack, who has never left an 11 x 11 foot room.  As you read, you learn more about why Jack is in this space and a scary, emotional, sad and hopeful adventure begins from there.  I could not put this book down as the voice of Jack is believable and powerful, and the story is suspenseful and will keep you up reading, late into the night.


Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand: The author of Seabiscuit released this book before the holidays.  I read an excerpt of the manuscript in Vanity Fair, and knew I had to get my hands on it.  Hillenbrand brings the reader the true story of Louie Zamperini, Olympic runner and World War II army hero.  Zamperini’s story brings to life an experience in the Pacific during the war that you will not soon forget.  Airplanes, rafts, and prisoner camps only scratch the surface.  If you know someone who loves history, adventure, or just a well-told story, this is the book for them.  Even though there are a few rough scenes, this book is not to be missed.  I am yet to meet someone that didn’t love Unbroken.


Heat, Bill Buford: This book takes us into Mario Batali’s kitchen at Babbo, in New York City.  Former New Yorker writer, Buford gets the opportunity to work for Batali, as a kitchen slave, line cook, pasta maker, etc. for over a year.  Heat also provides a biography of Batali’s life, his wacky personality and his rise to become the quirky, red-headed, croc wearing, TV star that he is today.  Buford also spends time in Italy, with a butcher, among other places, as ‘research’ for the book.  (I want to do that kind of research!)  I always enjoy a good foodie book and Heat served as just that.

at home bill bryson

At Home, Bill Bryson: The newest book from Bryson, the author of A Walk in the Woods, and A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bryson takes his reader through each room of his house while giving us the ‘history of private life.’  I’m just over halfway through this book and I love the little nuggets of random history Bryson gives us, but I have to admit, there’s not a lot of coherence to the book as a whole.  It seems as if he just wrote about the things he wanted to research and tried to find a way to fit these thoughts into a room.  Picture interior decorating gone horribly, horribly wrong.  I will finish the book though and if you’re a history nerd like me, especially a fan of social history, you’ll enjoy this read.  I already know so much more about concrete, the Vanderbilts, rats, the Eiffel Tower, and sugar.  If that doesn’t make you want to read more, I don’t know what will.


Villain, Shuichi Yoshida: This Japanese murder mystery, translated into English (obviously), is a “who dunnit?” that takes place in southern Japan.  It comes highly recommended from Alden so I’m putting it in my suitcase for spring reading back in the States.  The book jacket describes Villain as a “stunningly dark thriller and a tapestry of noir.”  Sounds good to me, whatever that means!


The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson: The second book in the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, I have this in hand for the plane ride home.  I have no idea what it’s about but I thoroughly enjoyed Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which got me through the flight home from Japan, round one, without going crazy, so hopefully the sequel will provide me with the same captivating distraction.

tale of two cities

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens: I never read this classic in high school and I figure, being a history teacher and all, I should read this book.  I loved Great Expectations and I’m eager to dig into this one.  It’s on the shelf at home, waiting for my return.  I promise I’m not reading it because of Oprah.

Have you read any good books lately?  Spring breakers, what did you read during your R&R?

  1. Meri says:

    I was just catching up on your blog and it occurred to me that you were just in Japan (I don’t know if you’re back yet), but just wanted to check and see if you and your family over there were okay. Sending thoughts and prayers that way!

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