Friday, December 22, 2017


A good book, a warm fire, a cozy blanket, a cup of tea or hot chocolate -- a comforting way to spend a winter afternoon.

I've asked people for their lists of favorite books for 2017. From their suggestions, I've already started my stack for the coming year. Maybe their favorite will become favorites for you too. For this posting, I've selected books unknown to me.

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild by Graham Spence
The remarkable story of a man and his relationship with the herd of wild elephants living on his preserve in Africa. The trust and loyalty that he built in their relationship was nothing short of astounding.                                                                            

The Worst Hard Times by Timothy Egan
"I was so moved by the strength and determination of the people who lived during the "Dirty Thirties." What amazed me when I questioned my dad about what he remembered, all he could say was 'It was a dirty time.' It brings forth with glaring clarity the progress of communication. In the 30s, no one really knew what was happening outside their own neighborhood."          

The Forgetten Seamstress by Liz Trenow
A young seamstress joins the staff of Queen Mary of England before WWI. The resulting story involves an affair with the Prince of Wales, consignment in an asylum, and the discovery, years later, of a quilt that tells this compelling story.                                

Bill Slavin:
Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire by Kurt Andersen
Kurt Andersen observes in this book that America was "founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by impresarios and their audiences, by hucksters and their suckers."  His observations of the American character explain why we are living through a period of 'fake news,' believe-whatever-you-want turmoil.        

Elizabeth Fishel:
Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Stout
Beautifully connected stories of life in a small town. The intimate dramas reflect our own attempts to struggle with understand ourselves and others. Stout is the author of My Name is Lucy Barton.

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
New York, 1888. Thomas Edison has patented his electric lamp invention and sues his remaining rival, George Westinghouse. The story revolves around the young attorney who is pitted against Edison and the resulting intrigues and manueverings of Nikola Tesla and others that bring light to the Gilded Age.                                                                                

Kathie & Joan:
The Faith Club by Ranya Idiby
What started as a meeting of 3 women of different faiths to write a children's book about their religion evolved into an enlightened discussion of their own prejudices and misconceptions about each other's religious beliefs. With a discussion list and resources to start your own faith club.
Marcia & RH:
America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
This is a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources to tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph, a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped American legacy.          

Linda & Holly:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Published in 1943 but pertinent for today, the story revolves around "an impoverished, but aspirational Irish-American adolescent girl and her family living in Brooklyn during the first two decades of the 20th century," ( another period of mass migration.  

What a great list to begin the new year! If you have other suggestions, please let me know by leaving your list in the Comments on this blog or by emailing me at

You can see each person's complete list by clicking on the tab, BOOK LISTS, at the top of this posting. Happy reading and thank you to my favorite readers -- all of you!

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