Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good Reads

I am a reader. For years reading was my first, last and every moment in between favorite recreational activity. I've read far less recently due to vision problems and my increased interest in family history. But I still love a good book.

I am blessed to belong to a book club full of strong, articulate (other words occasionally come to mind) women who are equally passionate readers. Several of the books we've read in the last two years seem especially good fits for people interested in family history and research. None are about genealogy per se, but all involve family stories, mysteries and history.

So, my latest Good Reads -

  • Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Non-fiction. Mesmerizing, horrifying account of a Syrian-American family in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. Non-fiction. A friend who grew up in Chicago told me yesterday that this book has affected how she sees the world around her and how she looks back on her childhood. Not without it's flaws (more than a little repetitive) it is still the the most significant book I've read this decade and one of the ten best books I've ever read. 
  • A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay. Fiction. Immensely readable novel about a brother and sister examining their lives and their memories. It has an ambivalent ending, which I adore. (I dislike most novels' endings.)
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean. Fiction. Another novel about memory and the mystery of a parent's life. I love the setting in the Hermitage during the Siege of Leningrad. 
  • Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. Fiction. Another novel with roots in Russia's Leningrad during World War II. I loved most of the book but found the too tidy ending a disappointment.


  1. Thank you for this list. I've been thinking about doing something similar for a while now, but never seem to get around to it. I particularly appreciate the fiction titles on your list. I've become more of a non-fiction reader in recent years and could use some good fiction recommendations!

  2. I love to read too, Susan, but I haven't read any of these titles! I'll have to check them out. Have you read City of Thieves by David Benioff? It's set in Russia during the Siege of Leningrad. Bet you'd like it. This was a great idea for a post!

  3. I also love to read but my reading has dwindled in recent years. I will look for these on Friday - when I volunteer and work at the library book sale. One I recommend to family historians is Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier. it takes place in Victorian London and often in Highgate cemetery.
    Shelley - I had to stop reading City of Thieves. I couldn't handle it.


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