Book | Bread & Wine


As you know, I love recommending books to others… if I read a great book, I can’t wait to share it with those who I also think would enjoy it! Someone recently recommended Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist to me, and as soon as I read the summary, I immediately added it to my Amazon shopping cart. Though Bread & Wine was a quick read, it was filled to the brim with insight and anecdotes and descriptions that I adored. Shauna Niequist’s writing style and subject matter were incredibly appealing to me, and I couldn’t read Bread & Wine fast enough. And how perfect is it that the book is described as “a love letter to life around the tables with recipes”? Sure sounds like a perfect book to me!


Recent Reads | 2

It’s time for some more recent reads and book suggestions! (Clearly I love reviewing books – books of 2013recent reads 1inspiring books, and more.)


The Signature of All Things
by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book was incredible. Simply incredible! It’s such a sweeping saga, filled with so much knowledge and thought, and I absolutely loved it. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love (which is in my top books of all time; I adore it), and I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Signature of All Things. It delivered… and then some! It’s a fiction book that primarily follows the life of Alma Whittaker, a woman who grows up throughout the novel, becoming a botanist. This book follows Alma and her incredibly affluent family throughout her entire life (beginning around 1800) and throughout the whole world – through her coming of age, romantic interests, love of nature and botany; from Philadelphia to England to Tahiti. The Signature of All Things is a long novel, but I simply could not put it down. The author pulls you in, and I also felt like I learned so much, too. I would highly, highly recommend this book!!
East of Eden
by John Steinbeck
This, too, has long been one of my favorite books of ALL-time. Re-reading favorite books is something I love doing, and it was definitely time for another reading of East of Eden. Goodness, this book is so moving, spellbinding, and powerful. It should be a must-read for everyone, in my opinion. East of Eden chronicles the interwoven Hamilton and Trask families in Salinas Valley, California at the turn of the 20th century. The story parallels the biblical stories of Adam & Eve and then Cain & Abel; there’s good and evil in the world, and it is ultimately your choice which path you wish to follow. The characters and plot are so engrossing, and John Steinbeck writes so incredibly well. You absolutely must read East of Eden!!
The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
The Invention of Wings (the author wrote Secret Life of Bees!) is a recent book club pick, and, once again, we selected a great book to read and discuss! Sue Monk Kidd is such an excellent writer, and I also enjoyed this novel immensely. I recently returned from a weekend in Charleston, so it was eye-opening to read a book that takes place in Charleston (though in the 1800s). It’s an intertwined tale of Sarah, a wealthy Charlestonian girl who demands more of the world than the limits set on women of her era, and Handful, Sarah’s maid/slave. The novel details the lives of both Sarah and Handful as they grow up in such segregated, tumultuous times, especially in regards to slavery. I really loved this book, and I’m positive you will, too!

Rosie Project 

by Graeme Simsion

I loved this book! It was such a quick and easy read (I believe I finished it in about a day), but it was so well-written, hilarious, and deep. It’s about a man (Don, who unknowingly has Asperger’s) who decides to undergo a rigorous online “Wife Project” to find his perfect mate by weeding out all other women. He has incredibly specific parameters to fit his future wife into the mold he has in his mind, and then Rosie comes along. She certainly doesn’t qualify as his wife, but Don and Rosie dive into a “Father Project” to figure out who Rosie’s true father is. You should definitely check The Rosie Project out; it’s a great summertime read!
Do tell: what are your favorite books of the year? Did you set a goal to read a specific number of books this year, and how is that going? I’d love to hear what books you’d suggest for me!

Recent Reads

It’s about that time again for some book reviews! As y’all know by now, reading is an activity that brings me so much joy. I love devouring a great book that opens your mind, leaves you hungrily turning the page, and teaches you more about life and people. To me, reading is relaxing and necessary – I honestly can’t imagine not having a book to read every day. Of course, part of this comes from my hours on the metro each day, but it’s also a treat to crack open a book and get lost in another world.

Has anyone ever read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving? I read this book years and years ago in early high school, and I recall loving the book. However, I couldn’t recall much else about it, other than the fact that it really moved me in some way. And now, many years later, I decided it was time to delve into this book again. (PS: Re-reading books is one of my very favorite things to do!) For the second time, A Prayer for Owen Meany did not disappoint – in fact, it kept getting better and better. What a touching, fascinating, and compelling read! If you haven’t read this book already (or if it’s been a decade since you’ve read it), please run to your bookstore or library and read this book. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and you’ll find yourself falling in love with the characters and plot line, like I did.
I had heard rave reviews about The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, one of the hottest books of the year. And one of the longest books! It was a good book that I really couldn’t put down (despite its length), but I’m not so sure I loved the book. It definitely kept me hooked, and I liked the premise of the book… but it got to be a bit long-winded and so many of the characters were just pitiful. I’d encourage you to read it (if you have the time!), and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.
As I mentioned above, I adore re-reading books! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read over and over my very favorite books – but let’s just say it’s a lot. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of THE very best books I have ever read, and it was time to re-read it last week. Again, it affirmed just how much I love that book – every character, the twists and turns, the story, and the underlying morals/themes of this book. I would think everyone’s read this incredible book by now, but if you haven’t… then you must!
A new book I read this month was Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen. I’ve never read much about Edgar Allen Poe, besides his infamous poems, so it was fun to learn so much new information about Poe’s private life – including his wife and his mistress. I’m not sure how much of this book was factual, but it was fascinating to learn about famous authors in New York City during this time period and see why Poe wrote poems like he did. This book was a pretty easy and entertaining read – I liked it!
So, what have you been reading lately? What’s next in your queue? I need some new book recommendations for Spring Break!