A Book Recommended by a Friend: May’s Reading Challenge

Since May’s Reading Challenge is “a book recommended by a friend,” we asked for book recommendations from the Friends of the Winfield Public Library. Choose one of their recommended books below or grab a favorite book of one of your friends to complete this month’s Challenge. 

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah: It is the best book I’ve read in a long time.  It is a historical fiction that takes place in 1930s Texas with a family trying to survive during the Dust Bowl and later trying to survive as migrant workers in California.  It is about a strong woman who becomes a warrior for the survival of her and her children, against all odds.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Galdwell: Normally I prefer reading to listening to a book.  However, this audiobook (which I found on Overdrive) layers Gladwell’s voice with actual audio of some of his featured subjects.  This audiobook felt like an extended, captivating podcast.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: This nonfiction book reads like a novel and includes history and science with real life personal and family dynamics. It is my #1 book ever read.

Hillbilly Elegy by Vance

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano: I think that the author did a really good job of developing the chararacters. She made the main character believable. His reaction to his circumstances was completely understandable and the issues that he faced and the way that he resolved them made for a great read.

Meeting the Expectations of the Land: Essays in Sustainable Agriculture and Stewardship edited by Wes Jackson, Wendall Berry, and Bruce Colman

Dark Money by Jane Mayer (available for loan as eBoook from Libby): Biographically, a hard look at the Koch family & how they evolved into king makers within conservative & libertarian circles. Historically, an interesting treatment on how the USA has drifted into a polarized society, based on the outsized influence of wealthy funders. From a NYT review: “The book is written in straightforward and largely unemotional prose, but it reads as if conceived in quiet anger. Mayer believes that the Koch brothers and a small number of allied plutocrats have essentially hijacked American democracy, using their money not just to compete with their political adversaries, but to drown them out.”

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Saint X, by Alexis Schaitkin: The novel starts on an resort island in the Caribbean. A wealthy family is on vacation there. Just before they leave, their charmed 18 year old daughter disappears. Her body is found, and the rest of the story is told by her younger sister, as she describes the years that she spends trying to find out how her sister died, and how the death affects her family. I think that the characters are all so well- developed.

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson: If you want to understand where our deep-seated systemic racism originated, please read this book. It turns the emotionally charged issues we face into logical, common sense issues. Yes, they are painful to face, but this book helps us know what we are really facing!

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson: Historical fiction set in depression-era Kentucky, the book documents the WPA Library system in 1936. Without the tireless work of these “Book Women”, the Kentucky poor would have had no access to reading materials at all. Poignant look at racisim in the United States in that era, and reminder of how it damages humanity.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kinsolver: It may be 10 years old, but it is still SO VERY RELEVANT. And it is a beautifully written, lyrical work of art. Along with telling a poignant family story, you will learn about African history and geography! It’s one of those books that is worth re-reading, because it is so incredibly dense and thought-provoking.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger: Adventure, history and heartfelt story well told and captivating.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Library Book by Susan Orlean: This is the story of the 1986 fire in the Los Angeles Central Library. Historically this is interesting but Orlean also brings in the human interest stories of the suspected arsonist, his family and the thoughts and feeling of the librarians and staff.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: Top notch fast paced brilliant writing. Never boring. Interesting characters and plot.

Consequences of War by Jacquelene Winspear: Her books never disappoint. I love the timeframe of her books and her storylines.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Lost Key by Catheriine Coulter or any of her FBI series: I like unusual mysteries and she writes books that are easy to follow and the plots are great.

Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate: This historical fiction novel is about child abductions and illegal adoptions in Tennessee (1920’s through the 1940’s) at the hands of infamous Georgia Tann. Takes the reader through the journey of a family who realizes the power of family and love, and who never gives up hope.