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Grandy’s All-Time Favorite Book List

by Joan "Grandy" Leader
 ∙ Feb 15 ∙ 4 Min Read

Reading and sharing my love of books has always been my favorite hobby, so when Chelsea, my oldest granddaughter (now my colleague, as Campowerment’s COO), was studying AP English in high school and learning zillions of new vocabulary words, she stumbled on one she thought perfectly described me— Bibliophile: a person who loves or collects books. Yup. That’s exactly what I am. I’ve never met a bookstore I don’t want to spend the day in.

In 1997, shortly after I retired from teaching at Florida International University, I decided to form a book club of special women, special friends. I had no idea that day that I was building a community of love and unity, not only of books, but of women, too!

There were 15 of us, and we named our group NJABC: Not Just Another Book Club For the past 21 years, we continue to meet monthly to share our love for whatever book we’re reading. Six members of the original group continue to be with us on the fourth Thursday of the month, and although some of the faces have changed, the warmth and friendship continues to keep us all together, in a way I can’t even begin to describe.

I often talk about books (with anyone who will listen!) and one summer day in 2013, I compiled the below list of books that I’d particularly enjoyed, to share with friends who continually ask for suggestions. It was originally titled, “36 Books I Have Really Enjoyed,” but since then, I’ve added a few more.

As I look over the list, which I do every once-in-a-while, it makes me so happy to pass along my favorites with anyone who asks…and now you! Reading is a great escape, and to offer you that, as a way to process anything you’re going through in life — happy, hard, whatever!

Big hugs from Grandy! Here goes…

Almost 50 Good Reads…in no special order:

  1. Virgins of Paradise – Barbara Wood
  2. The Color of Water – James McBride
  3. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
  4. Women of the Silk – Gail Tsukiyama
  5. One Thousand White Women – Jim Fergus
  6. Body and Soul – Frank Conroy
  7. A Year By the Sea – Joan Anderson
  8. Unfinished Marriage – Joan Anderson
  9. Sotah – Naomi Regen
  10. Year of Wonder – Geraldine Brooke
  11. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  12. The Other Boleyn Girl – Phillipa Gregory
  13. A Death in Vienna – Daniel Silva
  14.  Address Unknown – K. Kressman Taylor
  15. Retribution – Jilliane Hoffman
  16. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See
  17. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
  18. The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
  19. Exile – Richard North Patterson
  20. Ten Green Bottles – Vivian Kaplan
  21. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
  22. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
  23. Sarah’s Key – Tatiana deRosnay
  24. The Day the World Came to Town – Jim DeFede
  25. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  26. The Invisible Wall – Harry Bernstein
  27. The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
  28. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford
  29. Mudbound – Hillary Jordan
  30. Room – Emma Donoghue
  31. Once We Were Brothers – Robert Balson
  32. Only Time Will Tell – Jeffrey Archer
  33. Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
  34. An Invisible Thread – Laura Schroff
  35. What We Leave Behind – Rochelle Weinstein
  36. The Light Between Oceans – M. L Stedman
  37. The Whip – Karen Konda
  38. A Land Remembered – Patrick Smith
  39. The Marriage of Opposites – Alice Hoffman
  40. Our Souls at Night – Kent Karuf
  41. Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale – Andrew Kane
  42. An Invisible Thread – Laura Schroft
  43. The Boys in the Boat – Daniel Brown
  44. The Priority List – David Menasche
  45. Home Front – Kristin Hannah
  46. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  47. The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom

I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations about books you’ve enjoyed, and any special anecdotes you’d like to contribute. This list is meant to grow, and be shared, so please do pass it along.

Wouldn’t it be cool to turn this list into the Campowerment Book List of our 100 favorite reads?

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