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:
- Virgins of Paradise – Barbara Wood
- The Color of Water – James McBride
- Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
- Women of the Silk – Gail Tsukiyama
- One Thousand White Women – Jim Fergus
- Body and Soul – Frank Conroy
- A Year By the Sea – Joan Anderson
- Unfinished Marriage – Joan Anderson
- Sotah – Naomi Regen
- Year of Wonder – Geraldine Brooke
- The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
- The Other Boleyn Girl – Phillipa Gregory
- A Death in Vienna – Daniel Silva
- Address Unknown – K. Kressman Taylor
- Retribution – Jilliane Hoffman
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See
- The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
- The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
- Exile – Richard North Patterson
- Ten Green Bottles – Vivian Kaplan
- A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
- Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
- Sarah’s Key – Tatiana deRosnay
- The Day the World Came to Town – Jim DeFede
- The Help – Kathryn Stockett
- The Invisible Wall – Harry Bernstein
- The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
- Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford
- Mudbound – Hillary Jordan
- Room – Emma Donoghue
- Once We Were Brothers – Robert Balson
- Only Time Will Tell – Jeffrey Archer
- Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
- An Invisible Thread – Laura Schroff
- What We Leave Behind – Rochelle Weinstein
- The Light Between Oceans – M. L Stedman
- The Whip – Karen Konda
- A Land Remembered – Patrick Smith
- The Marriage of Opposites – Alice Hoffman
- Our Souls at Night – Kent Karuf
- Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale – Andrew Kane
- An Invisible Thread – Laura Schroft
- The Boys in the Boat – Daniel Brown
- The Priority List – David Menasche
- Home Front – Kristin Hannah
- The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
- 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?