Listeners share their most memorable reads of the year and tell us what books would make good gifts.

Get all our critics' best of lists for 2013

Book Recommendations Heard During the Show


Christian Evans of Booksmith and Kepler's Books Suggests:

California Apricots: The Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley by Robin Chapman

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Dissident Gardens: A Novel by Jonathan Lethem

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal by Nick Bilton

Saltscapes: The Kite Aerial Photography of Cris Benton by Cris Benton

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Trees in Paradise: A California History by Jared Farmer

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

The Wolf Of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort


Sheryl Cotleur of Copperfield's Books Suggests:

The Cartographer of No Man's Land by P.S. Duffy

The Circle by Dave Eggers

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton

On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicolas A. Basbanes

Someone by Alice McDermott


Listeners Recommend:

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

Ageless Erotica by Joan Price

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

And Now You Can Go by Vendela Vida

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fufillment by Martin E. P. Seligman

The Battle for Social Security: From FDR's Vision to Bush's Gamble by Nancy J. Altman

Bold Spirit: Helga Etsby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Burying Ben by Ellen Kirschman

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Champion of Choice: The Life and Legacy of Women's Advocate Nafis Sadik by Cathleen Miller

Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? by Alan Weisman

Dead Men Hike No Trails by Rick McKinney

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid by Joshua Safran

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam M. Grant

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky and Greg Harlin

Hard Road West: History and Geology along the Gold Rush Trail by Keith Heyer Meldahl

Hellgoing: Stories by Lynn Coady

Here on the Edge: How a Small Group of World War II Conscientious Objectors Took Art And Peace from the Margins to the Mainstream by Steve McQuiddy

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Living the Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World by Helen and Scott Nearing

In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America by Maureen Ogle

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed, and Overworked by Ernie J. Zelinski

The Ladies' Paradise by Émile Zola

Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt by Tristan Egolf

The Martian by Andy Weir

My Magical Palace by Kunal Mukherjee

A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman

New Leadership into the 21st Century Yahya ibn Shabazz

Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer

No god but God: The Origins and Evolution of Islam by Reza Aslan

Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

On My Swedish Island: Discovering the Secrets of Scandinavian Well-being by Julie Catterson Lindahl

Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen

Palestinian and Jewish Recipes for Peace by The Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group

Paris France by Gertrude Stein

The People's Advocate: The Life and Legacy of America's Most Fearless Public Interest Lawyer by Daniel Sheehan

The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exlcusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endagers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Saga of the Seven Sisters: Early Pioneer Families of Napa California by Gilbert Gray Patchett

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Sea Glass Rush by Bev Jacquemet

Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Tatya Tope's Operation Red Lotus by Parag Tope

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Tinkers by Paul Harding

TransAtlantic: A Novel by Colum Mccann

Transform Tomorrow: Awakening the Super Saver in Pursuit of Retirement Readiness by Stig Nybo

The Twin by Gerband Bakker

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Virgin Soul by Judy Juanita

We Should Never Meet: Stories by Aimee Phan

What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner

When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe

Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC by Frederick Buechner

The World Is Round Gertude Stein

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin

Christin Evans, owner of Booksmith in San Francisco and buyer for Kepler's in Menlo Park
Sheryl Cotleur, buyer for Copperfield's Books

  • gil patchett

    Dear Michael and Sura,

    “The Saga of the Seven Sisters”. was just out last week. It is about 19th Century pioneer families of Napa and one Sister’s family who thrived in the redwood forest area of Annapolis, 113 miles North of S.F. It is a rare and intimate look at the family of ten children who went to the one-room-Horicon School.

    John, the youngest son of J.M. Patchett (the first winemaker in Napa), was only age 9 when crossing the plains in 1850 with two families and 800 cattle. He later raised 14 strong and productive children in the days before electricity. Photos of all family members make the book a fine and attractive Coffee-Table besides a rare look at our early California history.

    Gil Patchett

  • ldemelis

    Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson, which details how the Middle East was carved up during and after WWI, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why the borders of the modern Middle East are such a mess.

  • Delian

    One of the best novels I’ve read in the last several years was released this past year. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is the story of a misfit British teenager who is stuck by a meteor and follows his life and friendship with a grizzled expatriate American Vietnam veteran in present day England. Their is a Vonnegut-like feel to the story, and it’s a lot of fun to read.

  • Sunny Smog

    Petrichor by David Scott Ewers
    The author’s first novel. And it’s well worth the read. Petrichor is a well-paced black comedy with a paranoiac dose of science fiction washed over with ruminations on identity, language and the composition of reality.
    I found it fresh, full of fascinating characters and taps into the internal landscape like nothing else I’ve ever read.

  • Jennifer Chan

    10th of December, George Saunders. His balance of the light and dark, the apocalyptic and the lovely is extraordinary. And i don’t even like short stories, as a rule.

  • Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons

    Hi Michael,
    Here’s some suggestions for the holiday list this year:
    Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell: the love story of two misfits in 1986 Nebraska.
    The Aqua Net Diaries, Jennifer Niven: a girl growing up in 1980’s Indiana. Be prepared for big hair, St. Elmo’s Fire, First Love, and square dancing with prisoners!
    Debutaunte Hill, Lois Duncan: 1950’s story of a girl feeling like an outsider when she is forbidden to become a debutante while all her friends are “coming out”
    HappyLand, J. Robert Lennon: the much delayed novel about a CEO of a doll company moving into a small town.
    How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, JC Lillis: Two boys are going cross country for Comic Cons. Love isn’t on their minds… Or is it?
    and (being shameless)
    Take What You Got And Fly With It, Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons: Yes, this is me. But I’m very proud of my essay collection!

  • Dan Goldes

    “Ageless Erotica” is a new anthology of short stories edited by Bay Area writer and senior sexuality expert Joan Price. These erotic stories are all by authors over 50 years old, and featuring characters over 50 years old. They prove that great sex is possible – and healthy – at any age, even when it means making changes because of arthritic knees, etc. Very hot, and it’s great to support a local author.

  • Bev Jacquemet

    Bev Jacquemet’s photography in “The Sea Glass Rush” is a visual celebration of the world’s most spectacular ocean tumbled sea glass. A beautiful coffee table book, 120 color pages features rare art sea glass from Davenport, Glass Beach, Fort Bragg and other beaches along the Northern California coast. Turn each page and imagine the excitement of the hunt the thrill of the score and appreciate the alluring beauty of the unique discoveries. Available directly f rom the author at, on her Facebook page, “The Sea Glass Rush”, and on Amazon. Born in San Francisco, the author lives in Pacifica, CA.

  • Ronda

    Burying Ben, written by local author, Ellen Kirschman. Ellen has written a couple of books, this is her first fiction book. A mystery with a lot of twists and insight into police work.

  • Norm

    In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America by Maureen Ogle. She is a historian and brings her storytelling that she used in Ambitious Brew to the American food story. How we got to where we are today fascinated me and provided a richness that our current food discussion lacks.

    Michael, invite Maureen Ogle to your show. Our food system is of interest.

    And I agree on Lawrence in Arabia, fascinating book.

  • LSF64

    I read “Daughter of Fortune” by Isabel Allende this past year (even though it was published in 1999). With a strong female protagonist and Ms. Allende’s beautiful writing style, I really enjoyed the story of Chilean immigrants coming to California during the gold rush.

  • Bill

    Hard Road West by Keith Heyer Meldahl. The emigrant trails from the point of view of a geologist. Driving across Nevada will never be boring again.

  • Eartha McClelland

    Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch” relates an unlikely sequence of events in a believable manner that feels like a fever-dream. A wise heart is at the center of this picaresque and compulsively readable novel. Ms. tartt writing talents are dizzyingly thrilling.

  • Ray Moss

    Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt by Tristan Egolf – This is one of the most well written debut novels I have ever read. A funny, irreverent novel that reminded me of ‘A Confederacy of Dunces.’

  • Terry

    Two of my very favorite non-fiction books are: “The Alphabet versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image” and “Sex, Time, and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution”. Both are by Leonard Shlain. Must reads!!!
    Also, ditto the recent recommendation for Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities.” It never fails to amaze me how few people these day read Dickens, and I believe this one is his best.

  • geraldfnord

    Allie Brosh’s “Hyperbole and a Half”, based on her blog of the same name—amazingly funny and/or piquant and/or strange stories and observations illustrated with illustrations as expressive as they are crudely-rendered. [written before the e-mailed-in recommendation]

    Ben Aaronovitch’s series beginning with “Rivers or London” (U.S. title: “Midnight Riot”): how a Met officer (or ‘bobby’) found himself dipping into the occult, notebook and truncheon at the ready.

    Charles Stross’ “Laundry” series beginning with “The Atrocity Archive” (continuing on to the funnier “The Jennifer Morgue”, the masterful “The Fuller Memorandum”, and the adequate “The Apocalypse Codex”). The Laundry uses literal cybernetic magic to protect the Realm from the Scum of the Multiverse, and ambitious grad students whose flocking-simulation algorithms might summon Nyarlathotep.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Two books I’m starting to read that strike me as particularly important today are: 1) FORTY CHANCES — Finding Hope in a Hungry World, by Howard G. Buffett (with Howard W. Buffett); and LAST STAND — Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, by Todd Wilkinson. The forewords for each book, incidentally — by Warren Buffett and Ted Turner, respectively — are very well written; I found them both extremely engaging.

    Howard Buffett’s current work in Africa and elsewhere is truly impressive. I heard him at the Commonwealth Club recently and was delighted to understand that his foundation — rather than trying to help punish the rebels in the Congo who have recently surrendered — is helping create jobs for them. This kind of fearless innovative thinking is what we need more of: not just to suppress conflict but to help heal its causes, and thereby to make peace sustainable.

  • Steve

    In this year of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, I would recommend Stephen King’s “11/22/63”, which I found quite entertaining. The story involves a man who finds a way to travel back in time, and attempts to prevent the assassination.

    • T. Mak

      I couldn’t agree with you more Steve! I was just about to add my recommendation…. It’s a fantastic book and definitely encourage folks to pick up a copy!

  • Earl Marty Price

    I would like to recommend a book I picked up at Pegasus on College. It is called “Home Fiedl Advantage; A History of Oakland Sports”..A wonderful book that in part expalins the passions of the fans in this town that has produced so many pro athletes in so many sports. Authored by Paul Brekke-Miesner. In the face of all the articles about “how cool Oakland ” suddenly is, the hipsters , rents or what have you this is a really refreshing read

  • Jon Gold

    By Blood, by Ellen Ullman, is set in San Francisco in the 80’s and centers around therapy sessions in the adjoining office of a curious eavesdropping writer…

  • Francesca Fambrough

    Down by the Bay: San Francisco’s History between the Tides by: Matthew Booker This book provides a wealth of information about the SF Bay’s history!

  • mozique

    I rarely read fiction these days, but I picked up “tinkers” by Paul Harding at the SFO bookshop and was completely absorbed by his unique way with language, his beautiful descriptions of rural Maine, and the inner thoughts of an aged man while on his deathbed. Morose, slow, beautiful. –

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    Jacques Vallee’s classic UFO trilogy is an excellent introduction for anyone interested in this phenomenon. “Confrontations” details the types of reports and physical evidence available – how these varieties of evidence are interpreted, what can they tell us about these events. Vallee, who is trained as an astronomer, helped found the internet, and currently works as a venture capitalist, also summarizes a number of cases which he has investigated himself in locales as close as up in Napa and in the remotest parts of the Amazon jungle.

    “Dimensions” examines the reports of lights in the sky thru ancient and pre history and teases apart the ongoing association of these lights with powerful, strange beings. Vallee also looks at the profound spiritual and ontological impact these encounters have on regular people – in many cases various paranormal phenomena accompany these events which have similarities to shamanic and near death experience reports.

    “Revelations” is a great read, if tremendously depressing. In this last book of the trilogy Vallee tells about various activities of sub-rosa intelligence experiments and shadowy ufo cults. Vallee treated this same topic in his previous book, Messengers of Deception, in which he identified certain ufo cults as deserving of skeptical attention. Would that more people had paid attention, as he specifically discussed the Heaven’s Gate cult, before the tragic group suicide.

    If your interest is piqued in the angle of various intelligence agencies’ involvement in the topic be sure to read Project Beta by Greg Bishop. From the book’s pr blurb: “THE HORRIFYING TRUE STORY OF A GOVERNMENT-AUTHORIZED CAMPAIGN OF DISINFORMATION THAT DEFINED AN ERA OF ALIEN PARANOIA AND DESTROYED ONE MAN’S LIFE.” Sadly, the all-caps are justified. Bishop and Vallee are both California authors, even better! i love these shows 🙂 steph. :

  • Jon Gold

    And Now You Can Go, by Vendela Vida is set in NYC where a woman is held at gun point by a mugger and recounts her life – very fast read, excellent!

  • Jeanne Lynch Nelson

    A wonderful high school English teacher I had read us A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. I loved that so much that every year on Christmas day I try to find some quiet time to reread it. It’s written in such a way that you feel you’re there in Wales.

  • Sally MacDonald Ooms

    Finding Home: How Americans Prevail. Local author examines a wealth of definitions of home; life partners, family, friends and community. The stories are told by Americans from across the US, all of whom challenge the idea of what a home can be.

  • Alan

    A book that I have enjoyed greatly and am happy to recommend is “Tree
    Spirits: Tales and Encounters”, a beautifully-illustrated work that’s a
    treasure trove of entertaining and inspiring stories, focusing on nature and
    the natural world, and would make a wonderful gift for all ages.


  • Thurston Hunger

    Fiction : Sleepwalking Land by Mia Couto (writing in Portugese in Mozambique translated to English). Fans of Magical Realism might want to jump continents from South America to Africa, who can resist literacy as something akin to contraband and as crucial as a
    machete in cutting its way through ancient jungles and more modern emotional

    Nonfiction: Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley, Even without the recent FDA and 23andMe brouhaha, this lucid book from the last millenium points to the importance of the next frontier, the genetic one.

  • Bobby Simon of San Francisco

    I am reading lord of the rings out loud to my six year old son. We started with the Hobbit; it’s much shorter and my son really liked it. So we went on to lotr. I must say, I am really geeking out myself on middle earth lore. And I enjoy the discussions with my son about the histories and details of it all. I’m listening to the audio book as well ( the one by Rob Inglis) because I want to understand every passage it the book.

  • Nilu Rafsanjani

    I would like to recommond

    Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. This book has changed the way I think and feel about sex, relationships and human sexual behavior on a personal and societal level! GREAT book!

  • William – SF

    The Twin, by Gerbrand Bakker.

    Perfect winter read – I’m not giving you anymore hints than that.

  • Lisa Janz

    The Ladies’ Paradise by Emile Zola. This is the book on which the series “The Paradise” is based, although the cliched dialogue, cardboard characters, and dumbed-down plot of the series pales in comparison to this novel, which presents a poignently relevant and entertaining dramatisation of how department stores obliterated small businesses in late 19th century Paris. A sharp reminder of the glories and depravities of consumerism.

  • Debbie Neff McKee

    One Summer, America 1927 by Bill much happened in American that year…who knew…Ruth… Lindbergh…Politics…and much more…excellent read..
    learn something new every page!

  • ryan

    Warner Herzog’s Walking in Ice is a non fictional account of Herzog walking through europe in winter in the belief that it will keep his dying friend alive

  • Erin Leigh Ginder-Shaw

    Fight Song by San Francisco author Joshua Mohr. Hilarious. Smart. Cleverly written. Makes you reconsider family and relationships.

  • Susan McQuiddy

    Here on the Edge, by Steve McQuiddy, is the long-awaited story of how a World War II conscientious objectors camp on the Oregon Coast plowed the ground for the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s. Important historical ties to the Bay Area. Just published by OSU Press in October.

    • JR Reuel

      I cannot agree more, Susan. Wonderful history brought to life!

  • Peter Simmonds

    Three Books I so enjoyed this year.
    1- Spiritual Rules of the Road , by Bill Engelhart .
    Greatest book on practical Metaphysical Spirituality.
    Bill uses his love of Cars to discuss practical principals of Metaphysical Spiritually.
    It is fun , funny and a Great read all together. His use of metaphors is really great. The bumps we all hit in our life journey , the spiritual tools we have in our Glove compartment.
    “Enjoying Life is not about how we get to the end of the road; it’s about enjoying the road we are on.”
    Bill Englehart

  • Shannon McGowan

    Still Writing – Dani Shapiro
    When Women Were Birds – Terri Tempest Williams

    I couldn’t put these books down. I read When Women Were Birds, just after i birth to my daughter and couldn’t put it down. I welcomed late night feedings so i could crack open the pages again. My reading of Still Writing is probably a testament of poor parenting as i was reading it between preparing snacks and in the car (while parked) with the kids sleeping. Took me 24 hours to finish – a record for me now that i have kids.

    Both non-fiction. When Women Were Birds is a memoir about a relationship between a mother and daughter. It is a rich and poetic read. Still Writing is exploration of the positive and negative side of a creative life. Dani Shapiro successfully negates all excuses one might tell them self that stands in the way of writing (or other creative endeavor.)

  • Mike Arkus

    “Plainclothes Naked” by Jerry Stahl. A hillarious and irreverent tome about a dope-using cop turned PI in search of an incriminating photograph of the (then) president. Entertaining, enrapturing, and laugh-outloud funny!

  • Ellen Miller

    Perceptual Integration: The Mechanics of Awakening by Gary Sherman – this is an excellent book full of tools and wisdom to enhance self-awareness and assist in evolving one self. It supports and clarifies any path.

  • Steven Block

    “Thai Stick” by Peter McGuire. McGuire, a war crimes investigator in Cambodia comes across the photographs of 3 Americans executed by the Kmer Rouge. McGuires colleagues suspect they were CIA but McGuire, having grown up in California surf culture knows exactly who they are surfers who turned to drug smuggling in order to finance the search for the perfect wave. Nominated for a Bancroft and Pen/Espy.

  • Debbie Andrews

    I haven’t heard anyone recommend Children’s Books. There’s a great gift giving book just out, that I found, called “Come to the Zoo.” Full page photographs and Haiku by local author and former teacher, Anna Dabney. I’ve purchased copies for all my nieces, nephews, young neighbor kids, and elementary school teacher friends. A great find. Beautifully done and self-published here in the US. A lifetime keepsake for anyone.

  • Sue in Albany

    I love memoirs, especially quirky ones. American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti is written by a young woman, born in the former Soviet Union into a Gypsy family of entertainers who moved to the US and now live in Las Vegas and southern California. The characters are fascinating and the recounting of interactions among them will keep you reading long into the night.

  • Peter Simmonds

    Another great Book I read this year , that has been a NYT best seller is ” The Untethered Soul
    the journey beyond yourself.
    by Michael Singer.
    Deepak, Chopra, said this. ” Reed this book. Are fully and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity.”

    Such a great guid to living a happy, fulfilling Life. Michael does an amazing job in my opinion of mixing eastern and western, principals to get you engaged into how to live a happy Life regardless of what is going on out in the world Simply stated .Ones circumstances do not create ones happiness; we get to choose.

    • Pete Cockerell

      Oh, it was recommended by Deepak Chopra. That tells me everything I need to know, thanks.

  • Jim Brumm

    “Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World” is a great non-fiction read that ezplores the problems we create in our lives and society by thinking too short term, and how we can make changes on our personal liives to think more deeply long term and create a lifethat is part of the solution.

  • Kristi Dixon

    “My Magical Palace” by Kunal Mukherjee is a coming of age story about a young boy in 1970’s Hyderabad, India. Life within his palace walls resembles an idyllic Eden, embodying the purity and innocence of childhood. As Rahul’s world expands beyond his enchanting home and gardens, so does his realization that the risks to pursuing love are sometimes just as certain as the risks to not pursuing love at all.

  • Claudia in San Jose

    I highly recommend Ayan Hirsi Ali’s courageous memoir INFIDEL in which she gives a harrowing account of her escape from the brutality of Islam as it has been twisted by men to oppress and subjugate girls and women, her pursuit of higher learning in Europe, and the fatwa that killed her cinematographer and drove her into hiding as a result of her movie revealing the truth behind the veil.

  • Claudia in San Jose

    I also recommend Noah Feldman’s SCORPIONS (audiobook) … a brilliant historical look at the personalities and backroom deals behind FDR’s Supreme Court packing scheme.

  • Gail Jean Benjamin

    2 books worth reading-Canada by Richard Ford-a thoughtful beautifully written story about a boy who becomes estranged from his family through no fault of his own. I reread the ending over and over- it was so profound. And The Light Between the Oceans by Stedman. A book about a man with PSD after WW2 that becomes a lighthouse keeper to avoid personal interactions, finds love and makes a series of choices that affect everyone around him. Its about making good choices for bad reasons and bad choices for good reasons and how every choice you make has consequences. The writing is lyrical.

  • Jan Donald Albin

    Vision for Life:Ten Steps to Natural Eyesight Improvement, by Meir Schneider. Just attended a 6 day workshop with him and the exercises in the book really work. It’s an interesting, well written book and a treasure!

  • Roberta Borne

    I recommend The Ghost Family by local writer Myanne Shelley

  • SB

    I recommend the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It is such a richly written and beautiful story. Its has the best visual aspects of a Bollywood movie but with amazing writing.

  • Ginny Gelczis

    I recommend the e-book (on Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks) “Darwin’s Apple: The Evolutionary Biology of Religion” by Mitchell Diamond. It’s a well-researched book on the intrinsic relationship between religious behavior and human consciousness. Makes you look at consciousness and religion in a completely different way.

  • MattCA12

    You guys are all WAY too serious! For a great laugh, read Schottenfreude by Ben Schott for a great romp through the German language. Ever wondered why some German words are SOOOO LONG? How they come to be cobbled together is hilarious.

  • SFreader

    I would like to recommend “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing” by Anya von Bremzen. It is a tragicomic take on the history of Soviet Union through the story of the author’s family with a delightful focus on cooking (the author is the winner of three James Beard awards).

  • J Bld

    “From the Mouth of the Whale” by the Icelandic author Sjon is an amazing short novel about a 17th century folk healer and poetic seer.

  • trichinella

    There was one about a survival story in antarctica. Which one was that?

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