What I'm currently reading...

Submitted by Ellie Swain Ballard on Saturday, 11/29/2008, at 10:29 AM

Check out this great website, Goodreads.com

  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (yes, the 4th Twilight Book, see disclaimer below)
  • Up next? Maybe another Amherst Reads author...Jennifer Cody Epstein's Painter from Shanghai.

What I've read recently...

Submitted by Ellie Swain Ballard
  • The Twilight Book (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse). I'm not proud, but I couldn't put them down! Clinging to my youth however I can.
  • Bright Lights, Big Ass a memoir by Jen Lancaster. Yes, that's right.  It was the perfect read for a particularly stressful time, mindless and hilarious. I was LOL.
  • The Monsters of Templeton by Amherst author Lauren Groff '01, which I really enjoyed. She creates wonderful characters whose identity is tightly wrapped in the town of Templeton (Cooperstown).
  • Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian '82. Interestingly, this book has grown on me the more time I've had to contemplate it. Its style is quite a departure from his earlier books. I had a hard time getting into it, but ended up liking it more than I thought I would. In some instances, I wanted the characters to be more developed than they were, but my guess is that may have been intention as the protagonist was quite transient.
  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson. Another great one, but Between, Georgia is still my favorite.
  • Names My Sisters Call Me by my famous cousin, Megan Crane. Her best novel yet, I also stayed up way too late to finish this one as I couldn't put it down.
  • The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. The first book I've read by her and was easily engrossed in this story of a woman searching for her identity as a woman, a mother, a wife, etc.
  • Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson. I really liked this book but I still like her other book Between, Georgia better. Highly recommend!
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I couldn't put it down and found it fascinating, sad and endearing.
  • Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (for November book group). A great read although I didn't like the references to himself as a writer- a la Homer.
  • Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott. I am not usually a non-fiction reader, but this was for book group. The book is written in the style of historical fiction but still classified as non-fiction and is a fascinating glimpse into the social vices in Chicago and the formidable Everleigh sisters at the turn of the 20th century.
  • Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. Another incredible book that I couldn't put down, and had me pondering the dyanmics of friendship. It's going on my all-time favorites list. Jen Kordell '95 also loved this book and recommended All the Little Live Things.
  • A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
  • Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson-an amazing book about a woman who is raised by a blind and deaf woman and the family dynamics that play out in this small, rural town of Between, Georgia.
  • I was on an Amherst authors kick: Chris Bohjalian's Double Bind (very well written with a surprise ending I never could have guessed) and Harlan Coben's The Woods which is the first book I've read by him -- I was not disappointed!

What's in my queue...

Submitted by Ellie Swain Ballard on Friday, 9/12/2008, at 9:47 PM
  • The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea
  • I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles (I have read all Philipa Gregory's books so onto more novels from this period.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Have a recommendation? Add a comment!

A few of my favorites...

Submitted by Ellie Swain Ballard

These days, I only read fiction (almost all contemporary). Here are some of my favorites as evidenced by what still remains in my bookshelves since Matt's rule is for every new book that comes into the house, one must go!

  • The Grass Dancer by Susan Power
  • Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • In the Blue Light of African Dreams by Paul Watkins
  • Angle of Repose and Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
  • The Other Boleyn Girl and Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
  • The Poisonwood Bible and anything else by Barbara Kingslover
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende