let's chat about books

It's been a while since I've shared any books here on my blog (In my spring newsletter I gave my subscribers a nice long list of cookbook recommendations... if you're not yet a subscriber, sign up now and you can catch up on the spring edition).

Although today's post is all about books, I'm going to admit that my motivation was less about wanting to share recommendations than about wanting to hear your recommendations. I'm always on the lookout for good books and right now I've gotten to the bottom of the pile on my bedside table.

boosk, book chatting, book talking, book discussion, favorite books, book shelf, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Winter might be the cozier time to snuggle up with a good book and it might be when I have more time to read, but for some reason spring always gets me in the mood to revisit some of my old favorites. Maybe it's because some of those favorites have such a spring-like feel to them. Books like Anne of Green Gables, Rose Daughter and The Secret Garden get me in the mood to be outside communing with the flowers. Just writing about each of those books has me wanting to spend some time with Anne, Beauty and Mary.

Some of my favorites are better summer reads: The Shell Seekers, The Olive Farm, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyHotel Paradise, DakotaTo Kill a Mockingbird.

I love reading my favorite books again and again, but I also love to discover something new. Sometimes it's so hard to find a book that I like. Does that happen to you, too?

Trying to compile a complete list of all my favorite books is probably an impossible task (or at least one that would take me more time than I have to spend on this blog post), but I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of some of my favorites and ask you to share your favorites, too.

A preface: I'm pretty open to any genre and I tend to obsessively plow through series. I also enjoy memoirs and some other non-fiction (art books, craft books, cookbooks and decorating books always catch my eye).

So here's a (very incomplete) list (I know I'm forgetting some favorite books and authors) and in no particular order.

  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley (and Deerskin, too, and, of course, Rose Daughter as I mentioned above)
  • almost anything by Martha Grimes (each of her series has a different feel to it and I like them all, though some of the books are better than others, but I get kind of anal when it comes to series and think you really need them in order, even the stinkers. The Emma Graham books are probably my favorites, of which Hotel Paradise is the first)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer (if you haven't read this, go out and read it now, or, listen to the audiobook which is fantastic)
  • The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman and Third Angel, too (she's one of my favorite authors)
  • The Charlie Resnick mysteries by John Harvey
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Stieg Larsson's Millennium series (I also enjoyed the newest book written by David Lagercrantz)
  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (I've loved everything I've read by her)
  • Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God by Joe Coomer
  • The Chief Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • Kim Harrison's Hollows books (but I was disappointed in the final book)
  • Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient is wonderful, too)
  • Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam books
I'm sure there are others that I'm not thinking of. I also recently read some that I enjoyed quite a bit: Paula McClain's Circling the Sun, Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, Isabel Allende's The Japanese Lover, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich's The Master Butcher's Singing Club.

Some non-fiction:
  • Amy Butler's Midwest Modern
  • A Fine Romance by Susan Branch
  • anything by Tovah Martin, especially Once Upon a Windowsill and The Essence of Paradise
  • Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
  • When Wanderers Cease to Roam by Vivian Swift
  • Goat Song by Brad Kessler
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • In and Out of the Garden by Sara Midda
  • Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver
  • SARK's books
  • A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
  • Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
  • Kim Parker Home by Kim Parker
  • How to be a Wildflower by Katie Daisy
  • My Life in France by Julia Child
  • Kaffe Fassett's autobiography -- Dreaming in Color
  • Tiff Fussell's Dottie Angel published by Uppercase

I hope you'll stop and share a few of your favorite books in the comments below.

Have a wonderful weekend and happy reading!


  1. Thank you for all these recommendations Anne. I have not read a fiction book in ages and really must try harder! I bought the Forest Feast cook book after seeing it on Karen's (sew and Sow) blog. It is a beautiful book to look at even if you don't make the recipes. My mind has gone blank at the moment but if I think of any good books I will let you know. Have a great weekend! :)

    1. I hate how my mind goes blank when I'm at the library or bookstore. I suddenly can't think of what I was looking for. Good thing there are always so many great things to browse. It helps to keep lists, too, which I try to refer to when I'm looking for a good book.

      I may just have to buy the Forest Feast. Our library only has the kids version and I usually like to get my books from the library first. Glad to know you enjoyed it, too!

      Hope you have a great weekend yourself!

    2. Hi Anne. Just thought I would let you know that I went to my local library - a stone's throw away and got out a book by one of your favorite authors Alice Hoffman - called 'The Museum of Extraordinary Things'. It looks really promising. I just thought of a book I could recommend to you called Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris. I also liked Chocolat (as in the film) and Coastliners by the same author. I hope you are able to replenish your waning pile of books very soon!

    3. Hi, Simone! Thanks for the recommendations. I put Blackberry Wine on hold at the library and I'll try the other two after that (I loved the movie Chocolat).

      I hope you like the Museum of Extraordinary Things. I read it this winter and and enjoyed it, although I liked some of her other books better.

  2. Have you read "All the Light We Cannot See"? If not you will probably love it. (Based on loving "The Guernsey..." book. Also "The Nightingale" .

    1. Thank you for the suggestions!!! I immediately put holds on them both. Can't wait to dig into another good book. I hate it when I get to the bottom of my pile!

  3. Hi Anne,
    I am reading Susan Branch, Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams.
    xx oo

    1. Oooh! I really want to read that. I hope you enjoy it. I'd love to hear what you think about it.

      Thanks so much for sharing, Carla!



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