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Showing posts from August, 2015

Book Club Picks: Nonfiction

Welcome to my Book Club Picks series. This week, I'm sharing some of my favorite nonfiction books for book clubs. Included are memoirs, biographies and general nonfiction books that would be great for book clubs to discuss. My book club doesn't read a lot of nonfiction, but we have read a few on this list, and the discussions went very well. We learned a lot about the topic or the subject of the book, and our eyes were opened to situations faced by others. 



Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion guides do. The book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. If you use those links to make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission but your price will remain the same.


The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
Published in 2005; 288 pages
This memoir reads more like fiction, or at least the reader wishes it were fiction. The situations and experiences that Walls and her siblings lived through, and the fact that they survived, wil…

Reading Recap

It's been three weeks since my last reading recap and sadly, I've only read two more books! But it's been a fun summer! Good thing I took a break from taking on too many review books because there's no way I would have gotten through them. At this point, I think I'm caught up on all of the books I took on for review (just one review to write but the book has been read). That's a nice feeling! I am going to spend some time reading a few books from my shelves and then start accepting books for review again.

So, what have I been reading?

Since my last update, I read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. It's been a couple weeks and I haven't decided what I think of it yet. On the one hand, it was simpler than I expected. On the other hand, it was compelling and unique. I'll eventually pull my thoughts together and write a review!

I also read The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. I need to write my review of that as well, but…

Book Club Picks: Book Lists

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks. This week, I am sharing a list of lists. As a member of a book club, I find it challenging to choose a decent list of books for my group to pick from when I host. In our case, the host always offers three options and then the group votes for the book we'll actually read and review that month. This means that the hosts don't just come up with one book; they have to come up with three! Following are several book lists that will hopefully provide plenty of choices to book clubs.





Awards lists Sue at Book By Book has a great list of award lists on her blog. She shares links to the short lists, long lists and winners of several book and literary awards.

Best books of 2013 and 2014 This Simple Home blog has a list of favorite books of 2013 that includes some great choices for book clubs, including nonfiction and fiction selections.

Wired has a great list of the top 10 books of 2014 that would all work well for book clubs.

Book club fav…

Book Giveaway: The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham

I have a great giveaway for you this week! I'm giving away a copy of The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. According to the publisher: "This darkly satirical novel is a perfect fit for the dog days of summer: Ham sets her tale of haute couture and revenge in small-town Australia, where the nosy neighbors think they know all your business and don’t like any of it one bit."

The main character is Tilly Dunnage, who left town many years ago but has returned to take care of her mother. The townspeople hate Tilly because they think she killed a boy back when she was a child. They also look down on her mother, whom they call Mad Molly. I'm only halfway through, but it's an entertaining story and has just started to take a dark turn, I believe. I'll write a full review once I'm done.

In the meantime, you can win a copy of The Dressmaker by completing the Rafflecopter down below. Also, be sure to check out the movie trailer. The Dressmaker will soon be out in theaters s…

Book Review: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

One couple came to American to give their child a chance at a special school that promised to heal her. Another couple came to escape the devastation of war in their home country. Still others came to find a better life, to escape hardship and pain. What they found was a country that offered grand possibilities and seemingly insurmountable challenges. As they come together in a small apartment building in Delaware, these individuals and families share their stories and struggles amid a blossoming young love.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez opens up the world of immigration in America from the point of view of the immigrants. There is much discourse on this topic, especially during an election cycle, but there's very little chance to see the situation from the view of those living in it every day. Henriquez tries to bring that view into the open through a wide range of characters. We mostly hear from Alma and Mayor, but many other characters share their point of…

Book Club Picks from You!

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks. This week, I decided to turn the tables and ask my readers on Facebook and Twitter for their book club recommendations. I'm always looking for new ideas that I can present to my club when it's my turn to host. I posed this challenge on both social media outlets: NAME ONE BOOK THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO BOOK CLUBS. Some of the responses were books I've already read with my book club, but there are a few new ones here that I'm excited to share.




Here are the responses from Twitter!@MyBookRetreat The Girl on the Train. Though every book club is probably scheduling this one! :) — Lara {Overstuffed} (@lalakme) August 5, 2015
My book club just read The Girl on the Train in July and most of the group liked it. It definitely has some interesting characters and situations to discuss!

@MyBookRetreat@TimaMariaLacoba definitely #iamchina by Xiaolu Guo http://t.co/8wTec9PsS6 — Krystal Reviews (@krystalreviews) August 5, 2015
We have not r…

Month in Review: July

July was not a good month for reading here at My Book Retreat. I did almost get caught up on reviews, so that's good. But reading took a back seat to many other activities. I'm hoping that changes in August, although I don't think I've picked up a book yet! That's not a good way to start the month. You would think summer would be the time to read more, but for me, it's a busier time with lots of family time and travel. That takes me away from reading.

BOOKS READ IN JULY: 3
REVIEWS PUBLISHED IN JULY: 4

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - reviewedThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - reviewedLove and Miscommunication by Elyssa Friedland - read and reviewedThe Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi - read and reviewed  Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - read

TOTAL FOR 2015

Total Books Read: 34
Total Reviews: 34


Historical Fiction: 3
Middle-Grade Fiction: 4
Elementary Fiction: 1
Young Adult: 0
Contemporary Fiction: 8
Mystery/Thriller: 9
Science Fiction:…

Book Club Picks from My Book Club

Welcome to my regular series: Book Club Picks. This week, I'm sharing reviews of a few of the books my book club has discussed this year. We've had a great year of books so far, and I can honestly recommend all of these to other book clubs. They were generally well-received by the whole group, and they all prompted good discussions. Take a look at what we've been reading and then let me know what your book club has read this year.


Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion guides do. The book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. If you use those links to make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission but your price will remain the same.



The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinDiscussed in March 2015
This is a book for book lovers. The main character owns a book store, which is a great start. It's a charming story of a man who is a bit of a curmudgeon, a  woman who falls for him and a little girl who changes his…