Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

July 21, 2010

Summer Reading


I've been on a reading binge again. It's one of my favorite things.

Last night I finished Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I picked it up at the airport when we were coming home from Italy after finishing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which I consumed in a couple days on our trip – definitely worth reading).
She's the author of The Time Traveler's Wife (which I completely loved).

I remember hearing not so great reviews about her newest book but decided to give it a chance. It's a strange tale – life and death and ghosts and in-between places. It's dark. It wasn't one that I would say I really liked – I definitely felt at a certain point I was just wanting to "make it through" – but there's something about it that kept me going and wanting to know how she was going to bring it to a conclusion. Often if I'm in the middle of a book and not enjoying it I'll just set it aside for another time (or just set it aside completely). With Her Fearful Symmetry I did want to know what happened and felt satisfied when I finished it late last night (even though the ending is definitely not what I was expecting).

Another book I have been reading (started before leaving for Italy and decided to leave it home because it's hardback) is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I'm completely fascinated with and engrossed in this non-fiction story and it's not the kind of book I normally find myself reading. It's the story of a woman, her cells, the history of cell research, her family, and the way it's all been weaved together over time. Highly recommended

Up next for me is most likely The Girl Who Played with Fire (the next one in the series following The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) or Little Bee which I picked up this past weekend at the coast.

What have you read lately that you love (or didn't)?


FOLLOW-UP : I see that
Project Life by Becky Higgins is back in stock at Amazon.You can see how I've been approaching this album here and planning to play catch-up (in a non-guilty way) soon.


  • 1.
    SirScrapalot said…

    I’m actually revisiting Eat Pray Love, and recently purchased The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs…hoping to get through both over our upcoming vacation.

  • 2.
    Mary Rogers said…

    I have been reading a ton of Jodi Picoult, but decided that I really hate her endings 99% of the time so I am done with her…
    read lots of Koontz this summer – a little scary, a little suspenseful and a whole lot of fun.
    Finally reading Stephen King’s – Bag of Bones right now – interesting read – can’t put it down and end up staying up way to late reading….not his typical scary, but I love it!!

  • 3.
    Barb said…

    This summer I’ve read The Help and The Sweet By and By…both fabulous. I also read some non-fiction sports (mainly hockey) books that were great, but if you’re looking for good fiction, it’s probably not your thing.

  • 4.
    Danielle said…

    Hard to believe but I read the Great Gatsby for the first time and loved it. Found parts of it to be totally timeless. Now reading Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King and next up Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner.

  • 5.
    Ria said…

    Ali… Little Bee is an unbelievable read. A book that has for certain left me somewhat of a different person…Isn’t that amazing how books can do that! His first book was Incendiary, which my husband read and same was amazing as well. :)

  • 6.
    Karen G said…

    I’ve been on the hunt this last week for a new read, so perfect timing! Thanks for the recs…just may have to hit a bookstore later today! :>

  • 7.
    Dawn said…

    Ali, I finished “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” and “Every Last One” in the past two weeks. Both are great reads…the first has a young girl as the protagonist (and there are sequel novels!) and the last is by Anna Quindlen whom I appreciate.

  • 8.
    Sheri D. Maple said…

    I have the book “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and plan on reading before the end of the summer. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is a very fascinating story, and hear about the story on Radio Lab (NPR) when it did a program on famous tumors. It does having an interesting question on if a person should be notified when researchers use their cells for medical research. It is ironic how Henrietta unwittingly contributed to the breakthrough in medical research, and her family do not have health insurance

  • 9.
    Theresa said…

    What a fun, timely post! I also have been on a reading binge and just read all three books in “The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo” series–so good! The second one was my favorite. I then read “The Forgotten Garden” which was really good as well. Finally, I just finished ” The Pillars of the Earth,” which I loved and highly recommend. It will probably make my Top 10 book list–and that is saying a lot since I am an avid reader. I am now starting the sequel to that book, “World WIthout End.”
    I will be watching the comments for more reading recommendations!

  • 10.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I absolutely loved Pillars of the Earth.

  • 11.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Great Gatsby is definitely one of my favorites.

  • 12.
    anna said…

    Franscine Rivers new book; Her Daughters Hope. i love Rivers, and this one did not disapoint.
    I also read the book Black & White a little bit ago. i have forgotten the author though. Ted something. :)
    And i’ve been reading in my Bible. Always a good read there.

  • 13.
    Theresa Grdina said…

    I have read Little Bee this summer and found it fascinating and irritating at the same time. There is ONE thing that really ticks me off and proves that the book was written by a man…it was definitely worth reading and I am glad that I did. I would be interested in knowing what you think when you finish it.
    I am currently reading Eat, Love, Pray and LOVING it…I am reading it for my book club. Keep the thoughts coming on what you are reading… it!

  • 14.
    Theresa Grdina said…

    I have read Little Bee this summer and found it fascinating and irritating at the same time. There is ONE thing that really ticks me off and proves that the book was written by a man…it was definitely worth reading and I am glad that I did. I would be interested in knowing what you think when you finish it.
    I am currently reading Eat, Love, Pray and LOVING it…I am reading it for my book club. Keep the thoughts coming on what you are reading… it!

  • 15.
    Cele Schaffer said…

    Little Bee was so good, I finished it in 2 days and turned back to the first page and read it again! If you have never read Rosamund Pilcher-The Shell Seekers do so now! I am reading another of her books-Coming Home which is very good. Pat Conroy is my favorite author.He wrote Prince of Tides which is really long but excellent.I read his book Beach Music at the beginning of every summer and never tire of it. Happy reading!

  • 16.
    Shellygreninger said…

    I Just finished the 3 Millennium books and they are excellent! I also felt the same way about Her Fearful Symmetry, but I can’t stand not knowing how a book ends so I had to finish it. I just ordered a Kindle so I am anxious for that to get here so I can load it with new books!

  • 17.
    lisamcg said…

    Im currently reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Its super hard to put down and I find myself wanting to ignore the kids and continue reading for hours.
    I realize that your Italy pictures are overwhelming to you right now. Believe me, I completely understand. But maybe you can just post 5 of your favorites and some background about them. Im DYING to hear how it went. Ive been dilegently checking hoping to catch a glimpse.

  • 18.
    Karen said…

    I would highly recommend “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult. I have avoided her other books because she always deals with heavy subjects. But this one was different. It does deal with a teenage boy who is autistic and is being investigated for a crime. Since my son is also autistic I hesitated but it was worth reading. Some of my all-time favorites: “A Girl Named Zippy” by Haven Kimmel. It’s a funny and meaningful account of a writer who grew up in the 70s in middle America in a small town and “Fahrenheit 451″, a classic but a fantastic, timeless read.

  • 19.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I can totally do that…need to actually :) . Yours were so inspiring to me Lisa.

  • 20.
    MichelleK said…

    Be warned, you will not be able to put down “the girl who played with fire”, it is so GOOD….clif hanger at the end…but luckily “the girl who kicked the hornets nest” is out. (currently sitting on my bookself though, I must read it)
    Off to find out more about “little Bee”
    Take care, and happy reading

  • 21.
    Denise Levy said…

    I recently read the entire Girl with a Dragon Tattoo trilogy. I couldn’t stop and read all three books in about a week and a half. :) I would highly recommend reading the next two in the series. I’m so bummed the author died, I get addicted to authors and I’m sad that those three books are it. I’ve also heard great things about the Swedish version of the movie.

  • 22.
    Amy said…

    I saw a CBS Sunday morning segment about Henrietta Lacks. It is amazing the impact she has had on the world and on medical research. I imagine that her life and cells have gone on to extend many lives. She should really be more well known than she is. I have not read the book, but I will look for it. Thanks!

  • 23.
    Kal Barteski said…

    I loved Little Bee! I couldn’t put it down! You should try Loving Frank. A Novel. It’s a bit of a historical look at Frank Lloyd Wright’s love affair. As a fan of his work – I couldn’t put it down… and the ending JUST THREW ME.

  • 24.
    Paige said…

    I recently read Columbine which was obviously not “light” summer reading but just fascinating and thought-provoking. It focuses on the media’s role and mistakes throughout the day of the shooting and then investigation following. Written by a journalist from the area.

  • 25.
    Kayla said…

    I just finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who played with Fire! They were my favorite books I have ever read! I just ordered The next book in the trilogy from ebay and am waiting impatiently for it to arrive!

  • 26.
    Megan P said…

    I would reccomend anything from Jodi Picoult i love all of her books, not sure if you’ve read any of them though? her newest one House Rules was really good! i would highly reccomend that one, or any other’s of hers!
    i also started her fearful symmetry but did not get into it so i set it aside, maybe another time i will finish it.
    Have a great week!
    Megan P

  • 27.
    Tere said…

    Reading Little Bee too.

  • 28.
    Michelle said…

    I am reading Water for Elephants and am loving it. I started to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo but I had a hard time getting into it. Everyone keeps telling me to give it another try so I’ll have to make time for that.

  • 29.
    Erin said…

    One of my favorite books ever is Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. If you have never read any Stegner you should definitely give him a try.

  • 30.
    Deborah said…

    I, too, very much enjoyed Little Bee — and was wondering if your ONE thing was similar to my ONE thing?

  • 31.
    Christina T said…

    I could not stop reading the Girl who played with Fire. And had to immediately run out and buy The Girl who kicked the hornets nest. Both were awesome. I highly recommend them, but I did come into work a few days a little sleepy from staying up too late reading them the night before:)

  • 32.
    Sarah Swann said…

    I’m currently reading The Help and I’m loving it so far! I also have picked up the Dragon Tattoo series and I have lots of Jodi Picoult. One that I’ve been hearing is a beautiful book is A History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I’ve picked it up, but haven’t started it yet. And I also have some Jennifer Weiner. Geez, I’d better get reading…

  • 33.
    stephanie said…

    I am reading the book about Henrietta Lacks. Its very good.

  • 34.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Read it and loved it.

  • 35.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Loved Water For Elephants. Chris ended up reading it too and really enjoyed it.

  • 36.
    Marian said…

    I am currently in the middle of The Girl who Played With Fire. So good and very hard to put down. The Swedish film of the first book is really good.
    I also loved The Time Travers Wife definately in my top 5. My favorite book of is The Life of Pi.

  • 37.
    Stacy B said…

    Ali, I thought of your words about storytelling and our Yesterday Today class a LOT when I read My Father’s Heart: The author’s family story parallels my grandparents/dad’s story in years and the kind of town he grew up in. He did research and interviewed everyone still living who knew his parents and grandparents. It’s an authentic telling of the stories surrounding the photos he’s been handed down.

  • 38.
    Tobey said…

    I just read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and absolutely loved it also. Fearful Symmetry was also enjoyable (though maybe not as much as TTW). Not sure what’s next, maybe some Lee Child and his second Jack Reacher novel which I highly recommend!

  • 39.
    MelanieJ said…

    I just finished The Hunger Games and it’s sequel Catching Fire. They were really hard to put down. Loved them both–definitely had parts I didn’t expect and made me think about things sometimes I’d rather not. The third book of the series comes out Aug. 24th.

  • 40.
    kT said…

    I’m working my way through the last three books of a series I’ve been reading by Jacqueline Carey (The Kushiel series). It’s a little steamy, but epic type fantasy novels that are loaded with interesting characters and intrigue. Nothing more satisfying that finishing a 900+ page book though.

  • 41.
    Kristen said…

    Fun! I love talking about books…I guess as an English teacher that makes sense. I am currently reading One Day by David Nicholls- it was compared to Time Traveler’s Wife (which I absolutely loved!) but I haven’t really seen the exact connection yet. I am leaving for vacation tomorrow and have packed with me: Look Again by Lisa Scottoline and Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand (looks like a good beach read from the cover!) and The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson (it’s a young adult book)but I guess I should add The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to my bag. I just finished Shanghai Girls for my book club and really enjoyed the story. My all time favorite these days is The Art of Racing in the Rain- by Garth Stein. Loved, loved loved it!

  • 42.
    samantha said…

    Little Bee is one that has stuck around in my mind even though it has been over a year since I read it. I loved The Help, guess we all do! I just finished Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin and i thought it was fantastic quick read- about a young irish immigrant in the 50′s. Can’t wait to get some of these titles the others have commented on!

  • 43.
    christen said…

    I loved Little Bee and all the Millennium series books. I have recently loved The Help and Cutting for Stone.

  • 44.
    Maica said…

    I read the 3 books of Larsson last summer and I really enjoyed. After I’ve been reading some other Swedish authors (in Spain all of them are populars) but aren’t the same. Actually I’m reading The last Cato from the Spanish Matilde Asensi. I recomend it. And after I will try with The Clan of the Cave Bear (?).

  • 45.
    Chris said…

    I read Little Bee (published as The Other Hand in UK – why do they do that?) but found it frustrating! I am part way through Her fearful symmetry.
    Recent reads you may enjoy…The Secret Life of Bees; The Highest Tide; Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad; Little Stranger
    Next on my list is The Help
    Maybe you’d enjoy some or all of them!
    Chris x

  • 46.
    Melanie said…

    I just finished American Music by Jane Mendelsohn. A poetic and literary novel about a massage therapist working to heal an Iraqi war veteran where stories of the past are released through his body as she performs her work. It covers a good part of the 20th century, the origins of American swing, and 17th century Turkey. Beautifully interwoven stories and characters.

  • 47.
    Mel said…

    I just read One Good Turn and When Will There Be Good News? (both by Kate Atkinson). I think I liked them rather than loved them. They were good reads but I just felt slightly dissatisfied at the end each time. But I still want to look out for Case Histories, also by Atkinson, and which features one of the same characters, so I must have liked them a fair bit!

  • 48.
    goshery said…

    Love this post and all of the comments! I’m currently reading the 3rd book in the Twilight series, really just so I know what all of the fuss is about. They are ok, but not on my top 10 list at all!
    Next I’m going to start reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah – it is our book club selection for August.
    Thanks for all of the book ideas – I have a lot of reading to do.

  • 49.
    Alexandra said…

    Melanie RIGHT ABOVE me beat me to the punch! I’ve been OBSESSED with The Hunger Games series! They are fantastic. They are YA books, so it’s a bit of an “easy” read, but they are great and they go so fast because you CANNOT put them down!!

  • 50.
    Sara said…

    Has anyone mentioned Sarah’s Key. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and plane on starting it in the next few days. I’m also rereading a childhood favorite, The Wind in the Willows. I have fond memories of my mother reading that book to me when I was little.

    • ….
      janet said…

      I LOVED Sarah’s key……if you end up liking that…..Those that Saved Us by (I think it was) Jenna Blum was just as good and along the same period…..

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