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Lauren B's Best Books of 2011

Tuesday, 07 February 2012 16:02

Lauren B shares with us "what I loved this year":

altBook of the Year for me is a tie between the elegant and affecting The Hare with the Amber Eyes and the rollicking and affecting The Wilder Life. Both books took me somewhere else and left much powerful emotion in their wake.

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson. Spot-on re: teenage girls' sexuality and a really compassionate take on David Cassidy.

Cities of Salt by Abdulrahman Munif. A profound novel about the oil industry in Saudia Arabia and the destruction of the nomadic life. Everyone should read this.

Corrigan by Caroline Blackwood. Wicked, wicked novel.

Bossypants by Tina Fey. I read most of this in a public place, even though I was laughing so hard, I was practically hyperventilating.

I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti. Looking at the West Bank through the eyes of a Palestinian poet.

This Human Season by Louise Dean. Humane and thoughful novel about the hunger strikes in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon. College sweethearts meet again as adults. If you are of a certain age, this book will move you.

Just Kids by Patti Smith. It took me two tries, but I was totally charmed. I adore her tender account of her younger self.


Upcoming visits from authors Livesey and Penman

Sunday, 05 February 2012 22:40

The Flight of Gemma HardyLionheartTwo terrific authors are coming to visit BookBalloon this month. Margot Livesey will be available to answer questions about her writing and talk about her newest book, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, this coming Friday and Saturday, February 10-11. Please join us in the Forum for this discussion.

Later this month, Sharon Kay Penman will be our guest. Her most recent book is Lionheart, the second volume of the Henry II trilogy. Sharon will be visiting with us on Wednesday and Thursday, February 15-16.


Cindy's Best Books of 2011

Sunday, 05 February 2012 00:00

Here's another best-of-2011 list from a BookBalloon member who claims to have had a slow reading year. If you enjoy biography or historical fiction, you'll find gold here:



The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham: A Biography Selina Hastings

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut Charles Shields

Revenge of the Saguaro Tom Miller

Pearl Buck in China Hilary Spurling


A Place of Greater Safety Hillary Mantel

Heir to the Glimmering World Cynthia Ozick

Lionheart Sharon Kay Penman

Read more: Cindy's Best Books of 2011


Sarah R's Best Books of 2011

Monday, 30 January 2012 00:00

Sarah admits it's been a slow reading year for her -- she barely got through 120 books in 2011! Here are her favorites:

alt Incendiary - Chris Cleave

The Hand That First Held Mine - Maggie O'Farrell

Mockingbird - Kathryn Erskine

The Illumination - Kevin Brockmeier

Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson

Inzanesville - Jo Ann Beard

Among Others - Jo Walton

The Snowman - Jo Nesbo

Read more: Sarah R's Best Books of 2011


Kat's Best Books of 2011

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 21:45

BookBalloon member Kat is notorious for enabling our book addiction. She offers her list of 2011 Best Books with no commentary, but take note: These are good 'uns.

The Lonely Polygamist
Best Fiction Read in 2011

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Love Child by Sheila Kohler

Ghost Lights by Lydia Millett

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

In the Season of the Daisies by Thomas Phelan

The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen

When the Killing's Done by T.C. Boyle

Walking Naked by Nina Bawden

The Call by Yannick Murphy

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

Read more: Kat's Best Books of 2011


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The NYRB Reading Club

Speedboat by Renata Adler


"When Speedboat burst on the scene in the late ’70s it was like nothing readers had encountered before. It seemed to disregard the rules of the novel, but it wore its unconventionality with ease. Reading it was a pleasure of a new, unexpected kind." -- New York Review Books

John Leonard said, "Nobody writes better prose than Renata Adler." What do you think? The discussion begins May 15 in the Forum.

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