Book giveaway. And free book reports. Because I miss 4th grade.

Woo hoo! Thanks for all the fun haikus in the mad competition to win a copy of Melissa Westemeier‘s latest, Kicks Like a Girl. It was tough, but our winner is … Heather Nelson of To Thine Own Self Be Food.

Heather’s haiku:
It’s a common fact
that every girl wants her own
Fitzwilliam Darcy.

How could you compete with a haiku that brings to mind Colin Firth?

You couldn’t, OK? You just couldn’t.

So, because I like the book learnin’ so much, here are some books I’ve enjoyed lately. Writing book reports in 4th grade was supposed to be this huge, scary thing, but I actually liked them. Maybe that’s why I ended up an English major … college was a series of book reports and beer, and it was good.

Beautiful Ruins: A Novel
My book club picked this book last fall and it sat on my nightstand for roughly forever. But I devoured it on a recent trip, and it’s lovely. Jess Walters’ prose is gorgeous, and the tale itself puts “Days of Our Lives” to shame. Intrigue! Movie stars! Italy! Plus, the novel revolves around the filming of “Cleopatra,” so anyone with any interest in Old Hollywood or the hot mess that was Liz and Dick will especially love it.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
When Huguette Clark died at almost 104, she had something like $300 million to her name. And she’d lived in a modest hospital room for the last 20 years, not because she was sick, but because she liked it. She was obsessed with doll houses, but had redonkulous real estate – including a mansion she’d never seen, and another she hadn’t seen for 50 years. Was she crazy? Eccentric? Or just her own person? I loved this book, which tells a great tale and also has respect for its subject.

It’s All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)
In this book of essays, Wade Rouse covers everything from gay pride to chemotherapy. He’s a small-town Midwestern boy and it’s difficult for me to write about his writing without sounding like a total fangirl. I’m from a small town in the Midwest, too! Wade sounds like someone I could have grown up with! He is funny and honest and an amazing storyteller and I totally want to be his friend! But not in a stalkerish kind of way! I literally laughed out loud and ugly cried while reading this collection. Highly recommended.

And what have you enjoyed reading lately?

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  • Reply Becky May 1, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I want to read that Empty Mansions book. It's been on my list.

    I've been reading loads of young adult novels. I keep thinking I should do a book report of my own, because some of them are really fantastic.

  • Reply Cyndi B. May 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I really enjoy your recommendations, can't wait to start on these!

    Congrats, Heather! I agree about Mr. Darcy.

  • Reply Angie May 1, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Speaking of young adult literature -I haven't finished it yet, but I'm loving The Phantom Tollbooth. Somehow I missed this in my youth but I'm not sure I would have appreciated it as much then. It reminds me of another not-so-recent favorite The Art of Racing in the Rain with it's life lessons.

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin May 2, 2014 at 2:00 am

    Congrats to Heather–wonderful haiku! A hands-down winner!
    At my fingertips is "My Notorious Life" which I KNOW will be good, but first I must finish a PG Wodehouse (What Ho, Jeeves!) which is causing major belly laughs each night.
    My book club just wrapped "The Invention of Wings" and it was breathtaking.

  • Reply Cha Cha May 2, 2014 at 2:18 am

    I love these recs – thanks, all!

    Cyndi, thanks for the kind words. I read for you!

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