1. Life After Loss, Bob Deits - I can't say enough good things about this book. If you've ever experienced a loss - or if you have loved ones who are going through a loss of their own - this is a must read book. Deits calls upon decades of experience to guide you through the grieving process and help guide you through the emotional work it requires.
2. Heart's Blood, Juliet Marillier - I adore Marillier, and I've had this book on my shelves for ages. Question is, why on earth hadn't I read it yet?! I picked it up because I needed a good old-fashioned paper book to take to the pool, and was so engrossed that I read it from cover to cover as quickly as I could. As with Marillier's other books, it's heavily reliant on Celtic mythology/fairy tales. This time, though, it's also a compelling ghost story. SOoooo much fun....and when it comes down to it this is exactly the type of book and genre I love best.
3. Casket of Souls, Lynn Flewelling - Flewelling is one of my favorite fantasy authors, and I love her Nightrunner series. At this point her characters are like old friends, and I really enjoy each new adventure.
4. Birds & Bees & YOUR Kids, Amy Lang - Yeah, it's time for THAT sort of preperation. Lang's book is actually a workbook that helps guide parents towards how to have those tough conversations with your kids in ways that are firmly grounded in your own belief systems and ideas of morality. I think this is another must read for parents.
5. Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller - I have to admit, I have a soft spot for anthing from Ancient Greece. You do know (nudge, nudge) that I have a minor in the Classical Greek language? That part of learning said language was that I had to memorize and recite the first 20 lines of the Illiad in Greek? Ah yes, this book spoke to my heart. Miller gave a full life and character to Patroclus in her book, and in the process she made Achilles human in a way I had never understood him to be. It's perhaps no surprise that I'm rereading the Illiad. Lyrical and fully steeped in the actual mythology, this book is truly something special. (Thank you BOTNS!)
6. Crossing The Borders of Time, Leslie Maitland (Audio) - Maitland was one of the BOTNS authors at their Booktopia events this year, and I have to admit that my interest was piqued by her author comments that she shared at the event. (BOTNS puts those talks out as part of the podcast.) So here's the thing. This is an honest to goodness true love story with a happy ending - all set against the background and nightmare of the second World War. In a nutshell, when her father was ill and dying Maitland undertook a quest to track down her mother's first love - a man she had been seperated from when her Jewish family escaped from Europe. Maitland's book is meticulously researched (She is an investigative journalist.) and is obviously written from a place of love and respect for all involved. This is my must-read recommendation of the month. Just be warned...keep some tissue nearby when you read it. You will need them!
7. The Sense Of An Ending, Julien Barnes - Barnes has written a very short, but very emotionally dense book. (And yes, this is my third BOTNS recommendation for the month) I find that I keep typing out wee summaries, only to delete them again. Hmmm.... OK, here's what I want to say: As someone who has recently begun the process of rereading her own journals and so is keenly aware of how perspective changes with time....of how our knowledge of events isn't truly a set in stone sort of truth...I related quite well to this book. I also thought the protagonists's emotional discovery process was nothing short of genious. It's a short book. It won't take long to read it, but it will stick with you for a long, long while.
8. It Starts With Food, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig - Quite simply, this is the best book I've read on the subject of health and food in the last two years. (And I've done a loooooooot of research!) If you want to know why and how food can make you ill or can better your health, please read this book. Heck, read it even if you don't think you care! The thing I love about it is that the Hartwigs have approached the topic purely from a place of health and science...with none of the (Sometimes questionable) philosophies that surround various lifestyle/health plans like Paleo. PLUS, they are totally on board with real humans and real behavior. They make a plan for improving health and then testing to make sure you are doing what is optimal for your specific needs. I will say that I have chosen to do their Whole 30, and have already had some amazing results. This has been the cherry on top for me.
9. & 10. The Primal Blueprint and the Primal Blueprint 21 Day Solution, Mark Sisson - Truth be told, I mostly skimmed these two. They were library books, and I wanted to see if there was any further info in them that I hadn't already discovered. As a huge fan of Sisson's website, Mark's Daily Apple, I had pretty much covered it all, though. Still, good to have given them a look-see.
11. Santa Olivia, Jacqueline Carey - Carey is another of my favorite authors, but I admit I had held off on this particular book because I wasn't so crazy about the blurb on the back of the book. However, when it popped up in iBook's discount section I decided to take a splurge. To my pleasant surprise, I found it to be a lot of fun! Picked up the sequel and everything. Kind of interesting tie in with the current Olympics as it centers around a girl who boxes!
12. Dragonfly In Amber, Diana Gabaldon - I'll admit, I started reading this book years ago after I fell in love with Outlander. I managed to get ticked off in the first couple of chapters, though, and threw it across the room never to read again. Ahem. I'm glad I got over that.
13. Voyager, Diana Gabaldon - So, quite naturally as soon as I finished Dragonfly I started Voyager. I imagine I'll take a break from Jamie and Clair for a bit, though. After all...these books weigh in between 800 and 1000 pages apiece, and there are other things I want to read. Maybe. Jamie and Clair are awfully fun....and Gabaldon has done such an amazing job with the storyline and the history that you can get away with feeling like you have read something other than just a great romance....
PS. My spellcheck has failed - so you're just going to have to put up with it!