(note: this page was last updated in, oh, 2001?)

Listed in alphabetical order by author. If you are interesting in finding out more about any book, or wish to purchase the book, I have linked each title directly to There you will find other reviews and information. I have researched the differences between Amazon and Barnes & Noble online, and I have my reasons for recommending purchases made with Amazon:

1. Yes, they are based in Seattle.
2. I have compared prices between the two quite often, and USUALLY Amazon is cheaper.
3. Amazon has a community feel, and that community has assisted me numerous times in choosing a book, due to the many online reviews, and lists of top sellers provided on Amazon.
4. When my mom ordered the recent Harry Potter book, she ordered it in advance, and it showed up at her house, via Federal Express, the same day it was released to the public. I thought that was pretty cool.

If anyone would like to contribute a list of their favorite books, with a brief explanation, I would be more than happy to post it here!

P.S. I have linked to the Amazon page with the lowest-cost version of that book. If you would rather have hardcover, or in some cases, the larger paperback version, those options are available from the page I am linking you to!

And here we go....

Six of One      Bingo     Loose Lips
Rita May Brown

These are listed in order, because they are about the same characters, two sisters, mainly, and the family and friends that they effect. They are light-hearted and funny, and they span decades.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day...
Pearl Cleage

This book was very familiar to me as it reminded me of Pearl by Tabitha King. A sort of feel-good story of a woman who is HIV+ and stops by to visit her sister in a small town before making a major move from Atlanta to San Francisco. But things happen that change her mind about leaving...

Generation X : Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Shampoo Planet
Douglas Coupland

The master voice of Generation X himself. Generation X is full of bumper-sticker quality sayings in the margins. I borrowed it from Susan years ago (Andy got it for her) and ended up losing it like a jerk.
Microserfs is a hilarious tale of working for Microsoft and being a computer geek in Seattle. It even mentions the Silver Platters CD store near my house!
Shampoo Planet is a coming-of-age/lost-love book set in small town Washington.
I highly recommend any or all of the three for Gen X reading.

The Brothers K 
David James Duncan

It's hard to discuss this book because it is still so fresh in my mind I may gush on forever! It involves a family of eight - four boys and twin girls - being raised in small-town Camas, Washington by their very mormon mother and ex could-have-been-pro baseball playing dad. It spans the decades of the 50's, 60's and 70's as narrated by Kincaid, one of the younger boys. It's so immense and chock full of drama, life, and baseball statistics, I can't even begin to tell you the plot, since it holds so many plots over so much time. Let's just say it's one of those books you end up telling everyone to read once you've read it.
[Dad, don't buy it because you're getting it for Christmas!]

Geek Love 
Katherine Dunn

I still can't believe this woman is a sports writer (Dad, have you heard of her?).
Lemme just try to give you the basic story for this book:
A couple working at a circus fall in love and decide to raise a family while devoting their lives and love to the family circus. What better way to maintain this setting than to birth freaks? As the father makes new and more insane concoctions for the mother to drink/snort/eat during her pregnancies... the children are born as hoped for - as freaks. Not all survived, of course, hence the show trailer of preserved babies - the ones that didn't make it (yet they are also profitable for the circus). Believe it or not, the book is written smartly and realistically, and the characters actually become understandable to you. This is a loving family who all care about each other and respect their surroundings. Eventually, politics kick in, the children develop ideas of their own, the parents get weak... it's yet another amazing epic, but with characters you can't forget - even if you want to.

Memoirs of a Geisha 
Arthur S. Golden

For those few of you who haven't been amazed by this book already, I thought I'd list it. One of the many books I simply could not put down until it was finished. A great learning experience as well! [See more reviews on the Amazon page that's linked!]

Stones from the River 
Floating in My Mother's Palm : A Novel
Salt Dancers
Ursula Hegi

Ursula Hegi's most popular book is Stones From the River, about a young dwarf girl growing up in pre-Nazi Germany, but I enjoyed all three of these books. Floating in my Mother's Palm includes some of the same characters from Stones From the River.

A Prayer for Owen Meany
John Irving

I bought this book for Marilyn Manson in 1997 (I met him at the University Bookstore in Seattle). It's hard to describe what this book means to me, as I read it during a snow storm while living in London, Ontario. I've met many people who also hold this book near their hearts. My husband, Sean, couldn't even get past the first chapter. Then, of course, there's the movie "Simon Birch" that was sorta-quasi based on the story, which also ruined it for many readers (which is why I refuse to see the movie). I can only say that you love it or hate it, which is fitting for most John Irving fans. I also read The Cider House Rules, and though there are many that consider it one of his best works, I found it depressing - therefore I have avoided that recent movie as well.

The Liar's Club: A Memoir
Cherry : A Memoir

Mary Karr

The Liar's Club is one of those books that is so crazy you tend to forget that it's a true memoir - it reads like a wacko novel. Cherry is new and I haven't read it yet, but I look forward to it!

One on One
The Book of Reuben

Tabitha King

Alas, Tabitha King. As you will note on the Amazon page, the books all received 4-5 stars each. And they are all on back order and hard to find. I still have no idea why these books just didn't fare as well as they should have. I first read One on One on our "honeymoon" and unfortunately for Sean, couldn't put it down! Turns out that all three of these books are about the same characters in a small Maine town. I have listed them in my recommended order, although it's not necessary. There are other books as well, based on other people in this fictional town, but these three shine above the others. If I had to recommend just one book on this whole page, it's Pearl. It's an easy read, full of action, laughing, crying, crime, mystery, and characters so real you can touch them.
And yes, it is Stephen King's wife. She hasn't written any new stuff lately, perhaps it has something to do with Stephen's terrible accident, or her assistance with his new online novel. Regardless, I miss her!

Thumbsucker : A Novel
Walter Kirn

Such a fun read! I think I read the whole thing in one sitting. A coming-of-age novel set in the 80's with a boy dealing with his parents whom he is not allowed to call Mom or Dad (for fear that they'll look old to each other), insane grandparents, retainer stories, Mormon bus trips, and a dentist who can change his life.

Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Gregory Maguire

This one is SO hard to explain! Wicked really is the true life story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, told from her birth through, well, we all know the end. Many parts seem as though it were written by George Orwell, with animals who hold social status as high as humans, until politics deem them to become work-animals who are not allowed to dress or speak. Elphaba meets Glenda (you know, Glenda) as her dorm roommate in college. It is part fantasy, part politics, and all-colorful. It takes some work, but it's worth it. A great gift idea for anyone who loves fantasy novels.... or political science majors.
Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister is, you guessed it, about Cinderella. Set in 17th century Holland, with some fantasy, but more of a psychological study of all involved. I found it shorter and easier than Wicked, but not as fantastical.

Toni Morrison

An assignment in Freshman English at UNLV - and one of the few assignments I was happy to read. The subject matter is difficult yet educational, as most Toni Morrison novels go. I would have also recommended The Bluest Eye, also by Morrison, but I've heard too many people complain about how harsh it was, so I'll leave that choice up to you. Any Toni Morrison book will be affecting.

Black and Blue : A Novel
One True Thing

Anna Quindlen

Thanks to Kate at for these! Quindlen does an excellent describing the intricacies of relationships and the effects of life's choices. Her stories don't end neat and tidy, but realistic. I look forward to reading the other books by her.

Still Life With Woodpecker
Tom Robbins

Cousin Scott in Palm Desert gave me this one, I don't know if I ever returned it (note: don't lend me a book unless you are sure you can live without it!). I wouldn't normally read this type of craziness, but now I'm glad I did. Unfortunately, I tried reading other Robbin's books after this one and didn't have the same luck. Perhaps I just like love stories about princesses in Seattle castles who have pyramids built for them.

A Thousand Acres
Jane Smiley

For some strange reason, I have decided to watch this movie - this afternoon, actually. One of the many novels that kept me up all night until I finished. A family of three daughters and a difficult father on one thousand shared acres (minus one of the daughters who became an attorney) suffer the consequences when the father decided to give the daughters (and their husbands) the run of the farm. There are many sub-plots: affairs, children, death, money problems, illness. It made you want to live on a farm. Briefly.

And I Don't Want to Live This Life
Deborah Spungeon

October 12, 1978, Nancy Spungeon was murdered, or so we believe. Nobody really knows what happened that night in the Chelsea Hotel. Sid Vicious, bassist for the punk band Sex Pistols, was arrested for her stabbing death, but a few months later he was bailed out of jail, and he promptly overdosed on heroin. He had sent a letter to Nancy's mom, and one of the lines from that letter is: ...and I don't want to live this life.
Deborah Spungeon wants to set the record straight to not only parents of murdered children, but also to the numerous "fans" of the infamous groupie to the Sex Pistols. Nancy was not a normal child. Before the days of ADD, ADHD, and Ritalin, there was Deborah trying to raise three kids. The oldest was Nancy: violent, screaming, brilliant, and horrible. Doctors refused to admit there was anything wrong with her. After numerous treatments, facilities, and special schools, she was finally beyond anyone's control and set free. While following The Pretenders on tour in England, she hooked up with Sid and started a romance of doing any drug they could get their hands on. Deborah could only watch from the distance.
Highly recommended to parents, educators, psychologists.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Little Altars Everywhere

Rebecca Wells

The best!!!

Animal Husbandry
Laura Zigman