Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2012: Amy W.’s Picks

Look, I have the world’s longest “to read” list and lately it has become very unwieldy. Every time I finally get around to reading one of these older titles I kick myself — what took me so long?! There is something for everyone read by me this year! There is history, inspiration and excitement all at your finger tips. These books don’t really have any of my favorite literary elements but they did knock my socks off! Here are my 5 favorite “new to me” books for 2012. — Amy W.

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
I have always been interested in the Great Depression including the Dust Bowl. Egan, winner the National Book award for this book in 2006, and Pulitzer Prize  winning journalist for the New York Times, elegantly crafts a narrative of the Dust Bowl using the words of those who lived through it. Hard economic times, plowing up the sod and a nation-wide drought created a perfect storm of dust as perseverance gave way to despair.

My Life in France by Julia Child
I listened to this as an audio book and it was delightful! I cannot think of many people who are as beloved – or as full of passion and life – as Julia Child. It was wonderful to hear in her own words about her life as a bored housewife, who moved with her husband to a foreign country where she didn’t know the language,  seized by the art of French cooking to find her true calling.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
John Irving is an excellent storyteller. His characters are colorful without being garish. His tangents are whimsical and insightful. The title character, Owen, an unusual boy to begin with, hits a baseball during little league that strikes his best friend’s mother dead. This one event greatly impacts the lives of both boys, and incredibly brings them closer together. A Prayer for Owen Meany is destined to be a heartwarming modern classic.

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
This is the memoir that spawned the BBC series of the same name (shown on PBS earlier in the year). More than a memoir, Call the Midwife, documents the poverty and challenges of 1950’s East End London and the changes in women’s health through the years. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious, this book is an unforgettable story of compassion.

Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski
This book takes place in La La Land, the land of perpetual summer: Los Angeles. If you like Tarantino, unstoppable assassins or seedy underground networks, this book is for you. It is excitement ripped from the pages of your favorite tabloid or comic book as told by this talented author.

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