Book Club

I absolutely love getting lost is a really good book. I especially love it when you read a passage that makes you feel so understood, not alone and above all, not crazy.  I have books underlined to the hilt of sentences that moved me so much that I need to not forget about them.  Which is why I absolutely love the work of photographer Juliette Tang. She sets still life vignettes using novels and surrounding them with accoutrement that reflect the story.  She also takes pictures of herself, and others reading, which give off such a relaxing feeling that it makes me want to stop typing and go read…


Just kidding. I must wait until tonight. But speaking of, have there been any books you’ve read lately that totally rocked your world? I personally can recommend Little Bee and Cutting For Stone HIGHLY. And since I’ve never read it or seen the movie, I am current;y deep into Prince of Tides and I am ENAMORED with Pat Conroy’s writing…. Share yours!

all photos via Juliette Tang’s Flickr


  1. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, and The Big House by George Howe Colt – all great reads!

  2. It’s great to read before going to bed. I am re-reading Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier and just finished reading Sarah Winman’s When God was a Rabbit. Cold Mountain won the National Book Award for Fiction and I’ve decided to place previous winners and runners up of this award on my reading list.

  3. Loved Little Bee & Cutting for Stone. Girl in Translation is another great one if you have not read yet. Now reading Hunger Games b/c everyone is talking about it!

  4. These photos are so awesome! I’m currently reading Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie and it’s fabulous. Really intriguing, and such a propelling story. Highly recommend it.

  5. Loved Anne Lamott’s newest (Some Assembly Required) and also Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain … now I’m going in another direction with 50 Shades of Gray. So far I don’t get what all the hype is about! I also love Pat Conroy’s writing … xox

  6. I love getting recommendations for books to read! Thanks for sharing. So, here are some of my recs: The Emperor’s General by James Webb; The Autobiography of Henry VIII; Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles; The Memoirs of Cleopatra; Mary Called Magdalene… all by Margaret George. I could go on and on but will stop here. Happy reading!

  7. The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld is a wonderful read — you feel you know the characters. I loved that book. Let the Great World Spin by Column McCann, a slice of life for several different characters in NYC in the late 70’s, is pure genius. That guy is going places. Julia Child’s My Life in France is marvelous and transportive. For non-fiction, I just loved reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle one hot, cementy, New York summer. I agree with “The Last Resort” by Douglas Rogers above. Super interesting and enjoyable, particularly if you are interested in Africa.

  8. All of Pat Conroy’s books are great! I read them all in middle school and as they release now. Beach Music is another fav of mine from him. Memoirs of a Geisha – loved! There are so many more, but can’t think of them all now.

  9. Oh I just love to have a pile of books, depending on mood and what you are looking for that exact moment…sometimes fiction, chicklit, biography, self development & spiritual and not to forget, a yummie cookbook to look at delish food…

  10. The Paris wife and Loving Frank…both historical fiction about the wives of Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright, respectively

  11. I second Elizabeth’s recommendations: Rules of Civility and Object of Beauty were fantastic. I’m in the middle of Kristen Johnston’s memoir, Guts. Hilarious and thought-provoking.

  12. Hi Erin,
    This is such a great topic! Some I’ve read and enjoyed in the last few years:

    “The Lost City of Z” by Mark Grann – a real life adventure story

    “The Three Junes” by Julia Glass – wonderful multi-generational story

    I totally agree with the recommendation for “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan and would add also “The Women” by T. Coraghessan Boyle – both fictionalized accounts of the ladies in architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s life (had no idea he was such a rake). Also enjoyed “The Paris Wife” – very bittersweet.

  13. cute, funny beach reads:

    -Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
    (if you liked Bossypants, you’ll like this)
    -I Was Told There’d be Cake by Sloane Crosley
    (David Sedaris-type essays, but as a girl growing up in the 80’s

    Couldn’t put them down:

    -Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
    (heavy, dramatic, set in Boston)
    -State of Wonder by Anne Patchett
    (heavy, dramatic, set in the Amazon)
    -Unbearable Lightness by Portia deRossi
    (heavy, first person account of anorexia and recovery)
    -Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth

  14. Have you read THE SECRET HISTORY, the book featured in the first photo? It’s a great book that was quite in fashion when it was released. “Everyone” was reading it.

    Just finished ADMISSION by Jean Hanff Korelitz and THE DOG WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD by Alexander McCall Smith. I enjoyed both – light reading.

    If you love Conroy, I highly recommend his autobiographical nonfiction work MY LOSING SEASON. I’ve read all of his books and it’s so endearing, especially if you have grown to love him through his fiction.

  15. Prince of Tides is my ultimate #1 book. Conroy’s descriptions are spot on. Beach Music competes with the top spot. If you haven’t read it yet you’ll love it!

  16. Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
    Loved Rules of Civility too…

  17. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje is one of my favorites–stunningly, achingly beautiful. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, is another amazing read–it is markedly different from her other books, and resides high above them IMO. Something divine tapped her on the shoulder…it’s just a gorgeous book.
    From what tidbits you’ve dropped here and there about your reading habits, I have a feeling you would love both of them! (If you haven’t already read them). Happy reading!

  18. Def agree with “Loving Frank”. Highly recommend: “Moloka’i”, “The Glass Castle”, “Sarah’s Key”, “Snowflower and the Secret Fan”, “The Book Thief”, and “Water for Elephants” to name a few. lol

  19. Loved both Little Bee and Cutting for Stone. Abraham Verghese has two other books – The Tennis Partner and My Own Country – both non-fiction and very good. I second State of Wonder. Personally I’m going to check out Rules of Civility after I finish An Embarrassment of Mangoes. The Help (if you haven’t read) and The Hunger Games series.

  20. I feel like lately all my conversations have started out with “Are you on Facebook/pinterest/etc but….are you on goodreads? Great site to help you keep track of books you’ve read or are on your list. You can also see what friends are reading and get recommendations. Not that you or I have loads of extra time to add books!?!? I’m sort of a dork who likes to make lists and cross them off. For example when I was little, I used to make graphs of my halloween candy. My husband got a kick out of this when I told him! Wish I could blame it on my mom, who was a math teacher! Happy reading!

  21. Books that I have enjoyed recently:
    Blood Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton- (Bio of a chef- funny, gritty, quick read)
    Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht- (surreal, magical, wonderfully written)
    Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (well deserved Nat’l Book Award winner, vivid writing)
    The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale (odd, slightly creepy actuallly very creepy but 100% original)
    Swamplandia by Karen Russell (fun, did not quite live up to hype but I give the author a break b/c she is YOUNG!)
    Bossypants Tina Fey ( laugh out loud- just for fun!)
    Room by Emma Donaghue ( Could Not Put It Down…intense but very moving)

    Older Books from Last Year:
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan ( loved, loved, loved this- the writing pops and something about this book really grabbed me)
    Let the Great World Spin – short connected stories set in NYC
    Let’s Not Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller- a childhood in Africa
    Just Us Kids by Patti Smith- adored this – really well written – vivid – reminded me of Bob Dylan’s autobiography Chronicles
    The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman- short stories about an American newspaper in Rome- fun and quick! can really picture this as a movie
    Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross- weird but interesting weaves in the murder story from the movie the Fugitive
    White Tiger by Aravind Adiga – India! I love anything set in India!
    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen- Author of The Corrections nails suburban angst yet again- pitch perfect and sooooo good
    Great House by Nicole Krauss- meh….ok if you really need something to read
    A Happy Marriage by Rapheal Yglesias- heartbreaking – really sad

    Books on my nightstand:
    Blue Nights by Joan Didion – supposedly picks up where A Year of Magical of Thinking left off…not sure if I can take the heartbreat
    We the Animals by Justin Torres – misfit kids
    The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatjee
    Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller- prequel to Let’s not Go to the Dogs Tonight
    Plus here are the 2 that I just recently finished:

    The Art of Fielding by Chad Hardbach- loved it- ostensibly a “baseball” book – reminded me of The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany
    The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides – not as good as Middlesex – was only ok- don’t really get the hype

  22. Cutting for Stone was an amazing book – I was sad to finish it. I just read The Hunger Games and I now believe the hype! Lisa See is a great writer and I enjoyed Shanghai Girls at least as much as I liked Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Little Bee is on the short list of books to read. I’ve also been spending lots of time on planes lately and I find that total fluff like Carl Hiaasen or Lisa Scottoline make good travel reads. Also, if you became interested in Swedish mystery novels after reading the Stieg Larsson books, I would check out the Kurt Wallander novels, by Henning Mankell.

  23. You almost started this post with my favorite movie quote :) I feel the same way.

    “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”
    -Hector from The History Boys

  24. The book in the first photo The Secret History – is a BRILLIANT book and one of my all time favourites – definately worth a read!

  25. Pat Conroy!!! Honestly, his writing “takes me away!” I just saw him on a PBS special about Margaret Mitchel (“Gond With the Wind”.) Anne Rivers Sidden is fantastic (AND she’s a GOOD friend of Pat Conroy!)”story teller.” Try “Colony.” Happy tales……….franki

  26. This post is so. flippin’. pretty. So many lovely book photos. I love it. I want to just curl up in front of my screen and stare at this post all day long. Would that be weird?

    ANYWHO. Great books I recommend to everyone and their dog:
    1. Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coehlo
    2. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
    3. The Hours by Michael Cunningham

    ^ All amaaaaazing.

  27. if you are loving pat conroy..(loooved prince of hysterical bawbwa stroysand and nick nolte in the movie are not to be missed!) don’t walk and read william styron’s books! sophie’s choice + confessions of nat turner = happy place.

  28. Wow. What beautiful photos.
    If you’re still looking for book suggestions, one of my recent favorites is “Reel Life” by Jackie Townsend ( It’s about two sisters, so it’s great for anyone with a sister!

  29. the books you listed are some of my faves. the best books i’ve read lately are “still alice,” “east of eden” and “ready player one.” those are all great to get lost in!

  30. Mmm… my most recent favorite was “The Night Circus” by Erin (!!) Morgenstern. They are suppose to be turning that into a movie. The book itself was magical. Made you forget what was your real life and what was your imagination.

  31. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is my favorite book of all time.
    Coincidentally, “Brooklyn” by Colm Toibin is another favorite.

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