Winter Reading List

The theme for these books are books that are being turned into movies in 2015.

Serena (P.S.) - Ron Rash

The novel is set in the mountains of North Carolina in 1929 during the Great Depression with the young timber baron Pemberton and his new wife Serena set forth to create a timber empire. She prefers pants instead of dresses and demands to be treated as an equal to the men. As the female heroine of the book she can be described as brutal, ruthless, uncompromising, beautiful, cruel, power hungry, ruthless, greedy and a revengeful character.

Each chapter is narrated by a different character, one being Rachel Harmon, a young girl who was pregnant by George Pemberton before Serena came into his life. Both Serena and George immediately made clear to Rachel that neither she nor her son Jacob will ever get anything from them. The Pembertons  remove anyone from their path that bothers them, by death. 
The author paints a vivid picture of the hardships of the lumber camp with so many trees falling on workers.  The chapters written by the lumberjack employees were hardest to read especially with the local dialects and not being able to remember which character is which since none of them had been given any distinct personalities.  

The book had a slow start for me,  but it quickly become my nightly read before I went to sleep. The writing is beautiful as if he was writing poetry in the beauty of the descriptions. If you like dark  novels where almost nothing good happens this is the book for you. The movie comes out March 27 and you can watch the trailer here

The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman
I absolutely loved this book! I finished it in 4 days! The vivid descriptions in this book describe things like blue starfish and how a lighthouse works. The complex, rich characters are developed very nicely and I thought it was a great story that the author told very well. Steven Spielberg is turning this New York Times bestseller into a movie this fall. 

The book centers around Tom Sherbourne who returns from WWII to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, an isolated island. The supply boat comes once a season and Tom's allowed to return to shore every 3 years. Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a "gift from God," and against Tom's judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. My favorite quotes from the book are:
"You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day."
"I've learned the hard way that to have any kind of a future you've got to give up hope of ever changing your past."

Zookeepers Wife - Diane Ackerman
When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes. This book is not a novel, it's a book based on Antonina's diary with other historical facts of what it was like to live in Warsaw during WWII. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs only $4 on amazon 
As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs--alive and well--despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago. As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather’s childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see. A haunting and out-of-the-ordinary read, debut author Ransom Rigg’s first-person narration is convincing and absorbing, and every detail he draws our eye to is deftly woven into an unforgettable whole. Interspersed with photos throughout, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a truly atmospheric novel with plot twists, turns, and surprises that will delight readers of any age. 

Dark Places - Gillian Flynn  only $3 on amazon and #8 book on the top sellers list. This thriller is from the author of Gone Girl and tells the story of Libby Day, whose mother and sisters were murdered at the family's farmhouse when she was only 7. Her testimony sent her older brother, Ben, to prison for life, and 25 years later, Libby decides to meet with the Kill Club, a group of crime enthusiasts who investigate the case and force her to rethink what really happened. This is a dark, twisted book that you shouldn't in the dark.

Brooklyn - Colm Tóibín
Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. 

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future. 



  1. I have been wanting to read The Light Between the Oceans so I am glad you recommended it! So great meeting you the other night.

    xo katie // a touch of teal

  2. Great list of books for cold winter days. I read a lot of books about the WWII time period and will be adding some of your great titles to my list. Thank you for sharing.