Could it have been China…

Gavin Menzies takes the reader on a unique ride through the evidence for the case that the Chinese had many skilled seaman who explored much of the world prior to the conventionally accepted European exploration of the globe. He follows this idea further in his second book where he explains how during some of the Chinese seafaring expeditions they had formed relationships with Europeans and passed along crucial information regarding technological and artistic innovations. These are both fascinating reads for those looking to explore all the nooks and crannies of this time period. Menzies has done a great deal of research for these books and while not everything he claims can be verified 100%, he posits some very plausible and logical scenarios.

Romantic Sigh….

Morning Comes Softly by Debbie Macomber is a book about a librarian, so how could I resist! Any of Macomber’s books are great for when you need to read a feel good, mostly conservative romance novel. Her settings are always picteresque, her characters likeable and althought many of her other books have similiar plots, the interactions between the characters simply always win your heart, despite the repetetiveness. She hits on aspects of the human condition that many women can relate too: loneliness, love, mothering, desire to feel like you belong, etc. I love to pick up her books when I need to be reassured that good things do happen and there are nice people still living in this world!

Miracles Abound…

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and See You in One Hundred Years by Logan Ward are part of a category of books that are considered one year memoirs, that is the author takes on a project for a year and then writes about it. These are becoming increasing popular, partly beause it is just plain fun to peruse something that reads like someone’s diary, with an unconscious educational undertone. In these particular one year memoirs, the authors go back to the land, so to speak. They focus on farming and living a more simple life amist the clutter and chaos of the modern world. There are multiple laugh out loud moments if you are interested in agriculture and historical living….personally I had a hard time putting either of them down!

Happiness is……

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner is one of the most hiliarious philosphical reads I have encountered. It was so entertaining I almost forgot that I was reading about such an intense topic that is so vital to everyday life. Throughout the book, the author travels to various countries around the world and talks with the locals about what it means to be happy. He gets a variety of answers, some of which surprise him. This is a great book with which to spark discussion and so I highly recommend it for book clubs.

Personal Connection to the Past….

The Thoreau You Don’t Know by Robert Sullivan and Civil War Wives by Carol Berkin are two nonfiction books that really take you into the heart, soul, and mind of interesting historical figures. These works truly show how people really are a product of the times they live in, as well as their family upbringings. The authors depict the figures not so much as larger than life figures that have stood out over time, but as humans with thoughts, feelings, and decisions to make in life. Some of those decisions ended up leading these people to become dearly remembered in American History, however we can all relate to them on a more personal level through these two books.