September 10, 2013

books I read that I loved...

books I recommend! 
Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill — This memoir tells the story of Jenna, niece of the current leader of the Church of Scientology. Oh, my gosh, you guys. Read it. I've always been fascinated by the more extreme, controversial religions of the world, and this book is one of the best I've read on the subject. Her story is very honest, raw, and captivating.

Alive in the Killing Fields by Nawuth Keat — I picked this up on a whim while at the library, and I'm so glad I did. I've been pretty fascinated by the Khmer Rouge Genocide ever since a Cambodian coworker of mine told me his own story of escape, years and years ago. I'm not even sure how it came up, but he told me about it almost casually—like, "Yeah, I lived in a tiny underground hole for several days with my entire family while soldiers were shooting people above me, but that's just what we had to do. So, you want in on Junior Mex for dinner, or what?" His story absolutely floored me, and so did the story within the pages of this book. If you ever want some perspective, and to be inspired by what people are able to overcome, then read it. It is incredible.

Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark — When I was a teenager, I devoured these books. At a certain point, I'm pretty sure I'd read every single novel she had written (and experienced many sleepless nights both reading and being terrified of being stalked/murdered/etc. thanks to the subject matter of each book). My grandma sent me a few copies of some books she had finished (she and I are kindred souls when it comes to mystery novels) and I finally picked this one up a few months ago. Although these books always use the same sort of formula (30-something female professional as the main character, who is involved in some sort of murder mystery) they never disappoint.

The Shack by William P. Young — I'm nearly done with this book, which I borrowed from my mom, and I don't even know what to say about it. Is that weird? It gives a very fascinating look at what God may or may not be like, and has left me with a lot on my heart and mind. It is a very creative and unique story, truly, and a little bit heartbreaking, too. I can definitely see why it had so much buzz surrounding it when it was first released.

Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins — I mentioned starting this series a while back, but I hadn't anticipated the momentum of the story to continue so well throughout each book! I'm currently starting Assassins (book 6) and I'm already loving it. If you've read the entire series, I'd love to know what you thought of them, for sure. Do the later books get even better? Or annoying? Do tell. (I'd like to know what I'm in for.)

Waiting to Be Heard by Amanda Knox — I was so thrilled when this one finally arrived for me at the library! Obviously, I'm a bit taken with any sort of memoir, but this one really fascinated me. I could hardly put it down, and definitely went back and forth on my opinions of the case. Truth be told, I didn't know that much about her trial (aside from the main headlines), and getting her inside view of the whole experience was very captivating. Definitely worth a read. (Did you read it? Do you think she's guilty or innocent? I totally thought guilty until I started the second half of the book.)

What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?


  1. Nice selection! I just finished the 2nd book in The Country Girls trilogy by Edna O'Brien - I'm totally in love with this book and am recommending it to everyone!

  2. I've been eyeing 'beyond belief' for couple of days now. I've read about Mormonism a bit, wasnt sure how much I'd like reading about Scientology. Currently I'm reading a sci-fi 'hitchhiker's guide to galaxy' series and have Brene Brown's book on wait list. Are you on Goodreads? Add me if you want, my username is FarahA30. If you don't use goodreads, you should totally check it out. It's pretty good for getting future book recommendations.

  3. I haven't read any Mary Higgins Clark in years, but like you I read what I thought was all of them back in HS and loved them all. I am going to have to pick this one up soon. I just finished "Still Alice" about early onset Alzheimers. It was an easy but good read. Of course if you have mommy brain (like me) it makes you really paranoid :)

  4. I just requested Beyond Belief from the library based on your recommendation. I also really enjoy learning more about extreme religious groups and how they operate. Have you read Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer? It's a fascinating look at Fundamentalist (aka polygamous) Mormons.

    Thanks for sharing your list! I am always looking for new books to read.

  5. I remember reading my mom's Mary Higgins Clark books when I was a kid. I was obsessed. I've been meaning to go back and read some more of her; I'll definitely be looking for this one at the library!

  6. I read the Left Behind series when I was in high school. I don't think I made it through the whole series but man, was it intense! Such a good series, though. I loved it. Now I want to go back and reread it all!

    Currently, I'm reading Painted Hands which is a kinda chick-lit-y book about two Muslim-American women in Chicago. I am SO captivated by it and I have just a few chapters left so I am really excited to sit down and finish it tonight!

  7. I've read the Amanda Knox book and the Jenna Macavige Hill book. Both were great, interesting, and fascinating reads!

  8. I read the Amanda Knox book in 3 nights. Definitely fascinatIng. I totally think she's not guilty. My understanding from other articles I've read is that is true the Italian legal system and judicial system is very different for ours, and that there is often a lot of manipulation and other such things that aren't allowed here. And for me, the one dudes DNA is everywhere but hers is not... Seemed odd. Now I will say she was stupid for how she acted at first and for not demanding a lawyer, but at the same item I don't know what it'd be like to be in those shoes.

  9. I want to read the Amanda Knox book! I'm fascinated by trials and was always curious about the case/the Italian justice system. And I just wrote a story for my freelance gig that Italy is requesting her extradition for a retrial.

  10. I read Beyond Belief due to your recommendation awhile ago (I think!) and enjoyed it, but I love a good memoir or anything quasi religious/cultish. I just put a hold on the Amanda Knox book too!
    I love when people recommend books! I just finished 'The Midwife is Here' a memoir of a British midwife and really enjoyed it.

  11. I read Beyond Belief and couldn't put it down. I have a fascination with Scientology and it was incredibly interesting reading her story.

    I've also read Amanda Knox's book. I have a MAJOR interest in that case as I went to the same college she did and also studied abroad in Italy (just a few months prior to her). I've followed it since day 1 and I honestly think she's innocent. I think she was very naive and did some dumb things, but I'm convinced she is innocent. What do you think?

  12. Thanks for the recommendations. I haven't read any of the books that you mentioned, but I am definitely intrigued!


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