Java Talk: Favorite Books & Authors


Lately we've been discussing reading and books. So today, let's talk about our favorite books. Books we've read recently that we thought were exceptionally good reads. Tell us your favorite authors, and perhaps why that is so. 

If you don't read fiction, by all means name cookbooks, biographies, gardening books, decorating books. Any books you really liked and would suggest to others. 

I would have to say the best book I've read in probably the last six months was...



And the reason I found this book so compelling was that it managed to shock me in the end. Usually I at least have an inkling of what is to happen. This one fooled me all the way. 

Great read if you like psychological suspense. Which is my favorite genre of book to read. 

Okay, it's your turn...

69 comments

  1. Neat subject! I shall have to look up that book, Brenda!

    My favorite author is Joann Harris and my favorite book is her Blackberry Wine. I even had her sign my copy when I met her years ago at a "Meet the Author" downtown. She is one unique gal. I love her colorful narratives; she creates love affairs with food and characters and a time forgotten.

    My second favorite book is a real amazing sci -fi book called The Sparrow by Mary D Russell, and its sequel (a must read to further explain the story) called Children of God. These aren't easy reads but they're WOW.

    My favorite series of books written by Cassandra Clare was recently read and I couldn't put them down - literally read for 10 straight days. They're the Clockwork/The Infernal Devices series - I think there were 7 of them - first one is called Clockwork Angel. They're easy to read, written for teens basically though my book reading niece who is 14 didn't like it and put it down after giving it a few tries.....now she goes further with the story, yet different but connected in another 7 books, which she wrote earlier - def for teens, which I didn't like even half as much but glad I read - called City/The Mortal Instruments. She wrote these first but chronologically they are modern, so very teeny bop. But, as I said, they are related and it is neat to read them in the order that I did. My daughter recommended I do that and she was spot on right.

    What I am currently reading - just started - is the 2nd book in The Outlander series and it is absolutely fabulous so far, I ADORED The Outlander and highly recommend it.

    Have fun reading today, Brenda.

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  2. I guess I didn't leave list favorite authors. I usually like to read women authors, but lately have found some fantastic books by men, one of which is the book I showed. I love Anne Tyler, Anna Quindlen, who always makes me think. Lisa Scottoline has some good ones, Alice Munro, David Baldacci, Elizabeth Berg...

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  3. I had written The Forgetting Place down and underlined and starred it when you mentioned it before. It is one I really want to read. I also like John Grisham -even though I usually prefer women authors. xo Diana

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  4. I love Jodi Picoult. Her books make me see things in a new way. I love Lee Childs and his Jack Reacher series so so much. I am always looking for new authors to try!

    Linda

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  5. John Grisham is also a great author. However I think his first books were his best works.

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  6. Ah, how could I forget Jodi Picoult? I guess because I haven't read any of her books lately. Which later ones are good, Linda?

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  7. I just finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova. The book is about a woman who is diagnosed with early onset Alzhimers. My Mother had Alzhimers. As I read, I wondered if my Mother had some of the same thoughts and experiences. It was a very touching book. I wish I had bought the book rather than purchasing it for my Kindle so I could give the book to others.

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  8. I read Still Alice about four years ago and it about killed me reading it. I cried through the entire book. Both my grandmothers had Alzheimer's. My maternal grandmother is now age 93 and she babbles like an infant. It is gut wrenching to see my pristine Southern grandmother in such a state. The best book I have read in the past five years was A Reliable Wife by Robert Godrick. And of course I loved The Language of Flowers. I could read that book again. Another book I liked, The Forgotten Seamstress. I adore any book set in the South. There have many I have read over the years. I like coming of age stories.

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    1. I haven't read any of the books you mentioned. I shall put them on my list.

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  9. My favourite authors are Margaret Atwood, John Irving and Lionel Shriver.

    I read Atwood's Maddaddam Trilogy in about a week! I love her "speculative fiction". Simply brilliant.

    My favourite Lionel Shriver books are "We need to talk about Kevin" and "Post Birthday World". Her use of language is amazing. And I like that each of her books are unique in topic and style.

    Our eclectic book club which has both men and women members met on Sunday and we discussed "Unbroken" by Laura Hillebrand. Amazing story.

    Happy Reading!

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    1. Unbroken sounds familiar. Was that made into a movie?

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    2. Yes. Angelina Jolie directed. Haven't seen it but apparently it's not up to the books standard.

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  10. Brenda, I loved this book series I started before our house fire a couple of years ago and can't remember what it's called. It's about 8 books and it documents the small town life and love stories of the couples in the books. It was so wonderful. Mystery, small town life, and love. I think it was Wisconsin. I've asked everyone and nobody knows and the books went up in flames.

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    1. I am wondering if you are thinking Debbie McComber. But those were based in Washington state. I read them all and they are good.

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    2. I googled trying to narrow down what and where it was, but came up empty. Maybe ask someone at Goodreads?

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    3. I have been reading Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street set, which feature knitting. I ended up taking a knitting class. My learning project is knitted cotton dish cloths.

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    4. Is it the Mitford books by Jan Karon??

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  11. I'm a thriller fan and don't care for romance stories. I want fast action that hooks me in from the beginning.
    Harlen Coben, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver and Lisa Gardner all have books I've enjoyed. I love a twist and it's a good book if I'm surprised at the end.

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    1. Yes, those are my kinds of books. Romances never have done much for me. Maybe it's because to me they don't seem realistic. But I'm sure to many people, the opposite is true. Just depends on life experience I guess.

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  12. I just finished the two books by Random Rigs. Miss Perigrins Home For Peculiar Children and Hollow City. Different then I normally read. but I enjoyed them. Sci Fi. He used pictures that he found of oddities and built the stories around those. Invisible boy, levitating girl, etc. Also had the pictures in the books. He has the 3rd book coming out in Sept and I can't wait! Sometimes it is good to read books different then you usually read. That is how I find new authors.

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    1. The closest I've come to Sci Fi is Stephen King.

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    2. Good news about the third book about the peculiar children.

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  13. I can't handle thrillers anymore- or at least right now.. I need to stay over in the safe zone::for me:: of Cozy Mysteries.... otherwise I'll FEEL what I'm reading too strongly and upset my fragile anxiety state. yes, its thats bad right now:(
    Went to the phyc doc- took my recent hospital report and the one from my GP... He was able to find a new med for me that wont compromise my other issues, Its more epensive but I gotta have what I need or risk standing to close to the edge of the precipice .. where I have been spending way to much time, as is..

    will talk with you tommorrow after I pic up the new med.. as you know I value your opiinion about such matter and you are just better than me at googling and finding the correct information- which makes you one of my very special angels on this plane of existance...

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    1. Tried to call you earlier and left a message. Hope they find the right meds for you. Everything depends on that.

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  14. I am a fan of Amish Mysteries from authors like, Linda Castillo, Karen Harper, Vannette Chapman. But also I love books like The Book Thief. I have read a lot of the Debbie McComber books too.

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  15. I can't recall if I've ever read anything by Debbie McComber or not. I've just spent two hours scratching at dried hot glue with my fingernails.

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  16. I love books. LOVE them. My husband tells me I am a "nervous Nelly" if I do not have a book in my hands. Lol I have too many favorite authors to mention. Right now I am obsessed with the Outlander series by
    Diana Gabaldon. Have a great day!

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  17. It's always a great day if I get books in the mail. And I'm due for some.

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  18. I love Ken Follet (The Pillars of the Earth) Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) Laura Hillenbrand (Unbroken) David McCullough (The Johnstown Flood) Amy Tan, Lianne Moriarity ( Big Little Lies) Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)

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  19. My reading is a bit like my decorating...eclectic. I'll read about anything except I never could get into science fiction. Lately I've been picking up decorating and flower gardening books because it's getting to be that time of year when I think a little sprucing up of the house is in order and of course gardening season is coming. One of my favorite authors of the past is Gladys Taber. Susan Branch is a big fan of hers, too, and even got to visit Stillmeadow where Gladys lived and wrote about life there. I was so jealous when I read that! :)

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    1. I don't like science fiction, romances, or westerns. However long ago I read Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, and it was basically a western, and I loved that.

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  20. I too love Gladys Taber books. Also books by Miss Read. Just finished reading Jan Karon's latest book in the Father Tim Series, Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good. Absolutely loved it. The characters are so endearing. It is funny,sad, charming,religious all wrapped up in one great book.

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  21. I like books that can alternately make me laugh and make me cry.

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  22. Dorothea Benton Frank. Anne Rivers Siddons. Mary Alice Monroe. Mary Kay Andrews. Billie Letts. Curtis ann Matlock. I just got a book called "the book of summers" by Emylia Hall and it looks good.

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    1. I agree with all these choices. Curtiss Ann Matlock is also a blogger and I've known her for years.

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  23. Also love all of Fannie Flaggs books!

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  24. I use to be a book lover, and then after attending college I never wanted to read another book again. I felt so forced to read so many books I didn't want. I thought as soon as I was done with school I wouldn't stop reading? I can't seem to concentrate, I read the same page over and and over again. I do love reading "older" books, mysteries of any kind, anything to do with King Henry the 8th, Mr. Phillip Oppenheimer a great author, and Agatha Christie, oh and my bible. .

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    1. The more I read, the more I yearn to read.

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  25. Fun topic. My reading list tends to be old-fashioned. I don't seem to ever read the latest best seller until it's about a decade old. I think it's because I find most of the books I read at thrift stores. I just picked up a copy of Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides at the Goodwill today. Started it years ago when visiting someone and didn't get to finish it, so it's about time I do! I also picked up a historical novel based on the lives of Anne and Mary Boleyn that should be interesting. I have a small collection of romances by the English writer Betty Neels. They are so quaint and charming and great to doze off to. My husband and I have been watching the western show Longmire on Netflix, and it's based on books by the author Craig Johnson. We want to start reading the books since we love the show. Someone mentioned Fannie Flagg and I do love her. I also love Eudora Welty. Two books I read practically every year -- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield. I also love Gladys Taber and Edwin Way Teale. I also really love to read cookbooks.

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    1. I wish I liked to cook, so maybe I would enjoy reading cookbooks. I watched Longmire a few times.

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  26. I can't imagine not having at least one book going. I often have two. Anyway, I love the old classics. People think they're boring but actually they're quite funny. The old British authors were so good at tongue in cheek writing. Oh and Middlemarch! It's still a great read. Fashion and customs change but human nature doesn't. Not long a ago I read The Good Girl, that was entertaining. I'm in the middle of Secrets of a Charmed Life. This is another, I can't put it down book. I only enjoy mysteries that are really about solving the mystery and not about murder. Oh, I also like Jan Karon's series. I want to move to that sweet little town!

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    1. The world of books is so amazing! I can't imagine not liking to read.

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  27. Some of my favorite authors...Barbara Kingsolver, Anna Quindlen, Elizabeth Berg, Anne Lamott, Sue Monk Kidd, Silas House, Alice Munro, Anne Tyler, John Steinbeck. I don't read romance, sci-fi, westerns, or thrillers. I read a lot of non-fiction, too - including cookbooks and decorating books.

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  28. We have a lot of authors we like in common. I do love thrillers though.

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  30. Someone mentioned Pat Conroy and his wife has amazing novels...loved them all!

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    1. I haven't read his wife's novels. I didn't realize she was a writer.

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  31. I love Jan Karon's The Mitford series, just wonderful!
    Gone With The Wind is on the top of the list of my all time favourites.

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    1. I haven't read Jan Karon. But I've seen her books in stores.

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  32. Retired s month ago and have read 20 books since. Love murder mysteries, especially medical ones and international espionage. Have you tried Goo Gone on that dried glue, it has worked well for me in the past, worth a shot. Usually found st Joann Fabrics snd Mensrds and such.

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    1. Oh, how you can read to your heart's content!

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    2. Sorry. Meant now you can read to your heart's content.

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  33. Great post. Nice to see such a great discussion of authors here. I am a voracious reader. I always have a book in hand and go to the library at least 4 times a week as I cannot buy. My favorites will always be Steinbeck, Austen and Robert Frost. I never read romance either.(blah) I enjoy fiction , biographies, mysteries and legal thrillers. Cozy mysteries are comforting and reliable for a nice read. I love Lisa Scottoline, Peri O"Shaughnessey, Nancy Rosenberg writes great thrillers. John Connolly Jane Whitefield series is not to be missed. John Grisham, political thrillers by Steve Berry, Brad Thor. My favorite book of last year was Cheryl Strayed "WILD" which was made into a fabulous movie by Reese Whiterspoon. Is a story of a women changing her life . A book by the family that owns the Big Sur restaurant- Nepenthe is full of recipes and stories on the birth of Big Sur's important landmark. Its just great visual and reading fun. Its written about the height of the Bohemian era, you may enjoy the rich colors and textures. Reading is truly one of life's greatest pleasures . I love reading in bed every night , my cat snoozing and warm. and visiting my collection of books in my bookcases. . They make a house a home. I will try your suggestions.

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    1. I haven't read a Nancy Rosenberg novel in awhile. Will have to check it out. Lisa Scottoline is a great writer too. And Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets.

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  34. its so nice to see Gladys Tabor remembered. She was groundbreaking author for women in her time. Independent and fierce about her privacy. Her cookbooks were often open and readily used in our house My Mom was a pen pal of hers and they exchanged many letters over the years. I have my Moms Gladys Tabor collection and its one of my most prized possessions.

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  35. I am listening to M. C. Beaton's Death of Yesterday while I sew. I also like her books under the pseudonym Marian Chesneys. Good stories with the occasional laugh out loud parts.

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    1. Not familiar with this author. Will look her up.

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  36. I also just read The Forgooten Place. I am now reading books by Lisa Genova. Left Neglacted is good and so is Love Anthony. I think sharing books is great. I love to read
    ,

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    1. I too love seeing what others are reading. And learning about new to me authors.

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  37. A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith. It is historical fiction set in Central Fl, the area where I live. It covers the early days of Fl before the Everglades were ruined by "progress". The older I get, the more I appreciate history. Patrick Smith wrote several books about this area.

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    1. Florida sounds like a great place to be right now with snow on the ground here!

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  38. We are always looking for ideas for our book club Brenda, there are some wonderful suggestions here. I will check out your book suggestion. I enjoy a good page turner, especially when I can not guess the ending and I admit to being one of THOSE people who gets so excited by what is going to happen next that she "accidentally" reads the last page, but only enough to catch a glimpse. Can't help myself with chocolate either. ;) I am reading Lost Horizon by James Hilton and am enjoying the escape.

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  39. I have to admit to doing that too once in a while. Sneaking a look at the end. But I try not to so it's a surprise.

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  40. I am so late to the book party....But I love The China Bayles Herbal Mystery series by Susan Wittig Albert. And I have learned so much about gardening and medicinal herbs from them as well. It is based on a woman that was a high powered lawyer in Houston and she decides to throw caution to the wind and gave up her career to move to a small Texas town and open up a small herbal shop. It is truly one of those series that you can get lost in and makes you yearn to move to the town of Pecan Springs. I guess they would fall under the category of cozy mysteries. She is still adding to the series, in fact I am behind by 2 books. Each one is based on a particular plant and they mystery is built around that plant. Great books. There is also another small series of books that I have read, and will pick them up and read them again every few years, Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal. These books are just short stories based on real life coincidences. They are also very good...

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