We recently asked our readers to share their favorite book or books. I so enjoyed reading through your responses and am so excited to read some of these books and hope you are too!
Here is part one of our “Readers’ favorite books” (and boy, it’s quite a variety!). Happy reading!
*Please note, these are in a random order of how they were submitted.
“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures”
“My favorite book of all time is ‘The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures’ (1997) by Anne Fadiman. Doctors involved in the care of a young girl with epilepsy, a Hmong refugee family (the Lees), and how the health care system fails to account for the circumstances of patients. Such as medications with complicated directions or times, or inability to obtain medications, that in this case, resulted in the child being taken into foster care and the parents blamed. How the love, care, and traditions of the family triumphed over modern medicine that fails to deal with circumstances or capacities of patients. I see this happening every day… expensive medicines prescribed for those who cannot afford them; complicated instructions that a patient cannot comprehend; patients that need continuing care sent home where there is no one to care for them. A must-read for anyone in the medical profession, and for anyone who will be needing medical care.” —Irene DelBono
Editor’s Note: I have read this book too and loved it! Highly recommend.
“Threads West: An American Saga”
The epic saga of Threads West begins in May 1854 with the first of five, richly textured, complex generations of unforgettable, multicultural characters ensconced in their individual lives and dreams in the Rockies, England, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Prussia, Mexico, the Great Plains, St. Louis and New York. They share neither country nor culture in common—indeed none of them know the others exist—but the separate lives of these driven men and independent women from Europe and North America will be drawn to a common destiny that beckons seductively from the wild and remote flanks of the American West. … The personal conflicts inherent to these brave, passion-filled characters are exacerbated by a nation in transition, the budding enmity between North and South, broken treaties with Native Americans and lives and generations woven on the loom of history, propelled by fate and freedom to form the tapestry that becomes the whole cloth of the nation.
The touchstones of the past are the guideposts to the future. This, the first novel of this epic saga–the tale of America, set in the West—is the stirring story of many life threads of divergent cultures, and competing ambitions that entwine to become what the world knows as, Americans.
“My all-time favorite read is the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien. I first read it when I was about 12 years old, not too long after it was published. I have re-read it every decade or so since then, and never fail to find many new details that I hadn’t noted before. If you haven’t read this great classic tale of good and evil, you should get started as soon as possible.” —Don Hutchins
When Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves embark upon a dangerous quest to reclaim the hoard of gold stolen from them by the evil dragon Smaug, Gandalf the wizard suggests an unlikely accomplice: Bilbo Baggins, an unassuming Hobbit dwelling in peaceful Hobbiton.
Along the way, the company faces trolls, goblins, giant spiders, and worse. But as they journey from the wonders of Rivendell to the terrors of Mirkwood and beyond, Bilbo will find that there is more to him than anyone—himself included—ever dreamed. Unexpected qualities of courage and cunning, and a love of adventure, propel Bilbo toward his great destiny . . . a destiny that waits in the dark caverns beneath the Misty Mountains, where a twisted creature known as Gollum jealously guards a precious magic ring.
Find the 4-book boxed set (including “The Hobbit”) here. If you haven’t read “Lord of the Rings,” what are you waiting for? It’s a perfect winter read!
“‘Sapiens.’ A comprehensive explanation of humans.” —Michael Galvin, PhD
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Editor’s note: I have heard nothing but incredible things about this book. It’s on my must-read list!
“The entire ‘Outlander’ series” —Selene Montgomery
Amazon summary for book one:
Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. … Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.
Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.
Find the first book in the series here.
Two books from Juls:
“I have some favorites that I go back to occasionally. Audiobooks are great for traveling. So I have both hard copies and audio versions. ‘A Walk in the Woods’ by Bill Bryson is always entertaining. For audio, make sure to get the unabridged version – narrated by Rob McQuay. ‘Isaac’s Storm’ by Erik Larson is narrated by Edward Hermann. About the 1900 Galveston hurricane – historically accurate and very detailed. Incredible story. Those are two favorites. I have many others!” —Juls
Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson’s acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America’s last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is a modern classic of travel literature.
“Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History”
…In Galveston, reassured by Cline’s belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city’s beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation’s deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss.
Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac’s Storm is based on Cline’s own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature’s last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac’s Storm carries a warning for our time.
Editor’s Note: I can vouch for both of these books – they’re excellent.
“James Michener, ‘The Source’ is an epic read. We RV for 6-8 weeks at a time; I like the big fat books that last the whole trip!” —Rebecca
In his signature style of grand storytelling, James A. Michener transports us back thousands of years to the Holy Land. Through the discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in an ancient city and traces the profound history of the Jewish people—from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, and the Crusades to the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East. An epic tale of love, strength, and faith, The Source is a richly written saga that encompasses the history of Western civilization and the great religious and cultural ideas that have shaped our world.
“One of my favorites is ‘Blue Highways’ by William Least Heat-Moon. It’s a great adventure of the back roads and small towns of America. The scenery along his drive and the people he meets is a fun and intriguing read. This book makes me want to get out there and see more of our country and meet more fellow Americans. We don’t all live the same lifestyles, but ultimately, we’re all just trying to make a life for ourselves and our families, even if it’s different than our own. This is a highly recommended read and I plan to read more books by this great writer.” —Rhonda Boul
Editor’s note: I think the entire RVtravel.com staff has read and absolutely loved this book. As an RVer, it’s a must-read!
“Lifeonaire. Not a masterpiece or cerebral work, but it has changed many lives.” —Tim Mcrae
Will becoming a Millionaire really set you free? How about the American Dream? If we, as a nation, declare freedom to be our number one priority, then why do so many of us, at a gut-level, feel less freedom than ever? Americans are working harder than ever to obtain financial success and material possessions based on the delusion that more will lead to a better life. The typical American is trading away the vast majority of their life in hopes that, someday, they will have enough to experience ‘the good life.’
Meanwhile, this tradeoff is the very thing that is robbing them of their freedom and the ability to enjoy an abundant life… right now.
So, where do we find freedom? What should we pursue?
In Lifeonaire: An Uncommon Approach to Wealth, Success, and Prosperity, Steve Cook answers these questions by challenging us to consider what it is that we really desire out of life. Through this fictional story, he shares how Americans blindly pursue financial wealth–thinking that money will reward them with what they want–and helping us to discover that our heart’s desire is to become more than just a Millionaire… what we really desire is to become a Lifeonaire.
It’s not too late to tell us what your favorite book is! Please do so here.
Look for part two next week. See you then!