Recommendations from a non blogger #3

Our recommendations this month come from Rebecca, who not only reads this blog, but also designed my wonderful new avatar! Thank you so much Rebecca! I love it!

I’ll let her introduce herself:


I am an avid reader and even though I work full time as a construction manager, I manage to read two books a week most weeks. I love literary fiction, southern fiction and mysteries but will read anything that is exceptionally well written. I just love a good story. I can never remember not reading, I have always had a book in my hand, one in my car, one in my purse, one on my desk at work and one on my bedside table. The older I get the harder it is for me to read multiple books at one though, so now I find myself lugging one book around everywhere. Oh well, I still have books in all these places though, just in case.

The following are recommendations from my permanent collection.


A Land Remembered by Patrick D. Smith– This book was actually recommended to me by my son. It was required reading in his senior high school English class when we lived in Florida and when he finished it, he brought it to me and said I just had to read it because it was so good. It is a fictional history of the settlement of the Tampa Bay area in the state of Florida. It follows three generations of the MacIvey family in an epic portrayal of a pioneer family. My son was right. I am not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this one is impressively detailed and I fell in love with the MacIvey family right from the start.

Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish – This may not be the book Kris is the most famous for, but it is by far my favorite, so much so that it made it into my permanent collection which is very hard to do. This book touched my heart in so many ways it is almost impossible to explain. At 56, it is a time in my life when I am looking at where I have been and where I am going with the time I have left. That is what this book is all about, missed opportunities, lost loves and finding the power and the path to go forward.

Blink * The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell – Have you ever  had someone ask you a very difficult question and you instantly knew the answer, but instead of going with that answer, you thought it over, weighed all the options and came up with a different answer? Blink helps you understand that your first answer, the one that come immediately, the one you know without thinking about it, is right. We all have the power to instantly know what is needed but have been taught not to act on that instinct, but to over think everything. This is a very powerful little book and one I keep reading over and over. Just think how short business meetings would be if everyone would use this technique instead of talking everything to death!

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand– This is the one book that has stayed with me more than any other. I first read it as a high school senior in 1971. The story is of one man, Howard Roark, and his struggles as an architect in the face of a successful rival, Peter Keating. Then I went to College and majored in Architecture, and I learned about Frank Lloyd Wright whose life parallels Howard Roark’s in many ways. I had many a lively discussion in college about how they did or did not compare and my belief that Ayn Rand was writing about Frank. If you have not read this book, you must pick it up, if you have but it has been a while, read it again. Even though it was written in 1943, it never seems to be out of style. And after you read it, pick up a copy of Frank Lloyd Wright A Biography by Meryle Secrest and tell me what you think. 

The Art of Happiness, A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama –This wonderful prescription for living looks at finding peace, freedom from anger and hatred, ways of deepening our connections to others, benefiting from compassion and finding basic spiritual values. There is something in this book for each and every one of us regardless of our spiritual beliefs.

This is a fantastic list, but yet again I haven’t read any of them. I love Malcolm Gladwell, but haven’t read Blink yet. I have heard Fountainhead mentioned a few times, but Rebecca has made it sound really good. I’m going to ensure that I read it really soon.  

Thank you so much Rebecca!

Have you read any of the books on this list?

Are any your favourites?

38 replies on “Recommendations from a non blogger #3”

What? Where is your avatar? I haven’t seen it yet! I suppose it will come through the next comment you leave me?

I haven’t read any of the books on Rebecca’s list, but I’ve head of them. I love getting reading perspectives from other people. I find it is as unique and individual as someone’s fingerprint!

Sandy, There it is! I’m sure you’ll see it around the blogging world soon too!

I love the idea of a book fingerprint! You are right – getting to see other people’s book fingerprint is very interesting and reveals a lot about a person.

Love your avatar (as you know).

I have issues with Ayn Rand, but everyone should probably read her.

I own Art of Happiness — but I don’t think I ever opened it.

I haven’t read the others, but have heard of some of them.

Nice list — and thanks for sharing it.

I would be interested to know what your issues are too. I kind of remember there were issues that folks talked about in college, but you can’t fault her wonderful writing on this book.

I’ve read Blink, and enjoyed it a lot. Malcolm Gladwell is an interesting author, and I usually like his columns as well as his books – though he did write one really idiotic one saying that Atticus Finch wasn’t a very good person. (Grrrr.)

Jenny, I love Malcolm Gladwell’s writing, but I’ve never seen his columns. I’m not sure what led him to say Atticus Finch was a bad man – I’d love to see his justification for that!

I am so glad I was able to pick ones that you guys haven’t read yet. I was afraid they would all have been read already. Jackie and I were just discussing how books were different in the US and Europe.

Sadly I have read none of these! I did have the book by the Dalai Lama at one point but loaned it to someone and never got it back. I have Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand but not The Fountainhead. I have Outliers by Galdwell on my Kindle but haven’t gotten around to reading it. Thanks for the great post. I like to see what non-bloggers are recommending!

Kathleen, I think I have a copy of the Dalai Lama book in my book shop stock, but I’ve never thought to read it. I’ll have to dig it out and take a look.

I absolutely love The Fountainhead. I’ve read it, and re-read it, and overtime, I enjoy the book a little bit more. Unfortunately, I haven’t read the others on the list, but I’ll be sure to look into them. Anyone who mentions The Fountainhead as a favourite has me eating out of their hands…:)

Melody, I have been put off the Dalai Lama book, as I thought it might be too religious, so Rebecca’s reassurance that it is suitable for people of any faith means that I will now take a look at it.

I have read Blink and The Art of Happiness and really enjoyed them both. Malcolm Gladwell is a really intriguing character and has a way of looking at things we take for granted then explaining why they happen that way, I was particularly interested in the ideas he covers in Outliers. Blink had me thinking too.
The Dalai Lama makes some fascinating observations about people and life and I like to listen to his books on audio, he has such an interesting sound to his voice, although I did read this book and not listen to it.
I haven’t read the rest but like the sound of A Land Remembered, I’ll look out for that one.
Great list, thank you Jackie and Rebecca.

You will LOVE A Land Remembered. I am not a history buff, But I really enjoyed this book, so much so that it made my permanent collection and I don’t loan it out either. I have bought it for several friends and they have all loved it. It is probably the best written historical fiction book I have ever read.

What a great list. I’ve read several of Kris Radish’s books, but haven’t read Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral yet – I really should pick it up. My husband enjoyed The Art of Happiness (so much so, he bought a copy for each of his blackbelts for Christmas that year!) but I haven’t read it yet.

Ayn Rand is a fantastic author – I remember liking the Fountainhead, and really loving Atlas Shrugged (that is one I’ve re-read a couple times). Although she does have a particular writing style that can feel overblown at times.

The content of her writing, though, is pretty far out there, which is why she’s so controversial. She pretty much believes in captalism as a religion that not only makes the best economic sense, but that also allows everyone to fulfill their own personal potential. Its like an extreme survival of the fittest, and it leaves absolutely no room for compassion and care for those who are weak, broken, or unable to take care of themselves.

If you can separate the writing and story from the dogma, its definitely worth reading!

Brittney, Thank you very much for explaining about Ayn Rand’s beliefs. I haven’t heard of anyone thinking that way before. I will be very interested to see how her thoughts are reflecting in her writing and look forward to experiencing her writing style.

I have been wanting to read Ayn Rand for some years now, but probably not enough, because something keeps “getting in the way”. I’ve heard people rave about her books, and people finding them difficult in both style and subject. Intriguing, but also easy to skip when something a bit lighter and maybe even easier is waiting (although I do not feel like I ONLY read “easy” literature).

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