1. The Forest Lover, S. Vreeland. Beautifully written story of Emily Carr, who preserved native culture in her art.
2. The Kite Runner, K. Hosseini. An Afghani returns home to find redemption for childhood sins.
3. March, G. Brooks. Excellent novel about Little Women’s Mr. March--abolitionist, minister, committed to justice.
4. Lost in Translation, N. Mones. American woman living in China gets involved in an expedition to find Peking Man.
5. Fire Sale, S. Paretsky. Richly textured and interesting plot with memorable characters.
6. The Book of Joe, J. Tropper. A man leaves his town and returns after writing a book damning its inhabitants.
7. The Buffalo Soldier, C. Bohjalian. A grieving couple become foster parents to an African-American boy.
8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, M. Haddon. Told by a 15-year-old autistic boy; interesting insights into autism and the world's reaction to eccentricities.
9. When the Emperor Was Divine, J. Otsuka. Spare, beautifully written story of an interned Japanese-American family.
10. Before You Know Kindness, C. Bohjalian. Thought-provoking saga about hunting, vegetarianism, and family dynamics.
11. Family Pictures, Sue Miller. A family torn apart by one child’s autism and the historical “blaming of the mother.”
12. The Magic of Ordinary Days, A.H. Creel. Exquisitely written, about a woman who befriends two Jpn.-American interns.
13. The Mermaid Chair, S. Monk Kidd. A woman returns home to South Carolina to uncover her family secrets.
14. What We Keep, Elizabeth Berg. Beautifully written story about mothers, daughters, sisters, and forgiveness.
15. Slammerkin, E. Donoghue. Sad, compelling story about a girl who falls into prostitution in Dickensian England.
16. Atonement, I. McEwan. Postmodern drama of a child with an overactive imagination and the lives she ruins.
17. The Bowl Is Already Broken, M.K. Zuravleff. Story about the art world, working moms, and museum politics.
18. Chang and Eng, Darin Strauss. Fascinating fictional account of the famous Siamese twins.
19. Comfort Woman, N.O. Keller. Tragedy about a woman enslaved during the war, and her daughter’s perspective.
20. Any Place I Hang My Hat, S. Isaacs. A bright, gutsy woman seeks the mother who abandoned her as a baby.
1. 24 Years of House Work and Still a Mess, P. Schroeder. I was lucky to hear this amazing woman speak in January.
2. Holy Cow : An Indian Adventure, S. Macdonald. A woman returns to India after an ill-fated visit in her 20s; her second time around she grows to love India.
3. The Bookseller of Kabul, A. Seierstad. Fascinating, heartbreaking view inside an Afghan family.
4. My Life So Far, J. Fonda. Inspiring, brave; Fonda discovers herself after a life of changing herself for her men.
5. The Glass Castle, J. Walls. Intriguing story of a troubled childhood amid deep familial love.
6. Living History, H. Rodham Clinton. Insightful look into the Clinton era and this fascinating, bright woman.
7. The Big Rumpus: A Mother's Tale from the Trenches, A. Halliday. Funny, irreverent memoir of an artist/writer mom raising two energetic kids in NYC.
8. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, A. Lamott. Irreverent, provocative essays on life, politics, and faith.
9. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, R. Reichl. Thoughtful, whimsical, about fine food and snobs.
10. Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe, G. De Becker. How to protect children from danger.
11. Blink, M. Gladwell. Some of the best decisions we make are made in the blink of an eye.