Good Reads : Rebecca Skloot + Ann Tyler


It was close to 1am and the bedside lamp made oblong shadows on the far wall. JD woke at midnight and asked me to close the book, but I promised it was just a few more pages. When I got the end, my eyes filled with tears. And gratitude. That’s what a good book does for me. I turned off the light, molded into the curve of JD’s spine, and said an evening prayer. The kind of prayers my mom used to say when she put me to bed as a child and made me laugh. Angels dancing above my head and sweet dreams (which I presumed meant aisles filled with candy). That’s what a good book does for me. Perhaps that’s why my dearest friends know when to pass along a good book

*Today We Are Rich by Tim Sanders. This book was given to me by David Jay, a huge proponent of reading business books. He was so excited about this book he gave a copy to both me and JD. I finished it in a few days and it’s a great read because while it touches on business aspects of life, its focus is on life aspects of life. Quality time, appreciation, and balance…I needed to read it.

*The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. My dear friend Gail sent me this book all the way from Indiana, so it’s extra special to me. It’s the true story of procuring, acquisition, and fostering of cells that changed the course of history and science, but the cells were taken without Henrietta’s knowledge. It’s story of bio ethics and legal battles and chronicles the lives of her children and as grapple with her death and legacy.

*The Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. When my friend Brianna placed the book on my bed, I didn’t know what to think. Our taste in books is…well…she sometimes reads books with a silhouetted poodle and french girl on a pink cover. Umm, yeah. This true story is the intersection of a homeless man and a prominent art dealer in Texas whose lives become dependent on each other through a series of heartbreaking events. It reads like a movie and I cried like a baby.

*Back When We Were Grown Ups by Anne Tyler. My mother gave me a Barnes&Noble gift card, so when Gail recommended this book, I immediately snagged it. And it didn’t disappoint. The way Tyler writes is near perfection. The flow, the narration, her ability to draw a reader in…augh…beautiful! The story is about Rebecca’s struggle determining–later in life–who she is, who she might have been, and who she thought she’d be. And the balance between her thoughts and the ever-present pressure of family life. I loved it.

If you have a good book, pass it to a friend. If they’re anything like me, it’ll make them feel loved. Happy Wednesday!

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  1. sherri lynn

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I have been needing some book suggestions! I’m going to pick up Back When We Were Grown Ups. Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. Jennifer Hudspeth

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    This post came just in time! About to go purchase some good pool side books!

  3. Eileen

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Reading is my absolute favorite pastime. I will most def check these out.

  4. Kate Neal

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I agree! I LOVE book suggestions:o) I like to get a friend to read along w. me too for discussions!

  5. Patti Warren

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Love the suggestions! I use It is great for suggestions! Thanks, Jasmine!

  6. Amaia

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I recommend you to read Ken Robinson "The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything", I think you will love it.

  7. tru pettit

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I’ll have to add the A. Tyler recommendation! I just started one yesterday and it’s looking really good, but I purposely left it at my mom’s house~so not to finish it too quickly.
    "The Last Time They Met" Anita Shreve. Have a great day and thanks Jasmine <3

  8. amy t schubert

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Ann Tyler is one of my favorites! I would recommend any of her books, but especially The Amateur Marriage and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.
    So so so good….

  9. Natalie Tuggle

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    BOOKS! Yay :). I’ve read Same Kind of Different as Me. Let’s just say I’m a big crier too!

  10. sarah

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    anne tyler is my all time favorite author. followed closely by margaret atwood and (of course!) jane austen.

  11. Laura

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I loved the book, same kind of different as me. Beautiful book. I will check into the others, thanks for sharing!

  12. MD

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, what a fantastic read.

  13. Brittney

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    LOVE Same Kind of Different as Me – I was crying like a baby!

  14. Kristin Nicole

    June 22nd, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Back When We Were Grown Ups sounds so good….might have to check that one out soon.

  15. brianna

    June 22nd, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Is that an undercover dig??! What can I say, I like my books like I like my movies. It’s not to say I don’t appreciate a good book (I have thoroughly enjoyed every single book you’ve ever let me borrow), but when you’re stuck in some city in Germany you can’t pronounce and you find a store that sells something in English, you will do jumping jacks for that poodle cover!

  16. Gail

    June 22nd, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Preach it J! I came across this quote from Ian McEwan the other day (a man whose work just bowls me over) and I thought I’d share here because it’s spot-on with your sentiment:

    "My ideal state as a reader when I’m reading other people is feeling I’m vaguely wasting my time when I’m not reading that novel."— Ian McEwan

    Perfect, non? 🙂

    Mwwwaahhhh! XOXO G

  17. jacky f.

    June 22nd, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions. I love the J* Book Club 🙂

  18. LEOLAK

    June 22nd, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Sounds like great suggestions…Thanks! I have one for you…Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. So good.

  19. Amy Paulson

    June 22nd, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Oh my goodness, I love "Same Kind of Different as Me". I’m still so challenged by it. I can’t wait to check out these others though!

  20. Life with Kaishon

    June 22nd, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I just love that title:
    The same kind of different as me.

  21. Melissa

    June 22nd, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Jamsine! I love reading about the books you’ve read and their reviews! I’m a huuuuge book lover and also write on my blog about the ones I’ve read. I have a question though…do you keep your books? I have this OCD thing where I have to keep every single book….I know right? One day, I’ll have a full room devoted to just my own personal library! My boyfriend keeps telling me to get an Ereader and I just CAN’T DO IT! Love the feel of a real book!

  22. Alaina Bos

    June 23rd, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Thanks so much for your suggestions!! I just finished Loving Frank and really enjoyed it!

  23. Michelle Sidles

    June 23rd, 2011 at 12:17 am

    These book posts are my FAVORITE posts. Thanks for the recs! 🙂

  24. Rachel Tatem

    June 23rd, 2011 at 12:49 am

    I don’t know exactly what books are within your preference but "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is a great book!

    I totally know what you mean… Though I will admit that even not so good books will hook me (I admit it I have read all the Princess diaries books… now I’ll have you that I started when they came out but I continued much after the demographic would suggest)

  25. Logan McKnight

    June 23rd, 2011 at 2:08 am

    You might want to check out my sister’s book, Sex Like White Trash, A Path to Liberation. It’s really funny, smart and creative. She used photography as a way to tell a story within a story. Don’t worry, the photos are clean.

  26. Katy

    June 23rd, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Thanks for the recommendations!! I recommend "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese. Also, if you aren’t already on – it’s perfect for keeping track of all the books I WANT to read! 🙂

  27. Andra

    June 23rd, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Thanks for posting your reads. I have purchased a few of your recommendations and they have been spot on for me. Please keep posting your ideas. It keeps this busy mom from having to do all the leg work!

  28. Jenny Dewey

    June 23rd, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I am currently reading Today We are Rich and it’s awesome! Justin and Mary Marantz recommended it at their workshop and I can see why, I love it!! Totally changes the way you look at life!

  29. JendaLynne Photography

    June 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 am

    i love Henrietta Lacks book! Very good. Although I never got to finish all of it!

  30. Ashlee

    June 24th, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Same Kind of Different As Me has another book that follows it. It is just as good and just as fulfilling! What Difference Do it Make. I think Denver has more of a part in the second book

  31. Jessica Sweeney

    June 24th, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Those all sound amazing. I heard Henrietta’s story on the radio (probably This American Life, but I can’t say for sure) and it’s just kind of chillling but also hopeful at the same time. Today I got a library card after procrastinating for a year, so I’m excited about the possibilities in store!

  32. Kathleen Clipper

    June 24th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I LOVE when friends pass along books. It’s way better than any "purchased" gift because it has thought. Knowing that your friend is thinking of you while reading a book is priceless 🙂

  33. Megan

    June 28th, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Just bought three of these books to read on my flight to San Jose CAL on Friday! Thanks for the suggestions 🙂

  34. RENAE

    July 6th, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Jasmine you have GOT to read "Tomorrow When The War Began" by John Marsden…and the rest of the series- they are unputdownable! (yeah, I think I just made that word up). If you thought Katniss Everdeen was your girl crush, then let me tell you Ellie Linton will be your girl obsession! I just loved this series of books. There is a movie out now, but of course the books are always better than the movie. It’s just a fact of life.

  35. Annika Swenson

    July 10th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    As I know you LOVED the Hunger Games trilogy, you will adore the book Divergent by Veronica Roth. Similar idea to Hunger Games. Can’t wait for your reviews!