Monday, May 21, 2012

What I'm Reading

Suffering for Jesus at Murrieta Hot Springs
A warm thank-you to the women of Trabuco Presbyterian Church for hosting me at their women's retreat this past weekend. The dose of heat and sunshine did me good, as did seeing old friends and new. The setting was lousy, but you can't have everything. Ha ha.

Per someone's request, which reached me via Rosie, I have put together this list of reading material, just in time for summer, and after you've all finished reading those brand-new copies of my books!

Books Mentioned in My Talks:
The Social Animal by David Brooks (how our brains work)
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks (how our brains don't work--Mr. P)
Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom (why we buy what we buy; priming)
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick (starving shipwreck survivors)
The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge

Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
Jane Austen novels, in particular Mansfield Park (loved) and Northanger Abbey (didn't love)
How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Horatio Hornblower series by C. S. Forester
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Barchester novels by Anthony Trollope

Recent Favorite Books (also great for those Book Clubs you aren't in):
  • The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure. Was reading this to and from the retreat. Great fun. Memoir recounting her search for the Laura World of her childhood imagination.
  • Maphead by Ken Jennings. Also fun and funny. Maps and the folks who love them.
  • The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin. A look at the autism-vaccine connection (or lack thereof) and the history of distrust between scientists and the general public.
  • Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball. This one's for you, Carolyn. I mentioned it at the bonfire. A man researches the descendents of his slave-owning family, black and white.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. If you haven't read this book, read this book. Best nonfiction of the decade, I think. Even better than her wonderful Seabiscuit.
  • Mudbound  by Hillary Jordan. Set on a Mississippi Delta farm after WWII. Fascinating characters and a good cry.
  • The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy. Elephants from elephants' POV. Loved this book, and I hate books with talking animals! (Not such a recent read, but I was talking about it with one of you.)
  •  Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman. For lovers of books like Catherine Marshall's Christy. Woman in a strange environment facing challenges and finding love.
  • The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Read it because I wanted to see the George Clooney movie. Like watching a train wreck, but with a redemptive ending (subtle one).
Talk about a partial list! I could go on and on. Friend me on Facebook (Christina Hwang Dudley) or Goodreads, and you can see my listings for the last few years. And feel free to comment and add your own favorites.


  1. Thank you again for a wonderful weekend. This list is great! I had already forgotten some of the titles, but now I have them! :)

  2. Ditto Jennie's comment above. We really appreciate your thought-provoking, challenging, and hilarious talks and small-group questions, Christine. It was fabulous to get to know you a bit and have this weekend together.

  3. What a great list - I can't wait to get started! That is, after I finish your books! I stayed up way beyond my bedtime reading, "Mourning Becomes Cassandra" I'm loving it!

  4. @Sharon--that is my ambition as an author--to contribute to sleeplessness! So glad you're enjoying it.