Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read Because Someone Who Wasn’t a Book Blogger Recommended Them to Me


I’ve done my own take on this topic because I read so many books recommended by book bloggers and I always try to give credit to them in my review of the book. So, today I’m blogging about books recommended to me by people who don’t blog.

My Mom

My Mom taught me to love reading good books. She read us Little Golden Books, too but she also read us the real Mary Poppins, Sherlock Holmes and other great stories. In late elementary school she gave me Diary of a Frantic Kid Sister, Cheaper By the Dozen [which had special meaning for us as her father worked with Mrs. Gilbreth on a few projects] and Mama’s Bank Account. In Middle School, she got me Jane Eyre, Gone With the Wind, Little Women, Auntie Mame,and The Winds of War among many others. She encouraged me to read Bruce Catton when I was obsessed by the Civil War. She sat up with me when I was terrified from reading about the Holocaust. When I was in high school she introduced me to Helene Hanff’s wonderful 84 Charing Cross Road, James Herriot and more. We read the Upstairs, Downstairs [tv show] back-story books and loved The Bellamy Saga--a novel about the U/D family. We read Margaret Truman’s first murder mystery together from a woman’s magazine. We did that for Evergreen by Belva Plain, too.We devoured each R.F. Delderfield book as well as The Last Convertible, The Thorn Birds and Rona Jaffe’s Class Reunion. As my royal book collection grew, we both read those and we got up to watch Chuck marry Di together. As an adult our tastes diverged a little–I used to read mostly history and biography. For the last 12 years I’ve listened to tons of fiction on my pre-COVID commute. These days we have liked many of the same books, but most have been my recommendation to her because she is retired and isn’t very internet savvy.

Here are a few from the last 12 years that she recommended:


Mom INSISTED! Mom demanded that I read Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford and I’m so glad she did. It is now a lifetime favorite. Just read it–it’s a coming of age story unlike any other.


While starting in the middle of a series isn’t the best, this mystery hooked me. Mom knew I would love it do to the chant–the way the monks sing. She was right. Chocolate covered blueberries didn’t hurt, either. I went back to beginning and spent a lot of long, happy commutes “catching up” this wonderful series. Now Chief Inspector Gamache’s new adventure is an annual listening event on my calendar.

A friend I met online but through “real life” friends recommended many great books to me,


I’ve written several times about my love of this breath-taking book. No one has ever written more reverent scenes of physical intimacy than Buck. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Portrait of a Marriage by Pearl S. Buck. My review is here.

Here is my review from my old blog: If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a writer….
If you’ve ever wished for a writer’s group in your own backyard….
This is the book for you! A novel of my Mother’s generation–when it wasn’t taken for granted that women SHOULD, let alone COULD make their own dreams come true. The husband’s dreams–well, of course! This is a book of sisterhood, of motherhood, neighborhood and, if such a word exists, wife-hood. I loved it. Yes, there are stereotypical things….so what, is what I say this time. My one and only complaint was that the only negative character was a Christian. Otherwise, I loved it cover-to-cover.  The Wednesday Sisters, by Meg Waite Clayton.

Update: Skip the sequel, The Wednesday Daughters. It was a total mess. Here is my review if you need proof!

My Best Friend Since College51FnJLEax8L._SY410_BO1,204,203,200_

We share a love of history–especially royal history. Her taste in fiction and mine don’t coincide much. She loves sci fi and fantasy and I loathe them. She got me to read all of the Little House books. I didn’t watch the show until it was in reruns because we had one t.v. and Dad ruled it. I did read the first book, Little House on the Prairie when it was in the Reader’s Digest, but that was all until I was an adult. I loved them. They weren’t nearly as “sweet” as the t.v. show, which to my mind, was a good thing.


HUGE leap here, I know! In addition to sci fi and fantasy my friend likes a good bodice-ripping romance. She thought I would like Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, due to it being in Scotland. [This was years before the t.v. series]. We discovered we have radically different tolerances for forced sex. I nearly took out an Orkin man on the highway listening to one scene, she barely raised an eyebrow! I finished it. It remains one of the few time-travel books I’ve ever finished. I have not read others in the series.

My Son

Neither of my kids are big readers, but many years ago my son insisted I read this novel. Here is my review from my old blog: Jerry B. Jenkins of Left Behind fame, writes a truly compelling story of a young man dealt a bad hand in life. Brady Wayne Darby can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Eventually he lands in a state adult prison. Thomas Carey has spent his life trying to serve the Lord as a pastor, but has been passed from small church to smaller church lacking the charisma for success. His devoted wife, Grace, never gives up on him and never gives up on her Lord. I found Thomas and Grace, while very definitely a stereotype just as much as Brady, to be believable. I cared about them and wanted the victory that would make Thomas feel he had earned “Well done, good and faithful servant,” even if Thomas would cringe at my desire. What happens when Thomas and Brady meet is electrifying. This is not a story for anyone easily shocked. There are disturbing things in here, but it IS a story of faith and redemption. Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins.


Check out the rules at That Artsy Reader Girl and join in next week!

24 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read Because Someone Who Wasn’t a Book Blogger Recommended Them to Me

  1. Isn’t it so lovely to receive recommendations from the people close to you. I wish I had more readers in my family 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My cousin is like a sister but she reads one book a year on the beach! Happily I am usually the one who picks it. That started way back with I Don’t Know How She Does it for her and Kitchen Confidential for her husband. LOL


  2. Everyone in my immediate family is a reader and a surprising number of my large extended family are too. We’re all constantly trading books back and forth. My sister and I have very similar tastes but we don’t overlap much with either of our parents. My mom loves sweet romances and my dad loves westerns. I’ve actually enjoyed the few westerns I’ve read but I can’t get into the romances. My mom and I will very occasionally share a recommendation and it is usually a good one because we are aware of each other’s tastes. I guess overlap can be found anywhere! The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one that I recommended to her and she rated it 4 stars.

    My grandmother recommended The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck to me years and years ago and I enjoyed it. I haven’t read any of her other works.

    I never really read much of Little House on the Prairie either. I remember reading Farmer Boy and Little House in the Big Woods when I was little. I’ve since read The Long Winter. We only had one TV that got one channel when I was young so I definitely missed out on the show.

    I went through a brief Outlander phase in college but I lost interest around book 3 or 4. I haven’t watched that show either.


    1. Your Mom (and maybe even you since it isn’t a formula “romance”) would likely enjoy Portrait of a Marriage by Pearl S. Buck then. Read the non-fiction The Children’s Blizzard about The Long Winter. There is a new novel coming out on it in January, too.


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