My final two selections have been added.
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
I just finished this. It has several "something about me" qualities. It is set in Lexington, Ky, and I live less than an hour from there. The author is a UK professor and mentions the school and the Wildcats, and my husband got his undergraduate degree there and is a UK fanatic. Like Paul (the boy twin), when I was an adult I found out I had a sister that I never knew about. Like David (the husband and father), I felt like an "imposter" in my (brief) professional life. He is a doctor in the story; I was an engineer. This was probably due to his poorer family background, which I can also relate to. Like Norah, I suffered from postpartum depression. You could say I really related to all the main characters. Besides all these "similarities," I really loved the book, too!
The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
This book is set in Kearney, Nebraska, where my sister currently lives and is not too far away from where I grew up. Powers did a good job of describing the remoteness of the region. The main "something about me" here, though, and this is getting a little too personal, is that the main character suffered from Capgras' and Cotard's Syndromes. Capgras Syndrome is the belief that your loved ones have been "replaced" by imposters, while Cotard's Syndrome is the belief that you have already died. I experienced these two syndromes while I was in college. Freaky, huh?
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
This is the book that started my reading addiction. My wonderful 2nd grade teacher, Miss French, read this to my class, and we were mesmerized and enthralled by it. A beautiful, beautiful book.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
This book really affected me in college as I sought answers to my "little crazy episode" above. Who can argue with Narnia creator C.S. Lewis?! No, seriously, Mere Christianity gives one of the best defenses of Christianity available. It is not a long book, but it is a little dense. If you need something lighter, try More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell.
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
Did you know there is a phenomena in which people cry uncontrollably in front of paintings or other art? I didn't know it either until it happened to me. I took my 7th grade class (back when I was a teacher) to an art museum in Nashville where they were having a special exhibit on impressionism. I was looking at this painting, and lo and behold, I started sobbing without any warning. It was so beautiful. It was like I was seeing it in 3-D. I couldn't believe the beauty of it. What was the painting, you ask? It was Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir. If you just see this in an art book, you may ask what the big deal is as there doesn't seem to be anything special about it. See it in person and you'll see a huge difference, believe me.
The book of that title by Susan Vreeland will be out in early May. It was given a starred review by Booklist. You may see a review and summary at Amazon here.
Lest you doubt my word about the crying phenomena, check out Pictures and Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings.