"Fall of Giants" by Ken Follett is an incredible journey from beginning to end of the first World War. Five different family stories across several countries. Having forgotten 95% of what I learned about WWI in school (sorry teachers!) this was a fascinating read about politics and the treachery of war. I have read other books by Follett - "Pillars of the Earth" being my favorite - and was equally drawn into this story. I'm looking forward to reading the 2nd and 3rd books of the trilogy.
"Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen hooked me right away, talking about a young mother who was trying to do everything "right" for her family. (What is right to one POV is wrong to another). Marriage, infidelity, politics, conservation, all interesting topics that come together provocatively. Like "Fall of Giants", you have characters who follow all the rules yet still get hurt, and others who poses the charm and good fortune to have luck smile upon them in any situation, regardless of their own shortcomings.
I really got excited about "An Object of Beauty" by Steve Martin. Taking place in the Art World, spanning decades when the idea of WHAT makes a piece of great art "great", it was like revisiting all of the work I studied in Art History, only from a different perspective - in Art History, we understood it was "art" and therefore "worth" something. But this novel gets down to the Value of Art, and why it suddenly can be worth more today than it was yesterday. With some pretty sexy story lines mixed in, you can easily by-pass some great passages about defining Art and what appeals to different people. I am looking forward to reading it again, because I found myself questioning my own work, my own intentions, and how others define it's value.
(PS - I ordered my copy on Ebay, a paperback, only to discover that it did NOT come fully illustrated - be sure to buy a copy with the images of the Art)
I started the series by Steig Larson almost 2 years ago, and I am sorry to see it come to an end. A massive finale, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" was at once thrilling, and disappointing. I won't say why, but I didn't find it as satisfying as the first two books - "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Played With Fire". Read them all - it's an incredible journey.
Well that list should keep you busy for a while! Do you have any great reads to recommend? I'm searching for my next book!