Reactive Airway Disease, and probably asthma also according to my doctor (but I can't be tested until Sophie is no longer nursing). Many household chemicals make it impossible for me to breathe, and exposure to them feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. Sometimes it even hurts physically to breathe. I found this book at our local library, and after checking out out repeatedly I finally bought my own copy. It covers EVERYTHING! Kitchen, carpets, laundry, bathrooms, pest control, pets, even drain unclogging.
Francis Scott Key, an ancestor of his, made it even more special, since he was also an ancestor of mine. I loved the parties, the society, the houses, the mistimed romance of Gatsby and Daisy. I hated how Daisy's husband seemed to get away without any repercussions. I loved Nick's (the narrator and Daisy's cousin) observations of the people around him, including the emotions that drove Jay Gatsby and the mystery surrounding him.
I had to include two books here, The Hope and The Glory. I first read The Hope, then later found the sequel, The Glory. The Hope tells the story of the country of Israel, beginning with the 1948 War of Independence, and ends after the Six-Day War in 1967. The Glory continues the story, picking up in 1967 and concludes in 1988. Herman Wouk uses actual events as a background of the story, with fictional characters bringing history to life and making real-life political figures come to life, and not be simply names in school books or on the news. I loved both of these books, and learned so much from them about history, including our own country's history.
This one isn't so serious, and it's really 16 (although 17 just came out) books. The Stephanie Plum series is hi-freaking-larious! I knew I was going to love it when in the first chapter of the first book I was laughing out loud like a crazy person when Stephanie's Grandma Mazur shot the roast chicken off the dinner table and her father just sighed and kept eating. My daughter began reading the books, too, and quickly went through the entire series as well. They are the perfect funny, easy read.
I bought this book without knowing anything about it. I had read several of Barbara Kingsolver's books and loved them all (except Poisonwood Bible, but that was because my own daughter was the age of the daughter killed in the story at the time I read it). I didn't even know it was not a novel until I started reading it, but I was still absorbed into the book. I had never considered where our food comes from, or what it goes through to get to our tables. I was even inspired to plant my own tiny garden (unsuccessfully, though) and begin composting.