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The Help: one of my favorite books from this year!

by Emma on October 18, 2011

in Books

This book had been on my radar for a while. I mean, it had been on the best seller list for, like, ever. They made a movie out of it and it’s already out of theaters. (That’s how slow I am to get around to books sometimes… it’s pretty bad.)

I wouldn’t necessarily say I had been waiting for the opportune time to read this book, but if I had it would have been totally worth the wait. This novel was awesome! It was one of my absolute favorite books I’ve read this year. It’s funny, endearing, and has you rooting for all the right people. That’s not to say the line of, ahem, good and evil are so clear. The story does a great job of showing both the good and bad sides of many of the characters in the book. You might met a lady who is terribly racists, but is a really great mother. And I think that’s one of the things that makes this book so compelling and realistic.

The only draw back is you might find yourself talking in a deep southern accent while your reading this book.

Did I say draw back, I meant bonus. Total bonus.

What about you-do you have any good book recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them.

xo. Emma

{ 49 comments }

Katha Strophe October 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm

This sounds great! I’ve already seen the trailer for the movie and loved it [the movie doesn't come to theaters until December here in Germany], but i think I’ll have to read the book first.

I love everything by Nick Hornby, especially “A Long Way Down” and “How To Be Good”. I can also highly recommend “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, it really moved me.

Gina_AcuteDesigns October 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I agree – I just loved this book. I actually listened to it {I listen to a lot of books while I work} and it was SO well done. It was sweet and heart breaking and inspiring all at the same time. The movie was excellent too – I cried about 10 times. The book has been such a fantastic reminder of the dark days in our country’s past and how we should never forget and never return to that way of thinking or living.

Lissette October 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I read this book back in April because I’d heard about the movie. I fell completely in love with most of the characters but what I really fell in love with was the courage of these women. They quietly stood up when women (in general) didn’t really have a voice or a choice in their lives. The part that mostly got to me was when Minny’s daughter had to quit school and work as a maid just like Minny and Minny’s mother before her.

You should check out Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan, it’s a short read and truly stunning.

Mel October 18, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I’m reading The Last Werewolf right now, and it’s awesome. It’s my first delve into werewolf/vampire fiction, and I’m really enjoying it!

Célèste October 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I loved The Help too, and I also only just got around to reading it last month because the movie came out and I wanted to read the book before I saw it.

Right now I’m reading The Paris Wife, a novelization of the time Ernest Hemmingway spent living in Paris with his first wife, told from her point of view. I’m enjoying it so far and I think you might too.

Célèste October 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Oh, but if you want general reading recommendations, my all-time favorite book is Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. I cannot say enough good things about it. Life-changing.

The Style Box October 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I’ve literally just got home from seeing this at the cinema and I absolutely loved it. Will definitely be reading the book.
x

ronnie October 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I am beginning to think that you and I have very similar tastes in books, I have either taken on your suggestions and loved them, or you do a review of a book I love! I think we need to face the facts that you and I are book soulmates :) I think that you would love the book ‘The Slap’ by Christos Tsiolkas. Its set around a BBQ in Australia (where I call home!) and the events that occur after an incident. Or you might like ‘A Life in Frocks’ by Kelly Doust, its really fun to and has beautiful illustrations throughout the book which remind me of the picture books i loved when i was younger. xo

Michelle October 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I just started reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- I’m only a little way in, so I can’t say for sure – but so far it is really good!!

Frankie October 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I was just going to write to Emma that she has to read this because it is so good! I’m so glad to see that someone else is reading it too. Trust me, when you finish, it will probably be one of your favorite books. I can’t recommend it enough- Emma should read it too!

Onewithbooks October 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I love stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I started with “Interpreter of Maladies”,and then read “The Namesake”. When “Unaccustomed Earth” came out I bought it for the full retail price so I could read it right then. I NEVER do this with books as I have worked in libraries for 14+years. I highly recommend Ms. Lahiri. As a fun fact, “The Namesake” was also made into a movie with Kal Penn.

Georgia October 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm

i love the movie… still have to read the book!

Michal Lynn October 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I read The Help a few months ago and I fell in total love. I had the same issue though, wanting to talk in a heavy Southern accent. I certainly did so in my head! As for book recommendations…I’ve been reading a lot of David Sedaris. He’s pretty amazing (but I’m pretty sure I’m late on this train). I also read A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and keep recommending it to people. It’s such a different book, incredibly interesting, and I couldn’t put it down.

Katia October 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I was actually planning on sitting down and starting this book today! I want to read it before I watch the movie, and thus have been procrastinating both! Oops!

xo
http://kittysnooks.blogspot.com/

MZ October 19, 2011 at 12:02 am

I just finished reading Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s a fantastic book and was made into a movie by Studio Ghibli. The movie and the book are very different from each other, but both very good in their own ways.

Laura Conte October 19, 2011 at 12:36 am

I just read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy over the summer, and it was amazing! There are a lot of different names/places to keep track of especially in the first chapters, but if you can keep up, it’s definitely worth checking out!!
I would also recommend Percy Jackson and the Olympians series as well. These books are for young adults but kind of cool if you enjoy Greek mythology :)

Ana October 19, 2011 at 12:47 am

I saw the movie, but haven’t had the chance to read the book yet! Everybody says very good things about it, so that’s the next on my list :)

PS: Today, I made the English muffins the you posted about and they turned out divine! Thanks so much!

Candace October 19, 2011 at 1:06 am

Ha ha, the southern accent thing happened to me too when I read Huckleberry Finn aloud on a road trip a few years ago…could NOT stop talking in that drawl. Total bonus for sure.

I second the Book Thief recommendation – I really liked that one! Also, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell was one of my favorite reads this year. It’ll have you talking in a British accent :)

elizabeth October 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

My absolute favorite book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

gee October 19, 2011 at 2:57 am

i have not read this YET but will be very soon. it is on my list.
i would recommend anything from Margaret Atwood, Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close, Her Fearful Symmetry, The Book of Lost Things…i could go on and on. :P

Jaclyn T October 19, 2011 at 3:06 am

I quite enjoyed the movie and hope to read the book soon.

Recommendation? Room by Emma Donoghue…read it. Now.

–Jaclyn T
TrickArt: Nature Inspired Jewellery
http://www.etsy.com/shop/trickart
http://www.positiveponderings.blogspot.com

Dani October 19, 2011 at 4:34 am

I agree that The Book Thief is a great one. Others are Water For Elephants, The Bayern trilogy and the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is just plain amazing. I don’t know you at all but I think I can safely say you would love it. :) I would have never checked out the Bayern Trilogy by Shannon Hale if a friend hadn’t insisted to give it a chance. I don’t read fantasy that much but I adored it.

Kacie @ A Collection of Passions October 19, 2011 at 4:52 am

I just started reading this. I’m on chapter three and am on my way to bed to read it now. Thanks so much for the review (without spoilers).

Kacie

Loulou October 19, 2011 at 5:59 am

I gave this book to my mom for her birthday this summer and am waiting to get it from her to read it myself … A bit of a self-serving gift perhaps? Ok, I’ll admit it may have been. After reading your post I really can’t wait to read it now!

I read a good one recently that I really liked called “Secret Daughter” by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.

Loulou Downtown

elise October 19, 2011 at 6:59 am

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot…amazing.

Steph October 19, 2011 at 7:00 am

Everyone that’s read The Help seems to love it- guess I’ll add it to my reading list!

If you haven’t read Jeffrey Eugenides, I can’t recommend them highly enough. He’s only written three: The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex, and The Marriage Plot (that’s the new one) but they’re all great. :)

Manja October 19, 2011 at 7:27 am

Oh, I still have to read this book, it sounds amazing! The last book that I read and absolutely loved was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
If you like Fantasy, I can highly recommend books by Walter Moers. He is a German author and writes fantastic novels. The ones I like the most are: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, Rumo & his Miraculous Adventures, The City of Dreaming Books.

Nancy October 19, 2011 at 8:06 am

I still love the book The Notebook of Nicholas Sparks. Even before the film was in theaters I loved it. It’s just wonderful, even prettier to read than to watch. The last pages I sat crying and crying because of the wonderful passages in the book.

Love,
Nancy

ando October 19, 2011 at 11:03 am

You should check out The Great Night, Witches of Eastwick and Menus from the Orchard Table. I also think you would love Ruth Reich’s writing. She used to be a food critic for the New York Times and her food memoirs are ridiculous.

Jet October 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm

The help is an amazing book! And some info about the racial things in the USA (I’m Dutch). I’m looking forward to the movie (which hasn’t been in the cinema in the netherlands, yet).

Another fantastic book I just read is American Taliban written by Pearl Abraham.

Sam Berry October 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Have you read “Tully” by Paullina Simons? I’ve read it a gazillion times & still love it :-)

Erin/babesinthriftland October 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm

You should join my blogger book club. Right now, I’m the only member but I still post anyway :) We (and by we I mean me) read the Tiger’s Wife. It was really good. Let me know what you think of it if you get to read it!

Frankie October 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Emma, I’m seconding (for maybe the fourth time) so maybe I’m fourthing or fifthing, that you should read The Book Theif. I promise you’ll love it! And since so many other people recommended it, I think it should be next on your list. :) Also I enjoyed reading The Help, and I can actually say that the movie may be just as good as the book. It’s a rare thing, but I guess it happens.

terry October 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Emma, love your book reviews! I am from the South, have not read it yet, but the movie is pretty good.

I recommend Ann Patchett’s Patron Saint of Liars or anything by Anne Tyler. I love the way Anne Tyler traces families through generations in her books!

I have to say with that recipe for cinnamon rolls with peaches – any book would be great! I am always totally amazed at how you are throwing things together and making great recipes out of them!

rae- say it ain't so October 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm

i just finished reading that and i loved it too! the movie is wonderful if you haven’t seen it yet. jus the styling and fashion is worth a watch.
have you read st. lucy’s home for girls raised by wolves? i read that recently and loved it. she has a new book out to called swamplandia that i really want to read. i also just finished the golden compass triology and LOVED them.

Ryan-Catherine October 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Hey there,
I am reading the Game of Thrones series right now by George RR Martin. They are quite voluminous books (usually 900+ pages) but they are completely absorbing. They fall under the “high fantasy” genre; so some magic, some dragons, kings, queens, castles and loads of gorgeous detail. I can’t put them down!

Tammy October 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm

This was one of my favorite book this year too! I just finished reading the Paris Wife and I think you might really enjoy it :)

Ashley October 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I totally agree, I LOVED The Help and the movie lived up to all of my expectations, which almost never happens. I would also recommend the Hunger Games, I read the entire trilogy in a frantic 2 day stint they were so addicting. Also, try out Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, it’s about to become a movie as well and is probably one of my favorite books of all time. Right now I’m reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman, which is a lot like Harry Potter but for adults,& so far is really engaging.

Michelle Sexton October 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm

that’s it! you convinced me. i am definitely going to have to read the book now. i”ve heard so much about the book and the movie and how great both of them are. i am definitely going to read it now.

jillian October 19, 2011 at 7:50 pm

so glad to hear you enjoyed it since i just started it today (and am already talking with a bit of a twang!) check out http://whatshouldireadnext.com/ for book recommendations. i usually find three or four books to add to my reading list based on the suggestions that pop up.

Rachel October 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I haven’t actually heard of this book, but it seems everyone is raving about it! I’d recommend The Book Thief also, I read it when I was 17 and it made me think SO much.
For a lighter touch, I would highly recommend All My Friends are Superheroes, by Andrew Kaufman. It’s only 108 pages long but so beautiful and gripping (I read it in one sitting.)
Anything by Margaret Atwood! And last but not least, Neil Gaiman – American God’s is a must-read!

(PS: I love your blog, I hope to use some of your fantastic recipes in a possible cooking contest with my friends!)

Jessica October 20, 2011 at 2:39 am

Emma,

I really like reading your blog, however I did want to comment on the book you recently reviewed. I read The Help and while I enjoyed it, I think it is important to note that it is a work of FICTION. In this work of fiction, it recreates many myths and stereotypes about Black women and men during the civil rights movement (i.e., Mammy) and the role of White people in the civil rights movement. This book again perpetuates the idea that this would not have been accomplished without the White people. Fun read but completely inaccurate and often quite racist. Just a thought.

Emma October 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I agree, I enjoyed it as a novel (as thats the section it’s found in at a book store) or maybe historical fiction. :)

toridawn October 20, 2011 at 5:02 am

Ha, ha. I TOTALLY “heard” it in my head in a deep southern accent while reading it, too! So good. My friend Tiffany left it for my on my doorstep with a note, “READ THIS!! I need to talk to someone about it!” That’s a good friend, for sure;) I just read “The Paris Wife” and it’s heartbreakingly good. I’m currently working through a stack I brought home from Strand in NYC, starting with “The Great Gatsby.” This winter is going to be for reading classics I skipped in school like “Sense and Sensibility” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.” I also re-read all the Salinger books about the Glass Family (“Franny and Zooey”, “Raise the Roofbeam High, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction”…) and Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere” every year.

Sorry…that might be a bit overkill, eh?

Robin October 20, 2011 at 5:59 am

I am currently listening to this on audio and love it! the southern voices that read it are excellent and really make the book come alive. (i also recently listened to bossy pants which i loved.) Love your book recommendations, and hope you continue adding more =)

Robin October 20, 2011 at 6:01 am

also if you haven’t read wally lamb, his “she’s come undone” is really good followed by his “I know this much is true.”

xoxohannah October 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I’m even later than you. I really do need to go read this book… like now!

I love you book reviews :)

xoxohannah

elefectosherezade October 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm

You must read the trilogy of Katherine Pancol:

“Les yeux jaunes des crocodiles”.
“Le valse lente des tortues”
and “Les ecureurils de Central Park sont tristes les lundis” actually I am reading the last one :)

Another book I truly love was” Thirteen moons” by Charles Franzier <3

leminh October 31, 2011 at 3:44 am

i loved the help! i listened to it on tape–as i do with most books when I’m driving b/c i don’t have the time to read :( i wanted to finish it before seeing the movie so i cant wait til it comes out on dvd.

i’m currently listening to Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain. The Help was so good that i knew it would be hard find one so soon after that is as engaging but so far i LOVE Mildred Pierce!! i hope you have a chance to check it out!