Y’all, I love Great Reads!  And I’m always looking for a list of Favorite Books.  In this post, I’ll keep a running list of The Curious Cowgirl Favorite Books.  Each image will link to my Amazon Shop, so you can easily add any of my suggestions to your own library!

And PLEASE drop a comment with your own recommendations!

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Curious Cowgirl Favorite Books


Have you ever read a book.  A really wonderfully fabulous book?  And the book was so wonderfully fabulous, you immersed yourself completely in the narrative and at the conclusion of the story, you were sad to leave the book characters behind, and you almost felt sad?  For me, that’s the hallmark of an excellent story.  Characters so vivid, they are almost palpable.  Stories so engrossing, they are almost impossible to step out of and back into the real world.

Here are my recommendations!

This post was originally published in 2020, and updated in 2023



In the Sanctuary of Outcasts Book Cover


In The Sanctuary of Outcasts

Do you love a great story about redemption in the most unlikely of circumstances….like a leper colony?  In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil W. White is a personal true story memoir, and as funny as it is heart-breaking and deeply moving!  Neil’s story of redemption makes him one of my personal favorite famous book characters.


Memoires of a Geisha Book Cover


Memoires of a Geisha


In “Memoirs of a Geisha,” we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.



The Widow of The South Book cover


The Widow of the South

The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks fascinated me for several reasons.  I graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and during college I attended church in nearby Franklin, which back-in-the-day was a quaint undeveloped town about 15 minutes outside of Nashville, and the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  In this novel, Carrie McGavock is an old woman who tends the graves of the almost 1,500 soldiers buried on her plantation following the Battle of Franklin, and while the story is fiction, the harsh reality of war is vividly expressed in this book.  To see the real setting of this post, click here to read my Blog Post about Franklin, Tennessee.



The Miraculous Journey of Edward tulane book cover


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane


Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes’ camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.  This is NOT a kid’s book….in the same tradition of The Velveteen Rabbit.



The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover


The Handmaid’s Tale

Thanks to Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale is all the rage….and I think the series really does justice to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel.  But two other Atwood novels that are equally fabulous:  The Robber Bride and Cat’s Eye.  In each of these books, Atwood explores the nuances of the relationships between women, how we help each other, how we hurt each other, what makes us vulnerable, and what makes us stronger than we ever imagined.



Book cover of Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.


Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.

Do you love the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  Then you MUST read Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.  by Sam Wasson.  This book gives context to the underlying themes in the film, namely publicly exhibited sexuality, what does it mean to be an independent woman, subtly illustrated by an unconventional call-girl seudo-heroine, played in the film by America’s sweetheart Audrey Hepburn.


The Devil in the White City book cover


The Devil in the White City

On the totally opposite end of the spectrum is The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  Non-fiction that reads like a novel, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago is brought to life, while the serial killer H. H. Holmes brings death.  Read this one with the lights on!



The Crimson Petal and The White Book Cover


The Crimson Petal and the White

Set in Victorian England, The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Fabor  juxtaposes Agnes and Sugar….one woman the ideal high society wife, and the other a prostitute.  Their lives become entangled, and the outcome is so unbelievable….I’m gonna have to re-read this book right away.  It’s sooooo good!  These characters are in my Hall-of-Fame for interesting Book Characters!



Book cover of The World Made Straight


The World Made Straight and One Foot in Eden

The World Made Straight by Ron Rash, and his other novel One Foot in Eden.  In both cases, the characters are part hillbilly, part saint, part devil, and all find themselves in impossible situations, mainly due to their own bad choices and fundamental character flaws, resulting in terrible and heart-wrenching conclusions.  Difficult to read, and impossible to forget these fascinating characters!



The Red Tent Book Cover


The Red Tent

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood—the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers—Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah—the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting,



The Historian Book Cover


The Historian


What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe.  I have re-read this novel several times!



The Poisonwood Bible Book Cover


The Poisonwood Bible


The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil.



The Song of Achilles book cover


The Song of Achilles


Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.  This book is excellent, and I also recommend Circe, by the same author.



So, dear readers….I need to EXPAND my reading list!  Please COMMENT below and let all of us know your favorites!  Happy exploration via reading, y’all!!!!


P.S.  For those of you who know my darling husband Will…he was SO excited when I told him about this Blog post…and he called me about 40 times while I was writing to offer his suggestions, as he is a voracious reader!  BUT…..I strongly believe in only writing about what I actually know or have experienced, or in this case read.  So….clearly….you should check out this post for his favorite books about NYC!

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