I use to be pretty good at getting a post out of my favorite books two or three times a year. Now I’m lucky to get a post up about anything two or three times a year. If I’m not writing I’m living right? Or something more along the lines of reading everyone else’s books, getting to the end, sighing then telling myself I could never write a novel that good.
I’ve read a ton the last year or so a lot of them were “meh” books. Lately though I’ve read books that I want to hand out to anyone who talks to me for more than 30 seconds. I sat at my son’s basketball game this morning, hoping I was clapping for the right things, while trying to discern whether the woman next to me would appreciate a completely unsolicited book recommendation or if that would be too much for the first conversation we’ve ever had.
Can we all just wear buttons that say things like “I’d rather talk about books than the weather/where you got those shoes/what I had for breakfast.” or “Talk about the characters in your book like they are your best friends and I’ll mask my concern while slowly removing myself from the seat next to you?” I just need to know where I stand.
You’ve had plenty of time to click away from this post if you prefer movies, boardgames or human interaction so here are my most recent favorites:
The Memory of Us– The author begins this story in the middle and I couldn’t stop reading until I knew what brought Rose, the main character, to the desperate place where the story starts. Something about the storyline was so refreshingly different from what I’d been reading that I couldn’t put it down. Also, the catholic school girl in me appreciated the history of so many of the rituals I remember. “The Memory of Us” is a beautifully woven love story yet so much more and it exceeded my expectations.
Before the Fall– This one was suspenseful from the start and you shouldn’t read it until you have time to read large chunks at a time. Every time I had to put it down to do Real Life I was slightly annoyed that no one was sympathetic to just how much I needed to keep reading to figure out what led that boy and that man to swim to safety in the ocean.
Love and Gelato– I just finished this one and can’t even start something new because at this very moment there aren’t any characters who can walk into my life that I will love more. This book made me want to go to Italy and always stay close to my girls and accidentally bump into the author somewhere so I can try to make her my new best friend. It’s been the perfect escape from the somewhat heavy week we’ve had around here… READ IT and then talk to me about it please.
Small Great Things– You need to read this. Everyone needs to read this. Picoult takes on the subject of casual racism in a way I have never seen done before. I didn’t want to see myself in this book but I did and it changed me for good. There is white supremacist violence depicted so vividly in this book that I had to skip several sections but the book as a whole is invaluable. (Note: I know many of my readers are loss moms, this book does deal with infant loss and I had to skip sections that were a little too much for me but overall, I was able to handle it and felt some validation in how well Picoult shared the mother’s grief BUT it has been nine years for me, earlier on I might have been a puddle on the floor cursing someone like me for recommending this book without warning.)
Eligible– If you love reality tv and books full of characters who are anything but neat and tidy then read this. “Eligible” in an easy, fun read that’s another nice distraction from the heaviness of the world right now.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend– This book was recommended by someone who said “If you love books you have to read…” and that’s pretty much all you need to know. I loved all the quirky characters of Broken Wheel and the way the author incorporated books of every genre into the story and occasionally have to remind myself that I cannot go work in a fictional book store.
Tell Me Three Things– The whole time I was reading this book I was wondering if I should love it as much as I did when it’s a YA book since I’m roughly YA+20 but I was so caught up in the mystery man that I could not put it down until I knew who he was. Another sweet read that tackles the tough stuff well.
The Same Sky– I love books that are far from any storyline I have ever read and “The Same Sky” is just that. I have never read such vivid accounts of what it is like for people who try to cross the boarder and hearing it from the perspective of a young girl really drove the reality home. Reading this at a time when our boarders are being so heavily challenged made it that much more powerful.
Crazy Rich Asians– If you need a brain break this book is for you. You can get completely lost in the ridiculously rich world of these families and forget about the heavy stuff for a while. I read “China Rich Girlfriend,” the sequel to this, last year and really enjoyed it but I actually liked this one even better and wish I had gotten the memo to read it first.
When Breath Becomes Air– Possibly the best book I have ever read. The memoir of Dr. Paul Kalanithi is so full of words that I needed to read that I used the highlight function on my kindle more in this one book than I’ve used it in all the books I’ve read combined. You will finish this book changed, it’s nearly impossible not to.
I’ll Give You the Sun– I want to be Jandy Nelson when I grow up or at least when I grow enough discipline to write a novel. The writing is so perfect that I end up reading her sentences over and over and it’s not just a perfect sentence every 20 pages or so, it’s several sentences on every page. How does she do it? I will read everything she writes forever and ever, amen.
Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda– I’ve got a YA problem don’t I? This was another book I wanted to hug. It’s an unforgettable look into the life of a gay teen and was one more reminder of how strong people who are struggling with their sexuality have to be.
If you’ve read any of the books on my list I’d love to talk books with you on my Facebook page.
Oops and I can’t create a book list and not add my own. If you know or love a preemie I’d be honored for you to share “Soon” with them, it was truly a labor of love and I’m so happy to have received wonderful feedback on it from the many preemie families who have been sweet enough to order a copy.
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MEREDITH SPIDEL says
I LOVE your reading taste, so am adding all the titles I haven’t read to my to-read list now!