Joy of Books
If I got a dollar for the amount times I get asked for a book list…..
Books are a such a subjective experience, so I part of me hesitates to do this. But I do have a great taste in books if I say so myself 😏 and putting my suggestions out there doesn’t mean everyone has to like them.
I’m also creating in this in a way that I can add to it because its constantly evolving.
I will separate my suggestions into 2 categories, Novels, and Parenting/ self-discovery (I like that better then self-help)
I am going to take the time and share with you a bit about the book and some brief thoughts, I know I know I’m amazing…
So here goes in no particular order!
- Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
It’s about a young woman named Kya, who’s left to raise herself in the marshes of North Carolina when her family abandons her at a young age. There is so much to her story: romance, mystery, and a murder… and it takes place in the breathtaking backdrop of the South.
This book really captivated me, I particularly enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the marsh, the birds, flowers etc.… and obviously the story was amazing.
- The Giver of the Stars – Jojo Moyes
Based on a program that was instituted by Eleanor Roosevelt in the mid-1930s, The Giver of Stars is about a group of women that begin a traveling library that delivers books to the rural areas of the town on horseback.
These so-called Pack Horse Librarians must overcome several obstacles on their way to bringing literacy to the masses, but they do so and tackle these challenges together. It’s a tale of love, friendship and of course books.
A cool story. I love to learn something new when I’m reading and I never heard of the pack library before this, it’s unbelievable the lengths these women went to make books accessible and what an impact books make in people’s lives. Can you imagine a life without books?! I can’t!
- The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
This an intense book, and I really loved it. living on the frontier of Alaska is wow. Side point it was interesting to see some similarities to Montana. It does talk about some big issues, so just know that. Kristin Hannah can do little wrong in my eyes.
- The Four Winds- Kristin Hannah
, Elsa Wolcott is a woman trying to raise two children on farm in the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl following the Great Depression. She watches as the lands around her crack in their perpetually parched state and the hopelessness threatens to break the spirit of those around her.
As the situation worsens, Elsa is forced to decide to stay and fight or leave for the uncertain and unfamiliar lands in the West. In this tale, Kristin has written a survival story about resilience, love, family, courage, and the American Dream.
I figured it makes sense to follow the great alone with another Kristen Hannah book. I knew nothing about the dust bowl during the great depression and it had a big impact on me. This book has a lot of layers and doesn’t only address the great depression but speaks a lot about rejection and family dynamics.
- Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders, or does she intervene?
I’m not usually a huge Jodi Picoult fan, that being said, I really liked how she addressed the extremely sensitive topic of race. I found myself thinking a lot about it long after I finished the book.
- This Tender Land- Kent Krueger
In the summer of 1932, on the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River, Odie O’Banion is an orphan confined to the Lincoln Indian Training School, a pitiless place where his lively nature earns him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee after committing a terrible crime, he and his brother, Albert, their best friend, Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.
This book takes place in the great depression like The Four Winds but so different. it’s a beautiful and emotional story and I was drawn in. The resilience that humans are capable of is mind-blowing
- Little Fires Everywhere- Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere is the latest novel from bestelling author, Celeste Ng. Set in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Little Fires Everywhere tells the story of Elena Richardson, a woman who thrives on structure and rules, and her family. When Mia Warren, an artist who has been living a nomadic lifestyle as a single mother with her daughter, Pearl, arrives in town, it threatens everything that Mrs. Richardson has known. Slowly, Mia becomes the enemy of Mrs. Richardson. Meanwhile, in another part of town, close friends of the Richardsons have adopted a Chinese-American baby, which results in a custody battle. When a fire breaks out in the Richardson home, the town is buzzing with their ideas on who the suspect is.
I pushed if reading this book for a long time, I didn’t think I was going to like it, but really did. I was surprised by how poignant it was, I learned a lot.
- Midnight Library- Matt Haig
Nora, a thirty-something woman who is regretful about her life and feels alienated and unneeded in this world. In the depths of her wallowing, she comes across the Midnight Library. In it, each book represents a portal into another variation of what her life could have been. As she reads the volumes, they allow her to access different versions of her life — relationships she could have stuck with, careers she could have pursued.
I enjoyed this book and I thought it was a great way to remind ourselves that the way our life unfolds is the way it was meant to be 👍
- Once There were Wolves – Charlotte McConaghy
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.
I am quite obsessed with this book. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok (maybe 😉 I love this topic and it was very cool for me to see the similarities if this story to the reintroduction wolves into Yellowstone.
- Lessons on Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.
Such a great book! One of the characters is a dog named 6:30 and he’s the best. I loved everything about this book. so deep and light at the same time. There should be more books like this.
- The People We Keep – Alison Larkin
Set in the mid-90s, this tale follows the story of April Sawicki, a 16-year-old girl from a small town who has been dealt a raw deal when it comes to family. After a fight with her father, April steals a car and flees their motor-free motorhome to find somewhere she can fit in and call home.
Powerful story, a 16 year old girl all alone in the world making some smart and some scary choices leaves you praying that every teenager has a safe place t call home.
- Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Four famous siblings throw an epic party each year. However, this time around, this one will end in a fire that will set Malibu aflame.
Nina Riva is swimsuit model, whose husband has recently left her. Jay Riva is a professional surfer. Hud Riva is a photographer, and Kit Riva is a junior in college. And the siblings’ father is legendary musician Mick Riva.
In this family drama detailing the history of the Riva family and a 24-hour period that will change them all, Taylor Jenkin Reid brings us a story about family, love, heartbreak, surfing and one unforgettable party.
At first, I thought this was a more shallow book, which isn’t bad at all just not what I’m usually drawn too. But it had more depth than expected and I really enjoyed it.
Darling Girl – Liz Michalski
Skincare magnate Holly Darling’s world is rocked when her comatose daughter goes missing, and things get even worse when she realizes there’s only one person who had a motive to steal her daughter – the shadow of a man she once knew. This is the perfect story for readers looking for the darker side of fairy tales.”
Unexpected and it held my attention, I was fascinated by it. The dark side of Peter Pan is quite dark….
- History of Wild Places- Shea Ernshaw
Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Often hired by families as a last resort, he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—and is soon led to a place many believed to be only a legend.
I really Don’t like thrillers or creepy books. But this was book so good and just the right amount of creepy. I did not have nightmares 😉
- The Lincoln Highway- Amor Towles
The Lincoln Highway is a fast paced and reflective adventure story centered on three young men from disparate backgrounds, whose incarceration together in a juvenile detention center brings them together on the outside where conflicting motives and moralities set them on a course for collision across the United States.
This book reminds me a little of This Tender Land but obviously very different at the same time. Again, so many layers to this book, which by now you can tell is my thing.
- Personal Librarian- Heather Terrell and Victoria Christopher Murray
The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to—for the protection of her family and her legacy—to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.
This book is based on a true story, it was very interesting, and I learned a lot. It’s hard to believe these stories are real. So much has changed and so much hasn’t.
- All the Ugly and Wonderful Things- Bryn Greenwood
A beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives. As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents.
I debated about adding this to the list. It’s a very good book, but it pushes boundaries and messes with your head a little bit. So, consider that you’re warning.
- True Biz – Sara Novic
The story takes place at the River Valley School for the Deaf—a boarding school located in Ohio. We mainly follow three characters: February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA (child of Deaf adult(s)) who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact but might not be able to do both; Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another Deaf person before and Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing.
I am fascinated by deaf culture, I loved learning more about it and it’s a very compelling story. like everything in life its complicated and never black and white.
- This close to Okay- Leesa Cross Smith
About two strangers who form a beautiful bond: Tallie, a recently divorced therapist, and Emmett, a man standing at the edge of a bridge. The book takes place primarily over one weekend when Tallie provides a home for Emmett after she finds him on the bridge.
This book addresses the topic of suicide (trigger warning) in a unique way. You find yourself rooting for the characters. good read!
- The Magnolia Palace – Fiona Davis
The story of two different women whose lives are changed at the Frick mansion, giving readers the chance to soak in dual eras of history all while great love, epic loss, dazzling fortunes, and foul play are afoot.”
I love Historical fiction; this story was so cool. it moves back and forth between 2 time periods and both story lines are equally interesting!
- Black Cake- Charmaine Wilkerson
In the wake of their mother’s passing, siblings Byron and Benny are left with little more than a voice recording and a recipe for a traditional Caribbean black cake with a long family history. In this masterfully written historical fiction read, the two must reconnect with each other, uncover their mother’s past, and fulfill her final wish to share the cake when the time is finally right.
I really enjoyed this book, wasn’t what I expected when I picked it up. It’s not too intense but not fluffy which is exactly what you want sometimes.
- American Dirt- Jeanine Cummins
After her journalist husband runs afoul of cartel boss Javier Fuentes, Lydia’s entire family is murdered except for her young son, Luca. Now, Lydia and Luca must run for their lives to try to leave Mexico despite the many dangers lurking along the difficult journey and with Fuentes and his men nipping at their heels.
I didn’t know when I read it, but this book turns out to be controversial. There are some questions about the accuracy of how the author portrays some of the aspects of her story. It is a novel and I think quite a good one, if you can put the idea that it might not be 100% accurate.
With the backdrop of the Japanese occupation of Korea, Pachinko follows the lives of a family living in Korea that re-establishes itself in Japan. The narrative progresses through the years and the events of WWII, and we see the family’s struggles and the sacrifices made in the name of survival. Even as the story near modern day, its characters are never quite free of their history and the events of the past.
Pachinko is a story of a family told across generations, whose lives are shaped by the events and attitudes of the world around them. It’s a moving and intimate story that deals in universal themes and struggles.
An amazing story, I learned so much about the Korea/ Japan conflict, that I knew nothing about. I loved how we followed the same family through so many years and struggles. A must read in my opinion.
Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow – Gabrielle Zevin
In this exhilarating novel by the best-selling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry two friends–often in love, but never lovers–come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.
This book was amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever read. It explores friendships and relationships in a very profound way. This Book got a lot of hype for a good reason.
I started this post months ago and I keep adding to it. Finally realized I must stop and wrap it up or else it will never make it up on the blog 😳
I mentioned in the Beginning of this post that there would be 2 sections. Fiction and Non- fiction. This Post is already 11 pages long so I decided to dedicate a separate Post for my Favorite “Character Building” books. Stay Tuned for that.
Happy reading 😍