Today I’m offering a few book recommendations, based on what I’ve read lately and liked most. A good read can be the perfect holiday escape (and an excuse to hide in a corner by yourself somewhere away from all of the crazy).
pagoda mirror // blue pillow // velvet pillow (similar) // lamp (similar)
This list is pretty random; I’ve stayed away from the latest and greatest recently and just chosen books that sounded interesting or popped up in Amazon Prime reading.
The Two Family House by Lynda Cohan Loigman This one was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know anything about it but I was quickly hooked. This book is told from several different perspectives and tells the story of two brothers’ families (one with all daughters, the other with all sons) and what happens when their wives decide to (secretly) switch babies at birth. I’d highly recommend.
Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller This is the memoir of a woman who grew up with two hoarders as parents. It’s fascinating to read how she hid it from her friends and the residual effects she took into adulthood.
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain She may be my new favorite historical fiction author, based on this one and The Paris Wife. It’s based on the life of the woman who ultimately became the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic but the story is about the time leading up to that and her complicated love life. (If you’re considering this, I’d read The Paris Wife first; I liked it slightly better.)
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala I was prompted to read this oldie but goodie after the Brooklyn Tabernacle singers came and Jim Cymbala spoke at our church earlier this year. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it. It significantly changed the way I think about the power of prayer in our lives and in our churches. I can’t say enough good things about this book.
I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi The premise of this book sounds a little crazy (I don’t think I read the summary beforehand), but it’s actually a good and not-too-heavy read about a mother who appears to have jumped off of a building because she’s tired of her family taking her for granted. (I know that doesn’t sound light, but there’s some humor mixed in, I promise.) The story is told through the perspectives of the (dead) mother, the husband and the teenage daughter left behind.
An Absent Mind by Eric Rill This book, about a family dealing with Alzheimer’s, is so endearing and heartfelt that I had to double check to see if it was a actually true story. (It’s fiction but reads more like a memoir.) It’s sad but sweet, told over time from the perspective of each affected family member, including the dad with with Alzheimer’s.
The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau This one was a Kindle deal and it won the Pulitzer Prize, so I took a chance. It’s a lengthy read that covers several generations of a Southern family. While I thought it was pretty interesting once I got into it, it took me a few minutes to figure out who the characters were again each time I sat down to read. I was also left puzzled by the ending. I hate when I invest time in a book and am left not completely understanding what happened. . .
The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride I’m about 3/4 of the way through this one, but am enjoying it so much that I’m including it anyway. I love a good story about a strong mother who takes care of things. This particular mother is white and Jewish, raising her twelve bi-racial kids in Brooklyn. No small task.
As always, I’d love to know what you’ve read lately. . .
PS–Looking for easy gift ideas? I still love my Kindle–and it’s on sale. I also put together this gift guide for the reader and writer. See all of my gift guides here:
Robbyn Mendleski says
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire!! Loved it! Fresh Faith is as good too!
Emily Clark says
It’s on my list. Thank you!
Always enjoy a book recommendation or two or three…!
Great choices! As for endings….I read Jodi Picoult’s “House Rules” and thoroughly enjoyed it until the ending! Apparently the author left the ending up to the reader. I was so frustrated. A quick internet search and I found that she has done this before in other books. Had I known that I never would have started the book.
Pat Gilmer says
Interesting list. The only one I’ve read is the book by Paula McLain. Did enjoy both of her books. I’m reading The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash. Will probably finish it tonight. Historical fiction about the textile strikes in Gastonia in 1929. Highly recommend especially if you’re interested in southern fiction (and history).
Amy Tausk says
I really enjoyed The Two Family House and Coming Clean as well! The other ones I’ve read recently that you might also enjoy are: Behold the Dreamers, Hillbilly Elegy, We Were the Lucky Ones and I’m currently reading Little Fires Everywhere – very good too!
I use audible to “read” my books since I have a commute and it seems to make it go by with ease. I really enjoyed Circling around the Sun in the audible version. The narrator can make or break a book. Thanks for the other recommendations, I’m going to check out a few for my book club.
Did I ever recommend the Annie Barrows Guernsey Potato Peel Literary Club book to you? The name may be slightly off. I think I sent The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun books and so I think we have similar taste. Anyway, you will love this book! Also by Jojo Moyes The Girl You Left Behind and The Girl You Left Behind. Both excellent! Happy reading!
Oh no. Clearly messed that up. The second book is The Last Letter From Your Lover. So sorry!
I read “I Liked My Life” and didn’t expect the ending to end the way it did!
I just finished reading the account of The Lost City of Z. by David Grann. I had just watched the recent movie and liked it a lot, and found this book at the library. It tells more of what happened to a famous missing explorer (Think the male version of Amelia Earhart) who went looking for the City of Z in the Amazon. The author goes back to the Amazon where he went missing in modern day, and interweaves the 2 stories -the past and present together nicely. I enjoyed it. This is a true story, and it was a nice change from all the other fictional books I had been reading.
I also liked the book Amy Snow by Tracy Rees. Perfect for Dec or Jan. A fictional book about a girl who was left at someone’s front porch as a baby, and gets involved in the mystery of where she came from. This book is set in Victorian England in the 1830″s.
I just finished Saints For All Occasions by Courtney Sullivan and loved it! Other favorites I’ve read this year have been A Man Called Ove, The Hate U Give, My Name Is Lucy Barton, and Small Great Things. Oh and nonfiction-wise I loved Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and all of the cookbooks by Jenny Rosenstrach (Dinner: A Love Story, etc.).
I love that you have suggested some books that aren’t on every other list. I’m going to add several to my lists. I’m currently reading and really enjoying A Man Called Ove
Thanks for the Cymbala recommendation. I’m going to check it out. I’m currently reading Beth Moore’s Audacious. The way she writes is like a breathe of fresh air!
Liz Lawrence says
Thanks for sharing your list! I really enjoyed The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, and if you want something out of the norm – my brother recommended to me Hex by Thomas Oldde Huevelt and I really enjoyed reading it – very different though.
I love these posts
Just finished The Scarlett Thread by Francine Rivers…excellent! If you haven’t read Redeeming Love it is a must read. Thanks for the book suggestions.
the cape on the corner says
i remember really like the color of water…it’s an oldie, so i was surprised to see it on this list. i added a few to mine, of course. the best ones i read this year were the breakdown by ba paris, and the “prequel” to practical magic by alice hoffman (can’t think of the name). i love her whimsy which could almost quite happen, you know? also celeste ng’s latest book, but i did love her first much more.