Tom Lake by Ann Patchett I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one, but I’m a big Ann Patchett fan and this is probably my second favorite of hers, next to Commonwealth. A mom recounts to her grown daughters the story of another lifetime she lived as an actress at a summer theatre group and her relationship with an actor who eventually became world famous. I thought it was sweet and that the writing was beautiful. (Bonus: Here’s a quick post about how the cover came to be.)
Hey, Hun by Emily Lynn Paulson If you have any interest in MLMs and how they suck so many women in, this book is for you. The author was a top earner for a major skincare MLM (although she never names it, you can easily Google) and shares her story of making it to the top–and eventually walking away–while also isolating herself from family and friends, pressuring other women, and ultimately developing a drinking problem. She doesn’t hold back about her mistakes or the nitty gritty details of how these companies are run behind the scenes. Personally, I found it fascinating. (I think it would great on audio.)
The Stranding by Kate Sawyer If you had told me this book was an apocalyptic love story that started with a beached whale, you couldn’t have made me pick it up. I knew nothing about it when I started except that the cover said it was “a word of mouth hit” and I had heard about another book by the author. This book is so unlike anything I normally read but I loved it. It did take me a minute to get into it, but then I found myself racing back to it any time I had a chance, which is always a good sign.
How to Stay Married: The Most Insane Love Story Ever Told by Harrison Scott Key I don’t know how he did it, but the author took one of the most devastating events of his life (his wife’s affair) and turned it into one of the funnier memoirs I’ve read. It’s thoughtful and very honest, but his sense of humor really did make me laugh out loud. I do wonder how his wife (they eventually reconciled) felt about him sharing some of the details. I’m sure those conversations had to be interesting. . . He also shares very openly about the role his faith and friends played during the midst of the upheaval.
Something Wild by Hannah Halperin I’ve read both books by this author and I’ll be eagerly awaiting her next. However, this book is tough. It covers a lot of hard things but especially domestic abuse. It tells the story of two grown sisters and how their once very close relationship became so complicated. When, as adults, they learn their mother needs help, they’re forced to figure out what their roles are now and how to help someone who doesn’t particularly want it.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume This book just turned 25 years old and I should’ve read it sooner. I finished it this summer, just before I heard it was being re-released and chosen as a Jenna’s Book Club pick. (Well deserved, by the way. It really does feel timeless.) This is the story of two best friends, Caitlyn and Vix, from different families and backgrounds. We follow their relationship as it evolves from childhood to adulthood. It’s classic Judy Blume, but for grown ups.
Want more book recommendations? I file all of mine here.