Some of you may have extra time off over the holidays, and surely some “snow days” are in our not-so-distant future, so I thought it was the right time to share some of my favorite books from the past year or two. So grab your favorite hot drink, a soft blanket, and one of the following books and enjoy!
(I’m linking to amazon for efficiency but feel free to support your local bookseller or library instead!)
1. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. This was a special read for me during and following my own visit to Charleston, South Carolina this September. It is historical fiction and traces the journeys of two young women with very different circumstances (slave and slave owner) as they seek their own personal freedoms.
2. Tell the Wolves I’m home by Carol Rifka Brunt. The narrator is an awkward girl growing up in the 80s so I could easily relate to her! This novel deals with love, loss, and family relationships during the AIDS epidemic. It’s been awhile since I read it but I am pretty sure I cried a lot….possibly in public, on an airplane.
3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. Probably my favorite book I have read in the last few years. Wickedly funny and smart, she satirizes Seattle, Microsoft, and private school mommies. There’s a lot of heart here too though. She wrote for Arrested Development…enough said. If you haven’t read this yet, I’m jealous of you for getting to experience it for the first time.
4. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. No lie: I swear I “discovered” this book before Oprah! I don’t just read what Oprah tells me to! And now of course it’s a big movie starring Reese Witherspoon that is hitting theaters maybe this week. I’m sure the movie will be fantastic, but the book is well worth reading. Cheryl writes beautifully about her journey and grief. I will always remember when she encounters the fox in the snow. Possible trigger alert: this story deals with the loss of a mother.
5. The Vacationers by Emma Straub. This one is sort of similar to “Bernadette”. A dramedy about an imperfect family traveling together to Spain on vacation. It’s very accessible and easy to enjoy.
6. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh. This is not a traditional novel; it’s a comic. Again, this one had me crying on a plane…but I was crying from laughing so hard. Very funny although she uses her comic strip in surprising ways and touches on subjects such as her depression too.
7. The Good House by Ann Leary. This is just a really well-written book and, again, it’s very easy to get into. It’s probably a pretty realistic portrayal of a high-functioning alcoholic who is, as one might anticipate, a bit of an unreliable narrator. Great characters and sense of community.
8. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. This is an English book that concerns the relationship between a wealthy young man who is paralyzed from an accident and his female caregiver; it’s a love story and sad but also satisfying.