Any Book Recommendations?

Have you read any good books lately? I just finished mine, and I’m looking for something fun to read. Any ideas?! The other day I saw a little girl reading a Roald Dahl book in a cafe, and it made me nostalgic; maybe reading the BFG would be fun. I also loved The Glass Castle and Cooking for Mr. Latte, if you want a rec!

P.S. Another great book

(Illustration by Peter Steiner for the New Yorker)

  1. I loved Where Did You Go, Bernadette?

  2. Tropic of Night — M Gruber
    Out — Natsuo Kirino
    The Bad Girl — M Vargas Llosa
    Diary of a Bad Year — JM Coetzee
    Bangkok 8 — J Burdett

  3. JK Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’ is a slow starter, but actually brilliant. The grubby characters make the story fizzle. We’ve just written a review on a new book blog written by three Irish ladies – – if you’d like to have a look:)

  4. Reading “Garlic and Sapphires” by former New York times critic Ruth Reichl. She dresses up in disguises and eats in fancy NY restaurants. So good.

  5. I’ve read Gone Girl, Tell the Wolves I’m Home and just finished Fairytale Interrupted. They were all fast reads and really different from one another.

  6. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.! i literally, JUST finished it about 7 minuates ago..and i am still so touched and in love. my heart felt so many emotions throughout the book. i smiled, i felt, i laughed, and i even teared a bit. the ending is not what you expect. but it is such a beautiful story to read. simply, amazing.

  7. I just finished Half the Sky. There’s a documentary coming out in Oct on PBS. Highly recommend. I love Roald Dahl! I think Matilda was my favorite :)

  8. “Remainder” by Tom McCarthy

    McCarthy’s debut novel, set in London, takes a clever conceit and pumps it up with vibrant prose to such great effect that the narrative’s pointlessness is nearly a nonissue. The unnamed narrator, who suffers memory loss as the result of an accident that “involved something falling from the sky,” receives an £8.5 million settlement and uses the money to re-enact, with the help of a “facilitator” he hires, things remembered or imagined. He buys an apartment building to replicate one that has come to him in a vision and then populates it with people hired to re-enact, over and over again, the mundane activities he has seen his imaginary neighbors performing. He stages both ordinary acts (the fixing of a punctured tire) and violent ones (shootings and more), each time repeating the events many times and becoming increasingly detached from reality and fascinated by the scenarios his newfound wealth has allowed him to create—even though he professes he doesn’t “want to understand them.” McCarthy’s evocation of the narrator’s absorption in his fantasy world as it cascades out of control is brilliant all the way through the abrupt climax.

  9. Anonymous says...

    Blood, Bones, and Butter – a good Anthony Bourdain-ish read
    Rules of Civility – beautifully written and such a great story
    The Paris Wife
    Girl in Translation
    Shantaram – one of my all time favorites although I’ve heard it means more to people who have spent time in India
    Pillars of the Earth, Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
    When God was a Rabbit
    A long way down by Nick Hornby – morbid subject but very funny
    Also loving the classics – the Awakening, and anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  10. Just Kids a memoir by Patti Smith is incredible
    Open an Autobiography by Andre Agassi is very good
    Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is quite riveting

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  12. I just finished reading the first two books of the Divergent Trilogy. Can’t wait for the last one to come out! I also loved The Glass Castle. My favorite book in the last few years was A Thousand Splendid Suns. Also, enjoyed The Kite Runner by the same author.

  13. Anonymous says...

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherine Valente was delightful.

  14. Jo says...

    How timely! I was just perusing Amazon for a couple of books to buy, some of them are already in the comments. And I’m waiting impatiently for Junot Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her, it comes out next month.

  15. Sandcastle Girls Is a great book. It’s Hard to put down

  16. Anonymous says...

    Check put The Girls by Lori Lansens. Its a first person narrative from conjoined twins living in a small town. A great book

  17. I genuinely enjoy reading on this web site , it has excellent blog posts. “We find comfort among those who agree with us–growth among those who don’t.” by Frank A. Clark.

  18. The Likeness by Tana French (or really any of her books because they are all brilliant reads!)

  19. About to finish the Last Matchmaker – which is a true story about a real life (male) Matchmaker in Ireland!! Its been a great story, light read, and really funny at times! The author is Willie Daly.

  20. Anonymous says...

    Mink River by Brian Doyle….
    seriously will reframe your reading.

  21. I just finished reading The Book Thief. Intense yet lovely.

  22. kk says...

    Gone Girl was a great read!

    Cutting for Stone was another favorite of the last few months.

    Unorthodox – a non-fiction book about a girl who grew up in the Hassidic community in Williamsburg and then left it all was fascinating.

    Anything by Jhumpa Lahiri!

    Zeitoun by Dave Eggers…

    I could go on and on. I sometimes post book recs on my blog at

    Love your blog!

  23. Velva Jean Learns to Drive is such a fun read!

  24. Anonymous says...

    Roald Dahl’s adult fiction! Even darker than his children’s books– one of my favorite discoveries coming into adulthood. Omnibus is a great collection.

  25. I agree with many of those already suggested, but a few I haven’t seen mentioned:

    Let the Great World Spin
    The Color of Water
    (both set in NYC, :) )
    I’m reading and totally taken by Anthropology of an American Girl.

  26. Su says...

    I don’t really get this thing of only reading “light” literature in the summer. If you ever gonna ready Dostoyevsky, do it on holidays.
    When I’m on my daily life, I get home and wanna read some light stuff. But when I’m on holidays, my brain is rested and heavy topics will have my full attention.

    I don’t have summer holidays this year, so I’m reading Stieg Larsson.

  27. I just read “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. Very well-written and a quick read.

  28. i just read the substance of style by Virginia Postrel for kicks and giggles—quite a quick read, the gist is: ‘the look & feel of things & people are more impt than we think but it doesnt override common sense. X

  29. Anonymous says...

    WILD by Cheryl Strayed. Cannot recommend it highly enough. WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES by Hilary Mantel are page turners, though not light reading by any means

  30. Hi, I am from the Czech Republic and I read your blog for several months. Today the first comment. Books I could recommend a lot, I’m a big reader. I am currently engrossed in book about Marilyn Monroe – Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates. Among my favorites are anything to be by Robert Fulghum, A Moveable Feast by Hemingway, A Prayer for Owen Meayho from Irving, The History of Love by Krauss and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

  31. Kori says...

    I’m reading “Catherine the Great-Portrait of a Woman” by Robert Massie. It’s a biography on the Russian empress…so juicy!

  32. Have you read Little Bee, by Chris Cleave? It is so wonderful, I literally finished it in two days because I could not put it down.
    I also lovelovelove The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It’s fantastic, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It will make you laugh and cry on the same page.

  33. Ellie says...

    Just finished a Rohl Dahl! His collection of short stories called Skin is really something!

  34. I highly recommend Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. If you are fascinated by the Chinese traditional society and are curious the find out about Shanghai in the 1930’s, you will love this book, especially since it tells the story of two sisters. Here’s a short synopsis I wrote:

    I also read Dreams of Joy, the novel following the same characters of Shanghai Girls, but years later. I LOVED them both, very poignant, emotional, lovely books, I could not put down until 3 am in the morning …

  35. Thanks to your recommendation I read the Glass Castle, what an intriguing book! I think it may be right up there as an all time favorite!

  36. Gone Girl was an up-all-night, couldn’t-stop-if-you-paid-me kind of read. Proceed with caution!

  37. I just finished Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. It was fabulous!

  38. love seeing the other suggestions as i am always looking for great, new books too! if you loved the glass castle you definitely need to read the prequel – half broke horses.
    also, my book club just read Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. It was an easy read but fun to get some of the history of WWII from London’s POV and also a bit suspenseful. I couldn’t wait to get back into everyday to find out what happened next! Happy Reading :)

  39. Best.question.ever. I will now be browsing all comments for books to read: )

  40. Anonymous says...

    Hi Joanna,
    I just finished reading The Fault in our Stars by John Green and it blew me away like books rarely do.
    As in, I spent a weekend simultaneously laughing and crying.
    I really can’t recommend anything more than this.

  41. You should read Divergent! It’s a fast-paced story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and draw you in for more. It is the first in a trilogy by Veronica Roth.

  42. It’s been out for a while but Blood Bones and Butter has us captivated the entire time we read. Such a beautifully honest autobiography of a great New York chef!

  43. Anonymous says...

    Night Circus is my favourite that I’ve read in a while (this coming from a sincere book-lover).

  44. I’ve just read: Once More With Feeling – the true accounts of prostitutes in Los Angeles – I loved it. It was stark and touching. And scary. I also read The Starter Wife, which was light and hilariously funny. Right now I’m reading The Witch of Portobello by Paolo Coelho and I’m in love, as I am with all of his books. His writing is touching and poetic and I can’t get enough! These are my latest reads! :)

    Hope you find a great one!!

  45. Hi Joanna! I just finished Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, and I think you’d love! Set part on the Italian coast (I know you and Alex went there for your honeymoon) and part here in the USA, it is just a gorgeous, moving story!

  46. I just finished “In the Shadow of Man,” which is one of Jane Goodall’s books. Its so fascinating, especially the parts about how chimps parent their infants. They should be our role model! Anyway, I think you would really like it.

  47. I loved Wild by Cheryl Strayed! She’s such a great storyteller.

  48. Hey Jo! I just started a new blog where I’m going to talk more about books :) It’s linked to on my name. Some I just recommended there:
    Salvage the Bones
    Happy All the Time (feel like you’d love this one)
    How to be a Woman

    Happy reading!

  49. I just started The Forty Rules of Love and can’t put it down! The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris is another great read :)

  50. you should without a doubt read “one thousand gifts” by Ann Voskamp. you will forever look at life diferently.

  51. It’s not exactly new but Empire Falls is sooooo good. I highly recommend it!

  52. My favorite recommend is: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (by Jean-Dominique Bauby).

    Bauby’s wit and amazing story will have you hopeful, chuckling, and wondering if you yourself would have the same outlook on life (after being a victim of locked-in syndrome from a stroke).

    The most fascinating part: Bauby wrote this book by dictating words, letter by letter, by blinking his left eye.

    Amazing. Inspiring.

  53. I just finished “Shucked: My Life on a New England Oyster Farm” and LOVED it… it also leaves you craving oysters.

    Also– Wild by Cheryl Strayed. She makes you fall in love with the Pacific Crest Trail and her journey along the way.

  54. Have you ever read books by Elizabeth Noble? All of her books are about women and their relations (friendship, love, motherhood etc.). Great for summer reading!

  55. Anonymous says...

    the curious incident of the dog in the night-time – a great book written from the perspective of a teenage austistic boy who is investigating the death of a neighbours dog.

  56. Wow Joanna – the responses that you get never fail to amaze me! I too am looking for a book to take away on hols a couple of week. With the list rather over-whelming me (I’m suppose to be working to a deadline at the mo!), I stuck the last recommendation for Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton into Amazon and liked what I saw so ordered it. I love any food related tales – no doubt I will mention it on my blog sometime as it seems to have an essence of nostalgia to it. Thanks Diana for the tip.

    Also, I just wanted to say that I too love Roald Dahl. In fact with two young children I struggle to find time to read myself, but my daughter and I are working our way through the Roald Dahl box set at the moment and we are BOTH loving it! Danny Champaign of the World is just fantastic. Just think when your Toby is older you can read them all to him: Happy times ahead. Lx

  57. The Paris Wife was amazingly interesting. Now reading The Receptionist about Janet Groth working at The New Yorker…

  58. Just done reading The Glass Castle here as well. For a new book to read…well, I’m also searching and might consider the recommendations of the people above. :D

    lost generation

  59. I’m reading an old Nora Ephron and I loved the Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes- though not light. Mr Latte book sounds great! wishlisted!

  60. The Book Thief left me clutching the book to my chest and sobbing; Your Voice in My Head is the most beautiful memoir; One Day is a heart-swelling beach read about the lives of two people on one day of every year; and Super Sad True Love Story is about a not-so-hard-to-believe not-too-distant-future of America and the people who live there.

  61. For a fun read, I would recommend Audrey Wait! By Robin Benway (its really good young adult… I’m 28!) . For a mystery, I love Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear.

    I’ve reviewed both on my blog!

  62. jimjam says...

    I second Cloud Atlas. It is an astonishing piece of work that you really should read before watching the movie.

  63. manu says...

    I’ve been reading lots of non-fiction recently, the most fascinating being “Into Africa: the Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone” – about English explorer Livingstone’s search for the source of the Nile, and American journalist Stanely’s search for him (to rescue him and also to write a journalist piece that would boost his career) till they meet and the famous words “Dr Livingstone I suppose” are pronounced. A very fascinating read!

  64. You know, I always, always, always come back to “Shopgirl” by Steve Martin. The book is so much more beautiful than the movie! It’s one of those books that I want to stay up all night reading and when it’s over, soak up the still & quiet early morning hours.

  65. Dominique says...

    I would definitely recommend Shantaram – it’s awesome. Or for something shorter, try Mister Pip – it’s a really cool story set in the South Pacific.

  66. Grace says...

    The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe. Light, delicious, satisfying!

  67. Reading “Heaven is Here” by Stephanie Nielson, aka NieNieDialogues blogger. It’s inspiring, beautiful, and makes me want to keep trying to be a better person, mother, wife. Wonderfully uplifting (my favorite kind of read)XXOO

  68. I just read Chris Cleve’s “Gold”-
    couldn’t put it down!

  69. I love John Green novels! I’m reading The Fault in Our Stars right now and it’s amazing. I higly recommended it.

    Also, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a great, short book. Plus, the movie comes out in one month!

    I’ve also heard 50 Shade of Grey is awesome.

  70. Room! The story is told in the voice of a 5 year old boy, who is the product of his mother and her kidnapper. He and his mother live in captivity and he’s never been outside. Sounds heartbreaking (and it is!) but it’s wonderfully written and isn’t quite as intense as it sounds. I can’t recommend it enough.

  71. Nook says...

    I really really love ‘From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. frankweiler’ E.I. Konigsburg!!! The story is about two children run away and live in the MET Museum in New York. They story is super cute! I read it non-stop till I finish!! You would really really enjoy it too!!

  72. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.

  73. I recently loved “The Family Fang”–think it has a similar, awesome vibe to the ones you mentioned :)

  74. Anything in the Jeeves and Wooster series by P.G. Wodehouse. They’re perfect because they’re light but also extremely well-written, as well as hilarious and quintessentially English! I just finished “Right Ho, Jeeves,” and it was the perfect summer read.

  75. JUST KIDS. Patti Smith Memoir. set in nyc 60s/70s. great read especially if you enjoy music from that era.

  76. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel is awesome! It’s a biography of a very quirky and funny girl (the author) before she turned twelve.

    If you are looking for a quick summer read, try “Savannah Blues” by Mary Kay Andrews. It’s a combo of picking, mystery, hilarious ladies, and southern awesomeness.

    Weird, but quick: Wild Orchids, by Jude Deveraux. It’s about a guy who is investigating ghost and devil stories and gets caught up in a town that is cursed by the devil. I think it is super well-written!

  77. A History of Love by Nicole Kraus was fantastic. A dual story of an older NY writer at the end of his life and the young girl with the same name as a character in one of the writer’s stories looking for him…but not knowing who she is search for. Such heart-breakingly beautiful story.

    Wild is a great adventure memoir, and yes, Night Circus is fun and whimsical…not my fav, but pretty entertaining.

    Cheers to great books!

  78. Anonymous says...

    Rules of Civility. It takes place in 1938 New York and any New Yorker would love it I think.

  79. Just finished “Where We Belong” by Emily Giffin…great, easy read!

  80. Gabrielle Hamilton’s food (sort-of) memoir Blood, Bones, and Butter was an intoxicating, fast-paced read — full of anecdotes about food, romance, and sex. And a lovely coming-of-age story in its own way.

  81. I just read “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” and am almost done with 1Q84. But be warned 1Q84 is a loooonnnggg read with 3 books literally in one, but it sucks you in.

    Thank you for all the books you have recommended over the years, I have enjoyed everyone I read.