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7 Big Summer Books

7 Big Summer Books

Which books are on your reading list these days? After a fall and winter spent consuming mostly news (so much news!) it has felt really great lately to crack open a fresh book and let my mind roam. Here are seven I’d highly recommend…

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
I’ve long loved George Saunders’ short stories, so I figured I’d sail through his first novel. But it turned out to be one of the most challenging books I’ve ever read. Here is the premise: Willie, the 11-year-old son of Abraham Lincoln, dies of typhoid in the White House (true story). The grief-stricken president visits his grave, where hundreds of spirits lurk, including Willie. (“Bardo” is the Tibetan word for the limbo between life and afterlife.) Most of the story is told over the course of one night, through the alternating voices of the dead, so it reads like a play filled with sad, profound, humorous, supernatural and ultimately very compelling dialogue. Even though it took me almost 50 pages — no joke — to get used to Saunders’ unusual format, I’m so glad I hung in. After putting it down, the voices of the bardo reverberated through my head for a week, like a beautiful song. (If you’d like to try Saunders’ short stories, check out this one, which compiles his pieces from The New Yorker, McSweeney’s and Harper’s.)

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Did you read Thanksgiving in Mongolia, the 2013 New Yorker essay by Ariel Levy about her miscarriage? It was so harrowing — and one of the best magazine articles I’ve ever read. Levy’s new book about her life before and after that experience does what great memoirs do: it illuminates her complex life while also opening readers up for their own self reflection. Overall, I found Levy’s story incredibly insightful and relevant. “I wanted what we all want: everything,” writes Levy. “We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can’t have it all.”

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Like her Pulitzer prize-winning book (and HBO miniseries) Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout’s new novel feels almost like a collection of short stories. Each chapter spotlights a different resident of Amgash, Illinois, a small town where everyone is connected to each other (and to Lucy Barton, the central character of Strout’s last novel, which is one of Joanna’s all-time favorite books.). Sex is a major theme — voyeurism, extramarital affairs and a secret gay life (to name just a few flavors) swirl as Strout paints a picture of Midwestern America. If you’re looking for a new book club pick, Anything is Possible would be a slam dunk, setting the table for juicy discussions about families, sex, marriage, siblings and hometowns.

Startup by Doree Shafrir
This is my pick for your beach bag: a gossipy satire set amidst personal entanglements in the tech industry. Shafrir’s debut novel makes for funny, fast reading, and I laughed out loud a dozen times (especially at the fictional apps Shafrir invented). The plot follows Mack McAllister, the 28-year-old founder of TakeOff, a mindfulness app that sends motivational push notifications. There is a sex scandal and a comedy of errors ensues. It’s all highly entertaining, but Shafrir, who covers startups for Buzzfeed, also smartly nails two dominant cultural themes: women in the workplace and the primacy of technology in our lives.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
No summer book list would be complete without a great thriller, and I couldn’t resist Hawkins’ anxiously awaited second novel (The Girl on a Train was her smash-hit first book). The plot, set in the English town of Beckford, involves the drownings of a single mother and a teenage girl in a the same pool of water where women accused of witchcraft were punished centuries earlier. Water is central to Beckford and plot as a whole — a river runs through everything, physically and metaphorically, just like the train tracks in The Girl on a Train. “The water, dark and glassy, hides what lies beneath,” Hawkins writes. Eek! I found this book’s unexpected layers and urgent pace both scary and addictive.

The Idiot by Elif Batuman
If you came of age in the 90s, you will love this book. A few pages in, iPhones and mp3s are a distant memory, swapped out for boxy computers and CDs of They Might Be Giants. And you will be enthralled by its main character, Selin, a Harvard freshman experiencing her first awkward relationship with Ivan, a slightly older math major. Selin, Batuman writes, is “an American teenager, the world’s least interesting and dignified kind of person,” which perfectly encapsulates the book’s funny and self-deprecating tone. There are so many tender moments — a young woman’s discovery of great literature, travel abroad, swimming dates, solo cigarettes, late-night pizza confabs (at Pizzeria Uno, no less) — and Batuman’s true-to-life writing made me feel like I had mind-swapped with a new archetype. I totally agree with the reviewer who wrote, “Long after I finished The Idiot, I looked at every lanky girl with her nose in a book on the subway and thought: Selin.”

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
A few years ago, a colleague of mine who was being honored at an office party burst into tears during her speech. Everyone fell silent until she shouted, “Sheryl Sandberg says it’s OK to cry in front of your coworkers!” Laughter erupted, heads bobbed in agreement. Indeed, ever since Sandberg wrote Lean In four years ago, scores of women have taken to heart pieces of her wisdom, even when they couldn’t relate to her unequivocally. But, Option B, written by Sandberg (Facebook’s COO) and the psychologist Adam Grant, is 1,000 times more universal than Lean In. This is not only because Sandberg writes so candidly about her own hardship (her husband’s death) but because she and Grant tell the stories of many others — a painter who is deaf and blind, a woman who had a teenage pregnancy — who have triumphed over adversity. “Resilience is not a fixed personality trait,” they write. “It’s a lifelong project.” If you need a pick-me-up or a perspective shift, you’ll fly through this thoughtful book and feel invigorated.

What are you reading? I’d love to hear. (This is next on my nightstand.)

P.S. Five more must-reads and 10 great audiobooks.

(Photo by Stella Blackmon for Cup of Jo.)

  1. it will be too funny to hear this “Harry Potter” is on my list.
    because I’m not that much older to read these seven books but the way I informed here must be one of them in my list.
    as because I don’t have any idea and not read yet before but I want to read one of them but it’s too difficult to choose one of them. so, I just expecting any suggestion from all of you to show a better way to gain my reading experiences.

    before any suggestion, I just wanted to let you know some information about my previous experiences like free kids stories what I read from online and it was enjoying towards me and still, it is.

  2. Lena says...

    If anyone still following this, read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I saw it in SJP’s insta feed, she has a great taste in books (among other things) and I absolutely loved the story.

    • monica says...

      thank you for this wonderful recomendation!

  3. Caro says...

    I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine . What a wonderful book that I didn’t want to see end. Eleanor is a terrific character .

  4. Mariam Gomaa says...

    Salt Houses by Hala Alyan is on my list… it’s so rare to find someone who writes about being an Arab American. I’m excited to read a novel that finally makes me feel like my story is emerging in the American canon.

  5. I just completed The Rules Do Not Apply in one night- I listened to it on Audible and it WAS FANTASTIC!!! It was one of those books that I will likely buy just to read it and highlight all my favorite parts. Thank you! I love your book lists. (and you always post great articles too!)
    “I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can’t have it all.”
    ― Ariel Levy, The Rules Do Not Apply

  6. Marylyn says...

    I just finished Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Suama. It’s gorgeously written, atmospheric, haunting and moving. I loved it.

  7. Elaine H says...

    I’m just finished Saints For All Occasions by J Courtney Sullivan. I could not put it down. Her book The Engagements was one of my all time favorites.

  8. I’m currently reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. So beautifully written and highly addictive!

    • Marylyn says...

      Homegoing is incredible. A must read.

    • Laura says...

      Just finished it – keep thinking about it. Haunting. I had to keep flicking back to the family tree though!

  9. I’m reading Behind the Scenes by Jen Trano and loving it. Got sucked in by reading her free short book, At Your Request, which included the first chapter of Behind the Scenes. I couldn’t stop and had to go buy the rest of the book.

  10. Katie says...

    That Thanksgiving in Mongolia article is the most intense and horrifying story I’ve read in a while. What a traumatic experience for her. I can’t imagine summoning the strength to deal with foreign cab drivers and airline employees on the way home from an event like that.

  11. Vicky says...

    I am reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, and it is heartbreaking and beautiful. And though it is not about parenting, I just read this bit that resonates so strongly with me as someone relatively new to this parenting game: “the love one has for one’s child is … a singular love, because its foundation is not physical attraction, or pleasure, or intellect, but fear. … Every day your first thought is not ‘I love him’ but ‘how is he?’. The world, overnight, rearranges itself into an obstacle course of terrors. I would hold him in my arms and wait to cross the street and would think how absurd it was that my child, that any child, could expect to survive this life.” I am a pretty laid back parent, but this made me shudder and think, yes. That’s it. The whole book is beautiful like that, so far.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      A Little Life is one of the most moving books I have ever read.

    • Laurel Cyr says...

      I LOVED that book. Jude’s story is so heartbreaking, I had moments where I had to put it down. It was so moving, it almost felt real rather than a novel.

    • Leah says...

      I, too, had to put it down at times. It was so heart wrenching, but so skillfully written.

    • Lauren says...

      by far one of the best and most heartbreaking books I’ve ever read – I want more people to read it just so I have other people to share the weight of it with.

    • Nicole says...

      A little life was one of the worst books I ever read. I agree with the many amazon reviewers that called it tragedy porn. I thought it was shameful how the author used the main character’s tragedies to string the reader along (rather than just tell a story), and created unbelievable characters because of her cheap methods of writing a page turning book. That book definitely cheapens real life tragedy in my opinion.

  12. Julie says...

    Thank you for these! I just started My Name is Lucy Barton and I’m trying, unsuccessfully, to slow down so it’s not over. It is so beautiful!

  13. lee says...

    I just finished “Hourglass” by Dani Shapiro, it was a quick and moving read and judging by the latest post on aging I think you would all love it!

  14. Lincoln in the Bardo is even better on audiobook! It features Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller and 164 other (mostly famous) narrators. They’re looking to file for a Guinness’ World Record for most narrators ever, haha! But it is a lot of fun, truly.

  15. Elise says...

    I just finished I Found You by Lisa Jewell and it is EXCELLENT. Definitely a great summer read – though it is a bit dark at times.

  16. Nice list! Koul is also on my wishlist, but the book wasn’t ordered to my little Payot here in Geneva.

    From your list, I have already read Saunders, Levy, Strout, and Batuman. In order of preference, from most loved to least liked, it would go Batuman, Saunders, Levy and Strout. Batuman was beautifully done and easily engaging, and certainly made me nostalgic for another time. Saunders is literary play at its best, though I agree with others that, in many ways, this first novel of his was an easier read than many of his short stories. I read it all at once in the bathtub. Well, that is true of Levy’s book as well. She got my interest in the second half of the book, and it was an enjoyable read. It was Strout’s book that did the least for me, for whatever reason. An easy read, but not one that pushed much as the boundaries of my mind.

    Up next on my list is Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo, one of the books shortlisted for the Bailey’s Female Prize for Fiction. I also LOVED Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and believe this is on par with Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning Underground Railroad. Of course, there is also Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest feminist manifesto. Finally, I am doing my best to get my hands on copies of What is Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, and Too Much and Not in the Mood: Essays by Durga Chew-Bose.

    So many books. Reviews for each as I read them on my blog. Thanks for sharing, as always.

    • Amy says...

      “What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky” is AMAZING. Don’t miss it!

  17. “The Idiot” is for sure on my list of books to read this summer, and I may have to add the one from Strout.

    I bought “The Rules Do Not Apply” the day it came out and finished it before the sun set that evening. Highly recommend it.

  18. Jennifer says...

    Thanks so much for this. They all sound like great reads. And the Lincoln in the Bardo audiobook comment is something I plan to do.

    Love this blog and the comments! Such a great community you’ve built

  19. I absolutely *loved* The Rules Do Not Apply. Shared it on my blog too! The Idiot is also on my list. I just finished Scaachi Koul’s book last week and really enjoyed it.

  20. Sophie says...

    I just finished The Leavers by Lisa Ko and LOVED it.
    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng was also great.

  21. Anna says...

    I just finished ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas. Definitely it deserves all its wonderful reviews. If you haven’t read it yet, please do.

  22. Jackie says...

    20 years since her Booker prize winning book, The God of Small Things, Indian author Arundhati Roy’s new novel is coming out this summer – The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I can hardly wait!

    • Caro says...

      I adored The God of Small things

  23. Len says...

    Thank you for sharing.

  24. Michaela says...

    I’ve clicked and closed the link to Ariel Levy’s essay about 5 times now. I read it when it originally came out, which was a few months after my first baby was stillborn. It remember it was really well done and something I want everyone to read, but I don’t know if I can make it through myself again.

    But anyway, for book suggestions, I just finished reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and would definitely recommend it. Other suggestions: Evicted, The Hidden Life of Trees, and The Vegetarian.

    Also, I’ve recently made a local friend with similar book taste and have been enjoying exchanging books and recommendations with her. It’s the closest thing to a book club I’ve participated in :)

    • Brianna says...

      If you liked Americanah, read Half of a Yellow Sun. Or, even better, listen to it. I can’t remember who the narrator is, but I believe she’s Nigerian – she has the most beautiful, soothing, lyrical voice you can imagine. I had to read the book for school and listening to it was the only way I was going to even come close to getting through enough (I know that sounds horrible, but when you’re a grad English major, the pressure to get through a book in 2-3 days is real).

    • Michaela, So sorry about your loss. I think that book would be impossible to read after that. Thinking of you.

  25. Savannah says...

    I’ve been plowing through books since my birthday in March, when I decided I would read 30 while 30. I’m at 6 right now and I’m having a hard time with Lincoln in the Bardo. The style is really irritating.

    • Katrina says...

      My 30th birthday was in April and I’m doing the same thing! 5 down so far…

  26. I just picked up The Startup! Option B is up there on my reading list.
    I just finished What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan. A must-read for thriller fans!
    Keep the book posts coming.?

    • Also recently read and loved Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I can’t recommend it enough. I plan on giving her other books a try!

  27. Jessica says...

    Technical question: Did you literally read all those books? If so, how?? Do you get to read at work?

    • Beth says...

      I work at a library, where it is literally my business to know books, and while I’ve heard people wistfully say, “how lucky you must be to get to read while you are at work!” more times than I can count, the truth is I do not get to read at work but have to do it in my free time, like most everybody else. My secret to reading a lot is to keep books stashed in many different places so I can read a bit when I have the chance- one in my locker at work for my lunch break, one in my car for when my son is at piano lessons, one by the couch, one by the bed…A few years ago I wanted to read 100 books in a year. The first year I tried it I only got to 67. The next year I gave up going on Facebook and read over 100.

  28. Leah says...

    You’ve always great recommendations; looking forward to trying a few of these over the summer months. I just started Lincoln in the Bardo two days ago and nodding my head in unison with your description Lexi!

  29. Allegra says...

    Inspired by the movie’s recent praise at film festivals, I read Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman. It’s about a summer in the ’80s when a 17-year-old boy starts to be intrigued by his family’s summer guest in an Italian villa. Brilliant, heart-breaking — best book I’ve read in years, maybe ever. Made me cry and remember feelings I had long forgotten. It’s been a few weeks now, but I’m still kind of reeling from it and actually want to start reading it again from the beginning instead of starting any new books.

    • Julie says...

      Sounds wonderful! Just put it on hold at the library — thanks for the rec. :)

    • Mela says...

      One of my favorite books!

  30. Essss says...

    Just listened to Lincoln on the Bardo on tape – I think that helps with some of the challenging format issues. What a strange and incredible book!

    I’m re-reading the His Dark Materials trilogy in prep for the new book out this fall! I loved them when I was younger and am unapologetic about continuing to enjoy my young adult novel favorites!

  31. Christine says...

    I am currently reading “The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party” by Daniel James Brown. It is an extremely well-written book that spends time setting up the cultural context of emigration from the then US to California as well spending time on the backgrounds of the members of the party. However, it is definitely difficult to read due to the subject matter. I can’t read it right before bed because it gives me nightmares. And, as someone who lives in northern California and has spent time snowshoeing around Donner Peak and Donner Lake for fun, this book definitely adds a new perspective to my adventures.

    • I have to check this out! As an adolescent I was super intrigued by the Donner party (basically I loved all dark side stories in History class which is why I became a History major). I moved to California 5 years ago from the midwest and it never fails to thrill me to backpack and xc ski in that area!

  32. leigh says...

    I loved Lincoln in the Bardo. I heard an interview of Saunders on wnyc right before I read it. He said the bardo represents a type of purgatory. That helped me better understand and follow the book.

  33. Hanisa says...

    ❤ book Drazen, Todd Spehr.

  34. Erin G says...

    Is the publishing industry doing a coordinated book promotion targeting women today? This afternoon I received Goop’s “16 Great Reads for Summer” and Kidbits “22 Sizzling Summer Reads” — both of which have all but two of your recs (Plan B and Lincoln in the Bardo). Lots of great recs, but the push from multiple directions today feels a little freaky. (I’m adding The Idiot to my list, btw)

  35. Angela says...

    Have you heard of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library? (Please don’t tune out at Dolly Parton.) She has initiative to get books into the hands of younger kiddos, and if you go to that website, you can sign your kids (age 5 and under) up for it and they’ll receive a new, free book l each month. It’s currently unavailable in my zip code, but I have friends who do it and say they receive good quality books. They get good board books for their littlest ones and awesome books like Last Stop on Market Street for their preschoolers.

  36. Tristen says...

    Wow. I had not read that essay before. I still can’t quite get up from my chair.

    Recent books I’ve loved are Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer, Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li, and My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I just want to take a week off and read all day in the sunshine.

    Thanks for adding to my nightstand pile as well : )

  37. Erin LaDue says...

    I love listening to books on Audible and Overdrive. I am currently listening to Option B which I chose because 2 co workers are dealing with their husbands cancer and I wanted to say the better thing to them. But I could not enjoy Lincoln at the Bardo as after every few sentences the narrator had to list the source /footnote? and it was painful.

  38. Jessica says...

    I just finished “we are all stardust” by Stefan Klein – it’s a collection of interviews with some of the most significant scientists alive today on topics ranging from astrophysics to primate biology and how it applies to parenting. It’s a pleasure to read, and not too intimidating, even for someone like me who has only mainstream knowledge about the topics discussed

  39. Jo says...

    I thought “Surrender the Pink” by Carrie Fisher was brilliant. I also loved “The Robber Bride” by Margaret Atwood (for anyone who is daunted by “The Handmaid’s Tale”). I can never put down anything by Jonathan Tropper, especially “Plan B”. (Seems all these ‘B’ plans/ options are popular!). Being a big Lee Child fan, I adore Jack Reacher. Am sure this stems from my childhood love of a series called “The Equalizer” with Edward Woodward. On that theme, “Orphan X” by Greg Hurwitz was phenomenal, as was the follow up, “Nowhere Man”.

  40. Anything by Elena Ferrante- especially the neoplitan series. “My Brilliant Friend” is the first of four novels that tells the most exciting story about female friendship, but also so much more about life, I am hooked!!!

  41. Megan says...

    I just went and read Ariel Levy’s essay while sitting at my desk eating lunch. That was truly the most harrowing thing I have ever read in my life. I’m gutted.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Oh man, it’s so intense. This is what David Remnick, the New Yorker editor, said about reading it: “I couldn’t get out of my chair. It’s not as if I hadn’t known what had happened; we had been talking even when she was still there. The world is full of personal essays. My illness. My divorce. My delight. They are everywhere. Arguably there are too many. Among the average ones, there’s a kind of grasping aspect to them. When they connect, as Ari’s did, there’s really nothing like it.”

    • Laura says...

      Same – really feel for Ariel and anyone who has gone through something similar.

  42. Lo says...

    The Paula Hawkins one sounds sooo good, but I am on a classics hype at the moment having rewatching the BBC adaptation of Dorian Grey over the weekend. I can’t get over how dark and depraved the Victorians became one they realised there was a outlet through their writing!

    Lo
    http://www.themixtures.com

  43. Soooo many good books!

    I recently read Station Eleven, by Emily St. Vincent Millay, and Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby, and they were both excellent, the best I’ve read this year. I also recently finished Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic series and now I can’t wait to go out and buy everything she’s ever written. And now I’m reading Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor, a favorite of mine — highly recommend all her stuff if you like fantasy, and even if you don’t!

    Oh, books, I’m so glad you exist.

  44. Laura says...

    I’m not a big poetry person but I just bought Aimless Love by Billy Collins and there’s so many delightful little treasures!

    Monday
    “The birds are in their trees,
    the toast is in the toaster,
    and the poets are at their windows”

  45. Mary H says...

    I love feasting on CoJ book posts. Thanks for the great suggestions, Lexi and readers alike.

    Two of my recent favorites:
    The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (memoir) and
    Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser (fiction),

  46. Sabrina says...

    I wanted to love My Name is Lucy Barton but it ended and it left me wanting more. It was so well written and Lucy had more of a story to tell but I was mad it wasn’t told.
    So to my great surprise when I read an advanced copy of Anything is Possible, it totally made up for what was missing in Lucy Barton.

  47. Yes! Option B and Into the Water are on my reading list! Thank you for the other recommendations-the Idiot looks intriguing.

  48. aga says...

    Yey! A book post!
    I can’t wait to read “Fifteen Dogs” by André Alexis, and “Do Not Say We Have Nothing”, by Madelein Thein.

    And I want to re-read one of my favourite novels, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood before watching the series. All really timely reads.

    • I just purchased The Handmaid’s Tale but I’m kind of scared to read it — I read the first few pages and it’s just so awful (the premise, not the book itself). I’ll pick it back up at some point, though.

  49. Rachel Gerber says...

    I belong to Book of the Month Club–more or less they email me 5 books each month, I select one (okay, I usually select more than one) and they mail me the hardcover book . It costs about $10 a month, but it is SO worth it. My latest read was the Animators, which is my favorite book so far this year! https://www.mybotm.com/pw4ju2wgt3ohto6r

    • Brianna says...

      I just subscribed to BOTM – I chose Woman No. 17 and Into the Water, which is free with a new three month subscription. I’m hoping both of those will spur me to read more. I used to be a voracious read, but the internet and Netflix are such time sucks for me. I’m going to save this post and just work my way through the books suggested.

      I’m currently reading The Flamer by Ben Rogers and The Young Elites by Marie Lu. The Flamer is awesome. The Young Elites is leaving a lot to be desired and it may get re-shelved as a DNF – it’s signed so I won’t pass it on. I may just not be a fantasy fan.

  50. Maire says...

    I have The Idiot sitting on my bedside table right now but haven’t picked it up yet. Right now I am reading The Futures by Anna Pitoniak which I am LOVING. (I, for whatever reason love books set in NYC and rich white people problems, as well as books about unraveling relationships, so this is straight in my wheelhouse.) I also just finished Elizabeth Kostova’s latest, The Shadow Lands, which was difficult reading because of descriptions of the Bulgarian gulag, but was also a great mystery/adventure. Also, looking forward to reading Exit West, Salt Houses, and The Light We Lost.

    For any romance readers out there, Lauren Blakely just released a new book called Joy Ride and it was fantastic. Also Karina Halle’s Before I Ever Met You and Laura Kaye’s newest in the Rough Rider series. Ooooh and the newest in Sarina Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers series, Pipe Dreams.

    • Hillary F. says...

      Have you read Rich and Pretty? I think you would like.

    • Maire says...

      I have read Rich and Pretty and I greatly enjoyed it! Also thought The Nest was a fun read!

  51. Alexandra says...

    Every human should read What do Women Want by Daniel Bergner. I just read it cover to cover on a plane and alternated between wanting to high five everyone around me and punch someone.

    It’s an honest, funny, eye-opening and well-researched look at female sexuality and how it’s been informed by societal expectations. Quick read but one I’ve been talking about to anyone who will listen.

  52. di says...

    Your posts are always so well thought out Lexi!
    Thanks for this great list- I have my summer reading list now :)

  53. Suela says...

    I take the subway everyday and I enjoy people watching, see what they are reading, imagine what life must be like for everyone else. That’s why I loved reading International Express: New Yorkers on the 7 Train by Stéphane Tonnelat and William Kornblum.

  54. Sasha says...

    For those that have read When Breath Becomes Air, and want to read something similar (beautiful, uplifting and philosophical reflections on your life coming to a close), I would recommend Gratitude by Oliver Sacks, which is a collection of essays he wrote about facing death after being diagnosed with cancer, which were published in NY Times and New Yorker.

  55. Laura says...

    I loved Ariel Levy’s essay (so powerful) and heard her speak about her book, which really endeared her to me (she was funny and touching, even when speaking about dark dark things), but then I read the book and felt a bit let down. Some of that could be in the way the book was marketed, but ultimately it left me a bit empty.

    • Sasha says...

      I agree, the essay was a different beast altogether compared to the book. Maybe because many of the details of what was happening in her marriage were not in it, it was much more universal to the reader. In the essay she writes that after getting back from Mongolia “Within a week, the apartment we were supposed to move into with the baby fell through. Within three, my marriage had shattered, ” and as a reader you are shattered as well. In the book she describes in detail how she had to sell her holiday house in the Hamptons, and it is not the same.

  56. Hillary F. says...

    These are my favorite posts. The Idiot was so wonderful!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Yes!

  57. jillygirl says...

    Wow, I always love the book rec’s here but this batch seems exceptional! Thank you so much, my summer reading is fully sorted and I can’t wait to begin!

    Also, I want to shoutout the online library service, Overdrive – it lets you borrow library ebooks or audio files to any of your devices instead of having to check out a physical book! Has saved me tons of money!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      That is so cool, thanks for the tip!

    • Maire says...

      Overdrive is my BFF.

    • Katie says...

      Yes! I’ve been going between this post and Overdrive on my phone to place holds on the books (audiobooks for me — I listen while walking with my dog and small son). A great way to save some money!

  58. Sarah says...

    Hourglass, the brand new memoir about marriage by Dani Shapiro is SO GOOD. Attended her reading in LA last week, I love all her work (mostly memoir).

  59. Jessica says...

    I ran to read the Ariel Levy’s article: AMAZING. It’s so magical to read something so powerfull. I love the book post! xoxo

  60. k says...

    Love these posts!!

    I just finished reading “The Shadow Divers” by Robert Kurson for my book club. One of the best reads in that genre (Think “Into Thin Air”) I have ever had. Extremely well written, researched and based on a true story of two commercial divers who find a WW 11 German U boat sunk app 80 miles off the the new Jersey coast in over 200 ft of water. This is a book you can’t put down so would be great for a beach or airplane trip read!!!! enjoy, k

    • Jennifer Smith says...

      Seconding this! I read this a few years ago and even though I have no interest in diving whatsoever, it was such a great read that now I am thinking I should pick it up again.

  61. yael steren says...

    I’m still waiting on Game of Thrones but since that feasibly is never happening….I’ll need something else. I HIGHLY recommend all the Michael Connelly books. Just make sure you read them in order. And I know I’ve said I love Unbroken on this forum before but I’ll say it again because it’s a must read! Can’t wait to go on vacation this summer so I can relax, read and do nothing else! xx yael http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

    • Justine says...

      Ugh, I gave up last year on the next GoT installment ever coming out :( so sad! I recommend the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown for great sci-fi/fantasy, it filled my GoT craving last year!

  62. Emma says...

    This is so well-written. Thank you, Lexi!!

  63. Emma says...

    Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and redemption by Bryan Stevenson

  64. AMB says...

    I love Cup of Jo and have read for years, but I’ve never felt compelled to comment until now. I wish you wouldn’t post links to Amazon to order the book. Amazon’s recent policy change made it so third party sellers can compete for the “buy now” box to purchase new books. They can win the “buy now” box by simply pricing their books lower than the other sellers. However, buying through a third party seller means that the publisher doesn’t reap any benefit of sales, and the author does not receive any royalties. I know everyone loves to purchase things as cheaply as possible, but people need to enlighten themselves about Amazon’s true bookselling practices: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/third-party-sellers-can-now-win-the-buy-box-on-amazon_us_590b309be4b05279d4edc31f

    That being said, great suggestions! Buy them from your local bookstore!

    • Lauren E. says...

      I second. On the upside, independent booksellers are experiencing a boom time right now (compared to the last 5-10 years) so if we all keep shopping small and local we can keep the goodness going!

    • Lindsay says...

      Especially since a GREAT new indie bookstore just opened in Joanna’s part of Brooklyn — Books are Magic in Cobble Hill! I’d love to see a post about Brooklyn/NYC bookstores one of these days. There’s Greenlight, Community Bookstore, WORD, Freebird (a teeny-tiny used bookstore on the Columbia Street Waterfront), Spoonbill and Sugartown, and lots more. It’d be great if the CoJ staff could give them a shoutout!

    • Katie says...

      Agreed! I prefer to buy local (or library!) but I must admit I enjoy reading about the books first on Amazon (the reviews, general specs etc.).
      Does anyone have a site they frequent instead? I believe I’ve seen something called GreatReads… any other suggestions?

    • Katie, Goodreads is where I go for book reviews. This is going to sound book-snobby, but the quality of the reviews there is just so much better than on Amazon. I get so many of my book recs from there now! http://www.goodreads.com/

      Another thing I love is the app Litsy — like Instagram for books! I get recs on there as well.

    • Lis says...

      @Katie: You’re probably thinking of GoodReads. I love GoodReads, I use it to keep track of what books I’ve read and what books I want to read next. It’s great at recommending books I’ll like based on what I’ve already read. It is owned by Amazon though so if you’re trying to avoid them, this won’t help.

    • Lucia L says...

      You can also add this chrome extension to your browser and as you look up books on Amazon or Goodreads it will tell you if your local library owns the book and whether it’s available. I love it.
      https://www.libraryextension.com

    • Elisabeth says...

      I e-mail Amazon-links to my local book store to have them order books for me and pick them up on my way home from work. No trouble at all!

  65. I just finished Beartown by Frederick Backman (author of A Man Called Ove) and it was amazing. I would highly recommend it. I’m looking forward to reading Into the Water soon. I’m also highly anticipating Louise Penny’s newest book in the Inspector Gamache series at the end of August and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s newest book in June.

  66. Liz says...

    Can anyone tell me if Into the Water is better than her first book, or if you’ve read any thrillers that are like what The Girl on the Train was *supposed* to be? It just didn’t do it for me; I knew the end right away because of a trick she puts into the beginning to plant the seed, the pacing didn’t feel like a slow burn so much as boring, and the ending felt like it was more for shock value. Basically…the writing felt very amateur. But I really want to read a dark, well-written, subtle, incisive thriller! Any suggestions? Help!

    • Jessica says...

      Hi Liz! I felt similarly about Girl on the Train. There was an article on the AV Club recently about female-written thrillers (http://www.avclub.com/article/karin-slaughter-recommends-6-thrilling-disturbing–243773) which I enjoyed and might give you some ideas! The only one on the list I read was Gone Girl, which I know has become the cliche, but for good reason. Gillian Flynn’s “Dark Places” was also a super dark, scary thriller. I read it in the dead of summer and even while the sun was shining and the birds were chirping it still managed to freak me out.

    • Briel K. says...

      I agree about The Girl on the Train! Everyone was raving about it and I found it to be meh.

      I enjoy Gillian Flynn’s books as well as Tana French for a darker thriller read. :)

    • Kerry says...

      I felt the same! Gone Girl was 1000x better. I am excited to read “The Woman in Cabin 10” next.

    • Liz says...

      Thanks for the suggestions! That reminds me that I read a fairly glowing New Yorker article about Tana French’s series that makes it sound pretty intriguing.

    • Agreed on Girl on the Train. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t amazing.

      I one million times second the Tana French recommendation. She’s amazing–best writer writing today, in my opinion.

    • Michele says...

      I agree about Girl on the Train! I’ve enjoyed Tana French’s books as mentioned by Liz.

    • Justine says...

      I’m going to second @Briel K. on Tana French for darker thriller reads! I have been obsessed with her books all year and seriously recommending them to every reader I know! If you like mysteries, I HIGHLY recommend them. They’re so well written.

    • Elisabeth says...

      I finished Into the Water last week and I found it quite confusing: many short chapters with a large number of POVs, many threads that don’t play out/lead to nowhere. The setup and atmosphere is well crafted but I enjoyed Girl on the Train much more.
      I can recommend The Well by Catherine Chanter – it’ll make you grateful for every rainy day quite a while after you finished reading it.

  67. Grace says...

    I just finished a wonderful YA novel – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It’s absolutely fantastic, and especially timely with current events.

    • Sharon says...

      YES! Just finished it as well and loved it!

  68. Amanda says...

    I’m currently reading Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and redemption by Bryan Stevenson and I truly cannot recommend it enough. It’s a true story that documents some of the cases the author took on as a young lawyer while founding the Equal Justice Initiative and it’s heartbreaking, fascinating and inspiring all at once. For better or worse, it’s really opened my eyes to the injustice of the justice system.

    • Emma says...

      Seriously, Brian Stevenson is the modern day MLK. Anyways, I donate to Equal Justice Initiative too. Brilliant team there. They know how to pinch pennies and make a huge difference fighting modern day slavery = prison industrial complex. That book is a great start. “I don’t believe you are the worst thing you have ever done.” Love him!

    • S says...

      Amazing!

  69. Meredith says...

    Into the Water is waiting for me at the library; excited to go pick it up! I’m a very avid reader in the target age frame, and I must say, I didn’t get into “The Idiot” at all. I had high expectations because that description sounds spot-on something I would love, but my overall feeling was just…eh. Recently finished “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert and enjoyed it a lot; currently reading “Blackout” by Sarah Hepola and it’s both easy to read and fascinating.

  70. Lucia L says...

    Can we start a Cup of Jo Goodreads group? I’d love to get all these recommendations in a place where I can save them for later.

    • Kelsey says...

      Loooove this idea! Goodreads is my favorite way to track my books both read and unread) and read reviews

    • Love this idea too! Whenever COJ has reading posts I simultaneously have my Goodreads open to copy everything into my Want To Read shelf.

  71. Courtney Hayes says...

    I’ve been into audio books lately. Would you specifically recommend any of these for listening?

    • Hi Courtney, Here are a few that may pique your curiosity if you haven’t already read them.
      I suggest Some Sing Some Cry.
      Here is a description: Some Sing Some Cry chronicles the lives of seven generations of musically gifted black women — from slavery into the 21st century. It was absolutely wonderful, and the narrator was amazing!
      I also loved listening to Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides.
      Oh, and one more :), a few years ago I wanted to revisit to To Kill A Mockingbird so I decided to go audio. It was read by Sissy Spacek, and, she is the perfect narrator for the story.
      Warmly, Jane

    • Bevin says...

      Yes! I was struggling getting into Lincoln in the Bardo, so I downloaded the audio book, and it is fantastic. Each and every character (and there are a LOT) is read by a different person (including several big names like Nick Offerman, David Seders, Susan Sarandon, and Ben Stiller), and it’s really, really entertaining and ultimately heartbreaking, eye-opening, and incredibly moving. Highly recommend!

    • Molly says...

      It’s not one of these, but “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was exquisite as an audiobook.

    • Mela says...

      I just finished The Rules Do Not Apply, read by the author. I do like to listen to memoirs read by the author. It feels more intimate.

  72. Megan says...

    I just finished One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter and loved it. It made me laugh, it made me angry, it made me want to call my parents. I’m currently reading Into the Water, and to be honest I don’t think it is nearly as strong as her first book. The constant changing of perspective as well as first person – third person narrative has made it really hard to get into the groove with it. I really want to read Lincoln in the Bardo! I like unique books and so many people in the literary community have been raving about it.

  73. jen says...

    Try ‘The Dinner.” The ending will kill you!

  74. I feel like I’m reading so many “issues” non-fiction books these days given the state of our world. I recently finished “Strangers in Their Own Land” which was well-written and fascinating but upsetting. My book club is reading Evicted in June which is supposed to be amazing and I’m reading An American Sickness (about healthcare) for a activism through reading project on my blog.

    But…. I’m getting married in 8 days (!!!!) so I am making a list of light, fun reads to check out because I can’t be solving the world’s problems on the beaches of Maui! I’m excited to read Rabbit Cake which is a quirkly novel that’s supposed to be great. I’m also reading other lightish books like The Bookshop on the Corner, Cinder, and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. Other new releases that I’m looking forward to reading this summer are Option B, Pachinko, Exit West, and The Leavers. I feel like my TBR list is growing to the extent that I need to retire – like tomorrow – in order to get them all read! ;)

  75. I have Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply on my bedside table at the moment. I am plucking up the courage to read it. Same probably applies to Cheryl Sandberg’s latest. They are both books that I know I want and need to read. I just know they won’t give me the escapism that I need at the end of the day at the moment. Pen x

  76. Sarah says...

    My goal this year is to read 50 books so these recommendations are great! I am finding some amazing YA which sounds silly but they tackle big issues. That Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is one I highly recommend (a black teenager witnesses the police shoot her unarmed friend) also This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel (how a family copes with a transgender child). I breezed through both in a day or two.

    • Liz says...

      Have you read The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon? Such a good YA read!

  77. Julie says...

    For fans of memoir, two I have loved recently are All Over the Place (travel, but not in the traditional vein) and Birds Art Life. This passage from the latter just kills me:

    “His singing voice, sweetly hesitant, was unlike anything I’d ever heard. It felt like a miniature paper boat launched in a crowded wading pool: an intricate, crushable thing. His lyrics, rich in references to birds, ghosts, horses, sad families, scoundrels, and hope, had a raconteur’s charm. That such a pure and trusting voice could emerge from a self-doubting man felt like magic.”

  78. MK says...

    Five out of six of these books are by women and I for one am not mad about it.

    • Brianna says...

      Amen!

  79. Just finished “Before the Fall” and absolutely loved it. Great recommendation I got from the comments on the last book post, thanks ladies! I’m reading “Everything I Never Told You” now and am getting into it. I use the Overdrive app on my phone which lets me take out books free from the library. They automatically return so no late fees. =>

  80. Lois says...

    Just finishing “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doer, and it’s really good. My reading list is so long I’m always a few years behind…
    The Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels are the best thing I’ve read in ages.

    • Amanda says...

      If you like All the Light We Cannot See, you should follow it up with the Paris Architect. Same setting, Paris during Germany occupation, but it gives a bit more of a feel for the day-to-day of the French people which is something I’d never thought too much about before. It’s a fascinating, easy read.

    • JessicaD says...

      I also just finished a new one – “The Women in the Castle” by Jessica Shattuck, which is about women/families in post-WWII (with some flash backs and some looking forward) Germany. Such interesting perspectives from each character, I almost couldn’t believe it was written by a single author. Beautifully written and executed. I loved it.

  81. Tara says...

    Another good, challenging new(ish) read I’d recommend is Moonglow by Michael Chabon. It’s typical lyrical Chabon, but his writing is beautiful, and the book’s non-linear storytelling is compelling and interesting.

    • Amy says...

      I have mixed feelings about Chabon but what a glorious read Moonglow was. Every character shone so brightly; they still refuse to be dimmed by anything I’ve read of late!

    • Hillary F. says...

      I am struggling to get into it. I will keep going.

  82. Jane says...

    Thank you for all these suggestions! I just read The Circle by Dave Eggers (which is now a movie) and couldn’t put it down. I also read A Hologram for the King (also by Eggers) and that was a good read, too.

  83. Annie Green says...

    Just finished The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. Her recollections of her very youthful affair with Harrison Ford (I mean…Harrison Ford! When you are 19!) are so poignant. Now about to start Mani by Patrick Leigh Fermor, best travel writer ever. Looking forward to getting some summer blockbusters when the weather really picks up.

  84. My mom’s fifth novel was released yesterday! I’m so, so proud of her. I’ve just begun reading it and am already sucked in!
    http://amzn.to/2q6frvo

  85. Laura says...

    So I started trying to read Lincoln in the Bardo the other day, but really didn’t get it. So first they’re preparing for a party? Who’s talking? Is it supposedly quoting from other works or are they people’s thoughts or what’s happening? Also what does that have to do with the first part speaking on the marriage? Did I overestimate my reading ability for this book? Was I too ambitious? Is my whole life a joke? Please help.

    • Kate says...

      Haha, I think you have to not think too much when you read it. It’s very “stream of consciousness” that I think you just have to let wash over you. The parts about the party are largely from actual, first-hand historical accounts written about the party. They help set the scene so the reader can feel what it was like while Willie was sick. I’m not all the way through the book, myself, but I had to set it down for a while after starting it to get myself in the right headspace!

    • Amy says...

      I was thrown a bit at first but power through, it is very much worth it. He uses the voices of observers to paint a contemporary picture of Lincoln and people’s interpretations of him without upsetting the style of the novel. I began to love his approach of mixing the voices of the Bardo with snippets from memoirs and papers of the time.

    • Julia says...

      Keep going! Keep going! Keep going! It will all make sense in a couple of chapters. I actually went back and skimmed the first chapter once I finished the book. But I almost quit too…I was so glad I didn’t though. It’s really good!

  86. amy says...

    I’m reading NO ONE CAN PRONOUNCE MY NAME by Rakesh Satyal (reviewed yesterday by Terri Gross on Fresh Air). Also just finished Option B (so powerful) and We Were the Lucky Ones.

  87. Lincoln in the Bardo is AMAZING. One of my favorite books so far this year.

    This week finished Dani Shapiro’s Hourglass, a fantastic, elegantly written memoir about marriage, parenthood, and getting older, and Thi Bui’s beautiful graphic novel about family, Vietnam, war, and growing up between two cultures.

    And right now I’m halfway through the newly released book The Leavers by Lisa Koh…

  88. Poorva says...

    I just finished The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Choksi, which I adore – the prose is gorgeous and lyrical, and it’s so refreshing to find fantasy without any vaguely Norse-inspired pointy-eared pale-skinned elves in sight. Next on my list: Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury. I loved the first book in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and this one is supposed to be even better!

  89. Gabrielle says...

    American Kingpin is on my list! I heard an interview on the radio with the author… it sounds fantastic.

  90. Sarah says...

    Oh how I loved Lincoln in the Bardo! I felt the same, it was a departure from the short stories I’ve long been obsessed with, and it took me a while to get into it. But once I did I was so haunted (pun unintended, but it’s appropriate) by the characters. I love how you put it, that they reverberated in your head like a song.

    After that I moved on to Underground Railroad, which also took a minute to get into, but I’m so enchanted with it now.

    Before those I did a long month of Lucia Berlin stories (late to the party on that one) and revisiting Lydia Davis (since she wrote the Berlin foreword).

  91. Audrey says...

    Thanks so much for recommending StartUp! I’ve never heard of it but I’m a “woman in tech” at a startup. Can’t wait to read it.

  92. Amanda says...

    Thanks for sharing, I need something new to read – I was just looking at your past book recommendation posts yesterday!

  93. Lis says...

    SO MANY good books have come out lately. I’ve been reading up a storm! The last three I finished were Blackout (Sarah Hepola), Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead), and We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). Right now I’m reading Barbarian Days by William Finnegan which won a Pulitzer last year and is really interesting so far.

  94. Abbie says...

    If you loved Lincoln in the Bardo, I recommend reading “Days Without End” by Sebastian Barry next. Barry writes as beautifully as Saunders–and they’re both set in the similar time frame around the Civil War. I still can’t get over how much I loved both books and how they made good companions for each other.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Sounds awesome, I will check out Barry for sure.

  95. Bobby says...

    OK here’s what I think would be a great idea, all these books sounds wonderful I’ve already read one the ariel levi and the rest were already on my radar screen.I think it would be amazing to do a post on fantastic reads that might’ve passed you by. All these books have a great press and buzz but there are so many equally wonderful books that no one is heard of that’s the kind of thing that that cup of Jo is so amazing with. when it comes to finding unusual gifts and out-of-the-way restaurants it would be so fun to do a post with Less than familiar books too

    • Abbie says...

      Yes!

  96. Kate says...

    I LOVED “Lincoln in the Bardo” and have been telling everyone I know to read it! Different than your experience, I actually found it to be a really fast read – now that I think about it, I found it sort of similar to reading a play!

    This is an old one, but I just read “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert and thought it was just fantastic. Highly recommend for anyone who also hasn’t read it yet!

  97. Elizabeth says...

    I’m listening to the audiobook of Lincoln in the Bardo right now, and I agree, I was so lost in the format at first! But the audiobook features Nick Offerman and David Sedaris and Susan Sarandon, and their performances are so good that I decided to just keep listening until it made sense. It is such an odd, melancholy piece of southern gothic literature. I’m really enjoying it!

    I’m excited to read The Nix next.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      That is such a good idea! I bet the audiobook is amazing. I would be totally up for rereading it that way.

  98. Franzi says...

    I am reading Being a Beast by Charles Foster. I am still not sure if the book is rather fascinating or disturbing.

  99. I absolutely *loved* The Rules Do Not Apply. Shared it on my blog too! The Idiot is also on my list. I just finished Scaachi Koul’s book last week and really enjoyed it.

  100. I am so excited to get my hands on Start Up and The Idiot! I also just got Into the Water from my library — by some miracle I was number three on the hold list! :D

  101. Amanda says...

    Just started ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’! Looking forward to ‘Into the Water’!

    • Lois says...

      LOVE Margaret Atwood! Try Alias Grace and The Blind Assassin.

  102. Amelia says...

    Shout out for “Homing Instincts: Early Motherhood on a Midwestern Farm.” This is a great memoir of pregnancy and early motherhood that is heavy on intellectual reflection (yay!) and focuses a lot on reconciling an earlier life of travel with a new beginning in rootedness. It includes a great passage I’m still thinking about – on rethinking the ways she had previously conflated travel with experience and experience with wisdom.

    • jillygirl says...

      I just read and loved “The Map of Enough, One Woman’s Search for Place”: http://amzn.to/2qwKWzR

  103. Tara says...

    I’m reading South and West by Joan Didion — and hands down, it’s already one of my most favorite books of 2017!

    • jen says...

      Just read it! Could not believe how current it still is in today’s poltical situation

    • Tara says...

      Right? I’m just about halfway through it, and I find myself nodding my head along as I’m reading!

  104. Lana says...

    I’m reading “The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids (and themselves) by Doing Less”. I’ve been through a trove of parenting books and this one is the best I’ve read so far. Teaching your children the value of second hand clothes/toys, simple parties, playing outside, having freedom to be a kid?! Yes, please.

  105. jill c. says...

    I love reading fiction but lately i’m delving into some other types of books and I’m a bit all over the place:
    – The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
    – The Telomere Effect by Elissa Epel and Elizabeth Blackburn
    – Salt by Nayyirah Waheed

  106. Thanks for the list! I love Elizabeth Strout and can’t wait to check out her new one.

    Recently, I really enjoyed “Marlena” by Julie Buntin – an impressive debut novel. I also just tore Rebecca Solnit’s essay collection, “Men Explain Things to Me” which is definitely worth reading. Probably the best book I’ve read this year so far is Ta Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World an Me.” I think everyone should read it!

  107. Miriam says...

    I recently finished Evicted by Matthew Desmond. I had it on my bookshelf for a while, and being so depressed by the news lately, didn’t want to start a book that I knew was going to be a downer. But, after it wont the Pulitzer I picked it up and raced through it in 2 days. Desmond paints a heartbreaking picture of poverty in this country that has haunted me since I finished. I’ve gone back a re-read passages and chapters. And, it has definitely galvanized me to think about how I approach donating my money and time. I can’t recommend it enough!! It feels like such an important book for all of us to read.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      It’s so good! My father-in-law gave it to me for Christmas and I also tore through it. I’ve been wanting to read this as well: http://amzn.to/2qvODpc

    • Miriam says...

      Seems like we’re on the same wavelength with books, Lexi! I found the book to be poorly written, though thought provoking (and always good to read things of folks I might not agree with politically). Gotta respect that he’s moving back home to try to make a difference though – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/opinion/why-im-moving-home.html

    • Michaela says...

      Was going to say that I loved reading Evicted, but I don’t think loved is the right word. More like, it’s a book that I now want to shove in the hands of everyone I meet. I couldn’t put it down either!

  108. my friend’s sister wrote start up! so excited to see it here!

  109. Lauren E. says...

    I just finished From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon, historical fiction about Germany-occupied Italy during WWII. It was absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful and one of those books that sticks with you.

  110. Vee says...

    I’m reading Just Kids by Patti Smith for the first time. I can’t put it down.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Loved that one, Vee!

    • Annie says...

      That’s one of those books that I wish I could read again for the first time. It’s so special and memorable. Enjoy!

    • I love love love that book.