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Are You There, Spring? It’s Me, Books.

7 Best Spring Books to Read Now

Spring is here! Let us embrace a wardrobe of light jackets, an abundance of pollen and — most exciting of all — a fresh crop of printed words. Here are seven big spring books (all authored by women) that I can’t put down…

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley
There are few things I love more than a funny essay collection. Mainly, because laughing is a good, enjoyable thing to do. Secondly, essays are the perfect bite-sized literary morsels to read during short bursts of time. You can read one between subway stops, before bed, while you’re waiting for the clothes to finish up in the dryer… And few people do funny essays better than Sloane Crosley. Whether she’s climbing an active volcano, dealing with a noisy neighbor, crashing a shiva or playing herself on Gossip Girl (as one does), her book is consistently entertaining, even if you occasionally wonder how one human can possibly wander into such situations. Highly recommended.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
The instant New York Times bestseller (and Oprah’s Book Club pick) tells the story of newlyweds Celestial and Roy. Early in their marriage, Roy is wrongly convicted of rape and sentenced to twelve years in prison, and much of the story is told through the letters the couple writes to one another during and after his incarceration. The overarching story, however, is universal: the unraveling of a marriage and family, the question of life with or without children, the passage of time, and the often unfair nature of the world. It is at once an intimate, complicated, haunting, beautiful, utterly worthwhile read.

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
“This is the best book I’ve read in a long time,” my best friend texted one night. (She edits books for a living, so when she likes something, I pay attention.) An hour later she texted again, “Maybe the best book I’ve read, ever.” Later that night, yet another text popped up. “I can’t stop reading, you have to borrow it as soon as I’m done.” The novel follows Poornima and Savitha, two best friends growing up in rural India who encounter unspeakable misogyny in a myriad of ways. If that sounds heavy, you aren’t wrong. So what, I asked said friend, did she love so much about it? “Every page served as a reminder of what a gift our friends are, and all the ways a deep love between female friends can sustain us during the most difficult times.” Sounds good to me.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
This novel, which you may or may not have seen plastered all over the planet, has been hailed by everyone from The New York Times to Vogue to People, who called it “equal parts cotton candy and red meat, in the best way.” For what it’s worth, I enjoy neither cotton candy nor red meat, but I do enjoy smart prose and I definitely enjoy Meg Wolitzer. Her latest offering, about a college student’s relationship with a Gloria Steinem-esque feminist icon who becomes her friend and mentor, is especially timely. A thoroughly enjoyable book.

A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson
Full disclosure: Sally Franson and I lived on the same hall freshman year of college. It was our relationship that first made me pick up this hot pink book, but it was the wit and hilarity contained within that kept me wildly flipping pages and ultimately recommending it to anyone who will listen. If you’re in the mood for something light yet smart (and, let’s be honest, who isn’t?) you’ll devour this novel about a book-loving advertising executive confronted with the eternal question: Which is more important — success… or your soul?

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld
From the beloved author of American Wife, Eligible and Prep, comes this collection of ten short stories exploring relationships, class and gender roles. Whether her characters are thinking of a random person they slept with (or wish they had), about the mean girl who tormented them in high school, or one of many other questionable decisions they’ve made over the course of their lives, Sittenfeld will have you laughing, wincing and nodding along with understanding.

Circe by Madeline Miller
This bold reimagining of clasic mythology shot to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list the moment it was released. Here, Circe — best known as the malevolent witch from The Odyssey, infamous for turning sailors into swine — is re-cast as a feminist goddess. If the mere mention of classic mythology makes you want to take a nap, you are not alone. Historical fiction is typically not my jam, but this book is phenomenal, not to mention empowering. Throughout the ages, the heroic stories have been so traditionally male. “All these stories are composed by men, largely starring men, and I really wanted a female perspective,” Miller explains in the Times review. And she delivers.

Have you read anything recently that you just can’t put down? Anything you’re excited to pick up? Please share in the comments…

P.S. Five all-time favorite books and what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever read?

(Top photo by Caroline Donofrio for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Nancey says...

    Yes! I just finished “Everything Here Is Beautiful” by Mira T. Lee, it was heaven on a page. Oh did I love it.. also

    Heft
    Sorry to Disrupt The Peace
    Abandon Me
    Rabbit Cake (YA but soooo good)

  2. Thanks for the summer reading suggestions. Yes, I love supporting independent book stores — In DC Politics and Prose, and in MI Book Beat!
    For fashionistas, check out “Classic Style,” which I reviewed on my blog http://www.motownsavvy.com

  3. Elizabeth says...

    I adore Meg Wolitzer. “The Ten Year Nap” is one of my favorites. I love how she doesn’t let women off the hook for the choices they make. I haven’t been able to read much lately, but a few years ago I kept hitting the jackpot. Two books that stand from that time: “I Married You for Happiness” by Lily Tuck and “The Year We Left Home” by Jean Thompson. Also “The Darlings” by Cristina Alger, although if you’re the daughter or wife of a super-wealthy hedge-fund manager, it may make you a little uncomfortable…

  4. Zelsa Cabo says...

    I found my tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice. Beautifully written true story about family, friendship and nature as a healer. You cant put it down.

  5. Amy says...

    I just read A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out. It’s the worst book I’ve ever finished (and I can appreciate good chick lit). This was so, so bad; I only finished it because of Caroline’s recommendation. If someone here is looking for something from that genre, go with Emily griffin or liane moriarty instead. I’m shocked Caroline liked it based on her taste in literature and can only guess that her relationship to the author biased her reading of this one.

  6. Julia says...

    Pretty sure Cup of Jo should have a monthly book club and have Caroline run it! I love all of her recs.

    • Sonja says...

      YES!

  7. Nancey says...

    Just finished The Animators and I swear to God it was one of the best books of this year so far. I miss it already and it was SO good that I couldn’t start another book until the next day. yup, you know the type.

  8. Jessie Buckmaster says...

    I’m a historical fiction nerd, Madeline Miller’s “A Song of Achilles” was beautiful and haunting, I’ve got Circe on hold at my library!

  9. Myra says...

    Just read Running through Sprinklers by Michelle Kim. It is for teens / preteens, but the themes of female friendship, growing apart, and coping with sadness ring true at any age. Highly recommended.

  10. Rue says...

    For my birthday a few weeks ago I took myself to the independent bookstore in town and treated myself to two new books. Happy birthday to me! I just remembered that my aunt and uncle used to take me to Borders (!) for my birthday growing up and let me pick out anything I wanted and it was heavenly.

    I’m in the middle of “Transit” by Rachel Cusk. I just finished “Chemistry” by Weike Wang. And before those birthday book purchases, a friend let me borrow “Ursula, Under” by Ingrid Hill. I’d recommend all three!

  11. Trish says...

    CIRCE, yes!
    Waiting my copy of it in my mail, it is definitely my next read.

    After Circe, I’m giving in to John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies and The Gunner by Rebecca Kaufmann.
    May is all booked!

    • Trish says...

      *The Gunners*

    • Frankie says...

      The Heart’s Invisible Furies is the best book I’ve read this year.

  12. May I suggest Brittany Cooper’s eloquent rage.

  13. Sabi says...

    All women must read Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.

  14. Carissa says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this list! I’ve been working through your best fall books post and was really hoping you would be posting another list soon. Great recommendations, can’t wait to read!

  15. elizabeth r says...

    There are some great books mentioned in the comment section and the original post (I especially echo the Celeste Ng choices and Laurie Frankel). A poetry collection that I love is ‘Milk and Honey’. Some I have not seen people mention yet that have recently come out and I have enjoyed:
    ‘The Little Clan’ (Caroline, seems SUPER up your alley)
    ‘Stray City’
    ‘Laura and Emma’
    ‘The Immortalists’
    ‘Sunburn’
    ‘Then She Was Gone’
    ‘Emergency Contact’
    ‘Mrs’
    ‘This Love Story Will Self Destruct’
    ‘The Music Shop’
    ‘The Gunners’
    ‘Female Persuasion’
    of course ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’
    ‘Tangerine’
    ‘Look Alive Out There’
    the new Curtis Sittenfeld
    ‘Neon in Daylight’
    ‘Female Persuasion’
    ‘Self Portrait with a Boy’

    Coming soon
    ‘Hey Ladies’
    ‘Motherhood’
    ‘Not That Kind of Mother’
    the new Stephen King

    Also, ‘Every Anxious Wave’, ‘Perfect Little World’, ‘Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore’ (give it a chapter, it gets amazing), ‘Watch Me Disappear’ ‘All Our Wrong Todays’, ‘Next Year For Sure’ are some books that have recently captured my interest.

  16. Kara L Wade says...

    Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward !!!!!

  17. Abbey Leroux says...

    Thank you for this! Just started reading Circe as per your reccomendation and don’t want to put it down. Aaaaaand I have a flight tonight — YES! Nailed it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s wonderful, abbey!!!

  18. I purposefully google things like, “best books for 2007” so that I can get them without waiting in the library queue :)

    I’ve really been liking Ann Pachett – I loved Run.

    • meant ‘best books of 2007’

    • Elizabeth says...

      Have you read Bel Canto? It is the best book of all time (and written by Ann Patchett).

    • elizabeth r says...

      If you all are ever in Nashville, Ann Patchett owns a great bookstore there called Parnassus Books. Check it out!

  19. Nancey says...

    these are my most recent loves:

    1. Good-Bye Vitamin – so incredibly wise and sweet and just took me away to another place

    2. Halsey Street- loved everything about this one, it draws you into the protagonist and you are seriously walking around with her and seeing things through her eyes

    3. The Storied Life of A J Fikrey- for those of you that loved A Man Called Ove you will love Fikrey, very quirky and sweet in many ways

    4. Leaving Atlanta- I cannot believe that this happened in my lifetime and I never knew about it, sad but wonderfully written by the Author of An American Marriage

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I also LOVED Good-Bye Vitamin! Such a special book.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Halsey Street is already on my Best Books of 2018 list. I picked it up with no expectations and ended up falling for the gorgeous prose and engrossing story. Shout out to that exquisitely written sex scene too. Highly recommended.

  20. Alexia Gardner says...

    I recently finished “Educated,” a memoir about a woman who grew up in a survivalist Mormon family who goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge. Truly a wonderful and inspiring novel.

    • brenda says...

      Loved this one, recommending to everyone.

    • Jennyg says...

      This was an intriguing memoir! And the Fresh Air interview is a great follow up not to be missed.

  21. Yana says...

    I recently loved “I Am, I Am, I Am” but Maggie O’Farrell and “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson.

  22. julia says...

    Yes!! I’ve been waiting for a Caroline book rec post! Thank you. You’ve never steered me wrong!

  23. Chrissy says...

    Thanks so much for these recommendations- I needed them! Also I MUST know where you got that crystal ball book end Caroline…PLEASE SHARE!!!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! That particular one is from Target maybe five or six years back. BUT… there are a lot of similar ones lurking around the internet, especially on Amazon or Etsy. Google “selenite crystal ball” :)

  24. MB says...

    I just finished Tom Hanks collection of short stories. I’d read/watch/listen to anything that man put out, and these did not disappoint. Delightful

  25. Kim Hewlett says...

    Just finished Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge…about a plane crash and it’s 2 survivors. I laughed, cried, and could not put it down. I think I finished it in 4 days, (While working full time and raising 3 little kids) so, that’s saying something.

    • gosh! just did that (minus 1 kid) for “call me by your name”, by Andre Aciman, and you’re right: can’t understand where I found the time to do it…

  26. Well, not sure if Ferrante fever reached America, but by god, it should…!
    Check out the Elena Ferrante’s Napolitan Novels (4 books, starting with the brilliant “My brilliant friend”);
    You can thank me later ;)

    • Jean says...

      Yes!

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Yes, yes, yes to Ferrante. I do think Ferrante Fever reached America too.

  27. Alice says...

    Came back for more book recs, these comments are the best!
    The poetry nod by another reader was great, lots of poets I’ve never heard of.

    One book for new mothers/pregnant mothers is Hollie McNish’s Nobody Told Me, which is a fantastic and hilarious collection of poems that cover pregnancy and birth through to motherhood. Some poems are better than others, and I think it’s very British in humour, but it makes you feel less lonely in those early days that can be very isolating.
    She’s great live too. Her new book, Plum, is rude as hell and hilarious. Here she is performing one of her poems about breastfeeding in. public:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2z-Cd3luqA

  28. Agi says...

    Well, not all the readers are from US…
    I presume by local bookstores you mean store in US, right?
    I really enjoy that these books are linked to Amazon, so I can buy a Kindle copy straight away without a need to go looking for it separately.

    • Alexia Gardner says...

      There are local bookstores in other countries…

  29. Nigerian Girl says...

    Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and Exit West by Mohsin Hamid blew me away early this year. I still think about them till today. I’m longing to read The Female Persuasion. It’s my kind of book and I’m sure I’ll love it.

    • MB says...

      These are my top recs as well from the last few months – incredible writing!

    • Hannah says...

      I’m in the middle of Pachinko now!!! It was my book club’s read for April! I usually can’t do historical types of books and thought by the sound of it, I might get bored, but it’s incredible. Goes to show sometimes I need to branch out of what I “think I’ll like” and try reading something outside my normal comfort zone because I might be surprised. :)

  30. Johanna says...

    Not especially new, but I am just reading “Little Fires everywhere” by Celeste Ng and it is, just like “Everything I never told you”, brilliant. She just has a way of disecting the lives of seemingly ordinary people.

    • Zara says...

      JUST finished reading Little Fires and now on to Everything I Never Told You :)

  31. Kate says...

    To be honest, I’ve been devouring romance novels since Ashley’s post in February :)

    • Robin says...

      Ha I was just reading these comments thinking about the fantasy/sci-fi I’ve been reading. Not everyone’s cup of tea maybe, but I love Lois McMaster Bujold. She just released a couple new novellas, which were great, but if you’re new to her work I’d read start with The Curse of Chalion (fantasy) or Shards of Honour (sci-fi). Wonderful, thoughtful world building, great characters (male and female). Very well written. And funny too – I’m currently rereading A Civil Campaign for the nth time, which is her homage to Jane Austen- style comedy. So great. And the audiobooks are very well done (which is the only way I read anything these days ;(

  32. Kate says...

    I’m excited about Meaghan O’Connell’s book “And Now We Have Everything”. I’ve followed her work for a few years now on The Cut and The Billfold (And twitter!), and cant wait to read more about her journey into parenthood. She tells it like it is!

  33. Caitlin says...

    This is not new, but I just read “We are all completely beside ourselves” and was floored by it – 5 stars! I’m trying to get everyone to read it so I have ppl to talk about it with.

    • Beth says...

      Yes!! I read this a year or so ago and still think about it!

    • Mimi says...

      I absolutely LOVED that book as well!

    • Nancey says...

      Loved that one too!

  34. Laura says...

    I just started working with a new independent book store in DC on events and this post makes me so excited! I’ve met Madeline Miller a couple times and she is just a lovely person, in addition to obviously being extremely intelligent and an amazing writer. And we just booked Shobha Rao for an event for her book, so huzzah! Now I just need to find more time to read the rest of these…
    P.S. Instead of Amazon, you can link to IndieBound and then customers can shop their local indie bookstores anywhere in the US.

  35. Julie says...

    I just finished Big Little Lies. Great story, couldn’t put it down.

    Before that was A Gentleman in Moscow. Truly one of my favorite books of all time, so beautifully written and the ending is perfect !

    I can’t wait to try some of the books recommended here.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I didn’t understand the ending of “A Gentleman in Moscow.”

      [SPOILERS BELOW]

      Maybe I’m just in-observant but I didn’t get who he was meeting at the end…

    • Rebekah says...

      @Julie it was the same person who got him an ounce of saffron :)

  36. Katie says...

    American Marriage was SO good!

  37. Jess says...

    The best book I’ve read so far this year is Red Clocks by Leni Zumas. Kind of a pre-Handmaids Tale, it takes place after a fetal personhood amendment is passed in the US. Such a great read!

    • Yes! It was fascinating and harrowing. The justification for all the different types of laws is something I’m very familiar with, having been raised in a really conservative home. However, reading about a future that isn’t far off from what a lot of people want and what their values are, was terrifying, sympathizing and overall very moving.

  38. Tania D. says...

    I recently finished An American Marriage and loved it. I’ll definitely look into your other recommendations.
    Two of my favourite recent reads are: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah; and The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. These are two books which I frequently give as gifts as I want to pass on the gifts of such great storytelling spirits.

    • The Heart’s Invisible Furies ripped me in two, I loved it so much! I’m from Ireland so identified so much with the characterisations, I felt like I knew so many of them. It was also my first book for 2018 so I feel that no other book will live up to it for the rest of the year!

  39. Patty says...

    I read This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel which I found very thought provoking.

    • Mimi says...

      Such a fantastic book!

  40. Emma says...

    Read The Power. You won’t regret it. I couldn’t put it down and it really gets you thinking. Excellent choice for a book club or just discussing with anyone. I recommend it to everyone I know.

  41. Claire says...

    I LOVE BOOK POSTS! Thanks for doing this! and I appreciate all the recs in the comments. I read A Gentleman in Moscow (loved it!), and am now reading the second mystery from the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. I always have a list going of books I want to read, so I may read another mystery, or Madeline Albright’s new book (trying to work more nonfiction into my life), or possibly Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid.

    • MB says...

      Exit West!

  42. june2 says...

    Just picked up, “The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – And Us” by Richard O. Prum. So far so good, I love pop-sci and this one is very readable and super interesting.

    Next I will indulge in your schoolmate’s book, sounds like a fun read!

  43. Nigar says...

    What is wrong with books authored by men? Not in trend I guess…

  44. I have not yet read any of these books, but did put them on my list. Love getting good recs!

    Some of my recent favs are books by writers about writing or the writing life. They include, in no particular order: Bird by Bird; The Story of a Happy Marriage; Stephen King On Writing; Blood, Bones and Butter; and The Art of Memoir.

    An old favorite I am about to read again is A Room of One’s Own. And I keep Gift from the Sea on my bedside. Every now and again I just want to read the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    • Eloise says...

      Bird by Bird is one of my all time favorites. I re-read it every year or so.

    • Nancey says...

      I love Bird By Bird and read it again every couple of years, puts life in perspective for me. Anne Lamott is the Queen.

    • Eloise says...

      I’d read Anne’s grocery list is she let me.

  45. Katie O says...

    The only thing better than these posts are all the great comments that follow it!
    A Little Life (is one of the most tragic, yet unbelievably amazing books I’ve ever read. It is heavy. It is heartbreaking. But it is truly superb.

    • Caitlin says...

      Ahh that book wrecked me. So tragic, and it just keeps going and getting more and more horrible (in a wonderful, beautiful way of course)!

  46. Cynthia says...

    About halfway through American Marriage. I really enjoyed the letters back and worth part of the book.

  47. patricia blaettler says...

    My Antonia by Willa Cather is really beautiful.
    I read autobiographies of Alan Cumming and Tom Jones (!). They were both good.
    Educated by Tara Westover is new and is excellent.
    The South by Paul Theroux is nonfiction about the South of the U.S. and southern culture, both historically and presently. It was very good.

    • Denise says...

      omg, yes!! Willa Cather.

  48. Stacy says...

    I love seeing some nonwhite authors celebrated here!

    I just finished Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert, published as a YA novel but full of complex themes and topics: immigration, suicide, sexual identity, and so forth. HIGHLY recommend.

  49. Lee says...

    If you haven’t yet read Miller’s first book The Song of Achilles, you must. If you liked Circe, you’ll love that one even more. Although the feminist slant in Circe is an interesting, her first book is more moving and elegant in certain ways. Both worth the read for sure.

  50. Nikka says...

    I highly recommend “Reading with Patrick” by Michelle Kuo, which came out last year. It’s such a good book if you’re interested in the South, African American history, immigration, teaching and/or social justice. It’s a memoir about her growing up Taiwanese-American in Michigan, her decision to teach (rather than pursue a lucrative field as her parents had hoped), and most importantly, about an incredible story that unravels during her time as Teach for America teacher in the Delta.

  51. Christina says...

    PS, I just love this blog, and the suggestions. I think I just saved like eight new ‘to-reads’ in my Goodreads app based on the comments alone. Thank you!

  52. Christina says...

    Really enjoyed An American Marriage and am looking forward to reading Meg Wolitzer’s. Another great one I’ve read is Sight by Jessie Greengrass, longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018. It’s a quiet book, but leads you through the protagonist’s journey through motherhood, her own childhood and even significant events in medical history.

  53. JB says...

    I wish there was an “add all to cart” link at the bottom of these posts. Cup of Jo book recommendations (especially Caroline’s) are my go-to and I often trawl back through old ones if I’m stuck for something to read.

  54. Jen says...

    I’ve just finished The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, by Holly Ringland, and it was SO GOOD. Beautiful evocative writing.

  55. Betsy says...

    I read and liked Sweetbitter. It’s going to be a TV series and the preview looks good.

    • donna says...

      I must be the only person who thought it was just ok. It was far too long for the material and the writing was, in my opinion, overwrought.

    • I also read it and wasn’t a fan. It was OK. I couldn’t get into the character. Interesting how books leave different impressions on different people :) I’d definitely watch the series, though!

  56. Lauren says...

    An American Marriage is terrific – I read it in two days!

  57. It’s Autumn in Sydney (also excellent reading weather) but here are some books I’ve enjoyed lately…

    Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
    The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman
    The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu
    The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland
    Tangerine by Christine Mangan

    • Christina says...

      Ooh the Lost Flowers of Alice Heart looks great, thanks for the suggestion!

  58. Alicia says...

    Am I the only person in the universe who isn’t loving The Female Persuasion? About 2/3 through now and I just want it to be over.

    • Nicole says...

      Same, I started the audio. DNF, did not care.

    • Sarah says...

      No I’m with you. It’s awful. I mean, the writing is fine if not boring, but the book itself is awful in its moany white eonan feminism. Not what the world needed right now.

    • Sarah says...

      I technically finished it but I didn’t much care for it either. Gave it three stars on goodreads and said I was fine with character development instead of plot….but Greer wasn’t an interesting or particularly well-developed character! No clue why Faith would take any interest in her.

    • Alicia Sinha says...

      Oh thank god, I seriously thought I was just being a terrible feminist or something. But for real, I kind of can’t stop thinking about how three of the four main characters finished college in the 21st century with zero student debt. I’d completely read a book told from Cory’s mom’s POV though.

  59. Elisabeth says...

    I just read American War by Omar El Akkad. Scary stuff that does not feel too far away now. Also the Tearling Trilogy ( especially part 2!) by Erika Johansen.
    I love the comment section under CoJ book posts. So many great recs. And hurrah for libraries!

  60. Quinn says...

    Oh Caroline – I am so delighted to see this! I missed your reading recommendations while you were on hiatus from CoJ!

  61. Carrie says...

    This is a great list, and I am so grateful for this site’s enthusiasm for literature. But plleeeeeeeeeease, COJ – show poets a little love, too?? Especially during National Poetry Month. Please don’t be scared of what is not only the oldest form of literature, but one that is also so resilient and still amazingly and incredibly well-suited for our time.

    Practically speaking: Poems are short! You can read them on the subway, in line at the grocery, in the car pool lane. Poetry collections are also highly portable! They don’t weigh down your handbag or backpack. And they’re inexpensive! Even hardbacks are usually less than 20 bucks.

    Not-as-practically-speaking-but-more-important: Poetry reveals to us, in ways that prose cannot, how beautiful language can be — a crucial reminder in the age of emojis. Poems are packed with emotional zingers made to be carried in the heart and the head, because they can be memorized easily. Poems investigate and illuminate history, characters, and personal experiences in ways that are particularly thought-provoking and moving and weird and powerful because they have to make a whole lot happen in just a little bit of space. As Gwendolyn Brooks put it, “Poetry is life distilled.” It’s where most of us start our literary lives – with nursery rhymes and musical stories – and it’s just such a bummer that as adults we so often forget about poems or have our attraction to them schooled out of us.

    Anyway. That’s my pitch for poetry.

    Seven amazing poetry collections written by women and published in 2017-18:
    1. OCEANIC by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
    2. WHEREAS by Layli Long Soldier
    3. HARD CHILD by Natalie Shapero
    4. TROPHIC CASCADE by Camille Dungy
    5. WADE IN THE WATER by Tracy K. Smith
    6. DEVOTIONS by Mary Oliver
    7. SAUDADE by Traci Brimhall

    Thank you, always, for encouraging us to read more and read widely.

    • Denise says...

      Thank you for the poetry recs! I like to have a book of poetry on hand as well as a fiction/non fiction reading.

    • Julie says...

      Hoorah, poetry! At poets.org you can sign up for a daily emailed poem, and there’s a great range in style, time period, and theme. I had to start an email folder specifically for poems because I fell in love with so many of them!

    • Claire says...

      Throwing this into the poetry recs: anything by Sharon Olds, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lucille Clifton, William Stafford, and I never met a Ron Padgett poem that I didn’t like.

    • june2 says...

      Thank you for that list – I don’t know many poets but mean to read some of Tracy K. Smith (US 2017 poet laureate) and I love Nayyirah Waheed, who I found on instagram! Apparently there are great poets on Instagram. I also LOVE William S. Merwin.

    • Claire says...

      Also: Billy Collins

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i LOVE billy collins. the lanyard, be still my heart.

  62. Ceridwen says...

    ….and I think we need A Cup of Jo book club! Anyone up for it?!

  63. Ceridwen says...

    I love An American Marriage. The Immortalist by Chloe Benjamin is great too and had me thinking about the characters and their choices for a long time afterwards.

  64. Kate says...

    I live in Cleveland, and everyone here is buzzing about Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It takes place in an idyllic suburb of Cleveland, Shaker Heights. But apparently people everywhere are buzzing about it too, because it’s a NYT best seller, and Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are making a mini series based on the book.
    We talked about it last week at my book club, and we had riveting, contentious discussion about issues like mental health, poverty, cross-cultural adoption, and more, all from a dramatic novel. I loved it!

    • Jessica says...

      Hands down, one of the best novels I’ve read in some time. Couldn’t put it down. Now I’m about a chapter from the end of Ng’s first book, Everything I Never Told You. Also great!

    • dippythediplodocus says...

      I was fairly neutral on it. I think I’m about the same age as the characters and it was a bit too close to home for me.

    • Johanna says...

      I’m just reading it and about halfway through – I’m from Germany so a long way from Cleveland, but the themes are just so universal and her writing so on Point. I also loved “Everything I never told you”.

  65. Joanna, I think you would LOVE And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell! It’s a memoir about a woman getting accidentally pregnant in her late 20s and processing all that comes with pregnancy and infancy! It’s so smart and funny and reflective!

  66. Kristen says...

    I’ve recently read Ginny Moon, The Book of Polly, and Lucky Boy… and LOVED them all. :)

  67. Alison says...

    Would CoJ be open to a goodreads book club? I would love to have a monthly book to read along with Caroline!

    Also, to the other readers setting book goals for the year, goodreads is the best way I’ve found to track my want to reads (so there’s always something in the cue) and easily set my goal for the year. Working on 60 books this year and am already through 18 of them… would love to link up with other people for support!

    • Christina says...

      Yes!

    • Alice says...

      Yes!

    • Katherine says...

      Yes! Definitely! Love goodreads, it’s really helpful and a gentle motivator.

    • Tara Bee! says...

      YAS!!!

    • Nancey says...

      I would love it! how do we all find each other? I am Nancey Carroll on there and always looking for friends on Goodreads.

  68. Kamisha Sullivan says...

    Just finished An American Marriage.
    Oh my gosh it was emotional and well written.
    I couldn’t put it down!

    May have to check out these other recommendations.
    Kamisha

  69. Camila says...

    Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday — a 2018 must!

  70. Jillian says...

    I’ve just finished Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett – a fictional memoir of a British singer/songwriter from her early fame in the 1960s to present. Beautifully written, with an album by Kathryn Williams to accompany the book. I couldn’t put it down…

  71. K says...

    My town must have COJ readers. My library has them all checked out. :)

  72. Abesha1 says...

    Futureface, by Alex Wagner. Waiting for my library copy….

    • Lee says...

      This sounds like a really interesting read, I heard the author being interviewed on NPR and was immediately in.

  73. Alice says...

    The masses cried for a book round up from Caroline, and COJ delivered!!! So delighted. That’s my spring/summer sorted.

    My favourite recent reads are:

    The Power by Naomi Alderman
    An intriguing story that gathers pace and rollercoasters on into something totally compelling.

    I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrel
    A thought provoking list of near-death experiences that is much more about life than death, in the same way that Sum by David Eagleman is. Maggie O’Farrel lives in the same city as I do and I sat near her in a restaurant a week after finishing but only realised once she was leaving. Gutted I didn’t say how much I’d loved her deeply personal book.

    • Sia says...

      The Power was SO INTENSE. I cringed throughout but have loved reflecting on it afterward and find that it keeps coming up in conversation. Thanks, Obama. ;)

  74. JO says...

    So happy to see something new by Curtis Sittenfeld! So, this is embarrassing, but I’ve read each of her previous books, each time thinking, “How is this possible…. it’s like this male author crawled right into a female brain and is speaking to my soul!” Totally, stupidly, assumed Curtis was a man’s name and never bothered to look into it. Can’t wait to read HER new book!

  75. Tara says...

    My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent, is gripping, harrowing, and haunting. I couldn’t put it down and I can’t stop thinking about it more than a month later.

    • Ali says...

      OMG this book. It is just heart-wrenching. I read it months ago and also can’t stop thinking about it.

  76. Denise says...

    Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika has been my favorite read so far this year, followed closely by Borne by Jeff Vandermeer and State of Wonder by Anne Patchett. Or maybe put Borne first. It is amazing. Currently I’m reading Astoria by Peter Stark, and finding it fascinating especially since I am well familiar with the terrain these expeditions covered.
    I can’t wait to read Circe!
    Love these book posts as I’m always looking for new reading ideas.

  77. Veronica says...

    I just bought the new Sloane Crosley! It’s so brilliantly funny. I died.

  78. Joaquina says...

    Anything by Tana French!

    • Seconded, always

    • Lizzie says...

      I just finished In The Woods and have The Likeness on my bedside table, ready to go…I can’t wait!

    • Quinn says...

      Reading The Trespasser right now! So good!

    • Nancey says...

      Just finished The Trespasser, loved loved loved it!

  79. Karen says...

    I love your book posts! I always look forward to your suggestions.

  80. Nicole says...

    The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea. I finished it a few weeks ago, and I’m still thinking about it- SO good. In fact, I may reread it….

  81. Susan says...

    I just finished Pachinko and loved it! It’s the April book club book for Girls Night In, which you should all sign up for if you haven’t already. It’s a weekly newsletter sent every Friday with great articles, recipes, self-care tips, and a book club that meets in a bunch of cities.
    http://girlsnightinclub.com?ref=Q3NjZk1FUXU=

    • My shop in San Francisco is hosting a Pachinko cook club with Girls’ Night in this Monday. So excited! https://m.facebook.com/events/418774915213834?acontext=%7B“ref”%3A”3″%2C”action_history”%3A”null”%7D&aref=3&ref=m_notif&notif_t=aymt_promote_event_post_tip

  82. Sarah says...

    Recently loved Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Educated by Tara Westover. Currently listening to Big Little Lies and it’s great! If you’re looking to venture into a new genre, Hondo by Louis L’Amour is excellent. Much better than the movie.
    I’ll be reading The Female Persuasion next for my book group. Glad to hear so many recommend it!

  83. Simone says...

    Ok we need one of these posts every quarter 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Thank you!!

    • Suzanne says...

      Agreed!! I always love the recommendations for books from CoJ!!

  84. Kaylei says...

    Just seeing the spine of ‘Girls Burn Brighter’ in the above image made me get goosebumps. I read it in one evening, and am still haunted by it months later. One of the better reads I’ve had in a very long time.

    • Carrington says...

      That book has been haunting me too! I do not know anyone else who has read it and I am glad I am not alone in this regard!

  85. Rachel says...

    I just finished Educated by Tara Westover and it was incredible! Could NOT put it down for anything. This woman had the most surreal life and to follow her navigating it was so inspiring.

    • I just listened to her Fresh Air interview!

  86. Jenn says...

    My favorite fiction and memoir reads over the past several months are:
    -The Female Persuasion
    -Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan
    -Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan
    -The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
    -The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah
    -The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien

    Also enjoying and getting inspired by the nonfiction book The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie.

  87. Cadence says...

    What a small world, Caroline! I photographed Sally for her author’s bio photos–she’s delightful. Definitely filing this list away for book club suggestions this summer!

    • Cadence, did you take the author pic? I’m almost done the book, and actually thought out loud “Man, that is one great author photo!” Isn’t that amazing?

  88. I just finished Jane Eyre and it was the BEST BOOK I ever read!!

    • Abesha1 says...

      Now, try The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

    • Julie says...

      I read it a few years ago, and I was surprised at how much I liked it. I don’t usually read “older” books. I’m so glad I did!

    • I love it too! That was the last fiction book I read; now I’m reading Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry, which is lovely.

  89. Meg says...

    The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed – powerful, timely, frustrating and encouraging.

  90. Maire says...

    Definitely want to check out your friend Sally’s book as well as the new Curtis Sittenfeld.

    I am currently reading Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. It is a YA book set in a timeline where Civil War soldiers rise from the dead at Gettysburg and the main character is a badass girl who is being trained as a “shambler” slayer. Full disclosure, this is absolutely not my usual fare, but I do like that it feels like historical fiction even though it has the sci-fi bent, the cover art is stunning, and I think it is important to both a) read diversely and b) support authors who are POC. I’d recommend giving it a read for sure!
    I also just finished the newest Christina Lauren- Love and Other Words and it both delighted and devastated me with how fantastic it was. I am devastated because I will never be able to recreate the feelings of reading/experiencing it for the first time. It is a must read for romance fans!

  91. Jeanine says...

    I just finished Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and I can’t imagine reading another book ever again. It completely undid me – with regards to the fundamental art of telling a story, it is, essentially, perfect. I don’t ever remember crying at the end of a book for the simple reason of there being no more pages to read.

    • Anya says...

      I read Pachinko too.. oh, it was so sad. and my heart broke so much for the brokenness the characters experienced, but the writing was so good.

  92. Laura says...

    loved american marriage! i wouldn’t say it was completely engrossing, but more thought-provoking. the writing was great and it had many quotes i noted down.

  93. Lisa says...

    I’m re-reading Beloved by Toni Morrison (I don’t know how many times I’ve read it now), but this is the first time I’ve read it since becoming a mother and it’s a whole other book now, because I’m a whole other person. That’s the great thing about an amazing novel, you can read it over and over again and get something new out of it.
    Because of the above motherhood I’m not reading as much as I used to, but one day I will also get around to Charlotte by David Foenkinos which has just been translated from French into English. I’ve read the French version but I don’t think I got everything (my French isn’t that great), but what I did was amazing. It’s a biography – she was a Jewish artist in Germany in the 1930s who fled to France. It’s written in poetry form and is just beautiful (though tragic) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charlotte-David-Foenkinos/dp/1782117946

  94. amy says...

    Thanks for the recommendations! On my list to read: Tangerine, Conversations with Friends and A Higher Truth.

    Just finished White Houses by Amy Bloom. Loved American Marriage, Behold the Dreamers and Alternate Sides by Anna Quindlen (I love everything she writes!).

  95. Emily says...

    Has anyone read Educated NY Tara Westover? It’s an incredible memoir about a girl raised by a survivalist family in rural ID who steps foot in a formal classroom for the first time at age 17, but hopes on yo get a PhD from Cambridge. It’s about so much more than that too:). Couldn’t put it down, can’t stop thinking about it.

    • Emily says...

      Sorry – the Title is Educated and it’s BY Tara Westover. Typo.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      my friend linsey is LOVING that book, she has been raving about it.

    • Sarah says...

      It’s sooooo good! Fascinating.

    • Sonia says...

      Yes!! I really enjoyed it. It wound it’s way into my dreams a few times which is a true testament to her great writing.

    • Heather says...

      Yes! Just finished it. It was incredible and so surreal.

  96. Lucy says...

    Highly recommend The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin. Historical fiction about early Hollywood, focused on Mary Pickford (actress, producer, powerhouse) and Frances Marion (screenwriter, primarily).

  97. Lisa R says...

    I am reading “A Year of No Sugar” by Eve Schaub and it’s fantastic!

    • Abesha1 says...

      I liked the idea, and the research, but then she started adding “good” sugars in place of “bad” sugars and it was no longer “no” sugar, and she lost me.

  98. Laura says...

    One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline (not new, but new to me)
    Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
    Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (I love everything she’s written)

  99. RB says...

    Couldn’t put down recently:
    – Behold the Dreamers (sad, powerful novel about immigration and the 2008 recession)
    – The Great Alone (intense, beautifully written novel about a girl growing up in Alaska)
    – You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (Sherman Alexie’s memoir)
    – Crazy Rich Asians (super fun beach read, can’t wait for the movie)

    Currently reading:
    – An American Marriage (so far it’s good – very sad, but hasn’t quite pulled me in)
    – Frankenstein (a classic I’ve never read – it holds up!)

    • Grace says...

      i LOVED Behold the Dreamers…such an interesting perspective of the financial crash.

    • Denise says...

      O Frankenstein is so good. I re-read it regularly. Mary Shelley was amazing.

    • Amanda says...

      I agree — Frankenstein holds up. I’ve only read it once, but I’ve seen the San Francisco Ballet’s production of Frankenstein twice — and cried each time! The story is just so poignant. Now I’m waiting for a copy of In Search of Mary Shelley to become available at the library.

    • Christina says...

      Also loved Behold the Dreamers!

    • Ana says...

      The Crazy Rich Asians trilogy makes me soooo hungry. :)

    • Erin D LaDue says...

      good list. I loved Behold the dreamers too

  100. Sarah says...

    I read both of Celeste Ng’s books: Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You. Both great. Also, The Gunners is a fun one for people wanting a quick page turner. And American Marriage was one of my favorites–beautiful and heartbreaking. I loved it and it reminded me of one of my favorite books growing up Dear Mr. Henshaw!

  101. Lucy in England says...

    Ahhh these look great!

    I’m doing a 52 new books this year reading challenge so will add these to the list.

    If you enjoyed Circe May I suggest Emily Wilson’s amazing translation of the Odyssey. Her Twitter feed is packed with fascinating insights into how she went about that gargantuan task.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, lucy, that’s an awesome goal!

    • Lucy in England says...

      Also Children of Blood and Bone is electrifying. Beautiful poignant and searing. Go buy it!

    • I second Wilson’s Odyssey! I’m devouring her translation right now.

  102. These all sound captivating and thought provoking – thank you, I’m on the library waitlist! I’m currently reading Ministry of Utmost Happiness and really enjoy it. xAllie
    http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

  103. Kara McElroy says...

    The Female Persuasion is excellent! I’m about halfway through. It’s one of those books where you want to keep reading to see how everything will unfold but don’t want to read too fast because that will mean it’s almost over. It’s delightful.

  104. Steph says...

    Just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman in the past 24 hours. Great build of a novel- I couldn’t put it down!

    • Talia says...

      Loved this book!

    • A says...

      Absolutely loved this one! The characters stayed with me loooong after I finished the book.

    • Amanda says...

      Agreed! I was gifted it for my birthday and thoroughly enjoyed Eleanor.

    • Jessica says...

      Adored this book! My favorite novel I read last year. I didn’t want it to end.

    • Nichole says...

      I really liked this book! Eleanor has stuck with me!

    • Sarah-Jane says...

      I loved this novel! I’m currently going through a phase of not reading much as I would like, but once I started reading this, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and had to read just one more chapter each night.

      I’ve just given my copy to my Mum this morning. I hope she loves it just as much.

  105. Lucy says...

    In the age of buying everything on Kindle, I’ve recently discovered a new guilty pleasure: borrowing books from the library. I put more popular, current novels on hold and while I’m waiting on them to become available, I’ll go to the library every few weeks and peruse the shelves for books I’ve had on my Amazon wish list for ages. Whether during my lunch break, or sneaking away from the kids for 30 minutes on the weekend, it’s become a routine to look forward to. Not to mention that it saves a lot of money!

    Currently on loan: Salvage the Bones (very moving), Girl in Translation, The Underground Railroad, and 4321. And I recently inhaled Call Me By Your Name in two days after watching (and being swept away by) the moving. The last pages of that book are among the most beautiful and true I’ve ever read.

    • Steph says...

      I love this too! Most libraries have audio and ebook copies you can borrow to your smartphone or kindle through a free app called Overdrive.

    • Heather says...

      Agreed! I LOVE the library!

      Some of my recent favorites:
      Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance – Ruth Emmie Lang
      Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
      This is How it Always is – Laurie Frankel

      Just started reading The Female Persuasion and am liking it so far!

    • Samantha says...

      Kindle Unlimited has a TON of really great books for free with a Prime account!! AND you can have 10 books out “on loan” at a time!

    • I love being able to get my library books on my Kindle. I have three on it right now, with so many on hold or in my wish list.

    • Lisa says...

      I LOVE going to the library, and it means you save money, save space and use a local resource. In the U.K. they’ve been under threat as the government wants to cut them to save money, but the one in our area is so key to the community. They do all sorts, including lots of childrens’ activities, author readings and your regular book lending.

    • Julia says...

      I download all of my books from the library to my Kindle too!
      My tips are to see if your library uses more than one service. Mine uses three: Hoopla, Overdrive, and RBDigital. Each has different audio and ebooks available. Sometimes there is a waitlist on one service but not another.
      Also, after downloading a book, you can turn off the Wifi on your Kindle. When you’re done with a book, turn Wifi back on to sync and start a new book. This gives you unlimited time to read a book which is helpful for longer ones (I’m reading A Little Life right now.)

    • Sonia says...

      YAY! As a librarian, this thread warms my heart :)

    • Jessica says...

      Another librarian here to say yay!

    • Aidel.K says...

      I, too, recently started going back to the library. I put the newer books on hold, and check out those that are available. I try to alternate my junky-romance-novel habit with something a little more intellectual. I recently finished The Mayflower: The Families, The Voyage and The Founding of America by Rebecca Fraser (daughter of Antonia Fraser). It was fascinating, and I learned a lot! I’m currently reading Bess of Hardwick by Mary S. Lovell. It’s another meticulously researched historical novel. Bess’s life is amazing. She is friendly with Queen Elizabeth the first, and along with her husband oversees the captivity of Mary Queen of Scots. I’m loving it, but it’s back to something more lighthearted next.

    • Nichole says...

      Currently reading Call Me By Your Name and cannot put it down! The movie was beautiful and the book is always better!

  106. Julie says...

    Way to go with a Judy Blume reference. :D

  107. Tiffany says...

    Fantastic roundup!

  108. Lori says...

    I’m about to start The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller… then on to Circe!
    Others I’ve loved recently: The Hazel Wood, Shadowsong, Idaho, An Enchantment of Ravens (all fantasy & women authors!)

    • Sonia says...

      So jealous that you’re just starting The Song of Achilles!! It’s SO wonderful. I’m only about 5 pages into Circe and already wanting to go slowly and savor it. She’s such an amazing writer.

  109. justine says...

    The Power by Naomi Alderman was a smart, fun read with great pace. I think I learned about it on this blog? It’s a great “feminist” read, in keeping with the theme here. I read Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings years ago and I loved it. I will definitely pick up her new one. Just booked two weeks off this summer to stay home and read in the backyard – so excited.

    • Marissa says...

      Seconded on “The Power” – I’m almost done with it, and I’m trying to slow myself down from finishing it because I don’t want it to end!

    • Lara says...

      Another enthusiastic vote for The Power. Had chills the entire time.

  110. Katherine says...

    Several of these were already on my radar, the others have now been added to my wishlist, thanks Caroline!

    I’m currently reading Make Trouble by Cecile Richards, who was the director of Planned Parenthood and daughter of Ann Richards, the kickass governor of Texas back in the 80s. It is a memoir that also gives inspiration for how to do something when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the current state of affairs in our country. Get out there and make trouble, ladies.

  111. APaige says...

    Hello, I am just here to comment, for all you readers of I’ll Be Gone In the Dark (Jo, I know you’re one), that I can’t believe it looks like THEY CAUGHT THE GOLDEN STATE KILLER! The report I read credited the discovery to a tip they received due to the public’s “increased interest in the case.” Increased interest due to Michelle McNamara’s book, no doubt. Literature is power!

    • Kim says...

      I was on the last chapter yesterday when the news broke! I have been obsessed. I almost emailed COJ a couple of times and then felt too dorky! Thank you for mentioning it so I could geek out here! I hope Michelle is smiling :)

    • kelsey says...

      Came here to say the same thing! Amazing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES!!!! SO AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

    • Megan says...

      Yesss! Yesterday as I went about my day I would randomly think “THEY GOT HIM!” to myself and just grin.

    • Chrissy says...

      I honestly can’t believe it- I’ve be pinching myself for the last few days- it’s just the best news ever!

  112. Jill says...

    I just opened cupofjo to search book recommendations and this was the piece published today! Magic!

  113. Heidi says...

    I’m reading a book called the Music Shop by Rachel Joyce, and I’m loving it so far. It’s like a cross between the films Notting Hill, Amelie and a little bit of HIgh Fidelity with the music store!

  114. Samantha says...

    I’m reading The Female Persuasion right now and loving it!! I’m adding the rest of these to my reading list now. You always have such great suggestions.

  115. Julie says...

    For nonfiction/memoir lovers, I have recently loved:
    1) I Am, I Am, I Am — Maggie O’Farrell
    2) In the Body of the World — Eve Ensler
    3) What Comes Next and How to Like It — Abigail Thomas

    • Anya says...

      So much yes to I Am, I Am, I Am!

      Full disclosure, I work for the publisher, but still, it is absolutely my favourite thing we’ve published in the time I’ve worked here. I did not expect to like it much, but felt obligated to read it as part of my job, and then couldn’t put it down!

    • Julie says...

      Anya, it just undid me! Even the cover is delicious. I adore books that feel as good in the hand as they are to read. Props to every person involved in the publishing process! :)

    • Sue says...

      I haven’t read I Am, I Am, I Am yet, but I’ve been a fan of Maggie O’Farrell’s novels for a long time. I especially loved her first novel, After You’d Gone, but have liked most of the others I’ve read as well. (The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox was great but very intense–one I don’t think I could read again.) I have her 2 most recent by my bed but have fallen way behind and may end up reading I Am, I Am, I Am first.

  116. I couldn’t put down ‘The Folded World’ by Amity Gaige. The writing is lyrical and beautiful, and the story really made me wonder: what the heck is going to happen? I couldn’t put down ‘The Power’ and the last sentence is my favorite sentence in any book ever. I had to put down ‘Ginny Moon’ after a day and a half of non-stop, glued-to-it reading because it was giving me an anxiety attack, but if you can handle hard stuff, the writing and pacing are both excellent. My new favorite book is ‘The Road.’ I can’t believe it took me this long to read. And ‘Tenth of December’ is jaw-dropping (literally). I sat in the bath with my mouth hanging open. Having said that, ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ didn’t do the same thing for me, but it’s definitely worth the time. Finally, I read ‘Death Comes for the Archbishop’ slowly over the winter break, one long bath at a time, and scenes from that book come to me daily and sit with me in the most soothing, loveliest way. Cather was brilliant in ways I appreciate more now than I did in my twenties. I love hearing what everyone else is reading/has read for inspiration.

  117. Amanda G says...

    Adding many of these to my list right away!

    I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and LOVED IT. I could barely put it down and finished it within a week. I don’t have any TV outside of Netflix, so I haven’t seen the HBO show, but I highly, HIGHLY recommend the book. SO GOOD.

    • Celeste says...

      You can get an HBO Go trial on Amazon, watch it and cancel.

  118. Lauren says...

    Will definitely check out the Sloane Crosley – any recommendations on other funny essay books? I love that style, David Sedaris is my favorite for that, but always looking for more recommendations!

    • Rose says...

      This is the story of a happy marriage, by Ann patchett, is not precisely funny but her essays are great.
      And priestdaddy is a memoir but it reads like hilarious essays alla Davis sedaris

    • alison says...

      Samantha Irby, Lauria Notaro, Kelly Oxford

    • Moo says...

      I just devoured Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. It’s equal parts funny, tragic, and touching. The man has come a long way!

    • Amy says...

      Bossypants by Tina Fey.

      I couldn’t read it on the subway because I’d laugh so hard it was embarrassing…

    • Charlotte says...

      Dorothy Parker is a classic. The irby is good but honestly Sloane is the best at this. Her second book is not as long and v good.

    • Nichole says...

      Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer is a beautiful set of short stories!

  119. Sara says...

    YES. Thank you. I am always at a total loss on what to read, and these descriptions are perfect for helping steer me to my next book. Love you, Caroline!

  120. I recently read Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan and really enjoyed it. It’s about a woman whose author husband goes missing and she and her daughters move to Paris to try track him down. They end up running a bookstore while trying to solve the mystery of what happened. I loved the descriptions of Paris and could empathize with both the frustrated author /disappeared husband and the independent streak in the woman who narrates the book!

    (https://www.amazon.com/Paris-Book-Novel-Liam-Callanan/dp/1101986271)

  121. Anna says...

    Just finished (and loved) the new Sloane Crosley and currently searching for my next read, so this list is perfect timing. Thanks, Caroline!

    I read “The Idiot” by Elif Batuman recently (I’m pretty sure also based upon a CoJ recommendation) and loved loved loved it. Like, I reread it almost immediately just to laugh at certain parts again. Highly recommend!

    Cheers to outdoor reading weather finally being upon us!!! (East Coaster here.)

    • AMB says...

      Totally agree, Alexandra! I noticed a few times recently (thinking of the post about romance novels) that COJ linked to non-Amazon sites for purchasing, but sadly not the case with this post. It would be wonderful to see more links to indie bookstores’ websites to increase their business and remind readers that there are other places to buy books besides Amazon–places that ensure that authors and publishers get their fair share of royalties!

    • Amanda says...

      I’m a huge library and local bookstore supporter, but my guess is that COJ uses affiliate links to make money to keep this awesome blog going. I’m not sure if smaller book retailers offer similar affiliate programs. I often click through to the Amazon links, maintain a list on there called “library” and use it as a reference point when I’m looking for more books to borrow or buy.

    • madeleine says...

      This is such an excellent point. I work in an indie bookstore, and readers like you *literally* keep us afloat. I recognize that A Cup of Jo needs to make money, but, to those who have a bookstore in their neighborhood, PLEASE take the time to drop by and pick up a book (or three!) there. We truly won’t be around for long if you don’t, and we’re so much friendlier than Amazon! :)

  122. Just went and immediately put a hold request on every one of these at my local library. I almost bought The Female Persuasion before a trip a couple of weeks ago but didn’t, and now I wish I had! Soon, so soon, I’ll know what I’ve been missing out on. :) Thanks for the recs Caroline! You’ve never let me down!