Design

What Have You Been Reading Lately?

Passing for Human by Liana Finck

Do you ever read graphic novels? I really love the experience — it almost feels like watching a movie. While reading the dialogue and text, you’ll also notice a woman’s eyes pop open in the night, or see a guy’s shoulders slump as he gets bad news. A bead of sweat on a forehead, a moon shining through a window, a zoom-in on a first kiss. It’s fascinating to read a story, while also observing it. This new one made my heart swell…

Passing for Human by Liana Finck

Passing for Human, a graphic memoir by Liana Finck, comes out today, and it’s achingly beautiful. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy a few months ago, and I’ve been sitting on my hands until I could write about it.

Finck, a New Yorker cartoonist, tells the story of her childhood, during which her mother was a frustrated architect in a male-dominated field; her father was a loving doctor wracked with guilt for having passed his mental struggles onto his daughter; and Finck dates, draws and tries to find her true self as she grows older and wiser.

Passing for Human by Liana Finck

All her life, Finck felt “weird” and wondered if there was something deeply wrong with her, and in the end, she works it out on the page. “I don’t draw because I love to draw,” she writes. “I don’t draw because I draw well. I draw because once I lost something, and by drawing, I will find it.”

What else have you been reading these days? Please share any recommendations! (I’m also still telling friends about Educated and The Terrible.)

P.S. The five best graphic novels, and a memoir I devoured.

  1. Sam says...

    I had my socks knocked off by Maggie O’Farrell’s I Am, I Am, I Am. Read it! It’s a memoir of sorts told through different episodes in her life where she almost died. This sounds more morbid than it is. It’a a brief read and very moving. Also some striking writing about motherhood.

    On a lighter note, Standard Deviation by Katherine Heany made me laugh so hard at one point that in choking it back I woke my husband up. He thought I was sobbing. I actually bit the duvet trying to bottle up the laughter. That’s a first.

  2. Natalie Cross says...

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it, but I highly recommend This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. It’s a young adult graphic novel that appeals to all ages and was the “most contested” (banned) book of 2016. I didn’t find it controversial, but it also brought me back to a time of slow aimless summers plagued with desperate curiosity for teenage experiences with striking imagery.

  3. Deborah says...

    I’ve been enjoying the detective novels (set in Quebec) by Louise Penny. Also, when I need book recommendations, apart from looking on this blog (which is so great), I check out the Modern Mrs Darcy blog (https://modernmrsdarcy.com) – she’s an author and runs a bookshop, so basically has my dream life! Happy reading everyone – Autumn is the perfect season for hunkering down with a great book. Xx

  4. I’m a big reader but graphic novels don’t hold my interest. Two books I’ve enjoyed lately: Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. Sci-fi, dystopian fiction..there’s 4. I’m only on one but I read it one night. I’m also reading Alternative Side by Anna Quindlen. I’m about half way through it and I love it. It’s well written, some of the lines have made me lol and it’s a love letter to NYC. I hope it ends as well as it began.

  5. Like Susan Todd, I finished The Great Believers and it was one of my favorites! It touched on so many subjects: art, history, the “80’s, LGBTQ lifestyle, family and friends. This book touched my heart.
    I started reading The Fruit of the Drunken Tree, but veer off to Just Kids by Patty Smith and can barely put it down. I think I like Patty Smith’s prose more than her songs…
    Next, though, The Fruit of the Drunken Tree.
    A huge shout out to WW2 history buffs, Beneath the Scarlet Sky. An all time tear jerking favorite, for sure!

    • Shira says...

      Fruit of the Drunken Tree is one of the best books I’ve read this year!

  6. Layne E Dettor says...

    One of my absolute favorite teachers was the husband of Rob Hiaasen, one of the victims of the Capital Gazette murder. He had written a book called Float Plan and his wife, Maria has had it published. I haven’t read it quite yet but I’m sure it’s just as he was.

  7. Susan Todd says...

    Just finished (and loved) The Great Believers. It will hit my top 10 list of favorites for 2018, for sure. Now reading Fruit of the Drunken Tree, which is pretty spectacular also. It’s been a great year for readers.

  8. Rosie says...

    Just finished Bad Blood (the story behind Theranos/Elizabeth Holmes) and am now reading Less. The two books couldn’t be more different. Jury is still out on Less but Bad Blood is a fascinating read and a page turner. No chem/bio background required.

  9. annie says...

    i just bought ‘dept. of speculation’ by jenny offill because after i read it once from the library, i wanted it around so i could reach for it whenever. she is so quietly brilliant in her thoughtful words and whispered paragraphs.

    love graphic novels. they are able to tell disturbing stories in a way that invites such empathy. this post makes me realize it’s been wayyy too long since i’ve read a graphic novel…! must fix that v. soon

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh i love dept of speculation so so much. so beautiful, and beautifully structured.

  10. Kim says...

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned the graphic novel Sabrina by Nick Drnaso. A story about a missing women told through the eyes of her boyfriend’s friend. It got a lot of buzz for being long-listed for the Man Booker prize (if you care about that). It’s just plain absorbing.

  11. Melissa says...

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond

    I was wandering around the library one day and out of the corner of my eye I saw this book cover with a cup of coffee drawn on it. It was on the edge of the Young Adult/Graphic Novel section, a section I wouldn’t normally go to, but the cover was interesting that I just had to go pick it up.

    Reading the back cover I thought, this is not for kids! The description on the back read: A FAST-PACED SEMI-MEMOIR ABOUT DINERS, DRUGS, AND CALIFORNIA IN THE 1970S.

    I opened it up. I loved the drawings. It’s how I’ve always wanted to draw. The only colour was shades of teal, my favourite colour. I love coffee and had just started working in a coffee shop.

    I signed the book out and devoured it over a few short days. It was funny and interesting and surprising and sad. It was beautiful. I loved it!

  12. Jo says...

    I just finished “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer and let me just say: I immediately downloaded two more of his books to my kindle. It was that good! Such a well-told tale of an ageing writer who’s not quite sure what to make of his life thus far. Absolutely loved it!

  13. Meghan says...

    I’m reading “I Should Have Honor” by Khalida Brohi. She and her husband David, who I went to high school with, opened up The Chai Spot in Sedona, AZ a few years ago as a way of sharing the tradition that brought their families together with the world and raising money to send Pakistani girls to school. They are opening another location in NYC any day now. Khalida’s book chronicles her family’s history in Pakistan and the honor killing of her cousin, which led to her activism and work to educate women and nd honor killings. Her family history is heartbreaking and incredible and it is so amazing to read about such unbelievable cultural beliefs that seem so far removed from our lives here in America.

  14. Gilli says...

    We Were the Lucky Ones: A Novel was based on the authors family story and hauntingly similar to
    my grandparents journey during the the Holocaust. I highly recommend this book!

    • Megan says...

      YES!!! Loved this one. Probably my favourite book I read last year!

    • KT says...

      I really enjoyed this book too!

  15. I recently finished Behold the Dreamers and it was fantastic. An immigrant family from Cameroon experiences life in New York City working for a well to-do white American family. The book takes you through the journey of both families. So beautifully done.

    • I read that book last year and one of my favorite books. I didn’t listen to it but my mom and grandma did and they loved the narration.

  16. Evie says...

    My brain somehow dubs all graphic novels I read in the voice of Ira Glass. Don’t know why, but it does.

    Also, I just finished reading “Why we sleep” by Matthew Walker. I am a changed person because of it.

  17. Sarah says...

    Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman were both excellent!

    • Eloise says...

      I’m reading – and enjoying – Beartown now!

  18. Elizabeth Eichhorn says...

    My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent gutted me in the best way. NPR was spot on with its assessment of the book–“difficult to read and impossible to put down.” One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.

    • sara says...

      I almost had to stop reading it halfway through- I didn’t, but I still can’t decided if I actually liked it!

    • Emily says...

      That book is still haunting me.

  19. Sarah Christine says...

    A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is so, so beautiful!! Joanna, you would love it. It’s the story of a family and particularly a mother and father’s love for their children. It made me understand so much more fully what it means to parent. I wanted to squeeze it every night I set it down.

    “But I did fight. I tried to leave every human I have interacted with better than or the same as when I encountered them….It was the way I wanted to move through the world….That was my fight: to continue to do little things for people around me, so no one would find fault in my demeanor and misattribute it to my religion.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this sounds incredible. going to the library tonight :)

  20. I know you’ve written about it before, but Persepolis is one of my favorites!

    I just finished Kevin Kwan’s China Rich Girlfriend, the second book in the Crazy Rich Asians series, and I am now starting on The Geography of Genius by Eric Weiner. I read his The Geography of Bliss a few years ago and loved it.

  21. Tori says...

    The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It is fantastic!

  22. Fran says...

    I am currently reading The Hunting Accident, a fascinating graphic novel set in Chicago. I loved using Maus in the high school classroom for years – such a different way to get readers to really look closely at what is happening. Other than graphic novels, I am reading Calypso by David Sedaris now. Always seem to have a few books in rotation! And I always add to my list when I read about book recommendations here!

  23. Jenny says...

    I’ve been reading two very different non-fiction books concurrently:

    – The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, by Philip Carlo (the book name says it all). I’m not a huge fan of the writing but, being a murderino, I’m enjoying the story.

    – The Unfinished Palazzo: Life, Love, and Art in Venice, by Judith Mackrell. The story of the occupancy of the Palazzo Venier in Venice by Luisa Casati, Doris Castlerosse, and Peggy Guggenheim, respectively. Compelling women in compelling times in the 20th century, against the stunning backdrop of Venice.

  24. Deepti says...

    And the mountains Echoed & Kite Runner BY Khalid hosseini ..Very nice books to read and Loved them both.

  25. The Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman is my fave intl graphic novel. I am from the Philippines and theres this graphic novel called Mythology Class that I really really love!

    I need to go back reading graphic novels but its so pricey! Well above my reading budget.

  26. Mariele says...

    I picked up Burial Rites by Hannah Kent on the clearance rack on vacation and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s set in 1800s Iceland and follows a woman convicted of murder as she awaits her sentence. It’s beautiful and brutal – I’ve been dragging out the last 20 pages because I don’t want it to end.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Yes, Burial Rites is amazing. So haunting and atmospheric.

    • Tricia M says...

      She has written another one,” The Good People” . Burial Rites is a haunting story, quite bleak: dark and desperately sad.

    • NR says...

      Yes! Such an underrated novel.

    • Kirstin says...

      It is a wonderful novel; she also wrote the good People – which is good though not quite on the same level as Burial Rites. If you loved Burial Rites, take a look at The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson, it also tells the true story of a witchcraft trial. Both novels are compelling reads. It becomes such a painful read when you understand that the author is committed to truth and not solely their imagination. Despite this – did you find you read with hope, that somehow Hannah Kent would be able to subvert historical accuracy?

  27. Tess Williams says...

    This looks lovely- can’t wait to read! Lucy Knisley is my absolute favorite graphic novelist- she has a book out about getting married/planning a wedding called Something New that I give all recently-engaged friends! She’s coming out with one about having her first baby that I can’t wait for!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i loved french milk!

  28. Pru says...

    Beneath a Scarlet Sky remains the best book I have read in years. I highly recommend it to everyone.

  29. Kristen says...

    Recently started I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, which isn’t exactly ideal to read right before bed, but is so horrifyingly intriguing that I do anyway.

    • alison says...

      I read that one a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t go to the bathroom in the middle of the night I was so freaked out!

  30. Marissa says...

    I just finished The Heads of the Colored People which was an excellent short story collection. Also read Don’t You Ever, a heartbreaking memoir. And just read On Chesil Beach over the weekend (such beautifully precise interior monologues! So tragic!) that has me wanting to read Atonement.

  31. Gretchen says...

    One of the many things that I love about being an English teacher is that it pushes me to make reading time in my personal life. If I am going to foster a love for reading in my students, then I need to be modeling that in my daily life. It has also made me a huge fan of YA novels. Here are some of my favorite YA novels:

    1. Paper Towns, by John Green. –It is suspenseful It is filled with amazing literary allusions, and the ending feels perfect.
    2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe , by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. –The characters are so wonderful. I love the so so much!
    3. We are Okay, by Nina La Cour. — The phrase heart achingly beautiful may be overused, but it applies perfectly to this book. I want to reread it just writing about it.

  32. Isabelle says...

    Anyone who is a fan of graphic novels should read The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman. They are incredible graphic novels — the level of artistry and storytelling is really amazing. I also love the two Persepolis graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi. Completely different style – very stark and sparse. But so beautiful. Thanks for these recommendations, I will check them out!

  33. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is one of my favourite graphic novels. Also Mouse Guard – especially if you’ll be reading with kids

  34. I just can’t get into graphic novels, but my son loves them.

    Some great things I’ve read lately: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, Foe by Iain Reid, and The Wildlands by Abby Geni

    • Gina Dwyer says...

      Foes was such a cool, unique, strange little book to read – really liked that one!

  35. Bec says...

    I have just devoured the first two books by Australian author Sunni Overend- The Dangers of Truffle Hunting, and The Rules of Backyard Croquet. Both great, fun, easy to read books with absolutely beautiful covers :)

  36. I have actually read some great graphic novels lately such as ‘Arab of the Future’ volumes 1 to 3 by Riad Sattouf. And of course, the great series by Pénélope Bagieu ‘Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World’ which I highly recommend!
    Apart from that I just finished reading ‘Lullaby’ by Leila Slimani which is a brilliant novel but also quite unsettling. I usually pass on my books after reading them but I am keeping this one as I am sure I will be rereading it.

    • Laura says...

      I love Arab of the Future!! Such a funny and interesting series. Thanks for the reminder about part 3, it’s just been added to my christmas list!

  37. johanna says...

    My favourite book of the year has been ‘Conversations with Friends’ – I don’t love the title, nor do I like the UK cover, but it was recommended to me in two separate book shops so I thought I’d give it a go. I can’t even pinpoint just why I love it so much, I think the author’s writing just touched me in the most delicate way.

    • MCF says...

      Ha! I had exactly the same thoughts about Conversations with Friends. Such a boring title, and I agree, the UK cover isn’t great, though they cropped it here in the US and I think it’s an improvement. I often thought Sally Rooney overdid it on the minimalist prose to the point where it came off as flat and affectless, but nevertheless I haven’t gotten the book out of my mind since I read it months ago. And now I’m looking forward to her next one, Normal People. (Not out in the US till April, I think, and again, what a bad title!) In the end I suppose I like spending time with such a sharp observer of human thought, behavior, and relationships. She reminds me of a younger Rachel Cusk, whom I highly recommend if you haven’t read her yet.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Hmmm. I couldn’t get into Conversations with Friends when I picked it up last year. But after enjoying Normal People (which is getting lots of well-deserved hype in the UK), I’m tempted to try again. True, Rooney is a great observer of human thought, behaviour, emotions and relationships.

    • Jen says...

      I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this book for a while. I found it enchanting and finished it in a day. It seems a little divisive reading online reviews, but I think the narrator was strangely relatable and funny–I can’t wait to read Normal People.

  38. Nigerian Girl says...

    Lately I’ve read and enjoyed:
    – Kindred by Octavia Butler (Highly recommended)
    – The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
    – The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
    – Lullaby by Leila Slimani
    – Normal People by Sally Rooney (10/10 on emotional acuity)

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Forgot to add The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Stunning.

  39. I’ve just finished Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney – and it is an incredible debut novel. Her dialogue is amazing! Also she was born in 1991 which makes me feel ANCIENT. I was in awe of it.

  40. Emily says...

    I’ve only been reading books by women authors this year. So far, I’ve loved them all but particularly “The Idiot” by Elif Batuman. She so perfectly describes, with great humor, the experience of being a young college student. I could read it all over again!

    • Anna says...

      Emily, I LOVED “The Idiot” and re-read it whenever I don’t have a new book to read! I’ve been looking for a novel with a similar tone and sense of humor.

  41. Please read the incredible graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (http://artofcharliechan.com/) which won a bumper crop of Eisners a couple years ago. Its creator Sonny Liew has crafted a beautifully drawn, epic historical tale about Singapore – my tiny home country that’s been the spotlight quite a bit recently, what with the Trump-Kim Summit and Crazy Rich Asians – and I’d love to see more people reading an exceptionally nuanced and incisive take on our idiosyncratic city-state.

  42. alycia says...

    Two excellent books, both memoirs, I read this year were by the same author: “Mumbai New York Scranton” and “Arbitrary Stupid Goal” by Tamara Shopsin. The former follows several months and various travels (and life-changing tribulations) in Mara’s life, and the latter one covers everything from the history of Greenwich Village, her family’s well-known NY restaurant, crossword puzzles, an incredibly interesting family friend’s life, and more. I wish I were better at describing things, but suffice to say I would highly recommend both to anyone who loves unique memoirs.

  43. Nadine Hughey says...

    Good thing I’m going to the gym again, where I can read on the elliptical for an hour! I’ve added five books to my library list tonight – three were suggested here in 2016. I’m right about midway thru A Little Life & getting itchy to know what’s next in the story, for real.

    • Sarah says...

      I’ve read about two dozen memoirs this year and this was the stand-out, best one by far. I devoured it. 10/10!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!! i read it on a trip and couldn’t WAIT to climb into bed every night. i love love loved it.

    • Veronica says...

      Just finished it. Wow. Might be the best book I’ve read yet.

  44. AnneL says...

    My daughter’s in the hospital so I don’t have the attention span for something tougher but I just discovered that Craig Rice’s “Malone” series has been reissued for Kindle. Wisecracking, rye drinking, amateur detectives running amok through early 1930’s Chicago (think The Thin Man movies) -exactly what I needed to pass the time and take my mind off of things.

    • Tricia M says...

      She has written another one,” The Good People” . Burial Rites is such an atmospheric read, quite bleak: dark and desperately sad.

    • Sarah says...

      My daughter was in the hospital for a long time as well. I passed the time listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast on headphones. Anything to distract. I’m thinking of you both!

    • Marie says...

      I’m sorry that your daughter is in the hospital. I hope she gets better soon.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      annel, i’m so sorry your daughter is in the hospital. she must be so happy to have you there. i’ll be thinking of you both xoxo

  45. Laura S. says...

    I just finished the hilarious novel “Fitness Junkie” by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, which pokes fun at the ridiculous “wellness” scene in NYC. The scene is which the protagonist and her hippie love interest go dumpster-diving in the LES Whole Foods’ dumpsters for dinner ingredients had be LOLing. I think you would get a kick out of this!

  46. Susan says...

    For a great graphic novel experience, I highly recommend the “Arab of the Future” series by Riad Satouf!! There are 3 books so far, and they go by in a flash!

  47. Ceciel says...

    An American Marriage. Such a thoughtful page turner.

  48. Christina says...

    Just stumbled across ‘Salt’ by Nayyirah Waheed. I have not read much poetry, but her short poems are so powerful and resonate with me (and I think would resonate with many of the other reads of this blog). Highly recommend reading and/or at least looking up some of her poems.

  49. Molly says...

    I’m reading Crazy Rich Asians now but my favorite newer book is And Now We Have Everything (such a good motherhood book). I also liked The Perfect Mother (a thriller set in your neck of the woods)! Tomorrow Will Be Different was also great and made me want to be more politically active. But I also cried a lot reading it. I haven’t cried that much since The Bright Hour. 😭😭😭

  50. Francesca says...

    Tin Man and The Heart’s Invisible Furies – achingly beautiful. American Marriage I loved. And Pachinko. The Nightingale. The Tatooist of Auschwitz. The Trauma Cleaner is a fascinating memoir. The Break, you won’t be able to put down. Great holiday read. I could go on. Oh if you like crime, anything by Anne Cleeves is stunning.

  51. Jen says...

    I just finished The Mars Room and loved it. It’s about a woman’s experience in a California prison and filled with flashbacks of her previous life in San Francisco. I didn’t think the subject matter would really interest me but the writing was amazing and beautiful and I couldn’t put it down!

  52. Jess says...

    I recently stumbled upon a list compiled by TIME magazine of the best young adult novels, and have been working my way through the list. Many of the titles are familiar, but some are new to me. Either way, it’s been a nice step away from adult literature. When I started reading I thought it would be an easy list, but in many ways these books are incredibly challenging because these brilliant writers and observers of the world have brought so much of the gravity of adult issues into the plots without compromising the innocence of a child’s view and experience. It’s been a wonderfully refreshing filter through which to see issues anew.

  53. jenn says...

    i have a hard time with graphic novels (been semi-trying to make progress on The Watchmen for like two years, lol). i guess it’s just not a medium i’m accustomed to. the novel i’m reading right now is Sweetbitter, and it’s fantastic. i think i just prefer to make up the visuals in my own head or something?

  54. I’ve just finished re reading ‘La Difference Invisible’, an amazing graphic novel by Julie Dachez, about a woman who knows she is different but can’t quite figure out what it is….until she receives an autism diagnosis and is delighted- it’s one of the most positive books about autism, as well as an illuminating look at why girls and women often remain undiagnosed for years Asmara they present so differently to boys- the only catch is that it’s in french, however the author is hoping to bring out an English translation soon.

  55. Janine says...

    This new mom is reading and re-reading The Nursing Mother’s Companion, based on your recommendation. I cannot thank you enough! This book has been an incredible manual on the mechanics of breastfeeding and such a practical troubleshooting guide.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad, janine! congratulations on your new little one :)

  56. There are no graphic novels on my ‘recently read’ list but I did read Khaled Hosseini’s beautifully illustrated poem, ‘Sea Prayer’ https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/sea-prayer-9781526602718/

    I’ve also enjoyed Simon Mawer’s ‘Prague Spring’, ‘Neon in Daylight’ by Hermione Hoby and ‘Standing at the Edge’ by Joan Halifax.

    • Tina, NYC says...

      Thank you Amy!

      After reading short samples I just requested all your recommendations on my Overdrive app from our local library.

      These are quite different from what I have been reading and I can’t wait to dive into them. You have great taste in books. :)

      Right now I am reading two historical books to better understand the origins of the incredible strife, discord and injustice I see in our own country and abroad.

      Barracoon, the story of the last African Cargo as told by noted African American anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston’s 1927 extensive interviews with the last survivor of the cross Altlantic slave trade. It never found a publisher and its manuscript remained undiscovered at Howard Univ until its publication in 2018. I also look forward to reading Ms Neale Hurston’s bigroaphy by Valerie Boyd.

      Red Famine by Pulitzer winning author Anne Applebaum about Stalin’s War on Ukraine in 1930s through his systemic policies of forced famine of its people.

  57. Laura says...

    Great, and oh too many new books again. I am trying to fly less and it really helps to frame my train rides as undisturbed reading time for novels that I can’t put down (with cookies, tea in thermos, looking out of the window while the words sink in..)so the most important part of packing is to find a good book that fits the current mood. I devoured 1,5 Ferrante novels on a 12h trip to Italy, Circe on another trip to Italy, and look forward to the 8h Vienna-Berlin tomorrow to read the rest of „reading Lolita in Teheran“ (an amazing book that is so much about why we read) ah and maybe I‘ll get a graphic nobel. I prefer the more artistic ones like Goliath by Tom Gold (?), but they are hard to findx but the berlin series by Jason Lutes and something more fun Space dumplings by craig thompson are good for shorter rides :)

    • Rosanna says...

      I’m so happy to see someone recommend Reading Lolita in Tehran! One of my favourite books of all time, just beautifully written and such a complex book on womens’ inner lives :)

    • Monica says...

      You sound so interesting!

    • annie says...

      yes, i have read and reread ‘reading lolita in tehran’—such a GOOD, toothsome read. PS i’m flying to italy this weekend and i was thinking, what book to bring!? and now you’ve solved it! ferrante it is. :) XO

  58. Cat says...

    I love graphic novels! “Castle Waiting” (Volumes 1 and 2) By Linda Medley are so lovely, full of unconventional characters and beautiful illustrations. An oasis for misfits.

    • Claire says...

      I was just going to leave a comment recommending “My Favorite Thing is Monsters”. It’s so great.

  59. Cara says...

    I went on a social media detox for a few months this summer, and I read so much more than I usually do! Every time I wanted to reach for my phone, I just grabbed my book instead. Here’s what I read:

    -A Man Called Ove
    -The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    -The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
    -Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
    -I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

    I think I was probably the most taken by “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” I picked it up on a whim from a miniature lending library I came across at a community college. The writing was arresting, and it hit close to home in ways I didn’t expect. I found myself taking photos of parts I liked so I could go back and read them later. One quote I loved in particular said this: “I have been missing the point. The point is not knowing another person, or learning to love another person. The point is simply this: how tender can we bear to be? What good manners can we show as we welcome ourselves and others into our hearts?”

    I just love that. “How tender can we bear to be?”

    P.S. It actually inspired me to write an article on books you can read to help you understand your mom! https://www.rewire.org/love/9-books-understand-your-mom/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh that quote! i just put my hand on my heart.

    • Jeanne says...

      I read Ya Ya Sisterhood when it came out and it is one of my absolute faves. It’s so much more than the movie (isn’t that almost always the case?). The writing really touches the heart, both the pain and the laughter. I laughed out loud so many times and that’s a rarity for me in books. It makes me long for a group of friends like this.

    • Laura says...

      After downloading the Moment app on my phone, I realize how much time I truly waste scrolling every day. I’ve been trying to detox, but it’s been really hard to put my phone down! I am going to try this. Thanks for the idea!

  60. Joanna Goddard says...

    that’s so cool that you read those personal memoirs while studying bioethics. i loved can’t we talk about something more pleasant? it was so frank, honest and moving.

    • MJ says...

      Oh my gosh, Joanna – speaking of medical humanities and bioethics of death and dying, etc. – i got home from Yom Kippur/ Jewish high holiday services tonight and the rabbi quoted “when breath becomes air” throughout her sermon. It was so amazing and moving. <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      MJ thank you so much for telling me! that means a lot to me. i’ll pass that along to my sister xoxo

  61. Carly says...

    I really love Celeste Ng’s books. I devoured “Little Fires Everywhere,” which is supposedly being turned into a movie, and just finished “Everything I Never Told You.” Both are about messed up families living in the suburbs outside of Cleveland, OH. I also just picked up “Dead Girl Running” by Christina Dodd and can’t put it down. But my favorite book from this summer has to be Jessi Klein’s, “You’ll Grow Out Of It,” which I picked up per your request and LOVED. IT.

  62. MJ says...

    Studying bioethics in grad school, I was very interested in medical humanities, and got into reading graphic novels relating to medical and LGBTQ ethics (respectively) like Roz Chast, “Cant we Talk about Something More Pleasant?” and the work of Alison Bechdel. Graphic novels can be fun book club reads too! Watchman, anyone?

  63. I read Educated this summer which was fascinating and so gripping. I also read Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, which was a beautifully written memoir with added comparisons of life/nature (my description is not doing it justice – but read it!). Right now I’m reading And The Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shiltz. I was born in 1987, so while I understand the big picture of the AIDS epidemic, I didn’t live through it. It is fascinating and horrifying to read about the patients and doctors in the early 80s as they tried to piece together what was happening, fund the research to do so, and launch an organized public health campaign.

  64. Lauren says...

    I would love recommendations for books to read during pregnancy! I’ve heard good things about Happiest Baby on the Block, Bringing up Bebe, and On Becoming Baby Wise – any other must reads? I have already read Erica Chidi Cohen’s book Nurture thanks to her wonderful feature on COJ and would really appreciate other suggestions from this great community. Thanks!

    • I am a big fan of “The No Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley. Even if you choose to use do a form of sleep training there is some very useful information about infant sleep. Also, not books, but I love the timelines by The Alpha Parent. I especially recommend “The Timeline of Baby and Toddler Sleep,” “The Timeline of Postpartum Recovery,” and “The Timeline of A Breastfed Baby” (if you choose to breastfeed). Also kellymom.com is an excellent breastfeeding resource.

      https://www.thealphaparent.com/category/timelines/

      If I could, I would like to gently encourage you to do some research on the practices and controversies behind “On Becoming Baby Wise.”

      Congratulations! I hope this was helpful!

    • Georgia says...

      Congratulations Lauren! My Dad and I are pediatricians (I just finished residency, he’s an old timer) and he gives his new parents a book called baby 411- it’s basically baby health wikipedia, in print. It’s not exactly a cover to cover sort of read but if you’re ever wondering about anything at all related to your infant’s health, you can look it up! So super useful :)

    • Charlene says...

      I loved Nurture, too, and also found it via the CoJ feature. :) Another good one is Like a Mother, by Angela Garbes.

    • Helen says...

      Read “Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through The Science And Culture Of Pregnancy” by Angela Garbes. I’m 15 wks pregnant and found the book to be very informative, honest, and empowering!

    • Meagan says...

      I loved “Brain Rules for Baby” by John Medina. I found the information about how baby’s brain develops so interesting. The book also calmed my anxiety about not “doing enough” educational activities with my newborn. It seems so silly in hindsight but I was really worried about it at the time!

    • Lauren says...

      Thanks everyone!! I read and LOVED Like a Mother while we were trying to get pregnant post miscarriage. I highly recommend it as well :)

    • Sarah says...

      I really like Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg. Love her!

    • Eva says...

      Helen I’m 15 weeks too! Cheers :)

      I just picked up and started reading Nurture yday, and I’m interested in Bringing Up Bebe, though appreciate concerns about it raised in another post.

      I’m trying to take an approach of not overwhelming myself with content during my pregnancy, and taking with a grain of salt the content I do consume. Every book is one perspective/opinion (or set of perspectives/opinions), and my goal is to take them in in ways that help me reflect on and shape my own perspective and approach to pregnancy and parenting.

  65. I consider myself a visual person, I am a photographer, and I love movies and art…..and….I am not a a big fan of the graphic novel. I loooove reading and imagining what the characters would look like and who I would cast in the movie, and than when the movie of whatever amazing book comes out I sometimes have imaginary arguments with the casting director. My husband is a whiz at imagining who could play what character and we often have very fun conversations about it. I get distracted from the impact of the text. Come to think of it I never really loved comic books

  66. Emily says...

    For those of you interested in graphic novels, check out RX. It uses deceptively simple drawings to tell the story of a young woman’s experience with bipolar disorder. It’s dark but also funny, hopefully, and relate-able.
    https://www.amazon.com/RX-Rachel-Lindsay/dp/1455598542

  67. Abigail says...

    I didn’t think graphic novels were for me, but then, at the urging of my partner, I read Maus by Art Spiegelman. It’s a telling of Spiegelman’s father’s experiences during the Holocaust. I remember a few years ago The Washington Post called it “the greatest graphic novel ever written.” Truly outstanding, and a work I’d recommend to just about anyone.

    • Jenny says...

      Yes! Maus was my first graphic novel – I read it when I was 19. More than ten years have past and I have been reading graphic novels consistently since, but Maus is still the best. It’s so moving…

  68. Cynthia says...

    I read Educated this summer and it was one of the best books I have read. I highly recommend it. I just finished Light from a Distant Star by Mary McGarry Morris. It’s a real page turner. I’m reading another book of hers, The Last Secret.

  69. alexis says...

    I love the Keeping Two series by Jordan Crane. It’s so sad.
    Also the Snowpiercer series, Adrian Tomine (Brooklyn-based!) and I’ve got Genevieve Castree’s A Bubble on my list.
    Too many to mention, but yes, graphic novels are great! I’ve got my kiddo hooked on super hero comics right now, and hoping to get him into these longer format books.

  70. My boys are obsessed with graphic novels. They are a perfect stepping stone into more complex reading. Here were a few favorites when they were younger readers:
    http://whereisjune.com/2015/10/19/guys-read-the-flying-beaver-brothers/
    http://whereisjune.com/2014/10/23/guys-read-squish/
    http://whereisjune.com/2013/03/14/guys-read-lunch-lady/

    They are all a series so if they fall in love with the characters there are more books to follow. I love the idea of reading graphic novels myself.

  71. Allyson says...

    “I don’t draw because I love to draw,” she writes. “I don’t draw because I draw well. I draw because once I lost something, and by drawing, I will find it.” — this reminds me so much of Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton. I love her art. “Layton’s point of view is first humanist & then ferociously feminist. She turns stereotypes inside out.” – The Washington Post

  72. Sasha L says...

    I recently finished Trevor Noah’s book Born A Crime, recommended in the comments here on the mothering in South Africa post. Wow. So touching and funny and above all, a journey into a world that I knew very little about, apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. Do you know much about apartheid? As a young adult in the 90s, I thought I knew stuff, from MTV and boycotts and the presidency of Mandela. Honestly, I knew next to nothing. Talking with friends, some my age, some younger, I am shocked (and saddened) to learn they know even less than me, one friend saying “apart-what? I’ve never heard of that?” My children who are 20 and 22, didn’t learn anything about it at school. In an effort to educate all of America on what I believe to be a very important topic, please read this book! It has so much to make you think about America, as well as South Africa (and Canada, UK, Australia too, if you happen to live there).

  73. Tania says...

    I recently finished Pachinko, which was so immersive and educational — which sounds kinda snoozy! But I mean it in a good way — I learned so much about a culture that I knew nothing about (Koreans living in Japan in the 20th century), even as at times I found some of the character’s motivations hard to fathom. On my to-read list are Keith Gessen’s A Terrible Country and Ottessa Moshfegh’s Year of Rest and Relaxation — I am counting the seconds until they come out in paperback. Until then, god help me, I’m reading War and Peace, from the library, something that an old article by James Wood in the New Yorker inspired me to do (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/11/26/movable-types). Honestly, any essay by James Wood is worth reading, and any book he praises worth reading — he writes so beautifully and compellingly about fiction, and about why we read and what great fiction does to us.

    • Lyss says...

      I took two classes with James Wood in college, and often we just discussed his favorite sentences from a piece, or our favorite sentences. A decade later, there are still sentences that we discussed in class that pop into my head from time to time.

  74. This sounds like a great read, thanks for the recommendation! I’m about half way through “The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old”, it’s wonderful – I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I think others should give it a read too!

    Another which I read this Summer and had me laughing out loud (like actually out loud – people stared!) was “Oh My God What A Complete Aisling” it’s hysterical and beautiful and sad all at once – a unique reading experience.

    Rebecca

  75. I have no idea what graphic novels were until reading this post. I feel like I have been living under a rock for years! Do they all have cartoons with them? This is such a cool concept.

  76. Elise says...

    Home Fire, And Now We Have Everything, The Great Believers, Where the Crawdads Sing! Late to the party on The Nix, but loved it, too!

  77. Elizabeth R. says...

    Reading (and LOVING) ‘The Great Believers’. I also have read Stray City and Emergency Contact recently and highly recommend those two as well.

    • Julie says...

      The Great Believers was incredible! The last few chapters of the Yale POV are some of the most stunning I’ve ever read.

    • Laura says...

      I just preordered it! “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been one of my favorite books since I read it the summer before 5th grade. I used to read it every summer after that for years. This graphic novel looks great!

  78. Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal. Such a funny graphic novel based on her hilarious instagram feed. I churned through it in a day!

    “When a birth defect wipes out the planet’s entire population of men, Woman World rises out of society’s ashes. Dhaliwal’s infectiously funny instagram comic follows the rebuilding process, tracking a group of women who have rallied together under the flag of “Beyonce’s Thighs.”

  79. Emily says...

    I just finished David Sedaris’ Calypso and it was my favorite I have read of his in years. He seems to be showing a more vulnerable side of himself but is still so irreverent and hilarious. I loved it!

    • sunni says...

      Oh, me too – I bought in on my kindle, but then I got a hardback copy, because i loved it so much!

  80. Aga says...

    Persepolis is great but of modern Iranian history. My first graphic novel and loved the experience.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i loved it too, so good.

    • Abby says...

      Persepolis is a classic in my books. Such a great way to learn about the tumultuous Iranian recent history.

  81. The last two books I read were Less (Andrew Sean Greer) and Pachinko (Min Jin Lee). Highly recommend both, for different reasons, but especially Less — the writing! So so good. There’s a reason he won the Pulitzer. :)

    • Patti says...

      Less was my favorite book of the past year. I was truly holding my breath with tears in my eyes as I finished it.

    • MB says...

      I loved both of those as well! I was about to recommend “Less” – such a charming and amusing read

  82. Oh, and also… I LOVE graphic novels and I’ll have to check out some of those you mentioned that haven’t crossed my path yet. I’m a longtime fan (and former penpal) of Adrian Tomine. How about Blankets or anything else by Craig Thompson? (Carnets de Voyage is another great one.)

  83. Joanna, you should start a Cup of Jo book club! I always search your site when I’m looking for something new to read, and your community of readers seem to be voracious readers, like myself :-).

    • I second this idea!

    • Shirley says...

      I completely agree with Emily! This is the only site where I have always been happy with the book recommendations, which are usually very well-written, moving, and satisfying without necessarily being complex tomes (I was an English major and do not necessarily want to read War and Peace in my limited free time!). Over the summer, I read “Educated” by Tara Westover, and “Little Fires Everywhere” and “Everything I Never Told You” both by Celeste Ng. All were page-turners that I devoured in days (and I’m a full time working mom of two!). As an Asian-American, I especially loved Ng’s books, which provided poetic insight into the experience of growing up Asian in the U.S., as well as the complex interiors of all of her characters (Asian or not).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’ve been talking about this! please stay tuned :) thank you so much for your notes xoxo

    • Yes to book club!! I’ve always wanted to join one but also the introvert in me would rather not have to commit to having to go and socialize and not actually talk about the books.

  84. I just finished reading Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes, a memoir about growing up in the Philippines as a girl from a rich family who loses everything in the space of a few years. It’s fascinating and hard to believe it really happened (but it did). (I do believe it, just that it is SO mind-blowing in parts!) Highly recommended.

    I’m also reading Fear by Bob Woodward, which is also mind-blowing but in a totally different way.

    • Lucia says...

      I loved The Kissing Quotient! I would also recommend Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren and The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. There are so many wonderful romances recently.

    • Lindsey says...

      Yes! I thought it was SO cute. It really gave me a new understanding of autism, as well.

  85. Kelly says...

    I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and it was wonderful.

    • Emily says...

      I so enjoyed that book when I read it!

    • Tari says...

      I am about to finish it; I love it!

  86. Libbie says...

    I just read Red Clocks by Leni Zumas. It’s set in the future and abortion is illegal again. The story follows four women as they traverse life without access to abortion. It’s great because it’s well-written and a fast read, but terrible as it hits uncomfortably close to home and what could be.

    • Jess says...

      YES. It is so well-written and I saw myself in every female character. Brilliant.

  87. Carolyn says...

    The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui is an absolutely wonderful graphic memoir. Cried multiple times.

    • Alexandra says...

      I agree with you. I normally don’t read graphic novels, but this was a wonderful book that I could not put down.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i just got this book! so glad to hear it.

  88. Amanda says...

    I was never into comic books or graphic novels so I was disappointed when my college professor made us read “Persepolis.” However, I ended up loving everything about the story. I highly recommend it, even if it’s not your thing.

    • JP says...

      Persepolis was also my intro to graphic novels! I wanted more after that and have been putting GN into my rotation since. I’ve also re-read Persepolis at least 3x.

  89. Ally says...

    I love these kinds of posts to get lots of good recommendations…

    For me, I’m reading America for Beginners: A Novel by Leah Franqui and I always need a mystery thriller so it’s All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      I echo All These Beautiful Strangers. Also check out Watch Me Disappear.

  90. Katie O says...

    I love when you do these posts, as I always collect the best recommendations! I just finished Educated (Tara Westover) and am singing its praises far and wide.
    I also can’t say enough about A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara). It’s is tragic and difficult and very hard to read at times, but also an outstanding, outstanding, outstanding book.

  91. Lauren says...

    I can’t recommend the graphic novel “My Favorite Thing is Monsters” highly enough! My book club just read it last month and it was such a lovely surprise. I’m not particularly interested in comic books, monsters, or 1960’s Chicago, but this book changed ALL of that. It tugged on my heartstrings left and right and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out! https://www.npr.org/2017/02/22/516643494/my-favorite-thing-is-monsters-is-a-dazzling-graphic-novel-tour-de-force

  92. Tricia M says...

    Here’s a new British author for you to try, Melissa Harrison. Have just finished “At Hawthorn Time”. She combines writing beautifully about the landscape/countryside with creating very plausible characters. This is a book about love and loss with a unexpected twist at the end. One to watch.

  93. Madelaine says...

    I’m almost finished with Where the Crawdads Sing, and I haven’t been able to put it down. The writing is beautiful and it’s an intriguing story.

  94. Dienesa says...

    I am almost done with Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and will miss being with the main character. She reminds me of Lara Jean in Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” – an atypical leading woman who is introspective and a homebody. Also, it focuses on relationships beyond romantic ones and encourages a woman’s own self-reliance. It is a great read.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Yes! Jane Eyre (which I love) gets all the attention, but I think Villette is a stronger novel.

    • MCF says...

      A couple years ago I was catching up with my mom and we discovered we were both in the middle of Villette. Such a good read! It’s one I’ll definitely pick up again someday.

  95. Nina says...

    I liked Calvin and Hobbes as a child/teen. I don’t enjoy graphic novels for me, as I find it a bit choppy to read and I like to picture the people myself. But…my son is 10 and its a HUGE market for that age…dogman, we just finished one about middle school (since he starts next year), Captain Underpants, and a myriad others. He loves them. He’s supposed to read 30 minutes a day outside of school and I don’t force him to read a novel as we do that at night together so he has many of these (I look at thrift stores for them because really 20 bucks for a comic book?!)

    • KIRSTY says...

      Check out your local library too! Mine has been making a concerted effort in the past few years to stock great graphic novels, and also offers access to hoopla, which is an online borrowing service to read comics/graphic novels on your tablet (you can ever zoom in on panels and stuff, it’s really cool!)

  96. Simone says...

    Circe by Madeline Miller was hands down my favorite book of the summer. I couldn’t help shouting at a girl in the airport who was carrying it around, “Do you love that book because I LOVED that book!”

    Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is really wonderful graphic autobiography depicting the author’s time growing up in Iran.

    • Elly says...

      YAAAASSSSSSSS CIRCE! One of the best books I’ve read all year!

    • Lindsey says...

      Circe was hands down my favorite book I’ve read so far this year. I cannot stop talking about it. The last chapter had me weeping.

  97. Rita says...

    I just finished reading a beautiful graphic novel by Katriona Chapman. I love a lot of what the small publisher Avery Hill do (Tillie Walden’s books – incredible!) but Katriona’s book Follow Me In moved me to tears. It’s stunning and so beautifully drawn – about her travels in Mexico in her early-20s with her alcoholic boyfriend. Definitely recommend! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Follow-Me-Katriona-Chapman/dp/1910395382

  98. Eloise says...

    I’m (very) late to the game, but just finished Middlesex, which may have ruined me for anything else out there. (Help?). Fans of early Wally Lamb, The Goldfinch and A Little Life: Try it!

    • Elizabeth says...

      Middlesex is truly a masterpiece! Some of the writing in his most recent collection of short stories made me feel like I did when I read Middlesex (hard to explain, but like my brain was on fire in a good way!).

      I read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi recently; it is beautiful, expansive, and moving.

    • alison norris says...

      Yes!!!! Middlesex is one of the greatest of all time. Have you read Fall Your My Knees?? You wont be disappointed.

  99. I’m reading “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith and I’m loving it! It was written in the 1930s but I hadn’t heard of it until this year. Such a quirky cast of characters and a sweet feel-good story (so far! I’m not finished yet!) without being saccharine.

    • Rachel says...

      I Capture the Castle is wonderful! Haven’t read it in a few years and am looking forward to rereading it again soon.

    • I love I Capture the Castle! If you like British literature about pre- and post-WWII, you might try The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. They are some of my favorite books of all time.

      I recently read The Book of Essie, which was bizarre and entertaining, then Little Children by Tom Perotta. I needed something more uplifting after that, so I just started The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society after watching the movie on Netflix.

  100. Amy says...

    I don’t read graphic novels, but my 9 year kiddo does and there are so many great ones out there! Her favs at the moment are Real Friends, Awkward, El Deafo, and Rollergirl. She reads chapter books too, but devours graphic novels! Yay for young readers!

    • Lily says...

      I bet she would love Vera Brosgol’s recent graphic novel, Be Prepared!

  101. KL says...

    I’m reading so many parenting and pregnancy books right now, I can’t WAIT to read something I truly enjoy again. I’ve copied down some of the suggestions for years from now when I hear I’ll have time to read for enjoyment again.

    • emily says...

      Don’t let people tell you that! They told me the same thing but I promise, you’ll have time to enjoy books (assuming this is your 1st baby). I read a lot while breastfeeding in the beginning. and also now that there actually is a bedtime (this happens sooner than you think), you can read once the babe is in bed for the night :)

    • Leanne says...

      Best mom-to-be present to yourself? An e-reader! You can borrow library books online to load onto it, and read lots as you feed the babe, wait in the doctor’s office, etc.

  102. Kaitlyn S says...

    I just started The Hate U Give and I can’t put it down! When I have to (because of work, sleep, and other essential things that don’t allow me to sit and read…) I’m thinking about the book. It’s just so fascinating and different and good. And so so so so sad, but in a good way. Anyway, it’s worth reading, and because it’s a YA novel, you can have teenagers read it too. (Though as a warning, there is coarse language use and of course the topic is pretty real, if parents are uncomfortable. I think it’s an important part of the book, but I’m not a parent)

  103. I just read The Prince and the Dressmaker, which is a delightful graphic short novel about a cross-dressing prince and his friend the dressmaker who makes his second identity possible.

  104. caroline says...

    Warlight by Michael Ondaatje. I dont’t want to end.

    • Robin says...

      I loved that book!

  105. Steph says...

    Speak no evil by Uzodinma Iweala was as beautiful and painful as The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson was fun and entertaining. I will check out the graphic novel; its not something I would normally reach for, but its fun to color outside the lines sometimes.

  106. Katie says...

    I’m reading A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, it’s about an immigrant Indian family and simply stunning.

    • Joanne says...

      A Place For Us was the best book I’ve read in a really long time!

  107. Loesie says...

    Finishes ‘Gone Girl’ this summer, and I thought it was a great book!!!

    • Louise says...

      Ooh, did you read ‘Sharp Objects’ too? Her books are so engrossing! :)

  108. Emily says...

    OHIO by STEPHEN MARKLEY

    just finished and can’t stop thinking about it. Rich writing, complex & tragic characters, wild ending, and the best snapshot of small town America during the recession that i’ve read (evoking empathy and fury at the same time). its just superb

  109. Maire says...

    I am currently listening to The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware and am enjoying it so far. Also, I got to read The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle a month early thanks to Book of the Month. It was a fantastic read! Finally, I listened to two memoirs of former Obama staffers- Who Thought This Was A Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco and From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein. Both were great, but I was completely enthralled by From the Corner of the Oval because it is more about personal drama and relationships amongst the staff with a heaping helping of stories about what a great dude Barry was to work for. It made me laugh and cry (and listen to Dr. Dog on repeat)… I highly recommend!

  110. Tone says...

    Alison Bechdel’s autobiographic graphic novels «Fun Home» and «Are you my Mother» are my absolute favourites! About complex and complicated relationships between parents and children, about growing up, college, being one’s own person, psychoanalysis, literature, love and so much more. And the drawings are so beautiful and expressive they sometimes make me cry.

    • Annie says...

      Can’t agree more! Best graphic novels of all time.

  111. Kate says...

    A wonderful graphic novel I read this spring was “You & a Bike & a Road” by Eleanor Davis. The author went on a solo bike ride across Texas and met amazing people along the way and draws/writes about her thoughts and experiences and it was great.
    I just read “Nothing Good Can Come From This” and it was amazing. It’s a series of essays about the author and her journey to quitting drinking (and other topics). Also good this year – Educated by Tara Westover, Circe by Madeline Miller, No Way Home by Tyler Wetherall, and for any Russian literature/Dr. Zhivago fans out there – The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Finch. You have NEVER read a historical fiction epic like this one!

  112. Caitlyn says...

    Reading an oldie but a goodie — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig and really enjoying it. Backlists FTW!

  113. G says...

    Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey is a beautiful and witty graphic novel I found very relatable. I hope folks enjoy it as much as I did.

    • Kate says...

      Ooh! I’m going to put this on hold at the library! I’m about to go pick up Poppies of Iraq, another graphic novel. Thanks for the recommendation!

  114. Hello there. I’m sage and just recently subscribed to your lovely blog.

    I’ve never read any graphic novels but this looks intriguing. Right now, I’m reading two different books one for a book club I started with my friends and another one that my friend and her mom are letting me borrow to read. The book we’re reading for the book club is Harry Potter because we’ve only seen the movies and never read the books (except for one friend who has re-read it countless times lol) and the one book I’m borrowing is called “What I Told My Daughter” by Nina Tassler. My friend and mother wanted me to read this to uplift me after my mother had passed.

  115. Joslyn says...

    I just finished reading the Elena Ferrante novels which were wonderful. I am so sad they are done, but happy to have spent time with them. Her portrayal of female friendships is the most realistic representation in literature. So much of it reminds me of the relationship I have with my best friend. The frustration, the love, the competition, the support when you really need it. I am getting ready to move to be closer to her, and she just finished the books herself. I can’t wait to spend countless hours talking about them.

    I also just started Manhattan Beach and can’t put it down. Another fierce female character richly written for the win!

    • Quinn says...

      Completely agree about the Ferrante novels! Manhattan Beach is also very good. :)

  116. Amanda says...

    This book looks so beautiful, what a great recommendation, and I cannot wait to read it. Thanks Joanna!

    I love graphic novels and comic books. One I just finished that I thought was really beautiful was a young adult graphic novel called “Honor Girl”, and some comic book collections I am always recommending that have strong female protagonists are “Faith”, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl”, and “Papergirls”.

  117. Colleen says...

    Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (the same person who created the Bechdel test)! It won the Pulitzer Prize and for good reason!
    Bechdel is an incredibly deft storyteller- the subject matter is really tough and she bring a lot of humor, depth and feeling to it. I read this before seeing the musical which was equally amazing.

  118. Jenny says...

    Oh I love Liana Finck! She does an “advice-column comic” for the New Yorker, Dear Pepper, that is absolutely terrific. Will have to check out her book.

  119. I’ve been reading the Corfu Trilogy of memoirs by Gerald Durrell. If you’ve ever heard of the TV series The Durrells in Corfu (original title The Durrells), this is the basis of the show. It’s about a family that moves to the island of Corfu (in Greece) from England during the mid-1930s, and it’s just wonderful. Gerry was the youngest, and obsessed with animals and nature in general, and the family made amazing friends and had incredible adventures. The books are very colorful, and really transport you to a beautiful, enchanting place — it’s another world! The first one is called My Family and Other Animals, and I just finished the second one, Birds, Beasts and Relatives. They were both excellent.

    I decided to take a break before reading the third Corfu book, so I just started reading The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs, and it’s a real page-turner, so I think it’ll go quickly. It’s the kind of book that’s almost dangerous to read in bed, because I keep wanting to continue past a point when I should really turn off the light and go to sleep!

  120. Caitlin says...

    My Own Devices by Dessa came out today, and it is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. I could hear her voice in my head as I read it, it felt so internal.

  121. Jill says...

    I devoured the Saga graphic novels – so different (to me, at least, way outside my usual reading material) and so enjoyable.
    I was deeply entrenched in Kate Spencer’s “The Dead Moms Club”, when I discovered that about 30 pages were missing, so I had to stop and reorder from my library. I can’t wait to finish it – it was awesome!
    Also loving the Maisie Dobbs mysteries. Can you tell I’m a Forever35 listener? One of the hosts recommended the books and they are great. I frigging love reading. I try to get up before everyone else in the house so I can have my coffee and book time with our puppy. It’s a lovely way to start the day.

    • Maire says...

      I also love Maisie Dobbs! I had to take a break from them though because I devoured the first four novels so quickly!

  122. Noelle says...

    I just want to say, I think you have the best community of followers on the Internet. I love reading comments as much as I love reading your posts, and I think your following is a testament to the quality of your content. Thanks for continuing to publish such fresh, interesting, and DIFFERENT content and thanks to all of your followers and everyone who takes the time to leave such insightful observations, recommendations and words of support – you guys are awesome!

    • Tricia M says...

      Hi Noelle,
      Couldn’t agree more, thanks for putting it so well and taking the opportunity to do so. This is a wonderful blog and I appreciate the community too. What makes it even better is how genuine Joanna is too.
      Really look forward to checking in to find out what’s new.

  123. I love graphic novels. I’ve just finished Drinking at the movies by Julia Wertz and it’s funny the way she describes New York thru the incidents of her life.

  124. Trista says...

    I’m currently reading James and the Giant Peach with my 6-year-old son. I’ve anticipated getting to read Roald Dahl books to him since before he was born. He finally hit the age where he can sit/listen but also imagine the world in the books. We read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory first, then watched both movies. The changes from book to movie drove him crazy (Yes, son, the book is always better.) I highly recommend re-reading your favorite childhood books as an adult. I missed so much. Dahl’s writing is just as magical to 31-year-old me as it was to 8-year-old me.

    PS. My son enjoyed the new version of CATCF better than the old version (WWATCF), but he preferred Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka over Johnny Depp’s.

    • Charity Suzuki says...

      Your son is wise! :)

    • LJG says...

      Roald Dahl books as audiobooks are perfect for family car rides. Everyone can enjoy them, unlike a lot of kids’ audiobooks.

    • Heather says...

      We are reading James and the Giant Peach right now, too! My husband and I take turns doing my son’s bedtime while the other person is doing our daughters’, so on the nights I don’t get to read I will grab the book and try to quickly read through to catch up. I’m really enjoying this era of bedtime reading so much more than all of the picture books that came before.

      Last year we read all of the Mouse and the Motorcycle books and then moved on to the Ramona books and the Henry books. Some of the scenes in these books are so honest, so humbly potent. I just think Beverly Cleary is a genius. She is credited as the first children’s author to use “emotional realism.” And she wrote about middle class kids – another first. I find it illuminating to witness the struggles/experiences of the mothers in the stories from the perspective of the children. I had these notions of what it meant to be a 1950’s housewife that these books have dismantled.

      If you are looking for the next book for your 5+ year old, I recommend you treat yourself to some Beverly Cleary.

    • KL says...

      I’ve reread my favorite, The Secret Garden, twice as an adult. I found it to be even more beautiful as an older person reading it. I’m expecting my first baby in October and already purchased her a copy for me to read to her.

      Totally agree on Dahl. I loved his books as a kid. Interesting reading him as an adult, though– The BFG is essentially a story about giants (so, adults) stealing children from their homes and Stockholm Syndrome!

    • Oneida says...

      YES!!! I love reading Roald Dahl to my kids. I always get all choked up when I read Charlie and the Chocolate factory and he gets the golden ticket. And my girls also were horrified to learn about the changes from book to movie (“Why would they DO that?!”). They love the BFG and Matilda too. One night I had to go to work and it was up to my husband to read to them… so he continued where we left off in the BFG. “It was a struggle,” he said to me later (he just recently has gotten into reading). I just laughed because there are SO many crazy twisty words in it. My girls were like, “Yeah…dad had a hard time.” Ha.

  125. Amy Fallon says...

    I loved Educated!

    • Colleen says...

      I’ve just started it and am hooked!

  126. Kimberly Eldredge says...

    Lucy Knisley writes great graphic novels about her own loves, experiences, and family. She’s one of my favorite illustrators too,

    • Oh, she’s one of my favorites too! I loved “Displacement” about the cruise she took with her grandparents. And I can’t wait for her new one next year about pregnancy and parenting :)

    • Lizzie says...

      I came here to say the same thing! I’ve read several of her memoirs and they’re all wonderful.

    • I also came here to recommend Lucy Knisley! Loved her book Relish and can’t wait for her upcoming Kid Gloves. Her instagram is super fun to follow too.

  127. Rachael says...

    I’m completely obsessed right now with Kendare Blake’s Queens of Fennbirn trilogy. The first one, Three Dark Crowns (https://amzn.to/2phP9oj) was a New York Times Bestseller, New York Public Library Best Book of 2016, Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016, and the Kirkus Best Book of the Year. So. Dang. Good. I love fantasy but I also have a master’s in English lit so I only like fantasy that is super well-written, engaging, and just a beautiful experience to read, and this ticks all the boxes. Plus the story is so fascinating (a matriarchal society where the queen always gives birth to magically-gifted triplets, who fight each other to the death for the crown when they are sixteen years old). So, so, so good and so thought-provoking.

    And now I’m off to read the concluding book in the trilogy, which just came out last week (bonus that the series is finished so you can start it happily without worrying about waiting for years for the conclusion!).

    • LJG says...

      I just read the first one of these and am on the wait list for the second at the library. Very much looking forward to it.

    • Rachael says...

      Just finished the third book and have to come back to add that it’s actually a quartet! I’m simultaneously so mad and so thrilled! Hah!

  128. Anna says...

    I haven’t tried graphic novels yet, but your review of Passing for Human makes me want to start. I just finished Little Fires Everywhere which I loved. I also have two Audible credits waiting to be used: anyone have any good Audio book recs?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes!!!! i LOVED the reading of middlesex — the guy who reads it is absolutely unbelievable with the expressions and tones of the characters. i might listen to it again now, just thinking back on how wonderful it was.

    • Maire says...

      If you like mysteries, Ruth Ware’s books on audio and also Tana French’s have fantastic narrators!

    • Kate says...

      The Power was amazing on audiobook, as was The Course of Love. My favorite thing to listen to over and over is Welcome to Night Vale (a novel based on the podcast). The Book of Dust (the new Phillip Pullman book) was also really, really good. I’m currently listening to Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh and it’s hypnotic!

    • Justine says...

      I have to recommend Tara Westover’s Educated, and Andre Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name. Both great audio reads. As Joanna says, Middlesex is such a great novel. Interesting to hear it’s a good audiobook. Certainly the reader makes a big difference. Armie Hammer reads Call Me By Your Name and he is just fantastic.

    • Anna says...

      Thank you all for the recommendations! Used both my credits and started a Wish List. Love this internet community!!

  129. LJG says...

    I just pre-ordered Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking by Rachel Love Nuwer. I’m reading the Trouble with Goats and Sheep right now (I can’t remember whether that was recommended here, on GFY, or in Real Simple, but it’s really beautifully written). And I have some really long sets of flights coming up, so am probably going to try to dig into the Outlander.

  130. Hope says...

    A few books I’ve read this summer and really enjoyed: An American Marriage, For the Love, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (loved this one), and Gathering of Waters. I’m currently reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist right now and I don’t want it to end. Lots of cozy recipes and stories of community (something I’m desperately seeking in this season of life).

    • Shannon says...

      I just started An American Marriage and am going to my very first book club meeting to discuss it! It’s really drawn me in even though I’m not even a quarter of the way in yet!

  131. June says...

    Reading The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling, and it’s so dead-on about all the funny and hard and sad and great things about being the mother of a 16-month-old (which I currently am) and it’s also about life and death and the desert. Really beautiful.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh that sounds wonderful, june!

  132. Lisa says...

    My kid loves graphic novels (and regular novels). She’ll just read them on repeat.

    As for me, I’m a novel girl all day, every day. My most recent favorite: Pachinko. Just gorgeous and so well done.

    Currently reading through the Ferrante series starting with My Brilliant Friend, on book 3 of 4. I’ve flown through these books. I love the writing style and the complex relationships. Highly recommend.

    Thoroughly enjoyed Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win. So many moments reading that book that had me nodding my head in agreement.

    If you haven’t read The Power, do.

    Finally, waiting for JK Rowling’s (under nom de plume Galbraith) newest book, Lethal White, to hit my library.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      there are so many great YA graphic novels these days!

    • Hillary F says...

      I am on book 2 of the Ferrante series and just loving it.

    • Jen says...

      Thank you for the tip on Lethal White! I’ve enjoyed the Cormoran Strike series so much (super fun as audiobooks).

  133. Amy says...

    Wow. That last quote brought out a deep cry.

  134. edie says...

    I always have a hard time with graphic novels — something about reading the words and looking at the pictures causes me to feel overwhelmed. It’s weird, I know!

    I’ve not stopped talking about Option B (even though it was released last year) it’s just so good.

    • Abbie says...

      Yes, my husband loves graphic novels but i find them nothing but frustrating. My brain can’t process that much information simultaneously! Lol

    • edie says...

      Abbie – you understand! It’s the need to focus on two separate things simultaneously. I can’t do it! I end up ignoring the pictures and just reading the words, but then I feel like I’m cheating. Ha!

    • Edie,
      I feel the same way! Also, I love to imagine the characters just as I see them and graphic novels don’t allow for that. (I’m often annoyed at film adaptations because they don’t fit the image I had in my head when I read the book.)

    • Katherine says...

      I’m the same – graphic novels are overwhelming to me, and as someone with a vivid imagination, I have no problem creating visions of what scenes must look like in my head. I used to tell my students all the time that while they read, they should try and make a movie in their mind so they can “see” what’s going on, and I’ll admit, graphic novels are a wonderful way for young readers to engage with stories on a deeper level. I just personally find them to be too distracting, even though I can appreciate the artwork.