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What Are You Reading Right Now?

What Are You Reading Right Now?

Summer. Reading. Like peanut butter and chocolate, or lemonade and iced tea, some things just go perfectly together. To that end, here are three (very different) books the Cup of Jo team has loved lately, and we’d love to hear what you’ve been reading…

What Are You Reading Right Now?

Good Talk by Mira Jacobs
I’m generally a slow reader, but I flew through this graphic memoir in a single day. Good Talk shares real conversations, often about race, love and parenting, that the East Indian author has had. Think: a relatable argument with her husband, a heartfelt talk with her mom, endearing chats with her six-year-old. Jacob’s son, especially, asks lots of questions about race, and she tries to answer them but doesn’t always know how. (After Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, she and her son had this exchange: “Is it bad to be brown?” “What no! It’s great being brown! We look good in colors! We have history! We don’t get skin cancer as easily!” “Why are you yelling at me?” “I don’t know!”) The book is beautiful, humorous and always honest. Highly recommend. — Joanna

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
Sometimes, while reading a book, I’ll stop and think how much I’m enjoying the prose or the story. Other times — much less frequently — I’ll stop and think that I am reading something important. This is such a book. Eight years in the making, Three Women is the painstakingly researched true story of three women’s sex lives — a stay-at-home mother in suburban Indiana, a twentysomething in North Dakota, and a restaurant owner in the Northeast. Taddeo delves deep into each woman’s desires, including how their formative experiences helped shape who they became. Although it’s nonfiction, it reads like a novel and has been called everything from “brilliant” to “voyeuristic” to “poetic.” It is, more than anything, the kind of book that starts conversations. And that is enough for me. — Caroline

When You Read This by Mary Adkins
I picked up When You Read This one night before bed and immediately felt wide awake and sucked in. The epistolary novel is told in emails, texts, blog posts, online therapy sessions, even legal documents. Without giving away too much, I found the romantic comedy — about a man trying to fulfill his late friend’s last wish — both completely wrenching and hilarious. I mean like, crazy funny. The offbeat story about love, family and mortality really sticks with you. The ideal summer read. — Kelsey

Have you read anything good lately? Do tell! More favorite books are on our editors’ picks, if you’d like to see.

P.S. More book posts, including reader comments on books, the romance of reading in bed, and the funniest beach read.

  1. Katie says...

    I know I’m way behind, but I just finished Educated by Tara Westover and I am obsessed, listening to every interview with her I can find. That book is amazing and life-changing.

  2. Thanks for the recommendations! Definitely adding “When You Read This” to my TBR! Last night, I picked up “The Last House Guest” by Megan Miranda and I cannot put it down. Highly recommend if you’re in the mood for a good thriller.
    Recently read and loved “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis.

  3. CD says...

    ‘When You Read This’ is most definitely not a romantic comedy…it’s much more about the tragic death of a 33-old-woman and domestic violence. It’s a good book, but skip if you’re on vacation!

  4. Kat says...

    Y’all, I just read The Power by Naomi Alderman and I could not recommend it more. It’s such a powerful, feminist-dystopian page-turner. Highly recommended.

  5. Kim says...

    Lanny by Max Porter

    A poetic little novel about a free range child who no one really understands except the artist who has been working with him in the afternoons. Also, there is a mythical village tree man who comes to life? You read that right. Just wonderful.

    • Kate says...

      Oh, I loved that one so much. Every page was magic.

  6. samantha says...

    I love your recommendations Caroline! I’ve never been let down and have really expanded my reading catalog. I recently finished two books, ‘The Nightingale’ by Kristin Hannah which is about two sisters and their lives in world war II. I devoured it.

    The second was Bryn Greenwood’s ‘All the Ugly and Wonderful Things’ which tells a very bizarre and unlikely love story. It made my heart burst and realize you can find companionship in the most unlikely places.

    And lastly, my favorite summer read of all time, ‘Valley of the Dolls’ by Jacqueline Sussan. A true cult classic.

    • Kate says...

      Good news – Bryn Greenwood has another novel coming out!!

  7. Lindsay says...

    I had heard a lot of hype about Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Anker and actually ordered it bc I got tired of waiting on it to be available at the library. I will say it took me about 150 pages to get on board because the plot line IS drawn out, but the observational character writing was compelling. When I made it to third act it all came together for me, she captured the complex and impossible expectations associated with womanhood in a crushing and somehow liberating way. I found it very clever.

  8. Alina says...

    I love love love these posts… the books you share are always spot-on! I just finished The Things We Cannot Say, which is set in Poland, while in Poland. I don’t think I have ever read a book set somewhere while actually being there, and it was one of the neatest reading experiences I have ever had. I highly recommend! I also recently finished Music for Wartime, which is a collection of short stories by Rebecca Makkai (who wrote The Great Believers), Every story felt so unique and fresh!

    • M says...

      This is my favorite thing to do on vacation – read a book set in the place I’m visiting! Brings so much fun context to both the book and the place!

  9. Lily says...

    I’m about 100 pages into “When you Read This” and it’s falling flat for me. I was drawn in by the premise, but so far the characters feel like archetypes with rather unconvincing email banter. Very curious to hear what others think (in part to help me decide if I should keep at it!). So appreciate the wonderful community of readers here!

    • Annie says...

      I feel the same! I’m almost done and it hasn’t improved. I still appreciate the recommendation, even though it’s not my favorite. Also the sister in the book places an order for a couple books I’ve really loved: The Year if Magical Thinking and H is for Hawk.

  10. Sally says...

    I’m currently reading ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls, and it’s blowing my mind.
    It basically tells the real life story of her growing up as one of 4 children, in assorted poor housing situations, with utterly hopeless, chaotic, addicted and often absent parents. Yet the story is told with such love and humour, I’m transfixed.

    I’m unsure of the dates, but it seems this took place during the 60s and 70s. I know it was a different time then, but if she’d have been growing up now, she’d have been removed from the parents, probably as a toddler, after she gets badly burned whilst cooking herself hotdogs.

  11. Katie says...

    Just got back from my honeymoon, where I spent lazy days drinking wine and reading as much as I possibly could. Got through 4 books which I highly recommend:

    Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (as may of you also have read)

    The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren- good romantic comedy fun that had me more invested than I thought I was going to be.

    Recursion by Blake Crouch- initially thought it wasn’t going to be my style (more sci-fi than I normally read), but really got me thinking about memory and our pasts.

    A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum- took my breath away. Heartbreaking, moving, deeply emotional. I was completely sucked in.

  12. AskWhyNot says...

    I just finished reading The Unhoneymooners and I have to say it’s the perfect summer read. Light, breezy and cute.

    I want to read That’s What Frenemies Are For next as I have heard great reviews.

  13. Erin says...

    The Martian is one of my all-time favorites.
    Ready Play One. I didn’t think I’d be remotely interested in a book about a teenager in a video game contest, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Pachinko was a good read, particularly if you like to live with characters.

    Currently reading:
    The Collectors, by Jacqueline West. Juvenile fiction, but I am all-in and eager to find out how it ends
    Sapiens: a brief history of humankind – so much to think about!

    Good Omens is on deck next. The first chapter had me laughing out loud.

    • Erin says...

      Oh, and for the Pride and Prejudice fans out there: Longbourne and Austenland. Very different books, but I loved them both. (If you were unfortunate enough to see the movie adaptation of Austenland, I am sorry. The book is different.)

    • Kate says...

      Mary B. by Katherine J. Chen is another Pride and Prejudice “untold story” – you might like it!

    • HH says...

      Love these book recommendations! I just finished Mary B. and the Un-Honeymooners based on these posts. Both were enjoyable and kept me up into the wee hours reading.

      I also just read “Transcription” (Kate Atkinson) – a much recommended and interesting page turner set during and just after WWII.

  14. Milla says...

    Recently finished A Man Is No Woman, and let me just say wow, Without spoiling it too much, it essentially brings to light how many Arab women who immigrate to the US are treated by their Arab husbands and families. I myself am also an immigrant, but from a completely different part of the world (Finland), and I often find myself sort of wallowing and pitying myself for various immigration complications and just the overall system. This book opened my eyes so widely to how different things could be for me and how privileged I am to be treated the way I am. Amazing book and so so worth the read.

  15. Ashlyn B says...

    I recently finished The Truffle Underground by Ryan Jacobs, a story about the truffle market in Europe and how unregulated it is. Theft, deception, marketing strategies – all of it true! I thought it was fascinating and it reminded me a bit of The Man Who Loved Books Too Much.

  16. Kelly says...

    I just devoured in quick succession:

    Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
    The Wedding Party, by Jasmine Guillory
    The Poison Squad, by Deborah Blum

    The first is a Pulitzer-prize-winning novel with a very anxious hero. The second is a rollicking romance, and the third is nonfiction, about the creation of the FDA and USDA and all the weird stuff that used to be in food. Each one is wonderful in its own way.

    I’m also, always, reading a ton of religion and philosophy books, but those take me months, instead of days. I love Henri Nouwen and John Baillie, and I’ve been reading a lot of Rachel Held Evans lately. ]

    • Beth Parsons says...

      Your last sentence made me so sad. Rachel was such a vital, important voice in the Christian world… a voice so badly needed today. I still grieve her passing, I watched her funeral on-line and cried like she was one of my best friends. Funny how someone you never met can have that affect.

  17. I’m almost finished with Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which was written by a clinical psychologist about her practice and her own experience of therapy as a patient. It’s really interesting, and has also reminded me that making mistakes is part of being human (rather than the end of the world :). Definitely recommend!

  18. SB says...

    I’ve been reading more non-fiction than usual lately – there’s so much good stuff out right now! Currently reading, slowly and carefully, Tressie McMillan Cottom’s book of essays “Thick.” It’s funny and clever and her way with prose but what has struck me more often is, with a single sentence, she rends my view of the world or (white) culture. The essays themselves would be quick to get through if they weren’t so dang mind-blowing. I feel lik I’ll be re-reading this for years!

  19. Circe (I know I’m late to the party) is just as brilliant as everyone says. And as it takes place mostly on an island, it’s perfect for summer.

    Red White & Royal Blue was hilarious and sweet and a little too smart to be called pure fluff or rom-com. Also perfect for summer.

    Vengeful, the sequel to VE Schwab’s Vicious, was just a pure, evil delight.

    Eliza and her Monsters was a book written specifically for me. Made me laugh, made me cry.

    Muse of Nightmares, sequel to Strange the Dreamer, was just so beautiful and strange and sad, like all Laini Taylor’s books.

  20. Leah Y. says...

    Recently finished Mrs. Everything, which I LOVED! And currently I’m about half way through with The Perfect Couple. It’s a murder mystery and I’m sucked in!

    • Erin says...

      I LOVED Mrs. Everything. LOVED it.

  21. Alexandra says...

    I highly recommend “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger” by Rebecca Traister! Just finished it and felt so empowered and fired up to fight for what is right.

  22. Jamie Langley says...

    I’m reading this year’s Pulitzer for fiction, The Overstory, and loving it.

    • Rachel says...

      Just finished that as well and enjoyed… looking at trees so differently now. Currently reading The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai and can’t put it down

  23. Mina says...

    The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber
    Putney by Sofka Zinovieff
    A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

    They were three VERY different books but I like mixing it when I read.

    • I loved A Ladder to the Sky! John Boyne is one of my favourite authors, he writes the most devastatingly beautiful/sad stories yet always manages to find the humour in the darkness. If you haven’t read The Heart’s Invisible Furies you should definitely add it to your list!

  24. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes was a delightful read. And I’m on the second book of the “His Dark Materials” series, and enjoying it very much.

    • Emily says...

      I loved Evvie Drake! Linda’s book kickstarted my reading again. I’ve since read Daisy Jones and the Six, An American Marriage, Mrs. Everything, The Gifted School, The Cabin at the End of the World and All We Ever Wanted. I’d recommend them all, though Cabin (world ending horror-ish) isn’t my typical pick. It was interesting.

  25. Inna says...

    Love these suggestions! Just finished Daisy Jones and the Six and it’s just as good as everyone said it would be. Currently reading Cecelia Ahern’s Roar.

  26. Alexa says...

    I just listened to the audio of Three Women on a long road trip. The book was equally fascinating and devastating and I imagine many readers can see a lot of their own lives in underlying stories in these women’s lives: lust after someone unavailable, self-loathing, losing ourselves in a partner or putting that person’s needs before our own, dysfunctional dynamics in our families of origin, privilege, dealing with forgiveness, and so many more.

  27. Asia says...

    I just read two books in less than a week–I’m usually a much slower reader than that, sadly. One was The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. Checks all my romance boxes (funny, hot) but also features a neurodivergent character and touches on issues of class and immigration. Great summer readAnd last night I finished The Body Lies by Jo Baker, which was a well done, terrifyingly believable English thriller about what it can be like to be a woman today. I highly recommend both!

  28. Kara McDonald says...

    I can’t put down Beatriz Williams’ new book, The Golden Hour. (I was hiding in my office reading it behind official-looking paperwork this morning!) WWII spies, love affairs, royals behaving badly, 1940s Caribbean glamour…it’s got everything!

  29. My favourite read of the summer so far has been William Boyd’s new book “Love is blind” – set in both Edinburgh and Paris, If you enjoyed “any human heart”, Boyd is back on form with this book, just brilliant.

  30. Claire says...

    The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin was fantastic. There is magic, progressive characters and heart.

    A shorter read is Atomic Marriage by Curtis Sittenfeld, a collection of short stories that I found very relateable, sort of dishy and v funny. I loved “You think it, I’ll say it” which is a fun game to play at parties.

    Lastly, I read Valeria Luiselli’s “Tell Me How It Ends” last year, but it is a timely read for anyone interested in immigration stories locally (Hempstead, Long Island). Short read but powerful!

  31. Laura D. says...

    I have been trying to read Southern writers/books about the American South lately. Two recent favorites are “Biloxi” by Mary Miller and “Call Your Daughter Home” by Deb Spera — though they are very different from each other. I was not a fan of “Southern Lady Code.”

    • Liz K says...

      Yes for Mary Miller!

    • Rebekah says...

      I’d love to recommend Tayari Jones then, to fit your Southern Authors theme. She writes stories set in Atlanta, her hometown.

    • Tracey says...

      I just finished Biloxi and really liked it, too!

    • Laura D. says...

      Thanks for the recommendation, Rebekah!