Design

What Are You Reading?

Best Books

Cup of Jo has been running for 13 years (!) so we’ve decided that every week, we’ll be highlighting one of the most popular posts from the past. Here’s one of our favorites, originally published on April 6, 2016…

Here’s a party trick: If you ask someone what their favorite book is, they’ll probably blank. It’s a paralyzing question, right? But if you ask people what a few of their top ten books are, they’ll start rattling off a list. So! On that note, here are three great books I’ve read recently (and I’d love to hear yours)…

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
I finished this book a few days ago, and now I’m craving someone to discuss it with. (It makes me want to start a book club.) Lucy, a married mother of two, is recovering from surgery complications in the hospital, when her own mother comes to sit at the foot of her bed and keep her company. Her mother tells lively, gossipy stories about neighbors in her hometown of Amgash, Illinois, and everything seems to be ticking along well, until Lucy reveals to us in small ways the extreme poverty of her upbringing, her hunger for her mother’s love and their difficult relationship. Strout’s writing is so spare and restrained, it sneaks up on you. You’re reading, not expecting anything major from this or that chapter, when BOOM, Lucy tells a quick story as an aside, and your heart breaks into a million pieces. It took my breath away.

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola
“Be kind to drunk people, for every one of them is fighting an enormous battle,” writes Hepola, who would drink at bars or parties until she blacked out. Meaning: She could still tell stories and dance and sing karaoke, but in the morning, she wouldn’t remember a thing. She’d use clues (a cab receipt in her pocket, a casual joke from a friend, a corn dog in her bed) to piece together what had happened. “Close your eyes and open them again. That’s what a blackout feels like,” she writes. Although her journalism career blossomed (and the overall tone of the book is frank, funny and warm), she worried more and more about her extreme drinking — and waking up next to strange men. “I drank myself to a place where I didn’t care,” she says, “but I woke up a person who cared enormously. Many yeses on Friday nights would have been noes on Saturday morning. My consent battle was in me.” Hepola’s fascinating memoir is a wild ride until she hits rock bottom — more than once.

Epilogue: A Memoir by Anne Roiphe
This may be the only book I’ve ever re-read, I loved it so much. When her husband of nearly 40 years dies unexpectedly, 70-year-old Anne Roiphe strives to figure out a new day-to-day routine in her Upper West Side apartment. “Grief is in two parts,” she writes. “The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.” Her adult daughter places a personal ad for her in a literary journal, and when Roiphe meets men for coffee and lunches, the results are both poignant and hilarious. The funny thing is, when I read this memoir years ago — while Alex and I were first dating — I found it heartbreaking and terrifying, while now I find it resilient and strong and full of hope. Funny how much a book can change when your own life changes.

Disclaimer: These books sound depressing written out, but they are so, so wonderful.

Are you reading anything good right now? What are a few of your favorite books? Do you have a book “type”? While writing this, I realized that I must be drawn to first-person books about women. (I also loved Dept. of Speculation and Persepolis.)

P.S. The scariest book, and five big fall books.

(Photo by Romain Pivétal, via Sycamore Street.)

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

  1. I found a wonderful new author, Neva Rae Bell Books. She is self-published on Amazon. “The Sleeping Arrangement” is a fabulous easy, fun, heartwarming read. The “Branded” series is excellent too. This author is going places!!

  2. Wendy says...

    For those of you who enjoyed “Maybe you should talk to someone” I would highly recommend “Good Morning, Monster” by Catherine Gildiner. (The author is a retired therapist but she’s written novels and a memoir and knows how to spin a story.) The book tells the stories of five of her former patients and their journey through therapy. The stories, the lives, and therapeutic breakthroughs are fascinating! I was rooting for all of them.

    • Renee says...

      Thanks for the recommendation! I loved “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” thus have a feeling I will like this book as well.

  3. I love Ruth Reichl’s writing! I have fond memories of reading some of her earlier books while soaking in a hot bubble bath that eventually turned lukewarm as I couldn’t tear myself away from the book.

  4. I highly recommend Christy Harrison’s new book, Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-being and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating for anyone yearning to break up with our toxic, oppressive diet culture, make peace with food and their body, and eat intuitively.

    • YES YES YES to this recommendation. I love Christy Harrison and I believe every woman MUST read this book.

    • As most people are impacted by our pervasive, insidious diet culture, I think EVERYONE would benefit from reading the book. As an Intuitive Eating Counselor, I recommend it to all of my clients as well as Christy’s podcast, Food Psych. In addition, I often encourage my clients to share it with their partners, family members, etc. so they also have a better understanding of how diet culture and weight stigma harm everyone.

  5. Currently flying through Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime”. So, so good!

    • Renee says...

      Loved his book as well. I learned a lot and laughed a lot!

  6. L says...

    Girl Woman Other is so good! Also recently loved The Dreamers (so timely!) and the Overstory!

  7. Carla says...

    I just read a few days ago  “ Persuasion “ by Jane Austen. I am glad that I finally read it, I enjoyed it very much, more than “Pride and Prejudice”. Am I the only one?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i loved persuasion! did you see the 1995 film? it’s SO good.

    • Carla says...

      Thank you for your reply Joanna! 😊No I haven’t! Thank you for letting me know!!! I will for sure! 😉Keep safe and healthy with your sweet family ❤️

  8. Christine says...

    My almost 2 year old got into Audible on my phone and ordered the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert; so I guess I will be reading that next ;)

    Some noteworthy books from the past month or so:
    -The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger- Dr. Edith is a holocaust survivor and recounts the terror of Auschwitz. She ended up surviving and lives such a beautiful, meaningful life. The book is SO inspiring.
    -The Hot Young Widows Club- a book that helps you navigate grief whether you’re feeling grief yourself or have a love one experiencing grief. Whenever someone passes I never know what to do/say and I always think my words/actions will be offensive in some way. I learned a lot from this quick read.

    • Jane I. says...

      The audio version of “Big Magic” is so dreamy. Elizabeth Gilbert has the most sexy/relaxing reading voice. I like to imagine that in a previous life she was a late night DJ playing 90s R&B and answering listener questions about relationships… haha!

    • Brooke says...

      Christine that’s hilarious and wonderful! Your two year old has very good taste. Big Magic is a very enlivening and joyful book. Just looking at the splattered paint cover makes me happy.

  9. Julie says...

    I also read My Name is Lucy Borton recently. I am still thinking about it (just like every other Elizabeth Strout book).
    I just finished Less by Andrew Sean Greer (it won the Pulitzer prize). It’s witty, funny and entertaining. Makes you think too.

  10. Carolyn says...

    Looking at that girl rubbing her eye though. Killing me, can’t stop thinking about it.

  11. Maddy says...

    I love seeing what everyone is reading – it’s like peaking into the window of someone’s house! (In a non-creepy way, promise.)

    I recently finished Madeline Miller’s novel, Circe, and goodness gracious, I loved it. I am a total sucker for Greek mythology and fresh spins on the old myths, and this book delivered far and above my expectations. Her first novel, The Song of Achilles, is also fantastic, and I would recommend reading that one before Circe, but wow, beautiful writing, excellent character development, and the story sucked me in from the first few pages.

    So yes, if anyone reading these comments is into Greek mythology, you MUST reading The Song of Achilles and Circe. Circe truly might be might new favorite novel. You will not regret reading it, not even a little.

    • Currently reading Song of Achilles after reading Circe over Christmas. SO good! Recommending it to everyone.

    • Kate says...

      I am gobsmacked by how good Circe is. I tried to start it a few times and had trouble getting past the first chapter or so, but boy does it pick up & reward your attention. Beautiful writing, and I loved hearing Circe’s point of view. I finished it about 2 months ago and am still thinking about it.

    • Hayley says...

      Circe is one of my all time favorites. You may enjoy The Silence of the Girls if you enjoy feminist retellings!

    • Stephanie says...

      I also loved both of those books. Brilliant. You may also like Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin. It relates the life of Lavinia, a minor character in the Aeneid.

  12. Jean says...

    Ooooh, I love this post and ones like it. Loving so far in 2020:

    In weird timeliness, I started the year with A Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, which is about the experiences of a woman in a quarantined plague village in England in 1665, the year of the Great Plague. It’s beautiful, strange, and moving. How much we’ve learned since then, and how much we are still the same.

    Currently on Kristin Lavransdatter, an epic about the life, from birth to death, of a medieval Norwegian woman. An incredible tapestry of a novel – the author won a Nobel prize for it – but also a lot of defining women’s worth by her virginity. 45 hours to listen to. Whew.

    Looking forward to: When Breath Becomes Air (just checked out) and The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. SO EXCITED about the latter, as I’m in love with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Definitely noticing the trend here in heavy historical novels written by brilliant women :)

  13. Marjan says...

    Not very uplifting, but going through a phase in my life where I want to know as much as I possibly can about WW2, I’m reading Heinrich Himmler’s biography by Peter Longerich. The more you advance into the book, the more difficult it gets to read. Determined to finish this book though.

  14. Jenna says...

    Little Gods by Meng Jin!

    It’s a new book that came out at the start of the year, and I’ve already read it twice. It has so much: complicated relationships, powerful female personalities, strong sense of place, and more. It’s thoughtful, moving, and creative, and I could talk about it all day.

  15. Natasha says...

    The Idea of You by Robin Lee. Such a fun, sexy and escapist read. Perfect distraction for right now, trust me!!

  16. valentina says...

    Just read both Olive Kitteridge books, so I’m definitely up for another one by Elizabeth Strout! She is just so excellent at building worlds and writing clean, compelling prose.

    I’m currently in the middle of Jessica Simpson’s memoir and I cannot get over how great it is! I thought it was going to be sort of beach-read-y in nature and thought I’d breeze through it, but it is incredible well-written and a very heavy, sorrowful memoir.

    • Renee says...

      I absolutely LOVE the Olive Kitteridge books! They are unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

  17. Ancy says...

    Currently reading Oona Out of Order and loving it! Major Time Traveller’s Wife nostalgia.

  18. Rosalie Barlow says...

    I’m im a book club with some co-workers which has really broadened the types of books that I read. I just finished The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which is kind of a mystery thriller and we’re meeting to discuss it next week. In the meantime I’ve read Jojo Moyes trilogy, The Runaway Daughte by Joanna Rees and I’m currently reading Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright. Nocturnal Animals is an example of a book that I probably would never have read if it weren’t for my book club. The writing is spare but it is compelling and I can’t wait to see what happens next. My goal is to read as much as possible this year and I’m trying to keep track of what I’ve read in a little journal.

  19. Tabby says...

    I’ve just started reading Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez and it’s making me SO ANGRY!! In a rage-inducing, eye-opening WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS kinda way.

    The whole world is designed around the experience of men, because it is men who have ultimately put these structures in place and overwhelmingly make decisions. It isn’t a ‘let’s blame men for purposely keeping us disadvantaged’ narrative, but just highlights how seeing male as the norm has affected the female experience of the world. Lots of data, and data gaps, showing how the structure we all just accept as normal make existing in the world as a woman more difficult. So many things you don’t even realise are problematic are actually barriers to a comfortable or fair experience just because they haven’t been designed with a female body/experience in mind.

    I’m only about a third in, but I think everyone absolutely needs to read this book. It’s truly mind-blowing.

    • Anna says...

      Yes!!! I know exactly how you feel! The Guardian did a piece on it not too long ago:

      https://amp.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/feb/23/truth-world-built-for-men-car-crashes

      From stab vests to seatbelts designed for men, “design that forgets about women puts lives at risk”. It makes you realize just how far we are still from making the world an equitable place for us women. Honestly, this should be required reading for everyone.

    • Marjan says...

      …. thank you for this recommendation. Ordered it; lots of time to read while staying at home because of this flu.

  20. Silver says...

    Holly Ringland’s The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, and it was an absolutely brilliant read.

    • Paige says...

      I loved this book!

  21. Nigerian Girl says...

    I recently read, enjoyed, and wholly recommend these books:

    – Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson – Gripping, full of heart and all-round amazing. I love the combustible twins and I think you will too.

    – In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado – An original, exquisitely written memoir of domestic abuse in a lesbian relationship.

    – This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett – A brilliant, incisive and readable collection of essays. “The Getaway Car” in particular is a must-read for anyone who wishes to write.

    * I’m now reading Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies, a collection of essays by diverse women who open up about what feminism means to them. It’s honest, inspiring and comforting.

  22. Kay says...

    My type changes, there was a time when I read a lot of Victorian and Augustan/Romantic literature. Now I read a lot of crime (but not gory crime) and I am very partial to a cookery book. Favourite book of all time is Anne of Green Gables. Others in my top ten would include The Kitchen Diaries Volume I by Nigel Slater (cookery book, he is an amazing writer, I love his prose), Howard’s End is on the Landing by Susan Hill (a book about books and reading), 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, Susannah of the Mounties by Muriel Dennison (I named my daughter after Susannah), Possession by A. S. Byatt, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Persuasion by Jane Austen and The Island by Victoria Hislop. Thank you for asking. x

    • Julie says...

      Did you read Marilla of Green Gables? Not the same author but sort of a prequel. I really enjoyed it.

  23. Alissa says...

    I just read “My Dark Vanessa” in two days (it only came out yesterday). Fascinating, SO hard to put down, and great commentary on #MeToo among other topics. Don’t forget to read a synopsis as it may be very triggering for some readers.

  24. Christina Marsh says...

    Oona Out of Order is my most favrourite read in 2020…so much so that when my copy of Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson came in for me at the library I felt slightly deflated at the fact that I was about to read two brilliantly written books back to back. I loved Oona so much, but I’m ready to dive right into another amazing character driven novel.

  25. Amanda says...

    I would love a CoJ book club!! I loved The Dreamers, Born a Crime and The Witches are Coming recently.

  26. Lucia says...

    I cannot recommend Weather by Jenny Offill enough. It’s domestic fiction with climate change as the backdrop. I don’t feel like I read the book, I feel like I breathed the book. It’s intensely beautiful and true.
    I also recommend Ling Ma’s Severance for apocalyptic fiction that seems scarily resonate at the moment.

    • Joyce says...

      Such a breeze to read

  27. Cari says...

    I just started The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larsen, about Churchill and the Blitz. It is GRIPPING! It is also weirdly reassuring, since part of what Larsen is doing is portraying the little details of how Churchill and his family got through such a scary time.

  28. Jennifer Simmons says...

    Scariest book on the shelves right now, hands down, is “Station 11,” by Emily St. John Mandel. Speculative fiction that begins with a devastating flu-like pandemic. Comfort reading – “Outlander.” A trip to the 18th Century with Claire and Jamie is the perfect escape from the present day. Also loved Kristen Kimball’s new book, “Good Husbandry” – her account of being a mom, wife, farmer, and businesswoman. All at the same time.

    • Kat O says...

      Yes, I just finished Good Husbandry yesterday and it was fantastic. I read an inordinate amount of farming memoirs and Kimball’s are some of the best.

  29. Courtney says...

    I’d love a book club! I read a bunch of books last year (yay Kindle while nursing) and I somewhat inadvertently only read books by women and it was great. Hoping to keep that going this year as well. I have so many books on my to-read list. Recent loves have included The Dutch House, Mrs. Everything, and Home Fire.

  30. I loved Writers & Lovers, Here for It and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and I just started the new James McBride. I am retreating into books to manage my stress. (Oncology Nurse Practitioner in a hospital so my day job just got a lot more stressful. 😳)

  31. Jenica says...

    I am currently reading Where the Crawdads Sing and though only a few chapters in, I am immediately gripped by both the prose and depth of the story.

    The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is my recent favorite read. The portrayal of the complicated relationship between Leni’s parents resonated deeply with me. I was pulled through that book and left in tears; a beautiful story.

    • Donna says...

      The Great Alone was my favorite book of 2018! Loved it so much!

    • kirstin says...

      Where the Crawdad Sings was one of my highlight reads last year – awesome

    • Ivy says...

      I also loved The Great Alone! I just started one of her other books, Nightingale, and am really enjoying that so far.

  32. OK says...

    Thank you! Had a book club growing up and miss it now. One that has stuck with me recently is a Tale for the Time Being – stick with it for something wonderful.

    • Tabby says...

      I love this book. Have read it a couple of times now!

  33. Christa says...

    I am reading the Giver of Stars right now by JoJo Moyes. It’s really good.
    I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and loved it.
    I guess my book type is Reese’s Book Club!
    It’s like we are basically best friends! :)

  34. Maria says...

    I’m currently into non-fiction (books about feminism, plants, interior design 😉). I just started reading Beyond Beautiful by Anuschka Rees. However, last Saturday I bought ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo – looking forward to read it 🤗

  35. Olive says...

    The Tsar of Love and Techno, Anthony Marra. A book of interlocking short stories about a community in Russia that starts in 1937 and spirals out across generations to current day. As someone who had a previously shaky understanding of life post WWI under Communism, nothing I’ve read has been as hilarious, heartbreaking, and beautiful as this book!

  36. Emma says...

    I loved ‘Say Nothing’ by Patrick radden o’keefe. The true story of the troubles in Northern Ireland in the 70s & 80s as told by the major players from all sides. It reads like a thriller and is just so well written. Sad and hopeful.

    • Nora says...

      That was one of my favorites last year. Our tiny local bookstore sold hundreds.

      If you haven’t already, read Milkman as a companion piece – it’s fiction and a Booker winner, and takes place in Belfast in the 70s.

    • LJ says...

      Oh my goodness, I just finished that a couple weeks ago and was blown away! The writing is truly phenomenal. My heart breaks for the struggle of the people in Ireland.

  37. Sarah says...

    I just FINALLY read The Book Thief and it was so good! Now I know what all the fuss was about.

    • Nicole says...

      Same! Finished it last night. So good.

  38. Ann says...

    That photo makes me miss the freedom with which I used to scratch my eye. In any event, I am reading Such a Fun Age and it’s wonderful.

    • Nicole says...

      LOL! This comment truly made my night. I never realized just how much I touch my face throughout the day, especially my eyes.

      Also, that book is on my must read list!

    • Laura says...

      Haha. Love this comment–and Kiley Reid’s book!

    • rachel says...

      lol

  39. Mouse says...

    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. So interior and such a poignant portrait of a life.

    • Yes, Loved it so much!

  40. Am loving all of the suggestions…my Goodreads ‘want to read’ list is out of control!
    My favourite books of the year so far:

    ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ – Diane Setterfield
    ‘The Shock of the Fall’ – Nathan Filer
    ‘Beartown’ – Fredrik Backman

    Alos love the idea of a CoJ virtual book club!

    • Sarah says...

      LOVED Beartown! The next book, Us Against Them, is also very good.

    • LJ says...

      The Thirteenth Tale was such a wild ride! Loved it.

  41. Sarah says...

    Just finished What Alice Forgot- such a fun, enjoyable read. Also loved The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes. Almost finished with Something in the Water- I am half way done and it has been a book that I have to make myself put down. It hooks you from the first page.

    • Sarah says...

      I loved The Giver of Stars! Something in the Water was a very different and captivating book.

  42. A says...

    A book I press upon people after reading about it here, and then reading and loving it for its startling simple, strange, and ultimately timely plot: The Association for Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan.

    I have been on an essay-craze lately and really enjoyed Make It Scream, Make It Burn by Leslie Jamison, and am gobbling up The Witches Are Coming by Lindsey West.
    All of which I believe I first read about here, so thanks, Jo!

    And seriously, when we are all in quarantine, how lovely would it be to have an online COJ book club to look forward to?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love the idea of an online CoJ book club!!! would you have book suggestions? i am loving Maybe You Should Talk to Someone right now.

    • Arielle says...

      Yes please to this book club idea!

    • A says...

      I’m thrilled you’re up for a book club, Jo! I’ve been meaning to read that book and bet it would make a great conversation starter. For fiction, Lily King’s Writers and Lovers, which just came out, could be a fun choice. I’d frankly be happy to talk about the phone book with all your lovely readers. It would be a nice way to connect!

    • jaen says...

      My two recs:
      Fleishman is in Trouble is a great one for discussion.
      Education of an Idealist is on my list and would probably make great discussion in this election year.

    • Chris says...

      When I was little my grandfather taught me to say “please, please, please” before anything I was to wish for. So, in the spirit of my grandpa and the amazing COJ community I have found here….please, please, please may we finally have a Cup of Jo bookclub? XOXO

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      chris, your grandfather sounds so sweet! :)

  43. Brenna says...

    I just finished reading through all the comments and updating my Goodreads list – this post is great!

    I recently read The Overstory by Richard Powers and it was so engrossing and also felt like the kind of story I needed to share with all of my friends – but how?! I loved all of the characters and how their stories intertwined with each other; how the story builds and takes shape; how there were story lines that stayed unconnected, like branches across the tree from each other. I’m normally one to skim over the figures in a book and instead stick to the interpersonal stories but this book had me eating up all the facts and histories of trees. I feel like a born again tree lover and I have thought of this book in one way or another every day since I’ve read it. This book is so important for these times and I hope it somehow makes its way to high school reading lists.

    • Karen says...

      I loved this book as well. I couldn’t believe some of the fascinating things I never knew I never knew.

    • Julie says...

      I loved this book too. You learn so much about trees and the ecosystem around them, and I wasn’t expecting that.

    • laetitia says...

      The Overstory was incredible, It has also deeply changed my perception of trees and nature, and I agree with everything you say!

  44. Ellie says...

    I’m currently reading “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston. It’s about the Ebola virus and it is TERRIFYING (in a fascinating way).

    • Gilli says...

      Watching the Netflix show so good!

  45. Amber J says...

    I’m reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time (at 27 years of age). I’ve always been afraid that the language would trip me up, but I finally took the plunge, and who am I kidding! It’s English. I know how to read English. If the dialogue gets hard to follow I just gloss over it and move on. No pressure. I’m really loving it.

    My all-time favorite book that I read last year was on recommendation of a Cup of Jo post (can’t remember who recommended it). It’s called Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl. I don’t really know what it is about it, but it’s just one of my very top favorite books of all time. It’s perfect.

    • Lola says...

      I also just read Pride and Prejudice for the first time (at 30, so you beat to me to it:)

      I highly recommend listening to the audiobook read by Rosamund Pike. It was the first audiobook I had ever gotten into, and I absolutely fell in love!

      I think I would have found myself skimming over parts of the dialogue as well if I read it in print, but Rosamund’s narration brings everything to life. Can’t recommend it enough!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh the audiobook sounds so good!

    • Deb says...

      I just read Pride and Prejudice for the first time (aged 37) and I too put it off for so long because I thought it would be hard to read. I always do this with the “classics” then I eventually read them and it’s like… yeah that was fine. I mean, if they’re classics it’s because everyone’s read them and I can’t be that much less smart than the average person!

      I’m dying to read Save Me The Plums, I love Ruth Reichl’s writing so much. Just waiting for the price to come down where I live (it’s shockingly expensive here!)

      Yay for books! Rosamunde Pike has also read Sense & Sensibility in case you didn’t know!

    • VT says...

      Really recommend Longbourn by Jo Baker. P&P done from the servants’ perspective.

    • Amber J says...

      Oh, the audiobook! Good idea!!

    • Amber J says...

      Longbourn sounds beautiful, too. I’ll have to get that!

    • I love Ruth Reichl’s writing! I have fond memories of reading some of her earlier books while soaking in a hot bubble bath that eventually turned lukewarm as I couldn’t tear myself away from the book.

  46. Julie says...

    I just finished Maureen Johnson’s The Vanishing Stair, the second in her Truly, Devious series and am about to start the third and final book. I’m also reading John Connolly’s book of short stories Nocturnes, as well as a romance novel by Mary Balough (Someone to Love).

    • Nicole says...

      I’m reading Truly, Devious right now. Such a fun read!

    • AnneL says...

      I read the first two and then had to wait far too long for the third. But I have to say (no spoilers) it genuinely fulfilled my expectations.

  47. Alyson says...

    I just got done reading “Tales from the Bed” by Jenifer Estess told by her sister Valerie Estess. It’s a memoir about Jenifer Estess, the woman who founded Project ALS. It presents childhood and adulthood stories, and shares details about when she was diagnosed with ALS and how she started her company at the same time.
    A really great book to read, and eye opening too. It made me feel really grateful for what I have and my situation.

  48. Carrie says...

    All time favorite book… A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. So beautiful.

  49. Nilu says...

    American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins was so good. I couldn’t put it down. It really shows the hardships and determination of a mother and son. I highly recommend it!

    • Meg says...

      Ditto! It was fantastic & really gave me more sympathy for those that are forced to migrate…. really eye opening

    • Morsey says...

      I am so glad you put this up Nilu, I read it in 2 days couldn’t stop.
      believe the haters, it is amazing, tragic and inspiring. A mothers love, wow you girls can do anything!! Plus what people go through to get to the US and what they are running from. Gives Americans a real insight into why central Americans and Mexicans HALF to leave- there is no choice

    • Morsey says...

      that was supposed to be Don’t believe the haters

  50. Lynn Garcia says...

    My all time favorites: When the Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot!

    • Traci says...

      Those are both excellent and culturally eye opening. I’d add, The City of Joy.

  51. Jessie says...

    This year I discovered Ann Patchett and have adored *most* of her work especially The Dutch House and State of Wonder.

    Just got done American Dirt and as a mother was put in touch with a side of illegal immigration that I had never felt before, and my eyes were opened. Heart wrenching!

  52. Sharla (from Canada) says...

    My favorite books of the last six months have been:
    The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
    Normal People by Sally Rooney
    On Earth We’re Breifly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
    The writing in each of these books was so unique and captivating, almost like poetry itself. Tommy Orange suggested Lispector and Vuong.

  53. I’m re-reading a forever favorite – Anne of Green Gables. This time around, I’m definitely looking at the older characters through a different lens. For example, Rachel Lynde had twelve children! I wish I could get a stand-alone novel about her life and adventures.

    • Cheryl says...

      The Night Circus
      Has literally everything perfect we love about books and love and magic and life.

  54. Sara says...

    Such great recommendations then and now! Would so love a COJ book club!

  55. emilya_ says...

    1. ahhhh, she shouldn’t touch her face!
    2. read recently and really liked: “a singular woman” (the story of barack obama’s mother) and john hersey’s, “hiroshima.”
    3. currently reading: “trick mirror” by jia tolentino (highly recommend)

    • Emme says...

      LOL That’s exactly what I thought when I saw this picture. Thought it was going to be a PSA.

  56. Quinn says...

    Yay! Even if this is a re-post, I’m excited to sift through the comments for titles to add to my library holds list. :)

    I’ve been intentionally choosing lighter fare as there’s nothing like the salve of heart-warming, charming book to help calm my anxiety (I think we can all agree that 2020 has been rough!) . These have all fit the bill:
    – Evvie Drake Starts Over
    – The Flatshare
    – One Day in December
    – Queenie

    I’d love more suggestions along these lines if anyone has any! :)

    I also read Belonging by Nora Krug — only the second graphic memoir I’ve ever read, the first being “Good Talk” (thanks Jo for the recommendation!), and I can highly recommend both!

    • Cat says...

      Hi Quinn, you may like these titles:
      The Bookish Life if Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
      Other People’s Houses also by Abbi Waxman
      The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
      Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

      And the Flatshare author has a new book coming.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      Red, White, and Royal Blue

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      @Quinn The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

    • Quinn says...

      Aw, thank you all! :)) Going to look for these!

  57. Tracy M. says...

    I just finished “Good Husbandry,” a memoir about Kristin Kimball’s life as a farmer in upstate NY (she used to be a journalist in NYC but fell in love with a farmer after interviewing him for a story!). Her first book, The Dirty Life, was written 10ish years ago and I also recommend that one! I would absolutely LOVE to see something by her on CoJ. She’s one of the strongest women I’ve read about.

    • May says...

      I loved The Dirty Life! Thanks for this rec, I had no idea there was a new book. Still my dream to randomly meet a farmer and build a life on the land like Kristin Kimball, despite being happily married already and living in a city in Australia!

  58. Marci says...

    I loved “Virgil Wander” by Leif Enger. (“Peace Like a River”) I underlined so many great descriptions like:

    “He had the heartening bulk of the aging athlete defeated by pastry.”

    “It’s possible to perceive what is coming and still be dumbfounded when it happens.”

    The story is filled with quirky, memorable characters with heart.

    • Sarah says...

      I loved Peace Like a River so I’m adding Virgil Wander to my to-read list.

  59. Ann says...

    I just finished a Road Ends by Mary Lawson. Really good.

  60. Elspeth says...

    Once Again to Zelda by Marlene Wagman-Geller. Totally geeky literary read, all about the stories behind famous authors’ dedications in the books. Absolutely recommend 🤓

  61. Alisyn says...

    I would urge you to read all of Elizabeth Strout’s books, since you loved ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ (especially ‘Anything is Possible’ featuring many of the characters referenced in Lucy Barton). She is an an American treasure!

    I just finished reading ‘Ask Again, Yes’, ‘The Mercies’, ‘Night Sky With Exit Wounds,’ and ‘Nothing To See Here,’ and ‘Such a Fun Age,’ all of which I enthusiastically recommend!

  62. Amy says...

    Recent reads I enjoyed (recent to me, anyway): “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart, intense YA about a family where the trappings of wealth thinly disguise the grandfather’s stranglehold on their lives; “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” by Alix Harrow, YA fantasy about bridges between alternate worlds; “The Dutch House” by Ann Pratchett, which is as brilliant as everyone’s said; “The Woman Who Smashed Codes,” nonfiction about the female half of the married couple that basically created US cryptology; “Fall” by Neil Stephenson, a doorstopper of a scifi novel with intriguing ideas about a digital afterlife; and “The Yellow House,” insightful nonfiction about the history of New Orleans and the impact of Katrina, as seen from within one family and their now-lost home.

  63. mona says...

    GLENNON DOYLE’S UNTAMED.

    A MUST READ!!!!

  64. claire says...

    The Louise Penny mystery series, which takes place in a tiny fictional village in Quebec. There are a lot of croissants and cafe au lait being passed around while the solve crimes are solved.

    • Laura says...

      Yes!!! I love this series too. I enjoy mysteries, but nothing over the top scary. The Gamache series by Louise Penny is perfect.

  65. celeste says...

    I am the type of person who checks out a lot and buys a lot of books but has trouble finishing them. Open Book by Jessica Simpson (on Audible, with 6 new songs) brought me back to the aughts. And my daughter and I read White Bird by the Wonder author, about Julian’s grandmother in the Holocaust. It is a graphic novel and my daughter created a reading schedule in Word for us. If you still haven’t read Wonder or seen the movie, I highly recommend both!

  66. Tamara says...

    Read/listened to so far for 2020:
    City of Girls-Elizabeth Gilbert
    The Ten Thousand Doors of January- Alice E. Harlow
    What The Wind Knows (audio)-Amy Harmon
    The Overstory- Richard Powers
    With my daughter:
    Maybe He Just Likes You (audio)-Barbara Dee- GREAT conversation starter about consent
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (audio)- Jacqueline Kelly

  67. Rin says...

    I was off sick last week and DEVOURED the Chronicles of St Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor (ten books and several tie-in short stories). They are great fun, and kept me going through a rather unpleasant week! Time travel, a resourceful (but not at all romantic) heroine, jokes, action, dinosaurs, misbehaving monarchs and a love interest with a tragic past. (But not for those of a sensitive disposition, as there is quite a lot of violence and some rather steamy sex scenes!)

  68. Raina says...

    Somehow read Pride and Prejudice — the whole thing — in five days. Super cray to think it was written sooooo long ago.

  69. Lauren E. says...

    Just read We Were the Lucky Ones while traveling through Krakow and it was stunning. A true story and one of the only uplifting WWII/Eastern Europe accounts I’ve ever read.

    • Cara Krenn says...

      That book is so, so good!

  70. Jessica says...

    WHY IS SHE TOUCHING HER FACE?!?!?!

    Sorry, is there an article here? I can’t get past the image!
    I can’t be the only one?

    • Molly says...

      OMG I had EXACTLY the same reaction!!

    • Micki says...

      Haha! That’s why I came to the comments, to see if anyone else felt the same way. Not that I’ve stopped touching my face . . . I’m trying . . .

    • jane says...

      Right? lol 😅
      Also, just finished “Fleishman is in Trouble” the other night and it was SO deliciously INSIGHTFUL that now I want to read more from the author, Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Started last night on “What if it DOES Work Out” by Silicon Valley startup sales dir turned life coach, Susie Moore.

      But I just put these on my waiting list at the library and can’t wait:
      Educating the Idealist – Samantha Power
      Recollections of my Non-Existence – Rebecca Solnit
      In Byron’s Wake – Miranda Seymour
      You Call This Democracy – Laura Moser (for teens but I want to hear what she has to say)

    • jane says...

      Oh also finished Exhalations by Ted Chiang and loved it.

    • Mary W says...

      Geez, I thought the same thing.

    • Claire says...

      LOL!!! I need that laugh. That was my first thought too, after opening my work email to read that Seattle closed its schools for two weeks. I work in an elementary school and it’s been rough.

    • Catherine says...

      My first thought was, she’s touching her eye! But this post is a good distraction today. :)

    • Carrie says...

      hehe that was my first thought. Are people actually adhering to that? I literally can’t stop myself from touching my face!

  71. stu says...

    Such a Fun Age, the Bookish Life of Nina Hill, I Miss You When I Blink are a few recents. Currently: Sula, Home Making by a local SC author and dipping in and out of Astro Poets. I’m putting all three of these recs on my library holds list. :)

  72. Maria says...

    I’ve spent too much time being sick so far this year BUT that also meant much time for, and a renewed love for reading!! The Road to Character by David Brooks was a wonderful surprise, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles was a delight to read, and lastly, Der Reisende/The Man Who Took Trains by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz. There’s a new edition out but I don’t know if it can be found in English yet? It touched me, because Europe 1938 seemed eerily much like Europe 2020. :(
    And today I took up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society again, been wanting to reread it – it’s just lovely!

  73. Jessie says...

    Great books I’ve recently read:

    -The Alice Network (devoured this and promptly then devoured The Huntress by the same author)
    – Little Fires Everywhere (picked up on a whim from the library and it blew my mind!!! Only to then discovered, mere days later, after finishing it’s about to become a tv show

  74. Michelle McCourt says...

    Loved:
    The Dutch House, Ann Patchet
    Fifth Risk: Michael Lewis (this is now happening re coronavirus)
    Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak catcher, Tom Wolfe
    Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
    Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
    Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

  75. Allison Hicks says...

    I just finished The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich- what a wonderful book! It’s about family and loss and love and also the real life story of the author’s grandfather’s fight to stop the federal government’s termination of the Turtle Band of Chippewa Indians. Stunning read.

    • Kristen says...

      Louise Erdrich is such a beautiful writer. I’ve always loved her short stories, but recently discovered The Birchbark House series — sort of like Little House on the Prairie from the perspective of a Ojibwa girl. My 7 year old son is transfixed…there are some very, very sad parts, but also pet porcupines and brothers who get too close too the fire and have to sit in a bucket of water.

    • Allison Hicks says...

      The Birchbark Series is so good! I’m happy to hear your son is enjoying it!

  76. jill d. says...

    The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – so moving, so lovely – i will be sure to read this one again.

    Also – late to this one but I’m currently reading The Dutch House by Ann Patchett and it’s also very lovely.

  77. Daniela says...

    I’m reading In the Flo right now and recommend it to anyone who has a monthly cycle. It is incredibly eye-opening!

  78. Courtney says...

    My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. Seriously, drop everything and go read this book right now.

  79. Denise says...

    Right now I’m reading Moloka’i by Alan Brennert & it’s really good. It’s historical fiction about leprosy in Hawaii in the late 19th & early 20th century. The characterization is superb and the story hopeful despite the way people with leprosy were isolated from society. Plus the cover is lovely.

    • Marci says...

      I loved this book too! It’s a thick doorstop of a book but it reads fast. I was emotionally invested in the characters.

  80. jules says...

    Oooh I have been waiting for another book post to get some ideas!! I am currently reading the Overstory by Richard Powers, as my husband also finishes it up. He said it was so good he had me start it while he was half way through …and he was def right. I have to say this is not the best way to go about things when you both want to take it to work with you during the day though

  81. Dana says...

    Things I loved in the last several months:

    Circe by Madeline Miller
    Red at the Bone by Jacquline Woodson
    Women Talking by Miriam Toews
    The Rules do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
    The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
    Normal People by Sally Rooney

    Also, I have to say, picked up Nora Ephron’s Heartburn because I saw it mentioned here and it was MEDICINE FOR MY HEART. Loved it.

    • Rosalie says...

      You might also like The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker if you loved Circe. I’m currently reading it and it’s very interesting, especially if you like Greek stories like the Iliad and Odyssey.

  82. I’m listening to The Choice by Dr. Edith Eger, a psychologist in her 90s who survived Auschwitz. It is AMAZING!!! So uplifting. There’s something about hearing the story of a whole life that is just awe-inspiring, but having Dr. Eger’s psychological insight on top of it is so cool. I highly recommend the audiobook because the performance is absolutely fantastic. I heard her on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, which is how I found out about the book. I’ve been wanting to talk about it so bad! Maybe some other COJ readers have read it?

  83. jen says...

    the Nine Lives of Stella Fortuna. OMG so good.

  84. chelsea w says...

    I just finished a book called White Rose, Black Forest, and it was good! It’s based on when the Nazis first began taking over–particularly in Germany–and how rebellions began and then faded, and the survival of the main character with so many twists and turns and…well…you should read the rest of it!

  85. Joaquina says...

    “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World” by
    Steve Brusatte is so fascinating, easy to digest, and well written!

  86. Liz says...

    All I can think when I see this photo is, “DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!!”
    Crazy times!

  87. Emily says...

    Post reaction: Oh this is lovely, then and now.

    Photo reaction: OMG GIRL DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE, this is 2020!

    • Joaquina says...

      Hahaha yes came here to comment on just this! Ay the revulsion I feel seeing the eye touching…!

    • DC says...

      I had the exact same thought!

    • Anon says...

      YES! specially your eyes or nose haha.. . I am not panicking but kind of anxious with all the news related to COVID 19..read somewhere that there is TP shortage at super markets now ..umm what?!
      COJ, are going to do a post on this? I know, I will feel some comfort or solace talking to this community of wise and kind readers :)

    • Sara says...

      SAME

    • Stephanie says...

      Hahaah I thought the exact same thing!

    • Elizabeth R says...

      I was wrong to the person above me. Apparently EVERYBODY but me was thinking this. This article was written in 2016 and that artsy not meaning to be real photo was likely taken before that aka way before coronavirus.

  88. Emily S. says...

    I’m reading a wonderful graphic memoir called The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui. It’s about a woman’s experience coming to the US from Vietnam with her family in the 1970s, and about her family’s history of being affected by war. My book club is going to discuss it next week, and I’m looking forward to that. The blurb on the cover says it’s “A book to break your heart and heal it.” It is so moving!

  89. Jessica says...

    This is silly but that top photo totally triggered me – don’t touch your eye, coronavirus!! LOL

  90. Tracey says...

    “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller! Heavy subject matter but beautifully written and so powerful to read her story in her own words.

    • I think Know My Name is one of the most important books I’ve read in the last 10 years. It moved me so deeply. I bought another copy to pass around to friends, and I will re-read mine many more times, I’m sure.

    • Paula says...

      I’m about to finish Nothing to see here by Kevin Nelson, and just bought Know my name based on these recs :)

      On the same topic, last year I read She said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. It’s the story behind the Harvey Weinstein expose in the NYT. I strongly recommend it.

      Other books I’ve enjoyed:
      Pachinko, by Min Ji Lee: It follows the story of a Korean family through its generations. As someone with little to no knowledge about Korean history, I found it fascinating.
      Circe, by Madeline Miller, which has been recommended here so much.
      The night tiger, by Yangsze Choo: such a sweet book, I couldn’t put it down.

    • April says...

      Totally agree. “Know My Name” was beautiful and moving and feels so important. I wish everyone would read it.

    • I finished “Know My Name” just a couple of weeks ago, and I am still thinking about it. Chanel Miller is such a force, and I am grateful she has chosen to use her voice in this way. I hope this is only the beginning for/from her.

    • Andrea Trendel says...

      Our book club just finished Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles. It’s dark and funny and heartbreaking and set in Newfoundland. It speaks heartbreakingly and so relevantly to the trauma we as woman face or choose not to.

  91. Sophia says...

    I just finished reading the Stand by Stephen King. Published in 1978 and about a superflu epidemic. Wow what a read! Best book I’ve read in years!

    • Sonja says...

      I had to lol about this–maybe a book about the superflu is not something all the coronavirus-panicked people should be grabbing right now! ;)

  92. Just finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, just started Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier, and my hold on Know My Name by Chanel Miller at the library (online) just came through!

  93. Audrey says...

    I just started Glennon Doyle’s new book “Untamed” yesterday and was devouring it last night.

  94. Nicole says...

    I’m currently reading “Normal People” by Sally Rooney, which I’m really liking (more so than her first book, “Conversations with Friends”). I’m also reading “Everything is Figureoutable,” which is very comforting in such anxiety producing times.

    I just finished “The Most Fun We Ever Had” and LOVED it, such an incredible story of a family. My favorite book from last year was Ann Patchett’s “The Dutch House.” David Sedaris recommended it when I went to hear him speak and he was right, it was incredible.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      We have very similar book taste. I for sure preferred Normal People too. :)

  95. Vicki says...

    Talking about books is my favorite! I started making more of a commitment to reading last year. I find reading in the morning – vs scrolling on my phone makes it more likely to happen, vs reading at night – when my spouse might want to watch something together or talk. I read almost 40 books last year, and this year I’ve read 10 already
    Books I’ve read recently and loved
    The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater, a YA nonfiction book that tells the true story of a teen who identifies as agender and an African American boy, and one day on the bus that changes their lives. It is such a powerful story, so well done, and gives insight into both of the teens’ perspectives. Reading builds empathy and this book does so in the best way – its a must read.

    Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson – written about on COJ, its a funny weird sweet story about a nanny who cares for kids who catch on fire – an odd premise, but I bought in and read so quickly

    My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman, a sweet and funny story about love and loss, I was so absorbed into this book, I cried, laughed and carried it in my heart for days after

    Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward – a beautiful and touching story of young black boy who is living with his grandparents while his mother is in and out of his life and his white father is in prison. I

  96. Maranda says...

    Here are my favorite books that I have read in 2020:

    1. Greenglass House by Kate Milford
    2, The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
    3. A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
    4. Open Book by Jessica Simpson

  97. Alison says...

    I read Blackout because of this post back then! It was a great book.

    Currently reading a graphic novel series entitled Paper Girls. It’s really fun, and something I never would have thought I’d be into. Highly recommend something fun like this that you can read in one sitting for a book for those folks who want to read more, but are struggling with getting into reading. Reading a whole book feels like such a win!

    Also reading:
    -How to Eat by Mark Bittman & David Katz
    -A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver (also highly recommend poetry for those struggling with reading more!)
    -A Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees
    -Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin
    -This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein (an environmental book)

    Just finished Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera (a Mexican novelist translated into English) during my trip to Mexico City (travel hack: read local authors!). It was a fantastic and surreal immigrant story. Also finished Boy Erased by Garrad Conley and am finally ready to see the movie!

    Would love if CoJ had a GoodReads book group to connect with other readers. It’s how I track all of my books or I’d forget them in a heartbeat.

    • Caitlyn says...

      I love the suggestion to read local authors when you travel! Thank you!

    • Tamara says...

      I would LOVE a COJ book group!

    • Amy says...

      I was surprised at how useful I found “The Curated Closet”! Although I picked it up on a whim, I found it’s really focused my dressing/shopping in ways that are both budget-friendly and more, well, “me.”

  98. Chelsea says...

    I just finished American Dirt and can’t stop thinking about it! It was so good! I don’t agree with the criticisms surrounding it- I am glad she felt called to write and wrote it.

  99. Alyson Richman’s newest book “The Secret of Clouds” is a wonderfully deep book, yet still light and a quick read. I really enjoyed it – there were moments when I laughed, others when I cried. I couldn’t put it down…

  100. jeannie says...

    Just finished “The Great Believers.” It was so moving and wonderful.

    • Matthew says...

      Agreed x 1, 009

    • t says...

      so, so good.

    • Michele says...

      Yale standing outside his dream house!!! An unforgettable book.

  101. Trish says...

    I loved ‘A Man called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman – a Swedish writer.
    It is the MOST heartwarming story filled with humour and pathos.
    Must-read!!

    • Vicki says...

      I’ve been meaning to read that! Have you read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell you She’s Sorry, by Backman as well – it was amazing, as you not heartwarming, funny, poignant, I just loved it

    • B says...

      Beartown and Us Against You by Backman are also incredible and two of my most recommended reads.

  102. Katie says...

    Post college, I never made the time to read throughout my twenties. But last year I challenged myself to read 10 books in the year. I ended up exceeding 10 and read 14! This year 3 months in, I’ve already read 8 books. The best tip is to mix between heavy and light! Two of my favorites last year were on opposite ends of the spectrum but both provided much needed escapism. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (such a creepy, beautifully written sci-fi novel), and Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco. She was the White House deputy chief of staff for Obama. The book is a fun read, and will make you miss the days of Obama even more. She has a great anecdote about when Obama called her after the death of her beloved cat. This year my favorite by far was Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I saw Black Panther right after I read Homegoing, and the parallels between the two were beautiful in so many ways. Highly recommend!

    • Sarah says...

      Katie, I totally agree about switching between books. My teacher friend calls them “french fry books” and “broccoli books.” Homegoing was definitely a broccoli book for me but it felt so worth it at the end, even if there were parts that felt a little tougher to get through. I still think about it!

  103. Deana says...

    I’ve read Blackout which I liked. Now I’m trying to get through “A Visit from The Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan for book club, but find that I prefer reading “My (Not So) Perfect Life” by Sophie Kinsella, because the characters and situations are so relatable – who hasn’t had a hellacious commute or horrible boss?

  104. Anna says...

    I just finished reading “Tell the Wolves I’m Home” based on the reviews here and quite literally could not put it down. I don’t often find a novel I really really love, but this one completely surpassed any expectation I had. It was perfect and beautiful and one of the best books I think I’ve ever read, and I know I’ll be thinking about it for a long time to come. Thank you to everyone who recommended it here!

    • Becky says...

      I just finished that one about a week ago and loved it as well. I am a bit younger than the protagonist but I loved the references to Amadeus and A Room with a View… which were both favorites of mine on VHS in middle school and High School.

  105. Lucy says...

    I love these book posts! I’ve got a few favourites that I rant about to anyone I meet…
    Fate & Furies by Lauren Groff – the most interesting story about marriage that I have ever read, unputdownable.
    A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
    The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (and also his collection of shorter stories, Lost at Sea) – he is the written equivalent of Louis Theroux
    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

    • make sure you watch the film adaptation of The Glass Castle!

    • Elizabeth says...

      I loved “Arcadia” by Lauren Groff, which aptly captured the “Middle Earth” quality of upstate New York (and no, Hastings-on-Hudson is not upstate after you’ve lived in Ithaca). Could someone please read “Arcadia,” because I feel like the only person who’s read it.

      And I want to thank COJ for this post and giving me so many ideas of new books to read.

    • annie says...

      Elizabeth!! I’m here for you girl. I have read Arcadia and it started me on a path of hunting down every single Lauren Groff book and gobbling each one down. She is an amazing author. I reread her novels and stories now like I do Ruth Reichl memoirs and Ann Patchett essays.

    • Amoreena says...

      Elizabeth, I also loved Arcadia (and Lucy, I loved Fates & Furies, too)!

  106. k.s. says...

    late to the game but just had to say thank you for this post! I checked out from the library and have since devoured over the weekend both Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget & Epilogue – couldn’t put either of them down. I love the recommendations you share in these book posts! xx
    ps. I discovered through NPR @TinyBookReviews (instagram). Her suggestions and feedback about what she has read has been spot on – Dept. of Speculation being one of my new favorite books because of her. Highly recommend following her!