Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Although I (try to) keep track of what I’m reading under the tab (above), I don’t usually write about each book. However, this type of post is one of my favorites on others’ blogs, so I figured I may as well contribute. I choose what to read based almost solely on recommendations, so I’d love to hear what your recent favorites are.

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin— Someone recommended this to be (via blog post) (maybe Catherine Newman?), and then a friend randomly mentioned it the same day, so I figured it was meant for me to read. I thought the writing was really thoughtful and good (even beautiful much of the time), but I found the story to be quite bleak. Well written but depressing. (Depressing isn’t necessarily bad, for me, but in this case I found it… well, DEPRESSING.)

The Passage by Justin Cronin— Twitter told me to read this, so of course I did. I… LOVED IT! And yet I also hated it! It was dark and kind of gave me unsettling dreams and occupied my mind when I wasn’t reading it, but then I found that I WANTED to keep reading. In the end, I told lots of people to read it (and one friend finally did… and felt pretty much the same way about it), and I plan to read the sequel, so… good book? I think?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky— I loved this. LOVED. I was charmed from the very beginning, and even as the story encountered some heavy topics, the charm kept me captivated. It felt upbeat and happy, even when the story wasn’t. Brilliant storytelling. I have no idea how the author made the writing seem so effortless. I plan to watch the movie.

Happier At  Home by Gretchen Rubin— I have this thing where I often don’t like the authors of self-help books. Also, I read her first happiness book whilst barfing my guts out during pregnancy a few years ago, so she’s already tainted for me. HOWEVER. I found that I didn’t straight-up dislike her. In fact, she grew on me. And I think her strategies are effect and even a little inspiring, and it can never hurt to focus on making one’s life happier, right? I’ve been doing my monthly wellness lists because of this book. Bonus: the bright cover makes it a cheerful book to have sitting around.

Hearing is Believing by Elisa Medhus— Uggg. This is the book we are collectively reading and discussing for my ECFE class (a “baby and me”-type class I take with Olive). It’s poorly written, with ideas weakly supported and NO. I wouldn’t have made it 20 pages if it wasn’t for the class. Even so, I’m barely skimming these days.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey— For the first time in AGES, nearly everyone in my book club actually read the book last month, and we all ADORED it. It’s beautifully written, both whimsical and stark and just all around very well done. I loved it. It made me love winter while I was reading it, and I read it in FEBRUARY, my worst, worst worst month, so that’s saying something. These characters are my friends now and will be with me always. Recommend!

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks— I don’t even know, you guys. I’ve learned my lesson. No more Mr. Sparks for me (not that I’ve really read many of his books to begin with). I just… ok SPOILER: Among other complaints (of which there are numerous), you do not get to make a MAIN CHARACTER  a GHOST in the last three pages of the books. Fuck that. No.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult— Several years ago, I went on a bender and read ALL of Jodi’s books… Like John Grisham, they are quite engaging if not completely formulaic. Then I encountered one I just couldn’t get into, and I fizzled out on her. But sometimes when I want an engaging, can’t-put-down book that I can read quickly, she’s my girl. I really liked this one. It was about a kid with Aspergers (on trial, of course, as all her books deal with a legal issue) and seemed well-researched and fairly realistic (I don’t have much experience with kids with this type of autism, so don’t yell at me if you don’t agree!). Also, I gleaned the phrase “I need a sensory break!” from the main character (usually applied to my toddler and her scritchy-scratchy nails on my skin 24-7. As in: “David! I need a sensory break from this baby!”).

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin— I was desperate for something to read while at Target recently and their selection sucked, and that’s how I came into ownership of this book. I’m not even finished with it….  and it’s ok. I’m making myself finish it, and now I’m feeling a bit more engaged all the time. It IS very Downton Abbey-ish, if you’re looking for something to fill the void until the next episodes air.

Next I’m reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and I’m sooo excited. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is also in the cue (oops!) queue. Any others I must line up? Please share!

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20 thoughts on “Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

  1. I’m reading a book that I lovelovelove…the characters are so relatable for me. It’s called In Zanesville, by Jo Ann Beard — set in the 70s from the viewpoint of a 14 year old girl. It sucked me in immediately because the first paragraph is about this girl and her friend, who are babysitting together, dealing with a fire that’s been set in the upstairs bathroom by one of the kids. Anyway — highly recommend it!

    And I’m going to go back and try to finish The Passage now…I got to the second section of the book and it fizzled out for me, but I did enjoy the first half. 🙂

  2. Oh Nicholas Sparks. My mom keeps trying to get me to read his books. I relent about every five years and then I’m very mad at myself and her.

    I also had the same experience with Jodi Picoult. I couldn’t get enough and then I started one and was suddenly very, very tired or the formula.

  3. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore. It delighted me. It’s right up there with Bernadette. I also really loved Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver’s most recent one.

  4. I also loved “Perks of Being a Wallflower”. Thanks for recommending the “Snow Child”- adding to my list now!!

    Both your paragraph on Nicholas Sparks and Michelle’s made me LAUGH. I loved the movie “The Notebook” so I picked up the book and it was SO terrrible I didn’t finish it and have NEVER been tempted to try another.

    Recent reads I loved include “Me Without You”, “Where’d You Go Bernadette” and “Light Between Oceans”

    • Oh, I keep hearing about “Light Between Oceans”… thanks! Also, I don’t mind the NS MOVIES; in fact I’ve liked a few of them (I also loved The Notebook). Too bad the books are awful.

  5. Ugh Nicholas Sparks. My mother-in-law keeps trying to get me to read his books. I attempted one several years ago in a misguided effort to bond over books with her and it was just so very bad. Haven’t attempted another since. He is in the category of life is too short to read crappy books category for me (let’s be clear I read plenty of other trashy or disposable books, but he is just a bridge too far). Bleh.

    I love The Passage and finished The Twelve awhile back. I didn’t love it as much, but needed to finish the story at that point.

  6. While we were moving bookshelves into our bedroom from our hallway during The Great Project, I purged through all my novels and anything Nicholas Sparks got chucked into the Goodwill pile without a second thought! And yes, I too have no problem with reading things that are light and fluffy or completely just entertainment or whatever. But his aren’t even that. They’re just excruciating and heavy handed and… I don’t even know. But I too was tricked into trying him after loving The Notebook. Then I realized maybe I just love Ryan Gosling. Heh.

    • Oh, I don’t mean to imply I’m a book snob (HELLOOO, Christian Grey). But NS is an entirely different kind of “bad book”. Also, I think I like the… costumes and set of the Notebook as much as anything.

  7. I highly, HIGHLY recommend everything by Ellen Emerson White. My FAVORITE of hers is “Long Road Home.” Rebecca is such a strong woman. I loooooove that book. Or you could start with “The President’s Daughter.” This book has a cool history – it was a short little Scholastic book (I got mine from a classroom Scholastic catalog in 6th grade in 1991) and EEW edited it in 2008 to be more modern. There are three sequels too. SO GOOD. I can hear the dialogue as I read it. She’s so in touch with how people actually speak.

    If you need funny, “The Spellman Files” by Lisa Lutz is hysterically funny. There are several sequels too and the stories just get better. Izzy is hysterical.

    Also really funny is “The Actor and the Housewife” by Shannon Hale. I laughed out loud a LOT and there are some surprising little plot twists that I did NOT see coming.

    And finally, if you like historical fiction, my favorite is “Celia Garth” by Gwen Bristow. Revolutionary War, for the win!

    (I posted pretty much this exact same comment on Life of a Doctor’s Wife earlier today, so sorry for the repetition!)

  8. I’m reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed right now, and I LOVE it. She lives here in my city, so I feel a totally not real connection to her that makes it even better. And I just finished “The Patron Saint of Liars” (excellent story!) by Ann Patchett, which was my second Ann Patchett book (I read “State of Wonder” first). Now I’m slowly working my way through all of her books because I think she might be my new favorite writer.

  9. Pingback: Books I’ve Read This Year Part III | Life in Tiny Town

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