This time of year, I want nothing more than to curl up with a hot cup and a book. I always have a book going (usually 2-3) and I’ve found that the best way for me to keep my voracious reading habit well fed is to have a long to-be-read (TBR) list. My favorite way to add titles is by reading the reviews of others. I rarely pick up a book without a recommendation. If you’re searching for your next read, here’s my recommendations for a few titles I’ve read recently:
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What I’ve been reading:
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – Whoa, this one was a so fascinating and heart-wrenching and un-put-down-able! Told from the perspective of four young adults in far eastern Germany during the last remaining months of the war, I found myself immersed in a totally different part of WWII history than anything I’ve read before (and I’m a history major!). The narrating takes a few chapters to get used to since you’re switching perspectives frequently but I found myself devouring this book, especially the final chapters which document the totally unknown sinking of a German ship in the Baltic Sea. Excellent historical fiction that sheds light on a forgotten story.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – This isn’t a new title but I picked it up for the first time a few months ago and loved the funny and cutting YA style of this book. Junior grows up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and documents his experience, through story and cartoons, of being the only “rez kid” at a nearby all-white high school. I love finding stories that help me see a new perspective on the world, and this is definitely one of them. The writing is hilarious and poignant and would be a great book for parents and teens to read together.
The Language of the Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I read this awhile ago but since it’s not as well-known as a few of the others, I thought I’d include it. Set in the San Francisco area, Victoria Jones is trying to escape her past as a child of the foster care system. She finds herself working in a flower shop and discovers a gift she has in using flowers to tell stories. The book jumps back and forth from past to present as Victoria’s past begins to catch up with her. I really enjoyed the more complex characters of this novel and the lack of saccharine romance that can fill up most chick lit (not that I don’t love that too, this was just a nice change of pace). I’m anxious to check out some more of Diffenbaugh’s work.
Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist – I meet with some lovely ladies one a week for a bible/book study and we finished this book recently. I had heard lots of good things and had read Niequist’s Bread and Wine recipe memoir already. This book is for anyone who is caught on the treadmill of life and doesn’t know how to step off. There were parts that spoke beautifully to me and I found myself mulling over them days later, but I also found myself skimming a few places where I didn’t connect with the writing (which I think is always the case with non-fiction for me – sometimes it connects and sometimes it doesn’t). Overall I think it’s a book that’s helpful if your soul is telling you it’s tired and I loved the reminder that the hustle for worthiness is never worth it.
On my TBR List:
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan – I’m halfway through this one for book club. Loving it so far.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella – I’ve not read any of the Shop-a-holic books but this just arrived on my Kindle from the library so I’m going to give it a shot.
Belonging and Becoming: Creating a Thriving Family Culture by Mark and Lisa Scandrette – It was recommended to me it fits nicely with my Word of the Year.
So, what have you been reading? What’s on your TBR list? What do have to add next to my library queue? Leave a comment below with your must read title!