It can be totally overwhelming to pick a new book and when reading time is limited I want to make sure that my choices are going to be well worth it. About once a month, I share my reading list in the hopes that it makes your reading list a bit easier to navigate and, more importantly, helps you discover books you really love. After all, life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy!
This month is actually a list from the last two months. Fall was crazy with traveling and kids being off school so I saved up my titles from the last couple of months to share. Now that the sky is dark at dinner time, I’m hoping to have more time to curl up with a good book.
I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share my reading list this month.
On My Nightstand This Month
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China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians Book 2&3) by Kevin Kwan
I shared the first book in this series in September and have managed to blast through the other two as well. If you’re looking for deep literary complexity, this is not it. But it is an utterly fascinating and dishy take on a world I knew very little about. The obscenely wealthy characters from this series, set in Singapore and East Asia, are a world away from my own but I love the quick and witty writing and soap opera drama. The humor is catty and silly (even in the footnotes) but I also find myself learning about a new culture and much of the history behind the island of Singapore. A totally fun and fluffy read!
My book club tackled this one after many of us realized we had slipped through school without reading it. I read it without much context other than knowing that it falls in the cannon of strong African American women writers. Set in the Jim Crow era of early twentieth century Florida, the book follows the life of Janie and her journey in discovering herself and true love. So many themes of feminism, culture, and race. We had a great discussion and I loved learning more about the author’s life as well. Be prepared to struggle through some thick dialect at first but as you get into the story, it gets easier.
My husband and I may have had to do a bit of fighting over this one when our digital copy came in at the library. I’ve highlighted my love for the Inspector Gamache series before and once again, Louise Penny has a twisty story full of my beloved characters from the Eastern Townships of Quebec. If you haven’t started this series, pick up your copy of Still Life ASAP. Side note: Books 1-4 are a little slower but necessary for character development. Once you hit Book 6, the series takes on a whole new life!
Another favorite author of mine. Jenny Colgan’s her newest work once again combines a magical setting with a searching heroine who must figure out the life she really wants. I love Colgan for her spunky characters who are strong but relatable and also for her ability to transport me to the wilds of her native British Isles. Even though Flora has vowed never to return to the isolated Scottish island she grew up on, fate has other plans and Flora must decide whether she can overcome the past. Sure, it’s chic lit but British chic lit is always better and you can’t go wrong with this fun read.
The first book in this series, The War that Saved My Life, is probably in my top 5 books this year so I wasn’t sure if this one would measure up but it absolutely did. It was so delightful to spend time again with Susan, Ada and all the rest of the characters from this WWII middle grades novel. Don’t be turned off by the intended audience. This is complex and rich story with a brave and well-written protagonist and some of my favorite historical fiction. For fans of willful heroines like Anne Shirley or Mary Lennox.
The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell
Did you know that Denmark regularly ranks as the happiest country in the world? When London journalist, Helen Russell finds herself spending a year in Denmark for her husband’s job, she sets out to discover, just why the Danes are so happy. My book club read this and we all agreed that it was fascinating to learn about another society and how it works. Russel’s humor and fun anecdotes blend into the research she uncovers and the whole book reads like an interesting memoir. A delightful look into another viewpoint in the world that certainly left me thinking about many of the customs, practices and policies of my own country.
I’m late to the party on this book, which showed up on so many others’ must read lists a few years ago. I actually read Zevin’s newest book first and wasn’t overly impressed but I’m glad I gave this one another chance. It’s the bittersweet story of a bookstore owner who’s life doesn’t necessary go according to plan. The fun literary references alone are worth diving into this book if you’re a book nerd like me but the story is also sweet and funny.
What did you read this month that blew your socks off? Anything you hated? I love to hear what you’re putting on your nightstands!
PS. As always, you can find all my book recommendations here.