This year, I’ve used Goodreads to create a reading goal. 17 books in 2017. I’m about halfway through, and I wanted to share with you my progress, some great books I’ve read this year and some of my favorites.
Something that makes reading special for me is re-reading books. I write the date I finished a book in the cover, and when I read it again, I write the next one. It’s amazing how re-reading a book teaches you about yourself and how you’ve changed as a person, as the lessons you take away are different each time you read.
Here’s a list of books for every mood and occasion. I have such a hard time picking things out in the bookstore, but I hope hearing someone’s perspective helps. I hope you enjoy!
A BOOK TO MAKE YOU CRY
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: Dr. Paul Kalanithi discovers he has terminal cancer at the end of his residency and tackles the subject of mortality and life before death. A beautifully crafted memoir and a tear jerker.
A BOOK TO MAKE YOU LAUGH
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris: This book is laugh out loud funny. I had to read almost the entire thing to Sam aloud. I kept saying, “Listen to this!” and we’d be rolling. From reflections in a zoo to memories of mean babysitters, these essays will always have you laughing.
FICTION THAT SUCKS YOU IN
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson: Ursula dies and is born again, and the ensuing stories of her life are relived over and over in different parallel universes as if each decision changes a whole life’s course. This book tackles the “what if” in the time of World War II in England. If you ever wonder “what if I had done something different?” this book is for you.
A FEEL GOOD BOOK FOR SUMMER
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson: Set in Finland, this story follows a child and her grandmother over a summer and their adventures. It’s a poignant discovery of age and nostalgia, reminding us of the agelessness of the soul.
MY FAVORITE CLASSIC
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: I have read this several times and it never ever gets old. The story of Paris and London during the French Revolution is full of nefarious characters and loveable ones in true Dickensian fashion. It’s the kind of book you never want to put down.
MY FALL FAVORITE
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: Oh, Francey Nolan, how I love you. This book is about a young girl, the child of first generation Americans and her impoverished childhood in Brooklyn. It’s one of my favorites. There’s so much to be learned from this book.
A SUSPENSEFUL BOOK
Rebecca by Daphne DuMarier: Creepy and haunting, this story follows a woman who marries a widower and the reverberating mysteries of his past. I read this on a number of park benches in France, and it really stuck with me.
AN INTELLECTUAL READ FOR THE PLANE
The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz: The author is a psychologist and describes a meeting with each one of his clients and their psychological issues and breakthroughs. It’s a fascinating read that delves into the complexities of mental illness.
FUTURISTIC AND DYSTOPIAN
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Book lovers everywhere stop what you’re doing and read this book. Set in a future world where books are burned and firefighters start fires rather than put them out, the narrator, a firefighter, discovers his love for literature. It’s a thrilling story. Couldn’t put it down.
POETIC AND HISTORICAL
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: Though it took me a minute to get used to the language and layout of this book (it’s written almost like a play), I loved the story of Willie Lincoln and the love even in death of a father for his son. Saunders collects excerpts from history describing the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son and the night when Lincoln visited the grave and held his son’s body one last time. He combines the historical excerpts with fictional quotes from ghosts in the bardo where young Lincoln waits in purgatory. This book made me laugh and cry, and the funny cast of characters held me captive the entire book. Great read!
CHILDRENS LIT THAT NEVER GETS OLD
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: Fun fact. I have read ALL of Madeline L’Engle’s childrens books. I read A Ring of Endless Light the summer I turned thirteen, and it changed me. I read a Wrinkle in Time over and over again for years. Also, Oprah is going to be in this movie. OPRAH! I’m so excited, so you need to rehash the tale of Meg Murray and her brother as they go on a journey through time and space to find their missing father, accompanied by the quirky Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. You’re never too old.
THE BOOK I READ EVERY WINTER
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: The most beautiful tale of friendship and home, this book is perfect to cozy up with next to a fire and read. I read this every winter, and it’s always as cozy as I remember.
TRUE CRIME FOR A RAINY DAY
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: Capote follows the real life murders of the Clutter families and delves deeply into the lives and minds of their killers. A fascinating and haunting read.
There are so many great books I want to recommend, I can hardly name them all! But, this is a good start.
What are you reading lately? Does anyone have a favorite they’d recommend? I can’t wait to hear! Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with my progress.