Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This is like the beach read edition of The Versions of Us. It’s about a 29 year old who moves back to LA after several years of city hopping, and based on one decision her first night back you read two different paths that her life takes. It was just okay, but definitely makes you think about the whole “everything happens for a reason” thing.
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. I’ve scrolled past this on the Overdrive website for a while now. Something about the exclamation point in the title just made me think it must be absurdly corny. Luckily my significantly less judgmental friend, Kate, read it and recommended it to me. She described it as “pleasant” which is the perfect word. It was so enjoyable to read, and aside from all the awesome food references it was a really nice story. Loved it.
How to Be a Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. Another one with a cheesy title, but I actually really enjoyed it. These are the same authors who wrote The Nanny Diaries which I remember really liking. It’s about a 41-year-old woman married to a D-list actor and living in New York with two little kids. It was wonderful company on a drive back to Baltimore from Syracuse.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. I think I started reading this once while I was a kid and didn’t end up finishing it, but given that it’s a classic I thought I should give it another shot. For a children’s book, it’s remarkably similar to what I imagine people experience after taking shrooms. I’m not big on sci-fi in general, but I didn’t really understand the hype.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I’ve been meaning to read this for a while, and now that Brie Larson is starring in the movie I’m glad I finally got to it. It’s a memoir written by a woman who grew up semi-homeless with an alcoholic father. It’s pretty devastating (not on the same level as A Child Called It, but it will break your heart), but I highly recommend it.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This is just perfection. My friend Kate recommended it and ended up loaning me her copy because I was number 5,697,309 on my library’s waitlist. As an aside, this was the first actual non-Kindle book I’ve read in a long time, and I totally caught myself tapping the page when I reached the end. Embarrassing, but true. But anyway I love love love loved this book and you must read it. It’s about a man who is a bit of a curmudgeon but has a good heart and it will warm yours.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. This kind of reminded me of Girl on the Train. And not just because both center around 30-something British women who aren’t great at their jobs and have a penchant for gin and tonic. It’s suspenseful and one that I would turn on even if I only had a 10 minute car ride. I don’t want to give anything away but it’s about a travel writer who goes on a Norwegian cruise as a job perk and… shit goes down. After finishing this book I was in the shower and utterly convinced that someone had broken into my apartment and was creeping around in a towel with a pair of kitchen scissors. Consider yourself warned.
The Color of Water by James McBride. Sheila is dying right now that she told me 35 years ago to read this book and I’m just now getting around to it. I’m not exaggerating I think we talked about it in high school. I listened to it during a day trip to West Virginia and I really enjoyed it! It’s kind of like a memoir, but told by a man and by his mother.
The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian. I’m not sure how to describe this while making it sound appealing. Think of a white, upper-middle class dad. Like Danny Tanner, but an investment banker. He offers to host his younger brother’s bachelor party at his house in Westchester, and one of his brother’s jerk friends hires “strippers,” who actually turn out to be Russian sex slaves. And naturally things go very wrong. But this was really good. Even though it was disturbing I recommend it.
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. This is the same author that wrote The Vacationers which got a lot of buzz but I didn’t really love it. This book is basically the same. Instead of the usual progression of a novel (introductions, rising action, climax, resolution), her books just coast. Which I guess is more “realistic,” but I got bored. The characters are interesting and she writes really well, but I wanted MORE.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. This is kind of like Roots in book form, except it follows one female character rather than several generations of slaves. On a side note, my parents made us watch Roots when we were like, 9 years old. All of our VHS tapes still say “Roots Part 3” and “Erin’s 10th Birthday” and “Christmas ’99”. Anyway- this book is loooooong but it’s interesting. Definitely gives you a different perspective on the underground railroad.
Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica. Same author who wrote The Good Girl and Pretty Baby. The woman loves a big twist at the end. The problem with this book is that there’s just way too much effort to get to the big twist. The female protagonist is a moron and completely unlikable, and the male protagonist is depressing. The end is definitely unpredictable and she ties it all up nicely, but you’ve got to coast through the first 90% of the book to get there.