I think a lot of people out there must have “READ MORE” listed among their New Year’s resolutions for 2018, because I’ve gotten so many requests over the last few days for book recommendations. These are requests that I’m more than happy to get, since there are few kinds of talk that I love more than book talk — plus, they give me the opportunity to put my handy book log to good use.
That’s right, friends — I have a book log.
I started tracking my reading back in 2014, and it’s turned into a seriously hefty Google Doc in the years since. At that time, I was working in publishing, so it was really helpful from a work perspective to keep tabs on exactly what I’d read and how I felt about it, but I loved logging my books so much that I kept it up even when I didn’t “have to ” for work anymore. People know that I’m a bookworm and tend to ask for my recommendations fairly often, so it’s actually been really helpful to have a central list of what I’ve read, what I’ve loved, and what I’ve (sadly) hated. I won’t reveal my organization or ratings system because it’s a little embarrassing (nerd alert! nerd alert!), but I will tell you that if you’re a reader like me, you might want to consider creating your own!
Thanks to my book log (yes, that’s exactly what it’s saved as in my Google Drive), I could go on and on with recommendations for thousands of words, but I’m going to keep it short with a few quick suggestions for the new year! You may have seen me mention some of these in my recent monthly goal recaps (check out the latest one here), but I’m sharing a few more details below so it’s even easier for you to pick your next read!
#1: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: It’s challenging for me to find a memoir that I stick with start to finish because I just tend to prefer books that are totally fictional, but The Glass Castle was so mind-blowing that it was hard to believe that it was actually a true story. But it is! Jeannette Walls shares the story of her untraditional (to say the least) upbringing in West Virginia, with a father whose alcoholism is matched only by his kindness and imagination and a mother who simply wanted to keep her family together. The author’s journey out of her moldy (literally) childhood home and into New York City is inspiring and emotional, and I found myself wanting to learn even more about her lfe when I’d finished.
#2: The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe: I read this for the first time just after I moved to New York, and it quickly became a favorite, since it tells the story of young women working in the publishing business (just like I was when I first came to the city!) in the fifties. I recently reread it, and it was amazing to realize the perspective that I’ve gained in the few years in between. It read almost like a different book entirely! I firmly believe that every woman should read this book, especially given today’s extremely important dialogue about professional parity and safe workplaces. You’ll especially enjoy it if you were a Mad Men fan, since it has the same sense of New York City glamour and excitement.
#3: Amanda Wakes Up by Alisyn Camerota: The most interesting thing about this book was the extent to which the storyline predicted much of the media landscape during the 2016 presidential election. Author Alisyn Camerota (also one of my favorite CNN anchors) actually wrote much of Amanda Wakes Up prior to the height of the frenzy around Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and yet somehow, much of the events of the book came true in real life! So interesting! The world of cable news is also just fascinating to me, and if you feel the same, you’ll really love this read.
#4: Breaking Free by Rachel Jeffs: I’m crazy intrigued by stories of cults and fringe religious communities in the same way that other people are fascinated by true crime, and this account of life in the FLDS (a more extreme, militant offshoot of the Mormon church) by the daughter of one of its scariest leaders was about as shocking as I expected it to be. I read it cover to cover in less than two days!
#5: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: One of my friends has been recommending this to me for ages, and when I saw the beautifully lush preview images from the upcoming film adaptation in Entertainment Weekly recently, I knew the time had come for me to finally read it! With the holidays, I didn’t have as much time to read as I would have liked, but this is definitely the kind of book that I would have devoured in hours-long chunks if I’d been able to. The characters are amazing, the descriptions are beautiful, and the whole thing just made me want to jump on a plane to Singapore ASAP.
How about you? Have you read anything that you’ve just loved recently? I’d love to hear more in the comments below!
(Please note that, while I’ve included Amazon links for each of these books to make your life easier, I am also super in favor of you heading out and supporting your local bookseller. If there’s one in your neighborhood, don’t forget to help them out. They’re doing such important work in our communities! )