Sean & I both set lofty reading goals for 2017 and we are both… very behind. Oops! But, we have read some awesome books, and really wanted to share our favorite books so far this year.
The Girl Beforeby J.P. Delaney – a woman moves into a very peculiar house and learns about the legacy of a deceased woman who lived there previously. Their lives become almost entertained, and the mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat.
A Portrait of Emily Priceby Katherine Reay – the story of an art restorer and her journey finding love. It sounds cheesy, and maybe it is, but it was fun to follow her whirlwind romance and to get some insight into the world of art restoration.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett- This is an excellent book that spans decades going back and forth, telling the tale of four kids who are brought together when their parents have an affair and get married. Their trials and tribulations as kids carry with them to adulthood as they focus on taking care of their aging parents.
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan- A bomb explodes in India in a market and two kids are among the dead. This book focuses different chapters on their parents, their friend who survived the blast, and the bombers themselves. A very interesting look at how a bombing can have so many ripple effects for decades.
Hyacinth: the average girl by Mereda Hart Farynyk- This book was written by a friend of mine and is her debut novel. It’s a Hunger Games in that citizens are silent or oblivious to the government rule, but the main character comes to find out that there might be more to her and her world than she realized.
Okay okay, so 2016 isn’t technically over yet. I had this post in drafts but I got so excited about the GoodReads annual reports (see mine and Sean’s here) that I wanted to go ahead and talk about our favorite books from 2016. This was a huge year for reading for us – we both got really into the library and therefore were able to run through many new books – I have read 105 (so far!) and Sean 46. I got really into audio books (also free from the library via Overdrive) and listen to them in the car everywhere I go especially on my 30 minute commute and when we go on car trips.
Here are some of our favorites of the year:
The Silent Sister – Riley spends her entire life thinking her sister was a murderer and is dead herself, only to, as an adult, be faced with an alternative possibility. This book will definitely have you debating who is the bad guy!
The Hypnotist’s Love Story – Liane Moriarty can do no wrong and this is my favorite of her novels. A professional hypnotherapist gets involved in a love triangle, and a really beautiful story comes out of it.
Forever, Interrupted – Elsie finds herself in a while wind romance ending in a speedy elopement, and then her new husband is suddenly and tragically killed. She finds herself grieving a man she barely knew yet loved deeply alongside the mother in law she never met. A serious tear jerker and hard to put down!
The Singles Game – Lauren Weisberger’s latest, a fantastic tale of a professional tennis player fighting to win on the court and off it. A great look into what makes pro-athletes tick and begs the question of how far you would go to achieve your dreams.
Along the Infinite Sea – a tale of a vintage car and the people it brings together, both today and in the past. I love reading about World War Two and this was a very interesting perspective on the civilian side of it.
The Wayward Pines series – we got into this story when they started a mini-series on it in the summer of 2015. I slammed through all three of these books in the second week of the year. It was a good start. This series is such a thriller and makes you think about what could actually happen to the world one day. I can’t wait for season three of the show to come out where I think they are going to take a twist from the end of the last book!
The Goldfinch – this book is very long, but it kept my attention the entire time. It’s a great tale that twists around the life of one boy and how he keeps a secret his whole life from something that happens in his childhood and ends up getting exposed later in his life. The downward spiral he goes on is incredible.
A Man Called Ove – this is a book that will just tug at your heartstrings the entire time. Ove wants to kill himself and is such a crotchety old man, but he knows that his wife would rather him keep helping people and that desire to please her burns in him always.
Underground Airlines – another great book that makes you think about how things that have happened in the time of our country could have had totally different effects on us if they had just gone the other way. This look at what slavery would look like in the modern world is amazing.
I Let You Go – there are tons of books that say, “this is the next Gone Girl” and I scoff, because Gone Girl was amazing. Not saying that this was as good as Gone Girl by any means, but I thought that the twist in the middle of this book was one I hadn’t seen in a while.
How many books did you read this year? What were your favorites? What should we read next?!
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You know how sometimes you pick up a book and just want to rip through it in one sitting? It has to be the perfect combination of compelling and easy to read and a bit of a rainy Sunday. Well, this past weekend while on a road trip I ripped through One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid and was so impressed with it that I had to have Sean add it to his to-read list.
One True Loves tells the story of Emma, a young widow who has finally moved on from her husbands sudden death and become engaged to another man when she finds out that her husband isn’t dead after all – and wants them to go back to being together.
The questions that this book raises – What would you do? Who is your true love? Can you have more than one soul mate? are seriously compelling and exciting. I really recommend this book as a great fast, summer read. And if you’ve read it, I’d love to hear what you thought of the ending!
Looking for a beach read? Look no further. The Rosie Project & it’s sequel The Rosie Effect, both by Graeme Simsion, are lighthearted books that are perfect to read under the sun, or to listen to on audiobook on a summer road trip (bonus- they are Australian and I love Australian audiobooks).
They tell the story of Don, a quirky professor of genetics who sees life as a series of experiments, and his decision to find a wife via a very specific survey. When he meets Rosie, he quickly disqualifies her because of her many traits that don’t align with his written requirements. But, they hit it off and have quite a few entertaining adventures.
If you are looking for a good summer read – pick these up at your local library!
Legendary southern author Pat Conroy passed away a few months ago and many people here in Charleston were very sad to hear the news because they were in awe of his books. I found myself realizing that I had never read one of his books before. I looked it up and saw that he was the author of more than 10 books. Considering how much I had always heard about him, I decided to check out “The Prince of Tides” from the library and see what I thought.
The Prince of Tides is a story set in deep South Carolina in Colleton County. The story revolves around Tom Wingo (who I imagine comes from inspiration of Conroy’s own childhood) in both the present and the past. Tom finds out his sister, Savannah, has attempted suicide, so he flies up to New York City to try to help. The book centers around his conversations with his sister’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lowenstein. Tom tells her stories of his childhood so that the psychiatrist can get a better idea of what is going on with Savannah and the things she screams in her sleep. These tales take you back to an abusive home on the water where their dad spends all day shrimping and all evening treating his family terribly. The stories get more and more compelling as you lead up to figuring out what has happened with Savannah over the years.
I have mixed feelings about The Prince of Tides. Literarily, the book is very well written. There is tons of descriptive detail throughout the book that really makes you think you’re deep in the Lowcountry in the middle of the 20th century. However, I found myself dragging on. I think there are too many stories about the family’s history and that many of them could be cut. The descriptive nature of the book just makes the 675 pages of the book move a little slowly.
So I’m torn, I was debating whether to read “The Lords of Discipline” next, which I’ve heard is his best work. From a writing perspective, it would be a great book to dive into, but I think I’ll definitely need a break with some easier reads for a little while. I’m curious if any of the readers out there that follow our blog have any perspective on Pat Conroy’s other books and if you think they are worth diving into. Let me know!