This year has been an amazing reading year for me. I always have two or three books on the go. I’m trying to read 100 books by the end of 2016; I’ve read 60 books so far. Lately, I’ve found myself recommending the same books over and over to friends and strangers who quickly become friends.
When asked for recommendations, here are the 5 books that I keep coming back to…
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Mackintosh’s debut is so good, I read it twice. One woman’s world comes crashing down when her son is killed in a hit-and-run; another woman, Jenna Gray, tries to escape the memory of the accident by leaving her life behind. The story shuffles between Jenna trying to make a new life for herself on the Welsh coast and a pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of the hit-and-run. Every time I thought I had the story figured out, Mackintosh threw in another twist. Mackintosh’s British police training makes this one shockingly real. Tightly-woven, gorgeously written, brilliant, tense, pulse-quickening, and addictive. Now, I’m counting down the days till the North American release of her new thriller, I See You in November.
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
Schwalbe’s memoir has been on my reading list for ages and I finally read it back in the spring. When Mary Ann Schwalbe is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, she and her son Will spend many hours sitting in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre. One day, over a cup of mocha, Will posed the question: “What are you reading?” and their two-person book club was born. They decide to read the same books and discuss them while Mary Ann waits for her chemo treatments. As a result, we learn just how important these books are to the bond between mother and son. I loved hearing about Mary Ann’s fascinating, full life and her determination to keep on living fully right up until the very end. A beautifully written, inspiring tribute to books and the way they connect us and an important reminder to live well. Bonus: Schwalbe included a list of all books, plays, poems, and stories discussed or mentioned in the memoir.
Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova
New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Genova has written four novels; Inside the O’Briens is the first one I’ve read straight through. At first I thought it would be too scary and too real, but the story of the O’Brien family hooked me from the first page and immediately captured my heart. This beautiful family novel teaches us to keep living in the face of tragedy, never take our health for granted, show compassion, and be present for those around us. A believable, compassionate portrayal of what it’s like to be diagnosed with and live with Huntington’s disease and how it affects our loved ones. I came away from this book with a clear understanding of a disease I previously knew very little about. I read it in three days.
Food and the City by Ina Yalof
I’m a huge fan of food memoirs and Food and the City is in a class all its own. Yalof interviewed professional chefs, restaurant owners, line cooks, waiters, food vendors, and purveyors who call the city home. I loved getting a tour of New York’s vibrant food scene through the eyes of those who are the very heartbeat of the Big Apple. I loved hearing about how people came to New York, how they ended up in the food industry, and the trials they faced along the way. I especially enjoyed the section on crowd feeding. Packed with moving and inspiring stories and fascinating tidbits, it’s a true learning experience. By the end, I had a long list of New York City restaurants and bakeries to check out on my next visit!
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
My Saturday plans took a backseat to finishing the newest thriller from the creator and writer of the hit TV series Fargo. On a foggy summer night, a New York-bound private jet carrying eleven passengers takes off from Martha’s Vineyard. Sixteen minutes later, the plane crashes into the ocean. Two passengers survive: a washed-up painter and a four-year-old boy. What follows is a twist-filled story of survival, the race to uncover the truth in the aftermath of the crash, the insatiable appetite of the public for information, and the lengths the news media will go to get the story. Hawley’s screenwriting prowess really shines through. A vivid, beautifully written, adrenaline rush of a read.
Which books would you highly recommend? I’d love to hear in comments!