I've had a couple of people lately ask me for book lists. I am flattered, but I'm not completely sure why. I suppose the only answer is that I read...a lot. I read at least one book, often two, a week. Sometimes that number is closer to three.
If you are amazed at that amount and wonder how I have time, I have two tips. First of all, I have the kindle app on my phone so that I can read wherever, whenever. I read for at least 20 minutes every night on my phone. I am lucky because I share a kindle account with my family. They buy books they want to read, and then I read them. It works great for me. But if you don't want to spend a bunch of money to be able to read on your phone, either read the classics (often they are free to download, like Anna Karenina) or check out ebooks from your library (just ask how at the front desks...librarians are incredibly helpful!). I use both of those methods often.
My other tip is to read multiple books at once. I would say, no more than three. But I always have a book going on my kindle app and a physical book that I am reading. That way I can sit in my kids room and read the physical book and then work on the kindle book later that day.
So back to my list. I decided to break my suggested reading list up into three sections: fiction, non-fiction, and popular fiction. And today, I'm going to start with popular fiction. I think of this category as the "book club" group. These books probably aren't going to win a Pulitzer or be remembered 50 years from now. But, they are fun, entertaining, and engaging reads that I would recommend to others! Also, this list is, by necessity, ever changing, unlike my two others. So what I recommend today might be totally different a year or two from now, just based on what I'm reading.
When I worked in the UVM library, I would always put aside interesting looking books while checking them back in. This is how I came across What Alice Forgot. Since then, I have read all six of her books. She is a wonderful writer. Her books are really interesting. They aren't mysteries, but they keep you wanting to know more. Plus, she deals with some pretty big issues, especially in her latest Little Big Lies. My least favorite is The Hypnotist's Love Story, but honestly, they are all good books.
The Flavia de Luce series
Alan Bradley is a British man living in Canada who writes about a precocious preteen chemist/detective, Flavia de Luce. Flavia lives in the countryside of England in the early 1950's and she is a HOOT. These books are absolutely delightful. And what's more fun than reading these books is listening to them. The woman who reads the audio versions does a great job. (Check out a free trial on Audible or see if your library has them on cd). I would suggest this series even if you aren't a mystery fan.
I hesitated adding this name to the list. Listen, her books can be pretty cheesy. But the books are all set on Nantucket and some even center around food. These are quintessential summer or beach reads. Don't expect anything deep. Do expect to enjoy them.
Louise Penny is a Montreal native who writes the Armand Gamache mystery series. Y'all, I never buy books. I borrow or check them out. I pre-order her books. That's how good she is. Now, if you aren't a mystery fan, then skip this. But if you love mysteries, I strongly suggest Penny.
The Book Thief
This one has been out for a couple of years, but if you haven't read it, you should. I love books that have to deal with World War 2 and the Holocaust, and this one is incredible. Warning, it is not a happy book.
And, they made a movie of this book a couple of years ago and I thought they did an amazing job! Read the book first, though.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
This one has also been out for several years, but it's one of the first I read on my kindle. It deals with WWII, but its about a British island that was occupied. This is a much happier WWII read.
The Little Paris Bookshop
Why is it books are almost always better set in Europe? This books is a little longer and was harder to get into. But it is so good. I really enjoyed the writing.
All the Light We Cannot See
Another great WW2 book. The book switches in time and in stories a lot, which kept me interested. Plus, it's just a beautiful book. Warning, it isn't the saddest book I've ever read, but it's definitely not the happiest either.
Me Before You
I'm going to jump on the bandwagon with this pick, but I really did love it. Plus, there is a movie coming out, and Will Traynor is played by Finnick (from the Hunger Games movies). Again, not necessarily the happiest of choices, but I loved it. I haven't read the sequel, but I'm on the waitlist at my library for it.
So there you go. No Pulitzer prize winners, but good, entertaining reads. Again, check out your library for these books! It's free, and if you hate the book, you didn't waste money. If the book you want is checked out, you can get on the waitlist. If your library doesn't have the book, they can use Interlibrary Loan to get the book from another library or they might even be willing to purchase the book (although your library should have all of these titles). I'll be back soon with the rest of the lists!