My Favorite Books I've Read...So Far
When I finished college I vowed to myself to find the joy in reading again. Years and years of required reading had zapped the pleasure reader right out of me and the sight of a book over 100 pages gave me chills. Since 2015, I've read 35 books. Most good, a few horrible, and a handful of greats! Whether you're trying to get back into reading, starting the habit from scratch, or a born bookworm, nothing is worse than finding yourself in a season of bad books. So today I'm sharing with you nine of the "greats" I've read over the years (in no particular order).
I'm a sucker for any book that becomes a movie. Mostly because I'm very impatient and don't like surprises, but also because I love comparing the two after. I devoured Wild! Cheryl Strayed's talent for writing is evident in the very first line of the book. The story itself couldn't be described as anything short of raw. You'll experience every emotion while reading Cheryl's treacherous trek along the Pacific Crest Trail trying desperately to find herself again after tragedy. Even if you've seen the movie, read this book! And if you couldn't guess, I liked the book better.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? ANd other Concerns & Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
I had a bit of a female comedian book binge in 2015 and Mindy Kaling's two memoirs were my favorite of the bunch. Detailing her life as an Indian girl growing up in very white Boston, Massachusetts will have you laughing so hard you might just pee your pants (not speaking from experience or anything...). I loved reading the evolution of her life and how she landed her FIRST major writing and acting role in The Office and then leaving The Office to write and star in The Mindy Project (one of my favorite shows ever). Another great story line in her second book is how she coped with the death of her mother. She'll have you grabbing the tissues just as fast as she had you in a fit of laughter. I really hope she writes one more book documenting The Mindy Project end and how she stepped into the role of a single mother at 38.
Whenever I was sick from school, the tv was always stuck on marathons of unsolved mysteries and true-crimes. Ironically, I'm terrified of horror movies, but serial killers still on the loose doesn't bother me at all. Go figure. It's no surprise to me that murder mystery novels are a genre I always run to. The Girl on the Train's entire story line had me pointing my finger at almost every character at some point. I literally could not put the book down. If you're looking to get into murder-mysteries, this is one you should not skip.
If I had to give these book a ranking, The Paris Wife would be #1. The book recounts a fictionalized telling of the courtship, marriage, and subsequent divorce of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. Written in Hadley's perspective you get great insight into the life of being the wife to the tumultuous author. McLain's thorough research of letters and other accounts of the Hemingway's marriage and life in Paris make you almost believe you are reading an autobiography written by Hadley herself. After finishing the book I went on a huge Google spree, fact checking and just inquiring more about Hemingway. Oh how I loathed and still loathe this man for how he treated Hadley and their children. Even if historical fiction isn't usually your cup of tea, I urge you to still read this book. You won't regret it!
I bought this book only because there was a golden retriever on the cover. The title didn't intrigue me at all and I certainly didn't think someone named Garth could write a good book (sorry for judging you Garth). But I will buy, read, or watch anything with a golden retriever. When you're born into a family who only owns goldens you're just programmed that way. The book is told through the eyes of Enzo the loyal dog of Denny Swift, a racecar driver. It is both funny and deep and will make you wish that dogs actually think the way Enzo does way when they observe our daily routine. Enzo narrates the progression of Denny's life from bachelor, husband, to father and all the happiness and hardship that takes place during those changes. I very rarely like a book so much I'd read it twice, but this one I would!
I love autobiographies. I love learning about people and knowing every random fact or story that makes them who they are. This is probably why I end up in a Wikipedia rabbit hole more often that I'd like to admit. I've loved Drew Barrymore since first meeting her as Julia Sullivan about to marry Glen Gulia, but instead falling for wedding band singer Robby Hart in The Wedding Singer, a movie I've known every line to since kindergarten. I had no clue that the almost "Julia Gulia" grew up as a child actress in a family of Hollywood royalty and by the age of thirteen she was both an alcoholic and drug addict in and out of rehab!! The amount of times my mouth just fell open was countless. Read this book and you'll be shocked that this woman has even an ounce of normal in her!
SUPER fun read! Bernadette Fox: wife, mother, and ex-architecture prodigy goes missing. Bee, her 15 year old daughter, decides it's her duty to find her. She has to piece together fragmented clues, dig into her mother's past, and finds out things she never expected of her mother. This book will keep your attention to the last sentence and depicts a unique relationship between mother and daughter. I really wish they would make this into a movie because it would be a wild ride to watch, just like it was to read.
I read A Moveable Feast shortly after finishing The Paris Wife. It was the perfect parallel being Hemingway's actual memoir of his life in Paris during the 20s. Because I had read The Paris Wife beforehand I knew the timeline of his Paris years and the stories of his and Hadley's marriage. Because I was infuriated by him after reading The Paris Wife, it was only fair to give him a chance to tell his side. I started the book mad at him but I found times where I sympathized, but in the end I still found him to be a truly horrible person and grade A a-hole (sorry mom, but he was). What this book added that The Paris Wife couldn't was first hand accounts of stories involving F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound, which was truly fascinating and again sent me into a Google frenzy after each story. If you do read this book, definitely couple it with The Paris Wife for a very interesting well-rounded account of those early years in Hemingway's career.
I wanted to add two more to this list but didn't want to jump the gun before my next Quarterly Book Review post. I've been doing a lot of reading since June and there have been some real gems! If you're curious to read my other book review posts from the year, I'll have them in a slider below. If you have any books that you think are must reads please please please write them below in the comments! The book bug bit me hard and I'm ready to read!!