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My bookshelf

I have set a goal for myself for the new year to read a book a week. Here is my list starting January 1st. I’m including everything I’ve read, even if I didn’t care for it. What doesn’t appeal to me might be right up your street. To keep up with what I’m reading and where I’m eating, subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the page. I’d love to know what you are reading!

Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret - Craig Brown

If you are a fan of The Crown, you will love this book! Princess Margaret is compelling, fun, and tragic. I really wish I could use some of her one-liners in real life but somehow I don’t think they would work as well coming from a commoner.

The Untethered Soul - Michael A. Singer

This book was a top suggestion when I searched for books on transcendental meditation. I learned a lot of things from this book about dealing with everyday life. Not really instruction on how to meditate but an understanding of the principles. I’m open to other books on the subject or maybe some live instruction.

Calm the F*ck Down - Sarah Knight

I read this as part of a book club assignment. I really have no trouble calming the f- down. I’m a trained nurse and worked in ICU. I learned all this years ago. I read it like I was reviewing it for someone who didn’t get the training I did. I know a lot of people who could use this book! It’s essentially learning how to prioritize the things you freak out over. If you are not into course language, skip this book, for sure.

Legendary - Stephanie Garber

I really liked the first book in this series, Caraval, but this book wasn’t as compelling. I think it was because she changed the character focus and they just weren’t as interesting as the driving characters in the first book. It didn’t compel me to read the next book in the trilogy. If you like the creepy-magic genre, Night Circus is much better.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton

This wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. It started out murder mystery and went into Groundhog Day. I really enjoyed it, though. It was defiantly “brainy” fiction. I had to be totally engaged to keep up with the thread and found myself going back to refresh my memory on the characters. Not sure if the ending was satisfying because it was a great ending or because it was finally over.

I.M. A Memoir - Isaac Mizrahi

I love a good memoir and I needed a book to listen to. This is the perfect genre for an audio book. Isaac Mizrahi is a great personality and I have loved everything he has done.

Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

Even though this is a murder mystery, the most compelling part of the story for me was the survival story of the main character, Kya. It’s one of the parts of the book that divide people. Either you think it’s great storytelling or you think it’s too farfetched that 6 year-old could raise herself without any adult intervention. I prefer to think of her as supernatural.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber - Julian Rubinstein

This is a true story about a Hungarian hockey goalie turned bank robber. I kept thinking, you can’t make this stuff up! The audio recording had a complete cast of characters. It was like listening to a play or an old radio show. Totally recommend the audio version!

Daisy Jones and the Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book about a band in the 70s gave me all the feels. If you know me you know I love everything about the 70s. The book was written in interview form and was so interesting and well done. I half expected to find their music on iTunes, the song descriptions were so true.

Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng

I love Ng’s writing. This is a pretty depressing story but she guides the reader through it delicately so I didn’t feel battered and spent at the end.

Journey to Munich - Jacqueline Winspear

Taking a break from the heavy reading with one of my favorite series. The Maisie Dobbs novels are like comfort meals, cozy and predictable but you still enjoy getting to the end. It was a good break.

The Hate You Give - Angie Thomas

Very current topic of police brutality against people of color and a family doing everything right in a system that is looking for them to do everything wrong. It’s a heartbreaking but very important story that should be required reading in schools.

Fleishman Is In Trouble - Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This was recommended to me as the book to read for the summer because at every party I go to everyone is going to be talking about it and I’ll feel left out. That happened to me with Big Little Lies and I was determined to not be left out of the conversation. I knew it was a story about marriage and that was about it. It’s hard not to talk about it without spoiling it but what I will say is it is bleak and also relatable. This would be a great book club read.

The Art of Thinking Clearly - Rolf Dobelli

I thought reading this would help me think more clearly about big decisions I’m facing. A lot of the research sited I had read in other books so it was repetitive. I’ll sum the book up for you. We all have cognitive biases that are difficult to overcome ( the book is one big list of those biases). If you are making financial decisions, use your brain. For everything else, use you intuition.

Spin the Dawn - Elizabeth Lim

This is the only YA book I’ve picked up this year and it’s gotten a lot of buzz. It’s a fantasy version of Project Runway which sounds good but I got about 3/4 of the way through and didn’t care enough about any of the characters to know what happens to them to finish it. Life is too short to read bad books.

My Friend Anna - Rachel DeLoache Williams

I was very intrigued by this story but this is a magazine feature stretched out to make a book. It’s like the author had an English assignment for 2000 words and she only had 700 so she filled in with unnecessary random details. Save yourself the time and read the Vanity Fair article that they came from.

Through a Window - Jane Goodall

I grew up thinking Jane Goodall was the ultimate right along with Jacques Cousteau. I had never read one of her books and when I saw this pop up on the Chirp app I was trying out I took the opportunity. It is the most calming book to listen to. The inflection and pace of the narrator make even the most brutal parts of chimp life a little easier to take. Unfortunately, the Chirp app was a dud and I didn’t get the whole book and there is no way to leave feedback or get in touch with anybody. It also kept stopping and restarting on all three books I bought before I knew how bad it was. Yes, is more expensive but, you get what you pay for.

A Better Man - Louise Penny Review via @ginka +

A Better Man - Louise Penny

The Chief Inspector Gamache series is by far my favorite series to date. I devoured this without stopping as soon as it was released. I like the stories when they spend more time in the fictional Quebec town of Three Pines where it is set. This one didn’t spend as much time there with the characters of the village but it was still a great read. I think this is her 15th in this series and I will definitely be reading the 16th.

Catching The Big Fish - David Lynch

I wish the people in my life would read this book so that they could understand the process of creativity. That part of the book I totally get! His practice of transcendental meditation was intriguing and took me down a rabbit hole. More on that to come….

Circe - Madeline Miller

I saw this book cover all over instagram this summer. I loved the story and think anyone with a basic understanding of Greek and Roman mythology will enjoy it.

A Year of Positive Thinking - Cyndie Spiegal

I like thought-a-day books. Last year I read “The Artists Way Every Day”. I recommend that for any creative. I have had the pleasure of meeting Cyndie Spiegal and hearing her speak. She is a powerhouse and I look forward to reading thoughts from her everyday.

An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro

This is a story of an artist that is reflecting on what he did in the lead up to WWII. I thought there would be a reckoning but really, he just seems oblivious. Couldn’t really get into it.

The Deep End - Julie Mulhern

This is another book I read for book club and thank goodness I finally got a good one! You have to kiss a lot of frogs, right? This is a murder mystery set in the ’70s and, since I grew up in the ‘70s, I love all the references. It was a real page turner and I ended up binging it in a weekend. Best thing, it’s a series! You’ll see more of these on the list.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows - Balli Kaur Jaswal

A fellow traveler in India recommended this book and I downloaded it for the trip home. It was perfect light reading with enough Indian culture mixed in that kept it from being total fluff.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - Bryan Stevenson

I knew the American justice system was broken before I read this book but I had no idea about how many children are condemned to die in prison and how many are on death row for non-violent crimes. This is an important book to read to help understand the issues around justice reform. I laughed, I cried, I shook my head at the absurdity of it all.

The Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides

I started reading this as soon as a friend posted on Instagram that she was reading it. I think we both finished in a couple of days! It’s pretty much one big long therapy session until, at the very end, the twist is revealed. Be patient with The Silent Patient. It will be worth it.

Feminasty: The Complicated Woman's Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy Without Drinking Herself to Death - Erin Gibson

This book was so relatable for me. It’s funny but also touched on issues that plague women every day, all the time and made me mad, more than anything. Still, I highly recommend it.

Rules of Civility - Amor Towles

I loved Towles’ book Gentleman in Moscow and figured I would like this one as well. I think I loved it more. It set in the time between the crash and WWII. It’s a great story about a single girl making her way on the big city.

The Sunlight Pilgrims - Jenni Fagan

It started off well. It's a freak winter and everyone has begun to believe they are entering an ice age. The ending was totally lackluster. The best part of the story was Stella, a trans child starting her transition.

In This Grave Hour - Jacqueline Winspear

I enjoyed the last book in this series I read the next one (or maybe I was putting off finishing the non-fiction books I’m dragging through). WWII has finally been declared and it’s pretty devastating for the people who made it through the first one to now send their children out to fight the next one.

To Die But Once - Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie’s story is well into WWII. There is only one more book after this one and I feel like putting it off as long as I can. Do you ever do that? Slow down at the end of a book because you don’t want it to end?

The Woman’s Hour - Elaine Weiss

It took me WEEKS to finish this book! Not because it's a bad book but because the amount of work and fortitude the suffragettes had was overwhelming and kind of depressing. It took 72 years to finally get the vote and it wasn't pretty. The book centers around the final state they needed to ratify, Tennessee. So many parallels in this history and what we are going through right now. Reads like fiction.

Evvie Drake Starts Over - Linda Holmes

I saw someone raving about this book on Instagram and I put aside the book I was going to read for this one. That’s the problem with having a Kindle. I did love this book. It’s kind of a romantic comedy but the kind I like. The characters were flawed but in a good and realistic way. It’s an easy beach read.

Florida - Lauren Groff

A collection of short stories set in or about Florida. Kept seeing this in people’s beach bags on Instagram and honestly had no interest in anything to do with Florida. Finally downloaded it because I’m easily led that way. I really liked it and liked the short story format so much a downloaded another collection right after finishing this one. These are well written, smart nuggets of storytelling that you can easily get through while waiting on a load of laundry or a doctors appointment.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote one of my favorite books of the year, Daisy Jones and the Six. If I had read this book before that one I think I would have liked it more. It’s a great story done in the same interview style but it didn’t have the same impact on me. It’s worth a read but read it before Daisy Jones and the Six.

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder - Dianne Freeman

This was an easy-listen murder mystery set in Victorian England (this was my last book to listen to on the dreaded Chirp app). The American accent of the narrator got on my nerves, but after a while I got used to it. A good rainy day read.

A Dangerous Place, A Maisie Dobbs Novel - Jacqueline Winspear

This is book eleven in this female-driven detective series. The novels take place pre-post WWI. This book is pre-WWII. I love the character of Maisie. She smart and battle-worn. She has ups and downs but keeps pushing forward. This is one of my favorite book series.

Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

I’m heading to India in a month and this was on a recommended reading list for India. This book is pretty long winded. I’ve never read anything by Salman Rushdie, so that may be his style. I struggled and almost put it down. This one taught me to look at the page count before I click ‘download’. I can’t get through a slogging 658 pages in a week and have a life.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid has the remarkable talent of telling a gripping story in a mere 228 pages. I devoured it in a day! It’s a story of a Pakistani young man before, during , and after 9/11. I highly recommend this book along with How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. I’ll be adding more Mohsin Hamid books to my list.

Guaranteed to Bleed - Julie Mulhern

I couldn’t help myself. I loved the first book in this series so much I immediately downloaded the next. Ellison can’t catch a break, bless her. I love her relationship with her daughter. I think it’s very realistic but not cynical. I do question that the incident (I won’t spoil it) was treated more with a present-day awareness than one from the 70’s. If you read this one, I’d love to know what you think.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark - Michelle McNamara

I download this as an audiobook for the long bus rides in India. I think that was a mistake. This book is complicated with maps and timelines. Anytime they say there is a PDF download available with the audio version it means you need a printed reference which I didn’t have the ability to do. I still recommend it as a crime procedural. Knowing that they actually found the Golden State Killer, I wanted to hurry to the end and see if it was addressed. It was but there is still so much more to know.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter - Kate Morton

I put off reading this book for so long. It had very mixed reviews. Most of the bad reviews noted how confusing it was and that she introduced characters out of nowhere. I can get confused reading books that bounce around in time but this one, I didn’t. I LOVED this book. The ending was a fizzle out I enjoyed it so much until then that I didn’t mind.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk - Kathleen Rooney

I adored this book! It’s the reflections of 85-year-old Lillian as she walks around New York City on New Years Eve, 1984. I loved that it was set I the ‘80s! So many flashbacks. I was surprised to find out the author is only 36. She did a great job portraying Lillian. I have many highlighted passages from this book. Didn’t want it to end!

Conversations with Friends - Sally Rooney

Don’t get the hype with this book. I finished it but I don’t feel good about it.

An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

I put off reading this because it just didn't sound appealing. It ended up being on sale last week and I can't pass up a bargain and I LOVED it!!  More interesting than depressing.

I Liked My Life - Abby Fabiashi

The story about a mother's suicide and the aftermath. It sounds completely depressing and I questioned my judgment reading it on the heels of Everything I Never Told You but this story is told in a completely different way with a lot more hope at the end. I couldn't put it down.

Half the Sky - Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

It was a struggle to get through because the women's stories were so brutal.  When faced with anything daunting, even in the US, it's hard to know where to start. The authors laid out what they have seen work and what didn't work and what else needs to be done in a way that gave me a new perspective and more importantly, hope.

Blood Work - Michael Connelly

I’m looking for another series and this came highly recommended. It’s a crime procedural which I like, but I don’t feel compelled to go to the next in the series. I may eventually but the character of Terry McCaleb just didn’t intrigue me. The author has written the Harry Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer series so I’m hopeful it will pick up.

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

If Charles Dickens wrote about India. A terrifically written story even though it has its share of cruelty. Most reviewers (including the friend who recommended it) have read this book multiple times. It’s a long one but I didn’t mind. Wish I had read this one before my trip to India instead of Midnight’s Children. That book was long as well and I couldn’t wait for it to end.

Excellent Women - Barbara Pym

A comedy about a clergyman’s daughter in the 1950’s that makes being a spinster not seem so horrible. I can’t wait to get my hands on other Barbara Pym books.

A Manual for Cleaning Women - Lucia Berlin

My love for short story collections continue. These stories are much darker than those in Florida and deal a lot with alcoholism. Still well written and great for when you don’t have extended periods of time to sit down with a big epic novel.

The Life We Bury - Allen Eskens

Joe Talbert is a college student trying to complete an assignment by interviewing a convicted murderer who is dying in a nursing home. It’s a murder mystery but I was really taken in by the character of Joe. Having to grow up with a dysfunctional alcoholic mother and a vulnerable autistic brother gave him a lot of life experience to draw on for his age. The author gave him just enough youthful recklessness to keep him realistic.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Books - Leah Price

When I was getting ready to list our house, a real estate agent I interviewed walked through the house and said, “You’ve got to get rid of all your books”. I didn’t realize how many I had until I had to pack them up and when I started calculating the cost of moving them across the state I had to make some tough decisions. Looking through my bookshelf was like looking at my life. I had “Marie Kondoed” everything in my house except the books. Leah Price is a book historian not a literary critic. This book is about the physical book NOT literature. I found it fascinating but it’s not well reviewed and I think that’s because of the expectation that it’s something that it’s not. If you love books you’ll love this.