Tag Archives: book recommendations

My Top 20 Books of 2019

Here’s a look at the best books I read in 2019 (in no particular order)…

The Importance of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney by Justin Lloyd

Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Answers in Jesus for Those Who Don’t Believe by Tom Krattenmaker

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Less by Andrew Sean Green

Have you read any of these books? What were YOUR favorite reads of the year? Tell me in the comments below! I’d love to add new titles to my 2020 list. 🙂

Do I Have That Book CHALLENGE

Even though I regularly cull my book collection, I thought it would be entertaining to give this challenge a go! It was a fun excuse to comb through my shelves and remember some old favorites (as well as remind myself of a few books I should bump up on my TBR). Sharing here so you can take a peek at a little cross-section of the books I own…

Do you have a book with deckled edges? 

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

 

 

Do you have a book with three or more people on the cover?

Goths, Gamers, & Grrrls: Deviance and Youth Subcultures by Ross Haenfler

 

 

Do you have a book based on another fictional story?

1932 by Karen M. Cox

 

 

Do you have a book with a title ten letters long?

Blue Horses by Mary Oliver

 

 

Do you have a book that starts and ends with the same letter?

Sweating Bullets: A Story about Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking by Dale Dixon

 

Do you have a mass market paperback book?

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

 

 

Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

 

 

Do you have a book with the character’s name in the title?

Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle

 

 

Do you have a book with two maps in it?

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery

 

Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?

The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley

 

 

Do you have a book that is written by someone who is originally famous for something else? (ie celebrity, athlete, politician, etc.)

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?

An Edited Life by Anna Newton

 

 

Do you have a poetry book?

Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney

 

 

Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

 

 

Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines

 

 

Do you have a book of short stories?

Eveningland by Michael Knight

 

 

Do you have a book that is between 500 and 510 pages long?

Nope 😦 

Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?

Atonement by Ian McEwan

 

 

Do you have a graphic novel?

Relish by Lusy Knisley

 

 

Do you have a book written by two or more authors?

The Innovator’s Advantage by Evans Baiya and Ron Price

 

 

***

19 out of 20 ain’t bad! How do you think you would stack up? Go check your shelves! Have you read any of the books above? Let me know in the comments below!

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Gilmore Girls Readathon Picks

The other day, a very enticing YouTube video popped up in my recommendeds. Announcing a GILMORE GIRLS READATHON! Of course I was curious what that could mean and of COURSE I clicked.

The video explained that the readathon was a challenge of sorts, inspired by none other than the Gilmore’s themselves — Lorelai and Rory. The YouTuber explained that the aim of the challenge was to choose 7 books, inspired by 7 different Gilmore Girls categories, and to read as much as you could between October 1st and October 15th. I loved all of her suggestions, but  I wanted to come up with a few of my own too!

Now, I probably won’t manage 7 books in 15 days (a girl can dream, but a girl has a job!). But I do think this is a super fun way to choose a Fall reading list. Afterall, Gilmore Girls is such a cozy, autumn-vibes show. Wouldn’t it be fun to rewatch and read your chosen books all season long?

Here are the 7 categories with a few of my suggestions for each! All of the books I picked are either ones I’ve read or they’re on my “to be read” list.

1. Book with a school setting (in honor of Yale & Chilton)

My picks:
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
T
he Secret History by Donna Tart

2. Book featuring a mother/daughter relationship (in honor of Lorelai & Rory Gilmore)

My picks:
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

3. Cozy book set during fall/winter (in honor of Stars Hollow & smelling snow with Lorelai)

My picks:
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
One Day in December by Josie Silver

4. Book with complicated love interests (in honor of Dean, Jess, and Logan)

My picks:
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The Thinking Reed by Rebecca West
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

5. Book written by an Asian author/has Asian representation (in honor of punk rocker girl Lane)

My picks:
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

6. The next book in a series you’ve yet to finish (in honor of A Year in the Life)

My picks:
Uglies series
Shatter Me series
Crazy Rich Asians series

7. Book with food on the cover/apart of the story (in honor of Luke’s diner)

My picks:
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

What do you think? Are you up for the challenge? 

P.S. More books for Fall. And movies, too!

mid-week round-up

What have you been up to loves? Last weekend, Chet and I saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…complete with a huge tub of popcorn. Have you seen it? Sometimes I just can’t get over how good an actor Leo is! Hope you have a fantastic week, do a few things for your own enjoyment, and here are some links you might want to check out…

The best street art in every state.

How to give constructive criticism without making it awkward.

Everyone knows about urine-detector dye, despite the fact that it has 100% never existed.

These cookies are my new favorite thing.

How to eat candy like a Swedish person.

24 books under 200 pages, recommended by TED speakers.

An ice cream truck owner who hates influencers so much he charges them double.

When should you tell a child their adopted?

A fish pie loaded with summer’s bounty.

Fall is right around the corner!

Sweet new merch from Call Your Girlfriend.

16 words people often mix up that can make you look foolish.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — My Favorite Words and The Truths We Hold — Continued Material.

Book Club: The True Memoirs of Little K Pt. 4

Welcome back, Finding Delight Book Club members! Today is my final post about The True Memoirs of Little K, and I’m turning it over to you. While it is great to read other people’s thoughts about a book and learn a bit more about an author and dive deeper into a subject with extended reading/listening/watching … what I love most about book clubs is that it allows a space for tapping into your own feelings about a book and what it brings up for YOU. Sometimes this can be difficult when reading books by yourself. You read for entertainment and enjoyment, maybe you underline a passage that speaks to you or remark YAS! to a sentence that really rings true. But in a book club? We can dig a little deeper. So, shall we?

1. Why do you think Adrienne Sharp chose to claim these were the “true” memoirs of Little K in the title of this novel?

2. From where does Mathilde gain her power? And how is it take away?

3. What are your thoughts on the love between Nicholas and Mathilde? How does your perception of their relationship change as the book goes on and history unfolds?

4. What impact does the revolution have on Mathilde and her son? What do you think their relationship would have been like a century prior?

5. How would you have reacted if you, like Vova, were asked to impersonate the Tsarevich in public?

6. In what ways did being the daughter of an Honored Artist of the Imperial Theater and part of a family of prized performers benefit Mathilde? Can you think of other famous families of performers who impacted culture or history?

7. Why do you think Alexandra ignored popular opinion to hitch her wagon to Rasputin’s star?

8. If you were the Tsar, what would you have done differently to protect your family and heir to the throne?

9. In your opinion, was violent revolution the only way the suffering of the lower classes could have been resolved in Russia?

10. What does this book reveal about the nature of survival?

Your turn. 

Have you read The True Memoirs of Little K yet? Pop any answers or thoughts that come up from the questions above in the comments. I’d love to continue the conversation. If you haven’t read it yet, but your interest is sparked, you can order it HERE or check it out from your local library. These posts will be here for you at any time — 

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |

So, what’s next for our book club? Subscribe HERE to receive the full Finding Delight Reading List or stay tuned to the blog for PART 1 of a brand new book. 🙂

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Book Club: The True Memoirs of Little K Pt. 3

Last week, we learned a bit more about the author of The True Memoirs of Little K. I shared some of her other books, and a few interviews, which hopefully highlighted how Adrienne Sharp’s experience with ballet strengthens her fiction.

Today, I’d like to offer some extended reading about the historical context of our current book. While the work is fiction, it is based on fact. Mathilde Kschessinska is an actual person and her place in history is well documented. Let’s learn a bit more…

Continue Reading:

Continue Watching

Continue Listening:

Continue Experiencing

  • Look up a ballet company near you and consider purchasing a ticket for their next show! 

Stay tuned for Part 4! xoxo

mid-week round-up

Hello friends! Do you have big plans this weekend? We’re going on a day trip to a nearby state park, and we’ll also be stopping by a flea market. Who knows! Maybe I’ll find something I can’t live without. Either way, after a bunch of project deadlines this week, I’m ready for some weekend diversion! Hope the rest of your week is super sweet, and here’s a bit of reading material…

The story behind Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”

[Related: 5 reasons I can’t get enough Dolly.]

Being a mother and a champion was a crazy dream.

How fairytales are told in other tongues.

[Related: Our storytelling minds.]

These millennials got new roommates.

Anytime young people get together, the pics start flowing.

The Japanese secret to a longer and happier life.

Russia is reopening an investigation into the world’s greatest mystery.

Cute kimono for lounging poolside.

Historians have largely discarded the lie that the “frontier” was an empty Eden waiting for American expansion—but not David McCullough.

[Related: The Pioneers by David McCullough]

As thousands of taxi drivers were trapped in loans, top officials counted the money.

Homeless mom’s letter to NIMBY supporters.

A Fab Five favorite writes a new memoir.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 9 Insights from Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky and How to Spend Your Time Helping Others.

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Book Club: Last Night I Dreamed of Peace Pt. 4

Hi friends! I’ve been super busy the last few weeks and the blog has definitely taken a back seat…but don’t worry — reading has not!

For consistency’s sake, I wanted to have a part 4 on this book. Butttttt I just don’t have time to write up a full-on reflection. SO! I shall direct you to Parts 1 – 3 on Last Night I Dreamed of Peace — here, here and here. I’d love if you’d check them out!

Also, since reading this book club book, I’ve also devoured Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook. Either would make for an awesome summer read if historical fiction is your jam!

I’d also like to announce that the next book I’ll be discussing in this series is *drumroll please* THE TRUE MEMOIRS OF LITTLE K by Adrienne Sharp. Nab a copy and follow along, why dontcha?! It’s a fictionalized account of the real life Russian ballerina who was the mistress of the future Tsar Nicholas II.

Want the full Finding Delight Book Club reading list?  CLICK HERE.

Book Club: The Truths We Hold Pt. 4

Welcome back, Finding Delight Book Club members! Today is my final post about The Truths We Hold, and I’m turning it over to you. While it is great to read other people’s thoughts about a book and learn a bit more about an author and dive deeper into a subject with extended reading/listening watching … what I love most about book clubs is that it allows a space for tapping into your own feelings. So, shall we?

In the final chapter of The Truths We Hold, Kamala Harris shares 8 mantras which she and her team rely on as touchstones and guideposts. They use them as “starting points for policy conversations and as ways to determine whether we’re on the right track.” For our final thoughts on this book, I’d like us to take a moment to reflect on these mantras.

How can we apply these bits of wisdom? How can we start conversations, enact change, and lead the charge in our own lives and around issues that matter to us most? 

How can you embrace innovation?
What is a bold action you’d like to take? Are there risks involved?
How will you test your hypothesis?

In what instance would it be helpful for you to hear from other voices?
What questions would you ask?
How can you amplify those voices?

What happens when seemingly insignificant details get swept aside in favor of grand pronouncements?
Are there tedious tasks you can take on and actually enjoy?
What’s one tiny change you think could have a BIG impact on your life or the country?

How do you wield your words for good?
What words do you think are most powerful?
How can you make your language more inclusive?

Are there goals in your life that would benefit from reverse engineering?
Once you’ve worked backwards, are there ways to adapt the steps to make the end goal better and more attainable?
What can you say to the people in your life who tell you the answer is 8 without acknowledging that they added 4 and 4?

What are you fighting for?
Who are you fighting for?
How can you join forces with other folks?

Have you witnessed any “fights worth having” lately? How did they make you feel?
Who inspires you to keep fighting and to never back down?
What strategies can you use in your life to be brave in the face of adversity?

In what ways are you “first”? What have you achieved, what goals have you met, how have you succeeded?
Now, how can you pull others up with you?
Who do you “take into the room” with you? Who is cheering you on?

Have you read The Truths We Hold yet? Pop any answers or thoughts that come up out of the exercises above in the comments. I’d love to continue the conversation. If you haven’t read it yet, but your interest is sparked, you can order it HERE or check it out from your local library. These posts will be here for you at any time — 

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |

So, what’s next for our book club? Subscribe HERE to receive the full Finding Delight Reading List or tune in next week for PART 1 of a brand new book. 🙂

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Would You Do This?

Would you buy copies of your favorite book(s) in bulk and keep them on hand so you can give them away?

Mimi Ikonn mentions doing this in a house tour video I watched years ago and it’s such a great idea that it really stuck with me. As she says, “We always buy a couple extra copies of our favorite books. That way, when people come over and we end up talking about our favorite books, we can just give them a copy.”

She and her husband keep spare copies of The Alchemist. Isn’t that brilliant?

What books would you want to keep copies of? I think I would choose The Poisonwood Bible and Wild. Maybe an extra copy or two of my book club selections? But it is so hard to choose!

So, what do you think? Would you do this? Have you read anything lately that you loved so much you would totally rush out to buy extra copies??? Let’s chat below…