Hello friends! Today’s post is a bit of a catch up. I wasn’t able to post a WINTER TBR back in December but I still wanted to share some books I’m excited about before we get to my springtime reading list. After all, we just had an ice storm in Alabama (!) so I’m still curling up with my winter reads.
Hi friends! Today, I’d like to offer you a few more book recommendations in the form of “if you liked this book, then you might like this other book.” I love when folks on Booktube, Bookstagram, and Goodreads include comparisons to other books in their reviews! It’s one of my favorite ways to find new reads! So, I started a bookish series here on the blog to do just that for YOU. (Here’s part 1!Here’s part 2! Here’s part 3!)
In each post, I recommend books that are similar to very popular books that are more well-known. Let’s get into it, shall we?!
If you loved Ruth Ware’s ability to concoct a setting so compelling it started to feel like it’s own character, you should check out The Winters which transports readers to the Asherley estate. The Winters is a creepy and spooky modern retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca set amongst the wealthy elite in the Hamptons. Much like The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Lisa Gabriele writes an enjoyable psychological thriller that plays out inside a grand house and includes all the twists and turns that go along with strange family dynamics, inheritances, and – of course – murder.
After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.
If you tore your way through Suzanne Collins’s dystopian young adult novel about a group of teens representing their districts by fighting to the death on live TV, you should pick up Ryan Graudin’s historical reimagining in which the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan commemorate their Great Victory by hosting a motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. Wolf by Wolf includes everything you loved about The Hunger Games and throws in a dash of The Man in the High Castle for good measure — asking, “What if the Nazis won the war?”
Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the Axis Tour and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.
Ok, if you’ve read both of these books you may think this is a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. Anthony Doerr and Dane Huckelbridge are both incredible writers. The prose in both these books is so beautiful and breath-taking, without ever feeling heavy handed. While the plots are quite different, they are similar in that they constantly come up against odds — whether at the hands of war or a plane crash — and yet humanity flourishes. Not to mention there’s a lot of French language interwoven throughout Castle of Water, and that, combined with the writing style and haunting passages about a short-wave radio, made for a reading experience that gave me some serious All the Light We Cannot See vibes. If you liked one, I’m confident that you’d like the other!
For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world. But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.
Both of these books are expertly researched, sociological looks at the lives of real teenagers in America. Robbins’s book covers popularity and psychology, while Younge explores gun violence. Quite different subject matter but the execution is similar in it’s careful reporting, meticulous interviews, and thought-provoking conclusions. If you are an educator of or advocate for teens, both of these books are must-reads.
On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.
I hope you enjoyed these new recommendations and I’m excited to bring you more posts in this series in the future! Do you have any book recommendations for me based on the eight books above? POP ‘EM BELOW!! xoxo
Hi guys! Today’s post is going to be my FALL TBR! (TBR = to be read, aka a list of books I want to read soon.) I post my seasonal TBR lists as a way to get excited about all the books I want to read over the coming months. And with the September sunshine glowing and the pumpkin spice making it’s triumphant return, it’s safe to say fall vibes are upon us!
Hi guys! Today’s post is going to be my SUMMER TBR! (TBR = to be read, aka a list of books I want to read soon.) I thought it would be fun to start posting seasonal TBR lists as a way to get excited about all the books I want to read over the coming months. And with the sun shining outside my window and a massive longing to ditch work and head to a beach somewhere, it’s safe to say summer is upon us!
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the TBR…
I’m going to start with my fiction picks and then jump into the nonfiction. This is a 60/40 split which I feel is pretty spot-on with where my reading preferences currently lie. I also incorporated lots of different genres so there would be a little something of everything I personally enjoy reading!
Stories, like the one found in The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger, humanize the immigrant experience. The book follows Amina Mazid who leaves her home in Bangladesh for a new life in New York. While her story is not one of religious persecution or civil war, she is in search of happiness. A different happiness than what she can find in Bangladesh. The same happiness so many are seeking when they step onto American soil. But like the immigrants before (and after) her, Amina must carve out a space for herself amidst her American reality and the other happiness she knew before. A home she can never forget.
Amina Mazid is twenty-four when she moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. A hundred years ago, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. But this is the twenty-first century: she is wooed by—and woos—George Stillman online. For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life for her and her parents, as well as a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn’t play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when Amina returns to Bangladesh that she and George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together.
At it’s core, this book is a rather nuanced portrait of a young woman’s transition from one culture to another. This theme reminded me of another great book, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. And I think fan’s of Lahiri’s work will also find value in picking up a copy of The Newlyweds.
Freudenberger shows an immense depth of knowledge about Bangladesh, it’s culture, and Islam. The acknowledgements section of the book makes it clear that she did her research by way of extensive interviews and immersive travel to the country itself. (Even more amazing? This research, and the subsequent novel, was inspired by a Bangladeshi woman Freudenberger met on a plane! #talktostrangers)
However, there is a note of inauthenticity to the story, most notably the character of Amina herself. Freudenberger explains the duality that I’m sure many immigrants experience…
“[Amina] had thought that she’d been born with a soul whose thoughts were in no particular dialect, and she’d imagined that, when she married, her husband would be able to recognize this deep part of herself. Of course she hadn’t counted on her husband being a foreigner…In a way, George had created her American self, and so it made sense that it was the only one he would see.”
And perhaps it is this duality, which Freudenberger explains but hasn’t experienced, that makes Amina’s character lack just an inkling of depth. Because, at the end of the day, Amina’s husband George didn’t create her American self, the author did.
The story itself is captivating and full of suspense. It is an entertaining depiction of the effects of honesty (or lack thereof) on relationships and navigating cross-cultural experiences. Check it out!
Have you read The Newlyweds? Would you? Let me know below!
As I explained in this post, I’ve been tracking my reading on a spreadsheet in an effort to diversify the genres and voices I consume, as well as quell my own curiosity about the ebbs and flows of my changing tastes and obsessions. The resulting data was interesting and I had fun recording lots of details for my future-self to cull through. (Full-disclosure: By the 4th quarter of the year I was much less thorough in my approach. Something to work on in 2017!)
For those of you who might be interested, I’ve used the aforementioned spreadsheet to compile a list of the books I read and loved in 2016.
Both books are narrated by young boys; complete with grammatical errors, run-on sentences, and innocent outlooks on the dangerous world. Kneale’s narrator, Lawrence, is a nine year old boy who would do anything for his mother and little sister, Jemima. The family moves to Rome to escape an estranged father, a man Lawrence’s mother believes has been spying on them. But as their world grows increasingly closed off beyond the confines of their little family unit, you realize something isn’t quite right.
A lot of my friends loved Room and with the popular movie version, I figure a whole new audience is gaining an appreciation for Donoghue’s book. I thought it might be worth mentioning When We Were Romans as a fantastic follow-up read. (Of course, if you’ve never read either…then I recommend a trip to the library to grab ’em both!) Happy reading!
What have YOU been reading lately? Are you a novel person? Memoir? More of a non-fiction reader? Share below!