March 2018 Reading List.

Another month of really, really good books! It’s hard to pick a favorite from this list but if I had to it would be An American Marriage, as it really stuck with me and left me feeling brokenhearted. All of the characters (placed in an incredibly difficult situation) are so realistic and relatable… it’s just so good. I also re-read an old favorite, but honestly everything on this list is great!

If you’re looking for a book, don’t forget – you can always check out my Book Club Page. I have literally listed every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years…. and you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for And of course, you can also take a peek at February’s reading list, which was a good one – I read seven books last month!!

AND! Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are my FAV… I literally shop the comments section of these post – you always have such good recommendations for me, which I really appreciate!

* The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne is a masterpiece – all 580 pages of it! So many of you had suggested it in the comments of previous reading lists (and it’s won quite a few awards), so I needed to pick it up. It is a saga, for lack of a better word – following the story of one man’s life (from before he was born up until right before he dies). Cyril Avery is born to a teenage girl out of wedlock (we learn her story too; as she’s cast aside from her Irish family and moves to Dublin on her own) and adopted by a wealthy Dublin couple. The book is his story – from his coming of age and growing up gay (but closeted) through middle age and ultimately old age. I will admit that I was intimidated by how big the book was (it was actually hard to hold at times as it’s so thick) but I’m so glad I read the whole thing as it’s beautifully written and absolutely fascinating. It breaks your heart at times, makes you laugh at times, all of the things. Highly, highly recommend this one!

* The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory is so cute and basically like reading a really delicious rom-com. Drew and Alexa meet in a hotel elevator and he convinces her to be his date for a wedding (his ex gf’s wedding, at that). A whirlwind LA/SF romance ensues and it’s really cute. I read it over Valentine’s Day which was maybe a good thing and maybe a bad thing as it made me feel a little lonely (but it was also super cute and left me thinking maybe I’d meet my soulmate in an elevator. 😉 ) You probably know that I don’t read a lot of romance novels (I’m more of a thriller/dark fiction girl… otherwise it’s usually a memoir or historical fiction) but I really enjoyed this one. It’s light, refreshing, and fun… and while I did find myself a little frustrated at times (Drew can be really hard-headed/a bit of a male stereotype), I couldn’t put it down and definitely teared up at the ending. It’s the perfect light read – if you are going on a trip, pack this one for the beach!

* If I Die Tonight, by Alison Gaylin is a fun mystery that had me hooked. A teenage boy is run over during a carjacking involving a former 80’s pop star. The main suspect becomes another boy (Wade Reed) from the same town – a boy who’s a bit of an outcast – unpopular and friendless. The story is told from four perspectives: Jackie Reed (Wade’s mom), Connor Reed (Wade’s younger brother), Pearl Maze (a young police officer with a traumatic past), and Aimee En (the former pop star). What I liked about it was also what I disliked about it. They gave us so much of the story but with NO CLUES. So I was on page 295 (out of 352) and felt so frustrated because I still had no idea who did it. But I also liked that as it really kept me on my toes. Anyway, the ending is super satisfying and it’s a fun little mystery, reminiscent of Big Little Lies meets Varsity Blues. I really enjoyed it.

* An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones. In all honesty, I thought of doing a dedicated post JUST ABOUT THIS BOOK because I wanted to talk about it more. It gutted me. I’m going to try to do my best to describe it (and the emotions it brings out) without giving away too much. Celestial and Roy are a year and a half into their new marriage when Roy is wrongfully convicted of a terrible crime. Roy is sentenced to twelve years in prison, but gets out after five. A lot happens while he’s gone. And when he gets out early, what is Celestial to do? Let go, or rebuild her marriage? The characters were all so raw and real, each struggling with their own family problems + heartaches. One of those situations where you don’t really know what to do, or who to root for. All is (sort of?) resolved in the end but man… this is an emotional rollercoaster (and, a beautifully written rollercoaster at that).

* The Perfect Nanny, by Leila Slimani, has been billed as “The French Gone Girl” but don’t let that characterization fool you. It’s not a whodunnit, but more of a “Why did she do it?” From the start, we know the crime (two children are brutally murdered), and we know who did it (their nanny). It’s the story of Myriam and Paul – two working executives, their children, and their nanny Louise. Louise starts out as “the perfect nanny…” taking wonderful care of the children, cooking elaborate meals, keeping the house perfectly clean. Paul and Myriam wonder how they ever lived without her. Over time, things just go very very wrong. As a single woman with no children, I devoured it… but if you’re a working mom with young children I would probably advise against reading this one!

* 10% Happier, by Dan Harris, is a book that I re-read. I originally read it back in early 2015 when it first came out. After seeing Harris speak at MNDFL (my meditation studio), I picked up his new book and was inspired to re-read this one before starting the new one. The book is part memoir (Harris is a GMA co-anchor and has lived a really interesting life) describing his personal journey and how he started meditating, and part self-help. When I first read it, I was more interested in the memoir side of the book. Now that I regularly meditate, I was more interested in the meditation side. It’s a really fantastic read and definitely makes the case for meditation in a way that isn’t overtly spiritual or woo woo… Harris is relatable, he swears, he’s funny… he makes fun of Deepak Chopra… you’ll love him. I can’t wait to read the second one… (titled Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics), which is/was me. Still fidgety but no longer a skeptic. 🙂

Disclosures: I was sent a copies of If I Die Tonight and The Perfect Nanny for review purposes. I get sent a lot of books and only review the ones I love.

photography by Trent Bailey.

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Comments

  1. Love, love, love your book recommendations, Grace! 🙂 Can’t wait to get into some of them. 10% Happier must be a really good one if you’ve read it more than once! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
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  2. Anne says 3.8.18

    Sometimes you need to throw in some rom-com type reads when you’ve got sagas and ones that gut you on your list for the month too! I have a copy of The Heart’s Invisible Furies headed my way and definitely will add American Marriage to my list. Pachinko was the last saga-type book I read, and it was excellent as well.

  3. sharon says 3.8.18

    So glad you read ” The heart’s Invisible furies” It is one of my all time favourite books. Right now, I am reading ” The anatomy of a scandal” I am about halfway through and so far, it is just ok.. I hope it picks up.

  4. sydnee says 3.8.18

    If you like thrillers, you might like The Marsh King’s Daughter and Need to Know.

    x S | Design by Sydnee

  5. Boni says 3.8.18

    I recently read A Little Life on your recommendation and it was SO GOOD. I think it’s one of the best books I’ve read since my youth, I wish it never ended! I think I’ll check out some of the author’s other works as well! Recently also listened to Amy Schumer’s book Girl WIth The Lower Back Tattoo and reading Tuesdays with Morrie–an old favorite!

    • I don’t think I recommended that! It’s been recommended in the comments here time and time again but I still haven’t picked it up. I need to, though as I know I’d devour it. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Monica says 3.8.18

    I’m reading Kristin Hannah’s new book, The Great Alone. I was a huge fan of The Nightingale (which I think you’ve read?), so I was super excited when this book came out about a month ago!

  7. Yaaaaas! Dan Harris!

    I also read (well, listened to) An American Marriage…. so. many. emotions.

  8. Cathy says 3.8.18

    I love book review day! I also read An American Marriage and it’s already on my top books of 2018 list. I finished The Perfect Nanny yesterday and devoured it quickly but I think as with all horrific events- even if we think we know why someone did it we can never really understand it. Does that even make sense?
    Next up for me is a WWII historical fiction piece- White Rose Black Forest.

    • So glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!!! And agreed re: The Perfect Nanny. Eek.

  9. Stacey says 3.8.18

    You totally just convinced me to read If I Die Tonight by describing it as “Big Little Lies meets Varsity Blues” — if only to see how that description pans out 🙂

    Always LOVE these book lists — thank you!!!

  10. Erika says 3.8.18

    Every time I see a Reading List I think YASSSS more Grace recommended books! Keep ’em coming!

    Also, did you see that they’re making Little Fires Everywhere into a show? The book is based in Shaker Heights (right next to where I grew up) and they are starting casting soon. Can’t wait to see it brought to life & how the portray it on-screen.

  11. Sam says 3.8.18

    Zadie Smith’s new collection of essays, Feel Free, is wonderful! She delves into a wide range of topics including race, music, social media, and politics. Her writing is so insightful, witty and thought provoking. Highly highly recommend!

  12. Rowena says 3.8.18

    I’ve wanted to read The Heart’s Invisible Furies for a while…definitely going to choose it as an add on for next month’s book of the month!

    Currently reading The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, the last book in the All Souls Trilogy (I think you’ve mentioned here that you’ve read them). I’m actually really sad that this is the last book in the series BUT I recently saw that she is writing a new spin-off series focusing on Marcus which I am very excited for!

  13. Emma finlayson says 3.8.18

    Not reading the perfect nanny. Just nope. The others are all going on my reading list!

  14. Annette says 3.8.18

    I always appreciate your recommendations. It’s such a good way to look into books from genres I normally don’t read. I read The Marsh King’s Daughter which is excellent. I also read Trainwreck by Sady Doyle which is a great read for Int’l Women’s Day.

  15. Cory says 3.8.18

    My heart is still broken over An American Marriage. I got choked up again reading your review of it. I haven’t had a book stay with me like that in a long time, which I guess is a sign of an amazing story. I am currently reading The Reunion by Samantha Hayes. It is a mystery/thriller and I am 75% through it and still don’t know who did it, which rarely happens since I read so many books in that genre that I usually figure it out. After that, I am starting The Next Together by Lauren James. I can’t remember if that was one of your recommendations or not, but it sounds really good!

    • RIGHT?? I’m so glad someone else feels the same as me… it was really gutting!!

      Thanks for the other recs!

  16. Tess says 3.8.18

    Thank you for these posts, Grace! I so look forward to them and they are fueling my Amazon book ordering addiction as of late…hahah. (I just ordered An American Marriage after reading your review and can’t wait to start it). Also loved The Wedding Date! So fun but still had moments where Alexa made Drew check his privilege which I so appreciated!

    I recently finished This Love Story Will Self-Destruct by Leslie Cohen and would deffinitely recommend it for the next time you’re looking for a break between thrillers! It’s a really great contemporary New York storyline and I related to the main character Eve waaaaay too much (maybe alarmingly so?) but it made for a really captivating read that did a nice job of mixing the lighter stuff with the heavier stuff!

  17. Stacy says 3.8.18

    Just wanted to say how much I love your book review posts! I went through your book club page about a month ago and added SO MANY titles to my library list. Just finished The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Dollhouse on your recommendation, and enjoyed both so much. I’m always late to the game on books, so unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions for you to return the favor!

  18. briana says 3.8.18

    Last weekend, I read two books in one day (which should tell you something about how good they were): The first was “Unbelievable” by Katy Tur, which I know you’ve read and written about before. SO good and really scary, too. The other was “Do Not Become Alarmed” by Maile Meloy. I feel like this one is right up your alley—it’s about two families who go on a cruise and their kids disappear. It was super engaging and kept me up past midnight to finish it.

    briana | youngsophisticate.com

    • omgggg LOVED unbelievable! And you are right, Do Not Become Alarmed sounds right up my alley!

  19. Morgan says 3.8.18

    At the end of February I knocked out a series of three books by Jenny Han — To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before; P.S. I Still Love You; Always and Forever, Lara Jean. They were super light and easy reads, about boys and high school and sisters. I loved them! Perfect way to get out of a reading rut. Now I’m trying to tackle A Gentleman in Moscow and finally bought A Wrinkle in Time! I’ve never read it but feel like I must before seeing the movie.

    • Ooooh I will have to check these out! Thanks for the recs!!

    • Nicole Wren says 3.9.18

      I loved those Jenny Han books! They’re so cute and quick reads too 🙂

  20. Jada says 3.8.18

    All of these book selections seem perfect! Can’t wait to add some to my list!

    http://THEGIRLFROMCONNECTICUT.COM/

  21. Natali says 3.8.18

    You always have the best recommendations! Thanks for sharing!

    https://lartoffashion.com

  22. Emily says 3.8.18

    Check out Red Clocks by Leni Zumas! Incredible book, beautifully written. It followers 5 women as they navigate the US in the not too distant future after the “Personhood Amendment” is in place…it’s an amazing story and brilliant feminist read! I think you’d like it 🙂

  23. Danielle says 3.9.18

    I love your monthly book lists! I usually don’t buy thrillers. (I check them out from the library since I never reread them.) However, after last month’s post I went out and bought The Woman in the Window. Books I read last month and loved: The Great Alone (had the privilege to hear Kristin Hannah speak on her book tour- she was fantastic), Tell Me More, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I recommend all three! Especially Eleanor!

  24. I just finished The Broken Girls (got it in my February Book of the Month!). Oh my goodness- SO intriguing and unpredictable. A classic ghost story that also highlights the strength of female friendships.

    Love your book posts! 🙂

  25. Nicole Wren says 3.9.18

    I love your book recommendations! It’s my main reason for following your blog 🙂 I finished “Little fires everywhere” by Celeste Ng, and loved it! Did you read her first book– “Everything I never Told you”? That book is also heartbreakingly amazing! In case you hadn’t heard yet, Reese Witherspoon said she was going to work with Celeste Ng to make a tv show series out of “Little Fires Everywhere”! So definitely going to have to keep an eye on that project!
    Right now, I’m reading a Jodi Piccoult book “Small Great Things” and loving it! Such an interesting perspective on race in today’s climate. Also pertaining to the current political climate, I’d recommend “This is Where it Ends”– by Marieke Nijkamp and “Luckies Girl Alive”– by Jessica Knoll. These are both such good YA novels and quick reads, you won’t be able to put them down once you start! I loved them and if you read them, can’t wait to hear your view on it!

  26. Brei Delahoussaye says 3.9.18

    I am currently reading The Gray Man by Mark Greaney. It is the first Gray Man novel in the Gray Man series and I am loving its fast pace. Also just finished Sisters First and Find Her and I loved them both. Found myself laughing and crying with Sisters First. No matter your political affiliation you should like this book. I also just reread What Remains and ugly cryed on my couch again! That book by Carole Radziwill is one of my top 5 of all time. But I love the Kennedys and Carole.

  27. Anna says 3.9.18

    Felt the same way about An American Marriage! Such a good, good book. Enjoyed The Heart’s Invisible Furies as well.

  28. Lauren says 3.10.18

    Hi Grace,
    Love your recommendations. Currently reading The Great Alone and saw you are too!
    Have you ever read any of the Harry Bosch series?

    Happy weekend! ❤️

  29. Sarah says 3.10.18

    I just went through your book club list and added tons of titles to my wish list- thank you!! Also, sorry if you’ve covered this, but I’m curious what you do with your books after you read them? I prefer to buy books rather than get them from the library but I live in a small apartment and find it challenging to decide if I should keep them, donate them, etc since I have minimal space!

    • grace at the stripe says 3.10.18

      Aw good! I give them to my friends and family 🙂 I always have a big pile of all the books I’ve just finished and either mail them to my mom or give to friends when they come over. For the ones I love and like to re-read they go on my shelf.

  30. Alex says 3.10.18

    Recently finished and highly recommend Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime.

  31. Erica says 3.14.18

    Grace, thank you for being such a voracious reader. As a result, I spent my weekly allowance at Barnes & Noble yesterday! 🙂 I trust your recommendations and always look to your lists for inspiration. Now I’ve got to get started on the 6 books I bought yesterday…

  32. Lynn Clarke says 3.14.18

    Just finished The Stolen Marriage, a tad over the top, but it really held my interest and I read it in just a couple of days – I’d recommend it!

  33. Dena Julia Stern says 3.18.18

    I love your reading lists, you have the best taste ever! Just ordered if I die tonight xoxoxo

  34. Charlotte Steggz says 3.18.18

    I read 10% Happier earlier this year. I thought it was good – though it wasn’t what I was expecting! I read it as a person who doesn’t really get on with meditation, so it was just interesting to me to see his journey. I’m currently reading this novel called Pachinko. It’s a long read, but really engaging. If you like David Mitchell (and if you don’t, you should) then this would be right up your street.

    • grace at the stripe says 3.19.18

      That’s how I was the first time I read it!!! The second time (as someone who meditates) it was even more interesting!

  35. MacKenzie says 3.23.18

    Finished Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I don’t know what I expected, but it was worth the read.
    I’m currently reading The Ghost Notebooks, by Ben Dolnick, and I feel like I’m in the trippiest situation that I don’t want out of.

  36. Donna says 3.23.18

    The Perfect Nanny is one my favourite reads so far this year! I flew through it in two days and I can’t stop recommending it!

    An American Marriage is on my TBR and I am definitely adding If I Die Tonight to my list!

    I am currently reading Unbelievable by Katy Tur. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

    Currently reading and loving:

    Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh (I’ve been dying for this one to come out and it was released a day early here in Canada. She is one of my favourite authors by far! I read I Let You Go twice!)
    When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mathew Whalen (I started this one earlier this week and I can’t put it down. I stay up way past my bedtime to read just one more chapter.)
    The Boat People by Sharon Bala (Such a timely and important read. And it’s beautifully written!)

    Happy reading!

    • grace at the stripe says 3.23.18

      Thank you for the recs!! I LOVED I let you go, didn’t know she had another one out!!!

      • Donna says 3.24.18

        You’re most welcome! And I am loving Let Me Lie so far. Did you read I See You?

  37. Victoria says 3.26.18

    Pachinko. Had some Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane vibes.

  38. Suma says 3.30.18

    If you really enjoyed The Heart’s Invisible Furies, I think you should give One Hundred Years of Solitude a go! It’s basically the story of a family and their story over the course of 100 years in a mythical town in Colombia so the writing is really creative and challenging but also has an element of realism. It took me a while to get through it but it was worth pushing through.

    • grace at the stripe says 3.30.18

      Thank you so much for the suggestion – I’ve actually read it – really loved it!!!

  39. Tammy Levy says 4.2.18

    Hey!!
    I just read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus and it really worked for me!! It is about 5 totally steriotypical teens that end up in detention together, but when they leave, one of them is dead and the whole book is about discovering who did it and the story of all the kids involved. I thought it was kinda basic in the begginig and way too similar to the movie Breakfast Club but the character development and the way the story wrapped up really surprised me!
    I’m currently reading The Thousandth Floor bc of your rec and honestly: THANK YOU!
    Eventhough I’m still in the first pages I can feel it will be amazing!
    xx

    • Oh yay! I just read it too and loved it (and shhhhh, it’s going to be the next book for our podcast!) LOVE The Thousandth Floor, one of my favs!!