After a busy holiday season, I was really craving some lighter reading… but also a little self-improvement. I read a LOT this month but keep in mind that three of the books are pretty much at a third grade reading level. (I’m ain’t mad.) If you are a YA fan and have not read The Selection trilogy, please stop what you are doing and order it. Just be sure to order all three books at once as once you start you won’t be able to start. I can’t promise you will feel good about the time you waste reading them – they are literal junk food books… but sometimes that’s just the thing, right??? It’s not even anything new, but at New Year’s Eve, one of my besties (who has the exact same taste in books as me) recommended it and I literally ordered it from the party. Best decision ever.
So yeah. 7 books this month. This sounds totally crazy but there are a lot of quick reads in here… it was also the holiday break which always means reading more than usual!
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 (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 last month’s reading list, which was one of my favorites to date.
AND! Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are my favorite… I literally shop the comments section of these post – you always have such good recommendations for me, which I really appreciate!
* The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is one that I devoured in literally 24 hours. It was so good! It’s the story of Nellie and Vanessa… the young, happy, bride to be vs. the disturbed and bitter ex-wife. I knew from the jacket of the book that I should “assume nothing,” so I read and read and read trying to guess every twist and turn. I ended up guessing the big twist slightly early, but still in a way that hit me over the head the way that only a great thriller can. But then there was another really big twist at the end. I could not put it down and really loved it. If you are looking for a great page turner, I highly highly recommend this one. It just came out two days ago, but I was able to read it early because of my Book of the Month subscription.
* Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, is one that I was really really excited for as when I posted it to my instagram story, so many of you FREAKED out – telling me how good it was! Well, as usual, you guys did not let me down. I loved it. It was all around hilarious, depressing, and ultimately heartwarming. I realize that’s a strange combination but it’s the truth. In a way, it reminded me quite a bit of A Man Called Ove. The main character (Eleanor Oliphant) has been through a lot. Like, a LOT. I won’t tell you all of her struggles and childhood terribleness as it will give things away, but things take a serendipitous turn and she befriends a kindly IT man at work. At age 30, this is her first friend. They end up saving a man who’s fallen and the friendship goes from there – ultimately transforming her and in a way, saving her life. I laughed and cried and felt uncomfortable a lot but ultimately just really loved every character in the book and felt really warm and fuzzy when I finally set it down.
* The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson, will probably change your life. I’ve been a big fan of his writing for ages and had been meaning to read the book and finally did it this month! I am not going to try and do his words/advice justice, but it honestly made me look at pretty much EVERYTHING in my life very differently. One thing in particular that really resonated with me is the importance of taking responsibility for our own actions/reactions to situations. So sure, someone can do something terrible to you but how you respond to it is entirely your own responsibility. There is a lot of tough love in here but it’s something I really needed to read. There is so much information in it that I had to take breaks… and truthfully, I will probably re-read it again next month as I need to make sure I let everything he says really sink in and take root for 2018. I am NOT a self-help book person but I cannot recommend this enough!
* The Selection, by Kiera Cass, is something I am REALLY embarrassed to recommend because it’s terrible (in the best way) but am also REALLY excited to recommend because if you are looking for a young adult series to tear through, this is it. Guilty pleasure reading at it’s best. After reading Mark Manson’s book, I wanted something lighter and this was just the thing. It’s basically The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor – set way in the future in a dystopian caste system, where 35 women (one from each district – sound familiar?) compete for the attention of the prince and ultimately become queen. It is not great literature, it is not going to make you smarter by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a very fun read. My only recommendation is to order the whole series at once – I finished the first one in less than a day (I could not stop!!!) and was very sad when I had to wait for the next one to come in the mail.
* The Elite is book #2 in The Selection trilogy. I also read this in a day. The selection process is now down to just 6 “elite” girls, and America is still stuck between her two loves… Prince Maxon, and her childhood boyfriend, Aspen. I could not put it down.
* The One is the third book of The Selection trilogy. Similar to the others, I read it in a day… staying up late reading and getting up early the next morning to keep going. This book is so annoying but I had to know what happened. There are so many ups and downs and twists and turns and the ending is predictable but like I said… this book is (fantastic) junk food. Totally satisfying.
* The Identicals, by Elin Hilderbrand. Okay first of all, Elin Hilderbrand’s novels are (for me), like Chicken Soup for the Soul. Most (all?) of them are based in Nantucket, and as someone who grew up by the beach on Cape Cod, they make me extremely nostalgic. This one is no exception… my mom passed it along to me over the holiday break and I devoured it in just a few short days. It’s the story of Harper and Tabitha Frost – two identical sisters, living on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. They endured a feud years ago and no longer speak but the death of their father brings them back together and they manage to in a way, switch lives for the summer. It’s incredibly heartwarming and I could not recommend it enough!
photography by Trent Bailey.
I keep hearing about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine! Think I’ve got to read it now, since so many people keep showering it with praises! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
It is SO good! Hope you read it!!
These books all sound great! I’m trying my best to read one book a month so I will definitely come back to this list when I need an idea of what to read 🙂
Kendal // Life With Kendal
Yay – can’t wait to hear what you end up reading!
Right now, I am reading “Turtles all the way down” and am really enjoying it. One book that I read before the holidays that has really stuck with me is ” The heart’s invisible furies” It is along book but I highly recommend it!
I saw that on Book of the Month! It looks good!
And I ordered The Heart’s Invisible Furies – hoping to read this month!!!
I’ve just started “The Woman in the Window”. There’s a lot of hype over this book so my expectations are high. So good so far…
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I ordered that one via my Book of the Month. I can’t wait to start it… I’m worried it will let me down though! 😉
currently I’m reading Love Sense by Sue Johnson and just picked up Irresistible: The rise of addictive technology… by Adam Alter. I’ve been meaning to pick up the Subtle art of not giving a F***.
Go pick it up! It’s SO good!
I just finished The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance – both are wonderful in their own right. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is next on my list!
I also LOVED Hillbilly Elegy, I couldn’t put it down!
Thank you for the suggestions! I have heard great things about Hillbilly Elegy! x
I just finished The Glass Castle, which was fantastic, and I am currently reading Beneath a Scarlet Sky (WW2 story from the Italian perspective) and really enjoying!
I loooooooved the Glass Castle. Such a great book!
I watched the Glass Castle movie – loved the story!
everyone has told me the movie was good! I’ll have to watch!
I really loved it!!
I just finished The Letter and started Behind Closed Doors. Both are excellent!
OMG I LOVED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS – so so good! It haunted me afterward!
Eleanor Oliphant was one of my favorites of the last month too. Just started Pachinko, which is on the New York Times top 10 for 2017 list, and I think it’s going to be excellent. For a fun read, I also enjoyed The Assistants in December – if you liked something along the lines of Startup, you’d probably enjoy it as well!
Ooh I will have to look into that!
I loved The Assistants! It was a fun one to read.
My book club read “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” and I totally thought the same thing, that it reminded me of “A Man Called Ove”
I just read an oldie but a goodie “The God of Small Things” which I loved. Next on deck is “Lilac Girls”!
Yay – so glad you agree!!!
I need to read Lilac Girls – sooo many people tell me I will love!
If you read “LilacGirls” make sure to check out the gorgeous map illustrations on Martha Hall Kelly’s website. And have your Aunt Jean take you to the Bellamy-Ferriday House and Gardens where the writer’s journey began 🙂
Thank you!!!! 🙂 I am going to ask her!!
Wait, you haven’t read Lilac Girls??? One of the best. Her house is now a museum in CT that I visited last year.
I know! I am missing out!!!
Just finished The Idiot by Elif Batuman, which was written so well and such a great take on the early college experience of a young intellectual woman finding herself amidst a questionable crush. I am now tearing through Broken River by J. Robert Lennon, which is like a thriller in terms of plot and intrigue, but literary in it’s prose.
For non-fiction and something health-related, I *loved* The Better Brain Solution by Steven Masley — it’s about how to keep your brain healthy (now and as you age) with lifestyle choices like diet and exercise. So fascinating and also feels achievable to follow. Even includes some great recipes!
Hahahahaha… it sounds like maybe I could relate to The Idiot – so many questionable crushes! 😉
Thanks for all the recs!! xo
I literally just put every single one of these on my reading list, except Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which I’ve already read — oddly enough, I wasn’t a huge fan, though I love the same style books as you. Hopefully some of these other ones are more up my alley!
Oh that is so funny!!! I LOVED it but I could see how it wouldn’t necessarily be for everyone!
Ordering The Selection series now! Love a good light read that I can’t put down!
Right now, I’m so guilty of reading Andi Dorfman’s (from The Bachelor/Bachelorette) book. She just came out with a new one too…so I ordered that as well, lol. Totally agree that sometimes you just need a super light read that you *really* don’t need to pay attention to!
The Champagne Edit
I hope you love it!!!!
How is Andi’s book? I didn’t watch her season of the Bachelor but I like her – she seems like a strong and awesome person (this statement is made purely from reading Us Weekly!!)
There is a 4th Selection book…just saying…
Haha I know… I decided that once I knew how things worked out with America and Maxon I was done with the series!!! 😉
You are such a better person than I am! LOL
HA! 😉 I just have a PILE of other books to read… but if I didn’t… I’d be all over it!
I’m not a sci-fi lover at all, but a friend recommended “Ready Player One” to me, and I absolutely devoured it. I loved every single page and was so sad when it was over. The book’s focus is on a kid and the relationships he develops playing a virtual reality video game. What delighted me most, aside from the story of the friendships, was the presence of 80s pop-culture references that carry throughout the story. It’s also going to be a movie later this year! Highly, highly recommend.
My friend just read that too!!! It wounds really good. Am adding that to my Amazon cart today… so many people have told me to read it.
Oh boy, I remember reading The Selection series and feeling the same way you’re describing. They really are quite entertaining! It was supposed to be made into a series/TV movie (with William Moseley and Ethan Peck lol) but I don’t know whatever happened to that.
I’m currently reading Version Control by Dexter Palmer. It’s sci-fi but for fans of literary fiction. Or literary fiction for fans of sci-fi? It’s about a marriage and a time machine (set in the near future when driverless cars are a thing), but not at all the typical time machine story. It’s honestly pretty slow but interesting!
briana | youngsophisticate.com
Hahaha so glad you agree. They are so entertaining, I really wish they’d make a book or TV series… it would be so fun to watch!
That book sounds great – I am going to have to look into it! xx
I always love an easy fun YA read here and there. I’m going on vacation in March and I think I’ll download The Selection books for then. I can see myself laying around on the beach reading them!
The Selection books are SO SO perfect for vacation!! Enjoy!!!
The Selection series has a 4th and 5th book as well. Picks up the story with America’s daughter. Wouldn’t want you to miss out on those! 😉
Haha I know… I decided that once I knew how things worked out with America and Maxon I was done with the series!!! 😉
My Christmas present to myself was a kindle paper white, because I read so much! I still love a real book, but I love being able to down load so many kindle reads from the library ( free!) and not having to physically return the books. The first book I ordered was ” The subtle art of not giving a f*ck” on your rec. I love it. The tide turned for me this way very much after my sister passed. I just couldn’t be bothered with stupid, petty people or things. I choose my life very carefully these days. This book really spoke to me. I’m telling everyone to get it! I can’t wait to check out the rest on your list.
I love that!
I had a kindle but gave it to my mom as I realized I just love holding an actual book!!!! I’m excited that you loved the Mark Manson book too. I loved it so much!
Just went through the Book Club archives and wrote down a ton of titles for things I want to put on my reading list. Thanks for all the work on it!
I’m currently in the middle of The Goldfinch–I know I’m late to the party–and your review of it was spot on. Who knew a book about a kid losing his mom and a Dutch painting would be such a page turner. It is written so exquisitely.
2 books I read that I HIGHLY recommend, both also happen to be about relationships with mothers, both are more prose snippets rather than hefty plot-filled. Both are staggeringly beautiful:
What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons–this was a library impulse “buy”. I saw it on the counter. About a woman who loses her mom, finding her identity as a black woman.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout–on my list for a while. A woman gets sick and her estranged mother comes and sits by her hospital bed. It’s about crafting a life as an adult while both rejecting and feeling nostalgic for one’s childhood.
Oh one more recommendation:
Evicted by Matthew Desmond. I’m usually not a huge non-fiction fan (halfway through, I just kind of get tired of the thesis and want to move on), but this is written more like a novel. Matthew Desmond did his PhD thesis by living with people on the verge of eviction and discusses the housing system from both the tenant and landlord perspective. Really eye opening and further confirms how broken our housing system is. I finish the book feeling ready to try and find a way to contribute to finding a solution.
Seconding the Eviction suggestion! I just finished it and while it was an absolutely devastating book to read, agreed that it read like a novel.
Thank you so much for the suggestions!!!!
(And yay, I LOVED the Goldfinch – so glad you are reading it… such a page turner!)
Perfect book recommendations! The one by Mark Manson has been on my list for ages! I hope to pick it up soon!
Yessss please do! It’s so great!!!
I just finished “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” and I definitely loved it… it’s heavy, so I’m going to have to reread it at some point to really digest it all, but I absolutely loved it.
I’ve been on a nonfiction kick lately… I’ve finished:
“Cleopatra” by Stacy Schiff
“The Witches” by Stacy Schiff (SO FRICKEN GOOD… about the Salem Witch Trials!)
“Catherine the Great” by Robert K Massie
“Nicholas and Alexandra” by Robert K Massie
“The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin (SO GOOD! One of my fav self-improvement books ever!
SO wish I could be in a book club–a legit one–with you. Pretty sure you’re my spirit animal <3
LOVE LOVE from South Carolina! <3
Thank you so much for the suggestions!!!!! And the kind words, love being your spirit animal! 😉 xx
I feel like I remember you mentioning having read this, but if you haven’t, I recently finished The Light We Lost and it was so, so good! Same with The Futures. A nice lighter read that was better than I expected!
YES!!! I loveeeeed The Light We Lost… it was so good!!! Thanks for the rec on the other! xo
I just finished I Had a Nice Time And Other Lies: How to Find Love & Sh*t Like That. Trying to figure out this whole dating this in 2018 and it seems as though I’ve been going about some things all wrong 😉
I loooooooved that!!! Re: dating I know I keep talking about it but Matthew Hussey’s book is amazing!
I adored “Eleanor O…” and was thrilled to learn Reese Witherspoon has optioned it for a move :))). All my librarian friends are freaking out over “The Woman in the Window” by AJ Finn. As always, thanks for the great recs
I am totally getting The Woman in the Window. It sounds like Girl on the Train meets Rear Window (my all time fave movie)
I KNOW!!! I just saw that a couple weeks ago and cannot wait.
I got The Woman in the Window and cannot wait to read it.
Always look forward to your reading list posts!!!! Thanks so much for your great recommendations. I am also a huge bookworm, here are some of the books I’ve recently read that I recommend:
-Little Fires Everywhere (I saw you got this in your newest book club box, YOU’LL LOVE IT!)
-Hidden Bodies (sequel to You – I think they’re making a movie based on the book)
-The Perfect Stranger
-Watch Me Disappear
…. If you can’t tell I have a thing for suspenseful books.
Thank you for all the suggestions! I love suspense too 🙂 xx
I recently read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood and was so so SO obsessed. The topic is very controversial and many people don’t like the book because of this, but the writing is so amazing. Highly recommend if you haven’t read it already!
I am going to look into that! Thanks for the rec!
I just bought The Thousandth Floor based on your recommendation, but now I think I need to buy The Selection too. I read a lot of non-fiction, heavy books and am thinking adding these to my 2018 list will give it a little more fun and ease haha!
YESSS. If you loved The Thousandth Floor you will love this!!! I will say that The Thousandth floor is better written, but who cares! 😉
I read “The Last Mrs Parrish” by Liv Constantine. Totally satisfying it not exactly deep. I think you would love it based on your reading list!
“Totally satisfying but not exactly deep” sounds right up my alley! 😉
I teach 7th grade English and I read The Selection series a few years back. Now I basically beg all of my girls to read it because it’s the best book series ever!
Haha yessss I love it!!!!
I’m currently reading Elinor Oliphant and it’s certainly a hard book to get into. I just finished Maybe in Another life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, you should 100% read if you haven’t already.
You are right, it definitely is hard to get into. I highly recommend sticking with it though, it was one of my favorites!!! Another reader commented to say that she didn’t like it though, so it may not be for everyone!
Hi Grace! I hate to recommend books before they’re out but this book was too good. It doesn’t come out until March, but I highly recommend “Sometimes I Lie” by Alice Feeney! It will keep you intrigued until the very last page. I gasped out loud a few times while reading it! Love all your book posts!! xx
Oooh I am so intrigued – thank you for the suggestion!!!
I’m about to start The Woman in the Window (from book of the month club!!). I’ve heard its amazing.
I can’t wait to read it! I got three books from BOTM and am saving this one to read last as it’s gotten so much hype!
I just started reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck last week. I’ll admit, I giggle at the irony every time I see the title – because clearly someone DOES give a f*ck or word wouldn’t be bleeped out in the title, ha!
So far, though, I’m really getting good info from it. I’m reading it in small bites, taking notes, and really trying to digest it.
And I always LOVE anything from Elin, I first discovered her books in 2010, while going through a terrible time in my life, and I honestly credit them with helping keep me sane during those times. She’s the real deal!
HAHA I know. One of my good friends is reading it too, and while we were both reading it, our other friend made fun of us saying, “If anyone in the world actually does give a F*CK, it’s the two of you!!!” I loved it though.
Elin is the best. Truly – chicken soup for the soul!!!
Always love your reading lists, Grace! I added a few of these to my own!
I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks Jenna!
I read The Wife Between Us in a day as well! So good! Also just read American Fire—really good read.
I just finished American Fire – loved it! So fascinating.
So many people have suggested that!!!
So so good! Will check out American Fire!
If you have Kindle Unlimited, I’d love for you to check out one of my novels, Life After Joe, or my most recent YA novel, The Queen of England: Coronation. (Of course, I’d be happy to send them your way as well).
As for suggestions, my friend Winnie Li wrote Dark Chapter, which won the ‘Not the Booker’ prize last year in the UK and is definitely worth checking out.
I finished Bear Town by Fredrick backman over the holidays and it was great, I love his style of writing. I’m halfway through Manhattan beach and it’s also pretty good so far. Thanks for the list!
Thank you for the suggestions!!! xx
I LOVED the Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani. It follows a couple kids growing up in northern Italy before WWII, navigating family tragedy, immigration, love, loss, and the opera. I literally couldn’t put it down. The writing is really beautiful and will make you want to book a plane ticket to Italy ASAP.
Than you so much for the recommendation -that sounds amazing!
These look like great books – and I love that I even found something I can pick up to enjoy with my teen. I think I’m looking forward to The Identicals most – seems like it would be perfect for me!
Yes, they would be perfect for that!
The last Mrs Parrish! It should be made into a movie.
I just ordered it! So exciting!
Highly recommend B.A. Paris – both books – the breakdown and behind closed doors. My new fav author!
Thank you so much for the suggestion!
These all sound AMAZING!!! I have placed a HOLD on most of them at my local library (for e-book version)! I love to read and have set a goal to read at least 12 this year- 7 in a month is AWESOME!!!
Thanks again for the great recommendations!
YAY! You will love 🙂 xx
Ok, you have convinced me. I am going to finally give The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck a go!
Yeah!!! I loved it!
I’m currently reading I Believe In A Thing Called Love and I adore it! Funny, heartfelt and the main character is so endearing (and relatable).
Thank you so much for the suggestion!!!!
I was (pleasantly) surprised when I saw The Selection on your list! Totally agree with you that it’s a guilty pleasure x
Haha, the BEST guilty pleasure!!!!
I just finished Missoula by Jon Krakuaer. It’s from 2015, but is really relevant with the #metoo movement. It gave a great perspective on campus sexual assault–heavy, but well done. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is on my list, too!
Thank you for the suggestion!!!
Your reading lists make my commute so much more bearable!!
However, I’ve finished The Selection series over the weekend b/c I couldn’t do anything else until I finished them!! haha such a great guilty pleasure! 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!
I am so happy that you enjoyed them as much as I did! Such fun reads!!!
I have a great light read suggestion, Gameboard of the Gods. It’s awful (like the Selection) but I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a couple of days.
That sounds like something I need to get involved with immediately!!!!
Have you read The Matchmaker by Elin Hildebrand? Such a great book, and I truly felt like I was on Nantucket reading it even though I have never been! She is my favorite author!
No but so many people have told me I need to read it!! I love her!!!
Omg!!!! I just finished reading The Wife Between Us thanks to you and…. wow. Just wow. I really don’t know what else to say but WOW without giving something away. The twists, the turns, the secrets…. all combined for a FANTASTIC cant put it down read!
Haha YESSSS. One of my favorite books from last month! So glad you enjoyed it. You MUST read The Last Mrs. Parrish next!! xo
So after reading this post I downloaded The Selection and read all 3 of them in less than a week. Sometimes an easy YA read is just what I need when I’m stressed!
OMG yesssss – the best!!!!