For years I kept a running list on my phone of all the books I wanted to read. I cleverly titled it “BOOKS!”. Over time the list became a bit unruly, as running lists often do, and whenever someone asked for a book suggestion, I had no record of what I’d actually read—just a list of books that piqued my interest. It was not the best system for a bibliophile. A friend suggested I try Goodreads but who needs another app to check? Well apparently I do because I finally downloaded the app last week after listening to a podcast interview with the founders. I follow no one, but the app’s “shelf” feature is golden. I feel so organized! In honor of this belated life accomplishment, here are some recent book recs from yours truly:
A Little Hope by Ethan Joella – A tender, earnest story of the agonizing life challenges faced by residents of small Connecticut town and the bonds they form while trying to support and uplift one another.
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout – The premise sounds a bit dull (a woman accompanies her ex-husband on a road trip), but Strout draws you in with her wise, engaging prose. It feels like one of those conversations with your best friend that you never want to end.
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel – Awhile back I went through a World War II fiction phase (think The Nightingale, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Sarah’s Key, The Tattooist of Auschwitz), and then I was doooone. I was a bit reluctant to dive back in, but this novel offered a different twist via the story of a young woman who forges identity documents for Jewish children trying to escape to Switzerland.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab – Desperate to avoid an impending marriage arranged by her parents, Addie LaRue makes a deal with the devil to live forever. In exchange for immortality, she’s instantly forgotten by everyone she meets. Just when she thinks all hope is lost, she meets a young man in a New York bookstore who (gasp!) remembers her name. A masterfully conceived fantasy that’s ultimately a love story.
Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka – I like my books dark and disturbing (not sure what that says about me?!?), and this one fits the bill! As convicted serial killer Ansel Packer awaits his execution, a series of flashbacks—narrated by his mother, former sister-in-law and a homicide detective who trailed Ansel for years—reveal the story of his tragic, tormented life.