It’s been quite a while since I did my last reading roundup and I have read a copious amount of books since then. Last year alone I read 134 books which is the most I’ve ever read in a year. And it was not for the bragging rights. It was because last year was a year of working on myself. That meant reinvigorating the creative side of me, working on myself physically, and working on my anxiety and self-esteem. I dove headfirst into the pages of books that inspired ideas, made me cry, made me laugh, and allowed me to explore the things that make us all human. Some of those things are not always pretty, but being forced to look at them always helps you grow. I got an idea for a novel. I found representation on those pages for my mental health struggles and a hope within that. Books have been in my life through every up and down and are continuing to be a part of my journey as I grow even more this year. I decided to give you my top three books I’ve read so far this year. I’m currently at 36 books for the year so it was hard to pick but I will start doing these monthly again after this which will make picking easier I imagine. If you want to follow my reading journey this year and share yours with me feel free to follow me on Goodreads and Storygraph if you use either!
I definitely recommend checking these books out and as always, let me know what books you’ve been enjoying!
#3 Now Is Not The Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
I’ve read all the books that Kevin Wilson has written so I was so excited to see his new one in our local independent bookstore when I went in last month! He actually is from Franklin, TN which is right outside of Nashville where I live so it’s always nice to support local authors as well. He has an extremely unique writing style and I bet I could tell you if he wrote the book without ever seeing the cover, which is a rare quality to find in the sea of books released each year. His concepts are always super unique and I usually read them in a day or two. This one was no different! It follows two teens, Frankie and Zeke, in a small TN town who meet one summer and decide they want to create art together. After they create a poster and start posting it around the town, panic ensues as no one knows where they came from or what they mean. As the public creates more and more theories, the consequences of their creative spirit snowballs into potential danger. Years later, they have never confirmed it was them who made the poster, but someone calls Frankie saying she knows her secret and wants her to tell their story. It’s funny and weird and makes you think about the power of a creative mind. I highly recommend it as well as any of his other books!
#2 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
This book came recommended to me by my roommate Jess and she didn’t let me down! This was a beautiful book about the ends and outs of friendship, ambition, and ultimately how your priorities affect your relationships. It is all set in the video game design arena and gives subtle Ready Player One vibes, but the relationship between Sam and Sadie is the driving force. I actually realized partway through reading the book that I had already read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by this author and didn’t connect the dots right away. Another incredible story to check out! Both of her novels lean on the bittersweet so that’s important to remember going into them. However, those are some of my favorite stories because it seems more true to life. The characters in her novels feel like real people with relatable problems and while escapism in books is great, it’s sometimes nice to feel like the people could be living right down the street. Definitely check this author out!
#1 Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Okay, this is a classic novel that I missed along the way somehow and I’m so glad I was able to read it! I had seen the movie a long time ago but as we know, the book is usually better. In this case, both are wonderful! I actually got this book at a bookstore in Chatanooga when my friends and I were wandering through local stores during my friend’s wedding weekend and they happened to have a “Blind Date with a Book” section. Basically, the book is covered in brown paper with only a few sentences on the outside about what the book is about, but you don’t know what you bought for sure until you open it at home. I’ve always wanted to do one and was so happy it happened to be this incredible story full of humor, heart, and charm. I’ll leave you with the description I was given before opening it! “Read Me if you’re looking for: A book from the busy brain of a born storyteller. A thoroughly entertaining comic novel. A now classic tale of 2 women in the 1980s, as one tells her life story to the other.” Definitely piqued my interest and I hope it does the same for you. And as a bonus, watch the movie after you read it.! Who doesn’t love Kathy Bates?
Honorable Mentions to Check Out:
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid: I love all of her books and her newest was no exception. Fans of tennis will especially love it!
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary: Just a cute rom-com when you are in need of something light and fun!
The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal: A really great story of sibling relationships and discovering unknown passions. Great especially for craft beer lovers like myself!
The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner: Felt like I was reading an episode of Criminal Minds and as someone who loves shows like that, it was great!
S. by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams: Crazy concept of a book where there is an entire second book happening in the margins between two people trying to figure out the true identity of the author of the actual book. Really fun and shout out to my brother for gifting it to me!
As always, I’m always looking for new books so send them my way and let me know what your favorites so far this year have been! I hope you have a great day!