I didn’t think we’d survive this winter. We weathered the Polar Vortex, yet we didn’t see a flake of snow. We stayed cold and dreary, and I swear February came in and nearly choked us all out. Coach still laughs at me for walking out the back door in March and grabbing limbs and moving leaves to look for growth. I needed to see green so badly that I was actually on my hands and knees looking for signs of life where the daffodils were planted.
The thing that kept me sane was regular trips to Barnes and Noble with my iPhone to take pictures of books to add to my reading list. On top of that, the ladies at SheReads.org were also lining up fantastic reads for the spring and summer. It was my only hope.
So, now it’s the first week of June and I’m on book three since school dismissed. I’ve had so many people ask and e-mail about books to read that I figured we’d just go ahead and get a list started online. Feel free to pin, bookmark, share, etc.
Please note that though I have read the books I’m recommending today, I have not read everything I will recommend on Friday. I’m giving you my list of what I’m going to read. So, forgive me if we find a sleeper.
But today I’m going to give you my favorites for the year and a couple of all-time favorites. Friday I’ll post the big list with the books I’m planning on reading before Labor Day.
My Favorites of 2014 (so far) – Click on the titles to take you to the Amazon link.
I loved this one. If you like a good story with intrigue and interesting characters, you’ll love this one. It is a fictional answer to the real-life disappearance of a New York City judge who mysteriously disappeared one night in 1930. He was involved in a political scandal involving a well-known mob boss, but no one was ever able to figure out what happened to him. To date his disappearance is unsolved. True or not, I love Ariel Lawhon’s hypothesis.
When I was in high school I planned on majoring in Art History and working in a museum or auction house. The only flaw in my plan was that while I loved art, I had no real artistic ability and to get an Art History degree one needs to be have more than stick people and happy suns in her artistic wheelhouse.
Jojo Moyes’ novel was an indulgence for me. I first wrote about it here. There was history, art, french bread and cheese, and two really great love stories, one in the past and one in the present. I had never read anything by Jojo Moyes before, but I hear that Me Before You: A Novel is a fantastic read. It is on my list for the summer. She also has a new novel coming out July 1, One Plus One: A Novel.
I haven’t found anything by Joshilyn Jackson that I didn’t like. She is our own Flannery O’Connor. Seriously, I think I said before that Flannery O’Connor would gift her a peacock if she was still alive. If you don’t understand the reference, you might not be ready for Jackson. It’s clever, it’s witty, it’s profound. And you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who can start a novel better than her. If you don’t believe me, give Gods in Alabama a read. You’re welcome.
2 All-Time Favorites
I loved Miss Lavinia immediately. Caroline had to grow on me. It was nothing a good baptism in the waters of the South Carolina Lowcountry couldn’t fix though. Dorothea Benton Frank is one of my favorites, and this is by far my most favorite novel of hers. Pat Conroy calls Frank “hilarious and wise,” and while this novel is wise, it’s doesn’t have the comic relief that some of her other novels had. This is a generational story of mothers and daughters uncovering family secrets and healing hurts and disappointments that are decades old.
2. The Help
I think everyone has read this one. If you haven’t, get thee to a bookstore NOW. It is such a pretty book. That’s always how I’ve thought of the prose- very pretty. That’s hard to pull off when you’re dealing with race in the Jim Crow South, especially Jackson, Mississippi. It’s compassionate but not trite. Many compared it to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it’s a good read.