Ebooks and audiobooks make it difficult to get a satisfyingly complete photo of all books enjoyed. If anyone can tell me how to get cover art images that aren't itty bitty, please do!
Do you want a short, inspirational book about the power of imagination?
J.K. Rowling's Very Good Lives is the length of a graduation speech and would make a nice gift for such an occasion, particularly for grads who grew up on Harry Potter. I read a library copy. I don't feel compelled to rush out and buy one for myself, but I'd be delighted to receive one.
Do you want to rage against patriarchy? To rethink body image and cultural standards of beauty and gender?
Sarai Walker's Dietland was a compelling, subversive, and thought-provoking read. Don't let the cupcake on the cover fool you. Whether readers love or hate it, everyone will have something to say about it. I think it would make a good book club selection.
Do you want to relax and enjoy a sweet but (mostly) satisfying story?
I read several quick but enjoyable books that fit this bill. My favorite was Jenny Colgan's Little Beach Street Bakery (thanks Modern Mrs. Darcy for the rec). I can't resist a "fresh start" narrative nor a cool British setting. I also enjoyed Sarah Strohmeyer's Sleeping Beauty Proposal which I inhaled in a big gulp last weekend. Strohmeyer's books are smart, fun reads (try also: Smart Girls Get What They Want and The Pennypinchers Club). Other relaxing reads that I liked but don't have too much to say about are Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss and Jennifer E. Smith's The Geography of You and Me.
Do you wish Jane Austen had written more books?
Angela Thirkell's fun and Austen-esque Coronation Summer might be for you.
Do you want to get lost in the lives of a family over the course of many years?
I am currently listening to Early Warning, the second installment of Jane Smiley's Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Trilogy. The narrative moves along with glimpses of various family members from year to year. Nothing and everything happens. Can be slow moving, but the characters grow on you as the years go by. I am so invested in them all now and looking forward to the final book in the trilogy. Ann Packer's The Children's Crusade is similar, though it covers less time and fewer family members.
Do you seek a fresh, edgy detective story that is awesome as an audiobook?
Lyndsay Faye's Timothy Wilde Trilogy provides a riveting look at the chaos, energy, and humanity of nineteenth-century New York. I just finished listening to The Fatal Flame, the final book of the trilogy.
Been wanting to try a graphic novel?
I enjoyed Lucy Knisley's An Age of License: A Travelogue (not novel!). I can't really relate to the tortured artist dimension of the story, but I think the graphic genre is well-suited for a travelogue. More fun than looking at someone's vacation photos!
Want to get in touch with your spiritual side and nurture your faith?
I was blown away by the beautiful writing in Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith and wish I'd had a paper copy to mark up instead of the ebook (of course, I doubt I would have read this book had I not purchased the ebook on sale). I am currently immersed in Rumer Godden's In This House of Brede, which is from my "I'll Thank Me Later" List. More on this title later.
I want to know what you're reading? Can you find me on GoodReads? Please do. I'm booksandcarbs.