reading is one of my very favorite things to do to relax, but i often only end up picking up a book before bed. while on vacation, i pretty much spent several days just reading straight through each morning, afternoon and evening – on the boat in Greece, along the beach in Positano, on flights and trains and in cafes. i ended up getting through a bunch of books and wanted to share some of my favorite recent reads! i love sharing (and receiving) book recommendations, so if you’re into reading and feeling stuck on what to read next, hopefully this list helps. ?
recent favorite read (maybe ever):
a little life by hanya yanagihara // this book was ranked the top book of the year by like, every publication. truthfully, the book rocked me and it was hard to put it down once I started. the book is truly beautiful and so, so heartbreaking and sad, and the author did an excellent job developing each character, to a point where you felt close to each one. and, the book had that strange power of haunting me after reading, where I continued to think about the characters and story afterwards.
easy reads (quick to get through, engaging storyline, iconic ‘beach read’):
crazy rich asians by kevin kwan // funny and fascinating (although fictional), easy to get through — a perfect beach read!
the kind worth killing by peter swanson // if you were a fan of gone girl and/or like psychological thrillers, you definitely should read this one!
her every fear by peter swanson // after i finished swanson’s other book (above), i immediately downloaded and finished this one in two days.
drink: the intimate relationship between women and alcohol by ann dowsett johnston // this book explores patterns of alcohol consumption and abuse in women, telling one woman’s personal story of recovery with in-depth, shocking research about binge drinking among women and girls.
the rules do not apply by ariel levy // a lovely memoir from journalist ariel levy – lots of beautiful and heartbreaking parts, all woven into one book.
we are never meeting in real life by samatha irby // this was one of those laugh-out-loud books, filled with hilarious essays from samatha’s life. favorite chapter: an epic essay about her working out (in a prenatal yoga class while not pregnant and in an aerobics class for senior citizens when she’s only in her 30s)
important reads (with historical, cultural, sociological impact):
we gon’ be alright: notes on race and resegregation by jeff chang // important essays about the rise of the #blacklivesmatter movement and the different tragedies and protests that have happened here in amerca.
just mercy by bryan stevenson // this book, authored by the founder of the equal justice initiative (helping the poor and wrongfully condemned prisoners on death row), discusses death row, our (very messed up) criminal justice system and the importance of mercy and justice going hand-in-hand
evicted by matthew desmond // really loved this book – it was a fascinating look into eight families’ lives in milwaukee as they struggle to pay rent. it was a great mix of storytelling and real, disturbing facts about those living in poverty or less-than-ideal housing conditions in america.
the hate u give by angie thomas // this is actually a book aimed for a younger teen audience, but touched on the topic of teen activism after the main character witnesses a police shooting. it was easy to read in terms of understandable language, but definitely an important and loaded topic so not an “easy read” in that sense
UPDATE: hillbilly elegy by j.d. vance // this is a book I read a few months back, but a few people commented mentioning this book so I wanted to add to this recommendation list, as I really enjoyed and learned from this book. hillbilly elegy could also fall under the memoirs section in this post, as the book tells the story of the author’s family, while discussing and analyzing Appalachian culture and the white, working class population.