I'm an avid reader. Always have been. I got to thinking that it might be fun to do a blog post with my favorite books, because I have found so many good books through the recommendations of others. Then I realized that what I read is pretty personal to me. Everyone has different desires of things they want to get out of reading and what they like or tolerate.
I'll describe my basic reasons for reading as well as some of my own standards, and that may help you better judge whether you would want to take any of my recommendations. Mostly, I read for fun, which for me means that I mostly read fiction. I do often read books that would encourage me spiritually as well, but by and large, I devour fiction. I love Harry Potter and have read the series more times than I can count. I love Anne of Green Gables and have read all eight of those books repeatedly (though I don't really care for the 4th much, so it has often been skipped). I've read Pride and Prejudice over and over. I also really enjoy many of John Grisham's novels, so I guess my taste is a little all over the place.
I've realized that I enjoy many young adult books, because I prefer to read things that could be made into a PG-13 movie, more or less (though I will say that I tolerate bad language much more than graphic violence or a lot of sex). I do venture into adult fiction as well, since I am a grown-up. Once I find an author that I like, I usually read a lot of their books, because I find that I can trust them to some degree. Reading is basically letting someone else take you on a journey, and I don't like falling into the wrong hands. I also read a lot of reviews before I choose a book to this end. If lots of people say they hate the ending, I usually skip the book, because for me, there are enough real things in life that have bad endings, and I don't want that in my "entertainment."
So - here are a few books you might enjoy!
The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton
This is the first Kate Morton book I read and my favorite. It flashes between the past and present, like all of her books, and has many surprises along the way. I love a good mystery, and this one kept me "turning pages"***. It's a little lighter than some of her other work, but I did enjoy her other novels as well.
***I mostly listen to books. If you are wondering how in the world I have time to read, it is because I multi-task a lot of different things and reading. You can decorate cookies, sew, fold laundry, do dishes AND read when you have book on your phone ready at the push of a button. Audio books make my world go round.
The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
This book is light and fun. It is told from the first person narrative of someone who is on the autism spectrum, and his perspective on life and the ways that he relates to people are hilarious. And it's an adorable love story to boot. I recently read the sequel, The Rosie Effect and loved it as well.
A Time to Kill and Sycamore Row, John Grisham
I've read many of John Grisham's novels, but when I saw that one of the newer ones - Sycamore Row - was a sequel to A Time to Kill, I realized that I had never read the first one. I read them back to back, and it was a compelling look at racism in the not so distant past. Both books were gripping and thought-provoking to read - though I did skip a chunk of the first chapter of A Time to Kill.
The Selection Series, by Kiera Cass
Okay. You very well may judge me for putting The Selection Series in this list, and I will very well tell you that I don't really care if you think my reading preferences are like that of a 14 year old girl. Sometimes they are. This is pure fluff. I've heard it said that if The Hunger Games and The Bachelor were to have a lovechild, this would be the result, without the violence of the Hunger Games (which I read and mostly enjoyed until the last book which I mostly hated). There are four books in this series so far, and a fifth book will complete it. They are not great quality writing, but the books were fun, mostly interesting reads, and I was sad when I was done reading them. And I'm excited for the last one to come out. Plus, they have beautiful covers. It matters.
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
This book is the opposite of fluff. It is excellent story-telling through the lens of four sisters whose parents move them to Africa to be missionaries. As a Christian, I found it a fascinating- though cynical - look at missions and what can go wrong. It has more sadness than most books on this list, but it stuck with me and kept me thinking.
The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
This is the first book of the Cormoran Strike detective series brought to us by JK Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I love this series. JK Rowling is a masterfully engaging writer, and I really enjoy her style of story-telling. These both have a bit of gore and lots of bad language - just to warn you. I am anxiously awaiting the third book that will debut this fall and seeing my friends Cormoran and Robyn again.
Love Does, by Bob Goff
If you are looking for a quick, uplifting read that will challenge how you view God and people, this is the book! It's so good. Bob Goff is one of the most infectious people walking around Earth right now, and it is inspiring to hear some of his God stories.
The Royal We, by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks
This is more pure fluff. It is loosely based on what the story of William and Kate might look like if you had a front row seat. So, if you like the British Royals and fun love stories, you will like this book.
Well, I feel a bit as if I've bared my soul by showing you what I like to read. I hope you find something in there to help you make it through the summer heat! I'd love to hear your suggestions as well - I always have a running list of what to read next.