How many of this year’s BEST BOOKS have you read? Every year I veer off from posts about organizing to round up my favorite, most buzz-worthy books that I’ve read or are on my ‘must-read’ list. Most of the books were published within the year with a few outliers to mix it up a bit. I’ve broken the list down by genre and kept my description short so I don’t accidentally give away any plot twists unlike EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO POSTED MEMES ON FACEBOOK AFTER THE LATEST ‘THIS IS US’ EPISODE BEFORE I HAD A CHANCE TO WATCH IT. 😉
I suggest you scroll through the entire list and consider reading outside your comfort zone. Personally, I tried to add more memoirs and non-fiction into the mix this year and I’m so glad I did– there’s some outstanding candidates for both! For your convenience, we’ve linked the books to Amazon where you can get more information and read reviews.
Are you ready? Let’s get reading!
Page-Turners, Mysteries and Thrillers
Fans of Girl on the Train will enjoy this psychological thriller– is it all in her head or not?
An unsettling thriller that will have you turning pages well past midnight!
It took awhile for me to get into the Inspector Gamache series, but it’s depth of characters and intelligent plotlines make it a winner for mystery fans.
I can’t wait to get my hands on this highly rated thriller that teases ‘a secret on every page.’
I’ve read the Kinsey Millhone series since high school (lovingly referred to as the ABC mysteries, since they follow an alphabetical pattern.) I was heartbroken to hear of Sue Grafton’s passing over the holidays. As an avid fan, I was eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the series (a ‘Z’ titled book) but it sounds like it ends with Y is for Yesterday. Cheers to you, Kinsey, I will miss your adventures!
This is the debut novel by the author of Gone Girl, published before her now viral book, and appears to have a psychological thrilling plotline that Gillian weaves so masterfully.
This novel a lyrically written mystery that examines the line between reality and fantasy and alternates between characters to keep the plot intriguing.
Just when you thought there were enough versions of Sherlock and Watson, their great-grandchildren appear on the scene in this complicated and dark mystery that doesn’t shy away from Sherlock’s more controversial aspects of his personality, despite the age of the characters.
I blame this book for that one night where I didn’t fall asleep until 2AM thanks to it’s teasers and secrets on every page. Read this if you like novels such as Gone Girl and Girl on the Train.
A deeply sophisticated mystery that’s highly rated and promises compelling drama and suspense.
Interesting characters and complex plot, I’ve yet to read it but it seems like the type to contain a twist at the end similar to the frequently compared Gone Girl.
I’m looking for a new female detective to follow, and this promises to be a good match.
Dan Brown’s books are often formulaic page-turners, but not since The DaVinci Code have I enjoyed one as much as Origin. Possibly because it contains a glimpse into our future (our actual future, as I believe the technology he mentions is coming sooner rather than later) and this one will have you thinking deeply about those implications well after you put the book down.
‘UnPutdown-able’ Fiction and Beach Reads
If you liked Little Big Lies, you’ll enjoy unraveling what Alice actually forgot.
I’m a fan of Jojo Moyes (author of Me Before You), and this book is one of the few of hers I have yet to read.
Take me back to Peachtree Bluff, please! Fellow blogger and southern author Kristy Woodson Harvey follows up her previous book, Slightly South of Simple, with this delightful novel about an interior decorator in the charming town of Peachtree Bluff– and the inevitable drama that ensues when you mix in family, a small community, and those complex issues life seems to through our way.
Loneliness is a commonality many of us face, and Heft gives a glimpse into one person’s sad yet ultimately hopeful story.
Not quite A Man Called Ove, but this story begins when widower and homebody Arthur Pepper discovers a charm bracelet he’s never seen before as he is cleaning out his beloved wife’s possessions. The subsequent adventure as he discovers the meaning behind each charm is delightful.
By the author of Room (which is truly an unforgettable book,) The Wonder is a tale about a young English nurse who is called to care for a young girl who has been dubbed a ‘miracle’ as she hasn’t eaten in a long time yet remains alive. Is this a true miracle, a hoax, or something in between? The plot will have you guessing until the end!
A prequel to Practical Magic, this novel is a perfect storm of a fairy tale, real-life drama and historical fiction. It’s interesting to note that Practical Magic is one movie I liked better than the book, so I was skeptical of enjoying this prequel but this book is delightful and eventually ties into the Practical Magic storyline.
I always like to squeeze a young adult novel in when I can, and John Green is usually a sure bet. Turtles All the Way Down gives an inside perspective to a teen suffering from anxiety and OCD, and written in a way where you feel right along with the character. The description of the spiraling is so effective, I found myself with a much deeper understanding of both myself and those who endure serious mental illness.
A heartbreaking novel that “is rendered with such stinging beauty and restrained emotion that despite the anguish taking place on the page, you won’t want it to end.” – From Amazon.com
A laugh-out-loud novel full of eccentric characters that move this book along quickly, making it a fun read from beginning to end.
Fredrik Backman has a talent for writing about heavy topics in a lighter way. This, however, is not one of those books. In an age of institutional scandal revolving around protecting sports empires at any cost– even at the college and high school level– as evidenced by recent news, this book rings true even when you think these things can’t really happen. A profound, gut-wrenching tale of courage.
Reese says it best: “To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.” – Reese Witherspoon
Read The Book Before Seeing the Movie
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this is a true story about the origins of the Mafia in America (and the heroic efforts to stop it.)
When an eccentric and brilliant matriarch goes missing, her daughter Bee sets out on a quest to find her in this witty novel. PSSST: This story is about to hit the big screen starring Cate Blanchett.
Soon to be a on the big screen, the plot revolves around a moral dilemma when an African American nurse is charged with a crime after attempting to save the life of a newborn. This story examines the role of race in today’s society, and doesn’t offer easy answers but does offer a gripping page-turner you will be unable to put down.
If you liked the movie, you will LOVE the book. It’s not new this year obviously, but put this on your list for an entertaining, laugh-out-loud book set among the backdrop of scientific possibility.
This is one of the few books you will want to read slowly, not because it’s difficult to read but simply to savor the characters; you won’t want to say goodbye when the book ends. With over 36,300 reviews (mostly 5 stars) on Amazon, this is a story of love and strength during WWII that should not be missed. Read it before the movie comes out!
The lives of three women become interwoven in heartbreaking ways in this epic novel about WWII that centers around Ravensbrück, the Nazi concentration camp for women. While the events make it uncomfortable to read, it is so, so necessary to remember this was an actual camp, with actual people, in recent enough history that it stuns.
Based on a true story, this is a story of two unlikely friends who were inseparable… until war broke out, and they were forced into opposite sides of the conflict.
What if the underground railroad were an actual railroad? The author fearlessly delves into the subject of race and slavery in a story set in the antebellum south with a touch of magical realism that will have you guessing at every turn.
Non-Fiction, Autobiographies, and Poetry
I’ve heard again and again of the magic of Brene Brown, and apparently this is a must-read about truly being who you are and finding community and belonging in this world.
The author revisits the history of the Osage Indian Nation, who at one time were the richest people per capita in the world… until they started mysteriously dying at an alarming rate. The fledgling FBI gets involved and an alarming conspiracy is unearthed.
In a hurry but relish a deeper understanding of… everything? This one’s for you.
From enduring apartheid in South Africa to becoming host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah was literally born a crime: the liason between his mother and father was punishable by 5 years in prison.
A somewhat (actually very much) voyeuristic memoir about the marriage of Glennon Doyle, who is the well-known author of the blog Momastery. At times uncomfortable to read, there’s some truth bombs in here not only about love, but forgiveness and faith as well.
The first time I read Billy Collins’ poem The Lanyard I was hooked, it was short and to the point but perfectly embraced a son’s love for his mother over the unlikely subject of a handmade plastic lanyard. The rest of this poetry collection reminds me the importance of truly observing every detail.
Another poet who defined the times for me is Mary Oliver, of ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ fame. If you could only have one book of her poems, this one should be it.
Even if you’re not embracing the Whole30 lifestyle, these delicious and FAST recipes are so delicious you won’t believe that they are grain, dairy, soy, sugar, corn and legume free. If you’re looking to cut carbs or processed food, this is a tasty collection of recipes that fit the bill. Even my kids enjoy them!
Not for the faint of heart, these recipes are… yummy. Not much else I can say without dropping an f-bomb on my blog which I have yet to do. 😉
A Yale graduate’s unlikely and insightful memoir of being raised in the Rust Belt.
Anthony William is an actual medical medium… he is able to diagnose even the most complex illness by listening to a divine voice. While that’s part of the story, “Medical Medium reveals the root causes of diseases and conditions that medical communities either misunderstand or struggle to understand at all” and may help provide answers for those suffering from common yet tricky illnesses such as autoimmune disorders.
“As Tsh Oxenreider, author of Notes From a Blue Bike, chronicles her family’s adventure around the world—seeing, smelling, and tasting the widely varying cultures along the way—she discovers what it truly means to be at home.”
Dude, I love a great South American exploration story. This one fits the bill.
And, if you can indulge me for a moment longer– might I suggest this humble little powerhouse of organization hacks by yours truly? (wink!)
Organization Hacks by Carrie Higgins
Which of these books have you read? Which hit the mark and which ones fell short? Anything else you’ve read this year we need to check out? Comment below and let’s stir up a conversation!