Book Recommendations For Every Mood

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


A common resolution for the new year is to read more. It's a good goal to have. Reading is a nice hobby, to fill your free time, broaden your vocabulary, immerse yourself in another world.

I didn't do a lot of reading until 2016 when, you guessed it, I made it my resolution for the year. Before that, I made it through four books a year max. Now I'm always reading. In 2017, I read 45 books. Talking books and swapping recommendations is one of my favorite things. So let's do it.

If reading more is one of your goals for the year but you aren't sure where to start, that's what this post is here for. A book recommendation for every mood, all in one place.

(The info on each is brief, but for full summaries and reviews, I log all of the books I read here.)

So what are you in the mood for?

A really good fiction book
"The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter witnesses her best friend Khalil get fatally shot by police, even though he was unarmed. Headlines call him a thug, a drug dealer, and a gangbanger, but the only person who knows what really happened that night is Starr. This book was about what it's like to attend a prep school and be one of only two black students. To have people make assumptions about you based on appearance alone. To fight for what's right. To be brave. It's an incredible book that everyone should read.

A light read that will make me laugh
"Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant doesn't fit in. She lives by her routines and carefully planned days, and tends to keep to herself. That changes when she meets Raymond and, with his help, saves an elderly man who's fallen on the sidewalk. From that point on, she finds her life suddenly entwined with others' and discovers what she's been missing all along. I fell in love with this book, and Eleanor Oliphant became one of my all-time favorite characters after reading this.
     
Something that feels different to spice things up
"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo is a famous movie star known for her beauty and judged for having had seven husbands. Now, at nearly 80 years old, she's ready to publish a tell-all and wants no-name reporter Monique Grant to write it. As it switches back and forth between present day and Evelyn's past, Monique learns that, good or bad, there's more to a person that meets the eye. This was different than anything I've read before. It was refreshing, eye-opening, enticing, and just so good.

Let's try something non-fiction
"Ice Cream For Breakfast" by Laura Jane Williams

A collection of lessons Laura learned from kids she nannied that could help us more than we thought, mostly about, as the subtitle says, how rediscovering your inner child can make you calmer, happier, and solve your bullshit adult problems. I adored this book. It's reassuring, funny, comforting, eye-opening, everything. It was exactly what I didn't know I needed.

Historical fiction
"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

Honestly, I recommend this book even if you aren't in to historical fiction. I wouldn't say that I'm particularly interested in that genre, but this book blew me away. It tells the story of a young german girl named Liesel during World War II, except that it's narrated by Death. It's about family, friendship, life and death and the irony in them both, the power of words, and the limits you'd go to in order to protect the people you care about. And it's written wonderfully.
  
Sci-fi, something unique
"Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch

While out running an errand, Jason Dessen is knocked out by a masked gunman. He wakes up strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers he's never seen yet who seem to know him, except the Jason they know isn't Jason. This life isn't his life. His wife isn't his wife, he doesn't have a son, and instead of a professor, he's an award-winning genius. But which world is the real world? Despite having a complex storyline, I felt fully immersed in the characters and plot with this one. 

Something to make me think and feel
"Handle With Care" by Jodi Picoult

This one isn't on my blog anywhere because I read it years ago, but I can't have a book recommendation list without including Jodi Picoult, my favorite author. Her books always involve a controversial issue, presenting both sides equally in a way that opens your mind, no matter your view. In this one, Charlotte gives birth to a child with a severe genetic disorder that makes her bones as fragile as glass, guaranteeing her a lifetime of pain. Charlotte discovers that she can file a lawsuit against her doctor for not telling her during the pregnancy that her child would be severely disabled. The money from the lawsuit would help the family pay the medical expenses for years, but it means Charlotte would publicly say she would have terminated the pregnancy if she knew. It's uncomfortable, sad, and yanks at your heart.
   
A thriller/suspense
"The Couple Next Door" by Shari Lapena

Anne and Marco are next door at their neighbor's house for a dinner party. They've left their six-month-old daughter sleeping at home but brought the baby monitor with them and decide to check on her every half hour. All goes well until they come home and find their baby is missing. This book was great. So many twists that you're left guessing until the very end.
   
Something with great female characters
"Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

I'm sure you've heard about the HBO show, which is based on the book. If you've seen the show, still read the book. If you haven't seen the show, read this, then watch it. Both are great. Jane is a single mom who's new to town and is taken under the wings of fellow moms Madeline and Celeste. It's a story of family, ex-husbands, catty moms, and big little lies, all of which count down to the school trivia night, where one person didn't make it to the next morning. Moriarty's writing style had me hooked immediately and kept me interested the whole way through.
  
Let's try an audiobook
"Yes Please" by Amy Poehler

In a wonderful combination of humor and truth, Poehler's first book is filled with stories about life, work, her childhood, and SNL, that will make you think, make you laugh, and maybe even make you cry. It was as great as I thought it'd be, plus more. I loved the audiobook especially because she reads it so naturally that it sounds more conversational than anything. While I love Amy Poehler, I actually knew very little about her before this. Turns out I can relate to her a lot. It was funny, genuine, and inspirational.


What books would you recommend as must-reads?


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