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Reading Roundup

Stocking up your bookshelf with a variety of good reads.

There’s nothing quite like snuggling up with a blanket, sipping on a steaming mug of coffee or tea and losing yourself in a good book. If it’s been too long since you gave yourself permission to do so, perhaps part of your New Year’s resolution can include reading at least one book a month in 2023. Books can take you places, and who doesn’t love a good adventure?

Recognizing we have a diverse continuum of readers, I tried to pick several genres and titles I’ve loved myself, and then provide suggestions on things you might like if you’ve already read them. Checking in with friends to see what’s currently at the top of their must-read list is a great idea too - or even better, organize your own book club this year.

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah. Hannah is known for modern and historical fiction (The Nightingale is one of my absolute favorites, but I lent it to a friend and thus couldn’t provide a photo), and Summer Island doesn’t disappoint. Relationships between mothers and daughters can be strained, and as you unfold Ruby’s story of why she hasn’t spoken to her mother for the past 10 years and the relationships she reinvigorates along her journey to reconciliation, you’ll find yourself both laughing and crying. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, I also enjoyed The Pilot’s Daughter by Meredith Jaeger and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, which was recently released as a movie and does a great job of aligning with the book.

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover. Hoover is a ‘hot’ fiction/romance writer right now, known for intense storylines and shocking endings. It Starts With Us is a prequel to 2016’s It Ends With Us, which explores the difficult topic of abusive relationships. Main character Lily is navigating life as a single mom, co-parenting with her abusive ex, Rylen, and healing, when her first love Atlas surfaces again. Will she be able to re-engage with Atlas, or will Ryle sabotage their relationship? Check it out, as well as It Ends With Us, which tells the story of Lily and Atlas’ initial relationship. If you can’t get enough of Colleen Hoover, Reminders of Him is another great read that will have you exploring grief and forgiveness.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. Although I read this one several years ago, I enjoyed unraveling the story of Dee Moray, an aspiring actress who is all but destroyed by an ambitious Hollywood publicist vying for power and the Italian hotelier who becomes infatuated with her. It toggles between decades-old Italy and modern day west coast settings, satirizing the the film industry while bringing relationships full circle. Other light reads I’ve liked lately include The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and Beach Read by Emily Henry. These are fun vacation selections you can set aside and come back to easily.

Calico Joe by John Grisham. Famous for his legal thrillers, Grisham has branched out in a number of genres through the years. A fictional novel inspired by the real-life story of Ray Chapman, the only professional baseball player killed by a pitch, Calico Joe tells the story of Joe Castle, a promising player whose career is ended by a beanball. For those of you who enjoy inspirational and encouraging genres, I also highly recommend 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper, Letters From Dad by Greg Vaughn, and Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty. So many awesome options out there for enriching your life.