I've been really focused on writing my book lately, and I asked Lauren to come up with a list of recommendations of book to cozy up with this winter. You know, when it's cold out, and you just want to crawl under a bunch of blankets and curl up with a hot cuppa and a good book? What's better than that?!
She included one of my absolute favorites - The Kitchen House - and another I've been wanting to read called Year of Yes. There's something for everyone in this round up - from young adult fantasy novels (Ignite Me) to poignant memoirs (Drawing Blood). If you have a favorite page turner that should be added to the list, I'd love to hear about it down in the comments below!
1. Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann - A retired judge reflects on his life’s work, unaware as he goes about his daily routines that this particular morning will be his last.
2. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg - June Reid’s life is completely turned upside down when, on the night before her daughter's wedding, tragedy strikes, taking the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone in a moment. Completely lost, June, the only survivor, drives across the country.
3. Drawing Blood by Molly Crabapple - A deeply moving memoir, Molly offers up artistic exploration, political awakening, and personal transformation that takes us from Long Island to Europe to Occupy Wall Street to Syria.
4. Gold Eaters by Ronald Wright - This historical fiction novel is largely based on true events and follows a kindnapped Inca boy named Waman who is forced to become Francisco Pizarro's translator during the Spanish invasion of the Incan Empire in the 1530s. The unusual circumstances he's in make him question who he is at his core, before he can search for his family and his love.
5. Citizen by Claudia Rankine - This book, in essay, image and poetry, addresses racial aggression in our everyday lives. It's a cold, hard look at what's often labeled as "post-racial US."
7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - Ursula Todd is alive, and then dies, and then is born again. And dies. And is born again. What if you were born repeatedly after your die, and could live again and again, until you got it right? This is what happens.
8. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - One morning, Julia awakens to discover that something is very wrong. The rotation of the earth is off and it's affecting everything from the length of the days and nights, gravity, the tides, human behavior and more. In a world that seems filled ever unpredictable, Julia also must deal with surprising developments in her personal life.
9. Offcomer by Jo Baker - The story of Claire, a recent Oxford graduate living in Northern Island, is one of coming of age. She's a total disaster trapped in a dead-end relationship, a job she hates, and is blown away by recent secrets from her mother's past that have come to light.
10. The Art of Asking: How I learned to stop worrying and let people help by Amanda Palmer - You may have seen Amanda's TED Talk, where she talked about how she used Kickstarter to get her album made. This book, part manifesto and part revelation, will inspire readers to consider their own ideas about asking for and offering help.
11. Sweetland by Michael Crummey - The tiny town of Sweetland is located on the edge of a remote Canadian island, and the mainland government is offering everyone a generous resettlement package with the stipulation being that everyone much leave. Moses Sweetland, whose family founded the island, refuses to leave.
12. The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil - A mysterious Gatsbian tale of a famous New York criminal defense attorney whose charmed and glamorous life is a sham.
13. The Blizzard by Vladimir Sorokin - A fantastical book with a nod toward avant garde, the story follows Doctor Garin, who holds the vaccine to a disease that is turning people into zombies. The trip, which should've only taken a few hours, turns into a mystical saga filled with adventure and extraordinary encounters.
14. Spinster: Making a life of one's own by Kate Bolick - A smart, sensitive memoir from cultural critic Kate Bolick whose writing unveils the opportunity within us all to live our most authentic lives.
15. How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras - This YA novel follows the life of Georgia, whose mother has just passed. Georgia's world has, understandably, come crashing down, but instead of succumbing to her circumstance, she makes a list of all the things she wants to do and sets out to do them.
16. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - Nathan Price's four daughters and wife tell their story of going to the Belgian Congo on a mission, set in postcolonial Africa in 1959.
17. The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley - A lively, entertaining saga set in the 1500s about Dismas, a relic hunter and his best friend Albrecht, who conspire to forge the Shroud of Turin.
18. The Blue Guitar by John Banville - An artist and petty thief tells the story of his life in a self-deprecating and touching way that will leave readers hanging on his every word.
19. The Secret Place by Tana French - Detective Stephen Moran was in his office one day when a teenage girl arrived with a photograph of a teenage boy whose body had been found on campus the year before. The photograph was posted to "The Secret Place", a gossip bulletin board at the school, and the caption written over it said, "I know who killed him." Detective Moran teams up with another detective to reopen the case and take a cold, hard look at the girl's circle of friends under the watchful eye of her father, also a fellow detective.
20. Winter by Marissa Meyer - This is the final book of the Lunar Chronicles series, a series of four young adult fantasy novels that each entails a new take on an old fairy tale.
21. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - Lavinia, an orphan from Ireland, arrives to a thriving plantation in Virginia decades before the Civil War, and is placed under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia works in the kitchen house and learns to cook and clean, and is accepted both by the slaves and by the family in the big house. The book explores class, race, and deep-buried family secrets.
22. Year of Yes: How to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person by Shonda Rhimes - Shonda Rhimes, the amazing woman behind hit shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, decided to stop living a life behind the veil of her fears, but instead, decided to say yes to everything that scared her.