It’s been awhile since I’ve shared any book recs with the blogosphere, and considering I’m a writer it’s probably a good idea to do that every so often.
At the height of the pandemic, when everything was still closed, I desperately missed popping into the few libraries near my house and browsing the shelves, listening to the creaky floors squeak beneath my feet, and selecting a stack of books to take home and devour. When facilities started to reopen a few months ago, I almost wept with relief and excitement. Even with COVID restrictions and policies, it was thrilling to be able to wander among the shelves again. I don’t consider myself someone who takes libraries for granted (in fact, they’re some of my favorite places to be), but the saying about not realizing what you have until it’s gone is definitely true in this case. I’ll never take advantage of Pittsburgh’s historic, expansive library system ever again.
While I was waiting for libraries to reopen, I stumbled upon an amazing website that allowed me to purchase books from independent bookstores instead of using the “evil empire” and its oh so convenient free 2 day shipping.
Look, I’m not perfect, and I love Amazon as much as the next person, but I’ve been really trying to be more conscious of how often I buy from them and the products I select. After discovering this website I’m about to share with you, I don’t think I’ll ever purchase another book on Amazon ever again.
Bookshop.org is a fantastic website that allows readers to shop online and support indie bookstores. I’ve purchased probably a dozen books from them so far and have never had trouble finding or receiving anything. Their prices are competitive and their site is easy to use. They also send out newsletters with book recommendations so that your “to read” list will truly just keep growing and growing. I highly recommend them to anyone who loves reading or who loves to give books as gifts.
Now without further ado, my list —
- The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly: I first read this book several years ago when I stumbled upon it in the library. And OMG this is probably one of THE BEST historical fiction novels I’ve ever read. It is an absolutely epic story that takes place in the late 1800s and follows Fiona Finnegan over the years as she makes her way from a humble warehouse worker to one of the most successful women in the world. Fiona is a stubborn, quick-witted, determined young woman far ahead of her time. Her story includes romance, heartbreak, violence, mystery, and triumph. This book truly has everything — and the best part is that it’s only the first in a three-part series. Though The Tea Rose is my favorite, The Winter Rose & The Wild Rose are fantastic pieces of historical fiction as well.
- The Particulars of Peter by Kelly Conaboy: I can probably count on one hand the number of nonfiction books I’ve read that I enjoyed, and this is one of them. The writer takes us with her on her journey of unexpectedly adopting a rescue mutt and spends the next several hundred pages explaining in hilarious, poignant detail about how he proceeds to take over her life. 75% of the book is lighthearted, and even the parts that make you “awww” have happy endings. Don’t worry, dog lovers, Peter and his hoo-man are still alive and well at the end of this refreshingly entertaining book.
- (TRIGGER WARNING) This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith: This is a beautifully lyrical novel that is deep, touching, and complicated. Though it starts off with with a stranger on the brink of suicide, the story that follows is artfully told and explores human nature on a level I’ve never really seen before. Though the ending wasn’t wrapped up with a pretty bow like I prefer, I still really enjoyed this novel.
- Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams: Oh, Ms. Williams has to be one of my new favorite authors. I discovered her a few summers ago when Summer Wives came out and I’ve devoured each of her novels since. Her historical fiction is stunningly surreal and incredibly sexy. This particular book tells the story of a female aviatrix loosely inspired by Amelia Earhart. Like all of Beatriz Williams’ novels, romance, betrayal, mystery, and intrigue await!
- Stay by Allie Larkin: Yes, back to dogs. This time on the fictional side. Main character Savannah is a hot mess. After watching the love of her life marry her best friend, she gets drunk and goes on an online shopping binge — where she purchases a dog. What follows is a funny, endearing adventure of self discovery and unconditional love, in more ways than one.
Well there you are. Five more books I personally recommend to keep you entertained as we venture into yet another autumn and winter.