See what I did there? If you haven’t also liked the To All the Boys series, and maybe the Netflix adaptation even more, we probably can’t and probably shouldn’t be friends. As I mentioned before in this little space, reading is my first love.
To keep things light, mix it up a bit and remember that taking time for your sanity is just as important as the things you do to improve your physical health, I thought we would cover some of my favorite literary choices. . This list, in no particular order, ranges from mellow tween fiction to introspective poetry.
Adriana Trigiani’s “Big Stone Gap”. A girl from southwest Virginia like me. Whenever I feel homesick, even though I only ended up on the road for about an hour, I reread this book. I love that he weaves pieces of non-fiction into the story as it focuses on a girl from her hometown just trying to make sense of the relationships in her life and find her place in the world.
“The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger. I rarely like a series or a film adaptation. Both the author and the screenwriter are right. For the film, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Adrian Grenier, Emily Blunt, do I have to say more? The final installment, “When Life Gives You LuLulemons,” was such a great vacation from all that was serious that I ended up going back and rereading the first and second installments in this series. I love this author whenever I need something light with a side of humor.
“Laurier rose blanc” by Janet Fitch. I read this book the summer before I entered college, so it’s been a minute, but the beautiful handwriting, how it seemed to perfectly paint and describe the complexity of the mother-daughter dynamic, with which at the I was really struggling, stuck with me. It was one of the first books I read by choice, not because my Literature teacher assigned it, it was a bit heavier than “Sweet Valley High”. Beautiful, sad, dark, this book will always be a must read for me.
“Christy” by Catherine Marshall. I actually have a signed copy of this book in my library. This is how much I love this book. One of the first “adult” books I read, it really propelled my love of reading. You’ve probably already chosen a common theme that I love books about home or my little corner of the world, but “Christy” is so much more than that.
John Green’s “Paper Cities”. While most people love Green for “The Fault in Our Stars,” which, don’t get me wrong, was wonderful, “Paper Towns” will always be my favorite. A great coming-of-age story that I think really encompasses those early feelings of crush / love and how much we love falling in love with the idea of someone and not the real person. It is much more difficult.
Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants”, maybe my favorite if like kids you can have favorites. I don’t know, however, I only have one. When my cousin described this book to me, I couldn’t say I was too excited to read it. We were on vacation several moons ago and I just had something to read, so I said, “why not? “. When I say I couldn’t let go, I’m not exaggerating. As soon as I finished it, maybe a day later, I passed it on to Andy, who also couldn’t get it out and we rarely enjoy the same books. It’s just that good. Please, if you only read one book from this list, let it be this one. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
“Fireworks on Toccoa” by Jeffrey Stepakoff. I don’t usually like these WWII Nicholas Sparks style novels, but it was a nice surprise.
Jenny Han’s “To All the Boys” series. While at first glance you might think this is just another round of mellow tweens with an even more cheesy Netflix adaptation, you’d be wrong. I am known to offer this series to skeptics, who have been pleasantly surprised. I have also rarely read books more than once, but I have read this series more than once. Do yourself a favor and read the books before you watch the movies.
“The wife” of Alafair Burke. If you need some suspense, Ms. Burke is always up to the task. I enjoyed many of his books, but “The Wife” is probably my favorite. A criminal law professor and former assistant prosecutor, her approach to sexual assault, taken straight from the headlines, makes this domestic thriller believable and difficult to quell.
“You will come out of it grow” by Jessi Klein. If you need a laugh, read this book. Klein’s clever and relevant stories made me feel like a woman and literally burst out laughing. I have so many dog-eared pages from this book, always a good sign. As I mentioned, I rarely buy books unless I really like them, and listening to this book is a treat too. Read by Klein, this book cheered me up after a long day at work. Laughter is truly the best medicine. The stories about the difference between “Madame” and “Mademoiselle” and the tales of Anthropology will make you laugh out loud.
“The Road Back to You: An Ennegram Journey to Self-Discovery” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. A well-known Ennegram teacher and an Episcopal priest, quite the combination. Another selection of book club that opened my eyes and so good. I had taken the Enneagram quizzes before reading this book, but thought this was just another personality test that I didn’t have much faith in or interest in. I know I’m not the only one who made a million. types of tests for work over the years and often find them boring and don’t really translate into my real life. Before reading this book, I suspected I was either a one or a six, but reading “The Road Back to You” I knew and understood that I was actually a deeply rooted six. This book really delves into the ‘why’, the authors share real life examples from their friends and families encompassing each issue, offering grace, humor and compassion. This book is not like another cheesy self-help book, but a book that I took with me of real advice that I could incorporate into my own life and helped me see the world better through the eyes of those around me.
“What Kind of Woman” by Kate Baer. I’m not usually a poetry lover, but man, did this collection of poems blow me completely out of the water. This book really made me feel seen. Instead of continuing on all of my favorites indefinitely, I’m going to leave you a quote from one of the many dog-eared pages in my copy, also a rarity for me as I usually read everything on my Kindle or listen on my commutes. to work.
“You don’t have to choose
one or the other: a dream or a dreamer, the
bird or ornithologist. You may be a woman of
restlessness and calm. Magic and brain.
You can be a mother and a poet. A wife and
a lover. You can dance on the graves you dug
Tuesday, tearing our bones
“Writers and Lovers” from new author for me Lily King. I just discovered King and really enjoyed his short story series, “Five Tuesdays in Winter”. This book beautifully captures the heartache, the joy, that feeling in your twenties of not knowing who the hell you are.
Do you know your Enneagram number? What are some of your all-time favorite books? I would love to hear from you.
Jessica Barnett is a girl from Southwest Virginia married to a Greeneville native, mother, personal trainer, certified physical nutrition specialist, runner, herbivore and ice cream lover. To learn more about working with Jessica, potential clients can email [email protected]