I’m sure at this point we all have books we’re more than excited to tell someone about. That one book you text to your friends, that you get in a few pages when you have a second, maybe the one that lives on the nightstand? That one.
And then there are the books…that live at the far back of the shelves. You know the one, the guilty pleasure. You love it and hate it at the same time. But it’s good, okay! Yea we’re right there with you. We wanted to make a list of books we’re reading right now, but with a little twist. So here are our favorite books right now, paired with our guilty pleasure reads.
The Fave: The Ten Thousand Doors of January
This was one of the best books I read last year. It’s an adventure story, a love story, a coming-of-age story – but with a mysterious, sci-fi twist. Not only is it beautifully written, but it’s an absolute page-turner, one that almost haunts me. I still find myself sometimes looking into a room or down an alley or something and thinking…that spot over there? Could…that…be…a….door?
The Guilty Pleasure: Outlander
Speaking of books that haunt you…Oof. This one. I don’t know how I missed the memo, but I when I started reading Outlander, I (mistakenly) thought it was a stand-alone novel. I started reading it at the beginning of the pandemic, just as a distraction. Eight books later, plus another…5? 7? of a companion series, I’ve finally finished them all. Good grief. The first few books in the series read more like romance novels – might as well just slap Fabio on the cover. But there was enough of a interesting plot to keep me hooked. The rest of them, however, are freaking fascinating. The books are totally engaging historical fiction that I couldn’t put down. Throughout the pandemic – thanks to this series – I’ve been narrating my life in comparison. “Mike, did you know?” I’ll ask as I make coffee in our Nespresso, “that if this was the 1700s, we would first have to walk down to the stream, break the ice, and fetch water for our coffee? Then we’d have to boil it with acorns because actual coffee would be so scarce??” I’ve been marveling at how cheaply we can buy products made of metal (“Mike, we are now using metal to make bowls. And they didn’t need to be imported from England!”) and on and on. Read at your own risk. (But also…if you do read it…feel free to call me about overseas travel. Isn’t it amazing we can now do it in HOURS???)
The Fave: Then She Was Gone
I just love any Lisa Jewell book. They’re perfectly British, easy to read, and quickly draw you in. Recently (meaning, since I had our first kid 9+ years ago), I don’t really want to have to think while reading. Well, I can just sit and blow through these in a few days. Always enjoyable! So, this particular one is a bit of a mystery…with the disappearance of a teenage girl. Her mother has to sort through all of the wreckage following this traumatic event and eventually feels like she is getting her life together, but then…pieces start to come together here-and-there…and the novel becomes more mysterious and weird. Basically, its definitely one to consider.
The Guilty Pleasure: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
This one is purely ridiculous (probably why I like it so much). I love the classic Pride & Prejudice, along with the 5 hour long series, so…I figured I had to read this weird zombie version, too. I’ll let the description on Amazon speak for itself…”Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an audacious retelling of English literature’s most enduring novel.” So, there you go!
The Fave: The Shadow of the Wind
First written in Spanish and translated to English, The Shadow of the Wind takes place in Barcelona during the 1950’s, shortly after the Spanish Civil War. It is such a beautifully written book–my favorite review refers to it as “a love letter to literature,” which is a perfect description. There are four total books in this “series,” and I say that in quotes because each of them can completely stand alone but they all kind of weave together via characters and places. I loved this one so much I read it again years later after finishing the other three (the last of which just came out last year).
The Guilty Pleasure: Why Men Marry Bitches
It worked. 😉
The Fave: Untamed
I’ll be honest. This is one of the few books I’ve finished this year. Oh, I have started plenty, have read 1/2-3/4 of plenty…but this one. Gosh. I love Glennon Doyle. If you need to laugh, learn something about yourself, and have a book that just lets you get what you need out of it…this. It’s one I’ll actually re-read and that’s rare for me. Thank you, Glennon, for being so brutally honest about yourself with all of us in the most hilarious of ways. Thanks for giving us tools to love ourselves more, forgive ourselves more, and tools to share with our daughters so hopefully, they can start out with a leg up on life. Ok, I’m off to re-read a chapter or two right now. Haha.
The Guilty Pleasure: Twilight Series
What can I say. I devoured this series 15 years ago and might have been a little too excited when we moved out to the Northwest closer to Forks, WA. I haven’t been there yet, but I have been to Port Angeles and don’t think I wasn’t looking for sparkly vampires when I was there. I’m currently devouring Midnight Sun, Stephanie Meyer’s latest book, written from Edward’s perspective. Omg, it’s so good haha. What is it about vampires and romance? It has me wanting to rewatch all the movies, too.
The Fave: Being In Time With Children
This is an absolutely lovely book that a friend’s father wrote. I keep it on my bedside table and pick it up to read a vignette or two any time I need to slow down my pace and refocus on being present with my kiddos (a never-ending, but challenging, goal). I gifted a copy to my parents right before they spent time with my kids last summer, and now they’ve bought copies to gift as well. It’s really a nice warm hug-of-a-book for anyone who spends any time with children.
The Guilty Pleasure: My First Chess Book
Sorry guys…my take on a “book I’d never admit to reading” is a bit different and not quite as exciting as the others. What I’m ACTUALLY most embarrassed to admit is I’m not a HUGE reader, so if I HAD finished any fiction book recently, I would likely be announcing my accomplishment to the world (sexy beach reads included). Now for my 2nd embarrassing confession… I am currently reading “My First Chess Book” (the “regular” chess books were WAY over my head) in order to keep up with my 7-year-old in chess (any hope of competing with my 12-year-old is LONG gone). Shhhhhhh, though… I keep my reading of this book a secret from my family.
The Fave: S. (Ship of Theseus)
This book is a LOT to take in on every page and a bit hard to explain, but I’ve absolutely loved reading it so far. It’s literally a story inside a story. While reading the book itself, you also read the notes scribbled in the margins by two college students who are trying to discover the identity of the author and what happened to them. There are also loose documents passed between the pages to read and add to the overall mystery. It’s taking me a long time to work through chapters and piece everything together, but dang it’s fun.
The Guilty Pleasure: The Parasol Protectorate
Listen I love a good romance, but there has to be some substance. I started reading The Parasol Protectorate series as comic books (Soulless books 1, 2, and 3) and then read the last three books in novel format. It’s got that steampunk-y setting without too much technobabble AND some really fun supernatural stuff. Not to mention an awesome female lead who can hold her own in a fight and has a detective’s instinct. I love these books with all my heart AND I love a good mystery.
What are you folks reading in the new year? I’m hoping to get at least three books done before 2022 and I can’t really tell if that’s high or low hopes right now. I’ve found I enjoy reading two books at a time, one more of a guilty pleasure silly romp and the other a more serious read. If you’ve got suggestions, I’ve got a pretty empty “Up Next” list so drop them in the comments!
Happy New Year!
And for the pinners…