10 Great Books: My Most Recommended Titles

A few weeks ago, I mentioned on Instagram some of my favorite books to recommend, but I capped at four.

Well, like any real book nerd, I have more than four beloved books.

So obviously, I needed to share a few more that weren’t included that and that deserve more time in the spotlight.

These are ten great books I reach for over and over again whenever someone asks about a book to get back in reading or something fun for a vacation or a great audiobook.

great books to read

10 Great Books: My Most Recommended Titles

the wednesday wars bookThe Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

If I was forced to choose one favorite book, I think it’d be this one. I just LOVE this middle grade about a boy suffering through his seventh grade year. The Vietnam War is raging and his home life is a complicated by his ambitious father and his teenage sister, but the worst thing is that every Wednesday every other student goes to religious education and he has to stay in the classroom and study Shakespeare with his teacher. This book is funny, smart, and 100% fantastic. I have recommended it hundreds and hundreds of times. The companion novel, Okay for Now, is just as good. (Full review here)

cheaper by the dozen bookCheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

This book is one of our family classics. My dad loved it so much that he requested my mom read it before they got married. 20 odd years later, I did the same before my own wedding. It’s the true story of a family with twelve children, back in the early 1900s, and it’s so funny and smart and interesting. I LOVE this book and can’t wait to read it aloud to my children. Note that it basically has no similarities at all to the fairly-terrible Steve Martin movie. (Full review here).

what alice forgotWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

This might be my #1 most recommended book. I’ve read it multiple times and I adore this story about a woman who falls off a bike at an exercise class and when she comes to, she has no memory of the past ten years. She thinks she’s still a young 20-something, just recently married to the love of her life and expecting their first baby (and dirt poor). Turns out she’s now in  her thirties, has three children, they are very financially secure, and . . . they’re on the brink of divorce. Now Alice has to figure out what’s happened in the past ten years to change their lives so much. And can she change it back? (Full review here)

ive got your number bookI’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Whenever someone asks which Sophie Kinsella book to start with (a question I get surprisingly regularly), I always recommend this one. I can’t even read my review of it without laughing out loud – that book is HILARIOUS. It follows Poppy, who is in a complete panic. She’s just recently gotten engaged and has now lost her vintage engagement ring which, of course, was a priceless family heirloom. And then her phone gets stolen. So she grabs a cell phone from the top of a trash can and starts using it as her own to track down the lost ring, even though the phone belongs to a business man whose assistant just quit (and ditched the phone). She insists she must keep the phone and will just pass along the messages for him. It won’t be a bit complicated, as no Sophie Kinsella plots ever are. (Full review here).

to all the boys i've loved before bookTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I mean, if you haven’t read this yet, how are we even still friends? I am full-on obsessed with this young adult trilogy that just got made into a Netflix movie (well, the first one did – I’m crossing my fingers for the next two to get the green light). In this one, Lara Jean, who is a pretty quiet girl, discovers that the five love letters she’s written to the five boys she’s had big crushes on over her life have all been mailed. Which is bad enough, but one of them is going to her sister’s boyfriend. Please just go read this and enjoy the heck out of it. (Full review here)

walkable city bookWalkable City by Jeff Speck

This is NOT my normal kind of read but I saw such glowing recommendations that I picked it up on a plane flight and then devoured the whole thing. It’s all about city planning and urban development and if those two phrases make your eyelids heavy, know that I’m RIGHT there with you. But it was funny and smart and I think about it weekly even several years later. (Full review here)

my lady jane bookMy Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

This was one of my most recommended reads last summer, after I listened to the audio and couldnt’ stop laughing while I was trying to run in my neighborhood. Don’t even bother with the book – just get the audio version and you can thank me later. It’s a re-telling of the story of Lady Jane Gray (who was queen of England for less than two weeks) and they take every sort of liberty you can imagine with this story, history be darned. I promise you will laugh your face off. (Full review here)

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I’ve read this young adult title multiple times (including as a book club pick) and I just LOVED it so much about Frankie, a girl at an elite boarding school who comes back from the summer vacation to discover that she’s now the kind of girl boys notice. She quickly snags one of the most popular boys in the school as her boyfriend and then discovers he’s part of a secret all-boys society. Well, Frankie wants in. (Full review here)

all the money in the worldAll the Money in the World by Laura Vanderkam

This is the most fascinating non-fiction book. I’ve read tons of money books in my lifetime, but not one at all like this that doesn’t give advice for how to save or cut expenses or invest, but instead gives you all sorts of fascinating frameworks for figuring out how to use your money in ways that really make you happy. I pretty much read this entire book aloud to Bart. (Full review here)

attachments rainbow rowellAttachments by Rainbow Rowell

This is one of my very favorite chick-lit books about a tech guy at a newspaper who is supposed to monitor company email and finds himself completely caught up in the email correspondence of two women who work at the paper. He doesn’t know either of them, but soon finds himself falling for one of them. But now that he’s read months of her personal email, how’s he ever going to make something happen in real life without seeming completely creepy or lying to her? (Full review here)

And if you’d like a printable copy of this list of great books that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!

Anything I missed? And what great books are you most likely to recommend? You know I’ll never say no to a good book suggestion!

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  1. The Nightengake by Kristin Hannah, Posionwood Bible, The Brothers K by David James Duncan, Rebecca by Daphne du M…. maybe Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wu Dunn for non fiction.

    1. The Nightingale is one of the BEST books I have ever read. I’m so glad someone else agrees!

      Jan, in Wisconsin

  2. This further reiterates that we have very similar reading tastes because I have read and mostly enjoyed 9 of these and just added the 10th (Sophie Kinsella) to my TBR. Thank you for introducing me to To All The Boys! I feel so on top of it having first read them a couple years before the movie! Looking to reread them again soon(ish)!

      1. Please read “the art of hearing heartbeats.” It will change your view on life. It’s so poignant and amazing. It’s the first of a trilogy, but in true writer fashion, it he other two just aren’t as good. (Worth the read but nothing I’d go gaga over.) it’s the story of an attorney who finds out her father lead a double life. So she goes to Burma on a whim to find out what truly happened. It’s incredible!

  3. I recently listened to All the Boys I Loved Before (and the next two in the series) even though it’s not my usual genre and I loved them. I’m missing Lara Jean so much.

  4. I love so many of these books! Have you read My Fair Jane yet? I think I had too high expectations, I didn’t love it nearly as much as My Lady Jane, but it was still enjoyable. I was wondering if you felt the same way!

  5. You should check out On Her Way Home by Sara Petersen, The hired girl, and Mornings on Horseback (about Teddy Roosevelt). These are a few of my lastest good reads ?

  6. Wow, I thought I was the only person who loved All the Money in the World! Especially considering that Laura said it sold fairly dismally on her Best of Both Worlds podcast. I also LOVE What Alice Forgot and Attachments is one of my faves too. Now I’ll have to check out the others on your list since we’re so in sync!

      1. You are my go-to source for my next book, and as it happens I do marketing for an urban planning firm so I have also read and loved the Jeff Speck book and just about died laughing to see it here. Isn’t it crazy how that stuff actually affects everyone’s lives but we so seldom think about it??

  7. I love your book lists! Hope you have a happy birthday!! Super grateful I found your blog years ago. I’ve read a number of your books, and have given them as gifts. Thanks for doing what you do.


  8. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read any of these books! I’ll be adding them to my goodreads right away haha! I always reccomend the Luckless by K.M.Shea/A.M.Sohma and the throne of glass series 🙂 x

  9. I love Cheaper by the Dozen and have no idea how they implemented all the ways they schooled their children. Definitely an efficiency expert.

  10. Just read Giver of Stars. It’s about pack horse librarians in the 1930’s. Best book I’ve listened to all year!

  11. All of these books sound amazing! Since I’ve found this blog my to read list has gotten 10x longer! I want to read them all right now! Need to add the 10 of these to the list!

  12. Anything by Kate Morton or Susanna Kearsley, especially “The Winter Sea”. The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman and the Call the Midwife series. For anyone who has watched the show the original books are a must read!

  13. I love Wednesday Wars so much! I am sure all my friends are tired of me recommending it. I also love What Alice Forgot–so well written and thought provoking. A few of my favorites of all time are: The Book Thief, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and To Kill A Mockingbird.

  14. I love to recommend Mudbound, I Capture the Castle, The Thorn Birds, and for the truly ambitious, The Big Rock Candy Mountain. Have read many on your list and enjoyed them!

  15. One of my favorites is The Bear and the Nightingale trilogy by Katherine Arden. Im re-reading it now and it’s perfect winter reading.

  16. I just started listening to My Lady Jane per this recommendation and I realized that the reader (Katherine Kellgren) reads the Incorrigible Children of Ashton place and we loved it!! She sadly passed away before reading the last book in the series and my kids couldn’t get over the different reader, so we read it in book format. She really does such a great job with that series (and all her audio books that I have listened to).

  17. I’ve read 7 out of 10 of these and loved them. I recommend Kate Stradling! She does brothers grim fairy tale retellings and they are brilliant. I was skeptical at first but they are GEMS. So good. Maid and Minstrel is probably one of my favorites and the Heir and the Spare. (Free on Kindle Unlimited) the little mermaid retelling is also good- Brine and Bone. I’ve read so many!

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