Book Reviews Tell Me What to Read

Tell Me What to Read: Fall 2015 Edition

This summer was the most successful round of Tell Me What to Read I’ve had.

I thoroughly enjoyed all three books I’ve read, and since I’ve been in a little bit of a reading slump since our move, I’d love more recommendations.

Plus, isn’t there something about fall that just demands good reading material?

Suggest something fun (although that doesn’t need to mean chick-lit – I’m up for non-fiction, memoirs, young adult, middle grade, AND chick-lit), and I’ll pick three to read in October, November, and December.

Great book suggestions for fall reading

Your job: Comment with the title of a book you think I should read.

My job: I’ll choose three from the suggestions and announce them next week. I’ll read one a month through the end of the year.

Feel free to read along and check back every month for my reviews.

And, as always, even if I hate the book, I will not hate you.

And . . . go! My four Arizona library cards are at the ready.

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  • Reply Lindsay October 6, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I have two recommendations!
    Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin
    It's young adult fiction, told from the perspective of a character who is on the autism spectrum. Her dog goes missing during a storm and it changes her whole world. Beautifully told story.
    Also, A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. Definitely chick lit, modern mom going back to work, raising three children, juggling family, work, an ill father and a marriage. I liked it.

    • Reply diana October 7, 2015 at 12:42 am

      I'm about half way through A Window Open right now, enjoyable so far!

  • Reply Unknown October 6, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I just finished Dumplin' by Julie Murphy. Fantastic YA story with an empowering female character. I loved it and I think you would, too.

  • Reply Kristin @ Going Country October 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I'm working my way through the "Emily of New Moon" trilogy, which I haven't read since I was about nine. Great, of course, although I'm sure you've read them already.

    I'll be watching the comments for possibilities for my own library requests, though.

  • Reply Tattooed Mummy October 6, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I'm currently reading A Place called Winter by Patrick Gale, it's a pretty harsh opening chapter but I'm hooked – hope you'll join me!

  • Reply Kimmie Merkley October 6, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I recently read "State of Wonder'" by Ann Patchett and absolutely loved it! I think you would too

  • Reply Alexandria Barrios October 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    "Christy" by Catherine Marshall. Full review here-

    It's pretty old-fashioned, but if you like Laura Ingalls Wilder, I'd say you'd like this one.

    Looking forward to hearing what your picks are!


    • Reply Erin October 7, 2015 at 4:42 am

      I loved "Christy" in high school and I want to read it again!

  • Reply Elyssa October 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    I've been loving everything by Rainbow Rowell (particularly "Landline" and "Attachments") and Katherine Reay (especially "Dear Mr. Knightley") lately!

  • Reply Ash October 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    The Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, Beverly Cleary's memoirs. Time Out for Happiness by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. And Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt- it just came out so I haven't actually read it but I'd love to read your thoughts first! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Katie October 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Oh, I love Beverly Cleary's memoirs!

  • Reply Abby October 6, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on "The Martian" by Andy Weir. Bonus, the movie is out this fall!

  • Reply Read Write Meow October 6, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    The Night Circus by Liana Morgenstern, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson or A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman. All three are amazing books!

  • Reply Betsy October 6, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I really enjoyed The Paris Architect. Very compelling historical fiction. I learned a lot about the occupation of Paris during WWII, something about which I knew almost nothing. (I kept thinking…sheesh, how could I not have known THIS!)

  • Reply Heather October 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer and Don't Vote for Me by Krista Van Dolzer, I might be biased because she is my sister but according to reviews too these books are amazing! You should definitely pick one or both of them!

  • Reply Katy October 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I really enjoyed The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Bret Witter and Robert M. Edsel. I'm a big history person though and by the way the movie did a poor job retelling the story. The book was so much better as always.

  • Reply Katy October 6, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I really enjoyed The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Bret Witter and Robert M. Edsel. I'm a big history person though and by the way the movie did a poor job retelling the story. The book was so much better as always.

  • Reply Chrissie October 6, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I'm gonna go with "Bone Gap" by Laura Ruby for this one. This book was brilliant and haunting, and I absolutely loved it. Also, I think this would make a great read for fall!

  • Reply Grace Haynes October 6, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    I'm going to second what Abby said above – The Martian by Andy Weir!

  • Reply Dan and Nicole October 6, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Wonder by R J Palacio is my all time favorite children's/YA book. It is a pretty quick read and has a great message about understanding differences.

  • Reply GabGal October 6, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I always recommend Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It is the first of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series (though they can be read in any order). For some reason no one ever picks that one – instead they go for chick lit or the latest buzzed about book. Zafon's are some of the most beautifully written books I've read in a LONG time and become more enchanting and haunting with every read.

  • Reply heather October 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. And I recently read and enjoyed Mary and O'Neil: A Novel in Stories by Justin Cronin. And for the heck of it, I'll throw in a third plug for The Martian by Andy Weir. It's just so much fun, and I'm not usually a sci-fi fan.

  • Reply Rachel October 6, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. I'm normally not into sci/fi or dystopian fiction, but I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school English and I loved it. So her newest book is high on my list.

  • Reply Chaun October 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    The Rent Collector is a great one ๐Ÿ™‚ It's about a woman who lives in the dumps in Cambodia, while her husband picks for recyclable trash to sell. In the midst of that all, she learns to read. Super empowering book.

  • Reply Angelique October 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard! So lovely and totally sends you into dreamy musings of France. Her second book, Picnic in Provence, came out recently and I've been dying to read it.

  • Reply Sherry October 6, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Go read The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R. J. Palacio and tell me if it's any good.

    • Reply Tracey Elrod October 6, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      It is very good. I read Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories a few weeks ago and that one was included. It's fantastic.

    • Reply Alysa Stewart October 8, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      I thought The Julian Chapter was very good. A must-read if you've read Wonder.

  • Reply Courtney October 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I really liked The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. It is a creepy/suspenseful YA book loosely based off of The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells. It's a good read for Halloween.

  • Reply Unknown October 6, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I just finished The Marvels by Brian Selznick and I loved it so much! Another dual narrative with one story in pictures and one in words and the reader gets to try to figure out how they fit together and then the author blows you away with an ending far cooler than you could have imagined. I think this is my favorite of his- the book itself is gorgeous and gold. Plus it is a story that demands cozy binge reading in bed with a cup of tea and cookies.

    • Reply Tracey Elrod October 6, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      I am on fall break this Friday and the weather looks yucky. I think I will do exactly what you just said–grab a cup of tea and binge read this one. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Reply Katie October 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    How do you feel about historical fiction? It's not usually my cup of tea but I really enjoyed The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon. It's a fictionalized account of the real-life unsolved disappearance of a judge who vanished in 1930s NYC.

    If that's not your thing, I'd be so interested to hear your take on Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong by Emily Oster. She's an economist & her book uses the principles of economics to analyze & debunk some of the western world's common pregnancy myths & misconceptions (no caffeine, alcohol, sushi, etc.). It's fascinating stuff. A really engaging non-fiction read.

  • Reply JoLee October 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    I strongly second Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. One of my top ten books of the year, for sure.

    Also, are you missing Harry Potter? Try The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. Bonus, the third in the trilogy comes out this month, so you won't have to wait for the conclusion.

    If you are looking for a middle-grade book, Goodbye, Stranger by Rebecca Stead is best middle-grade book I've read in a long time.

    • Reply Denise Ekenstierna October 8, 2015 at 1:43 am

      I second Goodbye, Stranger – and really anything by Rebecca Stead!

  • Reply Katie October 6, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

  • Reply Katie October 6, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

  • Reply Sara October 6, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    My favorite recent reads: The Department of Speculation, The Paris Wife and We are All Completely Beside Ourselves (it's got a twist so don't read spoilers if you can help it)

  • Reply Carrie October 6, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    I'm on a middle grades kick lately. I recommend: All Four Stars by Tara Dairman, Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones, and Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz.

    • Reply Audrey October 12, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      Just finished All Four Stars today and it's such a lovely, light-hearted, happy story!

  • Reply Abby October 6, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Hands-down my favorite book I've read this fall is SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD by M.T. Anderson. It's YA nonfiction about the Siege of Leningrad during WWII and the composer Shostakovich's life and role in keeping up morale during the longest siege in history. It's not light reading (very serious subject matter), but I found it absolutely riveting and a great combination of biography, music history, and wartime history.

    • Reply Alysa Stewart October 8, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      I was going to suggest this one, too! Very well done. I reviewed it on my blog, if you want my full thoughts, but yeah, go for it.

  • Reply Katie October 6, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    It was hard for me to think of a suggestion at first because recently most everything I have been reading comes from you! (Your recommendations are the best!) But then I thought of the two books that I have loved for years.
    The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
    Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis Mcgraw
    It feels like I've read them a thousand times. Just thinking about them makes me want to go read them again!

  • Reply blaine and michelle October 6, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. Fascinating!

  • Reply Ever Emma October 6, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    After consulting your goodreads to make sure you haven't already read them I would recommend Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen or The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.

    I thought the writing in Garden Spells was beautiful and I enjoyed the Magical Realism element. I am not a fan of the way the big conflict was resolved, but loved the book enough overall to recommend it.

    I enjoyed The Boston Girl because it reminded me of what it's like to have your grandparent tell you a story about their youth. It's just cozy.

  • Reply Brooke @ Silver Lining October 6, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Bradley. I don't read a ton of middle grade books, but this one is hands-down the best one since Wonder. About children in WWII London sent to live with a stranger in the country. Read it now before it inevitably wins a Newbery next year and prices go up ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply Kate LS October 7, 2015 at 12:25 am

    I just read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff on an international flight. I was sucked in to the point that I didn't watch a single movie on the seat back screen. The writing is almost self-conscious. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the book yet. But I know it was well worth reading.
    Also, have you read The Martian yet? I read it several months ago and I loved it. The movie was good, too.

  • Reply cait October 7, 2015 at 1:29 am

    The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg is fabulous (as is the whole trilogy)! Also, The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and anything by Sarah Addison Allen is simply magical ๐Ÿ™‚ And the series starting with Finnikin of the Rock was really great- though may have heard of that from you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply October 7, 2015 at 2:40 am

    I'll throw in another one for The Martian. So so good. I read it aloud with my husband, who doesn't really read at all, and he really enjoyed it. Doesn't feel like science fiction at all, just feels awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ Fair bit of swearing though, as a warning.

    Also, This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee. In full disclosure, the author's a friend of mine, but I truly enjoyed this book. It's like a YA alternate history for how Frankenstein came to be written – fun clockwork technology, beautiful writing, and an awesome plot. Lots of fun, especially with Halloween coming up!

  • Reply the sticklands October 7, 2015 at 3:04 am

    Two of my all-time favorite books are Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray and Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. I rarely read a book more than once but have reread these. I think you'd enjoy them both. Thanks for your good recommendations too!

  • Reply Cathy October 7, 2015 at 4:02 am

    I usually get a lot of my recommendations from you, so I'm not sure if you've read these before. ๐Ÿ™‚

    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
    The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
    The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (I LOVE this book, although you probably have already read this!)

    • Reply AmyH October 7, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      Patrick Ness is fantastic! I just read The Chaos Walking trilogy, and it was amazing.

  • Reply Jodi October 7, 2015 at 4:02 am

    I feel like you e probably already read anything I might suggest. Crossing to safety by Wallace stegner. This book just felt so real to me. I don't know, maybe because of our own time in graduate school and making friends. You've had that too.

    I'm reading Into Africa by martin dugard right now for book group and it is so surprisingly captivating! I've never had a non fiction like this that I just didn't want to put down!

  • Reply Shelly October 7, 2015 at 4:42 am

    I'm not sure if you've read it or not but The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig, is a fun spin on historical fiction.

  • Reply Erin October 7, 2015 at 4:58 am

    Ship of Brides by Jo Jo Moyes
    My Name is Resolute by Nancy Turner
    Shanghai Girls by Lisa See but then you will have to read Dreams of Joy by Lisa See as well, otherwise you will be left wondering what will happen.

  • Reply Angela Noelle of SK October 7, 2015 at 8:20 am

    The 10pm Question, Kate De Goldi. NZ Author.

  • Reply Liz Skousen October 7, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
    Really, you need to read this one for the title alone. It is a middle grade fantasy about a boy whose magical talent is breaking things.

  • Reply SB October 7, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman was my favorite book I read this summer, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and The Life Intended by Kristen Harmel were also really good.

  • Reply Panamama October 7, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    An Ember in the Ashes – Tabaa Sabir, Where all the light tends to go – David Joy, The Last Letter from your Lover – Jojo Moyes. All fabulous! An Ember in the Ashes is amazing!

  • Reply Emily Slater October 7, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I read Beholding Bee (Kimberly Newton Fusco) over the summer and couldn't believe how much I loved it. I can't even pinpoint exactly why…it just felt magical and whimsical and had me completely smitten (and smitten is not a word I use on the regular!)

  • Reply Kate Unger October 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Any book by Rainbow Rowell, The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

  • Reply Audrey October 7, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    10% Happier by Dan Harris! I loved it so much, I finished it in a day and a half.

  • Reply MonstorB October 7, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    I would suggest The Voice by Anne Bishop. It's a 50 page novella, but it's done very well. Bishop is very good at weaving light and dark themes and really gets you to think. I also love her "Others" series starting with Written in Red. It is an urban fantasy series, but it is very well done and extremely enjoyable even if that's not normally a genre you are drawn to.

  • Reply Anna White October 7, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Just finished it yesterday and can't stop thinking about it…

  • Reply Kaori W October 7, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    The life changing magic of tidying up by Marie kondo and Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott. Both really easy non fiction reads that I frequently revisit

  • Reply Mad Hadder October 8, 2015 at 3:30 am

    Fugitive Pieces was just recommended to me by a new friend I met last week on the Silk Road with a bunch of BYU China Teachers. We're going to read it and have a virtual book club!

  • Reply Christene October 8, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt. Young adult fiction. Keturah finds Lord Death in the forest after getting lost she is able to get a 24 hour reprieve, but in that time she must find her one true love.

    I loved this book. Easy read, but different than other YA books I have read. It's also not a part of a series!

  • Reply Amanda W October 8, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    You're never weird on the Internet, by Felicia Day. Fun memoir!

  • Reply Abigail deVries October 9, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Instant Mom (by Nia Vardalos–the writer/star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding) is the very funny and interesting tale of Nia's road to parenthood.

  • Reply Deborah Starling October 10, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I have just finished an awesome book called "Convergence" by author Trudie Hayes that needs to be added to this list (or a future YA list for sure). It is an addictive coming of age story that follows three preteens who form an unlikely friendship after a series of bizarre events following their first day of school. Otis, Chandler and Marissa have to worry about what they look like, relationships, school work and now, alternate realities and their destinies! It is a super fun read with a great message and really likable characters. I can't recommend it enough. Check out the author's website:

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