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Tell Me What to Read: Spring 2018

Tell Me What to Read is quite possibly my very favorite thing on my entire blog.

It usually takes me FOR-ever to get through the three books because I have book ADHD, but I absolutely love seeing all the recommendations and I’ve read so many amazing new authors and titles over the past eight years (eight years I’ve been doing this! I still remember when I had this idea, when I was traveling with my mom and visiting a local library – the whole thing started with this book!).

I’ve just finished up the three books from the fall edition and I’m ready to roll with a new set of three for this spring!

You know the drill – 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 April, May, and June!

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

 My job: Choose three from the suggestions and announce which ones I’ll be reading.

I’ll read one a month (ish) between now and the end of June (hopefully). 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!

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  1. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
    Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
    Banana Heart Summer by Merlinda Bobis
    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
    George and Sam by Charlotte Moore
    The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman
    Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
    Scruples by Judith Krantz
    A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel

  2. I enjoyed Ruined by Amy Tintera. It’s the first in a trilogy by the same name. Also, The Museum of Heartbreak which is a cheesy title, but a cute YA romance. Good luck!

  3. I’m going to recommend The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma — it came out in 2011, so it’s not new, but if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend. It’s a memoir about a girl and her dad who go on a read-aloud streak — til college! The audio is fantastic too 🙂

  4. (I tried to post from my phone, but don’t think it worked. If you get this 2x, sorry!)

    WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES by Georgia Hamilton. I read it last month and am confident it will be one of the best books I read in 2018. It is the true story of the author’s Polish family scattered around the world during WWII. I could NOT put it down, it was just so gripping. I’m recommending it to everyone 🙂

    Also, not a book recommendation, but do you follow Reese Witherspoon’s bookclub on Instagram? I think they read a book a month, do interviews with the author, etc. If you don’t, I bet you’d like it. I have a long list of To Be Read books based off of her picks.

  5. Can I recommend a book I haven’t read yet? “The Hate U Give.” It’s about a black girl who witnesses her unarmed friend get shot by the police. I’ve heard about it from pretty much every source imaginable, and every one of them raves about it. I’m picking it up from the library today and I can’t wait.

    1. I read this book last year. It was amazing. It puts you in the mindset of the BLM movement without being preachy. I would give them book a MAJOR language alert, the cursing is pretty intense, but other than that it’s incredible!

  6. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. My mom is a children’s librarian and recommended it to me as the next big Harry Potter-esque craze. I read it in less than a day and haven’t stopped thinking about it since (over 3 months ago). It reminded me of that feeling of entering into the world of Harry Potter for the first time, but with a girl character. It was similar to HP in feeling, but different enough that it was still totally new and enjoyable. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I come across!

  7. I just finished Educated by Tara Westover and thought it fantastic. I read somewhere that it was “difficult to read but impossible to put down,” and I couldn’t describe it better myself. It’s about a girl who was raised in a fundamentalist Mormon, survivalist family (and this is the most normal thing about them) who sets foot in a classroom for the first time at age 17. She wasn’t homeschooled – she just wasn’t schooled at all. But it’s more about her family, how she grew up, and how her relationships changed with her family as she got more “educated” on her own. The audio was fantastic. (I’m not sure if you being Mormon would make you hesitant to read this – but this family is so extreme. I’d love to hear less extreme LDS take on this book.)

    1. I just finished this book yesterday and it was so good! FTR, her family is very extreme Mormon (more like fundamentalists, although they are not polygamists), but she never paints Mormonism in a bad light. In fact, she did her PhD on Mormons and how they have impacted history. It was definitely a great book! I didn’t think it was super well written, but I did have a hard time putting it down, it was a very compelling story.

      1. Yes, she had a fascinating interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross a few weeks back. I went home and researched the author and book.

    2. Thanks to your recommendation, I am now reading this and find it very interesting. “Difficult to read but impossible to put down” is a perfect description!!

  8. I just finished “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch and loved it. It is one of those breathless, seat-of-the-pants books that I plowed through in one sitting. It’s also the type of book that it’s hard to write too much about without giving things away, so I will just say this: there is a little bit of violence in it, but not too terribly much. And it starts out feeling hopeless and awful, but it doesn’t turn out the way you think it will. And it’s imaginative and different from anything I’ve ever read and just a good, action-packed read.

  9. The Outward Mindset by the Arbinger Institute
    How We Learn by Benedict Carey
    Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

  10. “Before We Were Yours”. It is historical fiction about the orphanage scandal that happened in Tennessee in the 1930’s. It is riveting, intriguing, heartbreaking, and heartwarming all rolled up in one. I couldn’t put this book down and I’ve been thinking about it ever since I finished reading it!
    Also “All the Truth that’s in my” by Julie Berry. Another page turner that you just want to know the end of. Plus I think it is a powerful book with amazing lessons about speaking our truths and the power that we all hold.

  11. These are always some of my favorite posts you do! Even though I felt it was a bit predictable, “The Woman in the Window” was an interesting thriller. It made me feel things, and I suppose that is what a book is supposed to do. I was moved by Brene Brown’s “Braving the Wilderness” audio book. I am currently reading “An American Marriage” and find it wonderful! Can’t wait to see what you read!

  12. I’ve just finished The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. It’s my first five star read of the year. Won the Costa book award here in the U.K. And is the best MG book I have ever read. I’ll bet you and your bigger girls will love it!

  13. I just looked through your Goodreads and everything that I was going to recommend you’ve already read! Haha! Oh well! However, my next reads are going to be The Hate U Give and The Immortalists.

  14. “Tattoos on the Heart” by Gregory boyle. Hands down, the book that has changed my life the most, his follow up “Barking to the Choir” was just as good. It’s written by a Jesuit Priest who has spent his time serving in Los Angeles with gang members. It’s not the type of book I would normally choose, but it’s the most beautiful book I think I’ve ever read! If i knew where you lived i would leave a copy on your doorstep because that it how much i love it Haha.

  15. I just finished Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon, by Jeffrey Kluger and Brian Troxell and thought it was SO fascinating.

  16. Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine by Caroline Starr Rose and May B. by the same author are so good! May B. is a mix between The Crossover and Little House on the Prairie.

    I also highly recommend The Edge of Extinction by Laura Martin – especially on audio!

    And Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton. This one sounds weird but I’m on a personal mission to get people to read this book because it is so unusual and wonderful. Think dragons acting out a jane Austen plot – but SO GOOD!

  17. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
    Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

  18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. One of the best books I read in 2017.
    You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning. One of my all-time fav books. It’s only $2.99 on Kindle! Fake dating! Scrabble! Max and his dog Keith! In my dream film adaptation, Max is played by Tom Hardy.
    (Manning also writes great YA, I would recommend Adorkable and London Belongs to Us.)
    The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. One of the best rom-com debuts I’ve read.

  19. #1 Highly recommend Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Sweeping family saga, I guess, beginning maybe around 1900 in Korea and continuing to the present. Includes lots of time in Japan and their Korean expat community (who knew?). Loved it. I listened to it, but reading it would have been equally good.

    #2 The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Oh my. I just read this yesterday in one day. It needs to end up in HS curricula. It’s so good. Hard at times (subject matter) because it depicts slavery as it truly was. But the writing. So gorgeous. The story. So good. I can’t say enough good about this book.

  20. tell the truth, shame the devil. It’s rather intense and gut-wrenching, with an ending that might not jive, but the characters are strong.

  21. I have to second some of the suggestions: The Great Alone and We were the Lucky Ones, really enjoyed both of these. Currently listening to Women in the Window, it’s good. Just ordered Educated by Tara Westover. Hope you pick one of these.

  22. The Guernsey Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer or Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah or Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly or Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan or The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

  23. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is my recommendation! It won the Goodreads debut book of the year a few years back and the finale of the trilogy was just released this week. It’s a YA book that mixes a western and Arabian desert setting in a way that makes it feel like another character! It features great friendships, swoonworthy romance, and really interesting world building and plot (and djinnis!). It’s so fun!

  24. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging – Louise Rennison
    The Rent Collector – Camron Wright
    She Got Up Off the Couch and Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana – Haven Kimmel
    The Girl Who Wrote in Silk – Kelli Estes

  25. My suggestions are a bit random and so very different from each other but I truly enjoyed both this year. My suggestions are Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

  26. Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict – fascinating perspective on Andrew Carnegie and solid historical fiction with a strong female protagonist. I second the other recommendation for The Hate U Give – it is timely and thought provoking.

  27. I really enjoyed The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck, it is a different perspective on WWII than most of the WWII books I have read. So thought provoking.
    I loved A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline, not a book I would’ve picked on my own but one I truly loved. I was sad when I reached the end, I wanted to stay immersed in the story

  28. A couple of my favorite books are Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner.

  29. I just read “As Bright As Heaven” by Susan Meissner about a family in Philadelphia during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. I love historical fiction and this one was brilliant in my opinion!

  30. The Gate to Women’s Country, War Brides, Tell Me Lies, Daughters of the Night Sky, The Silver Music Box

  31. I’m going to recommend Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It’s about our broken justice system—from unfair trials to corrupt law enforcement to the death penalty. Heavy stuff for sure but written in a super compelling way. I’m in the middle of it right now, and it’s one of those books where I keep thinking, “This is happening in MY country during MY lifetime?!”

  32. There are lots of great suggestions already in the comments…if I were to pick from that list, I’d vote for We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter, Educated by Tara Westover and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The Hate U Give is also amazing.

    I’ve read a few other great books recently that I’d also suggest: Ghost Boy by Jewell Parker Rhodes, The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe, and How To Walk Away by Katherine Center.

  33. “There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather” by Linda Åkeson McGurk. An easy-to-read book reminding us why it’s good to get outdoors with children, told in a humorous fashion by a Swedish mom living in the States. Lots of interesting facts about the differences of Scandinavian vs. American parenting views of the outdoors.

  34. “The gift of pain” by Phillip Yancey.
    The first chapter is hard, but if you can get through that the rest is fascinating. One of my faves.

  35. Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard. I am in the middle of it and loving it so much! It’s the story of a man who becomes an unlikely ultra-marathon runner and, while running a 6-day race across the Gobi Desert, met a little dog who followed him the entire race and basically adopted Dion as his person.

  36. I read The Phantom of the Opera in January and loved it–I was surprised by how much I got into it. I think the musical is great but didn’t expect to be as wowed by the book!

    The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen is an interesting read–she was a journalist in Finland before marrying an American and moving to New York. The book is about the differences between Scandinavian and American cultures in terms of relationships (between parents and children, employees and employers, romantic relationships, and parents and children), education, business, and healthcare. It gave me a lot to think about. And the cover is really fun!

  37. Have you read It Ends with Us? It’s got some fun romance but also looks at deeper/bigger topics…it is just so well done (and a 5 star rating on Amazon!). I’ve bought it 8 times in the past year to give as gifts. And, I know you enjoyed the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series – have you read The Court of Thorns and Roses series? Gosh, talk about an addictive series that is just fun – I liked it better than Daughter of Smoke series! Can’t wait to see what you choose!!

  38. I just finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It is amazing book that tells the story of the family of two half African sisters in Ghana in the 1700s. One gets sold into slavery and her family lives with the consequences of it in the US. The other sister marries a white slave trader and stays in Ghana. We follow both family histories into the world today. It’s a powerful, well written story about memory, family and the affects of racism.

  39. My recent favoyite is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. By Taylor Jenkins Reed. First, the book cover is beautiful,!

    This is an easy read, covering the life of a fictionalized move star (she’s very Elizabeth Taylor-like) from the 1950s to present. But it has a twist, or two that pack a punch. This book has stayed with me, and I can’t wait to recommend it to book club!

  40. Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth – Frank Cottrell-Boyce. It’s children’s literature, but it is one of the most hilarious, well-written books I’ve ever read (and that’s saying a lot for me). I didn’t post a review of it ever, but it’s definitely on my favourite books list.

  41. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel and The Silent Sister bun diane Chamberlain we’re both great!

  42. Counting by 7s!!! I can’t remember if I suggested it before, but it was my favorite book that I read last year and I still talk about it all the time!

  43. Educated: A memoir by Tara Westover. It’s so fascinating. It’s about a girl who grew up in a survivalist family in rural Idaho who never went to school. Her parents feared the government so they never went to the doctors either (she didn’t get a birth certificate till she was 9). But she educated herself and got into BYU and eventually a PhD at Cambridge.

  44. Highly recommend Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashley Cowles. It has such a different perspective than a lot of other YA novels and is also just really beautifully written.

  45. A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka – a novel following two parallel lives: one that of a couple in WWII Poland and their wartime struggles and romance and the other that of their granddaughter in modern day Poland. So funny and sweet!

  46. I just finished One of us is Lying by Karen M. McManus on audio and I enjoyed. Good mystery and some YA romance thrown in.

  47. A lot of great suggestions! I read secondborn a few months ago as my kindle first book and was surprised how much I liked it! The next one in the series comes out next month and I’m looking forward to it!

  48. The Silenced by James DeVita. It’s based on Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Nazi Resistance group she and her brother started
    during WWII- but this story is based in a futuristic dystopian setting. I read it a few years ago and LOVED it, but then the publisher stopped printing it! It’s being published again and I can’t wait to give it another read 🙂

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