“I used to love reading, but I can never find anything I like.”
I hear this excuse more than any other when talking to people about why they never read. Lucky for them, I find such a joy in playing E-Harmony with somebody and a book.
I love it even more when these blind book dates are followed with a “BAYLEE, I LOVED IT” text.
Here are five books that are my recent go-to recommendations.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by: Taylor Jenkins Reid / Fiction / 402 pages / Amazon Link
Evelyn Hugo is Hollywood GOLD. She’s the woman of all teenage boys’ dreams, no matter her age. Despite all of the news that has circulated about her SEVEN failed marriages, Evelyn tends to live a private life. An interview with her is sought out by all. One day, she asks a lifestyle magazine specifically for a young, beginning writer, Monique Grant. She wants her to finally write a tell-all life story. This book is that story, of her seven husbands, rise to fame, powerful spirit, and the secret behind choosing Monique.
I kept looking for ways to channel Evelyn’s strength and spirit as I was reading this. If you want something with great storytelling, lots of twists and turns, a strong female character, and full of emotion, this one is for you.
It Ends with Us
by: Colleen Hoover / Romance / 385 pages / Amazon Link
Anything you pick up by Colleen Hoover is going to rock, but this one takes the cake for me.
Lily grows up surrounded by an abusive relationship. During this time, her only friend and first love is a homeless boy from school, Atlas. They both give each other love and comfort that no one else can. Years later, after her dad’s death, she finds herself married to Ryle, who shows many of the same characteristics that drove her to hate her own father. She works through coping with what her future might look like starting a family with this man, along with trauma and feelings from her past.
There is so much real emotion, because of her beautifully-written, complex characters. This story is for all of you who love something character-driven, full of intensity, passion, and real, raw emotions.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by: Mary Ann Shaffer and Anne Barrows / Historical Fiction / 322 pages / Amazon Link
So, this is really different than what I normally read, but I still think about this sweet love story full of quirky characters, daily. In 1946, London is coming out of the Second World War and Juliet, an author is needing a new subject for a book. She suddenly gets a letter from a man who lives on the island of Guernsey and sees her name inside of a book he bought at bookstore.
This novel is full of letters, between the two of them and his friends on the island. They are weird, eccentric, and all apart of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The name of this society was created in a spur-of-the-moment excuse for breaking curfew, when caught by the Germans on their island. Their letters lead to a hilarious group of characters telling their story of the impact that the German occupation has had, their love of books, and kindness to one another.
For those of you who love World War 2, anything historic, giggling while reading, and a powerful love story.
The Art of Racing in the Rain
by: Garth Stein / Fiction / 321 pages / Amazon Link
Well, I will say it from the beginning, there is no way you get through this book without shedding a tear. But, it’s the good kind of tears and the ones that I continue to put myself through from rewatching this movie (which is not as good as the book, but worth watching afterwords).
Enzo is the narrator of this story and he’s also a dog. He knows that he is educated, from watching the TV that is left on and from paying close attention to the people around him. His owner, Denny, is a race car driver, with dreams of making it big. During his life, Enzo shares his thoughts on all that he and Denny have been through. It’s funny and full of love, family, loyalty, and illustrates the beautiful souls of pups.
It’s a feel-good look at how our dogs probably view us on a daily basis and a must-read for all.
This is My America
by: Kim Johnson / Young Adult / 416 pages / Amazon Link
To start off, do not let the fact that something is young adult turn you away. Some of my favorite books in the last three years are classified as “young adult,” which really only means that it’s appropriate for them, as well. Also, if you are a teacher or parent, it’s a great way to start a conversation with a teenager or even read along with them.
I read this one recently and it is beautiful. Living in Texas is a 17-year-old girl named Tracy, who writes letters daily to Innocence X, asking them to help her father, an innocent black man on death row. At the beginning of the book, when her dad has 267 days left, her brother, a bright and promising track star, is arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tracy decides to take both investigations into her own hands, but not without pushback from powerful people in the community.
This book is filled with cultural references to our daily lives as Americans, but gives a deeper look into this system. I was flipping pages SO quickly, because you have no idea how this is going to turn out for her family, but you’re captivated by their strength through this adversity.
I have recommend this one to several students, of all different reading levels in my classroom and they love it.
I hope you can find something in here that peaks your interest, but if not, let me know, I have hundreds of more book suggestions.
Feel free to follow along on Instagram, as well, @baylees_books.