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12 Books to Read This Year

I love Sundays.  Mainly because I love a good brunch, but I love a good brunch with my Sunday paper. One of my favorite Sunday morning rituals is reading the New York Times Book Review.  I’m a sucker for the musty, inky copy paper smell and I love the gothic font lettering.  I enjoy what new books are being released out into the world and the challenge to tackle some new literature.  It makes me happy, it makes me really happy.  While I’m a little late in the game on mapping out the books I’d love to read this year, it’s better late than never!  So, no more procrastination, here is my list I’m hoping to tackle.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
What makes life worth living? Based on the author’s journey from neurosurgeon to stage IV cancer patient, this memoir is supposed to be a real tearjerker.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Usually, I prefer to read the books then watch the show, but this time I’m doing things backward. I’ve become a huge fan of the TV show, now it’s time to read the story. Time-travel romance? I’m in.

Where the Light Gets In by Kimberly Williams- Paisley
A heartbreaking journey of a mother, daughter, and dementia.  Williams-Paisley delves into her mother’s heartbreaking and devastating illness.  It’s a journey that is becoming incredibly common and I am so curious about how she reconciles this emotional situation.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
I love David Sedaris. I will read anything by him. So funny, and this collection is supposed to be nothing less.

Sticky Fingers by Joe Hagan
Who doesn’t love Rolling Stone magazine? This book is a magical tour of rock and roll and the history of a magazine.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson
Of course I care! But sometimes, I just need to let go. This book teaches how.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Another mother and daughter tale– but this one is full of secrets and danger. I love page-turners.

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
I will pick up anything by Brene Brown. She’s funny and full of knowledge. Her latest book deals with relationships and sense of self–should be for an interesting read!

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
This one has been around a while and one that I have wanted to read for a long time! A story about three friends who grew up together and are now reunited, the book is a true coming-of-age story.

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
Suspense and secrets! About a picture-perfect Connecticut town that takes a controversial turn. Supposed to be absolutely spellbinding.

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg
Personal stories from the woman of fashion herself. Wise words abound!

Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser
Did you read Little House on the Prairie as a child? I loved learning about life on the plains. This is the first biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the little girl inside of me cannot wait to read!

What books are on your must-read list? I’m open to suggestions!

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62 Comments

  • Ivana Majer

    one of my all time faves is How To Be Good by Nick Hprnby. absolute page turner.

  • Margaret Dye

    I will have to pick up that Laura Ingalls Wilder bio! Love how much and how well you’re channeling her in these photos- she was my immediate thought upon seeing them, before I’d read the post. 🙂

  • Jessica

    Thank you for this amazing list. I am going to be adding some of these books to my reading list.

  • Jillian Madden

    I am a bit more into fantasy and philosophy, so I really lovve Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe and the Unbearable Lightness Of Being!

  • Bailey

    NEW BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS!! I’ve been desperately trying to find new books but it’s hard to find ones I really love, can’t wait to give some of these a try!

  • Beatriz

    Gostaria de dizer que amo suas pontagens, e amo a mulher que você e a familia que você ♥. Amo como você consegue levar cultura e amor pro mundo tudo. Beijos o Brasil te amo “I Love You”

  • Ange

    Go Set a Watchman is what I’m reading right now. Harper Lee never dissapoints. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • Alicia

    I ADORED “Never Let Me Go” (the movie is breathtaking too, by the way, but of course, read the book first!)—it’s heartbreakingly beautiful & will definitely stay with you. Also, hooray for jumping into Outlander!! Just be prepared to become instantly addicted & gobble up the entire series (or, if you’re anything like me, read them over & over again, catching something new each time). Diana Gabaldon is an amazing author, & like you & David Sedaris, I’ll read any and everything she writes!

  • Eileen alford

    You have got to read Tuesdays with morrie it’s an awesome book on an outlook on life, I promise you’ll love it. Catch 22 is another one and also Fahrenheit 45,, 1984. give these a try and tell me how you like them

  • Cathy

    I would highly recommend “Feeding My Mother” by Jann Arden. It’s the journey they have been walking together and Jann is not only an amazing singer, her writing goes right to your soul.

  • Philippa

    It’s not a new book by any stretch, but I HIGHLY recommend The Freedom Writers’ Diary. It’s a wonderful, inspiring, humbling book that is made up of 150 students’ diary entries during their school life when their English teacher inspired them to get aspirations and ambitions. It’s an absolute must!

  • Kristen Nicole

    There are several of these books I’d love to read. I’ll have to see if the library has them available. There are two I can recommend. Wild by Cheryl Strayed and The Yosemite by John Muir. I’ve loved both of them.

  • Jamile

    When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi looks great, and the greatest thing is…… I found in portuguese, my official language ?

  • Samantha

    I love Brene brown!!! Here are some books I read last year that I recommend for your list:
    1. Men Explain Things to me (by Rebecca Solnit) – such a powerful read, full of clever, funny, passionate feminist essays that are so necessary in this day and age.
    2. Outliers (by Malcolm Gladwell) and he also wrote Blink, one of my favorites. He’s a psychologist who writes about and explains psychological phenomena in a simple way, backs it up with statistics, and still manages to make it a super interesting read, where you just happen to learn a lot! Def recommended.
    3. My favorite author of all time is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend his novels, like One Hundred Years of Solitude (you can read them in English, no worries!).
    4. Lastly, I have a minor from college in cultural anthropology, which is just so fascinating, so if you’d love to learn more, there are several ethnographies I can recommend – namely, Haunting Images, by Tine Gammeltoft. It’s an eye-opening cultural account of abortion and selective reproduction in Vietnam with the backdrop of the Vietnam war for context. I learned so much reading it, and I hope you will too, if you choose to read it!
    Happy reading!!! <3

  • Annie Stephen

    I cannot recommend DIana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ enough! Like you I happened to watch the TV show first, but the books ,as usual, far surpassed the TV show (not that that isn’t also fantastic). The whole series is brilliant, although it is a bit of a commitment, but totally worth the time and the effort. Funny, thought provoking and sexy!

  • Grisel

    Gen, I recommend Ordinary People by Judith Guest. That book is amazing, so simply but with so much meaning. Thanks for sharing your own list!

  • Khushi

    Fire Spell- Laura Amy Schlitz
    i know its supposed to be a kids book or something but its pretty captivating.

  • Amelia

    The Outlander series is my favorite of all time! Get ready for a wild ride! Gabaldon is a beautiful storyteller. I guarantee you will not be able to put it down.

  • Leann

    They all look like great reads. A book of the month discussion group could be fun. Thanks for sharing some great books.

  • Moira

    Ugh too many for this type of forum; my tastes may differ from your as well. Firstly, what kind of books are you into? You say you enjoy hearing about new books being created and challenging yourself to read new literature as it emerges…but who are your favorite authors? What books have inspired you to date? I need some reference if I’m to best lay out suggestions. ♡

  • Mary

    The Outlander Series is amazing. It’s so much more than a time travel romance. And yet they are super hot!! As in my husband says “when are you gonna read those Scottish books again” lol

    They have done an amazing job (thank goodness) translating them to TV. Can’t wait to hear what you think of the books.

  • Emily R.

    Hey there! Just wanted to say I so enjoy your posts/blog and I am THRILLED whenever I see someone about to delve into the world of Outlander! Diana Gabaldon is an incredibly intelligent person who carefully researches the history surrounding the setting of her stories (something I love about her!) Happy reading!

  • Jess

    Hi Gen! I just ordered a bunch of books from Amazon. A few are “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo which I’m excited to read. I’ve already read “The Wheel of Healing with Ayurveda” which I loved! Thank you for the great suggestions 🙂

  • Curlyrnjen

    I hope as you progress through your list you post your thoughts. I think I will add a couple of these to my list which currently is frivolous but fun.

  • Ashley

    I love The Couple Next Door (finished it in 2 days) &The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda was fantastic! 2 of my favorites so far this yeat. I try and read a book a month. I have found one for February yet… All is Not Forgotten sounds like something is like.

  • Ahilyn

    Im a thriller nerd so i have the majority of Dan Brown’s books on my to read list!, actually reading the Davinci code! Is really good!.
    Love you so much Gen! Thanks for everything ❤️

  • Shauna

    I think I’m going to have to check out All is Not Forgotten. That one sounds pretty good and I’m a sucker for a good suspense.??

  • Mikayla

    I would highly recommend the nightingale by Kristen Hannah. It’s a fantastic book.

  • Erika

    Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is excellent!!
    Really helps put things in perspective in a witty
    way that is refreshing from this genre

  • Judy Rust

    OUTLANDER series is amazing and MUCH better than tv version. Be sure to have next book beside you for when you finish what you are reading. Post how you liked them??!!

  • Deanna

    Thanks for adding the books. I have added the art of not giving a fck and Brenee Brown ( I love her too!). I am finishing up How to Marry an English Lord (no not replacing my wonderful husband) this books is about the Gilded Age and new money not being able to marry into old money so the new money familues had to go to Europe to marry off their daughters into high society. I am also finishing up a Jack Lemmon biograpy as he is my all time favorite actor and The Four Agreements again, because I have to sometime remind myself of those agreements. I love Sundays whether it is Brunch with the ones you love or reading the Sunday paper or curling up with a good book.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for the recommendations. It’s always hard to find something good especially when there are soooo many books to choose from nowadays lol

  • Catt

    I have so many book recommendations it’s insane! I’ll read just about anything, but I love horror the most. I definitely recommend the Asylum series. Right now I’m reading a portry book with poems by Robert Frost, It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson, and The Brothers Grimm fairy tales.

  • Celia

    If you get Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, make sure you get the whole series. I’ve read all the books but have never seen the tv show – they’re usually very disappointing because they can’t even come close to what my imagination can come up with when I’m reading the book.

  • Madeleine

    Thank you for this book’s list. I don’t take the time to read, I read slowly.
    But after having to watch all Harry Potter, now I read the books. like you with outlander.
    I also like the testimonial novels.
    Have a good day.

  • Alyson

    Have to admit I don’t read as much as I used to, but last year I really enjoyed “The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur. The first book of poetry I’ve read cover-to-cover since I was a kid and would devour e.e. cummings and Langston Hughes.

    And any of Anne Lamott’s books on faith (don’t bother with her fiction). “Victoria” by Daisy Goodman is great.

    But my all time favorite book is “A Fine Balance” by Tohinton Mistry. Huge, fascinating, gut-wrenching, but ultimately inspiring, I’ve read it three times.

  • Alyson

    Sorry, that’s Rohinton Mistry, not Tohinton. Call me fat-fingers!

  • Kara

    Unfortunately I’m pretty unique and fussy when it comes to even choosing a book but there are a couple there that do sound interesting for me. I need to learn to let go sometimes too, I do love a good coming of age story and was definitely a “Little House…” fan.
    Thank you! Happy reading. ?

  • Kayahele

    Currently reading “Drums of Autumn “ by Diana Gabaldon the 4th of the Outlander series. I too watched the first season before the books. You will not be disappointed. Only more entranced by how perfect the Sam and Caitriona are in their roles.
    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
    Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
    Life after Life by Kate Atkinson.
    The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

    Interested in some of the books that you posted.

  • Autumn

    “The Little Paris Bookshop” I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s defiantly a book u should put on your list. ? the book ” All Is Not Forgotten” looks pretty good.

  • Brittany

    The Power by Naomi Alderman! It’s incredible. One of my favorite books in a long time, and I’m a librarian. It was on President Obama’s list of his favorite books of 2017 as well. It really is a stunning book.

  • Allie

    I gotta give these a read

  • Rachel

    I couldn’t finish Outlander, only made it through 1/2 that one. But I highly recommend The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson. Absolutely amazing! I have loved everything I’ve read by her.

  • Ashley Lynn

    I loved The Courage to Be by Paul Tillich which, based on your list, you would probably find intriguing as well. The next book on my reading list is The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace. It was given to me by a friend as a Christmas gift and I cannot wait to dive in!

  • Samantha

    Oh my gosh, so many books to add to my list now! I just picked up All Is Not Forgotten.
    If you like those types of books I suggest : Behind closed doors – B.A. Paris.
    The Lying Game – Ruth Ware
    Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware

  • Ashley

    I’ve currently got Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng on my book shelf, but I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet! Growing up, I read The Liitle House on the Prairie books, so I’m definitely going to have to check that out as well! I’m currently getting ready to read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

  • Aishwarya

    Hi Gen! I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson last winter and I was floored at the beauty of it. It’s funny, it’s quirky and it’s full of surprisingly good advice about how to deal with difficult situations. I really hope you enjoy it (I was so happy to see it on your list haha)

    Also, I’m not sure if you are into classics, or if you’ve already read this book, but The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is, and always will be, one of my favorite books of all time.

    Another book, or rather book series, that I would like to suggest is a trilogy on Indian mythology. It’s called The Shiva Triglogy and the first book is called Meluha. It is amazing! The author’s name is Amish.

  • Barbara

    Reading The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue and I’m really enjoying it.

  • Marissa Luevano

    Two of my favorite books are If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski. It’s so beautiful and inspiring to read something that you’ve never read before. Something that I relate to so much and give me “it is going to be okay.”
    And second, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s about the journey of creativity and strength. “Life is full of beautiful things too,” kind of book.
    Love you Gen!

  • Casee

    Gen! I adore this post because I adore books.

    I haven’t jumped on The Outlander TV train yet, but I started reading the series when it came out back in 2004. It was phenomenal. There are three times in my life that I’ve read a thousand page book in a day and a half. Outlander was one of them. I have no doubt that you will love the books.

    xx

  • C.H. Armstrong

    Best I’ve read recently: BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate.

    What I can’t wait to read: WHERE THE DEAD SIT TALKING by Brandon Hobson

  • Axelle

    I am so happy Never Let Me Go is on your list and I wish I could feel the immense emotions of reading it for the first time. Almost jealous ! This is both an easy read because it is accessible and extremely clear and it flows naturally, and an incredibly hard one because the emotions are at their rawest and strongest. The movie is quite good too, it won’t ruin your vision of it at all. I can not wait to hear more of your journey with those characters, and your thoughts about the treasures and the revelations along the way. Masterpiece for sure !

  • Jaya

    Check out A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

  • Noelia

    I’d recommend The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. It’s about a family and the choices they make after something they learn as children. It stuck with me long after reading.

  • Ariana Preis

    I’m definitely adding “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F**k” to my list!! Right now I’m working my way through all of Jodi Picoult’s books, as she’s my favorite author, but I need other books to read in between because they’re so emotional.

  • Regina

    If you love historical fiction, The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunett is fantastic. IMHO it is the best historical fiction out there. And it is the first in a series! (The Lymond Chronicles) If you are looking for something historical (can you tell I love history?) Three Years With Grant is one of my favorite historical accounts. It is about Gen. Grant’s war correspondent who single handedly made war coressponding a respected occupation. Suddenly We didn’t Want to Die is also an excellent historical first hand account of WWI by a US marine. Beautifully written ( though very sad). Finally, my go to read for every situation is A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. It is his story of his time spent in Paris becoming a writer. It is honest, moving, simple, and brings Paris to life in such a way that it becomes an old friend. I have so many other recommendations (I love to read) but I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with my over excitement. 😉

  • Brittney

    I did the exact thing with Outlander. I started the show and then HAD to read the books. They are amazing! And it shows you how well they bring the story to life in the show. Happy reading!!

  • Christy

    I really liked Every Day by David Leviathan. Beautiful Story about waking up in a different body every day and dealing with love and relationships. Goodreads is an awesome website to find new books.

  • Anna

    Hello, I love your booklist. Here is my suggestion: how about a parenting blog? I am am professional social worker and mother and I am using my know how to start a blog for normal parents raising strong and resilient kids without going nuts. I want to take out pressure and contribute something so kids can grow up into mentally stable, healthy, confident and empathic people. It’s all my work for free (non profit), no commercials involved so far. The parenting I suggest supports mental health and is helping to prevent depression and anxiety disorders in children. It’s not a book, but maybe worth suggesting for a reading list? Please , if interested, find out more here: https://strongkids.blog/2017/12/21/play-is-your-childs-superpower/
    Kind regards
    Anna

  • Berangere

    Hi gen,
    I m in love with your dress on the pics above. Could you tell me where it is from.

    thank you so much, love your website !

  • Sierra

    I recently read the book “Thank You For Your Service.” My husband is Air Force so I thought it would be a great read and interesting movie. I read the book prior to watching the movie, and I’m glad I did. It wasn’t an easy read by any means. Its raw and makes you imagine things that aren’t pleasant that these men and women deal with daily. Definitely a test jerker. I loved the movie too but I much prefer the book as the details of their journey with PTSD are much more real. Enjoy!

  • Becky

    Hey Gen,
    Currently reading 4321 from Paul Auster! It is an awesome read so far!
    Greetings from Germany

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