what I recommend reading this month

I know that this blog is a lot to go through if you are just looking for a quick reading recommendation. So, this new page is going to be your new go-to resource for a quick recommendation. I will recommend 1-3 books a month that I am really into and link to their blog post (if I don’t have one yet, I’ll just give a quick blurb). I’ll keep each month up, so you always have more recommendations. I hope this helps you find more books that you love! Happy reading!

November 2016

Anna Quindlen’s A Short Guide to a Happy Life.
Reading Sara Rating: 10/10 (it’s short!)
Book Type: Nonfiction
Quick Summary: This short book is full of beautiful musings written with the empathy and compassion that Quindlen possesses so naturally.

October 2016

Easy one. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. 
Reading Sara Rating: 9/10
Book Type: Fiction
Quick Summary: Whitehead’s Underground Railroad is getting all of the buzz this year, and don’t get me wrong, it’s good. But Homegoing touches on so  many themes in one book that it is absolutely remarkable. Homegoing follows two sisters, separated in childhood by their mother who did not share with them the existence of the other. Each chapter follows one character whose lineage can be traced back to these sisters. Both daughters are born in Ghana to different tribes, and one daughter marries a British slaver, while the other is sold into slavery and sent to the United States. As you can imagine, the stories of their children vary drastically at first, but as time goes on, they all deal with struggles and unforgiving circumstances.

September 2016

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Reading Sara Rating: 8/10
Book Type: Fiction
Quick Summary: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie depicts the world that most Americans do not know and paints a new light on our lives that is brutally honest. But most importantly, the characters are not different from those of us born here in the United States. There is something vital in the similarities of Ifemelu’s childhood in Nigeria (friendship, crushes, family) that is not so different than how I, and many of my friends, grew up. But there is a lot that is different too, and Ifemelu’s story illustrates it in an understandable and fascinating way.

All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews
Reading Sara Rating: 8/10
Book Type: Fiction
Quick Summary:  All My Puny Sorrows is about two sisters, Elf and Yoli. The narrative goes back and forth in time, talking about their childhood growing up in a strict Mennonite-community in Canada, to present day. Elf is now a famous concert pianist who is desperately struggling with her will to live. Yoli, divorced with two children, is trying to keep the family together and strong – and struggling with critical decisions about how to help her sister.

August 2016

Lily and the Octopus, by Steven Rowley
Reading Sara Rating: 8/10
Book Type:
Quick Summary:
 This is one of those debut novels that surprises everyone, for pet lovers and non-pet lovers, you’ll read through this quickly and feel all the same feels you have when you meet someone new and wonderful.

and… if you haven’t yet…Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Reading Sara Rating: 7/10
Quick Summary: Again, it’s Harry Potter.

July 2016

Pick up The Girls, by Emma Cline if you are looking for something to read on the beach or on your couch. It is wonderfully written.

Reading Sara Rating: 9/10
Book Type: Fiction
Quick Summary: Emma Cline takes the reader deep into the mind of Evie, the narrator of the story who is caught up in something that she doesn’t yet understand, her 14-year-old brain not able to comprehend. But a seductive appeal from Suzanne, who Evie wants to be as she grows up, is impossible for her to resist. It is the late 1960s after all – and Evie wants to be carefree, pretty, and paid attention to by her parents. But she doesn’t really know what she is getting into.

June 2016

I cannot stop talking about A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. I loved this book so much that it makes me want to use emojis.

Reading Sara Rating: 10/10 (yep, that’s right)
Book Type: Fiction
Quick Summary: Ove is by all accounts a total grump. He isn’t particularly friendly, does not like when people break rules, and just wants to be left alone to stick to his usual routine. However, a series of events, beginning with his new neighbors knocking over his mailbox when they are moving in, bring new people and experiences into his life – alters it forever. I will be thinking about Ove and his neighbors for years to come.

May 2016

If like me, you can’t get enough Historical Fiction in your life (especially super well researched historical fiction), read Lilac Girls.

Reading Sara Rating: 8/10 (a super high 8!)
Book Type: Historical Fiction
Quick Summary: Lilac Girls follows three women, going through different things during World War 2 – Caroline, a New York City socialite who is caught in a complicated love triangle, Kasia, a Polish teenager trying to survive with her family, and lastly, Herta, a German Nazi doctor. The women’s lives diverge together in completely unexpected ways. It was an incredible story over decades watching these women grow, survive, and find peace with their lives. Like Herta, Caroline Ferriday was a real person, and Kasia is based on a real person. The research and details provided in this historical fiction novel are incredible.

April 2016

Reading Sara Recommends

Planning a Spring Trip? Dreaming of France? Read Losing the Light.
Reading Sara Rating: 7/10
Book Type: Fiction
Quick Summary: This book was created for 20-something and 30-something lady book clubs. Here’s what we know happens at the start of the story: a college student travels to France, she falls in love with a dashing Frenchman, and something terrible goes down between her and her best friend somewhere between then and now, likely a twisted love triangle. It is delicious. And you (and your book club) will devour it quickly.

In the mood for a young adult tearjerker? You’ll love All the Bright Places.
Reading Sara Rating: 7/10
Book Type: Young Adult Fiction
Quick Summary: All the Bright Places follows two protagonists, Violet Markey and Theodore Finch. They come from different worlds (Violet is popular and well-liked while Theodore takes pride in being the school ‘freak’). It sounds like a tired story until you learn how they meet in the first chapter: both on the belltower of their school, contemplating a jump. Spoiler alert: neither jumps, but they do build a friendship.

March 2016

Reading Sara Recommends:

America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray
Reading Sara Rating: 9.5/10
Book Type: Historical Fiction
Quick Summary: America’s First Daughter is the story of Martha “Patsy” Jefferson, eldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson. This book is based largely on facts, real events that happened throughout the course of America’s history (even Patsy burning letters and censoring what the world was to know of her great father is true). If you are a fan of academic history, this is probably not the book for you. The authors take liberties and guesses at some of the friendships, romances, and scandals and create a story that is fascinating to follow. Maybe all of these things did not happen, in fact, they probably did not. But, some of the important things did happen, and the other things help the story along the way (and making reading it fun!).

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson
Reading Sara Rating: 9/10
Book Type: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Quick Summary: My two recommendations this month could not vary more in their topics. Just Mercy is serious, real, and extremely important. Bryan Stevenson takes the reader through the injustice of the criminal justice system – especially for those who are wrongly accused and get no help from outside sources to plead their innocence. For fans of How to Get Away With Murder, you might want to read this before signing any more petitions for someone made famous by Netflix. This story is all too common, especially for people of color and the poor in our country. We face many problems as a country, but our humanity and response to these atrocities is what defines us. I urge you to read this book and learn more.

February 2016

Reading Sara Recommends:

When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
Reading Sara Rating: Read it!
Book Type: Autobiography
Quick Summary: Paul Kalanithi has a promising career as a doctor, and discovers that he is dying of cancer. In his final time on earth, he graces the reader with beautiful prose about his journey from being the doctor to being a patient. Truly a lovely and sad story.

January 2016

Reading Sara Recommends:

Girl at War, by Sara Nović
Reading Sara Rating: 9/10
Book Type: Historical Fiction
Quick Summary: Girl at War is about Ana, who is a regular 10-year old biking around, playing games and enjoying her childhood – until civil war breaks out in Yugoslavia and her world completely shatters. Nović expertly goes back and forth in time telling Ana’s story in a sensitive, compelling and moving way. I could not put this book down and read it in one weekend.

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon
Reading Sara Rating: 7.5/10
Book Type: Young Adult
Quick Summary: Everything, Everything is on my list of best books of 2015. Yoon weaves a beautiful story of friendship, love and secrets for Madeline, our bubble girl protagonist as she discovers the world around her is much more than she ever thought it could be.