Looking for a good book…


When I was younger I was a voracious reader — we’re talking awkward kid with her nose in a book at all times. In recent years, this has not been the case. I start books and never finish them or buy them and never even crack the spine. When I do take time to read I feel guilty that I’m not doing something “productive” which is a completely backwards way of looking at it. Anyway, I’m putting an end to all that nonsense. In the next 12 weeks (now until the new year!) I intend to tackle at least 12 books. What I need are recommendations! What books have moved you recently? Made you laugh, made you cry? Empowered you, inspired you? I’m open to anything — classics, bestsellers, fiction, non-fiction. Can’t wait to hear your suggestions — my Neo-Trad readers are always my best resource!


KEEP IN TOUCH!  Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Tumblr // Facebook

40 comments on “Looking for a good book…

  1. Erin

    I recently started doing a train commute a few months ago and have read so many books since I have two hours on the train each day.

    A few of my recent favorites include: Memoirs of a Geisha, Little Bee, and Gone Girl (you’ve probably read the last, but if you haven’t it was awesome). Right now I’m reading The Vacationers… and Fellowship of the Ring for a nerdier choice haha.

    Best of luck on your 12 books in 12 weeks!

    -E @ amie-eo.blogspot.com

  2. Lorina

    ‘The Historian’ by Elizabeth Kostova
    If you love suspense, history, love, and Eastern Europe you will fall in love with the story and characters. It’s a big read, but soooo worth! Now, I’m dying to go to Budapest.

  3. Sarah

    The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. Popular for a reason! It’s really long, but worth it. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, and Little Bee by Chris Cleave are also great.

  4. Katie Armour Post author

    Erin – I remember loving Memoirs of a Geisha when it was first published! Will look up the others! Have been wanting to read Gone Girl before I see the movie :)

    Lorina – Budapest is one of my favorite cities in all of Europe! Googling ‘The Historian’ now — sounds like my kind of book. Thank you!

  5. Vanessa

    I loved Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It is a beautifully written novel centering around the very controversial topic of assisted suicide. Yes I know that sounds rather depressing but the novel is very moving!

  6. Katie Armour Post author

    Sarah – I left my copy of The Goldfinch back east by accident and am thinking I need to buy another copy! I had only read the first 100 or so pages, but it had pulled me in :)

    Vanessa – I’ve heard so much about it. Need to decide if I’m up for the heartbreak. Was just reading more about it on Amazon. Sounds incredible… Thank you for the suggestion!

  7. Karen

    I just finished Brain On Fire by Susannah Cahalan and it was amazing. Loved Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead. Oh and I read The Hundred Foot Journey and it was great (the movie did it no justice!). Where’d You Go Bernadette is another favorite. Have you read The Paris Wife yet? Another favorite.
    Currently reading Lena Dunham’s book. As you can tell, I’m a reader! Also blog about it too!

  8. Katie Armour Post author

    Karen – I have almost bought Brain on Fire so many times! Will have to bite the bullet. Loved the first couple chapters of The Paris Wife and never finished it, tisk tisk. And I’m almost done with Lena Dunham’s book. She lifts my spirits :)

  9. Natalie

    Tell The Wolves I’m Home, We The Drowned, Bel Canto, Roses, and The Cuckoo’s Calling are some of my favorites I’ve read this past year! xx

  10. Jade Sheldon-Burnsed

    Reading has always been so important to me. The past few years its been harder & harder to make myself relax & read. But recently my husband mentioned wanting to get back into reading too. Have you started a goodreads account? Some of my favorite books include: Fall on Your Knees, Tiny Beautiful Things, Until You’re Mine, We Were Liars & The Glass Castle. Oh, I also just finished reading Not That Kind of Girl & Girl Boss.

  11. Kaitlyn Hashem

    Hey, Katie! Have you read The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath? I know it’s not a conventional suggestion, but if you like The Bell Jar, you will love it! Since the Bell Jar was autobiographical, it’s sort of an unedited version! : )

  12. Alex

    everyone recommends the goldfinch, but I didn’t really love it. it was too long for my liking.

    I just finished “gone girl” and am now reading “this is where I leave you” which is laugh out loud funny (haven’t heard good reviews of the movie though). after I finish that I am planning on reading “brain on fire”!

    I second “The Paris Wife” and also “Z” about Zelda Fitzgerald – they’d be great to read back to back.

  13. Jessie

    I’m with you on the reading goals, I went from commuting 3 hrs/day in the car to 40 min/day on the train this month – so I have a lot more time! My all-time favorite novel: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Anything by Jane Austen, I especially loved Northanger Abbey. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan was fascinating (author of Atonement). For non-fiction, anything by Michael Pollen. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is so interesting. And then if you have tons of time, I’m slowly making my way through A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) by George RR Martin. Those books are SO well written, even more interesting than the show, and insanely long!

  14. Alex

    oh also! carole radziwill’s book “what remains” was so great – I have a feeling you’d love it if you haven’t already read it!

  15. caitie

    you must read the art of racing in the rain by garth stein! i know you’re a dog lover–you will not be able to put it down! it’s definitely up there as one of my all-time favorites.

    i’m not to far into it, but i just started one more thing by b.j. novak and i already love it. it’s a collection of short stories that are hilarious, beautiful, and very wise.

  16. jessica b

    I just finished Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and it blew my mind. It’d be fun to read back-to-back with California by Edan Lepucki. If you need a good cry, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple are always huge hits with everyone I’ve recommended them to. Also, in the YA department, which I definitely think everyone should dip in to: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a must and Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and illustrated by Maira Kalman is a favorite.

  17. Carly

    12 books in 12 weeks! That’s an awesome challenge I should take on as well. This Is Where I Leave You was such a good/funny/honest and quick read- read it before you see the movie that just came out!

    Dave Eggers anything- favorites: Zeitoun and What is the What

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  18. Kelly

    Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead was one of my favorites I read this year.

    If you like historical fiction: Rules of Civility and The Paris Wife are both great. Loving Frank is good too. I started “Lucky Us” and loved it but had to return it to the library before finishing – I would recommend that one as well.

    Happy reading!

  19. Jackie (York Avenue)

    Right now I’m reading The Goldfinch, and it’s wonderful. I’m excited to read Lena Dunham’s book, and Erin Gates’ book. I recently read The Art of Fielding and loved it. I also recommend Seating Arrangements, The Vacationers, The Book of You, Paris My Sweet, and Goodbye To All That (you might love that one, as it’s all about NYC). I hope you’ll keep us posted as you read!

  20. Kelly

    Maggie Shipstead is a wonderful writer. I loved Seating Arrangements and Astonish Me.
    The Vacationers by Emma Straub is lovely — a great summer read.
    Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple is hilarious
    Curtis Sittenfeld is great, American Wife is wonderful. Also enjoyed Prep
    The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a wonderful coming of age novel.
    The Glass Castle is an extraordinary memoir.
    Beautiful Ruins is a glamourous fun read based in Italy!
    David Benioff is wonderful (married to Amanda Peet and also the creater of Game of Thrones). I loved City of Theives, a great WWII novel
    The Tender Bar J.R. Moehringeris a great memoir.
    Marissa Pessl is a great writer — loved Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Also her new one NIght Film is great, kind of creepy though.
    Also Dave Eggers is a great writer, Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is a classic

  21. Alexandra

    the act of choosing a book can be quite overwhelming-I feel it’s akin to beginning a new relationship-so I understand your current situation, it’s a lovely one to have. Anyway a few of my picks: the good soldier, ford Maddox ford; our man in Havana, graham green; the little drummer girl, john Le carrè; wolf hall/bring up the bodies, Hillary mantle; the Patrick melrose novels, Edward st aubub; the painted veil, w Somerset Maugham; the sense of an ending, Julian Barnes; Ethan frome, Edith Wharton(her short story collections are also a favourite). I could go on for days if I don’t stop myself…happy reading.

  22. Sara

    I just finished Sold by Patricia McCormick. It is a very fast read, but one that will keep you thinking after you finish. I also loved Little Bee and would recommend. My question is though, how could you not finish The Paris Wife? I loved it! And if you start The Goldfinch, be careful – it is very, very dark. I found it hard to push through to the end, and was left a little disappointed. Happy reading, and I hope you share what you read and loved!

  23. Ellie McNevin

    You have to read Gone with the Wind if you haven’t already… it will take more than a week, but totally worth it!

  24. Monica

    Hi Kate!

    I highly recommend The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper (read it before you see the movie!!). Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward and Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou (try the audio book – Maya’s voice is so captivating) are also both great reads. I’d love for you to let us know what 12 books you end up reading!

    Happy reading!

  25. Emily

    The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan is so inspiring-I would highly recommend that book of essays and short stories.

  26. Carrie

    You’ve got some great suggestions already! I second “Beautiful Ruins” and “Rules of Civility”. I do think “The Goldfinch” is worth the investment of time (and emotion!)

  27. Robyn Mizrach

    I’ve just finished Naomi Wood’s ‘Mrs. Hemingway’ – which covers similar ground as ‘The Paris Wife’, with much, much, MUCH stronger prose / insight / seriousness… each of Hemingway’s wives (i.e. – all the drama) are represented. Now I’m starting ‘Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932’ by Francine Prose, who never disappoints… I’ve a feeling you’ll love this. Next on my list – Jenny Ofill’s ‘The Department of Speculation’, which looks brilliant – a re-reading of Renata Adler’s ‘Speedboat’ – classic! – & Leslie Jamison’s essay collection ‘The Empathy Exams’. I’m also looking to everything Javier Marías has written – he’s new to me, but might win a Nobel soon… There’s more, but that’s my short-list. ;)

  28. Martha

    The most enjoyable book I’ve read recently (past year or so) was AFTER VISITING FRIENDS by Michael Hainey. He’s the deputy editor at GQ magazine, and the book is a memoir/biography of his father, a well known and well respected Chicago newspaperman. It’s a very bittersweet story, but so honestly and lovely told! Quite a treasure of a read.

  29. Kaitlin

    I love this!!
    I absolutely second the Maggie Shipstead reco, some of my friends thought her characters were too unlikable, but I loved her stories and the quality of her writing.
    I just finished Station Eleven and loved it–relevant right now. A mysterious flu wipes out most of the population, but the story is not nihilistic, it’s more about how people survive. It’s almost elegiac.
    My book club just read Boys in the Boat, non fiction, and we all loved it–about the Washington crew team that rowed at the Munich Olympics before WWII broke out. I think it’s a NYTs best seller right now, too.
    If you’re looking for something fun, I highly recommend The Rosie Project, the book flap initially sounded unappealing to me, but I was laughing so hard and just loved the characters. Same author as Silver LInings Playbook.
    My all time favorites are: Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Wonder by RJ Palacio (a kids book, but honestly, I was weeping on public transit while reading it it was so moving), Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka, Still Points North by leigh newman (a memoir about growing up in Alaska!), Edgar Sawtelle by David Wrobleski (if you have a dog, this might be up your alley, a little magical realism and a lot of heart), The Round House by Louise Erdich.

    Enjoy! When I try to muscle through a bunch of books at once I always make sure to throw in some fun ones like mysteries or young adult to keep me going. 12 in 12 is a lot!! I think something longer should count as 2. :)

  30. 'Becca'lise

    Here are some recent reads that I enjoyed:
    A Curious Invitation by Suzette Field (an analysis of famous fictional parties in literature)
    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
    Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film by Marc Spitz
    Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
    Night Film by Marisha Pessl
    Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder

  31. Kelly

    I’d also like to cast another vote for “The Rosie Project”. It’s fun and heartwarming. I gave a copy to my dad to read while recovering from surgery. He ended up reading the entire thing before his surgery even began, and now he’s asking me for recommendations of books “like The Rosie Project”.

  32. Katie

    Some favorites that really, really stand out over time:

    Atonement by Ian McEwan–a lot of people have read it already, but if you haven’t I highly recommend it. I keep coming back to favorite passages… McEwan describes life so vividly (and if you’re looking for a short one to pad your numbers, I also love his On Chesil Beach, though it’s a bit depressing).

    A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul – subtly funny and so real, in its way. Just genius.

    Netherland by Joseph O’Neill – finding the American Dream among immigrant cricket players in New York, narrated by a quiet Dutch guy whose marriage is falling apart. It’s like a post-9/11 Great Gatsby with more grit and less glamour. I don’t know how one comes up with the idea for this novel, but it’s sheer brilliance.

    What else lately… just read an Irish novel called Skippy Dies that is both hilarious and poignant, and also really fast-moving and engaging. I also love everything Jeffrey Eugenides writes.

    I totally agree… wish I could be as big a bookworm now as I was as a child!

  33. Maggie

    I’m also a former bookworm trying to get back into the habit! Been reading a ton lately. More than the novel “Z” I think you would like the actual Zelda biography by Nancy Milford (I’m reading Z now and finding it not nearly as interesting as the actual letters and journals!). Try “We were the Mulvaneys” by Joyce Carol Oates for something heavier (PS go to see her speak sometime, she’s amazing). I love anything by Barbara Kingsolver, especially The Lacuna (set in Mexico with Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky as characters). For non-fiction, I recently read “Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House” and ooh you might really like “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. Ok, that’ll keep you busy ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *