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recent reads (9 books to add to your reading list)

    Confession: I am a sporadic reader.

    Months will go by where I don’t have a book, and then I’ll find a good one, remember how much I love reading and plow through a bunch. Are you like that? It would be nice if I could be more consistent and make my brain work a little for entertainment and yet this cycle of not reading/reading continues.

    One thing that helps is to have a good list of book recommendations – so I’m here to day to share some recent reads with you to add to your reading list.

    Note: my book preference leans heavily toward fiction – stories about historical events or people are great – and when authors can weave separate character story lines into one, I’m especially happy.  Each of these books meet these criteria.

    9 books worth reading / jones design company

    The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

    Anything by Kate Morton is great. This one is my favorite of hers.

    Far Outside the Ordinary by Prissy Elrod

    A sweet memoir about marriage and loss and love.

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer + Annie Barrows

    I fell in love with the characters and didn’t want this one to be over! Plus, it’s semi-historical fiction so you feel like you’re learning something new about the impacts of WWII.

    All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

    Another WWII setting and so, so rich in language, story, characters, depth and beauty. Read it.

    The Invention of Wings by Sue Mont Kidd

    Slavery, friendship, the early women’s rights movement … a good book based on true characters and events.

    The House Girl by Tara Conklin

    I like when stories go from two different time periods – and this one was great. Another one about slavery, friendship, justice with characters you miss when the book ends.

    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

    Cute story. Makes you think. There’s a sequel I want to read to hear another side of the story.

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

    Light-hearted, smartly written, romantic comedy in book form – from the voice of a grown man with odd social behaviors and humorous approach to life. I like this one and just discovered there’s a sequel. Will be reading it shortly.

    Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

    I picked this up just a few days ago and couldn’t stop. From the author of What Alice Forgot (have you read it? So good.) and I maybe even like this one more. I’m reading another by her next.  I guess I have a thing for Miss Moriarty’s writing style.
    What are your favorite recent reads? Please share in the comments below …

    77 thoughts on “recent reads (9 books to add to your reading list)”

    1. I LOVE your blog! I love your design, your prints, your outfit ideas. I always love book suggestions and have now read four of these. I am disappointed by the extreme foul language in three of them. I did not expect that from your blog.

    2. The House Girl. I ordered the book because it was on your list! I do have to warn readers, there are quite a few expletives in the book and several abuses of the third commandment!

    3. I just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and I feel a great debt of gratitude to you for recommending it. I loved it beyond words.

    4. In the middle of “All the Light We Cannot See” and loving it. Agree with others about “Orphan Train”. Finished “You Before Me” and “A State of Wonder” a few weeks ago and loved both of them, too. “A State of Wonder” was chosen after reading “Bel Canto”… Ann Patchett is now one of my faves.

    5. so glad you liked my mom’s book ‘Far Outside the Ordinary.’ Such a small world since I have followed your blog and Instagram feed for sometime now…. And lo and behold mom’s memoir is on your blog. Thanks for your support of her lay-it-all-out labor of love. Xoxo

    6. went thru this list of people’s favorites, and can’t believe I didn’t find Francine River’s books anywhere!! If noone has read her books, they have a real TREAT coming…………she is the best author and all her books are GREAT…if you don’t read any of them then DO. Read with an open ‘spiritual’ mind and you will be blessed. no doubt.

    7. anything by Francine Rivers is AWESOME. My favorite of all times is ‘Redeeming Love’. Also the ‘Sineater’, Liota’s Garden, etc etc.

    8. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe. No, I am not kidding. He is witty, smart, charming, humble, and he has been married to his wife for 25 years.

    9. I have read three of your suggestions and whole heartedly agree they are worth the time. I’ll be looking into the others. Just finished Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen which I would recommend. It is a mix of sadness and hope and a reminder that redemption does not always come in the way we might expect.

    10. Hi Emily! I also am a huge fan of Kate Morton, and am presently really enjoying The House at Riverton, but so far the Secret Keeper is my favorite! I recently read The Birth House by Ami McKay and loved it! It’s about the life of a midwife, set in a small, isolated fishing village in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (just a few hours from where I grew up). Gritty and emotional at times, it made me so very humbled and grateful for the countless blessings and abundance I have in my own life. If you can stomach a few brief, but rather unpleasant parts, it really is a beautiful story!

    11. Oh Emily, so many comments for you to read….!
      My must read: ‘One thousand gifts’ – A dare to live fully right where you are’, by Ann Voskamp (Canadian). It is about thankful living, in every circumstance. So hard, but so beautiful. Hope it speaks to your heart the way it did to mine!
      Bye, Wicorel

    12. Thanks for the list! The only one I’ve read is The Rosie Project. Loved it! So fun.

      I’m the same as you. I love to read, but it goes in fits and spurts. I read 4 and a half books on our one week vacation in February, but haven’t picked up the book since we got back to finish it!

    13. I loved The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society! I read it once and listened to it on audio once. I would love to visit the Channel Islands. I also love Sue Monk Kidd’s books. I’m a fan of The Mitford series and I just finished Jan Karon’s latest installment, Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good. I look forward to reading some of your choices!

    14. We have similar tastes! Kate Morton is one of my faves as is Charles Martin and Susanna Kearsley. Can’t recommend either of them highly enough! Love anything & everything I have read from either of them.
      Great list Emily! I have added a few to my “to read” list…

    15. I think we could be book reading besties! The Outlander series is my favorite series ever and I just love Susanna Kearsley, after reading The Winter Sea, I went on to read all of her other books and love them too!

    16. Emily, thanks for the book list……several years ago I read a book that you recommend, It was either Sea Biscuit or Unbroken. When I find an author I like I read everything they write. Thanks for sharing I look forward to your book list each year.

    17. Thank you for this list, I am always on the lookout for a new good book. I am currently reading The Boys in the Boat, it is fascinating! You would especially appreciate it like Wendy said because you are from WA. I just finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This book was amazing! It was so good I’ll forgive the handful of swear words. : / (there were about 5, I counted.)I’m usually a “read at night just before bed” kind of person but I couldn’t put this one down the last 150 pages or so. Best I’ve read in a long time! As always, I am a huge fan of Kate Morton!

    18. Thanks for the suggestions! The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is my absolute favorite series of books!!! The 1st book Outlander has been made into a television series on the STARZ network. 2nd half of season 1 started on April 4th. The Rose Garden & The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley are also really good.

    19. The Passion and Perils of the Insatiably Hungry by Kirsten Joy – An absolute delight! Page turner, funny, tugs at your heart strings and makes you think.

      Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson – A surprising love story with depth that you don’t see coming. The humor was witty and spot on.

      Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – Incredible writing, mind bending plot

      These is My Words by Nancy Turner – One of the best of all time. Sad, sweet, historical, inspiring.

    20. Several of these are on my ‘to read’ list. Another group of books I’ve started reading is the Maisie Dobbs series by Jaqueline Winspear. They start out in the early 1900s and follow Maisie through her life. Excellent read.

    21. Love Kate Morton! Wish she’d bring out a new one.
      Also love Kate Mosse (Labyrinth, Sepulchre, Citadel). She weaves between time.
      Helen Dunmore, The Great Coat is a love story/ghost story set in the war.
      Lisa Jewell, The House We Grew Up In. Again, back and forth between present day and the past.
      Anything by Maggie O’Farrell.

      So many good books out there…..

    22. I recently read The Giver series by Lois Lowry and couldn’t put them down. Even at the end of the fourth book, I was sad that it had come to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed them! Another great read is Meindert DeJong’s House of Sixty Fathers. It’s a short, easy read, but it gives a very tense (but sweet) perspective of WWII from the eyes of a Chinese boy.

    23. I go through periods when I can get my hands on enough books and read them all within a few weeks time. Then, it might be another two months before I pick up a book. It’s like I fill my head with food for thought and then some so I need to take time after to digest all I’ve consumed.
      I’m not usually a best seller list reader. I like to go through book lists from years past and discover books I’ve never heard of before…like a treasure hunt.
      Most recently, I hunted down a book titled “A Fall of Marigolds” by Susan Meissner. It’s a story that goes back and forth between time periods. A story about strong women and women who love passionately, lose painfully and fight for the good life fearlessly. All of this intertwined with a story of two women and their lovely everyday lives.

    24. Thanks for the great book ideas as well! I love historical fiction, being taken away to places long ago. Loved the Potato Peel Society … Just adorable. Also, The Secret Keeper and just finishing The Invention of Wings. Have heard of the others and I’m also a sporadic reader, and always promising myself to slow down and enjoy going somewhere else. I think our minds like an “escape” now and then

    25. My all-time favorite book is These Is My Words by Nancy Turner. It is THE BEST! Historical fiction about the Southwest. I’m a born and raised Arizonan, but I think even you PNWers will love it. :) (it is a three book series, but the first is by far the best…) Read It!

    26. Great suggestions! I’ve read some but not all of these. I just finished book 6 (I think) of Jeffrey Archer ‘ s series, which I call (and I think he does too ) the Clifton chronicles. Fabulous fiction with a historical background. I hope there is another one coming next year!

    27. I can’t recommend The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt enough. She is a captivating wordsmith and you really get swept into the story she’s telling. You feel you know her characters. The Goldfinch is one where you fall utterly in love during the final couple chapters once you realize the essential message and theme. It’s a lengthy book, but I assure you it’s worth it. She won the Pulitzer for this one, though I certainly don’t think awards are a necessary trait for a great book. (Available on audio, too, and read very pleasantly. Try your library for audio app sources! I, too, listen while doing chores or commuting. Great way to multitask and entertain both sides of the brain.)

    28. I’m so thankful for your post! I, too, am a sporadic reader. I have to hear it from someone else that I MUST read a book. Your post comes at a perfect time since we’ll be traveling overseas soon and I was in desperate need of a few good books for the plane ride. Can’t wait to get them loaded on my Kindle and dig in, so thank you!!

    29. If you love fiction and history, I recommend Ken Follett’s trilogy starting with Fall of Giants.

      Has anyone read Dennis Lehane?

    30. I have read several you recommended so here are some I enjoyed!
      When we were strangers- Pamela Schoenewaldt
      Sycamore Row by John grisham
      The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana trigiani
      A Thousand Splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini, also And the Mountains echoed
      the Book Thief by Markus Zusak
      The Orchide House by Lucinda Riley
      I hope you love these as much as I did!

    31. All of Kate Morton’s books are fantastic! Loved All the Light You cannot See and the Guernsey Pie one. I’m getting ready to read The Girl on the Train. Cannot wait to try some of these. Be sure and try some by Jojo Moyes…The Girl You Left Behind and The Last Letter from your Lover….great! My book club is reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I have never read and I am really enjoying it. The Boys in the Boat was excellent also. Hope I’ve given you some good ideas and I cannot wait to read Big Little lies.

    32. hi emily… such a great list… love kate morton… the forgotten garden was a wonderful book! have you read whistling past the graveyard by susan crandall? i absolutely loved it… a few of my ig friends recommended it to me and i’m so glad that i read it : )

    33. Current read is “Maximus” a novel by Richard L Black, historical fiction from around the time of Christ about a Roman general who goes undercover to observe and report on the peaceful rabbi.
      Thank you for your suggestions!

    34. Thanks for the suggestions! I love fiction and the historical fiction books are great. I’ve loved your other book recommendations so I look forward to reading these. I love any Mary Kay Andrews books! They mix history, decorating, mystery and a little romance together for an easy read book. Definitely look her up and read any of her books.

    35. Thanks to all for your recommendations. I am also a huge fan of the Potato Peel Pie book and look forward to Annie Barrows next book. Light fiction but insightful on the making of a strong marriage are Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap series.

    36. Your recommendations came just in time! I am planning for my beach trip that is a month away and printed the list to take to my library this afternoon.
      I just finished Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. It was originally published in 1947 but recently came out on Kindle. It is set in northern Canada and is a wonderful story.
      I have enjoyed your picks in the past so I look forward to reading these.

    37. A couple of books that I’ve read recently that were just wonderful are “The Cellist of Sarajevo” by Steven Galloway (inspired by the true story of a cellist who played for 22 days at the site of a tragic mortar shell attack during the siege) and “H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald (non-fiction – the author decided to train a goshawk in an effort to deal with her grief from losing her father). Both are fascinating stories & *beautifully* written. I’m happy to see “All the Light We Cannot See” on your list – it’s one of the best books I’ve read in years!

    38. Just read The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin and it was great. On Amazon it said that if you like The Rosie Project you would like The Storied Life…..
      So, I’m going to read The Rosie Project next! And I hope you read and enjoy The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and enjoy. :)

    39. I read more nonfiction than fiction these days. Recently, I absolutely loved The Rocks Don’t Lie by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient David Montgomery. The author is a scholar (a professor of geology specializing in land forms) but the book is written very much for a general audience. It’s a fascinating look at ancient flood mythology, the history of religion (and particularly developments in the US from the second great awakening on) the development of geology as a scientific discipline, and how inextricably intertwined the history of science is from the history of religion. Both are the search for truth, they both have their places and they are not incompatible, though in more recent times, some movements have made them so.
      Totally fascinating and real food for thought. I had epiphanies reading this book.

    40. We Were Liars was one of the best books I have read this year. I highly recommend it and have been telling my students about it ad nauseam!

    41. Little Bee by Chris Cleave.
      Sue Monk Kidd wrote The Secret Life of Bees a wonderful book!
      Stones From the River. Ursula Hegi
      I read a lot, its my profession and I’m one of the luckiest people to be able to work at what I love. I’m currently reading young adult literature and can’t say enough about Laurie Halse Anderson’s trilogy that begins with Chains and Forge historically about the Revolutionary War and slavery.

    42. Little Bee by Chris Cleave.
      Sue Monk Kidd wrote The Secret Life of Bees a wonderful book!
      Stones From the River. Ursula Hegi
      I read a lot, its my profession and I’m one of the luckiest people to be able to work at what I love. I’m currently reading young adult literature and can’t day enough about Laurie Halse Anderson’s trilogy that begins with Chains and Forge historically about the Revolutionary War and slavery.

    43. I have read half of these, so I think we may enjoy the same type of book, thanks for all the recomendations. I really liked The Light Between Oceans – by M.L. Stedman, hope you find some time to read this one.

    44. Great list! I’ve read most of them. ‘The Rosie Project’ has been on my list for ages. I need to get to it.
      I recently read a couple of good books from the Bailey long list. I loved ‘A God In Every Stone’ which is set in India after WWI, and ‘The Bees’, which is a sort of dystopian story about bees. It’s totally different, great writing, fascinating story.

    45. I just finished “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily P. Freeman. It was just what I needed to help me realize even though I have trusted God for my salvation, I don’t need to keep trying so hard to work for his grace in daily life. On a less “serious” subject, I’m reading “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot. Having grown up on a farm, the veterinarian stories from England’s countryside are all so familiar and make me feel like I’m back on the farm. Thanks for the suggestions for more reading goodness.

    46. Have you ever read The Glass Castle? True story. Riveting. And how about Captive in Iran. Another recent true story. Amazing girls!

    47. I’ve read lots of these books and keep seeing the other titles, so thank you for the recs! I second The Girl On The Train? Do you use Audible ever? It’s the Amazon audiobook app. I listen to books sometimes while I run errands, after kids are in bed and I’m folding clothes, etc. Anyway, it was a really fun way to “read” the book bc it takes place in London and is written and thus spoken, in 3 voices. I also have 4 littles and can’t often find time to read so sometimes I listen.
      I also love The Refiner’s Fire series by Lynn Austin and These Is My Words by Nancy Turner.

    48. I just read the most delicious, heart pounding book called The Passions and Perils of the Insatiably Hungry by Kirsten Joy. The love story, the food writing, the humor—I was sad to see it come to an end. I also loved several of the suggestions from JDC, and I can’t get enough of the classics, like Edith Wharton.

    49. I’ve had “All the Light We Cannot See” on my wish list for quite some time. I guess I have to buy now, and I agree with Orohan Train. It was a great book. I read Still Alice about a month ago and LOVED it. I’ll be checking out a few more on the list too. Thanks for the recommendations.

    50. I haven’t read a book since last summer-and now just finished my 22nd since January! A lot I read were on your list. I liked Big Little Lies better than the Husbands Secret. Good books! Have you tried goodreads? Its a website you can follow friends and see what they think of books as well as professional reviews. The app for it allows you to scan a book and save it for later if you see something interesting. It also encourages you to set goals on how many books to read for the year that keeps me motivated without any reading lulls!

    51. These all sound amazing! I will recommend them to our book club. I’m about to go on a little vaca with my hubby. I will have lots of time to relax and read. If any of these are MAJOR page turners I would love to know. I’m trying to pick a book before I leave.

    52. All the Light We Cannot See is amazing! Read it last summer while in France…odd coincidence. My other favourite summer read from last year was Saving CeeCee Honeycutt so you must read that one. Girl on the Train is a thriller like Gone Girl…a real page turner. Thanks for the suggestions. There are a few I haven’t read yet.

    53. I loved the guernsey potatoe peel society too. Great read. I love Sue. Monk Kidd as well. Haven’t read any of these. I did love the Middle place by Kelly Corrigan and just re- read it because I wanted a good book but didn’t feel like trying to find one. :) thanks for the help I will write the titles down to look for them when I am shopping,

    54. For anyone who enjoyed Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train has a similar vibe: mystery, multiple narrators with differing time frames. It will keep you guessing!

    55. I loved Big Little Lies & All the Light We Cannot See.
      I was a fun of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society but I think it was a little too kitschy for me. The history was fascinating! The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty is great! Her writing style is fabulous and sometimes we need to read a thick book that moves so fast!

      Looking forward to trying the other ones you recommended!

    56. Big Little Lies is a winner. Could not put it down.

      Annie Barrows has a new one coming soon and you will love it —The Truth According to Us.

      Here’s some nonfiction that will grab you — so amazing because it is true. Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire, A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival by Peter Stark.

      Emily, These northwest books read like fiction and will give you background to share with your family—all amazing books. Makes you treasure where you are planted!

      Here’s some more from the Pacific Northwest—just fabulous writing by Jack Nisbet.

      1. Visible Bones: Journeys Across Time in the Columbia River Country;
      2. Sources of the River: Tracking Down David Thompson Across Western North America;
      3 The Mapmakers Eye: David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau;
      4. The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest
      5. David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work

      Jack has a new book coming out and I am certain it will be as well-written as those above.

      6. Ancient Places: People and Landscape of the Emerging Northwest

    57. I recently read The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon. And finally found time to read Saving CeCe Hunnicut. I enjoyed both of those. A recent Christian fiction that I liked is Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Jones. Not historical fiction, but a good story and well written.

    58. Oooh, I haven’t read most of these, Emily! Only The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – which is now one of my favorites… I felt the same way about being so intrigued that I was learning a side of WWII I didn’t know. I haven’t even heard of most of the others, so thank you for some new reading recommendations! I’ve found it’s so hard to trust what’s on “best seller” lists, so I love getting ideas from trusted sources! I got into The Mysterious Benedict Society thanks to you too. Have you read Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy? I think you would like it – beautiful writing.

    59. I’ve read most of these and enjoyed them, too! Try “The Orphan Train” for your next read, it definitely meets your criteria and I loved it. Also, not fiction, but excellent “The Boys in the Boat” (esp. since you are from WA!).

    60. Also, if you like intertwined points of view, I just read The Girl On The Train (can’t remember the author). It was quite the page-turner! It is a bit dark though (mystery/thriller) and has some language. We Were Liars was another great read!

    61. I too am a sporadic reader! I can go 3 months without touching a book and then read 8 of them in a month. It’s weird. :) I’ve only read Big Little Lies (love all of her books!!) from this list–thank you for the recs! I will have to download all of these. Historical fiction may be my favorite.

    62. Thanks for the recommendations. I have been at a loss lately looking for some new authors. I already downloaded one and I’m sure I will read more! Thanks!

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