When many of us were faced with the first two weeks of stay at home orders, there was talk of all of the books we would read, shows we would catch up on and closets we would organized! Unfortunately the rapid fire news cycle and crippling anxiety made much of that impossible. Personally I found myself unable to focus on books for long enough to enjoy them.
Now that we’re on week eight, I have been able to read again, although within some specific parameters. I am mostly reading light, escapist reads. Since I know many of you are experiencing the same thing, I’m recommending ten books to read when you can’t focus.
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Honestly, this recommendation could be anything by Christina Lauren, the writing team that churns out romance novels with great dialogue and well-developed characters. Roomies was the first book I read after it was all the buzz in my book circles a couple of years ago and I’ve spent the intervening time getting my hands on the rest of their library.
If you missed this when it was released, now is the perfect time to pick up this novel by Heather and Jessica of Go Fug Yourself because the sequel, The Heir Affair, will be released this July. The Royal We is an absolute delight of a book inspired by Kate Middleton and Prince William and as of the publishing of this post the kindle version is on sale for $2.99.
If I recommended one book to you last year it was likely Red, White and Royal Blue, a love story between the fictional first son of the United States and the Prince of Wales. It’s steamy, the dialogue pops, you’ll fall in love with every character, and you’ll anxiously await the next novel from Casey McQuiston.
After reading this book I made it my mission to read more from Jenny Colgan and while I’ve enjoyed many of her reads, and they’re the perfect comfort reads, The Bookshop on the corner remains my favorite of hers.
After reading: Follow up with The Bookshop on the Shore featuring a new main character, but still checks in on your old favorites.
The reviews on this book are pretty mixed, but you’ll recall that I’m creating a list of books that doesn’t ask much of you. I really enjoyed this sweet YA novel about two Indian teenagers struggling with their parents plans for their lives and their own wants and desires. It’s a summer novel with an iced coffee featuring prominently on the cover. I think it delivers exactly what it suggests that it will.
After reading: I enjoyed From Twinkle, With Love by the same author
If you’ve missed this series, you are in for a TREAT getting to read it now for the first time. While I’ve read the entire series twice, and would be up for a third rereading, I’m envious of anyone who gets to experience this series as a newcomer. The YA series starts with a series of letters Lara Jean wrote to every boy she’s ever loved accidentally getting mailed to their addressees. It sounds like it would be wildly uncomfortable to read, but really it’s perfection.
After reading: Watch the first two book adaptations on Netflix and then watch them again.
I finally read this book last year after hearing just about everyone talk about it, and it delivered. This YA fantasy series is part steamy love story, part kick-ass feminist adventure. I’ve attempted to read a few fantasy novels after this book and I’m afraid I’m going to constantly be searching for a book that stands up to this series.
After reading: Keep reading. If you can finish this book without immediately needing to read A Court of Mist and Fury, then I’ll eat my hat.
I know, I know the last thing you want is a political novel right now. Hear me out. From the Corner of the Oval is a memoir of a woman who landed a job as stenographer in the White House during the Obama administration. While there are Obama sightings and rides on Air Force One, the real story here is the deep dive into her love life and the mistakes made therein.
After reading: If this whets your appetite for more stories from a better time, consider Obama, An Intimate Portrait, the book by White House photographer Pete Souza.
Whether you have been Team Jessica for years, or if you don’t really know much about Jessica Simpson beyond the fact that she was among the trifecta of blond, teen, pop princesses, I think this book is a fantastic memoir. I fall into the first category. I have loved Jessica Simpson and have rooted for her since her Newlywed days. I was so excited for this book that I bought the hardcover the week it was released. For this library loving girl, that was a huge commitment! This book was full of surprises (Johnny Knoxville!) and confirmed things I’ve long suspected (John Mayer!) Prepare to seethe with rage when she relives the mom jeans incident and the subsequent Googling that will show you that she a) looked fantastic and b) was ahead of her time fashion-wise.
Best line of the book? “I’ll make it back, I promise. And then I did. Give or take a billion.”
After reading: Listen to Kate Kennedy’s deep dive into the book on the podcast Be There in Five.
What better time to read this quirky novel from the same brilliant mind who brought us Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore than right now when sourdough starters are brewing on kitchen counters throughout the world?
After reading: Try your hand at a sourdough starter of your own.