Happy December, y’all! It’s time for another Must Read Books list. Can you believe this will be the last Must Read list for the year? My next big reading list will be my Favorite Books of 2015. I cannot believe we are at a point for me to be doing a big round-up of my all-time favorite reads for the year. Where has time flown? This list includes a book that I’ve read (and loved!!), a sequel to a book I read a few years ago that I’m excited to read and some new books that look super intriguing. Happy Reading!
ONE: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.
Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.
At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.
TWO: The Seeds of a Daisy by Alison Caiola (The Lily Lockwood Series Book 1)
Sarah Jessica Parker has said about this book: “What a great story!”
From the outside looking in, Lily Lockwood–popular star of the hit TV show “St. Joes”–seems to have it all. She has recently been nominated for an Emmy and her star is on the rise. Lily shares her beachfront Malibu home with her gorgeous actor-boyfriend Jamie. Perfect? Not so fast. Within a microcosmically short period of time, the whole thing falls apart when she learns that this boyfriend, on location shooting a Western, is riding horses all day and his curvy co-star all night. Then, before Lily can catch her breath, she gets words that her beloved mother, bestselling author Daisy Lockwood, has had a near-fatal car crash and is in intensive care in New York.
Lily flies from Los Angeles to be with Daisy. Once there, she must make critical life-and-death decisions. While sorting through her mother’s papers, Lily makes a shocking discovery about her mother that threatens to shake Lily’s very foundation. This sets Lily on a journey as she seeks to unlock the riddle of her mother’s past.
THREE: Guarded by Angela Correll
FORMER NEW YORK CITY flight attendant Annie Taylor is adjusting to farm life when her grandmother considers tearing down the old stone house, unable to finance a restoration after a summer fire. Annie’s boyfriend, Jake, has severed his corporate life in Cincinnati and is jumping headlong into sustainable farming on the land next door. Their new relationship is wonderful-but can it last? As they take steps forward, her paralyzing fear of abandonment threatens to destroy her trust in Jake. As Annie works to save the old stone house, she finds letters written during World War II that reveal a family mystery and an Italian connection. Her grandmother is hesitant to uncover the secret, afraid of what it might mean to her family’s name if they discover the truth. Comments from a nosy neighbor solidify Annie’s fears about herself and when Beulah agrees for Annie to travel to Italy to uncover the truth about her family, Annie is happy for the time away to sort out her feelings. In the meantime, Beulah is left with an unexpected Italian-Catholic houseguest who wreaks havoc with Beulah’s Baptist ways and country routine. As the family mystery unfolds in Italy, Annie is forced to face her own past. Will she let history sabotage the future?
FOUR: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.
FIVE: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
In LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.”
“Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you’d never guess because we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, ‘We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.’ Except go back and cross out the word ‘hiding.'”
Jenny’s first book, LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn’t need a bit more of that?
SIX: The Lake House by Kate Morton
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets.
Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…
One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.
Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.
A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.
(Where I Party)