Fall is here, in full effect and something about this season makes me want to read. Maybe it’s the crisp, cool weather, or the natural desire to want to linger a little longer in bed as I enjoy the warmth of my fluffy blanket. Whatever it is, I always long to read to my hearts content and this season has been no different. Side perk – I also love when my kids walk into my room and see me reading as opposed to being on my phone or doing chores…again. More often than not they will curl up next to me in my bed with a book of their own. It’s so nice to be able to be with my kids in that way. Reading together is such a sweet and wholesome way to bond.
As such, it seemed completely appropriate (and about time!) for me to do a blog post on my top 10 book recommendations to inspire your own fall reading.
- The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion – This book had me laughing out loud throughout the entire thing. One scene in particular gave me the giggles so bad that I had tears streaming down my face and I literally couldn’t stop laughing at what I was envisioning in my mind. This is the story of Don Tillman, an intelligent but socially awkward professor of genetics who makes the decision that it is time to get married. He of course goes about it in the most unconventional way possible by making it into an official project, which he calls The Wife Project, complete with a survey to boot. The questionnaire is made to filter out drinkers, smokers and late arrivers when he stumbles upon Rosie Jarman, a woman who possesses all of these qualities. Even so, an unlikely relationship develops as they end up working together on a separate project for Rosie to find her biological father – The Father Project. In the end, the book is about control, or lack thereof, when it comes to love. I loved this book for so many reasons but my favorite thing was definitely getting an inside look into the mind of socially awkward person. It opened my heart in a really unique way and showed me that you can’t always judge a person by their social behavior.
- The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine – I hate to admit this, but this book had me reading at red stop lights toward the very end. It had so many twists and turns, and the characters were impossible not to get wrapped up in. We are first introduced to Amber Patterson, who is seeping with envy; it literally oozes out of her. Amber thinks she is plain and “a nobody” when she schemes beautiful, wealthy, “she has it all” Daphne Parrish. Amber is really after Daphne’s husband, Jackson, a strikingly handsome real-estate mogul. Amber befriends Daphne to get close to Jackson but of course there has to bumps in the road…and bumps there are plenty. Big huge ones in fact. This book had me on the edge of my seat, I literally made excuses of having to go to bathroom so I could escape to finish. Addictive, and compelling, the story will take you from your own world for a little while, which is always one the best things about getting wrapped up in a book.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – This book reminded me of my first recommendation, The Rosie Project: A Novel. Another deep look into someone who is both socially awkward and misunderstood. Eleanor is rude, and even heartless at times, until you really get to know her and learn more about her past. For me, this book is ultimately about the power of friendship…as cliche as it sounds, it’s true. Friendship can sometimes lead to other things like romantic love, and sometimes it can lead to even more profound things like healing deep-seeded heartbreak. I loved the book for again, opening my eyes, but even more so for opening my heart.
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – The opening description on Amazon gives you a snippet into the very beginning of this incredibly relatable story. Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal…A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?This book was so popular it was made into mini series on HBO that went on to win 19 major nominations and 13 awards, including Emmy awards for Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actress (Nicole Kidman), and Outstanding Supporting Actor (Alexander Skarsgard).
- The story follows feisty Madeline, beautiful but beautifully unhappy, Celeste, and Jane, the young mom who is desperately trying to fit in and figure out the doubts she has about her son at the same time. But what the story really is about is the “dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.” The book is set in Australia, but once they made it into a mini series they moved the location to Monterey, California, which for me was so amazing. My brother has a very successful Greek restaurant in Monterey so it when I watched the series it was so interesting to see all these popular places in Monterey and Big Sur. The series was such a hit they went on to make a second season, which is pretty impressive seeing how there was technically no part 2 to the novel. Read the book first, then watch the mini series. Both are equally incredible.
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – This book was seriously so much fun to read. Imagine majorly bumping your head and waking up thinking you’re 29…blissfully married with a baby on the way. Reality is you’re actually 39 and going through a nasty divorce. Such is the premise for this book. Alice falls off her spin bike at the gym and hits her head so bad that she wakes up with amnesia. She has no memory of the last ten years of her life and has no idea WHY she is divorcing her husband, who she loves so much. It’s almost like she has the do-over so many of wish we had at some point in our lives. However, she first needs to reconstruct the events of a lost decade, find out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how she became one of those uber skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over. Like I said, a super fun read.
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – I’m a huge sucker for thrillers and this one does not disappoint. I’m finding a pattern about myself as I write this post because again what I liked best about this book is that I learned something about the internal struggle of a woman, consumed by depression and loss. Set in London, Rachel takes the train every day to work. It’s the same train, same route, with relatively same people each day. One day when the train stops for just a minute, she sees something terrifying and goes to the police. But is she reliable? Is she hallucinating?
- This book was quite a ride and toward the end I was finding myself staying up until the wee hours of the night to finish reading. This was also made into a movie, starring Emily Blunt, and she did an incredible job with the role. I loved the book and loved the movie the same.
- The Good Girl by Mary Kubica – This is one of those books you’ll be thinking about for weeks after you’ve finished reading. It reminds me of the feeling I had after watching Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. For some reason I was haunted, not in a bad way, but haunted just the same, by this movie. The Good Girl has a very similar effect for me. The story is about Mia, who goes to a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend but ends up leaving with an alluring stranger. She thinks it’s a safe one-night stand but it turns out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life. This book is addictive and has a twist you won’t see coming at all. After I finished this book I wanted to read every single book written by Mary Kubica but at the time it was her debut novel. Since then, she’s written a few more, and I’ve read them as well. This, however, is my favorite by Kubica so far. She crafted an expertly addictive storyline, with equally fascinating characters.
- How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims – I stumbled upon this book searching for university profiles on Instagram. I thought searching on Instagram would give me insight on how actual college students feel about whatever college/university I was researching. In one of the comments for a small private college in San Fransisco, I saw this book title as highly recommended reading. When I researched it on Amazon, its description read a “ provocative manifesto that exposes the harms of helicopter parenting and sets forth an alternate philosophy for raising preteens and teens to self-sufficient young adulthood.” This resonated with me because my husband and I are both desperately trying NOT to be helicopter parents as we were both raised without this new wave of parenting style and feel we were both more competent and emotionally mature than our own children at their current ages. We had chores, and lots of them. We didn’t dare disrespect our parents, and we did our homework without being constantly yelled at. As parents now ourselves we have often thought, are we hovering too much? The author, Julie Lythcott-Haims, is the former Dean of Admissions for Stanford University so she draws on years of research and interviews, as well as her own personal insights. She’s doesn’t lecture but truly empathizes with parents, as she is a parent herself of two children. I honestly want to pass out copies of this in front of every elementary school, middle school and high school in my neighborhood. I have recognized myself in many of her stories, laughed out loud at some of her observations, and cried actual tears at some of her crucial points about raising children who can actually function as adults. This is a must must must read if you have children and notice they can’t do the same things you use to do when you were their age. This is why I bought the book and this is why I went on to buy the Audible version for my husband to read on his commute to work. We are both finishing the end of the book as I write this post and already find ourselves softening toward certain excessive and ridiculous expectations we had before, and hardening toward other things we had let go to the wayside like household chores, helping unload the groceries, and working out in the yard. Sure, our kids are complaining about the extra chores (ah, the unfairness of life!), but what they are gaining is so much more important: life skills (NONE of my kids knew how to put on the mattress flat sheet), responsibility, and contributing for the common good of a whole. That alone, is golden.
- Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love your Body by Kate Hudson – I first read this book when I was feeling down about my life, just the typical mom blues…life is busy, why can’t I fit in everything, how do some moms seems to do it all, and do it all so well? I saw this at Costco and was enticed by the title – Pretty Happy. That is exactly what I want to be…pretty happy. I don’t need to be elated or jubilant or ecstatic. That’s definitely NOT me, but I could definitely handle being pretty happy. I have always adored Kate Hudson’s style and of course she’s Goldie Hawn’s daughter, so there is another reason to love her. I read the first few pages standing there in Costco and just felt like I connected so much with what Hudson had to say instantly. I bought the book and devoured it in about five days. Right when I finished I went back and re-read it, however this time I took my time and really did everything Hudson recommended (like journaling in a “Drawing Book” and answering some questionnaires about myself and my life). I learned so much about myself, and about the simple things that make me pretty happy. I continue to go back to this book over and over again – it sits on my dresser and I put it there purposefully so I can read this book whenever I am feeling down. It somehow works to turn things around in my mind – it gives me a completely different focus. I love all her references to loving your body as it is, eating well, moving your body and of course mindfulness, something in which I truly believe. This is my personal little Bible for feeling good and shifting my perspective so that I too can also be pretty happy.
- You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Live an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero – This book is amazing. It really is. If you’re ever doubting yourself, which we all do from time to time, this book will shut up that inner monster who keeps trashing you in your head. I love the way Sincero writes, she funny and relatable and refreshingly honest. It’s full of helpful and relevant advice, and useful questionnaires to really get you thinking about what is actually possible. This is another book that is great to read again and again to keep self-doubt at bay. It was so successful it spurred the popular follow-up book You Are a Badass at Making Money. I haven’t read this quite yet, but I definitely will. She also is releasing a brand new book on December 4th called You Are a Badass Every Day, and this will be for sure be on my Christmas list. I love any kinds of books that genuinely strive to crush self-doubt as it is truly toxic and should have no place in our lives whatsoever.
I hope you are inspired to read something this fall and can’t wait to hear what you think. Let me know in the comments below. Until then, happy fall and happy reading!