November 18, 2020

Book Recommendations: My Go-To's

A couple months ago I was pulled into a last-minute project at work. It included people I only knew in passing, some I had never met before, and someone I worked with on a regular basis. Part of the project was putting together a presentation and on the slide that introduced the members of our team, we were asked to share one "fun" fact about ourselves. So naturally I said I love to read and that I usually read 2-3 books per week. These were the reactions I got:

“We need to give you more work!”
“Wow, I’d love to do that if I didn’t work 20 hours a day.”

Looking back, I don't know how I was able to smile and laugh it off because moments later, I was on Twitter going W T F. It didn't help either that they went on about wishing they had time to read but either work or familial responsibilities kept them from doing so. And yet after all that, they still asked me to send them a list of book recommendations. So I did. But here's my humble opinion: I don't buy the whole "I don't have time to read" excuse. (Not to mention working an excessive number of hours per day isn't healthy at all.) I think when you love something whether that's reading, knitting, playing an instrument, whatever – you make the time. So I was both surprised and not when two of those two coworkers reached out to me this past week to say they had read through my list, wanted to share their thoughts, and asked for more books. That is what inspired this post! 


It made me realize that this isn't the first time I've been asked for book recommendations from people who are practically strangers to me, which means I can't cater my suggestions to their reading habits. It's just a blanket suggest anything. But I realized, I do have my go-to's for recommendations that I personally think can speak universally to both new and old readers. 

Here's what I suggested to those coworkers and why:

  1. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton: It balances drama, history, and romance so well. This book really made me want to see Cuba for myself one day. 
  2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: My #1 book recommendation! There's just no other book like it. 
  3. A Man Called Ove by Fredik Backman: It's just a classic curmudgeon with a heart of gold story that I think is universally appealing. 
  4. The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali: I haven't stopped recommending this book since I read it last year. It's a beautiful story of love, life, and regret. 
  5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: I personally love this book but I also recognize that it's not for everyone so I was taking a risk with including it. (One coworker DNF'ed it.) 
  6. Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: My exact words to the team were, "all her books are good, except Evelyn Hugo." But since I couldn't tell how much romance they'd want in their books, I thought Daisy Jones would be a good place to start.
  7. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: Just thinking about this book will sometimes give me chills. It's so different from anything I've read and has incredible storytelling. One of the coworkers who read it said it almost made her cry and she seemed shocked by her own reaction.
  8. Bonus! I said if any of them were interested in Young Adult Fantasy (a total stretch given that group but I had to try), I suggested Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


***

What do you think of my list? 

And do you have any go-to book recommendations?

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