a list for the book lover.

Yes. Yes. And YES.

7. Read 10+ books.

Well, friends, call me a machine or call me a reader, I don’t know which one’s more of the truth. One of the big things on my bucket list this past summer was to read 10 books, which was quite a stretch since my reading record over the past few years has been slim pickings, but low and behold… I read 11! Well, I guess technically I read 9 (two I listened to as audiobooks), but still 9 is pretty amazing for me. Not that I don’t love reading, I actually absolutely LOVE IT, but it’s proven to be a bit of a challenge since I started teaching two years ago. I used to devour books when I took the train to and from work in downtown Boston and into Harvard Square for grad classes. But somewhere between the busy days of first grade and driving back and forth school, the reading magic’s gotten lost.

Well, this summer was all about finding it again.

And boy did I ever.

Here’s the run-down (books can fall into more than one category):

3 memoirs (2 humor)

3 YA literature

2 thrillers

4 fiction

2 historical fiction

Basically, I enjoyed them all. Some I liked. Some I loved. And a few I devoured. Below are my reviews of the books. They’re aren’t any spoilers, but a few times I did write out a mini-synopsis of the story. I used the goodreads rating system (three stars = liked it, four stars = really liked it, five stars = loved it), and hope you’ll find it helpful in the search for your own next book to read. There are some real winners in this list.

Here it goes (if you click on the book title and stars, it’ll bring you to Amazon)…


I thought this book was really terrific. It’s a pretty thick book and I finished it in under 4 days. The story takes place in rural Vermont in the 80’s and the main character, Sybil, is a traditional midwife. An accident happens with one of her patients, and the blame is put all on her. The story is told from the perspective of Sybil’s daughter, who is now grown, but was just a teenager at the time of the incident, which makes it all the more interesting. Totally engrossing and smart. Loved this one.

Also a beautiful story. Terrible and wonderful all at the same time. This book is written from the german perspective during WWII. Many ordinary German women were simply trying to survive the war in any way that they could, and this book is the story of one German mother’s path to survival (her own and her daughter’s) during a truly terrifying time in history. It’s interesting to see the tragedies that some of the German people had to face (the stories we don’t often hear, but surely were happening in WWII Germany). An eye-opening book that tugged at my heart big time.

Tina Fey, people. It’s got to be funny, right? And it was. Tina Fey just tells it all in this book and it’s not hard to find yourself laughing along as you go. I liked it a LOT, didn’t love it, but like it a lot a lot a lot. (Oh, and listen to the audiobook on this one. It’s the only real way to go.)

Oh, Julia! How I love thee. The thing that I truly admire about Julia Child is that she completely lives her life to the fullest. I would certainly say she is one of my role models, as I love her spunky spirit and outlook on life. Plus, she’s a hoot. Have you ever seen some of the Valentine’s cards her and Paul sent out back in the day? I wish I could be so clever and brave! This book made me want to visit France like crazy. It also reminded me that if you work hard towards a goal, with a lot of perseverance and a little bit of luck, you can make your dreams come true. Julia is inspiring. What a lady.

This book was written by one of my all time favorite picture book authors, Kevin Henkes. I knew Kevin could write, but, wow, can he WRITE! This story is beautifully written. I felt like the words were almost singing to me. The young adult story is about youth, and family, and death, and life. I fell in love with the main character and found myself rooting for her the whole way through.

Can you imagine waking up every morning having no idea who you are or what your past is like? Then finding a notebook that you wrote that scarily explains everything including the fact that you cannot and should not trust your husband? Completely suspenseful. This book hooked me from the start and I read it quickly through to the end. A very entertaining, easy read. Great for people who like a page-turner!

I also listened to this book, verses reading. With a funny memoir where the author is narrating, I think it’s absolutely essential. I was totally LOLing throughout this entire book. I actually feel like I could relate more to Mindy’s book over Tina’s probably because of my age. So many of her memories and experiences are my memories and experiences too. For the record, Mindy is HILARIOUS. She totally writes like she talks (which I am a big fan of, obvi) and there’s even a chapter that made me tear up, which I always love in a book. 5 stars for Mindy!

I enjoyed this book. I loved the beginning, and stuck through it til the end, but somewhere along the way the excitement of it faded for me. The story is focused around Asha, a “secret daughter” who was born into an Indian family that, because of cultural norms, will only accept a son. The story continues on and deals a lot with differences in cultures and family dynamics. It’s a story about mothers, sacrifices, worries, happiness, and finding peace.

I’d been wanting to read this YA book  since it won the Newbery Award in 2010. It definitely lived up to my expectations. It’s entertaining, with memorable characters and has a very detailed story line. This is one of those books where everything comes together just perfectly at the end and you’re shaking you’re head with a smile on your face. Also, the fact that it highly references Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is just all kinds of wonderful.

So my friend Caroline first told me to read this book, and then shortly after Hannah was sending me messages about reading it too. It came highly recommended to me and now, I’m making sure to recommend it to you! It’s good, guys. REALLY good. Definitely a suspense book, a clever mystery. I just kept turning the pages thinking WHAT NEXT! WHAT NEXT? Loved it!

I gave this book 6 stars. I know 6 stars doesn’t really exist, but this is my blog, and I can do what I want. PLEASE PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. It’s the best book I have read in a long long time. One that stays with you and makes you think and makes you look at life a little differently. It is beautifully written, and smart, too. Oh, it is truly terrific. Devote some time to reading this book and you will not regret it.


Here’s to hoping I can keep somewhat of this reading frenzy up, even in the midst of a busy school year. Or at least to making some library stops to find audiobooks for my daily drives.

If you want to follow me on goodreads, you can find me here.



  1. Ah yay thank you!!! I’m totally going to refer to this post next time I’m looking for a book to read :) Also, “Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me” is a phenomenal book. Loveeee Mindy!

  2. I have been DYING to read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me since last year! I asked for it for Christmas. Nope. I asked for it for my birthday. Nope. I went to the store to buy it myself. Couldn’t find it at Target. Okay, so its not like I’ve been trying super duper hard, but now I’m pretty determined to just go to the book store and buy it!

    • Maybe you could borrow it from the Library? SO GOOD.

      And the audiobook (via library) is another option! It’s fun to hear Mindy read it!

  3. Wasn’t gone girl good???!

  4. I agree with you 100% on listening to funny bios written by the author! I listened to Mindy and Tina’s (and now feel like I’m on first name basis with them…) too, and am just waiting for Amy’s now.

    Thanks for all of the books to add to my list (that was only semi sarcastic) -just added you on goodreads!

  5. many of these I’ve read, but I definitely was affirmed in some of my “to-read!” Thanks!

  6. Someone has The Book Thief checked out and I am on the edge of my seat! In the meantime, I’m reading Divergent, but I really, really cannot wait to read The Book Thief.

  7. Fantastic! Nothing like curling up with a good book (or several in your case) to make you feel like the world has slowed down just a tad. Bossypants is next up for my book club and we can’t wait to read it

  8. Let me start by saying the layout of today’s post is done so well! I love it. You’re so creative, Anna. I’ve read books #7 and #11 and have a handful of these on my “To Read” list. Thanks for this post. XO

  9. I’m bookmarking this so I can come back to it when I need recommendations!! xoxo, eliza

  10. Anna, I LOVE this list! Can you please do this every time you finish 11 books? I love hearing your thoughts on each one and you’ve definitely piqued my interest in a few. I’m actually listening to Bossypants on audiobook right now, and will most definitely be checking out The Book Thief sometime soon! I also just signed up for Goodreads and I’m obsessed!! Such an easy way to keep my reading organized!

  11. Thanks friend! I needed some good recommendations! xo

  12. Ahh, yay! I am SUCH the book lover, as you probably know :) And OMG on the Book Thief! I loved it so much I did a whole blog post called “Read this now” and it was basically a picture of the book. Amazing, right? Just the perspective, and the story, and well, everything. Completely different and heart-wrenching but lovely all at once. Oh man, I love it. And now I really want to listen to “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me” instead of reading it. I am going to LOL on public transportation. Whoop.

  13. LOVE this post. love those books.

    someday we will live close enough to each other to be in a real live book club together. someday.


  14. What a great idea! I love how you did this post. I’m new to your blog and it’s so sweet. :-)

  15. Those sound like some really good reads. I went to the bookstore last night and bought too many books, but they were some I’ve had on my to-read list for a while, and I just couldn’t pass up getting them. I didn’t read a whole lot this summer, unfortunately, but I’m hoping to remedy that this fall! I’m hoping to finish A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by the end of the week. I’ve only been reading it since July! I love the book, I just haven’t been disciplined in my reading lately, but I’m ready to start knocking off some of these other reads on my bookshelf. I have quite a collection to get through.

  16. I know I’m commenting like a million years late, but I’m SO WITH YOU on The Book Thief! It’s amazing- and doesn’t Death have the best one-liners? Definitely my favorite book that I’ve read in the last few years.


  1. […] keeps telling me I’m 15% (3 books) behind my goal, but Goodreads doesn’t know I read 11 books in 2 months last summer. SO THERE, Goodreads. Chew on […]

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