My Favorite Novels From the Last 2 Years
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I love to share what I’m reading. I have received SO many good book recommendations over the years from friends, both online and off. And a good book can really turn your week around, if you ask me. ? So, I thought I’d share a list of some of my very favorite novels from the last few years. If you are needing something for your next vacation or just like to read to unwind at night, here’s some good books for you!
Before the Fall – I actually read this one a loooong time ago but still knew I needed to include it here because it was so good! There is one part where a character is forced to swim a great distance (I won’t say too much on why or when it happens in the book, but it’s really not spoiling anything either way) and that whole sequence was just so vividly written I still think about it from time to time. Have you ever had a book do that? It’s not super often for me, but this is one of them. This book also has some pretty interesting commentary on the role of media and wealth in our politics and world.
The Hypnotist’s Love Story – I think I love Liane Moriarty. This was actually the first of her books I’ve ever read, but I fell for it pretty much immediately. The story is fun and touching, the characters are relatable but also quirky. It’s just a really fun and interesting read. I can’t wait to devour another of her novels soon!
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Originally I was drawn to this book because of the cover design and title, but I am so glad I took a chance on it because this may be one of my favorites! It is a bit whimsical, with a secret society and maybe even a little magic involved (maybe), but this was so much fun to read. Five stars, must recommend! ?
Crazy Rich Asians – I read this pretty recently but it’s still making the list! First, I read this book before I saw the movie, but just in case you’ve already seen the movie and are afraid the book will be boring because you already know the plot—don’t worry. The book is crazy different (although similar enough). The book is part of a larger series, while the movie ties up at the end because I guess they didn’t plan to do a series? (To be honest, I don’t know the full story behind the making of the movie. This would just be my guess based on seeing it.) Anyway, this is a really fun and pretty hilarious read. I am very excited to read the next one!
Modern Lovers – Loved this book and after reading another novel from Emma Straub recently (that I also loved but I think I loved this one a little more, so that’s why I’m mentioning it here), I think I can safely say I just love her writing. This one has a coming-of-age love story, for a number of different couples with different types of relationships. Set in NYC, it also feels very cool and hip (sorry if that’s dorky to say, but I personally like books in cool settings). I really enjoyed this easy and sweet read and think almost anyone would.
Diamond Head – I *think* this was Cecily Wong’s first novel and WOW, I hope she writes more. It’s beautiful, tragic, and full of fascinating family dynamics. I really don’t know what to say to do this book justice, but I loved it in a similar way to 100 Years of Solitude. Not that they are the same, I just felt a similar kind of fondness, sadness and ultimately just depth from the stories. It’s a great book.
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – I almost didn’t put this on the list just because of all the books I’m recommending here this one is easily the most dark. There are some very heavy and graphic scenes in the book. But ultimately it’s just so good. This might be a weird comparison but it kind has a similar thing to A Clockwork Orange (but a completely different story). The way the characters speak is sort of a hybrid dialect that you have to first get used to before you can really start to understand everything. It’s interesting and ultimately very worth reading!
The Book of Dust – I absolutely love the His Dark Materials series (The Golden Compass is the first, if you’ve heard of that book). It’s one of my very favorite YA series ever, and I must admit that I’ve read a LOT of those. Ha. This is the same author and a prequel to the series. I believe there are going to be a few more and I cannot wait to read those as well. You can just mark me down as a superfan of this one.
A Window Opens – Just a really enjoyable and pretty quick read mostly centered around a woman who is starting her career up again after years being more focused on her family. It’s relatable (in many ways, not just her situation), touching and just a really easy page-turner. After I read this, I reached out to the author on Instagram just to say how much I loved her book and she wrote me back! That seriously made my day and isn’t really related to the book per se, but just wanted to brag about having author friends, I guess. ?
The Woman in Cabin 10 – I do really enjoy a good mystery/thriller although I won’t lie, I think it must be one of the most difficult genres to write. It’s probably really hard paying off all the suspense while still keeping the story believable. And although this book’s ending isn’t exactly “normal” or what you probably expected (or at least I didn’t), I really enjoyed the entire book from the beginning to end. So if you like a good thriller and haven’t read this one yet, you should.
Euphoria – If I had to pick just one novel out of all of these to recommend from this list, it might be this one (although that would be really hard!). It took a little bit to get into this book, because the premise is a bit out there and I really didn’t know much about the book when I picked it up. But once I got into it, I really, really loved this one! It’s such a fascinating look at humanity through the eyes of three very different anthropologists and their interwoven stories from the field. It is quite sad and I wouldn’t necessarily call it an easy read. You have to be in the mood for something with a good amount of depth. But it’s a truly beautiful book and I highly recommend it.
Bellweather Rhapsody – I think this one might count as Young Adult Fiction, I think. It’s sort of a mystery centered around a bunch of high school students at a very weird band/music camp (or at least I’ve never heard of a band camp like this). It’s funny, it’s interesting, and it definitely had me reading chapters long after I was tired and ready for bed because I just wanted to know what happened next. Super fun one!
I’ve linked to all these books on Amazon because I know that’s more accessible to most, and we have an affiliate program with them. BUT I did want to mention that I think it’s really awesome to buy books from local or independent bookstores any chance you get. I also personally love to check out books from my local library, so I highly recommend that too. Pretty obvious, but still figured I’d mention. xo. Emma