I am a lifelong lover of all types of books. Still, it hasn’t always been easy to fit reading into my day or night, especially after I became a mom. I’ve learned some strategies over the years from my high-performing friends, and also from my own experiences to make it easier. And what better time is there to return to reading than when we are under stay-put orders?
There are so many ways to access books these days. Many of us have a Kindle, Nook, or other apps that allow us to read while waiting in the car or while we are “watching” our children play. We can also access audiobooks so that we can read while working, making dinner, or folding laundry. I’ve had lots of friends say that listening to an audiobook is not the same thing as reading a book in print. It’s different, but what you can get out of listening to a book can be just as magical as turning the pages of a print version. So, get yourself a good pair of earbuds and give it a try!
I’ve come up with a list of the best eight books I’ve read during the past year. All of these books were assigned to me for a book club I belong to (I’m in four currently), or they were recommended to me by my dear, trusty reader friends.
8. Still Life by Louise Penny
This is the first book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series that revolves around a village full of quirky characters that get wrapped up in solving various mysteries. They are entertaining, and you don’t have to fully pay attention to still enjoy these books. I’ve read three in the series so far, and I hear that they only get better as you go.
7. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
We all have a little Bernadette in us! I identified with the characters in this easy, entertaining read. Bernadette is witty and strong-willed, and I loved learning about the relationship she has with her daughter.
6. The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Gailbraith
A mystery series penned by none other than the amazing J.K. Rowling. You’ll fall in love with the main character Cormoran Strike and his rough-around-the-edges style of investigation. This is a fantastic audiobook and there are four more books in the series.
5. Still Me by Jojo Moyes
The third book in the Me Before You series follows Louisa Clark as she arrives in New York to start a job working for an outcast wife and her socialite husband. I really enjoyed this book, even though I haven’t read books one and two in the series.
4. The Dry by Jane Harper
A well-penned crime thriller that takes place in the dry landscape of Australia. It kept me guessing until the very end!
3. The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
A story about strong and resourceful women during WWII. Fritzi and her sisters must learn to survive in small-town Alabama. I read this with my Mom, and we both enjoyed it, and as an added bonus, I learned things I didn’t know about WWII and the Depression.
2. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
I love this book with my whole heart. An unlikely romance blossoms between the son of the first female President of the United States and the soft-hearted Prince of Wales. The dialogue is spot-on, and I found myself totally swept up in their relationship.
1. The Huntress by Kate Quinn
This is a gripping story about a group of all-female night bombers who were known as the Night Witches during WWII. The plot is loaded with interesting relationships that come in all different shapes and sizes. My favorite book of 2019–I absolutely loved it and found myself laughing and crying throughout.
My top tip for fitting reading into your hectic life is this—ignore your kids! Yes, I said it. An older and wiser Mom once told me that sometimes the only way to take care of your own mental health is to ignore your kids every now and then. Please don’t feel bad about it! A little extra screen time won’t hurt them, and you will need escapes as we face the next few weeks of uncertainty. I hope you enjoy my suggestions, and I would love to hear some of yours! Leave a comment below and let me know what you are reading so I can add it to my list.