Between travels at the holidays and snowy days spent inside, we've been tearing through books this winter. The last time we discussed what we're reading, late last summer, we loved your suggestions for what should be on our lists (and we've read a lot of your picks since then!).
So here's a look at what what we've been reading (and loving) over the past few months.
Food books seem to be absent from the list. We hope you'll forgive that! But trust us, we ate plenty while we were reading.
Let's consider this list atonement for all the House of Cards and True Detective we've been watching:
- Liane Moriarty. We have a big ol' crush on Liane Moriarty right now. We've read two of her books over the past few months, starting with The Husband's Secret (not-great title, great book). We had read a review and then downloaded a copy while we were traveling -- we were blown away by it, and just loved the characters. So in short order, we then read Moriarty's previous book, What Alice Forgot, which is by far our favorite book we've read this year. One of Clay's colleagues is reading it right now and is not happy that the book is keeping her up at night -- it's addictive and well worth your time.
- The Goldfinch. Like many of you (at least according to The New York Times Best Sellers list), we read Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, while we were traveling at Christmas. We're somewhat divided on this book, having each preferred different parts of the story, and there's no getting around that fact that it is very, very long. If we hadn't had so much travel time that allowed us to plow through the book (48 hours' worth of flights to and from Thailand will do that), we're not sure we'd feel quite as passionately about it. But we both got all caught up in the story. The protagonist of the book will drive you a bit crazy, but the characters are so vivid and gripping that it's difficult to put it down. However, we still think our favorite Donna Tartt book is her debut novel, The Secret History.
- The latest YA bandwagon. On to another kind of best seller, we dipped our toes into the latest entry in the post-Apocalyptic-teens-will-save-the-world genre. We unapologetically loved The Hunger Games -- we won't even refer to it as a guilty pleasure. So we picked up the first book in Veronica Roth's Divergent series, Divergent. You may like it, but this one is not for us -- we're unlikely to read further in the series. But on the other end of the spectrum, we read one of the granddaddy books of this genre, Lois Lowry's The Giver, which is a short and beautiful little story about a changed society. We won't say much more, other than that we highly recommend The Giver.
- Crying our eyes out. Here's another YA title, but one we absolutely loved. John Green's The Fault in Our Stars is a novel about teens with cancer. (And it's heartbreaking: Go figure!) It's a very, very sweet book with excellently drawn characters. Zach finished this at breakfast one morning and was inconsolably heaving with tears over his coffee. Read it with a box of tissues within reach.
Here are a few other things we've read since the last time we discussed books with you:
- The Dinner by Herman Koch. This is one messed-up book (and the closest thing to a food book on this list) -- and we absolutely loved it. It is dark and wonderful and in no way goes where you think it will.
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers. One of only three nonfiction books on this list, Katherine Boo's exploration inside slums in India introduces us to the families living and working there. It's a remarkable piece of reporting.
- The Circle. We enjoyed Dave Eggers' most recent novel. If you have any interest at all in social media and how it's affecting our lives, you'll likely enjoy this. It's a little heavy-handed and almost a bit allegorical. But we've found ourselves thinking about it a lot since reading it.
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. After reading a thousand articles about this book, Clay finally read it and actually loved it. Now Clay is a businesslady ready to take on the world!
- Drama High. This is a sweet, true story about the difference a good teacher can make in the lives of his or her students.
- Two books by Ephrons: Sister Mother Husband Dog by Delia Ephron and The Most of Nora Ephron, a posthumous collection of writing celebrating Nora's life and work. Clay has been a Nora fan for a long time and read all her other books. Delia's Sister Mother is very much in the same vein as Nora's essay collections (the first essay about Nora's death is especially moving). Clay's currently working his way through The Most of.... It's so big that it may take the rest of the year to finish.
And here's a look at the books at the top of our reading list for this spring:
- George Saunders' Tenth of December. This has been passionately recommended to us by several friends. It's the next thing we're going to read.
- BJ Novak's One More Thing. You may know him as "Ryan" from The Office. But several reviews have said this is actually a really great read.
- Sycamore Row by John Grisham. We haven't Grished (that's a verb we just made up; feel free to spread it around) in probably 10 years. But we're lured by the hype on his latest. Back to the courtroom! (No word yet on Kevin Grisham's latest.)
- Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart. We loved loved loved Super Sad True Love Story, so we're thinking about reading the author's memoir about growing up in the Soviet Union before emigrating to the United States.
We could go on and on, but we'll stop there.
Tell us: What's on your reading list? And what should be on ours?