Books

Books I’ve Read this Winter

Earlier this week I shared some of my tips for reading more and today I wanted to share some of the books I read over the past few weeks. During my week off from blogging, I spent so much time on the couch with the dogs reading. It was exactly what the doctor ordered! (In fact, I did so much “couch time” that I was really ready to jump back into work after a few days.)

Winter reading, I’ve decided, has to be the best kind of reading. Well, it’s a close tie at least with beach reading. There’s something to be said about snuggling up inside with a cozy book that you just can’t put down. The best part was that I loved everything I read… so I highly recommend them all!

Book Recommendations

City Baker’s Guide to Country Living // I was sent this as part of a press mailer. I loved the cover (I judge books by their covers sometimes, whoops) and there was a little blurb on the front about how it was like Gilmore Girls in book form. That alone had me sold. It’s not exactly like GG, but it’s also not that dissimilar either. A young professional baker from Boston finds herself working at an inn in Vermont. The book follows her as she navigates the small town politics and encounters with the “cast of characters.”

Is it the best book ever written? Not exactly. But I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Between the descriptions of all the baked goods and the slow love story, I couldn’t wait to find a few minutes to read it every night. It goes through all the seasons of the year, but I think it’s best read in the winter! It has a cozy feel!

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You // Celeste Ng’s books have been topping my “to read” list for a while. I picked up a copy of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere* before Christmas, and I could not wait to dig in. I finished EINTY with lightning speed. Every chance I had to read, I was reading. Celeste Ng might just be one of my favorite authors now. Incredible storytelling. (Which, as an aside, I think “storytelling”/”storyteller” is way overused right now, but the description accurately represents Ng.) She’s incredibly adept at writing about nuanced and complicated family dynamics. Each of her characters is fundamentally flawed in such a perfectly human way. I cried at least three times while reading Everything I Never Told You. It follows one family grappling with the unexpected drowning of their teenage daughter/sister in the 70s. (I also rarely have favorite characters, but my heart just broke for little Hannah…. most of my tears were for parts of the book focused on her.)

* I’m almost finished with Little Fires Everywhere, and I can still tell you that I know this is going to be one of my top recommended books for the year too. Ugh, she’s such a great writer… I wish I had a whole library of her stories to read!

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down John Green

Turtles All the Way Down // John Green is one of my favorite young adult authors. I’ve read almost all of his books now. He has a unique way of capturing teenage angst in a non-caricature way. This book follows a teenage girl and her friends as they try to solve a mystery of a missing local businessman to collect a hefty reward. The plot itself is a little… out there. This is not one of his best books in my opinion. While I didn’t love every single part, it captures a particular slice of mental health, particularly in young people, that I think is too important to ignore. I read this over the course of about six hours, pretty much in one sitting. I was even compelled to send him a message which I’m sure he’ll never see, but that’s how much I liked the way he approached mental health.

Along the Infinite Sea

Along the Infinite Sea // I know I’ve mentioned reading this book before, but I wanted to make sure that it was included in an official CTP book post. How have I never read a Beatrix Williams book before?! Amazing! I loved the way she wove the two generations of stories together. From what I’ve read, she loves to write about sisters and Along the Infinite Sea is part of a trilogy of sisters. I did not read in order, whoops! But the book still can stand on its own. It’s about one sister, Pepper, and how her current situation (and it’s quite the situation!) overlaps with the original owner of a vintage Mercedes that was found in a garage on Cape Cod. There’s everything you could want in a good story: romance, a little mystery, and WWII drama.

What should I read next?! I’m always looking for great books… and don’t forget that you can follow all of my reading on Goodreads!

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40 Comments

Gillian Redstone

As a college student I definitely don’t have enough time for pleasure reading…but have already managed three books over winter break, one of which was Turtles!! I completely agree with you that it’s not Green’s best, but that the mental health portrayal was both graceful and poignant. I CANNOT recommend more The Lords of Discipline by Pay Conroy. It takes place at a military college in Charleston in the 1960’s, and focuses on the themes of tradition, loyalty, morals, and aristocracy. The other book I read was A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Such a beautiful, although difficult story. Despite its maturity, it’s a pretty quick read. Hope you enjoy these!

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Ripple

Thank you for all the recommendations! Now I really want to check out Ng – I’ve never heard of her (sorry if that’s some kind of a reader’s sin) to be honest. I loved John Green when I was younger and even though I wanted to read this one as well I was just afraid that I won’t enjoy it as much now but I think I’ll give it a go after reading your post.
I’m brokenhearted now because I need to study for my exams but the second they’re finished I’m starting another book. And another. And another one. haha
Have a lovely day!

With kindness,
https://gentileame.wordpress.com

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Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

Totally agree with the sentiment of cosy winter reading ^-^ // I’ve heard of Little Fires Everywhere but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet! // I also haven’t gotten around to Turtles All The Way Down. I always breeze through John Green’s books and always look forward to them. (You should message him! :D) // I’m guilty of judging books by their covers too. Well, I get intrigued by book covers, and then I read the blurbs, and then I judge them haha ;P -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

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Heather

Have you heard of My Absolute Darling? It’s not exactly light reading – the subject matter is dark – but it’s written so beautifully. I really really recommend it.

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Stephanie

Adding some of these to my goodreads! You should read Wicked City by Beatrix Williams next – it’s so good!

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Alyssa Pacetti

Just added Turtles All the Way Down to my list. I gave When God Winks at You and Boys in the Boat as gifts for Christmas. Thanks for the recommendations!

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Rowena

Along the Infinite Sea is one of my favorite books! I read it around this time last year actually and had such a difficult time finding a book afterwards that lived up to it! Beatriz Williams is now a favorite author of mine, along with the other two books in the series (it honestly doesn’t matter what order you read them haha), I also recommend her novels Overseas and A Hundred Summers!

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Malinda

I read Along the Infinite Sea a few months ago and I had no idea that it was part of a trilogy! Thanks for including that info about it, time to go hunt down the other two books!

XO, Malinda
pearlspinotandparmesan.blogspot.com

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Katie H

100% same page on all the books mentioned above! I think you might like The Alice Network and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo as well based on your reviews above.

I post all the books I read and their reviews (including those for the two above) on my instagram if you want to check it out:
http://www.instagram.com/book0saurus

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Lillie

Oh my gosh! I am listening to Turtles right now. Based on tidbits you have shared about your anxiety, I was going to recommend it to you when I finished. I relate to her anxiety on a profound level, and I’m 48. I figured it might hit a nerve with you too!

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Meg

I just finished BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth
Gilbert (the author of EAT PRAY LOVE). I loved it! I also love all of the Lianne Moriarty Books.

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Lily

Great selection of books!
My Year with Eleanor was fantastic, I highly recommend adding it to your Goodreads shelf!

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Cynthia

I just can’t get on the John Green train. I will admit I’m a book snob and won’t read an YA novels at the ripe old age of 25.

The cover art on “Along the Infinite Sea” is enough for me to pick up the book! I love anything set in WWII.

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Emily

Carly,

I followed your recommendation of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living a few weeks back and I am so glad I did! I loved that while not a reluctant heroine, she was definitely an unconventional one. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her discover how much she had to offer, and the way the characters all helped one another heal from their various demons! Thank you for sharing!

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Caitlyn Wessel

Hi Carly,
I was wondering where did you get that thing with 2018 in the first picture?

From,
Caitlyn

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Kirby

Upstairs at the White House is a great read if you’re interested in life of presidents and their families. It’s a memoir about the Chief Usher with a specific focus on his job with the First Ladies- Eleanor Roosevelt through Pat Nixon. It wasn’t too heavy of a read!

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Ashley W

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a fantasic read. It starts out a bit slow then fully hooks you.

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Devon

I agree with your review of Turtles All The Way Down, I read it because I have read all of John Green’s books and love his writing style, but it was not my favorite. What kept me reading was the approach to mental health and way he described the experience of struggling with your thoughts. And I keep seeing Little Fires Everywhere recommended by bloggers and friends, I’ll have to add it to my list!

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Sara Fleming

Hi Carly,

Lurking blog reader here but just had to chime in. I work with books and thought it was super interesting that all of your picks here are from Penguin Random House. Not sure if you even knew that :). But they do have huge offices in NYC that you might enjoy stopping by for a visit!
Also, as a side note, I’m glad you’re having a happy time. It’s not easy ending a serious relationship, and the time you spend being single can 100% be happy & “enough” – but I’m glad you’ve got someone who brings a smile to your face and a custom portrait of those sweet pups.

Our dog Achilles “Chilly” would love to have a play date if they ever come to San Diego!

Wishing you the best,
Sara

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Emily

I spy A Gentleman in Moscow on your shelf! I just finished it this week and loved it–have you read it yet?

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Lili

My husband made me read “Ready Player One” since the movie is coming out soon. I’m not really into science fiction or dystopias, but this book may be my gateway into that genre. I couldn’t put it down, and just when I thought that I had figured it out, the story took a new turn. It also made me re-think how much of my life I spend on the internet versus the real world.

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Kate

I’m currently reading City Baker’s Guide to Country Living. You are totally right–it has a cozy feel and a GG essence. I’ve only just started it but looking forward to the rest. I’m looking for my next book so I might try one of your suggestions. Thanks for sharing!

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