This Fall 2017 Reading List includes 12 books that span historical fiction, personal memoirs, psychological thrillers, and classics due for a little attention. This is a great list to get a some inspiration as you look for the perfect story to cozy up to this Fall.
There’s so much more to life than what we do. I like to think that the things we DO (eat well, workout, organize our homes, work, cook, grocery shop, walk the dog, etc.) are the lines in a coloring book. It’s HOW we do life, how we color in those lines, that give it fun, pizazz, and maybe even a touch more meaning. These swipes of color are painted by a meaningful conversation with a friend, the thought behind a surprise gift, the loving way we put dinner on the table, the assurance of a bigger picture, and the intention behind a new work project. Color is added in by inspiration, heart, purpose, heartache, perseverance, and all those important things. If my life were splayed out like a coloring book, you’d see doodles in every corner. I love any and every excuse to color in between, around, and beyond the lines.
This is where reading comes in…
Though time spent with my own thoughts and with important people make up the majority of my coloring efforts, the stores found in books are the doodles in the margins. Books, whether they’re novels, autobiographies, or insights into scientific breakthroughs, are a fabulous way to add in a touch more color.
As you may know, I’m a BIG fan of audio books. This is my preferred way of “reading” because I’m able to layer it onto other activities. I can listen to a book while I grocery shop, while I walk Gus, while I cook, while I clean, and while I drive. I just pop in a pair of headphones, stick my phone in my pocket, and marvel at how I magically found a way to “read more” without having to wake up earlier or stay up later.
It’s a funny thing, how these audio books almost feel like an extra layer of memory. For example, when I look back at the recipes in my printed Fed & Fit Book, I can actually remember the stories I listened to while I made and photographed certain dishes. Entire seasons of walking Gus through the woods are painted by memories of lessons learned from novels and other wonderful stories that left me deeply inspired. Walking Gus, going grocery shopping, cooking, and driving long distances are things that I DO, but they’re made sparkly and so much more colorful with a story added in on top.
SO, let’s get to our Fall 2017 Reading List! Like in previous lists, I like a solid mix of stories. I hope you find this list inspiring as you think about which story you can cozy up to in this especially cozy season. Note: each link below will take you to where you can snag the book however you prefer to read: kindle, hard copy, or audio.
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moirarty – This novel is brought to us by the author of Big Little Lies, so I felt confident that it would at least be a decent read. Turns out, it’s my FAVORITE story by Moirarty yet! The plot line is one that really twists our minds and makes us think a more personal “what if” as we watch the life of Alice unfold after a spell of amnesia. It has me thinking about how my younger, 10-year ago self would perceive my life and my relationships now. Would she be surprised, happy, or uncomfortable with the decisions I’ve made? What if we could erase 10 years of jadedness? What if we could un-smudge our rose colored glasses and see our current lives anew? I have a feeling, we’d be much happier and much more grateful. In a nutshell, I’m loving this book.
- The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham – I love to sprinkle in the occasional psychological thriller. This one comes with a Stephen King endorsement and a plot line centered around two expectant mothers, one (maybe both?) of which is obsessed with the perception of a perfect family. Let’s read at least one story this Fall that keeps us on the edge of our seats and that instills a thankful-for-our-real-life-mess reality check.
- Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – I don’t care who knows it, I LOVE John Green books! He’s the popular novelist writing stories geared for teens, The Fault in Our Stars being one of his more famous novels. Let’s read this hot-off-the-press book about a billionaire running from the law and about Aza Holmes, a young woman lost in her own thoughts.
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown – I adore Brene’s work. She articulates the way we move through the world with such clarity, bravery, and honesty that I can’t help but feel reassured and inspired. So, let’s dive headfirst into her latest project. Let’s learn about how to truly BE ourselves and therefore, cultivate real belonging in our communities and organizations. “[…] true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” This feels like the perfect book to join me on long walks with my pup through the woods.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeman – I’ll be honest, I did not enjoy this book at first! It was gruff and confusing …until I started to understand Eleanor a little better. She’s winning my heart over and I can’t help but fall in love with her coming-out-of-comfortable-solitude story. This is a great story of friendship, the importance of community, and how our past doesn’t have to dictate our future.
- The End of Alzheimer’s by Dale E. Bredesen, MD – My amazing Dad recommended this amazing book. I’m partly through it, but as soon as I’ve devoured the whole thing, I have big plans to boldly email Dr. Bredesen and ask if he’ll come on the Fed & Fit Podcast for an interview. If you have been touched by Alzheimer’s like I have, you’re likely aware that the medical community (at large) doesn’t currently offer great recommendations for treatment and/or prevention. My Dad, when reading this book, sent me a text that read, “I think you and Dr. Bredesen hold a LOT of professional thoughts in common with each other!” It’s fascinating and best of all, it’s finally an encouraging read about Alzheimer’s.
- Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance – Let’s read a memoir that peels back the outermost layer of upward social mobility triumphs. When we look past the bulleted list of achievements of a family that escaped poverty, entered middle class, and eventually grew with a descendant who graduated from Yale Law School (the author), what do we see? What do we learn? Vance tells the story of his family. The truth, with humor and honesty, of his family’s realization of their American dream. Did they actually escape those things from which they ran? Did they really outrun poverty, abuse, and sorrow?
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – This one is for my fellow historical fiction-loving friends! This story submerges us in a novel that’s based on a real World War II heroine. This is the story of three women who’s lives revolve around their own brand of secrets, based in their own corners of the world, but with a common heart for justice. Let’s read this book and think back on the days of WWII and what it might have meant to play such an important, humble, and bold role.
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville – It’s high-time we pull this book off the shelf and settle in for a non teacher-assigned read. I want to hear the story of Moby Dick, of Captain Ahab, and of the sea. I want to get lost in their impossible stories and infuse with the legendary writing. Like so many great artists, this book (written in 1851) was unappreciated during Melville’s life and wasn’t established as a Great American Classic until the 1900’s. Let’s nod our hat at the household name with proper appreciation, made by a proper read, of the great work.
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – At long last, let’s submerge ourselves in this famous war fiction. Let’s learn about Billy Pilgrim’s life, including his WWII experiences, through the unhinged lens of a man lost in time. Possibly a glimpse into post-traumatic-stress disorder, let’s see where Billy’s mind, experiences, and encounters take us as he searches for an orderly purpose.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman – I want to jump into another Gaiman page-turner! This story, arguably one of his most famous, follows the life of Shadow as he navigates life after prison and after significant loss. I want to hear this story of how the old Gods found a home here in America when they followed their believers. I want to know how these old gods mix with the new gods, how Shadow came to know the dishonest Mr. Wednesday, and how the story culminates on a battleground for the soul of America.
- We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter – I sure hope you enjoy World War II stories as much as I do, because here’s just one more to finish off our Fall reading list! I’ve received SO MANY recommendations to read this book. I want to hear the (true) story of a family of Polish Jews separated at the start of WWII. I want to know about their journeys around grief, fear, separation, and hope. I want to live in their beautiful story of triumph that was set during one of the darkest times in human history.