My commute can be up to an hour each way every morning, so having something to read keeps me sane. I read a ton of great books this past year (including some memoirs, my favorite), but a few really stood out to me. If you haven’t read these yet, definitely consider adding them to your list this month!

An American Marriage– Tayari Jones

This book was on every kind of “top,” “best,” and “must read” list last year, and it lived up to the hype. It’s about a young black couple living in the American south in the 60s. The husband is wrongfully committed of a crime and the book follows their story from there. It really gets you thinking about racial injustice and the choices people have to make.

CERCI– Madeline Miller

I don’t do “YA” books, but I decided to read this one after Grace Atwood from The Stripe/Bad on Paper podcast gave it a rave review. It didn’t seem like a YA book at all, it was actually really good! It tells the story of Cerci from Greek mythology from her point of view. In Greek mythology, she was kind of evil and lived on an island and turned men in to pigs (lol). This tells a totally different story that still ties in to those legends, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s actually really long but still really enjoyable.

The Neapolitan Novels – Elana Ferrante

Okay, this is four separate books that did not come out in 2018, starting with My Brilliant Friend. But – the show based on the books came out on HBO and was immediately hooked – I binge watched the whole thing. I shortly learned that the show was adapted from a book series and read all four books in one week while I was off between Christmas and New Year’s. It tells the story of two girls growing up poor in Naples in the 50s, and follows them throughout their whole lives. All of the books are written pretty beautifully and are just enjoyable to read. To be honest – I got a little bored during Book 3 but it quickly picked back up. I can’t wait to watch the next season on HBO so I can compare. BTW – the author uses a fake name so no one knows who she actually is! She wrote the series in Neapolitan dialect and they were translated.

The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon Book 1) – Mimi Matthews

Romance isn’t usually my genre of choice, so I was pleasantly surprised by this “Victorian Romance.” I’m so glad that I gave it a try because it was a really entertaining story. It wasn’t a cheesy romance novel, it was actually pretty historically accurate and kept me on the edge of my seat with the plot. SPOILER – there was a happy ending, which I needed after a string of more serious books. It’s only $4 on Amazon if you have a Kindle, so might as well give it a try.

Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan

I was immediately drawn to this book when I found out that it was set in South Brooklyn, where I’m from! The characters don’t venture to Bay Ridge, but they spent time in Park Slope, Coney Island and (of course) Manhattan Beach.

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