I’ve written in the past about my love of books. At any given moment, I’m typically engrossed in three different stories: a physical book, a digital book, and an audiobook. The physical ones sit in a tall stack on my nightstand and come along with me on trips. The digital ones are on my phone, always within reach, accessible for a few pages before bed or while waiting in line at the supermarket. I listen to the audiobooks while driving, washing dishes, or walking the dog.
You might think this is a lofty intellectual pursuit, but I assure you this is just something I love doing, and often the books I read aren’t particularly noteworthy or sophisticated. Where others binge-watch popular TV series or scroll through Instagram, instead I have my head in books.
I mostly read modern works that intrigue me. If it’s too much ‘work,’ I pass…I have enough challenges in my day job. But I do explore different genres and authors. When I find a topic that captures my interest, I read other books like it, following a circuitous trail that may lead to an exciting new discovery. When I find an author I like, I enjoy reading other books by the same writer.
I make my reading selections based on what’s available in the digital library (I use the Libby library app to download digital and audio books), online reviews, and recommendations from friends or colleagues.
Here are some books I’ve enjoyed in the past year:
- The Personal Librarian (by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray) – A novel about J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian who is forced to hide her true identity, this book provides a glimpse into the life of a Black woman who rises to prominence in the elite book world of early 20th century America.
- Take My Hand (by Dolen Perkins-Valdez) – A nurse in post-segregation Alabama blows the whistle on horrifying practices in which poor Black girls are sterilized without consent. Inspired by true events, the story is at once disturbing and hopeful.
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (by V.E. Schwab) – This adsorbing adventure spans centuries and considers what it means to live a life in which no one remembers you and you can’t make a mark…until you finally can.
Business and Leadership
- How the Future Works (by Brian Elliott, Sheela Subramanian, Helen Kupp) – A timely, thought-provoking, data-rich, and practical guide to leading teams in a post-COVID world, supporting flexibility and focusing on outcomes.
- A Promised Land (by Barack Obama) – Read by the former president, this audiobook is a compelling and authentic narrative that reveals so much of Obama’s journey – from his youth to his early days in politics to reflections on his time in the White House.
- The Phoenix Project (by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford) – This book describes the experience of a fictitious (but believable and familiar) individual who is suddenly thrust into an IT leadership role with extraordinary technical, budgetary, and business pressures.
- Wild (by Cheryl Strayed) – A suspenseful and uplifting memoir of a 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail by a woman grappling with loss.
- The Midnight Library (by Matt Haig) – The protagonist explores what it means to have a fulfilling life by exploring the different paths a life could take.
- The Dinner List (by Rebecca Serle) – This story plays out what it would be like to sit down with those five people, living or dead, with whom you’ve imagined having dinner, and yields insights on friendship and family.
- Game On (by Janet Evanovich) – The 28th book in the Stephanie Plum series is as fast-paced and entertaining as all the rest.
- The Last Thing He Told Me (by Laura Dave) – A woman unravels the mystery surrounding her husband’s disappearance, with lots of plot twists and deception.
- The One (by John Marrs) – A simple DNA test is all it takes to find your soul mate – or is it? Secrets and surprises make this a gripping and engrossing thriller.
- One Italian Summer (by Rebecca Serle) – This touching book about the love between a mother and daughter features a magical adventure set in the beautiful town of Positano.
- This Time Tomorrow (by Emma Struab) – A 40-year-old woman travels back in time to her 16th birthday, bringing a new perspective on her father and her life.
- The Summer Place (by Jennifer Weiner) – The third book in Weiner’s ‘Summer’ series is touching and ripe with family drama.
- Ghosted (by Rosie Walsh) – A woman looks for an explanation for her lover’s abrupt disappearance. This is a stay-up-late page-turner with riveting twists and turns to discover the truth.
- Nine Perfect Strangers (by Liane Moriarty) – Guests at a health resort experience thrills, surprises, and scares, which kept me guessing and interested.
- The Maid (by Nita Prose) – This heartwarming Clue-like mystery is chock full of interesting characters.
There are so many amazing books! So many I’ve read, so many more I look forward to reading. What should I read next?