I only included books I actually finished, because if I get a far enough into a book and am still not feeling it, I stop trying. (This means the curve is kind of skewed, because none of these books suck. There are too many good books to waste time on a less-than-stellar one.)
  1. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Terrifying story about the period leading up to World War II. It isn't the atrocities which the reader knows are happening behind the scenes, it's the refusal to acknowledge and investigate them by people with the power to do so who are being told--repeatedly--that they must take action to avoid catastrophe. It isn't as good as The Devil in the White City, but a great read.
  2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This was the first comedic book I'd ever read in my life, and the first time I read it in 2013, I went into it not knowing what to expect. This second reading was even more fun than the first, because by the time it came out I'd read/watched every Mindy-related thing I could get my hands on.
  3. Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham ⭐️⭐️
    I had the audiobook for this one. The story didn't blow me out of the water, but I love Lauren Graham and although I'm not a struggling actress there were plenty of things I felt I could relate to: self-doubt, feeling lost, the temptation to give up on life, all that quarter-life crisis jazz.
  4. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    London, murder mystery, sex...oh and the invention of the wireless radio. Still not The Devil in the White City, but intriguing stuff.
  5. The Shining by Stephen King ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I'm still a relative Stephen King novice compared to the huge entirety of his works, but this book was one that kept me up at night--too read more! I didn't want to stop, too wrapped up in the mysteries of the Overlook to abandon Danny and his family to the hotel's oddities--those creepy topiaries?!
  6. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    The woman could publish a book full of her shaved leg hair and I'd read it. Is she the greatest comedic writer in the world? No. But there are things in her books that make me laugh in a cathartic way, which I really need.
  7. Splintered by A.G. Howard ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This is a fun one, despite it's pretty dark overtones. A friend gave it to me for my birthday, and even though I've never been a big Alice in Wonderland fan, I enjoyed seeing this contemporary 'what if it's all true?' spin on a classic story.
  8. TOP PICK: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
    My little sister gave me this for my birthday, and I will never have enough good things to say about it. I am confident that this book has a message for every human being alive, no matter their age, race, religion, or any other variables. It is universally hopeful.
  9. In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Overall, i'm not a huge nonfiction fan. I want my stories filled with stuff NOT from this world. However, this book reminded me that sometimes real is good; it's ludicrous that I could be so fascinated by a book about whaling, starvation, "trying" a whale (aka stripping it of its hundreds of pounds of blubber), cannibalism, and being lost on the high seas in a tiny boat for nearly 100 days, but I did. This book is Life of Pi except better and without all the metaphors.
  10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie ⭐️⭐️
    This is complicated. This book made me feel things I never want to feel again--but know I will. That's NOT to say I didn't like it, I DID, but not in an 'I feel hope for humanity' way. It made me so sad for the state of our nation, and it reminded me of something I strongly fear: if we keep dwelling on the scars of our history, our nation, which is built on such a deep foundation of prejudice & hatred--massacring Natives, enslaving Africans--will never move beyond our past into a better future.
  11. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I've reread this one multiple times, but it just speaks to me for so many reasons I won't get into here, so as not to bore you to tears. My hometown happens to be 45 minutes outside of BSG, and it is actually mentioned in the book serval times. It's a universal story, a kind of 'Pride & Prejudice' of Appalachia; from moments of painful secondhand embarrass to moments of total puddle-inducing tenderness, it is both a fascinating story and a guilty pleasure, as all romance stories are to me.
  12. Big Cherry Holler (sequel to Big Stone Gap) by Adriana Trigiani ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I was pretty sure based off the first one how this sequel was going to go. However, I was shocked by how intensely this twist-and-turny book played on my emotions. Scoff if you will, but this small-town story took my heart and put in on the torture rack. It made me rethink my stance on not wanting to marry--then confirmed it--repeatedly flip flopping until I was emotionally nauseated. The way I wanted the story to play out changed every few pages. I love it, but it kind of hurts and scares me.
  13. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    My all-find favorite poet; truthfully the only poet I really absolutely love, because his work is simple enough for a child to understand and yet full of messages clearly applicable to adults. As I reread this book I was taken aback, sometimes even heartbroken, by lessons that I had never discovered before that I really wish I had. If I could live my life according to the values of Shel Silverstein's poems, I think I'd be one awesome human being.