Recent Reads: Fall 2021

Recent Reads: Fall 2021

Today I’m sharing a list of the best books I read this fall. 

This was a really good season of reading: a lot heavier content than most of what I read over the summer but all still so good. 

I wanted to try to get this list out this week because my next challenge is going to be narrowing down my absolute favorites from the whole year. I’m already stressed about it, but stay tuned.

I have been totally slacking on nonfiction this year! I’m going to try to knock a few out this month to make up for months and months of only fiction. I think I just go through seasons of wanting to escape with reading–is anyone else like this?

Anyway, here are the best books I read this fall:

Apples Never Fall – Liane Moriarty 

“Their mother had that look of controlled impatience she used to get when her children fought and she didn’t have time to properly lose her temper because she had things to do.” 

This book received mixed reviews after its launch this fall, but I, personally, loved it. I actually thought it was one of Liane Moriarty’s best! Apples Never Fall is about a family of tennis players in Australia. The parents own a tennis club, and all four kids were fabulous players growing up. One day, their mother goes missing, and the family is left to pick up the pieces and figure out what happened to her. My favorite thing about this book was the commentary on family dynamics and the dialogue between the siblings. This book was less thriller-y than Big Little Lies but still had lots of plot twists and suspense. 

Nothing to See Here – Kevin Wilson

“I wasn’t destined for greatness; I knew this. But I was figuring out how to steal it from someone stupid enough to relax their grip on it.” 

The premise of this book is admittedly preposterous: a young woman becomes a caretaker to 10-year-old twins who spontaneously combust (dangerous for everyone around except them). For that reason, I avoided it for months because I like my books set firmly in reality (need as much fuel for my worst-case-scenario night time highlight reel?). Finally I decided to pick it up after seeing a glowing staff review note on it at a local bookstore (those always get me). Anyway, this book is SO good. I thought it was so clever and quick and I just loved those twins. 

Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead

“If it is true for you, it is true for someone else, and you are no longer alone.”  

This was the first of Colson Whitehead books I’ve read, and I urgently feel the need to read his others now. Nickel Boys is a fictional story based on a (real) youth detention facility that operated for more than 100 years in Florida. The protagonist, a straight-laced teenager named Elwood Curtis, gets unjustly sent to the “school,” where he meets his new friend Turner, a total skeptic. I loved the writing and the characters and the ENDING. 

Beautiful World, Where Are You – Sally Rooney

“Maybe we’re just born to love and worry about the people we know, and to go on loving and worrying even when there are more important things we should be doing. And if that means the human species is going to die out, isn’t it in a way a nice reason to die out, the nicest reason you can imagine?”

Sally Rooney, I think, “gets” people more than almost any other author. Her books are simple, just about fledgling adults falling in and out of love and making their way. I was totally spellbound by this book and its two main characters–Eileen and Alice. I also love that Rooney’s books are set in Ireland, a place I visited when I, too, was in a very flighty and formative stage of life. Rooney’s social commentary is witty and her characters are always razor-sharp. I just loved this. 

Little Secrets – Jennifer Hillier

“Who would have thought that who you love and who you feel safe with might not be the same person?” 

This is one of the best thrillers I read all year. Fair warning, though: the story begins with a kidnapping which was honestly very difficult for me to get through. Marin Machado is the protagonist, a glamorous hair stylist married to a tech mogul named Derek. Their son, Sebastian, vanishes from Marin’s side one day at Pike Place in Seattle. The case goes cold, but Marin refuses to move on and takes matters into her own hands. I could not for the life of me put this book down. 

Silver Sparrow – Tayari Jones

“The bitter scratch of his unshaven good-night kiss will always, for me, be the sensation of grief.”  

UGH. I loved this book so much. This novel is about a man named James Witherspoon who is a bigamist. The story is told from the points of view of each of his daughters from his two families–one the first half of the book and the other from the second. The girls are of similar age and lead parallel but radically different lives in the same area of Atlanta. Eventually, their paths cross in high school and things hit a breaking point. 

 

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