And we’re back with a quarterly reading roundup!! Today I’m sharing a list of the best books I’ve read this year so far.
I am having such a hard time forcing myself to work through my nonfiction pile. I think I just get so tired by the end of the day that I just want to check out and escape to another (apparently, crime-infested?) world before I go to sleep?
So these are all fiction today–a handful of thrillers and a few dramas.
The Secret History is a modern-day classic that’s been on my list ever since I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt years ago. And I have to say I really enjoyed this. It’s slow-moving but still somehow reads like a suspense. The story is about a young man who Richard who joins a very small Greek cohort at his new college in New England. His peers seem normal enough at first, but he quickly realizes that there’s very dark going on. I don’t want to give too much away, but I have a few qualms about the ending. Nevertheless, if you have the fortitude to work through a 500-pager this year, put this one on your list—especially if you enjoyed The Goldfinch.
This is a thriller that features a quirky but loveable protagonist, a maid named Molly who works at a ritzy local hotel. Molly is absolutely vigilant about her job and happens upon a murder scene one day in one of her rooms. Soon enough, Molly finds herself at the center of the investigation, with the police viewing her as the main suspect in the crime. This book is clever, to-the-point, and ridiculously charming.
I consider this a classic British thriller (think: The Woman in Cabin 10, The Guest List). It’s moody and creepy but very sharp. Helen, a pregnant housewife, meets an eccentric young woman named Rachel at a prenatal class. Rachel clams onto Helen right away and quickly becomes intertwined in every aspect of Helen’s life. This is twisty and has some heavy subject matter, but I couldn’t put it down.
Tyler gave this to me in my Christmas stocking. It’s a bestseller from my favorite little publishing house in the UK called Persephone Books. They Were Sisters, first published in 1943, follows the lives of three sisters–Lucy, Vera, and Charlotte–who have very different personalities and paths. The stories are woven together by the unique bond between the sisters. This novel is very much character-driven, and I found myself deeply attached by the end.
The elevator pitch of this book never really grabbed me–a retelling of Shakespeare’s life featuring the Bubonic plague? No thanks. But I just kept seeing people rave about it, so I decided to give it a go. And while it took me several chapters to get into, this book left me speechless time and time again. The writing is…jaw-dropping. There were so many scenes where I had to just put the book down and breathe for a minute, and I had tears streaming down my face when I finished it. If you can handle something sad, make it a point to read this one. UGH.
This is a fun, “bookish” thriller that features a distinctly unlikeable narrator/protagonist: a young woman named Florence with a set of hot-mess morals who is trying to make it in the literary world. Florence becomes an assistant to the author who writes under the ultra-famous pen name Maud Dixon. Only Florence and one other person know Maud’s real identity, and things take a bizarre turn when she is invited to join the author on a research trip to Morocco. It’s not award-level writing, but it’s fun and twisty, something to read if you’re in a rut and need to shake things up.