All the Books I’ve Read This Spring

Good Books to Read Now

10 weeks. 6.5 books. That’s not too shabby! I’m not the fastest reader but I love to read and I’ve found that I’m reading more and watching less TV after Amalia goes to bed at night these days. It calms me before sleep and takes me out of my head for an hour every night. Here is a round-up of all the books I’ve read so far since we’ve been staying at home and a review of each, ranked from favorite to least favorite.

And I’d love to hear the best book you’ve read lately!

Daily Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins: A+

I cannot believe it took me so long to get on board with this book. Everyone and their mother told me to read it and something about the cover just turned me off (I know, I know). But I finished it in three days and could barely put it down. I stayed up way too late each of those three nights reading every word about a fictional 70’s rock band, The Six, and their enigmatic lead singers, Daisy and Billy.

The story is told as an interview and each paragraph is from the voice of a different character. At first, it felt frenetic and confusing but within a matter of pages, it became the norm. It was one of those books that I felt especially sad about finishing. Although I’ve heard it’s becoming a TV mini-series which I’m sure you’ll see on one of my 5 Random Things post in the future.

Open Book by Jessica Simpson (not pictured): A

Shock is a good word to describe how I felt while reading Jessica Simpson’s memoir. I was never particularly a big fan of her music but knew her story from the sidelines… or so I thought. This woman is so much smarter than anyone gives her credit for. She was abused as a child and has overcome addiction and body shaming and so much more. Today she’s running a billion-dollar company and laughing all the way to the bank.

Plus she spills major tea about her exes John Mayer, Johnny Knoxville, and Nick Lachey. I promise that even if you’re not a fan of J Simps, it’s a great read.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle: A-

I finished Untamed last weekend and felt so inspired by Glennon’s story, bravery, and positivity. Her latest memoir is about how her life opened up and completely changed when she stopped trying to the woman that the world and society wanted her to be, and she started listening to her inner wisdom. Because of that she left her unfulfilling marriage for a woman and finally started really living

The storyline isn’t always linear, and it reads like a collection of essays that can sometimes feel all over the place, but the general message of her story was beautiful and I love the way she expresses herself. People raved about this book, and while I definitely recommend it for the inspo factor, it got a little repetitive in the middle and felt a bit self-serving at times.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames (not pictured): A-

My mom and sister both highly recommended this book about an Italian immigrant family. The story spans three generations of women and travels from the Italian countryside to Connecticut. The main character, Stella, is headstrong and different from all the other girls her age. She grows into a headstrong old lady who has lost her mind. But once you read her story and her many (7 or 8) kisses with death, it all makes sense. I really enjoyed this novel!

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: B+

I just re-started this two nights ago so still getting into it but already like it a lot. I started it about a month ago then stopped when Open Book arrived because I couldn’t wait to read it. Then I forgot about City of Girls and just remembered to open it up again. I’m a big Elizabeth Gilbert fan and will report back when I’m done with a final grade. I’m sure it will go up based on everything I’ve heard!

The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward: B

This wasn’t my favorite of Reese’s book club picks but it was a light and fun read and something I needed between all of these other books. I got through it really quickly and it kept me highly entertained. The story is about a dysfunctional family with many hidden secrets who takes a cruise together and learn all about themselves and each other as they travel the Mediterranian coast.

Stress Less, Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher: B-

Every single person in the universe seemingly wants me to read this self-help book about meditation and mindfulness, including my sister and husband who both swear by it. But now that I’m meditating most days with Headspace, I can’t get into it. Or maybe because I’ve been doing so much work on myself lately, it feels like just one more thing. Has anyone with anxiety read this and loved it?

Next up on my list? American Dirt and All Adults Here. What else should I add?

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  1. Britta said:

    Just finished Before we were yours. Amazing! Also really liked Tiny Little Fires

    5.19.20 · Reply
  2. Kristin said:

    Love this – putting some of these on my list.

    Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. It’s told from the perspective of an actual therapist. Fascinating to get some insight from the other side of the couch.

    Also any of Ken Follett’s books are an exceptional deep escap – particularly the Pillars of the Earth series.

    5.19.20 · Reply
  3. If you like page-turning mysteries, I can’t recommend A Good Marriage enough!

    5.19.20 · Reply
  4. Alyssa said:

    I listened to Open Book and it was fantastic and I teared up a couple times because she was emotional while reading it. I was a Newlyweds fan and loved her music but it was eye opening what she has gone through in her life. I love that she is able to laugh her way to the bank as everyone talks about how dumb she is while she builds a billion dollar empire!

    I would highly recommend American Marriage and The Light We Lost, both are so well written and beautiful yet heartbreaking stories. I also loved Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, as someone who is in therapy it was so interesting to read from the therapists point of view.

    5.19.20 · Reply
  5. Jackie said:

    I originally read Jessica Simpson’s book because I was interested in the gossip about her exes but I was pleasantly surprised that the book offered so much more. I completely agree with you that she is much smarter than most people give her credit. Thanks for sharing Julia!

    5.19.20 · Reply
  6. Jen said:

    I could not get through Daisy Jones. I tried for a long time and had to put it down. I loved A Woman Is No Man and Bad Blood. I just finished Conviction and that was hard for me to get through. I find I have less focus right now and I am busier than ever. The good thing is I am going to bed earlier. I just started Normal People last night and I am enjoying it so far. I chose it since I want to watch the show on Hulu. I know everyone said you could just watch the show without reading the book but I wanted to read it first. Thanks for your round up.

    5.19.20 · Reply
  7. Natalie said:

    Love hearing your book recs! I recently read and loved: Next Year in Havana, The Things We Cannot Say, Secrets of a Charmed Life, and Before We Were Yours. Just started The Giver of Stars and am adding some of your picks to my TBR list!

    5.19.20 · Reply
    • Caroline said:

      I haven’t read Giver of Stars yet but anything by Jojo Moyes is a fun entertaining read! I’ve been reading YA, John Green, Everything, Everything. Red White and Royal Blue is a fun one if you want to read a romance.

      5.20.20 · Reply
  8. Christine said:

    I haven’t read Jessica Simpsons book, or Stress Less but I agree with all your other ratings! American Dirt is great, watch the Opera special on it after!

    Recently I’ve also loved The Great Believers, Girl, Woman, Other and Red at The Bone.

    5.19.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Very excited to read it. Will for sure do the Oprah special too!

      5.20.20 · Reply
  9. Samantha said:

    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Blackman
    Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
    Hotel on the corner of bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
    My name is Memory By Ann Brashares
    Lilac girls by Martha Hall
    The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
    My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul
    Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb

    5.19.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      If you had to pick one, which would be your favorite from this list (already read lilac girls and loved it)

      5.20.20 · Reply
  10. Laura said:

    love the list! this is semantics, but most of us have not actually been in quarantine. you actually were in quarantine when you were sick and for the two weeks following, but that is not what it has been the rest of the time. if you can go to the grocery store, get takeout, go to the pharmacy, etc. you are not actually in quarantine. you are living under a stay at home order.

    5.20.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Fair point! Just changed the blog post title, thank you 🙂

      5.20.20 · Reply
  11. Erica said:

    I feel like we have the same taste because I also read most of these books in the last month!

    Would highly recommend Before We Were Yours and This Is How It Always Is (might be my favorite book of quarantine).

    5.20.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Yes!!! When I hear favorite I’m all in. Adding to my list thanks!

      5.20.20 · Reply
      • Katie said:

        This is How it Always Is is INCREDIBLE. One of the most charming, sweetest, inspiring depictions of a fictional family going through something incredibly challenging (dealing with society’s opinions on a transgender child). I loved it!

        5.21.20 · Reply
  12. Just re-read American Royals for a bookclub, and loved it! Also just read Normal People and Commonwealth, and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I also lovee listening to Bad on Paper and their facebook group for book recs!

    5.20.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Read and loved all of those! Ann Patchett is one of my all-time favorite authors.

      5.20.20 · Reply
  13. Stephanie said:

    I’m listening to The Body by Bill Bryson and it is FASCINATING! Also recommend Louise Penny’s series about chief inspector Gamache. The first book (Still Life) was not my favorite so push through even if you’re not super impressed. I’m now on book #12!

    5.22.20 · Reply
  14. Annie said:

    Hi Julia!

    I recommend reading up on the controversy surrounding American Dirt before deciding whether or not to read it. You may decide you still want to read it, but being educated on why people are upset over its publication and popularity is important, particularly right now. There are many books covering the same themes that are great options. I did a simple search of “books to read instead of American Dirt” and came up with myriad articles that list options (would link here, but I think personally googling is easier).

    Annie

    6.1.20 · Reply