My Winter Reading List

Lemon Stripes Winter Reading List

Wintertime makes me want to curl up in bed or on the couch with a cozy blanket, a hot mug of tea, and a good book even more than ever, and I’ve read a few great books lately that I’m excited to share with you.

I also added a list of the books I plan to read next so you can add them to your holiday wish lists or get reading right away.

As usual, I’m giving each of them a rating based on my personal reactions to them. But if you’ve read any of these, I’d love to know what you think as well!

Recently Read

Educated: A+
I can’t get over this book. The Glass Castle is one of my favorite books of all time and Educated rivaled it and maybe even surpassed it in terms of an excellent (true!) story and writing style. Tara Westover recounts her childhood growing up in the mountains of Idaho with survivalist and fundamentalist Mormon parents. She grew up with no education or health care (besides homeopathy) because her father didn’t believe in schools, hospitals, or anything tied to the government in any way shape or form.

Tara overcame all of the odds and ended up getting herself into college at BYU then a program at Cambridge, followed by a fellowship at Harvard, followed by a casual PhD at Cambridge. Talk about a hustler! This woman is so inspiring and her story is beyond fascinating. I can now say with 100% confidence that this is the best book I’ve read in the last two years.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: B+
When I started this book, I thought it was light, quirky, and funny. Then it turned dark real quick! But despite a stormy undertone, it made me laugh throughout and was a quick read. The story is told by Eleanor, a woman with severe social issues. She doesn’t really know how to interact with other humans until she meets a new man at work who takes her out of her comfort zone and introduces her to a whole new world. I loved reading a book from the perspective of someone who thinks very differently than most of us.

Where the Crawdads Sing: A (So far)
I just started this book a few nights ago so I’m just getting into it but so far I’m loving it. Everyone I know has recommended it to me so we’ll see how it goes. So far it toggles between a murder mystery in 1969 set in the marshlands of North Carolina and a story of a little girl surviving on her own in in those same marshlands in 1952. When I read the synopsis, it sounded really random but I was sucked in from the very first page!

On my Reading List

The Other Woman
I’ve really enjoyed all of Reese’s bookclub picks, and I plan to start this as soon as I finish Where the Crawdads Sing.

Becoming Michelle Obama
I just adore our former first lady and have this book on my Christmas wish list! I am so looking forward to learning more about her and reading her story.

Nine Perfect Strangers
Liane Moriarty can do no wrong and I so look forward to reading her latest and greatest!

Beneath a Scarlet Sky
So many of you guys recommended this on my WWII post that I had to add it to my list. It’s sitting in my pile of must reads but I had to take a little break from the genre because it was giving me horrible nightmares! But I am going to get to it before the end of the winter for sure.

Tell me what you’ve read and loved lately and what’s on your winter reading list! Need more book ideas? Check out the list of WWII novels that I loved or the quick reads that I read over the summer. 

Photos by Julia Dags.

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  1. Alex Pappas said:

    Educated was one of the best books I’ve read! I really enjoyed it. Eleanor Oliphant is next on my list. I was disappointed by nine perfect strangers which is sad because I love the author’s other books! Thanks for sharing your picks!

    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      A few people have said this so I think I might skip it!

      11.27.18 · Reply
  2. Brielle said:

    Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is amazing!

    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Adding to my list, thank you! I’ve loved every book of hers that I’ve ever read.

      11.27.18 · Reply
  3. Meghna said:

    I really enjoyed The Immortalists over the summer. I am currently reading you think it, I’ll say it by Curtis Sittenfield. She wrote Eligible which is her modern version of pride and prejudice. She writes so well. You will like it. I have the educated on my list and after reading your review I cant wait to read it. Ps. My all time favorite book is small great things by Jodi Picoult.

    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Great thank you for the recs! I love Jodi Picoult so will add that to my list as well.

      11.27.18 · Reply
  4. Libby said:

    Awesome recommendations! I need to squeeze some reading into the holiday break, and will for sure read one of these!!

    xoxo Libby

    11.27.18 · Reply
  5. Kate said:

    I’m starting Educated soon and can’t wait. I also loved Eleanor Oliphant, Reese’s production company picked it up too! Right now I’m listening to Becoming (her voice is so relaxing when I’m working) and reading the new George Washington/Yorktown book.

    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      A lot of people have told me that. I might do the same and swap it in for podcasts for a while!

      11.28.18 · Reply
  6. Rachael Draper said:

    I just finished Becoming by Michelle Obama and LOVED IT. It’s incredibly well written and made me adore her even more than I already did. Enjoy it!

    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I actually can’t wait to read it!!

      11.28.18 · Reply
  7. Susan Scardella said:

    Educated is the best book I’ve read in like forever. I highly recommend Beneath a Scarlet Sky. Also a top of my list. I am leading my book club discussion on it.
    I also am almost done with A Place for Us about an Indian Muslim family living in California and their struggle to live their values and culture amidst an American, non-Muslim backdrop. It depicts the children’s paths which include questioning and, in one case, rejecting (ambivalently) the life they were expected to lead. It’s a wonderful book about a caring yet religiously constrained family.

    11.27.18 · Reply
  8. Aileen said:

    “Liane Moriarty can do no wrong” – 100% agree, I blindly trust and purchase all her books when they come out. Just finished Nine Perfect Strangers over the holiday weekend and loved it!

    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      So glad to hear you say this! I’ve had people tell me that they didn’t love this one which made me so sad. I might try it anyway 🙂

      11.28.18 · Reply
  9. ooooooh I really want to read The Other Woman! Just ordered it – right up my alley.

    Educated was one of my favorite books this year – it really stuck with me and I still think about it months later!!! I also enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant – you described the book perfectly… it got dark quickly but overall I enjoyed hearing things from someone so different from me.

    Honestly though, skip Nine Perfect Strangers – it’s going to be in my reading list next week but it was SUCH a disappointment. I struggled through it but was so bummed out by it as I’m such a Liane Moriarty super fan.

    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Such a bummer about Nine Perfect Strangers, but thanks for the warning. What should I replace it with? Or should I wait for your reading list?! 🙂

      11.28.18 · Reply
  10. Jen said:

    I love your book posts so much! I am currently reading This Will Only Hurt A Little. Just starting it but excited to read something different. I just finished The Great Alone which I enjoyed. Next on my list is Educated, I have heard from so many friends that they love it. My favorite book ever is The Goldfinch.

    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Oooh I wanted to read that too, thank you for reminding me! I LOVED The Great Alone so so much. It’s a slower start but gets incredible. I liked it better than The Nightingale which no one agrees with me on but I thought it was so beautifully written.

      11.28.18 · Reply
  11. J said:


    11.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      How embarrassing am I? Hahah thank you!

      11.27.18 · Reply
  12. Rachel said:

    I just downloaded Educated last night, can’t wait to start it!! And agree with all the negative reviews on Nine Perfect Strangers. I love Liane but that book was a total miss for me 🙁

    11.28.18 · Reply
  13. Nicole said:

    I know it’s gotten mixed reviews but I loved Nine Perfect Strangers. I went to her Liane Moriarty speak on her book tour for it, so maybe that was part of it! Also want to say that I really appreciate the non-holiday gift guide content. I 100% get the need for it and that’s how bloggers make most of their money and how they can support non-sponsored content the rest of the year, but I was at a point where I just wanted to give up reading my favorite blogs until January until I saw this post!

    11.28.18 · Reply
  14. Marla Harvey-Guin said:

    Gave 9 perfect strangers 3 stars, Crawdads was great until the end. I thought the author overdid it trying to close the story..seems to be a problem for lots of authors. I highly recommend Waking Lions if you haven’t read it. Am reading A Place for Us by Mirza and it is very good so far. Next Year in Havana is at top of my TBR pile.

    11.28.18 · Reply
  15. Adare said:

    I love Liane Moriarty but I have to say Nine Perfect Strangers was personally one of the worst books I’ve ever read – and I read a ton. I was just dying for it to be over so I could say I finished it. A Spark of Light was really excellent, also if you haven’t read Before We Were Yours <3 A little similar to Where the Crawdads Sing but I think I liked it better.

    11.28.18 · Reply
  16. Samantha said:

    If you are looking for a quick, Christmas read – I just red a book called The White Christmas Inn, which was basically a Hallmark Christmas movie in a book. Super cute and got me in the spirit!

    11.28.18 · Reply
  17. Will definitely need to check some of these books out!
    xx, Merritt
    The Style Scribe

    11.28.18 · Reply
  18. Sara V said:

    I was so excited to read this post as I read The Nightingale, based on your recommendation, and LOVED it!! My sister and I both read it after The Alice Network and found them to be different, but great.

    Unfortunately, I have already read your top three recommendations this time so I will have to find inspiration on my own:) Seriously though, the three books that you listed were a few of my favorites and I just finished Michelle Obama. I didn’t know much about her before reading her book and am now inspired by who she was, is, and what she did while in the White House.

    Thank you for taking the time to do these reviews. I am open to reading almost anything, but won’t quit reading a book in the middle which leads to a lot of bleh. Good reviews save me from this!!

    12.4.18 · Reply
  19. Megan said:

    This post is great, thanks for sharing it.

    12.6.18 · Reply