My Pandemic Reading List

Greetings from lockdown. After the attention my homemade bagel received on Instagram yesterday, it’s only natural I branch out into lifestyle content, right? Not to worry, I am only taking a quick break from skincare because I’ve been reading a lot of late. As a self-proclaimed bookworm, I thought it would be nice to share a few books that have kept me entertained and interested. And distracted from the insanity of our president’s press briefings.

Full disclosure: my taste in books typically leans ‘check your brain at the door.’ With that said, while I do lovingly refer to many favorites as ‘beach trash,’ I very much enjoy good writing. What I don’t enjoy is paranormal, supernatural, romance. Oh, I’m not into period pieces. I do like psychological suspense, whodunits, true crime and an occasional biography (but it has to be juicy). Following is a short and sweet roundup of what I’d insist you borrow if we were friends and were there no pandemic.

‘The Guest List’ by Lucy Foley

Agatha Christie Lucy Foley is not but her latest novel is a delicious whodunit that I devoured in a day and a half. Narrated from five different perspectives (The Bride, The Plus One, The Best Man, The Wedding Planner, and The Bridesmaid), the story of old friends who reunite at a posh wedding is set in a gloomy and perfectly atmospheric island off the Irish coast. What’s included: the surfacing of the usual resentment, deeply buried secrets, non-confusing flashbacks, and of course, a body. But who is dead and who did the killing is not revealed until the very end, which delivers a twist I didn’t see coming. This was my Book of the Month pick which was an early release. It publishes on June 2nd and you can pre-order on Amazon. You can also click here and join BOTM which I love and when you do, each of us gets an extra book for free. 

‘The One’ by John Marrs

The ultimate in escapism, ‘The One’ features five characters who are about to meet their soulmates. Or so they think… Imagine a world in which you can be matched to your ultimate life partner based on your DNA results. That’s exactly what Mandy, Ellie, Jade, Christopher, and Nick are about to do. But what if you’re about to marry your girlfriend, take the test to ‘just double-check and confirm, and  you’re matched with a guy you never met? What if your perfect match is a serial killer? Or wait, after months agonizing whether or not you should meet your match, you get up the nerve and travel across the globe to meet him, and find out that he’s dead? This was a delightful rollercoaster with a very satisfying ending. 

‘Pretty Good Advice’ by Leslie Blodgett

I am shocked at how much I enjoyed this collection of short, snappy chapters by the beauty mogul who launched bareMinerals. Shocking since I don’t really wear makeup and because I abhor self-help and advice books. Leslie is funny; her advice inspiring and never pushy. It’s a quick read that has you feeling you’re good friends after turning the last page.  If she were to drop by, I even know where we’d do lunch. A piece of nerdy advice: don’t get the Kindle version. ‘Pretty Good Advice’ is a book you’ll return to do as to revisit a random chapter ‘just because’ — it’s a very ‘feel good’ read. 

‘Swimming In the Dark’ by Tomasz Jedrowski

Warning: this book absolutely destroyed me. Finishing the last 10 pages was a struggle because I was a sobbing mess and couldn’t see a thing. It’a gay love story set in communist Poland, which hit way close to home. Having left for the States twenty years ago, I can still attest that the Catholic guilt is alive and well. I understand that this particular genre is so niche, it may not find an audience on my blog. But if even just one person picks it up and has an experience similar to mine, my job will be done. Who knew so much could be packed into just under 200 pages? ‘Swimming In The Dark’ is out tomorrow, April 28th.

‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett

It took me awhile to get into ‘The Dutch House.’ It’s not that the story line is kinda sorta implausible (I mean, look at my picks above lol), but the slow burning portrayal of a brother and sister whose family life is fractured multiple times over five decades takes some pages to become compelling and ominous. And the main event—the relationship between a brother and sister, the house in which they grew up, and its hold on their lives— is fascinating. This one is definitely not for everyone but if you’re looking for something different, give it a try and you may get lost in it like I did. Both Danny and Maeve will stay with you for a while. 

‘When You See Me’ by Lisa Gardner

If you enjoy police procedurals, nobody does them better than Lisa Gardner. The stories are focused on often gruesome cases and colorful personalities, without any unnecessary romantic threads. This is the eleventh book in her D.D. Warren series that features the Boston detective, but you don’t have  to catch up on the other ten to enjoy this one. In ‘When You See Me,’ a newly discovered body brings the protagonist to the woods of Georgia where everyone appears to be helpful and forthcoming to solve the local mystery. But as the body count continues to grow, you quickly figure out that everyone is lying. I’m not saying another word so as not to spoil the ending.

I will keep this thread ongoing and add books as I find them worthy a recommendation. Would love to hear what everyone else is reading, too! xo

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