This time around I am bringing you something different. As some of you may know, I am the founder of Vancouver’s Book Club, (shameful plug, Facebook Book Club Group here) and I often make suggestions on books I’ve read, I am reading and books I wish I haven’t read! (yes, those happen too). Since it’s quite a regular question, on my IG and my book club IG, I thought I’d share some of my top picks, based on their genres or based on what you can expect from them.
Eye Opening Books
Those are books that I didn’t expect to like or had no expectations of. They have been recommended by a friend or some other online Book Club such as Reese’s or Oprah’s and I have been simply influenced and pleasantly surprised.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
This book has sparked interest, first by appearing on Oprah’s Book Club Recommendations and since then it’s blown up.
The book portrays mother & son journey in Mexico, on the run from the cartels hoping to illegally cross the border to the US. It shows real life struggles and realities of the journey taken, the dangers and cartel connections across the country.
The book received a lot of scrutiny, as the author is not from Mexico, nor is she an immigrant. Mere fact that she is white and she had the audacity to write a story about the struggle of immigration from Mexico to the US got her in some hot water.
I really enjoyed this book, it painted a clean picture as to what people go through for their family in quest of a better life. I always had a certain image in my head as to what happens, however this book really filled in the blanks.
Please don’t diss this book until you hear me out. Its funny how we can “judge the book by its author” literally, but this time around I was shocked! I remembered Jessica Simpson as this silly blonde from the MTV Show The Newlyweds with her (then) husband Nick Lachey. The producers truly made her out to be this helpless, dumb individual and she didnt know any better being so young and being managed by her parents.
This is a biography about her life and a tell all if I ever seen one. Her whole life Jessica has played “second best” to Britney Spears who happened to be up & coming at the same time. They were both girls from the south, both blonde and both with an enormous vocal range.
Since I’ve been dealing with some childhood trauma myself recently, I only now truly understand what she meant, how instead of dealing with her issues and facing the truth she chose to drown her problems with a bottle of vodka in her hand. (Just to be clear I am not doing that).
Its surprising too, that people who are meant to be your family and your support system allowed so many toxic behaviors to occur over and over again. I have also been surprised by an appearance of one particular celebrity in her life, I never thought to link her with.
Definitely worth a read, it opens our eyes that people with means, also go through everyday struggles and the pressure of keeping them beneath the surface can be damaging.
This is a collection of my most recently read books, each of them completely different in their humor and the way its been written which is interesting.
This is a book by an Irish author, so I was super happy to include it in my recommendations. Recommended to me by a friend in passing, it stayed on my “to do” list for the longest time and when I felt “home sick” (missing my family in Ireland, however Ireland isn’t my home) I reached for this book and it did not disappoint.
You don’t need to be Irish to understand the humor in this book, but if you are, all the better for you. Story about an Irish family of adult siblings with their own children and their daily struggles, money, career, relationships.
Its truly a mockery of your own brothers and sisters, sprinkled with some fun of nieces and nephews shenanigans. I feel like reading this book is like watching Friends the TV show. You can identify with one of the characters and laugh with them. I laughed out loud, multiple times reading this book.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I am finding it hard to put the words down, that would correctly describe this book and give it the proper credit it deserves. I have read this book twice (which never happens to me) and the second time around I was howling.
This is a story of a single woman, who is an adult in her early thirties who has no filter. Imagine a world where you say what you thought or what you have observed, this may be absurd and insulting to others however Eleanor has no idea how its received. She also appears she’s an adult who has never grown up mentally and cannot understand why her coworkers laugh at her Velcro shoes she wears to work, after all she bought them in kids section for £15. Eccentric doesn’t even cover it.
Even though the story is hilarious, it also portrays a story of a beautiful friendship, loneliness and unresolved trauma.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Written by a Swedish author, Anxious People is a witty humor book where no one has any idea whats going on and that is hilarious in itself.
The book portrays lives of multiple people from various backgrounds who are all interested in buying the same property, until they are taken hostage.
Everyone, including the policemen deal with their own personal anxieties and every day troubles, which adds to the overall story and the drama. It also shows great heart and shows that people are willing and capable of change.
There are mini series of anxious people based on this book made available on Netflix, however I’d always recommend reading the book first. In addition, as the series are in Swedish the show doesn’t fully translate the humor to the extent the book does.
This is going to hurt – Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay
For a book that’s written in small paragraphs, jokes, snippets of various days from the Emergency Department or an Operating Block, it is very cohesive, it flows and the overall structure of the book is not lost.
This is another book, at which I have laughed out loud to myself. Adam portrays various (sometimes ridiculous) situations that he’s presented with in A&E, be that by the patients or the nature of being a junior doctor in the UK and working for the NHS.
Although each situation is real, it goes without saying that Adam has scrubbed each story, so no patient can be identified. In addition he’s no longer practicing medicine.
While the book is hilarious, it also portrays struggles of individuals who chose to become MDs, the sacrifices they need to make for the majority of their lives to then “collect” the fruits of their labor for mere couple of years when they mature.
Books that will teach you something
The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton
This was a friend recommendation on financial advice and small steps we can take to improve our financial well-being.
I have listed to this book as an audio book and I highly recommend doing just that. If you imagine this book to be a “how to” guide, boring step by step self help book, this isn’t it. This book indeed helps and provides you with some golden nuggets of information, regarding bank accounts and simple investments, however its written in a “let me tell you a story” way, therefore very reader/user friendly and its easy to keep up with.
Honestly, its not easy to write a story about facts and helpful tips however David did just that. While the book is based on American Savings Accounts and Investments, it doesn’t take a genius to take the principles and apply them elsewhere in the world.
Inferno a memoir of motherhood and madness by Catherine Cho
While I couldn’t fully relate to the book, as I am not a mother I have truly felt the pain and despair the author went through during her postpartum depression.
The author – Catherine, is of Koren descent living in the UK, however having previously lived in the US. She faces the realities of two worlds – the US way of life to which she was exposed, the freedom, the ways in which they step away from their culture and their cultural expectations as a Korean mother.
The story is somewhat disturbing, she is very raw in her feelings about her husband and child (post birth) and its a very honest account of what goes through your head when you’re not thinking clear and unable to bond with your newborn baby.
This definitely opened my eyes into the world of postpartum and the difficulties a lot of new mothers find themselves in.
Mind Blowing Books
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
I almost don’t know what to say, to not give away this book and its story-line. Everyone in our Book Club was completely gobsmacked by this story, completely blindsided and it makes you want to re-read the book to make sure you somehow have not been cheated.
This author is known for great writing and keeping the suspense. I am truly going to leave it at that, and hopefully you will find out for yourself. (Sooner rather than later – I suggest).
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
This is a really thought-provoking novel, that will make you question everything you know about your own personal life.
The book is about a seemingly happy family, the lead character is the mother, the wife, successful business woman, pillar in her community, always present for her children and her home is always spotless. Until one beautiful day everything changes.
The authors name would suggest she’s Irish, however Liane was born in Australia. She’s also the author who wrote the very successful and now a major TV show on HBO Big Little Lies. It was mentioned they’re planning to make a motion picture from this book. It would be very exciting to watch this indeed.
This brings me to the conclusion folks, those are my Top 10 Books in the recent years. I have read each of these books in the last 2 years and they have all stood out to me in their own unique way. This is why I love our Book Club so much. It forces you to read books you wouldn’t otherwise and that is a lesson in itself.
If there are must read books you’d like to share with me, be sure to leave a comment below and I will share it with my Book Club next month!
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