Here are some of my favorites so far:
I did this one on audio (it's 27 hours long...not for the faint of heart) but I loved every second. Books about historical events and figures can be a little dry sometimes and this one is no exception, but it also made me cry on more than one occasion. FDR's presidency is made up of so many amazing moments in history. I vaguely remembered that he was a key figure in shaping the US as we know it today but I had forgotten many of the details. He saved the country from collapse during the Great Depression and was BFFs with Winston Churchill. He was the first president to ever fly in an airplane. He rose above a serious physical handicap to lead and inspire a nation. I'm not remotely joking when I tell you that FDR is totally my hero after reading this book. He wasn't perfect but he was sure amazing.
Also recommend: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I'm sure 90% of you have read it but it is seriously mind-blowing (and also gave me shark nightmares).
This is a YA book, which I know some people tend to turn up their nose at, but hear me out: this is YA done well. Over the course of 3 books Elisa, the heroine, goes from a soft, naive princess to a queenly, confident leader of her country. And she does it by saving herself and others time and again, not by relying on the arm of a flawless brawny love interest to save her. There ARE love interests, of course (3 of them!) but they are imperfect, human and more of a side note to Elisa's story rather than the focus of it. I realized halfway through that I didn't particularly care who she does or doesn't end up with. I'm just on Team Elisa (and so is she). This book has depth, plot, and is just generally awesome. It works as a stand alone if you don't want to get caught up in a trilogy.
Also recommend: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. A thinking book wrapped in the guise of a wonderfully different sort of love story.
Not for everyone, but I loved:
This isn't necessarily a book I'd recommend to just anyone. She goes through some very dark times and there's some sexual content that might make some people uncomfortable. But I found Leah Vincent's memoir deeply touching and strangely relateable. She was kicked out of her strict religious group because she wrote letters to a boy asking questions about their faith that made others uncomfortable. This hit close to home for me. There are groups right now asking deep and hard questions about the Mormon Church. The saddest part is that most of these people are really trying to be faithful. But when they ask questions or raise concerns an incredibly common response from the community is, "Why don't you just leave the church?" Why are orthodox religions so quick to shove the struggling ones from the nest? What is it about doubt that scares us so much that we're willing to kick a soul out completely rather than try and help them through it and find their place? Vincent's book gave me a lot to chew on.
Also recommend: A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. Strikes a fine balance between reverence for the Bible and all that it represents for millions of people while also poking fun at some of it's outdated culturally based proclamations. Deeply entertaining.
What have you read lately and loved? I've given up on a couple books this month and need some new recommendations!
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