Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

Jennifer Curry's favorite books »

Thursday, December 30, 2021

I read 100+ Books in 2021. Here are My Top 12.

baby got books

Reading proved to be a much-needed escape in 2021, as we tried to go back to normal while realizing things may never be normal again.

I read as much as I watched TV, and just like what I watched on TV, my book choices varied dramatically from serious, smart works of art to pure escapism fluff.

But, I'll be honest, the vast majority of my book list this year landed on the fluff side.

I read as a hobby and to put myself to sleep every night. 

For this reason, it was more of a quantity book year rather than a quality book year

At the end of the year, I have read 105 books (plus the Bible in its entirety - thanks to the Dwell podcast on Spotify).

I have narrowed that list down to the 12 books that really stood out. These books either captivated me with interesting plots and dynamic characters, made me feel warm and fuzzy when I needed to, or taught me something new.

Without further ado, here are one-sentence reasons why you should read each.

My Top 12 Books of 2021

1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

This book shocked and delighted me from start to finish, made me feel all the feels, and quickly found a place on my all-time favorite list.

2. The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

This thought-provoking historical fiction novel tells the story of a woman who married Jesus Christ and what that would have looked like during the time.

3. The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth writes psychological thrillers that aren't too scary, have multi-faceted characters, and intriguing plots, and shows, once again, why she is one of my go-to authors.

4. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

This is not your average romance, getting dark and heavy right away, but months later, I still find myself thinking about the characters.

5. 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

I avoided this one because it is set during quarantine; however, I am so glad friends pushed me to read it because it is the best thriller I read all year.

6. A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss

I read several holiday rom-coms; this is one was my favorite because it wasn't too Hallmark-y, had a fantastic cast of characters, and a charming setting.

7. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

This was such a good book club choice, taking you to another country, forcing you to think about situations that we tend to pretend don't exist, and still managing to leave you hopeful. 

8. Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto 

This book is utterly ridiculous and silly, but it combines several of my favorite things: rom-coms, family drama, and cozy mysteries.

9. Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby

This novel is the heaviest on my list, but it deserves a spot on the list because it takes readers on a journey filled with lessons about prejudice and redemption.

10. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

As a longtime Green fan, I found listening to him read this collection of essays was like taking a trip down memory lane.

11. When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

Paula McLain, known for historical fiction, has taken things in a different direction to write a suspenseful thriller using historical data from the Polly Klaas kidnapping case in the 1990s.

12. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

After listening to this memoir, it is easy to see why it is showing up on so many "Best of 2021" lists - I had to force myself to stop listening to save some of the audiobook for the next day's drive. 

Other Things I Loved in 2021

  • Jen Deluca's Well Met Book Series: Super cute rom-com series in Renaissance Faire settings with characters overlapping in each book
  • Ted Lasso: It's popular for a reason, y'all
  • Ghosts: The original BBC sitcom and the new American version
  • Only Murders in the Building: Steve Martin, Martin Short, true crime podcast, need I say more?
  • WandaVision: Fun and gut-punching at the same time. Bravo!
  • Bo Burnham's Inside: Not the comedy special I was expecting, but definitely the special I needed
  • Come From Away: The Broadway show about the small Canadian town that welcomed stranded passengers during 9/11 was recorded and premiered on Apple+ and totally justifies my subscription
  • Weddings and Funerals by Jake Wesley Rogers: My family's favorite song in 2021 to sing at the top of our lungs 
So, tell me, what did you love in 2021?

Thursday, July 1, 2021

My Favorite Reads of 2021 So Far

It's July 1, 2021, which means we are halfway through the year! 

I have read 49 books so far... it is really killing me that I didn't make it to an even 50.

While I haven't been blogging about books or posting my reading material to social media, rest assured I am still reading.

In 2021, I have gone back to thrillers (I can handle them again now that 2020 is over) but I am still shying away from WWI and WWII historical fiction.

I have also enjoyed reading a ton of rom-coms. They may not make my "Best of" lists, but trust me when I say I have plenty of make-your-heart happy fun reads to recommend. Just ask! 

6 months down, 6 months to go!

My favorite 6 reads for the first 6 months of 2021

The House of the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

I cannot find the words to explain how much I loved this sweet, strange fantasy. I went into it without knowing anything about it and it delighted me chapter after chapter. 

I love it so much I spent a ridiculous amount of money on these corresponding pencils (profits benefit The Trevor Project).

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees, is a wonderful storyteller. This is a historical fiction set in biblical times. It tells the fictional story of a woman who married Jesus Christ and what that would have looked like during the time.

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth is quickly becoming one of my favorite domestic thriller writers. They aren't too scary, and they have multi-faceted characters. Her latest is another winner that focuses on a pair of sisters who are a little too co-dependent.

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

I read a lot of memoirs (actually, I love to listen to memoirs). This one stands out because it is one that left quite an impression. When you read as much as I do, sometimes books start to blur together. This one will never blur and won't be forgotten. It is about a survivor of the polygamist Mormon LeBaron cult. It is a very rough read, but it shows how much strength and resilience Ruth has.

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

There is a reason this one ended up in Reese's Book Club, but it is NOT for the faint of heart. The first few sentences will make some ladies clutch their pearls in shock and horror. With that being said, it is a romance, unlike any romance I have read (aka not a rom-com). It is a tough read, and it gets dark fast. Even so, I could not stop reading it. I also really appreciated how it featured a character with chronic illness (migraines) in a realistic light. 

The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr

My last pick is nonfiction. If you grew up in church and were taught why women shouldn't preach or wear spaghetti strap tank tops, this book explains where those ideas came from. Hint: not the Bible. I learned a lot as I read it, and I am glad I read it while my kids are still young enough to use my new knowledge to teach them.