Over the last couple of years, I re-discovered my passion for reading. As an English teacher, I’ve always loved literature, but caring for two young children and teaching full time never left me much time for it. The pandemic, as well as having a medical emergency last year that forced me to slow down and rest, really helped me fall back in love with reading, and here we are – Self-Care Summer, aka the summer where I work out every morning, and binge read on my deck all afternoon.
I’ve been doing book reviews on my Instagram for a while now, but I really wanted to share more about my favourite genres and highlight some recommendations more in-depth here. It’s really funny how your hobbies and passions evolve over time. Back in 2018 and 2019, I used to love going out, spending my summers at events, restaurants, partying, etc. I considered Instagram my hobby. Fast forward years later, and very little of that is on my radar. I’m so content to stay home and just immerse myself in an amazing read. So without further ado, here are some of my top picks.
Let’s talk Kristin Hannah. She is certifiably the most talented historical fiction writer out there. Her books are full of relevant information about a place and time that I personally don’t know much about (for example, the Great Depression in the above mentioned The Four Winds), and she gives her characters so much depth and realness that you can’t help but become insanely invested in their story. Another great book by her is The Great Alone, which I highly recommend. I also loved The Stationary Shop, by Marjan Kamali, because it was a love story, but set in a time of political turmoil in Iran, which I knew nothing about and found riveting as a sub-plot.
When and how I became a fan of romance novels is a mystery to me. Honestly, I just love how much of a brainless escape they provide, and I typically finish them in a day or two. These are some of my recent faves. Every Summer After was amazing because it was set in Ontario, The Love Hypothesis was the perfect balance of smut and comedic nerdiness, and Ties that Tether was beautiful, because it offered insight into cross-cultural romances.
I just love memoirs because I find other people’s lives fascinating. One day I want to write one. Here are two of my favourites. Between Two Kingdoms is Suleika Jaouad’s story of her battle with leukemia and being on the brink of death. It was a jarring read, and made me very aware of my own mortality. Surviving the White Gaze is another riveting one. Rebecca Carroll does an amazing job of painting a vivid picture of the hardship in her life being a black woman adopted by a white family.
I saved the best for last. There’s nothing quite like a good thriller for me. I live for being on the edge of my seat, and the more messed up, the better. I won’t go through these selections individually, but No Exit by Taylor Adams is my top pick (just don’t watch the sub-par made for TV movie version of it that recently came out). If anyone has thriller recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them. I’m currently reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, and it’s roped me in quite fast, so I’m looking forward to reading more.
And, a bit of shameless self promo; feel free to follow me on Instagram if you’re looking for more recommendations: @theathleisureteacher