Thank you so much for all of your comments with book suggestions on my Trip Prep post. I found myself with eight books in my cart at Amazon and I could have kept going. I ended up making myself narrow it down to the following four titles.
There were so many wonderful recommendations and I think I’ll be set on the book front for months to come. I can’t wait to check out many of the other books you recommended. I thought it would be helpful to compile some of the most popular suggestions in one post so that everyone has a go-to resource for spring/summer reading.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was by far the #1 most recommended book. I had it in my cart on Amazon but realized it’s only available in hard back right now and didn’t want to pack it for my trip but I can’t wait to read it when I get back.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio was also a popular selection, as were all of her books.
Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator’s.
Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 “blackberry winter” storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways…
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick is a novel that is now an Oscar-nominated movie.
Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.)
The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!
Still Alice by Lisa Genova is said to be a touching tearjerker that you can’t put down.
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman’s sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer’s disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alicecaptures in remarkable detail what’s it’s like to literally lose your mind…
Room by Emma Donoghue is supposed to be one of those books you can’t stop reading and finish in one day. It sounds intense and interesting.
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is said to be, “such a unique, beautiful story with lots of interesting characters and its very well written.”
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand takes place during World War II and is written by the author of Seabiscuit.
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is another page turning tear jerker.
Winner of the 2013 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. Praise for The Fault In Our Stars “A novel of life and death and the people caught in between, The Fault in Our Stars is John Green at his best.
And here’s the full list of the other recommended titles…
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Anything written by Barbara Kingsolver
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonassan
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
The Baker’s Daughter
The Kindness of Strangers
Cutting for Stone
Girl in Translation
Ape House by Sara Gruen (she also wrote Water for Elephants)
A Time in Between by Maria Duenas
The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March
Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
The Shadow of the Wind
The Secret Life of Cece Wilkes
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by The Blogess
Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
What Remains by Carole Radziwill
Me Before You by JoJo Meyes
Anything else to add? Leave a comment if you have other titles to add or if you want to come back and post your thoughts about any of the books featured above!