These are 10 books I will always recommend to anyone, at any given time.
There are literally hundreds of books I read so far that I absolutely loved. To limit them to only ten is hard, but I wanted to do a fairly short post today.
The following list contains ten of the books off the top of my head that I will recommend to anyone who asks me to suggest a great read.
Without keeping the suspense going, these are the ten books I will always recommend.
10. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zenin
One of my favorite books of last year, this is a great one! I will link my previous review so I won’t repeat myself here:
Don’t be fooled by the description, this book is not for gamers alone! Take it from me. I’ve never played video games in my life and yet I absolutely loved this book. Yes, the author talks about aspects of the games the main protagonists were creating and enjoyed playing, but that is just a small part of the book. The relationship between Sadie and Sam is the main focus of the book. From their teenage years well into adulthood, their relationship sees many ups and downs. That is the best part of the book in my opinion.
9. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I read this book a couple of years ago, and then the TV series adaptation came out. That made me remember how much I loved this book. This was before I even thought about starting a blog, so I never reviewed this book previously.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the book, as you can find on Goodreads:
“Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the rules that threaten to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets of Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost . . .”
This is one of these books that remain imprinted in your mind for years afterward. It is such an intricate tale of family dynamics and it delves deep into the way loyalties are interpreted by different people. It is also a tale of relationships between neighbors, set in an affluent neighborhood where appearances are very important.
The adaptation is also very well done, with excellent acting from Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. I highly recommend both the book and the series.
8.The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
The Chestnut Man is the first Nordic Noir thriller from the creative genius that brought us the original Danish TV series The Killing. Soren Sveistrup is the expert at weaving a twisted tale, one that keeps you on your toes from beginning to end.
Here’s a quick blurb for those of you not familiar with it:
“The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.
If you find one, he’s already found you.
A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.
His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene. Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.
A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?
To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.
Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.
And no one is safe.”
This is Nordic Noir at its best, and after reading the book I suggest you watch the Netflix series too. Equally well done, although the book has a lot more descriptive details I find pertinent to the overall narrative.
7. The People We Keep by Allison Larkin
This is the last book I read last year, and it was also my last five-star read. I will link the article here, so you can understand why I love it so much.
Since I don’t want to be redundant, I will just say that you should definitely pick up this book if you’re looking for lyrical contemporary fiction that is emotional and raw.
6. I’m Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjork
This underrated author deserves way more praise than he gets. I did an Author Spotlight post on him in 2021, so I’ll link it here.
If you’re looking for an underrated Nordic Noir book to read, this one definitely delivers.
5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
This is another favorite book of mine that I read a few years ago, but I still think it’s worth discovering. The TV adaptation that Reese Witherspoon produced and starred in is also one of my favorite series.
Here’s the short synopsis as seen on Goodreads:
“A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.”
I like books with intricate relationships between women and their shortcomings. Their loyalties are put to the test, but at the end of the day, they stick up for each other and support each other. Moriarty is the master at character development and she praises women and motherhood. Nothing is as it seems, and she has a way of shocking the reader. Reading any of her novels will keep you entertained from the very first page. I suggest you give this book a read if you were on the fence before.
4.A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I will not repeat all the reasons why you should pick up this book, but it’s a must-read. The author’s writing is sublime, and the emotional roller coaster you’ll experience will remain with you for years afterward. Not many authors manage to write such memorable books, but Yanagihara will pull you in and keep you invested in it until the very last page. Yes, the book is long, and it is deeply sad, but it is still a very important book that everyone should read.
Here’s the description you can find on Goodreads:
“When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There’s kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.
Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.”
3. Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors
If you’re not new to my blog, you must be tired by now of me talking about this book. It is my favorite book of 2022, and I cannot recommend it enough. I know not all of you will love it as much as I did, but I still think you should give it a chance.
Here’s the link to the previous post where I rave about this book:
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This is the book that made me discover psychological thrillers. In this case, I cannot stress enough that the book is a lot better than the movie! If you’ve seen the movie, read it and we can chat about it after.
“Who are you?
What have we done to each other?
These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him and that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.
So what happened to Nick’s beautiful wife?”
It is a twisted tale of a seemingly happily married couple. The book deeply delved into the psyche of Amy, and the lengths she goes to save herself from the hole she weaved for herself out of love. A disturbing look at how psychological games in intimate relationships can turn seriously wrong. This cult classic is a must-read if you’re looking for an unputdownable psychological thriller.
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson
This is the first Nordic Noir book I read and the author’s writing style made me fall in love with the genre. There are three books written by Larson in the Millenium series.
The books follow Lizbeth Salander, a clever hacker, and a big introvert, but unfortunately, he passed before he could continue the series. David Lagerkrantz continued the series with three more books, but they are not nearly as amazing as the ones Larson wrote.
Here’s a quick synopsis as seen on Goodreads:
“Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.”
If you have never heard of this book, I urge you to give it a chance. I’m not going to lie, it’s a brick of a book, and it may seem a bit hard to get into at first. But within the first hundred pages, you’ll be so intrigued, you’ll have a hard time putting it down. And the following two, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest are equally awesome.
These are just ten books I will always recommend as my all-time favorite books. Although I rated a couple of them only four stars, they are amazing books that I cannot stop thinking about.
The rating system is far from perfect, so you shouldn’t put too much importance on it. Just like grades in school. But that’s a topic for another day. As far as I’m concerned, a four-star book is excellent as well and definitely worth a read.
Until next time fellow bookworms, I hope you enjoyed this article!