I know that I’ve talked a lot about renewing my hobbies as an adult and, in that same vain, one of my goals (always, but especially the past little while) has been to read more. I have always been a reader (I talk more about that here) but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I’m so much less inclined to start new books. When I was younger I would just pick anything up and dive right in to it. I think that because my free time is much harder to come by these days I’m weary of wasting it on a book that may not be good.
I’m also at a weird place in my life where I feel like I’m missing that sense of community when it comes to reading. Sharing what you loved about a book – whether it’s your favourite character or a character you hated, a funny line, a passage that inspired you, whatever it may be – is one of my favourite things about reading. I feel like I finally understand why people form bookclubs (although I don’t think I could handle being told what to read and given a schedule that I had to follow); it’s about having that community of people that you can share your experience with. And reading is such an experience. Earlier this month (it may have been the end of April?) I discovered the world of booktube, which is the section of YouTube that’s dedicated to all things books and reading and, with that, I experienced such a yearning to read again.
I’ll admit that I’ve kind of stayed away from YA lately mostly because I felt like I wasn’t really finding anything there that was super relatable or relevant to my life anymore (or maybe that’s just what I wanted to think …) and in the past few years I’ve stayed firmly in the ‘adult’ section of the bookstore. But to be honest it’s kind of been a mountain to tackle and after watching a ton of book talks and reviews that featured a lot of the same YA books and series, I decided that I didn’t really care anymore about whether or not I was an adult or YA and I was going to read books that sounded good to me and that’s that. So I did. Or, I am. And on that note, here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
Now, this is an interesting pick for me because I am not a Christian and this book definitely has heavy Christian themes, which (I know) makes it weird that I really wanted to read it. I had actually seen a quote from this book about living as hard as you could and it was something that really struck me and stayed with me enough that I wanted to read the book. I chose to look at it as being more about faith in general and even if you ignore those parts, there are a lot of really important lessons and stories that I found I could really relate to (I am constantly telling myself, “let them off the hook”). This book is honestly about life and living your best one and it was dazzling and inspiring and definitely worth reading.
Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han
This is the third (and final) book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series and wraps up the story of Lara Jean Song Covey. I really loved this series because even though it seems like a romantic love story it’s just as much a story about sisters and family and figuring out how to grow without growing apart. I am a middle sister (like Lara Jean) and found that a lot of what she goes through reminded me of my own teenage years. Also her little sister Kitty reminds me of my own little sister and how can I not love that? I actually got to see Jenny when she made a stop at my local bookstore on her tour and she was lovely and sweet and it made me love this book all the more for it.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
This was a book series that was heavily recommended on booktube and I felt like I couldn’t ignore it. I’ve only read this first one so far but it was enough to make me curious and I think I’ll definitely continue. It’s a fantasy series that follows an 18 year old girl who just so happens to be the baddest assassin in the world. She’s been in prison for the last few years but is given an opportunity at freedom when the tyrant King constructs a competition in which a bunch of criminals will fight against each other to win a contract to become his champion, at the end of which they will be granted their freedom. It was pretty fast moving, which I liked, and the world within the book was definitely intriguing.
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
This is the book I was most excited to read out of all the titles on this list because I am such a fan of Cassandra Clare. Honestly, there hasn’t been a book that she’s put out that I didn’t love. She has crafted such an interesting and detailed world within her books and all of the stories are woven together so well it’s sometimes hard to believe that these books came from one person’s mind. Lord of Shadows is the second in The Dark Artifices and continues the story of Emma and Julian and the other inhabitants of the Los Angeles Institute. The Shadowhunter novels are really great because, while they are definitely fantasy, they do have a sort of contemporary feel to them as well so lots of readers will enjoy.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
I actually just finished this one today and I loved it. It was funny and a little sad and really honest and it’s a great book for anyone who has ever struggled with fitting in to their own skin (which, I think is probably everyone). It was short and sweet and a nice little palette cleanser in between fantasy series. 10/10 recommend.