Yes, yes, I know I’m a food blogger, but sometimes I just don’t feel like talking or writing about it.

We can all relate, right? Nurses don’t want to go home at the end of their shift and take care of another sick person, engineers don’t feel like going home and providing tech support to their mom over the phone, and I’m guessing window washers don’t especially feel like cleaning their own windows on the weekends. Bloggers are the same way a lot of the time.

Blogging is our job, and our hobby, and sometimes we need an escape!

These days I’m escaping to books, and I want to share with you some of my favorites from the past year!

I read all over the genre board. Last year I read 22 books ranging from historical fiction to romance to fantasy to memoir to sci-fi to non-fiction to YA, and everything in between. Many of my book choices come from the What Should I Read Next podcast, friends and family, scrolling Libby late at night, or just browsing the old fashioned library.

I finally caved and got a Kindle last year, so my ability to read at Dr’s appointments, in the car waiting for preschool pickup, late at night when I can’t sleep, in the hammock, and virtually anywhere really accelerated my number of books read.

This year my Goodreads Challenge goal is set at 36 and with COVID-19 happening, I’m already 3 books ahead of schedule!

Enough talk – let’s get to the books.

Sign up For Kindle Unlimited and get unlimited reading from over 1 million ebooks, unlimited listening to thousands of audiobooks, and the ability to read on any device!

Here are 12 books I highly recommend reading for the genre flexible reader.

“The story of two college students on a wilderness canoe trip–a gripping tale of a friendship tested by fire, white water, and violence.”

I read this one on a girls trip last year and finished it in 4 hours! It’s thrilling but not terrifying, and the imagery was amazingly beautiful!

“With this story of her conversion as a backdrop, Rosaria Butterfield invites us into her home to show us how God can use this same “radical, ordinary hospitality” to bring the gospel to our lost friends and neighbors. Such hospitality sees our homes as not our own, but as God’s tools for the furtherance of his kingdom as we welcome those who look, think, believe, and act differently from us into our everyday, sometimes messy lives―helping them see what true Christian faith really looks like.”

My mom gave me this book a few years ago and I put it to the side since it had been a few years since I had been reading non-fiction. I finally picked it up a few months ago and it has inspired me to be a better neighbor and a more all around hospitable person.

Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds. As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere.

World War II historical fiction novels are my true weakness. I’ve probably read 15 of them in the last 2-3 years and have recently tried to start adding more books from other time periods to my to be read shelf. But, for an amazing WWII story, We Were the Lucky Ones is in my top 3 right now!

My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
 So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.  

The Name Of The Wind is the first adult fantasy book I’ve picked up and read. My husband read it 5 years ago and finally convinced me to pick it up last year as well. I was hooked from the beginning. It’s a fairly long read but it goes incredibly fast, and I’ve heard the audio version is fantastic!!

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

When Breath Becomes Air is so real, meaningful, and a story unlike anything I had ever read before. I absolutely loved it.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Where The Crawdads Sing was given to me by my sister in law. It sat on my nightstand for a couple of months for two reasons. #1, I was hooked on reading on my Kindle and the thought of having to hold a large hardback just made me feel tired before I even started (haha). #2, I was scared that the Suspense/Thriller element of the book would be too scary. I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to suspense but figured since I knew my husband wouldn’t be gone for the next 2 months (thanks to COVID-19), I’d be safe. Needless to say, I started this book at 10pm on Saturday night and finished it by 4pm the next day. I literally couldn’t put it down.

On the heels of her bestselling journal Start Where You Are, author and illustrator Meera Lee Patel takes us deeper into her artistic vision and emotional journey in this stunning new four-color book. A mix of personal reflections, inspirational quotes, questions for reflection, and breathtaking watercolor visuals, My Friend Fear asserts that having big fear is an opportunity to make big changes, to discover the remarkable potential inside ourselves.

This book was a bright light during a time a few years ago when I was experiencing a high amount of fear and anxiety. The book itself is beautiful and is half artwork and half deep questions/thoughts/quotes/reflections.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.

Eleanor and Park is just the best. It’s a YA book but I’ve recommended it to so many people who just need a sweet high school love story.

The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

As a foster parent myself, I went through a period of reading a number of foster care reads, both non-fiction and fiction. Orbiting Jupiter is a powerful story that delves deep into the meaning of family and the sacrifice it requires.

Bread & Wine is a collection of essays about family relationships, friendships, and the meals that bring us together. This mix of Anne Lamott and Barefoot Contessa is a funny, honest, and vulnerable spiritual memoir. Bread & Wine is a celebration of food shared, reminding readers of the joy found in a life around the table. It’s about the ways God teaches and nourishes people as they nourish the people around them. It’s about hunger, both physical and otherwise, and the connections between the two.

Shauna Niequist is a fellow enneagram 7 and I’ve always felt so connected to her writing because of it. Bread and Wine is a part cookbook and part essay collection mashup that is real, vulnerable, funny, and celebratory.

Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. His aunt is glad to open her home until she sees Habo for the first time, and then she is only afraid. Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To survive, Habo must not only run, but find a way to love and accept himself.

Golden Boy was part of my goal to read more diverse and it didn’t disappoint. This is a YA novel but has elements of narrative that are serious in nature and bring up major cultural issues as well as an underlying message of self love and acceptance.

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

I know most people have read this one after it swept the nation last year, but if you haven’t yet, I’m going to give one more plug for it! Reading about Tara’s growing up in survivalist cult situation and then her pursuit of knowledge followed by escape was so incredibly eye-opening and interested. Highly recommend!

**Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links.