all my 2016 book recommendations

All year long, I’ve made a weekly book recommendation when kicking off the weekend open thread. These aren’t work-related books; they’re just books I love and think everyone else should read. Sometimes they’re books that I’m in the middle of reading, and other times they’ve just long-standing favorites.

Here’s the complete list of what I’ve recommended this year (maybe in time for holiday gift-shopping!). I’ve bolded my favorites of the favorites.

The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, by Meghan Daum. Smart, funny, brutally honest essays about everything from her mother to Hollywood dinner parties to not having kids to an out-of-the-blue freak illness that almost killed her.

The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. My sister sent it to me and I was baffled because I didn’t think it was at all my reading taste or hers, but then I opened it up and I couldn’t stop reading.

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, by Mallory Ortberg, who is the awesomest, and you should also be reading her as the new Dear Prudence.

And Again, by Jessica Chiarella. Four terminally ill people are given genetically perfect, illness-free versions of their former bodies and have to figure out how to remake themselves.

The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell, who is smart and funny and mixes pop culture with history and you will want to invite her to dinner.

My Salinger Year — Joanna Rakoff’s memoir about working at a literary agency, where she gets put in charge of answering J.D. Salinger’s fan mail.

The Martian, by Andy Weir. I loved the movie and wasn’t sure if the book would be too sci-fi for me, but it’s not. I’m mid-way through and it’s making me want to watch the movie nightly.

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader — Anne Fadiman’s essays about the role that books, reading, and words have played in her life. I especially liked her essay about combining books with her husband when they moved in together.

Comfort Me with Apples, by former New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl — a behind-the-scenes look at being a restaurant critic (disguises! fake names on credit cards!) and later the editor of Gourmet. If you like food and you like insidery details about the restaurant industry, you will find this fascinating.

A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon, a dryly hilarious account of a dysfunctional family, related by its stiff-upper-lip patriarch.

The Summer Before the War, by Helen Simonson. Class snobbery, English countryside, and a scandal that a young woman is teaching Latin!

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. It’s 13 short stories all linked by one character, and it unfolds so quietly that it takes you off-guard when you realize how absorbing it is.

A Thousand Pardons, by Jonathan Dee. After her husband’s own public self-destruction, a woman discovers that she has a talent for getting others who need to repair their public images to apologize.

Small World, by David Lodge. I don’t know why I like send-ups of academia so much, but I do, I do. You will laugh out loud.

The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. A dysfunctional family, an endangered trust fund, and so much bad behavior. But somehow it injects its dark humor with heart, and you end up caring about all most of them.

Liars’ Club, by Mary Karr. You’ve probably figured out by now that I like dark and funny books about family dysfunction, and this memoir sits at the top of the heap of all of them.

The Japanese Lover, by Isabel Allende. A love story between a Polish girl sent to San Francisco to escape the Holocaust and the son of a Japanese gardener who’s sent to an internment camp after Pearl Harbor. Displacement, love, aging, gardening, mysterious letters… It’s gotten mixed reviews, but I’m loving it.

A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler. Several generations of a Baltimore family, and you will care about them more than makes sense. The Washington Post called it “an act of literary enchantment,” which seems right.

The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood. I actually don’t know if I’m recommending this exactly, because I loved the first half but then felt like it spun out of control in the second half — but it did keep me completely engrossed the entire time and made me stay up way too late several nights in a row, and really, that’s what I want from a book.

Tepper isn’t Going Out, by Calvin Trillin. You wouldn’t think a book about a man sitting in his car to protect his parking space would be very interesting, but it is, oh, it is. And it’s Calvin Trillin, so it is also charming and funny.

The Epicure’s Lament, by Kate Christensen. A darkly funny tale of a curmudgeon who lives alone in a crumbling mansion cooking himself gourmet meals and waiting for the end, and what happens when various family members arrive unbidden and disrupt his routine.

Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub. It’s about three former bandmates who used to be cool but now must deal with aging, teenage kids, marital strife, and New York real estate. Straub is funny and smart, and her writing locks into your brain in a way I find irresistible. I loved this.

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. I’d been avoiding this because I figured it would just be all about hiking and that sounded dull, but once I realized it’s by the author of the Dear Sugar advice column, I got curious — and it’s great. It’s about family and heartbreak and grief and redemption, and even the hiking parts are pretty magnificent.

I’m Just a Person, by Tig Notaro. Tig is my favorite comedian (if you don’t know her, you need to watch everything she’s done immediately), but this book isn’t your standard comedian’s memoir — it’s about a very bad year and her return from it.

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Haunting in a way that will stay with you.

Belgravia, by Julian Fellowes. This is by the guy who created Downton Abbey, and it is as Downton Abbey-esque a novel as you will find — haughty countesses, gossiping servants, questions of heir legitimacy, and more. It’s quite enjoyable.

A Room with a View, by E. M. Forster. This is one of my favorite books of all time. It has a priggish fiancé, an unsuitable second suitor, an annoying chaperone, a romp through Italy, and so many more delightful things.

I’m a Stranger Here Myself, by Bill Bryson, the master of travel writing, writing about coming home — what it’s like to return to America after 20 years away. You will repeatedly cackle.

The Girls, by Emma Cline. I ended up equally haunted by the almost painfully beautiful writing and the story itself, which is about a teenage girl who drifts into what’s clearly a reimagining of the Manson cult.

You’ll Grow Out of It. It’s essays by comedy writer Jessi Klein on everything from dating to aging to her issues with baths. It’s hilarious and you will want to go to brunch with her.

Harmony, by Carolyn Parkhurst, about a family who — increasingly worried about their older daughter’s behavioral issues — seek help at a cultish camp. I loved this and stayed up way too late reading it several nights in a row. It’s so good that I want to start all over from the beginning, and might.

How to Party with an Infant, by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Food, gossip, snark — a delight.

Siracusa, by Delia Ephron, about the unraveling marriages of two couples during an Italian vacation that very much does not go according to plan.

Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett. I’m a sucker for family dysfunction, and you will feel like you’re one of the many step-siblings the book is about. Also, her writing is so beautiful that it just takes up residence in your head and doesn’t leave.

The Circle, by Dave Eggers. I read it after someone here recommended it a few months ago, and it’s perfect for anyone who enjoys mocking modern workplaces, especially of the west coast tech variety. It’s darkly funny, thought-provoking, and very, very engrossing.

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng. Family dramas, how I love you.

Missing, Presumed, by Susie Steiner. Edith Hind, a young woman from a well-connected family, is missing … but the story is about all the people left behind as much as it’s about the investigation into her disappearance. This is the first police procedural I’ve ever read, and as a Law & Order addict, I have no idea why it took me so long.

The Wangs vs. the World, by Jade Chang. A wealthy family find themselves broke and embark on a cross-country car trip that is far more interesting and poignant than you think it will be.

The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue. An 11-year-old girl in a small Irish village claims to have survived without eating for months, and this is the story of the nurse charged with figuring out whether it’s a hoax or not. I didn’t think I’d like this, but I loved it.

Cruel Beautiful World, by Caroline Leavitt. A teenager runs away with her older teacher, and things don’t go well. The title is apt.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. I recommended this last year too, but I’m re-reading it and rediscovering how much I loved it the first time. Basically, picture Jane Austen but in a magical universe.

Domestic Violets, by Matthew Norman. Hilarious family dysfunction and workplace snark — what more could you want? It’s seriously very, very funny.

How to Talk to a Widower, by Jonathan Topper. A commenter here recommended it after I mentioned how much I like another novel by the author, and it manages to be both sad and funny, which is a feat that I love. It’s about a 29-year-old widower, his dysfunctional family, and his climb back to life.

I also recommended some movies: People Places Things, starring Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords. Just quiet, funny, and wonderful. Also, the very funny mockumentary Popstar, and the very funny but in a totally different way Love & Friendship, based on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. I am still laughing at both.

And if you’re looking for more, here’s my complete list of book recommendations from 2015.

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{ 87 comments… read them below }

  1. AD*

    I love that you love “A Room with a View”!! I’m a big E.M Forster fan (although I have a preference for Howard’s End).

  2. Lillian Styx*

    Thank you for this! Never Let Me Go is one of my all-time favorites.

    I also love that you loved Popstar. I loved Popstar. My husband hates The Lonely Island and I torture him every time he drives by putting on the soundtrack until he threatens to drive into a tree <3

    1. Jennifer*

      I loved it too. I actually worked as an extra on it and they put me in the trailer! I was shocked, I didn’t know if I’d even make it into the movie much less the trailer. Unfortunately this didn’t qualify me for a SAG voucher or any other compensation because I signed a waiver. All I got was a few slices of pizza and a good story!

  3. Sharon*

    I agree, Tig Notaro is amazing. I don’t often laugh at her jokes (I’m sorry, Tig), but I love her as a person. She’s such a strong lady!

  4. Adlib*

    Thank you! I haven’t read a good book in a while, and this gives me a great place to start and read some that sound right up my alley!

  5. pomme de terre*

    My dream is for Sofia Coppola to do a dreamy, desert-hazy Godfather installation focusing on Lucy Mancini (Sonny’s bridesmaid mistress) and her life in Las Vegas.

  6. Elizabeth H.*

    I very rarely read fiction but I read two books this year that I was CRAZY about:
    We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley – A+++, one of the most memorable books I’ve read in a long time, I wish for five books like this
    A Little Life by Hanya Yaginahara – I could NOT put this down. I can see it has some flaws but it was so compelling, I loved it so much.

    My guess is that both of these are probably quite polarizing (I can imagine people hating either/both of them). Both I picked up based on reading about them in the NYT Book Review.

    1. Laura*

      I also LOVED A Little Life (though I read it in 2015). I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. But I keep recommending it to everyone.

  7. Kris*

    I originally read Jonathan Strange when it first was published, and I reread it again this fall after watching the amazing BBC miniseries of it on Netflix. Such an amazing book, although I think it falls into the love it/hate it category.

  8. A*

    BBC has a made for tv movie for Norell/Strange. Pretty sure it’s on Netflix.
    I enjoyed it, but I haven’t read the book.

  9. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    This list is so so good (I loved Everything I Never Told You, The Wangs vs. the World, and Tig’s memoir, so I have high hopes for the many awesome books on this list I haven’t read).

    I also love the compliment, “and you will want to invite her to dinner.” It does such a fantastic job of capturing a very specific kind of appreciation/enthusiasm.

  10. StellaMaris*

    Aaaaaah, Anne Fadiman’s ‘Ex Libris’. I love that book.

    It seems like we have some tastes in common, Alison – I’ll be adding some of your recommendations to my to-read list!

    1. Pickwick the Dodo*

      I got married this year and the wedding was book themed. Our officiant recommended, and quoted from “Ex Libris” and it’s one of my new favorite books due to that! So excited to see it show up here!

        1. Pickwick the Dodo*

          It was pretty great, if I do say so myself!
          -My bridesmaids and I made book, map, and magazine page flowers for our bouquets (the book was Fifty Shades of Grey, which was pretty great because I didn’t have to tear up a book I liked, and sometimes you would look down and see the word “anal”).
          -I ordered book-flower calla lilies for the boutonnieres (Dune, my husband’s favorite book).
          -The theme of ceremony was “A Marriage of Libraries” and our officiant carried the book theme throughout his entire speech.
          -Our centerpieces were stacks of books, which were also the favors as guests were encouraged to take any books they liked home with them. All night people came up to me to show me what they’d grabbed!

      1. Lady Julian*

        I love your username! And there’s a Thursday next further down – how wonderful to find so many Jasper Fforde fans. :)

  11. Emi.*

    Am I the only person who thought Ex Libris was annoying and pretentious? My whole family loves it and I just.don’t.

  12. Gandalf the Nude*

    I love that you rec’ed Olive Kitteridge. It was a huge deal at my alma mater when Elizabeth Strout won her Pulitzer (she was a member of the Creative Writing faculty at the time), and anyone who was English Lit adjacent got free copies. I later loaned it to my grandmother and spent a treasured afternoon reviewing it with her.

    1. C Average*

      Elizabeth Strout is one of my favorite writers. Her book “Abide With Me” is one of the best things I’ve ever read. It’s one of those stories that sticks to the ribs.

  13. Junior Dev*

    Something I’ve been wondering about these reviews–I assume you occasionally read a book and don’t end up liking it. Do you read multiple books a week to ensure you’ll have one to recommend? (Or do you do that naturally because you like reading so much?)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I usually read about a book a week, but if I don’t like the book I read that week, then I just recommend something from the past that I read and liked (usually older favorites — that’s when you see A Room with a View, etc.).

  14. Kathy*

    I read The Martian and I was expecting, I don’t know, something more serious I guess. That book had me literally laughing out loud every 20 minutes or so. I encouraged my oldest two kids read it, as well (they’re 16 and 18) and they loved it as much as I did.

    1. Pink Basil*

      You may like John Scalzi then — also science fiction and hugely entertaining, all around one of my favorite author discoveries of the past couple of years. I highly recommend Agent to the Stars or Lock In but everything I’ve read of his I’ve liked.

  15. SarahKay*

    I loved Bill Bryson’s “I’m a Stranger Here Myself”; it really is a laugh out loud book. I also really liked the fact that it’s made up of lots short chapters (I think he originally wrote it for a weekly magazine column) so it’s ideal for when you just have five minutes to kill. Mind you, I then failed rather at the ‘I know, I’ll have a quick break and read a chapter’ thing… half an hour and ten chapters later I drag myself out of the book and back to whatever I should be doing.

    1. hayling*

      I recommended it for my book club based on Alison’s recommendation. I didn’t think it was super funny, but it actually sparked a lot of great discussion.

  16. Elizabeth H.*

    BTW, the Ruth Reichl book is actually Garlic and Sapphires – Comfort Me With Apples is an older book by her.

      1. Elizabeth H.*

        Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize! I read it so long ago – I just remembered Garlic & Sapphires with going into detail w/all the fancy disguises, her “double review” of Le Cirque, etc. Fun read.

  17. MK*

    Thank you, Alison! I haven’t been reading much lately, and I just put a couple of these on hold and my local library to pick up tonight…one cozy weekend by the woodstove, coming up!

  18. Me2*

    A Man Called Ove, really funny book, and the movie just came out. One of the only times I’ve actually liked the movie almost as much as the book.

  19. sitting with sad salad*

    Thank you for the recommendations! I added a few of these recs to my 2017 want-to-read list.

    This past February, I started keeping a reading log to track the book I finish, as part of an effort to help me cope with a ridiculously long commute. I haven’t kept a reading log since I was a kid – I love it! Curious – do any of you keep a book log and what info do you track?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t! These annual compilations of the weekly recommendations are the closest I come to keeping a list (and they’re actually a great way for me to go back later and remember what I’ve read when I’m looking for something to recommend to someone).

    2. Pickwick the Dodo*

      I realize you didn’t ask me, but I keep both a book log and a log of my books to read. It’s gotten…. a little out of hand as I now not only keep track of when I start/finish a book, but also it’s publication date, length, even the time period it covers (if applicable). On a 20-tab spreadsheet. That’s color coded. It started as a way to make myself read all the books I own but have never read, but… yeah. It’s kind of crazy. On the other hand, I’ve definitely made my way through a lot of books on my to-read list (took me 10 years and three tries on Jonathan Strange, for instance. Ditto Mists of Avalon, but I finished both this year!)

      1. sitting with sad salad*

        I asked everyone generally. :)

        That’s cool. Mine since Feb is a handwritten list and I’ve just been keeping title, author, date finished. I have not been tracking date started. Nothing goes on the list that wasnt finished.

        For 2017 I might add more info, including my personal notes and star rating, because I think it will be good to have those notes in the future. Its also been interesting to look back and see author information – like how many authors of color did I read, etc. – so maybe I will track that kind of stuff too.

        I just created a separate “want to read” list on amazon. I had a few going in different places (note on phone, good reads, amazon wishlist, etc) and it became annoying so I decided to consolidate.

        1. Pickwick the Dodo*

          I figured that out later. I read a lot but I don’t have great comprehension, apparently.

          My book club went to “categories” this year, which included non-white authors, a book by or about a trans person, etc., which really helped shake up my personal reading!

    3. Emi.*

      I don’t keep a log, but I’ve been using my commute for both reading and journaling, so now I think I’m going to start. :)

      1. RyantheEngineer*

        Try starting an account on GoodReads and then logging your books read/want to read etc. It already has the book information and has places to put reviews etc for the book.

        1. JMegan*

          +1 for GoodReads! The only problem is, it makes it way too darn easy to add books, so I can actually see how long my To Be Read list is. :)

        2. Cath in Canada*

          Yep, I use GoodReads too.

          I’m currently somewhat bogged down in Barkskins, by Annie Proulx. Like most of her work it’s beautifully written, but it’s just so damn bleak sometimes. I can’t read it for more than 20 minutes at a time. Looking forward to catching up on some reading over Christmas though!

        3. myswtghst*

          Another +1 for Goodreads! I’ve found it very helpful for tracking not only the many books I read each year, but also ratings for them (and sometimes reviews, if I have time) plus the thousands of books I want to read and may eventually get around to someday. I also like the yearly challenge thing, so I can give myself a target (which I set high because it includes books for fun, books for work, and a decent amount of graphic novels / trades that don’t take as long too read), and it’s helped me to kind of diversify what I read – this year I actually read some non-fiction for fun (including Mara Wilson and Anna Kendrick’s books, which were both great).

        4. Laura*

          I also love GoodReads! My favorite part is how at the end of each year they email you a list of all the books you read that year (with pictures of each cover). Plus now that they’re integrated with Amazon, if you have a kindle GoodReads is extra awesome because they’ll email you whenever one of the books on your to-read list has a deal on it. I’ve been able to get some of the books I want to read for $1-3 because of that.

          I also can go on GoodReads and sort my books read based on my rating to remind myself of all of the books I’ve loved over the years when I want to recommend books for people.

      2. sitting with sad salad*

        Oh, I really enjoy it and its really helping me not succumb to depression over the long commute. It helps me focus on how much I am accomplishing and how much I am enjoying the reading, rather than focusing on how long my commute is. Maybe I will start journaling during my commute as well. That’s a great idea!

    4. chilleh*

      I use Goodreads to keep track of my books. Part of my job involves Readers Advisory, so having a list which I can mark with various themes and interest levels is extremely useful to go back and review.

    5. SarahKay*

      I do, and have (intermittently) since I was 7. My mum gave me an A4 (letter-size paper) hardback book with A-Z tabs, to fill in date finished, Author, and Title. I only kept it very fitfully growing up, and had a gap between 2002 and 2008, but I love looking back at it and see what I read and when.

    6. StellaMaris*

      I track my reading both on GoodReads and in a notebook. I track by month so I can see at a glance how many books I’ve started and finished, fiction or non-fiction, male author or female author, a new read or a re-read, and anything else I feel like tracking – one year it was Canadian authors (I’m Canadian), one year it was authors of colour, and so on.

      I like stats so I do a round-up at the end of the year.

  20. motherofdragons*

    I read “The Circle” maybe a year ago, and I still think about it ALL the time. It’s so, so good, and it’s coming out as a movie soon with Emma Watson and John Boyega!

    1. Angela*

      The Circle for me was a weird one. I have read it and re-read it so obviously I was entertained by it, but I also thought it was really ham-fisted. And I LOVE Dave Eggars. And I will probably re-read The Circle again when I’m bored and feeling cheap (not wanting to spend money on new reads). It will probably make a great movie, though.

    2. Lady Julian*

      Same here. The Circle sticks with me. And in response to Angela, I didn’t actually find it too ham-fisted. It’s not quiet about its themes, of course, but it *is* complex. There’s no denying that in many ways, the Circle is an ideal company to work for: strong health care, quality campus, good access to training and leadership, good projects that do support human flourishing (the tracker for abducted children, for instance). That’s what makes the Circle itself so sinister, that all the good things it offers come at a very, very high price. The fact that it’s not evil is what makes it dangerous.

  21. sitting with sad salad*

    Some of my favorite books this year were: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Underground Railroad by Collin Whitehead, Another Brooklyn by Jaqueline Woodson, Mans Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

    1. C Average*

      I have found Picoult’s writing . . . uneven? . . . in the past, but I loved Small Great Things so much. We seem to have similar taste. I’ll have to read Another Brooklyn.

  22. BRR*

    I have your 2015 recommendations book marked because I was going to read through some (I got through none) on my then new long commute on the train. Oops

  23. Pickwick the Dodo*

    Speaking of books I read this year, I bought and read “Under the Knife,” which was written by an AAM commenter and was mentioned here a while ago! I enjoyed (most of) it and would love to talk to anyone else about it, or the author! I have a lot of thoughts/comments/questions!

  24. JuniperGreen*

    This is great, thank you for sharing! Months later I’m still not sure how I felt about The Girls – it left me wanting more, which I suppose is a good thing?

    This winter I’ve been enjoying the audio recordings of the Mists of Avalon, a retelling of the Arthurian legends from the female characters’ perspectives. Wonderful listening!

    1. Pickwick the Dodo*

      I finished Mists of Avalon a couple of months ago. It took me a long time to get into, and you can definitely tell it was written in the ’80s sometimes, with all the mysticism and third-wave feminism but I really enjoyed it in the end!

      Have you ever read The Crystal Cave? It’s another Arthurian retelling, from Merlin’s perspective. It’s also pretty great and especially interesting contrasted with Mists of Avalon!

  25. JMegan*

    I have only read a handful of these, although they have now all been added to my Goodreads list!

    My favourites from 2016 (some new, some old favourites):
    *A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Madeline L’Engle)
    *What is Not Yours is Not Yours (Helen Oyeyemi)
    *Our Lady of the Lost and Found (Diane Schomperlen)
    *Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Madeline Thien)
    *A Tale for the Time Being (Ruth Ozeki)
    *Promised to the Crown (Aimee K. Runyan)

    1. Laura*

      Do Not Say We Have Nothing was great! My book club read it and it led to some interesting discussions.

  26. Lady Julian*

    The only Kazuo Ishiguaro I’ve read is _The Buried Giant_ – but that was spectacular and very memorable.

  27. Jay*

    If anyone wants even more Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords, I happily recommend What We Do In The Shadows. Very, very funny mockumentary about vampires.

    1. myswtghst*

      I’d second that recommendation, and also say that if you liked WWDITS, you might check out Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which is also directed by Taika Waititi and manages to be both hilarious and completely heartbreaking/heartwarming. Plus it has Sam Neill. :)

  28. Lovemyjob...Truly!!!*

    I love The Godfather!!!! I didn’t see the film for the first time until I was in my 30’s. My husband basically forced me me to watch it and I loved it. I later found out it was a book and read it immediately. I loved the book as well. Interestingly, it’s one of the few books where I really don’t compare it to the film. They’re both amazing!

    The Martian was one of my first book club picks. I had some reservations about it at first but it was great. And it was a fantastic film adaptation as well. I really like when a film adaptation stays as true to the original plot and overall feel of the book as possible. I’ve been disappointed so many times – looking at you My Sister’s Keeper!

    1. C Average*

      Oh, gosh, yes (re: My Sister’s Keeper). The end of the book, improbable as it was, reduced me to a blubbering mess. The movie left me like, whaaaaaat just happened?

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Oh man, I was absolutely loving My Sister’s Keeper all the way through, but the ending was such a massive cop-out. I was so mad I actually threw the book across the room, which is something I’ve only done one other time (Red Wedding, natch). I lent the book to a friend, with the appropriate disclaimer, and she had the same reaction!

  29. C Average*

    I bookmarked this post when it first went up and have been meaning to return to it and give it my full attention. So much good stuff! I also read and loved Harmony. It was one of the freebies on my Kindle and I thought, why not?

  30. Allison*

    Thank you for posting this list with your comments. Definitely updating my reading wish list with recommendations!

  31. CatCat*

    Spouse and I are going out to dinner tonight and then to see “Phantom of the Opera.” We’re both pretty excited! He’s never seen a big theatrical production. We’re going to get dressed up. I’m going to use a snazzy vintage clutch (it’s red with black webbing) purse he gave me with my dress.

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