Spring Reading List 2017

Hi, friends! I thought I’d share a spring reading wish list with you all today. I did something similar last autumn (see that list here), and it was really fun to share a few things I was reading and wanting to read, and then hear some of your comments about the books too. I’m actually still finishing one of the books on that list, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Turns out that book is LONG (I’m talking close to 800 pages). I have absolutely been loving it. To me it’s kind of a Pride and Prejudice but not so much about love and add in magicians. Ha! So, it’s right up my alley, but I feel like I haven’t read anything else in a while now. So these are mostly books that are on my list to read next.

1. The Trees by Ali Shaw — I became a fan of Shaw’s after reading The Girl with the Glass Feet years ago. I loved how imaginative and fantastical it was while also quite somber. Really fun read, and I heard she had a new book out that was like Pan’s Labyrinth and Station Eleven (the latter being a book I read and loved this past year). So this one is high on my list of excited-to-read-soon.

2. Warp by Lev Grossman — I read The Magician some time ago and really loved it. It contains one of my very favorite passages from any book I’ve ever read… a scene where many of the characters transform into different animals as they have to make their way across the world. The part where they become birds is just captivating. But, I found that I really only loved the first 2/3 of the book more so than the end (the characters travel to a different world towards the end of the book). That book is part of a trilogy, and I never ended up reading the rest. But Warp is somewhat of a prequel to The Magician, so I have a feeling it will be full of the fantastic storytelling that I loved from that first book.

3. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz — A friend of mine bought me this book and said I would probably like it. She has good taste, so I believe her. 🙂 I am also down to read any Pulitzer Prize winner as they don’t just hand those out to anyone, right?

4. My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith — This is probably one of my favorite authors, and I’ve read so many of his books, especially the Isabel Dalhousie series (a lady philosopher who sometimes solves mysteries… um, YES). And I saw that he recently came out with this book that has a charming and hilarious premise, so it feels like the perfect spring/summer read to me.

5. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman — They released the movie version of this last year and it looked really good, but I never got around to seeing it (I was probably too busy seeing the latest super hero movie… I am very cultured). Then I saw Elise mention this on IG, and I was like, “Oh yeah, I could totally just read the book.” So when I am in the mood for something that is likely to make me cry, this will probably be what I reach for.

6. The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart — This is sure to be one of those quick but fun reads. I’m not sure it’s considered a YA book, but it’s bound to be something that could work for many different reading levels. I loved The Mysterious Benedict Society and still don’t know why they haven’t turned those into movies directed by Wes Anderson. IT WOULD BE SO PERFECT.

7. Craft a Life You Love by Amy Tangerine — Amy is a friend of mine, and I can’t wait to start using this book. Creativity has always been a really important part of my life. It makes me feel grounded and also pushes me to explore new things. And I love that she has created a book (and kind of workbook) that infuses lessons and ideas on that subject with stories from her own experiences. Fun!

8. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver — I’m pretty sure I’ve read every one of Kingsolver’s novels (and a few nonfiction pieces she’s written as well). She’s one of my favorite authors and this is probably my favorite of all her books. I read it in early college (a little over ten years ago… but who’s counting), so I figured it might be time to give this one a second read. I very rarely read something twice, as it feels like there are SO many good books to read in the world that I’ll never get to them all in this lifetime as it is, but I still think this one may deserve a second go around. I’ve already forgotten big portions of the story, so I figured I’d add it to my list for the season.

9. The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman — Fun premise and I loved another novel by this same author (called The Cookbook Collector), so I was immediately interested when I saw she had a new book out. Excited to check this one out!

What about you all? What are you reading this season? Have you read any of these books and loved and/or hated them? (If you loved AND hated it PLEASE leave a comment because that just sounds fascinating). xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Images of book covers from Amazon, featured image from Emma Chapman.
  • I loved loved loved The Secret Keepers. There’s just something about Trenton Lee Stewart’s writing that immerses you in the story, in the characters’ thoughts and actions. Definitely worth a read for any age group–I think different ages would definitely come away with different things from this book! (I stumbled upon an ARC in a second hand bookstore in Taiwan, how cool is that?? Definitely adds to the mystery of it!) Really cool to see this book on your list! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for including me, Emma! You are awesome and I cannot wait to check out some of these others!

  • OMG I never knew there’s a prequel to The Magicians! The Magicians are hands down my favorite fantasy books. I always thought that they were the only fantasy books Lev Grossman has written as I only heard of non-fantasy books by him. You should also definitely read the rest of the trilogy. I think that the books get better, the second and third are even better than the first one as the characters truly grow up and develop and aren’t just as messed up as in the first book.

  • Barbara Kingsolver is also one of my favorite authors, and Poisonwood Bible is my favorite of her books hands-down. I also read it about a decade later and enjoyed revisiting. Other than Oscar Wao, your other books are unfamiliar to me. But thought I’d give you some of the books I’ve enjoyed in the past six months, since it looks like we have similar tastes (the few that got A grades in my rating system…):
    We Are Not Ourselves: heart wrenching family saga
    Burgess Boys: Elizabeth Strout as another favorite author ( lyrical and effortless, which I find to be a very difficult combination for authors to achieve) , and although this is no Olive Kitteridge( definitely recommend that if you haven’t read it yet) , it’s another decent showing from her
    Strangers in Their Own Land: non-fiction anthropological approach to the rural poor white population that has gotten more attention in the recent political climate

  • Oscar Wao is a really good read, written in a very interesting way – I think you’ll enjoy it! That’s for this list, it’s always great to have book recommendations : )

  • I always love ABM’s book recommendations! Miss the monthly book club! Happy Saturday!

  • I’m totally checking these out! I’m always looking for new books to add to my goodreads account.
    The o my one from your list I have read was light between oceans. I honestly was not a fan at all. Haven’t seen the movie though.

  • I read The Poisonwood Bible in my senior year of high school and then, similarly, picked it up for a second time nearly a decade later. Among many reasons, it’s worth a second read, but I was surprised by how much differently I felt about, and related (or didn’t) to the characters. Enjoy!

  • Oscar Wao is so fun to read. His writing is one part classic, one part “street,” with Spanish words thrown in for good measure. I had never read a book written in that way before and I just wanted more and more. The subject matter goes between hilarious and sad many times. I think you’ll like it.

  • Oooh I haven’t read any of these, I’m currently reading All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan and absolutely loving it. I think I might check out the The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao next though – it sounds so good

    – Natalie

  • The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favorites!!! Just like you, I read it for the first time about 10 years ago and read it again last year and I loved it even more! Great list.

  • Oh I remember reading The Poisonwood Bible when I was a kid!!

    -Kirsten // www.porkandcookies.com

  • I looooove The Poisonwood Bible. I just read it again for the third or fourth time. Barbara Kingsolver is an insanely talented writer, and I love revisiting that book.

  • The Mysterious Benedict Society is seriously getting passed over and it’s a tragedy. We had talked about dressing up as the kids for Halloween, but didn’t feel like anyone would know who they were. I didn’t know Harper came out with a new book, I’m SO telling my husband when he gets home— we need to jump on that train.

    I love this list! It’s making me want to sit down and read right now! Thanks Emma!

  • I LOVED The Trees. It initially caught my attention because of the beautiful cover, but once I realized it was by the author of The Girl with Glass Feet, I had to have it immediately. Both so so good.

    P.S. Ali Shaw is a man. I didn’t know either until I read his bio. ?

  • I’m at the end of a string of Scandanavian mysteries. Who knew that was even a thing?! My Dad got a stack of them a while ago, and for the most part (aside from totally unpronounceable names of places) they’re amazing. Try The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel, anything by Thora Gudmundsdottir, Jo Nesbo, or Jussi Adler-Olsen. The only one I had a hard time getting into was Arnalder Indridason.

  • Junot Diaz for life! That book is in my top five books of all time. I will read it over and over. There’s something oddly magical about the way Diaz strings words together. I hope you like it!

  • I love your reading lists. I’ve read a few on the list and I have to tell you, you are in for a treat!

    I hadn’t heard of Alexander McCall Smith’s latest, though, and I LOVE everything he does. His writing is so funny and I enjoy that his main characters are women. Thank you!

    Happy reading!

  • EMMA!!!!!

    i thought i’d let you know (incase you didn’t know) Denton Litlte’s still not dead (the second book to denton littles deathdate) was released in Feb. i just finished it and the whole time i kept thinking about you since you introduced me to it in the first place!
    it’s a fun quick read. i enjoyed seeing everything come to a conclusion.

    but also, pleeeease bring back the ABM club!
    or at least let us know what you guys are reading.
    i miss those posts!!!

    thanks for this one!

  • Love this list!

    I am not sure if this has been pointed out already (I don’t always read all the comments) but the ads in the middle of the text is distracting to the reader. Here, I thought your post was over after the first paragraph.

  • I have read the cook book collector and chalk artist….will try all of them soon….thnks..

  • I LOVED The Trees, even though it creeped me right out. I’ll definitely be checking out some of of the other books on this list as they sound right up my street!

  • I loved ‘Witches of New York’ by Ami McKay. So fun, late 1800s feminist witches in the city. Great read!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this! One of my goals for this year was to be more intentional with taking the time to read – so far I’ve checked 6 books off this year! I’ve been in the market for some new recommendations though, so this couldn’t have come at a better time. 🙂


  • I love Junot Diaz! I hadn’t stumbled across this one yet. Great list!

  • Love this post! I love to see what other ladies are reading and recommend. I absolutely loved Oscar Wao and could not recommend it more.

  • I just read ‘Everything Everything’ and really enjoyed it and I’m currently partway through ‘The Secret Lives of Colour’ which has a few pages about different colours and their history etc – I think it would be right up your alley and it’s easy to dip in and out of too!

  • Craft a life you love sounds like a great recommendation. I was instantly attracted to the cover too!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • I LOVED Lily and the Octopus. It’s a love story about a man and his dog. I wanted to read it in one sitting, but I never wanted it to end, so I just did little bits at a time. Incredibly sad, but just so beautiful.

  • I love reading lists! Yours looks great. Unlike so many people i know, I didn’t love Oscar Wao (and actually didn’t finish it. ) But I LOVED another one of Diaz’s books, This is How You Lose Her. So I like his writing a lot; I think the other one just wasn’t the book for me. Anyway, I’d recommend it. I recently got into the Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) Cormoran Strike books and I’m loving them. I’m on the third one now, and sad that there aren’t any others out yet for me to read.

  • I am reading Denton Little’s Still Not Dead currently, I read the first off of your recommendation and loved it (so funny) and I am for sure enjoying the second (same vibe and humor) The above list looks good too (esp. number 7!)

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