From 2019 through 2021 I picked monthly book picks, backlist titles and new releases, that I thought were excellent, stand-out reads. It wasn’t a book club. Just a list of ongoing great reads to add to your TBR.
I took 2022 off because I just honestly wasn’t feeling that inspired. Everyone and their dog had a book club launching on bookstagram and it got … noisy. Then in the fall I thought – what if I recommended a book each month that was a hopeful, fill-your-cup, kind of read. Not necessarily a beach read or rom-com, a novel that maybe still deals with tougher subjects but leaves you feeling just that bit more hopeful, inspired to live your best life, and all around better about your fellow humans.
So here is the Jolly Reader Club! This year, 2023, I will be recommending a book each month that hopefully will get you into your feels and hopefully leaving you feeling a titch lighter.
For the inaugural pick: A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella.
This book is going to sound all kinds of sad and depressing at first glance but I promise Ethan winds together a story of friendship, found family, support, and working through grief that will leave you hopeful. Much like the movie Love Actually (which many compare this novel to) we follow a few seemingly separate storylines: Chuck Ayers, whose beloved wife has recently passed away and has to decide if he should sojourn alone on their yearly trip to Florida; Ella Burke whose ex husband has absconded with their young daughter and anxiously awaits news while holding two jobs to make ends meet; and finally Kirsten Bonato who has lost her father to gun violence and has had to put her dreams on hold.
I know what you’re thinking. But this story is written in such a calming, balm for the soul kind of way, and as each character begins to heal and connect with the other characters, you can’t help but feel just a teeny tiny bit better. And since it takes place in the doldrums of deep winter, now is the perfect time to pick it up!
You can find A Quiet Life here: Bookshop.org
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