It's hard to find time to read, but reading adds so much to your life. Here are some books that will grab you from the beginning, keep you reading and that you'll actually finish because they're so good.
Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel
History buffs will love this telling of Thomas Cromwell's early career, written in first person (anyone who saw Showtime's series The Tudors will recognize the story). Funny and sarcastic, Wolf Hall is the first book in a trilogy, so there's more where that came from.
Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer
I love me some memoir, and Dederer's detailing of a modern mom & yoga struggles hit close to home. The book could have been cheesy had the author let it, but in the end it's a beautifully honest book that will likely motivate you to live a better life.
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Fans of the BBC phenomenal show Sherlock will get their fix with this series of books based on the idea that Sherlock Holmes had a brilliant and bold 15-year-old girl as his apprentice. Both smart and adventurous, you'll finish the book hungry for more.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan
This super short read dishes up (see what I did there?) 60 smart rules for healthy eating. It's a book you can comfortably zoom through in an evening or two, and one you can keep coming back to time and again for really great advice.
Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah
When Amber Hewerdine consults a hypnotherapist as a desperate last resort, she doesn't expect that anything much will change.
She doesn't expect it to help with her chronic insomnia. She doesn't expect to hear herself, under hypnosis, saying words that mean nothing to her: 'Kind, cruel, kind of cruel' - words she has seen somewhere before, if only she could remember where. She doesn't expect to be arrested two hours later, as a result of having spoken those words out loud, in connection with the brutal murder of Katharine Allen, a woman she's never heard of... Sophie Hannah’s trademark dark, twisty plot will keep readers guessing until the very end.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
Set in the 1930s, full of alluring descriptions, and featuring a headstrong lead character, this is a literary novel that is also full of scandal, sex, and secrets. Fifteen-year-old Thea Atwell has been banished from her Florida family and sent to an exclusive equestrienne boarding school located high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Homeschooled along with her fraternal twin, Thea had lived an overprotected and insular existence until the tragic incident that triggered her ouster from the family. Thrust into a complicated social milieu of southern debutantes and their rigid pecking order based on money, lineage, and looks, Thea (a not always likable protagonist) struggles with overwhelming feelings of guilt and homesickness as well as the challenge of fitting into her new school. But she also begins to feel her power, both because she knows she is beautiful and because she is an expert rider. Some readers will be put off by the book’s deliberate pacing and explicit sex scenes, but others will be held in thrall by the world so vividly and sensually rendered in a novel that is as sophisticated in its writing as it is in its themes.
Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett
Amy Gallup is an aging novelist and writing instructor living in Escondido, California, with her dog, Alphonse. One New Year’s morning she shuffles out to her backyard garden and is wholly unprepared for what happens next: Amy falls down. A simple accident, as a result of which something happens, and then something else, and then a number of different things, all as unpredictable as an eight-ball break. This novel explores the role that accident plays in all our lives. “You turn a corner and beasts break into arias, gunfire erupts, waking a hundred families, starting a hundred different conversations. You crack your head open and three thousand miles away a stranger with Asperger’s jump-starts your career.” We are all like Amy. We are all wholly unprepared for what happens next. Also, there’s a basset hound.
What other book recommendations can you make for busy women? Leave them in the comments below.
Jill Hinton Wolfe