Caroline's Picks

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Walls recalls growing up with her more than dysfunctional parents and how it affected her throughout her life. This classic reads like fiction because of her devastatingly bizarre childhood and the general writing style. How Walls reminisces on upbringing but still feeling love for her parents sheds a light on how complicated relationships can be. Great for fans of Educated by Tara Westover.

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We Are the Brennan’s displays the classic Irish family in a small town with just the right amount of suspense. Sunday Brennan unexpectedly left town five years ago but was forced back after a car accident. Her return unravels tight kept secrets by each member of the family including Sunday’s high school sweetheart. Tracey Lange captured family drama perfectly here.

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Johnson wrote the perfect but nonetheless complicated romance book to kick off summer that’s absolutely worth reading. Elena and Henry travel to Mexico to try and save their relationship. The trip changes their lives after an earthquake wrecks the town. Elena meets another man during her travels and after their forced interaction she can’t deny the connection made. Ten years later, Elena still struggles with the aftermath caused by the earthquake.

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Keiko, thirty-six years old, often feels out of place, except in the convenience store she’s worked at for 18 years. She can’t explain the comfort she feels working at “Smile Mart” to others but her life is centered around her job. This short read translated from Japanese draws you in with its humor and uniqueness.

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These Precious Days is Ann Patchett’s brand-new essay collection. The main essay “These Precious Days” focuses on Sooki, Tom Hanks’ assistant, and her battle with cancer, and the struggle of the pandemic. Ann Patchett’s life, mind, and heart are shown throughout the essays. The perfect pick-up for any Ann Patchett fan or someone who has never read her just looking for a book full of gems.

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A collection of Emily Dickinson’s work. Dickinson was known to write on anything whenever inspiration struck, although most of it was never shared so reading this collection feels like viewing her private thoughts. A beautiful gift or just something to be left on a nightstand by one of the world’s greatest poets.

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Shay Goldstein has wanted to be on the radio all her life. The opportunity strikes at her job, a local news station in Seattle, but only if she can get past the arrogant new guy she has to co-host with or else both of them are out of a job. Their passive-aggressive comments in the office turns into a fake relationship to entertain listeners. As the show goes on, the lines of insincerity in their relationship blur. This quick read is sure to keep you tuned in.

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Dannie Kohan is an ambitious lawyer with her life planned out. That all changes when she wakes up five years later in a different apartment, with a different man, and a different ring on her finger, destroying her comforting five-year plan. When Dannie wakes up again back in the life she knows, she refuses to believe it was anything more than a dream. An unexpected love story proving that change can be a good thing. Rebecca Serle always has an out-of-the-box concept that she executes perfectly.

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A must-read memoir. Education is power. Especially for Tara Westover who overcame the impossible, secretly teaching herself, until finally being in a classroom at 17 years old. Westover grew up in an extreme survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho. She shares her inhumane childhood memories throughout the book. Westover risked her relationship with her family just to get a proper schooling. No one can take away your education, it is the key to freedom.

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If you haven’t read one of Kristin Hannah’s books can you even consider yourself a reader? This book is set during the Great Depression / Dust Bowl. A single mother, Elsa leaving what she knows, for the second time, after her biological family neglected her. She makes her children migrate to California, a risk that she believes is worth taking to save her children. Kristin Hannah’s research for the book was immense which is why it feels real, the characters and story, itself.

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No one writes heartbreak and hope in the same sentence like Betty Smith. A couple, in Brooklyn during the 1920’s, face poverty, it being all they have ever known. Although the story starts with Margie and her parents, who have given up on the “American Dream,” she stays optimistic of a brighter future. But Margie, especially holds hope for the simple things in a relationship and Frankie seems like the final puzzle piece to her dream.

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Water is an antidote, it cleanses. Every winter, people take part in local Polar Bear Plunges to raise money, but the freezing water doesn’t deter but rather is almost renewing. Bonnie Tsui wrote a love story to water, capturing different, life-changing stories of people’s experiences with water. This book asks the question of why we are fanatics about something so dangerous and explores human behavior itself. An eye-opening story that only makes you feel more fortunate to live by the beach.

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A first love can show you the courage you have hidden deep-down inside yourself. Every time anything breaks in the house by the next morning it’s fixed, almost allowing the family to suppress their father’s abuse. For our younger readers, Kyrie McCauley’s debut novel is heavy, as it deals with domestic violence, but the symbolism of crows, as more crowd the small town of Auburn, Pennsylvania, carries the story of first love and bravery.