Great Books for Unplugging at Home

By Kacie Watson - May 8th, 2020

Last November, I turned twenty-four. The week before my birthday, one of my closest friends and I celebrated her birthday as well. Not only did we celebrate the birthday, but we also celebrated her completion of reading twenty-four books in the year before her twenty-fourth birthday. Her ambition inspired me! 

I know myself well enough to know that it would be a challenge for me if I was to try to do the same as my friend. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read, but it comes in waves. The tide comes in, and I can’t put my book down, then the tide goes out, and my book becomes a decoration on my bedside table (not a bad decoration, might I add). It’s not that the books I’ve set to the side weren’t interesting – they were – but this world we live in can be distracting. 

So, inspired by my friend, for year twenty-four I set a goal of reading twenty-four books. This goal helps me relax from the noise of life. My fingers get the chance to stop scrolling, my eyes can rest a little more, and a life-giving moment now lives at the end of the day. It is an absolute joy for me to hold a book in my hand, new or old, and finger through pages of people’s stories and adventures. The old and worn books from libraries excite me because I love to think of who had the book before me. The new ones excite me just the same, because I get to pass it off to someone else.

I’ll be honest and let you in on a secret: I have a ways to go in reaching my goal. 

Some on this list are a part of my goal and some I read beforehand, but I think right now we could all use a little time away from the blue light and a good book recommendation. 

If you’ve been looking for new reads, look no further! 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult: This book may be my favorite book of all time. You will hurt for Ruth, have distaste for Turk, and in the end, be left in a puddle of tears. It will remind you that reconciliation is possible in this world. 

The Giver of the Stars by JoJo Moyes: Alice signs up to deliver books on Eleanor Roosevelt’s traveling library (now that sounds like my dream job). Her journey isn’t a perfect dream though. She and her friends endure backlash, but they refuse to be badgered. They are heroic women who are committed to bringing stories to those who have not been able to enjoy the world of reading. 

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah: You really can’t go wrong with anything written by Kristen Hannah. The Nightingale throws you back in time to World War II France and opens a door to the women’s war. The story is centered on two sisters who bravely risk their lives to save others. 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: You will be championing Kya the whole time as she fights for her life completely on her own. This book is filled with romance and mystery. When you finish the last page, you will think to yourself, “What just happened?”

Beartown by Fredrick Backman: Beartown is united by their love for hockey. When an event takes place, the small town will question everything, and for many it will show them what they value–do they value humanity, or do they value sports, money, and their pride? It is a novel on right and wrong, and the grey areas in between that many of us seem to hide in. 

Us Against You by Fredrick Backman: A sequel to Beartown, Us Against You brings back all the characters – the good ones and the not so good ones. Many characters will still be fighting for their voices to be heard, and some of their voices will be. Some characters will move on, some will be stuck in the past, and some will pass on. This sequel richly encompasses humanity and leaves you sad to finish the last chapter. I didn’t want to leave Beartown. (Hey Fredrick Backman, this is my plea to write a third book. Thanks!)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Meg, Amy, Beth, and Jo have been filling many of our screens lately, so it only seemed right to crack open and reread this gem. The March sisters are four young women who are determined to live their lives according to their own terms. This novel is a complete classic but still timely for this present age. Read the book and then watch the movie. I may have watched it six times already!

Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge: Eldredge packs this book with wisdom on how to live more fully. For those who feel a little tired from the ways this world moves, this book is a great reminder that it doesn’t have to be that way. We have a choice to restore our lives. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: Eleanor has faced hardships that will make your heart ache for her, but she will continually put a smile on your face because Eleanor is a little quirky. In fact, I think we all have a little Eleanor in us, with hardships from our past that we try to mask with humor and wit. This book is a good reminder that it is okay to not be fine.

Grace Will Lead Us Home by Jennifer Berry Hawes: A chronicle based off of the Charleston church massacre and the aftermath that came with it, Hawes tells the story of the victims and their families, guiding light to forgiveness and their journey to healing.

This list could go on for days, but despite which of these recommendations sparked interest and which didn’t, I want to encourage you to simply go grab a book and start reading! The book you choose can be from this list or your own, but grab one regardless. Go outside, put a quilt down, enjoy the Texas weather, and dive deep into a new story. 

If you need to grab a book, head to the local bookstores. There is something more magical about them, anyways. Checkout The Wild Detectives, Lucky Dog Books, Deep Vellum, and Poets Oak Cliff Bookshop–all located in the DFW area. I can’t wait to hear where your next book leads you!

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