A friend reached out to me recently, asking for book recommendations. Here’s the kick: he always reads nonfiction, but he wanted some fiction to help him survive the quarantine. “I need a good escape,” he said. “Something with a plot that will suck me in.” People who have read “maybe three novels in the past 20 years” are an enigma to me, but I jumped at the chance to help him out. The list I curated in his honor consists of titles that are gripping and no-nonsense. Many are centered on historical events, which adds to their depth and ruggedness. [...]
I love memoirs. I love that writers of memoirs are courageous enough to offer a glimpse of what goes on in their minds—how they approach the world, how they navigate their sorrows, how they scrape together the fortitude to manage life’s mundane and tragic moments. My favorite memoirs tend to be shorter, while still packing a huge punch. They are vulnerable, smart and plucky—and not one word is wasted. Barely 200 pages in length, each of these memoirs can be read in one sitting if you’ve got the inclination. They are unflinching, so grab a fortifying beverage and a fuzzy [...]
Laura doesn't always get the chance to review the great books she reads, so here she recommends five you shouldn't miss from 2017.