· Bright Ideas · Love Reading? These Are 6 Of The Best Books I’ve Read Lately

Love Reading? These Are 6 Of The Best Books I’ve Read Lately

books i've read

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, a homebody or an outdoorsy type, there’s one thing I’m sure we can all agree on—staying home all the time is no walk in the park! At first, the novelty of staying home made time go by fairly quickly, but now, nearly a month after the U.S. outbreak began, time passes so slowly that it often feels like it’s standing still.

However, spending time on hobbies and favorite pastimes provides a nice break from the monotony of being home all the time. And personally, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time lately doing one of my favorite things: reading!

books i've read

And since I’m sure I’m not the only bookworm out there, I thought it would be fun if we all shared some recommendations with each other. So today I’ll be sharing a list of some of the best books I’ve read recently, and I invite you to share yours in the comments at the end of this post! :-)

books i've read

Follow Me On Goodreads!

If you use Goodreads to keep track of your reading like I do, visit my author page and hit that Follow button! :-) I’m always updating my feed with new books I’ve read, and I’d love to check out what you’re reading too!

6 Of The Best Books I’ve Read Lately

books i've read

1. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

I am having a hard time coming up with the words to describe the beauty and the heartbreak of this story, which is told through both past and present. In the past, the reader is taken back to WWII and what the grandmother and her fellow countrymen endured during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

In the present, the granddaughter helps her grandmother find the answers she seeks to reconcile with the events of that horrific time in history. This is a remarkable and unforgettable read. 

books i've read

2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

When I started reading this book about a man who is imprisoned in a hotel in Moscow, I was skeptical about how interesting the plot could possibly be. And as it turns out, I had nothing to fear! 

Rostok, the titular gentleman imprisoned during the Russian Revolution, is an intriguing and charming character! The story offers a fascinating look into the historical events taking place in Russia while Rostok lives his extraordinary life at the Metropolitan Hotel.

I really enjoyed this book and am definitely going to miss the hotel, the characters, the dry humor, and the gentleman himself. :-)

books i've read

3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

This was another book that I was skeptical about at first, but the story of a reclusive young girl who has been abandoned by her parents, siblings, school system, and the entire town surrounding her, is riveting and inspiring! 

I love the story’s ode to wilderness and Mother Earth too, and how it captures both the harshness of surviving, and the immense wonder and beauty of being alive.

books i've read

4. The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

I am a big fan of Erin Hildebrand’s novels. She has an amazing way of making you feel like you’re right there with her characters. In The Identicals, identical twin sisters Harper and Tabitha are asked at a young age by their divorcing parents to choose a parent to live with. The story picks up as they are thrown back together when their father dies.

After his death, much is revealed about the division and animosity that has kept the twins apart over the last 20 years. Her descriptions of the atmosphere, the food, and the scenery made me want to hop on a plane and fly to the East Coast immediately!

books i've read

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

This was one of the loveliest books I have ever read. I have read MANY books about World War II, but this one provides such a unique and intriguing perspective.

After reading this book, Shaffer’s characters felt so real that I wanted to run over to Guernsey to meet them in person! The stories about their experiences were so touching, and not just because they were hard, but because the people were so brave. I was uplifted by their endurance, hope, and love for each other.

books i've read

6. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan

It took me longer than usual to read this book because I kept stopping to Google places and events from this true WWII story! The story is about Pino Lella, a young boy living in the Italian Alps who helped many Jews escape over into Switzerland.

After an injury, Pino is recruited as the personal driver for one of the Third Reich’s most powerful commanders. Beneath a Scarlet Sky is an absolutely beautiful and heart-wrenching story that’s well worth a read!

Bonus! If you’re into historical fiction, I’ve written a post with a bunch of my favorite historical fiction books!

books i've read

Want More? Check Out My Books!

  • One Good Life: My Tips, My Wisdom, My Story
    One Good Life is filled to the brim with the useful and unique tips, recipes, and advice that Jill’s faithful readers have come to love and adore. But it’s her hard-fought journey to sobriety that will capture readers’ hearts. It will be impossible for this beautiful—and very moving—book not to inspire everyone who reads it.”
    —Ree Drummond, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks
  • Jillee Bean and the One Good Thing
  • Beautifully illustrated and written by Samantha Hollister, the story in this children’s picture book was inspired by my own childhood! In Jillee Bean, a father teaches his daughter about the importance of serving others by doing one “good thing” at a time. This heartfelt and meaningful story belongs in every family’s book collection!

What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

I may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website. I always offer my own genuine recommendation. Learn more.

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Hi, oh yes, I liked it, Respect to the author, it’s cool, thanks. I love reading, since childhood, lately I have been picking up books for my girlfriend’s present, I think I’ll get some of this top. After I ask her to write an essay on them, I do this all the time – after reading I always write an essay. By the way, I recently read at https://tooly.io/uncle-toms-cabin/ the essay “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, a famous novel that was broadcast as briefly as possible, briefly, but interestingly. Often I turn to this resource for reading an essay on a free topic, as well as for help in writing an essay. I recommend visiting their site!

  • For me personally, the best book is Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The images of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are just incredible. It’s very cool. You can read some free essays about this book at https://studydriver.com/dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde/. After reading these essays you will be able to understand the meaning of the book and its features.
    Personally, I advise you to read this book, it is very cool!

  • Light reading, and I didn’t expect to enjoy them, but was able to read online all of Sue Grafton’s A is for, B is for, etc. (she died before writing Z is for, and one ends quite unsatisfactorily, not wrapped up with a nice bow). She was a very clever and humorous writer, and wrote a great mystery. I also love everything I’ve read by Gene Stratton Porter. The books A Girl Named Zippy and She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel are wonderful. And I recommend https://www.gutenberg.org/ for 60,000+ free titles out of copyright.

  • I’ve read many on your list and some of the others mentioned. Absolutely adored, A Gentleman in Moscow…’living the life of the purposefully unrushed.’

  • Soul sister!!! You should read Lynn Austin, Francine Rivers and Terri Blackstock. I also enjoy Rachel Caine. Cathy Golke, Irene Hannon…I could go on.

  • Modern titles include anything by Kate Morton, especially The Clockmaker’s Daughter. Also Kathleen Tessaro, The Perfume Collector.
    An older author I stumbled across at a used book sale years ago was Kathleen Thompson Norris. She was extremely popular as a noted journalist and author in the 1920s-40s. Most of her books are set in Northern California, and one, Mystery House, can only be an homage to San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House. High Holiday is my favorite It’s a “generational” novel (Edna Ferber was the queen of this genre) set on 2 major holidays only: 4th of July and Christmas. Quite an intriguing premise.
    And of course EVERYTHING Agatha Christie wrote.
    Some of the authors from the last century hold up well and are very entertaining.
    And how could I leave out James Michener?!
    Centennial is one of his best.

  • Thank you for the book suggestion. Last book I read that I really enjoyed is :
    Love,Chocolate, and a Dog Named Al Capone by Abigail Drake. It is written from the view of a puppy named Capone which being a dog lover I really liked. It’s humorous as well as part romance & part mystery.

  • Thank you Jillee. My latest good read (audible) was “The Tatooist of Auschwitz.” The readers were very good and the story is captivating. Another one telling of things we can’t imagine one human doing to another and the strength those prisoners had. We’re remodeling our kitchen and I have been painting 29 new cabinet doors and drawer fronts three coats per side. I listened to three books in a week’s time. It made the job so much easier.

  • I’m sure I’m late to the Maisie Dobbs series – just have to say I love these stories. In 2019 I read and/or listened to 120 books. Always open to recommendations from other book lovers. “The Resistance Women” by Jennifer Chiaverini. So many authors, so many books – and so many favorites.

  • I have read three of your recommended books and will read Beneath a Scarlett Sky when the library opens again. I recommend The Tattooist of Auschwitz, also based on a true story of life in the concentration camp. I listened to the audiobook and didn’t realize it was true until I get to the afterward.

  • Great ideas. My mom and I have both read the Guernsey one. I tried reading Stephen King – years ago before I was familiar with him. I didn’t really care for him . I’ve also recently read the books in except the last one -which I’m reading now. My sister was getting rid of a bunch of books. I was really surprised she would even like the series.They have been very entertaining.

    • I realized after commenting that the second to the last book in the series was missing. I’ll have to find out if my sister skipped that one. Another book that I loved is I am Malala . Her life story is just incredible and it gave me a lot of insight into the culture of many of these extreme Muslim cultures.

    • Oops .Boy did I mess up. I meant to say I’ve actually been reading the books in the Twilight Series. These were the books my Sister was getting rid of. I realized the second to the last is missing. I’ll have inquire about it. I’m on the last one in the Series. I am in no way a Stephen King Fan. I’ve read one of the books in the Janet Evanovich series. The one I did read was okay. I just didn’t carry for some of the language used.

  • Searching For Sylvia Lee by Jean Kwok

    Evvie drake Starts Over by L Holmes
    Thanks for all the book tips, I am always looking for a good read.

  • Thank you for the book suggestions, Jillee. Here are titles of the last three novels that I’ve read and really enjoyed. “Last Year of the War” by Susan Meisner. “It All Comes Back to You” by Beth Duke. “The Ragged Edge” by Olivia Hawker. Love your site, thank you for all the work you do to put it together day after day.

  • I’ve read Beneath a Scarlet Sky and Where the Crawdads Sing! Both excellent books. Recently I read The Great Alone and The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. Great books! Also read The Shoemakers Wife by Trigiani. Can’t remember the authors first name. Next on my list is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Thanks for your list Jillee! It’s been fun to see what others have read also.

    • I read “Pillars of the Earth. It is a fantastic book! I couldn’t put it down. The Sequel is “World without End”. There is a prequel to “Pillars”. Search Amazon for the other titles. These are historical fiction books. He is one of my favorite authors. Another great book he wrote is, “A Dangerous Fortune” . Excellent.

    • I loved The Winter Garden. I’ll have to look for The Great Alone. For just some really fun reads I love anything by Sarah Addison Allen, especially Garden Spells.

    • I read Pillars of the Earth years ago and LOVED it. My mom discovered it and it went to my dad, sister, and me. I also LOVED the several Adriana Trigiani books I read.

  • Thanks to everyone for more great ideas. I can recommend We We’re The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter. Based on a true story it is a stunning read. Also The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, a recent bestseller. Good health to all……….

  • I have read all of those books also. For a totally different read, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman kept me laughing and expanded my vocabulary. In The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, I learned so much about WWII even though I have read many books on the topic, it was a great read. The Wife Between Us by Hendricks and Dekkanen? was a recent read for The Girl On The Train-type fans. The Gown: A Novel Of The Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson is a historical fiction novel about the current Queen Elizabeth’s wedding. This was a book club favorite. Finally, The Testimony Of Harold’s Wife by Lynne Hunt is a throw back to Guersey fans. Thanks for having me look back on my reading list to include books I enjoyed and after reading the comments I have some more to add.

  • If you like cozy mysteries, check out DOWNFALL and the sequel BREAKDOWN, both available on Amazon for e-readers. They’re in the Agatha Christie/Ngaio Marsh tradition, with interesting plots, wholesome dialogue, attractive characters, and a smattering of humor; as one reviewer put it, “a fun read.”

  • I’ve read a couple of the books on your list and I’ve added the others to my list. Some of my favorites: The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, Dead Wake by Eric Larsen (nonfiction), Elephant Company by Vicki Croke (nonfiction), and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. These are all ones we’vee read in my book club and we had a lot to discuss!

  • I’m on the third volume of The Last Lion by William Manchester, a biography of Sir Winston Churchill’s life. Next will be The History of English Speaking Peoples, by Churchill. I love hearing what people like reading! It’s fun!!

  • One of my best friends gave me the Guersey book for my birthday years ago when it first came out. I have since reread it several times. It is one of the loveliest books I’ve read. A favorite author of mine is Rumer Godden, especially her book, An Episode of Sparrows, which takes place in London in the early 1950’s. I would also recommend Dark Terror (sorry, I can’t remember the author’s name), but the book is about terrorists attack on the US prior to WWI.
    Happy reading, everyone. Stay safe and know we will get through this time

  • I loved both Guernsey and Scarlet Sky so you must have good taste, thus I’ve added your other recommendations to my “to-read” list. I just finished “Hold On, But Don’t Hold Still” by Kristina Kuzmic and truly enjoyed the humor, candid snapshots of life, motherhood and marriage and the hope that we can thrive through the hard knocks of life. Some great gems and wisdom found there for sure!

  • Modern titles include anything by Kate Morton, especially The Clockmaker’s Daughter. Also Kathleen Tessaro, The Perfume Collector.
    An older author I stumbled across at a used book sale years ago was Kathleen Thompson Norris. She was extremely popular as a noted journalist and author in the 1920s-40s. Most of her books are set in Northern California, and one, Mystery House, can only be an homage to San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House. High Holiday is my favorite It’s a multi-generational novel (Edna Ferber was the queen of this genre) set on 2 major holidays only: 4th of July and Christmas. Quite an intriguing premise.
    There’s a lust of her books on Goodreads and some are in public domain on Amazon.
    And of course EVERYTHING Agatha Christie wrote.
    Some of the authors from the last century hold up well and are very entertaining.
    And how could I leave out James Michener?!
    Centennial is one of his best.

    • I’ve read several Kate Morton books and loved them all. I got them as e-books from the library. Thanks for the head’s up about Kathleen Thompson Norris.

  • I love to read but actually haven’t had much time for it as I’m busy at home most of the time anyway, so my routine hasn’t changed much. Likely from having had a biology major and history minor in college, the two main genres I’ve come to seek out over the years are historical novels and (for lack of a better description) natural history/conservation. The first group includes both historical fiction and factual accounts of historical events and personalities. “Byzantium” by Stephen Lawhead is one of the two best books I’ve ever read, and I’ve also enjoyed Robert Massie’s books on Russian history – “Nicholas and Alexandra”, “Peter the Great” and most recently “Catherine the Great”. I had started reading “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy until my tablet died :(.

    Natural history and conservation books take a particular species, group of species (taxon) or conservation topic and discuss it in an interesting, insightful and engaging way. There are several I could recommend, but one that comes to mind is “Voyage of the Turtle” by Carl Safina, which takes a look at the life and journey of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle and a broader look at sea turtle conservation in general. Also “Living on the Wind” by Scott Weidensaul focuses on bird migration in the western hemisphere. And “The Wild Trees” by Richard Preston follows the stories of three individuals as they try to learn about the biology of Giant Redwoods while climbing hundreds of feet above the ground. No specialized degree is needed as these books are very readable.

    “The Earth’s Children” series by Jean Auel is a combination of human and natural history and one that has taken up a good chunk of my reading time over the past few years (I’m finishing the last one now). But the book-equivalent of crack cocaine for me was “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond. The author draws on human and natural history to explain why some peoples of the world were given a head-start by simple geography and luck of zoology (not genetics; this is not a racist book) in technological advancements and were thus set up to explore (and conquer) the world before others.

    Recalling all of these great reads makes me want to set aside more reading time – thanks Jillee!

  • I have had a couple of these on my list for awhile- thanks for putting this together. I haven’t read the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society but saw the movie on Netflix and it is one of my favorites about this time period. I also loved “All the Light we Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr set in France. A recent favorite is “Before we were yours” by Lisa Wingate- I was fascinated and haunted by this book.

  • I am a suspence/mystery reader. My favorite author is Karin Slaughter. She has several stand alone books as well as 2 series books. If you read the series, start with the Grant County series. They are “can’t put down” books! I read Where the Crawdads Sing (loved it!), but have added your other recommendations as well as those in the comments. Audio books are great to have when driving to work (though I haven’t done that for a while!) or cleaning house and doing home projects, but I also like to sit with a book and read. Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Thank you for this. I love to read and have read some of the ones you mention. I will check out the ones I have not read yet.
    I love to throw in Gillian Flynn to mess with the brain ….. Michael Connelly’s “Bosch” series, which you can then back up with a prime Video’s series. Fun! Wish I could read all day every day!

  • Beneath A Scarlet Sky was incredible!! I read a lot of indie authors that self publish on Amazon. My favorite book of all time is A Different Blue by Amy Harmon. I have easily read it 20 times. All of her books are phenomenal but that one is special to me. If you want a book to get make you get in your feelings Brightside by Kim Holden is amazing. The books following it are great too.

  • Interestingly enough, my book club has read most of your selections as well. My personal favorites are books by the late Pat Conroy. He brings you into a story and you don’t want to leave. Pat will use 20 very descriptive words where 3 would do, but those 20 bring characters and locations right into your life.

  • >