When I was little my grandmother took me to the library every week.

Come rain or shine or expired library card, my grandmother would cart me in her Toyota Corolla to the place where dinosaurs wore top hats and kids walked through wardrobes into a winter wonderland and Nancy Drew solved every mystery with her notebook and bobby socks.

I fell in love with books on those long ago trips to the library. And I’ve never stopped loving them. There’s something so wonderful and amazing how 26 characters and some random punctuation can make your heart beat faster or your eyes fill up with tears or make you laugh out loud.

There are so many adventures waiting for all of us between the covers of a book.

So in case you love books as much as I do?

Here are 10 books you won’t be able to put down.

1. Under the Southern Sky

Camilla, King Charles’ wife, (I’m not sure of her exact title) was just photographed reading this book. Kristy Woodson Harvey is a sweet friend of mine and I’ve been cheering her on from her very first book.

She’s witty and funny and I always want to be best friends with all her main characters.

And Under the Southern Sky is no exception.

Reading the story of Amelia and Parker is so endearing and so sweet. Parker is a widower and Amelia is a journalist researching the biggest story of her career.

I would be BEST friends with her.

Just like all of Kristy’s characters. GET THIS BOOK. You will love it from the first book to the last.

2. Hello Beautiful

Where do I begin? Hello Beautiful is the sweetest book.

Someone said in the reviews that it was Little Women with basketball, but it’s so much more than that. It’s poignant and if you like different stories of different characters that all entwine together?

This is the book for you.

It’s about a boy named William who has a super sad childhood and he finds refuge in basketball and he finds Julia and her large outgoing family who welcome him in and surround him.

It’s a story of love and loss and overcoming where you come from to become the person you were meant to be.

You can see Hello Beautiful here.

3. The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library has almost 250,000 reviews on Amazon.

It’s a story about choices. Somewhere on the edge of the galaxy, there’s a library. The library is full of books that tell the stories of people’s lives—with different endings. Some are stories of their life as they know it. Some are stories of their life that could have been.

Nora Seed is faced with which story to choose.

And what makes life worth the living after all.

(total aside: I haven’t read this one—but it’s on my list).

4. The Nightingale

Where are my Kristen Hannah readers? You all love The Nightingale so much and I echo everything you’ve messaged me about this book. It’s amazing.

And it has almost 300,000 reviews on Amazon.

It looks amazing. I love a historical drama and this one is set against the backdrop of WWII and Germany’s invasion of France.

It’s the story of two sisters with romance and struggle and sometimes almost impossible choices.

And you will literally not be able to put it down.

You can see the Nightingale here.

5. The Giver of the Stars

I saw the movie Me Before You based on the book written by this author so I was intrigued when readers recommended The Giver of the Stars.

It’s another historical drama about a team of women who are part of the team helping to deliver Eleanor Roosevelt’s traveling library.

It’s the story of the challenges they face on the journey and the love they discover and the challenges of the land they travel.

You can see The Giver of the Stars here.

6. Carnegie’s Maid

I was going through an entire phase with WWII history (ie the Nightingale), but now I’m all about the 1920s.

Last time I recommended The Wedding Veil and this time I’m back with another 1920s book.

Carnegie’s Maid had me from the very first page.

It’s about a maid (who’s not really a maid) and who she falls in love with and the ending TOTALLY surprised me. Audible recommended this to me and I’m so glad it did.

You can see Carnegie’s Maid here.

7. A Gentleman in Moscow

Almost 125,000 reviews on Amazon and TONS of reader recommendations can’t be wrong.

A Gentleman in Moscow looks so interesting because it’s based on the story of an aristocrat who is sentenced to house arrest in the attic of the Metropol hotel.

The characters and the scenery are incredible as the story unfolds during this tumultuous time in Russian history.

It’s also about to be released as a television series with Ewan McGregor.

8. Edenbrooke

Edenbrooke has all the things that I love.



The heir to a fortune.

And a heroine with a heart of gold. If you like romance novels, this is a sweeter version with everything that makes an English romance novel great.

You can see Edenbrooke here.

9. The Second Mrs. Astor

Continuing on my early 1900s theme, The Second Mrs. Astor is a love story that’s heartbreaking and inspiring all the same time.

Madeline and Jack are in love (with kind of a big age difference) and they get married and head out on their honeymoon and take a return voyage home on the Titantic. Jack puts Madeline on a lifeboat and promises her he’ll see her in New York. Four months later, alone and widowed, she gives birth and that’s when the story begins.

I’ll keep you posted on how it ends. 🙂

You can see The Second Mrs. Astor here.

I wish my grandmother was still here so she could see how those trips to the library instilled a love of reading that I still have after all these years.

I know what she’d do. She would smile and that Toyota Corolla would turn to the left.

Right into the parking lot of the library. 🙂

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  1. Image for laura laura

    I LOVED GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW. I loved the idea of making you home inside a hotel room. The circumstances are explained in chapter 1. So so so good! We are reading All the Broken Places by the same author as the Boy in the Striped Pajamas for book club. The Irish author wrote this followup book during Covid. Another great story!Nightingale has been on my library app list - just renewed to get on wait list! xo laura

    1. Image for Debra Debra

      Laura, All the Broken Places is a read you won't soon forget. Karianne, your grandmother would not believe how much more than books today's libraries are. Free ebooks, free wifi, free hotspots to use when you travel, free notary service, free museum admissions, free classes, concerts and exhibits, free LinkedIn classes, free online test prep, and so much more. Can you tell I work in a library?

  2. Image for Ellen Ellen

    For this post (loved it), I have a burning question - where did you get your beautiful dress or is that a pullover? It looks gorgeous on you with the cream stripes matching your hair and is that coral too?!!!

  3. Image for Sara Ross Sara Ross

    I read the 2nd Mrs Astor as we were on a cruise going to Nova Scotia. It was so good and we saw several of the grave sights that were mentioned in the book as we went to the Titanic graveyard. It is a great book! Thanks for the other recommendations! I intend to read more of them as we have the same taste.

  4. Image for Terry Terry

    I'm addicted to books as well and am trying to instill that in my grandchildren. They get a book every celebration we have. I've also been helping my grandson learn to read so he will be ready for Grade 1. So much fun!

  5. Image for Carrie Carrie

    I love books and am always looking for recommendations! I have some long plane trips planned to see family, so this list is going with me! Thank you!! :)

  6. Image for Susan Spinney Susan Spinney

    Thank you for so many great suggestions! I am having to come up with a title for our next book club so it is perfect timing! I remember going to the library with Grandma every time I visited her in Michigan. And I may have learned how to drive in that little Corolla....When I was 11:)

  7. Image for Anna Anna

    If you love the 1920's, try "A Well-Behaved Woman" and "American Duchess". They are novels based on the historic Vanderbilt family. Oh, the intricate workings of high society.

  8. Image for Kathy Kathy

    My love of books came from my aunt and grandma. My sister and I would spend a month with them every summer and weekly trips to the library were a must. The best part was reading them in bed, with a big bowl of ice cream 🤪

  9. Image for PJ PJ

    Even when money was very tight, my mom would tuck a Little Golden Book into the grocery cart. I believe they cost about 39 cents at the time. Some of those books are still in the family being read to mom's great great grandchildren. One of my greatest joys in life has been teaching children to read. Oh, how I love to share the love of reading with little ones! I have read a number of the books on your list and agree with you wholeheartedly. I will add the others to my ever-growing "to read" list. Thank you, KariAnne!

  10. Image for Becky Becky

    These are going on my list! I am currently reading Things I Wish I Told My Mother by S. Patterson and S. Dilallo. It is wonderful and fills your list of places to visit in Paris, France. Next I am going to read The Galveston Diet by Mary Claire Haver after discovering the trials of menopause first hand.

  11. Image for Amber Puzey Amber Puzey

    Great minds think alike 😂 So excited to see I’ve read many of the books on your list! I’m adding the few I haven’t. I read Gentleman at the very beginning of Covid lockdown—I loved it!!!! It was such a unique time to read it.

  12. Image for Michele Michele

    Add Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls to your list. I'm a huge reader, have been since childhood, and that's the most engrossing book I've read in a long time.

  13. Image for Marilyn Marilyn

    Thank You Karianne for this enjoyable post. We love to read. We still have our books from childhood and like to read them once in a while. Joan is reading 1776 by David McCullough,Marion is reading Middlemarch by George Elliot. Marilyn just finished Killing the Legend by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard and is now reading An Unquiet Soul, A Biography of Charlotte Bronte by Margot Peters. Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  14. Image for Danae Danae

    Marianne, thanks for the list! I read The Nightingale for a book club and loved it! I recommend Fall of Marigolds and Before We We’re Yours

  15. Image for Kay Welch Kay Welch

    I'm an avid reader (average over 100 books each year) - audio, Kindle, and real book in my hands. I'm always open to suggested reads, so thank you for this post. I have read several of these, though it took me a second chance for "Midnight Library". I think I will have to give "A Gentleman in Moscow" a second chance because I loved "The Lincoln Highway". I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, cozy mysteries, and biographies. And I love libraries! Like you, I was taken as a young child and never stop going. I appreciate how they have adapted to modern technology and offer so many free options outside of checking out a book. Happy reading

  16. Image for Susan Miles Susan Miles

    Molly Gloss has written to great stories. The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-off Creek. For people who want to think.

  17. Image for JBorgia JBorgia

    NIGHTINGALE was one beautiful story and I will continually recommend it to one and all and the finale brings it all together in a way that I did not expect. I also have recommended GREEN MANSIONS.

  18. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Thanks for all of the recommendations! I'm always looking for the next great book. You also mention that you have not yet read Matt Haig's "The Midnight Library." Don't wait!! That book is so amazing on so many levels. When I finished it I felt more uplifted than I have in a long time. Run, don't walk, to read it!

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