Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

This novel is nothing short of a masterpiece. I read this book with a friend (what we’re calling a “two-person book club”) and I am so glad I did — this is the kind of book you’ll want to discuss with everyone you meet. Featuring an intriguing cast of characters in a contemporary setting, incredibly and uniquely well-written,  and interwoven with current events and issues, Freedom is worthy of all the literary acclaim it has received. Read it, then call me to discuss… I will honestly never get tired of talking about this book!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Another best-seller worth the hype, Beautiful Ruins is set along the Italian coast, not far from the Cinque Terre. Written back and forth across time zones and through multiple character’s perspecives, the book never loses momentum and kept me interested throughout. The writing style is light enough for a quick vacation read, but the zany characters and unpredictable plot line keep it interesting. Plus, it’s funny — an added perk that made me laugh out loud a few times.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

I suppose this book is technically non-fiction, but I already included it in this post soooooo it’s going to stay here. After all, this book was so well written, the characters so well imagined, that I felt wrapped up in a rich novel rather than a true story. This dramatic novel tells the story of the USA 1936 Olympic Rowing team — from the team member’s humble Depression era beginnings through the team’s incredible quest for a gold medal. An fascinating, historical page-turner.

A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones Series) by George R. R. Martin

A commitment to reading the Song of Ice and Fire series is not for the weak of heart.  The six long and detailed novels (with a seventh forthcoming) take place in a fictional world with a history of thousands of years. Throughout the novels, a dynastic war throughout several prominent families rages.

I’m only through the third book (taking breaks between installations), but the series keeps getting more interesting. I highly recommend diving in — especially during these winter months that create the perfect setting for a nice long read.