Erin's Favorite Books
A sweeping epic set in the 1940's about loss, family ties, and how tightly we hold onto things we own. The author's personal journey to finish this novel is as inspiring as the book itself.
You will fall in love with Klara, an artificially intelligent robot designed to be a companion to a terminally ill child. This book joins the unfamiliar science fiction world with the time-worn philosophical questions about humanity and love.
If you've never read a J. Ryan Stradal book, start with this one. Two sisters struggle when one receives the entire inheritance from their father. The portrayal of deep Midwestern values are what the author does so well, eclipsed only by how he writes strong female protagonists.
Recently released from prison and with nothing to keep him at his family farm, Emmett and his 8-year-old brother Billy go on a cross-country road trip to begin a new life. Two stowaways in the car have other plans for Emmett and Billy. This multi-layered cast of characters will stick with you.
I always think of this book as a quiet burn. Mizuki is a Japanese mother and housewife who vacillates between intense love for her children and bored displeasure for her neglectful husband. When she meets Kiyoshi, a confident restauranteur, she must decide between the life she knows and the life she could have. The affair isn't what you'll remember -- only the deep introspection of Mizuki and the beauty and bustle of the Tokyo setting.
As refreshing as it is surprising, this book is a delightful look at the life of Cara Romero. An immigrant living in New York, Cara finds herself looking for a new job and in the office of a job placement counselor. We learn about her life through job interviews, resumes, and one-sided conversations. Her personality sparkles on the pages, and her courage and love for her son will move you.
You may not think you're interested in a novel about video game designers, but I promise this book will draw you in. Two childhood friends pursue their dreams of game design together, and as they become more successful, other people come into the picture. The fractures and friendship and forgiveness in these pages will leave a mark.
FeFe and her friends live in a high-rise apartment building about to be torn down by the Chicago Housing Authority. The author does an incredible job of writing about the sounds and sights of a sweltering Chicago summer, all while infusing her setting with the anxiety and unrest of a group of people losing the only home they've ever known.
If anyone can make moral philosophy interesting, it's Michael Schur. I actually listened to this on audiobook, which was read by the author and the cast of The Good Place (delightful!) but you can read this and have fun pondering the big questions of life and the silly ones, too.
Part mystery, part small-town drama, but all of it together will keep you turning the pages. The local sheriff is running for re-election against a popular yet corrupt candidate. While he deals with a suspicious murder case, he must also deal with his daughter, who has come home to get away from tragedy in her own life. This book is the best of two genres.