Reader Recommendations with Katharine Scrivener / by Madeleine

Hey, readers!

Today I'm excited to welcome one of my friends from the bookstagram world here for a Reader Recommendations post! Katharine Scrivener is the beautiful, kind, hilarious human behind @kathareads and From A to Pink. (Also, she has great style. Just saying.) I'm so glad to have her here today!

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Katharine, tell us a little about yourself first!

An avid reader, I live in Baltimore, MD with my husband, our miniature schnauzer Gus, and more books than I care to admit (but I'm sure y'all are with me on that). By day I do communications at a local university, and by night and I read and write as much as possible. When I'm not reading or writing, I help to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis, a disease I was diagnosed with at 16. Connecting with others, on many different things, is what fuels me and I love that this book community has allowed me to do just that.

P.S. You can also find Katharine on her personal Instagram account 

@katharinescriv and on Twitter @katharinescriv!

Now, tell us about some of your favorite books!

Caleb and Kit by Beth Vrabel

This will be one of my favorite reads of the year, by far, and it was brought to my attention by none other than your favorite blogger: Madeleine! Caleb and Kit tells the story of a 12-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis (CF). But it's so much more than that -- it's a story of friendship, growing up, figuring out who you are, and overcoming life's challenges, both big and small. It's also an incredibly accurate (in my opinion) portrayal about what life with this somewhat unknown and often misunderstood disease is like. As someone with CF, this hit me in the feels for obvious reasons, but I think it's a book that anyone would enjoy.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

I honestly think it was the cover that first made me pick this one up (Riverhead has some of the BEST covers), and I’m so glad I did. Another favorite of 2017, Exist West is told from the perspective of refugees trying to escape an unnamed war-torn country. I was lucky enough to see Hamid when he came to Baltimore. Listening to him read passages made his already lyrical writing even more powerful. While the subject matter resonates with our current political climate, this is a book that will withstand time.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

As a huge fan of Patchett’s, I picked up Commonwealth as soon as it was released. This is definitely a character-driven novel, more than a plot-driven one, which was just fine because I LOVED these characters. I read this book in two sittings -- a rarity for me -- because I didn’t want to leave Franny and her siblings. This family has stuck with me long after I read the last page; Patchett has a way of sucking you in and making you fully invested in their lives. She’s truly talented and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. (If you haven’t picked up This is a Story of a Happy Marriage, her collection of personal essays, I highly recommend you do.)

Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett

I would read almost anything Tippett writes. My adoration of her started with her podcast, On Being, where she tackles some of life’s biggest questions alongside some pretty important and accomplished people. All of whom have plenty of wisdom to share. In Becoming Wise she examines what she’s learned over the years and through these conversations. What results is a wonderfully hopeful vision for our future, full of her unending wisdom and empathy, as well as timeless advice for all of us.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

This might be a somewhat controversial choice -- it seems people either love this book or hate it. After my initial reading, I fell somewhere in the middle: I enjoyed the second half far more than the first, but appreciated both her writing style and the format the book takes. But when I attended a seminar she did at Washington & Lee University, I realized just how much depth the book has that I missed. There are certain books, at least for me, that mean much more after discussing it, whether that’s with the author or others. Hearing Groff talk about her inspiration for the story, the various texts that influenced her telling of it, and analyzing both both the literary and psychological themes, this book became one that I can’t wait to reread, and with an entirely different lens. Groff is certainly a gifted writer, with an impressive knowledge of a plethora of literary works, and who is dedicated to her craft.

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Thanks, Katharine, for sharing those five recommendations with us! Readers, here are a few quick thoughts on Katharine's list from my perspective: I adored Caleb and Kit (you can read my review here), abandoned Commonwealth because dysfunctional families are not my cup of tea, and have the other three still on my list! I can't tell you the number of times I passed over Fates and Furies on the book sale shelf at my local library -- now I wish I had snagged it while it was there!

 I love having guests here on TST to shake up our recommendations pool, so you can expect to see these posts twice per month in the future!

Let us know in the comments if you've read and loved these titles, or if you'll be adding them to your TBR!