12 Great Reader Comments on Books

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Cup of Jo Reader Comments on Books

Cup of Jo Reader Comments on Books

What books are in your fall reading queue? As the weather cools, I find myself craving a fast-paced novel and a mug of herbal tea. But whenever I’m stumped on what book to dig into next, my #1 source for recs is the CoJ comment section. Here are 12 gems…

On stories that change us:

“I’ve discovered my sexual and gender fluidity much later in life, while in a hetero partnership that I’m trying to preserve. Books are crucial to my being able to understand, celebrate and feed myself at this time. My favorites have been books with characters who are nonbinary and it’s not even a thing, like A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers. I also loved every single book in The Tea Dragon series by K. O’Neill, which are technically children’s books, but my god y’all, they are a balm for the queer soul. It’s like I’m taking care of the kid I was, who had no idea who they were allowed to be, who didn’t even have words for who they were.” — Anonymous

On audiobooks that sing:

“Lindy West’s Shit, Actually audiobook was the absolute funniest book I’ve ever heard. I’d listen with my headphones in at bedtime and shake with silent laughter so that I didn’t wake my kids, and my husband would start laughing, too, because of how hard I was laugh-crying. Greatest recommendation and biggest mood lifter.” — A J

Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile opened up parts of me I forgot I had. At the end of each chapter, she sings songs that relate to the stories. I already loved her music, but now I listen in a deeper, different way.” — Meg

On the magic of poetry:

“I struggled with depression last year, and memorizing poems was like a form of meditation. I had no deadline, so when my mind was jumbled and took longer to remember things, it didn’t matter. I just kept reading and reciting. Now I have an arsenal of poems in my head, and they feel like treasures that came out of a very bleak time. Here’s one that brings me comfort:

This Is the Time to Be Slow
by John O’Donohue

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”

— Rachel

“My favorite thing about poetry is how it encourages the reader to sink into the words. For a moment in time, those three, eight, or 22 lines have your entire attention. There’s nowhere to be but here. No flipping pages to get to the end of a chapter, predicting a plot twist. Those carefully chosen words say ‘Rest here for a while.’ What medicine for our hurried 21st century minds!” — B

How to Carry Water, the selected poems of Lucille Clifton, are a joy to dip in and out of. They also pair nicely with The Slowdown podcast, where poets reads a poem every day (all in 10 minute episodes.)” — Roxani

On short reads:

“Huge shoutout to all of you who recommended Claire Keegan’s Foster. The novella touched me deeply, as I was raised by a single mom of five who had significant mental illness, and I floated, silently, between siblings and was often sent to my grandparents, alone, where they cleaned me and filled me up with love in a very quiet way. The story was beautifully told.” [Ed. note: The story was recently turned into a film called The Quiet Girl.] — Morgan

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter is small but will tear your heart open. It’s about the grief of one family after losing their mother/partner, and even with that premise it manages to be warm and funny and creative and odd in the best way.” — Emily Crowder

On long reads:

“I learned about my now-favorite book from a recommendation from another COJ-er: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. Trying to read other books afterward has been like trying to get over a first crush – I can’t seem to find anything that makes me feel the same way or as strongly! It follows five characters as they navigate events in human history, and how one Greek myth connects them and how they all depend on one another without even knowing it. It’s funny, terrifying and beautiful – I found myself crying at the most unexpected times. Whoever recommended it, I LOVE YOU!” — Olive

“The last great novel I read was A Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende. Set during the Spanish Civil War, the book features a family of rebel refugees out of Barcelona once Nationalist leader Francisco Franco comes into power. Gripping and incredibly beautiful, the TRUE STORY illustrates human resilience and fortitude in the face of political turmoil/trauma.” — Sabrina

On books with kids:

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown was the best read aloud with my seven-year-old last year! Beautiful, poignant, layered. I never thought I would relate so deeply to a robot.” — Sasha

“When kids find a book that cracks open their heart, it is the most magical feeling. A recent middle-grade fave is A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus, about three bookish orphaned siblings looking for their forever home after escaping the Blitz in 1940s London. I am a grown woman and sobbed.” — Claire

What books have left an imprint on your soul? We’d love to hear. I finally read Olive Kitteridge and was shook.

P.S. A terrifying book, more reader book recs and our favorite books of 2022.

(Photo by Kike Arnaiz/Stocksy.)

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