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2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap
2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap

2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap

2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap

After reaching my goal of 120 total books and audiobooks for 2023, I decided to keep the same goal for 2024. However, this year I would like to read even more books in addition to simply listening to audiobooks. I love audiobooks, but there is nothing like settling in with an actual book each evening.

This is my 2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap! This post is full of book recommendations, reviews, and summaries of some of the hardest books to put down during the winter months.

Table of Contents

Book Ranking System

This year I am also adding a ranking system for each of the books to give you a better insight into how these books stacked up against each other. Everyone has a different taste in books. Perhaps my recommendations will line up with yours and you will find a few great recommendations to pick up along the way.

  • Grade A = I highly recommend it.
  • Grade B = I liked it and would recommend it.
  • Grade C = It was okay but I wouldn’t put it on my next reading list.
  • Grade D = I didn’t enjoy it and wouldn’t recommend it.

January – 12 books

  1. Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister – B
  2. The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand – B
  3. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi – B
  4. The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer – A
  5. Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross – A
  6. The Discovery of Tahiti by Joan Druett – D
  7. The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese – A
  8. Tinkers by Paul Harding – D
  9. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager – C
  10. Reign by Katharine McGee – B
  11. Happiness Falls by Angie Kim – A
  12. Twisted Games by Ana Huang – C

February – 14 books

  1. None of This is True by Lisa Jewell – A
  2. Outlive the Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia, MD – A
  3. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – B
  4. Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson – B
  5. Twisted Hate by Ana Huang – C
  6. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – C
  7. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – B
  8. Inheritance by Katharine McGee – C
  9. Circle by Madeline Miller – B
  10. Bunny by Mona Awad – D
  11. King A Life by Jonathan Eig – B
  12. You Shouldn’t Have Come Here by Jeneva Rose – C
  13. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas – B
  14. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi – B

March – 12 books

  1. As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson – B
  2. Holly by Stephen King – B
  3. The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn – C
  4. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer – B
  5. The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young – A
  6. Shark Heart A Love Story by Emily Habeck – A
  7. Ruthless Vows by Rebecca Ross – B
  8. The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate, MD – B
  9. Check and Mate by Ali Hazelwood – B
  10. The Honeymoon Crashers by Christina Lauren – C
  11. Starling House of by Alix E Harrow – C
  12. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede – C

Reviews of My Favorite Books of Winter 2024

“The Covenant of Water” by Abraham Verghese

2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap - The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
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If you are grabbing this book from the shelf or downloading the audiobook, please don’t be intimidated by the size and length. Despite this, The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese is a quick read or easy listen. I personally was not able to stop listening.

Verghese does a great job of developing character as well as setting. As the storyline moves from generation to generation throughout 20th century India, the reader follows not only each character but the ever changing culture and beliefs of the modernizing world.

When the novel opens up to Big Ammachi, the lead character, marrying a widower at age 12, the reader is easily sucked into empathizing with the child. As Big Ammachi raises her children and grand child, she goes from life simply happening to her to her influencing the life around her.

In just three generations, Big Ammachi’s grand daughter, Miriamma, grows up to be a doctor and uses modern medicine to help alleviate ailments that were previously life threatening in her small community.

The author is a doctor as well as a writer. The many doctors and medical treatments described throughout the book are fascinating and so well described that the visual image will be continually conjured anytime you think of The Covenant of Water.

If you are interested in Indian culture, medicine, and/or women’s rights, this is definitely a book for you to add to your reading list. The Covenant of Water is my top book recommendation for the 2024 winter recap. When my mind is wandering, I just can’t stop returning to each of the characters in this novel.

“‘Outlive’ the Science and Art of Longevity” by Peter Attia, MD

2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap - Outlive by Peter Attia, MD
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I really love the idea of growing old and at the same time being healthy and strong.

For many people it is simply the expectation that as they grow old, they will no longer be able to do all of the things they want to do because of their physical health. Outlive by Peter Attia, MD disputes this claim and begins setting the ground work for living a long and healthy life, with emphasis on HEALTHY.

The first four sections of the book layout the four most common causes of health deterioration as we age or what Dr. Attia refers to as the four horsemen of the apocalypse; heart disease, cancer, dementia, and diabetes. While describing how each of these diagnoses can affect us in our mature years, he also gives a few tips on how they can be avoided or minimized through exercise, nutrition, sleep, and the development of strong relationships.

Throughout the rest of the book, Dr. Attia breaks down the various pieces of our personal health and what we really need to being doing now if we want to have a chance of doing what we want in the future. There are four main components outlined in Outlive; physical fitness, nutrition, cognitive function, and mental health.

Physical Fitness

The physical fitness section of the book focuses on the centurion decathlon, meaning what ten things do you want to be able to do when you are 100 years old. Do you want to be able to hike? Pick up your grand children? Walk up stairs? Travel with a carry on bag? Once you have a list of the activities you want to be able to do, those tasks are broken down into the physical fitness requirements needed to accomplish them.

As we age, our bodies will get weaker and our ability to process oxygen will also decrease. If we want to be able to climb a set of stairs at age 100, then we have to be able to do as many sets of starts now. The same goes for picking up a child. You will lose strength as you age. That means you will need to increase your current strength, if you would like to have enough strength when you are older.

Nutrition

The nutrition section of the book is broken down into various ways of controlling your overall weight and what to focus on. Everybody processes and maintains weight in different ways, and therefore will need a more personal path to balanced nutrition. What works for you will not be the same as what works for your friends or family members. The key to balanced nutrition is to maintain muscle mass and level blood sugar as much as possible.

Cognitive Function

When it comes to cognitive strength, it is important to continue to both learn and exercise. These things are not independent or exclusive to each other. Physical fitness has a tremendous effect on cognitive ability. Participating in a sport that requires mental agility in addition to strength and coordination such as dance, tennis, or surfing is a great way to support both brain and body health.

In addition to exercise, learning assists your brain in continuing to develop as we age. Creatively working on art, learning a language, or learning a musical instrument are great ways to develop new neural pathways as you age.

When it comes to brain health and the prevention of cognitive deterioration, sleep plays a critical role. As you sleep, your brain is clearing away the excess protein that developed throughout the day and is deciding which short term memories to store into your long term memory. Without enough sleep, your brain doesn’t have the ability to clean itself and to prepare to learn again the next day.

Mental Health

The last section of Outlive is dedicated to mental and emotional heath. The desire to “outlive” or “have a long life,” usually stems from the desire to continue deep relationships with family and friends. Building strong and positive relationships is increasingly proving to be a key component to longevity.

When we are happy with our friends and family, our stress and anxiety levels are generally lower, allowing our bodies and minds to function at a higher level. A long term study at Harvard University, The Good Life, has proven over time that people who focus on relationships over wealth generally live longer and happier lives. Moreover, The Rosette Mystery, in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell comes to the same conclusion; our health is directly affected by the relationships we develop and maintain throughout our lives.

Other Health Book Recommendations

While reading this book, it reminded me of a handful of books that have had an impact on the way I choose to live my life in the last few years.

Here are some great books to consider reading, if you are interested in health and longevity:

  • Outlive by Peter Attia, MD
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • Remember by Lisa Genova
  • Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker
  • Beginners by Tom Vanderbilt
  • Running is my Therapy by Scott Douglas
  • The Good Life by Robert Waldinger, MD and Marc Schulz, PhD

“None of This is True” by Lisa Jewell

Book Recommendations - None of this is True
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If you have read any of Lisa Jewell’s books, you know that she does a fantastic job of developing character and adding surprising twists and turns to her novels. Although thrillers are not always my first choice, I truly have enjoyed all of Jewell’s books. None of This is True is probably my favorite book of hers so far.

The novel opens up on a restaurant scene of the two leading characters, Alix and Josie, celebrating their 45th birthdays. From the opening pages, their lives become intertwined. These women, like most people, are beginning to look at their lives and question whether they have fulfilled their life goals. As they approach mid-life, they are bored with the monotony of family life and work. Both are longing for new inspiration and change.

Alix is a popular host of a podcast about successful women. As she finishes editing the final episode of the series, she is looking for a new direction for her next series.

After meeting her birthday twin, Josie listens to Alix’s podcast and develops an infatuation with her life. Josie devises a way to spend more time with Alix and her family. She convinces Alix to create a podcast about her life and the marriage to her much older husband.

Alix is fascinated by Josie’s tale of being groomed by her husband, a man 30 years her senior, when she was just 15 years old. Now at age 45, Josie is finally telling her story. But is it true or is it all fabricated by a delusional narcissist. I will leave this for you to find out. This book is all about mid-life crisis.

“Happiness Falls” by Angie Kim

Book Recommendations - Happiness Falls
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As you can probably tell from my reading lists, I really like young adult fiction. I am a high school teacher and love to connect with my students about the books they are reading. It is also fun to pass on fun recommendations that inspire my students to read more. Happiness Falls by Angie Kim was a fun mystery about a bi-racial, middle class family in California.

The narrator, Mia, is a college student living at home during the COVID pandemic of 2020-2021. The book opens with her, non-verbal, neurodiverse brother running home alone after a hike in the woods with his father. When Mia’s father hasn’t returned from the hike after a few hours, it is obvious that something has happened.

As the missing person story unravels, the reader begins to learn about Mia’s family. She is a twin who spent many of her formative years growing up in South Korea. Mia’s Korean mother is a doctor of linguistics, while her American father is a care taker for her 14-year-old, neurodiverse brother, Eugene.

After the first 24-hours, there is a growing suspicion that Eugene played a critical role in the disappearance of his father on their hike. Since Eugene is unable to communicate in the traditional manner, the family has to work together to protect him and at the same time try to solve the mystery of what happened to their father.

I really loved this book because I learned a lot about what it means to be verbal and to communicate. As a language teacher and linguist myself, I really find all the information about language and the cognitive processing of language truly fascinating. If you are interested in mysteries, language, or neurodiversity, this is definitely a book for you!

“The Unmaking of June Farrow” by Adrienne Young

2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap - The Unmaking of June Farrow
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My last recommendation for my 2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap is The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young. I put this book on my waiting this at the library because it was on the popular list, however the combination of mystery, romance, and time travel had me hooked from the very beginning.

June Farrow is a present day flower farmer in her mid-thirties growing up in Western North Carolina with her grandmother. Her family have always been outcasts. All of the women in June’s family eventually go crazy. June is determined to be the last in the Farrow line. She refuses to marry and have children despite her deep longing for both.

When her grandmother and caretaker passes, she finally starts to admit that she is also starting to have hallucinations. When she admits her fears to a long time childhood friend, she finally begins to learn and understand the curse her family has suffered. They are not crazy. Their minds are just present in more than one place.

In other words, the Farrows are given the gift of time travel. Although the body can only be in one place at a time, the mind can’t let go of both sets of memories. As June begins to learn and understand what happened, to her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she has to decide what future she wants for herself.

If you are interested in the concept of time travel or you are a sucker for a romance, this might be the next book for you. Either way, the story of the family and the descriptions of rural North Carolina won’t let you put this one down.

“‘Shark Heart’ A Love Story” by Emily Habeck

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Finally, the last book for my 2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap is Shark Heart by Emily Habeck. A co-worker and fellow reader recommended this book after my February Instagram Recap and I was able to get it right away as an e-book through my library app (Libby). While traveling this month, I was able to do a lot of reading on the airplane and I really flew through this book.

Shark Heart starts like a play. It lists the characters and setting and then begins with a dialogue. I wasn’t sure, if I was going to like this because I don’t generally enjoy reading plays. However, the entire book is not written in play format. In fact, it changes format frequently throughout the book, which made it an even quicker read because I always wanted to read more!

The two main characters Lewis and Wren are a newly married couple living in Dallas, Texas. Lewis is a theater teacher and a dreamer. Wren is an accountant and always bringing Lewis back to reality.

Soon after they are married, Lewis is diagnosed with a strange mutation. He is becoming a great white shark, hence the name of the book Shark Heart. Although, the concept seems rather strange, the author talks about this abnormal mutation as if it is a normal part of human life. If you can get past the sci-fi, mutation aspects of the book, what they really represent is the human condition.

We are constantly changing and people are continuously coming in and out of our lives. Although the mutation changes in the book sometimes seem forced, the sense of love and connection are not. By the end of the book, there is true joy in understanding what Wren goes through from childhood through adulthood.

If you are looking for a book that will truly touch your heart, I definitely recommend Shark Heart by Emily Habeck. It is a surprisingly sweet love story.

Final Thoughts on my 2024 Book Recommendations Winter Recap

Perfect Winter Morning
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If you liked any of these recommendations, please check out my winter, spring, summer or fall recommendations from 2023. Follow KiteBikeVan on Instagram or Facebook for a monthly update or subscribe below for quarterly updates on my favorite reads!

If you have any recommendations for me in 2024, please leave them in the comments below. I am always on the lookout for new and inspiring books.

Don’t forget to dog ear that page. Thanks for reading! ~KiteBikeVan

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2 Comments

  1. I truly enjoyed what you’ve achieved here. The design is stylish, your written content fashionable, yet you appear to have acquired some apprehension regarding what you intend to present going forward. Undoubtedly, I’ll return more frequently, similar to I have almost constantly, in the event you sustain this ascent.

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