Book Recs for the Recovering English Literature Major

I am a recovering English lit major. Yes, that was many years ago, but I still feel the sting of depressing books where the women always end up trapped in a loveless marriage, sacrificing some great thing, or dying (or, sometimes, all three– I’m looking at you, The Awakening). If you’re a recovering English lit major, too, you know what I’m talking about.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that romance saved my love of reading (if not my life). And so, I’d like to offer up a reading list if you’re a recovering English lit major, too. Specifically, this one is for my sister in law, a fellow English lit major, who asked me this weekend for some contemporary recommendations. If you’d like to see some paranormal and historial recommendations, here are the ones I gave Kimberly a while back.

Summer Reading List for the Recovering English Literature Major (Guaranteed to Make You Feel GOOD at the End, and Not Like You Need to Drown Yourself in the Ocean)

Exclusively Yours (Kowalski Family #1) by Shannon Stacey – Really great book, well-written, fun family dynamics! Enjoyed it very much. If you like funny, this is the one to get. It’s funny without going over-the-top into silly land. Also, it’s a reunion story and I love those. They’re my favorite.

Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie – This would not be a complete contemporary romance list if I neglected to put something on here by Jenny Crusie. Lots of people, I think, would probably recommend Bet Me as your Crusie read (which is also excellent), but I liked Anyone But You. It’s weird in a good way. It’s sexy and cute and smart, and so are the hero and heroine. They’re extremely likable, in a flawed way, and their character arcs are really fun. Also, there is a dog.

Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgeway – Great story—I thought I’d be picking up a sugary-sweet low-on-drama Christmas read, but I was surprised to find developed back-stories, realistic dramas, and hard-hitting emotions. Cute and funny, but also touching and dramatic. Great read! Involves a beach, too– my favorite place to be.

Heaven and Earth (Three Sisters Island #2) by Nora Roberts – I’m recommending this one specifically because it was, by far, my favorite in the series, but you really should read the other two in the series, too. (Dance Upon the Air, Face the Fire) This one is about Ripley, the “bitch” in the baby / bitch/ Bohemian Nora Roberts standard triumvirate. (I just coined that, as far as I know, but it holds true in more than one of her trilogies.) The bitches are always my favorite, because Nora Roberts somehow manages to make them really bitchy and yet super lovable and sympathetic at the same time, and that is really hard to do. (Writer squee, sorry.)

Hope this gives you a starting point. Go forth and love to read!

  • Robenagrant

    Excellent recs. It’s hard for me to choose with Crusie books. I love them all, but I think maybe Bet Me is my #1. I also own two copies of Charlie All Night because I love it and thought I’d lost it so bought another one. : ) I’ve read it dozens of times.

    • CarolStrick

      Agnes and the Hitman is my favorite, though she wrote it with Bob Mayer. I also love a book she doesn’t: Manhunting, an early one, as well as Faking It—though that’s likely because the protagonist is an artist.

  • Lisa

    Yay! I’m downloading Anyone But You and will start reading it tonight. Now, what to do with my copy of The Awakening…

    • Maybe pitch it in the ocean? Seems fitting.

  • CarolStrick

    You’d best be right about this because I just ordered ’em all! (Used. Okay, I’m a bad, bad person.) I did vol. #1 of the Nora series instead, because I can’t stand starting in the middle of things.

    • Ha! Well I really do hope you like them. 🙂 And, yes, do start with the first one in the series. #1 and #2 are both really good. #3 is meh, but it’s still ok-ish.

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