What to Read, Vol. 1

What to Read, Vol. 1featured

For the first time ever, thanks to this blog, I have a complete record of all the books I’ve read over the past 12 months, from June 2014 – May 2015. In that time, I read 35 — just one short of the goal of 36, even though the fiction/biography/nonfiction mix was not quite there (24 fiction, 11 bio/nonfiction — which is still at least 8 more nonfiction books than I wouldn’t read was I not pushing myself to diversify).

After looking back over those posts (you can check them all out here), I wanted to highlight the ones that stood out the most — the ones I’d give 5-star reviews to or recommend to almost anyone.

What to Read, Vol. 1 {the ponytail diaries}



The Book Thief — one of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching stories I’ve read in a long time. One that sticks with you.

Gone with the Wind — despite dragging for a chapter or several at times, one of the most gut-wrenching stories I’ve read in a long time. One that I really think every American should read.



Open — Seriously, even if you don’t like tennis, you should read this one.

The Tender Bar — This might be the best memoir/autobiography I’ve ever read. It built and developed so gradually I didn’t realize how emotionally invested I was until the end.

Brain on Fire — Just utterly fascinating, especially if you’re interested at all in neuroscience or mental illness/how our health care system treats it.

honorable mention: Yes Please — because Amy’s the shit.



His Dark Materials trilogy (Golden Compass, Subtle Knife, Amber Spyglass— If you like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, any of those epic YA fantasy-type books that really work for all ages (so, basically, everyone who reads) and you haven’t read these yet, get on it.



Lionheart — If you’re into those crazy awesome Plantagenets. But start with When Christ & His Saints Slept, Time & Chance, and The Devil’s Brood. My mom picked up A King’s Ransom a few weeks ago and I get to read it when she’s done!



Anna and the French Kiss — So sweet and enjoyable. Read it to remember what it was like to have a crush on a friend in high school.

Eleanor & Park — The strongest of Rowell’s work (that I’ve read so far). Such a sweet love story.



Landline — My 2nd favorite Rowell book.

One Plus One — Surprised by how much this one drew me in. And everyone seems to say Me Before You is better, so I can’t wait to get my hands on that.

In Cold Blood — I wouldn’t say this is the most gripping nonfiction or true crime story, but it’s still fascinating.



Princess Diaries Vol. 4 & 5 — Super light but super fun, silly, slightly ridiculous books you can get through in a day or two.

Jessica Darling’s It List — If you loved the Jessica Darling books, this is worth your time. Another quick read.

Best book you’ve read lately?

photo via pixabay // cc // modified in photoshop


  • This is a great list! I’ve been building up my summer reading list, and I think I will add One Plus One and Eleanor & Park. I also loved Landline and the Book Thief. I really like how you’ve put this post together!

    • One Plus One is perfect for summer reading! Hope you enjoy them!

  • i think 35 is really good. 36 was this year’s goal, but i’m so behind! these are all great suggestions! 🙂 most of these are on my queue on goodreads.

    • I’m pretty sure 35 is the most I’ve read in years, so I’m pretty proud of myself 🙂

  • I love Rowell and I think she needs to release a book besides Carry On asap! The best book I read lately was After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Such a hard, emotional read, but so very good.

    • I think I’ll read Attachments next, once I find it at the library. And I’ll look for After I Do, too! Thanks Emma!

      • I really love Attachments! Something about it kind of reminded me of You’ve Got Mail. I hope your library has After I Do!

        • Ugh, I hated You’ve Got Mail…but I’ll still keep an open mind when I read it 🙂

  • marcoux65452156

    Good educational experience you share in here and i hope it will be so more useful for us and our children also. To make their knowledge so more high on vocabulary it will be so more helpful for them.