Watch This? Read That!

Are you looking to read more this summer? This week I’m throwing it back to a post from last year, using your taste in movies and television to choose your next read. Enjoy!


Looking for the next book to add to your TBR list?

Check out these suggestions for fans of The Crown, This Is Us, Big Little Lies, and more.


Watch Gilmore Girls?

Read The Late Bloomers’ Club 

If you’re experiencing Stars Hollow withdrawal, this heartwarming novel set in the equally charming small town of Guthrie, Vermont is for you. Nora runs the Miss Guthrie diner (think Luke’s). Life takes a surprising turn when she mysteriously inherits a local farmhouse and her free-spirit younger sister comes back to town. (Stay tuned for an interview with author Louise Miller coming up soon on the new A Bookish Home podcast!)


Watch Grey’s Anatomy?

Read The Queen of Hearts

If the tight-knit, complicated relationships between doctors on Grey’s Anatomy has had you hooked for years, try The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin. Zadie, a pediatric cardiologist and Emma, a trauma surgeon have been best friends since their medical school days. When a former colleague resurfaces, they are forced to reexamine decisions from the past and a secret threatens to destroy their friendship.


Watch The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society?

Read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry 

Did you recently watch the delightful adaptation of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society and wish it wasn’t over? Of course, if you haven’t read the book yet, head straight to your local library or bookstore to pick up a copy. Otherwise, I recommend another small-town story where books change the lives of the inhabitants. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is full of heart and will have you alternately laughing out loud and tearing up.


Watch Mozart in the Jungle?

Read The Ensemble

Do you want to go behind the scenes in the world of professional musicians? Check out The Ensemble by Aja Gabel. Henry, Jana, Brit, and Daniel  begin playing in a string quartet together in their twenties. Told from alternating points of view, the novel takes us into their lives as ambitious musicians and traces the evolution of their complex relationships with one another over the course of twenty years.


Watch This Is Us?

Read A Place For Us

If you love the way This Is Us weaves together the present and the past and the perspectives of parents and siblings to form the picture of a family, this new novel is for you.  A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is another carefully woven deep dive into the inner workings of a family and shows how the small everyday choices parents and children make strengthen or weaken familial connections and change the course of lives.


Watch A Chef’s Life?

Read The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

If you are eagerly awaiting a new season of A Chef’s Life, read The City Baker’s Guide to Country LivingFollow another talented (pastry) chef, who leaves the prestigious, big city restaurants she has been working in and comes to deeply appreciate life in a tight-knit, rural community. The descriptions of food in this novel are stunning and the characters will quickly find their way into your heart. (Again, stay tuned for an interview with author Louise Miller coming up soon on the new A Bookish Home podcast!)


Watch The Man in the High Castle?

Read American War

If envisioning an alternate, frightening course of history for America in The Man in the High Castle has kept you clicking “Next Episode”, read American War, a novel by Omar El Akkad. In this enthralling and dark, dystopian read we meet Sara Chestnut, who is six years old when the Second American Civil War begins in 2074. As the years go on Sara ends up in a refugee camp in Mississippi and eventually becomes swept up in a resistance movement.


Watch The Crown?

Read The Royal We

Can’t get enough of the royal family in The Crown? For a lighter fictional take try The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. This novel is loosely based on the courtship of Kate Middleton and Prince William. A pure joy to read and impossible to put down.


Watch Big Little Lies?

Read What Alice Forgot

Are you a fan of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and the series adaptation on HBO? Check out What Alice Forgot, one of Moriarty’s other books–and my favorite of hers. After an accident in spin class, 39-year-old Alice wakes up with an entire decade erased from her mind. In her last memory, she is 29, pregnant with her first child and happily married. Now she must figure out how to suddenly navigate her life as a separated mother of three and face the choices she has made.

Watch Downton Abbey?

Read The Summer Before the War and 

The War I Finally Won

If you are missing the wonderful Downton Abbey (and awaiting the movie in the works!) here are two books for you. My adult pick is The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. Set in 1914, the story of Beatrice Nash and her arrival in the small village of Rye in England has the heart, wit, and class struggles of Downton. For the kids in your life and for middle-grade fans, read The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. In this sequel to the stunning, Newbery Honor title The War That Saved My Life, Ada is back and must share her small home with Lady Thornton (think Lady Grantham).


Do you have a read-alike for a favorite show? Share it in the comments or on Twitter @ABookishHome. And don’t forget to subscribe to A Bookish Home, to never miss a post. Happy reading!

Ep. 36: Mary Kay Andrews, Author of Sunset Beach

This week I’m delighted to welcome New York Times Bestselling Author Mary Kay Andrews to A Bookish Home to discuss her new book, Sunset Beach.

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels including The Weekenders, Beach Town, Ladies’ Night, and Summer Rental and has been dubbed “The Queen of Beach Reads”. A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she received a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia and was a newspaper reporter for 14 years.

Booklist says of Sunset Beach, “ Andrews’ latest annual big beach read combines mystery, family secrets, a hint of romance, and a little bit of home renovation…” and  Book Trib said, “Sunset Beach delivers the perfect beach read you’ve been scouting for.” I couldn’t agree more!


You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

Sunset Beach

Hissy Fit

The High Tide Club

The Gown

Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Where The Crawdads Sing

To learn more about Mary Kay Andrews you can visit her website You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook @MaryKayAndrews.

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If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show, I’d be so grateful.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!


What I’ve Been Reading…

Summer reading is in full swing…

This is such a wonderful time of year to be a bookworm. There’s nothing better than relaxing outside with a good read!

Here are a few of the books I’ve been enjoying lately…

Lost Roses

by Martha Hall Kelly

I have been waiting with much excitement for the sequel to Lilac Girls. (I was so absorbed in that book I kept reading it when I was in labor with my daughter!). This time with  Lost Roses I was sneaking pages in at a Red Sox game. I’m fascinated by the lives of everyday women in history and Martha Hall Kelly succeeds again in bringing the past to life through the eyes of three women in very different circumstances during the Russian revolution and World War I.

“It is 1914, and the world has been on the brink of war so often, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia: the church with the interior covered in jeweled mosaics, the Rembrandts at the tsar’s Winter Palace, the famous ballet.But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortune-teller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming, she fears the worst for her best friend. From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg and aristocratic countryside estates to the avenues of Paris where a society of fallen Russian émigrés live to the mansions of Long Island, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways. In her newest powerful tale told through female-driven perspectives, Martha Hall Kelly celebrates the unbreakable bonds of women’s friendship, especially during the darkest days of history.”

The Perfect Couple

by Elin Hilderbrand

I brought this book on vacation in Charleston and it was perfect for keeping me turning the pages on the plane, at my hotel, and of course on the beach. Set on Nantucket, Hildebrand delivers with a love triangle, murder mystery, and wedding–this is the kind of beach read I gobble up.

“It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

But it’s going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom’s famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect. Featuring beloved characters from The Castaways, Beautiful Day, and A Summer Affair, The Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach read.”

The Whole-Brain Child

by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

This book has been on my TBR list for years. After hearing it recommended from yet another parent, I decided to give it a try. This book is really eye opening in terms of what is going in in young children’s brains, particularly during tantrums or difficult moments. There is also a follow-up book called No Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind.

“In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.

Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.”


Far Away

by Lisa Graff

I am always excited to read a new Lisa Graff book. I can still picture the shelf of Lisa Graff books in my elementary school library. Kids would read a book like Absolutely Almost or Umbrella Summer then keep coming back, checking out every book on the shelf. In her latest book, she once again offers a funny yet moving and heartfelt story, this time following a young girl on a mission to find a way to stay connected to her mother.

Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of A Bookish Home, the podcast with author Lisa Graff.

“CJ’s Aunt Nic is a psychic medium who tours the country speaking to spirits from Far Away, passing on messages from the dearly departed. And CJ knows firsthand how comforting those messages can be — Aunt Nic’s Gift is the only way CJ can talk to her mom, who died just hours after she was born.

So when CJ learns that she won’t be able to speak to her mother anymore, even with Aunt Nic’s help, she’s determined to find a work-around. She sets off on road trip with her new friend Jax to locate the one object that she believes will tether her mother’s spirit back to Earth . . . but what she finds along the way challenges every truth she’s ever known. Ultimately, CJ has to sort out the reality from the lies.


Hide and Seek

by Polly Noakes

It’s always fun to check out books from the library based on what your little one is interested in at the moment. We are currently playing lots of hide and seek in our house and my toddler is also loving seek-and-find books. We spotted this new picture book on display at the library recently and it’s been such a fun book to share together.

“A group of friends wanders out into the meadow to play a game of hide-and-seek on a beautiful summer’s afternoon. Children will delight in spotting the hidden creatures on each page as the little girl tries to find them. But it’s not always clear who is hunting whom, or who is actually playing. A charming, richly illustrated book, with a gentle hint of suspense and a satisfying twist at the end.”


Press Here

by Hervé Tullet


This books is in heavy rotation in our bedtime read alouds. My toddler loves how interactive this one is and has fun seeing what “magic” happens when she presses the dots, tilts the book, shakes the dots, and more.

“Press the yellow dot on the cover of this interactive children’s book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising touch book instructs the reader to push the button, shake it up, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique interactive picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!”

What have you been reading? Leave a note in the comments or let me know on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Have you subscribed to A Bookish Home yet? Sign up to receive an email every time there is a new post or podcast episode.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski


Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!



Ep. 34: Summer Reading Preview With Bookseller Paul Swydan

This week Paul Swydan returns to the podcast. Paul is the owner of Silver Unicorn Books in Acton, Massachusetts. We chatted about some of the books he is looking forward to recommending in the store this summer. Get your TBR lists ready!


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You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Books Mentioned On This Episode:

Iver and Ellis

The Bride Test

The Kiss Quotient

The Proposal

The Wedding Date

The Wedding Party

The Stationary Shop

The Nickel Boys

Shatter The Sky

Three Women

How to Be An Anti-Racist

City of Girls

Mrs. Everything

The Poet X

With the Fire On High

Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Sorcery of Thorns

Midsummer’s Mayhem

The Next Great Paulie Fink

Chesire Crossing

Dog Man

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School

Lena’s Slippers

A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches

If you’re in the Boston area, I hope you go stop by Silver Unicorn Books in Acton. You can also follow the store on Instagram and Facebook @silverunicornbooks and on Twitter @SilUnicornActon.



If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show, I’d be so grateful.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!



Four Books I Can’t Stop Thinking About

Today I’m sharing a favorite post from last summer about books with staying power. Enjoy!



Some books stick with you long after you’ve put them down. Here are four books I’ve read this month that continue to keep me thinking about the characters I met or mulling over ideas from the author:

You Go FirstYou Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

You Go First is the new book by Erin Entrada Kelly, who won the 2018 Newbery Medal for Hello UniverseI really enjoyed Hello Universe and even selected it for a 4th and 5th grade book club, but You Go First is her best book yet.  I started reading this during my daughter’s afternoon nap last Saturday and ended up staying up late that same night because I had to finish it. Yet, at the same time, I was savoring every page and so did not want it to end–reader problems! This is one of those books where my husband kept giving me the side eye, as I alternated between laughing out loud to myself, tearing up, and practically hugging the book. (For fans of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin it felt like that!).

This book is told from the alternating perspectives of two middle schoolers, Charlotte and Ben, who have never met. They are online Scrabble competitors. They are not totally honest with each other at the beginning, but we as the reader know they actually have a whole lot in common. Erin Entrada Kelly paints such a realistic portrait of life at school and her writing is spot on. This is a book for anyone who has ever felt alone in the crowd. This is for kids trying to simultaneously wade through the waters of changing friendships and school while dealing with a family member’s illness, divorce, or another tough situation. You will root for these kindhearted, smart, interesting, relatable characters with all your heart. I cannot wait to put this into the hands of as many students and teachers as I can. Highly recommended for upper elementary. This is my favorite kidlit of the year.


Check out the wonderful Erin Estrada Kelly sharing a bit about the book and reading a chapter:



PiecingMeTogetherPiecing Me Together by Renée Watson

When I saw Piecing Me Together win both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Award at the Oscars of children’s books (the ALA Youth Media Awards), I eagerly requested it from my public library. When this YA book finally became available a few weeks ago, I happily downloaded the library ebook on my Kindle and proceeded to completely lose myself in sixteen-year-old Jade’s story. (Ten Steps to Get the Most Out Of Your Local Library)

Jade has a scholarship to St. Francis, a prestigious prep school in Portland, Oregon. When she is pulled into her counselor’s office one day, Jade is sure it’s to find out she has been selected to go on the school’s study abroad trip to Costa Rica. To her dismay, her counselor actually wants her to participate in the “Woman to Woman” mentoring program–an opportunity she is eventually convinced to accept given that it promises full college scholarships to mentees. Jade’s observations about race and class in her experiences both in the program and floating between her neighborhood and St. Francis are sharp and compelling and Watson’s writing is stunning. Jade is a character you have to meet–a must read.

To hear more from author Renée Watson on why she wrote the book and how it relates to her own experiences check out this fantastic 5 minute interview:

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The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito and Julia Kuo


In the picture book The Sound of SilenceYoshio is off to school, walking through the streets of Tokyo taking in a “symphony” of sounds. When a musician he encounters shares that her favorite sound is silence, he begins to look for this elusive sound everywhere. Yoshio eventually finds silence by losing himself in a book–the whole world falls away around him. My students loved sharing which books gave them that wonderful reading experience, where you completely enter the world of the book and are taken out of your own life. (You Go First and Piecing Me Together certainly did that for me!). Perfect for a discussion about mindfulness or getting into a state of flow with a particular activity. The illustrations in this picture book are also so detailed and beautiful and Yoshio’s quest to seek out the moments of “ma” (silence), will inspire you to embrace the quiet in your own life. This would be a stellar addition to any picture book collection.



There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge) by Linda Åkeson McGurk

I shared that I had started There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather in Reads for the Moms in Your Life. I had really been enjoying it and predicted it would be great for fans of Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman. I’ve since finished and have to say it has stuck with me and really led to a mindset shift. I enjoy books that explore the ways in which what makes you a “good parent” in one culture, might make you a bit of an outlier in another. In this case, Linda Åkeson McGurk explores how in Scandinavia getting your children outside every day (in any weather) and giving them free reign to explore and play in nature is woven into cultural norms. This line about the structure of the day in preschool struck me in particular, “A survey of a hundred preschools in Stockholm showed that the average time spent outside was one and a half hours per day-on a bad-weather day in the winter. On a nice day in the summer, the average was nearly six hours”.  Holding a children’s birthday party outside in the snow, being encouraged by the government to have your baby nap outdoors, and bringing rain gear to school and playdates (because outdoor play happens rain or shine) are just a few examples McGurk mentions from her own children’s experiences during their 6 month return to her childhood home of Sweden. I don’t know if I will quite reach that level, but this book was good inspiration to provide our little ones with a bit more unstructured, outdoor play and exploration–both for the fun of it and for the benefits. For my toddler, that means the joy (and sensory experience) of digging in the dirt and touching the trees and working on her balance as she happily runs around the yard. I’m beginning to think that in our culture of a million and one activities, my providing of “enrichment” could simply include a library card and time outside.


What are the books you can’t stop thinking about right now?

Let me know in the comments or on your favorite social media platform @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski



15 New Releases to Add To Your Summer Reading List

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…to be reading.

Is there anything better than sitting on the beach or poolside with a great book? (Or if you’re in my stage of life, sneaking outside during naptime to read!)

Here are 15 new books to pick up this summer. Get those library holds ready!

1. City of Girls

by Elizabeth Gilbert

“In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves – and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.”


2. With the Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

“Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.”


3. The Stationery Shop

by Marjan Kamali

“Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.

When Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.

A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square, but suddenly, violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she resigns herself to never seeing him again.

Until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did he leave? Where did he go? How was he able to forget her?”


4. The Nickel Boys

by Colson Whitehead

(*Coming July 16, 2019)

“As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”…The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.”

5. Mrs. Everything

by Jennifer Weiner

“Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise. Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?”


6. Lost Roses

by Martha Hall Kelly

“The million-copy bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. Now Lost Roses, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.”

7. Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Lonelinest Horse Race

by Lara Prior-Palmer

“At the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest, toughest horse race”―an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. On a whim, she decided to enter the race. As she boarded a plane to East Asia, she was utterly unprepared for what awaited her.

Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that re-creates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan, and many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their jeeps.”


8. The Bride Test

by Helen Hoang

“From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart…Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs…”

9. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

by Balli Kaur Jaswal

“The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirnia—were never close and barely got along growing up, and now as adults, have grown even further apart. Rajni, a school principal is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a thirty-year-old struggling actress, fears her big break may never come. Shirina, the peacemaking “good” sister married into wealth and enjoys a picture-perfect life.

On her deathbed, their mother voices one last wish: that her daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. After a trip to India with her mother long ago, Rajni vowed never to return. But she’s always been a dutiful daughter, and cannot, even now, refuse her mother’s request. Jezmeen has just been publicly fired from her television job, so the trip to India is a welcome break to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career. Shirina’s in-laws are pushing her to make a pivotal decision about her married life; time away will help her decide whether to meekly obey, or to bravely stand up for herself for the first time.

Arriving in India, these sisters will make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives—and learn the real story behind the trip Rajni took with their Mother long ago—a momentous journey that resulted in Mum never being able to return to India again.”

10. Chances Are…

by Richard Russo

(*Coming July 30, 2019)

“From the Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Russo–in his first stand-alone novel in a decade–comes a new revelation: a gripping story about the abiding yet complex power of friendship.

One beautiful September day, three sixty-six-year old men convene on Martha’s Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college circa the sixties. They couldn’t have been more different then, or even today–Lincoln’s a commercial real estate broker, Teddy a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey a musician beyond his rockin’ age. But each man holds his own secrets, in addition to the monumental mystery that none of them has ever stopped puzzling over since a Memorial Day weekend right here on the Vineyard in 1971. Now, more than forty years later, as this new weekend unfolds, three lives and that of a significant other are displayed in their entirety while the distant past confounds the present like a relentless squall of surprise and discovery. Shot through with Russo’s trademark comedy and humanity, Chances Are . . .also introduces a new level of suspense and menace that will quicken the reader’s heartbeat throughout this absorbing saga of how friendship’s bonds are every bit as constricting and rewarding as those of family or any other community.”


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11. Summer of ’69 

by Elin Hilderbrand

Summer of '69 by [Hilderbrand, Elin]“Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.”

12. Ayesha At Last

by Uzma Jalaluddin

“A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.”

13. The Farm

by Joanne Ramos

“Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks—or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child.

Gripping, provocative, heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.”

14. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

by Kim Michele Richardson

“The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything―everything except books, that is.  Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own  traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. 

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however,  she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble.  If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler. 

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage,  fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere ― even back home.”

15. The Wedding Party

by Jasmine Guillory

(*Coming July 16th)

“The new exhilarating romance from The New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal! Maddie and Theo have two things in common: 1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each otherAfter an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade…But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.”

If you’re looking for bookish ideas for you and your family this summer, subscribe to A Bookish Home and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

Ep. 33: Crystal King, Author of The Chef’s Secret

This week I’m sharing an interview with Crystal King, author of The Chef’s Secret, a novel that will transport you to Renaissance Rome. History, romance, food, and a mystery that will keep you turning the pages late into the night–this book has it all.


The Chef's Secret by Crystal King

You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


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Books Mentioned On This Episode:

The Chef’s Secret

Companion Cookbook

The Feast of Sorrow

The Stationery Shop

To learn more about Crystal King you can visit her website There you will also find links to follow her on social media.

If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show, I’d be so grateful.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!



What I’ve Been Reading…

Lately I’ve had the best of bookish problems. My nightstand and living room are overflowing with books I can’t wait to read.

Library holds that I’ve been pining for for ages are coming in all at once and I’m also reading so many wonderful books for upcoming podcast episodes.

Here are a few kidlit and adult books I’ve really enjoyed lately…


The Great Believers

by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers

I was fortunate enough to hear Rebecca Makkai speak at a writer’s conference called Muse and the Marketplace, here in Boston. I love when writers talk about the journey from there to here and talked about carving out time on weekends to write her first novel at Starbucks. She’d have to pump for days in advance to make that time happen and also remind herself that this wasn’t a silly hobby. Fast forward a few years and this completely absorbing, heartbreaking book about the AIDS epidemic in Chicago is a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist. This is truly one of the best books of adult fiction I’ve read in a long time and it’s one that I’ll be thinking about for years to come.

“In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.”



The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons & Holidays With Crafts & Recipes

by Jean Van’t Hul

I love this book of arts and craft ideas from the creator of the blog, The Artful Parent. If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, this book will have you breaking out the art supplies with your little ones in no time. The photography is also beautiful and I love that the ideas are divided into seasons.

“Celebrating the seasons and holidays is a wonderful opportunity to embrace creativity together as a family. It’s also a fun way to decorate, prepare for, and learn about the holidays we celebrate. In The Artful Year, you’ll find art activites, crafts, recipes, and more to help make each season special. By doing so, your family will create memories and mementos, you’ll develop creative growth in your children and yourself, and you’ll have lots of fun! The book includes.


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The Next Great Paulie Fink

by Ali Benjamin

I was a huge fan of Ali Benjamin’s first book, The Thing About Jellyfish so I was thrilled to see that she had a new one coming out. Ali captures that middle grade voice and the dynamics between kids so well in this quirky, thought-provoking read. I’m really looking forward to having Ali Benjamin on the podcast to discuss her creative process and writing journey.

Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of A Bookish Home, the podcast with author Ali Benjamin.

“When Caitlyn Breen begins her disorienting new life at the rural Mitchell School–where the students take care of real live goats and study long-dead philosophers, and where there are only ten other students in the entire seventh grade–it seems like nobody can stop talking about some kid named Paulie Fink.

Depending on whom you ask, Paulie was either a hilarious class clown, a relentless troublemaker, a hapless klutz, or an evil genius. One thing’s for sure, though: The kid was totally legendary. Now he’s disappeared, and Caitlyn finds herself leading a reality-show-style competition to find the school’s next great Paulie Fink. With each challenge, Caitlyn struggles to understand a person she never met…but it’s what she discovers about herself that most surprises her.

Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli

Words by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Julie Morstad

From the first pages, the rich, vibrant illustrations in this picture book completely grabbed me. I looked up the illustrator and realized that it’s no wonder. Julie Morstad is also the artist behind several other books whose illustrations I adored– House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery, How To, Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova, and When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons. If you’re looking for a captivating read aloud about an inspiring woman in history, look no further.

A dazzling picture book biography of one of the world’s most influential designers, Elsa Schiaparelli.

By the 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli had captivated the fashion world in Paris, but before that, she was a little girl in Rome who didn’t feel pretty at all. Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli is the enchanting story for young readers of how a young girl used her imagination and emerged from plain to extraordinary.”




Nature All Around: Trees

by Pamela Hickman, illustrated by Carolyn Gavin

Cover image for Nature all around. Trees

I love this new children’s nonfiction title. I’m trying to be more outdoorsy with my toddler and we often go “say hello” to the different trees in our yard. This is the perfect book to read together and then try to identify nearby trees, learn about some different types, and explain some of the science behind the changes we witness from season to season.

“This comprehensive and beautifully illustrated introduction to trees and the important role they play is part of the essential Nature All Around series. The book first explores the parts of trees, their life cycles, the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees, leaf types and the processes of photosynthesis and respiration. Then it takes readers through a year in the life cycle of trees, describing what happens during each of the four seasons. Readers will discover the many ways trees are vital to the environment and how various animals can share one tree as a home.”

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle

This is a book that has really grown on me as a parent. At first, I didn’t see what the fuss was about, but watching how much my toddler adores it, I’ve come around. It’s the perfect book for little ones to gain some confidence “reading” aloud to you, with it’s simple sing-songsy text and bright, bold illustrations.

“A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck–all parade across the pages of this delightful book. Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle’s flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin’s singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.”


What have you been reading? Leave a note in the comments or let me know on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Have you subscribed to A Bookish Home yet? Sign up to receive an email every time there is a new post or podcast episode.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!



Ep. 32: Elise Hooper, Author of Learning to See

This week I’m sharing an interview with Elise Hooper, author of Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America. This is an inspiring historical fiction novel that will sweep you up into the life of an unforgettable, pioneering woman.

Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America by [Hooper, Elise]

You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Books Mentioned On This Episode:

Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America

A Life Beyond Limits


The Other Alcott

Daisy Jones and the Six

To learn more about Elise Hooper you can visit her website You can also follow her on Instagram @elisehooper.


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If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show, I’d be so grateful.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!



Five Books to Read Aloud On Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up Sunday June 16, 2019. If you’re looking for a gifts for the dads in your life, why not give a dad-themed picture book?

This makes an especially sweet present from a child who can then snuggle up with dad and read.

You could also borrow some of these picture books from the library and read them leading up to Father’s Day.

Five Picture Books that Celebrate Fathers:

1. Dad By My Side

by Soosh

Author and illustrator, Soosh, portrays this father/daughter pair with so much love and affection as they play games, snuggle, have puppet shows, chase monsters, and more. I particularly love the pages where they “try new things” (sewing the daughter a dress) and keep in touch when the dad is away by singing lullabies on the phone. This is a book that has become a bedtime staple for our family and I bet the dads and kids in your life will enjoy it as well. To see more of Soosh’s illustrations and read about her inspiration for the book, check out, “Artist’s Tender Illustrations Show The Kind Of Father She Wishes She’d Had”.

“Whether they’re playing make-believe, making you smile, or warding off monsters under the bed, dads are always there when you need them. Debut picture book artist Soosh celebrates fathers with a gorgeously illustrated and moving story about the parent-child bond…

These illustrations now come together in a universally relatable story of familial love for parents and children to share.”

2. Daddy Hugs

by Karen Katz

Karen Katz’s board books are always a hit in our house. This sweet counting book is perfect for Father’s Day or any night at bedtime.

“Daddy loves to give Baby hugs to say “I love you!”

Now Baby and Daddy can cuddle and count along with this hug-and-read book perfect for Baby’s teeny, tiny hands.


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3. My Dad Loves Me!

by Marianne Richmond

This sweet board book touches on all the way dads show their love and spend time together, from “My dad teaches me” to “My dad kisses me”. Adorable animal illustrations accompany each page (“My dad hangs out with me” with pictures of a monkey dad and baby). Perfect for babies and toddlers to share with their fathers.

My dad protects me.
My dad naps with me.
My dad teaches me.

Featuring adorable illustrations from Marianne Richmond, My Dad Loves Me! illustrates all the ways a dad shows his love to his children! Kids can relive their best times with Dad every day!”

4. My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Fathers

by Hope Anita Smith

This is a wonderful collection of poems that kids will enjoy cozying up with their dads and reading. The poems celebrate the many experiences of fathers and children with love and humor–from breakfast together, to writing letters to a daddy that is far away, to playing catch and reading together.

A picture book of poems that celebrate fathers from a two-time Coretta Scott King Honor–winning poet.

Who is your hero? Who’s your best friend?
Who says he loves you again and again?

Told through the voice of a child, Anita Hope Smith’s My Daddy Rules the World collection of poems celebrates everyday displays of fatherly love, from guitar lessons and wrestling matches to bedtime stories, haircuts in the kitchen, and cuddling in bed. These heartwarming poems, together with bold folk-art-inspired images, capture the strength and beauty of the relationship between father and child.


5. Because I’m Your Dad

by Ahmet Zappa

This is a sweet, funny story about a monster dad sharing the kind of father he plans to be–from making mud forts in the backyard, to going to all the soccer games (even the far away ones), missing school for travel adventures, and more.

“Because I’m your dad, you can have spaghetti for breakfast, French toast for dinner, and rocky road ice cream in the bathtub.

In a text that’s both playful and loving, a father expresses his hopes and dreams for a one-of-a-kind relationship with his child. Whimsical monster characters bring the silly and sweet scenes to life and keep the book universal. The book’s ending, a moving tribute to the author’s father, guarantees intergenerational appeal.

Because I’m your dad, I will do all of these things for you and more . . .
because that’s what my dad did for me.”

What are your favorite books to celebrate Father’s Day? Leave a note in the comments or let me know on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!