6 Books to increase empathy, understanding and add a little mystery this holiday season…



If you are lucky enough to have some time to yourself to pick up a book this holiday season, here are a few of my recommendations.  Moving memoirs that will make you cry, immigrant and refugee stories that will give you understanding and perspective, and wonderful storytelling with great settings, characters and a little mystery.  Curl up with a good book this winter, there are lots of worthy choices.


Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls cover

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden

Honest, coming of age memoir with struggles surrounding sexuality, race and addiction.  Lyrically written stories of beauty and ugliness…requires tissues.   Memoir written by T Kira Madden (shoe man Steve Madden’s niece).

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone cover

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Lori Gottlieb writes with heart, vulnerability and truth while giving us a look behind the scenes in therapy sessions where she is the therapist and also where she is the patient.  A lot to think about and plenty to discuss.  Author Q & A here.



A Woman Is No Man cover

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

An incredible story about three generations of Palestinians who come to the United States for a better life.  Gender roles, arranged marriages and immigrant challenges…author Etaf Rum captured the love and pain of these Arab women. Great Book Club choice.  My full review here.


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The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Author Christy Lefteri spent time volunteering with refugees in Greece and this provided her with a deep understanding and served as research for what is a moving story of a Syrian couple’s quest for asylum.  Their grueling journey caused so much upheaval, sadness and loss, and they must dig deep to find the courage to continue on and see the light.


Mystery and Storytelling

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Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

Inspired by the real life tragic disappearance of her brother, author Jean Kwok writes an engrossing and addictive mystery novel with settings in the Netherlands, NY and Venice, Italy.  Chinese immigrant sisters, communication challenges and family secrets together become this story of love and suspense.  Author Q & A here.


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Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Taffy Brodesser-Akner, staff writer at the New York Times insightfully and humorously tells the fictional story of Toby Fleishman, newly separated from his wife of thirteen years.  As he navigates the unexpected plethora of interested women and dating apps, he must also raise his children and hold down his job while he searches for his ex, who seems to have disappeared.  All along, he tries to understand why his marriage fell apart.

The author has written some wonderful essays about actors like Gwyneth Paltrow and can be found here.


No matter how much I read, there are more great books to conquer, so here are a few highly recommended novels I have on my night stand!

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This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger


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Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde


Coming Soon on Book Nation By Jen…

Recommendations on what to read in 2020!  Sign up on the Book Nation By Jen website to get email updates.

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