Find it at your library!

Is it just me, or is this book criminally under the radar? I’m not even sure where I heard about it or how it ended up on my list, but it’s certainly not one I’ve seen bandied about much. I didn’t even have any immediate plans to read it—I used an Audible credit on it out of desperation one night when the two other books I planned to read next in audio turned out not to be available in the format (#firstworldproblems).

My sweet spot when it comes to mysteries and thrillers is somewhere between cozy and brutal, which in my experience can be a pretty narrow target to hit. I am weirded out by books that are too cutesy or jokey about death, but I also can’t stomach outright gore. So my ideal mysteries are the kind that take crime seriously, but don’t wallow around in the bloody details. As I flipped through my TBR, desperately searching for anything that might fit the bill, I reread the synopsis of The Crossing Places and thought, yeah, that sounds about right. And it totally was!

Ruth Galloway is my jam. I don’t know when I’ve more closely identified with a character. She’s an antisocial nerd, a bit overweight, much more confident in her field of expertise than interactions with people. Her work as an archaeologist leads the police to seek her help on a case dealing with bones found in a salt marsh near her home. The bones turn out to be thousands of years old, and not those of a missing girl, but Ruth gets sucked into the case anyway, partly out of her own interest and partly by forces out of her control. While I’m a little miffed that I hadn’t heard of this series before now, I’m tickled that there are eight other books for me to enjoy, no waiting required.

Find it at your library!

The most empowering book I’ve read since my fabulous, fashion-forward grandma and I paged through Color Me Beautiful circa 1991 and I learned why I always look like a warmed-over corpse in pale yellow. (It’s not my fault! I’m a Summer!)

Amy Schumer is just the BEST. If you’re not 100% sold on her raunchy brand of humor, read her book and prepare to be totally convinced of her awesomeness. If you thought her book would simply be a series of vag jokes, you thought wrong.

What most impressed me: she can switch gears from funny to serious and back again with no lapse in momentum. A list of topics Amy covers in the book would be downright depressing: rape, terminal illness, bad parenting, domestic abuse, and gun violence are all on the menu, and she somehow covers everything in an uproarious way without ever making light of it. How?! Thus is the genius of Amy Schumer.

Truly confident people make everyone around them feel confident too, and that is the effect this book had on me. I’m trying so, so hard to come up with a way to explain it that isn’t horribly corny. Trying and failing. Let’s all be ourselves! Unapologetically and with gusto! Grab life by the horns! (This is why Amy Schumer has the book deal and not me, guys.)

As I always do with celebrity memoirs, I heartily recommend you listen to the audio version. Let the stand-up comedian do her job and deliver those one-liners in her own voice.

Easily makes the list of my top five books of the year.