For as much as I share my reads on @thechutneylife, I realized I haven’t dedicated a blog post about my favorite books. Since most of my time is spent using technology whether it be sharing IG stories, uploading a recipe on the blog, or shooting and editing pictures, I value the importance of limiting my screen time and diving into another world and have since I was a child. I  was obsessed with Mary Higgins Clarks books as a child and have always loved to read.  Also, after the year we had, I find myself reaching for books even more frequently to seek an escape from our crazy reality! Plus, I  feel like I’ve watched just about everything twice over on Netflix ! 

So, I wanted to write this post to share some of my favorite books with you all. Whether you are starting to read or you are an existing book-loving soul, I’m sure you will find a title that catches your interest! Choosing favorites is hardly ever easy, so please bear with me this lengthy blog post. I’m just trying to provide you all with some OPTIONS and I’ve broken them down into categories so you can choose based on what you’re into! My “mood” for books changes a lot, in the winter and fall I    find myself reading more dark, mysterious and sometimes “heavy” books while in the summer I  want something a little more lighthearted!

Similar to most items I share, the listed books are linked on my Amazon Storefront. However, with the unfortunate hit on small businesses due to the impact of COVID-19, I urge you all, if possible, to support a local book store or independent online bookshop to purchase your book(s) of choice. Below are a few businesses you can support!!

Spotlight: South Asian Authors & My FAVORITE books of 2021:

Well Behaved Indian Women

An incredibly relatable tale from Saumya Dave that had me saying, ” me too, sis!” I  found so many parts of me in the protagonist in this book, which is something Ive never really felt before. I  giggled, felt frustrated, angry, giggling, angry, and I    may have even felt some butterflies because there is a wee bit of romance in this book that left me a little giddy! I’ve already ordered the sequel, “What a Happy Family” and cannot wait!

The Henna Artist

I  felt swept away to a magical place with each word written by Alka Joshi. I  could smell the smoky early morning air, the fragrance of jasmine looming and I    felt all the gorgeous silks and chiffons weaving through my fingertips. Beautifully written, and captivating story that left me on edge until the very end. Now I’m eagerly waiting for her next release, “The Secret Keeper of Jaipur”.

Light-Hearted(ish) Reads

  • Same Beach, Next Year – When a pair of exes, and their respective spouses, are reunited on their summer vacation in Charleston, an unexpected and long-lasting friendship sparks amongst the two couples. A great read about a 20-year long friendship, love, and tragedy.
  • The Peach Keeper – A mystical thriller about an unlikely friendship between former classmates that uncovers stories about their Southern Charm-like town and their families that have been buried for years.
  • Beautiful Ruins – A funny, historical fiction read that spans several points in history and picturesque locations across the world to highlight a story of the many ways one can unintentionally impact the lives of others.
  • The Mermaid Chair – A beautiful tale about a middle-aged women’s journey to self-discovery and taking back her life despite unconventional family and life circumstances.
  • First Comes Love – This story explores the lives of two sisters, each facing a critical junction in their life. It hones into the themes of love, motherhood, friendship, and family. The epitome of women’s fiction!
  • Me Before You – Rollercoaster of emotions! This is a book about a heartbreaking and evolving love story between a quadriplegic man with no desire to live and his caretaker who tries to convince him otherwise.
  • A Man Called Ove – Ove is that cranky, old neighbor next door who sees the world either in black or white. Once a new, young couple moves in next door, readers get to experience the transition of Ove and learn more about his story and sad background. 

Stories about Complicated Lives & Families (my favorite genre)

  • Educated – An inspiring memoir of author Tara Westover’s journey from escaping a Mormon survivalist home to earning a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Highlights the importance of education and challenging the environment you were born into for a better life.
  • The Glass Castle – Heartwrenching memoir, told from the perspective of the author when she was a child, about growing up in poverty and with dysfunctional parents. A dark, but beautiful story about tenacity and unconditional love, and loyal to one’s family.
  • The Nest – A title that observes what money does to relationships when four adult siblings are due to receive money from their family inheritance referred to as “The Nest.” The story explores themes of the power of family and the effect of decisions made in life.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane – A mysterious, fairy-tale about a middle-aged man who is faced with a sense of disconnect between his childhood and adulthood. The hyper-realism is curated so vividly, yet horrifyingly in this book!
  • The Life We Bury – This is a read that will keep you on your toes! When assigned with a school task that requires students to interview a stranger, Joe makes his way to a nursing home where he meets a dying veteran who has been convicted of rape and murder…
  • Bear Town – A fictional crime story about the downfall of a highly-reputable Swedish, hockey town after the star player rapes a 15-year-old girl. 
  • Ordinary Grace – A moving story about a young 13-year-old who has to demonstrate a new sense of maturity after losing his four family members in just one summer to accident, nature, suicide, and murder. 
  • Where the Crawdads Sing – Kya Clark grew up in isolation in the marshes of North Carolina. She is deemed the “Marsh Girl” by the townspeople and rumored to haunt the small village. So, when a local is murdered, Kya is immediately suspected of the crime.
  • The Dutch House-Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. At last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.
  • Saints for All Occasions – A graceful, supremely moving novel,  Saints for All Occasions explores the fascinating, funny, and sometimes achingly sad ways a secret between two sisters at the heart of one family both breaks them and binds them together.


  • The Silent Patient – After becoming notorious for killing her husband, Alicia Berenson refuses to talk or offer any explanations for her crime. Therefore, criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber makes it his mission to unravel the mystery.  A page-turner with lots of twists!
  • The Couple Next Door – A gripping read from beginning to end about a couple who leaves their baby alone (?!?!) to attend a dinner party next door. 
  • The Woman In The Window – Story about an introverted woman who spends most of her time inside her apartment and spying on her neighbors in her past time. A new family moves in across the street, and when gazing outside one day, she sees something she cannot believe…
  • In a Dark, Dark Wood – Leonora is invited on a trip to the countryside to which she agrees because it’ll be time well spent with friends. However, the weekend trip turns into a trip gone wrong when revelations amongst friends come to life.
  • The Girl on the Train – This book dives into the lives of three, different women and their experiences and struggles with their love lives and binge drinking.
  • Behind Closed Doors – As the title suggests, this novel takes you “behind closed doors” of Jake and Grace’s relationship. A relationship in which Grace is never apart from Jake, nor can she ever meet for coffee even though she does not work, and, there are bars on the bedroom windows…

Next on my reading list as recommended by readers: