Read It! Nicole Says…Read These Books

By Nicole McManus

Reading is a Gift – I am a firm believer that there is a reader in all of us, we just need to find the right book to spark the interest/love of books. These two books represented my love of books and I hope you all enjoy them, too!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

Francie Nolan is eleven years old when this book begins. She lives in Brooklyn in the early 1900s, when it is a dark and dangerous time. Her mother is a hard worker who doesn’t make much, so dinner is not always a guarantee. However, both of Francie’s parents are determined to make sure she and her brother have the education they did not. With the help of the public library, the nightly Shakespeare and Bible verses, and political discussions, Francie is headed to a life full of learning and reading.

This book gives readers a harsh reminder to find something positive in the midst of darkness. It also reminds readers that books provide the ultimate escape. There is something for everyone to relate to, whether it is the less the living conditions, the determination of hard work, or what it feels to leave behind everything you’ve known for a brighter future. Coming-of-age novels are special, because there is no ideal age to read them. Readers can revisit these books at different decades in life and reflect on their own memories, as they notice different details. The Nolans will feel as though they are members of the readers’ family.

I have seen this title numerous times, but I never picked it up to see what it was about. Then, over the summer, I watched the “Great American Read.” The way they described this book was incredible and they even had someone read an excerpt. I was hooked right away. I immediately went on a scavenger hunt to find this book and I am so glad that I did. I’ve always loved to read – most of my earliest memories include books with my Mom and Grandmother. But to read a book that describes what it means to be able to read and how that feels was breathtaking. This is a book that I will treasure forever.

The Little Bookshop on the Seine, by Rebecca Raisin

Sarah Smith has a routine life surrounded by books. Her friend has offered her a fun business exchange. She will head to Paris to run her friend’s bookshop for six whole months. Christmas in Paris! Despite leaving her loved ones behind, she is looking forward to experiencing life in this romantic city. Yet when she arrives, she finds things in disarray. Determined to not let this put a damper on her dreams, Sarah must find a way to get through to her new staff, while dealing with the hardships of a long-distance relationship.

This is the second book in the bookshop series by Rebecca Raisin; however, readers do not need to read the first story. A little bit of romance, various challenges, and of course the scenery brings this novel to life. This is a light read, with bits of reality mixed in, to make it more relatable for readers.

As readers, I am sure you can all relate… I saw a title that had bookshop in it and had to know more. Don’t you all do that, too? A book about a book or a place filled with books automatically makes it a must-read. I also love Christmas stories and this is a cute, little escape read. There is something about this time of year that encourages me to dive into a few more sweet, whimsical reads.

What would you do, if you could run a bookstore in a foreign country? Would you jump at the opportunity?





About this writer

  • Nicole McManus

    Nicole McManus loves to read, to the point that she is sure she was born with a book in her hands. She writes book reviews in the hopes of helping others find the magic found through reading. Contact her at

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