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5 books to read if you enjoyed 'Late Migrations' by Margaret Renkl

Done with December's Read With Jenna book? You’ll love Renkl's picks.

Margret Renkl's "Late Migrations" is a beautiful compilation of essays that tackles themes of grief, aging, love and hope. Beginning with the birth of her mother, Renkl tells the story of her complicated, but ultimately loving family.

In between the stories about Renkl's family and upbringing are short essays detailing Renkl's observations of the natural world in her suburban home in Tennessee. These observational essays along with artwork done by Renkl's brother, Billy Renkl, simultaneously break up and complement the family's narrative. They follow similar themes of hope, love and grieving to give the reader a moment to pause and reflect.

"Late Migrations," by Margaret Renkl

As Jenna Bush Hager's Read with Jenna pick for December 2019, "Late Migrations" has already been read and loved by many book club fans. But what should you read next if you've already finished the book?

To tide over the Read With Jenna community until Jenna's January announcement, we asked author Margaret Renkl to suggest five books readers might enjoy if they liked her memoir.

Renkl's picks range from full-on thriller to a lyrical compilation of essays about finding joy in the mundane. Every type of book lover is guaranteed to find a fun read on this diverse list.

1. "Furious Hours," by Casey Cep

In the 1970s, the beloved author of "To Kill a Mocking Bird," Harper Lee, traveled back to her home state of Alabama to cover a series of shocking murders. A rural pastor, reverend Willie Maxwell had been accused and then acquitted of the murder of five of his family members. Then, at the funeral for the last murdered family member, the reverend himself was shot dead by a relative.

Harper Lee spent an entire year reporting on the drama, sitting in on the courtroom proceedings and crafting her own narrative version of the story.

Now, author Casey Cep puts his own spin on the events. The true crime thriller covers the shocking murders, the courtroom drama and the racial politics of the deep South that persisted during the time, while also giving a peek into the life of the acclaimed author, Harper Lee.

2. "The Book of Delights," by Ross Gay

If you enjoyed the nonfiction essay style of "Late Migrations" you will love "The Book of Delights," by Ross Gay. Over the course of a year, award-winning poet Ross Gay wrote a collection of essays about the little things that bring joy to our lives that are often overlooked.

While highlighting ordinary wonders, Gay doesn't shy away from life's more complex issues. In his short essays, he also tackles race, consumer culture and loss.

From cover to cover, the beautifully written essays highlight the little miracles that happen all around us. It encourages the reader to slow down, take in each moment and find joy in the everyday.

3. "How to Be a Good Creature," by Sy Montgomery

The beautiful memoir "How to Be a Good Creature," by Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals the author has encountered during her years of research, travel and adventure.

In looking closely at these animals, the author explores themes of otherness, love, empathy, loss, forgiveness and how to be good. Montgomery reveals the nature of each animal while reflecting on the profound lessons each one has taught her.

Featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green, this book takes readers on a transformative journey reminding them of the deep connection human beings share with all living things.

4. "I Miss You When I Blink," by Mary Laura Philpott

After Mary Laura Philpott accomplished everything she had set out to do with her life, she found that instead of fulfilled, she felt anxious and lost. In her mind, she had done everything right: She had a job, spouse, home and kids, but something in her life felt wrong.

In a series of essays, Philpott explores modern adult life in a funny, touching and genuine voice. She shares personal experiences from her search to reinvent herself that will leave readers reflecting on who they are and who they want to be.

Philpott's memoir will make you laugh, cry, gasp and most importantly think about the life you're searching for.

5. "Inheritance," by Dani Shapiro

In a series of essays, author Dani Shapiro contends with the moment a genealogy website revealed that her biological father is not the man she grew up calling her dad. As Shapiro investigates her personal history, she unveils family secrets, grapples with the concept of identity and explores the meaning of the word family.

This book is a riveting genetic detective story that deep dives into the question, "What makes us who we are?"

For past #ReadWithJenna book club picks, you can read the announcements for her March pick, April pick, May pick, June pick, July pick, August pick, September pick, October pick and November pick. Also, check out our Read With Jenna page.

To stay involved all month long, be sure to follow us on Instagram (don't forget to tag your photos with the hashtag #ReadWithJenna), join our Read With Jenna Facebook group and follow along on Goodreads to continue the conversation about "Late Migrations."