Welcome to 12 Months of Reading! Each month in 2024, I will host a different reading challenge category. These categories are broad, and, chances are, whatever you’re reading may fit in them.

April’s book category is an epistolary.

What’s that? you ask.

I’m glad you did! I reply.

An epistolary is a story told primarily through letters, journal entries or similar formats.

For this challenge, I would accept both fiction and nonfiction. (Sidenote: I’d love to know in the comments below if you prefer fiction or nonfiction. Also, have you ever read an epistolary?)

I will work my way right to left of the four recommendations I’m making for your reading.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien was edited by Humphrey Carpenter—whose biography of the great author is the best one, by the way. He, of course, had assistance from the late Christopher Tolkien who was instrumental in the posthumous publication of much of his father’s work. Though I’ve had the book a few years, I started reading it on Tolkien Reading Day (March 25). I love the glimpse into Tolkien’s personal and professional life with letters to family, friends, publishers and others. You can buy your own copy from bookshop.org.

I still haven’t read Dracula by Bram Stoker! I intended to read it last summer but accidentally checked out an abridged juvenile version that—if memory serves—wasn’t even an epistolary. One day I’ll try again and hopefully get it right! Get your copy here.

One of my dearest friends from college recommended The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to me, and it immediately became one of my favorite books. Also, this is one of the few books that has a film adaptation that I loved as much as the book. Get your copy today and let me know what you think! You can read my Goodreads review here.

One Good Thing completes my four-part Carolina’s Legacy Collection. Fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, hope-filled coming-of-age dramas and post-9/11 fiction will enjoy this dual-POV epistolary novel, which embodies Southern fiction with Christian roots.

What’s the story? you ask.

I’m glad you did! I reply.

Through a series of unsent letters to the sweetheart he left behind, Jack Calhoun unpacks his rage and grief and wrestles with questions of the soul like, “Who am I?” Rachael Burns, the girl he left, uses her journal to make sense of his abandonment.

As their parallel journeys lead toward mountaintops miles apart, Jack and Rachael receive the gift of a truth powerful enough to change their lives forever. In a world where tomorrow isn’t promised and tragedies rend lives, who a person is at the core is the only thing that can be unchanging … if that identity rests in an absolute source.

Intrigued? Message me to order an autographed copy, request it at your local bookstore or library or order through bookshop.org.

(If you use one of the links above to order from bookshop.org, I receive a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting me and independent bookstores by using them for your online bookstore purchases!)

What will you read? Comment below with your choice. Return once you’ve finished to share your review and thoughts. Remember to #ShareTheRead! Tap the graphic below to download each month’s graphic to share on your social media. How many reader friends can you bring to the party?

Calendar showcasing all the reading categories for the 2024 12 Days of Reading

Tap the image above to download each month’s graphic. Share on your social media with #ShareTheRead and #12MonthsOfReading and tag @joyerancatore!

Multi-Genre Indie Author Joy E. Rancatore hosts a monthly virtual, interactive Book Club Chat. Join now!

Tap the graphic above to join LAM Book Club for an extra way to #ShareTheRead with fellow readers! No set book. Meet virtually once a month. Share what you’re reading or ask for recommendations.