STAFF BOOK RECS

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STAFF BOOK RECS

Our staff would love to share some of their favorite books with you. Stay tuned for more reviews! 

The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway

What an absolutely beautiful little volume from a semi unlikely source- Scott Galloway, a big time big tech pessimist. He is so tender about all the little things that make up a beautiful life, well lived. It is charming. Read it! Also awesome is Scott’s podcast with Kara Swisher- but this book is him at his absolute most humble and loving and thoughtful. Already a big Galloway fan, now an even bigger Galloway fan. ISBN: 9780593084199

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen

I’m a sucker for a book in which the characters live in New York City. A great examination of life at “middle age” and how to proceed. If you run out of steam in your for-a-long-time unexamined daily life, do you decide to change things, or do you just continue on, steam-less? I’d never read Anna Quindlen before, but I think I’m about to get a bunch of her books and go down an AQ rabbit hole. ISBN 9780525509875

America for Americans: a History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee

Lee’s account is not only accessible to the general public in a way that most historical critiques are not, but it explores a topic that has long been taboo in American society. She addresses xenophobia in an unapologetic and unfiltered manner and her ability to state her points without hedging is impressive and bold (i.e. “xenophobia is a form of racism”). Lee’s “America for Americans” explores part of American history that is often ignored. Lee’s willingness to address xenophobia is rarely seen and by pointing out the hypocrisy of calling America a “nation of immigrants,” she is spreading awareness and understanding of xenophobia to those who have not been taught of its importance. Lee’s critique of America’s immigration history is well thought out and very well executed. This book is truly a unique and incredibly insightful take on a very dark part of American history and it’s a must-read for those looking to educate themselves on xenophobia. ISBN: 9781541672611

Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh

You have to read this book if you enjoy urban fantasy with a dash of spice. Singh creates a world where archangels are incredibly powerful, and the main character must navigate carefully in order to survive. So good!! ISBN 9780425226926

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

I loved this book! It was such a clever tale of a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air and the anxious group of strangers, with more in common than they realize, who play a significant part in solving the mystery. A witty, revealing and heartwarming story that shows how a shared experience can connect people and change the course of their lives for the better. ISBN: 9781501160844

The Aristotle and Dante Duology by Benjamin Alice Sáenz

This is Sáenz’s first novel and it shows—not because the writing was in any way flawed; it is too beautiful to have been written by anyone other than a poet. Set in the ‘80s, this queer coming of age masterfully explores friendship, tragedy, masculinity, and love in a Texas border town. This is another favorite of mine—I read the entire thing on one plane ride. ISBN: 9781534496194

Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Happy sad is how this book made me feel many times over. I liked the way the characters talked honestly to each other when I didn’t expect them to. A good read. ISBN: 9780374602604

Best Years of Your Life by Jen Craven

I love any book that involves academia, and this one had twists and turns like crazy to boot. Equal parts sad, sexy and frustrating. ISBN 9798986311609

Black, White, Just Right! by Marguerite W. Davol

Growing up as a mixed kid, there were very few books specifically about my racial identity that were for young kids and this was one of them. It is a simple book about a black and white mixed girl and her parents as she points out how she is a combination of both of them. But despite its more complex theme, it was easy for me to understand and grasp as a kid. It truly helped me to realize that I was a perfect mix of both of my parents. ISBN: 9780807507889     

Carrie by Stephen King

I’m a big horror movie fan, and after seeing the movie Carrie (1976), I decided that it would be the perfect horror book to start with. I hadn’t read any horror books before. This is a great introduction to the genre. The book follows Carrie, a newly-discovered telekinetic teenager as her bullying classmates discover that she is not to be messed with. It’s well-paced, not too scary, and engaging enough to where I was able to finish it in a few hours. ISBN: 9781984898104 

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Read this book if you like tennis. Perfectly timed release given Serena’s farewell at the US Open, and it was a good insight into what it takes to be a champion. ISBN 9780593158685

The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker

 

I love a gothic thriller and this is a good one. A house full of spooky girls that all die the day after their wedding night (or similar). The ending was underwhelming but it was a good spooky story that didn’t let up on the weird and tragic. Kate Morton-y, if you’re into that (I am). ISBN 9780358251873

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Magnificent and beautifully written! Doerr spins an epic tale spanning three time periods linked by an ancient manuscript. Part historical fiction, part present-day, and part futuristic fantasy, this novel reflects our connectedness to humans throughout the ages. A beautifully written story of hope and the resilience of the human spirit. ISBN: 9781982168438

The Devil and Webster by Jean Hanff-Korelitz

Sooooo good. I adore books set on a college campus! I loved The Plot and The Latecomer so much that I decided to buy her whole oeuvre. And this one was as amazing as I’d hoped. @jeanhanff can flat out tell an amazing story. Now I’m on to another of her books! #devilandwebster. ISBN 9781455592371

Dork Diaries Series by Rachel Renée Russell

Dork Diaries was pivotal to my childhood. The undeniable spunk and wit of the main character, Nikki, reflected onto my younger self and fully contributed into making me the woman I am today. The series follows Nikki, a middle schooler from a low income family, as she starts at a new private school and has to keep her family’s background a secret and navigates middle school drama and difficulties. This series has been a constant in my life and has continued to stay with me until this day. ISBN: 9781442426627  

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

Ten short stories. Beautifully written- very visual and evocative. A lovely quick read. ISBN: 9780802158765

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger 

Two short stories about Salinger's beloved Glass family, focusing on its two youngest members. Salinger builds his settings around you as you read, allowing you to be totally immersed in the world. This book follows Franny and Zooey as they try to find meaning in mundanity. This book is perfect if you are looking for something cinematic, charming and dry. ISBN: 9780316769495

Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy 

Elle Kennedy knows how to write romance! The Goodgirl Complex is the first in a brand new adult romance series set in a fictional South Carolina beach town that gives you the summertime feels. GGC focuses on two characters from opposite sides of the tracks who fall in love after one pursues the other thanks to a poorly placed bet! This series is perfect for Anna Todd’s After series or Tessa Bailey's romance novels fans. The sequel comes out in October! ISBN: The Goodgirl Complex by Elle Kennedy 

How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz

So much humanity in this little book! Like having coffee with a friend—while casually exploring community, bureaucracy, immigrant experience, gentrification, and society’s expectations internalized. All through a narrator who is funny, tender, naïve, and wise. ISBN 9781250208453

Jacket Weather by Mike DeCapite

So lovely. A view of NYC, and life, from the eyes of a romantic. It’s prose, but often sounds more like poetry, and focuses on how regular and mundane, even uninteresting things, can be beautiful when you’re happy and in love. ❤️

The Latecomer by Jean Hanff-Korelitz

 

I raced through this book after buying it on Thursday. I LOVED it. I’ve loved every one of the @jeanhanff novels I’ve read and I knew I’d love this one as well, but actually reading it was such a joy. She’s a master of weaving together the threads of a story and creating something you’d never expect by the end. I wish I was starting it for the first time again right now. #thelatecomerbook. ISBN 9781250790798

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

A soon-to-be classic novel, rich in character development and description, detailing a ten day cross-country adventure of eight friends told from multiple points of view. Set in 1950s America, this story of hope, friendship and companionship brilliantly and poetically captures the essence of the eight characters and their adventures. ISBN: 9780735222359

Lore by Alexandra Bracken 

Lore is an action-packed story that explores deep-seated familial ties, the bonds of friendship, and the power of boundaries. Lore is our wounded hero who lost her family at the end of the last Agon (a Hunger Games-esque tournament that gives you the power of the Olympian god you slay). She wishes to exit the gladiator-esque world she was brought up in but is inexplicably drawn back in with the reemergence of her childhood best friend (who she believed died), her bond with the goddess Athena, and the allure of the truth respecting her family. This book is a must-read if you like Greek mythology, strong heroines, and just a taste of sweet love. ISBN: 9781786541529

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a heartbreaking yet poignant read. It follows Cameron Post, a closeted teenager in Montana in the 90s, as she deals with being put in conversion therapy by her aunt after her parents die. Cameron is a very empathetic main character who a lot of young readers may relate to. This book is endlessly relatable to a queer audience who has grown up in the south–or anyone who ever felt different. ISBN: 9780062020574

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

A wickedly fun read! If you have sisters, it's very relatable—except for the murdering stuff. ISBN 9780525564201

Nickled and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Every American should read this book. It’s a short read, and so very eye opening and shocking. Yes, it barely scratches the surface of so many issues, and yes, it provides few or no solutions. But I think it’s likely true that many Americans don’t understand how delicate the house of cards is for the working poor. I know it was eye opening for me. May it change my attitude and approach to various social issues in a positive way. ISBN: 9781250808318

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

Reading this amazing book was like attending a family reunion- in all the best (“omg remember that time?”) and worst (“I can’t believe we did that”) ways. It all still feels so recent, and yet reading this reminds me of how the world is irreversibly different now on a massive scale. I’ll admit to wallowing in a lot of sweet, sentimental memories. Every Gen X’r will feel a warm fuzzy in one way or another reading this. And in one way or another forgive yourself as a creature of the time- or realize how unforgivable so much was in retrospect. Listen to 90 Songs that Explain the 90s by Dave Harvilla on Spotify, an excellent companion to the Klosterman book. ISBN: 9780735217959

Northern Spy by Flynn Berry

I love some Irish political history- both fact and fiction. This was good and scary and a new twist on things I’ve read about The Troubles- from the perspective of a mother involved (albeit reluctantly) in the IRA. ISBN: 9780735224995

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

Wow. I stayed up til 4 am finishing this book bc I couldn’t stop. I identified with both mother and daughter so much- I’ve been/am both of them. It made me realize how much parents need their children, as much as vice versa. Heartbreaking but so good. Anna Quindlen is a wonder. ISBN 9780812976182

Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen

The lesbian sasquatch novel of the heart. It’s fun, gruesome, and queer! ISBN 9781638930044

The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

A great book examining how one choice can lead to divergent paths and lives. This one plays out the difference chapter by chapter and, interestingly, both end up being more or less the same. @lionelshriver is such a great writer. ISBN 9780061187896

The Promise by Damon Galgut

The characters, story, and South African setting were compelling—but the narration style alone makes this story worth reading. Chef’s kiss! ISBN 9781609457440

The Renegades Trilogy by Marissa Meyer

This series—told from the perspective of a villain—is an absolute favorite of mine. Featuring a cast of unique superpowers (from turning into butterflies to blood crystals to bringing drawings to life), this series is impossible to put down. Meyer is an incredible world-builder and that aspect of her writing is clearer than ever in these books. With action sequences and moments that truly touch you, this series is YA perfection. ISBN: 9781250845764

Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews

The most fun, charming, and beachy read you could ask for. Full of antiques, southern charm, and sass. ISBN 9780060564674

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

This page-turner is an eye-opening take on society’s unrelenting expectations of women to “have it all”. ISBN 9781982156121

The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A True Story by Justine Cowan

This book was amazing. A true story that reads like fiction- the story of the author’s mother’s childhood in an institutionalized care facility in England- a story she never even dreamed of until after her mother died. I was lucky enough to meet the author @vahibooks when I bought my copy- I’d love to meet her again now after having read the book. So many layers in a mother daughter relationship- some that the daughter may never know until after the mother passes away. @justinecowanauthor #dorothysoames #thesecretlifeofdorothysoames. ISBN 9780062991027

Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

I am on a Chuck Klosterman roll. He is currently #1 on my list of people I’d like to have dinner with. I like reading about culture and music and history from the perspective of a fellow Gen Xr who has grown up but still feels like everything he ever needed to know he learned before 2001. ISBN: 9780743236010

The Six of Crows Duoligy by Leigh Bardugo

The Six of Crows duology was an incredible high fantasy heist series that left me on the edge of my seat throughout. Kaz, the “criminal prodigy,” puts together a team that must steal a man from the most secure castle in the world in order to save the world and earn thirty million kruge in the process. It was not until the end of each book that all of the pieces began to fit together and mysteries were solved. I absolutely loved these books and read them in days. Bardugo’s other books are currently on my list. ISBN: 9781250123565

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young 

Adrienne Young has officially become one of my favorite authors. Her ability to wield words like weapons cuts me deep; I'll continue to bleed for her. Sky in the Deep is riveting enemies to lover's story involving clan wars. It explores themes of family, honor, love, and choice. Evelyn and Fiske's love story sizzles off the page. I can't wait to read the next book to learn more about this Viking-inspired world. Five stars! ISBN: 9781250168467

Someone Who Will Love You in all Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg

This is a collection of short stories that I absolutely ADORE.  It is an incredibly funny, heartbreaking, and ridiculous look at all types of love— portrayed in the most profound ways. Would (and did!) recommend to any and everyone. ISBN: 9780525432722

Stay and Fight by Madeline Ffitch

This book has a found family of queer feminist anarchists living off the land in Appalachian Ohio. Need we say more? ISBN 9781250619556

These Precious Days by Anne Patchett

So lovely- particularly the parts about Sooki. Ann Patchett is such a beautiful person. This is a sweet and tender recollection of friends and family and the memories they make for us. ISBN: 9780063092785

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

A heartbreaking but beautiful story. Happy, sad, upsetting, uplifting. We, as parents, as families, as people, are constantly trying to figure “it” out and achieve “it”, while “it” is a moving target. I like the idea of a middle way, even if it sounds too idealistic to be real. Even so, I love the idea.

Tickled: A Commonsense Guide to the Current Moment by Duff McDonald

Ok, Duff, I’m starting to get it. Looking for the tickle and realizing where I’ve found it before and where I can find it again. A very thought provoking and optimistic look on life right now. ISBN: 9780063036895

Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri

A short, tragic but beautifully written story that’s a reminder the homelessness is so often not a choice. Read this when you are ready for an emotional punch in the gut. ISBN 9780593187524

Tracy Flick Can't Win by Tom Perotta

Who would ever have expected Tracy Flick as an empathetic character, someone you’d feel sorry for? She didn’t do what everyone thought she would do, for reasons that are surprisingly admirable. She always succeeds in her way, but now that she’s a grown up her successes are much more subtle and human. I like her better now. ISBN 9781501144066

True Biz by Sara Nović

One of the best books of 2022! Nović teaches you about American Sign Language and the Deaf community while also delivering a great mystery. ISBN 9780593241509

Two Steps Forward by Grame Simsion and Anne Buist

 

I loved this. I’ve been fascinated by the walking pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, for years. This is a great fiction account of a group of people who bond together along the way during their 3 month walk from Cluny in France to Santiago de Compostela. One day I will do this walk too, I hope. Really great read! ISBN 9780062843111

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

One word to describe this book is ADOREABLE. It’s a redemption story that’s as cozy as a hot cup of tea. ISBN 9781250217349

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli 

I’m a big fan of Albertalli’s books, but this is definitely my favorite out of her books. The book follows Molly, a seventeen-year-old expert in unrequited love, as she deals with her twin falling in love and the very possibility that Molly’s new coworker, Reed, may actually like her back. As a big romantic, I loved this book and could truly empathize with Molly’s twenty-six unrequited crushes. I have read lots of YA romances and this is definitely one that stood out–and for good reason, too. It’s an excellent YA romance. ISBN: 9780062348715  

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

A great story about the rise and sudden fall of a band in late 60s London. If you are a music fan- especially Woodstock/Summer of Love type music, you’ll enjoy it. Good story with a surprising but satisfying ending. ISBN: 9780812987218

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A fascinating tale of identical twin sisters from a small, Southern Black community whose lives follow very different paths after leaving home. While one sister lives her life secretly passing as white, hiding her past from all who meet her, the lives and destinies of the sisters remain intertwined. A powerful novel on race, identity and reinventing your place in the world in an attempt to belong. ISBN: 9780525536963

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

First of all, I hate this book cover. After reading it I understand why this cover, but to me looks like a cheap 1970s romance cover and ew; I removed the book jacket and threw it away immediately. But I liked the book! I love a book set on a college campus that involves academics, and I love a thriller. This one is a little long on the front end and a little “Um, what??” on the back end, but I loved the perspective of the protagonist, a woman “of a certain age” who is trying for a redo of- or at least another go at- her younger self, whom she recalls as carefree and successful and sexy. #vladimirbook #vladimirbookreview @juliamayjonas #juliamayjonasvladimir. ISBN 9781982187637

We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland by Fintan O'Toole

Very dense and long, and took ages to read, but I enjoyed every page. I've read a lot about Irish history, but this book included many facts and stories I've never heard. A good decade by decade examination of various topics unique to the auld sod. ISBN: 9781631496530

The White Rose by Jean Hanff-Korelitz

Heartbreaking, complex relationships, NYC Upper East Side? Check and check. Currently my favorite author @jeanhanff -She is SOOOOO good! #thewhiterosebook #jeanhanffkorelitz. ISBN 9781455530816

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

JLA has gone and done it again. She's captured my heart and given me another couple to cherish! Wicked is the perfect paranormal romance. The writing is phenomenal, and the characters are chefs kiss amazing. I love urban fantasy, and the fact that Wicked takes place in New Orleans was love at first beignet. You would enjoy the Wicked trilogy if you enjoyed the Vampire Academy, Shadowhunter, and Crescent City novels. It's a blend of badassery and swoon-worthy love that keeps you turning pages. You’ll want to invest in the entire series up front! ISBN: 9780988982956

Zodiac Academy: The Awakening by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti 

Zodiac Academy is my new favorite fantasy series where your star sign defines your destiny! Authors Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti co-wrote this dark, bully paranormal romance (18+) following twin girls Tory and Darcy Vega who find out they are fae and attend a school for the supernatural inspired by Harry Potter. There's nothing sweet about this series beyond the sweet, fresh voice given to our two female main characters who will stop at nothing to defend their throne from the world. Read this series if you enjoy books with magic, spice, are not squeamish toward violence (or bullying), and enjoy the enemies-to-lovers trope. ISBN: 9781914425028