What Should You Read Next? I've Got Some Ideas
When I lived in LA, I was in a book club. It was great, and I’m still looking for one here. I have a friend, however, who is still in that book club and when it is time for them to choose the book, they ask me. And I send them a list of like, 20 books. I truly love giving people recommendation (for evidence, see this entire website), and if you ask me for one I will over deliver. I have shared books before, and even some of these books before, but if you asked me for a book recommendation today, this is the list I would give you.
We Love You Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge
I wrote about this one already, but I really loved this book. I’ve realized that I LOVE a good debut novel, and I love when an author is a good Twitter follow. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a fantastic Twitter follow, and I will be reading whatever she writes in the future.
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
This is a nonfiction book by an amazing scientist and researcher, but it reads like a novel. Hope Jahren is amazingly accomplished, and this is a book that I would recommend to science-y types as well as those, like me, who aren’t typically drawn to a research memoir.
Any Megan Abbott Book, Really
Another author who’s books I will automatically read. I was once describing Megan Abbott’s books to someone (I was of course, recommending them) and I said that she does a great job of capturing the insidiousness of young women. That’s a somewhat vague statement, but I think it’s APT (I also said this). Dare Me is being adapted into a TV series, so maybe that’s where you’d want to start (it is not one of my favorites but they didn’t ask me).
Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman
I wrote about how I read Ice Cube as part of a reading challenge and ended up falling in love with Blair Braverman. She has an excellent Twitter, over 20 dogs, and writes a truly fantastic advice column for Outside Magazine. This past spring she completed her first Iditarod! She is a treasure.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
I was SURE I had written about The Mothers before, but I apparently have not, and that gets corrected now. The Mothers is another debut novel that simply put, blew me away. Here’s what the New York Times says about the book and the author, which is more coherent than anything I would write here. As an added bonus, the cover art of the book is gorgeous, so you can leave this out on your coffee table like, “Yes I read smart, extraordinary books with beautiful covers.”
Fire by Kristin Cashore
I love the trio of books that make up the “Graceling Realm,” but Fire is my absolute favorite. The three books intersect, but each stands alone as well, so you could read Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue, or not. But you SHOULD read Fire. UGH this book is just SO GREAT in so many ways. Also, if you have a teen in your life who could use some feminist literature in their life, but in a smart way that also incorporates fantasy themes, THIS IS THAT BOOK.
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
This was one of my favorite books of last year, and I wrote about it before. If there was a descendant of The Handmaid’s Tale, something that mirrored our current society and quite frankly, infuriated and scared the shit out of you, but also expanded on those themes and showed how far reaching totalitarian laws can be, Red Clocks is that book. You must read it. I demand it.
Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
I read all of Saga earlier this year and I can’t stop thinking about it. WHEN will it return I am DYING to read more.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
When Station Eleven came out, I kept getting it confused with All The Light We Cannot See. One of these books is a real downer about World War II, and the other is a dystopian story about life after an illness wipes out most of the population. I am interested in dystopian stories and I would love if we had a momentary moratorium on World War II content. I could have read Station Eleven much sooner if these two books didn’t come out at the same time, have similar covers, and I, uh, read a synopsis of each of them.
Educated by Tara Westover
Earlier this year, my mom and I both read Educated independently. Then, when we were together, she asked, “Have you read Educated?” and then we proceeded to scream about it for the whole weekend. Also, my mom declared it her favorite book of the year in like, March, so that’s a hearty endorsement.
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
I read this recently and absolutely loved it. The Psychology of Time Travel takes place in a world where four women discovered and developed time travel in the late 60s, and the modern world is now full of time travelers. These travelers do various jobs ranging from conservation to crime investigation. The story jumps between multiple time periods, and begins with the discovery of a body, presumably murdered, but in a room locked from the inside. So it’s a murder mystery, but SO MUCH MORE. The world building is really great, and the book mentions a glossary of time traveler slang and then when you reach the end of the book, the glossary is THERE! The book is also entirely about women, which I appreciate. I want to read it again, and I just finished it. Another great cover too, if that’s something you’re into.
The Valedictorian of Being Dead by Heather B. Armstrong
I read this book in one day. Virtually one sitting, apart from taking the dog out and re-upping my snacks. You may know Heather Armstrong from her blog, Dooce, which I have been reading for easily a decade. She underwent a medical trial in which her brain was essentially flatlined, then brought back, in order to alleviate her crippling depression. Her descriptions of depression, her fears about how her diagnosis will affect her life, and her determination to try anything - even a medical procedure only two other people have experienced, is written so beautifully and heartbreakingly and, I mean, I read it in one sitting. I was ENGROSSED. I, like the author, have dealt with some rough stuff (a, uh, massive understatement) and have turned to my mom, who is so amazing and saved me so many times I WISH that one day I could write an ode to her like Armstrong has done here. This is a book about survival, and a book about motherly love. This is a book I’d give to so many people, it is the bound embodiment of a chef’s kiss. HAVE I RAVED ENOUGH YET? GO GET IT.
PS: It’s so much easier for me to find books to recommend because I keep a record of every book I read. I’m in year three of doing this, and it’s proving to be a better and better idea as time goes on.