It’s no surprise that we’re book people. We love books. We love reading books. In uncertain times, a lot of us are leaning on our books. Here’s a short list of what’s in some of our hands and minds to give our hearts a rest.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. That would make this my third or fourth rereading, this time marking passages and adding my marginalia. I love a sprawling family drama, the writing is impeccable, and I always get sucked in and forget I’m reading fiction. Rereading while making notes is also a great way to analyze the craft of writing, meditate on the content more, and generally slow down the reading process. It’s a really great exercise for these times when we should worry less about productivity (how much) and more about intentionality (how meaningful).
– Kate Campbell, Digital Products Coordinator
While the activities of amoral freelance thieves are not every reader’s idea of literary comfort food, not every author wrote these kinds of stories with the wit of Richard Stark, a.k.a. Donald Westlake. So I’ve been distracting myself with The Score (1963), a novel from Stark’s Parker series in which a dozen professional criminals prepare to rob a North Dakota mining town—all of it—in one night.
– Greg Hunter, Graphic Universe Editorial Director
Just finishing The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart. Just starting What If This Were Enough by Heather Havrilesky. Reading Don’t be Evil by Rana Foroohar and The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang in between, as concentration allows. It’s been hard to focus.
– Ashley Kuehl, YA Nonfiction Executive Editor
I’m reading Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson. I don’t have kids and I have 0 desire to live in a big house on the outskirts of a small town, but Shirley is a wonderful writer and I’m enjoying it immensely. Imagine if David Sedaris were a wife and mom of four writing a memoir around 1950 and you’ll be pretty close to the tone and texture of the book.
– Lara Neel, Trade Marketing Manager
Girl at War: A Novel by Sara Novic
Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis by K.R. Gaddy
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
I am trying to remind myself of humanity’s resistance and resilience in our broken world. I also have a stack of speculative fiction on my nightstand for times when I just need to escape into an imagined realm for a while. Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse and Tomi Adeyemi’s Orïsha are great places to get lost in, and they explore similar themes.
– Shaina Olmanson, Twenty-First Century Books and Zest Books Associate Editorial Director
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Kris Tomes, Digital Product Manager
I’m listening to In Five Years by Rebecca Serle for pure escapism.
– Lois Wallentine, School & Library Marketing Director
I just read The Seep, about a “gentle – but nonetheless world-changing – invasion by an alien entity…Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down, if something can be imagined, it is possible.” So, a utopic, rather than dystopic look at the future which turns into a really moving study of love and loss and what it means to be human. I’ve read way too much postapocalyptic fiction in my time, so this was a nice approach to read at this time.
– Rachel Zugschwert, Vice President of Marketing