Staff Book Recommendations

What's better than curling up with a book and some warm booze on a blustery cold day? See what we're currently reading and add a few titles to your library (Amazon shopping cart).

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Jane Torbert, Contributing Writer

"It is about the enchanting quest of Harold Fry to make amends and find himself after 70 years of living. The story restores your faith in humanity while asking you to reflect on your own journey. This isn't a fairy tale, rather a real look at the everyday life that many of us lead. It is simple, inspiring, and quick. "

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Ally Lanier, Contributing Writer

"It's a shady little fantasy adventure with lots of heart and it takes place mostly in the unseen parts of the city where we all (secretly or not-so-secretly) wish we lived: London. Not your usual holiday feel-good book, though parts of it can make you feel good--if I told you which parts it would spoil the whole thing, but I keep three copies of this (one for every-day purse, one for suitcase, one for bookshelf) so I never have to do without it."

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Taryn Pire, Editorial Intern

"Super disturbing, definitely haunting; but an absolute masterpiece of creative journalism."

Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick

Clayton Crawford, Contributing Writer

"It's a crazy sci-fi book from the 60s about mental illness and it's really short. With all the craziness of family it might be a good escape and provide some humor in light of the lunatic uncles and aunts."

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Jennifer Gilbert, Contributing Writer

"It's a no-nonsense personal development book about tapping into your inner bad ass and living the life that makes you pumped to get up every morning. Sincero's both funny and honest, and it's so good, you'll want to read it a couple times."

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Morgan Ratner, Contributing Writer

"I think The Bell Jar is an extremely important and pivotal piece of work that all young adults and twenty-somethings should read. It's completely relatable for anyone trying to navigate the start of adult life and caught deciding which fork of the many roads your life can take.The book also deals a lot with depression; many people find themselves become depressed around the holidays and reading it at this time of year can help remind you that you're not alone."

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Elise Poston, Contributing Writer

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a sweet and sad book filled with classic Neil Gaiman magic and whimsey which touches on the human condition and the powerlessness of childhood. It will break you and then put you back together again."

How Shall I Live My Life?: On Liberating the Earth from Civilization by Derrick Jensen

Meredith Clarke, Freelance Editor

"A nonfiction compilation of interviews with scholars, spiritual leaders, and scientists that will change the way you look at the world and the ways you interact with it. A perfect book to read at the start of a new year to inspire you to get into more Earth-and-human friendly habits."

The Edge of Never by JA Redmerski

Bridget O'Toole, Social Media Marketer

"This is the first in a "new adult" series, but it ends satisfyingly enough if you're not interested in getting sucked into the black hole that is reading a book series. Ultimately, it's a book that will make your heart sing, make other parts of you tingle ( it hot in here?), and make your eyes shed buckets and buckets of tears. (I'm so not kidding—this book got me right in the feels.) It may be a few years old, but it's a book that stuck with me, and I have no doubt it will do the same for you if you decide to read it!"

Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

Claire Grosek, Contributing Writer

"A retelling of Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale" that is literary but extremely accessible and gorgeously written. And if you've never read "A Winter's Tale" (like I have not), it offers a summary in the beginning to help everyone along. It is so worth the read."

In the Woods by Tana French

Lauren Moriarty, Editor-in-Chief

"I'm a huge fan of anything mystery (maybe it's my last name) and Tana French has quickly become one of my favorite authors of the genre. Her Dublin Murder Squad series blends intrigue, a colorful cast of characters, and honest-to-goodness murder mysteries. Start with In the Woods and continue on to The LikenessFaithful PlaceBroken Harbor and The Secret Place. You'll want to stay up and finish her novels to the end every time, which is the best compliment to an author I can think of."

Room by Emma Donoghue

Anna Claire Howard, Contributing Writer

"I read Room while in Detroit for about a week on a work trip. It's a difficult read in terms of the content being uncomfortable and unsettling, but it's a good story with a unique perspective since the entire book is from the 5-year-old protagonist's point of view."

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

Jon Meltzer, Contributing Writer

"Not holiday-related by any stretch of the imagination, but an all-time favorite nonetheless."

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

Meagan Guild, Contributing Artis

"As an elementary school teacher, this recommendation may seem corny, but this book is a must for all ages...not just kids! This book shows how a "mistake" can turn into an opportunity to make something new and unexpected. Beautiful Oops! is a perfect book to keep by your work station when you are frustrated and need to be reminded it's a chance to do great things!"


Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Leah Cover, Contributing Writer

"It's a futuristic cyberpunk novel that I haven't even finished yet, but I already love it and know you will too."

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Teraya Smith, Marketing & PR Director

"I'm recommending this book for a few reasons. 1.) It's one of the rawest and most honest books I've ever read. It doesn't hide or sugarcoat anything about relationships with significant others and family, and as messed up and crazy as it reads, you can't help but to connect with these characters. 2.) It's from a guy's point of view. All too often there are books from the girl's point of view about relationships. But I never get a deep understanding from the guy. In this story we get why a guy cheats on his girlfriend, the points in his life that adds to the way he is in relationships, and the overwhelming emotions a guy goes through during a breakup. I don't see enough stories like that. 3.) I think every woman should read this book to not understand all men but at least one. At times we don't know where the other sex is coming from. I think by seeing what it could be like on the other side of the fence could provide some clarity (even if the story is fiction). If you can get past the language, it's EXPLICIT, then it's a good read."

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Wendell Britt, Contributing Writer

"It’s and exciting, genre-bending, sci-fi meets fantasy tinged, time jumping tour de force, showcasing Britain’s most inventive style master."

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Alyssa Persons, Contributing Writer

"Regardless of your personal opinion on arguably one of the most polarizing authors around, The Corrections is a relentlessly wry study of the modern American family, in all of its dysfunctional glory. Perfect book to hide behind when your own dysfunctional relatives make the rounds this holiday season."

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Kirsten Samanich, Art Director

"Not only should you consume all things Karen Russell in one sitting (I mean it—interviews, short stories, suggestions for other authors to investigate) (if there were a macaroni-and-cheese in the shape of her face I would buy the shelves clean), but you should also emotionally prepare yourself for the beauty and inventive force that is Swamplandia!. Practice some power stances, work on some breathing exercises, “om” 'til the cows come home, because this is big. Delve into a world of alligator-wrestling and spell-chanting, loss and fragments of memory, family and what it means to be shaken at a family's core. If you're anything like me in the sense that you could buzz for days off the chemical joyride of a really well-articulated metaphor, then prepare to be smiling and reeling with beautiful hurt for quite some time."

Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto

Mery Fehr, Contributing Photographer

"This novel connects eight fictional (but also very real) women artists trying to make it in the 20th century. It's a great read for artists and shows the struggles of female artists and how they overcome challenges in their personal and professional lives."