People have always told me their secrets; they open up their closets and let their skeletons tumble out, trusting me as keeper of their most excruciating moments. In a world dominated by social-media feeds attempting to convince us that everyone else is the lucky recipient of an unblemished existence, it’s an honor to bear witness to a person’s dark underbelly. My closest friends are those willing to have true, intimate conversations that connect us in ways nothing else can—and as a result, we are stitched into the messy fabric of each other’s lives.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, we are offering thirteen books of hard-hitting nonfiction and heartrending novels that we think everyone should read, including our leaders.
I was almost ten when my father brought a leather-bound copy of The House of the Spirits to our home in Ecuador. I remember his excitement as he told my mother that she had to read this book. He said that a fellow Chilean, Isabel Allende, was showing the world the real trials and tribulations of his country through the story of the fictional Trueba family.
White Noise is a critical look at our modern world and our own mortality told through a family rich in character and complexity. Don DeLillo wisely captures the patterns of human thought, our ability to examine life in an almost exhausting stream of consciousness and then instantly move onto other things.
Get Book Recommendations
If you’re still high on exhilaration from June’s historic Supreme Court decision, we don’t blame you. Looking for ways to keep celebrating pride in all its forms? We’ve got you covered with our list of eleven works of LGBTQ–centric fiction. As these powerful novels remind us, life isn’t all rainbows but it is certainly worth fighting for.
That war stories must occur in strange lands far from home, filled with bullets and blood, remains a powerful fallacy. The consequences and effects of war can’t be contained so neatly. Stories of war are stories of love, stories of loss and longing, stories of hope. Stories of war are stories of before and after, of inheritance and memory. The best stories of war are so much more than stories of armed conflict. They are stories of humanity.
Here are twelve novels of war that explore exactly that.
British novelist Angela Carter once declared, “Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.” This feeling of perpetual movement—that the city is continually revealing new aspects of itself—is perhaps what makes it so universally beloved by residents and tourists alike. These twelve books place New York center stage as a living, breathing character in its own right.
Those who haven’t read Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves may or may not be aware of the “spoiler” that gives this story its power—but either way, this book will stick with you forever.
When my family planned a trip to Scotland this past summer, we were told by everyone to read the Outlander series before we left.
Maybe it was the timing, but I wasn’t too interested in Diana Gabaldon’s historical fiction series just yet. I went to Scotland, had a great time, and didn’t think about the books until the temperature finally dropped. Once the nights became longer, I was in desperate need of a good series to binge read with lots of hot tea next to me.
When they’re not pawing the pages and competing for your attention, a cat can be the perfect reading companion. Not only do they make great lap warmers and confidants, cats have also made their way into some of our favorite books! From the hometown heroes and family pets to the magical, talking, vodka-drinking whiskered fiends below, there is bound to be a cat-centric book for even the dog lovers out there.