Here’s what our staff is reading this winter.
#1 ‘Once More We Saw Stars’ by Jayson Greene
We loved this beautiful yet heartbreaking story about loss and grief by Jayson Greene. Once More We Saw Stars recounts the traumatic accident and death of Jayson’s daughter, and how he and his wife move forward and survive what seems unsurvivable. This one offers valuable perspective, as well as a reminder of how strong and resilient we can all be.
#2 ‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell
A modern day Lolita! Deep, complex, conflicting. This student-teacher relationship (the one we’ve heard and seen a million times) is not the straightforward narrative you expect.
#3 ‘Long Live the Tribe of the Fatherless Girls’ by T. Kira Madden
Acclaimed essayist T Kira Madden’s debut memoir is what Chanel Miller calls “the book I wish I had growing up.” Writing her memories of being a queer, biracial teenager growing up in Boca Raton, Florida, Madden creates a work that is equal parts a eulogy and a love letter.
#4 ‘The Nix’ by Nathan Hill
Staff writer, Amanda, loved The Nix because it delves into 1960s activism in Chicago — where she’s from. You don’t have to be from the Windy City, however, to love this novel. It combines modern media with 20th century nostalgia, and throws in Norwegian ghosts for good measure.
#5 ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney
Let us be the hundredth person to recommend Normal People to you. A KCM favorite, most of us read this in one sitting. The novel follows Connell and Marianne through high school and college and in and out of love. The complex characters and delicate descriptions of everyday life will make you feel seen.
#6 ‘Book of Longings’ by Sue Monk Kidd
We promise you’ve never read anything like this. The Book of Longings is set in first century Galilee, where Ana is wife to Jesus, sister to Judas Iscariot. This work of historical fiction gives a feminist retelling to the stories at the heart of Catholicism, yet stays grounded in research and respect. Even after you finish, you’ll be thinking about it for days.
#7 ‘Wow, No Thank you’ by Samantha Irby
More than anything, we were reading to escape this year. Wow, No Thank You was the exact type of laugh-out-loud funny we needed.
#8 ‘Pachinko’ by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko is a familial epic — tracing four generations of a Korean immigrant family as they create their lives in Japan. Complex characters, deep love and bitter sacrifice: check, check and check. KCM recommends this one to savor over the holidays.
#9 ‘Becoming Duchess Goldblatt’ by Anonymous
If you aren’t familiar with Twitter character @DuchessGoldblat, she’s a self-described 81-year-old author of royal blood. This book is part memoir and part a joyful romp through the fields of imagination. It’s the perfect escape for 2020.
#10 ‘Trick Mirror’ by Jia Tolentino
The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino shares a collection of nine essays focused on the way self-delusion surges just beneath the surface of our lives.
#11 ‘Once a Warrior’ by Jake Wood
Tom Brokaw has called Once a Warrior, “the book that America needs right now.” Author Jake Wood provides a gut-wrenching account of the true cost of our Forever Wars — and more importantly, a glimpse of what might become of America’s next greatest generation.
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