Annie Dillard$16.99 $15.63
Taking a walk has never been the same for me since reading this book. Whether your only access to nature is a scraggly city tree or your next-door neighbor is a national park, Dillard will teach you to see. She revels in nature, examining the smallest leaf and finding entire worlds of meaning.
Brit Bennett$27.00 $24.84
An unputdownable novel, steeped in an ambient sense of longing and bereftness. The two main characters—a set of twins—illuminate the predicament of race in America. It’s in conversation with so many books, from Nella Larson’s Passing to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and yet so exceptionally its own.
Oyinkan Braithwaite$14.95 $13.75
I love a good thriller. This one is lethally sexy and so delectably smart and funny. On a recent camping trip, I stayed up reading it in my tent, tucked in my sleeping bag with a flashlight. You’ll be as bewitched by the story as Braithwaite’s language and experimental forms.
Nadia Owusu$26.00 $23.92
I’ve been counting down the months ‘til this Whiting-award winner’s debut memoir. It’s a story about the seismic reverberations of family secrets, and it’s brilliantly written, offering powerful reflections on the fracturing of a life and a young woman’s quest for firm ground.
Ashley C. Ford$27.99 $25.75
File under: Books I’ve been dying to read. I recently got my hands on an advance copy, and I’m floored. It opens with a letter from her estranged father, who is in prison. It’s so beautiful, and so like the author—exquisitely unsentimental, full of wisdom and humor. Destined to be one of the biggest books of the year.
Melissa Febos$27.00 $24.84
This gorgeous essay collection interrogates what we are told about what it means to be a woman, and what it takes to free ourselves from those strictures. Febos’s work is intellectually rigorous, her prose sensual and electric. I wish I’d had this book when I was 18; so grateful to have it at 32.
Bessel Van Der Kolk$19.00 $17.48
I read this book one page at a time, taking breaks in between to lie down on my couch. It’s brilliant and propulsive, weaving together the author’s clinical observations, history, his own personal narrative. A seminal guide for navigating trauma—which after the year we’ve had, we could all use.
Katherine Dunn$16.95 $15.59
One of my all-time favorites, this novel is masterful, subverting what’s beautiful and grotesque. It’s dark, twisty, weird, so inventive and wildly entertaining. If you’re a fan of Karen Russell, you’ll love the great Katherine Dunn.
Paul Kalanithi$26.00 $23.92
What makes a life worth living? This is the question at the heart of this profoundly edifying memoir. It’s a fascinating double look at mortality from the perspective of a patient who is also a doctor. Also has the most beautiful epilogue ever written—by his wife, who finished the book. Heartbreaking, yet full of hope.
Lucy Grealy$15.99 $14.71
My favorite memoirs are by writers who are first and foremost poets. Lucy Greely’s language is so gorgeous, lucid, painterly. It’s the story of a cancer that left her disfigured and an unflinching interrogation of beauty and its tyranny, grappling with aftermaths in a way that’s nuanced and revelatory. My sick girl Bible, both then and now.
Suleika Jaouad$28.00 $25.76
Suleika Jaouad is the author of Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted. A searing, deeply moving memoir of illness and recovery that traces one young woman's journey from diagnosis to remission and, ultimately, a road trip of healing and self-discovery.