MUST READS: BOOK SUGGESTIONS

THE TERRIBLE

MEMOIR BY YRSA DALEY-WARD

Through her signature sharp, searing poetic style, this memoir discusses the childhood of Yrsa Daley-Ward in the northwest of England with her beautiful, careworn mother Marcia; the man formerly known as Dad (half fun, half frightening); and her little brother Roo, who sees things written in the stars.

The surreal magic of adolescence, about growing up and discovering the power and fear of sexuality, about pitch-gray days of pills and powder and connection. It’s about damage and pain, but also joy.


With raw intensity and shocking honesty, The Terrible tells the story of what it means to lose yourself and find your voice.

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WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

BIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIR BY LULU MILLER

David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans, his specimen collections were demolished by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In an instant, his life’s work was shattered.


Many might have given up, given in to despair. But Jordan found the first fish that he recognized, and confidently began to rebuild his collection.


When Lulu Miller first heard this anecdote in passing, she took Jordan for a fool—a cautionary tale in denial. But as her own life slowly unraveled, she began to wonder if perhaps instead, he was a model for how to go on when all seemed lost.


Why Fish Don’t Exist is about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.

MOSTLY DEAD THINGS

NOVEL BY KRISTEN ARNETT

What does it take to come back to life? For Jessa-Lynn Morton, the question is not an abstract one. In the wake of her father’s suicide, Jessa has stepped up to manage his failing taxidermy business while the rest of the Morton family crumbles. Her mother starts sneaking into the taxidermy shop to make provocative animal art, while her brother, Milo, withdraws. And Brynn, Milo’s wife—and the only person Jessa’s ever been in love with—walks out without a word. It’s not until the Mortons reach a tipping point that a string of unexpected incidents begins to open up surprising possibilities and second chances. But will they be enough to salvage this family, to help them find their way back to one another? Kristen Arnett’s breakout bestseller is a darkly funny family portrait; a peculiar, bighearted look at love and loss and the ways we live through them together.

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THE ALCHEMIST

NOVEL BY PAULO COELHO

A fable about following your dreams.

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

 

THE GLASS CASTLE

MEMOIR BY JEANNETTE WALLS

A remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The memoir was also made into a major motion picture from Lionsgate in 2017 starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts.

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THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE

JOURNALS AND STUDIES BY BESSEL VAN DER KOLK M.D.

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

DIARY OF AN OXYGEN THIEF

AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

The narrator, an Irish advertising executive living in London, describes the pleasure he used to receive from emotionally abusing women.


After the narrator starts attending AA meetings, sobers up, and looks back on his past relationships with remorse, he takes a job in the United States. The narrator is then confronted by the absurdity of corporate America, paranoia, addiction, and suddenly, a newfound love.


The titular Oxygen Thief refers to the low self-esteem of the narrator who, because of his sense of self-loathing, seems to go through life unworthy of the very air he breathes.

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ONE MORE THING

SHORT STORIES BY B.J. NOVAK

A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes—only to discover that claiming the winnings might unravel his family.
A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins—turning for help to the famed motivator himself.
A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother.
We meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself.
A vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life.
Post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook.
Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just . . down.