Julia, Marketing and Promotions Assistant
Favorite Genres: Speculative fiction; magical realism; books set in circuses and carnivals; fairytale retellings; books where people find mysterious books; supernatural horror that is actually about real-life horrors; non-fiction about the brain, art, and trees; occasional literary fiction
Favorite Authors: Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Roxane Gay, Haruki Murakami, Donna Tartt, Italo Calvino, Emily St. John Mandel, Shirley Jackson, N.K. Jemisin, V.E. Schwab, Madeline Miller, Jeff VanderMeer
Five women and their fairy tale inspired stories of love and trauma skewer our own obsession with tabloid and reality TV, media’s victim-blaming and slut-shaming, and society’s tendency to disbelieve women’s stories. This book is whip-smart, and the characters are dimensional and real (even if you don’t really like all of them). A great pick for book clubs, there’s so much to pull apart here. I absolutely loved it!
OK OK—I know it’s a Stephen King cookbook, but don’t disregard it! The recipes are really solid, New England-y fare, paired with excerpts from the King novel or story that inspired the recipe. I can already vouch for the Pet Sematary chicken pie, and I’m excited to try Pancakes with the Toziers (from my favorite King novel, It) as well as Hermits for the Road from The Long Walk. A perfect gift for the King fan who has everything!
This is a really important read for anyone who has any love for food or the environment. Considering the dangers of monoculture and profiling numerous rare and endangered foods, Eating to Extinction is a love letter to the fascinating variety of edible foods found around the globe, making a convincing case for their importance when it comes to preserving our food system. I can’t stop talking about this book!
Whether you binge-watch her videos on YouTube (either during her Bon Appétit days or now on Dessert Person) or you’re just a dessert fanatic like me, you really can’t go wrong with Claire Saffitz’s gorgeous, foolproof, and delicious recipes. I have come to really trust Claire’s recipes, so this is definitely the cookbook I turn to when a great dessert is required—and it’s the kind of cookbook I love to give as a gift, too!
If you — like me — got really into puzzles of all kinds during the pandemic (Wordle, anyone?), you’ll love this funny and enlightening book about the history and people behind the full breadth of the puzzle world. A.J. Jacob’s hands-on approach leads him to participate in an international jigsaw competition, attempt the hardest crossword ever written, and more. The book has tons of historic and new puzzles for you to solve, too!
All’s Well tells the surreal story of Miranda, a drama professor reaching her breaking point after years of chronic pain. Awad is an author I’m always excited to read, and this one pulls no punches. She will challenge you – but I promise, it is well worth it. Full of Shakespeare allusions, shifting realities, and a complex protagonist you can’t fully trust. Read it with your book club, because you’ll want to talk about it.
Mandel is an absolute master. Sea of Tranquility spans hundreds of years, following individuals experiencing the same apparent anomaly in time. There’s a little auto-fiction (a novelist who wrote a famous pandemic novel tours during the early days of a new pandemic), a little speculative fiction (time travel, moon colonies), and a whole lot of humanity. This is a perfect novel for the current moment — I loved every world.
Sometimes books come along and hit all the right notes at just the right time. I read this while socially isolating, and I was swept away by Addie's story and Schwab's gorgeous writing. Addie is a young girl aching to be free in 1700s France, who makes a deal with a mysterious figure. She is free to do and be who she likes — but she is forgotten by everyone she meets. Epic, romantic, tragic, and moving, this book is a treasure.
A Deadly Education is absolutely delicious, and I enjoyed every page! The Scholomance is a ruthlessly dangerous magic school, where even sitting in the wrong seat at breakfast could mean death. El is a third year student with an affinity for mass destruction, who is struggling to NOT kill all her classmates. Full of scheming, sarcastic teenage angst, and dark humor, this is the fantasy novel I didn't know I was dying for.
The Last Graduate follows El and her small group of allies into their last year at the Scholomance, and the magic school is determined to either get El to fulfill her prophesied destiny of destruction… or maybe just destroy her. This is one of my favorite fantasy series to come out in a long time — a must read!
This series of essays is a true gift. Esmé Weijun Wang chronicles her own diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and in so doing gives us a generous look at a very misunderstood condition. This is a moving look at mental illness from the viewpoint of the diagnosed rather than the one doing the diagnosing, with important lessons for all of us on how to treat others dealing with diagnoses laden with stigma.
I love color and art history so this book was a sure thing for me, but even if you don't know your ultramarine from your cobalt, this book is a fascinating read. Learn about the toxic history of lead white, the macabre source for "mummy brown," and the stories behind 73 more colors and pigments. Whether you skip around or read it straight through, I guarantee you'll learn something on every page.
I think we could all use something a little transporting right now, and this book is perfect if you’re looking for something light, magical, and lyrical. Join the titular January as she discovers herself and her family’s past; travel to enchanting other worlds; and discover the power of words. Perfect for anyone who loved The Starless Sea or Every Heart a Doorway.