Quality Reads: Memoir, Murder, and Minimalism

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Welcome to Quality Reads, a monthly rundown of our editors’ most loved reads.

Our editors wax poetic on a lot of things – shows, books, and pop culture, to name a few – via Slack. After a recent book frenzy, we were inspired to bring our recommendations to you. Whether you’re looking for the buzziest book club title to discuss, a cozy read for a night in with a glass of wine, or a lovely addition to your coffee table, discover something great below.

Keep It Real With These Nonfiction Picks

Credit: @katyisreading

The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson

“I love storytellers who are both vulnerable and funny. As I'm currently pitching a collection of essays, I appreciate gripping storytelling – which is why I gravitated towards The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson. Her ability to expose her miserable, poor upbringing with humor is remarkable, and there's nothing better than a happy ending as she finds her way in the world. As a TV writer today, she continues to find ways to work through childhood issues.” – Christine

Credit: @nunaratus

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

“I love writing that helps me make sense of the world around me and pieces that are poetic by nature. I gravitate towards memoirs, historical fictions, and social histories. I am not too far in, but I'm loving this memoir so far. The story feels so personal and I'm impressed by Zauner's honest and vulnerable storytelling. As someone who has also grown up with food as an anchor of my culture and understanding of who I am, I love the way this story uses food writing to navigate bigger topics like identity and grief.” – Remi

Credit: @lorysbookcorner

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio 

“I am in awe of reporters and journalists who dive headfirst into their subjects and present readers with a fastidiously researched and beautifully written narrative. Transforming everyday topics in page-turners is a skill and I'm always looking for my next new favorite journalist. As an undocumented American herself, Villavicencio’s exposes the day-to-day life of the undocumented in the United States. From the heroic work following 9/11 that many never received pay, benefits, or recognition for to a women’s date in immigration court, The Undocumented Americans goes beyond politics and looks at this segment of society as individuals. Heartbreaking at times, this 2020 National Book Award Finalist, is a must-read for anyone living in the U.S. today.” – Meredith

Stoke Your Fiction Addiction

Credit: @thebarandthebookcase

I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins

“I'm keen to get dark when it comes to a novel with a really fantastic POV. A strong sense of place is also a need, not a want when it comes to my reading taste. This is one of the books that does the marvelous work of speaking the unspeakable of human emotions. What if life after marriage and a child isn't easy or picturesque? What if it pulses, grows teeth, and runs for the desert? Claire Vaye Watkins considers all this and more in a novel that tackles the tropes of success and motherhood with jarring honesty. Read it in a few sittings for maximum fever dream effect.” – Erika

Credit: @the_caffeinatedd_booksworm

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

“I'm no expert, but I have always been fascinated by history. I love that novels have the power to transport me back in time! A Murder In Time is a combination of two of my favorite shows – Criminal Minds and Outlander. The story follows a brilliant FBI agent, Kendra Donovan, from the Behavioral Analysis Unit as she embarks on a mission for revenge. However, the real story begins when Kendra stumbles through a forgotten stairwell that sends her spiraling through time to a 19th century English castle. Laughing along with Kendra's internal narrative struggling to navigate society in 1815, there is also a gripping mystery of a visious serial killer terrorizing the countryside she now calls home. I fell in love with Kendra's strong character and the friends (and love interest) she meets in the past!” – Sarah

Credit: @heidsreads

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

“I'll never turn down chick lit. Give me all the Colleen Hoover and unrealistic expectations about love. I've recently gotten back into fantasy fiction on all levels. The first 20 pages of A Court of Thorns and Roses were hard for me to get into because of the author’s writing style, but once I was in, I was in IN – a true page turner unlike anything I've recently experienced. It's filled with romance, war, magic, unconditional love of family, and so much more. Fyre is a female heroine like no other – she gives up everything for the people she loves and faces her deepest fears to protect a nation. The way Maas develops each character and storyline, and closes almost every loop that she opens makes every hour of reading worth it. Oh, and, it's currently being developed as a Hulu series.” – Kristen

Credit: @jarislibrary

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

“I love descriptive novels following the lives of multiple characters, where they each have their separate storylines that intersect in ways you would least expect. As adults, we don't talk much about friendship – we talk about love, family, self-growth, career, money but rarely just about friendship. It was refreshing to read a story centered around the complex friendship and interdependencies of four unique individuals. I cried a few times and laughed a few times. The further I read, the more shocked I became. The book is quite colossal (over 700 pages!) but it is so worth the read, I promise!” – Lillie

Credit: @normalreaders

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

“I'm into whip-smart female writers who make me look at the world differently. They offer insight into the female brain and make me feel heard and seen. I've never felt more like a book was written just for me. It's smart, it's funny; it made me laugh and ugly cry. If you liked the show Fleabag, this is going to be up your alley, too. It was so good I read it TWICE (which I never, ever do.) Audiobook is hilariously narrated as well.” – Kaleigh

Credit: @speckofgiovanna

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

“My one true love is young adult (YA) fiction because it’s where I find the most creativity. On a more specific level, I love lyrical writing and atmospheric settings that are practically their own characters. I’m also weak for a high-concept escapist story that yanks me out of my everyday life. A Good Girl's Guide to Murder is a smart, gripping, and witty murder mystery ideal for fans of the Serial podcast. I'm not normally into mysteries (and I usually guess the twist!), but this one won me over with its frank, voicey narrator and the sheer intensity of her investigation; new layers and twists each chapter kept me on the edge of my seat. I finished this book on my phone at a party because I literally could not put it down! It’s even better on audio.” – Grace

A Bonus Pick For Your Coffee Table

Credit: @alyssarosenheck

The New Southern Style: The Interiors of a Lifestyle and Design Movement by Alyssa Rosenheck

“As a minimalist and a writer, I love coffee table books that showcase the world in clean, crisp images -- as well as feature stories that engage and delight my soul. Aside from the gorgeous crisp interiors and dynamic people interviewed within this beautiful coffee table book, Alyssa Rosenheck poured her soulful wisdom into the text. Not simply a book to admire, but one to read and digest as she eloquently reminds us that we are all creative -- and creativity connects us to ourselves and our community.” – Christine

Crushing on a book we’ve missed? Send it our way: hello@thequalityedit.com.

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