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Welcome to Quality Reads, a monthly rundown of our editors’ most loved reads.
Ever been part of a book club? No? Whether you’re well-versed in nights of rosé and author analysis or the only paperbacks you own are for “the aesthetic,” the Editors have rounded up plenty of recommendations to encourage and challenge any type of reader. We’ve chatted in our clubs, prowled independent bookstores, and swapped reads all summer long. Discover the books we’re obsessed with for July in this month’s Quality Reads roundup.
“I am forever-fascinated by personal essay collections, as I strive to publish my own, especially those that tackle topics that hit close to home. Jessi Klein's humor is renowned, given that she's a showrunner for some fabulous TV and her first book a NYT best seller. In this second book, her raw honest take on motherhood and all of its trappings are presented with the depth and humor that makes you nod along (I highly suggest the audio version as Klein's voice is perfection in recounting her tale) as she parallels motherhood to that of a ‘hero's journey.’ You will laugh as well as cry while Klein recounts the battles that are not just external (diapers, sick kids, sleeplessness) but internal (reaching your limits, not fitting into any clothes post baby – literally and figuratively – and staying to do it all day after day with unconditional love).” – Christine
“I love getting insights into the lives and worlds of my favorite authors, as it adds a whole other layer to their fiction. I've always been a fan of Plath, and getting this rich context on what her life was like and how her experiences shaped her work has been illuminating. This is a beast of a book, but I'm finding so much that resonates with me on a personal level that it's a bit of a cold comfort. It's also interesting to see how Plath's work evolved over time and how different themes recurred over and over for her as she grew her skills as a writer.” – Kaleigh
“Nightcrawling is a beautifully written debut by 19-year-old Leila Mottley. It follows a young girl named Kiara who, forced into the position of supporting herself and her family, finds herself caught up in the streets. What begins as a temporary job becomes far bigger when Kiara's name surfaces in an investigation into a massive scandal within the Oakland Police department. Inspired by a true court case, the novel covers many of the most gut wrenching truths about this country – gentrification, the failure and corruption of our justice system, the prevalence of sexual assault and child trafficking, the cycle of poverty, how easily Black women are discarded and forgotten. But primarily, it's about how there are lives and communities behind these statistics; about Kiara's love for Oakland and the salt of the bay; about how even in the most unfathomably upsetting circumstances, Black girls find moments of joy, lightness, and love. It's really exciting to stumble upon such a powerfully talented young voice. I can't wait to see how far Mottley will go.” – Jordan
“I don't even know what my taste is anymore. I like reading smutty romance, chick lit, fantasy, and everything in between. Ultimately, I appreciate detail, a lack of assumed truths, and unpredictable storylines. Have you ever thought about how one decision impacted your entire life? For main character Jason Dessen, it was deciding to abandon a career to raise a family with his college girlfriend...but what would his life have been like had he chosen his career in quantum physics? This book is pinned as a psychological thriller and will have you questioning if there are infinite versions of yourself living out different realities.” – Kristen
“More than anything, I love good prose. I'm genre-agnostic as long as I feel I'm in capable, imaginative hands. Pride Month may have drawn to an end, but reading Alan Hollinghurst is an experience to be savored year-round. His books are unapologetically gay but steeped in British mores and manners as well – that electrifying tension between lust and restraint is always front and center. The Line of Beauty is considered by many to be his masterpiece, and the story of a young social climber navigating the moneyed world of his more privileged friends is whip-smart, sharply funny, and quietly devastating. The backdrop of Thatcher-era London, with the twin specters of conservatism and the AIDS crisis closing in, resonates against our own political climate more than ever. If you like your Jane Austen and Henry James but want a bit more sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, The Line of Beauty is your book.” – Ryan
“I didn't know about the 33 1/3 series until I was gifted the LCD Soundsystem one by Ryan Leas for my birthday a few weeks ago. I've since decided any book from the series makes the perfect gift. I've been an LCD fan for as long as I can remember, and my friend knew Sound of Silver was in my top ten albums of all time (I'd sent him a playlist months back). While reading and learning about James Murphy's life and intent behind the iconic album, I could practically hear ‘All My Friends’ and ‘Us Vs. Them’ ringing in my ears. The books are short, about 100 pages each, and walk you through the history, impact, and analysis of the greatest albums of all time. And with installments ranging from Pink Floyd's ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ to Joni Mitchell's ‘Court and Spark,’ there's something for everyone.” – Tatiana
“Instead of being another ‘productivity hack’ book, Four Thousand Weeks actually analyzes the social history of time management — why we’re all obsessed with how best to use our limited hours. In the vein of all my favorite books, this deeply researched yet accessible read incorporates psychology, history, philosophy, and more to create a compelling interdisciplinary portrait. Considering the subject matter, it also pulls in labor research and tech to dissect how we treat ‘time’ as a society and how those philosophies have reverberated into other aspects of our culture. The book is extremely engaging and fascinating (not dry at all) thanks to its relevance and witty style. It doesn’t demonize our workaholic nature but instead contains a lot of startlingly accurate insights and reflections that give me a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the influences affecting my ultimate standard of living and how I spend my day to day.” – Grace
Is there another book we should bump up our list? Send it our way: firstname.lastname@example.org.