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Welcome to Quality Reads, a monthly rundown of our editors’ most loved reads.
Over the holidays, we binged plenty of books. Best of 2022, who? And armed with a newfound reading goal, and some gifted picks at the beginning of the year, we tore through our nonfiction, fiction, and coffee table picks with a gusto.
Get your shopping carts ready; we’re here to give you the best of the best books we’ve read and loved lately.
Keats: A Brief Life in Nine Poems and One Epitaph by Lucasta Miller
“When I read biographies, I really appreciate when there is an angle and it’s not just an info dump of the most scandalous parts of someone’s life. After you read a handful of celebrity biographies, you notice they all follow the exact same formula. When I came across this Keats biography in the poetry section of Sag Harbor Books, the owner highly recommended it because each chapter focuses on a single poem and uses that poem to illuminate part of Keats’ life. It turned out to be a great fusion of a regular biography and an annotated companion/reader of a book of his poetry – and it absolutely lived up to my expectations. I wish every book of poetry was structured like Miller’s biography of John Keats. It was such an immersive experience to read about the personal life of the poet and the details of composition after reading the work itself. Anyone who was forced to read Keats in school and associates ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’ with some out-of-touch professor bloviating about the Romantics should revisit the poet whose name was writ in water through Miller’s eyes. She makes his life (and poetry) accessible and delves into previous Keats scholarship with a critical eye.” — Sanibel Chai
Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr
“Perfect for Sunday afternoons, I love cracking open books that spin a web throughout history and transport you into each character's own take — one character's point of view in chapter 1, and then another's in chapter 2. I love historical fiction and how it can loosely touch historical elements, while still being light and enjoyable (and a page turner) to read! If you loved the Monuments Men movie, or have appreciation for pre-war European art (and the modern-day art scene), this book is an easy, semi-historical read.” — Alyssa Kluge
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
“I like books that make me think about life, as a whole, beyond my own little existence. I feel like Staub can be hit or miss, but this storyline was a 10 out of 10 for me. I laughed, I cried, I reflected...it was just perfect. If you're in the mood for a page-turner that's a sort of ‘13 Going on 30’ type of vibe, grab this book immediately.” — Kayleigh Moore
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
“When it comes to leisure reading, I love to look for books that overlap with what I'm currently feeling in my own life at that moment. My Google search history typically looks something like ‘Novel about a girl who moves away and pursues her dreams,’ ‘Book about being alone and away from home for the first time,’ ‘Story for those living in Brooklyn and making it work;’ you get the gist. I love to be transported into a fictitious world that mirrors my own life and find commonality with the characters included. From the author of Everything I Know About Love, Ghosts highlights the evolving relationships that we all have as we grow older and friends begin to settle down with their partners, move out of the city, have children, and seemingly begin to forget that their single friends exist. As the main character, Nina, navigates dating in her early thirties, she realizes that while you might not have the life you expected to have at 32, you can still look around and appreciate what you do have as time will always continue to go on. Cheeky, fun, and cute while still having the depth to make you think about what is truly important.” —Maura Jenkins
Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer
“I reconnected with reading during the pandemic, when I had lots of free time (and needed to escape from reality). I generally seek books with characters I can connect to, laugh and grow with, particularly LGBTQ+ works. The sequel to the Pulitzer prize winning Less, this book follows middle aged writer Arthur Less as he embarks on a journey through grief, love, and self discovery. And it's quite a compelling journey. As Less travels throughout the US attempting to escape from reality, he encounters a strange and unique America that provides plenty of new perspectives. A great read for anyone who finds themself at a crossroads and is looking for a humorous and heartfelt perspective on life. ” — Logan Sommers
Hello Grief: I'll Be Right With You by Alessandra Olanow
“I love books that offer a new perspective. In this case, one you can turn to time and again as it captures the emotional journey associated with loss and provides prose that leads to healing. Hello Grief deceivingly appears as a simple book of drawings and poems, but is in fact an illustrated exploration of grief that brilliantly captures the intimacy and depth of loss and heartache. The author, a former end of life doula who recently lost her mother, understands the notion of passing on better than most. Whether your loss is forever or short-term (like a breakup), she illustrates and articulates in a way that inspires - and ultimately leads to healing.” — Christine Morrison
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
“I love snappy, cinematic young adult reads that pull me out of myself, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of my go-to authors for doing so. She’s clever, her protagonists are always witty and hyper-independent (ideally with a skillset like hacking or rebuilding cars), and the twists are always phenomenal. The Naturals is like the book version of Criminal Minds, with a larger-than-life, crackling ensemble cast and a whip-smart mystery that keeps me flipping pages.” — Grace Smith
Is there another book we should bump up our list? Send it our way: email@example.com.