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Welcome to Quality Reads, a monthly rundown of our editors’ most loved reads.
This month, our editors have been delving into their TBRs (to-be-read lists, for those of you not yet in the know). Lengthening days and the beach vacays lend themselves to playing catch up – in our case, on the book club picks and the must-reads that never quite made it to the top. Read on to find the hidden gems you should actually prioritize.
“I like books that get inside people's heads. I kind of have the urge to be everyone's therapist and get to the bottom of why people act the way they do. And yes! I'm a Scorpio. Double. I recently stumbled upon a copy of Fates and Furies and picked it up, only expecting to get a bit of the way through (it's 400+ pages). Boy, was I wrong. It's an incredibly intimate, complex tale of a twenty-year marriage. Aside from the 90s/aughts references that keep you grounded in time, it reads like an epic Greek tragedy. It's heartwarming, heartbreaking, and incredibly horny – all at once, all throughout. The first half is from the husband's perspective, and the second half is from the wife's. And there are twists and turns up until the very last page. No short description of this book can come close to doing it justice, but this thing had me canceling all plans and losing sleep. I've gotten most of my friends (and my mother!) hooked as well.” – Jordan
“I love a strong female narrator with a whip-smart analysis of life and the people around her. A husband and wife in middle-to-late age grapple with fear, sex, power, and obsession. This smart female narrator walks us through the spirals of her mind after finding out her husband has come under fire for relationships with several of his former students (college age, which the wife knew about), but things are getting trickier as people act differently toward them both on campus post-allegations. She finds someone new to latch onto as a romantic interest, and things start to get very hairy.” – Kaleigh
PSA: Readers should know this book contains scenes of sexual assault, rape, abuse.
“Wonderfully written blending past and present, The Paper Palace is a place where families grow and dark secrets are created. One summer night, a long-desired encounter takes place between Elle and someone from her past, and now she must choose: does she go on with the life she always envisioned or does she follow her heart. Through each part in the story, readers follow Elle's perspective over the course of fifty years, from childhood to adulthood, and see how significant relationships develop. A perfect beach read!” – Laura
“Around summertime, I curate a collection of lighthearted beach reads to devour in the sunshine. However, in YA contemporary, I’m picky. I need a fresh take rather than cliché. Tonally, I also tend towards the bittersweet and the feel-good. I regularly call author Emma Mills the ‘Ted Lasso of young adult fiction.’ Her characters are kind and wholesome without being cloying, and they tackle realistic (and sometimes heavy) life events. The stakes are often intimate, but have a way of consuming you. Her humor is witty and uplifting, with satisfying one-liners and banter from an always-phenomenal ensemble cast. Set against the backdrop of A Midsummer Night's Dream (and the resulting hijinks from a bunch of theater kids), Foolish Hearts navigates gentle romance and tender friendships with a passionate and hopeful voice.” – Grace
“I gravitate towards books centered around identity. These can take very different forms, but are often—even though fictional—grounded in historical and societal reality. I am admittedly always late to the game on books that take the world by storm, and this is no exception. I've had There There on my bookshelf for a couple of years now (still well after its release date in 2018), and finally got around to picking it up this month. The many stories take place in Oakland, and are all centered around indigeneous history and identity. An incredibly gutting and important read, it faces the idea of belonging head on—what does it mean to live on a land that is rightfully yours, but that has been stolen for generations? How do you hold on to identity and culture when the very traditions that instill them are ripped away from you? Poetic, moving, thought-provoking–a must read.” – Tatiana
“Beautifully written, City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte is a phenomenal story of history, love and mysteries in both the past and present. Following the protagonist Sarah Weston as she navigates a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts. Soon after arriving, she learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. As Sarah seeks to uncover more about the unsolved case, she stumbles upon a mystery of the past. In seeking answers, Sarah's new life in Prague becomes immensely more dangerous.” – Sarah
“I read this one for book club and ended up really enjoying it! Working in the tech space for the last three years has continued to fuel my acute awareness of gender disparities that exist in the workplace. This book provided me with some answers to the question of why our world is still this way with data to back it. Further, it provides insight into areas of life that we might not think of as having bias, such as healthcare, public policy, and education. Invisible Women is quite a fact-heavy book, but the amount of stats is critical to the message it conveys. The author is serious in her tone and uses her voice to uplift and provide tangible solutions for the world, so you end feeling hopeful and ready to take action for what can be.” – Dana
“This detailed tome is designed to educate and empower mothers. Created by Hope Smith, a trained doula and the founder of Mutha beauty products (organic must haves), this book beautifully breaks down the journey from "Deciding to Try" through "The Newborn Phase" offering wellness strategies and natural remedies for health along the way. While the wisdom and the accompanying products (Body Butter and Body Oil) are nurturing, it's positively heartwarming to know book profits are donated to promote maternal health and well-being.” – Christine
Is there another book we should bump up our list? Send it our way: firstname.lastname@example.org.