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Stuff We Love

30 Books We Read in 2016 and Can't Stop Talking About

Stuff We Love BY erica + claire 12/28/2016

 

Any card-carrying member of our #ReadingThings book club—a staple of our A Few Things podcast—knows the Of a Kind crew is an open book when it comes to our love of books. In addition to the ones we raved about on-air—Euphoria, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, Foreign Affairs, Silver Sparrow, A Tale for the Time Being!—here are a few dozen that we totally wish we could read for the first time again.

 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Rifle Paper Co. edition) by Lewis Carroll

“If my four-year-old niece likes her shiny new copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—illustrated by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co.—half as much as I do, that gift was a win.” —Erica

 

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

“I flew through Jacqueline Woodson’s poetic novel during one holiday-weekend plane ride.” —Erica

 

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

After devouring the weirdness-in-a-small-town book Bone Gap, I decided that ‘magical realism’ might be for me.” —Erica

 

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

“It’s easy to get sucked into Born to Run, a very gripping (really!) book about ultrarunning that’s prooobably gonna be made into a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughey.” —Erica

 

Composing a Life by Mary Catherine Bateson

“This year I finally got around to picking up a classic: Composing a Life, a thought-provoking-in-the-best-way look at women’s lives from Mary Catherine Bateson (daughter of Margaret Mead!) feels way more relevant than it should, 27 years later.” —Claire

 

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

“This book, everybody—and if you don’t already sweat Ann Patchett hard, clearly you’ve never heard an interview with her.” —Erica

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

“Fangirling for Rainbow Rowell. You should probably just go ahead and read every book she's written—that's my plan.” —Erica

 

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankin

“I find myself constantly thinking—and talking—about Claudia Rankine's painful, powerful book. Don't be intimidated by its classification—I'm not a ‘poetry person’ either.” —Claire

 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

“I’m hoping that Colin Firth is ready to play Fitzwilliam Darcy when it comes time to turn Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld's highly entertaining modern redux of Pride & Prejudice, into a movie. Cause he's the only Mr. Darcy we want, right?” —Erica

 

Esprit: The Comprehensive Design Principle by Douglas Tompkins

“Putting this book on a list of ‘Things I'm Buying Myself When I'm Real Fancy.’” —Erica

 

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

“Thanks to Matthew Desmond’s gripping book, which follows eight families and two landlords grappling with the rental-housing realities in Milwaukee, I’m feeling so much more informed about cycles of poverty in American cities.” —Erica

 

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

“Ya had me at Serena Williams. (I mean, you always have me at Serena Williams.)” —Erica

 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

“I spent a week lugging Yaa Gyasi’s novel with me everywhere I went in case I had a free minute to crack it open. Worth the sore shoulder and then some.” —Claire

 

How To… by Michael Beirut

“Each of the chapters in designer Michael Beirut’s How To… book is worthy bedtime reading. The one on the 2000 election is a real winner.” —Claire

 

In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

“Grace Bonney’s epically motivating book In the Company of Women is perfect for poring over while sipping your morning coffee. Claire and I are the least impressive people featured in it—that’s a promise.” —Erica

 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

“Reading Bryan Stevenson’s *important* Just Mercy about capital punishment and our oh-so-flawed criminal justice system induces rage that sticks with you.” —Erica

 

Labor of Love by Moira Weigel

“There’s a lot to learn about the history of dating from the book Labor of Love. Such as: Didya know that in 1965 T.G.I. Friday’s was the first-ever straight singles bar, modeled after the gay bars in NYC’s West Village?” —Erica

 

Nicotine by Nell Zink

“I’m vowing to read any and all of the totally gripping, kind of nutty stuff that Nell Zink puts out there: Nicotine is her latest, but I still think about Mislaid.” —Erica

 

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam

“Rumaan Alam hits on something really real about female friendship—so plz don’t let the fact that he’s a dude dissuade you. Plus: You can read it in a day.” —Erica

 

Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle

“Via Simple Matters, I discovered how to fancify my shower timez with these DIYed aromatherapy tablets/bombs/melts/what-have-yous that I discovered.” —Erica

 

The New Better Off by Courtney Martin

“I’m still passing out copies of The New Better Off to friends, and not just because I'm dying to talk about it with anyone who will listen—it's an immensely useful and comprehensive consideration of the changing standards we're all holding ourselves to.” —Claire

 

The House at the Edge of the Night by Catherine Banner

“Drift off to a little island near Sicily with the help of The House at the Edge of the Night—it’s one of those novels best described as ‘transporting.’” —Erica

 

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth Mckenzie

“There’s so much to love about The Portable Veblen, a seriously delightful novel that (IMHO) joins a spate of recent works by women that prove romantic comedies can be equal parts whip-smart and satisfying.” —Claire

 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

“If you are resolving to start a new (or end an old) routine, I recommend The Power of Habit (especially part one). Erica's been preaching about it for years, and I finally got around to reading it.” —Claire

 

The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang

“Take a road trip with the family Wang: Jade Chang’s debut novel (which makes an appearance in our minimag, by the by!) does funny and heartfelt real well.” —Erica

 

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

“You’ll fall completely in love with Natasha and Daniel falling in love in The Sun Is Also a Star.” —Erica

 

The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas

“I dedicated a good amount of brain space to this sorta mystical, hunt-for-enlightenment, soap opera of a novel.” —Erica

 

The Unseen World by Liz Moore

“This awesome novel is about virtual reality, Alzheimer's, identity, and the experience of being a teenage girl.” —Erica

 

Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss

“There’s a lot to love about Molly Prentiss’s debut novel, but especially the descriptions of art.” —Erica

 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

“I spent a wet-eyed afternoon with When Breath Becomes Air and encourage you to do the same.” —Erica

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