It’s like kind of a a cardinal rule of adulthood that you must have a collection of books collecting dust somewhere in your home, at all times. Even if you’re more into e-readers, you probably still at least occasionally hit up your local bookstore to add more tomes to your stack. And now that fall is here and it’s getting genuinely cold outside, it’s time to revisit your makeshift footstool full of good reads—because how else will you fill up your hygge schedule? A soak in the bath or a cuddle in front of the fireplace are both vastly improved with some new reading material (and a waterproof Kindle).
Well+Good HQ is filled with people who, in addition to podcast recommendations, can offer great book-selection advice. For starters, I’m currently rereading I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, the autobiography of seminal musician and punk icon Richard Hell. It’s a really beautiful and funny account of what was going on in New York City’s CBGB heyday. But, whether you’re looking for a dose of magical realism or humorous essays, the team has you covered.
See what we’re reading below.
“Lilac Girls was incredible! It’s a World War II book inspired by real events. It’s told from the point of view of three different women who are living in New York, Poland, and Germany and how their lives are each affected by the war. Their stories intertwine in crazy ways! It’s emotional, but an amazing read and opens your eyes to a whole part of WWII that most people aren’t familiar with.”
—Lauren Goldfaden, account executive
“I’m reading Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward and I love it. It’s kind of hard to describe, but it’s sort of like a Southern Gothic story through the point of view of a black 13-year-old boy. It has magical realism (ghosts!) but is very rooted in the real world. And it also has a lot of commentary about our prison system. In some ways it reminds me of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which I also loved.
“And right before this I read In Cold Bold by Truman Capote. A classic, but I’d never read it. I kind of have an obsession with reading about the reasons why people end up in the criminal justice system—and what we as a society deem is suitable as ‘just’ punishment—and, in a roundabout way, I feel like that’s what that book is actually about.”
—Eva Medoff, branded content editor
“I’m reading The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, which is her account of inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis while living in New York City. It’s an eloquent, beautifully written account of what it means to feel alone. I find it to be relatable to anyone, as loneliness is such a vulnerable, very human feeling and so eloquently described in the context of living in a big city.”
—Kristina Samulewski, executive assistant
“I just finished New People by Danzy Senna. It’s a fiction book about two biracial twentysomethings who are engaged and living in Brooklyn. To everyone around them, they represent this model couple of what the future of America can and should be. But inwardly, the main character, Maria, is unsure about their relationship and spends most of her time daydreaming about a poet who hardly even notices she’s alive. On the surface, it’s an entertaining read, but on a deeper level, it brings up interesting questions about race in America—no matter how progressive you think you are.”
—Emily Laurence, food and health editor
“I’m currently telling anyone who will listen to read Barbarian Days by William Finnegan. For non-surfers and surfers alike it’s a meditative and fascinating look at the culture/ spirit of the sport, growing up, and finding yourself while running around the world.”
—Ella Dove, video producer
“I just finished The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s about how habits are formed, how to recognize why a habit may exist, and how to change your habits. I think it’s a great read for anyone looking to eat one less cookie a day, start a morning workout routine, or just generally work on being a badass.”
—Ben Adams, client services manager
“I’ve been waiting for a new novel from Jennifer Egan since gobbling up A Visit from the Goon Squad in 2010. And I’ve been waiting—I thought in vain—for new Philip Pullman material since devouring the The Golden Compass and its sequels in middle school. Full disclosure: I haven’t started either yet. But they’re downloaded to my Kindle (Manhattan Beach and The Book of Dust, respectively), I have a chunky knit blanket on standby, and I’m ready for some quality hygge time this weekend.”
—Abbey Stone, senior editor
“I just read All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg, a really funny, cynical, and earnest novel about a woman trying to figure out what ‘adulthood’ means when you don’t get married or have kids. It’s emotional without being cheesy and just super on-the-nose in general.”
—Molly O’Brien, associate video producer
“I just finished Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. I loved it! I initially read it because I have been mildly obsessed with Africa since I traveled there last month. And also, I loved the author’s other book, The Paris Wife. Circling the Sun really shined the light on female empowerment. It’s a historical fiction book that takes place in colonial Kenya, but it really focuses on a woman ahead of her time, Beryl Markham, and how she defied stereotypes and society’s expectations of a woman’s role in the world to live the life she wanted on her own terms.”
—Casey Stadulis, senior account executive