The Magic Of Story
Books allow us to escape to another reality, to enter into someone else’s story. Narratives invite us to reflect on and consider the roles we play in the world. Whether we’re moved or entertained, brought to tears or changed for the better, books can help and heal, especially in seasons of uncertainty.
That’s why, as we continue spending our time at home and practicing social distancing, we’re looking to our bookshelves for familiar comfort and company. Because—apart from needing entertainment and help to pass the time—there are only so many hours of Tiger King a person can watch, you know?
Here are a few of our team favorites to keep you company this spring. We’d love to hear your book recommendations in the comments below! 🌸
1. Alyssa’s Pick: Call Me By Your Name
Author | André Aciman
Recommended By | Alyssa, Social Media Lead
Aciman’s “Call Me By Your Name” beautifully depicts falling into all-consuming, obsessive love for the first time. A queer love story set in the Italian Riviera, CMBYN seems to transcend sexuality, reflecting on feelings of lust, obsession, fear, and (ultimately) loss, as we see a life-punctuating moment unfold between two characters.
Alyssa’s Review | “CMBYN is the quintessential summer romance book—and my obsession with it has nothing to do with my intense crush on Timothée Chalamet or the fact that I could quote the entire movie.
This book is sexy, plain and simple. It beautifully explains the subtlety of an intimate connection. It’s a story that transcends sexuality and allows us to re-experience something I’m sure we’ve all felt before: love.”
Price | $17, or less secondhand
2. AmyAnn’s Pick: Long Bright River
Author | Liz Moore
Recommended By | AmyAnn Cadwell, CEO & Co-Founder
Set in a Philadelphia neighborhood marred by the opioid crisis, “Long Bright River” is a gripping story of sisterhood and bravery. The story follows Mickey Fitzpatrick, a police officer, and her younger sister Kacey, a long time addict, as they fight together for survival and belonging.
AmyAnn’s Review | “It is not light reading—this book is suspenseful and serious, but I was captivated to the end.”
Price | $26, or less secondhand
3. Danielle’s Pick: More Than Enough
Author | Elaine Welteroth
Recommended By | Danielle, Fact Checker
Welteroth’s memoir details her trajectory to becoming the first Black beauty editor—and then youngest editor-in-chief—in the 107-year history of global media conglomerate Condé Nast. In her recollection, she strips the alluring, perceived perfection from those shiny titles and instead tells truthfully what she endured and overcame to reach those heights.
Anecdotes include office politics and physical burn-out, personal heartbreak and betrayal, “imposter syndrome” and feelings of otherness, and more. Part manifesto, Welteroth strives to leave what she calls “sign posts” for future leaders on how to claim their much-deserved space.
Danielle’s Review | “As a fellow biracial girl who, too, feels ‘less than’ in some circles and ‘too much’ in others, who straightened her curly hair for years before learning how to embrace it, who followed her dreams to embark upon a career in magazine journalism despite fears that others would consider it “fluff,” and who even headed to the same college as her high school sweetheart(!), Welteroth’s beginnings sounded eerily similar and left me looking at the pages, like, ‘Is…is this about me?’ It’s such an honest, insightful, and encouraging take on being true to yourself.”
Price | $26, or less secondhand
4. Emily’s Pick: On Beauty
Author | Zadie Smith
Recommended By | Emily, Managing Editor
Following the story of two families, “On Beauty” explores the intricacies of family relationships, professional conflicts, and race and identity. Howard Belsey, a liberal, atheist professor living near Boston, sees his son head abroad to intern with Monty Kipps—Howard’s conservative, Christian professional nemesis. The families are intertwined through their children, their professional pursuits, and eventually, through their community as the two men begin to work at the same university.
Emily’s Review | "Zadie Smith paints her characters and the world around them so beautifully, almost as if the novel were a stage production. This is a book that is easy to get lost in, and I’m absorbed in the dynamics of a family facing grief and upheaval. I’m halfway through this 400+ page book, and I look forward to spending more time with Kiki and the rest of the characters each night before I tuck into bed.”
Price | $18, or less secondhand
5. Kayti’s Pick: There I Am
Author | Ruthie Lindsey
Recommended By | Kayti Christian, Editor
When she was seventeen, Ruthie Lindsey was in a car accident that left her with a one percent chance of ever walking again. But after a miraculous spinal cord fusion, she was seemingly healed, walking right out of the hospital and back into her normal, southern life. Pain chased her out those doors, though. In the years that followed, she turned to pain management prescriptions just to survive.
Lindsey’s debut memoir sweeps readers away with stories about her southern childhood, the accident that nearly killed her, and the long road to healing that eventually followed. With moving lyricism and unparalleled vulnerability, her story is certain to impact many.
Kayti’s Review | “I’ve been waiting for Ruthie Lindsey to write a book since I first began following her on Instagram. Even on the internet, she radiates warmth and light, and she has a way of making everyone feel like their story matters. And what a gift this book is. I couldn’t put it down, and I couldn’t stop crying. Lindsey teaches us what it means to truly live—and her poetic prose is such a wonderful bonus.”
Price | $26, or less secondhand
*available for pre-order. Publishes April 21, 2020
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Kayti Christian (she/her) is an Editor at The Good Trade. Growing up beneath the evergreens in the Sierra Nevadas, she returns to California after a decade split between states—including three years lived abroad. With an MA in Nonfiction Writing, she’s passionate about storytelling and fantastic content, especially as it relates to mental health, feminism, and sexuality. When not in-studio, she’s camping, reading memoir, or advocating for the Oxford comma.