9 Books that Goodreads Editors Highly Recommend

Posted by Danny on May 29, 2020
Let's talk books, shall we? As you can imagine, Goodreads editors are voracious readers and there's nothing we like more than talking shop. Seriously, we do it all. the. time. In Slack channels, in emails, and—when the world isn't upside down—in person too. While our individual tastes vary, there's usually a little crossover.

For example, Cybil and I agree that The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires is one of the best books of the year, while Sharon finds it just a wee bit scary (don't worry, she's powering through). Dive in below to see a few of our other recent favorites—from debuts like How Much of These Hills is Gold and comfort reads like Wow, No Thank You to classics like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

Which editor's reading recommendations pique your interest the most? Tell us in the comments so that one of us can have bragging rights.
 

Danny Feekes, Managing Editor


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"Hello, my name is Danny and I am a Samantha Irby fanatic. I simply inhale Irby's books and Wow, No Thank You was no exception. In fact, I found it to be her most readable and relatable book yet. Follow Irby as she quits her job at a veterinary clinic, moves to a small town with her wife, and lands a writing gig for the Hulu show Shrill (based on Lindy West's book of the same name), all while dealing with her hilarious (and hilariously awful) IBS."


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"Nina Renata Aron's scorching memoir destroyed this man's soul and earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf. I've read a lot of amazing addiction memoirs throughout the years (from Beautiful Boy to Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man), but Aron's was the first literary book I've ever read about addiction's ugly stepsister: codependency. I'm recommending this book to everyone I know, but especially to those of us who have ever loved someone afflicted with addiction."
 


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"My best friend and I were supposed to see the broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? this summer and were bummed that our plans fell through due to the current crisis. So, we did the next best thing: we recruited two more friends and did a weekly Zoom reading (all in full vintage costumes, and—if the role required it—drag). We had a hoot boozing it up as George, Martha, Nick, and Honey. We had so much fun that we're carrying on the weekly tradition. Next up? The Glass Menagerie."


Cybil Wallace, Senior Editor


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"Did I think this book was going to be for me? Nope. Was I very wrong? Oh, yes. I went from saying 'Isn't this the guy who wrote the haunted IKEA book?' to cornering co-workers to tell them about this funny, scary, gory, dare-I-say feminist novel. Hendrix has said that he wanted to write a book that pitted his mom against Dracula, and, well, bloodsuckers better watch out." 
 


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"As we do our best to stay at home, I just want to read books where the characters also aren't going anywhere. This stunning, literary gothic debut scratched that itch. At a secluded private school, students are given a free education and are all but assured illustrious futures, but secrets, creepy ceremonies, and disappearances abound in the halls of Catherine House."


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"People keep asking me for an uplifting, feel-good read. And this new debut is the first book that comes to mind for readers seeking a sweet and compelling story that takes us out of the present moment. Jenner creates a charming English village that has just seen the end of World War Two. Here an unlikely group of villagers (and a movie star) join forces to protect the town's Jane Austen legacy, and maybe find their own happily ever afters in the process."
 


Sharon Hsu, Associate Editor


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"I've been recommending this book to literally (really!) everyone I know. C Pam Zhang's debut is an exhilarating and heartbreaking reimagination of the American West, told from a perspective that has so often been erased from the history of the California Gold Rush. Part family saga, part adventure tale, part immigration story, it's also at its core a novel about the unbreakable bond between siblings. Is it going too far to predict that this might be the best book I read all year?"     


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"I'm a sucker for a super smart, highly focused book of essays, and this collection did not disappoint. Kisner has her finger firmly on the pulse of modern American life, and she masterfully weaves her own experiences into incisive reporting on topics as wide-ranging as experimental neurosurgery, evangelicals who go clubbing for converts, forensic pathology, and the strange ritual of a Martha Washington debutante ball in Laredo, Texas. I started Thin Places on a plane (remember those?) and almost wanted the flight to last longer so I could keep reading."


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"There are many types of readers in the world, but when it comes to current events, I think you can safely divide us into two camps: those who want to read pandemic books and those who won't go near them with a ten-foot pole. Well, count me in the former group. I picked up Station Eleven right at the beginning of quarantine, which may have been a terrible idea, but I actually found the story oddly comforting. Yes, the premise is a bit Too Real at the moment, but the novel is also really full of hope and humankindness. And couldn't we all use more of those two things right now?"



Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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message 1: by Ghulam (new)

Ghulam Mujtaba Great book and I will be there at all


message 2: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle I’ll be reading the Jane Austen Society and Destroyer of my soul. Thanks GR.


message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim When any editor/reviewer/critic uses the term "finger on the pulse of American life" I cringe. A lot. When will people realize there is no such thing, or, at the very least, there are ever too many such things to try coalescing them into a singular beat? Sadly, the phrase often signals white authorship, and I hardly need another one of those telling me their opinion on, well, anything, to be honest, considering the current state of the world.


message 5: by Abdul Jalal (new)

Abdul Jalal I'll look for all of em.


message 6: by Brigid (new)

Brigid Jim wrote: "Sadly, the phrase often signals white authorship."

I'm sure that Sharon Hsu appreciates this treatise on her racial identity.

I don't disagree with your point on American identities, but maybe check your sources before you share your assumptions?


message 7: by Valerie (new)

Valerie I picked 4. I loved the idea of reading Virginia Wolff over Zoom in period costume. Anyone else in?

Vampires and Jane Austin also sound intriguing.

I have watched two of the PBS series regarding Asian Americans and want to know more, so Hsu book is now on my shelves.


message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim Brigid wrote: "Jim wrote: "Sadly, the phrase often signals white authorship."

I'm sure that Sharon Hsu appreciates this treatise on her racial identity.

I don't disagree with your point on American identities,..."

Um, "often" is not "always", maybe check your dictionary?
What I wrote was in no way an assumption about the author/editor. I don't presume to know how she identifies, as it is none of my business and she has no responsibility to provide that information, to anyone.


message 9: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Jim wrote: "Brigid wrote: "Jim wrote: "Sadly, the phrase often signals white authorship."

I'm sure that Sharon Hsu appreciates this treatise on her racial identity.

I don't disagree with your point on Ameri..."


Why make the comment at all then?


message 10: by Vibhor (last edited May 29, 2020 09:02AM) (new)

Vibhor Gautam Me-
Want to read: The Jane Austen Society
To Buy: The Jane Austen Society
TBR: The Jane Austen Society
Everyone- Sure
I am so happy I read this article I found a book I will love to read. Even though there is a lot on my plate. :p

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner


message 11: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Can't wait to read Catherine House and Southern Book Club!


message 12: by Jan (new)

Jan Bull I'm about 2 years behind on my reading list and it just got longer. Will have to get the books and put them on the "Read Sooner" shelf.


message 13: by Emily (new)

Emily Carter-Dunn I am definitely in the 'read pandemic books' camp. Picked up Station Eleven as soon as it was starting to pick up in the UK.


message 14: by Jennie (new)

Jennie Danny!!! I am utterly obsessed with Samantha Irby as well! I just finished reading Wow, No Thank You. the other day and it did not disappoint.
I'm sure I can't be the first person to say this, but if I had to choose a book title to describe the year of absolute ______ that is 2020, hands down, it would be: "WOW, NO THANK YOU."


message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Is there a Goodreads running list of the “most read/rated” books?


message 16: by Denise (new)

Denise Ok, I have so many TBRs! Now I have more! 2 from Danny & Sharon’s lists and 1 from Cybil’s! I might as well just sit in my chair and do nothing but read the rest of 2020! 😁


message 17: by Mairy (new)

Mairy I read The Jane Austen Society and loved it!! Gave it a 5-star. Catherine House was great too, though I have to warn you that this is a rather slow read which personally did not bother me at all because I enjoyed the atmosphere and mystery throughout the book, but if you like action and fast-paced plots, this one is not for you. I also cannot wait to the read the Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires :-D


message 18: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle Vibhor wrote: "Me-
Want to read: The Jane Austen Society
To Buy: The Jane Austen Society
TBR: The Jane Austen Society
Everyone- Sure
I am so happy I read this article I found a book I will love to read. Even thou..."

Me too on both


message 19: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle Mairy wrote: "I read The Jane Austen Society and loved it!! Gave it a 5-star. Catherine House was great too, though I have to warn you that this is a rather slow read which personally did not bother me at all be..."

Thank you. Can’t wait to read TJAS


message 20: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Jim wrote: "When any editor/reviewer/critic uses the term "finger on the pulse of American life" I cringe. A lot. When will people realize there is no such thing, or, at the very least, there are ever too many..."

Oh gosh, you are so right, Jim.


message 21: by Marcos (new)

Marcos García Mateo I am really interested in The southern book club, actually.
Sounds like a lot of fun.


message 22: by Bharati Joshi (new)

Bharati Joshi I will read How Much of These Hills Is Gold and The Jane Austen Society. All recommendations are well written; that we are able to make choices based on the resonance created, attests to that. Kudos to all editors.


message 23: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Blaeser The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires is patently ANTI-feminist. It is incredibly sexist and embarrassing how all the female characters seem to live and die by their controlling husband's words. Just because this book is about female friendships doesn't make it a feminist book. When push comes to shove they obey their husbands and ignore their friend's pleas for help.

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires


message 24: by Susanne (new)

Susanne Gulde You talked me into The Southern Book Club's Guide when I saw you on The Bookreporter YouTube channel, chatting with Carol.


message 25: by Ryan (last edited Jun 17, 2020 01:32PM) (new)

Ryan I've heard Thin Places: Essays from In Between is quite good. A friend of mine recommended to me some days back, so I might give it a look once a copy is obtained. As for the rest on the list, I'll pass for now but with thanks regardless.


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