Curated Reading Recommendations from Beloved Authors

Posted by Sharon on April 13, 2020

Have more reading time these days, but don't know where to begin?

We're here to help! We've asked some of your favorite authors to suggest a list of books on a variety of topics to suit every mood. So whether you need a good laugh, a good cry, or an absorbing story to make you put down your phone, take a peek at their recommendations linked above each author's latest book.

We'll be updating this page occasionally, so don't forget to check back now and then for even more reading lists!

Min Jin Lee's Meaningful Memoirs, Essays, and Nonfiction Picks

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Min Jin Lee
Author of Pachinko
"Call them memoirs, personal essays, narrative nonfiction, what have you. No matter. This sort of imaginative and intellectual writing takes what was baffling, harmful, exceptional, and, or terrifying and gives us meaning. When we get to the other side of this pandemic and begin to assess the wreckage of our worlds, I hope the following writers will continue to give us their clarity, fineness of purpose, and elegant insights. I trust that you will enjoy these."

Glennon Doyle's Books for Challenging Times

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"For me, life itself is a challenging time requiring extra comfort. While many folks seem to find that comfort in other humans, that doesn’t always work for me. I am a deeply sensitive, raging introvert which means that I am wildly in love with humanity, but actual humans are tricky for me. Thank God, when I was five years old, I discovered books. Books were, and still are, the way I learn about myself and other people without having to deal with...other people. Here are the books that bring me comfort during challenging times."

Elizabeth Gilbert's Books to Remind Us of Our Strength

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"In these uncertain days, it’s easy for us to be carried away by our fear into realms of panic, anxiety, and helplessness. At such times, it might be useful to dive into a book that reminds us of how strong human beings can be — both as individuals and as a collective. Here is a selection of books that I have chosen — novels, memoirs, biographies, non-fiction masterpieces and helpful guides — that have inspired me over the years into a place of greater courage in my own soul, as well restoring my confidence in humanity as a whole."

Casey McQuiston Picks Swoonworthy Love Stories

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"Let's be real: pandemic days are long and hard, and sometimes it feels like they're only getting longer and harder. Whether you're maxing out the number of hours you can tend to your turnips in Animal Crossing, drowning in homeschooling for your kids, hustling to make ends meet, or clocking in as an essential worker, it can be nice to disappear into a love story. Maybe I'm biased though—after all, it's obviously my own favorite form of escapism. I've put together a list of fifteen love stories I love....No matter your flavor, there's a swoon out there for you."

Celeste Ng's Books to Break Down Stereotypes

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"To fight the spread of anti-Asian and anti-Chinese sentiment, try these recent novels (and one very readable nonfiction history). They'll give you a glimpse of the many facets of Chinese American and Chinese Canadian experience, beyond the scapegoating currently happening now. And they'll whisk you into immersive, moving experiences that are much more than just Chinese-diaspora: they're human."

Emma Straub's Dramas to Forget Your Own Troubles

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"Right now, when life is so full of high-stakes, soul-crushing drama and heartbreak, it feels great to read a book that is immersive and filled with its own dramas, which have nothing to do with yours, or with the world outside. Here are a few books with plots and characters that will make you temporarily escape your apartment/family/fear."

Sue Monk Kidd's Novels That Make History Personal

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"If you peruse my book shelves, you will find an abundance of historical fiction. I love to read it almost as much as I love to write it....[Toni Morrison once said] 'I wanted to translate the historical into the personal.' These words made a deep impression on me. I realized that when historical fiction takes me into the intimate spaces of a character’s mind and heart, showing me what that time and place felt like, not just how it looked, that’s when the novel comes alive for me. The novels I’ve chosen are among my favorite, largely because of the ways they have translated the historical into the personal."

Olivia Laing's Books for Lonely Lockdown Days

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"Sometimes loneliness can feel like a prison, but it also has hidden gifts. In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary that she thought loneliness might allow her to experience 'the singing of the real world.' I love that idea and my own experience with loneliness has borne it out. Here are twelve books about lonely people of many different kinds, tormented by difference, isolated by social forces, but still longing to communicate and connect. We are living through a frightening moment. We can’t touch each other, but we can read. These are books to show you that even in the deepest loneliness you are not alone."

Lori Gottlieb's Books to Boost Mental Health

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"As an author who also happens to be a therapist, I love to 'prescribe' books to my patients that I think will hold up a mirror to them and help through their struggles. We even have a term for this: bibliotherapy....In Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, I share four patients' stories (well, five patients, if you count me!) because I've always felt that other people's stories hold up a mirror to our own, revealing the universality of our experiences. Seeing ourselves on the page makes us 'feel felt': I am seen. I am understood. I am human. Here are some of my favorite 'prescriptions' that do just that."

James Patterson Recommends His Favorite Thrillers

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"There has quite possibly never been a better time to stay home and read....And there’s nothing better than a good thriller to transport readers to a different place—and most importantly, keep them turning the pages. Sure, there are crimes galore in these books, but a good mystery is about so much more than a murder. It needs to be packed with interesting characters and surprising twists if it’s going to get me hooked. If you are craving a few more fictional thrills and suspense in your day-to-day, I’ve got a few of my favorites to get you started (and this is the short list)!"

Jenny Han's Books That Play with Time

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"Time moves differently when I’m reading. I can get so lost in the page, I have no idea how much time has passed. These books play with time in different ways—they might pull you back and forth in time, or plant you in a place and time very different than your own, which is exactly what I need from a book right now. The books on this list are a welcome diversion and a source of comfort for me. I hope they are for you too!"

Florence Williams' Books to Transport You to Nature

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"For those of us who love nature, exploration, and adventure, these are tough times. Fortunately, there are many great books to transport us into wild, open spaces. More than ever, we need to conjure these landscapes, to lose ourselves in them imaginatively, to vicariously experience the freedom and wonder and resilience of the natural world. Here are some books that can help remind us of the healing power of wild places."

Jodi Picoult's Fantasy Picks to Make This Lockdown Feel Less Dystopian

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"Let’s face it, things are strange now. The world doesn’t look the way it did a month ago, and it will have lasting changes as a result of this pandemic. It’s hard to focus in a time that doesn’t make sense, which is why I’ve found it easier to lose myself in fantasy these days—full of characters and situations that are meant to be magical, challenging, and stuffed with characters who struggle against the odds and succeed."

Roman Dial's Adventure Books for Those Stuck at Home

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"Adventure books serve so many purposes to us readers. The good ones excite and educate us, inform us and warn us of the hazards and dangers. The best ones take us on an insightful journey of discovery, keeping us close, exhilarated but safe. My favorite time to read an adventure book is when I’m on my way to one myself—or when freshly home, and it's time to write. This list, in no particular order but organized roughly by theme, comes from books shelved at home, where some titles are currently missing, on loan to other adventurers."

Lydia Millet Picks Fiction to Make You Laugh

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"In this time of plague, those of us not afflicted with the illness and, due to a lack of medical expertise or other essential skills, not toiling painfully on the battleground against it either, suffer instead a lesser torment: long periods of boredom. Punctuated mostly by frustration. Also work, for some. Tedious household tasks. Unwashed Zooming preceded by frantic three-minute flurries of facial and/or hair grooming. Plus the odd spike of virus fear, job anxiety, interpersonal friction, useless longing for absent friends or pleasures, or sudden grief....Some people may argue this isn’t the time for levity. Those people, like so many others before them, are wrong. It’s always a time for levity."

Rachael Lippincott's Books for Feeling Connected

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"I think there’s a certain kind of magic in human connection, and its ability to transcend the barriers of time, space, and distance. Even when we can’t be physically close to the people we love and care about, whether it’s because of social distancing during a pandemic, or because they live half a world away, we do everything in our power to still feel close to them. Here are a few books that show that, whether it be through handwritten letters, group chats with close friends, or a pair of jeans (that magically fit ONE girl, let alone FOUR)."

Reginald Dwayne Betts' Books to Go with Whisky or Water

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"It’s a cliché: The invention of loneliness made books relevant. But, cell in the hole in prison hipped me to poems. Their range–the way that they could make me understand a world, a whole world, in a matter of lines. And right now ain’t nothing new, in a way. The poems have always, in my head, been about figuring out how to come to grips with the chaos and the reckoning. These books here are no different. Old friends and new company....Because, truly, who is a better companion to sorrow than a beloved book? These are a few of mine."

Karen Abbott Picks Dark Nonfiction Books

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"When the world takes an unsettling turn, my instinct is to seek not optimism and light, but to venture further into the darkness. There is a comfort in finding and dissecting the worst of humanity; if we can understand our wicked instincts, they lose their power. I’ve also long been drawn to themes of self-creation and reinvention; when tragedy strikes, who are we on the other side? And how much control do we have over our own stories? Here are the books that explore those dark corners and timeless questions, and provide solace in the search for answers."

Debbie Macomber's Comforting Reads

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"Right now, life is filled with many unknowns and uncertainties. We are all facing emotions of fear, anxiety, and isolation. I am turning to books as an escape and find that I am wanting to read books that bring me a sense of comfort in some way, shape, or form."

Elisabeth Thomas' Books That Take Sheltering in Place Too Far

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"These days, many of us are spending a lot of time at home. And as the hours pass, we discover that our homes have lives of their own. They creak and moan, settle and breathe. Damaged wallpaper exposes a hidden mural; a pulled-up carpet reveals a mysterious cellar door. Here are twelve novels of in which a house is itself a character. Some of the houses are deliciously decadent spaces, others rotted into gothic decay. All have powerful grips on the characters’ lives. I hope you enjoy!"

Angie Kim Picks Riveting Courtroom Dramas

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"These days, when everything seems surreal and I find myself reading endless news articles that have me questioning notions of fairness, I’m craving great books that can help me to both escape and think about these issues. Great courtroom dramas can do just that, not only with a strong mystery element to hook readers in (a prerequisite for me right now!) and fun trial theatrics to heighten suspense, but that something more...Here is my selection of page-turning courtroom dramas that explore the nature of memories, perception, and truth, and, in the process, help us to think about the meaning of justice."

Christopher Moore's Books to Put a Smile Behind Your N-95 Mask

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"If you’re like me, you need a laugh or two to distract you from the waves of bad news, grim statistics, worry about supplies, so here are a few titles to give you a few grins while you wait out the COVID19 crisis. Some are classics you may have missed, or thought might be grim, some are newer books from authors you may not have heard of, and some I’ve just put in for grins. Cannery Row is my favorite novel of all time, and Sweet Thursday, the sequel, is right on its heels."

E.J. Koh's Picks to Celebrate Asian American Voices

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"I am excited to share this list of new fiction, non-fiction, memoir, graphic novel, and poetry by Asian authors. Not a complete list, but it may serve as a path to discover other books. And though under a single list, I am bowed by the multitudinous voices here, each one unique—never to be neatly contained or simply described....I invite you to reach out to the authors of those books you might hold close during these times. Words, as I have come to love them, travel the distance we cannot."

Beatriz Williams' Inspiring Historical Heroines

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"It seems to me that historical fiction and biography make for the ultimate comfort reads in these unsettled times, because there’s nothing like historical perspective to bring home the humbling realization that our current troubles are, in fact, a piece of cake compared to the famine, disease, war, and pestilence experienced by our forebears. They even got by without toilet paper! And boneless chicken breasts! We can do this....In no particular order, both real and imagined, chosen from an eclectic variety of sources and time periods, here are a dozen historical heroines to inspire and entertain you."

Tell us which books from these lists catch your eye, in the comments below. 

Looking for more reading recommendations? Check out our recent articles, including:
Goodreads Members Suggest: Favorite Comfort Reads
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Goodreads Employees Recommend Their Favorite Mysteries

Comments Showing 1-50 of 182 (182 new)

message 2: by nidhi :) (last edited Apr 13, 2020 04:21AM) (new)

message 3: by Stuthi (new)

message 4: by Rheo (new)

Rheo The student prince by FayJay!!

message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie This is wonderful, thank you!

message 6: by Saleha (last edited Apr 13, 2020 06:29AM) (new)

Saleha Aziz The Pearl that broke its shell and a house without windows by Nadia Hashimi.

message 7: by Tanya (new)

Tanya You seem to always push the same few handfuls of authors over and over.

message 8: by Jia ♥ (new)

 Jia ♥ Felon, The Nature Fix and All adults here.

message 9: by Olayinka (new)

Olayinka The ghost of Eden park

message 10: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Dailey I love the comments on these things, it's just people shouting their favorite books at each other. Honestly, I found my tribe.

message 11: by Brigid (new)

Brigid Stuthi wrote: "The Sun Is Also a Star!!!!!!!!!!!"

Yes. This one is so so good.

message 12: by Richard (new)

Richard Tanya wrote: "You seem to always push the same few handfuls of authors over and over."

It's rather funny, because I caught that drift as well.

message 14: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 13, 2020 11:10AM) (new)

I find this list to be almost fraudulent. The criteria for this list states "We've asked some of your favorite authors" BUT not one of the authors listed is a favourite author of mine AND not one of my favourite authors is listed. In fact the only author listed who's work I have even read is James Patterson and I am not a huge fan of his books. Perhaps the criteria should read "We've asked some of OUR favorite authors"

message 15: by nat (new)

nat Philip wrote: "I find this list to be almost fraudulent. The criteria for this list states "We've asked some of your favorite authors" BUT not one of the authors listed is a favourite author of mine AND not one o..."

It's obviously not going to be curated to you. It's just popular authors lmao

message 16: by Yair (new)

Yair Zumaeta Acero The Stand by Stephen King.... is all that you need....

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

faith ✨ wrote: It's obviously not going to be curated to you. It's just popular authors lmao

You're right and I agree with that except that is not my point. My point is that Sharon shouldn't be telling the world that that these are MY favourite authors (or your favourite authors, either) but that they are HER favourite authors and since she is using the Royal WE she should have written "These are a few of OUR favourite authors"

message 18: by Amal (new)

Amal T.R. wrote: "I love the comments on these things, it's just people shouting their favorite books at each other. Honestly, I found my tribe."

Me toooooo

message 19: by Mardi (new)

Mardi D None of these are by favourite authors of mine. And unfortunately none of the titles presented appeals to me.

message 20: by Kristina (new)

Kristina Red, White & Royal Blue is a must read for those who haven't read yet. That book is amazing!

message 21: by Arlette (new)

Arlette Krijgsman Philip wrote: "I find this list to be almost fraudulent. The criteria for this list states "We've asked some of your favorite authors" BUT not one of the authors listed is a favourite author of mine AND not one o..."

"Your" here appeals to the entire community. It are not THEIR favourite authors but authors that are, overall, by the community, seen as favourites. Let's chill and read, maybe you find something you will like ;)

message 22: by Rocio (new)

Rocio I also recommend reading "Girls burn brighter" of Shobha Rao and "Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine" of Gail Honeyman for emotionally-hard-to-read fiction books.

message 24: by Fatin (new)

Fatin None of these books sound that interesting to me but, friends, if you like modern sci-fi with non-stop thrills, check out Blake Crouch's Recursion. It's so good! Intelligent in plot, characters, and science? Love it

Also, now that you're (hopefully) at home, maybe try and make time for the greatest book to ever exist? The Brothers Karamazov (just keep in mind, translations matter, so spend some time figuring out which translation you want to read.)

message 26: by ƑìɾҽƒӀվ | Be Gay Do Crime (last edited Apr 14, 2020 05:17AM) (new)

message 27: by Florencia (new)

Florencia Olayinka wrote: "The ghost of Eden park"

This type of bookish comunity is so indefensive, you will find the most calm forums no fighting and just plane nice people loving the fact that we all love to read. Welcome :)

message 28: by Holly (new)

Holly Tanya wrote: "You seem to always push the same few handfuls of authors over and over."

It's discouraging, isn't it? I had hoped that authors might give me some tips for wonderful books I haven't heard of. Instead I got a list of what appears to be the books that ran the largest number of banner ads on Goodreads.

message 29: by Joynab (new)

Joynab Rimu For me, this book was light at the end of the tunnel 💛
The Forty Rules of Love

message 30: by S. (new)

S. Rheo wrote: "The student prince by FayJay!!"

Oh my gosh! Yes!

message 31: by Izzy (new)

Izzy Yay! I really enjoy finding new books to read. Although maybe I should read the 200 books I have on my kindle first.

Bobbi-Leigh White I love this comets

message 33: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey Oh if only we could the new Jodi Picoult right now. 🙄

message 34: by Aphrodite (new)

Aphrodite Holly wrote: "Tanya wrote: "You seem to always push the same few handfuls of authors over and over."

It's discouraging, isn't it? I had hoped that authors might give me some tips for wonderful books I haven't h..."

Haha yes you are so right

message 35: by Ann (new)

Ann The Book of Longings. :)

message 37: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Be sure to click to get each author’s list of books.

message 38: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Tanya wrote: "You seem to always push the same few handfuls of authors over and over."

Make sure you are seeing the list of books recommended by each author. Click on author’s name.

message 39: by Sush (new)

Sush B Great suggestions list, Thank you :)

message 40: by Maryann (new)

Maryann Gestwicki The Becomer by David Michael Miller, This book will open people's eyes and open people's minds.

message 41: by Fmwhatsapp (new)

Fmwhatsapp How about "Atlas shrugged"?

Yours, fmwhatsapp

message 42: by Shuvo (new)

Shuvo Khan why are you guys ashamed of changing the title to -
Curated Reading Recommendations from Authors We Love

message 43: by Sandra (last edited Apr 21, 2020 06:27PM) (new)

Sandra I've read Maybe You Should Talk TO Someone and absolutely loved it.

I really want to read Untamed, and City of Girls.

message 44: by Len (new)

Len Knighton The Giver of Stars

message 45: by ابتسام (new)

ابتسام مطر Thank you 🌷

message 46: by Debi (new)

Debi Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk audiobook is such a delight!

message 47: by Judi (new)

Judi Thank you for lovely suggestions!

message 48: by Fifi (new)

Fifi Ball (If you like YA) I just finished the Three Rancheros trilogy by Kate DiCamillo: Raymie Nightingale; Louisiana's Way Home; and Beverly, Right Here--sweet, quick, fun, and well-written--highly recommend.

message 49: by Fifi (new)

Fifi Ball And for audio books (I'm addicted), I think Jenna Lamia (mostly YA) is a genius with her voice--accents, genders, ages, moods. In addition to Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, I recently listened to The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg; Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool; and The Line Tender by Kate Allen--all well-written and superbly narrated.

message 50: by Fifi (new)

Fifi Ball PS The audio book of (YA) Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (book previously mentioned in these comments), is narrated by Cherry Jones. Ms. Jones did an outstanding job, adding much to an already wonderful book.

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