9 Books that Goodreads Editors Highly Recommend

Posted by Danny on May 19, 2021
Gather 'round because we're going to talk books. It's our favorite topic, of course. Here at Goodreads, the editorial team can't escape books (not that we'd want to). Even when we have meetings where we discuss non-book related topics, we usually end up discussing what we're currently reading and loving. It's a living.

This spring you'll see that each of our editors had varied tastes. Danny reached for books written by famous people, Cybil consumed some harrowing and heartbreaking reads, while Sharon took in a memoir, a fantasy, and a modern classic. 

Tell us which editor's reading recommendations pique your interest the most? And let us know what you've been reading and loving recently in the comments below. 

Danny Feekes, Managing Editor


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"I received this book from the seriously amazing Signed First Editions Club I belong to (this year alone I've received The Prophets, Klara and the Sun, and Good Company, but I digress). Truthfully this book may have sat on my shelf for awhile had it not been for Jeffrey Keeten's five-star review. Had I not picked it up, I would have missed one of the best books I've read in awhile. Trust me, Hawke's tale of a troubled actor in the aftermath of a cheating scandal is quite good."

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"Come for the Basic Instinct stories but stay for the trials and triumphs of Miss Sharon Stone. You'll be surprised by how candid Stone is when she's discussing Hollywood, the #MeToo movement, and, yes, that infamous scene. But you'll be moved by how much she's overcome (abuse, a brain hemorrhage, child-custody battles) and all of the charity work she's done. BUT, it's all the hyperbolic anecdotes that'll have you screaming 'SHARON!' Get out the popcorn for this one."

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"This book is celeb-adjacent, as the author is the partner of Netflix's Special star Ryan O'Connell (the show was adapted from his wonderful book). Parks-Ramage's debut novel is also about the celebrity world, namely a struggling writer named Jonah Keller who becomes involved with a Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright and moves into his Hamptons compound for the summer. All is not what it seems and this book quickly becomes a heart-racing and heartbreaking thriller."

Cybil Wallace, Senior Editor


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"This is a jarring read if you find yourself to be 'very online,' as allusions to memes and trending topics get mixed in with the unnamed narrator's family crisis 'IRL.' Some are calling this book the first Twitter novel, but I'd say it's more of a novel that examines both what is our current reality...and what really matters."

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"I read this harrowing account of the deadly wildfire that destroyed the California town of Paradise more than a year ago, and I think about the people profiled in this book all the time. This is a terrifically reported nonfiction look at the ferociousness of nature, the growing threat of climate change, and how everyday people reacted when they suddenly found themselves in a fight for survival."

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"Fun fact about me: I am obsessed with the movie Aliens. Yep, the 1986 sequel to the sci-fi classic starring the perfect action movie hero Ripley and a crew of colonial marines sent to find out what happened to a space colony. Grant's Into the Drowning Deep brings serious Aliens-esque vibes as ragtag crew of scientists explore the deepest ocean trench in search of...very unfriendly mermaids! Y'all, this is a fun read and perfect for the beach. You just won't want to get in the water."

Sharon Hsu, Associate Editor


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"Stay hydrated and try not to read on an empty stomach if you pick up this memoir, which expands on the author's viral New Yorker article about losing her mother to cancer, and thus also losing the strongest link to her Korean heritage. Zauner is so good at describing grief and loss (the lost opportunities, the what-might-have-been's) and food (the pleasures of making and eating Korean cuisine) that it's quite likely she'll make your eyes and mouth water at the exact same time."

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"Listen, do you ever just need the comforting bookish equivalent of sinking into a hot bubble bath? After the year we've collectively had, I'm guessing the answer is yes. This gentle fantasy novel, about a solitary government worker and the magical found family he's tasked with investigating, fits the bill nicely. It's so tender, so hopeful, and so heartwarming that I've been recommending it left and right to everyone I know since I read it."

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"Believe the hype, folks! This buzzy debut was one of the first books I read in 2021 and it's pretty much set an impossibly high bar for the rest of the year. Chronicling a gorgeous love story between two enslaved Black men on a Mississippi plantation, with a large and memorable cast of secondary characters, The Prophets is by turns brutal and beautiful. I could not put this book down!"

We're curious, which books piqued your interest? And what have you recently read and loved? Tell us in the comments!

Check out more recent articles, including:
Readers' Most Anticipated Books of May
Goodreads Employees Share the Books They're Reading This Summer
Authors Offer Their Best Summer Reading Recommendations

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Sangita (new)

Sangita I would like to read A Bright Ray of Darkness to begin with, followed by The Prophets. All the books mentioned seem profound. Saving this list for reference.

message 2: by Kayla (new)

Kayla I just finished The House in the Cerulean Sea! Yes, it is like sinking into a hot bubble bath or being wrapped in the softest, warmest blanket. If you need some simple joy in your life, pick up this book.

My next book is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. A far cry from The House in the Cerulean Sea.

message 3: by Megan (new)

Megan I have Crying in H Mart ready to pick up at my library. I can't wait to read it.

message 4: by William (new)

William I am looking at Into the Drowning Deep. I have been intending to read some Grant for a while. I guess this would be a good place to start.

message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Parks-Ramage So happy to see Yes, Daddy alongside so many other amazing titles!

message 6: by Sofia (new)

Sofia Crying in H Mart is elite. It made me cry so much.

message 7: by Sofia (new)

Sofia Megan wrote: "I have Crying in H Mart ready to pick up at my library. I can't wait to read it."

I hope you love it! I did.

message 8: by SibylM (new)

SibylM I already had Fire In Paradise marked as Want-to-Read but this writeup motivated me to go ahead and place a library hold. As a native Californian who grew up dealing with wildfires -- but not nearly as bad as they are now -- I am especially drawn to this one.

message 9: by QueenAmidala28 (new)

QueenAmidala28 I really didn't see anything shocking on this list. I am a fan of Korean authors so I will probably check out Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

message 10: by Jt (new)

Jt I am quite fond of Ethan Hawke. i adored the Sunset trilogy and Boyhood. yes i am aware he is not the perfect role model due to his marriage to Uma Thurman. Sharon Stone seems like a typecast actress. I know that the explicit scene in Basic Instinct is part of hollywood folklore now. Fire in Paradise seems like a diversion to other buzz worthy fiction novels.

message 11: by MICHELLE (new)

MICHELLE K I heard the NPR interview of the author for Crying in H Mart but was driving and caught neither the name of the book or the author. I was captivated by the author speaking, so I'm glad you've listed it here!

message 12: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Sharon Hsu, Were we separated at birth? I'll be targeting all three of your picks! :)

message 13: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Markle This is a great list - just went and grabbed A Bright Ray of Darkness from my library's ebooks! Thanks for posting it.

message 14: by Chris (new)

Chris When We Believed in Mermaids. Absolutely LOVED this book!! What a great story teller, switching in between the sisters and their true emotions and what they each endured separately even under the same roof. Proving how uniquely individual we are and how even sisters deal with whatever life threw at them in two distinctly separate ways but both survived in one sense or another. Great read!

message 15: by Debra (new)

Debra Erickson Thank you for taking the time to make these recommendations. I can't wait to read Crying in H Mart. The book that I am recommending to everyone is the Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. It chronicles the Sackler dynasty's unethical marketing of OxyContin, a drug more powerful than morphine, which made them multi-billionaires and turned millions into addicts.

message 16: by Cammie (new)

Cammie Arneson Would like to read about Greenwood, Oklahoma. In reference to BLACK WALL STREET. Any suggestions??

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