The 100 Must-Read Books of 2022
Gripping novels, transporting poetry, and timely nonfiction that asked us to look deeper Andrew R. Chow, Lucy Feldman, Mahita Gajanan, Annabel Gutterman, Angela Haupt, Cady Lang, and Laura Zornosa
A Heart That Works
All the lovers in the night, all this could be different, an immense world, ancestor trouble, anna: the biography, bitter orange tree, the book of goose, butts: a backstory, calling for a blanket dance, the candy house, carrie soto is back, chef's kiss, civil rights queen, constructing a nervous system, cover story, the crane wife, the daughter of doctor moreau, dirtbag, massachusetts, ducks: two years in the oil sands, easy beauty, eating to extinction, the emergency, the employees, the escape artist, everything i need i get from you, the extraordinary life of an ordinary man, the family outing, fellowship point, fiona and jane, the furrows, getting lost, half american, the hero of this book, his name is george floyd, honey & spice, how far the light reaches, the hurting kind, i came all this way to meet you, i'm glad my mom died, if an egyptian cannot speak english, if i survive you, index, a history of the, the invisible kingdom, learning to talk, lesser known monsters of the 21st century, liberation day, life between the tides, the light we carry, lost & found, lucy by the sea, the man who could move clouds, maps of our spectacular bodies, the marriage portrait, mouth to mouth, the naked don't fear the water, night of the living rez, nightcrawling, now is not the time to panic, nuclear family, olga dies dreaming, our missing hearts, the rabbit hutch, the revolutionary: samuel adams, scattered all over the earth, the school for good mothers, shrines of gaiety, signal fires, siren queen, south to america, strangers to ourselves, ted kennedy: a life, this time tomorrow, time is a mother, tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, the trayvon generation, under the skin, when we were sisters, woman without shame, the world keeps ending, and the world goes on, young mungo.
by Rob Delaney
by Abdulrazak Gurnah
by Mieko Kawakami
by Sarah Thankam Mathews
by Maud Newton
by Nuar Alsadir
by Amy Odell
by R.F. Kuang
by Jokha Alharthi
by Yiyun Li
by David Quammen
by Heather Radke
by Oscar Hokeah
by Jennifer Egan
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
by TJ Alexander
by Tomiko Brown-Nagin
by Margo Jefferson
by Susan Rigetti
by CJ Hauser
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
by Lydia Millet
by Isaac Fitzgerald
by Kate Beaton
by Chloé Cooper Jones
by Dan Saladino
by Elif Batuman
by Thomas Fisher
by Olga Ravn
by Jonathan Freedland
by Kaitlyn Tiffany
by Paul Newman
by Jessi Hempel
by Alice Elliott Dark
by Viola Davis
by Jean Chen Ho
by Namwali Serpell
by Annie Ernaux
by NoViolet Bulawayo
by Tochi Onyebuchi
by Matthew F. Delmont
by Elizabeth McCracken
by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa
by Bolu Babalola
by Sabrina Imbler
by Ada Limón
by Jami Attenberg
by Jennette McCurdy
by Noor Naga
by Jonathan Escoffery
by Amy Bloom
by Dennis Duncan
by Meghan O’Rourke
by Hilary Mantel
by George Saunders
by Adam Nicolson
by Michelle Obama
by Kathryn Schulz
by Elizabeth Strout
by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
by Bernardine Evaristo
by Maddie Mortimer
by Maggie O’Farrell
by Isaac Butler
by Antoine Wilson
by Matthieu Aikins
by Morgan Talty
by Leila Mottley
by Kevin Wilson
by Joseph Han
by Xochitl Gonzalez
by Celeste Ng
by Tess Gunty
by Stacy Schiff
by Yoko Tawada
by Jessamine Chan
by Sarah Weinman
by Kate Atkinson
by Dani Shapiro
by Imani Perry
by Jay Hopler
by Rachel Aviv
by John A. Farrell
by Emma Straub
by Sara Freeman
by Ocean Vuong
by Gabrielle Zevin
by Elizabeth Alexander
by Hernan Diaz
by Linda Villarosa
by Blake Crouch
by Julia May Jonas
by Fatimah Asghar
by Sandra Cisneros
by Franny Choi
by Douglas Stuart
This project is led by Lucy Feldman and Annabel Gutterman, with writing, reporting, and additional editing by Andrew R. Chow, Mahita Gajanan, Angela Haupt, Cady Lang, Rachel Sonis, and Laura Zornosa; photography editing by Whitney Matewe; art direction by Victor Williams; video by Erica Solano; audience strategy by Alex Hinnant, Kari Sonde, and Kim Tal; and production by Nadia Suleman.
- Book Culture
How to Find New Books to Read: 7 Ways to Get Book Recommendations
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Have you finally reached the end of your books-to-read list? Maybe you've churned through everything and actually managed to do the impossible—catch up on your reading backlog.
Or maybe you're looking at your massive list of unread books and none of them seem right as your next book to read. Maybe you're looking for something close to what you just finished. Or the complete opposite.
Whatever the case, it all boils down to the same thing: you have nothing to read right now and you need to find new books to read.
Related: Print Books vs. Ebooks: The Ultimate Showdown of Pros and Cons
Fortunately, there's an endless sea of books to read out there, with hundreds of new books published every year—and there are several different ways you can discover books worth reading.
Here are some of your best options for how to find new books to read, ranging from book recommendation sites to your local library and everything in between.
Related: Digital Textbooks for Cheap: The 5 Best Online Textbook Stores for Ebooks
7. Local Library
If you have a local library that's active, well-stocked, and properly funded, don't underestimate how useful it can be as a source of new books to read—even if you don't have a membership.
Most libraries allow anyone to walk in and look around. Head over to the sections that interest you and browse the shelves, then use your phone to look up any books that catch your eye. Or if you want to support your local library, just check the book out.
You should also talk to the librarian. Librarians actually have to go through rigorous schooling, and if you tell them what kinds of books you're looking for, they'll be able to point you in the right direction.
Modern libraries also offer ebooks and audiobooks, so you may not even have to visit in person. Using a service like Overdrive , you can check out ebooks and audiobooks from local libraries right from the comfort of your home.
6. Online Book Stores
I used to love wandering the aisles of Borders, Waldenbooks, and Barnes & Noble. You were bound to find a book or two that caught your eye, and it was a great way to discover offbeat books.
You can do the same thing with online book stores. The experience isn't the same, of course, but it's definitely more efficient—the ability to filter by genre, price, author, and other criteria is fantastic. Amazon , AbeBooks , and Better World Books are all great options.
I really like sorting by recent releases. Not all online book stores have this feature, but it's a great way to discover books you've never heard of before. Check out the first few pages preview, and if you like it, buy it! Reviews and ratings, be damned.
Related: How to Search for Books on Amazon (And Find Worthwhile Reads)
5. Meetup Book Clubs
If you prefer to get your book recommendations through dialogue and discussion, then Meetup might be the option for you.
Simply head to the Meetup site and search for "book clubs" in your area. These days, a lot of Meetups are being held online via video conferencing software, making it that much easier to join in.
Books clubs on Meetup are pretty straightforward: they tell you which book to read, and then you discuss it as a group. But the real value is the opportunity to find other book readers with similar tastes, and then asking them for recommendations.
Meetup groups might hold events once a month, once a week, or maybe even multiple times a week. It's really up to the Meetup organizer to run things however they wish. If one group isn't enough, you can always join multiple.
4. Book Podcasts
There's a podcast for everything these days, and books are no exception. We're not talking about serialized fiction podcasts, which are more like audiobooks and audio dramas.
Rather, we're talking about book review podcasts and book recommendation podcasts. These are one of the best ways to get high-quality, in-depth book recommendations that go deeper than surface-level genre and plot similarities.
Notable book podcasts include Get Booked , Recently Read , and the aptly-named The Book Review by The New York Times .
Discord is a community-oriented app for text chats, voice chats, and video chats. Anyone can start their own Discord server and run their server however they want. It's mainly used by gamers, but that has been changing a lot over the past few years.
In fact, there's a massive Discord server for book readers called Book Lovers Club . It's a great community for avid readers to discuss their favorite authors and recent reads. Perfect for finding suggestions and recommendations on what to read next.
There are other book-related Discord servers out there if you're willing to look around. This one's the biggest though, with at least 1,000 users online at any given time.
Reddit is usually my first stop when I need recommendations for anything—not just books, but movies, TV shows, anime series, shopping sites, gadgets and products, and more.
There are two big subreddits that are dedicated to book suggestions: r/suggestmeabook and r/booksuggestions . Just make a new thread and explain what you're looking for. It helps if you include past books you've enjoyed. Or just browse the existing threads.
You should also check out the genre-specific subreddits. The big ones for geeks include r/fantasy , r/scifi , r/horrorlit , r/yalit , and r/romancebooks . These communities are smaller, but they're more likely to have suggestions that aren't as well-known.
Related: The 20 Biggest Subreddits That Are Still Worth Subscribing To
One of the easiest ways to discover new books to read is to use a book recommendation site like Goodreads. There's a reason why Goodreads is one of the most popular sites in the US: it's actually helpful.
There are several ways to find new books via Goodreads.
Your first stop should be the Goodreads Choice Awards . Every year, Goodreads puts out "Best Books" for all major genres, including Fantasy, Horror, Poetry, Romance, and Young Adult. Each genre has 20 entries, and you can view past years' awards back to 2011.
Goodreads also has Listopia Book Lists . These are user-created book lists that are open to reader votes, and you can either browse through lists by genre or search for lists using keywords. This is an excellent way to find hidden gems.
To get the most out of Goodreads, you should create an account. Once you've added and rated enough books, Goodreads will begin recommending other books that you might like. It's an easy way to get ongoing personalized book recommendations.
Consider Used Books Over New Books
If you don't have a local library—or simply prefer to own your books—you can stretch your dollars and expand your book collection even further by purchasing used books over new books.
Sure, a new book comes with that "fresh new book" smell, complete with crisp pages and a pristine cover. But by the time you've read through that book even once, the spine will be bent, the pages will be dirty, and it won't feel so new anymore.
Which is why we recommend going for used books when you can. If you don't have a used book store in your area, there are plenty of excellent online stores that stock used books.
Read next: The 9 Best Sites to Buy Used Books Online, Ranked
29 books to read this fall
A guide to publishing’s busiest season, including michael lewis on sam bankman-fried, a new novel from jesmyn ward and barbra streisand’s memoir.
Books worth reading are published year-round, but there’s still something special about the fall, when the crop is always especially bounteous. Here’s a guide to just some of the books that will have our attention from now to the end of the year.
‘A House for Alice’
By Diana Evans (Sept. 12)
The fourth novel by British writer Evans begins on the horrific night in 2017 when London’s Grenfell Tower burned, killing more than 70 people. Against that big social backdrop, Evans’s book follows the intimate story of one family: three daughters and their recently widowed mother, Alice, who plans to move back to Nigeria, her homeland.
‘Devil Makes Three’
By Ben Fountain (Sept. 26)
Fountain’s second novel — following “ Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk ” (2012) — is about an American expat in Haiti who becomes embroiled in risky schemes after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is overthrown and forced into exile (for the first of two times).
By Ayana Mathis (Sept. 26)
Mathis made a splash in 2012 with her best-selling debut, “ The Twelve Tribes of Hattie ,” which was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club. She returns with this story of Ava, a single mother struggling in Philadelphia, whose story is interwoven with that of her own mother fighting to save her community in small-town Alabama.
By Homer, translated by Emily Wilson (Sept. 26)
Filing this under fiction because we don’t have a separate label for The Very Foundations of Civilization. Wilson’s translation of “The Odyssey” was one of the major publishing events of 2017, and this one already has readers talking about the finer subtleties of ancient Greek again.
By Benjamin Labatut (Oct. 3)
Labatut’s previous book, “ When We Cease to Understand the World ,” was an unlikely hit in 2021. Like that book, this one plays loose with the line between fact and fiction. It mostly revolves around the life and thought of the mathematician John von Neumann, whose genius played a key role in the computing revolution and the development of the atomic bomb. The book culminates in very timely scenes about the power and potential hazards of artificial intelligence.
By Banana Yoshimoto, translated by Asa Yoneda (Oct. 10)
Yoshimoto’s novel “ Kitchen ,” published in the United States in 1993, introduced her to American audiences. “ The Premonition ,” a slender novel about a young woman who moves in with her very eccentric aunt, was a bestseller when it was published in Japan in 1988 — the same year “Kitchen” was published there. Now this work is finally translated into English.
By Teju Cole (Oct. 17)
It’s been 12 years since Cole quickly established his reputation with “ Open City ,” a searching and elegantly written debut novel. He’s since written essays on photography and other subjects, and released a novel that was published earlier in Nigeria. “ Tremor ” follows the life of a West African photography professor in New England.
‘Let Us Descend’
By Jesmyn Ward (Oct. 24)
Ward, two-time winner of the National Book Award, is back with the story of Annis, an enslaved young woman in the years before the Civil War. She is forced to travel from North Carolina to Louisiana, and along the harrowing way she is fortified by accompanying spirit guides.
By Sigrid Nunez (Nov. 7)
Nunez’s ninth novel is her third in a row — starting with a Great Dane in the National Book Award-winning “ The Friend ” — to have a supporting role (and a spot on the cover design) for an animal, this time a parrot. But what’s more prominently consistent across the books is their searching tone about the biggest of life’s questions, examined through deceptively modest plots.
‘Same Bed Different Dreams’
By Ed Park (Nov. 7)
Fifteen years ago, Park published “ Personal Days ,” a wry debut novel about office life. This more formally ambitious second novel is a wild, often speculative trip through 100 years of Korean history. It wonders, among many other things, what would happen if the Korean Provisional Government — a group formed in exile in 1919 — were still around.
‘The New Naturals’
By Gabriel Bump (Nov. 14)
Bump follows his debut novel, “ Everywhere You Don’t Belong ,” with this story of two young Black academics who attempt to found a utopia in western Massachusetts. Their plans are told alongside the stories of several characters making their way to live with the group.
CURRENT EVENTS & HISTORY
‘American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15’
By Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson (Sept. 26)
This biography of a weapon , written by two Wall Street Journal reporters, traces the AR-15 from its invention in the 1950s as a lightweight tool of war to its current ubiquity as the gun of choice for many of the country’s mass shooters.
‘The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty’
By Michael Wolff (Sept. 26)
The iconoclastic journalist Wolff, who wrote three best-selling books about the Trump White House, starting with “ Fire and Fury ,” goes behind the scenes of Fox News. He also offers a prediction. “I have been telling the story of the great power of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News for many years,” he said in a recent statement. “This power is now reaching a natural end.”
‘Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon’
By Michael Lewis (Oct. 3)
Lewis’s latest is about Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the cryptocurrency firm FTX, which spectacularly exploded after Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on charges of defrauding investors. Lewis told the New York Times earlier this year, about his subject’s upcoming trial : “I think I can tell a story that’s a better story than either side, that includes all the facts and will put the reader in a position of being the juror.”
‘Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and The Washington Post’
By Martin Baron (Oct. 3)
The former executive editor of The Post recounts taking over at the paper in 2013, just a few months before it was bought by Jeff Bezos; steering its coverage through the tumultuous presidency of Donald Trump ; and running a newsroom in the midst of great changes in society and the media.
‘Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet’
By Taylor Lorenz (Oct. 3)
Lorenz, a columnist for The Post who covers technology and online culture , here investigates the profound effects online influencers have had on our social and economic lives.
‘The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of The Bondwoman’s Narrative’
By Gregg Hecimovich (Oct. 17)
“ The Bondwoman’s Narrative ,” written in the 1850s, was published in 2002, believed to be the first novel by a Black woman. A decade later, English professor Hecimovich claimed to have confirmed the author’s identity. And now another decade on, he is publishing this full account of his research and of Crafts’s life, a major moment in one of the more compelling literary discoveries of this century.
‘Judgment at Tokyo: World War II on Trial and the Making of Modern Asia’
By Gary J. Bass (Oct. 17)
“Nuremberg” is ready shorthand for the complex issues of postwar justice. “Tokyo” less so, and in this deeply researched account , Bass turns our focus to the negotiations in Japan after World War II. A sweeping two-year drama in and of itself, the trial also created conditions that continue to reverberate throughout Asia.
‘Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World’
By Mary Beard (Oct. 24)
Few are those who become famous writing about ancient history, but Mary Beard is one of them. Her new book , following the best-selling “ SPQR ,” a history of ancient Rome, is more specifically about Roman rulers over the course of nearly 300 years, from Julius Caesar to Alexander Severus.
‘Fierce Ambition: The Life and Legend of War Correspondent Maggie Higgins’
By Jennet Conant (Oct. 31)
A biography of the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for foreign correspondence, for reporting she did during the Korean War.
‘To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul’
By Tracy K. Smith (Nov. 7)
Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, is an equally acclaimed writer of prose (her memoir “ Ordinary Light ” was a finalist for the National Book Award). In her new book , she investigates the specifics of her family’s history and her spiritual practice as a bulwark against national divisions. “When I was young and both my parents were still alive, our vocabulary for the soul originated with them,” she writes. “Older now, with aches and burdens of my own, I return again to the soul with a new determination.”
‘UFO: The Inside Story of the U.S. Government’s Search for Alien Life Here — and Out There’
By Garrett M. Graff (Nov. 14)
Graff’s previous book, “ Watergate: A New History ,” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He now publishes a timely account of our efforts to figure out if we’re alone out here (and there).
MEMOIRS & BIOGRAPHY
‘Madonna: A Rebel Life’
By Mary Gabriel (Oct. 10)
The Material Girl was recently in the news for turning 65, and for having to twice delay her planned summer tour after suffering a bacterial infection in June. Gabriel follows “ Ninth Street Women ,” an acclaimed group biography of Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler and other postwar artists, with this 800-plus-page life of the famously protean pop icon.
‘A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, a History, a Memorial’
By Viet Thanh Nguyen (Oct. 3)
Having become a prizewinning, best-selling novelist with “ The Sympathizer ” and its sequel, “ The Committed ,” Nguyen turns to the urgently written story of his own life. He and his family came to the United States as refugees from Vietnam when he was 4. He writes about his turbulent childhood, wrestling with his dual identity, rediscovering family in his home country and the effects of American life.
‘How to Say Babylon’
By Safiya Sinclair (Oct. 3)
In her buzzed-about debut memoir , the poet Sinclair writes about her Jamaican upbringing and her extremely strict Rastafarian father, who wanted to keep her protected from “Babylon,” or the corrupt Western world. Sinclair reckons with her home, her home country, and what it meant to discover poetry and eventually move to America.
‘Lou Reed: The King of New York’
By Will Hermes (Oct. 3)
Hermes, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, is the author of “ Love Goes to Buildings on Fire ,” which recalled the New York music scene from 1973 to 1977. Now he zeroes in on one of that scene’s most iconic figures in this full-dress biography .
‘Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant’
By Curtis Chin (Oct. 17)
The table of contents in Chin’s memoir takes the form of a menu (“Note to Diners,” “Appetizers and Soups,” etc.). Growing up above (and in) his family’s restaurant in 1980s Detroit, he learned about the first generations of his family who had emigrated from China to the United States, the diversity of his city and his own identity as a gay Asian American.
‘Tupac Shakur: The Authorized Biography’
By Staci Robinson (Oct. 24)
Robinson, a screenwriter and author who knew Tupac Shakur growing up, was approved by the rapper’s family to write this biography . She had access to his letters, notebooks and unpublished lyrics. In addition to its subject’s life and work, the story covers the 1960s, when Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, was involved in the civil rights movement.
‘My Name is Barbra’
By Barbra Streisand (Nov. 7)
The long-awaited memoir by the Brooklyn-born star of stage, screen, recording studio and planet Earth.
In addition to Ms. Streisand’s contribution, the Celebrity Memoir Industrial Complex continues apace this fall, with new books by Henry Winkler, Kerry Washington, Jada Pinkett Smith, Patrick Stewart, Julia Fox, John Stamos, and “Saturday Night Live” alums Leslie Jones and Kenan Thompson. And don’t forget the always crowded musician wing of that library, with books coming soon by Bernie Taupin, Sly Stone, Mary J. Blige, Melissa Etheridge, Geddy Lee and Dolly Parton.
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Quick starting points
The 11 Best Sites for Finding What Books to Read Next
Want your next read to be a good one? These are the book recommendation websites you should look up for books to read next.
Trying to find good books to read during your commute or planning out your summer reading early? There is nothing more daunting than going to a bookstore without a shopping list. So, make sure that your next read is going to be a good one.
There are plenty of sites you can use to look up books based on your personal taste, favorite authors and titles, or even based on a specific plot summary or character.
Whether user-generated, based on recommendations, or using a book recommendation search engine, there are a variety of ways that these sites are going to answer the question: what should I read next?
Gnooks is probably the simplest of these sites to use. You can enter up to three author's names, and Gnooks will recommend another author you might like.
The interface is clean and distraction-free, but if you want to find out more about the recommended authors, you'll have to take your search elsewhere.
The only other feature on Gnooks is the option to make one of three selections: I like it , I don't like it , and I don't know . Making these selections probably helps Gnooks algorithm improve.
You should already be familiar with this book community. Goodreads is packed with features that go beyond book recommendations. You will have to sign up for an account to use the site's book recommendations.
There are several ways to discover books using Goodreads . You can search for a title, and you'll see a list of other titles users also enjoyed. If you sign up for a free Goodreads account and rate books that you've read, the site can also offer up recommendations based on your reading history.
In addition to these features, given that Goodreads is a social network, you can also scan the reading lists of other users and friends to find book recommendations.
Some users have also created themed lists which you can use to discover your next read. You can either search for titles you enjoyed and see which lists they appear on, and find other titles you might like.
For example, searching for The Alexandria Quartet is featured on a variety of lists such as best post World War II fiction, alongside other greats such as Catch 22. But then it also does wind up on a list of best books ever, alongside Twilight.
Goodreads isn't the only site that you can use to catalog your book collection and also benefit from the community's wisdom on what to read next. LibraryThing is another good example.
3. What Should I Read Next?
What Should I Read Next? (WSIRN) is a book recommendation search engine. It asks you to enter your favorite book and suggests similar books that you might find interesting. It also lets you browse books by subject.
WSIRN asks users to create reading lists of their favorite books. Thanks to these reading lists and its algorithm, it can understand which books are related to each other.
You can also add books to three default lists: books you liked, books you disliked, books you want to read. This will not only help the algorithm to improve, but you'll get better recommendations. Besides these three lists, you can create custom ones and make your lists private. WSIRN has a Quotes section as well, where you can discover new writers and read relevant quotations.
Unlike most other sites listed here, Litsy doesn't rely on an algorithm. Instead, it relies entirely on its user base for this information. Though you can search for books without signing up, creating a Litsy account gives you access to more features. You can search for books, read reviews, add friends, create posts, and of course find your next read.
Once you've signed up, you'll get a list of users it recommends following. You can also search for other users to follow by searching for your favorite books and seeing who else has left reviews for them. When you want to recommend books for other users, you can't just give the book a thumbs up; you have to leave a short review.
And that's how you're going to find your recommendations—by seeing what other Litsy users are reading. Users post photos of the book (or screenshots of the ebook), along with their reviews.
To find a good book to read, you'll probably want to go directly to the profile of someone who has read other books you've enjoyed and also given them a ringing endorsement. Moreover, Litsy has a mobile application for recommending books .
Download: Litsy for Android | iOS (Free)
AllReaders.com is another no-frills website without much of a UI to speak of, but it's a great option for those of you who are fans of thrillers. With AllReader.com's advanced search function, you can search for books based on plot, setting or even details about the protagonists. Titles are also accompanied by a plot summary, as well as setting and character information.
Plots or themes include a variety of thrillers, horror, and adventure—so this feature won't be wildly useful if you're looking for something a little more literary.
You can also select the era in which the story is set, the characteristics of the protagonist and the antagonist, the setting, and the book's writing style. Besides the advanced search, it has an option for searching books by title or author.
Amazon should be an obvious option for searching book recommendations. You can find similar titles for any book since the search result is accompanied by a Customers who bought this item also bought list.
While Amazon uses this feature primarily to get you to buy more stuff, you can also take a look at the recommendations for items that are frequently bought together:
And, don't forget that Amazon is also home to the Kindle and its massive reading community too.
TasteDive (formerly TasteKid) is a great site for both book and author recommendations, along with other forms of entertainment. Just enter the title of your favorite book or your favorite author, and TasteDive will generate its recommendations.
TasteDive isn't only about book recommendations. You can also use it for music, movies and TV shows. By the same token, you can find recommended books based on other books, as well as based on authors, TV shows, movies, music, and more.
While TasteDive's recommendations are often pretty accurate, searching for recommendations based on newer titles or more obscure authors won't yield any results.
Whichbook is another site that offers up suggestions based on specific characteristics rather than similar books - you can make your choices based on the mood of the book, using a series of sliders: Happy to Sad, Funny to Serious, Safe to Disturbing, and so forth.
Drag up to four sliders around to make your selection for each characteristic of the book, and Whichbook will offer up a long list of recommendations. You can also opt for making your selection based on specifics regarding character, plot, and setting. Additionally, you can find books by country and browse through bestsellers.
BookBub is worth a look for its handpicked recommendations. You can also save yourself some money with discounts on books they think you'll want to read.
When you first sign up, BookBub will ask you some questions on what kinds of recommendations you want (updates from authors you love, recommendations from people you trust, info on discounts etc.), and of course information on the genres of books you like.
You can also follow your favorite authors, and in some cases (like Margaret Atwood for example), you'll get recommendations straight from them. In addition to recommendations for people you follow and auto-generated lists, the editors' picks is a great way to discover new titles in your favorite genres.
Use Olmenta for random finds if you love to be surprised. The site is simple: you can select books based on nine genres including poetry, children's books, and business.
There are no signups, no algorithms, and no real explanation as to how the books end up on the list, except for a link to recommend books via Twitter to the brains behind the operation.
The Subreddits /r/Books and /r/BookSuggestions are a good place to go to find other like-minded people on the hunt for a good read. You can search the previous threads, or create a post yourself asking for suggestions if you're looking for something in particular.
/r/Books also has a book recommendations tab, where you'll find a weekly recommendation thread . Here, you can request suggestions and can help out other readers with suggestions of your own.
Add Books to Your Reading List
If you're having a hard time finding books to read, it's worth giving these websites a shot. Some share recommendations based on user reviews, while others use algorithms and databases to find the book you'll love.
Once you visit a few of these sites, you can easily find several books to include in your reading list. After adding all the book suggestions to your reading list, you can visit Amazon or other online stores to get your copy.
Every item on this page was chosen by an ELLE editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
Our Favorite (and Most Anticipated) Books of 2023 So Far
Here’s what you’ll want to start reading as the leaves turn.
The year has already brought with it a crop of impressive, headline-driving books (see: Prince Harry’s explosive memoir Spare , Emma Cline’s The Guest , and R.F. Kuang’s Yellowface ), but the remainder of 2023’s library promises to be just as enthralling. Apologies in advance to your mile-high TBR list; it’s about to get a lot taller.
Ahead, you’ll find almost 100 recommended reads from this year’s slate of new releases. These recently published and soon-to-be-available books come from a broad range of categories, including historical nonfiction, celebrity memoirs, essay collections, romance, and literary fiction. (The only thing you won’t find here is young-adult books and certain genre series, which we reserve for other, more specific lists .)
Narrowing down the most anticipated titles from a list of thousands is never not a daunting task, and so to make up for any gems we’ve missed, you can check back on this page as we update it throughout the year with the true best of the best. Better clear your bookshelves, and happy reading.
The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley
Rich with the wit and insight that has made Kashana Cauley such a joy in comedy writers’ rooms and on Twitter, The Survivalists is the author’s fiction debut, and an ambitious one: The story follows Aretha, a talented lawyer who finds her career—and, perhaps, sanity—slipping away as she descends into the paranoid world of her boyfriend’s survivalist roommates. Capturing our modern terrors with both humor and tact, The Survivalists is a surprisingly fun read for such a dire topic. — Lauren Puckett-Pope, culture writer
The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise by Pico Iyer
Humming with wisdom and a profound appreciation of nature’s inherent contradictions, Pico Iyer’s meditation on paradise—where it is, what it means, if it can be found on Earth—is much more than a diary of his country-spanning travels. It’s a work of philosophy, probing the scientific and the spiritual to understand why the most beautiful places often become such sources of pain, and how paradise might be re-discovered. — LPP
Spare by Prince Harry
The man on the cover needs no introduction, nor is his story one the world is unfamiliar with. As one of the most famous sons of one of the planet’s most famous families, Prince Harry is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of celebrity. And yet, his memoir, Spare , promises to tell us a few things we don’t know about his aching upbringing, his romance with Meghan Markle, and the future he’s still figuring out in America. — LPP
Vintage Contemporaries by Dan Kois
In this warm fiction debut, Slate editor Dan Kois skewers the myth of the “one right path” through life, while gently acknowledging our continued belief in it. A coming-of-age story built on unlikely friendships, Vintage Contemporaries is a novel of contradictions; it’s all there in the name. The story zigzags between the 1990s and the 2000s, and at its center is Em/Emily, a New York City transplant caught up in the diverging lives of her two very different friends, who have two very different things to teach her about the creative crossroads of adulthood. — LPP
Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey
Held aloft by television writer Monica Heisey’s light touch—you’ll recognize her voice from series like Workin’ Moms and Schitt’s Creek — Really Good, Actually is an uproarious millennial existential crisis novel: At 29, Maggie is already a divorcée with a languishing graduate thesis and an empty bank account, and she’s about to start dating again. Don’t worry; it’ll be fine. Really! — LPP
The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen
A monumental feat of melodic prose and astute observation, Hanna Pylväinen’s historical fiction novel The End of Drum-Time transports readers to the otherworldly tundra of Scandinavia, circa 1851, where minister Lars Levi is “always after” the “heart” of the native Sámi reindeer herders, whom he seeks to convert. When one of these Sámi falls for Lars’s own daughter, the resulting adventure is one as powerful and profound as the book’s awe-inspiring setting. — LPP
Central Places by Delia Cai
Journalist Delia Cai has always possessed an uncanny—and entertaining—ability to sift the truth from troubled waters, but it’s a treat to see her turn that skill inward and outward. Drawing settings, questions, and hilariously specific humor from her own Midwestern upbringing, Cai’s Central Places follows New York transplant Audrey Zhou as she returns home to Hickory Grove, Illinois, for the holidays. With her is her white fiancé, whom she’s wary of introducing to her Chinese immigrant parents. Then there’s the old high-school sweetheart she bumps into in a Walmart parking lot. The stakes feel as high as they did in all our aching days of adolescence, and the result is a gentle, frustrating, and whole-hearted tale of love and acceptance. — LPP
Maame by Jessica George
Already set to be adapted for television—an announcement came the same day it was published— Maame by Jessica George is a vivacious debut. The story follows 25-year-old Londoner Maddie, the daughter of Ghanian immigrant parents, one of whom has Parkinson’s and is dependent on her care. Forced into early maturity, she discovers a sudden, wrenching bout of freedom when a tragedy rewires her understanding of her role in the world. The resulting journey is as overwhelming—and bright—as the book’s colorful cover. — LPP
What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro
A carefully captured account of sibling rivalry, diverging ambitions, and the rot at the heart of the American Dream, What Napoleon Could Not Do follows Jacob and Belinda Nti, siblings both born in Ghana. Belinda accomplishes what Jacob did not: She moves to America and marries a wealthy professional, Wilder. Yet neither Belinda, Wilder nor Jacob share the same opinions of what their lives have become. — LPP
Brutes by Dizz Tate
With easily one of the most cinematic covers of the year’s new release slate, Dizz Tate’s Brutes is marketed as The Virgin Suicides meets The Florida Project . That’s an apt comparison, considering the violent, dangerous pleasures lurking in this coming-of-age story, which follows a group of young girls who flock around the radiant local televangelist’s daughter—until she one day disappears. This is a riveting tale, one that refuses to sacrifice nuance nor insight for the sake of its propulsive narrative. — LPP
Victory City by Salman Rushdie
One of the world’s most acclaimed authors, Salman Rushdie, is back with his first novel after narrowly surviving an attack on his life in August 2022. Victory City is a fitting title for such a book, which features all the hallmarks of Rushdie’s best work: An epic adventure stoked in magic, the story follows a nine-year-old girl who becomes a vessel for the goddess Pampa, breathing the great city of Bisnaga to life. — LPP
Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez and translated by Megan McDowell
Astounding in its ambition, this translation of Mariana Enriquez’s Our Share of Night jumps between countries and time periods to flesh out the tale of a father and son, united in grief—and in their shared family legacy, a cult-like Order obsessed with the pursuit of immortality. Wicked, wise, and stuffed with supernatural intrigue, Our Share of Night is a mighty feat of creative prowess. — LPP
Venco by Cherie Dimaline
A delight for fans of urban fantasy and legends with a twist, VenCo is no ordinary tale of witchcraft. Its very title is an anagram of “coven,” as well as the name of a front company for a group of witches gathering in traditionally feminine spaces—think Tupperware parties and pilates classes—to share their power. But as these witches (and the women they seek to champion) rise, so too does the witch-hunter set against them. — LPP
Culture: The Story of Us, from Cave Art to K-Pop by Martin Puchner
As much a book of philosophy as a sweeping history, Martin Puchner’s Culture is calculated but bold in its approach to traversing and analyzing centuries of art, entertainment, and knowledge. Culture hops through countries and eras to deliver a resonant argument for the necessity of our common creativity. — LPP
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
The Pulitzer-nominated author of The Great Believers has returned this year with the kind of murder mystery Netflix seems all-but-guaranteed to snap up, set at a boarding school in New Hampshire. Film professor and podcaster Bodie Kane never wanted to return to The Granby School, but an old tragedy—the death of a fellow student—and the promise of leading a two-week class draw her back, and deeper into a mystery she’d once thought resolved. — LPP
Oscar Wars: A History of Hollywood in Gold, Sweat, and Tears by Michael Schulman
You’ve likely already read one, if not many, of Michael Schulman’s viral New Yorker stories. (His Jeremy Strong profile in 2021 caused quite the stir.) But even if you’re not familiar with Schulman’s unique talent for capturing Hollywood madness, you’re sure to find something of intrigue in Oscar Wars , Schulman’s comprehensive volume on that glittering, golden show, birthplace of the Moonlight fiasco and the slap heard ’round the world. — LPP
Users by Colin Winnette
As irresistible as it is horrifying, Users is not your average treatise on the dangers of our tech-obsessed today (and tomorrow). The novel presents itself as an immersive spiral into the mind and reality of Miles, a VR developer whose new product, “The Ghost Lover,” simulates an ex-lover haunting what feels like the user’s very real life. But when the product earns some furious backlash, the stakes in Miles’ own life grow more and more serious. — LPP
Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova
Bizarre and brilliant, Gerardo Sámano Córdova’s Monstrilio is a sort of modern Frankenstein , in which a mother’s grief materializes in Monstrilio, a creature born from the lung of her deceased son. There is some solace in this renewed life, she finds, but that solace soon turns to horror as grief—as always—has its way. — LPP
Confidence by Rafael Frumkin
Perhaps we’ve always lived in the era of con artists, but there’s something about the rise of wellness empires that threatens to reinvent the term altogether. And so enters Rafael Frumkin’s Confidence , about friends-turned-lovers Ezra and Orson, who meet as teenagers and go on to found Nulife, a corporation that promises its buyers a life of happiness. What could possibly go wrong? — LPP
Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock by Jenny Odell
By now a legend thanks to the simple but impactful wisdom of her first book, How to Do Nothing , Jenny Odell furthers her argument for escaping the so-called “attention economy” in Saving Time . This volume’s focus is the corporate clock, and particularly the ways it orders and re-arranges every facet of our lives. As she argues that time is not, in fact, determined by money, so she also stirs up her audience’s kinship with the planet, that other entity so ravaged by consumerist culture. — LPP
Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE.
Adrienne Gaffney is the features editor at ELLE and previously worked at WSJ Magazine and Vanity Fair .
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On the Shelf
10 books for your September reading list
If you buy books linked on our site, The Times may earn a commission from Bookshop.org , whose fees support independent bookstores.
Critic Bethanne Patrick recommends 10 promising titles, fiction and nonfiction, to consider for your September reading list.
As the seasons turn (or at least so we hope), September’s most anticipated fiction ponders change of all kinds, making us feel deeply about families coping with loss and think hard about choices that have led to conflict. The nonfiction hits even harder, covering the stigma of mental illness, the trouble with school reform, the history of a mass-shooting weapon and — in what passes for a palate cleanser these days — an amusing case of mistaken identity that leads to an indictment of our twisted politics.
Wednesday’s Child: Stories By Yiyun Li FSG: 256 pages, $27 (Sept. 5)
In a collection that has already been awarded the PEN/Malamud Prize, characters live in and move on through loss . “A Sheltered Woman” finds a traditional Chinese postpartum nanny treated with contempt by her employers, while “When We Were Happy We Had Other Names” centers on a mother trying to quantify grief over a child’s loss. Each piece feels like a distinctly, uniquely perfect snowflake of pain.
The Wren, The Wren By Anne Enright W.W. Norton: 288 pages, $28 (Sept. 19)
How we romanticize the Irish poets, with their gifts for imagery and personal excess. And how the men among them wither on closer examination. Enright, whose novels (including “ The Gathering ”) have already secured her place among the Irish greats, creates a fictional poet named Phil McDaragh to show how difficult someone like him might have been, sowing dreams and discord from wife to daughter to granddaughter — women who, at last, find that their love conquers his memory.
30 books we can’t wait to read this fall
Fiction from Zadie Smith, Yiyun Li and Jesmyn Ward, memoirs from Sly Stone and Werner Herzog and a bio of Elon Musk are among the fall’s most anticipated books.
Aug. 28, 2023
Night Watch By Jayne Anne Phillips Knopf: 304 pages, $28 (Sept. 19)
Phillips sets her first novel since “Quiet Dell” (2013) eight years after the Civil War, focusing not on Reconstruction but on a girl named ConaLee and her mute, traumatized mother. At the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, where they wind up, the real-life Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride ran a program for the mentally ill that he called “moral treatment.” Its compassion allows ConaLee’s mother to recuperate and heal.
Devil Makes Three By Ben Fountain Flatiron: 544 pages, $32 (Sept. 26)
Writing about Haiti would daunt any author, but Fountain (“ Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk ”) settles in easily amid the country’s corruption and contradictions, perhaps because he’s visited 50 times. The action begins just after the removal of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide , and its cleverly drawn characters include a handful of locals, a CIA liaison, a scuba entrepreneur and more, encompassing every flavor of postcolonial excess and tragedy.
What happened to all the war vet novelists? They’ve moved on, and so have we
Kevin Powers was among the best in a wave of novelists on Iraq and Afghanistan. His new thriller, “A Line in the Sand,” signals their slow fade from relevance.
May 12, 2023
Land of Milk and Honey By C Pam Zhang Riverhead: 240 pages, $28 (Sept. 26)
The Earth’s resources have been depleted. A young American chef, stuck in London due to bureaucratic mishaps, leaps at the chance to work in a mysterious Italian mountain silo where every foodstuff imaginable has been hidden away. As the unnamed chef discovers, that’s not all that’s being hoarded, and her survival may depend on how she copes. It’s the most breathtakingly beautiful dystopian novel since “ Station Eleven .”
While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence By Meg Kissinger Celadon: 320 pages, $30 (Sept. 5)
An award-winning journalist, Kissinger has long investigated the effects of mental illness on American life. Now, in an expansive memoir, she investigates its impact on her own loved ones. From the outside, her large, loving family seemed perfect. In reality, her parents and some of her siblings (including two who died by suicide) suffered greatly. Their lives have inspired a startling, important book.
Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World By Naomi Klein FSG: 416 pages, $30 (Sept. 12)
You’re a trusted academic and public intellectual whose bestselling books are read around the world. Suddenly, the public confuses you readily with another public intellectual, one whose books were once respected before her ideas and methods took a turn into conspiracy theories. What do you do? How do you recover your identity? But Klein’s new work isn’t just about Naomi Wolf , or even identity confusion; it’s about how a contorted mindset has gained in popularity by holding up a warped mirror to the reality we know.
Review: Naomi Klein’s ‘On Fire’ urges us to quit hitting the snooze button on climate change
In “On Fire,” Naomi Klein’s purpose is not to dishearten but to awaken us to the growing global movement called the Green New Deal.
Sept. 19, 2019
Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal By Bettina Love St. Martin’s: 352 pages, $29 (Sept. 12)
A Columbia University endowed professor and co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network , Love demonstrates how Reagan’s War on Drugs policies targeted largely Black school systems and students, resulting in low-performance statistics that continue to affect those schools and neighborhoods. She also argues forcefully for reform that will overturn this devastation with child-centered policies.
Father and Son: A Memoir By Jonathan Raban Knopf: 336 pages, $28 (Sept. 19)
After the acclaimed travel writer suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at age 69, his long rehabilitation led him to rethink more than just his suddenly limited range of movement. He began to reconsider his father’s World War II service, examining the letters his parents exchanged during those years. Raban died earlier this year at age 80, and his posthumous memoir forms a worthy, loving excavation into the ways his life intertwined with those of his elders.
The Ultimate L.A. Bookshelf: Nonfiction
The 14 most essential works of nonfiction include histories by Kevin Starr, Carey McWilliams, Reyner Banham and, ruling them all, Mike Davis’ ‘City of Quartz.’
April 11, 2023
American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 Rifle By Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson FSG: 496 pages, $32 (Sept. 26)
A pair of Wall Street Journal reporters tell a story that many people will wish didn’t have to be told: the history of the rifle that has become synonymous with mass shootings and gun violence. Invented as an improvement to World War II weaponry, the AR-15 rifle now is used by civilians. The authors meticulously interview many people on all sides of the debate over this tragically iconic weapon of war.
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Pulling the Chariot of the Sun
In his memoir, award-winning poet Shane McCrae reflects upon a singular traumatic event: his brazen kidnapping by his maternal grandparents. "It's like living for 40 years as a murdered person, and ...
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National Read A Book Day: How to Find the Perfect Romance Book
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Today is National Read a Book Day, and we want to help you find the perfect romance book! Use the five tips below so you can find a wonderful new release, no matter what kind of romance read you’re into.
Pay attention to your favorite tropes…
As a big reader, you know which tropes you gravitate towards. Whether it’s friends to lovers, grumpy/sunshine couples, second chances or any other fan-favorite themes, why not follow your heart and pick up a romance book that will let you relax with a familiar story.
Need a place to start? Here are some trope spotlights featuring great reads:
Friends to Lovers
…Or look into a trope you’ve never explored before!
Looking for something completely different? If you know the tropes and themes you enjoy, why not head in the opposite direction and pick up a title you would normally never look at twice. Love Friends to Lovers? Pick up that new Enemies to Lovers read ! Prefer stories about love at first sight? A second chance romance may be the perfect new book for you. Taking a step outside your usual tastes can be a great way to find a new and unexpected favorite romance novel.
Look up some recommendations
Whether it’s your favorite booktube or booktok account , a review on Goodreads or Storygraph , or just your best friend’s enthusiastic praise, there is no shortage of places to get excellent book recommendations. Find a voice whose recommendations you trust and pick up one of their top reads!
Dive into that TBR pile
Let’s not kid ourselves…plenty of readers have a not-so-hidden hidden stack of books that they haven’t had a chance to read because there is always one more book they need to check out! Today is the day to finally explore that collection of books that have been sitting on your shelf, just waiting for your attention.
Don’t miss these new releases from Harlequin!
Harlequin.com is always filled with great new romance reads. Visit the new releases page today to explore what’s new, or try out these great books below!
ONE SUMMER OF LOVE & SNOWBOUND SECOND CHANCE by Reese Ryan
One Summer of Love Business, wine and seduction… What could possibly go wrong?
Snowbound Second Chance When yoga, meditation and serenity become passion, fantasies and seduction!
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FAKING A FAIRY TALE by Teri Wilson
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TEXAS BODYGUARD: CHANCE by Janie Crouch
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AMISH COUNTRY RANSOM by Mary Alford
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THE HOLIDAY HEARTBREAKER by Maisey Yates
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5 Romance Books Featuring Heroes with Amnesia or Memory Loss
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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Dogs with Jobs
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Can You Find These 14 Hidden Children’s Book Titles?
By J. D. Biersdorfer Sept. 4, 2023
This month’s Title Search highlights children’s books with a puzzle that challenges you to find the titles of 14 novels, stories and picture books for young readers, all hidden within a fictional passage. Tap or click the words (including punctuation) when you think you’ve found a title. As you uncover each title, the answer section at the bottom of the screen grows to create a reading list with more information and links to the books.
A new literary quiz lands on the Books page each week and you can match wits with previous puzzles in the Book Review Quiz Bowl archive .
Because Claudette fell asleep on the train and missed the last stop on Market Street, she was late for the arrival of the witches at their meeting place. Her sisters wouldn’t wonder where she was, but they’d be annoyed. The snowy day was also slowing her down, but she finally made it to the secret garden where they always gathered.
Eloise and Madeline were wearing corduroy capes for the weather and looking peeved. “You are a traveller in time,” complained Eloise. “Just telejump!”
“Well, regular life doesn’t frighten me, said Claudette. “Neither does public transportation.”
“Oh, the places you’ll go!” said Madeline sarcastically. “Okay, let’s start this spell.”
Explore More in Books
Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..
In “The Last Politician,” Franklin Foer presents the first half of Joe Biden’s presidency as a series of made-for-television moments meant to inspire doubters and assuage critics.
What do you do when your doppelgänger becomes a conspiracy theorist on the internet? If you’re Naomi Klein, you write a book about it .
Ursula K. Le Guin’s powerful imagination turned hypothetical elsewheres into vivid worlds governed by forces of nature, technology, gender, race and class a far cry from our own. Here are her essential works .
Do you want to be a better reader? Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .
Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .
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New book details frictions between biden, obama.
WASHINGTON — A new book about Joe Biden portrays the president as someone whose middle-class upbringing helped foster a resentment of intellectual elitism that shaped his political career and sometimes caused strain with his onetime boss, Harvard-educated Barack Obama .
Biden , who spent eight years as Obama ‘s vice president, told a friend that Obama couldn’t even curse properly, according to “The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future.”
Released Tuesday and written by Franklin Foer , a staff writer for The Atlantic, the book says Biden said Obama was unable to deliver a “f— you” with “the right elongation of vowels and the necessary hardness of consonants; it was how they must curse in the ivory tower.”
Now, as the president runs for reelection, the early frontrunner among Republicans is former President Donald Trump, whose supporters can sometimes resent the perceived elitism of Washington’s political class - suggesting some overlap with Biden .
The anecdote also may resonate with Democrats. Ardent supporters of both Biden and Obama fondly recall the then-vice president telling Obama in a private aside that was captured on a hot mic, “This is a big f—ing deal,” during the signing ceremony for Obama ‘s signature health care law in 2010.
Foer ‘s book offers a deep examination of Biden ‘s first two years in office, which the author describes as encompassing a lot of “flailing” before the president began to cement his legacy through signature policy achievements and “creative diplomacy” that helped rally the world behind Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion.
The 80-year-old Biden continues to face questions about his age, and Foer calls it “striking” that Biden attends few meetings or public events before 10 a.m. In private, Biden would “occasionally admit to friends he felt tired,” the book says.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked last week by a reporter citing an early excerpt from Foer ‘s book if personal fatigue might help explain why Biden ‘s morning schedule was often light. She responded, “That’s a ridiculous assumption to make.”
Jean-Pierre referred back to that exchange during her briefing with reporters at the White House on Tuesday, and provided updated comment, saying that administration officials had now “seen the context of the excerpt.” She said the book was actually praising Biden for helping to push major legislation through Congress and unify global support around Ukraine.
It “seemed to be making the opposite overall point about how the value of his experience and wisdom resulted in rallying the free world against authoritarianism,” she said.
Jean-Pierre also said “there’s gonna be a range, always, a range of books that are about every administration” that would feature “a variety of claims.”
“That’s not unusual. That happens all the time,” she said. “And we’re not going to litigate here.”
Foer ‘s book also describes struggles by Vice President Kamala Harris to carve out a role for herself as Biden ‘s No. 2 that have been well-documented previously. But Foer suggests Harris may have hurt her own cause in that area, initially asking to be in charge of relations with Scandinavia because it was “away from the spotlight.”
The book reports that the vice president was initially excited about helping the administration tackle the root causes of immigration that have seen so many Central American migrants seeking asylum arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border - but that she eventually began to accept conventional wisdom that it was a thankless assignment.
Foer ‘s book says Biden tried to treat Harris more respectfully than he felt Obama often had treated him as vice president, calling her “the vice president” instead of “my vice president.” But, during his early days in office, as Biden was convening his team to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Biden joked that the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, should sit in the vice president’s seat.
“The Last Politician” describes the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. It says that when Biden ‘s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, relayed to the president that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had fled the country, leaving Kabul to fall to the Taliban, Biden declared in frustration, “Give me a break!”
It also reports that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally intervened to help many women whose work in Afghanistan made them potential targets for the Taliban. She directed a group of them to wear white scarfs so they could be identified by U.S. Marines guarding the Kabul airport, and unilaterally contacted world leaders to find places for their eventual evacuation flights to land.
The book says Clinton’s call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy drew a personal rebuke from Sullivan, former close advisor to Clinton, who told her “What are you doing calling the Ukrainian government?”
“I wouldn’t have to call if you guys would,” Clinton responded, according to Foer ‘s book.
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10 Modern and Classic Russian Books Everyone Should Read
Go beyond Crime and Punishment .
Throughout the history of Russian literature, a pattern has emerged regarding the breaks of style, genre, and theme. Often, the greatest divides in Russian literature have occurred as a result of political changes happening outside the world of literature. These departures have not only been intense, but also happen very quickly, making Russian literature extremely unique.
From the classics that many of us were required to read in English class like Crime and Punishment t o modern Russian books like Oblivion, Russian literature continues to push boundaries with its ideas of politics, romance, science, and philosophy. These themes are brought into engaging stories of wild adventures and memorable characters.
Whether you speak fluent Russian or you definitely need the translated version , have no fear. We have compiled a list of the 10 Russian novels everyone should read at least once.
There is no wrong choice here, so choose a book from down below and get reading!
Related: Required Reading: 15 Classic High School Books to Read Again
Classic Russian Novels
War and Peace
By Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace intertwines the lives of three characters set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812.
Pierre Bezukhov is the illegitimate son of a count, and he is busy fighting for his inheritance while in search of spiritual fulfillment. Prince Andrei Bolkonsky leaves home to put his life on the line and fight against Napoleon's troops. Natasha Rostov is the beautiful daughter of a nobleman who captures the attention of both men.
With the war progressing, the lives of these three and others around them transcend the traditional role they play in society. People of diverse backgrounds find themselves suffering the same problems with this new era of history .
Related: The 5 Most Difficult Books to Read
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By Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Prince Myshkin has just returned to Russia following a stint in a Swiss sanitarium. Upon his return, Myshkin finds himself enthralled in a love triangle with two women. One is the mysteriously notorious Natasya. The other is the pure Aglaia. Both women also find themselves involved with the corrupt Ganya.
Throughout the novel, Myshkin’s honesty and integrity prove to be superior to those around him as everyone else appears to be morally empty inside.
The Master & Margarita
By Mikhail Bulgakov
The devil emerges in 1930s Moscow and immediately begins to connect with a strange group of associates. A black cat, a naked witch, and an assassin make up some of his most trusted allies. With their help, the devil wrecks havoc on the lives of the most powerful proponents of atheism in Moscow.
During this time, the Master suffers in a psychiatric hospital while sitting on top of his unpublished book on Jesus and Pontius Pilate. His lover, Margarita, sells her soul in an attempt to save him. Bulgakov weaves the two tales together as they transcend time and space.
Related: 10 Seriously Spooky Supernatural Romance Books
Fathers and Sons
By Ivan Turgenev
Bazarov is a young, cynical man, and he prides himself on his self-proclaimed nihilist outlook on life. He is a complete turnaround from his father and the previous generation as he strongly rejects their romanticized lens of society.
Bazarov’s controversy comes as he chooses to forego the age-old traditions of the society he was born into and his father celebrates.
This novel, originally published in 1862, transforms and adapts as time goes on. It challenges the establishments of any political atmosphere and offers a revolutionary perspective for new generations.
Related: 10 Books About Dysfunctional Families
By Vladimir Nabokov
Nabokov’s Lolita has always pushed boundaries with its exploration of the darks truths behind pedophilia in combination with its design of a romantic novel on the surface. It dives into the haunting mind of Humbert Humbert, a scholar who moves in with Ms. Haze and her twelve-year-old daughter Lolita.
Upon moving into the home, Humbert becomes inappropriately infatuated with Lo and goes to great lengths to be around her. He decides to marry Ms. Haze in an attempt to keep Lo close to himself.
However, when Lo begins to look for attention elsewhere, Humbert’s desperation takes over. He flees with Lo on a cross-country journey in a miserable bid at capturing her forever.
Sisters of the Cross
By Alexei Remizov
Thirty-year-old financial clerk Piotr Alekseevich Marakulin lives a mundane life in Petersburg. But, when he is accused of embezzlement and fired from his job, Piotr’s entire life turns upside down.
With his daily routine ruined, Piotr encounters a group of women whose own experiences cause him to question everything he’s ever known. These women are “the sisters of the cross,” and their sufferings along with Piotr’s will reach a powerful climax with the commencement of Whitsuntide festival.
By Mikhail Zoshchenko
Sentimental Tales takes a satirical look at Soviet society during Bolshevik’s first decade in power. The humorous critique of this new Soviet way of life provides a fresh perspective on this era through the tales of the characters.
These small-town characters’ lives are narrated by an intrusive writer named Kolenkorov. And while he may not do very well at his job, Kolenkorov’s portrayal of the other people’s lives explores the misadventures of all kinds as musicians, poets, and aristocrats all attempt to assimilate to Soviet society.
Related: Why You Should Reread Animal Farm , George Orwell’s Short Satire
Modern Russian Novels
Between Dog & Wolf
By Sasha Sokolov
Sokolov’s Between Dog & Wolf has intimidated translators since 1980 , but with the help of Alexander Boguslawski, an English version has finally been published.
Sokolov intertwines the voices of three peopl e— an old sharpener living in a small town on the Volga River, a local game warden, and Sokolov’s own voice as the narrator. When the old sharpener’s crutches are stolen by game wardens, he begins to write a letter to an investigator reporting the robbery.
As the letter goes on, the three voices take us through the life of the old sharpener, through all of the unexpected twists, his most enchanting highs, and his most painful lows.
Baba Dunja's Last Love
By Alina Bronsky
In the town of Chernobyl, radiation levels have pushed most of the locals out. However, Baba Dunja and her motley crew of natives refuse to lose the town that they call home. Once they return, they find the town to be inhabited by only them and some weird looking fruit. It’s the ideal paradise.
Petrov spends his days reading love poems in his hammock to forget his terminal illness. Marja begins a passionate affair with the almost 100-year-old Sidorow. And Baba Dunja uses her time to write letters to her daughter.
Trouble begins when a stranger shows up in their blissful world. This stranger will bring about new threats of destruction on the little town and risk the idyllic life for everyone.
By Sergei Lebedev
In a world where some men are attempting to erase a painful Soviet past from the minds of others, one young man sets out on a journey to the Far North. Here is where he can uncover the secrets of the strange neighbor who saved his life, only known to him as Grandfather II.
However, the Far North is a barren wasteland with forgotten barracks, Soviet prison camps scraps, and gulag ruins of the past. Lebedev’s Oblivion takes readers on a journey through the tortuous history of the past in an attempt to not let these stories also disappear into oblivion.
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10 Moscow Novels That Every Muscovite Initiate Should Read
Moscow’s rich history and innumerable paradoxes has inspired some of the greatest novels in Russian literary history. More than a simple backdrop to these extraordinary narratives, Moscow is an integral character in the stories. From glamorous 19th century ballrooms to desolate suburban apartment blocks, and the metro that runs beneath them, we’ve picked 10 of the top Moscow novels that will give you a literary passport to this extraordinary city.
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Day of the Oprichnik – Vladimir Sorokin
Sorokin’s striking novels have gained him substantial international recognition as an author. His novel Day of the Oprichnik , set in 2028, is both a disconcerting side-step from a recognizable Moscow and potentially more ominously, a nod to it. We experience Sorokin’s dystopian world through the eyes of one of the ‘oprichniks’ (a term dating back to the days Ivan the Terrible), who seek out enemies of the reinstated Tsar, raping and pillaging to keep the population in a state of perpetual control and fear. Sorokin’s rendering of the world is as its darkest, and the carnivalesque prose is packed with pithy comments and oddly archaic statements that strike you in their direct delivery. This is a novel that focuses on the interplay of power and the grotesque normalization of violence in service to a higher ruler.
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The Lady with the Dog – Anton Chekhov
Vladimir Nabokov cited this as one of the greatest shortest stories ever written. Dmitri Gurov, the central character. is a Moscow banker trapped in a loveless marriage. He distracts himself by engaging in frequent adulterous trysts. Whilst holidaying in Yalta, his attention is caught by a lady, Anna Sergeyevna, walking her dog on the sea-front. He resolves to make her acquaintance and a brief love affair ensues before Gurov returns to Moscow, expecting to quickly forgot the event. Astonishingly, he finds himself unable to shake the memory of Anna and comes to the realization that he is falling in love for the first time. This is simple, but beautifully written prose; Chekhov is, after all, the unequivocal master of the short story. His seamless economy of words reaches deep into the inner turmoil of his characters in just a few short pages. Gurov is tangibly bitter towards the Moscow society, its customs and its restrictions. Anna and Yalta, who remain constant in his thoughts provide a reverie from his claustrophobic reality. Although some have voiced their frustrations at a novel focusing so much on the potentially selfish actions of an adulterous middle-aged man, Chekhov reveals, through third-person narrative, the futility of reason and sense of fate in the face of love.
The Time: Night – Lyudmila Petrushevskaya
This novel is a heart wrenching, intimate portrayal of struggle one woman endures as she battles to survive in poverty-stricken circumstances. The Time: Night is a novel framed as the manuscript left behind by Anna, a woman striving to keep her family together whilst latching onto her role as a the self-sacrificing ‘babushka’ to her errant children and her grandson Timur. The novel is set in the bleak post-soviet apartments of Moscow, and the atmosphere is tangibly impregnated with despair. Petrushevskaya’s work is beautifully written, undulating from torrid streams of consciousness to poetic reflection to neurotic panic. Petrushevskaya’s sharp wit and sardonic social commentary help lift the bleak narrative and create a truly unique and insightful perspective on the desperate nature of one family’s existence.
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Anna Karenina – Tolstoy
Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is a novel that delights in contrasting diametric opposites, from Levin and Kitty’s marriage and Anna and Vronsky’s love affair to the spatial opposition of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Moscow is full of glamorous balls, elegant fashions and handsome officers. Moscow is where Anna and Vronsky see one another for the first time, and Moscow is where the novel ends. The text is ambitious and labyrinthine, creating a rich mosaic of human emotion that defies judgement of human actions. However you feel about Tolstoy’s treatment of his heroine, he does an exceptional job of representing the minutiae of contradictory and complex motivations that govern human behaviour.
The Master and Margarita – Bulgakov
Bulgakov’s masterpiece reaches past the concrete reality of an identifiable Moscow to an evanescent world beyond it. The novel follows a series of inexplicable and utterly hilarious events that ensue when the Devil arrives in fervently atheistic soviet Russia. Bulgakov satirizes the materialistic nature of Muscovite society to gesture to the spiritual void beneath it. Characters include a motley demonic band of individuals, and a droll-humoured cigar-smoking cat, wreaking havoc around town in a series of wickedly funny skits. From a magic show featuring a temporary decapitation, to a magical scene in which the eponymous Margarita flies over Moscow on a broomstick completely naked, there is no end to Bulgakov’s incredible imagination. Those familiar with the opening scene will be delighted when they visit modern day Moscow’s Patriarch Ponds, where a cautionary sign will advise you that it is ‘forbidden to talk to strangers’.
Night Watch – Sergei Lukyanenko
Night Watch was translated into English after the phenomenal success of the films based on Lukyanenko’s pentology of novels. This novel is the first in the series, a gripping sci-fi fantasy that explores the supernatural underworld lurking just beneath the surface of our everyday world. Lukyanenko’s novel reflects a trend for fantastical or allegorical fiction which is currently prevalent in Russia. In Night Watch, a supernatural race of primeval humans must ally either with agents of Dark or Light. The main protagonist, Anton, finds himself caught in the middle of this tumultuous battle and drawn into a world of moral incertitude. This is (in the most non-cliché terms) a really griping page-turner.
Moscow-Petushki – Venedikt Erofeev
This is a slight cheat, as the majority of the narrative takes place during a train journey between Moscow and Petushki, a suburban settlement that appropriates a utopian-like quality in the mind of Venichka, the drunken protagonist. There are many who believe that Erofeev’s work is untranslatable, replete as it is with cultural references to classical poems, the orthodox faith and slurred streams of consciousness. Nevertheless, we believe it would be a pity to miss out on insight into the darkly witty, tremendously sad and sparkling mind of Erofeev. His prose-poem allows us to be simultaneously privy to Venichka’s internal dialogue, the external dialogue of his accompanying passengers and to the author himself. Erofeev plays with all readerly expectations through Venichka, the proverbial holy fool who, through his tangled commentary on everything from Marx to Pushkin to vodka slowly unveils his authenticity as a character.
Red Square – Martin Cruz Smith
This is the third novel in the Investigator Renko series, following on from the incredibly popular Gorky Park and Polar Star . Red Square does not actually refer to the Moscow location but rather a missing avant-garde painting that recently resurfaced in the illegal black-markets of 1990’s Russia. Renko is shown as an individual awash in a sea of corruption, attempting to cling to the law in an atmosphere of rapid and unprecedented change. Red Square provides an in-depth insight into the emerging capitalism taking hold of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, its setting an interesting comparison of Russia and cultural trends in Munich and Berlin during this tumultuous period. As ever, Cruz Smith’s writing is engaging and darkly funny.
Envy – Yuri Olesha
Olesha’s 1927 novel is a slapstick examination of the tussles between a smug sausage mogul and the drunken no-hope he chances upon in the gutter one day. If that’s not the kind of scenario to secure your interest then be assured that this is a much over-looked, brilliantly-rendered and vigorously delivered poetic feat. Although Olesha only wrote one book, it seems he put all his genius into it. As with Moscow-Petushki , Envy succeeds in being simultaneously lyrical and satirical; Olesha’s wry social commentary bubbles up from the pages with incredible energy. There are some fantastically disgusting descriptions that are utterly absurd and also oddly believable. This novel probably won’t suit every taste but if you have a penchant for the avant-garde then look no further.
Metro 2033 – Dmitry Glukhovsky
This is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the Moscow metro system. The sprawling stations take on ideologies and statehoods of their own after a nuclear disaster above-ground forces survivors into a subterranean world where rifle cartridges are currency and men fight both against intangible threats and one another. Artyom, the young protagonist of the novel, has never experienced fresh air, seen grass or been exposed to natural light. His fellow inhabitants at VDNKh raise anaemic pigs on waste products and grow mushrooms for food, eking out a precarious existence in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. After meeting an enigmatic figure called Hunter, Artyom takes on an epic quest to reach the mythical city of Polis, navigating the various perils that ensue as he traverses the claustrophobic, cramped conditions of life in the metro. Metro 2033 is ultimately a study of the human psyche and man’s irrepressible desire to survive no matter what that means. With this comes a bleak insight into the moral and physical degradation of people when they are pushed to their absolute limits.
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