23 Books the BookBub Team Is Thankful for This Year

Posted on November 22, 2016 by

Our gratitude for books stretches year-round, but it never hurts to show some extra gratitude around Thanksgiving. Below, the BookBub team has shared some books we’re thankful for this year, and what made them special to us. These reads evoked tears and laughter, gave us new worlds to explore, or helped us understand our world in a new way. Happy Thanksgiving, from one group of book lovers to another!

 

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein book cover

“Of every character I’ve met this year, my absolute favorite is a dog named Enzo. This surprisingly philosophical, tearjerker of a novel had me hugging every dog in sight.” — John, Marketing

 

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin book cover

“It was far and away the most awe-inspiring book I read this year. The world-building was fantastic and I loved how the author was slow to reveal some really key aspects of the story. Highly recommended for science fiction and fantasy readers!” — Adam, Engineering

 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller book cover

“People had been recommending The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller to me for years, but for whatever reason it took ages for me to pick it up. Maybe I thought it would be too serious, too heavy on the history. It’s about the Trojan War, after all.

Only it’s really about what it’s like to fall in love with someone who becomes a legend. The author skillfully depicts the magnetic nature of Achilles, and weaves a tale of loyalty and commitment that is heart-rending, soaring, and yet quite accessible with its first person narration. I loved it, and highly recommend it for anyone interested in a clever, smart read that will hit you right in the feels.” — Hannah, Editorial

 

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Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett book cover

“I’m thankful for Terry Pratchett! I drove across the country over the summer, and the only thing that kept me awake on the road for so many hours — and that kept me and my boyfriend from biting each others’ heads off — was endless, and endlessly delightful, Terry Pratchett audiobooks. He’s my constant driving buddy and the reason I sometimes don’t hate long car rides!” — Ellie, Marketing

 

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling book cover

“I’m just as grateful today for Harry Potter as I was when it was released nearly two decades ago. It’s what I’ve always turned to in the darkest of times when I needed an escape from reality. As Dumbledore said himself, ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’ It also helps inspire me that good really can triumph over evil. And I think we can all use a little inspiration these days.” — Diana U., Industry Marketing

 

The Realm of Last Chances by Steve Yarbrough

The Realm of Last Chances by Steve Yarbrough book cover

“It’s a fearless dive into the lies we tell ourselves and others, and the secrets we keep from the same, and how those invisible pressures shape our lives in large and small ways. I loved the cast of North Shore characters and the portrait of the marriage at the novel’s center, and how I found myself rooting for these wonderful, flawed people.” — Edmund, Engineering

 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates book cover

“This year I’m thankful for Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Taking the form of a long letter from the author to his son about living as a young black man in America, this book is powerful, unflinching, and important. In a year marked by conversations about race and marred by social injustice, it’s essential for all of us to try to understand the perspectives of people who are not like us. As a privileged white woman, the depth of my ignorance can be staggering. I’m thankful for Coates’s eloquent, deeply personal words. Reading this book helped open my eyes a little wider — and wake me from the Dream a little more. Books like this shake you to the core, become a part of you, and heighten your empathy, which is one thing this world needs a lot more of.” — Jessie, Production and Support

 

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden book cover

“For years, my aunt has been begging me to read her favorite book, Memoirs of a Geisha. This summer, she put a copy in my hands, and I ran out of excuses not to. I haven’t read many books about Japan, so I enjoyed the story… but what I enjoyed even more was reading a book that I knew that was so special to someone I love — there’s something uniquely intimate about it. Thanks, Auntie Heidi!” — Lisa, Marketing

 

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu book cover

“One of my favorite books I read in 2016 was The Paper Menagerie, a collection of short stories by Ken Liu. The stories range pretty widely from hard scifi to near future noir to historical fiction with a fantastical twist, and inspired me to seek out more books in genres I don’t read as often. They were both beautifully written and emotionally weighty — I think even a passage about particles in distant space might have made me tear up — and I’d highly recommend giving them a read!” — Sonja, Engineering

 

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi book cover

“This collection of short stories is mesmerizing and more than a little magical. Death by roses, larceny, a House of Locks, a betta fish named Boudicca, a puppeteering academy — combine all these things together and you arrive at something like a matryoshka doll, with each story somehow nestling into the next and characters that grow bigger or smaller depending on where they fit within the story. The details are so finely woven that I’m definitely due for another read!” — Kayti, Production and Support

 

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones book cover

“I’m particularly thankful for Howl’s Moving Castle, a dizzying fantasy about a spunky hat maker and her adventures with a capricious wizard and his enchanted castle. The witty dialogue, complex characters, and fantastical backdrop made for an effervescent, playful, and uplifting read so reminiscent of the fairy tales I treasured as a child.” — Charlotte, Marketing

 

Shrill by Lindy West

Shrill by Lindy West book cover

“Lindy is a personal hero. Shrill is a sharp, smart, hilarious manifesto for women, particularly fat women, and against sexism in all its guises. This book is incredibly painful and incredibly affirming, and I want everyone who I care about and who cares about me to read it.” — Bridget, Production and Support

“I’m thankful for Shrill by Lindy West, because women need more unapologetic and vocal role models that show us we needn’t meet all the societal expectations placed on us in order to find happiness and fulfillment.” — Maggie, Design

 

Stoner by John Williams

Stoner by John Williams book cover

Stoner follows the life of William Stoner, who comes from a family of poor, Midwestern farmers and is the first to attend college. Rather than study agriculture, he falls in love with literature and pursues his passion, despite the misfortunes that riddle his seemingly mundane life. Initially published in 1965 but virtually unnoticed until the last decade or so, Stoner is a quick and moving read and easily the one that’s stuck with me most this year.” — Zack, Marketing

 

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer book cover

“Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Annihilation is a fascinating, many-tendriled read. The 12th expedition into the mysterious Area X is made up of four scientists, of whom the biologist is our narrator. The strange, twisting, organic presence of Area X really got under my skin, and I appreciated both its beauty and its unsettling atmosphere.” — Madeleine, Production and Support

 

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton book cover

“Maybe you think you know the story of Lady Jane Grey — who became queen when her cousin Edward died, ruled for nine days, and then was beheaded. Well, this book COMPLETELY reimagines history. I am grateful for this clever tale and I want to read more magical, hilarious, and lighthearted books like this!” — Danielle, Editorial

 

Cravings by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman book cover

“Not only is it full of unique, easy recipes, but it’s hilarious and includes photos of her amazing house and dogs.” — Sasha, Marketing

 

Summerlost by Ally Condie

Summerlost by Ally Condie book cover

“The book I’m most thankful for this year is Summerlost by Ally Condie. Good middle-grade fiction is hard to write — lyrical, smart middle-grade fiction is even harder. There’s something transcendent about the way Condie tells this story. You don’t have to be 12 years old to have it stick with you long after you’ve finished. It’s generous and warm and so stunning the whole way through, and I often found myself picking it back up whenever I needed a reminder of beautiful things and of people who find greatness in summer theater festivals and the simplicity of just being loved.” — Brianna, Business Development

 

The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah

The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah book cover

“I love finding books with really unique premises, and The Book of Memory definitely fits the bill. The novel follows a Zimbabwean albino woman convicted of murder, as she sits within a maximum security prison in Harare and threads together the events that made up her strange and tumultuous life. It’s a vibrant tale filled with family and family dysfunction, race and racial tensions, superstition, witchcraft, and more.” — Nadia, Editorial

 

The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver book cover

“I love books that take statistics and economics and apply them to the real world. And this book about the science of predictions is especially interesting right now, given all the predicting and prognosticating that just happened around the recent election. I’m thankful to learn about how predictions supposedly based in statistics and science can often be biased (even if unintentionally), so I can hopefully avoid this myself.” — Dan, Marketing

 

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone book cover

“The book I loved the most in 2016 was Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I love epic fantasy, and this book was one of my first forays into more steampunk or urban fantasy. I was really impressed with the world-building and magical system the author developed, and loved that the protagonist was a smart, kick-ass young black woman.

The premise is that a god has died, and the protagonist, Tara, is hired to help bring him back to life. Magic in this world is fascinating — it’s all about the power of words, which is leveraged through written or verbal contracts. The gods have contracts with the individuals, companies, and populations who rely on their power, and Tara is basically a magical necromancer-slash-lawyer. Gladstone also works in a lot of interesting observations and commentary about faith, religion, and criminal justice systems, as well. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a smart and unique fantasy book!” — Carlyn, Business Development

 

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson book cover

“I’m so grateful for The Argonauts — for how wildly honest it is about love and language and identity, how rigorous Nelson is in questioning motives and assumptions (including her own), how little of this book fits into a neat binary of either–or. The middle ground tends to be my favorite place, so I’m especially grateful to Nelson for her lack of certainty: ‘There is much to be learned from wanting something both ways.'” — Diana C., Editorial

 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara book cover

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is captivating, complex, and really beautifully written. At over 700 pages, this book is a journey, and not always an easy one, especially as the the story delves into difficult elements of abuse and childhood trauma. But Yanagihara also explores the enduring power of friendship, love, and goodness. And if you can stomach the gritty parts, it’s entirely worth the read.” — Jo, Marketing

 

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

The Memory Book by Lara Avery book cover

“One of my favorite books I’ve ever worked on, The Memory Book by Lara Avery, was released this summer. It’s a book that’s made me cry on every single re-read (and for this former editor, that’s saying a lot — I’ve read it upwards of five times!) and yet it ultimately makes me feel hopeful about the world and about the impact that we have on one another. It’s been a hard year in many ways, and I think the books that show us how we can better help and love each other are some of the most important ones to share around.” — Annie, Business Development

 

What book are you most thankful for this year? Tell us in the comments!

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