31 Books the BookBub Team Is Thankful for This Year

Posted on November 21, 2017 by

The BookBub team is grateful for reading all year round, but in honor of Thanksgiving, we’re taking a moment to round up the books we’re most thankful for in 2017. This list — featuring stories we read this year — includes books that made us laugh and cry, warmed our hearts, and kept us wanting more. Check out our reading recommendations and why we’re grateful for them below.

 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

“This historical novel about France during World War II has been on my list for a few years, and I was so glad to finally pick it up this fall. The Nightingale truly has it all, from women’s role in the resistance to the harsh reality of Nazi-occupied territories to the deportation of French Jews. Through our two main characters, sisters Vianne and Isabelle, I learned about many of the hardships women faced in this time, and I was truly moved by this heartbreaking read.” — Lisa, Marketing

 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

“I really enjoyed this debut novel from Yaa Gyasi. Normally anthologies aren’t my cup of tea, but here the connecting narrative thread pulled me quickly through the book. Following the descendants of two sisters, one with a family that ended up in America and one whose family remained in Ghana, the stories parallel each other as centuries and generations pass. Even now, almost a year after reading it, some chapters particularly stand out — a poignant love story set in the late 1700s; a tale of the Great Migration; a modern teenager visiting her grandmother. I found this novel very moving and memorable, and would happily recommend to anyone interested in family histories and richly drawn characters.” — Hannah, Editorial

“I picked up Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi because it looked like my best option at an airport bookstore, but it turned out to be incredibly powerful and almost made me cry on the plane. It follows the descendants of two half sisters born in 18th-century West Africa, one who was enslaved and taken to the US, and another who remained free in Ghana. Tracing the scars of the slave trade and imperialism on both the enslaved and the free through many generations was a new perspective on this history for me, and the short stories that make up the book ranged from hopeful to heartbreaking. I highly recommend reading them.” — Sonja, Engineering

 

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

“This novel had been on my to-be-read pile for a long time. I enjoyed the movie before reading the book, but as is always true, the novel was more satisfying and complex. It’s such a human story despite having this huge fantastical element to it. And at the center of it is Clare and Henry’s love story, which I found to be beautiful, tragic, and entirely enchanting.” — Jo, Marketing

 

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

“It highlighted for me just how miraculous, mundane, and fragile life can be, somehow all at once, and I realized reading it how much I sometimes take that for granted. The writing is also beautiful. I’m thankful I read it.” — Conrad, Product

 

IQ by Joe Ide

IQ by Joe Ide

“For a mystery lover with a penchant for Sherlock Holmes–style narratives, IQ was a real treat. In a tough LA neighborhood, Isaiah Quintabe is an outsider with a talent for solving problems. He even has his own sidekick — con man Dodson — who unlike the original Dr. Watson never stops grumbling that he isn’t the star of the show. I love that Isaiah is rational, complex, and observant, but big-hearted enough to let clients pay him with gumbo recipes if that’s what they have to give. With equal doses of action and wit, this is one of the freshest detective stories I’ve read in years.” — Nadia, Editorial

 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

“This was the most deliciously entertaining and witty book I’ve read all year. Featuring two workplace rivals who fall in love, this marvelous story will have you laughing out loud at the office banter — and swooning at the tender moments.” — Danielle, Editorial

 

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

“I’m definitely late to the game on reading this one, but I learned so much about cancer and the many people who’ve been involved in researching and trying to cure it. I enjoyed hearing about how each person made a small contribution that has allowed understanding and treatment of the disease to move forward, despite many obstacles. I also enjoyed how central Boston was to the book — as a resident it was interesting to learn about how important Boston has been to cancer research and treatment overall.” — Helen, Product

 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

“This book and its charismatic, potentially unreliable narrator blew into my life, charmed me, and introduced me to some truly spectacular world-building. From the fascinating magic system to the medieval lyricism of the in-story theatrics, this book was a delightful ride. Never before has the lute seemed so glamorous.” — Madeleine, Production and Support

 

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

“Given the rise of psychological thrillers over the last few years, it was nice to find a new author in the space that was able to write a suspenseful, creative story without copying previously used plot lines. I’m looking forward to more from her.” — Sasha, Marketing

 

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

“This year, I am very thankful for Goodbye, Vitamin. I’ve been known to get teary when I read something funny or sweet and touching. That happened at least 10 times while reading Goodbye, Vitamin. Rachel Khong (and her “Ruth”) reminds us about the importance, and power, of kindness and forgiveness and humor, even when life feels overwhelming and sad.” — Caitlin, Business Development

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

“I’m super grateful to Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows for reminding me what it’s like to dive into a book and never want to come up for air! Bardugo’s characters all walk a knife’s edge — they’re neither completely lovable nor completely detestable — but they’re compelling and complex and by the end of the novel, they felt like people I’d known my whole life. Six of Crows really has something for everyone: high stakes, intrigue, betrayal, magic, wit, romance, vengeance — I dare you to read this book and not enjoy it!” — Kayti, Production and Support

 

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

“We read this book for book club and I really enjoyed it. I am thankful for A Long Way Home because it made me think about how many #firstworldproblems I have and made me appreciate how lucky I am to have the life and family I do!” — Briana, Administration

 

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

“This book’s vivid portrayal of the Vietnam War had me turning pages and staying up late because I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t know much about this time in history, so I’m thankful I was able to get educated and start to understand how complex and difficult a situation it was.” — Dan, Marketing

 

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

“One thing I love about books is that sometimes, the author has done all the emotional heavy-lifting for you, and you get to sit back and ride the waves of delight, or surprise, or joy — or whatever they’ve tucked in the pages.”

“I happened to read this collection of poems during a particularly bleak, miserably dark stretch of late winter: The perfect weather to sulk. But the pages were saturated with energy and gratitude — singing of independence and ‘the open road’ and beauty — and I couldn’t help but be swept up in Whitman’s exultation. It’s definitely become a book I’ve turned to when I’ve needed a little sunshine this year.” — Charlotte, People Operations

 

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

“This is one of those urgent, searing, deeply wonderful books that grabs hold of you right from the first page and turns you inside out. It is, at its core, a story about siblings and how, even as you grow and change, you are inextricably linked to that person who shares your history with you in remarkable and bone-deep ways. The writing is graceful and full-hearted, and while I guarantee you will cry, you will also probably do what I did and go buy copies for everyone you know as soon as you finish. It’s that good.” — Brianna, Analytics

 

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

The Chronology of Water: a Memoir by Lidia Yuknavitch

“This book is not like other books in that it makes you incredibly, painfully self-aware. While Yuknavitch grappled with abuse, addiction, and depression in ways I never have, her musings reminded me that life is emotions and feeling and touching and loving, and that sometimes you have to barrel your way blindly into new things until you find exactly what it is you didn’t know you needed.”

“‘I wanted to read… I wanted to travel the country of ideas and feel thoughts and blast open the top of my head… I wanted to write.'” — Sara, Production and Support

 

Death’s End by Cixin Liu

Death’s End by Cixin Liu

“It’s the final book in a dense trilogy. The ideas, while based in science, are so huge and crazy it left me reeling. Think: speed-of-light travel, black holes, and experiencing four dimensional space. It’s not a light read, but I found it really satisfying by the end.” — Adam, Engineering

 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“I often derive greater connection, meaning, and understanding from fiction than from nonfiction, and this novel, with its relatable, flawed characters taking all-too-real journeys, struck every chord that I needed to hear. As an expat, I derived a lot of amusement from the sections where Ifemelu moves to the United States. She perfectly encapsulates the feelings of otherness I feel as an immigrant. But as a white person born in the United States, I value even more the author’s incisive, unflinching portrayals of the structure of systemic racism in my home country. The author delivers a polemic on race, class, and gender. She deftly peels back layer after layer of the hierarchy of social structures and attitudes that affect everyday life in ways I am privileged to have never personally experienced — with witty, beautiful writing and perfect pitch.”

“A character in the book says, ‘You can’t write an honest novel about race in this country. If you write about how people are really affected by race, it’ll be too obvious. Black writers who do literary fiction in this country… have two choices: They can do precious or they can do pretentious.’ I’m thankful that Adichie chose neither path when writing Americanah.” — Jessie, Production and Support

 

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

“It’s so relentlessly heartwarming and optimistic that it heavily changed the way I view the world. It’s rarely easy to stay positive, but this book makes it feel like it’s worth it.” — Steve, Engineering

 

My Struggle: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard

My Struggle: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgård

“This book was hard to put down, even when it was painfully uncomfortable to read. I can only imagine how long it took Knausgaard to write like this. He’s so clear and incredibly honest. He observes and voices the small details and preoccupations of our everyday lives and how they guide so many of our thoughts. The sixth and final book of the series will be published in English in 2018 so hopefully I’ll be caught up by then. It’s a daunting task but the pages go by quickly.” — Zack, Marketing

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“One of my absolute favorite books from 2017 was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. When Starr’s friend Khalil is pulled over and wrongfully shot by a cop (with Starr in the passenger seat), she grapples with the fallout — the senseless loss of her friend, her experience and treatment as a witness, and her role in the Black Lives Matter movement. This book is extremely relevant to our times, and is an incredibly inspiring #ownvoices story, with a protagonist who’s simply a joy to read. I’ve been happy to see this book at the top of the New York Times bestseller list month after month, and can’t wait to see the movie adaptation.” — Diana U., Industry Marketing

 

Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck

“If you want a book to ignite some wanderlust (or the desire to adopt a dog), this is a great pick. Steinbeck loads up his camper-top, recruits his poodle, and sets off to see 60s America. He totally embellishes/invents parts of his account, but the journey he presents feels more authentic and important than any real trip could.” — John, Analytics

 

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

“It set me off on adventure that spans nine books and includes political intrigue, magic, dragons, and a beautifully flawed protagonist.” — Tyrone, Business Development

 

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

“This is a collection of seven essays that revolutionized my understanding of first-person nonfiction writing. David Foster Wallace is a genius — each one of his essays was witty, sincere, and unbearably hilarious. His ability to dissect accepted societal truths was eye-opening, while his witty humor made me actually laugh out loud. I’m thankful that I picked this book up and also am incredibly excited to read all his other books next.” — Sandra, Marketing

 

Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright

Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright

“A college history professor recommended this book to me a few years ago and I finally picked it up this fall, but now wish I did sooner. It combines a compelling narrative of stories about her family and historical accounts from other Czechs during Nazi occupation in World War II. Definitely a book that I’ll pick up over and over again for years to come.” — Morgan, Marketing

 

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

“One of my favorite books this year was River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey. Two words: Hippo. Heist. Set in an alternate version of the American South where dangerous feral hippos haunt the rivers, a diverse band of hippo-riding outlaws joins together for an epic caper/ operation. The world Gailey created in delightfully vivid and occasionally gory detail is totally convincing, and more than once I found myself grinning at the sharp banter between her characters. River of Teeth is a fresh and imaginative take on revenge western tropes, and from start to finish, it was just so much fun.” — Carlyn, Business Development

 

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker

“There were so many really excellent poetry collections published this year, but this one stands out to me. This book is a bold and powerful and marvelous celebration of black womanhood, and it’s one of the things that got me through 2017.” — Bridget, Production and Support

 

Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford

Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford

“This book did a great job covering some of the what-ifs that surround automation and the future of work. If you are interested in what robots and computers can do in the future, this is a thought-provoking book.” — Aaron, Engineering

 

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

“This book is so many things. It’s a ballad and an homage to the American West — but one that never falls victim to romance. It’s a story of friendship, family, and love (but it’s definitely not a love story, or at least not any love story you’d actually want to read). It’s an action-heavy page-turner driven by characters so vivid I still can’t shake them out of my head. It’s 1,000 pages long but ‘compelling’ doesn’t even begin to do it justice.”

“Reading this book is fascinating and brutal and SUCH a delight.” — Ellie, Engineering

 

The Sobbing School by Joshua Bennett

The Sobbing School by Joshua Bennett

“This year I’m grateful to Joshua Bennett for his poetry collection, The Sobbing School. The title comes from a moment in a Zora Neale Hurston essay where she refuses to linger on the ills of structural racism and stubbornly turns to life’s pleasures instead: ‘No, I do not weep at the world — I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife'(!). But in The Sobbing School, Bennett honors both the impetus to live and the need to mourn (‘Who can be alive today / & not study grief?’), and in the process of doing so, celebrates kinship in all its forms.” — Diana C., Editorial

 

The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe

The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe

“Sometimes a book comes along and knocks you out with its honesty. The Girls from Corona del Mar is one of those books, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have read it when I did. It’s a very smart, very readable story about two childhood friends whose lives take surprising turns — and it’s also a quietly powerful rumination on relationships, identity, and the unknowability of others. There’s something deeply human about defining yourself through the people you love, and this novel captures that in a way that is somehow both frank and graceful.” — Meredith, Editorial

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

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