Find your next perfect book


If you’re looking for something new to read, look no further than these eight books! Credit: Sharon Xu (’22)

Take this quiz to find your next perfect book!

Tipping Point (sociology nonfiction)

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell offers fresh insights on sociology. As a renowned New York Times staff writer, Gladwell skillfully presents factors that trigger social epidemics, from bestseller books, trending brands, to the crime rates in New York City. He also analyzes why certain strategies “stick” and spread like wildfire, and how different personalities contribute to kickstarting a distinct trend. Gladwell’s straightforward style and unpacking of complex ideas in an easily understandable way help the readers relate abstract sociological knowledge to real life, even if you are a first-time reader of this genre. After the pandemic, you will especially appreciate its strong relevance in today’s world, as it shows you how a few small characters have the potential to make huge impacts, whether it be positive or negative.

The Book Thief (historical fiction)

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak presents a deep dive into the intricate, sensitive era of World War II. This captivating story is told from a unique narrator, Death, and walks the reader through the young girl Liesel’s life growing up in Germany during World War II. She learns to read, finds refuge in literature, and begins to steal books. You will appreciate this book’s accurate portrayal of people’s attitudes during wartime, which includes a father and son relationship breaking apart due to politics, a mother worrying over her children’s safety, the youth participating in propaganda regimes, and the list goes on. Despite the harsh conditions of the time, the book is filled with many heartwarming moments, like Liesel’s steady friendship with Rudy Steiner and her father’s decision to shelter a Jewish man. The author illuminates Liesel’s childish innocence, a source inspiring hope amidst the grim outward circumstances, and this book provides a heartrending yet powerful experience for the reader.

Where the Crawdads Sing (nature fiction)

A trailblazing novel in the nature fiction genre, Where the Crawdads Sing, provokes meaningful contemplation on the human potential, leaving the reader with a lasting emotional impact. The author Delia Owens paints a vivid survival story of Kya Clark—a young girl abandoned in the marsh by her parents. This novel brilliantly weaves together themes of nature, coming-of-age, and murder mystery: a highly unusual combination. The style also diverges from the traditional chronological narration, so the story often jumps to different times. But instead of causing confusion, it allows the reader to gradually see the pieces converge and the truth rising to the surface. Throughout the story, you will deeply admire Kya’s valiancy, intelligence, and ability to thrive in such a harsh environment. Moreover, the author’s beautiful language when describing the serene wetlands will inspire one’s passion to explore the marsh ecosystem. This book tells a tale of personal growth and surprising plot twists, ultimately culminating into a beautiful story.

Why We Sleep (science nonfiction)

Sleeping, an act that most people neglect in daily life, is actually much more nuanced than you assume. Why We Sleep explains the importance of sleep, outlines the different sleep cycles, and touches on how external factors like what we eat and drink can impact our sleep. Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist and sleep researcher at UC Berkeley, walks you through multiple studies in an informative yet highly captivating manner. Essentially everyone struggles with getting adequate sleep and balancing sleep with daily life. However, after reading this book, you will gain insight into organizing your own sleep schedule and learn to prioritize sleep. These changes are a small step that will drastically transform your mindset and increase your overall well-being.

The Glass Castle (memoir)

The Glass Castle by Jennette Walls is a memoir that is as captivating as any piece of fiction. Jeannette Walls details her nontraditional upbringing–living a nomadic lifestyle–with her parents Rex and Rose Mary Walls and three siblings Lori, Maureen and Brian. We follow Walls through her childhood as she moves from home-to-home all the way into adulthood where she fights to get an education and lives a better life. She is incredibly truthful throughout the book, showing the unconditional love her family share while also representing their very real struggles with finances, alcoholism, and a lack of parental support. You will never experience a moment of boredom while reading this book. Wall’s highly descriptive language and narrative storytelling draws you deeply into her life both factually and emotionally. She makes you question the very foundations of a family with her story of love alongside neglect.

One Last Stop (romance)

Time travel, love, and hope all come together beautifully in Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop. August, a cynical 23-year-old student in New York City, does not believe in love or hope or really anything good about the world. She lives her life without ties to anything or anyone until she meets Jane on the subway. Jane, a gorgeous punk rocker, is everything August is not. She enjoys all the little pleasures of life constantly full of happiness and energy. But Jane is not just into vintage fashion. She is displaced in time from the 1970s and trapped on the Q train. The novel follows their relationship as they fall in love while August, along with some friends, fights for a way to save Jane. You will fall in love with all of McQuiston’s characters and find yourself riding on a beautiful emotional rollercoaster.

One Last Stop is also endorsed by Elizabeth Bowman (‘22). “After not having read for fun in years, I finished One Last Stop in one night,” Elizabeth said. “It was funny, genuine, and the perfect queer romance story I had been looking for.”

Fruits Basket (manga)

An adorable manga with stunning artwork, Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya tells the story of high schooler Tohru Honda and the unconventional Soma clan. After a family tragedy, Tohru moves out of her house and into a tent on the land of the Soma clan. When the Soma family members take Tohru in, she learns that the family is cursed. Whenever a member of the Soma family is touched by the opposite sex, they become animals from the Chinese zodiac. Tohru bonds with Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure and other members of the family as she keeps their secret and sets out to break their curse. This manga tells a fantastical tale but outlines the very real struggle everyone faces with acceptance of themselves and others.

If you are not feeling up to reading, you can also watch Fruits Basket on Netflix and enjoy the cute, feel-good story!

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue (fantasy)

Would you make a deal with the devil? Well, in The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab, Addie Larue makes a deal with the devil that changes her life forever. The story starts in France 1714 where Addie, desperate to escape her current life, makes a deal that allows her to live forever but leaves her forgotten by everyone she meets. The novel is set in present-day New York City but is smattered with flashbacks of Addie’s centuries of life and her relationship with Luc, the one who cursed Addie. Through the flashbacks, we see Addie leave her mark on history without ever being remembered until in the present day where a bookshop clerk, Henry Strauss, remembers her. The past and present-day timelines build a complex but incredibly interesting storyline and Schwab’s elegant yet powerful writing conveys all the complex emotions the various characters feel as they all grapple with their individual experiences. You start to consider what is truly important in life after reading this book.