November 22, 2019

Books we’re thankful for

Written by:
Molly Wyand


'Tis the season to cuddle up with a book!

Happy Holidays from NoveList! In preparation for this week’s holiday we’ve been discussing the books of 2019, and in general, that we’ve loved or that we feel particularly thankful for. Is there a book or series that you are thankful for? Something that you’ve read that you can’t imagine your life without? We would love to hear your stories. We’ll go first:

Roget’s Thesaurus: When the subject of gratitude comes up, I tend to favor practicality over sentimentality. The book I’m most thankful for is Roget’s Thesaurus — in my work as a NextReads bibliographer, I write as many as 40 annotations a month, so I’m always on the lookout for new options to replace some of my overplayed turns of phrase.

Kaitlin Conner, Readers’ Advisory Librarian

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai: I am always thankful for the books that exist in the world, but this year I am especially thankful for Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers, which after a string of ho-hum books brought the spark back to my reading life. This powerful story of the AIDS crisis in the 80s in Chicago and how it impacted a group of friends drew me into its grip and didn’t let me go until I had turned the last page. I still think of Yale, Fiona, and the rest of their chosen family as if they are people I knew in real life.

Halle Eisenman, Content Development Manager

Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption and an Unlikely Family by Lisa Fenn: It starts as a story of two underdogs overcoming tremendous hardships, both physically and mentally. Lisa Fenn, writer for ESPN, becomes involved in two young men's lives while writing their story. Fascinating look at poverty, race, class, and disabilities. A beautiful memoir that captures love, hope, and courage; one of the best books I've read this year.

Pam Jaskot, Customer Engagement Specialist

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung: I’m thankful for Nicole Chung’s memoir, All You Can Ever Know for her frank and bracing reflection on growing up as an adopted Korean American child in a white family and in a predominantly white town. Her search for her birth family and for her own identity as she herself becomes a mother is deeply poignant. 

Jessica Lin, Product Engagement Specialist

Expecting Better by Emily Oster: I’m still grateful to have had a book with evidence to silence the “you must do this or your baby could die/won’t be as smart/will be too fat/will be too skinny, etc.” call of being pregnant.

Jennifer Lohmann, Director of Sales and Marketing

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: I’m thankful for a book that my mother received as a gift from a friend in 1947, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Of course, I loved the beautiful prose, but what I loved, even more, was the connection to my mother, knowing this book meant so much to her as a younger woman. Even though my mother has been gone more than 30 years, I still feel close to her when I leaf through the delicate pages.

Kathy Lussier, Engagement Manager

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes: This is my all-time favorite picture book. I read this book every night to both of my children when they were younger. Throughout the book, the kitten goes on a series of misadventures where the reader repeats, "Poor kitten." It made such a lasting memory that to this day my kids will occasionally respond to me with "Poor kitten" when I drop or spill something.

Lori Reed, Marketing Specialist

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli: I am thankful for this series because they have helped open my children’s (daughter AND sons) eyes to the all that girls can do and be. Each book features stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and present and includes illustrations from 60 women artists. I appreciate it now even more as my daughter rapidly approaches those confidence-shaking middle school years. We read these stories together at night (she always wants just one more!), and we talk about how these women made and are making the world a better place.

Jen Heuer Scott, NoveList Consultant

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris: I will always be thankful that David Sedaris voices the audiobook versions of his work. His comedic timing is perfect. Among members of my family, this particular Sedaris title is responsible for countless belly laughs and for speeding along holiday road trips.

Sam Stover, Product Manager

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner: The librarian at my elementary school understood my reading challenges and found a series of books that she knew would keep me engaged and always excited to start the next story. From then on, I was hooked. Reading, stories, books, libraries. All of it. 

Amanda Winseck, Director of Field Sales

Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks: I’m eternally thankful for Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks for providing a no-holds-barred look at early Hollywood from a brilliant woman who was present at the creation and utterly unimpressed with what she saw. I would be even more thankful had Brooks not thrown her tell-all memoir, Naked on My Goat, into the incinerator before it could be published.

Autumn Winters, Recommendations Lead

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: This book absolutely, positively wrecked me. It DESTROYED me. Yet I am so thankful that it was written, and if I am in the mood for a  sad read or a good cry, I can always pick it up again (though truth be told, I have not returned to it since reading it the first time).

Molly Wyand, Communications Specialist

Molly Wyand is the Communications Specialist at NoveList. She is currently listening to The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West.


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