14 of Our Editors Share the Best Book They Read in the Last Year

Books, books everywhere, but none for me to read—well, that’s how it can feel when you’re scouring for your next tome. There are a bajillion lists out there, but sometimes you just want the person sitting across from you to tell you what novel kept them up way past their bedtime last night. And so, we asked the editors at PureWow (the people we sit across from) to share their favorite book they read in the last year. Take note, bookworms.

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social creature1
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social Creature By Tara Isabella Burton

“New York's hottest book is Social Creature. This novel has everything: barely-tolerable (in a good way) millennials, the pretentious NYC literary scene, intense The Talented Mr. Ripley vibes, Anna Delvey-esque socialite drama, Weekend at Bernie's-style propping up of dead bodies... Sold yet?” – Lindsay Champion, Food and Wellness Director

the white album
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the White Album By Joan Didion

“How had I not read this yet? Didion's compilation of life in the late ’60s and early ’70s is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published. Her writing is revolutionary—personal but investigative, concise but all-telling.” – Madison Russell, Editorial Assistant

a little life
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a Little Life By Hanya Yanagihara

“A lot of people have mixed feelings about this book because it’s quite, uh, depressing (it’s about four best friends trying to succeed in NYC after college, but are met with one tragedy followed by another), and it’s very long. But it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read. This story touches upon so many aspects of life in a relatable but eye-opening way. I literally couldn’t put it down and recommend it to everyone.” – Rachel Gulmi, Associate Managing Editor

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pachinko By Min Jin Lee

“I finally got around to reading this weighty family epic, which my bookworm grandfather recommended to me. Despite its being a dense 500 pages and spanning some 100-odd years, I tore through it—the author paints such a vivid picture of the characters' (often heartbreaking) lives in early 20th-century Korea and later postwar Japan, you feel like you're watching a movie. (I actually hear it got picked up for a TV adaptation, which doesn't surprise me.)” – Carolyn Stanley, Senior Editor

love and ruin
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love And Ruin By Paula Mclain

“This is a novel based on the life of the fearless reporter, writer and war correspondent Martha Gellhorn (and Ernest Hemingway's third wife). The story of their relationship is fascinating, but Martha's fearlessness and strength is what made me fall in love with her and her story.” – Marissa Oliva, Beauty Editor

stay with me
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stay With Me By Ayobami Adebayo

“Adebayo’s novel is about a Nigerian couple who decides polygamy is not for them. That is, until the wife, Yejide, struggles getting pregnant and must make a great sacrifice to save her marriage. Let’s just say…I could not stop ugly crying in public as I read through the end. No, seriously, everyone on the NJ Transit bus was like, ‘what is going on with that girl; is she OK?’ But I could not put it down.” – Robert Fiorito, News Editor

my year of rest and relaxation
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my Year Of Rest And Relaxation By Ottessa Moshfegh

“I read a lot of great books this year (The Great Believers and Less come to mind), but I keep coming back to this one about a total narcissist in pre-9/11 New York who essentially decides to sleep for a year. It's like nothing I've ever read, both in terms of structure and character, and I love how it's both absurdly funny and deeply moving. I can't get it out of my brain!" – Jillian Quint, VP of Content

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florida By Lauren Groff

“Things I love: Short stories, mystical realism, Lauren Groff's incredible writing. Unsurprisingly, this collection of sharp and spooky stories set in the wild wackiness that is Florida was my favorite read of the year.” – Grace Hunt, Editor

pet sematary
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pet Sematary By Stephen King

“When a young family moves close to a burial ground for pets, of course things are gonna get spooky. Yes, reading this was a slow burn at the beginning, but by the end, I couldn't put it down. Even though King basically tells you what's going to go wrong beforehand, it still managed to scare my pants off. In a word (or three): scary scary scary.” – Katherine Gillen, Assistant Editor

red notice
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red Notice By Bill Browder

“A memoir written by one of the first U.S. investors in Russia. His story about the true sh*t that went down in Russia when he started making a lot of $$ in the ’90s is so insane that it reads like a murder mystery (normally my cup of tea)—and convinced me that I can actually tear through a nonfiction book. If Bill Browder sounds familiar, that’s because he’s been in the news a lot this past year—he was instrumental in passing the contentious Magnitsky Act, which Trump and Putin claim to have discussed in meetings. In other words: this book is really topical, too!” – Heath Goldman, Food Editor

under the banner of heaven
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under The Banner Of Heaven By Jon Krakauker

“I love Jon Krakauker (hello, Wild and Into Thin Air), but this investigative work on the isolated world of America’s Mormon Fundamentalist communities blew me away. I found that no matter how truly unbelievable the true stories were, I couldn't put it down. I've gained a set of knowledge I never had about Mormonism, the American Southwest—and now I have so many conversation starters to bring to parties.” – Corley Miller, Editorial Coordinator

a walk in the woods
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a Walk In The Woods By Bill Bryson

“This book is the author’s account of walking the length of the Appalachian Trail (something I’ve always had interest in doing myself) with his wildly unprepared friend. It’s equal parts informative and hilarious. I think about his chapter on bears on a regular basis, and actually laughed out loud while I was reading it. If you like writers like David Sedaris, then you’ll definitely like this book, even if you’ve never had a desire to walk and camp out in the wilderness.” – Abby Hepworth, Associate Editor

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heavy By Kiese Laymon

“This is a memoir about Black American identity, and as my friend eloquently put it: ‘The writing is so beautiful it will sustain you. And the tone is remarkably light given the heavy topics (literally and otherwise).’ I tore through this book in a day and thought about it for weeks afterward. Read it (and then, please, let’s discuss!).” – Jenny Jin, Senior Beauty Editor

a gentleman in moscow
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a Gentleman In Moscow By Amor Towels

“This novel tells the story of a man, well, a gentleman (there’s a big difference), who’s bound by law to live out the rest of his life in one of the finest hotels in Moscow. Yes, the description seems tedious. However! The way in which Towels takes you from the Bolshevik Revolution through World War II, all from within the confines of the Metropol hotel is extraordinary. And that he does it while making you laugh in the face of atrocity is pretty great, too.” – Dara Katz, Senior Editor