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These Are the Best Books PureWow Editors Have Read This Year

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When selecting new books to read, we browse Bookshop, snoop on the subway and ask friends and co-workers. That last method usually proves particularly fruitful, which is why we polled a bunch of PureWow editors for the best books they’ve read so far this year. From a gossipy look at L.A. in the ‘60s to the latest titles from Emma Straub and Lauren Groff, here are their picks.

33 Book to Gift Everyone on Your List This Year


editor fave books straub

1. This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

"I've always loved books about time travel, and this one happens to feature many more of my favorite literary themes (New York City, family drama, ‘90s nostalgia). It’s also one of those books that’s fun and easy to read (a 40-year-old woman stumbles upon a sci-fi portal that takes her back to when she was 16) but surprisingly thought-provoking (what would you do differently if you could go back in time? How do we decide what—and who—matters in life?). Very sweet, often funny and sometimes sad, this is a read that will make you appreciate your loved ones and the bizarre twists and turns that have led you to where you are.” — Alexia Dellner, Executive Editor

editor fave books kufafka

2. Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

“I’m not sure if this technically counts as being the best book I read this year if it’s the only book I read this year (first-time mom here!), but I highly recommend Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka. It’s about a man named Ansel Packer who is convicted of murdering several women and is due to be executed in 12 hours. The book toggles between two timelines: Ansel’s execution day and his life story as told through the POV of three women (and not the ones he’s killed, which is refreshing for serial killer stories) who have directly been affected by him in different ways. Amid the chaos of taking care of a new baby, this book caught and held my attention.” – Rachel Gulmi, Operations Director, Branded Content

editor fave books haynes

3. Miss Memory Lane: A Memoir by Colton Haynes

“In a year of terrific memoirs dissecting fame (I’m looking at you, Jennette McCurdy), I was wowed by Colton Haynes’s memoir, Miss Memory Lane. Haynes crafted beautiful and raw prose about his life, starting from his childhood in Arkansas all the way to his star-making stint on Teen Wolf. However, Haynes’s journey was not as glamorous as one might presume. Miss Memory Lane is certainly a challenging read, and readers should be warned that the story covers everything from addiction and toxic family dynamics to sexual grooming. Still, Haynes handles these topics delicately, and he unflinchingly confronts some of the toughest moments of his life. Not only is this a gorgeously written memoir, but Haynes offers a rare peek into an industry that forced him (back) into the closet and looked the other way as his addictions spiraled…but he couldn’t help but keep returning to it. This was one of the most arresting books I read this year, and I recommend it to anyone who remembers Colton as the beautiful bad boy on Teen Wolf. In Miss Memory Lane, he proves that he’s so much more than that.” – Joel Calfee, Assistant Editor, News & Entertainment

editor fave books backman

4. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

“This year I joined a book club, and this was our most recent read. I was hesitant at first—the main character, Ove, is solidly unlikeable, the curmudgeon-iest of the worst curmudgeons. But as I persevered, I discovered an incredibly poignant story about what it means to have a life instead of simply being alive.” – Marissa Wu, Associate Editor

editor fave books lee

5. The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee

“I 100 percent picked this one up because of the cover (sorry, not sorry), but it turned out to be just the most interesting book. It’s a fictionalized account of real-life events starting with the murder of Andrew Haswell Green (a real man nicknamed the Father of New York for all that he was accomplished here). Lee has a really interesting style of writing unlike other authors I’ve read. I highly recommend it to just about anyone. Also after I finished I looked up Haswell Green and found there is a bench dedicated to him in Central Park just minutes from my apartment, which was just a very cool cherry on top of an already awesome experience.” – Abby Hepworth, Fashion Editor

editor fave books jenkins reid

6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“This was written by an author I'd read before (Daisy Jones & the Six), only instead of following a band, it sees a young reporter delving into the life of a famously guarded actress who has finally decided to tell her story. It reads like a beach read—quick, easy and captivating, which is good, because my time to sit down with a book these days is short, but it felt a little deeper than something you'd pluck off the Target display shelf. The characters had real depth—particularly its star, Evelyn, who was loosely based on Elizabeth Taylor (she was married eight times), and Ava Gardner. While some parts were predictable, others were also surprising, keeping me invested from start to finish. It was fun, cheeky and also warm—the perfect combination.” – Nicole Briese, Commerce Director

editor fave books rogers

7. Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

“It's not a new book (it came out last year!), but I finally got a chance to read it and I absolutely LOVED IT. It's about a young woman named Grace Porter. She's trying to navigate being a recent college graduate who’s unemployed and coming to grips with entering her late 20s. I connected to the main character SO much and I saw a lot of myself in her. I laughed, cried and ‘aww’d’ so many times while reading this novel, it's insane.” – Karelle McKay, Assistant Editor of News & Entertainment 

editor fave books rozzo

8. Everybody Thought We Were Crazy: Dennis Hopper, Brooke Hayward and 1960s Los Angeles by Mark Rozzo

“This is a gossipy look at a peak time of cultural upheaval in the worlds of film and fine art, using the lens of one married couple who were at the center of it all.” – Dana Dickey, Senior Editor

editor fave books groff

9. Matrix by Lauren Groff

“I really loved Matrix, a weird book about medieval nuns by Lauren Groff, author of Fates & Furies and Florida that was different from anything I’ve read yet. I also loved The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. I’ve never sobbed more in my life over a book.” – Roberta Fiorito, Senior Editor, Branded Content

editor fave books ishiguro

10. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

“I only finished one book this year (thought I read more, but I guess not…oops lol!), but it was Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. It's a dystopian sci-fi story about a girl and her A.I. companion set sometime in the future. It was, as I expected, not uplifting, but raised a lot of questions about what it means to be human and our capacity for love.” – Katherine Gillen, Senior Food Editor

editor fave books talty

11. Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

“There were so many incredible books published in 2022 (special shoutouts to The Candy House by Jennifer Egan, Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez and Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong), but Morgan Talty’s debut story collection was a real standout for me. It’s about a boy coming of age on a reservation in Maine amid abject poverty, rampant alcohol and drug abuse and untreated mental health struggles. Talty’s stories paint an often bleak, sometimes tender picture of contemporary Native life—with occasional moments of levity and dark humor—and I can’t wait to see what he does next.” – Sarah Stiefvater, Senior Editor

editor fave books lo

12. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

“This is an excellent novel that creates the perfect intersectional marriage of race and sexuality. Taking place in San Francisco during the tumultuous 1950s McCarthy-era anti-Communist Red Scare, main character Lily Hu grapples with her Chinese-American identity and what that means for her place in society, especially as she figures out her sexuality. You see the heart-wrenching discrimination that Lily and her family face by the government, police officials and other institutions, contrasted with the intrigue, desire and allure of the San Francisco queer scene. Lily is also very much an outsider to these underground clubs and bars, not only having newly discovered her queerness, but also existing as the only non-white person of color in said establishments. From the sweet and earnest moments that Lily has with her crush Kath, a butch lesbian, to her introspection regarding identity and fitting in, Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a novel well-worthy of it’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.” – Delia Curtis, Editorial Assistant