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 history of the mysteries of life expectancy to a self-help book that actually helps, here are their picks.

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1. Circe by Madeline Miller

“I’ve been obsessed with Greek mythology for as long as I can remember, so needless to say, I devoured this reimagining of Circe—the scorned daughter of the sun god Helios—as told through her eyes. It interweaved so many famous Greek tales together, with appearances from everyone to Odysseus to Hermes, making it feel to the reader like famous actors making cameos. All the while, however, Miller was simultaneously creating a brand-new legend to enjoy.” -Nicole Briese, Assigning Commerce Editor

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2. Falling by T.J. Newman

“I read this book in four days, and it’s taken me at least a month to read every other book of the past two years. Written by a former flight attendant, this thriller about a pilot’s family being kidnapped will have you on the edge of your seat. Just don’t read it while you’re on a plane (I made that mistake and was clammy the rest of the flight).” -Roberta Fiorito, Senior Editor, Branded Content

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3. Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer by Stephen Johnson

“As a pop science fan, I love any nonfiction book that breaks down a complicated topic in a not only understandable, but juicy way—and that's exactly the idea behind this fascinating history of why and how life expectancy has doubled in the past century. Like, did you know that early antibiotics research was conducted by government workers who walked around squeezing melons (looking for the perfect bacteria)? Or that one woman is credited with bringing smallpox inoculation to the west, after observing it in Turkey in the 18th century? Extra Life might not be the absolute best book I read, but it's definitely the one I've thought about and talked about the most.” -Jillian Quint, Editor in Chief

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4. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

“I had the privilege of seeing an advance copy of this book and I think I read it in 36 hours. (And that was only because I had to pause to handle childcare.) This novel is about a woman who thinks she has found the love of her life until he disappears overnight. What ensues is a search to find him with plenty of twists and turns, but most importantly, the discovery of a new relationship that may turn out to be the most impactful one of her life. Dave writes beautifully (I'm a huge fan of her other books), but what's most remarkable is how well she sticks the landing on this one. I was so stunned, I had to read the final pages twice.” -Rachel Bowie, Director of Special Projects

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5. The Overstory by Richard Powers

“I’d never think to read a book about…trees, but after a TV writer friend recommended this, I thought I’d give it a try. And it’s not only beautifully written, but also incredibly moving in its sketches of its characters and their professional, romantic and spiritual struggles, all associated obliquely with trees, a stand-in for our poor, eco-threatened planet. It’s a sort of a Michener-esque saga for the climate change generation. No wonder it won the 2019 Pulitzer.” -Dana Dickey, Senior Editor

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6. Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Blood Stains by Catriona McPherson

“I powered through multiple books in the Dandy Gilver mystery series this year and absolutely adored all of them. They’re by a Scottish author, Catriona McPherson, and follow an amateur detective and her handsome young assistant/co-detective solving cases just after WWI. Dandy is funny and charming, and it’s been a blast to read books that transport me to another time and place entirely. They’ve been an excellent escape from coping fatigue.” -Abby Hepworth, Editor

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7. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

“I can't tell you how many nights I stayed up reading this book. Cahalan’s story is incredibly moving and insightful, but I especially love how she dives into the research behind the condition that suddenly left her unable to move or speak, and breaks down medical terms to make them more digestible. I had no idea what anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis was before I picked up this book.” -Nakeisha Campbell, Assistant Editor, Entertainment and News

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8. The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays by Casey Wilson

“If I could read just one book this year, it would be this one. And guess what? I did only read one book this year and I’m so happy it was Wilson’s hilarious (as in, actually funny) and heart-piercing essays.” -Dara Katz, Executive Editor

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9. You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

“It takes *a lot* to reel me into a book. As we all do, I wanted to start the New Year off right and this book really got me into a good headspace. The tone of each chapter is super conversational and easy to read, and Sincero does a great job at taking simple life topics and turning them into inspiring lessons. I read it a second time at the beginning of summer, and it had the same effect on me post-reread. If you're looking for a self-help book, this is a great one to start with.” -Liv Dubyak, Commerce Editor

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10. Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder

“I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover (or title), but come on…Nightbitch? Luckily, interior stuff is just as fabulous as the exterior. It’s about a new mom, bored at home while her husband works, who starts to turn into a dog. Once she gives into the weirdness of her situation, she starts to find fulfillment in her life for the first time in a long time. She bonds with her son and her eyes are opened to the reality that society, adulthood, marriage and motherhood were designed to put a woman in her place and keep her there. It’s a tremendous debut and I cannot wait for the movie adaptation.” -Sarah Stiefvater, Senior Editor

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RELATED: Quiz: What New Book Should You Read Right Now?

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