This is How You Lose the Time War
Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Recommender: Jessica Embrey
Our two protagonists, Red and Blue, are rival agents who travel through time to ensure the future success of their faction. Each chapter describes a mission that is ultimately undermined by the other agent, who leaves an unlikely note in a relic of the past detailing their triumph. The notes spark a relationship that only perfectly matched opponents could have, and the story only gets more captivating from there. One of the few books I read this year that had me truly upset when it ended, not because the ending wasn’t good, but because I desperately wanted more!
The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Recommender: Ryan Pelkey
One of the great intellects of the 20th century upends the urban planning field with her seminal first book. Jane Jacobs elucidates the fundamental forces guiding organic urban behavior. You will come to see cities as organisms, understand how various layers work together, and learn to think systemically from one of the sharpest observers and researchers of any era.
The World We Need
Edited by Audrea Lim
Recommender: Stephanie Simon
Ever wondered how change begins? This non-fiction book is a collection of essays and illustrations that describe various environmental organizations throughout the U.S. The reader gets a detailed look at how people connect to create change and address environmental issues in their own communities.
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Recommender: Dana Franciss
Yes, that Hank Green. This book is an engaging and witty speculative fiction/sci-fi novel that feels super grounded in our own modern, mundane world, so it’s a great option even if you’re a sci-fi skeptic. It also asks timely questions about the role and responsibility of influencers in society, the impact of social media in political conversations, and how to be proud of humanity even when it seems reckless. Check it out!
Recommender: Dana Francis
No matter your experience (or lack thereof) with Jane Austen’s other, more popular works, this one stands alone. Northanger Abbey is the author’s “Gothic parody,” and it’s mostly just plain fun. Don’t expect this book to take itself too seriously, but do expect a quick, hilarious, delightful read. I also recommend the audiobook version with Emma Thompson for a fully immersive dramatic experience!
Recommender: Sebastian von Zerneck
Machiavelli’s thesis is that most people don’t understand how hard it is to start something completely new and all by yourself. Whether you’re starting a country or business, or trying to win class president or valedictorian, it takes a rare level of prudence and determination to see a project through to the finish. Many of Machiavelli’s pieces of advice have been called unethical, but for those who are committed to doing the right thing, there’s nothing more helpful than to imagine what your opponent might try.