By Meghan Daum
The unifying theme of these laser-sharp essays: how “experiences too often come with preassigned emotional responses.” Things like having kids (Daum doesn’t want them) or college (not always the best time in your life). Contrarians, rejoice.
NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL
By Lena Dunham
The Girls star opens up about everything from her childhood OCD to losing her virginity in this bold, entertaining memoir.
By Phil Klay
“We shot dogs. Not by accident,” begins Klay’s National Book Award-winning story collection. Drawn from the time he spent as a Marine in Iraq, it will open your eyes.
By Nina Stibbe
Hilarious letters the author sent her sister while working as a nanny in 1980s London make for the year’s most charming book.
THE PAYING GUESTS
By Sarah Waters
1920s England comes alive in Waters’s
thrilling tale of murder and forbidden love.
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE
By Anthony Doerr
A gorgeously written novel about struggle and survival in WWII France.
By Randall Munroe
A scientist’s answers to questions like “How dangerous is a pool in a thunderstorm?” (Hint: Your mom was right.)
By Colm Téibén
Téibén’s lovely, atmospheric eighth novel centers on a widow in rural Ireland.
BIG LITTLE LIES
By Liane Moriarty
A school fundraiser turns deadly in Moriarty’s darkly funny murder mystery.
CAN'T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?
By Roz Chast
A graphic memoir about losing your parents? Leave it to Chast to pull it off. Moving, absurdly funny and brilliantly accented with snapshots (her mom’s drawer full of random jar lids!), it’s the death-and-dying book we didn’t know we needed.