Read It Forward features some of the finest fiction around, from international bestsellers to hot debuts. For readers who love contemporary, voice-driven, character-rich books.

“I’m what you call an ‘armchair foodie.’ I love reading about food, and so of course Ruth Reichl is one of my favorite writers,” says Kira Walton, editor at Read It Forward.

Delicious! is full of the vivid descriptions of food and the culinary life that have made Ruth Reichl one of the most celebrated food writers ever. If you haven’t read her memoirs Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, you must add them to your TBR pile! I’m always fascinated by non-fiction authors who try their hand at fiction. It’s such a big leap! Reichl makes it look easy. Her debut novel is charming and light – a perfect summer read.

It is an easy cliché to criticize violence as a part of our collective storytelling—but that is a gross over-simplification.

“I believe that there are two types of violence we encounter as readers, as audience members,” says Cynthia Bond, author of Ruby.

“One exists for the purpose of moving the plot of the story along, to direct the audience to the next highlighted point. The second type of violence is a kind of documentation. It comes with the belief that some stories cannot be told without walking through a doorway, without witnessing the horror, without breathing in the pain.”

Fictional characters may feel real to you, but they mostly go along with whatever you say.

“If you want to put them in some close calls and tight spots,” says Maddie Dawson, author of The Opposite of Maybe, “they just fall into line.”

“You can boss them around and rain endless torment down on their heads, give them bad bosses, difficult romantic partners, unwanted pregnancies—and then sleep easy at night knowing that you’ll never be responsible for their therapy bills.”

A Life Apart is a story of a forbidden love that culminated with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and spanned World War II through the Civil Rights movement to present day,” explains author L.Y. Marlow.

“It was truly a labor of love to craft the untethered devotion between Morris (a white sailor) and Beatrice (a young black woman) and do it against the backdrop of a raging and terrible war. The words came easy, from deep within the most sacred and sensitive places of my heart. I understood what Morris and Beatrice must have felt, despite my resistance to utter anything that would dishonor such a delicate and daunting time.”

Aside from Henry VIII’s wives, until the 20th century divorce was not a real possibility for women in bad marriages.

“While 19th century novels of adultery lent themselves to tragedy, the 20th/ 21st century novels of divorce lent themselves to comedy,” observes Susan Rieger, author of the debut romantic comedy The Divorce Papers.

“As a reader, I love both. As a writer, I’m firmly in comedy’s camp: sadness, anger, worry, sleeplessness, they’re all acceptable, but no rat poison, no throwing yourself under a train. Here are some of my favorite literary works on divorce.”

What was it now, six days? Almost a week without even a nod, her head always pedaling in place. She radiated exhaustion: a dying star. Soon what—a black hole?

Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.

He ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness.