Turtles All the Way Down
Turtles All the Way Down is John Green’s latest novel, after a five-year gap since the publication of his blockbuster hit The Fault in Our Stars (and I am so glad it didn’t take him any longer). Turtles follows 16-year-old Aza, who’s prone to thought spirals, as she tries to solve the case of her old friend’s missing father. This is my favorite novel of Green’s yet—which is really saying something—because of its powerful message: having a mental illness does not mean you can’t live a full life. —Meghan McCullough
Right now, I’m reading Vox by Christina Dalcher. It’s an intense plot that I would describe as The Handmaid’s Tale meets A Quiet Place. It’s the first book in a while that has me riled, haunted, and completely riveted. —Kate Rados
Oedipus the King
The Greek drama, packaged together in this volume with two other Sophocles plays, is brilliantly, cruelly devastating on so many levels, and yet its spoilers have been meta-tragically turned into a punchline by Freud. I recommend reading the original. —Court Clinch
The Bloody Chamber
Shirley Jackson gets a lot of (well-deserved) love and respect these days as a major talent in midcentury horror and mystery, but we should spare a thought for the criminally underappreciated Angela Carter. If you’ve never read her, The Bloody Chamber is her best-known work and a natural starting point: a collection of unsettling fairy tale retellings that highlight women’s rage, sexuality, and the often-monstrous nature of love and desire. The titular story is based on the traditional French folktale of Bluebeard; other stories in the collection draw from Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood. These tales vary in length and tone, but you can count on Gothic elements and strong, unflinching female characters throughout. —Emily Hughes
As a big fan of English history, I knew I had to read this book when I saw it. Clementine Churchill may not have the notoriety of her husband, Winston, but she was the driving force behind many of his decisions, and the one who could deal with him when he was in one of his famous “black dog” moods. During a time when women didn’t even have the right to vote, Clementine was unafraid to voice her opinions—even if they differed from her husband’s—and helped guide the United Kingdom through World War II. Through her ups and downs, Clementine was truly a remarkable woman, and one who has been grossly overlooked until now. —Stella Spiegel
In 1970, Nancy Milford published her stunning biography of Zelda Fitzgerald. Its Pulitzer Prize nomination and 29 weeks on the bestseller list is a testament to its greatness. It was her next tome, however, that floored me: Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay. In the gloriously complicated and cutting-edge Jazz Age, Millay stood out among a full cast of luminaries for her boldness and talent. Milford’s telling of Millay’s life is nearly as bold and mesmerizing as the American icon she sets out to portray. —Kristin Fritz
Whenever I feel like I’m not enough, I return to the end of Middlemarch and am reminded that one of the most meaningful things you can be is someone who makes life better for the people you love. —Rachel Krupitsky
Read It Forward is turning 10! Back in 2008, we set out to create a site where you could win a free book, but over the past 10 years, we’ve grown into a place where a community of readers can come to find their next great read, discover awesome books and authors through our editorial content, and discuss beloved books with one another in our robust Facebook group—and we still haven’t stopped giving away free books!
We couldn’t have made it to this milestone birthday without you, dear reader, so as we celebrate all month long, please know how grateful we are for your bookish passion and enthusiasm. Like you, the Read It Forward staff is made up of some seriously voracious readers. We all chimed in to tell you about the books we’ve adored recently, in the hopes you might feel the same.
Illustration: Kate Gavino