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The Books Our Editors Binged to Kick off the Year

Skimm Reads
Design: theSkimm | Photos: Picador, Berkeley, Candlewick
February 20, 2024

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We get sent books, buy books, check out library books, and talk about all things books all. the. time. So in this Skimm Reads series, we’re sharing a little about what we're reading and what made our TBR pile last month. Some reads old, some reads new, all reads that we recommend. On your mark, get set, add to stack.


“The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P” by Adelle Waldman

“In 2013, this book took the literary world by storm; and for good reason. It’s the story of a 30-year-old Brooklyn writer, Nate, and his relationships with women. For much of it, he’s dating Hannah, another writer. Hannah has no real flaws…other than all the little things Nate starts to see about her that just don’t quite work for him. Fair warning that you may hate Nate — his communication style is infuriating, and the way he bristles when Hannah invites him to brunch with her friend just might send you over the edge. But this hooked me from the jump, and I’ve read it probably ten more times over the years. PS: Adelle Waldman’s second book “Help Wanted,” comes out in March, and also deserves a spot on your TBR.” —Jana Pollack, Skimm Reads editor

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“Bride” by Ali Hazelwood

“My reading recently has been dominated by unapologetically delightful romps inhaled over the course of a weekend, and “Bride” was at the top of that heap. Ali Hazelwood is known for rom-coms that feature women in STEM and the men who are obsessed with them — plus genuinely funny deadpan snark and a lot of steamy moments (we’re talking millions of chili peppers on the literary Scoville scale). This is exactly that formula, but paranormal. It follows Misery Lark, the daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman in the Southwest, who is forced into a marriage with Lowe Moreland, the Alpha of the Weres in the region, in order to form a political alliance. Misery is a fiercely modern character who manages to divert most romantasy tropes, but I have to say — the enemies-to-lovers storyline here is deeply satisfying. Enjoy.” –Caroline Goldstein, Skimm Reads editor

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“The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo

“With January dragging on, I was looking for a lighthearted book that still felt substantial. So when my parents gifted me a copy of this childhood tale for my birthday, I was in. It’s a classic from Kate DiCamillo that follows Despereaux, a small yet mighty mouse, and his quest to save his great love — a human princess — from a manipulative rat. I know that  sounds a little wild, but the writing is so feel-good and fairy-tale-like that it all makes sense. Not to mention, there are plenty  of lessons in there that are just as good for kids as they are for adults.” –Margo Ghertner, Skimm Reads Editor

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“Behind You Is The Sea” by Susan Muaddi Darraj

“If you like “Love Actually-style stories,” (that is the academic term) pick up this January release. It follows three interconnected Palestinian families living in Baltimore, and each chapter could stand on its own as a short story, but for how the characters are linked. Although it’s a politically charged time to talk about people who come from Palestine, this book is not political. Rather, it’s a human look at immigrant families, generational divides, and the personal struggles that come with all the stuff of life. I sped through this in a few days, and felt deeply for each hero character I met.” –Jana Pollack

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“Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict into Connection” by Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD and John Gottman, PhD

“I don’t typically read nonfiction, but when Margo told me that the legendary Gottmans have a new book out, I knew I had to pick this up. Using decades’ worth of clinical research, they propose that fighting is integral to maintaining a happy relationship over the long-term — you just need to learn how to fight well. The book taught me so much about my fighting style and my partner’s, and how we can use our arguments as a tool to deepen our connection. Beyond that, as the child of divorced parents, this helped me better understand how my parents’ “fight culture” has informed my approach to conflict so that I can make healthier decisions in my own relationship. Trust me: You’ll get something out of this (even if you’re not currently partnered).” –Caroline Goldstein

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Ballantine Books

“Mad Honey” by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

“It’s been years since beekeeper Olivia McAfee resettled in her New Hampshire hometown after fleeing an abusive marriage. And now, her high-school aged son is on trial for murdering his girlfriend, Lily. But this isn’t just your typical murder mystery. The authors weave thought-provoking prose about young love, life after abuse, gender identity, and yes, beekeeping into one explosive murder trial. My best friend (and fellow bookworm) insisted that I borrow her copy, which she said kept her on the edge of her seat. I can attest that it did the same for me — and I thank it for getting me out of a major reading slump.” –Margo Ghertner

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