What to Read Next, According to BooknBrunch Editors 

Books That Changed Our Lives
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What to Read Next, According to BooknBrunch Editors 

What to Read Next, According to BooknBrunch Editors 

Our editorial team share some books that made an indelible mark on their lives.

When it comes to reading, the famous Dr. Seuss said it best, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (In case you’re wondering, it’s from I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!) Indeed, books are one of the best ways to travel when you’re unable to travel for real. Books fuel our imagination and expand our knowledge of the world. It allows us to see how others live and how different it is to our own lives. Whether it’s through school, librarians’ recommendations, or a random joyful discovery, we’ve all found books that we loved.

It’s safe to say that as editors of BooknBrunch, we love books. And based on the selections below, we read a variety of genres! From coming-of-age stories to memoirs to nonfiction to YA, here are some of our recent top favourites. Of course, there are many other wonderful books in the world—just take a look at our reviews in the Journal—so this is not an exhaustive list, but rather a small snippet of what made an impression on us over the years.

Here is a small sampling of what our editors loved, in their own words.


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

There’s a reason why this book has sold so many copies. The Midnight Library is about Nora, a lonely and depressed thirty-something who, on the eve of her impending suicide, gets the opportunity of a lifetime: to live other possible lives. While the book began with a somber tone, you will slowly see as you move along the story that it becomes more positive and enlightening. As Nora journeys through all of her possible lives, she learns that not everything is perfect, that there are things she cannot control. It’s a lovely book about the power of choices and how little decisions we make every day can truly change the course of our lives.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

In the past few years, there’s been more than a handful of stunning debuts, and this book is no exception. It tells the story of two very different people: 17-year-old Lenni and 83-year-old Margot. Both are terminal patients at a hospital in Glasgow. When the two meet by accident, they become instant friends, and over time embark on an art project to commemorate their combined 100 years on earth. This book is such a beautiful meditation on friendship, lost love, and connection. I cried at the end because it was sad, but it was also bittersweet.


Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion

This is a collection of magazine journalism pieces about California in the 1960s. Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of nonfiction, you should definitely give this book a try. It’s not only a collection of excellent reporting about a fascinating time and place—it features some of the best and snappiest prose around.

The Plague by Albert Camus

Albert Camus was a French philosopher and writer known for essays like The Myth of Sisyphus and for popularizing a philosophical perspective known as Absurdism. Lesser known is The Plague, a novel focusing on an epidemic sweeping a town in French Algeria. Although it’s a haunting book, it’s also a beautiful ode to humanity and human resilience.


Junkie by William S. Burroughs

This semi-autobiographical and confessional novel was the first book written by William S. Burroughs, an esteemed member of the Beat Generation. It’s narrated by a supposed eyewitness to Burroughs’ escape from suburbia and subsequent life as a gay man and heroin addict. The character travels from New York to New Orleans to Mexico City throughout the story. I enjoyed Burroughs’ style of writing and stream-of-consciousness prose, which influenced my own writing.

A Drinking Life: A Memoir by Pete Hamill

In this autobiography, Pete Hamill, a New York City reporter, shares his struggle with alcohol addiction, path to sobriety, and highlights of his career. The book offers a look back at the lifestyle, politics, and crime in Brooklyn from the 1940s to 60s. The story also serves as an homage to the Irish immigrants living in NYC in those years. I was honored to meet Hamill at a book signing and receive advice about writing, several years before he died.


Looking for Alaska by John Green 

I read this book for the first time about fifteen years ago. It’s my all-time favourite John Green book because it’s the only book that has stuck with me from adolescence and well into adulthood. It’s about a group of teenage misfits coming together at their private school where they live away from home. The first half of the book is the “before” while the second half of the book focuses on the “after” of an event that happens in the middle of the book. This book was written in a way that gives you no idea as to why the event happened in the first place. I always come back to it in my mind from time to time trying to decide why I think the event happened, and I still cannot decide fifteen years later! 

Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai 

Even though this book is almost 30 years old, I read it for the first time recently and instantly fell in love with this novel. It is a bildungsroman about a boy named Arjie exploring his gender and sexuality in Sri Lanka during the civil war in the seventies and eighties. Prior to reading this book, I hardly knew anything about the civil war in Sri Lanka so this novel served as a historical introduction to the devastation that occurred. From start to finish, Arjie is such a lovable character and he is always getting himself involved in the drama surrounding his family. Even with all the odds stacked against him, you can’t help but root for him and his love to conquer what is going on around him. This book will break your heart and leave you in tears, but it is so worth reading.

What books made you fall in love with reading? Let us know in the comments or send us an email!

Hoang Samuelson
Hoang Samuelson is a writer, editor, and lover of British dramas, including Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Great British Baking Show. When she’s not reading or baking or watching one of the shows above, she enjoys outdoor activities including running and hiking. She also works as an accountant by day. Currently, she lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and to children, ages five and eight.
Favorite book: Too many to count, but a recent one is The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Favorite brunch item: chicken and waffles! with a side of coffee


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