Stephanie Danler is a twice published author, new mama and our kind of bibliophile. Her very first book, Sweetbitter, became a juicy best-seller, as well as a two-season series for Starz that Danler (and, ahem, Brad Pitt) helped to produce. In her latest, Stray, Danler again tells a fascinating story of survival, trauma, personal breakthrough and beauty, this time in the shape of her own memoir.
As one of our best references for a really good read, we pinned down Stephanie for this ultimate fall reading list. Open Amazon in a new tab (Stray is included on a pretty great memoir list there too) or dive into this list of independent, black-owned book stores to shop your favorite picks below…
For healthy escapism: Slow Days, Fast Company by Eve Babitz, a cult classic of Los Angeles literature that will take you back to the carefree decadence of the Chateau Marmont and the Sunset Strip in the 1960s. And if you haven’t read it, Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman is as close as I’ll come to a Mediterranean vacation in 2020.
3 best new reads of 2020: Lustor by Raven Leilani, Want by Lynn Steger Strong, A Burning by Megha Majumdar. The only thing 2020 has been good for is fiction. These three couldn’t be more different, but all three center on women investigating themselves and the world around them.
bipoc Narratives: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, inter-generational stories of friendship, romance, and feminism, focused on Black women in London. And anything by Toni Morrison.
Classic you might have missed: Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell. I can’t stop recommending this gorgeous novel about a housewife in 1950s Kansas City that is so engrossing, subversive, and surprising, I gasped when I finished it.
For an uplift: The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. While I’m wary of the self-help section, I’m always looking for wisdom from my reading. No one is better at invigorating and soothing than Watts, and this book, published in 1968, is eerily prescient for our own times.
To inspire life at home: I love Ariel Kaye’s design book, How to Make a House a Home. Ariel founded Parachute Home (maker of all my beloved bedding), and the book came out at the beginning of the pandemic when we all were thinking about our domestic spaces. It’s one hundred percent responsible for me falling back in love with my home.
Looking for more good reads? Honestly, how could you not find something above. Just in case, try diving into this list too.