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The Best Books We Read in January 2024

best books 12.1.23
We’re turning the page to a new month, and you know what that means: time to ask the editors what books brought them joy in January.What was the best book you read last month? Let us know in the comments!Alex: After the craziness of Big Books Season and the holidays, the quiet of January gives me a chance to read books that previously slipped through my fingers. This month, I finally managed to sit down with Zadie Smith’s “The Fraud,” and can now recommend it unreservedly. Set during the 19th-century trial of a nearly Trumpian character who claims, despite great evidence to the contrary, to be an aristocratic heir, the novel is centered on an intelligent Scottish widow who finds herself drawn into the proceedings, and even more drawn to one of the claimant’s confidants: a dignified older man whose experiences as a slave in Jamaica take over the middle of the novel. Fans of the author’s “White Teeth” can imagine what this sprawling story of differing classes, ethnicities, and characters becomes in Zadie Smith’s capable hands. Jason: My daughter asked me to read Kwame Alexander’s “Crossover” this month after her excellent 7th-grade English teacher assigned it. I picked up the paperback when the kids went to bed and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it late that night. This genre-bending and heartbreaking book reads like a dream, and I’m so glad kids are growing up with Kwame Alexander’s work on the bookshelf.Cameron: I finally found the courage to pick up “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara. Was this good for my mental health? No. It's as if the author took a bucket of tears, sprinkled it with heartbreak, and served it with a side of emotional turmoil. If you're looking for a light read that won't make you question every life choice you've ever made, this book is not the one for you. Read with caution, but read it nonetheless. (Also, please check trigger warnings.)Hayley: After being in a massive reading slump for most of last year, January was a great start to my reading year. I read “Sula” and adored it. Toni Morrison always writes captivating, complex stories about Black womanhood and this book is the ultimate manifesto for examining and dealing with misogynoir.Desiree: One of my bookish resolutions for 2024 is to read more books I’ve never heard of before, and the first one I chose for this was “People from My Neighborhood” by Hiromi Kawakami. It’s a collection of short stories that tell the story of each member of the same neighborhood. The stories are incredibly bizarre and go from making very little sense to no sense at all. It made me laugh, cry, and left me with multiple unanswered questions. For anyone who enjoyed “Cursed Bunny” by Bora Chung, I think you would definitely like this one!
The Fraud by Zadie Smith digital book - Fable

The Fraud

By Zadie Smith
Crossover by Kwame Alexander  digital book - Fable

Crossover

By Kwame Alexander
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara digital book - Fable

A Little Life

By Hanya Yanagihara
Sula by Toni Morrison digital book - Fable

Sula

By Toni Morrison
People from My Neighborhood by Hiromi Kawakami digital book - Fable

People from My Neighborhood

By Hiromi Kawakami

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