Writers Who Read: The New York Times Best Sellers

When we are looking for something new – whether it is a new book, recipe, or television show, we often look for inspiration and advice from others. One of the best resources for finding new reads is looking through The New York Times best seller list. As I scrolled through the list, I noticed it is full of many categories for all types of readers, including fiction, nonfiction, hardcover, paperback, advice, how-to, children’s, middle grade, business, young adult, and more. This month, I decided to use these suggestions to inspire my highlighted reads. I hope you enjoy!

Refugee by Alan Gratz

This past spring, I read this book along with my middle school students and I loved it! And so did they. North Carolina author Alan Gratz combines three stories into one novel. Readers meet three refugees from three different time periods, all on a journey to a better life. First, we are introduced to Josef, a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany during the 1930s. Josef and his family board the MS St. Louis, a ship taking Jewish refugees to a new life in Cuba. However, things quickly go sour when the ship’s original stop is denied entry and Josef and his family realize escaping the Nazis may not be that easy. Next, there is Isabel who lives in Cuba 1994. With hopes of a new life in Miami, Isabel and her family set sail on a raft. During their journey, conflicts and challenges also come their way. Lastly, readers are sent to 2015 where Mahmoud and his family lives in Syria. Violence and war are destroying their home forcing them to find a new life in Germany. Refugee provides readers with a story of courage, survival, and understanding the importance of home. In addition, the characters’ stories overlap, forming powerful connections on the reader. This novel is a can’t-miss for all ages.

Educated by Tara Westover

At the age of seventeen, Tara Westover first set foot in a classroom. Growing up in Idaho, her family was a group of survivalists, who prepared themselves for the end of the world, and isolated themselves from society. This way of life meant not receiving a formal education. However, Tara first realized other options were available to her after her brother went to college. This action inspired Tara and eventually led her to attending Brigham Young University. From there, she yearned for knowledge and began studying and traveling throughout the world. In the book Educated, readers are taken on a journey of self-invention and discovery. If you are looking for a novel to inspire and create a change within you, Educated is the perfect read.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Now a popular series on Hulu, the novel Little Fires Everywhere tells the story of two families – the perfect Richardsons and the artistic Warrens – living in Shaker Heights, Ohio. In this town, everyone plays by the rules and lives in an “ideal” world. The two families interact when Mia Warren, a single mother and her daughter Pearl, rent a house from Richardson matriarch, Elena. Throughout the novel, the characters face many struggles as their beliefs about family and ways of life conflict with each other. In addition, readers are given a subplot between the two families when a family friend of the Richardson’s adopt a Chinese-American baby. A custody battle between the baby’s birth mother and adopted family ensues when Mia takes one side and Elena takes the other. Little Fires Everywhere is full of suspense, mystery, and living with the aftermath when a person’s beliefs are challenged.

These are just three of the many great reads on The New York Times best-seller list. Looking for more options to read from the list? Visit nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/.


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