Carolines Five Favorite Books

Cup of Jo editor Caroline was a book editor for years and still reads a book a week. Bottom line: She knows her stuff. I love her recommendations, so here, she shares five of her favorite books (and please share yours!)…

Let me begin by saying, I could NEVER choose just five favorite books. That is like asking me to pick my favorite child. But of the many books Ive loved, here are five titles that are worthy of favorite status. (Bonus: Theyre all written by women!)

SELF-HELP by Lorrie Moore
Despite the title, this is not a self-help book, but a collection of nine brilliant short stories. Ive loved everything Moore has written, but this is the one that first got me hooked. It didnt matter that I was going through a horrible breakup at the time, that my job was miserable, that I was totally broke…you get the point. I stayed up too late reading these sharp, vulnerable, tragic-yet-hilarious tales and hoped it would never end.

I love smart, funny books written by smart, funny women (Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham…) But for me, no one compares to the acerbic wit of Fran Lebowitz. This volume combines the two bestselling essay collections Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, in which Fran shares her hilarious insights on everything from polite conversation to baggage claim to people who are overly tan. Its like listening to a curmudgeonly person complain in a really funny way. Not to be missed. (Bonus: Scorsese did a documentary about her a few years ago, and its amazing.)

In a nutshell, Anna Quindlen makes life seem more good and less scary. Ive read this memoir a few times now, and its become a tradition to look through it every year around my birthday. Anna, like Oprah, seems to know ALL OF THE THINGS and has an incredible gift for presenting them eloquently and wisely. This book reads like a wonderful conversation with a friend, that will soothe and inspire you time and time again.

WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This essay, based on the TED talk Beyonce famously sampled, should be required reading for all human beings. The books is tinyonly 64 pagesbut packs more humor, wisdom and good common sense in those pages than any other in recent memory. Read it for yourself, then give it to everyone you know.

This book was a big deal when it published back in 1999. It took me years to actually pick it up, largely because I took the hunting and fishing parts too literally. (What can I say? I was young then.) But when I finally did read it, I fell in love. The novels narrator, Jane, explores life as a teenager, dating in your 20s, career, heartbreak…She is alternately the person youve been, the person you are, and the person youre glad you dont have to be anymore. A wry and wonderful read.

What are some of your favorite books? Have you read anything good recently? Please share!

P.S. The best scary book, and a graphic novel I loved.

(Photo via Carolines instagram)