Our monthly Best Books We Read This Month (Staff Picks) series is edited and published by Editor-in-Chief, Paris Close, and features contributions from the Paperback Paris team.
During the final week of every month, the staff comes together to share their thoughts on the best books they read the month before.
Scroll down to see which titles topped our TBRs this time around.
Melissa Ratcliff’s October 2018 Pick: The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai
“The Great Believers was an incredible breath of fresh air that brought me back into reading after stress, anxiety, and restlessness made it difficult to complete even the most well-loved books of the year. Despite its harrowing content, I blew through Makkai’s latest novel, desperate to know what happened to Yale as the world around him fell apart. From the devastating reflection on the effects of the AIDS epidemic on gay culture to the real-world consequences and disastrous life-long effects of the disease not just on victims, but on friends, lovers, and communities, I was entranced by this heart-breaking novel. Deftly told from two very different perspectives, Yale and Fiona, both of whom are victims in very different definitions of the word, Makkai’s NBA nominated work of fiction was an enlightening and unforgettable tale of friendship, loss, and hope that should be required reading for everyone.”
Read our review here
Rachel Gonzalez’s October 2018 Pick: The Upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertalli
“The Upside of Unrequited does a wonderful job of tapping into the terribly awkward and thrilling parts of being a teenager. Along with spinning a beautiful story of young love and adolescence, Albertalli puts together a refreshingly diverse cast of characters. What stuck with me most about this novel is its main character, she wasn’t too whiny or too self-conscious, she was perfectly human and relatable. Molly is the kind of girl you’d want to be your friend because she would give you a handmade card and cupcakes from scratch on your birthday and she would always do her best to be a good friend. This is a book about the many loves in life — romantic, familial, friendship, and most importantly of all, self-love.”
Albertalli’s novel was previously named a Staff Pick for May 2018.
Read our review here
Paris Close’s October 2018 Pick: Tap Out, Edgar Kunz
“Edgar Kunz’s debut poetry collection, Tap Out, is a faultless body of work, start to finish. I loved the unabashed intimacy depicted between father and son, friends and brothers alike, in poems like “After the Hurricane,” “Deciding,” and “Close.” The resounding contrition expressed in “Dry Season,” a beautifully vulnerable soft spot on a failed marriage that reappears all throughout this collection. I loved reading Kunz’s constant reflections on his aging father, who stops at nothing to win the affection of his boys despite his misgivings. I cried for the author’s escape from what remains of Natick for a life struggle-free; a twin plight we share. Every great collection has its trove of secrets. Kunz hides his well, though such mysteries are spared in “Tap Out” and “My Father at 23, on the Highway Side of an Overpass Fence” — two harrowing testaments of strength and weakness at once. Kunz’s memories, like the lines that call them to mind, are all handmade. Rolled up sleeves, fingers furrowed deep into the burning earth to remind us where our roots are planted should we stray too far.”
Purchase here: $14.99