1. “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

Offers hope that joy is possible for everyone, even under challenging circumstances.

2. “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” by J.D. Vance

The author’s family and upbringing, and the plight of America’s angry white working class.

3. “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah

Late night TV host’s memoir of growing up in apartheid South Africa.

4. “Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry” by Marcus Thompson

Inspiring story of the NBA superstar.


1. “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin

Originally published in 1963, offered a passionate voice for the then emerging Civil Rights Movement.

2. “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” by Jane Mayer

Did a few billionaires played a key role in fundamentally altering the American political system?

3. “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” by F.B.M. de Waal

An entertaining and convincing case for assessing each species’ intelligence on its own terms.

4. “Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things” by Jenny Lawson

Humorous memoir from the popular blogger, tinged with bits of tragedy and pathos.


1. “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead

12-year-old NYC girl, whose mother is about to become a contestant on a popular TV game show. Ages 8 to 11.

2. “Strong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves” by Kate T. Parker

A pictorial celebration depicting the strength and beauty of young girls being their authentic selves. All ages.

3. “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

Basis for the Netflix series, story of how petty cruelty can deal crushing blows. Ages 12 and up.

4. “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon

Explores themes of dreams, hopes and inherent risks in love. Ages 12 and up.

5. “The Last of August” by Brittany Cavallaro

A crime caper, settling family feuds in this sequel to “A Study in Charlotte.” Ages 12 and up.