Welcome to our Ten Book Challenge where our favorite authors share 10 of their most beloved and memorable reads—from the books with their favorite covers and best opening lines, to the reads they gift and the bookstores they frequent. This is a peek into your favorite authors’ perfect bowl of literary comfort food. We hope you discover something delicious!
This December, we can’t resist curling up with USA Today best-selling author Sonali Dev’s newest piece of work, called “a cozy cup of chai of the soul” by Kirkus Reviews. As the first book released by actress Mindy Kaling’s (The Office) new Amazon Little A imprint, The Vibrant Years (Dec. 1) follows three generations of Indian-American women, bringing the reader into their experiences of walking the line between 21st-century ambition and traditional expectations. From bad dates and a bitter HOA board, to reemerging exes and secrets that refuse to remain hidden, The Vibrant Years hilariously crosses ages and cultures, and soars with themes of womanhood, love, and what it means to find self-reliance.
Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Sonali Dev on her writing process, working with Mindy Kaling, and The Vibrant Years‘ character that surprised her most.
The Book I……
I am currently reading: A Death in Denmark by Amulya Malladi: A fast-paced thriller that puts you in middle of an international political murder cover up. I’m entirely breathless reading it.
I recommend to everyone: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth is possibly one of my favorite books of all time. The prose is poetry to me, incredibly smooth and perfectly pitched. This story set in newly independent India is a perfect snapshot of an infant nation with all its post-colonial cultural complexities and characters who’ve stayed with me thirty years after the first time I read the book.
And if fifteen hundred page tomes aren’t your thing, then I recently read and loved Pride and Protest by Nikky Payne, a hot and banter-filled contemporary riff on Austen’s classic.
That was my favorite to read last year, and why: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I’m obsessed with stories that blend humor with emotion while also shining a light on important things. This book was all that and more.
Whose author I would love to have lunch with: Jane Austen, because I blame her for the person I am and the things I believe.
That made me realize language had power: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. The way Mistry brings the incredibly complex story together is nothing short of genius. You can smell and taste this book, you feel it in your marrow, it’s wildly powerful writing.
I’d like to see adapted to the screen: Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai. A romantic, heisty romp set in Las Vegas that’s just so fun and sexy but also has two of the most real and lovable protagonists I’ve read in a long time.
That made me laugh out loud—or cry—while reading it: Anything by Kristan Higgins, she traps the humor and pathos of everyday life in a way that never fails to make me laugh and cry, but I also learn something about myself.
That has the most gorgeous cover: Is it okay to say The Vibrant Years? It’s my first hardcover, and every time I hold it in my hands it’s an experience I can only compare to hugging my children (who are also gorgeous inside and out).
With the best opening line: From When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal (another poet of prose): “My sister has been dead for nearly fifteen years when I see her on the TV news.”
Bookstore that I frequent/is my favorite: Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville is my store. It’s walking distance from my house and I’d live there if I could.