The Books You Should Read Now

The latest titles and classics to help you escape

Best books to read in spring 2020

Now is the time to crack a book. We're not going anywhere ... maybe for a while. If you're like me, you've been meaning to read more. As we've told you before, reading (and reading fiction particularly) is scientifically proven to make you a better person. Besides, there's only so much bad TV you can stream to make yourself feel better. A good book will transport you out of this current mess, if only for a bit. I'll be starting with a book I bought with the best of intentions a few months ago, which has been sitting on my nightstand, unopened, ever since. But I'm ready for some quality reading time now. And I bet you are too. To help get you started, the Valet. team has rounded up some of the latest titles on our radar, along with classics that are always worth revisiting. Of course, if you want to download these onto your iPad or Kindle, then you can crack them open immediately—figuratively speaking, of course.

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Best New Books
for Spring 2020

Uncanny Valley

By Anna Wiener

Tech journalist Anna Wiener narrates her coming-of-age in Silicon Valley during the early years of the '90s startup boom in this unflinching memoir. It's a rare, first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture and a warning about unregulated surveillance, wild fortune and accelerating political power. The book also serves as a vivid portrait of a changing San Francisco.

$19.39 at Amazon

Weather

By Jenny Offill

Offill's third novel is a quick read at 224 pages. It follows Lizzie Benson, a librarian, who as a side gig dives into a polarized world of an armchair therapist for those with an existential crisis. From liberals fearing a climate apocalypse to conservatives fearing the demise of "American values," she tries to save everyone, but is driven to her limits, making for a relatable, comic story about the power of human need.

$17.96 at Amazon

New Waves

By Kevin Nguyen

Nguyen's debut novel starts out like a techno-heist caper before an untimely death throws a wrench in our narrator's plan. Lucas and his friend Margo are disgruntled employees who steal a database of user information from their employer after a few too many drinks. But when Margo dies after being hit by a car, Lucas is left with the weight of their crime and the realization that people's secret online life says a whole lot more about who they really are.

$17.96 at Amazon

The Castle on Sunset

By Shawn Levy

Since 1929, Hollywood's brightest stars have flocked to the Chateau Marmont as if it were a second home. Shawn Levy recounts the evolution of the apartment building-turned-hotel from bohemian haven to glitterati hot spot in this engrossing account of the wild times, bright lights and dangerous decadence. The lurid tales make for a mental vacation to La La Land.

$17.39 at Amazon

Looker

By Laura Sims

Step inside the mind of a woman whose obsession with the beautiful actress on her block drives her to the edge. It's a twisting story—told through the thoughts and interactions of the main character—about how easy it can be to transfix on something when everything else isn't going your way. As our narrator unravels, you quickly find yourself in a Hitchcockian thriller.

$13.20 at Amazon

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The Classics

Less Than Zero

By Bret Easton Ellis

This was the debut novel of Bret Easton Ellis—released when he was 21 years old—and remains one of his most famous works. Set in Los Angeles in the early '80s, it paints a colorful portrait of a lost generation wasting away their days drinking, taking drugs and having sex in the back of Porsches. It's what you think you wish your youth was like, but the unbridled excess, disaffection and subsequent destruction prove it's not all it's cracked up to be.

$11.59 at Amazon

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Often referred to as the "Great American Novel," if you haven't actually read this tale of America's Jazz Age, now's the time. It captures the wild decadence of the '20s—when the New York Times noted "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession." The title character, Jay Gatsby, is a mysteriously wealthy man who was really born poor and desperately reinvented himself to win back the woman he loves.

$10.29 at Amazon

The Picture of Dorian Gray

By Oscar Wilde

Wilde's first and only published novel recounts the story of handsome Dorian Gray, who upon having his portrait painted, desires that it will age and grow ugly while he may remain eternally beautiful. For a story that first appeared in 1890, it remains an impactful cautionary tale of vanity and self-worth.

$8.22 at Amazon

Naked

By David Sedaris

If some of these classics seem a bit too heavy, this is for you. It's one of my personal favorites from Sedaris, a great observer of the American psyche. In a collection of essays (some of which originated as NPR broadcasts), he lets his earthy sense of humor shine through—from his experiences hitchhiking across the country to the nervous tics of his youth. In his search for identity, we see much of ourselves.

$10.59 at Amazon

The Fall

By Albert Camus

A Parisian lawyer recounts his fall from wealth and high society and comes to recognize the deep-seated hypocrisy of his existence. An advocate for the less fortunate, he nevertheless fails to do anything when he hears a woman fall to her death. Told through a series of dramatic monologues, it examines humanity's great struggle: how we want others to see us.

$9.99 at Amazon

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