You Want a Modern Take on Agatha Christie

Want to recognize Native American Heritage Month or adored Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Hey Book Lovers,

I know Thanksgiving looks different for a lot of us this year — myself included. My plans include Chinese food, a Scrabble tournament with my roommate and a giant stack of books that I’m picking up at the library this afternoon.

I hope, no matter what your holiday looks like this year, you’re able to rest and relax a bit and maybe squeeze in some reading. 

Thank you to everyone who sent me requests for recommendations! I’ll be working through them in the coming weeks. If you want a personalized book pick, leave a comment below or reply to this email. 

And now, on to this week’s recommendations. 

What to read if …

You Want a Classic Whodunnit

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

When a newsletter reader (sidebar: I have readers?!) reached out to ask for a mystery in the style of Agatha Christie, I immediately thought of this title from Anthony Horowitz. In Magpie Murders, book editor Susan Ryeland becomes convinced the murder mystery she’s working on is hiding secrets in its pages. 

The author uses a book-within-a-book structure, so readers get to experience both Susan’s story and the book she’s editing. Horowitz, a master mystery novelist who wrote the BBC’s Foyle’s War, is clearly exploring his love of the genre in this book. The passion he brings makes it a joy for any mystery reader. It’s the perfect time to read Magpie Murders because the sequel, Moonflower Murders, just came out. 

Bonus Rec: The Guest List by Lucy Foley puts a modern spin on Christie’s locked-room mysteries. It combines the elements of a contemporary thriller with the best parts of the golden age of detective fiction.

You’re Recognizing Native American Heritage Month

There, There by Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange’s debut is a beautiful and heartbreaking portrayal of the lives of Urban Indians. The novel follows the interconnected stories of twelve urban Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians preparing for the Big Oakland Powwow. Orange, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, has created a fully drawn cast of characters. They range from the newly sober Jacquie Red Feather, who is seeking to reconnect with her family, to Orvil, a fourteen-year-old preparing to perform a traditional dance for the first time. Each chapter is narrated by a different character, giving the reader an immersive experience. 

Full warning: While I love There, There, it’s a heavy, devastating read. If that’s not your thing right now, maybe bookmark it for later.

You Loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (The Book, Not the Movie)

The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony

I stayed up way too late reading The Kids Are Gonna Ask last week. Gretchen Anthony’s second book focuses on a pair of twins, Thomas and Savannah, who launch a podcast to find their biological father. Their mother died before telling them who he was, and the twins, now raised by their grandmother, set out to uncover his identity. Like Where’d You Go Bernadette, The Kids Are Gonna Ask incorporates documents, such as podcast transcripts, text messages and voice mail transcriptions, into the book to tell a moving story about a family going through an identity crisis. 

Set in 2019, The Kids Are Gonna Ask features smart, subtle commentary on the investigative podcast boom. If you binged Serial or Up and Vanished, but want something lighter (and without the murder), this novel is a strong contender. 

The Kids Are Gonna Ask is the rare book that really did make me laugh and cry. If you’re looking for a book to make you feel warm and fuzzy about your family and friends this Thanksgiving weekend, it’s the perfect read.