The Official Flavorpill Bookshelf: February Staff Reading Picks


Here at Flavorpill, we like books. It seems like every person in the office has a paperback stashed somewhere for lunch breaks and rainy days, and we often erupt into loud cross-office conversations — for good or for ill — about things we’ve been reading. Yes, it’s fun to work here. Inspired by the folks at Out of Print, and in an attempt to give our readers an insider’s view into our collective consciousness, we surveyed our staff and put together a virtual bookshelf full of the books that we’ve recently finished (and loved), that we currently can’t put down, and that we’re itching to get our hands on next. Click through to check out our aggregated staff bookshelf, and hear what a few members of the Flavorpill family have to say about their reading lists, and then let us know what’s piling up on your own bookshelf in the comments!

Books We’ve Read and Loved:

“Julian Barnes, The Sense of An Ending . I read it twice, back to back. Everyone to whom I’ve recommended this book has read it in two days or less. It’s a philosophical page-turner, an intellectual subway read.” — Geoff Mak, Junior Designer

Threats by Amelia Gray. I love this book, love love love this book. It’s terrifying and upsetting and dark and ultimately heartbreaking — so, basically, my aesthetic. I still haven’t wrapped my mind around it entirely. There aren’t many books (ever, ever) that make me say ‘I want to throw a party for this book,’ but this one? Absolutely.” — Russ Marshalek, Social Media Director

Books We’re Reading Now:

In the Woods by Tana French. I didn’t have high hopes for this crime novel, even though it was massively popular and critically acclaimed, because I’m not generally big on mysteries. But French’s eye for detail and insightful depiction of a homicide detective’s nail-bitingly close relationship with his female partner and harrowing past are making it difficult to put down. Highly recommended for fans of literary fiction who are ready to dip their toes into the genre.” — Judy Berman, Flavorwire Deputy Editor

“I finally made it to Out of the Vinyl Deeps , the Ellen Willis collection, and am enjoying it currently; her writing is incredibly vibrant, and she’s got a distinctive voice that’s really easy to get wrapped up in. Plus, I always enjoy reading ‘present tense’ criticism; so much of the stuff she’s writing about is music I love but that’s always been ‘classic’ rock; reading her immediate responses to, say, Exile on Main St. or Blood on the Tracks is really fascinating.” — Jason Bailey, Flavorwire Film Editor

Books We Can’t Wait to Read:

The Man Within My Head by Pico Iyer. The newest non-fiction essay by one of my favorite living writers is a consideration of the influence of the author Graham Greene on Iyer’s own life an work, which doubles as a study of the nature of influence in creative lives — the ‘ghosts in our heads.’ Based on comments made by Iyer at a reading I attended, he listened to a lot of Leonard Cohen while writing the book, so I’ll be reading it while playing Cohen’s new album. I anticipate being moved to both laughter and tears at various points throughout.” — Shana Nys Dambrot, Flavorpill LA contributor

Urth of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. Fifth & final book in the best sci-fi series I’ve ever read. In fact it’s the only sci-fi series written well enough that I would feel comfortable recommending it to a reader of literary fiction (i.e. someone new to so-called genre fiction) without making dozens of caveats and apologies about how if you can just look past the prose and think about the ideas, etc. Despite that – or maybe because of it? Sci-fi nerds are weird, I would know – it’s not nearly as popular as some of the much shittier stuff that’s out there.” — Jack Lenehan, Developer

The Full List, as pictured:

The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal Vulgar Modernism, Jim Hoberman Threats, Amelia Gray 11/22/63, Stephen King Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality, Hanne Blank The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling The Help, Kathryn Stockett Time for Outrage, Stéphane Hessel

Ask the Dust, John Fante Ghost Lights, Lydia Millet Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion In the Woods, Tana French Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace The Patrick Melrose novels, Edward St. Aubyn Out of the Vinyl Deeps, Ellen Willis An Artist for President, Susanna Bixby Dakin Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy

When I Was a Child I Read Books, Marilynne Robinson The Man Within My Head, Pico Iyer The Anatomy of Harpo Marx, Wayne Koestenbaum Heading Out to Wonderful, Robert Goolrick Urth of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe The Flame Alphabet, Ben Marcus The Stranger’s Child, Alan Hollinghurst A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan