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4 Books You Can Zip Through in a Month

Diana Ryu, our Content Operations Director (she’s in charge of putting down the tracks that the goop train runs on), is one of the more voracious readers in the office. She commutes on LA’s metro (about an hour each way), and racks up some serious pages, so we’re always asking her for recs. Below, four books she just finished—a mix of iconic and contemporary, mostly fiction, with a lone, uncharacteristic (for her) self-help choice. In addition to reading, Diana is also a fan of cursing, so we’ve censored her just a bit:

  • The World According to Garp by John Irving

    The World According to Garp by John Irving

    “A hefty read that lulls at times, but when it surprises, it surprises in an extraordinary way (hand-over-mouth, gasp-out-loud sort of thing). This book was published almost forty years ago, but the themes are as relevant as ever—like what feminism, gender, and gender roles mean. I found the family drama particularly juicy (broken marriages, deep seated resentments, jealousy, etc.); it was a really dramatic—and fun—way to begin and end my work day.”

  • At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

    At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

    “A book that’s rooted in (ha!) the history of redwood and apple trees seems like it would be SUPER boring, but holy moly this was a page turner. I missed my stop TWICE in one week because I was so engrossed. While it pretty expertly follows the origins of different species of trees, at heart, it’s actually a story about the defective and damaged Goodenough family. So much sh*t goes down—murder, infidelity, kidnapping…insane stuff for a book you’d think is about trees!”

  • The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

    The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

    “I’m not normally a self-help reader, but this book was sent to me by a family member who was going through a tough time at work. She swore it helped shift her frame of thinking for her sh*tty situation and her newfound perspective trickled into her personal life, too. The writers are a husband and wife duo (Rosamund is a psychotherapist and her husband Benjamin is the conductor for the Boston Philharmonic) who want their readers to become more effective and empathetic communicators. Because much of my job deals with communication, reading this in the a.m. helped me enter the office ready to tackle the day.”

  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson

    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson

    “Some of this was over my head because so much of the book is rooted in philosophy, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s a beautifully written story about desperately lonely people who find meaning in their lives. It’s so gut-wrenchingly written that I spent many a metro ride wiping away tears and trying to quiet my sniffles. As soon as I was finished, I wanted to pick it up and read it all over again.”

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