10 Books We Return to Again and Again
“It’s embarrassing.” That was the most common response from goop staffers when asked what book they have returned to over the years. (Followed by, “I know it’s cliché.”) When we looked at the list, we didn’t agree. If there’s a book that you reread that reaffirms your purpose, that helps you make sense of darkness, that makes your work clear, that gives you a laugh or a brief break so that you can reengage with the world: We hope you pass it on, even if it’s a story you found in a library when you were twelve.
“Don’t let the seemingly simple illustrations fool you: Whether she’s dissecting the minutia of everyday life, probing the inner lives of her pets, or doing a deep dive into her own struggle with mental illness, Allie Brosh is brilliantly insightful, remarkably sensitive, and brutally funny—often all in the span of one sentence or a single line drawing. There’s a reason seemingly the entire internet has been obsessed with her comics for more than a decade, and both volumes of her work are worth reading—and rereading—again and again.” —Ethan LaCroix, director of project management
[Editor’s note: Hyperbole and a Half was published in 2013—Ethan lost his copy in a cross-country move but recently reordered it. Brosh’s new book, Solutions and Other Problems, came out at the end of September 2020 and was an instant number one New York Times bestseller. Ethan was an early reader.]
“I reread Susan Cooper’s Dark Is Rising series every few years. The five books—Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark Is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree—tell the story of five children who are drawn (in various groupings in the different novels) into the centuries-long struggle between the Light and the Dark for control of the earth and humankind. Cooper draws on mythology (Celtic, Arthurian, Norse), folklore, and history, taking the reader from Roman Britain to medieval Wales to twentieth-century Cornwall and beyond. If it sounds like an epic, sweeping adventure, that’s because it is, but what I love most about the books is Cooper’s eye for character and detail: She perfectly evokes the exasperated but loving bickering of siblings and paints a picture of a snowy English Christmas with such specificity, you can smell the mince pies and taste the cocoa. I loved these books passionately when I read the series as a child, and turning back to them in adulthood invariably brings me a deep comfort and a renewed sense of hopefulness.” —Aura Davies, deputy editor
“I reread Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita by Sri Swami Satchidananda when I am feeling lost and need to get back to yoga and my practice. There are many beautiful nuggets of wisdom in the Gita—I always find something new.” —Heather Choi, director of vendor and merch ops
“If I feel flustered or uncertain about something, I try to bring myself back to the four agreements in this book, which lays out four ways to live a more fulfilled life. It’s grounding and calming for me. It’s a book I think everyone should read.” —Juliette Favat, associate photo editor
“Funnily enough, a series I’ve returned to time and time again is one I stumbled on wandering around a library when I was twelve. It’s a YA series by English author and comedian Louise Rennison called Confessions of Georgia Nicholson. It follows teenage Georgia through the hilarious banalities and pseudo-dramas of everyday life, and it is truly the funniest writing I have ever read. If you’re looking for something escapist, low-stakes, irreverent, and pee-your-pants-funny, this is the series for you. Not sure what it says about me that this silly YA series has been evergreen, but I regret nothing.” —Cait Moore, senior programming manager
“When life starts getting too hectic or I’m feeling directionless, I reread The Little Prince. I’ve read it at least once a year since my mom first shared it with me. The life lessons I’ve taken from the story are simple, but they’re things we often forget as we get older. ‘And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’” —Jade Ogiwara, growth marketing manager
“Although I read often—avoidant attachment style, hi—I hardly ever reread books. There is too much magic in the first time, for me, particularly with fiction. I think the only contemporary novel I’ve read twice is Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, and that was because my book club was reading it a year after I first read it, I still think I’m a student with a book report due on Monday, and I really love Lauren Groff. But essays are different—probably, in part, because they are shorter. I like reading the same essay at different points in my life and seeing what else I pick up and how I relate differently to the writing. And I would spend forever learning from Zadie Smith. There are six essays in her new collection, which capture the pandemic moment we’ve been living in with a clarity that only Zadie Smith could unearth in the middle of a pandemic. Even when she’s pushing you to see your own complicity, it’s comforting to have her voice helping you make sense of the world.” —Kiki Koroshetz, wellness director
“The first time I read Heartburn, I was bored in the house. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was young enough to be looking for a good time on my parents’ bookshelves (a very age-specific kind of desperation). I loved the book first for its weird cover—a faded illustration of a heart in a pan being poked by a devil—which looked so much more salacious than my other options, and it delivered, big-time. The novel wasn’t long or difficult, but it was jam-packed with concepts I was on the brink of understanding: I understood divorce but not adultery, for example. When the narrator’s mother says, ‘Your father sold the Tampax stock,’ I proudly knew what both Tampax and the stock market were—but definitely didn’t know how either worked. I read the book from cover to cover, on repeat, during an otherwise boring summer as a New Hampshire tween, sometimes hiding it under my bed for dramatic effect. But even more than the sex and smoking and political concepts I didn’t understand, I was captivated by how Ephron laced recipes for the four-minute egg and the perfect vinaigrette into the story. It was random! But it made sense! I loved it. Later, I’d reread the book and understand how that device drove the plot, but at the time I was just fascinated by this quirky way to tell a story. It made me want to tell stories in unique ways, too, and it’s something I still try (sometimes too hard—ask my editor) to do now. I think that’s why rereading Heartburn is always a comfort to me—it reminds me that there’s always a way to tell a story that I haven’t thought of yet.” —Sarah Carr, associate editor
“I reread The Year of Magical Thinking when I want to bawl my eyes out. Also, Wonder Boys when I want to live out my MFA fantasy. I still have dreams of picking up and going to Iowa.” —Noora Raj Brown, SVP of communications
“You probably don’t want my bible: Food Allergies and Food Intolerances, an old book by Gamlin and Brostoff. That was a joke…but I did recently reread it.” —Gerda Endemann, senior director of science and research
We hope you enjoy the books recommended here. Our goal is to suggest only things we love and think you might, as well. We also like transparency, so, full disclosure: We may collect a share of sales or other compensation if you purchase through the external links on this page.