Finding Hope In The Pages Of A Book

12 authors, critics, and readers discuss the books they turn to for hope, comfort, and inspiration

Hope, 1864. Freeman Gage Delamotte. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I talked to authors, readers, and critics about the books that gave them hope, however they interpreted the word.

Morgan Jerkins, author of the memoir This Will Be My Undoing and the forthcoming novel Caul Baby, on Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous:

Elena Nicolaou, culture editor at O The Oprah Magazine, on N.K. Jemisin’s three-time Hugo Award winning fantasy series The Broken Earth trilogy:

Hannah Orenstein, author of Playing with Matches and Head Over Heels, on Molly Jong-Fast’s Normal Girl and Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan’s The Royal We:

Runa Sandvik, security expert and reader, on the memoir Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger by Lisa Donovan, which she found beautifully written:

Rachel Charlene Lewis, senior editor at Bitch magazine, on Morgan Parker’s poetry collection Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night:

Rufi Thorpe, author of The Knockout Queen, on Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s collection of short stories Friday Black, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book:

Michael Zapata, author of The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, on Eduardo Galeano’s The Memory of Fire trilogy:

Emily Gray Tedrowe, author of The Talented Miss Farwell, on Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life:

Andromeda Romano-Lax, author of Annie and the Wolves, on Roberto Lovato’s memoir Unforgetting, and the anonymous memoir Becoming Duchess Goldblatt:

Micah Nemerever, author of These Violent Delights, on Cristina Peri Rossi’s poetry collection State of Exile:

Maris Kreizman, book critic and host of the book podcast The Maris Review, on Quan Barry’s We Ride Upon Sticks:

Alix E. Harrow, author of The Once and Future Witches, on Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Farthest Shore:

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.

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