The most recommended books about editors

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10 authors created a book list connected to editors, and here are their favorite editors books.
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Dear Genius

By Leonard S. Marcus,

Book cover of Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom

Melanie Rehak Author Of Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

From the list on beloved children’s books.

Who am I?

I spent my childhood reading for pleasure, for escapism, for humor, for reassurance, for different views of the world, and even out of sheer boredom sometimes when there was nothing else to do. I have no doubt it’s what made me into a writer. In retrospect, it makes total sense that my first book was about the history and power of a children’s series. When I found myself immersed in not just my old Nancy Drews but the fascinating stories of the people and times that produced her, it was like being back in my childhood bedroom again, only this time with the experience to understand how what I read fit into the larger story of America, feminism, and literature. I hope the books I’ve recommended will inspire you to revisit your old favorites with a new eye.

Melanie's book list on beloved children’s books

Why did Melanie love this book?

I love letter collections and this one is among my very favorites. From 1940 to 1973, Ursula Nordstrom was the director of the Department of Books for Boys and Girls at Harpers, one of New York’s biggest publishing houses. Her letters to the authors she worked with are so funny, sharp, and wise that I always wish I’d had a chance to work with her. Even if I had, though, the competition was stiff as her authors included pretty much every single person who wrote and/or illustrated what we now think of as a children’s classic. To name just a few: Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little; Where the Wild Things Are; Goodnight Moon; The Little House on the Prairie Books, and many, many more. You’ll learn how they all came to be and also close the book feeling like you had a great, gossipy publishing lunch in…

By Leonard S. Marcus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dear Genius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She trusted her immense intuition and generous heart--and published the most. Ursula Nordstrom, director of Harper's Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973, was arguably the single most creative force for innovation in children's book publishing in the United States during the twentieth century. Considered an editor of maverick temperament and taste, her unorthodox vision helped create such classics as Goodnight Moon, Charlotte's Web, Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and The Giving Tree.

Leonard S. Marcus has culled an exceptional collection of letters from the HarperCollins archives. The letters included here…

Book cover of The Shambling Guide to New York City

Alex Shvartsman Author Of The Middling Affliction: The Conradverse Chronicles, Book 1

From the list on funny and snarky fantasy set in New York City.

Who am I?

I've lived in Brooklyn for over 30 years now. I've always had a weakness for fun, snarky urban fantasy where the city is always a supporting character—and sometimes a major one. One day I decided to write a short story in the style of Simon R. Green's Nightside books, only instead of London, it'd feature New York City. And thus, the Conradverse was born. I tend to combine action, humor, real Brooklyn and NYC locations and history, and copious pop culture references when writing in this setting, and I seek out other books that do a great job at handling some or all of these elements.

Alex's book list on funny and snarky fantasy set in New York City

Why did Alex love this book?

A recent transplant from the South gets hired as a travel book editor and finds herself the sole human employee in a company run by a vampire. Her coworkers include zombies, incubi, and even a goddess. As part of her job, she must write a tourist guide to the city—for the undead.

To me, the most fun parts are the actual pages from the guide, interspersed with the narrative. 

By Mur Lafferty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shambling Guide to New York City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city -- for the undead!

Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can't take off her resume -- human.

Not to be put off by anything -- especially not her blood drinking boss or death…

By Any Other Name

By Lauren Kate,

Book cover of By Any Other Name

Tracie Banister Author Of Straight from the Hart

From the list on heroines who make a love connection on the job.

Who am I?

As an author, I run my own business and have a hand in all aspects of my product, from creation to promotion. My work is my passion, so I love to write (and read!) books about women who have that same dedication to their careers. I enjoy seeing these ladies strive for success and how they handle challenges along the way. And, of course, since RomComs are my genre, those challenges often involve a man because where else is a workaholic going to find her soulmate? The witty banter, sizzling sexual tension, snort-laugh moments, and surprising plot twists on the pages of all these books, including mine, are guaranteed to entertain you.

Tracie's book list on heroines who make a love connection on the job

Why did Tracie love this book?

This charming, deeply romantic tale about an editor whose big promotion is contingent on her helping a popular author overcome a terrible case of writer’s block reminded me of all the reasons I adore reading and writing love stories.

Working with this author leads Lanie to question her long-cherished beliefs about what she wants (and needs) in a romantic partner. She opens her heart to new ideas and experiences as well as to love, and her journey, both personally and professionally, culminates in such an epically swoon-inducing way that you will be hard-pressed not to shed happy tears (I did!).

Like the book’s heroine, Lauren Kate clearly reveres the written word, and this story is a beautifully composed valentine to all bibliophiles.

By Lauren Kate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked By Any Other Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From # 1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Kate comes an enemies-to-lovers romance about an editor, her bestselling author, and one life-changing secret.

What she doesn't know about love could fill a book.
With a successful career as a romance editor, and an engagement to a man who checks off all ninety-nine boxes on her carefully curated list, Lanie's more than good. She's killing it. Then she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime: to work with world-renowned author and her biggest inspiration in love and life—the Noa Callaway. All Lanie has to do is cure Noa's writer's block and…

The Sunday Philosophy Club

By Alexander McCall Smith,

Book cover of The Sunday Philosophy Club

Susan Corso Author Of Legally Bond

From the list on mysteries for exceptionally quirky female sleuths.

Who am I?

My mom always wanted to write mysteries, so I learned to read them from her. It’s the puzzle part of a mystery that pulls me. Cozies, world travelers, no matter, just not thrillers, no real menace. The mysteries, like every other book I read, need to be character-based, and the quirkier, the better. I prefer women sleuths as I write one. It doesn’t matter if they’re amateurs or professionals. Again, character. Who is this person becoming through her cases? How is she different, better, wiser, because of them? Who does she serve, help, heal? I do jigsaw puzzles for meditation. Got puzzle? Bring it. Except math.

Susan's book list on mysteries for exceptionally quirky female sleuths

Why did Susan love this book?

Isabel Dalhousie is a moral philosopher by profession. She edits a journal on the subject. One of the most intriguing aspects of this series is that she’s always weighing the moral shoulds and shouldn’ts of her circumstances and her cases. What is her obligation to act? To speak? To pursue? Insatiably curious, her habit makes these books ripe with meaning. Set in a charming Edinburgh, between her bassoon-playing friend Jamie, her no-nonsense, Spiritualist housekeeper, Grace, and her slightly wild, deli-owning niece, Cat, Isabel has her hands and her mind full navigating what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s in-between. Her constant self-scrutiny is part of what caused me to be as transparent as I am about the metaphysics in my own books.

By Alexander McCall Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sunday Philosophy Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective.  Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small.

In this first installment, Isabel is attending a concert in the Usher Hall when she witnesses a man fall from the upper balcony. Isabel can’t help wondering whether it was the result of mischance or mischief. Against…

Book cover of Girls They Write Songs About

Sarah Priscus Author Of Groupies

From the list on complex, chaotic female friendships.

Who am I?

I'm fascinated by stories about complicated friendships because they speak to our eternal need to be part of something. Everyone wants to have friends, especially when we’re young, but what if those friendships aren’t good for us? What happens when self-interest motivates our social choices? It seems there’s often a fragile boundary between love and hate. This volatile intensity becomes addictive. I'm a Canadian writer with a BA in English from the University of Ottawa. When writing fiction, I love exploring the toxic threads of jealousy, ambition, and obsession that both bind us together and tear us apart.

Sarah's book list on complex, chaotic female friendships

Why did Sarah love this book?

I adored Charlotte and Rose’s heartbreaking friendship.

First, Charlotte and Rose come of age in the late nineties, a perfect pair with an inseparable bond taking on New York City. As they grow up, it’s their individual problems and decisions that loosen the bolts holding them together. Some friendships shape us into who we are, so losing a friend brings grief and anger.

Charlotte and Rose are both rich, fully realized characters with goals that don’t always align. Bauer’s brilliant prose makes this a book I could read again and again.

By Carlene Bauer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Girls They Write Songs About as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The instant feminist classic our generation has been waiting for' Ada Calhoun, author of Why We Can't Sleep

What happens when growing up means growing apart?

1997. New York.

Earnest, bookish Rose.

Brash, extrovert Charlotte.

When they moved to New York in the late nineties, coffee cost less than a dollar and you could still smoke in bars. You could stay up drinking all night, sat in vinyl booths patched up with duct tape.

Everyone has their own New York, and for Rose and Charlotte it was a place to feed their ambition, a place to dance and party and…

Book cover of Apology For The Woman Writing

Joanne Limburg Author Of A Want of Kindness

From the list on bringing you closest to historical figures.

Who am I?

I’m an academic and non-fiction writer as well as a novelist. My favourite part of writing is the research phase, when you catch the scent of something fascinating, and hitherto unknown, and never know where it might lead you. As you’ve probably guessed from my recommendations, I have a soft spot for the quiet, unflashy, overlooked figures. Recently I’ve returned to the subject of overlooked women, although in non-fiction, in my book Letters to my Weird Sisters: On Autism and Feminism. For my next novel, I’m learning all about the bluestocking women of eighteenth-century Britain, and their attempt to create an ideal community. Perfect characters aren’t interesting to me – flawed ones are so much better.

Joanne's book list on bringing you closest to historical figures

Why did Joanne love this book?

This is a book about being a celebrity’s biggest fan. In 16th Century France, eighteen-year-old Marie de Gournay reads the essays of the philosopher Montaigne, and is so overwhelmed that she faints. When she finally meets her idol, she stabs herself with a hairpin to prove her devotion. For two blissful months, she lives as his adopted daughter. When he dies four years later, de Gournay devotes herself to editing the writings he left behind, persisting even though she is despised both by the intellectuals of the time and by her own family. I know how it feels to be that intense, socially awkward, bookish girl and I found Marie’s story extremely moving.

By Jenny Diski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Apology For The Woman Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marie de Gournay was eighteen when she read, and was overwhelmed by, the essays of the French philosopher Montaigne. She had to be revived with hellebore. When she finally met Montaigne, she stabbed herself with a hairpin until the blood ran in order to show her devotion. He made her his adopted daughter for the two months they knew each other. He died four years later, after which, though scorned by intellectuals, she became his editor. Jenny Diski engages with this passionate and confused relationship between 'father and daughter', old writer/young acolyte, possible lovers, using both their voices. Much of…

Book cover of The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the '50s, New York in the '60s: A Memoir of Publishing's Golden Age

Louis Menand Author Of The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War

From the list on memoirs from a wide array of people.

Who am I?

I started my career as a graduate student studying the Victorian period, a great age for autobiography. And although autobiography is no longer taught much in English departments, I guess I retain my passion for the genre. The greatest, of course, is Rousseau’s Confessions.

Louis' book list on memoirs from a wide array of people

Why did Louis love this book?

Despite the cheesy title, this is a revealing window on the world of postwar publishing. Seaver “discovered” Samuel Beckett as a graduate student in Paris after the war, and he eventually became an editor at Beckett’s American publisher, Grove, during its heyday under Barney Rosset.

By Richard Seaver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tender Hour of Twilight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Seaver came to Paris in 1950 seeking Hemingway's moveable feast. Paris had become a different city, traumatized by World War II, yet the red wine still flowed, the cafes bustled, and the Parisian women found American men exotic and heroic. There was an Irishman in Paris writing plays and novels unlike anything anyone had ever read - but hardly anyone was reading them. There were others, too, doing equivalently groundbreaking work for equivalently small audiences. So when his friends launched a literary magazine, "Merlin", Seaver knew this was his calling: to bring the work of the likes of Samuel…

Book Lovers

By Emily Henry,

Book cover of Book Lovers

Marilyn Brant Author Of The Secret Life of Maggie Blake

From Marilyn's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Intensely curious Creative Puzzle solver Lover of the arts Daydreamer

Marilyn's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Marilyn love this book?

This story was just so charming, funny, and full of romantic sweetness.

It’s a true book lover’s novel, and the interplay between the hero and heroine—both of whom work in the publishing industry—was filled with bookish references that were an utter delight for me as a longtime romance reader and writer. I found it to be a perfect beach read (or cozy winter read...), and the author’s writing style was so breezy and light, I couldn’t help but grin throughout.

My jaw actually hurt from smiling so much! Plus, witty dialogue wins me over every time, and this story has a lot of it. I’ve already added more of Emily Henry’s books to my must-read list.

By Emily Henry,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Book Lovers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One of my favorite authors.”—Colleen Hoover

An insightful, delightful, instant #1 New York Times bestseller from the author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Oprah Daily ∙ Today ∙ Parade ∙ Marie Claire ∙ Bustle ∙ PopSugar ∙ Katie Couric Media ∙ Book Bub ∙ SheReads ∙ Medium ∙ The Washington Post ∙ and more!

One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn't see coming...

Nora Stephens' life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream…