By Ink+Volt Team

What to Read Next: Our Favorite Book Picks for This Year


Personal recommendations from our team of readers.

Looking for what to read next? Look no further!

We are big readers here at Ink+Volt, and we are always on the lookout for our next book. So we thought, what better way to share something valuable with you than to share our favorite reads from the last year, so you can get our personalized recommendations on what to read next.

Without further ado, the best books we read last year. Have you read any of these? Anything you think we should add to our list? Send us a note on social @inkandvolt!

Kate Matsudaira, Founder

Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow. This was just a fun guilty pleasure read, but I loved the magic in this fantasy novel. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, so this book was great for me.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. This is a fantasy novel written by a black woman which is echos the morals around police brutality and social castes. I also enjoyed the second book in this series too, if you love the first book and want more.

In 2020, I read the entire 10-book "Gray Man" series and loved them (but I love military/spy stories, so keep that in mind if that's not your style of book!)

The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemison. This series was also written by a black woman and I thoroughly enjoyed the series. Of course, this is another fantasy genre book - you can see I really have a favorite genre!

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. I LOVED this book so much. One of the best team leadership books I have read in a long time.

Becoming by Michelle Obama. This autobiography was so interesting and gave you a real inside look into what it takes to campaign and be the first lady.

On my reading list for 2021: Tribe of Mentors and Tools of Titans, both by Tim Feriss, are on my non-fiction reading list, and Wool is going to be my next fiction read!

Stephanie Hodges, Product Lead and Buyer

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Given the climate of last year and events across the U.S., picking up this book is one of the easiest ways to dive into racial injustice and understanding the problem in a friendly way. The way Ijeoma writes/speaks makes it easy to understand (such as example conversations and scenarios she provides so you can put it in context). Leaves you thinking and ready to dive into more literature about [racial equality.]

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. A tear-jerker, totally addicting book. It sounds cliche to say this book is about war, love, and family, and while those are the underlying themes, there's a lot more to this book. A book about sisters fighting the war in their different ways, with totally different lives. Although it spans several years of the war, this page-turner was over too fast. 

Victoria Peskin, Design and Operations

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I laughed, I cried, and I got to experience the beauty of the Metropol Hotel without leaving my couch. Towels has a very witty writing style in this book, and I will definitely be picking up his other novels in the future.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. I've never been big on SciFi/Fantasy novels, but this series changed my mind. I couldn't put it down, and I was already buying the next two books in the trilogy before I finished the first book. I read it as part of my online book club, and it created really interesting conversation and discussion. Highly recommend to anyone!

Emily Morrow, Marketing Manager

The Mothers by Brit Bennett. After reading (and loving) The Vanishing Half, I had to pick up Bennett's debut novel. It is a beautifully written story about secrets, grief, and growing up, and particularly the choices that young women have to make. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. A girl makes a deal with the devil — she will never die, but she will never be remembered. As we follow Addie's journey across the centuries and around the world, readers are enveloped in a love letter to art, stories, bookstores and New York City that I couldn't put down. 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. A beautiful multi-generational story tracing a family from Ghana to Mississippi to Harlem and back again. I fell in love with every single generation of characters and thought the structure of the story was such a powerful way to illuminate the scars of the slave trade that still exist today. 

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden. A raw and aching memoir about T's childhood as a queer, bi-racial teenager growing up in Boca Raton, FL. As a fellow Floridian, T's searing insights about the opulence and wealth disparity between Florida's wealthiest and poorest hit home, as did her descriptions of loss and loneliness, and making her own family.  

Kate Frachon, Content Manager

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I resisted reading this book for a long time because I felt like I wouldn't connect to it -- the protagonist is a young girl growing up in rural Alaska, and I wasn't sure I'd be interested. Boy, was I wrong. I couldn't put this epic story down. It reminded me of a John Steinbeck book. The exposition made the world feel so real, and the story of girl growing up through challenges and discovering how strong she could be was beautiful. I wanted to read it again right away.

You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld. I love short stories, and this collection reminded me of classic short story books by authors like JD Salinger. Super easy to digest and fun to read - sometimes dark, but always enjoyable.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottleib. This is a non-fiction story of the time a therapist went to see a therapist. She weaves in her own therapy journey with stories of her real-life patients, and what lessons they all learned as they reflected on their lives and feelings. It's not as sappy as you might expect, and it might make you reflect on your own life and experiences in a new way.