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Hi there nesstie,

I love indie bookstores for a lot of reasons—the sense of community, localized merch, feeling like I'm doing something vaguely virtuous just by buying a book—but one of my favorite things about them is the Staff Picks section. It usually features a cute little laminated review of each book tucked inside like a bookmark or on the exterior of the shelf to peruse while you’re browsing. It’s a genreless assortment—these are simply books that your local sellers read and genuinely enjoyed. They typically aren’t chosen based on when they were released, or how trendy they might look on your bookshelf, or whether they made some coveted list. They’re just good, Someone—who, presumably, likes books enough to make a living selling them—thinks. And maybe you’ll think they’re good, too.

Whether you’ve decided not to travel and have some alone time, or you’re among family and need some alone time, the end of the year is a nice time to have a book on hand. It’s good for your health. It’s also just… restorative. Finishing the last page of a beautiful or clever or thrilling or poignant story is like the final piece of a puzzle being gently pressed into your brain. The right book can also be a worthy salve when you’re going through a challenging event, whether you’re reading a book about someone who went through the same thing or simply want to read something that evokes warmth (and yes, you can always reread your old comfort books).

If you’re looking for something to get lost in over the holidays, we’ve curated our own virtual Staff Picks below. The methodology is: read it and liked it so much I texted my friend “HOLY SHIT did you read [Enter Book Name Here]?!” when I finished.

Anyone else gently close a book and hold it to your chest for a moment of gratitude when you get to the last page?

Melanie, editor at The Nessie

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