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The Quail Bell Crew's Most Influential Books of the 2010s
By The Editors
The 2010s were a roller coaster of radical progress, pain, and resistance. Along the way were the books that paved the individual paths of our own crew to inspire our writing and personal journeys. So it is only fitting that we share our picks with you.
Because there are so many books that transcend time, our picks are a mixture of books published in this decade as well as previous decades.
Christine Sloan Stoddard: Founding Editor
Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons
How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
"These books are strong, female-driven stories of self-discovery, navigating change, and understanding family."
Gretchen Gales: Executive Editor
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Hunger by Roxane Gay
Pure by Linda Kay Klein
MacBeth by William Shakespeare
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
"A some of these are YA, mostly because I began the decade as a freshman in high school. I connected with a lot of these books because of the way they represent the many ways that human pain can manifest and how we can let it destroy us or drive ahead to make a better world than what we left behind. From body image to systemic oppression, the human experience is uniquely represented in each one of these books."
Ghia Vitale: Senior Editor
Nothing Is Okay by Rachel Wiley
My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi.
"Reading Nothing Is Okay was a life-changing experience for me because it empowered me to write about my own fatness. I love My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi because it's an autobiographical manga that represents a queer woman in a much different light than usual. Honestly, I relate to Kabi more than other queer characters I've encountered via manga and anime."
Alex Carrigan: Contributing Writer
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Black Girl Magic edited by Mahogany L. Browne, Idrissa Simmonds, and Jamila Woods
Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker
Big Little Lies, Truly Madly Guilty, and Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
"Looking back at the books I read in the 10's, I realized that this was the decade where I finally began to expand my reading preferences and selection beyond what was assigned in school. All my favorite books of the decade were written by female authors, some of whom are women of color and some are LGBT+. These books offered darker and unique looks into suburbia, other cultures, and the future. Each of these books made me a better fan of literature, and they are all worth checking out for those who are interested in stories about identity, gender, crime, secrets, and more."
Julian Drury: Contributing Writer
Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias
Windeye by Brian Evanson
Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy
Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson
Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Night Shift by Stephen King
Errantry by Elizabeth Hand
The Wide Carnivorous Sky by John Langan
The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Beautiful Thing that Awaits us All by Laird Barron
"These works challenged traditional noir/horror tropes, crafting characters that weren't always heroic yet were relatable, in settings that were fantastic and gritty. They bent the rules on what makes a protagonist "likeable" and offered a glimpse of their worlds through the eyes of the marginalized and unsuspecting."
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