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Special Guest: ELLE staff culture writer Lauren Puckett-Pope makes her book recommendations for 2024

To kick off the month of March, we invited a special guest onto the podcast to talk all things books. That special guest was none other than Lauren Puckett-Pope, a staff culture writer at

Lauren basically has our dream job, to read books for a living and write about them. Well, that's not all she does, but it's the part we talked with her about. She also covers TV and movies for the magazine's website.

She graduated from the same journalism school as the three of us, the Missouri School of Journalism, and has a really interesting insight into the book publishing world.

Even though critiquing and reviewing books is a part of her job, Lauren is still a busy girl like us and has a TBR that is obscenely long.

"You’re never going to have the time to read and consider everything that deserves to be read and considered. There just aren’t enough hours," she said.

We of course had to get her expert opinion on what we should read next, and she came with a full list.

Some of her 2023 book highlights were:

  • Babel by R.F. Kuang (The only book she recommended that we have all read, and we reviewed it for the podcast - Between Genres with "Babel")

  • Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

  • Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

  • Homebodies by Tembe Denton-Hurst

  • Death Valley by Melissa Broder

  • Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World by Naomi Klein

  • Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma by Claire Dederer

And of course, we had to ask about any ARCs she had read that were dropping soon that we should keep an eye out for.

2024 Recommendations:

  • Anite de Monte Laughs Last by Xóchitl González

  • How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson

  • A Fate Inked in Blood by Danielle L. Jenson

  • Beautyland by Marie-Helen Bertino

  • Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett (We reviewed the first book on one of our latest episodes - A Fresh Breath in Fantasy with "Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faeries")

  • Bride by Ali Hazelwood (Episode coming soon!)

  • A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal

  • The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

We also couldn't end the episode without asking her what books she would recommend to busy young professionals, and her two recommendations did not disappoint!

Busy Girl recommendations:

You can listen to our full chat with Lauren Puckett-Pope wherever you listen to podcasts! And you can read Lauren's articles on

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