Fact: Books are the best gifts to give friends and family this time of year. At least we think so here at Backblaze (second to the gift of Backblaze, of course). This post is your case in point—we got so many book recommendations when we put together our annual holiday gift guide that we thought they deserved their own post. So, we’re introducing the very first annual Bookblaze Book List.
For the readers in your lives, here’s a list of books that come highly recommended from the Backblaze team. (And it’s worth noting that we don’t get any affiliate or sponsorship income for these recommendations. They’re just the books our colleagues read and loved this year.) Let’s dive in.
Cozy Reads for Your Winter Needs
Jeremy Milk, Head of Product Marketing
Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan
“Inspired” presents a thoughtful deep dive and actionable steps for how anyone and everyone within an organization can operate to better serve customers with ever better products and services. The book was written in 2018 (I think) but remains a go-to for the customer-obsessed among us.
Andy Klein, Principal Cloud Storage Storyteller
Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
“Chaos” was printed back in 1987, but is still available on Amazon and some bookstores. Why is this my choice? I read the book hoping to understand the burgeoning field of chaos theory, the science of seeing patterns and order in the randomness of the everyday world we live in. The book was amazingly readable. The author takes a subject that could easily be three hundred pages of math, science, and history, swirling down a rabbit hole, and keeps the book approachable and within the grasp of the audience. It won’t change your world, but you’ll look at many things a little differently.
Yev Pusin, Computer Backup Steward
The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
One of my favorite books of the last few years. This period piece murder mystery takes place in a Victorian house and from the perspectives of various house party guests. No spoilers!
Gideon The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
This series is all the rage in a lot of different circles. If you’re interested in space, necromancy, or mysteries (who isn’t)—this one’s for you!
Kari Rivas, Product Marketing Manager
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I have not yet read a book by Taylor Jenkins Reid that I haven’t loved, but this one is top of the list for 2022. In “Seven Husbands,” Reid paints a picture of a complex and not immediately likable character living a fascinating life. Each chapter (read: husband) of Evelyn’s life marks a point in Evelyn’s evolution from ambitious starlet to mature grande dame who can (nearly) accept herself as she is. Modern themes of how we define family, love, and relationships intersect with this tale of old Hollywood.
Nicole Gale, Marketing Operations Manager
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
For your friend patiently waiting for the TV adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Jones’ “Daisy Jones and the Six,” the book “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev” by Dawnie Walton is also based on faux music history and is, dare I say, even better. Follow Opal Jewel and Nev Charles, an Afropunk rock ’n’ roll duo who find fame and notoriety in the 1970’s after a tragic incident at a concert in 1973. The band splits, but a reunion concert is planned in 2026—which is when S. Sunny Shelton, a music editor at Aural Magazine, takes the chance to record interviews with the duo and those connected to them.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
This book is perfect for anyone in your life that is looking for a book they will read and re-read again. This book is a historical fiction book about Elizabeth Zott who only ever wanted to be a scientist—but because she’s a woman in the 1960s, she has to go begging for beakers despite being the smartest researcher in the building. After reading 50 books this year, this one is by far my favorite, and I still quote Elizabeth Zott in my head. I love her (and her dog 6:30), and you will too.
Caitlin Bryson, Marketing Events Manager
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Two time-traveling spies on opposite sides of a multiverse-spanning war make contact and begin to write letters to each other across time and space. Time travel, suspense, romance, and absolutely GORGEOUS writing—what more could you ask for?
Pat Patterson, Chief Technical Evangelist
Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s graphic novel “Watchmen” was a phenomenon, from its publication in the late 80s to the 2009 movie and 2019 spin-off TV series. I’d like to direct your attention, though, to Moore’s earlier work, specifically on the DC title, “Saga of the Swamp Thing,” available as a series of six trade paperbacks collecting over 40 issues of the monthly comic, originally published between 1984 and 1987. Nearly 40 years on, the story of the Swamp Thing’s discovery of his true nature and role in DC’s supernatural universe has lost none of its power. Not at all a kid’s comic book, Moore’s “Swamp Thing” paved the way for later generations of visual storytelling aimed at a mature audience.
Stephanie Doyle, Associate Editor and Writer
Cost of Living by Emily Maloney
I’m not usually one for memoirs; oftentimes they seem self-serving, or not relevant to larger stories. “Cost of Living” is very much the opposite of that. This book ruminates on the cost of medical debt in America from the perspective of someone struggling with it—while simultaneously working as a medical assistant and medical biller. It also touches on the variability in quality of mental health treatment, overmedication, the opioid epidemic, crazy families, and much more. Bonus: It’s a collection of essays, so you can digest it in big or small doses (if you’ll pardon the pun).
Patrick Thomas, Head of Publishing
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
It turns out, when you have kids, you don’t read less, you just read a lot of the same books over and over again by popular demand of your child. During some stretches, my two year old and I read the same books 40 or 50 times in a single week. I’ve learned, quickly, to guide her toward books with beautiful sentences, because if I don’t I’ll be forced to suffer through the bad ones again and again…. and again. I’ll never tire of the sentences in this little beauty, though—and the illustrations are endlessly engaging for young eyes. “All the World” is a must have for parents. But I’ll warn you, it’s going to make you cry fairly regularly.
Molly Clancy, Senior Content Editor
Bad Manners: The Official Cookbook
Do you need some more gosh dang vegetables in your life? Ever thought about giving an ever lovin’ vegan diet a try? This is the cookbook for you. Even if you’re just doing Meatless Mondays, you could always use a couple of freakin’ tasty vegan recipes, and this cookbook delivers those in spades. I’m a big fan of the coconut lime rice with red beans and mango. Holy shish kebabs, that’s good.
Happy Reading from Backblaze
Hopefully this book list sparks some inspiration for your holiday shopping list or your own 2023 reading list. What are you planning to read next year? Let us know in the comments.