Hug a Newsperson Day — or read a book featuring a journalist

Here at Books Forward, we’re big fans of journalists — in fact, lots of us used to work as reporters, and even met at various newspapers. So we’re celebrating Hug a Newsperson Day, officially celebrated April 4, by reading some of our favorite books featuring people in the industry.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman who works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up, Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, and she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows. Now, Camille must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story — and survive this homecoming.

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

Quoyle, a third-rate newspaperman, is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just deserts. He retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters all play a part in Quoyle’s struggle to reclaim his life. He confronts his private demons and begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

On an island of rugged, spectacular beauty in Puget Sound, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial, charged with coldblooded murder. Ishmael Chambers, who lost an arm in the Pacific war and now runs the island newspaper, is among the journalists covering the trial — a trial that brings him close, once again, to Hatsue Miyomoto, the wife of the accused man and Ishmael’s never-forgotten boyhood love. 

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

When Piper Parrish’s darling husband capsized while fishing, she carried on as if he was right there beside her. Meanwhile, Anders Caldwell, a young ambitious journalist, had rather hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing for a small town newspaper. When he gets an assignment to travel to Frick Island and cover a fundraiser, he stumbles upon a fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist. 

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

When Grace Harrington lands a job at a Hearst newspaper in 1896, a story emerging from Cuba will change her life. Unjustly imprisoned, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros dreams of a Cuba free from Spanish oppression. When Hearst splashes her image on the front page of his paper, she becomes a rallying cry for American intervention in the battle for Cuban independence. With the help of Marina Perez, a courier secretly working for Cuban revolutionaries, Grace and Hearst’s staff attempt to free Evangelina. 

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Emmeline Lake dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent, and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance. But she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, renowned advice columnist of Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. But as Emmy reads desperate pleas from women, she begins to secretly write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

The List by Yomi Adegoke

Ola Olajide, a celebrated magazine journalist, is young, beautiful, and successful — she and her fiancé Michael seem to have it all. Until one morning when they both wake up to “The List.” It began as a collection of names and morphed into an anonymous account posting allegations on social media. Ola would usually support such a list — she’d retweet it, call for the men to be fired, write article after article. Except this time, Michael’s name is on it.

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen

Tabitha Walker is a black woman with a plan to “have it all.” With a position as a local news reporter, a “paper-perfect” boyfriend, and even a standing appointment with a reliable hairstylist, everything seems to be falling into place. Then Tabby receives an unexpected diagnosis that jeopardizes the keystone she took for granted: having children. Suddenly she is faced with an impossible choice between her career, her dream home, and a family of her own. 

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Beautiful young Ashley Cordova’s death is ruled a suicide, but veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath encounters the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

The Mad Girls of New York by Maya Rodale

In 1887 New York City, Nellie Bly has ambitions beyond writing for the ladies pages, but all the editors on Newspaper Row think women are too emotional, respectable and delicate to do the job. But then she gets a new assignment: go undercover as a patient at Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum for women. For months, rumors have been swirling about deplorable conditions at Blackwell’s. Once inside, Nellie befriends her fellow patients who help her uncover shocking truths about the asylum.

The Ex-Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, but lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything. When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes The Ex Talk, where two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle. As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper Curtis is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times. Harper inserts himself into their lives, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He vanishes without a trace into another time after each murder — until one of his victims survives. Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on an impossible truth…