As any voracious reader knows, there are so many books out there, it can be hard to choose just what to read next. So what could be better than a hand-picked recommendation from someone in the know? Every Wednesday the XOXOAD team likes to find out what some of its favorite authors are reading; today we’ve asked Eileen Carr, author of the upcoming Veiled Intentions, out December 29th from Pocket Star!

It’s rare that I’m only reading one book at a time. At the very least, I have one by my bedside and one that I’m listening to in the car. Here’s a smattering of what’s been grabbing my attention lately!

1) A Deadly Measure of Brimstone by Catriona McPherson

Full disclosure here: I love Catriona McPherson. She is as charming and witty and fun in person as her books would lead you to believe. But now, about the book . . . This is McPherson’s Dandy Gilver’s eighth adventure and she never disappoints. The characters are three-dimensional and their relationships are as complicated as human relationships are in real life. The plots are intricate and inventive. The setting in 1920s Scotland makes me feel like I’ve taken a fabulous trip. And the words! Oh, McPherson’s words! It’s like they’re dancing across the page just to delight me.

2) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’m not even sure how to describe this book. It’s a giant scavenger hunt that takes place in a dystopian future and in a virtual reality and it’s all centered on pop culture, but it’s also about relationships and the nature of identity. The book is huge in scope and still deeply personal and I don’t know how to reduce it to a few sentences. The other thing it was: fun. Big rollicking fun. I listened to the audiobook version, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton. Since Wheaton is also mentioned in the book, it added one more layer of goofy self-reference and giddy fun to the experience for me. Did I mention it was fun?

3) The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

I might not have come across this book except for an interview Messud did that caused some controversy. She was asked about why her character was so unlikable and she really let the interviewer have it. She said this beautiful thing about fiction not being something we go to for friends, but instead a place we go to explore life and its meaning. The funny thing for me was that I liked Nora, the main character. I don’t know why people said she was unlikable. Pissed off? Sure, but pissed for a reason. This book is as small in scope as Ready Player One is huge, but it was equally fascinating. Nora’s interior life kept me rapt and I still think about her. I cheered at the end.