What the Optimists are Reading on #WorldBookDay

Each year, April 23rd is celebrated as #WorldBookDay. Our Optimists often have their nose in a good book, whether that be curled up on their lunch break or as part of their evening routine. While the world is closed down, we’ve been doing even more title swapping. Here are just a few of the books we’re reading right now:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Being Read By: Morgan

What she says: “I’m taking it slowly so I don’t finish it too quickly. I love it so far! It’s beautiful.”



Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

Harry has a lot on his mind for this, his fifth year at Hogwarts: a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey; a big surprise on the Gryffindor Quidditch team; and the looming terror of the Ordinary Wizarding Level exams. But all these things pale next to the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named—a threat that neither the magical government nor the authorities at Hogwarts can stop.

Being (Re)Read By: Anna

What she says: “The HP books are among my all-time favorites and I’ve read OotP probably over a dozen times. It’s been good ‘comfort food’ quarantine reading.”



Finishing the Hat by Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim has won seven Tonys, an Academy Award, seven Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize and the Kennedy Center Honors. His career has spanned more than half a century, his lyrics have become synonymous with musical theater and popular culture, and in Finishing the Hat—titled after perhaps his most autobiographical song, from Sunday in the Park with George—Sondheim has not only collected his lyrics for the first time, he is giving readers a rare personal look into his life as well as his remarkable productions.

Being Read By: Anna

What she says: “Sondheim’s autobiography is a fascinating look into the art of my favorite musical theatre composer/lyricist. It’s also been helping me stay inspired to keep creating my own art during this time.”


The Color of Magic: A Novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen. The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett’s maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins — with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

Being Read By: Gabby

What she says: “Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic is like a fever dream of nonsense and insanity, and yet it’s humor and zaniness is really appealing.”



Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Being (Re)Read By: Claire

What she says: “I love Gone Girl – even though I knew what was coming this time, the twists are still so shocking and so good. It’s crazy how many times I go back and forth between the two main characters’ (Amy’s and Nick’s) sides, even after finishing the book.”


Neuromancer by William Gibson

Case was the sharpest data-thief in the matrix—until he crossed the wrong people and they crippled his nervous system, banishing him from cyberspace. Now a mysterious new employer has recruited him for a last-chance run at an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, a mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case is ready for the adventure that upped the ante on an entire genre of fiction.

Being Read By: Charlie

What he says: “One of the things I love about beginning a new book is learning about the world that the author’s created. I’m excited to see where this one takes me. It is the book that popularized the word “cyberspace” in the early ’80s, which is really cool!”


An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away.

Being Read By: Juan Pablo

What he says: “At first, I was living vicariously through the characters’ stay at a luxurious, remote hotel in the mountains. Once they started getting murdered, I realized I was better off quarantining at home.”




One Day in December by Josie Silver

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away. Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be. What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered.

Being Read By: Lauren T.

What she says: “It’s the perfect rainy day read! You can escape reality in a cute story that takes place over many Decembers in London. I picked it up because of my recent love for Bridget Jones and it did not disappoint.”


Live From New York by James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales 

When first published to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, Live from New York was immediately proclaimed the best book ever produced on the landmark and legendary late-night show. In their own words, unfiltered and uncensored, a dazzling galaxy of trail-blazing talents recalled three turbulent decades of on-camera antics and off-camera escapades.

Being Read By: Sam

What he says: “Live From New York is a refreshing take on a historic show. Written completely in quotations, this non-fiction piece will make you laugh, cry, and fondly remember on the golden age of comedy.”



The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

1900 BC. In what modern Indians mistakenly call the Indus Valley Civilisation. The inhabitants of that period called it the land of Meluha a near perfect empire created many centuries earlier by Lord Ram, one of the greatest monarchs that ever lived. This once proud empire and its Suryavanshi rulers face severe perils as its primary river, the revered Saraswati, is slowly drying to extinction. They also face devastating terrorist attacks from the east, the land of the Chandravanshis. To make matters worse, the Chandravanshis appear to have allied with the Nagas, an ostracised and sinister race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills!

Being Read By: Aditi

What she says: “It is not only a very addictive thriller, but so well done with Indian philosophy, geography, etc… with a storyline that plays a movie in your mind.”


The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want. Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Being Read By: Meara

What she says: “My favorite genre is YA Dystopian, so I haven’t been able to put this book down. It’s The Bachelor meets Divergent—after seeing so many TikToks about it, I had to see what all of the hype is about.”



The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal – including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Being Read By: Lauren W.

What she says: “Very exciting, because his work is so huge and I’ve never read it, and I also know some writer friends have been influenced by his books. He’s such a notable atheist, too, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that presents in his work.”


From real-life stories to wild fantasies, we hope our little library has inspired your reading list. Happy #WorldBookDay!