updated 07/10/2014 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/10/2014 AT 5:05 PM ET
Popularity isn’t everything, but it has its advantages. Take this week’s cover girl Jessica Simpson for example. Not just anyone gets to wear a custom Carolina Herrera gown on their wedding day. And in the world of books, popularity is king. This weekend, our staff is reading some fiction and non-fiction books everyone was talking about and buying.
Share your thoughts on their choices – and let us know what you’re reading.
Her Pick: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
While searching for a good book for a 15-hour flight home from Asia, I decided on The Goldfinch because: 1. It s a best-selling Pulitzer prize-winner, and 2. Everyone I know recommended it. The story takes you through the life of a boy who loses his mother after a bomb goes off inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He finds himself entangled in the underground art world and along the way encounters both friendship and heartbreak. Though Tartt s 700+ page book sure took longer to finish than the duration of my flight, that s not to say I ever wanted it to end.
Catherine Syme, Associate Director, Integrated Marketing
Her Pick: The Vacationers by Emma Straub
I had heard such great reviews of this book and needed a fun summer read. It follows a family of four (mom, dad, teenage daughter and adult son) along with the mom s close friend and his partner, who come together and share a house in Majorca, Spain, for a two-week summer vacation. Family drama ensues, and each character has a crisis that unravels throughout the stay. So far I’m really liking it. The characters may be having a hard time, but I love that it s set in Majorca – kind of makes me feel like I m on vacation!
Her Pick: Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
I’m expecting and, as a result, everyone keeps giving me baby books. This one in particular piqued my interest. In the grand tradition of the “let’s imitate everything the French do” lifestyle – books like French Women Don’t Get Fat – this one analyzes how French parents manage to raise well-behaved kids seemingly without worrying or freaking out as much as Druckerman claims American parents do. Of course, this is all based on her observations, not science, but so far I think there’s some takeaway. Allegedly the French let their kids do their own thing without hovering, maintain adult time and feed children everything – not just white pasta. I could get on board with that.
Check back Thursdays for more round ups of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out past staff picks like dark novels and more great book finds here.