What We’re Reading This Weekend: Oscars Edition

The Mayor of MacDougal Street, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street

updated 08/25/2015 AT 8:16 PM ET

originally published 02/27/2014 AT 6:45 PM ET

Inspired by this year’s nominated films, our staffers sought out books they were based on (we’ll be so smart during Sunday’s show!)

Tell us what you think of our choices – and what you’re reading.

The Mayor of MacDougal Street, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street

Kim Hubbard, Books Editor
Her Pick: The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk and Elijah Wald

I loved the bleak beauty of the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis (which was – criminally – nominated only for Sound Mixing and Cinematography). The Mayor of MacDougal Street is the story of the man who inspired it: ’60s folk icon Dave Van Ronk.

Best to listen to an old recording while you read, but even without it Van Ronk’s pared-down brilliance – and the grittiness of the Greenwich Village he called home – come alive.

Alisha Williams, Designer
Her Pick: 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Without a doubt, 12 Years A Slave is a movie that will stay with me. Solomon Northup’s memoir is deepening my understanding of his story: his attention to detail strikes straight to the heart.

I can’t help but hope the film wins Best Picture – 173 years after Northup’s horrendous ordeal, it would feel like a kind of justice.

Erica Tabacoff, Digital Account Manager
Her Pick: The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

I couldn’t believe the over-the-top stories in the movie (which I loved), so I decided to read the real Wolf’s memoir in hopes of discovering the “truth.”

What I’m learning is that just a few Hollywood liberties were taken – the kind only Martin Scorsese could pull off. The book’s fascinating, and Leonardo DiCaprio is incredible as high-rolling stockbroker Belfort. Here’s hoping this will be Leo’s year!

Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week’s great escapes and more great book finds here.