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Our first ever BYT Book Swap took over the second floor of Eaton DC, and it was a wonderland of books and cocktails and meeting new friends and taking home more books than you brought! First off, we were kind of taken back by the amount of awesome books everyone brought. There wasn’t a bad book in the bunch, and options ranged from old classics (like The Haunting of Hill House) to the new hotness (like Crazy Rich Asians). Between the drinks and the good conversations and our overloaded backpacks, it was pure magic.

And since you are all so smart and capable and have shining good taste, we decided to poll the room and ask people, why’d you pick that book? Scroll down for everyone’s A+ answers (and for some photos that will make your heart sing).

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Book: An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
“It’s a book I’ve heard of and thought about reading previously – and then there it was, staring at me. So I’m super excited. I mainly read nonfiction.” –Sydney Briggs

Book: Bring Your Human to Work by Erica Keswin
“I started some work in HR. I don’t have a background in it and I’m just learning a little bit more.” –May-mei Le


Book: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
“I work in science communications and I just need a beach read to free my mind a little bit. I think this has made the rounds in various book columns so – name recognition!” -Stephanie Miceli

Book: All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
“The title seems interesting. Also I like the description – it seems like it would be compelling to read.” –Erin Duncan


Book: The Defining Decade by Meg Jay
“Our mutual friend recommended this book to us. She has great taste. It’s specifically great for people who are just diving into the post-collegiate existence, which is me. Figuring out my life, I just graduated. I think it will be a really great guide, you know, as I start to figure out this life.” -Anna Longenecker

Book: Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs & The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
“On the fence right now, Running with Scissors looks really good. I think I might go with Art of Happiness because the Dalai Lama is emblematic of a lot of things I want to emulate in my own life – all the things I’m bad at, like being chill. Struggle!” -Catherine Kushan


Book: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
“This is a bestseller that I haven’t actually read. It’s like a retelling of Pride & Prejudice – with zombies. These will be good summer reads.” -Pheniece Jones

Book: Journey of the Wind by Tomihiro Hoshino
“It just looks really beautiful and the poetry is really nice. Mostly though – I don’t think I would have ever come across it on my own. -Katie Felsheim


Book: Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson

“I picked it up because it was by the International Spy Museum table, and I’m really interested about that opening up. It looks like it’s a female lead, nonfiction – “a daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler” – feels relevant! And I want to read it.” -Rhianna Kern

Book: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
“I’ve heard of it, a lot of people have said good things, I just haven’t read it, so – its exciting!” -Naana


Book: Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam
“I think I’m just captured by the title. I work as a trader in my day job, so I wanted to get something kind of creative and fun.” -Christine

Book: The Best American Essays of 2010 edited by Christopher Hitchens
“I like to have something short that I can read within the span of a bus trip and I’m interested in what the top essayists were of 2010 and what they’ve done since.” -Hanna Pioske


Book: Big Hair and Plastic Grass by Dan Epstein
“I’m a baseball fan and that’s an interesting era, a lot of whacky stuff happened. All the weird stories of 70s baseball – weird time for baseball.” -David

Book: The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson
“I like Hunter S. Thompson, and I haven’t read this book. I found books that I was vaguely aware of… But I hadn’t seen these particular copies.” -Matt


Book: The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh
“I’m just really bad at picking out books myself. I find the worst books to read so I feel like this event is really good for finding something that’s interesting that I otherwise wouldn’t necessarily pick out. I got The Wolf Wants In – never read any of her work before, but I’m curious to see how it turns out.” -Nick

Book: Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown
“We’re both students so summertime is a great time to just read whatever you want. I was super excited about this event to see what everyone in the community was reading for fun, for work, for school, whatever. I got Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret because I’m a huge fan of The Crown and she’s one of my favorite characters on it – also in real life. I hear she has a really crazy life story and personal life, so I’m excited to read this.” -Maia

Book: The Intellectual Devotional by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim
“I guess I just like history a lot. What I like about this was that each page has a callout on one particular key element of US History and sort of lays it out kind of like a Wikipedia format. You can just pop this open on your coffee table.” -Henry


Book: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
“These are titles that I’ve heard great things about but never had the time to read. This reminds me of being at a favorite library where you see a favorite title on the shelf and you’re like, ‘Oh! Perfect!’” -Lila

Book: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
“These are books from some of my favorite authors, I’ve just never gotten to read these books. Always would pick something out from Shirley Jackson.” -Elena

Book: Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
“Because I have an issue with screen time.” -Parker

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