Staff Picks: Pick Up These Books Today

A collection of SAC.Media’s favorites for you to enjoy

The Homelanders Series

Do you remember being in high school, where the only thing you had to worry about was getting to class on time and turning in homework? Do you remember going to bed early and waking up the next day, strapped to a chair being tortured by terrorists?

No? In this series of books by Andrew Klavan, you will meet Charlie West, who went to bed like any ordinary high school student only to wake up the next day in a foreign country. This series of books will introduce you to the life of Charlie West as he pieces together what is left of his memory.

This truly is my favorite series of books to read because of how immersive the story is and how thrilling the challenges are for Charlie. There is a lot of humor, surprises and romance in this story, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Oscar Beltran

Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness

Lincoln’s Melancholy is one of my favorites and has even inspired me in a rough time. Joshua Wolf Shenk’s biography shows a very grounded and real perspective on Lincoln’s personal and political life.

Shenk focused hard on gathering accurate information for the book and it shows. There are so many sources and accounts documenting Lincoln’s life, and half of the paper copy of the book is just a long bibliography.

Behind the stoic leader that led America in arguably its darkest time was a broken man who suffered from depression. The book shows how his depressive state helped him grow into a stronger leader, and I enjoyed it. This book humanizes him beyond the iconic black hat and has inspired me to overcome during dark times.

Andrew Garcia

Daisy Jones & the Six

I haven’t read a single Taylor Jenkins Reid book that I did not love, and Daisy Jones & the Six is no exception. I loved the unique writing style and the concept that a fictional author is talking to members of a rock band in order to write their biography.

This interview technique provides an insight into each character’s unique perspective, and it further gives the reader a front row seat into the dynamics of a famous band. Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, Daisy Jones & the Six is about the rise of a 1970s rock band and their captivating lead singer. While everyone knows the band, no one can figure out the real reason they broke up at the peak of their popularity… until now.

Daisy Jones & the Six has gained so much recognition, it’s even being adapted into a TV series on Amazon Prime coming 2022.

Andie Kalinowski

The Outsiders

This S.E. Hinton classic is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy named Ponyboy. The book dives into the life of young Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with living on the wrong side of the tracks.

He battles with his place in society as he sees himself as an outsider. PonyBoy lives with his two older brothers Darrel (Darry) and Sodapop. They had recently lost their parents in a car accident, Ponyboy and Sodapop are both under Darry’s strict guardianship.

The boys are greasers, which basically means they grew up on the poor side of town and they are rivals with the “socs” which stands for “socials.” The socs are from the rich side of town and often get into fights with the greasers throughout the book.

In this novel, you will follow Ponyboy’s struggles and how he tries to find where he belongs in society while fighting for those he loves.

Annemarie Gutierrez


This Frank Herbert science fiction novel is my favorite book of all time. It is the story of a boy and his galactic royal family learning how to survive and adapt on the cruel desert planet known as Arrakis.

I first read this book from the recommendation of a Youtube influencer in the summer of 2017 and it opened my eyes to many new ideas. The first two chapters have such a dramatic and unique tone to them that hooked me in.

I have read this book twice now and there are so many themes about religion, ecology, philosophy and politics that make this book grayer than your average good versus evil sci-fi stories. Many of the characters like Paul Atreides, Lady Jessica and The Baron Vladimir Harkonen are some of my favorite characters ever for how dense they are written.

Armando Sanchez

Midnight Sun

We fell in love with Stephanie Meyer’s New York Times bestselling saga, Twilight, years ago. In Midnight Sun, we revisit the love story that had the country in a trance but from the perspective of Edward Cullen.

Edward Cullen is a complex 17-year-old boy that shares a dark secret with his family – they are vampires. After being alive for 117 years, he did not think his life had meaning until an ordinary girl named Bella Swan came along.

In Midnight Sun, we get to read about Edward’s deep thoughts as he tries to decide if she is worth exposing his family’s secret as he tries to balance a relationship with her. This book will have your heart aching as you get to read how quickly Edward’s feelings for Bella change from loathing to being irrevocably in love with her.

Brisa Gutierrez

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Of all the books I read growing up, I enjoyed The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series the most. The stories were not just funny graphics and silly writing, they were also interesting and provided solid childhood memories.

Reading the adventures of Greg and Rowley doing hilarious things never got old. The books’ creative format and doodle-like drawings made for a very distinct and familiar look. My favorite part of the books is how they would allow you to draw in them. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are definitely great books not just to read, but to experience.

Carson Louie

One True Loves

I am a hopeless romantic. When I was growing up, love triangles were my favorite trope to enjoy. (Team Edward all the way!) However, this book stumped me. I could not choose one guy over the other, it was just wrong regardless of which one I pick.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid had me read it in one sitting. I read this novel when it was raining in L.A. and little did I know my eyes started raining too. Reid did it again with this emotional yet powerful love story of a woman who has to choose between her current love and the love she thought she lost.

Emma ends up marrying her high school sweetheart, Jesse, but one year into their marriage he dies due to a helicopter crash. Three years later she finally moves on from that wretched heartbreak and is now engaged to her childhood friend, Sam. Until one evening, when she was having dinner with her fiancé and her family she received a call… from her dead husband.

This story is no thriller, but it will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride that you never expected.

Louise Vegas


This 2001 British metafiction novel written by Ian McEwan, was the first novel that I have reread at least four times, and I seldom read these days.

This book epitomizes the guilt one lives with for lying and never accepting full responsibility. When a young couple is torn apart by a lie constructed by a jealous younger sister, all three of them must deal with the consequences. When their paths cross during World War II, you see the loss of innocence and character evolution as time leaves life-lasting impressions on the main characters.

You will question your own moral compass as you read and will find yourself in a constant internal battle to never forget the treachery of her deceit while learning to forgive the antagonist as she tries to atone for her mistakes from her childhood.

Robbie Doctor

Be A Work In Progress

You may know him as a WWE superstar or actor, but the No. 1 New York Times Bestselling Author John Cena wrote this favorite book of mine.

In this book, Cena provides words of encouragement to urge you to be who you are, make the world a better place and to never stop striving. Cena wants us to find joy in everything we do and take time to celebrate who we are and what we have accomplished. He tells us that life is all about the journey and how we spend it!

Cena writes another inspiring book based on his own life. For years, he has been using his Twitter feed to uplift his followers with his unique brand of positivity. In the book, he provides his perspective on the benefits of being bold and open-minded, embracing discomfort and making the most out of every opportunity.

Ryan Hernandez

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Series

Hiro Ainana’s Death March is a Japanese light novel series that has been translated to English. The series already has 16 books published and the latest installment will come out on July 19.

This series follows a 29-year-old programmer named Satou who got teleported to another world into his 15-year-old self. He becomes overpowered in the first chapter with a drive to save everyone within reason, but he tries to stay anonymous as best as he can with different allies. Alongside his companions, Satou will defeat demon lords just to go sightseeing around his new world.

I love this series because of the action, suspense, comical relief and great storytelling of Ainana-sensei.

Trevor Megginson