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March Staff Book Report: Jessica Breen

Each month we ask our staff to share their latest reading recommendations and give us a sneak peek into their reading habits by answering your favorite bookish questions. In March, we hear from Jessica Breen, Marketing Director, Basic Books. Read ahead for Jessica’s trusted Women’s History Month recommendations, her favorite book cover from the past year and more.

Jessica Breen, Marketing Director, Basic Books

March is Women’s History Month, so I’ve selected titles that explore the topic from several angles, starting with Lucy Cook’s clever and hilarious take on the queens of the animal kingdom. As Lucy explains, women are not the only victims of misogyny. Female animals have been marginalized and misunderstood by the scientific patriarchy since the time of Charles Darwin. But an evolution has been brewing in recent decades, and it turns out that female animals are just as competitive, dominant, and promiscuous as males. 


You may have seen on the news this past December that the House of Representatives passed a bill that ensures equal compensation for U.S. women athletes competing in international events, a piece of legislation that came out of the women’s soccer team’s fight for equal pay. Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, who brought the suit against U.S. soccer, are just two of the women covered in journalist Macaela MacKenzie’s new book, which illustrates how women in sports are using their platform to show the rest of us what’s possible in the fight for equality. 


This book won’t be out until the fall, but raise your hand if you would read it based on the title alone. I cannot wait for the galleys to arrive! I mean, the title says it all. There’s a reason why author Minna Dubin’s New York Times article “The Rage Mothers Don’t Talk About” went viral. Moms are angry, and with good reason. This is a groundbreaking work of reportage on a crisis of anger that has been brewing and came to a head during the pandemic. Minna offers moms practical tools to disarm their rage, as well as shining a spotlight on the broader social change we need to fix this crisis. 

What’s the weirdest thing you have used as a bookmark?

Most of my books are hardcovers, so I tend to do the laziest thing of all and just use the jacket flap as a bookmark. It works fine until you’re about 3/4 of the way through a thick book and it won’t stretch any further.

Do you have a go-to comfort read?

I never re-read books. There are too many books and too little time. I have piles and piles of unread books. On the occasion that I want a comfort read, I typically offer to read something I loved from childhood to my kids. Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Those are my comfort reads.

If you owned a bookstore, what would you call it?

I once saw a coffee shop on Cape Cod called Snowy Owl Coffee House, and I swore to myself if I ever opened a bookshop, I would steal that name: Snowy Owl Books. There’s sort of a magical, whimsical feel to it, which is how I envision my bookshop.

What book is at the top of your TBR pile right now?

I’ll be honest. It’s SPARE. I lived in the UK for years and the part of me that misses reading OK! and Hello! magazines with a cup of Earl Grey and a biscuit is really excited for Harry to spill the royal tea.

What is your favorite book cover from the past year?

I was very impressed with the cover of Daniel Medwed’s Barred, designed by Basic Book art director, Chin-Yee Lai. It was selected as one of Lit Hub’s best book covers of 2022 for its “smart and succinct pairing of subject and graphics.”