This hasn’t been a good week to be between the ages of 23 and 38, with headlines broadcasting a looming recession, and an internet discourse revisiting the damage wrought on millennials by the last one.

“[It] did not just mean a few years of high unemployment, or a couple years living in their parents’ basements. It meant a full decade of lost wages,” wrote Annie Lowrey in an article titled “The Next Recession Will Destroy Millennials,” published Monday at The Atlantic. “The generation unlucky enough to enter the labor market in a recession suffers ‘significant’ earnings losses that take years and years to rebound, studies show, something that hard data now back up.”

It might be a good time to read some of the prominent voices among this much-misunderstood generation, and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association’s list of bestsellers at local independent bookstores for the week ending Sunday, Aug. 25, includes two essential millennial voices.

Amid an endless cycle of performative anger and scorching hot takes engendered by web-based proclivities toward groupthink, compressed thinking and objectively bad ideas, Jia Tolentino’s “Trick Mirror,” No. 12 among hardcover nonfiction bestsellers, is a salve. The new essay collection delivers a slow-burning inquiry into modern life and millennial precarity that asks more questions than it answers, and never purports to do otherwise.

For a certain subset of women in their 20s and 30s, Tolentino is a household name, an imaginary best friend whose wise, probing essays and cheerful stoner Twitter persona brought us to the women’s general interest blog The Hairpin, a sort of wacky little sister to The Awl, during the heyday of pleasantly idiosyncratic online publishing that took place in the late 2000s, when the pre-smartphone internet felt more like a friendly place for weirdos than a persistent, eternally accessible obligation residing in one’s pocket. Tolentino is tough on everyone — including herself — and launches with abandon into the challenging work of embracing nuance when getting reductive might feel safer (and gain more viral momentum).

Seeking fiction? Try Ocean Vuong, whose “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is No. 4 among hardcover fiction bestsellers. The prospect of a novel from Vuong is an exciting one: His poetry is a thing of beauty. Vuong’s poems build entire worlds out of glimpses into identity, communion and geopolitical violence, but with his spare style and precise imagery, they are precise constructions reminiscent of Richard Siken or Mark Doty at the height of their abilities.

Vuong and Tolentino are just two millennial authors the Pacific Northwest is currently paying attention to, but many more exist. They’re here. They’re published. And reading them may be especially urgent in the face of an uncertain future.

Hardcover fiction

1. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

2. The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead

3. Inland, Téa Obreht

4. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong

5. City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert

6. Circe, Madeline Miller

7. Deep River, Karl Marlantes

8. Chances Are … , Richard Russo

9. The New Girl, Daniel Silva

10. Hollow Kingdom, Kira Jane Buxton

11. The Bitterroots, C.J. Box

12. The Lager Queen of Minnesota, J. Ryan Stradal

13. Exhalation: Stories, Ted Chiang

14. Tidelands, Philippa Gregory

15. The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware

Hardcover nonfiction

1. Educated, Tara Westover

2. How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

3. Becoming, Michelle Obama

4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, Mark Manson

5. The Pioneers, David McCullough

6. Three Women, Lisa Taddeo

7. Everything Is F*cked, Mark Manso

8. The Second Mountain, David Brooks

9. The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates

10. The Source of Self-Regard, Toni Morrison

11. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson

12. Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino

13. Dare to Lead, Brené Brown

14. Kochland, Christopher Leonard

15. This America, Jill Lepore

Paperback fiction

1. The Overstory, Richard Powers

2. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

3. There There, Tommy Orange

4. The Witch Elm, Tana French

5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris

6. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

7. Washington Black, Esi Edugyan

8. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple

9. Beloved, Toni Morrison

10. Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate

11. The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin

12. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

13. Transcription, Kate Atkinson

14. Warlight, Michael Ondaatje

15. Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz

Paperback nonfiction

1. Calypso, David Sedaris

2. Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari

3. Born a Crime, Trevor Noah

4. The Soul of an Octopus, Sy Montgomery

5. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari

6. How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan

7. White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo

8. They Called Us Enemy, George Takei, et al.

9. The Spy and the Traitor, Ben Macintyre

10. Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann

11. You Are a Badass, Jen Sincero

12. Tip of the Iceberg, Mark Adams

13. Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

14. How to See, Thich Nhat Hanh

15. Dopesick, Beth Macy

Books, books and more books!

After soliciting reader feedback, The Seattle Times has beefed up our books coverage to focus more on local literary tastes. In addition to regular book reviews and Lit Life columns, we’ve added some new local monthly features to our books lineup. Here’s what you can expect monthly: Weekly: What the Pacific Northwest is reading – trends and best-sellers First week: The five most anticipated crime novels coming out this month Second week: An audiobooks feature or roundup Third week: The Plot Thickens – Moira Macdonald’s take on new and old crime books, fiction and nonfiction Fourth week: What prominent locals are reading; and Neighborhood Reads: book selections from your friendly neighborhood librarian or bookstore Love these new features? Hate them? Let us know at As always, we love hearing from you.