What to Read Next, Based On Your Enneagram Type

updated Dec 7, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

When it comes to choosing the next book to read, I can get paralyzed by the options: Do I go based on Goodreads ratings, friends’ recommendations, the latest NYT bestseller, or that book with the beautiful cover I’ve been seeing everywhere? More often than not, I can’t pick just one, so I end up reading two or three at a time. If you’d like something a bit more streamlined and personalized, I’ve matched some of 2020’s best novels with the internet’s favorite personality quiz: The Enneagram.

Type 1. The Reformer: “The Girl With the Louding Voice,” Abi Daré

Abi Daré’s debut novel will speak to the “idealistic” part of your Enneagram—and I mean to say idealism is your superpower. Adunni, a 14-year-old Nigerian girl is dead-set on receiving an education in order to sharpen and strengthen her intelligence and voice. After her mother’s death, she’s sold into a marriage that she is eventually forced to escape, and despite trauma, mistreatment, and grief, Adunni is steadfast in her pursuit of education and her dream of becoming a teacher. You’ll appreciate (and maybe even see yourself in) her tenacity, determination, and devotion to her purpose.

Type 2. The Helper: “Dessert Person,” Claire Saffitz

Generous, people-pleasing, caring… you kind of sound like a big batch of chocolate chip cookies, and something tells me that you might be a sweet tooth (or at least enjoy baking for others.) Lean into that with a cookbook centered around decadent, satisfying desserts. Whether you’re an experienced baker or a “break-and-bake” kind of person, Saffitz’s illustrated guide has something for every level. Once we can have big potluck dinners again, you’ll be armed with new sweet treats to bring to the table.

Type 3. The Achiever: “We Ride Upon Sticks,” Quan Barry

The Danvers hockey team is in the midst of a never-ending losing streak when they decide to enlist the help of a dark force—and suddenly, the luck turns. How far would you go, Achiever, to become the best? You might not turn to witchcraft, but instead turn to Barry’s tense, original tale of the young women who test the limits of reality in order to become unstoppable.

Type 4. The Individualist: “The New Wilderness,” Diane Cook

What would it take to really survive in the wilderness—if cities became uninhabitable, and an unknown expanse of land was your only hope at survival? If this sounds like something you’ve thought about as an Individualist, then you will love Diane Cook’s absorbing narrative that centers around a community of people selected to live in The Wilderness—something like the “last national park” in the country, and the last truly livable location that hasn’t been ravaged by climate change. It’s a thought-provoking exploration of the lengths we go to protect others and ourselves, and what motivates us to survive against all odds.

Type 5. The Investigator: “Bestiary,” K-Ming Chang

Everyone probably recommends you read a mystery novel, right Investigator? But that’s almost too easy. Try “Bestiary,” which will treat your cerebral, perceptive nature to a story told through myths and buried family secrets. Chang’s magical realism and unique writing style weaves together three generations of Taiwanese American women and the family lore that begins to take on a life of its own.

Type 6. The Loyalist: “The Bass Rock,” Evie Wyld

Engaging, responsible, anxious, suspicious: The four traits most-often associated with a Loyalist could also describe the three central women of Evie Wyld’s multi-perspective novel. As a Loyalist, you crave certitude and guidance, something that Ruth, Viv, and Sarah could all use in spades as they seek belonging and peace amongst grief and ghosts.

Type 7. The Enthusiast: “Parakeet,” Marie-Helene Bertino

Bertino’s off-beat protagonist is a week away from marriage when her late grandmother appears as a parakeet and instructs The Bride to find her brother. What follows is an adventure that marries pre-wedding jitters with the complicated ties of a family, told through a perceptive, hilarious, and sometimes strange inner-dialogue that will endear you to the scattered, distractible narrator.

Type 8. The Challenger: “Great Offshore Grounds,” Vanessa Veselka

Half sisters Cheyenne and Livy are propelled towards intense journeys of self discovery after their estranged father uses his wedding day to pass on information that upends their lives. Infused with forward motion, the book moves quickly towards each sister’s quest to understand her identity, escape her failures, and prove her strength. It’s a book of power and of fate; of paths predetermined and forged with intention; and how these overlapping experiences of destiny and deliberation can somehow co-exist and create a life.

Type 9. The Peacemaker: “Writers & Lovers,” Lily King

I wouldn’t go as far to say King’s protagonist is a Peacemaker, but that this book can feel like the warm, reassuring blanket a Type 9 would want to read in a year of so much uncertainty and fear. The writing is precise and poetic, and the journey of Casey Peabody (a writer) is cathartic as she reels from the loss of her mother, the impasse of her novel, and the crisis of her creative ambitions.