“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” ― John Green
Even as social media and the internet change the ways we absorb information, I’m firmly in the camp that there is something magical about books.
Books provide a way for us to sit still, to dive into a story or concept and stay with it until the end. Books are a medium to tell our stories – our whole stories, with a depth that isn’t possible in a tweet or facebook post.
The next time you’re waiting in a checkout line and feel the urge to grab your phone and scroll through your newsfeed for the hundredth time – grab a book instead. Even the “bad” books that aren’t a fit for you will help you gain clarity around the genres, voices, and topics you prefer.
(And then write a book of your own 😊 And then tell me about your book, so I can share it with the world!)
Here are some books that have rocked my world in the past few months:
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
“The truth casts a shadow over the kitchen—people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right. Maybe this can be it.” ~Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give is a young adult fiction novel told from the perspective of a girl who witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend during a traffic stop. The story follows her through the aftermath and explores topics of racism in America, police violence, and the challenges of navigating the world as a teenager.
As soon as I started this book, I couldn’t stop reading it – not because it was an edge-of-your-seat suspense novel, but because the characters and story were so compelling. I learned so much as a white reader, and in my opinion this is required reading. Watch for the movie version coming in October 2018!
Did you know that romance and erotica are, by far, the highest grossing genre when it comes to book sales? I didn’t know that until recently.
And yet there’s still a stigma around romance novels – as though they aren’t “real” literature, as if they’re “fluff,” as if people should hide the book covers so as not to be teased for reading them.
It’s almost as if… THE highest-selling book genre is automatically taken less seriously because it is written primarily by and for women. Imagine that.
I started reading romance novels recently, and I absolutely loved Hiding in Plain Sight. It’s a romantic suspense novel, and the gripping page-turner plot paired with relatable characters made this another book that I couldn’t stop reading once I started.
I inhaled this book, and I hope you enjoy it too.
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
A few years ago, The Nightingale moved me deeply – and since then I have read as much Holocaust fiction as possible. All The Light We Cannot See is a gorgeously written novel about lives intersecting in France and Germany during World War II. The author worked on this book for ten years, and it won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Prepare to be moved to your core. And be prepared to cry.
Lilac Girls – Martha Hall Kelly
Lilac Girls is another novel that takes during the Holocaust, and the story is told through the perspectives of three main characters: a young woman sent to Ravensbruck camp, a guard at Ravensbruck, and a woman in New York during the war.
The novel delves into an exploration of how “normal” people who are “just doing their jobs” can unleash atrocities, how other “normal” people can show astonishing bravery to protect the people they love, and how to prevent these atrocities from occurring again.
Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage – Dani Shapiro
“Years vanish. Months collapse. Time is like a tall building made of playing cards. It seems orderly until a strong gust of wind comes along and blows the whole thing skyward. Imagine it: an entire deck of cards soaring like a flock of birds.” ~ Dani Shapiro, Hourglass
Every sentence in this book felt smooth, flowing, thought-provoking, and gorgeous. I wanted to soak up every word and learn how to write just like Dani Shapiro. I couldn’t get enough. This memoir explores topics of marriage, midlife, and the slipperiness of memory.
Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher was an icon. I always admired her for being open about her struggles with mental illness and addiction, and after her death I finally read her famous book Wishful Drinking. This is a quick and delightful read, and it left me wishing I had followed more of Carrie’s writing before she passed.
Personal Development/ Creativity:
Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life – Natalie Goldberg
I will read anything written by Natalie Goldberg. Wild Mind is an inspirational book for writers at all levels, and she guides writers through journaling exercises, activities, and personal stories to help us tap back into the raw and fierce energy of our creativity. My recommendation is to read this book once to soak it in, then go through it a second time to finish all the exercises.
My blog isn’t a book review blog – and as you can see, I’m not interested in bashing books or being critical. I just love spreading the word about books that I love to my fellow readers and writers.
May these books heal you. May they open your eyes to other books. May they reignite your creative spark. And may they nurture your love of the human experience.
Peace and Snuggled-Up Reading,
PS Let me know what books have rocked your world lately! I have hundreds of books on my reading list and am always excited for new suggestions <3