Sunday was World Book Day, so this post is a tad late, but books are always important, right? I want to talk about some new additions to my bookshelf over the few months, as well as list some things I hope to read over the summer, but I’m not planning to create a detailed book review; I just want to share a few of the reasons I think these books were great.
Stuff I’ve Been Reading Lately
- The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
This fiction novel takes place in post-WWII Germany and involves a romance between a woman and a young boy. It’s scandalous, but not in the way it probably sounds on paper…there’s depth. It was part of Oprah’s Book Club, so it’s got some merit.
- Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
If you aren’t already a fan of Brené Brown, watch her TED Talk on “The power of vulnerability” and be enlightened. Brené is incredible. Whenever I meet another person who appreciates her work, it’s an opportunity for instant friendship. This book got me through the grad school interview process. Go read it. Now.
- Lavender by Christopher Poindexter
Wonderful poetry. Unfortunately, it’s currently sold out on Amazon, but I suggest getting your hands on a copy ASAP. Selections from this book informed some of my recent poetry and I continue to look to Poindexter’s style for inspiration. A current student in the grad program I’m entering this fall recommended it to me during my interview days in Indiana and inadvertently got me started on a poetry kick.
- Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook
Also amazing poetry. Also recommended to me by the same person who suggested Lavender. The poems are honest and emotional as Cook chronicles her journey through addiction recovery…and as if the poems themselves weren’t enough, Cook suggests a song for the reader to listen to with each one. Invest in some tissues.
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
I’ve read this book multiple times and it doesn’t get old. Cisneros writes from the perspective of a young Mexican-American girl caught between childhood and adolescence. It’s humorous at times, sad at others, and raw throughout. Like the poetry books, it’s a quick read that really packs a punch.
Stuff I Plan to Read this Summer (and know very little about)
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
While the author recently faced criticism for perpetuating transphobia (disguised as “feminism,” nonetheless), I’ve heard awesome things about this book and its commentary on the importance of feminism in contemporary society.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This one connects current race issues in the United States with the country’s history and illustrates how race as a social construct has acted as a foundation of American society since the beginning. Coates focuses especially upon how race-based U.S. society disadvantages black people in particular.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I honestly don’t know much about this novel other than that it highlights issues of race, immigration, and culture. It’s written by the same author as We Should All Be Feminists (above) and has received strong reviews.
- Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue
Written by a Cameroonian immigrant, about a family of Cameroonian immigrants, this fictional story illustrates the triumphs and challenges faced by immigrants in the U.S. during the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
- Nevada by Imogen Binnie
I first saw this one at a cute little bookstore in Indianapolis in February and it’s been on my mind since. The protagonist is a queer trans woman in NYC, and while I don’t know much beyond that, it has some pretty solid reviews.
- Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudie Rankine
This one talks about seemingly small racist aggressions (aka microaggressions) as they appear in everyday life in the twenty-first century. Rankine explores the effects of racism in modern day society.