This post-apocalyptic novel takes place after a pandemic wipes out most of Earth’s population. While it may seem a little too timely, this novel is a fantastic read. The novel follows seemingly unconnected characters through their journeys before, during, and after the outbreak of the Georgia Flu. Some of these storylines include the members of a traveling symphony, a famous actor and his three exwives, and a soon to be paramedic. Through her intricate storytelling, St. John Mandel seamlessly connects these plots into one unforgettable story of hope and loss.
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This historical novel takes place in Napoleonic Europe and follows the journey of a young soldier named Henri. Henri is obsessed with Napolean and strives to be in his good graces until he leads 2,000 men to their deaths. At this point, Henri decides to escape, walking from Moscow to Venice with a battle-trained prostitute named Villanelle. During their long journey, Henri falls in love with Villanelle, whose heart already belongs to a Venetian woman. The two form a close bond that breaks only when Henri loses his sanity and is locked up at San Servelo, a criminal madhouse. There is more than meets the eye in this magical novel as Villanelle and Henri navigate the lines between reality and mysticism. I really enjoyed Winterson’s writing and would recommend her novel to anyone craving a little whimsy.
In his autobiography, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea laughs and cries as he looks back on the experiences that made him who he is. From drug use and petty crime to spirituality and human connection, Flea tells it all, leaving no stone unturned. In this gritty memoir, Flea brings his reader to the streets of Los Angeles where he not only stole, smoked, and screwed, but also where he fell in love with music and formed an unbreakable brotherhood. This honest memoir had me eager for each turn of the page and was a nice escape while in quarantine.
This classic novel is an entertaining and quick read chronicling the lives of men in a psych ward run by the tyrannical Nurse Ratched. Life as they know it is turned upside down when the red faced, tattooed, narcissistic McMurphy is admitted. He challenges ward policy and drives the Big Nurse crazy herself. While his actions may seem harsh and selfish, every move he makes further unites the men on the ward. I really enjoyed this novel as it is equal parts comical and endearing.
This tragic memoir details David Sheff and his son Nic's journey through addiction and eventually recovery. While meth addiction is a prominent theme throughout the book, it is about so much more. My favorite part of this story is the complex relationship between father and son. David displays unconditional love for his son, sometimes to his own demise. Nic's story has served as an inspiration for struggling and recovering addicts worldwide as his transparency started and important conversation.
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This psychological thriller had me eager to turn each page. Grad student, Samantha Mackey, finds herself in a perplexing situation when invited to the resident clique's (known as The Bunnies) Smut Salon (writing workshop). After being warmly embraced by the strange bunch, Samantha begins her downward spiral. All of the realities of her old life, including her best friend, fade from Samantha's memory. By the time it all comes back to her, it is too late. By joining The Bunnies, Samantha unknowingly signed over every part of her life to them. In the end she has to choose to embrace complacency, or walk away with nothing but her dignity.
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Queer Eye's Tan France opens up about his life before, during, and after the filming of the show. He speaks about how the negatives: racism and homophobia, and the positives: friendship, love, and fashion have shaped the man that he is proud to be. From personal anecdotes to life advice and fashion tips, this hilarious and honest memoir has it all!
After the loss of her beloved, and the suicide of her father, Jessa Morton is left with the responsibilty of maintaining the family taxidermy shop. In addition to staying financially afloat and keeping the doors of the shop open, Jessa is also tasked with holding her disintegrating family ties together. While her mother turns the death of her husband into an outlet for her sexually aggressive art, and her brother struggles to raise the kids that his wife/Jessa's lover left behind, Jessa is forced to become the glue that holds her family, and their business, together.
The brutally honest account of Esther Greenwood's undoing is timeless and relatable. Seemingly overnight, Esther realizes that her life is slipping through her fingers; college is unbearable, friends are nonexistent, and the future is murky. Esther's story is a rollercoaster with more troughs than peaks, her recovery is prolonged and pessimistic, but a recovery nonetheless. The Bell Jar is a realistic and honest overview of the impact of mental health issues on a young woman. I believe that all women should read this novel.
Having seen the movie isn't an excuse to not read the book. While the gist of the two is similar, King's storytelling is unmatched. A caretaker and his wife and son move into an isolated hotel with a dark past for the winter months. They are prepared for the biting weather and the hotel maintenance, but not the cabin fever. As the days pass, the hotel slowly reveals its ugly truths to the family, all can resist its dark charm except for father, Jack Torrance. While Jack loses his mind, his wife and son scramble to hold onto their lives.
Chilling in every sense of the word. Wildes attention to detail and eloquent prose had me eager to turn the page. This classic is as relevant today as it was when it hit the printing press. Would you trade your soul for eternal youth? Such a delicate subject is addressed in such an intense way as Dorian struggles with his own decision and the repercussions that follow. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a groundbreaking and timeless read.
This brutal novel depicts the realities of life in Afghanistan in the beginning of the 21st century. Between family issues, separation, political turmoil, and migration, Hosseini's writing is guaranteed to strike an emotional chord in its reader. This story is tear jerking and eye opening. A combination of intricate story telling, in depth character development, and delicate writing, The Kite Runner is a story for everyone.
Could you feel compassion for a nightmarish criminal? Alex, the antagonizing protagonist of this novel, terrorizes the streets every night with his droogs. When one misstep lands Alex in a government criminal reform center, where the evil is psychologically and physically tortured out of him. Are people innately good or evil? Is it moral to brutally force correction? This unconventional coming-of-age novel provokes these questions and more as Alex finds his place in a crooked world.
Huxley paints a vivid and horrific image of life in 2540. Humans are engineered to fit in certain social classes, babies are grown in bottles, and the drug soma is consumed into oblivion. In this society, humanity has been muted and replaced by science. The World Order stifles individual thought and forbids solidarity. When a savage from the outside world is brought to live in the New World, the new definition of humanity is called into question. Huxley explores the fine line between technological advancements and human regression this classic novel, and his predictions are becoming more accurate everyday.
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This book is as raw as it gets. Nico Walker exposes the dark truths behind the opioid crisis and American warfare in a post 9/11 society. In this narrative, the unnamed narrator gets trapped in a stalemate of an unhealthy relationship and addiction. He sees joining the army as his only way out. However, the residual PTSD and the new found substance abuse overseas makes his homecoming less than warming. Walker explores the unfortunate reality that for some people, things don't get better.
This book ventures into some of the strangest human minds from all around the world. Thompson travels from state to state, then country to country to hear the stories of the man who believes he is a tiger, and the woman who can recall each detail of every day of her life. Throughout her journey, as Thompson explores the most complex human brains, she realizes that these people aren't all that different from the rest of us after all, in fact, she proves that just about any one can train his or her brain to see sounds, memorize an entire book, or hallucinate regularly. This book was fascinating through and through, and I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about the human condition.
The writing alone makes this one of the most beautiful books I have read. The delicate descriptions and the balmy language make this book as hot and humid as the Italian summer it describes. Elio, is confronted by his emotions when American translator and scribe, Oliver comes to stay with his family for the summer. Honest, intricate, and incredibly important, Call Me By Your Name is is an incredible story of self discovery.
Laura Jean has only had 5 crushes in her life. Not too bad for a 17 year old girl, but these crushes were, well, soul-crushing. To clear her thoughts and to better understand her feelings, Laura Jean writes letters to each of the 5 boys that she has loved. With no intention of ever mailing the letters, Laura Jean keeps them in a hat box that her mother gave her. When fate takes matters into its own hands, Laura Jean is approached by 3 of the 5 boys asking about the letters that somehow got mailed. Whether this is an unfortunate series of events or one that sparks excitement and love in Laura Jeans life isn't decided until the very end of the novel when the dust finally settles. A fun, quick, and easy read, and now a Netflix original!
The Perfume Burned His Eyes is an artistic book in which Catcher in the Rye meets witchcraft and rock and roll. Imperioli's writing left me wondering just how fictional this story actually is. After the disappearance of his father, Matthew and his mother move from Queens to Manhattan. Matthew's new school and his new apartment are just as he expected, but it is his classmate Veronica, and his upstairs neighbor Lou Reed that leave Matthew in way over his head. The development of these relationships makes up the bulk of this tragic and twisted story as Matthew loses himself to those around him. The Perfume Burned His Eyes is a beautifully-written page turner that left me wanting more.
In this memoir, Mailhot is raw in every sense of the word. In a letter-like format, she confronts her demons in the most intricate way possible. Terese's matter of fact statements and blatant wording offered a nice contrast to the harsh subjects that she was dealing with. She strategically builds the reader up with anticipation of healing. It was difficult for me to not flip to the last page before I finished the book. Overall this is somewhat of a heavy read, but Terese's delicate language made every sentence worth it.
This book left my jaw on the floor. Turtle grew up in a harsh environment that no child should ever have to endure. But she knows no other way. When a fit of anger with her father leads her into the woods, she meets two boys who show Turtle her worth. From that point forward, Turtle grits her teeth through each day until she finally hits a wall. This book is not for the faint of heart, nor the weak of stomach, however each second of disgust and fear comes from a place of compassion as Tallent paints the picture of a not-so-scared little girl.
This book is so refreshingly honest, Niven explores some of the hidden facets of love, depression, and what it means to be a teenager in today's society. The tilted love story of Finch and Violet debunks nearly every cliche you associate with a young adult romance. Niven not only left me in tears, but also feeling like I had lost two of my close friends as soon as I closed the cover.
Nothing has ever been easy for the Owens, especially not love. Despite their abilities to read minds and talk to animals, Francis, Jet, and Vincent, cannot fall in love. Because of an ancient curse on their bloodline, falling in love with an Owens means one thing: a tragic death. Alice Hoffman's delicate writing and precise wording perfectly contrasts with the heavier theme of this wonderfully written novel. Not only did I fall in love with the Owens siblings, but with Hoffman herself, as her writing took me far away. Whether you are hopeless, romantic, or a tragic combination of the two, Rules of Magic belongs on your bedside table.
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Korede is the oldest of two daughters, she is also the most reasonable and the most sensitive. Her sister Ayoola is undeniably their mom’s favorite, she draws the attention of every man she meets, and her beauty generally distracts from her psychopathy. The story is told from Korede’s perspective and while it is apparent that she harbors resentment towards her younger sister, it is not clear through her actions as she continuously helps Ayoola clean up her bloody messes (literally). This frustratingly funny novel begs the question, how far should we go for family?