Yesterday on Instagram (shameless LipLiner plug, oh well), I asked our followers to tell me the title of the best book they’ve read in the past year so I can keep my eye out for new picks to add to my “To Read” list. To show that I not only walk to walk, but ~talk the talk~ too, I’ve decided to detail the books I’ve read this summer thus far in hopes that maybe one of these will make it onto your own reading list!
Suicide Letters from Beautiful Girls by Lyn Weingarten
Truthfully, the title and cover art spoke to the angst-y teen in me, so I decided to give it a go. The plot was interesting and there were enough surprise (what I assumed were) endings that I had to force myself to stop assuming I knew what was going to happen, as it was made clear over and over that I did not. Two teens were once best friends and now are not. You’re led to believe that they each care but not enough to make the first move toward reparation… until it is announced that Delia has burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed and June knows her ex-best friend wouldn’t have taken in life by ways of her greatest fear: fire. She is suspicious and launches and amateur quest to seek out answers. All that being said, I thought the happenings (not the plot that I detailed above, but the rising action and plotlines to follow) were unrealistic as the characters were high school girls, which made me realize that: (1) it was a good novel and would’ve been better had that characters been older and (2) I am too old to be reading books about people in high school. But Weingarten manipulated time in each chapter and also switched around the point of view a lot, which I think is unique and compelling.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
After having a long discussion about books with a friend recently, she let me know she was reading HP for the first (!) time. This obviously inspired me to reenter the magical world. Is a description or review necessary for this book? Magical. Comfortable. Familiar. Like coming home.
Not Me by Michael Lavigne
Reading Not Me is the result of a friend’s recommendation (what is better than sharing books with your friends?!) because we both took a Holocaust Literature course during undergrad that focused on both fictional and non-fictional accounts of the time. Not Me details two men’s stories in tandem: Heshel Rosenheim as he battles Alzheimer’s, and his son, Michael, as he tries to understand the old journals his father has gifted him that seem to say that Heshel perhaps was not a victim of the Holocaust, but a perpetrator. The book is wry and is a smooth read, despite the gravity of the subject matter. It begs to ask a lot about identity as individuals, as a member of a family, and as a member of a collective faith.
Reading for me has always been encouraging. It’s the quickest, most accessible escape from reality without having to move at all. It encourages my creativity; I always feel ready to do my best writing after finishing a novel. If they can do it, why haven’t I?
It is incredibly unifying to be able to share books that you liked (and even the ones that you didn’t) with people. Sharing ideas, whether they align or diverge, helps us to see the way in which our peers perceive text and allows us to better focus on and understand what it is that we respond to as readers.
So I’ll ask again: what’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?