I really thought I’d be spending this quarantine knee deep in new recipes, but instead, I’ve had my nose stuck in a book. It has been a much needed escape. So today, I’m excited to pass all that hard-earned research on to you. Here’s a short list of which books to read right now – with my honest thoughts and opinions of each.
The Night Tiger – This book takes place in Malaysia. It has elements of historical fiction and magical realism all twisted up together. It follows the separate stories of Ji Lin and Ren whose lives are unexpectedly linked by a missing finger stored in a vial. I really enjoyed this interesting and haunting story. I can’t recommend it enough.
City of Girls – I read this one pre-quarantine for book club. It gives readers a first-hand look at life in New York City from the 1940’s to present day. Told through the lens of a young woman, it is a coming of age story with outright and unwritten commentary on women’s rights. Told with glitter and grit, it’s smart and thought-provoking, though I will say it gets a bit long at parts, which is my only note.
The Ninth House – Wow. The Ninth House started out really dark, and I wasn’t sure I’d stick with it. I thought it might be too gruesome. While parts of it are, I found this twisty, magical story to be bewitching. I’m a sucker for secret societies, and they are threaded throughout this book. I loved how this one ended and can’t wait to read the sequel.
Such a Fun Age – Another book club read, I started this one also before the lockdown and really loved it. This novel explores race and motherhood through the stories of a young, black woman and a 30-something white woman. While several of the characters are frustrating, this story had me thinking long after I finished it.
Cedar Ridge Series – As we have found ourselves in some sort of real life sci-fi movie, I have unexplainably been reading more apocolyptic books than normal. In fact, I rarely read any thing dark, but somehow read three over the last month. No idea how this happened. So, I’ve chased each one with a romance by Jill Shalvis (a new-to-me author who is prolific). It has been the perfect antidote to bad news and a welcome retreat.
This Will Only Hurt a Little – Busy Philips penned this book of autobiographical essays. It was heavier than I expected, but told in her own voice. It felt like we were close friends catching up over margaritas. In it, she openly shares a combination of lighthearted and harrowing experiences. As a teen in the 90’s, the behind-the-scenes look at shows, like Dawson’s Creek and Freaks and Geeks, was particularly interesting.
Never Let Me Go – Ok, so I picked this book up at one of my favorite KC spots, Afterword Tavern & Shelves. I had completely forgotten this was a movie that I watched years ago. I started the first few pages and remembered one of the bigger twists, which was a bummer. However, the writing is really fantastic. The story takes place in an alternate reality. Things post WWII are incredibly different. I don’t want to say much else in case you haven’t seen the movie, but this story is thought-provoking. I will say I liked it, but wasn’t as enamored with it as I was with a few others on this list.
Followers – Another dystopian book, Followers explores life after “the great Spill.” It’s told from two timelines – One is in 2016, and the other is 2051. The internet is run by the government, which brings a slew of complications, as I’m sure you can imagine. A page-turner, this gripping story has you wanting to unravel each mystery and learn what happens next – but also includes lots of insights that will have you thinking. I can’t recommend this one enough.
My Sister, the Serial Killer – This book is a quick read and is about exactly what you think it would be. Told from one woman’s perspective, the writing is sharp and slightly poetic. I loved it and think you will to. The author, Oyinkan Braithwaite, is a fresh voice that I can’t wait to hear more from.
American Royals – In American Royals, America becomes a monarchy after the Revolutionary War, instead of a democracy. Set in present time, this YA novel follows the lives of the teenage royal family and was a lot of fun to read. However, I had one big gripe. I had no idea it was the start of a series and was quite annoyed when it abruptly ended. I will obviously be picking up book two, because I have to know what happens next.