with so much chaos literally in the air, how about a few books (read: distractions) worth stacking by the bed? even better? July’s pile is extra-extra because this trio falls under my ALL-TIME favorite reads EVER. and, first up is…
this is the kind of read you can’t. stop. thinking. about. which means you also can’t stop talking about it either. a friend loaned it to me in college – insisting i read it immediately. and as soon as i finished, i loaned it out with the same urgency. i quickly bought another copy and shared it again…and again…and again.
i know it’s considered good form to recommend a book and gush over why it is SO good…but i’m not. and it’s only because i want for you a similar experience of finding yourself completely taken over by this story. i want you to walk into it without knowing much at all, but trust me: you are in excellent hands.
also, if this is your first Octavia Butler book, allow me to help you out now. when you’re done, you’ll be tempted to read the book again. (you really will.) go for it! and if you want to lose yourself in another of Ms. Butler’s reads, i highly recommend Wild Seed. | both are available at Amazon / Bookshop
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir
i read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian when it debuted and loved it – so, if you are new to his work, definitely dive in with gusto! as much as i loved it, though, i wasn’t ready for this memoir, his mother, and all the stories in between them. this is an emotionally exhaustive and utterly beautiful read – and it’s the kind of book you walk away edified for being in its space. Alexie’s relationship with his mother (and family) will make you flinch. you’ll probably remind yourself often he is reflecting on all this now – for your own relief that he survived. and, his story is the kind of truth-telling so urgent and necessary in our current political dialogue. the education we (the readers) gain amplifies our empathy – and empathy leads to empowering voices and affecting real change.
listen, i wept when this book was done – and not because i felt sorry for Alexie. this kind of vulnerability is near impossible to achieve, and the way he was both delicate and determined to tell the truth – all of it – left me with an ache. because what he accomplished is so rare, it took my breath away. and it just might do the same to you. | both available at Amazon / Bookshop
Shadow of the Wind
“In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.”
can we just savor that line for a minute?
this could be my favorite piece of fiction out there. the story revolves around a young boy who has found a very rare book – The Shadow of the Wind – and falls in love with it. he wants to read more by the author, only to discover someone is destroying his work – and it’s possible the book he has is all that remains of the author’s work. and here is where the mystery ensues!
whatever other words / phrases i could use to describe this story simply fail because this is a book you FEEL. you’ll be romanced by Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s gorgeous words and hypnotic writing– and probably want to (learn and) read it in Spanish (this story is a translation). you’ll develop a voracious appetite to consume this in one sitting – and that’s because you won’t be satisfied until you know the whole story. so, fair warning: this is a hard book to rebound from. my suggestion: savor this poetic mystery. let yourself fall in love with the intrigue and chase. and when you do close it for good, please let me know your favorite sentence. (there are soooo many, it will be impossible to choose only one.) | available at Amazon / Bookshop