Written By: Emily Graham
While I love to read for fun, I don’t do it nearly as much as I would like, and therefore, my schoolbooks outweigh my fun books by a depressing ratio. That being said, the fun books that I do have are incredible, and I want to share them with you today. I can’t resist BookTok recommendations, so please ignore my basic taste.
The Nickel Boys By Colson Whitehead
Inspired by an infamous reform school for boys in Florida, this novel follows two young men who only have each other when constantly faced with a corrupt criminal justice system and overarching abuse from the school authority. The novel, which switches back and forth between the 1960s and 2010s, is an excellent meditation on American social issues — particularly race — but I believe that the main characters’ perseverance drives this powerful work.
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
We are going back to 1881 for this novel! While my dad is the one who pushed me to read it, I am grateful that he did. While the story will (hopefully) never apply to me, Isabel is a character whom I can relate to, and I like her headstrong nature, even if the ending makes you question it…
Normal People by Sally Rooney
This is the stereotypical millennial novel, but I will still fawn over it. The novel reminds me a lot of the film (500) Days of Summer in that it realistically tells the story of life getting in the way of the people we love. Interestingly enough, I believe that the miniseries adaptation elevated the novel because the visual element adds a (literal) face to these universal problems.
The Mothers and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Brit Bennett is one of the best young authors of the decade; her novels are so well-crafted, unfolding seamlessly and strategically. The Vanishing Half is the novel that put her on the map, but I have to say that I loved The Mothers, particularly for its portrayal of grief and loneliness. Either way, both novels are excellent, and I’m awaiting their on-screen adaptations!
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
I just started this novel, so I can’t say much, but I love it so far! The female protagonist has a relatable dry wit to her, and I can’t help but feel drawn to her listlessness even though it’s terrible and uncomfortable. Her spoiled nature is honestly compelling, and I think that’s a testament to Moshfegh’s abilities as an author.
Now, dear readers, what should I read next? I planned on reading Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney since I’d like to work through their respective oeuvres. However, if you have a compelling argument, I might have to switch one of those novels out for a recommendation! I’ll be waiting…