Tag: must read

5 Must-Read Books About New Beginnings!

Have you recently moved to a new city?  Started a new job?  Find yourself with a new friend group?  Life can be full of scary new things, but to give you a little escape from it, here are five books that are about new beginnings for entirely fictional characters!

 

 

1. If Not for you

This book is about Beth Prudhomme, who takes charge of her life and moves away from her native hometown in Chicago to an entirely new place in Portland, Oregon.  She reconnects with her Aunt Sunshine there and finds a new job as a high school music teacher.  Her friend, Nicole, introduces her to Sam Carney, her soon-to-be love interest, and is everything that Beth is not.  The book is full of ups and downs as Beth tries to establish her new life, but it becomes difficult when she gets into a car crash and her mother comes back in the picture.

 

Image via Amazon

 

 

2. last one home

This book is about Cassie Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole.  They were all close until an event drove them apart.  After high school, Cassie ran away to marry the wrong man, and threw away a college scholarship.  Fast-forward, Cassie is thirty-one and back in Seattle, Washington with her daughter, hoping to put her questionable past behind her.  Despite Cassie bringing the pieces back together, she hasn’t been able to restore the relationship she had with her sisters years ago.  She eventually receives a letter offering her the opportunity to reconcile with her sisters, and Cassie learns the power and promise of starting anew.

 

Image via Amazon

 

 

3. little fires everywhere

This book is about Mia Warren, an artist and mother, who arrives in Shaker Heights, Cleveland, with her daughter, Pearl.  Mia rents a house from the Richardsons, and soon the four Richardson children are drawn to the new pair that just moved in, but Mia carries a dark secret with her and a disregard for rules that will soon threaten to upend the entire community.  When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese baby, a fierce debate erupts in the town, placing Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides.  Soon, Mrs. Richardson works hard to uncover Mia’s past and her secrets, but not without consequences to her and Mia’s family.

 

'Little Fires Everywhere'

Image via Goodreads

 

 

4. the kitchen god’s wife

Two women, Pearl Brandt, and her mother, Winnie Louie, have been keeping secrets from each other for most of their lives.  Pearl has multiple sclerosis and didn’t tell Winnie; Winnie didn’t tell Pearl about her traumatic past in China during World War II.  When Pearl’s aunt Helen threatens to tell Pearl everything about Winnie’s past, the two women are forced to sit down and be honest with each other.  The story involves Winnie’s retelling of her life in China and her new beginning in America, and Pearl being honest about her condition.

 

Image via Amazon

 

5. white oleander

After her mother, Ingrid, is imprisoned for murder, young Astrid finds herself circulating through the foster system, each new home a new start for her.  While she isn’t at each household for long, Astrid quickly absorbs the culture of each one, before some unfortunate event sends her on her way yet again.  The novel embodies grief, abuse, and neglect.

 

Image via Goodreads
featured image via she reads

 


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Such an Age to Inspire

Released only a few hours before the new year, Such a Fun Age has already established its spot at the top of the must-read lists. In its rise to the top, the book has managed to acquire the attention of Emmy winner Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions.

Image result for such a fun age

Image Via Bloomsbury Publishing

After having been rejected from the nine schools she applied to, Kiley Reid took her time to write about her experiences as a babysitter in New York. With 320 words, Reid was able to produce a well-written story about race and privilege through the eyes of a young black babysitter.

 

In the novel, Alix Chamberlin, a mother of two and newfound blogger, quickly made herself into a confidence-driven brand. Alix was mostly known for getting what she wants and teaching other women how they become as big as her. This quickly takes a turn when her son’s babysitter, Emira Tucker, is accused of kidnapping while out at a high-end supermarket. Being a black woman with a white child at night caused the unsettling looks of a security guard and the forming of a crowd around them.

Image result for such a fun age
Image via Slate

Emira, a twenty-five-year-old black woman, is about to lose her health insurance, and Alix wants to help her out in any way she can. “When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.” – Goodreads 

 

Reid’s choice to set the scene in Philadelphia was one of intention. The city is known for leading the way to set standards for domestic workers. According to Kiley Reid’s ‘Such a Fun Age’ probes the insidious forms of racism, “Most of the estimated 16,000 domestic workers in Philadelphia are women of color,” according NBCto making an average income of $10,000.

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Image via Visit Philadelphia

Masterfully, each character has a moment to be outside of themselves. The characters you hate, you begin to understand more. The characters you love, you begin to question. They all contain astounding depth. With the way the world is headed, it is nice to have a fresh view at Such a Fun Age.


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Featured Image Via Philadelphia Inquire

 

 

Literary Canon Update

Have you ever been given a reading list that’s written, translated, and selected exclusively by and for men? Odds are you’ve rarely seen any that aren’t. If you want to appreciate the cannon while also living in a world where women exist, this is the list for you. These books and translations are some of the best and most lauded of all time, and yes, they’re by women.

It was, I must confess, a little hard to compile. The Odyssey was first translated by a woman only in 2017! But don’t despair. It’s all here for the taking.

 

The Iliad and the Odyssey

 

Homer’s epics have been translated MANY times, but these, by Caroline Alexander and Emily Wilson, respectively, set an incredible standard.

 

The Iliad

 

 

Close as can be to the ancient Greek, this translations has garnered heaping praise. “[T]he guard has changed, and a new gold standard has appeared”, said New Criterion at the volume’s publication. This edition even manages to retain the original line numbers from the Greek.

 

The Odyssey

 

 

This work, too, matches the original Greek as closely as possible. “A staggeringly superior translation―true, poetic, lively and readable, and always closely engaged with the original Greek”, said Harvard classics professor Richard F. Thomas. Iambic pentameter imitates the lyricism of the original Greek, and the volume also includes translation guides and maps.

 

 

Antigonik and An Oresteia

 

 

For both of these it is possible to turn to Anne Carson, a Canadian translator and classics professor. Carson’s translations are modern, elegant, and never condescending. In stead of translated, the works seem brought into the light, with all their strangeness and fierceness intact.

 

 

Jane Austen

 

How is it that Jane Austen, often the only woman on a reading list, is still under hyped? I had a guy in a bar tell me once that if people like Austen it’s because they haven’t read a lot of books. He really said that. Family conflict, human stories, and scathing humor makes Austen worth reading, with characters you really will love, and hate.

 

Pride & Prejudice

 

It’s a staple for a reason, and if you’re not sure you’ll relate to these people’s problems, you’re wrong. Fuckboys, impending poverty, poor decisions, and character growth you can get behind. Plus, it may be a period piece, but people still love their sisters. You’ll relate.

 

 

Jane Eyre

 

 

Another classic people want to avoid, but it has everything: deaths, fire, lies, weddings, blindness. I wouldn’t exactly call Jane a relateable character, but she’s understandable, I think, when you see everything she’s been through. And she’s incredibly decisive.

 

 

 

Images via Amazon 

A Booker Brace – Top 3 Booker Prize Picks

 

The Booker Prize has been a principal barometer of the British literary community since 1969, and since 2014, has considered all original fiction written in English. If you don’t have time to read all 13 books on the long list (a Booker dozen), and you don’t want to wait for the short list in September or the winner in October, here are our top picks.

 

 

 

1. My Sister, The Serial KillerOyinkan Braithwaite

 

Cover - My Sister, The Serial Killer

Image via Amazon

 

This is a gallows humor slasher about the things you do for the ones you love. Morally unencumbered, capturing the complexities of sibling life, this is a page turner you won’t want to put down. It’s already won several awards, including the LA Times Award for Best Crime Thriller and the Field Notes Morning News Tournament of Books, as well as being shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and optioned for a movie.

This is Braithewaite’s debut, but already shows a distinct, explosive voice, and has been perhaps one of the most publicized of the long list novels. Anyone with a taste for killers, or good female villains in general, should pick this up, but you don’t have to be a slasher fan to enjoy this novel.

 

 

2. QuichotteSalman Rushdie

 

Cover - Quichotte

Image via Amazon

 

Quichotte won’t be released until September, but the modern retelling of Don Quixote promises Rushdie’s signature blend of reality and magical realism, with both a commitment to the source material and the devastating strangeness of the present age.

Salman Rushdie has long been a towering figure in literature. Both literary and surrealist, Rushdie has won a battery of awards for his 13 previous books, including the Eggerton prize, and promotion to Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Frances greatest literary honor. Rushdie has won the booker three times, including the 25th and 40th anniversary prizes.

It may not be out yet, but it can be prehumously recommended on anticipation.

 

 

3. An Orchestra of MinoritiesChigozie Obioma 

 

Cover - An Orchestra of Minorities

Image via Amazon

 

This pick is both more tragic and more fantastical, narrated by the guardian spirit of a lovelorn chicken farmer. In love with a wealthy woman, and cheated out of everything he’s ever had, this book explores suicide, loss, and abandonment all through the lens of a narrator who is both hundreds of years old and removed from humanity. The prose is rich and ethereal, and explores what victimhood does to a person, and how far it’s possible to fall – all while traveling the world and more astral spaces.

This is Obioma’s second novel, and his first was short listed for the Booker Prize, so it’s a good bet this year.

 

 

Featured image via The Irish Times