recommended by: ms_mmelissa
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Edward P. Jones has produced very little work but is still one of my favourite writers and a lot of that is due to The Known World, his only novel. Set in Virgina during the antebellum era it examines a wide diverse crop of characters including the rarely discussed black slave owners who had bought their own freedom but then bought into the chattel system. It is unflinching and brutal but also hopeful. And above all it is stupendously beautiful.
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
One of the most beautiful books I've ever read, The History of Love is also the one that has been stolen from me the most. I originally borrowed it from the library, loved it so much that I bought a copy, and have continued to lend copies to people who love it so much they keep it. And I don't mind because it's such a good book I would keep buying it forever. The dual story of a fifteen year old girl living in New York trying to track down the author of the book she's named after, and a holocaust survivor coping with the recent loss of the son he never got to meet, it's a beautiful novel and one of the best written ones I've ever read.
Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang
I'll admit that I've often had a bias against works in translation because they always seem to feel stunted or unfulfilled in some way. Not so for Love in a Fallen City, a collection of Chang's novellas translated by Karen S. Kingsbury. Most of the novellas deal with China circa WWII and all deal in some aspect with the complications of love and of falling in and out of it and the circuitous cruel ways in which love either hampers or helps survival.
recommended by: cuteej4
When by Victoria Laurie: Maddie Fynn is your average high school junior with one exception. She can see the date of your death above your head. She gets caught up in a homicide investigation and attracts the attention of a detective who is suspect of her from the start. Why I recommend it: With the exception of Maddie's special ability, she's not particularly special. This book avoids the cliche 'I'm not like other girls' trope, which is refreshing from the slew of dystopian, paranormal, and cliched YA romance. It's a mystery thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat (especially near the climax) and constantly second guessing yourself.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: In real life, Eliza Mirk is the weird quiet girl would rather keep to herself and graduate so she can get out of town. Online, she's the anonymous creator of an incredibly popular web comic. When a new boy moves into town, she discovers that he's a fan of her work. They become friends but she still keeps her secret. None of her classmates or family knows about her online life and that's how she'd prefer it. What happens when her secret gets out? Why I recommend it: Francesca Zappia has such a unique writing style that pulls you in from the beginning. Her first book, Made You Up, was painful and beautiful at the same time. This one is even better. There's fanart within the book that goes along with what Eliza created and it adds to the richness of the story. Eliza is a flawed character and the way the author describes her drive to provide for the online community is more relatable than I ever expected. I love when authors put this much effort into their books.
A Million Junes by Emily Henry: It's a classic with a modern and magical twist. Two families have been feuding for as long as anybody can remember while June O'Connell and Saul Angert have a forbidden romance. Sound familiar? Well, it's completely the opposite of what you'd expect. Why I recommend it: I don't know how you feel about magical realism but I don't read it that often. This one makes me want to check more out. Emily Henry's attention to detail is great and her world-building is phenomenal. She has a unique voice that improves with each book. I enjoyed her first book, The Love That Split the World, but this one is above and beyond. The imagery sticks with you long after you've finished it. It's one of the best YA books that I've read all year. It's heartbreaking, strange, and wonderful all at the same time. If you only choose to read one book from these three, this is the one you should pick.
recommended by joaniemaloney
The Break by Katherena Vermette
A beautiful, sensitive multi-narrative novel with a multi-generational Métis family of women at the centre that deals with historic and present-day trauma, living in a poor Winnipeg community. Vermette is an author of Métis descent who has written a wide cast of characters that have their own struggles living along the margins, the resilient women that not only survive but thrive and support each other, and the recovery and healing that is ultimately possible. (PS: For fellow Canadians, you may already be familiar with this one because of the exposure/critical acclaim, but as we don’t export/hype everything of quality down to the US, I had to mention it!)
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
A novel told in glimpses throughout the year as Ruth moves back home to care for her father, diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. As her engagement is broken off and her job isn’t worth staying for, going back to her hometown is at least one direction she can go. As bleak as the premise sounds, this novel is actually quite hopeful in Ruth's ability to find the humour in the everyday, whether she’s trying to turn her life around or when she’s dealing with her father and his past mistakes and current situation, and ultimately has a lot to say about the definition of forgiveness when it comes to family. A touching read that sneaks up on you, in the best way.
Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories by Mariana Enríquez, translated by Megan McDowell
A enthralling Argentine collection of dark, skin-crawling, and unsettling short stories taking place that dealt with the horror of not just the fantastical (sometimes present), but more realistically, and chillingly, the terror that exists in the everyday lives of these characters, so much of them women. There’s also social commentary present with regards to the past regimes and brutality, distrust in institutions, poverty and neglect, mental illness and stigma, dismissal of women and the validity of their fears and feelings, domestic violence, etc. (PS: I know short stories are hard to sell but I’ve read this set very early in the year and it’s still one of my favs, give it a chance and it stays with you)
recommended by imnotasquirrel
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
A coming-of-age story about a lesbian growing up in Nigeria. Warning: There is anti-gay violence which is hard to read, but[Spoiler (click to open)]the book does have a happy and hopeful ending.
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
Pirates, sea monsters, and lesbians (including an Asian lesbian main character). That about sums it up. Escapist YA science fiction for when you want something fun and easy. FYI: There's also a sequel, The Edge of the Abyss.
The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale by Michael Bamberger
Written about M. Night Shyamalan as he made his masterpiece (lol) Lady in the Water. Neither Shyamalan nor Bamberger has any self-awareness whatsoever, which makes the entire book unintentionally hilarious, but it's a great read if you have a thing for behind-the-scenes drama involving Hollywood egomaniacs.
recommended by eveofrevolution
Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade
My goodreads review is a good summation (if a bit over the top and sarcastic) of why I recommend this one, and I've been recommending it to people in book posts since I read it lol: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2009662764?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
A YA dystopian novel (and series) that really took me by surprise. The story is fascinating and unique, and the characters are more well-rounded than in most YA novels. Some reviews claim it's pro-life propaganda, while others claim it's pro-choice/"pro-abortion" propaganda, while others claim the book as a story "for their side"; but in reality, it's not meant to be divisive or a commentary on abortion either way, from both my observations and what the author has said. I recommend people give it a shot, if they enjoy YA dystopia but are tired of the crap with which that niche has been saturated.
Needful Things: The Last Castle Rock Story by Stephen King
Of course, I have to put a Stephen King novel on my list. I rarely hear people mention this book, so I think it's relatively underappreciated as King novels go. As a lover of "stuff" and a collector, this book spoke to me as the story revolves around a shop that sells random interesting knick-knacks...for a sinister purpose. The framing is a bit strange and you wonder where it's all going, but the book has an immense payoff at the climax as you see what the framework has been building towards. The ending (which is one of King's weaknesses usually) is one of my favorites of his novels. The book, especially the climax, is a bit over the top in a campy horror kind of way, but oh so fun to read. Don't watch the movie, they fucked it up.
We also put together a short list of book posts to help you find your next book!
[Spoiler (click to open)]
20 Celebrities and Their Favorite Books
10 (5) Thrillers You Need to Read
Book Recs According to your Hogwarts House (the sequel)
10 More Celebs and Their Favorite Books
10 Famous Fantasy/Sci Fi Authors Recommend their Favorite Books
10 Great Romance Books
10 Book Recs for Women'ss History Month
SOURCE FOR BOOK COVER IMAGES: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
BOOK POST!!! Recommend a book in the comments. Also, how is the challenge going for you?