Everything Baldwin writes is worth reading, but this novel stands out to me for its depth of character, its humor, and its portrayal of a community that responds to tough circumstances with as much grace as it does its joyous ones.
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Takiko is an overlooked heroine—a stubborn, pregnant young woman with nothing to recommend her except her conviction that she and her child should be entitled to a life worth living. Highlighting the healing powers of nature and small acts of social resistance, this book is inspiring in the subtlest of ways.
Set on a Seattle campus where racial and political tensions run high, a professor takes in her young Muslim nephew, who escapes one dangerous world only to find himself in another. Smart, cringey, and powerfully written.
Set on an NGO compound in Saraaya during rising tensions at the Sudanese border, this book does the rare thing of capturing a place on its own terms, not for the comfort and education of the American reader, which I deeply appreciate and was enchanted by. There is much terror in this book, but it is also full of love and lightness, and a few pages near the end had me laughing out loud. I fell hard for these characters and their relationships with one another.
A literary page-turner centered around a couple who invites a stranger into their lives. Set in a dilapidated English mansion, this novel is full of psychological depth and has mystery at its core.
This is a perfect, moody, romantic little novel. A quick read with lasting impact, this book made me feel less lonely in the world.
Poetically and intimately written, this memoir is about memory and magic and the ways our personal and political histories are passed down as legends, as hauntings. A one-of-a-kind book.
As always, George Saunders' characters are irreverent, hilarious, and tender-hearted. This is a book for our times, which manages to provide both warning and hope.
In Kaleidoscope, twin stories of sibling love and romantic love are woven together to ultimately tell a nuanced story of self-love. I ached for Morgan and Riley, for how strong their bond was despite the secrets they kept. Wong's wisdom of the heart shines.
Harlem Shuffle is the book I recommend to people when I don't know what they like to read. That's because in my mind, everyone should like this book! It's a well-plotted literary novel with the most likable criminal protagonist I've met in recent history.
This second novel in the enchanting Neapolitan series is my favorite. The series follows the friendship and rivalry between two young women who outshine their underprivileged and often violent surroundings. A saga about fate, fortune, and social dynamics in 1950's Naples.
For the adventurous reader, this book of stories delights. Each one is spectacularly smart, hybrid in genre, and bold with intention. The perfect read for someone who loves the weird and the mystical.
A literary zombie novel about a woman who loses and then finds herself during a worldwide plague. This novel questions what we hold on to when everything is at stake.
Have you ever read a crime novel that centers not on the horror and mystique of the murderer but the women effected by his crimes? This is both a satisfying thriller and a feminist literary gem.
This novel sits indelibly in my memory as a riveting family saga and a coming-of-age story full of yearning. Eugenides reminds us that what feels taboo or shameful can be the very thing that moves us, which also makes life worth living.