Summer Reading Suggestions
Today I'm back in nicheless glory to tell you about some books that I have been adoring, which you simply have to read.
Now I know I don't normally do book reviews, but I have got back into reading in a big way. When I was a kid I could devour a book in days but at university whole months can go by where I never read for fun (mostly because I'm too busy reading for class, as is the life of a student). But the combination of a summer in New York, a New York Public Library card, and an abundance of beautiful parks in which to lay out has meant reading has come back into my life in full swing and I want to shout about it from the rooftops. Since I was inspired to read most of these from other blog posts, it's only fair I pass on the favour, right?
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I wrote about Half Of A Yellow Sun here but I actually think Americanah is the most relevant book for most of you lovely readers. Centred on the love story of two Nigerian teenagers who are separated by circumstance, this book charts their respective lives in the UK and the US. It is a page turner for their romance alone, but weaved into the plot are powerful observations about race and African-Euro-American relations and that's the real triumph of this story. It gave a nuanced perspective on an incredibly difficult subject and made me think deeply about white privilege. Everyone in the entire world should read this book.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez: Another powerful perspective on a life circumstance I would otherwise know nothing about, this story follows a group of newly arrived Mexican immigrants to Delaware and then switches perspective between them and the other Latin Americans living in their building. It is a tender offering on what it is like to uproot your entire life in the pursuit of a better future for loved ones and is a breath of fresh air to the 'immigration is bad' rhetoric that seems to be pervasive these days. I finished it in two days.
After You by Jojo Moyes: This novel has been getting a bad rep by critics but I actually adored it. In case you don't know it is the sequel to Me Before You (which is currently in cinemas) and is undeniably very different to the first book, but I don't think that's a bad thing. After what Lou, the main character, went through at the end of the last one it was bound to be different and I find it to be touching take on the complexities of grief (sorry for spoilers). If you haven't read the first then obviously don't start here, but if you have then give it a chance because I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It also only took me three days to read!
The Circle by David Eggers: To be completely honest this book freaked me out, but that's precisely why you should read it. The story follows a young employee as she joins The Circle - a uptopian-esque company that bares an exaggerated resemblance to many a silicon valley company. It is a eye opening look into the increasing power that technology holds over our lives and I can't stop thinking about the implicit warnings that this story has for the real digital world. In fact I need someone else to read it because I want to talk about the questions of privacy and democracy that it raised, but no-one else that I know has. So please read it, for me, and tell me when you do?
I absolutely adore fiction for the ability to give us a lens into a life that would otherwise be completely unknown, and many of these did just that. They say fiction readers are more empathetic for this reason, which I can well believe. So I urge you to give at least one of the stories a try, and tell me when you can't put it down. I knew nothing about The Book Of Unknown Americans and The Circle when I started them but they were, quite simply, exquisite.
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