Sadly, because I live in Florida, being stuck inside the house for hours without internet because of a raging storm isn’t really a rare occurrence. And sometimes when I’m stuck inside I’ll pick up a book I love, only to find that I’m not really in the mood for it. So, here’s a list of my faves, organized by their topic/ what mood it gives you!
Beautifully written fantasy books with looove:
- The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a tetralogy/quartet. If you love complicated characters and beautiful storylines with very poetic language this is the book for you. My personal favorite is book 2, The Dream Thieves.
- The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. I first read this book when I was in Spain and it was so captivating I almost forgot the fact that I was in Spain. This is a love story, a magic story, a growing up story, and everything in between. It’s the kind of book where when you find someone else who’s read it you are instantly connected because this book is unique and marks you. The structure and language is very fluid, so it feels almost like a looong poem.
Black Empowerment books that make you feel strong and inspired:
- Moon Marked & Touched By Sun is a collection of plays by African-American women. The plays are beautiful full of culture and beauty. They address the issues faced by women, how we are constantly shifting and changing creatures who turn with the moon. They also speak to the struggles, triumphs, and lives of women who are touched by the sun, whose skin bears the kiss of light.
- March: Book 1, by Senator John Lewis and Andrew Aydin is a graphic novel I bought from the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior National Historical Site in Atlanta, GA. It illustrates and tells the story of John Lewis who went from a sharecropping farm in Alabama to the 1963 March on Washington, to become a Congressman, to being awarded the Medal of Freedom by Pres. Barack Obama. This is a quick read that leaves me with pride in my heritage and hope for the future.
Love Stories With a Twist:
- Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë is my favorite classic. The first time I read it, I had absolutely no idea what I had just read but I knew I loved it. The second time, I understood a little, now it’s my third time around and I think I get it. The dark tempestuous love story is twisted and depressing and passionate and I can’t get enough of it. This is actually the perfect book to read while lightning flashes outside and rain lashes the window because then your surroundings will parallel those of the book!
- Vault of Dreamers, by Caragh M. O’Brien is a really interesting dystopian and I cannot explain it well so I’ll just put a little blurb here: “The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the ridges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.” This book is a quick read and totally engrossing for a long day of lazing around.
- The Book of Ivy, by Amy Engel is another dystopian, this one focuses heavily on the romance aspect. It is set in a future society that was ravaged by a nuclear war. The main character, Ivy Westfall, is a descendent of a rebel leader so as reparation she must marry the descendant of the family her grandfather fought. Her mission, which she has been raised to do is to kill him and avenge her grandfather’s death, ushering in a new age of true democracy. But, as it usually turns out, love makes things complicated, especially when her new husbands is literally the nicest and hottest guy in the world. This book addresses family issues, identity crises, and overall is a great love story. It’s a duology, and the second book is just as good as the first!
Slightly Depressing But Ultimately Important:
- Born Blue and Dancing on the Edge, by Han Nolan. Both of these books center around the life of a girl. In Born Blue, Nolan tells the story of the child of a heroin addict who has been through foster care, physical abuse, pregnancy and many more things. The only thing she loves is singing, and Nolan shows her attempt to reach her dream. This book is really sad but also immensely important and beautiful. Also written by Nolan is Dancing on the Edge, which is about a girl named Miracle who was pulled from the body of her dead mom (hence her name). Raised by her clairvoyant grandmother, Miracle’s life spirals out of control until something happens that causes her to be hospitalized and treated by a psychiatrist. These meetings force Miracle to confront her life, what happened, and the true story of her birth. Both of these books by Nolan are troubling but need to be read.
- Crazy is another book by Han Nolan. This book is about a 15 year old boy named Jason who’s mother has died, and is trying to keep his life together as his father succumbs to mental illness. Jason tries to hide his father’s illness because he doesn’t want them to get separated, all the while trying to suppress the voices in his own head. Eventually Jason meets a community of other troubled teens who sympathize with him and help him out. Slightly less depressing that the first two books, Crazy is a funny yet truthful look into the world of mental illness.
Funny Autobiographies/ Personal Essays:
- Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris is a collection of hilarious stories detailing Sedaris’ childhood and later years. As a sarcasm lover with a crazy family, I relate so much to these stories and every single one has me crying in laughter. This is a good book if you just want to read little segments, because it is set up in individual essays. The essays are linked though, so it’s also great for a reading in one sitting.
- Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah. I just read this and it is one of my new favorite books. It’s written by the Daily Show host Trevor Noah (who replaced Jon Stewart) who is from South Africa. This book manages to humorously tell the story of Noah’s childhood while accurately depicting the horrific world of the Apartheid. This book is so important because it educates us on a time in history that isn’t really taught a lot in school. Also as a huge fangirl of Trevor Noah, this book is pretty amazing.
Weird and Quirky:
- Welcome to Night Vale, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor is a hilarious novel based off my favorite (and only) podcast of the same name. If you like bizarre, eclectic, and confusing books (à la Lemony Snicket) this is the book (and podcast!) for you!
Alright guys, that’s it, I hope you enjoy! If you have any recommendations for me, please tell me cause I’m always looking for new books!