Eight books that will occupy at least some of your time in quarantine
By Halle Wyatt, Co-Content Editor
Although school has formally started up again through online required learning, I think we should take some time each day and relax with a good book. If you’re anything like me, and ignoring unread books on your bookshelf, then I suggest you procrastinate that infinitely long list and add a few to the top. Here are some of my favorite novels that I think everyone should pick up at least once.
For the YA lover: “A Million Junes” by Emily Henry
I cannot rave about Emily Henry enough. Her prose immediately draws you in and doesn’t let you loose you until the pages disappear. In all of her books, I’ve felt like I was living in her descriptions, seeing everything through her wonderful view of the world. I’ve read this book three times, the first time keeping me up all night long, and it is by far my favorite of hers. This novel is about an eighteen year old girl living in a magical small town while she overcomes her grief of losing her father. If you like stories with family curses and friendships that are just as important as the romance, then this might just be the book for you.
For the graphic novel enthusiast: “Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World” by Pénélope Bagieu
With beautiful artwork and inspiring tales of wonderful women, this graphic novel is for anyone who loves history or just really likes awesome ladies. I didn’t know about most of the women profiled in this book before reading, but now they’re some of my role models. Although it’s a quick read, you won’t want Bagiu’s delightful illustrations to end. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn a little bit more about historical women who helped make the world a little bit better.
For the post-modernist: “In Watermelon Sugar” by Richard Brautigan
So. This book is for an acquired taste. It’s really weird. I kind of feel like I hallucinated the entire thing. Depicting life in a post-apocalyptic commune of sorts while following a writer living there, “In Watermelon Sugar” drops you into a very unfamiliar world and leaves you to pick up the pieces. Despite not knowing exactly what was going on about eighty percent of the time, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s perplexing, but I kind of adored it’s strangeness. You will probably never read anything quite like this.
For the classic film buff: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote
Despite its casual racism and light misogyny, I still love Audrey Hepburn’s 1961 film. If you’ve watched the movie, then you might be surprised by how different the novella is. Although it does lack the traditional cinematic happy ending, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” reveals completely new layers that the film lacked while amplifying its charm and giving deeper understanding to café society girl Holly Golightly and the unnamed narrator (named Paul Varjak in the movie). As a bonus, this book comes with three short stories that are just as lovely.
For the poet: “Life of the Party” by Olivia Gatwood
This collection is not for the light of heart. Gatwood’s poems are heavy and they deal with sensitive topics, but I recommend this book to anyone who simply wants to understand the struggles of women in America, feel a little more seen, or just read some really good poetry. Her writing may be a lot to digest at times, but it’s brilliant and will make you feel like you’re experiencing her memories right in her shoes.
For theater kids: “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry
Although this is a play, it reads a lot like a novel does, and if you’re not used to the format, you’ll get lost in the story so fast you’ll stop noticing. The play follows an African-American family living in Chicago as they await to receive the matriarch’s late husband’s life insurance check. The Youngers’ lives are a lot different than mine, but throughout my reading of this, I really felt like I knew each member of their family. Their dynamics are funny and relatable, balancing out the serious themes of the play with ease.
For budding linguists: “Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language” by Amanda Montell
Informative and humorous, this book is more like having one of those long conversations with an old friend that could go on forever than reading a factual book full of academic sources and footnotes (which, by the way, are absolutely delightful). I had the luxury to be at Montell’s reading in Seattle this past January, and her voice truly does jump right out of the pages. I learned so much from this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a guide on how to take down the patriarchy with only their words.
For Greek mythology addicts: “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller
I could never talk up this book as well as high school librarian Callan Foster can, but I’ll try anyway. Greek mythology will always hold a dear place in my heart, as I’m sure it does for anyone who read Percy Jackson in elementary or middle school. Miller reignites my love for ancient Greece and she brilliantly captures the original tragedy of “The Iliad” while also giving plenty of attention to the joys that did exist in such a wretched place. Written from the perspective of Patroclus, usually the sidekick, his love story with Achilles was portrayed beautifully and felt like a new layer to the classic story. She’s a brilliant writer, and I think everyone who wants to make Callan happy should give her a try.