Five Must-Read Books

In the winter months, when it’s cold outside, there’s nothing I like to do more than curl up inside with a good book. Reading is perfect for literally any occasion — for instance, when I’m sad, I’ll read something light to cheer me up and when I’m in the mood for something exciting, I’ll pick up a thriller or a fantasy. Other times, when I want to learn, I’ll read nonfiction! It should be no surprise that I love recommending books to people, and believe that there is a book out there for everyone. That being said, here are a couple of book recommendations from various genres. Hopefully you’ll be able to find one that you truly love! 

For lovers of memoirs and unique writing, try….

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Genre: Memoir 

Trigger Warnings: domestic abuse (emotional and physical), fatphobia 

What’s it about?: Machado writes about her experience in an abusive same-gender relationship through the lens of narrative tropes that range from “Dream House as Spy Thriller” to “Dream House as Demonic Possession.”

Why should I read it?: Machado’s writing is lyrical and powerful as she navigates what it’s like to experience an abusive relationship, especially under societal expectations and prejudices surrounding non-heteronormative relatonships. This memoir is unlike any other that I’ve ever read, and Machado’s haunting and unique prose and stuck with me long after I turned the final page.

If you like realistic fiction and stories about coming of age, try…

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction

Trigger Warnings: internalized homophobia/biphobia, blackmailing, bullying, forced outing of HIV, anti-Black racism 

What’s it about?: Simone-Garcia Hampton is having a good time at her new school, where she’s made a group of close friends and has entered into a relationship with a boy named Miles. However, she’s unsure of how to tell him she’s HIV positive, especially when she begins receiving messages that threaten to out her. 

Why should I read it?: Camryn Garret’s book is filled with so much love — familial, platonic, and romantic. Her characters are incredibly likeable and realistic. Full Disclosure is heartfelt, funny, and poignant, and I left the book feeling both happy and satisfied.

If you like poetry, try…

Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda (Translated by J. Simon Haris)

Genre: Poetry

Trigger Warnings: none

What’s it about?: This book was published in 1924 by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda when he was only 19 years old. It is composed of 20 love poems and a final poem of mourning and loss. 

Why should I read it?: The amount of imagery in this collection is stunning and it has a really brilliant effect. Neruda paints his lover as embodying the entire world at once, with all of its contradictions. She is both the sea and the sky, the tangible and intangible, and the real and ideal. It’s so easy to get lost in Neruda’s beautiful words and the images he paints — I certainly did. 

If you want to learn something new and are interested in social justice, try…

Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis 

Genre: Nonfiction 

Trigger Warnings: discussion of slavery, oppression of women — especially Black and poor women 

What’s it about?: Civil rights activist Angela Davis discusses the women’s rights movement and how anti-Blackness and classism has hindered it over the years. 

Why should I read it?: This book is incredibly informative and gives in-depth information about the women’s rights movement in an organized and well-explained way that is easy to comprehend. I found it to be fascinating and a must-read for valuable information that you likely would not learn in school. 

If you like fantasy, try…

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Trigger Warnings: character abuse (off-page), deadnaming, death, homophobia, misgendering, transphobia

What’s it about?: After Yadriel’s family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel attempts to prove himself with the help of his cousin, Maritza, but accidentally summons up the spirit of his school’s resident bad boy, Julian Diaz. 

Why should I read it?: This book is honestly just such a fun time! Yadriel is such a compelling character and the plot remains engaging throughout. The banter between the characters is hilarious and the friendships and romance are so loveable! 

Hopefully one of these books piqued your interest! I wish you all a happy reading this year!

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