Read more fiction. It truly broadens your mind. There’s no better way to get a deeper understanding of the human condition than through stories.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: This is a story about mental health. It’s about how people with similar experiences, feelings and emotions can make each other better just by being together. It’s also a story about loneliness, and overcoming challenges, and learning to become comfortable with yourself. It is a bit long and the author’s writing style almost reads like a journal. The story is good, but it felt too simplistic.
- Grown Ups by Marian Keyes: She tackles the everyday challenges faced by ordinary people like you and me. From faulty brain wiring, siblings, friendship, family and love. Just some of these struggles are addressed by her lively and entertaining characters. Living in Dublin, they are responsible adults that sometimes make bad decisions and turn their lives upside down. It was a fun and thoughtful read.
- The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: The Giver of Stars is an audiobook that I listened to recently and thought was really great. If you love books with historical fiction themes, then this is definitely one to check out. It’s a romance novel based on a few bad-ass women who rode the Kentucky mountains to deliver library books to people in remote areas, encouraging them to read.
- Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-joo: Women who fail to conform to the cultural norm often become the subjects of intense scrutiny. The pressure to live up to expectations can be brutal. It’s not a true story, but it rings very true. It’s considered a feminist novel mainly because it discusses the patriarchal mindset we live with.
- The Dutch House by Ann Patchett: The Dutch House is an amazing story set in another time, and yet still relatable. It is a story about regular people trying to live their lives in dignity, and how a place can invoke such strong memories and feelings. It follows the lives of 2 siblings over their lifetime and their attachment to the house they used to live in, along with the person who now resides there. You think you know whom to hate here, but you find yourself rethinking that feeling by the end.
- A Good Marriage By Kimberly McCreight: We see a marriage that is almost picture perfect. The wife is loving and doting. And the husband is devoted to his family. But those descriptions hide something dark and twisted beneath the surface of this seemingly normal marriage: a man with a frightening obsession. A murder mystery and an analysis of relationships that have perfect facades, it’ll keep you turning the pages well into the night.
- Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it exceeded it. It starts off with a scene that’s all too common in the US. Then focuses on the intentions of 2 people who seem to want to do the right thing but for the wrong reasons. I loved the characters, even the ones I hated.
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo: The story follows the lives of 12 people in the United Kingdom over the course of their lives. Seemingly independent lives connect with each other. It was a little difficult to keep track of everyone, and I lost the thread a few times, but the story was up-lifting.
- She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore: Written as a fable, She Would Be King illuminates the struggles of being black in America through an original myth about three generations of women with special abilities passed down from mother to daughter. Through each voice, we see female bodies and spirits fight for their power and freedom in two worlds: one magical and fantastical, the other contemporary America.
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