Categories: Entertainment

6 Books To Add To Your Must-Read List

As someone who is always looking for book recommendations, I created a list of books to add to your must-read list. A lot of these stories will leave you clutching for tissues, but they all are so very important in our present day as the books all reflect important issues that we are still facing as a country.

1. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner provides an insightful look into the daily life of an Afghani family before the country was ravaged by war, turmoil, and false representations. This an important book to read especially while the horrors at our Mexico border rage on as the story explores immigration and fighting for a better life through asylum.

Here is a provided summary of the book:

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons−their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

Get it here:

2. Plum Bun – Jessie Redmon Fauset

This novel beautifully captures the cross-sectional issues that women of color have to face as being part of two oppressed groups. Angela Murray has to face realities she never imagined once she delves into the world of racially passing, and is shocked to see that her problems don’t just end there. This is a true testament to the struggles of women, especially those of color, that still feels familiar in our current political climate.

Here is the provided summary of the book:

Written in 1929 at the height of the Harlem Renaissance by one of the movement’s most important and prolific authors, Plum Bun is the story of Angela Murray, a young black girl who discovers that she can pass for white. After the death of her parents, Angela moves to New York to escape the racism she believes is her only obstacle to opportunity. What she soon discovers is that being a woman has its own burdens that don’t fade with the color of one’s skin, and that love and marriage might not offer her salvation.

Get it here:

3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Prepare to keep a box of tissues beside you as you dive into this World War 2 era novel, and absolutely fall in love with Liesel Meminger’s heart and mind, her family, and her friends. She is quite a leading lady and a bright burst of light as she grows throughout the story. This story has beautiful prose and is written in a very unique style, and is actually narrated by the character Death who takes us through Liesel’s story.

Here is the provided summary for the book:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel Meminger finds her life changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Diggers Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins the love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish man in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down.

Get it here:

4. My Life as a Rat – Joyce Carol Oats

Joyce Carol Oats nails it again with her most recent novel, My Life as a Rat. This novel tackles the issues of truth and humanity; is it more important to be loyal to your flesh and blood or be loyal to the truth and morality? A very graphic book, but necessary as it reflects the harsh realities of our world. 

Here is a provided summary of the book:

Which should prevail: loyalty to family or loyalty to the truth? Is telling the truth ever a mistake and is lying for one’s family ever justified? Can one do the right thing, but bitterly regret it?

My Life as a Rat follows Violet Rue Kerrigan, a young woman who looks back upon her life in exile from her family following her testimony, at age twelve, concerning what she knew to be the racist murder of an African-American boy by her older brothers. In a succession of vividly recalled episodes Violet contemplates the circumstances of her life as the initially beloved youngest child of seven Kerrigan children who inadvertently “informs” on her brothers, setting into motion their arrests and convictions and her own long estrangement.

Arresting and poignant, My Life as a Rat traces a life of banishment from a family−banishment from parents, siblings, and the Church−that forces Violet to discover her own identity, to break the powerful spell of family, and to emerge from her long exile as a “rat” into a transformed life.

Get it here:

See Also

5. Dry – Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman

Set in a realistic near-future, Southern California experiences a complete drought that leaves every house in the area without water. As people scramble to gather supplies, or get out, social structures begin to crumble as people find themselves rationing what little water they have. With global warming on the rise, this novel is beginning to blur the lines between fiction and impending reality.

Here is a provided summary of the book:

The drought−or the Tap Out, as everyone calls it−has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation: neighbors and families turned against one another in the hunt for water. When her parents don’t return and her life, and that of her brother, is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

Get it here:

6. A Very Large Expanse of Sea – Tahereh Mafi

A beautifully written novel loosely based on Tahereh Mafi’s real-life experiences, this book follows the life of a Muslim high school girl in a post-9/11 xenophobic United States. It was refreshing to see a Muslim teenager as the protagonist of a novel and for her to get her own coming-of-age story without just being a mere cultural prop for another white protagonist’s story. This is an important novel in today’s political climate that is filled with intolerance and hatred.

Here is the provided summary of the book:

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for Shirin, who’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments−even the physical violence−she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. Shirin decided long ago not to trust anyone or to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons breakdancing with her brother.

Then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really wants to get to know here. But they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds, and Shirin’s had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

Get it here:

What are some books that you have on your must-read list? Give us title suggestions in the comments below.

Featured Image Source:
Kristen Orfanello

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