Books are one of the brightest perks of this quarantine. After binge-watching all the top shows on Netflix and Prime, there comes a time when all one needs to reach nirvana is to unplug and read a good book. Here is a quick list of thrillers that will hook you by page on. You won’t blink between start to finish.
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
Past, present, and future collide in a story that follows five post-graduate girlfriends who discover they have been trapped in a time loop. The revelation comes after protagonist Beatrice’s boyfriend, Jim, suffers a mysterious death that prompts her back to her beloved childhood haunt in hopes a few elusive questions can be answered. Then a strange, enigmatic man named Blithely crashes the party to reveal time has been paused for the girls, and the only way out is a decision that could make or break them.
Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino
In a series of penetrative essays, Jia Tolentino dissects cultural peaks like social internet, glamorized scammers, the wedding industrial complex, and the unwritten law to ceaselessly improve the beauty of the human body until death do it part. This is one of the few books that can deliver fatal blows to societal constructs with such precision you will either be clapping by the end of it or having an existential crisis. Tolentino masters the art of the essay so well if she wrote the phone book, I’d read it.
Pantsdrunk (Kalsarikanni) by Miska Rantanen
If you’re a fan of self-help books, take a page out of Päntsdrunk and sit around in your underwear, alone, drinking and watching TV. It might not seem like the way to nirvana, but according to Finland (who ranks number one on the 2019 world happiness report), it is exactly what you need. Rantanen convinces us not to find shame or guilt in our leisurely habits but to instead embrace being in our own skin. This relaxation technique comes in an illustrated book packed with whimsy, satire, and “meaningful meaninglessness”.
Looker by Laura Sims
One of Vogue’s Best Books of 2019, Looker is a heart-pounding thriller about a woman’s (the unnamed narrator) slow spiral into madness over her actress neighbor’s success. Despite living side by side with each other, the mile-wide gap of difference between them picks at the narrator’s brain to lethal ends. This innocent fixation soon results in disaster at the annual block party where things are plunged into unrepentant madness. This Hitchcockian story of a voyeur will have you gripping the pages in fascination.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Thirty-year-old Stella Lane has Asperger’s, which makes her an expert when it comes to numbers. Complex algorithms, predictive calculations, and razor-sharp logic has landed her a job so cush she can literally buy happiness – but can she buy love? Stella puts this theory to the test when she hires escort Micael Phan to get her game ready for the dating world – an arena she rarely visits. This is an unexpectedly steamy read that will not only fog up your glasses but also gives a voice to underrepresented people on the spectrum interested in dating.
Eilieen by Ottessa Moshfegh
It is exactly what it says on the tin and more. Eileen Dunlop is a rigid twenty-four-year-old woman living in the early 60s who juggles caretaking for her deranged alcoholic father and working at a prison for boys. She spends her days disassociating via perverted fantasies and dreams of a better life – until one week in the cold winter changes everything. Her budding friendship with the enchanting new prison counselor Rebecca leads her down a road of obsession, crime, and, with her already slippery mind, a descent into madness.
People Like Us by Dana Mele
If you’re a fan of things like Riverdale, Mean Girls, and revenge plots, then books like this were meant for you. Protagonist Kay Donovan is a star soccer player at Bates Academy, but when a dead girl is found in the lake, life for Kay and her popular friends takes a plunge. As she decodes a computer mystery left behind by the victim, she and her friends become embroiled in a murder investigation – where she is the prime suspect. The truth is not as it seems here, and there may be more hiding in Kay’s closet than just nice clothes.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The book which inspired the riveting Alred Hitchcock film of the same name, Rebecca uncouples from the world of Jane Eyre to follow a woman, a man, and another woman’s shadow. This masterpiece of gothic literature will send chills down your spine in the best way possible. It follows the second wife of a rich widower doing the impossible: trying to fit into her new, strange family. Brace yourself for turbulence as the unnamed heroine runs into twists and turns as she discovers ghosts from the past haunting the estate.
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker
The feminist pirate story you have been waiting your whole life for is finally here. Caledonia Styx captains the Mors Navis, a ship crewed by girls and women who have all have one thing in common – a mission to take down the vicious warlord Aric Athair and his heartless army of Bullets. They have each suffered at the hands of Aric, and after losing her family and home, Caledonia took it upon herself to build her own army and take him down once and for all. Will she do it? Or will a defective Bullet who made his way aboard the ship ruin everything?
The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
One of the best crime books to ever exist on this planet, period. Hugh Densmore goes from Good Samaritan to Patsy #1 when he decides to pick up a hitchhiker on his way to his niece’s Pheonix wedding – only to find himself the suspect of a murder. Set in 1962 during a time of boiling racial tension, this edgy yet poetic mystery follows character you can’t help but pity as his messed up situation goes from bad, to worse, to the very worst. You won’t be able to tell who is being manipulated in this story – Hugh, or you.
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
The original femme fatale hides like a snake in the grass in this book about manipulation, unrequited love, and obsession. Her name is Phyllis and she has captured the mind, body, and soul of protagonist Walter Huff, who would walk to the ends of the earth for her. There’s only one problem – she’s married. But she’s got a solution to get rid of her husband using life insurance…and Walter. This fast-paced 40’s crime novel captures you in a web of deceit and murder.
The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb
The book that inspired knuckle tattoos for years to come, this story is inspired by serial killer Harry Powers who met his end in the gallows after murdering two women and three children. The realism of the tale is what raises the hair of every reader it comes across. After hearing a story of hidden treasure from his now-deceased cellmate, convict Harry Powell disguises himself as a reverend and cons the late widow of his cellmate into marrying him. His reason? To manipulate her and her children into telling him where their father left the money. Things take a turn when their mother is killed, and the children are sent on the run.
What books are you reading right now? Got any good ones to recommend? Share below!
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