THE SELL OUT BY PAUL BEATTY- Although this book will have you laughing out loud, it is sure to get you into some serious thinking too. A story about race and identity in America, The Sellout follows a young man exploring his relationship with his father and himself – and a race trial headed for Supreme Court. This is may be one of the best written books in recent contemporary fiction.
STATION ELEVEN BY EMILY MANDEL – Who doesn’t love a good post-apocalyptic tale of worldwide epidemic? (Spoiler alert: No one, that’s who.) In this creepy novel, a group of actors must survive in a crumbling world. And, you on the very edge of your seat, the book jumps around in time to capture world tragedy with adventure after adventure.
THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER BY JUNOT DIAZ – This may sound like a break-up book (well, it’s good for that, too), but it’s full of love. Junot Díaz is the master of telling it like it is — and in this collection of stories, he documents all kinds of love that will make you laugh and, yes, even cry.
A LITTLE LIFE BY HANYA YANAGIHARA – A Little Life is without a doubt the most difficult, heartbreaking book I have ever read. The story follows the complicated relationships of four young men over decades in New York City. Each have their own burdens to bear but it becomes clear that the brilliant, secretive Jude is the most damaged of them all, deeply scarred by a horrific childhood and its lasting physical and emotional effects. The smart thing would have been for me to readA Little Life in pieces, with pauses to collect myself. Instead I gulped it down in two very long sittings in which my heart was shredded over and over again. When I finished it I was raw and almost angry at the book, angry at all books, I never wanted to read again because I was so utterly destroyed. This book is brilliant and powerful and not to be underestimated, it crushed me. – Valerie Michael
AS A MAN THINKETH BY JAMES ALLEN – Although it is over 100 years old, the truths found within this 53 page book are as relevant as the front page of today’s newspaper. This is more than just another positive thinking book.
LOLITA BY VLADIMIR NABAKOV – Lolita is included on Time’s List of the 100 Best Novels in English-language from 1923 to 2005.The novel is notable for its controversial subject: the protagonist & unreliable narrator, a 37–38-year-old literature professor, Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather.
HOCUS POCUS BY KURT VONNEGUT – Do you enjoy crazy sense of humor? Here’s the book! A Vietnam vet is a teacher at an overcrowded prison who must reflect on his own life to ensure his survival. He writes his story on tiny scrap pieces of paper and describes his life with extreme wit and laugh out-loud humor. This book is wacky and full of twists and turns that will leave you rolling on the ground.
THE TUSK THAT DID THE DAMAGE BY TANIA JAMES – If you like to think outside the box, you’ll be into Tania James’ for lots of reasons. The biggest of those, however, is that one of the three perspectives through which this story of poachers in India is told is from the eyes of an elephant. Yup, an elephant. Interested yet?
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA BY GABRIEL MARQUEZ
All right, so maybe you will think you are not into a love story. But maybe you should know that this is one of the best love stories of all time — a guy lives his life to get back to his one true love. Life gets in the way, but the story of Florentino Ariza is epic and worth every page. Also, y’know, this book won the Nobel Prize, so I can assure you that it can’t be that bad.