These bookshelves often follow a pattern, focusing on a specific theme or central idea. However, this bookshelf is a little different in that it is a collection of books that may not have fit into a specific category thus far but that I highly recommend you read!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
When I read this book, I loved it much more than I had expected. It's about not only the aftermath of civilization's collapse but the actual moment that causes it. The story follows multiple characters including actors in a traveling Shakespeare troupe and people who have built a society inside an abandoned airport. It's magical and incredibly engaging.
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
In high school, I was completely obsessed with Chuck Palahniuk and, thus, I've read almost everything he's written. My favorite is definitely this one. Apparently there is an updated, "remixed" version of the book, but I've always stuck to the original. Palahniuk's acerbic tone is the real draw, but the story follows a girl whose face is destroyed in an accident. She meets transgender "queen supreme" Brandy Alexander who becomes her spiritual guide. The description doesn't really capture how bizarre the novel is.
Girl Land by Caitlin Flanagan
I picked this up years ago after reading several Caitlin Flanagan articles on The Atlantic. I recently found that this book isn't very well rated on Goodreads but try not to let those comments dissuade you from reading the book. In all honesty, I found the Goodreads reviews to be a bit hypocritical. Flanagan discusses the transition from girl to woman and the outside influences that can impact that.
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
One of the great classics, this book follows a group of boys at a boarding school in New England during World War II. It's beautifully written and is ultimately a novel about war that features no gunshots or battles, but rather an inner battle experienced in adolescence when you become aware of the small wars taking place in your everyday life.
The Magus by John Fowles
Years ago, I read this book because I saw it in the background of (I think) a Sea of Shoes post and thought it looked so magical. I discovered that the story follows a young Englishman teaching on a Greek island who meets a mysterious local millionaire. It blends fantasy and reality to the point where you're not sure what is truly happening.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
I absolutely loved this book when it was first released and think that, especially now, it's an important read. It follows a woman from Nigeria who goes to study in America and goes on to experience American racism, something she was not experiencing in Nigeria. The story features posts from the main character's blog about race in America, which provide some very interesting thoughts.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
This is a great, not-too-scary but really thrilling book about the daughter of a famous horror filmmaker. When she is found dead in an abandoned warehouse, a journalist sets out to solve the mystery of her death while falling into the weird world of the horror films. This is the perfect book for a winter weekend and I guarantee you'll finish it quickly.
Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
Stephanie Clifford's debut novel is great for plane rides and vacations. It's about Evelyn, a young woman from a prep school/social climbing background who goes on to work for a status-oriented app (similar to The League) and, in turn, tries desperately to be accepted into the circle of the uber-wealthy. It reminded me a little bit of Gatsby!
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
This is perhaps my most recommended book. It is loosely based on the life of Laura Bush, following a girl from her childhood to late adulthood, during which time she marries a young Senator who eventually becomes President. If you've read and liked anything by Curtis Sittenfeld, you'll love this.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This is my other most recommended book and one of my very favorites. It follows a group of college students in Vermont who study Classics and murder their friend. Throughout the book, you slowly unravel what led to this and why they did it. It's subtle and incredibly cozy. If you like anything involving boarding schools, New England, and academics, please read this.
What book do you most recommend to your friends and family?