BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS AND MY CURRENT READING LIST
MY TO-READ BOOKS
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
My Year of Rest and Relaxation - Ottessa Moshfegh
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Beyond Good and Evil - Friedrich Nietzsche
The War Against Women - Marilyn French
WHITE NIGHTS BY FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY
Though I have read many books in my life, this book completely stunned me. Remarkably written, this book had me hooked from the first page. "White Nights" is a short story by Fyodor Dostoevsky, portraying the emotional turmoil of the protagonist during the sleepless summer nights in St. Petersburg. The story revolves around a lonely dreamer who encounters a mysterious and distraught woman in the streets at night. The two strangers share their deepest secrets and fears, forming a connection in the midst of their loneliness. Dostoevsky's narrative beautifully captures the theme of isolation and the human need for connection. I would highly recommend this book and it has become one of my favorite books of all time.
THE CAT I NEVER NAMED
By Amra Sabic-El-Rayess and Laura L. Sullivan
One book I am reminded of year after year, and one that has truly stuck with me and had a huge impact on me has been The Cat I Never Named. This book focuses on Amra's journey during the Bosnian Genocide and War. This book is one of resistance and determination. However, this book also portrays the hope we should have for our future to become a more open and accepting place. One of my favorite scenes is when she discusses an instance with a UN worker, making her rethink how international relations should be executed. This book is one I highly recommend to read, it was truly an engaging and insightful read.
BENEFITS OF BEING AN OCTOPUS BY ANN BRADEN
"Benefits of Being an Octopus" by Ann Braden is a compelling middle-grade novel that explores empathy, resilience, and the power of finding one's voice. The story follows Zoey, a seventh-grader facing poverty and family responsibilities, as she discovers the remarkable abilities of octopuses, drawing parallels to her own personal growth. With relatable characters and a sensitive approach to heavy topics, the book encourages understanding, compassion, and advocacy. Braden's storytelling leaves readers with a profound sense of hope, making it a must-read for young audiences.
THE STRANGER BY ALBERT CAMUS
Upon completing "The Stranger" by Albert Camus, I believe it is a profound work of literature that prompts contemplation on the more intricate aspects of human existence. Through its writing style was more unadorned, the book talks about existential themes such as the absurdity of life and the quest for purpose in an indifferent universe. Camus captures the true essence of his protagonist, Meursault, who remains detached from societal norms and conventions. I quite liked this book and would definitely recommend this thought-provoking read.
OUT OF MY MIND BY SHARON M. DRAPER
"Out of My Mind" by Sharon Draper is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that tells the story of Melody Brooks, an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. Melody is unable to walk or talk, but she possesses an extraordinary mind filled with intelligence and insight. Despite facing numerous challenges and being underestimated by those around her, Melody's determination and inner strength shine through as she strives to be heard and understood. Through her unique perspective, Draper takes readers on an emotional journey, shedding light on the experiences and struggles of individuals with disabilities. With beautifully crafted prose, the author tackles themes of inclusivity, empathy, and the power of determination. "Out of My Mind" is a must-read book that will leave readers inspired, enlightened, and with a greater appreciation for the strength of the human spirit.
NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
Recently, I have read the book Notes From the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Notes From the Underground is a novel about the rantings and musings of an unnamed, unreliable narrator who lives in a self-imposed isolation from society. The narrator is a bitter, nihilistic and paradoxical character who expresses his disdain for modernity, reason, and progress. I found the book fascinating however, it took me a couple times of reading it to develop a grasp on the content of the book. I would recommend this book.
WORDS ON FIRE
Words on Fire by Jennifer A. Neilson. is one of my all time favorite books. It is a story about a girl named Audra who lived in Lithuania in the early 1800s. During this time Russian soldiers have taken over Lithuania and are determined to turn everyone Russian. Audra figures she can stay out of it, until the Cossack soldiers show up at her house and arrest her parents. Her parents insist she run and gives her an important package. As Audra continues her journey and joins a resistance of book smugglers, she learns the important of books to the culture, history, and religion of Lithuania. This book has had a large impact on me and has stayed with me for years, I would highly recommend.
I have recent read a short story called The Veldt by Ray Bradbury. I thought it was marvelously written and was thought provoking.
The book explores our dependence on technology, specifically on children. Although it was written in 1950, it is more relevant now than ever before, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
I though this book was captivating, broadening, and timeless; but I would not recommend it for younger kids because it is a bit dark.
(I will be making a poster of The Veldt soon so look out for it in the Creative section!)
REFUGEE BY ALAN GRATZ
This book is a novel that shows three different perspective of three different refugees. Josef, a refugee running from the Nazis. Isabel, a refugee escaping Cuba. And Mohammad a refugee escaping Syria. This book shows the cruel but true hardships refugees face. Alan Gratz has highlighted what really happens to refugees, that not many people know about.
Other books by Alan Gratz:
Code of Honor