Okay y’all. I started mapping out all of the books I love and I quickly realized this blog post could be two weeks long. So, I’ve tried to give this a bit of organization. Today is all about my obsession with fiction.
Coming from a writer’s world, I hesitate to call my favorite books “women’s fiction” because this means so many things to different people. What I mean to say is, I like literature about women. I love to read about women in other cultures or periods in history to learn about the lives of these women, from the problems they struggled with to the ingenious, courageous ways women have moved forward and upward in our world.
My favorite author in this genre is Amy Tan. I have read almost all of Amy Tan’s novels and I completely adore her work. My favorite by far is The Bonesetter’s Daughter, the story about mothers and daughters that swings between remote China and modern day San Fransisco. The way that Tan juxtaposes old world Asia and modern day America is nothing short of magical. Also, if you haven’t heard of the tradition of bone-setting in China, you will Google it and cry.
Another is Toni Morrison. I don’t believe I have to do much explaining here, but if you haven’t heard of Morrison, please run to your library and pick up wither Beloved or The Bluest Eye.
Can I just throw in The Help here because it is one of the greatest books ever written? Thank you.
I love reading stories about other cultures that are either unfamiliar or slightly familiar to me. I poured myself into Indian and Middle Eastern literature while in college and emerged with a great love of stories about the people in these countries who are suffering under civil war or occupation. Their struggles with identity, faith and quiet frankly, the struggle to live in some cases are shockingly inspirational.
One of my favorite authors who writes about other cultures is Jumpha Lahiri – To me, Lahiri is the queen of East Asian and Indian American literature. My favorite novel of hers is The Namesake, a story about the Indian immigrants struggle and the subsequent lives of those first-generation children trying to live in the space between two countries, cultures, expectations and social pressures.
Guilty Pleasure Reading
Who doesn’t love a good, guilty pleasure read? Also, why are books that are not considered highfalutin’ literature called guilty pleasures? In my mind, as long as you are reading, you are learning and expanding your experiences, your vocabulary and your opinions. You can do no wrong – as long as the grammar and story structure is on track, because to be frank…there are some really poorly written novels out there.
In “guilty pleasure” reading, my go-to is the fabulous Ms. Charlaine Harris. I’m a big fan of writers and Charlaine Harris is one of those writers who has it down. Her books are addictive. She knows her audience, she knows what they want and she really, really knows how to write it. She has a few series, the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, the Harper Connelly series, the Lily Bard mysteries and, of course the well-known Sookie Stackhouse books that inspired the naught HBO series True Blood. I’ve read almost all of the Sookie Stackhouse books and they are miles – no, eons – better than the television series. I’ve also started a few of her other series and while not as hilariously tongue-in-cheek, they are worthwhile, fun reads.
Somehow I stopped reading young adult fiction and have thankfully found my way back to it. I am obsessed with young adult novels about dystopian societies. Not quite sure why, but I gather that the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson completely blew my mind at age ten and I’ve never quite recovered.
My favorite young adult author is Lois Lowry. Isn’t she everyone’s? Her books should be a staple in every classroom and on every elementary and junior high school child’s bookshelf. Everyone has a book they could read over and over again and mine is Lowry’s The Giver. Embarrassingly, I found out last year that my favorite book – like, ever – is one book in a three-part series. Things like this make me hate myself.
Also, two words: Hunger Games. These books are so amazing that I have been working on Mockingjay for the past year because I am afraid I will cry for weeks when I finish it. Don’t lie, you know this feeling.
Okay, so I have to stop here because it is becoming overwhelming and the more I look at my Goodreads list, the more I want to randomly insert book titles into this post. Just please, pick up a book! I hope you come away from reading this with some book ideas. Please, comment for me with some reading suggestions….or join Goodreads so I can stalk you, ok?! I promise you….I’m only mildly creepy.