My Favorite Books This Year
If you are looking for some book recommendations for the holiday vacation or the post holiday lull you have come to the right place. They can also be last minute holiday gifts.
These books have all been profound reads in different ways from very personal detailed struggles to obvious fictional events that seem so eerie they might come true. I've written more detailed posts on aspects of these novels which I'm not surprised are all by women. Here I will divulge a synopsis and try not to spoil anything for you.
Raw, real and right to the point is how Hunger feels. The style is a mainstay of Roxane Gay who tells the truth even if some things she would prefer not to. Telling such visceral stories and truth can sometimes come across as exploitative or titillating but she steers clear of that notion in both of these books. The stories are here to educate not entertain, with some exceptions in Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay keeps everything in perspective.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Violence of any kind is becoming far too common and gun violence isn't slowing down either. While a gun may not have been the final weapon of choice for Kevin the same malcontent is there. Breaking down what it means to love or try to love someone who you know is deplorable privately which then gets national public display is at the heart of this novel.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
I love short stories and this compilation made me yearn for more. All of the stories revolve around women and their messy lives. There are elements of fantasy that make the outlandish seem common and what others see as normal becomes repulsive. It is unlike any short story collection I've read before which is a compliment.
All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage
Part ghost story, murder mystery and slow simmering thriller it truly defies easy categorization. This novel has the type of ending you would never predict even if you've read enough thrillers with raucous twists and turns. Multiple points of view round out the story of murder in a tiny town involving the new neighbors no one knows enough about. Justice comes in the end but not in a conventional or convenient path.
The Girls by Emma Cline
If you missed your chance to live in the swinging 60's or want to revisit the decade travel back in time by proxy into the cult loosely based on Manson's. Writing authentically as a teenage girl doesn't come easily to most but Emma Cline makes it look easy. Your first taste of power as a teenage girl over a man and others is intoxicating. The complex power dynamics that follow make you glad you don't have to revisit this period of teen angst and confusion.