Earlier this fall, a friend was about to undergo knee surgery and asked for book recommendations for while she was laid up. I never gave her my recommendations and she has since recovered from surgery, but I thought I’d write a short list for anyone who is looking for suggestions.
I was gifted a Kindle last Christmas and that definitely contributed to me reading a lot more, as well as taking more time to read while traveling. I’m always looking for book recommendations so if you have any favorites, please share them in the comments!
Loved, Highly Recommended:
Call Me American (memoir): This book was great and is my top recommendation of all the books I read this year. It’s not a page-turning mindless fiction (which are good when you want them), but rather a memoir of real-life struggle, written by someone around my age who grew up during the war in Somalia and went through the process to try to immigrate to the United States. He lived through the real life version of the movie “Black Hawk Down” and underwent an incredible amount of challenges. While it wasn’t always a feel good read, it was very thought-provoking and educational – I learned about the war in Somalia, Islam, cultural competency, and immigration to the United States. We live in a difficult world and sometimes it is presented in black and white; this book brings humanity and grey zones to our thinking. It will teach you, upset you, and make you think.
The Golem and the Jinni (historical fiction fantasy): This book was a fun cross between historical fiction and fantasy. It takes place in turn-of-the-century New York City and chronicles the life of a woman who was made by a sorcerer and through an accident is left to learn how to navigate life as an adult woman, despite the fact that she essentially has the knowledge of a 2 day old. Paralleling her story is that of another magical person who has landed in NYC and trying to navigate life and escape his entrapment. This description makes it sound over the top fantasy, but it felt more like a story about people who happened to have some magical capabilities. This was a page-turner that I didn’t want to put down; a good book to get lost in on the beach, on a plane, or staying up too late to read!
Uprooted (fantasy): I don’t want to tell you too much about what this is about because that’s part of the fun, but it’s a fantasy book with magic, mystery, war, and drama. It’s more fantasy-based than the previously listed book, but not way over the top fantasy. This was also a page-turner that I felt like I had to ration because I just wanted to keep reading!
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (non-fiction handbook): Ok, I didn’t read this in 2018. I read it a few years ago, but I’m reading it again right now. This book by Michael Pollan (particularly the playful illustrated version), is a short easy read about food, our relationship to food, what we eat, and what we should eat. It will make you think and maybe make some changes to your eating lifestyle.
Good, Would Recommend:
The Power (science fiction): This book ended up on my list because it was touted as Barack Obama’s favorite book of the year. Essentially, women and girls develop the power to electrocute and it completely upturns the power dynamics between men and women. If women had a physical power that made them stronger than men, what would happen? While I didn’t totally love the book, it was a fascinating mind-bender to think about how gender roles affect everyone and what would happen if they were reversed. A good window into our current world and food for thought, yet some parts are uncomfortable, disturbing, or hard to follow.
Orphan Train Girl (historical fiction): Orphan trains operated between 1854 and 1929, relocating about 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, abused, or homeless children from the eastern United States to less populated areas in the central and western parts of the country. This book follows the story of several of the children, with a focus on one main character. It’s a bunch of stories, some heart-warming, some not so much. I thought it was a good read.
Harry Potter series: I don’t care to admit how many times I’ve read these, but I find something new each time. They are just fun to read and so much better than the movies. Read them for the first time or enjoy reading them again.