I have been an avid reader since I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I was the kid who always read during every spare moment in class. Like a true nerd, instead of grounding me, my parents took away my books as punishment.
Even as life has gotten busier and college has come back with a vengeance to steal away the summer hours buried deep in a novel, I find myself more aware of the time that I waste on social media and television that could be spent reading.
My goal this year was to read 60 books, and I am 41 books in right now. I am not naïve enough to assume it is everyone’s lifelong passion to read that many books in a year, but I cannot help but mourn the loss of a generation that understands the beauty and value of reading.
Whether you read to learn, read to escape, read to enjoy, or read to remember, I encourage you all this semester to at least read something—not every book is as boring as your anatomy textbook—I promise. That being said, here is the first installment of my top picks from my 41 books this year, and I feel confident there will be something for everyone:
The Fiction Novel You Can’t Put Down:
“Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hannah
This book (like many of Hannah’s books) is delightfully nostalgic and will elicit every feeling you are capable of emitting. Simultaneously sweet and sorrowful, “Firefly Lane” explores sisterhood, love, sacrifice, family and the choices we make that shape our lives and our hearts.
Anyone who is anyone can relate to the exploration of how painful and beautiful growing up can be and how best friends and first loves grow alongside us. I simply cannot recommend this book enough—be ready for the nostalgia, introspection and tears this book will inevitably bring.
The Nonfiction Novel That Challenges You:
“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi
The summary of this book will alone likely be enough to convince you to read it. Dr. Kalanithi, a double-major in literature and biology at Stanford University is intelligent, successful and poised to take the medical world by storm. However, when he is diagnosed with stage four lung cancer as a young man about to begin his medical career, everything changes.
This book is written by him in the final months of his life, and it is as poetic and tragic as any book I have ever read. This book dives into what it means to go from doctor to patient; to rediscovering who we are when what once defined us is ripped away. It will make you think deeply about life and what it means to have lived, and it will make you reflect on death and what it means to be dying. Worth every second spent reading it, this book is a beautiful testament to life and death and the spaces in between.
Get your hands on these two (and overcome that mental block that prevents you from enjoying a good book) – and stay tuned for the next two recommendations next week!
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