By Brandi Mitchell
Web Content Contributor
I feel confident that you all read my last article, picked up a copy of either “Firefly Lane” or “When Breath Becomes Air” and read late into the night, neglecting any and all responsibilities until you reached the bittersweet end. Yes, I do live in a fantasy world where the whole world and my boyfriend have read a “chapter book” more recently than third grade.
So if you happen to live in the real world without me, and you didn’t identify with any of my recommendations last week, or if you are the unicorn who actually read one of those books, (which if so, please leave a comment so I know you exist) and you trust that I am a connoisseur of the written word, this second section of recommendations are for you: (essentially all of you, because if you were illiterate you wouldn’t be reading this blog post right now!)
For the advanced reader willing to commit:
“White Teeth” by Zadie Smith
This book is not for the faint of heart (readers freshly recommitted to reading…I’m looking at you). Recommended to me by a friend who read this in one of her literature classes, through the beginning of this book I was frightfully bewildered at worst and skeptically intrigued at best. However, allowing time to adjust, this book will rank as one of the most unique and intellectual books possible to read, guaranteed.
Smith tackles everything from race, culture, religion, love and friendship in a refreshing irony I had never encountered. By the end, you will be immensely gratified in your quest through this fantastically hilarious yet deeply serious novel about how our roots inevitably catch up to us. Read this because the brainpower to process it marks the beauty of its worth, and the fresh eyes it will leave you with are worth every bit of the cognitive energy it demands.
For the alter-ego deep inside of you that has always been fascinated by World War II: (disclaimer, I believe this should be all of you)
“City of Thieves” by David Benioff
Full disclosure before I begin my review: I have read almost every book about World War II that is remotely popular, and I simply cannot get enough of this topic. The breadth and depth of rich and astonishing stories that have emerged from this section of history detailing true stories, championing heroes and exploring the best and worst of humanity leaves me nearly speechless.
All that to say, my top recommendation right now is one a little lesser known. Bestsellers like “The Nightingale” (shout out to Kristin Hannah who I reviewed last week!), “Unbroken” (my favorite book of all-time), “All The Light We Cannot See”, and others on my bookshelf are all beautiful and tragic and must-reads in their own right.
“City of Thieves” does not have the same level of acclaim, but in my expert opinion garnered from extensive reading I have done into this subject I can assure you it has earned a spot on the all-star cast. This book explores the unlikely friendship of two boys serendipitously thrown together to look for a dozen eggs in the middle of the siege of Leningrad, Russia with failure to find this household staple resulting in death. The catch: it’s about as easy as teaching a dog to speak English.
Raw, honest and at times difficult to read, this book leaves you with awe at what humans can inflict on others as well as an appreciation for what humans can endure.
So you’ve been left with two more books to consider, and all are worthy of your bookworm comeback. We’re basically adults now — and no one can describe you as “worldly and well-read” if you don’t, well, read.
Featured image by Brandi Mitchell.