1. A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
Author: Sue Klebold
By Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, perpetrator of the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999, this moving memoir details how she came to terms with her son’s horrific actions, which have haunted her for the past eighteen years. Following the tragedy, Klebold continuously reexamined her role as a mother, her faith, and the possible causes and warning signs of her son’s behavior. In light of the recent school shooting in Florida, this book further highlights the urgent need for reevaluating mental health care and gun laws in this country.
2. Journey Under the Midnight Sun
Author: Keigo Higashino
A mysterious murder in Osaka, 1973, connects the lives of a girl and a boy, whose fates are forever changed and intertwined. The aftermath of the murder casts a shadow over both of their lives but leads them onto separate paths, one under the sun and one in the darkness of the night. Despite weakened by translation, this novel is quintessential Japanese literature of the last century. Higashino designed an intricate puzzle for the readers to solve, completed by the intertwining plot lines and carefully placed foreshadowing. As a master of crime fiction, Higashino grips the readers’ attention from the moment they open the first page. To fully enjoy this page-turner, pay attention to the seemingly unrelated details and do not overlook a single word.
3. Call Me By Your Name
Author: André Aciman
The Oscar nominated film of the same name has received much hype and critical acclaim since its release, but did you know the movie was adapted from a novel? And if you have seen the film, did you know that the iconic ending scene featuring Timothée Chalamet’s Oscar-worthy performance isn’t actually where the book ends? The novel’s first person narrative recounts the passionate summer romance from Elio’s perspective many years down the line, and Aciman’s delicate, sensuous prose packs an emotional punch. Whichever side you stand on the “book vs. movie” argument, this novel is definitely a worthy read.
4.We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Genre: Young Adult
The newly announced 2018 Printz Award winner, We Are Okay is a story about love, friendship, loss, but more importantly something that’s not often talked about — solitude. It is also one of the rare YA works in recent years that feature a college-aged protagonist. After the devastating loss of the most important person in her life, Marin moves from San Francisco to attend university in upstate New York (sounds familiar?). With no family left, she spends her winter break alone in the empty dorms, until her best friend Mabel’s visit forces Marin to confront her grief, loneliness, and old feelings. Many have called this book a “quiet” novel, driven not by an intense plot line but by introspective, melancholic prose that delve deep into the characters’ emotions. While the snow is still falling outside, pick up this bittersweet and possibly very relatable novel.
5. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Genre: Graphic Novel/Memoir
In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re recommending an oldie but a goodie. Persepolis recounts the author’s personal experience growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. The book explores a wide range of topics including family, sexuality, religion, and political turmoil. Marjane’s story paints a unique picture of what it’s like to undergo great personal changes while the world around you turns upside down. While the drawings are minimalist in style, they are emotionally impactful, and brilliantly illustrate the struggles of being a young woman in a society that is returning to conservatism and patriarchal norms.