Now that we have finally stepped out of the gloomy shadows of snowy, frost-bitten Winters, and dreary, rainy weekends, we are welcoming Spring wildflowers, lemon-infused iced teas, and tulle, pink skirts to the park, to the coffeeshop, and to the lake outside of the city for some sun-kissed reading. You can find us anywhere glamorous, under any sort of illuminating decor – from the rise of #MeToo as a literary genre to the rise of technological discoveries and how they bring the “robotic” out of every one of us, we are delving deep here into the ways in which literature – YA, academic, poetry, literary fiction, political opinion – affects our daily lives. Here are some books that do just that; some will touch your heart and remind you of your first true love, others will have you questioning the climate of our nation, while a few will inspire you to step away from your desk and speak to the rights that you believe in. Each and every one of them will take you far, far away, bringing you closer to yourself and the world around you.
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
Here is a fascinating recount of Theranos, the Silicon Valley startup that ended in fraud and indictment charges of its founder, Elizabeth Holmes. Exhaustively reported by prominent Wall Street Journal Reporter. John Carreyrou, Bad Blood is an investigative story that explores the multiple avenues and extremes from which the startup managed to emerge, reach a peak net value of over $9 billion and, in the process, scam multiple corporations, leading, well-known figures, and most important, endanger Americans all across the country who relied on the technology for accurate medical results.
Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness by Anne Harrington
How far will your mind go to play tricks on you before you can be convinced that its an illness, not “normal”? In her new book the author of The Care Within brings readers on an exhaustive journey into a world of overactive neurotransmitters, risky drugs, and revolutionary medical breakthroughs, into the core of the industry where nothing is as it seems and everything happens on the level of the unbelievable. Harrington carefully dissects the world of mental illness, seeking to shed light on this world that seems to be in a shaking crisis of its own.
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
From the childhood tale we know and love best comes this satirical retelling from the author of What is Not Yours is Not Yours. Blurring fable with folklore, issues of feminism, race and identity produce a truly surrealistic narrative that subverts all presumptive standards or writing and style. In such a world, creepy, yet lovely dolls speak, regions are grounded in an augmented reality, and a family recipe has the magic to transform lives.
The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
The Age of Light is a captivating and exhilarating narrative that keeps readers emotionally invested up to the very last page. Masquerading as historical fiction, the novel recounts the life of Vogue model turned photographer, Lee Miller and her relationship with Man Ray, one of the most influential figures of the Dada and Surrealists movements ensuing Paris in the 1930s. In incandescent prose debut writer, Whitney Scharer creates a female empowering tale of a heroine’s journey away from home to discover her passion, her independence, and her art. The story unravels under the glamour and melancholy of Paris amidst the changes resulting from World War II and its lingering stench on much of Europe with a young woman’s determination to transform herself from subject of art to creator of art.
Women Talking by Miriam Toews
Based on traumas of rape and abuse occurring between 2005 and 2009, Women Talking is a heartbreaking, if not chilling novel that speaks to the hundreds of women that have endured this sort of pain. In this Mennonite colony, the victims have three options: 1. Do nothing, 2. Stay and fight, 3. Leave. Which ii safe? Which makes the most logical sense? Which should they choose? Which will they choose? Will they survive the men?
The Ash Family by Molly Dektar
What about cult life makes one give up their own freedom and dreams to join one? What about it is so compelling? Despite the dangers, rumors, and reputation of control, what about it is seducing? When do the ideals of a utopian universe become so tempting that they dismantle and reconstruct who you are and what you know?
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, and a fine one at that. The title speaks for the novel: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She has her very basic needs met she has food,, water, a job, a roof over her head; many people out in that cold world have it a lot worse. For her, this is all just dandy and it’s how most people lead their lives. However, from an outsider looking in, Eleanor Oliphant is completely not fine.
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
In a world systematically designed for and dominated by men, women have died for not being treated by the right directors. Women have fallen victim to harassment, giving rise to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Women around the world have watched their dreams shattered and offered to the lesser of them – a man. The cycle is perpetual and the rhythm continues in this vein. In this collection of studies, stories and impressive research, Caroline Criado Perez navigates us through government policy, medical research, scientific studies, and deep and intimate stories of women under the heal of men and how, as data shows us, a case for change is not at all far reaching.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Science fiction comes together with feminism in this compelling narrative on what this dystopian world refers to as “the power.” The sudden manifestation of a speculative sort of power – electrostatic – has the ability to be harnessed into the palms of females and provide them with protection against violence that comes their way. In a current climate of where religion, ideology, gender, family, economy, crime, sexuality, and the limits of the media, are all being dissected and reconstructed, Naomi Alderman takes us on a journey from the perspective a number of females whose lives converge under a new world order.
Internment by Samira Ahmed
Internment is a powerful work of fiction that is grounded in some of the most taboo and controversial matters currently being bounced back and forth from the left wing o politics to the far right. This includes matters of Islamophobia, displacement based on religious ideologies, and an America where guns and violence have become the brutal norm. During a time, with a president who slurs and gullibly rants “Make America Great Again,” and incessantly tweets “Build That Wall,” this introspective narrative dives deep into the culture of oppression and fear in our politics that has lead many of us to feel as though history is indeed repeating itself.
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
A polarizing, cohesive story told in three parts in a mixture of styles and forms, Asymmetry is a test of time and choice. Referred to as a literary phenomenon, this debut novel weaves themes of love, immigration and the dangerous lines between human relationships through a central story of an Iraqi-American man is held back by police officers on his way to pay his brother a visit in the not-yet-independent nation, Kurdistan.
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
Philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls, Melinda Gates is on an awe-inspiring, powerful mission. She is on a life-long journey to save lives and offer empowerment to every woman out there. Her book is an urgent call to action in which she illuminates each and every one of us on all the issues affective women and girls around the world.
Watching You by Lisa Jewell
Watching You is is a very strategically written play on perspective that keeps readers on the edges of their seats. The storyline surrounds the murder of the quiet and acquiescent wife of a both beloved and suspicious new figure in the neighborhood, Tom Fitzwilliam. Women find themselves instantly in a fit of passion for this man from the students at the schools he perfects, to his own neighbors. However, there are little quirks here and there that lead those who divest themselves in him to wonder about his loyalty to his plain wife, the innocence of his close relationships with his female students, and his marked past.
This is Not a Love Song by Brendan Mathews
In his debut short story collection, Brendan Mathews builds a world that takes love in his deepest, rawest form, calling forth an examination of the very intimate essence of the term. This ambitious, quick read explores human relationships from how we communicate with one another to the elusiveness involved in our need for human connection, to the modesty and innocence involved in loving, being loved, and offering love to ourselves and the world which surrounds us.
The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang
In this courageous set of stories, award-winning mental health advocate, Esmé Weijun Wang recounts, in pain-striking detail, her experiences as a sufferer of schizoaffective disorder and Lyme disease. As an illness that is often stigmatized and wrongly interpreted according to prototypes and its romanticization, Wang offers us a raw look at those, like her, who are often misunderstood and therefore institutionalized in a manner that often strips them of their humanity.