Today I’m doing a tag! I know, I haven’t done tags in a WHILE and I’m very excited for this one. Not only because Ally created it (VISIT HER BLOG RIGHT NOW) but also because it was genuinely fun to answer. Without further ado, let’s get started!
- Tag Ally @ Ally Writes Things
- Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
- If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
- Tag your friends
A book about friendship
My mind is BLANK. What are friends. I promise the first answer that came to mind was… A Little Life. Next I thought of The Secret History and The Talented Mr Ripley. I swear I need to read happy books about healthy friendships. So…
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is a very divisive work about four friends who are trying to find their way through life. It’s a very heartbreaking, intense and dark novel with the most amount of trigger warnings any novel has ever had, probably. I really liked it (at the time I gave it 5 stars!) and I’m curious to re-visit this at some point.
A translated book
SO HARD TO CHOOSE ONE. So I chose three!
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is an epic story of a cast of main characters of which Anna herself is the main one – the story of her affair and eventual demise was fascinating to read. Tolstoy did not bother making Anna a likable character and that really made the book that much more interesting.
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende is so, so good. If you love family dramas, epics and a bit of magical realism, you will love this. This is one of my favorite books of all time.
I am only a third into The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha but I am LOVING this story about two sisters who lead very different lives in Brazil in the 40s – it has several minor narrators, all of them incredibly interesting.
[edited] A previous version of this post included Severance by Ling Ma in this section, but it was kindly pointed out to me that the book is actually NOT translated.
A diverse romance
Also hard to choose just one, but I especially love Alyssa Colle books so I decided to talk about this one in particular. An Extraordinary Union is set in the US during the Civil War, and it tells the story of a former slave who now works as a spy, and a (white) detective. I thought Alyssa Cole handled the power imbalance really well, and the story was not only a steamy romance (which it is) but their mission, the setting, the really high stakes made for a true page-turner.
A fast-paced book
Gosh, no idea. Do I even read fast-paced books? The only books I remember thinking “oh this is really fast-paced” is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, still to this day one of my favorite YA fantasies!
A nonfiction other than a memoir
SO hard to choose one.
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou tells the story of the rise of Theranos, a Silicon Valley startup whose CEO is famously known as a scammer nowadays. This is so juicy, I high recommend!
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe is a wonderful book about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and a great “introduction” if you know nothing about them. It’s really focused on the people and told in such a wonderful way that you almost feel like you’re reading a novel. Everyone I know loves this book.
The End of Everything by Katie Mack is a book about some of the ways the universe could end, and I LOVED it. It goes a bit deep into the physics but not too much, so I think even if you don’t have an Astronomy/Physics background, you’ll still enjoy this. Katie Mack does such a great job of making the scenarios so visual, interesting and – what can I say – hilarious. I laughed out loud so many times.
An underrated memoir
Huhhh I had trouble with this one because I don’t think I really read ANY memoirs that are underrated. I read so few that for them to be on my radar they’re probably quite hyped. So I chose instead an underrated format for a well-known book. The Diary of Anne Frank in graphic novel format was a nice way to get introduced to her story. It really brought her personality to life, and it’s so sensitively done. I really liked it and it encouraged me to read the original book.
A book with fewer than 10,000 ratings on Goodreads
This is a very difficult question because there are SO MANY. So I chose a few I’ve read in the past year:
The INJUSTICE that is The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao being marketed as Crazy Rich Asians but make it Gone Girl, I just – no. This is a wonderful literary thriller/mystery, it’s slow-paced and ridiculous and touching and oh my gosh, so good. Ignore the absurd rating on Goodreads. This book deserves better.
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor is not a book I expected to put on this list – and to be fair at this point it’s at 9,954 ratings so I JUST made it but it’s still absurd to me that this is not a LOT more hyped. It was my favorite book of last year – a torrential, dark, intense, unforgiving story about the murder of a witch in a small Mexican village. Incredible book.
Frankly at this point I just detest looking at the number of ratings of translated books. Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami needs a LOT more hype, it’s such a wonderful book, both whimsical and sensitive, looking into the standards imposed on women in Japan, and also touching on the lives of lower-class women. Such a wonderful book.
A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist
I can’t choose ONE.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong is the story of a boy writing to his mother and it was so heart-wrenching, so beautiful written – I loved this so much I took it to my wedding photoshoot. SERIOUSLY.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is so amazing – it’s literally a laugh-out-loud kind of book, a mix of gory mystery with the most bonkers and thirsty lesbian in history. I love Gideon so much.
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan is a little gem of a book that I loved reading at the time (although its impression in my memory pales a bit now) about a woman living in Hong Kong and being torn between staying with the man she’s living with or risking it all for a woman she just met. It’s a really good book for fans of Normal People by Sally Rooney.
A book by a trans or non-binary author
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi is just such a brilliant book, I just can’t not recommend it. It can be read as a contemporary about mental illness and the author’s experience with being ogbanje OR as a fantasy book. It’s truly amazing, mind-blowing, sharp and wonderfully written. I like everything I’ve read of this author (The Death of Vivek Oji was magnificent, The Deep was so intriguing), but this one truly shines.
A book with more than 500 pages
JUSTICE FOR DUCKS. This should have won all the prizes. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman is an incredible book that takes stream-of-consciousness to a whole new level – it read super fast considering it’s basically 1000 pages with very few paragraphs and it’s so funny, emotionaI, I can’t not recommend it.
A short story collection
I’ve talked about Things we Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez a lot last year and I’m so happy to bring it up again! This is a dark, twisted and fantastical collection of horror short stories that I LOVED. It stayed with me for months. I need to re-read this asap.
Book you want everyone to read
This was an incredibly difficult choice – there are so many books I love with all my heart. But I think Know My Name by Chanel Miller changed something in me, broke my and then mended it in an entirely different arrangement, and I can’t stop recommending it, even if I say, every time: read it when you’re in the headspace for it. It’s a hard book to read. But it’s truly incredible and will change the way you see victims of rape. Chanel Miller is a very talented writer, so compassionate, funny and sharp, with elegant prose and kindness that shines through the pages. I love this book and I think many people will get so much out of it, as I did.