• Stefanie

5 Books You Should Read

Admittedly, it was difficult at times to think of what books to put on this list. I quickly realized why: I mostly read series or collections of books. Usually what happens when I find a book or author I really like, I become borderline obsessed with that series or author. I feel like I need to read as many books by that author or in that same series as possible.

When it now comes to the 5 books I recommend which are stand-alone, I had to really think of ones I loved. More than likely you have heard of one or two of these titles, whether because you have read them yourself or have seen the movie version. Either way, if you are looking for a summer read, I would look out for one of these.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I was actually recommended this book by my Oma (grandmother). She is an avid reader of books like myself, and during one visit to my grandparent's house years ago, she had her copy of Memoirs on her coffee table. I recognized the name as the movie hadn't come out that long ago (at the time). As always, I asked her what she thought, and she told me she really liked it and I should give it a read. One day while browsing Value Village's book shelves, I found a copy of Memoirs and picked it up. Once I began reading the story of the young girl who eventually becomes the most celebrated geisha in Japan, although her journey to becoming a geisha is anything but simple.

The book doesn't just explore the process of becoming a geisha, it deals with war, love, family, and tradition. When I saw the movie after reading the book, I thought they did a nice job. The book is very detailed and takes place over decades, so it is hard to capture in a 90-minute film. As always though, I enjoyed the book far better.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This book is an emotional tale through one of my worst fears in life, the death of a child. Not only just the death of a child, but death by way of rape then murder. The story is told by the perspective of the young girl, seeing what happens to her family and friends after her death. Seemingly frustrated as we wait for the day when her murderer will be caught and brought to justice.

It is such a sad book, but you can't help but become totally enveloped in the story and in the lives of those who were so deeply affected by what happened to the innocent teen who lost her life. Sebold was able to take such a heart-wrenching subject and turn it into a story I could not put down. I just kept on wanting to know more.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I admit when I heard the title of this book, I was intrigued by how the time traveler was able to operate. Could he control how he was traveling? Did he purposely choose where and when he would go? And how did he even become a time traveler?

I also assumed by the title that the story was going to be told entirely by the perspective of the wife, but it wasn't. From what I remember (I read the book more than 4 years ago), the book was told mostly in the 1st person of the time traveler himself. He describes how he discovered his condition, how he has tried to seek out help for it, and ultimately, how he met his wife throughout various stages of each of their lives, resulting in them marrying.

My only negative thought on this story is how long it is. The book really didn't need to be as long as it is (around 500 pages depending on the version you have). I felt like there were parts of this story that weren't necessary. However, if you have time, read it, but if you can find the audio book version, that may be the better way to go.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This is the most recent of these books which I have read, and although at times I was disheartened and sad by what was happening in this story, I could not put it down. Like most of these books, I heard about the book because a movie came out, but I made sure to read the book first. This book deals with the role of the African-American nanny in homes during the 1950s and 1960s, and how terribly most of them were treated by the family who hired them. It looks at a young woman from one of those families who has had enough of the treatment and wants to write about what the nannies go through on a daily basis. It is a heartbreaking look at reality into the world not so long ago.

Longbourn by Jo Baker

I remember seeing the cover of this book while passing through my local Chapters bookstore and it caused me to wonder what the book was about, and while I read the synopsis, it wouldn't be until years later that I actually read the story. We all know Pride and Prejudice, arguably Jane Austen's most famous novel. Longbourn takes place at the same time in the same place, but from the perspective of the servants the Bennett's have in their home. As it turns out, Pride and Prejudice was only half the story.

The story is told primarily from the perspective of Sarah. Her daily life of serving the Bennett sisters becomes almost uprooted when a new footman comes to the home. It is a story of love, life, and finding your place in a world where you don't feel like you have a place.

If you could recommend a book to someone, what would it be?

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