My 3 Top Reads
Reading is great. It’s fun, keeps you sharp and helps you learn more, can bring you to tears or complete joy, and so much more. There’s such a wide range of things to read, so it’s hard for it to get boring. If you're anything like me, reading is more than a hobby, it’s a passion. Even if you aren’t so passionate about reading and have to force yourself into it, you have to admit that it can still be enjoyable from time to time. On that note, I’ve put together a list of my three favorite reads from the past year that even the most reluctant of readers can and WILL enjoy. Some of these are page-turners while others are just simply the sweetest of books. Whether you’re into mystery, romance, or even psychology, I’ve got you covered with these recommendations below.
Book summary: Educated is a memoir about a girl named Tara Westover. It’s not just any old memoir of childhood however. Tara’s family lives in the mountains of Idaho. Her father, who’s obviously bipolar, has a strong fear that the world is going to end any day now.
She and her siblings are constantly working to prepare for the end of the world because of her parents' suspicions. Her father has no trust in the medical establishment, technology, or even school. Tara’s never seen a doctor or nurse before and hasn’t even stepped foot into a classroom. The only treatment her family has ever received is by her herbalist mother, even for things like head injuries and burns. Tara finds it easiest to just block out any thoughts of a different future other than just working with metal in her father’s junkyard. That is, until her closest brother Tyler leaves for college when she’s around nine years old. She now aspires to be just like him and get not only a proper education but independence. Her father doesn’t believe in education, so she must now study in secret in the basement with decades-old books to get an education. She even takes the ACT and gets admitted to Brigham Young University. Sure, she’s now left the crazy household that she calls home, but the more she learns, the more the memories flood back and begin to make more sense.
Why I liked it: It’s already an amazing and unbelievable story, but when you factor in that it was all a true story, it becomes absolutely remarkable. The main character, Tara, has such beautiful resilience and determination that it’s hard to not be rooting for her throughout the entire book. It brings many difficult topics to light while telling a true story. It shows how mental health can affect the entire family and how truly scary it can be to live in chaotic households. It made me understand how lucky I am to have a good education and a supportive family. I’ve never read a book quite like this one. It was difficult to read, but impossible to put down.
2. Call Me By Your Name
Book summary: Call Me By Your Name is a love story of two young men, Elio and Oliver. It’s told from Elio's perspective as he’s recounting old memories of him and Oliver. Elio is a 17-year-old boy. He spends summers with his family in their villa on the Italian Riviera. Each summer Elio’s parents select someone to live with them as part of an annual fellowship they offer to young scholars. It’s the mid-80s when Elio’s family chooses 24-year-old American, Oliver. When Oliver arrives, Elio immediately develops a crush on him. He becomes fascinated with his coolness and how carefree he is. Elio and Oliver bond over their common interests in books, exercise, music, and philosophy. The fact that they’re both men is hard enough for them, but there’s also an age difference and a whole continent between their homes. Although it feels like all odds are against their relationship, they don’t let that get in the way of having a summer of romance and excitement. The question that eats at the two of them is what happens to them when the summer is over and Oliver has to fly back to America?
Why I liked it: It was the most romantic and beautiful story that I’ve ever read. Each page had amazing descriptions and deep messages with thoughtful writing. The book had a happy summer feeling so every time I put it away, I was always feeling better than when I picked it up. Because of the vivid language that was used, it gave me a sense of nostalgia even though I’ve never even been through what happens in the story. It was heart-wrenching and flawlessly captures the feeling of love and longing. I thought it showed what real love is and normalized gay relationships. The fact that they were both men wasn’t even a huge part of the book, which really made more room to focus on the emotional part.
3. The Woman In The Window
Book summary: The Woman In The Window is a psychological thriller about a woman named Anna Fox, once a successful child psychologist but now lives alone, jobless. She spends each day drinking wine, spying on her neighbors, watching old films on her TV, and counseling people online. She suffers from agoraphobia, which means that she has an intense fear of leaving her house. Her fear was brought on by a traumatic incident that isn’t actually brought up until the end of the book. When a new family moves across the street from her, Anna begins watching them through her window daily. She befriends the woman in the family, Jane Russel. It excites her to finally have a friend to take up her lonely nights and the two of them hit it off immediately. Then one night, she witnesses something that she shouldn’t have seen. She sees her new friend Jane get stabbed in the chest, but is unable to help her because of her agoraphobia. She thinks and thinks it over and comes to the conclusion that it must be Jane’s husband. She tries to bring this incident to the police, but here’s the catch; Anna, who’s been drinking and popping pills all night, can’t prove what she saw really happened. The next day, a whole different woman shows up claiming to be her neighbor, Jane Russel. She searches the internet for the Jane she knows, but she can’t find her anywhere. Anna confronts Jane’s husband, but he gets angry and denies that anything ever happened. Is she truly going crazy, or did she witness a murder that no one else seemed to see? Was it a hallucination from the pills mixed with alcohol? Was the Jane Russel she knew even real or someone made up in her head?
Why I liked it: It was riveting, thrilling, and put me at the edge of my seat. The author's writing style was so pleasing and clear as well as having a deep plotline. It was mysterious, not revealing much until the end, which I liked. The ending was so unexpected and really blew me away. I liked the way it addressed PTSD symptoms and lightly touched on some real mental health issues. I recommend reading the book before watching the movies or the series because both of them aren't very similar to the book. The book was much better and more satisfying!
I hope that these titles inspire you to pick up one of these books and read it yourself, or all of them for that matter! If you have a bookworm friend, be sure to forward this on and spread the book love!
I don’t typically write about literature and I’d love to hear what you think of this post, so leave a comment down below! If you go to the forum page on the blog site, you’ll find that there are some discussion groups. Please do use them, I love to hear everyone’s thoughts! I’m debating what my next blog post should be about, so make sure to let me know your opinions in the “Blog Post Ideas” forum.
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