Featured Image: My Little Booktique
Article By: Victoria Schlabig
On a rainy day, what better thing to do than curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book. Here are ten captivating stories that will keep you interested and enthralled during any thunderstorm.
Told in the voice of 5-year-old Jack, “Room” is his entire world and all he’s ever known. However, for Ma, this has been her prison for at least five years. When her captive and rapist, who they refer to as “Old Nick” got her pregnant, she was forced to raise Jack in the circumstances she was in. Told in the innocent voice of naive Jack, readers can understand the games Ma makes them play and their true intentions. Room is a captivating and easy read, that won’t let you put the book down until you find out what happens to young Jack and his mother.
After siblings Daniel, Varya, Simon, and Klara find out their death dates from a magical psychic woman, they spend their lives silently knowing and wondering if she truly knew. Never telling anyone their dates, including each other, the siblings live quietly for years in fear and wonder counting up to their death dates. Benjamin creates four unique and complex characters, all of whom you will need to keep reading about to find out if it was their own doing to cause their inevitable deaths, or if the psychic woman was what she said she was. The Immortalists will keep you on the edge of your seat.
When Eddie, an 83-year-old war vet dies in a terrible accident, he finds out that heaven isn’t what we’re told it would be. Rather than being a paradise forever-land, it is a journey of five people who explain to you the meaning of life. Some of these people he knew, some he did not, but they bring him, like the ghosts of Christmas past, to parts of his life from his childhood to very recent years, and try to explain the meaning of life. The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a quick read that you can probably finish during one long rainstorm, unable to set it down because you have to see what happens to each of Eddie’s five storytellers.
In what could be thought of as a fictional telling of her Plath’s memoir, Plath uses the character of Esther Greenwood to explore the twists and turns of the human psyche, particularly in a girl with mental illness. Esther is a girl who clearly has a lot of potentials; she is smart, capable, attractive, and already successful at a fairly young age, but that doesn’t stop mental illness from taking over her life. While The Bell Jar is a few decades old, it shows readers an inside look of a still taboo topic today, mental illness.
In Walls’s memoir, she tells a lot about her childhood, which so much seems too unbelievable to be true at all. Walls was one of four children, in a family who lived as nomads for a long time, sleeping in their van or tents in deserts across the country. Walls is extremely honest about her parents and their lifestyle, including her father’s alcoholism, and the children’s near starvation at points. One might think a now-grown child would be angry with her parents for having been raised without ever having a real home, yet she speaks extremely proudly of the unconditional love her parents had for her and her siblings.
Against all the odds, the children are able to find success for themselves later in life, while her parents live a homeless lifestyle, which is unsurprisingly by choice in their case. Walls’ honesty and realness of her writing are what makes this such a compelling read. The Glass Castle is another book you won’t be able to let go until you find out how their story ends up.
Although this is a children’s book, it has always been one of my favorites. Claudia is a spoiled, woe-is-me girl from middle-class suburbia. When she decides she has it way too rough at home, she makes a plan. She’s going to run away, but her destination has to be up to her standards. She decides that the perfect place to hide out is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She invites her brother Jamie along because his “life savings” will take care of them for a while.
After settling into their Renaissance-era beds and hiding their things around the museum, there is a new exhibit being introduced; a statue of an angel, bargained by the museum for only $225. Claudia finds it so beautiful she thinks it has to be the work of someone great and is definitely worth more than a couple of hundred dollars. After research and discoveries, Claudia and Jamie are introduced to the woman who sold the statue to the museum, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, who also gets some surprises of her own once meeting the kids. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs, Basil E. Frankweiler is a fun, imaginative read that makes you wish you were young again and is perfect for a day curled up on the couch.
In this touching and tragic memoir, Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, explains his time spent in concentration camps in 1940s Nazi Germany. As he writes he relives the deaths of his family and his realizations that humans can be truly evil. He expresses his guilt of being a survivor and having had to watch so many of his community be killed. He describes still living in terror, forever traumatized by all that he witnessed as a teenager in the camps. This haunting tale is one that will make you think again about everything the Jewish community has been through, and remind you that despite the number of Jews killed during that time, there are those who were “blessed” to survive, yet are forced to live with the consequences of others’ evil actions forever ingrained in their memory. Night is another book you will not be able to put down.
This fiction novel is about something that is all too prevalent today; a school shooting. While the Second Amendment continues to be debated, tragedies like the one depicted in Picoult’s novel continue to happen across the country. Picoult not only writes about the event itself and the trials to follow, but she writes about Peter’s upbringing, his having been bullied since kindergarten, and everything that could have possibly lead him to become a shooter, or what could have prevented it. Though it never happens when listening to news stories, there are points in the story where you start to empathize with Peter despite his horrific actions. Nineteen Minutes will keep you reading all the way through the shocking twist at the end.
In one of my all-time favorite and life-changing novels, Coelho sends lowly shepherd Santiago on a life-long journey throughout which he follows “omens” to lead him where he believes he should end up. In search of riches and a better life, Santiago travels according to the signs brought to him in his dreams. The Alchemist is a story of success that reminds us to follow our hearts to end up somewhere worthwhile.
Unlike The Five People You Meet in Heaven, this novel is a memoir in which Albom describes his time spent with his old college professor, Morrie Schwartz. Everyone at some point in their life probably has someone they look up to, and possibly considers a mentor. For Albom, this person is Morrie. After reconnecting almost twenty years after college, he discovers his old mentor is dying of ALS, but he still has so many questions for him. As they did twenty years beforehand, Morrie and Albom recreate their Tuesday tutoring sessions during which time Morrie teaches his former, and current, student lessons of life rather than school. Tuesdays with Morrie is a heartwarming tale which will remind you to go back and thank your role models or to appreciate the ones you have now.