5. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
I first read this book back in college when I was taking a modern Brit Lit class to complete my requirements for my English degree. You can literally feel the heart and soul Smith put into this book. I can’t even begin to summarize the story and do it justice. It goes into the lives of two different families – one English & Jamaican, one Bengali (Indian) – and the struggles they face assimilating into contemporary British life.
I love the way Smith describes scenes:
“…despite all this, it is still hard to admit that there is no one more English than the Indian, no one more Indian than the English. There are still young white men who are angry about that; who will roll out at closing time into the poorly lit streets with a kitchen knife wrapped in a tight fist. But it makes an immigrant laugh to hear the fears of the nationalist, scared of infection, penetration, miscegenation, when this is small fry, peanuts, compared to what the immigrant fears – dissolution, disappearance.”
― Zadie Smith, White Teeth“It seems to me,’ said Magid finally, as the moon became clearer than the sun, ‘that you have tried to love a man as if he were an island and you were shipwrecked and you could mark the land with an X. It seems to me it is too late in the day for all that.’
Then he gave her a kiss on the forehead that felt like a baptism and she wept like a baby.”
― Zadie Smith, White Teeth
4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Such a great novel. I do think the fact that the protagonist ends up marrying her cousin is a little weird, but the book itself an interesting conversation on the subjects of poverty vs. wealth, slavery (in many forms) vs. freedom, love vs. lust. I actually used this book in my final thesis to discuss the poor parent figures that dominate virtually all of Austen’s work.
3. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
My mom bought my first Anne Rice book for me, although I don’t think she would have had she really understood
some of the subject matter! Then again, my mom also regularly gave me the Creative Loafing Magazines when I was in my pre-teens (Atlanta’s leading alternative newspaper) so who knows?? Either way, I’m grateful to her for introducing me to the perfect reading material for a semi-social awkward young girl. It was cool reading stealing out of reality for a little while.
I read through this series like a madperson, then devoured her Witching Hour/ Mayfair Family series, and moved on to her other books. Sometimes her writing gets a bit wordy, but I liked the dark, deviant, bloody and disturbing world she sucks you into. This is also the first book I ever loaned to someone and DIDN’T GET BACK.
THIS BOOK IS WHY I DON’T LOAN PEOPLE SH!T ANYMORE!
(There are a few people who I consider as exceptions to this rule, but for the most part if you ask to borrow my books I’ll say hell-to-the-naw.)
2. The Babysitter’s Club #1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin
I remember when I’d have to save my allowance to buy these books, and how they were the only things I’d ask for at Christmas and on my birthday… besides gift cards to Waldenbooks or cash for book fairs to go buy more of them! As soon as a new book in the series arrived at the store, I’d tear right through it, then have to sit, pissed off and frustrated that I didn’t have any more to read until the new one came out MONTHS later.
I must have read at least 90 of them, plus 3 Super Specials before I eventually moved on to Sweet Valley High.
1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
One of my top ten ALL TIME favorite books. What’s funny is it’s one of the few books I’ve ever read after seeing the movie first! Movie wasn’t great, but the storyline still seemed pretty interesting.
It’s a fairy tale, and I have read it cover to cover so many times I cannot count. Each time it touches my heart all over again. Since reading this book, I’ve become a huge fan of Gaiman.
“I mean, maybe I am crazy. I mean, maybe. But is this is all there is, then I don’t want to be sane. ”
― Neil Gaiman, Stardust“…So what I want to know is why it is that I can no longer find you, in my mind. You are still there, just, but you are there like a ghost, a will o’ the wisp. Not long ago you burned–your heart burned–in my mind like silver fire. But after that night in the inn it became patchy and dim, and now it is not there at all.””Could it be that the heart that you seek is no longer my own? …I have given my heart to another.””The boy? The one in the inn? With the unicorn?””Yes.”
“You should have let me take it back then, for my sisters and me. We could have been young again, well into the next age of the world. Your boy will break it, or waste it, or lose it. They all do.”
1. Shunning the society of others; not sociable.
2. Hostile to or disruptive of the established social order; marked by or engaging in behavior that violates accepted mores: gangs engaging in vandalism and other antisocial behavior.
3. Antagonistic toward or disrespectful of others; rude.