Reading List: Novel Edition
Last year, for the first time ever, I accomplished my New Year's resolution of reading fifty-two books in a year. I'll be the first to admit that even though I had the longest summer break ever (thanks, quarter system!), averaging a book a week was sometimes hard to accomplish (cough 8th week cough). However, reading for fun is still one of my favorite ways to start my mornings, pass time at the airport, and give myself a break between p-sets.
If you'd like to hop on the train of reading fifty-two books in a year, or you're just looking for something fun to read on the CTA, let me be the first to welcome you to this new series. To start us off, here are some of my favorite novel picks!
1. Contact, by Carl Sagan: If I only had room for one book in my backpack, this is the book I would pack. UChicago's very own Carl Sagan gives us a story about the lack of gender diversity in science, the interplay between science and faith, the prospect of life on other planets, and the role of love in the universe. I read this the summer before tenth grade and Ellie Arroway is still one of my favorite characters ever.
2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I judged this book by its beautiful cover, and it's one of the best impulse decisions I've ever made. I think every person can relate to Ari or Dante in some way–obsessing over the stars, feeling mysterious to your own self, falling in love for the first time, moving to UChicago. This novel is sweet and deep, like having a conversation with your best friend.
3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz: Diaz's first novel will put you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and you'll be all the better for riding it. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a book that can't be put in a box–it works with more than one genre, more than one language, and more than one kind of character. It has footnotes and history lessons. Some of my favorite lines I've ever read come from this book, such as "she stood like she was her own best thing," (36) and "she laughed, as though she owned the air around her" (74).
4. And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini: This novel is like a quilt. Hosseini stitches together the lives of about fifteen different people to create a beautiful and warm book that you won't want to put down. Just through reading this, you'll travel to Afghanistan, Paris, California, and a bit of Boston. You'll read about people who remind you of yourself, people you wish you were, and people who help you empathize with everyone you can't stand. 20/10 would recommend.
5. The Sonderberg Case, by Elie Wiesel: You know Elie Wiesel from Night and the quote "neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim." In this short novel about an actor-turned-journalist, Wiesel takes on a murder mystery with such eloquence that you'll sometimes forget the dark premise of the story. I bet you’ll get through this book in a weekend, and then want to read everything Elie Wiesel ever wrote.