Readers told me 3 books they loved, 1 book they hated, and what they’re reading right now. In turn, I’m recommending 3 books for each reader. (Or more, if I can’t help myself.)
This week we’re choosing books for Heather, whose books are:
Heather reads mostly literary fiction, and her picks here are contemporary. These are serious books; most are award-winners. They’re not lengthy: Heather’s longest pick, Bloodroot, clocks in at 384 pages.
I’m looking for intelligent books for Heather that have good stories and beautiful writing, whether they’re family sagas, political dramas, or personal stories.
Contemporary Fiction: Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat and Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
Classic: All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
Contemporary not-quite-literary fiction: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.
Heather’s preferences bring to mind words like stunning, sweeping, and complex. Danticat’s Claire of the Sea Light would be right at home on her list of favorites: this critically acclaimed 2014 novel is tightly drawn and beautifully done.
In Hannah Coulter (2004), Berry tells a quiet story with tremendous depth and power. It’s gently Southern (like Mudbound) and the writing is gorgeous.
All the King’s Men (1946) is a southern classic: a human drama that’s about so much more than politics. This thought-provoking and intricately plotted book belongs on Heather’s reading list—if she didn’t read it in high school.
Finally, I’m recommending two more lightweight (though far from fluffy) books for Heather. Think of these as books for the beach, or the airplane. Seeing that Heather loves Euphoria, I can’t help but recommend State of Wonder, another novel set deep in the jungle. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a moving novel about love and identity, set in the Chinese-American community outside Seattle in the 1940s.
What would you recommend for Heather’s TBR list?