Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.
Today we have Tori from Smexy Books here to share her list of five books. Her list includes a couple I wish I’d included in my own list.
In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies?
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.
Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now….
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
I first read this when I was bored and stuck at a symposium with my mom. She handed it to me and told me to stop annoying her. This dystopian speculative fiction tells the story of a young woman’s life (from her POV) in a Christian totalitarian society after they overthrew the U.S. government. Everyone should read this book; especially those who don’t see the attempted subjugation of women by certain government parties as an issue we are facing right now. Atwood writes a poignant yet curiously disconnected story that shows the use of religion to justify the systematic repression of rights and individualism (using language and patriotic fervor) to force people into tidy little boxes labeled duties and to cull the herd to make persecution of undesirables easier. It shows the subtle rebellions that will almost always occur when a group of people are left with little to nothing. It’s as if Atwood looked into the future and wrote us a prophetic warning.
A teen plunges into a downward spiral of addiction in this classic cautionary tale.
After you’ve had it, there isn’t even life without drugs….
It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth — and ultimately her life.
Read her diary.
Enter her world.
You will never forget her.
For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl’s harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful — and as timely — today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction
I read this as a teenager and it impacted my life. This presumed diary chronicles a young girl’s descent into drugs, addiction, and eventual death. Raw, poignant, and heartbreaking, her voice cuts deep into you as she opens the doorway to the realities of drug addiction and the serious consequences that occur because of it. She touches on the difficulties of adolescence and the extreme pressures one must deal both socially and personally. You feel her confusion, sorrow, and happiness, and eventual acceptance. Even with it’s dated references, it maintains a classic presence.
Don’t miss the thrilling novel from #1 New York Times bestselling award-winning author Robert McCammon, in a book that Publishers Weekly calls “both a mystery that will satisfy the most finicky aficionado and a boisterous travelogue.”
Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson—a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake—and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a terrible vision of death that will haunt him forever.
As Cory struggles to understand his father’s pain, his eyes are slowly opened to the forces of good and evil that are manifested in Zephyr. From an ancient, mystical woman who can hear the dead and bewitch the living, to a violent clan of moonshiners, Cory must confront the secrets that hide in the shadows of his hometown—for his father’s sanity and his own life hang in the balance.
Southern fiction that appeals to the imaginative child in all of us. An entertaining coming of age story wrapped in an engaging veneer of mysticism, mystery, and love. The narrative is that of a young boy named Cory. We watch him as he struggles to understand the undercurrents of racism, jealousy, and murder that has infiltrated his life and his beloved small town. I love the blending of realism and fantasy that McCammon uses to help Cory. From a voodoo queen with a secret recipe for courage to a monster who lives in the local canal and demands tribute, McCammon shows us the joy and sorrow of life through the eyes of a child.
This is Book 1 of the Time Quintet Series
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.
“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”
A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.
A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.
This coming of age story revolves around a young girl trying to cope with being the oddball in a family of extremely talented geniuses. I do believe this may have been my first time reading science fiction. The story is unique not just for the fantastical subject matter, outstanding world building, and realistic characters but because it had a female protagonist (Meg Murry) in a science fiction novel which was almost unheard of at that time. I loved the many sides of Meg Murray. Her fearlessness. Her need to question the world around her. Her unwillingness to change in order to fit in. Her unfailing love for her family. Meg never gave up, no matter how many times someone tried to convince her she was a failure. To this day it remains one of my most treasured childhood reads.
Enough time has passed for the young girl Jaenelle, heir to the magical Darkness, for her physical wounds to heal, while amnesia keeps her frightening memories at bay. But with Saetan–a Black-Jewelled Warlord Prince and Jaenelle’s foster-father–to protect her, she will continue to grow. Her magic will mature. Her memories will return. And Jaenelle will face her destiny when she remembers Daemon, Saetan’s son, who made the ultimate sacrifice for her love….
Dark fantasy at its finest; I reread (the series) at least once a year. The second book in Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy is the most exciting and outstanding of the three in my opinion. Though I do recommend reading the entire trilogy for a story that will elicit the strongest of emotions from you-love, laughter, fear, hope, hatred, and soul-crushing heartbreak. It’s strong modern base blends well with the fantasy, giving us a world that mirrors ours in some ways yet differs in others. For me it embodies everything a book should have. Adventure, romance, laughter, sorrow, action, suspense, ordinary events, unforgettable characters, and an arc that leaves you enthralled. I honestly don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to express just how much I love this series.
I am a biblio-bimbo, booze hound, and blasphemer who reviews for SmexyBooks, Heroes & Heartbreakers, and RT Book Reviews. I support mediocrity because we can’t all be 5 stars.