Books I've Enjoyed Reading

I am always curious to hear what others are reading and looking for new books or poems to add to my bookshelves. Here are a few books I have enjoyed reading that is easily digestible but very impactful. Some are longer than others, but I promise you will speed right through them!

  1. 1. Peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

    teacup with flower and book page

    Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s Peluda is something I wish I had read when I was younger. Through her collection of poems, Oliva explores the shared Latina experience of waxing mustaches, shaving sister’s backs, and plucking between eyebrows, all in the name of femininity. Oliva describes the immigrant experience of seeing your mother given the pseudonym as the cleaning lady in a white woman’s story so you can become a doctor or lawyer. The poems about family and class seemed to be verbatim to my own. Peluda is witty and sometimes crude but filled with so much love. While reading Peluda, I realized that I cannot be separated by ineradicable body hair because strands of hair will always follow me, however rather than feel shame, I felt seen. This book is an anthem to all the hairy girls who have to stick together like hot wax strips. 

  2. 2. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Textbooks

    Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ letter to his teenage son about navigating what it is to be a Black man in America. Coates addresses the most pressing questions that a son has for their father and shares his life story of finding his place in the world. Coates chronicles his lived experiences during childhood, at Howard University, Baltimore, Chicago, New York, and the avoidable series of systemic racism that follows. Coates explains the relationship between power and oppression, and through the book prepares his son for what he will, unfortunately, have to face. There are analyses of corruption systems, such as government and education. There are discussions of the exploitation of Black people and white supremacy that allows it. There are so many important subjects that Coates details that it is best to read his words, and I urge you to do so. 

  3. Woman reading book with friends

    I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves the age-old question, what happens after we die? What exactly the afterlife looks like has been questioned and theorized in every possible way, but the reason I enjoy Albom’s interpretation is that it is so simple and profound. The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a short philosophical fiction book that follows Eddie, an amusement park mechanic who is killed by a malfunctioning ride. Instead of being sent somewhere, Eddie is approached by five people, each at a time, and each explaining the significant impact they had on his life. The people Eddie encounters range from his wife Marguerite to a distant stranger. This book made me realize that we are all connected some way or another by our experiences, and a step in one direction can drastically alter another’s life. 

  4. Someone holding a book on a yellow bed.

    On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. I absolutely love Ocean Vuong’s writing because while it is deeply intimate to the point where I feel like I’m intruding, it is fearless which gives me the blessing to read. Intergenerational trauma that spans from Vietnam to Hartford, Connecticut, hopes of an American dream tarnished by addiction, the trials and error of manhood, explorations of sexuality, and most of all the complicated relationship between mother and son, are all laid out by Vuong in his first novel. This book contains heavy stories but always with undertones of tenderness. 

  5. 5. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

    stack of books

    Even though I was told the plot of They Both Die at the End right from the first sentence, I was still enthralled the whole way through and shocked by the end. This futuristic novel featuring two Queer Latino teenage boys, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio, takes place in a world where a company called Death-Cast alerts people on the day when they are going to die. You do not know when are you getting the call, and there’s no way to stop it. Having less than twenty-four hours to live, Mateo and Rufus cross paths on Last Friend, an app that matches strangers who are going to die on the same day. You can’t help by growing attracted to Mateo and Rufus, as you follow them through their adventure of a lifetime. Also, spoiler alert: they both die at the end.