5 Books You Need to Read in 2020!

Books have been at the center of my life since I was a child. I fell in love with reading when I discovered Twilight. Yes, I am aware now as a 20-year-old that the books aren’t the most profound pieces of literature, but the series will always hold a special place in my heart. Now that I’m in college, being an English major just makes sense. I’ve always loved literature and spending my life surrounded by words is my heart’s desire. Here are five books I believe everyone needs to read:

1. The Harry Potter Series

Although Harry Potter is a huge franchise and everyone knows the story, I’ve found that so many people haven’t read the books, but instead just watched the movies. I love the movies so much, but the books are just… chef’s kiss. There is so much more plot and detail in the written words that could never be fully translated to film.

My favorite theory about Harry Potter is that Harry isn’t actually the chosen one, but that the chosen one is Neville Longbottom. If you’ve only seen the movies you would have no idea what I’m talking about. But that just speaks to the number of plotlines that are in the book that didn’t make it into the movie franchise. So, pick up the books and decide for yourself whether the book or the movie is truly better.

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Published in 1970, The Bluest Eye is the debut novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. Taking place in Lorain, Ohio, the novel follows Pecola, a young African-American woman during the Great Depression. Pecola desperately wishes for blue eyes because they would make her beautiful. The novel switches between the perspective of Pecola, Claudia MacTeer, Pecola’s foster parents' daughter and a third-person narrative.

The Bluest Eye discusses topics of racism, domestic violence, sexual assault and so much more. Because of this, the novel has been banned from many schools across America. However, the story of Pecola lives on through Toni Morrison’s incredible writing.

3. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things follows fraternal twins Rahel and Esthappen of their separation early in life and when they are reunited later in life. The book examines how small behaviors can affect a big picture and the storyline revolves around “Love Laws,” which dictate who can love who. Through the different plotlines, the readers can understand what it truly means to love and be loved and that though we have differences, we are all human. Published in 1997, Roy’s remarkable words will continue to echo for years to come.

4. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed takes us through her journey of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail through her memoir Wild. I first read Wild in my Women in Literature class (along with two other books on this list) and immediately fell in love. This book is empowering, honest and remarkable. After the death of her mother and heartbreaking divorce, Strayed decided to take back her life by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, with very little hiking experience. She takes us through the agonizing events that led up to her decision, as well as the trials and tribulations she experienced while on the trail. This memoir celebrates life in a way I’ve never read before.

5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I cannot express enough how much Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe means to me. I’ve read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe five times in the past year and every time I read it, it somehow gets better. Taking place in 1987, the novel follows Aristotle, a bored boy with a family secret and a distant father, and Dante, a boy with what seems to be the perfect family. The two meet at a swimming pool and quickly become close friends. The novel shows them exploring their sexuality, what it means to be Mexican-American and what family truly is. Through every tragedy, fight and success, Aristotle and Dante show that friendship truly is everything.

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