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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

My mom, although not a “cool mom” in the Mean Girls sense, has always been loved by my friends for her book recommendations. Being an avid reader from a young age, she always had wonderful taste in books. She and my grandma still share book recommendations. I was lucky she passed on her bookworm nature to me; luckily, she would give me some of her old books when I was younger. She would randomly give me books she enjoyed or go through her bookshelf and give me a stack of books she loved. She would also give my friends books she really enjoyed as gifts. My mom is like the best personal shopper librarian. Here is a list of some of my favorite books she has recommended:

  1. All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward – A thrilling true crime book revolving around the Watergate scandal. It was written by the reporters who uncovered the scandal.
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – When my mom gave me this, I wasn’t aware it would become my most reread book ever. This is an absolute comfort read for me, and do not be daunted by its classic status; it is relatable and funny. Elizabeth and Darcy are both wonderful characters that achieve great character development. Their love story inspired so many pieces of media for a reason.
  3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi- An absolutely crushing memoir, the author writes a beautiful memoir of his cancer diagnosis as a neurosurgeon.
  4. Educated by Tara Westover – Another memoir of the author growing up in a survivalist family and learning the power of education. 
  5. Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout – A heartfelt story about a middle-aged woman who has had children and two marriages. After her husband died the year before, she spends time with her ex-husband, for whom she has truly always had feelings. This book explores the dynamics of family and the differences between being in love and loving.
  6. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann – A true-crime tale on the beginning of the FBI and the murders of Native Americans in a town that goes covered up. 
  7. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – One of my favorites, this book spans decades, following Count Alexander Rostov, who is subjected to house arrest in Russia during the time of the Soviet Union. During a tense time in Russian history, the story follows him and his relationships with different people while living in the grand hotel. It is an emotional and wonderfully written novel.
  8. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson – This nonfiction book discusses the origins of the caste system and delves into the structures in different societies: India, America, and Nazi Germany.
  9. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – This one she gave to my best friend, who later recommended it to me. It is the story of different people during a bank robbery and explores people’s relationships. This book feels very modern and incredibly emotional. 

These are just the beginning of my mom’s book recommendations. I appreciate that these books always have compelling characters, emotion, and strong writing. Hopefully, someday, I will convince her to start a Goodreads account, so everyone can steal her good taste.

Nell Ganley

Kenyon '25

Born in London and from Minnesota, Nell is a junior international studies major at Kenyon.