I can’t believe it took a pandemic for me to start reading again. Books used to be such a huge part of my life; twelve-year-old me who read multiple novels a week and was friends with the librarian would be disappointed. As embarrassing as it may be to admit, it even got to the point where my parents would take away my books as a punishment. But then high school hit, and all of a sudden, we were required to read, and the options weren’t very appealing. There was also the issue of time—between trying to fit in extracurriculars and get homework done, spare minutes were hard to come by. Reading felt like a chore; it was just easier to turn on Netflix.
So I chose Netflix, again and again and again. During quarantine when all I was able to do was sit at home, I would go through entire shows every week. But like they say, too much of anything is bad. After a while, even Netflix got boring—I had watched (and re-watched) everything good already. Weirdly enough, it was TikTok (another one of my addictions) that got me inspired to start reading again. I saw a video of a girl talking about this book she had just read—it was ones with lots of twists and turns—and the way she described it hooked me immediately. What can I say? I love books with twists. I started it, and lo and behold, it was really good! I was immediately reminded of why I had loved reading so much. There’s something about it; it scratches a certain part of your brain like nothing else.
After that book, I started snowballing and I read around six or seven books that week…with my newly rediscovered passion for reading, I have found some really great novels that I would like to recommend for people who are trying to get back into reading. If you are someone who is looking for your next read, look no further, I got you covered.
For mystery lovers:
“The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton
Okay, this was the book that the girl on TikTok was reviewing. It was the first book I read over break, and let me tell you, it was one hell of a ride. The plot of this novel is really unique and interesting. It follows the main character as he investigates the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle at Blackheath Manor. He needs to figure out who the killer is, but there’s a catch. He relives the day of the murder again and again, but wakes up in a different guest’s body each day. He only has eight days to figure out who did it before his memory resets and he must start all over. This book surprised me again and again; every single time I thought I knew what was going on I was completely shocked by the way things actually turned out.
For people who want to read romance:
“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller
I’m not really someone that goes out of their way looking for romance novels, but if I see one that particularly strikes my fancy, I will definitely not shy away from it. That being said, the other day I realized that I haven’t really read that many diverse books in this genre; they have all been pretty similar when it comes to representation. That is why I’m especially excited to recommend this book! “The Song of Achilles” is a beautiful LGBTQ+ love story between the main character, Patroclus, and his best friend, Achilles. It follows them as they grow from young boys into men who have to deal with issues bigger than themselves. If you like Greek mythology, this is definitely something you should check out. It is loosely aligned with the myths as they were told! The writing is amazing as well. There were moments where I wanted to get out a highlighter to color certain lines just so that I could come back to them.
For fans of fiction/fantasy:
“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab
While I don’t exactly know if this book falls under the fantasy genre, I feel as if it fits best here so that is where I put it. The main character is a girl who never ages. Basically, the book details the life of Addie LaRue, a girl who makes a deal to live forever… gone wrong. Yes, she will live forever, but no one will ever remember her. She will never leave a mark on the world. She lives through centuries, experiencing amazing things but never being able to actually do anything herself. Right when she starts to regret her decision, she runs into a boy in a bookstore, and when she goes back the next day, he remembers her name. One thing I really liked about this book was the time-hopping. I know it can be confusing for some people but the author does it well, and reading about her experiences in different centuries made for a good story/character development. I liked Addie as a character as well; I related to her need to get out and see the world, and while I don’t know if I would make a deal with the devil to make it happen, it was nice living vicariously through her.
For fans of fantasy/horror:
“Imaginary Friend” by Stephen Chbosky
If you pick up this book because you liked “Perks of Being a Wallflower” and want to read this author’s other works, then you are in for quite the surprise. This book is about a seven-year-old boy named Christopher and his imaginary friend. Christopher moves to Mill Grove, a small town in Pennsylvania, with his mother, who is on the run from an abusive relationship. It’s the perfect place to hide, a small town in the middle of nowhere with only one highway in and out. The town is surrounded by some dense woods, ones that Christopher ends up getting lost in for six days. And when he comes back out, he’s not alone—he comes with his imaginary friend and a mission. If he doesn’t build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, the town will never be the same. While it may be difficult to get a grasp on what this book is about from that synopsis, I truly think that the less details I give the more satisfying it will be to read, so I am purposefully trying to be vague. It’s been a while since I’ve read horror so this was definitely refreshing to read. I would also like to say that this book wasn’t too scary or disturbing. Then again, I have probably been desensitized to some extent due to my years of reading so you may want to take my opinion on the scariness with a grain of salt.
Even if you don’t typically read a certain genre, I encourage you to branch out—all of these books are great. You might find a new favorite. Also, next time you feel like taking a break from work, try reaching for a book instead of your phone. It’s actually restorative.