Over the winter break, I finally had the time to devote to one of my favorite activities – leisure reading! During the semester, I often find myself feeling guilty when I read the books that I want to read as opposed to the assigned academic ones. I know that I could be spending the time reading a textbook instead, and as a result, I rarely read for my own personal enjoyment. This semester, however, I’ve made it a goal to change that. Over winter break I completed four books that were fascinating and engaging in their own ways. So here it goes, here are my thoughts on four wonderfully unique novels.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is long! At almost 800 pages, this book took me a few months to read and I finally finished it on Christmas day. The story is one that is extremely intriguing, it is a coming-of-age story that follows the main character, Theo, from the age of thirteen to well into his twenties. After his beloved mother dies suddenly, Theo’s life is completely changed and the book follows how this single event both causes and influences him to make some very dangerous decisions regarding stolen art, drugs and his personal relationships. I really enjoyed the novel’s plot, but truthfully, I was not as keen on the length. However, I am excited to watch the movie adaptation that came out in the fall of last year and see how it compares to the print version of this story!
Find Me by Andre Aciman
Find Me is the follow-up novel to Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name. The book is split into four parts and the first part begins ten years after the events in Call Me by Your Name. The characters of Sam, Elio, and Oliver each narrate their own sections and, because of this, the reader really gets to understand what these familiar characters have been up to. If you are a fan of either Call Me by Your Name or its film adaptation, I will admit that reading Find Me is not a necessity, though it may be intriguing to read about the final fates of the characters that we have all come to know and love. I really enjoyed jumping back into the lives of Elio and Oliver specifically because the upsetting ending of Call Me by Your Name begged for closure. In addition, the book’s cover is beautiful, which is always a plus!
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
Out of the four books that are discussed in this article, this is the one I enjoyed the least, though I will say, it is still a good book. Though hard to describe, Idaho switches between various narrators and time periods to tell the story of why Jenny, a mother, and wife, is in prison. The characters are both varied and fascinating and additionally, the delicate imagery describing the Idaho mountains that is present throughout the entire novel is beautiful. Unfortunately, the novel left me feeling unsatisfied because there were many loose ends that never fully got resolved, however, my favorite character in the book, Ann, finally gets to live on her terms by the end of the story, something that really elevates the final pages.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This book left me thinking for several days after finishing it! I read this book in less than a week because the drama that ensues in Little Fires Everywhere is nonstop! The setting of this novel is Shaker Heights, Ohio, where everyone lives very orderly, similar lives, but when an artist, Mia, and her daughter, Pearl, move into town, everything changes. The book addresses many relevant topics facing Americans today, including racism, abortion, adoption, what it means to be a parent and it calls into question the decisions parents make for their children and at what cost. The story is one that is so compelling and I mean it when I say, I was unable to put it down! In March, a miniseries based on the novel is coming out on Hulu starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, and I highly recommend reading the novel before tuning in!