By Audrey Scott '23
If you are anything like me, you enjoy reading in your free time, but you find yourself going months without reading a book because school is too hectic. Here are five of my favorite books to read before September is over.
1. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is currently my favorite book! The oral history structure creates an enrapturing experience that feels watching T.V., complete with captivating characters. The novel follows Daisy Jones, an aspiring singer-songwriter, and brothers Billy and Graham Dunne, who form a band called The Six. As the title implies, Daisy and The Six cross paths in their musical careers and create quite an album. Daisy Jones & The Six is such a realistic and entertaining depiction of the seventies rock scene that I looked for The Six’s music on Spotify multiple times despite knowing that they are a fictional band. This book has a little bit of everything: music, romance, friendship, drama, suspense, and an ending that will leave you wanting more. Daisy Jones & The Six is enjoyable for any type of reader, especially if you don’t know where to start your reading journey.
2. Red at the Bone by Jaqueline Woodson
Jaqueline Woodson is my favorite author, and I have loved all her books, especially Red at the Bone. Her depictions of young women are honest and raw, and instead of backing away from writing a complex character, she leans into it. Every character in Red at the Bone is flawed and imperfect in ways that evoke sympathy from readers. The dialogue surrounding multigenerational families is beautiful, messy, complicated, and introspective. I would recommend any of Woodson’s work, specifically Red at the Bone, for anyone seeking a book that tackles genuine issues rather than creating a tidy happy ending, and prefers deep characters to fast-paced plot.
3. High Fidelity by Nick Horby
Hornby is a hilarious author, and the way he writes internal dialogue is truly delightful. The main character, Rob, is equally as unlikeable as he is loveable. He is a thirty-something owner of a record store who is self-involved and obsessed with making lists. You will laugh out loud as Rob has a book-length identity crisis and reaches obvious conclusions incredible slowly. Better still, this novel is a package deal. Not only is there a book, but there is also an incredible movie. John Cusak plays Rob exactly as described in the book, and everything follows the plotline very closely (minus a location shift) in the way that you always hope book adaptions will. Additionally, it was made into a T.V series on Hulu (my favorite version of High Fidelity). It is reimagined in the current day, and Rob is a woman, played by Zoë Kravitz. Because there are multiple versions of this novel, it is great for people who like to get invested in a single story and enjoy reimagining stories.
4. Just Kids by Patti Smith
Although the beginning of this memoir reveals the end, this book will still take you on an emotional journey. Just Kids follows young Patti Smith and documents her life alongside her once boyfriend and forever best friend, Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith and Mapplethorpe are now widely recognized artists; Smith for her books and music, and Mapplethorpe for his photography. Smith gives a brilliant depiction of New York in the sixties and seventies from the perspective of a poor artist. Their lives are captivating, and she weaves her life with Robert into commentary on social and political issues at the time. She has a phenomenal memory and describes her life in minute detail, with namedrops like no other. This book is for those who are very character-oriented, and want a book that focuses solely on emotions, people, and relationships.
5. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
Under the Banner of Heaven is an entertaining nonfiction book about extremist religion. It reads like a novel (and I always prefer novels to nonfiction), sometimes even as a thriller. Under the Banner of Heaven is about Mormon fundamentalists, a group of often excommunicated Mormons who live in completely isolated, polyamorous communities. Jon Krakauer is an amazing author who goes to great lengths for an enjoyable book (he has even climbed Mount Everest for a book) and picks topics no one else would dare. I recommend this book to anyone looking for entertaining nonfiction that will keep you on your toes and leave you with new knowledge and further questions.