As a part of my New Year's resolution, I'm trying to read more modern fiction in my free time. Some of these books are part of a reading list for my class, but hopefully I can read at least one book a month that isn't for class. Check out what I read this month below.
Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
If you decide to read Everything I Never Told You, get ready to be sad. Centered around a mixed-race family living in 1970s American Midwest, the story traces the key events leading up to a mysterious death within the family. The book touches on many themes, including unfulfilled dreams, strength of family, and racial tension. I really enjoyed the wistful and yearning quality of the story and I also felt very close to the three children of the family - Nath, Lydia and Hannah. They were characters I wanted to root for and/or hug very tightly because I felt so bad for them at times.
The Girls, Emma Cline
Reading The Girls is like seeing a car wreck on the freeway - you know you shouldn't want to look but you just can't help it. Set in the summer of the late 60s in California, the novel shows a bystander's perspective of a family very similar to the Manson Family. The world is very strange but enthralling. Nothing and no one are very likable in this book, but I was mesmerized by Cline's raw prose and the violent truths she expressed about being a girl in what is clearly a man's world.
Half a Life, Jill Ciment
This is also like a car wreck but a true one. Ciment's memoir is centered around her tumultuous childhood and how she ended up faking her way to her current status as a creative writing professor in New York City. The book really hones in on the pain of suburban troubles and does it in searing prose. You can see that, while she spends most of her adolescence drawing and trying to make it as an artist, Ciment is born to be a writer. For me, it was a little hard to get past the ethics of some of her actions. However, it's a fast and fascinating portrait of a life definitely worth the time.
Have you read these books? Do you have book recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.