Looking for good books to read? Don't know what to read next? Check out this list of book recommendations by our RWC Staff!
Book #1: Educated by Tara Westover
I love this book beyond explanation. Tara’s memoir about her experiences becoming college educated is so unique, but Westover manages to write it in a way that makes it very relatable and easy to understand. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who ever reads anything.
"I don’t think education is so much about making a living, it’s about making a person."
This memoir is a real-life story of a woman named Tara who grew up in rural Idaho with a survivalist, extremist Mormon family. As a result of her father’s extreme Mormon beliefs, Tara never steps foot in a classroom until she’s 17 years old. This book is Tara’s story about going to college and becoming “Educated” and how it relates to her experiences with her family/what happens to her ties with her family as a result of attending college.
- Hannah L.
Book #2: Later by Stephen King
Stephen King can be a bit of a wildcard when it comes to book recommendations, but this one is definitely a little tamer than his earlier works. More than just a horror story. Later centers on a dynamic relationship between mother and son that often becomes a bit strained at times. Easily one of my favorite novels by Stephen King, alongside The Stand and IT. I absolutely recommend this to anyone who loves a Horror-based coming-of-age story.
"Stop it, my mother said. 'I can’t afford to have you sulking.' 'I’m not sulking,' I said sulkily."
The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine - as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave.
Book #3: M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang
Inspired by the opera Madama Butterfly, M. Butterfly is a play (and a short read) that follows the story of imprisoned French diplomat Rene Gallimard recalling his love affair with a Chinese opera singer named Song Liling. Early on, it's revealed that Liling is actually a spy for China - and a man. Does Rene know? Would he care? Is this real love? The play explores themes of colonization, fetishization and exoticization of cultures, emasculation, gender and sexuality, and the male gaze to name a few.
"Gallimard: I'm a man who loved a woman created by a man. Everything else - simply falls short."
In less than 100 pages, Hwang juxtaposes the mindset of Western imperialism with toxic masculinity, discusses racial stereotypes, and much more. It was insightful to see these themes explored by a Chinese-American author. It's a powerful story I think about often.
Book #4: The Prince of Los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco
I found myself relating to a lot of Blanco’s experiences which made me enjoy his story more. I think it’s very important to be able to connect with others through shared experiences, because that’s how we feel less alone in this world. Knowing there are people who have been exactly where you are or have been can sort of just take this weight off your shoulders, and overall just let you know that you are not incapable of doing something about it.
"I am all this—I am all that you are."
A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores is coming-of-age as a child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with the burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.
Book #5: Summertime Odes to LA by Various Authors
This book is a collection of creative works from the poets and artists behind the film "Summertime". It takes you on a journey to visit the city through the eyes of a diverse group of young LA natives and features a variety of media and writings dedicated to the city. It paints a poetic truth about the modern multicultural experiences that define Los Angeles, beyond the streets of Hollywood.
"Love is an art only learned by the lessons of pain. Pain means you're learning and love means you're teaching."
After falling in love with the Summertime film, I HAD to buy something to remember it by. But you don’t have to watch the movie to be inspired by this book!! It touches on lots of themes like gentrification, gender, heritage, race, and growth from so many different points of view. The poems and art are so descriptive and wide-ranging that anyone can appreciate it and find something to relate to.