the book mark | 10 books to disrupt your life

There is a difference between a good book and a book that disrupts your life. Life disrupters do not need to be some estoteric, written in Latin, brain busting, require a portable dictionary type of book. They are the books that introduce a new perspective,  make you a little more sensitive to humanity or books that bring joy when you need it. They should be  books that you will think about months later at random moments. In honor of my incredible friend S’s– who has consistently encouraged me to keep writing—birthday, I wanted to share books that have kept me thinking. Just like S has.

Enjoy. x. – A

Edit: This list will keep changing as I can reading. I’m sure I’ve left something out, so please leave suggestions in the comments before! 

All books should be

Read whenWhen the you can cut out the distraction from your computer, email, and next door neighbors barking dog and have a comfy couch/heating vent available.

Read withTea, this bookworm’s preferred choice of beverage

1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

From Steven King: “Theo Decker’s mother is killed in a bombing that rocks the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Theo, unharmed, escapes with a valuable painting called The Goldfinch. He carries this symbol of grief and loss from early adolescence into an adulthood fraught with danger and beset by addiction. The long middle sequence, set in a housing development on the seedy, sand-blown outskirts of Las Vegas, is a standout. Tartt proves that the Dickensian novel—expansive and bursting with incident—is alive and well.”

Recommend for: Long reads, art history lovers,

2. Notes on a Native Son by James Baldwin

“In his dramatic and provocative short piece Notes of a Native Son (1955) included in the ten essay volume of the same title, Baldwin connects a series of coincidental events, unifying them in a brilliantly conceived aesthetic design. Segmented in three parts, he reviews: an act of rage against a waitress in a restaurant; his father’s death and his sister’s birth; a race riot in Harlem, his father’s burial and his 19th birthday.”

Recommend for: Short Stories, Social Justice, Power Thinking

3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“This is a book about Africa and the African diasporic experience in the USA and England, a backdrop for the love story between Ifemelu and Obinze, teenagers attending a Nigerian university who have to leave the country because of the university strikes in Nigeria. Ifemelu moves to the States, where she attends an American university and starts a blog dealing with race issues in America, while Obinze moves to England and ends up becoming an illegal immigrant. ”

Recommend for:  Modern Day Story Telling, Social Justice, Long(ish) Reads

4. The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

“Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel by Amitav Ghosh tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her. The struggles that have made Burma, India, and Malaya the places they are today are illuminated in this wonderful novel by the writer Chitra Divakaruni calls “a master storyteller.”

Recommend for: Long Reads, Story Telling, Prose

5. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

“In Chekhov’s tragi-comedy – perhaps his most popular play – the Gayev family is torn by powerful forces, forces rooted deep in history and in the society around them. Their estate is hopelessly in debt: urged to cut down their beautiful cherry orchard and sell the land for holiday cottages, they struggle to act decisively.”

Recommend for:  Short Story (Play), Deep themes

6. Politics and the English Language by George Orwell

“”Politics and the English Language” (1946) is an essay by George Orwell that criticises the “ugly and inaccurate” written English of his time and examines the connection between political orthodoxies and the debasement of language. The essay focuses on political language, which, according to Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Orwell believed that the language used was necessarily vague or meaningless because it was intended to hide the truth rather than express it.”

Recommend for:  Short Story (Play), Humor

7. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name. ”

Recommend for:  Story Telling, Prose

8. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“The book follows three years in the life of Scout Finch, her brother Jem, their father Atticus, and their fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the era of the Great Depression. The first half of the novel focuses mainly on Scout and Jem’s childhood – their friend Dill, their fixation on their neighbor “Boo” Radley, and their experiences at school. The second part of the book is marked both by the ongoing trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman, whom Atticus has been called to defend, and the repercussions this trial has on the children’s eventual coming of age.”

Recommend for:  Simple Reading

9.  A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

“Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon…He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse…Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.”

Recommend for:  A book you can’t put down

10. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

“Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby’s and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights–and, at times, the dark lows–of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.”

Recommend for:  Simple Reading, Story telling, History of Art Love

 

Life Disrupter List- 10

 

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