Happy Tuesday!! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks us to share ten books that we bought or borrowed for a specific shared reason. However, I thought I’d put a little twist on it and instead share ten books that I read because friends told me to. I’m very fortunate to have many bookish friends in my life, all of whom have excellent taste. Here are some excellent books they’ve recommended to me over the years:
1. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. Oh, how I adore this book. In this memoir, Dolly Alderton shares funny, sad, and bittersweet anecdotes about love in all forms: romantic relationships, friendships, family, and love for oneself. This book is like the paper embodiment of a reassuring best friend, giving you a pep talk when you most need it. I am so grateful to my friend for recommending this to me at a time when I very much needed it–and now I recommend it to other people all the time! (My review.)
2. I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson. The same friend that recommended Everything I Know About Love also lent me her copy of I Might Regret This last summer, and I think it’s truly a perfect summer read. In this memoir, Abbi Jacobson–co-creator of the TV show Broad City–tells the story of when she took a road trip across the US all by herself as she attempted to figure out who she was, what she wanted, and where she wanted to go next in her life. It is hilarious, sad, and honest in a way that is refreshing. Even if you’re like me and have never watched Broad City before, I would nevertheless recommend this to anyone looking for a poignant and powerful read. (My review.)
3. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez. During my year of studying abroad at Oxford I visited a dear friend of mine who was studying abroad in Edinburgh. I distinctly remember sitting across from her in a university building while she finished up some homework and then went to class. She lent me this slim novel to read while she attended class, and I proceeded to sit there and read the entire thing in one sitting. I was captivated by this odd, lyrical, brutal novel. If you’ve ever wanted to read something by Gabriel García Márquez but don’t know where to start, I would highly recommend. Chronicle of a Death Foretold. (My review.)
4. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. During that same trip with my friend abroad, she recommended this one was we were traveling on a train from Amsterdam to Berlin. I think she was reading it on an e-reader at the time, and I made a mental note to myself to check it out from the library when I got back to the US. This novel is unlike anything I’ve ever read–it’s haunting and sorrowful, but also beautifully done. If you enjoy historical fiction, anything involving Abraham Lincoln, or experimental literature in general then I highly recommend Lincoln in the Bardo. (My review.)
5. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. One year I was given a copy of this novel as a Secret Santa gift, and I was beyond thrilled. I adore getting books as gifts, especially when they’re as great as I Capture the Castle. This novel feels like it’s right out of the Victorian Era in its tone and subject, although updated with a twentieth century twist. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for something comforting and cozy to read! (My review.)
6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. So, SO many friends over the years have recommended that I read The Name of the Wind, and this past winter I finally did. I definitely should not have waited so long!! This tome is a blend of so many elements of fantasy books that I love: an intriguing magic system, a school where students learn magic, a story-within-a-story framework, etc. I highly recommend this if you’re in the mood to escape into an engrossing, captivating story. Definitely a good distraction during these chaotic times! (My review.)
7. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. I remember seeing this book on the shelves of my town’s public library when I was younger and thinking that it had the coolest cover. Fast forward over a decade later when one of my college friends said she loved this movie, and the image of this little upside down chick immediately popped into my mind. Without her saying that, who knows how long it would have taken me to circle back to this book again? This book is cute, bittersweet, quick, and relatable in that classic middle school story way. (My review.)
8. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. One of the friends I met abroad lent me her copy of this while we were at Oxford because it was one of her all-time favorite books. I love reading people’s favorite books–it feels like peeking through a tiny window into their bookishness. (Let me know if you also feel this way!) While this book is somewhat frightening in its realistic potential (LIKE RIGHT NOW), I would recommend it if you’re looking for something relating to a pandemic. (My review.)
9. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami. A friend once recommended we read this at the same time and talk about it, for which I was very grateful. Doing so forced me to finally read something by Murakami, and it did not disappoint. This collection of short stories is somber, witty, and thought-provoking all at the same time. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a starting place with Murakami’s works because it’s relatively short and gives you a good sample of his writing style in many different stories. (My review.)
10. Paper Towns by John Green. I’m pretty sure this was the first John Green book I ever read–although I think I read Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, and Looking for Alaska all back to back within a few weeks. I’m so grateful for one of my longest friends for recommending that I check out the Vlogbrothers on Youtube back in middle school–a click that would later help transform me into the nerdy bookworm I am today. It’s wild how one book can lead to so many changes in you!
Do you often read books recommended by friends? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? What book do YOU recommend to friends the most? Let me know in the comments section below!