These are my “summer reads” book recommendations! I’ve specifically picked them because they’re easy to read, hard to put down and will give you perspective of this world and your place in it.
- The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
I read this book so long ago but remains one of my favourites and sparked my love for Chinese migration stories to the US (fiction and non-fiction) and was actually Amy Tan’s first book. This book weaves so skilfully the separate stories of Chinese mothers who immigrated to San Francisco and their American born daughters. This book recalls some very emotional stories from the mothers perspectives back in their motherland. A clash of culture and age takes place and makes you consider what kind of role does tradition and culture have in a modern setting; as well as ancient pains passed down through generations that continue to impact families.
- The Aleph – Paulo Coelho
I’m a big believer in past lives and loves. Have you ever wondered how and why you may have instant connections with certain people, like you’ve known then your whole life? I like to think that’s because you probably have. Once again Paulo Coelho has the exact words to transport you and this book is no exception.
- House Rules – Jodi Picoult
This is definitely one of my favourites and will give you a whole new understanding of what it’s like for someone with Asperger’s and their family. Picoult has turned a story about a family and a young boy with Asperger’s into an enthralling read. I couldn’t put this book down! There is stigma and prejudice attached to mental health diagnosis and people living with mental health disorders, through this fictional piece of writing I think Picoult has managed to create awareness and understanding toward people who simply view the world in a different way.
Jacob (the main character with Asperger’s) is accused of murder, his behaviour’s and actions are also typical of someone with Asperger’s but to the police unfortunately also look like someone who just committed murder.
- The Girl with Seven Names – Hyeonseo Lee
This book reads like a novel but is a true story based on the real life of a young girl who escaped North Korea. The events that take place will have you thinking this can’t be real; the extraordinary lengths that Lee has to go through to conceal her identity and help her family will shock you. I’m fascinated with what goes on behind the boarders of North Korea and this story gives you a snap shot into the lives of North Koreans and the regime.
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Paulo Coelho, I mean look at my list, there are four of his books here but for good reason. I have read all of his books, managing to get a couple here in Auckland, New Zealand, a few in Barnes and Noble in Los Angeles and then the rest I had to order from the book depository online. However, The Alchemist was the first Paulo book I purchased and the one book I can say without hesitation transformed the way I viewed myself, my journey and my purpose in this life time.
My favourite thing about The Alchemist and all of Paulo’s books is that he can write with such simplicity but portray so much meaning. This book will encourage you to discover and pursue your personal legend (purpose) wholeheartedly and live to your fullest potential.
This is an easy read, for people who don’t normally read this is a good place to start. For people who read often make this your next purchase!
My Bonus Picks and Must Reads
Like the flowing river – Paulo Coelho
This is a compilation of short stories. Once again simple metaphorical stories that resonate deeply with the reader. You can read it all at once or take your time to slowly go through each short story. I read it all at once because I couldn’t wait!
The Spy – Paulo Coelho
A slight deviation to what we’re used to reading from Paulo Coelho, but I absolutely loved this novel and fell in love with Mata Hari (the main character). From exotic dancer to accused spy; she was an independent female who had a free mind in a closed off world. She was the scapegoat for many influential men and paid the ultimate price. This book didn’t get good reviews, but I genuinely enjoyed it and it made me want to delve more into female roles during war times, especially female spies!
Don’t believe the Hype and give it a miss!
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** – Mark Manson
This book is currently on all the top seller lists and I’ve seen so many people reading it so I bought it myself because of all the hype surrounding it. I must say I was thoroughly disappointed. I understand the message Manson was trying to portray, but the execution wasn’t to my liking. There’s only so many times someone can read the work “fuck” without it impacting on their mental stability.
I’m an advocate for expressing the wide range of human emotions and employing people to realise being happy and positive all the time can actually be detrimental to your health; that’s one thing that I can agree with Manson on. However in a world that’s becoming increasingly disconnected and lacking empathy I think we could do with a lot more people who actually give a fuck, sure be selective as Manson expresses but there’s something to be said and a lot to be achieved when a stranger can do good by another stranger simply because they care a whole lot. Or how our world could benefit greatly from us because we care about every corner of it, not just the minuscule plot we occupy.