January Reads

With winter break approaching, there’s time opening again for pleasure reading, which is why I thought I’d offer a few of my favorite books from all different genres, all written by women. We all need something to nourish these winter months, so I hope some of these books not usually read in a classroom (but should be) give you what you need.  

“Sold on a Monday,” by Kristina McMorris  

This historical fiction story is inspired by a well-known photograph during the Great Depression. There too are numerous scenes in this book that still stick in my mind as memorable snapshots, reminding me repeatedly of this image. It tells a soul-stirring story of journalists who must undo a mistake, an image that accidentally became public. Within this endeavor, the complexity of relationships and of motherhood itself are unraveled and explored. This book is unforgettable. 

“The source of Self-Regard,” by Toni Morrison 

I recommend everything and anything by Toni Morrison, but this book was a recent read that I cannot praise and honor enough. It moves us through her most notable times, acknowledging and understanding her greatest essays and speeches. Some of these include her eulogy for James Baldwin and her Nobel speech on the power of language. She truly has a lyrical gift, with each page holding an enriching, unforgettable sound. Morrison is one of the best writers of our time and any work by her is a must-read.  

“Red, White, and Whole,” by Rajani Larocca  

I read this book in one sitting and I can say easily that this is soul-crushing, but worth every tear. This poetry book is blended with a beautiful narrative structure and told by a middle schooler trying to navigate the world as a first-generation Indian American student. I’ve never read a book that captures what it’s like to grieve someone who is still alive the same way this does. I wish I had known this book when growing up, with a comforting presence and a medical undertone there to break down the hardships within grief and growth.  

“Emergency Contact,” by Mary H.K. Choi  

To this day Choi is still one of my favorite authors and writes about the hard things you forget exist so loudly in our pasts. She does an excellent job of showing the complexities of family dynamics and the intricacies of intimacy. This YA romance reveals an honest story of twenty year-olds falling in love. What stood out to me most is the way anxiety is so accurately depicted; this book makes you feel less alone. And after going through all her works, you’ll realize how much they all do.  

“Bird by Bird,” by Anne Lamott 

Lastly, if you’re into writing and in need of refreshing and genuine advice, this is the perfect book to pick up. I’ve used the title’s advice ever since. This book overall breaks down all your fears, step by step, with the sympathy all of us writers truly need sometimes.