Our Top Five Books of 2017: Caroline

Copy of Top 5 Books - Caroline

Throughout 2017 I made it a point to read more.  In an effort to keep my pile of books I have to yet to read from getting any larger, I tried to read the books that had been given to me on holidays and birthdays. Listing only five books is definitely a challenge, so I decided to highlight the five books that I found most interesting last year.

EGGHEAD, or You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone, by Bo Burnham. This book is a collection of poetry that attempts to cleverly express a variety of topics through humor. I was not particularly familiar with humorous poetry, but I found the book entertaining. I appreciated its simplicity, which allowed me to focus on the young adult-targeted silliness of it all. It certainly exposed me to a poetry that is much different from the Poe and Dickinson I know so well, and I did really enjoy it.

Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys. I especially wanted to read this book, as it was written by one of my favorite authors. It switches between the perspectives of four different people and focuses on the sinking of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military ship carrying civilians, in January 1945. One of the least known events of World War II, it shows the stories of these travelers powerfully. I thought it was a raw reflection of humanity; the book showed contrasting characters, who all share a similar wartime fate, under a similar light. Their perseverance and hope is portrayed realistically, which made this book all the more inspiring.

The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller. I am not one to often read autobiographies, but I was intrigued by this book. Different from the play The Miracle Worker by William Gibson, this book was written by Keller herself. Reading of her early life, especially as a child who struggled in silence before the help of Anne Sullivan, provides a perspective that many of us will never fully understand. The beauty with which Helen Keller is able to describe her life is unique; her willingness to learn and communicate is illustrated clearly and gives power to her story. This is a book I would definitely recommend.

Poems from the Women’s Movement, edited by Honor Moore. Of all the poetry I have ever read, I absolutely adored this book. Featuring poetry by famous  female poets, like Sylvia Plath, Sonia Sanchez, and Muriel Rukeyser, it is an unaltered account of the struggles of womanhood from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Because there are so many different authors of different backgrounds and eras of the movement, I feel it gives a voice to many different women and therefore is an important contribution to feminist literature today.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford. This book follows the love story of a young Chinese-American boy and a Japanese-American girl in the heart of America’s involvement in World War II. Coming from a Jewish family, I have been aware of wartime tragedy, particularly for those in Europe, from a young age. I thought this story shed light on the struggles Japanese-Americans faced in a time when the entire world was looking the other way. All the while, Ford tells the story of innocent, childhood love. While this book itself did not solely focus on the American internment, it made me want to learn more. This book opened a door to me and I have been studying more about the Japanese-Americans of WWII since finishing this book. I truly found it to be the perfect balance of history and fiction.

Caroline Powell is an intern at New Haven Reads, where she works in the Book Bank.

Categories Book Bank | Tags: | Posted on January 26, 2018

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