With Labyrinth’s fall sale coming up this Thursday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 11, here are some book recommendations that everybody can enjoy:
1. For the person who “doesn’t have time” to read
“The Lonesome Bodybuilder” by Yukiko Motoya
A collection of 11 short stories, “The Lonesome Bodybuilder” is only 200 pages long and is definitely a fast read. This is especially perfect for any Haruki Murakami fans out there as Motoya weaves the same themes of surrealism in her writing. Despite some of the ridiculous premises (like a woman married to a straw husband), her stories capture the small, intimate moments that make up relationships. Come for the fun neon cover, stay for the beautifully crafted stories.
2. For mystery aficionado who claims that Nancy Drew is beneath them
“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donna Tartt’s first novel “The Secret History” presents not a whodunit but rather a “why did they do it” scenario. Set at a small liberal arts college in Vermont, “The Secret History” traces the evolution, and later devolution, of an Ancient Greek study/friend group after the murder of one of its members. Tartt’s novel satisfies our inner mystery buff while keeping it highbrow with references to Classics and Greek mythology.
3. For the student who still wants to read nonfiction despite all the readings they have to do for class
“They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us” by Hanif Abdurraqib
“They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us” is a collection of essays by poet Hanif Abdurraqib. Covering everything from Bruce Springsteen to Chance the Rapper, Abdurraqib places moments in pop culture within a greater political context. He manages to include not only these broad-sweeping political themes but also deeply personal details about his own life. “They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us” reminds us that nonfiction doesn’t have to be stuffy or clinical to have something important to say.
4. For the person who reads a book for the cover (and probably carries it in a New Yorker tote)
“What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours” by Helen Oyeyemi
There is no denying that “What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours” has an absolutely beautiful cover. If you read this at Small World, you will surely get a look or two from strangers admiring your book. But Helen Oyeyemi’s collection of short stories proves that sometimes what is on the inside can match what is on the outside. Oyeyemi creates such a compelling world, in which puppets can be sentient and keys to secret gardens can be found, that you won’t want to leave. “What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours” gives us a path back to a place where fairy tales are real and magic is possible.
5. For the person who wants to have something smart to say during dinner
“Strangers in Their Own Land” by Arlie Russell Hochschild
With books like “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance and “What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia” by Elizabeth Catte on our shelves, the topic of rural America is all the rage in the book world. If you want to have something smart to say about this, we recommend you read “Strangers in Their Own Land” by Arlie Russell Hochschild. A professor emerita of sociology at Berkeley, Hochschild spent five years in Lake Charles, Louisiana, living with and trying to gain the perspective of Tea Party supporters there.
6. For anyone looking for a good book
“The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Considering that “The Sympathizer” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, we might be a little late on the bandwagon. But this is just to say that if you haven’t read this book, you should definitely get on it. “The Sympathizer” is thought-provoking and will make you question the morality of war as well as what it means to be loyal to a cause.