This month’s theme is ‘Around the World’ and it’s up to interpretation on how we wanted to address the theme. Did we want to focus on books set outside of the U.S.? Did we want to focus on books that were written by international authors? Or maybe we just wanted to focus on books that occurred during a road trip or vacation. I decided to go with some books that are set outside of the U.S., a book that is set outside of my culture, and a book that involves traveling.
The Harry Potter series
Because I am Harry Potter trash, the very first books I thought of when I saw what the topic was were these books. If you haven’t read these books already, I really don’t know what to say other than PICK THEM UP AND READ THEM!
Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes
Yes, I know I recommended it during the March stand-alone recommendations, but this is the literal embodiment of ‘around the world’ as it covers myths from all different cultures. I stand by everything I mentioned in my other post. It’s hilarious and a really quick read.
Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina
This book takes place in both Sierra Leone and the East Coast of the United States, but it’s mainly the parts that occur before Michaela gets to the U.S. that I thought of when I read the topic. The parts of her recounting living in Sierra Leone can be graphic, so fair warning about that going in. However, it is such an inspiring story and you will root for Michaela the entire time.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
I read this book in 2014 because it was the Nerdfighter Book Club pick. I had never heard about this book, but if John Green was recommending it, I was willing to give it a go. And I’m so glad I did. Like with Taking Flight, there are scenes that are graphic to read, but I think it is important to read about what horrors others face and how they overcome their situations. It was clear that Katherine Boo did her research and was trying to paint a clear picture of what life is like in a Mumbai undercity.
The Book Thief
I had always meant to read this book, but when my former boss gave it to me as part of my college graduation present, I knew I really had to read it. I’m so glad that I was listening to it on audiobook because I was bawling by the end of it and could not read the words. I love that it is narrated by Death and I fell in love with the cast of characters rather than just one or two. Along with Cezanne is Missing, it is one of the only World War II/Holocaust books that I have been able to read. However, it also made me want to try re-reading Night and The Diary of a Young Girl.
Bless Me, Ultima
This book is set in the U.S., but it focuses on a culture that is different from mine, and it is one of my all-time favorites, so I figured it worked! I grew up in South Texas, so I am decently familiar with the Mexican-American culture, but there is still so much that I have to learn. This book was actually the chosen novel for the Academic Decathlon competition my sophomore year of high school and I read it at least 4 times because I loved it so much (and I owned the literature test because of it). It is a coming of age story that highlights Mexican-American culture with a hint of magical realism and I just can’t say enough good things about it.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series
A story about vacations and strong female friendships? Sign me up! I remember reading the first book right before the movie came out and immediately needing to finish reading the others because I fell in love with Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget. Bonus, it takes place in Greece and Baja California, Mexico, as well as the U.S., so it takes place around the world.
Monthly Recommendations: A Goodreads group created by Trina (Between Chapters) and Kayla Rayne and found here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/168259-monthly-recommendations