Jenny's Picks

Not One of These Poems is About You by Teva Harrison

Not One Of These Poems Is About You is profoundly honest poetry accompanied by simple, beautiful drawings. Teva Harrison’s art, both written and visual, brought me to gut-wrenching tears. This is definitely a volume I will add to my personal collection.

Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass is a fantastical coming of age novel about Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, two children from parallel universes. It’s the first in an epic trilogy that brilliantly uses concepts from philosophy, religion, and physics while still remaining an adventurous fantasy quest.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what I did with Through The Woods by Emily Carroll. I knew I had to read it as soon as I saw it. It turned out to be even better than I was expecting. Five hauntingly illustrated tales of gothic horror kept me truly engrossed from cover to cover. Although wholly original, it did give me feels of Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Gorey. This is a definite must read for fans of the genre.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

The Kingdom of Back is a wonderful blend of historical fiction, classical music, fantasy, and coming-of-age. Marie Lu lovingly expands on the tale of Nannerl Mozart, the much lesser known sister of Wolfgang. The struggle to be remembered in her own right leads Nannerl, and later her brother, to a magical kingdom accessed through her music, stories, and dreams. You don’t need to have a knowledge of classical music to appreciate this story. Although there are certainly little treasures of reference sprinkled throughout the novel, giving it just one more level to appreciate.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

I found it interesting that the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale was written from the perspective of three women, none of whom were handmaids. A founding Aunt of Gilead reveals how some of them became to be such an integral part in the inner workings of the oppressive regime. Almost immediately I began to question my own preconceived judgments of these women. The other two POVs were of young women born in the time of Gilead; one raised in Gilead by a high level Commander and one in Canada raised by parents who were very involved in the resistance movement. It is fascinating, and at times unnerving, to see how beliefs can be formed and choices made. More so with The Testaments than with the original I was left truly wondering what choices I might make in a similar situation.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I have a thing for intelligent humor and Douglas Adams definitely satisfies. He blends that humor into a dark satirical science fiction adventure that has become an international multimedia phenomenon. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy brilliantly and hilariously follows the adventures of a haphazard group of humans and aliens as they explore the galaxy. I could not put it down and then couldn’t wait to read the other four novels that make up the “Hitchhiker’s Trilogy”. Don’t Panic and enjoy this book!

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak is written from the perspective of outcast high school freshman, Melinda. From the beginning, we get the feeling that there is so much more to her story than simply being that girl who called the cops on the big end-of-summer party. Anderson delivers an unflinchingly honest portrayal of trauma and depression as well as reclaiming one’s voice whether metaphorically through art or literally through both written and spoken words.

Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

I tend to enjoy books written from multiple perspectives and Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas is no exception. The two main characters are both misfits, although for wildly different reasons. Drawn together without really knowing each other's backstory, Kalyn and Gus become friends. It's great to get fully invested in this platonic friendship that is just as deep as any typical teenage love story. As Kalyn and Gus find out more about each other's family history, they begin to question their own friendship. Maybe the conflicting truths they were raised to believe are not so true after all. An amazing story of murder, guilt, innocence, truth, lies, social biases, and the implications those long-held, often unfounded, beliefs can have on multiple generations.

SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

The first time I read Shout, I devoured it completely within 45 minutes. I have since reread it several times to more slowly savor the powerful moments of prose. Shout is all at once a memoir, a show of support, and a call to action. Sometimes silence is a necessary tool in surviving sexual violence. But in this book, Anderson finds her own voice and hopefully in turn will help others reclaim their own shouts.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince, both written and illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is a beautiful story for the young in years and the young at heart. Given to me by my grandparents, read aloud with my parents, then cherished and saved until I shared it with my children, this is truly a book with multi-generational appeal.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

This beautiful graphic autobiography gripped me from page one; an important lesson in understanding life from a completely different perspective.

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Practice mindfulness in simple, everyday events. These writings are structured so that they can be read in order or at random.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home is a powerfully, and sometimes painfully, honest coming of age graphic novel. Alison Bechdel lovingly balances drama and humor all while covering sexual identity, societal impositions, family dysfunction, and grief.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

I loved this book growing up and immediately connected with Meg Murry. Her universal travels with her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin O’Keefe showed me that intellect and adventure do not have to be mutually exclusive.

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