Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I’m on the last fifty or so pages of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and I’m kicking myself for having let this novel sit on my shelf untouched the last five years. This book is lush, self-aware, and feels like a book that’s destined to be a defining work of this century (not a hyperbole). It follows Ifemelu and Obinze, estranged lovers from Nigeria who forge very different paths as they try to make it in the Western world. While the book follows this on and off romance, the heart of it lies in the auxiliary characters that shape their thinking; in the discussions of politics and race; in the exploration of their shifting identities. In this masterfully wrought book of people and ideas, Adichie has created a singular novel that needs to be read by all. Seriously. I’m five years late, but hopefully I can save the rest of you who’ve fallen into the same hole I have.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Ostensibly, this is a book about a woman who falls somewhere on the spectrum and her quest to fit into society—to be “normal.” Ultimately, it’s a story that needs to be read by anyone who has ever been on either side of a retail transaction, or who has ever wondered about their place in the world.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I was 19 when Harry Potter was first published so I missed the initial craze, but after just now reading this fantastic start to the series, I fully understand the Harry Potter mania.