As a long-time book lover with far-sweeping tastes (meaning I will read literally anything) I have recommendations for fans of all genres. To try and touch all sorts of readers, this spring we’ll be moving through a book for every letter of the alphabet!
I Am Not A Serial Killer—by Dan Wells
If you participate in the strange obsession Americans have with serial killers (I myself am included) and/or have seen Criminal Minds, you might know some of the supposed “signs” of homicidal tendencies: bedwetting, pyromania, animal cruelty, etc. John Wayne Cleaver, teenage narrator of Wells’ dark trilogy, recognizes all of these symptoms in himself, alongside violent urges and a fascination with death. But John’s biggest fear is acting on those impulses—he truly does not want to hurt anyone—and designs a system that’s meant to keep him in check. Part thriller, horror, and dark comedy: I Am Not A Serial Killer is a captivating take on a sociopathic protagonist.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles)—by Mary Pearson
How much of a person needs to stay the same so that they can truly be called the same person?
When Jenna wakes up from a year-long coma, she needs to relearn almost everything. She learns her name again, is reintroduced to her parents, and to her grandmother; there are swathes of blankness through the memory of her childhood, but she can perfectly recall her 10th grade reading list. It doesn’t help that her parents pass judgments on what she should and should not remember, and pointedly won’t tell her how she was hurt in the first place. You experience Jenna’s confusion in nightmarish flashbacks and beautiful prose, as a mysterious and futuristic story unfolds.
oKay I apparently have literally never read a book that starts with the letter K, it’s a personal failing. I hear The Kite Runner is good.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal—by Christopher Moore
Lamb is a book that stands out from Moore’s usual repertoire of absurdist farces—some of his more famous novels tackle things like alien whale spaceships, soul totem breast implants, and the ghost of Amelia Earheart. This one is about Jesus.
In Moore’s novel, angels come down from on high and resurrect Biff, Christ’s loser best friend as a child (when he was just called Joshua). He’s tasked with recording the forgotten years of Jesus’ life. What comes out of it is, of course, ridiculous, but Moore weaves together stories of their boyhood antics with biblical stories and historical anecdotes, including some historians’ theories about Christ travelling the Silk Road and synthesizing religious lore. It’s hysterical, and marginally blasphemous like all of Moore’s farces, but it’s also surprisingly insightful, and palatable to religious and secular readers alike.
My Sister’s Keeper—by Jodi Picoult
Picoult is one of those authors that churns out paperback after paperback—Patterson has his thrillers; Sparks, his bland romances; Picoult, her Lifetime dramas. (No, really, at least four of her books have been made into Lifetime movies.) But if there’s one of her novels you should read, it’s her story about a 13 year old suing her parents for medical emancipation, after being a donor for her sick older sister literally from birth. (I cannot tell you how much better this book is than the movie. I know you hear that all the time, but…seriously). Each chapter flips through different perspectives, painting a poignant image of a family that has built itself around the disease of a child.