OverBOOKed July 2020
Too busy to read? Studies show those who read live longer and are smarter! Carve out some time in your busy schedule for some SHELFcare. We’ve curated a list for those who don’t have time to pick a book!
If you’re in the mood for: Revenge, a campus novel, a slow burn, social hierarchy, a character-driven book
If a book could be described as moody, this would be it. Set on the campus of the fictional New England-area college of Fielding, We Wish You Luck is the story of a diverse group of aspiring writers embarking on a low-residency MFA program.
Centered on dark academia, We Wish You Luck is told through the collective voice of the MFA students as the narrator. It reads like a book the group wrote together about their time on campus and as accessory characters in the story of classmates Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy.
Enter Simone, a young visiting professor. Already a successful novelist, Simone humiliates one of the group’s own. The following semesters play out a tale of vengeance, death, friendship, self and artistic discovery.
Marketed with a strong comparison to Donna Tart’s The Secret History, OverBOOKed thinks it lived up to the hype. We Wish You Luck is a good fit for those who enjoy poetic and literary writing driven by character over plot.
By Emily Henry
If you’re in the mood for: Unlikely romance, rivalry, grief, a beach/vacation read
January Andrews, a bestselling romance author, hunkers down in a Michigan beach house as she faces writer’s block and a looming deadline on her next novel. Next door, Augustus Everett, also a writer, pens literary fiction, and would never include a predictable romance in his storylines.
The two rivals strike up a deal: he’ll write a romance and she’ll write something without a happily-ever-after ending.
Beach Read has all of the aspects of your typical vacation/beach read. Romance, quirky characters and a small town. However, it delivers so much more. January and Gus think their summer on the beach is about writing, but in fact their story explores themes of grief, love and reinventing a life gone astray. OverBOOKed recommends this one for your next trip.
If you’re in the mood for: Universal questions, identity, social and racial equality, searching
The Vanishing Half is a sweeping story spanning decades in the lives of the identical Vignes twins. Stella and Desire grow up in a southern, black community where social class is dictated by light skin tone. At 16, they run away together, longing for more than small-town life. As the years pass, the sisters end up estranged, living vastly different lives. One sister returns to the small town of their youth while the other stays long gone, living across the country with a different racial identity. The Vanishing Half is told through the points of view of both the Vignes sisters and their daughters, who eventually cross paths, further interweaving the lives they cannot untie.
Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half stunningly explores what it means to search for and find who we are as individuals and as a society. OverBOOKed recommends this book for book clubs not afraid to dive into mature and meaningful topics.
If you’re in the mood for: Starting over, finding your voice, relationships, female, identity, family love
The Henna Artist is the story of a young girl finding her way in the vibrant Indian culture of the 1950s. Lakshmi, 17, is fresh off her escape from an abusive marriage. She travels to the city of Jaipur, where she becomes a sought-after henna artist. Being privy to the secrets and gossip of the wealthy means she has to protect her own secrets more carefully. Otherwise, it could mean ruin for her.
The Henna Artist tells the familiar tale of the desire (felt by many) to break free from their origins or family expectations and find their own path, but it also portrays a longing for the comforts of the familial love that shaped them. Vibrant and emotional, The Henna Artist is a deep dive into the balancing act of one with both exceptional abilities and heavy burdens.