Have you ever judged someone solely by their taste in music, clothes, or even (gasp) literature?
You’re probably thinking “of course not, that would be judgmental and insensitive!”
Well, you sit on a throne of lies.
Because we all do it! This month I asked each member of the editorial team for their most recent “ohmygosh-this-book-is-so-good-I-couldn’t-put-it-down” moment, and they happily obliged. Unbeknownst to this group of wonderful ladies, what their answers give us is not just a list of fantastic literature, but also a short glimpse into their personalities and values. This special edition of Hothouse’s Hottest Reads outlines this month’s fictional favorites and what these books say about their readers.
1. Duplex by Kathryn Davis
Recommended by: Elizabeth Dubois, Editor-in-Chief
A bewildering and fun read, Duplex is a fantastical story, crossing multiple genres such as: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and magical realism. Davis’s suburban setting is far from boring; filled with robots, sorcerers, and multiple worlds, this work of beautiful prose will encapsulate you. Sometimes you may not know what is happening, who is speaking, or if they even exist, but this disorienting narrative will make you think. In the words of Elizabeth: “Duplex is impossible to describe; is the whole novel a metaphor or not? You decide.” Wow. This suggestion tells us that Elizabeth is complex, deep, and quite frankly, a little strange. (in a good way!)
2. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Recommended by: Mika Jang, Fiction Editor
An instant New York Times Bestseller, Colorless was published in 2013 in Japan and sold one million copies in a month. This heart-wrenching bildungsroman follows the past and present life of Tsukuru Tazaki, an alienated and disenchanted soul. Tazaki is forced to face the people who have rejected him in his past, one by one, as he journeys in search of fulfillment, identity, and truth. With his unique style (merging realism with mysticism) Murakami presents another must-read. Mika shares her connection with the story by saying: “Colorless is equal parts mystery and melancholy; Tsukuru’s dreams became mine- as did his nightmares and loves and losses and revelations- in his last-ditch pursuit of happiness.” What an awesome recommendation; this tells us that Mika is an inspired, creative, and empathetic soul!
3. Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland by Dave Barry
Recommended by: Olivia Arredondo, Marketing Chair
In this fun and humorous exploration of Florida’s most bizarre attractions, Dave Berry reveals the secret gems of his home state. Through hilarious commentary, this best-selling author defends some of Florida’s odd and eccentric characteristics from clothing- optional bars to skunk-ape sightings. A new favorite of Olivia’s, she says: “I have told every single person I know about this book that explores Florida’s wackiest, silliest, and most wonderful roadside attractions; I will talk to anyone at length about the Skunk-Ape Research Headquarters.” Not sure what that is? I guess you’ll have to read to find out! This recommendation tells us that Olivia is quirky, fun, and has an appreciation for the odder things in life.
4. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Recommended by: Holly Rice, Managing Editor
This heartbreaking and inspiring young adult novel follows the journey of Suzy Swanson, whose former best friend has recently drowned; everyone says that ‘things just happen,’ but Suzy knows that it must have been a rare jellyfish sting. On a path to self-discovery and closure, Suzy travels the globe in order to prove her theory, and the reader learns fascinating facts about the sea along the way. Our managing editor, Holly Rice, says: “Whether or not you are a fan of middle grade, this National Book Award Finalist is a wonderful story about what it is like to deal with grief; the writing is lyrical and poignant, and it is sure to remind you to treasure every moment you have with those you love.” Holly, Now we know that you are an introspective and loving individual who enjoys learning. Great suggestion!
5. The Rose Society (a Young Elites Novel) by Marie Lu
Recommended by Olivia Zisman, Poetry Editor
The Young Elites series is a perfect pick for this Halloween season; set in a Renaissance-like world, the protagonist, Adelina, is rejected by her family and turns into a fierce leader who sparks a war between three societies that must fight for power. But in the most recent book of the series, The Rose Society, Adelina’s powers become solely fueled by revenge and hatred, and she could become more of a hazard than a heroine. Our poetry editor, Olivia Zisman, exclaims: “Think X-Men’s Magneto meets Lord of the Flies’ Jack meets Star Wars Darth Vader. Because she is so dark and twisted, the main character is more of a villain-protagonist than an antihero. Read it before the series finale comes out on the 11th of this month!” Thanks for your suggestion Olivia; now we know that you are an imaginative and animated soul, but also possibly a little dark and misunderstood. I might watch out for this one.
That concludes this month’s hottest reads! (And my subsequent, pseudo-intellectual judgements about their readers). From Murakami to YA, we truly had an eclectic list of fantastic literature this time around, and we hope you feel inspired to go out and read one, or more, of our suggestions. Thanks for reading!