If you have a diagnosed autoimmune disease or if you’re simply exhausted from work, it is essential to let your body rest regularly. Reading is the perfect way to unwind and rest your eyes at the end of a difficult day; however, which book to read? There are so many new books coming out all the time that it can be overwhelming to settle on a novel to pick up.
Fear not; there’s an easier way. I am here to guide you through the complex matrix called “literature” with some of my favorite reads, both old and new:
A Thousand Splendid Suns. Written by Khaled Hosseini, this breathtakingly raw book follows two Afghan women who are both married to the same awful man, Rasheed. Set in the violent city of Kabul, Afghanistan, these women learn to rely on each other despite the political instability around them. I learned so much about the life of the everyday Afghan woman in this book, and it left me in tears in several places. That’s not to say that there is no hope for redemption or a happy ending. And if you enjoy this book, check out The Kite Runner or And the Mountains Echoed, also by Hosseini.
The Secret Life of Bees. A mixture between To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn, this book by Sue Monk Kidd takes place during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Lily Owens is a white girl who lives with her abusive father on a peach plantation in the racially prejudiced South Carolina. Lily runs away from home with her loyal maid, Rosaleen, and they find their way to a bright pink house where the Boatright sisters live. What they discover there is an environment of love where color doesn’t matter.
The Hiding Place. One of the most moving stories I have ever encountered, this is the autobiography of Corrie ten Boom, who lived in the Netherlands at the time of the Nazi invasion. She and her family begin to hide Jews in a small hiding place in their home, which doubles as a watch shop; however, the room is soon discovered and she and her family are taken to a concentration camp.
Jane Eyre. If you like classic literature, do yourself a favor and read this masterpiece by Charlotte Bronte–if you haven’t already. A love story for the common people, this book follows the neglected, plain-faced Jane Eyre as she becomes a governess in the wealthy household of Mr. Rochester. Not only is he plain himself, but he has a bit of a temper and seems to be harboring an awful secret. Regardless of these obstacles, they find love and defy all the societal odds.
Where the Sidewalk Ends. Many people seem to have the misconception that once you turn a certain age, you shouldn’t read children’s literature. But I beg to differ: you are never too old for Shel Silverstein. A collection of witty poems, this book has everything from philosophy to social equality. Don’t miss classic poems like “Enter This Deserted House”, “Forgotten Language”, “The Land of Happy”, and, of course, “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”
Bossypants. If you have ever been a fan of Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, or her famous Sarah Palin impersonation, Tina Fey discusses all of these topics and more in her autobiography, Bossypants. She takes readers through her unimpressive, suburban childhood in Pennsylvania and her eventual rise to success. Not only is her writing hilarious, but Fey is very modest, down-to-earth, and incredibly honest. There are also wonderfully awkward photos of Fey in her adolescence throughout the book, which are not to be missed.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This story by Mark Haddon is told through the eyes of an autistic boy named Christopher, who lives in a small town in England. Christopher is an incredibly intelligent child who loves math, astronauts, and the color red. This book deals with difficult issues like divorce, depression, and mental illness, but it’s all from the simple, matter-of-fact, and profound perspective of Christopher, who doesn’t understand why his parents are fighting, or why his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, was killed one night.
Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? (And Other Concerns). If you love comedy, The Office, or good-natured fat jokes, you will love Mindy Kahling’s autobiography. My whole body shook with laughter as I read this book, and I learned an enormous amount about stand-up comedy, being broke in New York City, and professional tenacity while I was at it. Kahling has a way of sneaking wisdom into her writing that is disguised as comedy.
Anne of Green Gables. This series, written by L.M. Montgomery, is set on the beautiful Prince Edward Island in Eastern Canada and follows the adolescence of the orphaned Anne Shirley. Anne goes to stay with an old spinster, Marilla, and her brother, Matthew, neither of whom ever married. Their crusty hearts are eventually melted by the spirited chatterbox who hates her red hair and wishes to be called Cordelia. These books are incredibly funny, and, although they were published in the early 1900s, they are still just as relevant as the day they were written. You may be interested to know that I have long been Anne Shirley’s honorary kindred spirit.
These books are all available on Amazon.com, both as e-books and paperbacks. But if you don’t want to buy them, you can always rent these titles from your local library.
Image Source: Viviana Calderón
Rebecca Price–Autoimmune Allyby
Born a North Carolinian, Rebecca Price moved to Papua New Guinea when she was 3 and lived on a Wycliffe Bible Translators center there until she graduated high school in 2010. Now a rising senior at Asbury University, Rebecca is a double major in creative writing and journalism with a minor in Spanish. Rebecca is the Executive Editor of her student newspaper, the Asbury Collegian, and a writing tutor at the Center for Academic Excellence. She has had some wonderful experiences during her time at Asbury, including reporting at the London 2012 Olympics through the NBC-affiliate LEX-18. She enjoys bunnies, coffee and AP Style.View all Rebecca Price posts.