Literature has the power to convey the most complex of human emotions, the interactions that individuals have with one another, and allows us to transmit our own experiences onto what we read. These are five of my all-time favorite books that I think everyone should read.
1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
This book haunted me for a while after reading it my junior year. I am currently reading it again for one of my classes and it is interesting to analyze it more deeply a second time. This is the story of a young black girl named Pecola Breedlove, who wishes she had blue eyes. The book addresses beauty standards and the internalized pressures that young black women face in conforming to a society that favor white characteristics. This is a sad but powerful read.
3. “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I received this book as a gift from one of my favorite English teachers. Set in Barcelona in the 1940s, it is a beautifully written story of a young boy named Daniel Sempere, who becomes intrigued by a mysterious author named Julián Carax after he reads his book, “The Shadow of the Wind” (woah, meta). Unable to find Carax’s other published works, Daniel attempts to discover the secrets of Carax’s past.
4. “My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor
This is the autobiography of one of my greatest role models, Sonia Sotomayor. I had the incredible great fortune of meeting her in person and she signed my copy. As a young Latina, I felt that I had few Hispanic women to look up to. In her book, she outlines her upbringing and journey to becoming the third woman and first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.
5. “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville
Every aspect of literature that I love and hate is in this book. Melville writes the ultimate American novel to illustrate the narrator Ishmael’s voyage whaling. The captain of the ship, Ahab, becomes consumed with a hatred towards Moby Dick, the whale that left him disabled. Some parts of this book are very long and even boring, but overall, I enjoyed the writing and themes that you can analyze when reading it.