Reading is a relaxing activity that provides many benefits. Everybody reads books (when they are not watching Netflix, chatting on social media, or making Tik Tok videos) to distract themselves from reality for a while. Many do not realize the positive impact that books have like reducing stress, assisting with sleep, improving cognitively, and strengthening the mind. In honor of National Book Day, there are many great novels that you can read to mark this special holiday. Here are the best ones to check out.
1. "Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of The Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots"
This is the story of the author Morgan Jerkins and her family's history. The book explores the Great Migration and cultural identity. Those who read the book might want to trace their own roots learn more about themselves in the process.
2. "The Undocumented Americans"
This is a partial memoir and story by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio about living as an undocumented immigrant. It is told through six essays. The author visits different places throughout the United States and speaks with many immigrants. She discusses their jobs as essential workers and defends their basic rights, which get attacked daily by right-wing extremists.
3. "I Don't Want to Die Poor"
This is a collection of essays by author Michael Arceneaux that discusses student loan debt and its impact on his life. Financial literacy is not taught in schools. Unemployment is what many are experiencing right now. The author talks about these issues as overcoming challenges and having a financially stable life is something many students can relate with.
4. "The Glass Hotel"
This is a mystery story inspired by the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme. It describes the people impacted by a similar con. One of the victims is a woman with a troubled past. Her story is depicted, along with the other victims involved in theft.
This novel by Teddy Wayne tells the story about a friendship between two men attending a MFA program. The book involves the themes of class, gender, and masculinity. It's a quick read, but the concepts will be worthy of discussion.
6. "The Silent Patient"
This psychological thriller by Alex Michaelides is guaranteed to keep you interested and guessing from beginning to end. When a famous painter murders her fashion photographer husband and then becomes mute, a criminal psychotherapist attempts to get her to speak and uncover her motive for the homicide. Will he succeed or lose his mind in the process?
7. "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" ( A Hunger Games Novel)
This prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins tells the story of the 10th annual Hunger Games where an 18 year old Coriolanus Snow (the future President Snow) becomes a mentor for the female tribute in District 12. As the battle commences, Snow is torn between his devotion to the Games and his responsibility as a mentor to his tribute.
This memoir by Michelle Obama, the former first lady of the United States, reveals her life and accomplishments from humble beginnings in Chicago to the White House. She made history as the first African American to serve as First Lady, who advocated for the education, health, and success of children, and became a role model for women and girls across the United States. Michelle Obama explains how she balanced motherhood and responsibilities as First Lady and inspired Americans to respect each other, stay healthy, and follow their dreams no matter their color, nationality or place of origin.
9. "You are a Badass"
This self-help book by Jen Sincero is recommended for those who want to improve their lives, but are not sure what to do. Follow this guide full of great stories, advice, and exercises to create the life that you want to have. If you desire to have a happy and fulfilling life, destroy beliefs that are holding you back, and increase your net worth, this is the book for you.
10. "Ready Player One"
This science fiction novel by Ernest Cline tells the story of Wade Watts, a teenager who like the majority of humanity in the year 2045 spends time inside a virtual world called the OASIS. After the creator of the OASIS dies, his fortune and control of the OASIS will be rewarded to the first person that solves difficult puzzles based on pop culture knowledge. After Wade solves the first one, he must overcome challenges while racing against other players and deadly enemies to win the prize.
11. "Into the Wild"
This is the true story of Chris McCandless who despite coming from a wealthy family hitchhiked into the Alaskan wilderness after deciding that he wanted to start a new life. The book explains the reason why he gave $25,000 to charity and left behind his car, possessions, and home to go on the long and perilous trip leading to his untimely demise.
12. "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail"
This is the true story of the author Cheryl Strayed who went on a 1,100 mile journey of self-discovery on the Pacific Crest Trail four years after losing her mother, struggling with family drama, and going through a divorce. The book chronicles her travels starting from the Mojave Desert and going through California, Oregon, and Washington State. Cheryl tells the story using suspense and humor and explains how this life changing trip helped her to finally overcome her tragic past.
13. "Bird Box"
This is the novel that became one of the most popular horror movies on Netflix. It is a cross between "The Road" and a Stephen King book. Bird Box is a horror thriller that takes place in an apocalyptic world where survivors try to escape an unseen force that will drive a person to suicide if they look at it. The book will keep you in suspense all the way to the end.
14. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"
This is a parody novel by Seth Grahame-Smith that mixes the book by Jane Austen and modern zombie fiction stories. Although the concept is bizarre, combining two different genres into one story is something previous authors have done before, and Grahame-Smith makes it very unique. This is a great book if you are a fan of Jane Austen or horror novels.
15. "Cat's Cradle"
This is a satirical postmodern novel by Kurt Vonnegut that uses black humor and science fiction elements to poke fun at debatable and obsessive issues like science, technology, religion, and the arms race. It is an important piece of literature that will make you laugh and question the absurdity of society and the problems that make us concerned about the future.