When I was a child, I read almost non-stop. Curiously diving into each new piece of fiction, a voracious little book-worm, going through handfuls of novels in as many days. Each new story transported me into a new landscape, a new world. And then I stopped. I don’t recall if it was gradual or all at once, or if there was one particular thing that brought it about. All I know is that at one point in the past, I stopped reading books. I still kept my passing interest in writing alive through high school, a sad pile of embers from what had been a roaring inferno. There were the books for school of course, but you can’t really enjoy a book the same way when it’s an assignment.
Then, a few weeks ago, I ripped through a novel in a few days. Then I read its sequel. All of a sudden, that voracious bookworm had returned from my childhood, unchanged in its fervor. The book was good enough, certainly, but I’m not sure that was what brought the spirit of literature to repossess me. A lot has changed in my life since I was child. As nice as it is to pick up a book and truly relate to the characters, better still is finding those characters naturally in their world. It is ultimately the worlds that draw me in. Not only is it the same interest that spurs me to touch pen to paper (metaphorically), but it is the one that enraptures me in a story. For what is a play without a stage?
It’s good to be back.
Please enjoy these book recommendations from Northwest School students.
First off, I’d like to recommend the locked tomb trilogy by Tamysn Muir. Only the first two books are out, with the third releasing in 2022. As much as I’d like to summarize this series with a simple little catch-all, I find myself unable. Even the book’s little catchphrase “Lesbian necromancers, in space!” do show that these books are really their own thing. The first introducing an intriguingly original world, with its likeable characters, visceral magic and unique set pieces, before dropping one into essentially a murder mystery. The second book goes for a bizarre way of delivering the story itself which is almost impossible to really explain. They are unique and sharp and very much worth the read. Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth both available wherever you get books.
Also, if you’re one of those nerds who is into poetry, I can recommend the Mary Barnard translation of Sappho. It’s a very up-front translation, adding very little and letting the original words speak through. There is this clipped honesty in it, the forward from Dudley Fitts describes it as an “anti-poetry” but I don’t think such a thing can exist. What is more poetic than capturing life’s essence, it’s beauty and joy and tragedy and heartbreak, and delivering it plainly and honestly?
Sophie R recommends Fairyland: in an Alice in Wonderland-meets-Garth-Nix style, Fairyland sweeps you off your feet and into the life of September, a very bored 12-year-old girl who gets whisked off to Fairyland. With eloquent descriptions and an antiquated feel, Fairyland is a book that’ll keep you reading late into the night!
Anne of Green Gables: Anne of Green Gables is a classic piece of literature, and for good reason too! After a series of mishaps, Anne falls into the care of adult siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who take it upon themselves to “raise her right”. With scrape after hilarious scrape for Anne and a gorgeous poetry-prose writing style, Anne will have you seeing the beauty in the world around you before you finish the first chapter!
Some general recommendations by Zoë C: Zoë’s a fan of The Air you Breath by Frances de Pontes Peebles, Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, The Wonder of Lost Causes by Nick Trout, and Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch.
Finally, a slew of recommendations from Amelia H: Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward – A sci-fi novel skirting the edges of dystopian, one of her favorite books of all time. Water Keep by Jeffrey Scott Savage, which is a young-adult fantasy novel with two dimensions. Finally, the Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson, a very good series of fantasy novels with multiple protagonists and extremely well-written characters.