Art by: Lily Cohen ('20)
Over the past couple years, I have found that February is one of my worst reading months. Whether the reason is the start of a new semester or the weird not-quite-winter yet not-quite-spring feeling that the month has, I find that it takes more out of me to read than usual. Which is why, for February, I tried to make sure the fiction recommendations are as exciting/thrilling/fantastical as possible.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
This sprawling high fantasy novel follows Zélie Adebola, a diviner destined to never become a magi due to magic’s disappearance. When she meets Princess Amiri, who is on the run from the palace for stealing a royal artifact that just might bring magic back, a quest of epic proportions begins.
The novel, inspired by West African mythology, is complete with clashing royal siblings, magic and adventure. (Additionally, I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook narrated by Bahni Turpin. She is amazing!)
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
May and her best friend Libby created Princess X when they were little — May would write and Libby would draw. After Libby dies in a car crash, May thinks that she will never see Princess X again.
Years later, May starts seeing posters and stickers and patches of the princess everywhere she goes. She finds out there is a popular, yet anonymously run, webcomic about Princess X. But the story it tells seems oddly familiar…
Part murder-mystery and part graphic novel, I Am Princess X is an entertaining and thrilling mystery that definitely merits a read.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
This fantastically researched and beautifully written book tells the story of America’s Great Migration. In addition to providing a general history, the book includes three mini-biographies that span the entire book and intertwine through sections such as “In the Land of the Forefathers,” “Beginnings” and “Exodus.”
The writing allows readers the amazing ability to track three different people through vastly different time periods while still a) having the ability to follow each person’s contained story and b) explaining the broader significance of their lives in the context of American politics and racial tensions.
The Warmth of Other Suns is not a light read. But it is interesting and provides great context for a phenomenon sometimes consigned to a single slide in history class or a couple paragraphs in a textbook.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Alex Stern, a newly recruited Yale student who can see ghosts, is brought into the fray of the Lethe group. Tasked with keeping Yale’s secret societies in check, Alex has secrets of her own.
This dark academia meets fantasy thriller also takes an unflinching look at the politics of university rape culture and the administrations that want to cover it up. Told in Leigh Bardugo’s winding, serpentine writing style, the book is a must.
Paticide by Dave Harris
I first heard Dave Harris perform slam poetry on Button Poetry’s YouTube channel. When I learned he had written a book, I thought I might as well check it out.
I am so glad I did.
Dave Harris’s poetry book about growing up black in America and escaping the cycles of the past and a mother’s love. Simultaneously richly worded and achingly heartfelt, the book is great for poetry fans new and old.