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5 Books to Shelf to Your Soul This Year

Updated on April 3, 2018

These 5 Books Will Keep You Thinking For Days

There are books , and then there are stories - emotions is what sets the two apart. Of course, everyone loves a good book but a story which pulls you in to a world of wandering and wondering is what satiates the thirst of a reader junkie. There is nothing a bibliophile loves more than to feel the agony and struggle of a beloved character. We enjoy having our emotions toiled with, our minutes lost, our peace readjusted.

Here are 5 BOOKS (pardon me; Stories) YOU MUST READ

The Underground Railroad (2016)
The Underground Railroad (2016)

1. The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

This story details the hardships faced by Cora, a slave on a Georgian plantation, in a time when slave trading was all the rage in the South. Cora, and her runaway partner Caeser, are being hunted by a famous slavecatcher Ridgeway for fleeing the plantation. Upon hearing about a literal railway transporting escaped slaves from the South to the North in an underground network, Cora and Caeser risk their lives in hopes of freedom.

Colson Whitehead has been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize For Fiction, 2016 National Book Award For Fiction, and the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature for this book.

From the very first page, to the heart weighing end, this story will have you respecting black lives and the history they endured in order to find footing in todays world.

Salt to the Sea (2016)
Salt to the Sea (2016)

2. Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys

I could not shake off the goosebumps for a year after journeying across the Baltic Sea with these four well constructed characters, hailing from different regions grossly affected by World War 2. Written as a documentation of individual storylines brought together in the course of an ill fated sinking of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, much like the Titanic. It was an astonishing revelation to know such a devastating incident in history has never been brought to light , or at least not in the millennial sense of popularity.

This fictitious journey across four countries - Lithuania, East Prussia, Germany, and Poland, dismembered at their core in the heinous throws of war, will leave you in a state of mourning for innocent lives suffered and lost. The book accounts for refugees Joana, Amelia, Florian and Alfred, and their collective fate aboard the MV Wilhelm Gustloff. If you think Titanic had an impact, wait till you read this.

The Invention of Wings (2014)
The Invention of Wings (2014)

3. The Invention of Wings - Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd is not an unfamiliar name after the popular film adaptation of her book The Secret Life of Bees (2008). Yet again, she strikes a home run with this historical fiction. The book addresses the rise of women's rights in the 19th century along with the stark practices of slavery. Two women, Sarah Grimke and Hetty 'Handful' separated by class and color, face societal strictures in order to bare their wings towards flight for freedom.

Slavery is shown to be an accepted norm, and to own one (or a dozen) marked a person's place in the hierarchy of classes. Sarah Grimke adopts a life as an abolitionist partnered with her fiery sister Angelina. The story is told from two extremes, Handful the spirited subtly rebellious slave illuminates the anguish stitched in to her existence, and Sarah, the ambitious defiant yet reluctant owner trying to pave path for not just herself, but handful too.

The Bone Sparrow (2007)
The Bone Sparrow (2007)

4. The Bone Sparrow - Zana Fraillon

A permanent detention centre does not seem so squalid and depraved when described through the eyes of a cheerful Subhi. Subhi has never set foot outside the wired fences, neither has he ever known the country of his mother and sister yet he is forced to live as an outlaw for merely the crime of having being born to a Rohingya refugee. A listless mother in bed, a sister moulded of hatred & fear, and a camp streaming with officers with God complex.

Reading Subhi's story will have you holding a little tighter to your own children. You will be compelled to walk through the camp in Subhi's skin, feel the scorch of broken lives, and be reminded that a people without country can be so easily lost in the eyes of this world.

This book impelled me to educate myself on the Rohingya Crisis beyond contributing a pitiful 'like', 'share', or an 'emoticon' on social media.

The Color Purple (1982)
The Color Purple (1982)

5. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

Having won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983, Alice Walker made history as the first black woman to be honored with such prestige. This book is not new on the shelves, with a film adaptation by Steven Spielberg and eleven Oscar nominations in 1985, it has already gained recognition. However, with time some treasures need resurfacing.

The Color Purple is a remarkable epistolary novel that resonates with the broken and abused. The story is essentially centered around Celie, a naive uneducated black woman repeatedly raped, misused, and shamed by men of color. Set in the 1930's, this story focuses on the lives outside of slavery for African American in Southern Georgia. Celie instantly demands a corner in your heart and repurposes strength in the most blatant abuse. Her story gives voice to woman who like Celie make patience a marker of faith. This unputdownable book will be homed in your shelf for years to come.

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    • frenziedartist profile image

      C Stewart 3 weeks ago from Alabama

      I have been wanting to read, "The Underground Railroad" and it's unacceptable that I have not! Great recommendations & list!