5 Books To Pick Up And Read This Month

By Mackenzie Taylor
In Culture

Typically, if someone doesn’t give me a list of books to read or shove them in my hands, I am completely at a loss as to what to add to my bookshelves. However, this year I’ve been good and typically go to Left Bank Books without a book in mind and randomly select from the shelves. This has worked out well in some cases, and not so well in others. At ALIVE this month, creativity is our theme and I am bringing you five coming-of-age stories that have inspired me to be creative. Each is creative in its own way, from the way it is written to the way the story is told, and next time you stumble into a bookshop, you’ll have something to pick up.


Photo courtesy of PicJumbo

“Brooklyn” by Colm Tóibín
This beautifully written book is set in Ireland in the 1950s, where Eilis Lacey is a smart, young girl who lives with her mother and attractive, vivacious sister, Rose, in a small town with not a lot of opportunity. Thankfully, a local priest, who has connections in New York, gets her a job and housing in Brooklyn and she soon journeys across the pond. The coming-of-age story centers on Eilis learning to live in a completely new culture away from the only home she has ever known and into a relationship with a sweet man. However, just as she starts to become comfortable in her new life, tragedy has her returning home where her two lives suddenly merge into one and she has to learn what “home” actually means.

“Dear Mr. You” by Mary-Louise Parker
Insanely more revealing than a typical memoir and way more fulfilling, Mary-Louise Parker’s “Dear Mr. You” is a series of letters written to the men–both fictional and real–in her life. The stream-of-consciousness letters are addressed to her daughter’s future boyfriend, an emotional apology to a cab driver, the grandfather she never knew, the family priest and so many more. This is not your average autobiography from an award-winning actress; Parker will make you swoon, laugh, cry and rip your heart out with her beautiful letters.

“Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy” by Judd Apatow
Filmmaker and comedy nerd Judd Apatow took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club at 15 so he could watch stand-up for free. At 16, he started hosting a show for his local high school radio show in Long Island, where he interviewed his comedy heroes like Jerry Seinfeld. “Sick in the Head” is loaded with personal and extremely fascinating interviews with some of the biggest comedy stars in Hollywood, from Spike Jonze to Roseanne to Louis CK to Amy Schumer. You won’t be able to put it down.

“Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff
When they were 22, Lotto and Mathilde were madly in love and the envy of all their friends. 10 years later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but behind closed doors not everything is as it seems. This gorgeously written novel presents the story of a marriage that relies on secrets to keep it alive over the course of 24 years. It’s dark, the characters selfish, but it shows you the deep underlaying of how sometimes people go too far to make a relationship work.

“H Is For Hawk” by Helen Macdonald
After Helen Macdonald’s dad died suddenly, she turned to training one of the most vicious animals–the goshawk. Seeing the same temperament in the hawk as she did in herself, she purchased and raised the creature as a means to cope with her loss. Heartbreaking and hilarious, the non-fiction work is a unique look at obsession, memory, history and coming to terms with grief.

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