Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking about thought-provoking or inspirational books. I decided to go for 10 books that made me think, ones that sparked a discussion within me.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Probably a novel that will be on many people’s lists, but I couldn’t leave it out either. There’s a reason this book is so popular. Not only is the writing incredible, but it’s a brilliant look on the Black Lives Matter movement, and why there’s still such a long way to go in battling racism.
Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland
Yes, this book makes you think because it’s a memoir of someone who escaped North Korea. He describes his life as a child, a poor orphan, in North Korea and what he had to do to survive on the streets. However, his life before escaping and his eventual escape aren’t the parts of this book that truly made me think. At the end of the book, Sungju Lee talks about what the world needs to do to prepare for a reunification, especially what South Korea and the West need to do. We always talk about how North Korea will have to adapt, but we always seem to neglect our duty when it comes to helping people integrate.
Night by Elie Wiesel
Another memoir, I know. Elie Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust, and this is a record of his memories of being deported to Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Honestly, it’s terrifying, brutal and awful – and a book everyone needs to read. It’s very short, so there’s no excuse not to pick it up.
Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Time for a more light-hearted pick. One of the reasons I love Radio Silence is because of its discussion on education. Alice Oseman addresses how university isn’t the best option for everyone, and definitely isn’t the only way to a happy and “successful” life. I feel like we need to talk more about that here. I don’t know how we are all expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives at 18, but that’s basically how the world works in the West.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
The whole premise of this book is to give voice to the women affected by war. In the story of the Iliad, we never really talk about the fate of the women of conquered states. Their voices are always silenced. This novel is told through eyes of Briseis, and made me realize how skewed our vision of history truly is. We only tend to hear the side of the victor. History is so subjective, and I can’t imagine how many millions of voices have been silenced.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
This was such a funny, quick read yet it was thought-provoking at the same time. The story revolves around a woman who has been working in a convenience store for the past 18 years. It talks a lot about fitting in with society, how we perceive anyone who is different as abnormal or weird, and how quick we are to judge others. It’s such an interesting read!
Naoko by Keigo Higashino
Naoko follows a man called Heisuke, whose wife and daughter were in a traffic accident. His wife passes away while his daughter ends up in a coma. When she wakes up, however, she claims to be his wife and knows things about their life together only his wife would know. Yet she’s stuck in their daughter’s body. This book made me think so much! What would I do were I in Naoko’s, his wife, place? What would I do if I were in Heisuke’s situation? There are so many dilemmas and grey areas in this situation, and it was endlessly fascinating.
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohbe
I know, this might seem like an odd pick to a lot of you. However, I can’t help but put myself in Light’s position while reading this. What would I do if I found the death note? Would I use it? On the one hand, I could rid the world of criminals. On the other hand, who am I to decide who lives and dies? Does committing a crime automatically mean you should die? Is there a certain degree of brutality to reach before your life becomes forfeit? After all, not all crimes are equally as horrifying. It’s an interesting thought, and raised questions I still haven’t been able to answer.
Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
I find it incredibly impressive how thought-provoking Binti was, considering it’s a novella and thus quite short. In this science fiction novella, there’s a war going on between multiple species and the spaceship Binti is on gets attacked. This talks about how we don’t even try to understand other people’s culture, but take and steal what we can to put it on display as “exotic”. At least, that’s what I got out of this read.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
I only just finished this book but marked so many passages to tab later. Minnow Bly is a girl who grew up in a cult, and is now in juvie after attacking someone after her escape. The book challenged my view on revenge, justice, and punishment for sure. Is it acceptable to use violence to get out of an abusive situation? For some people, there really is no other option. In the end, it’s the victims who get punished. They did what they needed to do to survive, yet end up in jail. However, we can’t simply condone violence and murder either. It’s just such a difficult situation, and this is why I could never be a judge.
Have you read any of these books? Which books sparked a discussion within you?